25 Tips to be Consistent With Your Brand

Recently, I was researching a business and came across its Facebook page. The cover image was great + conveyed a strong message with the logo prominently placed. I know exactly who they are. But the little square profile image that shows up in my newsfeed is different (I noticed because I do branding). You know what though? New potential customers like you + me who like that page will never notice that brand’s updates in our newsfeeds because it’s the wrong, outdated logo.

On social platforms all we see is that little square profile image and if you have a different image, icon or logo then how do people know it's you

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Get all Warm + Fuzzy: 3 Tips for a Stellar Brand Experience

You know that warm + fuzzy feeling you get when you’ve just popped into the Coach Outlet to grab a quick gift for your bestie {and happen to pick up a new wallet for yourself} and the girl that is ringing up your purchase is meticulously wrapping your gift {and your gift to yourself} in tissue paper with a little sticker and gingerly putting it in the bag?

That’s when you know you have had an experience.

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The ultimate guide to finding inspiration: 35 ideas for sparking creativity

It’s a crisp fall day and leaves are painting the horizon in rich orange, yellow + red hues. Steam rolls off the top of your warm pumpkin spice latte as you watch a light morning mist lift up over the hills. In this quiet moment your mind expands + potential ideas bubble to the surface sparking infinite possibilities.

This. This is inspiration. A muse. Your muse.

This is where art + science + technology comes from. Were innovations to make our world better are formed.

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3 Tips to Perfectly Prevail Over a Business Bully

If you thought you left your high school bully stuffing you in a locker back in high school, think again. Bullies are everywhere. A bully is a bully regardless of age, education or social status.

I'd like to think in the business world that we all keep our eyes on our own paper. And that there is enough work + success to go around that we all get to drink bubbly champagne on yachts in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea like Beyonce. Is business so terrible out that we need to resort to bullying colleagues to make ourselves look {read: feel} better?

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Masterminding: Empowering you to #BeAwesome

Flight delayed... AGAIN!

Sitting at a bar drinking the sour mood away. At this point, I'm just ready to get home after my whirlwind trip to Charleston, South Carolina.

Yes, it has been an AWESOME time with some great ladies, lots of masterminding and girl time, but now it's time to get back home...

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Bringing Cocktail Napkin Ideas to Reality

It’s Thursday afternoon. And a long week already. You think your brain is about to explode because there is so much going on. Your business buddy texts you, “hey, what are you doing for happy hour? Wanna get a drink and catch up?” That sounds about perfect right now. The daily grind of working on this and that and demanding clients has you a bit down. And not only do you love a good cold libation you love the conversation you can have with someone who understands what you're going through. It is always a good motivator to chat with someone else who just GETS IT...

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Dirty Little Secrets: I've had Enough with internet Searching

I HATE the Google!

There! I said it. And it feels sooooo good to get it off my chest.

I can't stand researching or looking up information. Your mouth just dropped open, didn't it? You are probably thinking... "You do know you are in the marketing biz, right?" "Research is your job."

Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Bite me! I still hate the Google.

Every time I ask a question... "Well did you Google it?"  Noooo! That's why I asked the question. GEEZ!!!

Why does everyone love the Google? Our world depends on THE. GOOGLE. It is a verb in the dictionary for crying out loud!

goo·gle

verboften capitalized \ˈgü-gəl\

goo·gledgoo·gling 

transitive verb

:  to use the Google search engine to obtain information about (as a person) on the World Wide Web

Is this what life has succumbed to? THE! GOOGLE!

I mean.... COME ON! When you type in something you get a gazillion choices to pick from. Who the hell has time to go through all those links? I want an answer and I want it now. I don't want to click on 2, 3, 6, 10 links to find the answer. All I need is a phone number to my local liquor store DAMNIT! AAAAHHHHHHHHHHH! I HATE THE GOOGLE!

*inhale... deep breath...and let it out slowly*

Ok, ok I have to calmed down... as you can tell Google brings out a whole other side to me. The side that likes to use A LOT of 4 letter words. I am sure THE. GOOGLE. can tell me all about that mental disorder that I MUST have because I get so angry when I talk about THE. GOOGLE.

But let's be real for a minute... I am going to admit something that is very hard for me, but you have to promise to not let Ronii know. It would go to that Rock Star head of hers. I mean she is the one who is always telling me to "google it” (I totally just made that crinkly nose, high pitched voice “impression” of her), even when I know she knows the freakin answer... buuuuutttttt...

The Google is a powerful, useful tool. (I wish I was the genius who came up with that brilliant idea and then brilliantly branded the hell out of it.) You can find ANYTHING on Google. It might take some navigating (this is what drives me to 50 Levels of Crazy) to get to the right source of information, but the information is there. The key to Google is the words you put in the search. You really have to be specific on your search criteria to get faster and more accurate results that are on the coveted page 1. Otherwise you will get lost in Google universe and will be sitting in front of your laptop screaming at the search results on your computer screen, making your family (and neighbors) think you've lost your ever lovin mind and need to be wearing that fashionable white jacket that keeps your arms crossed against your chest and ties in the back. (I can neither confirm or deny that I may or may not have done this.)

You can find anything, and anyone for that matter. Businesses (especially small businesses) need the Google to help market itself. You know... that little thing called SEO. Yeah if you have enough meta tags and keywords and blah blah blah, you will pop up closer to the top of the Google List. Doesn't that just make you want to hate the Google too? Doesn't that make Google seem like it is all high and mighty and chooses what the searcher wants to see?  What gives THE GOOGLE the right to randomly (well not technically randomly) pick what IT thinks I want to see? It's THE. GOOGLE. It should know I need the address (because now I am at level 30 on my 50 Levels of Crazy meter) to MY local liquor store. NOT a liquor store in Idaho, but the one in Martinsburg damnit. I mean it is THE ALL KNOWING GOOGLE!

But I digress again. Obviously, we need to The Google. And that local liquor store that I so desperately need the address too also needs The Google. This is why SEO may be an important factor for your business. While, I’d love to tell you that its easy, an SEO strategy is not. Google changes their algorithm constantly to get you, the searcher, better results but makes it harder for a business to get in front of those people. There are lots of articles and blogs out there that can give you tips and pointers on ways to get better rankings but truthfully and honestly when our clients ask us about SEO we recommend contacting a professional to talk to you about putting together a good strategy. One rule of thumb that we go by is: good content. Writing good articles and blog posts with valuable information is your best tool for SEO. People will find you if you have good information.

Now you are in the know as to why I hate the Google. I need something stronger than wine or Champagne now… maybe Fireball. Good thing I can Google the closest liquor store to go buy it...

So there are those of you that embrace the Google and love the Google. And there are those of us that despise it and just want a simple answer to a simple question and not having to take 15, 20, 40 minutes to find it. You obviously know where I am on that matrix! But where are you on the… love/hate the Google meter? Leave your comments below and tell me I’m not alone in this Google conspiracy.

2014’s Hot Messes Lead to 2015 Hotness

Hey Darlin’
 
Every year I make a couple New Year’s Resolutions that I get all hot + heavy over like that sultry summer love affair and 2 weeks in I’m crawling back to my old familiar ways.
 
Not this year. I’m not falling for the bad boy of business hype. I’m going for the good guy that wants a long lasting relationship that keeps on giving + giving.
 
I’ve been watching (and not in a creepy peeping Tom kinda way), all year long, and the #1 challenge I see you having is… organizing your business ops to make good marketing talk.
 
That’s why I’m declaring 2015 the Year of the Champagne Thursday.
 
I’m on a mission to get you popping a bottle of bubbly and gabbing about business, branding and booze (for the love of Ryan Gosling, let’s talk booze).
 
Here’s just a tasting what we have cooking for 2015:
 
:: We’re revamping our emails. I’m like pee-my-pants excited about this one. Every month our little corner of the business world will get a Happy Day present from us. Its gonna be something fun + useful that you’ll love and be able to use that very day.
 
:: While we’re revamping lots in 2015, we’re still here to help you with a branding session or workshop, marketing campaigns including social media + implementing business strategies that work for you.
 
:: You’ll hear from us on Champagne Thursdays. We’re officially making the last Thursday of the month Champagne Thursday cuz you know… its Thursday and all. And in between those you will catch us over on the blog or chatting it up on social media for #motivationalmonday or #winewendsdays, maybe #funfactfriday or (my personal favorite) #caturday
 
:: In addition to all that fun stuff I just mentioned, you can expect to get little presents from us like… THIS. (Hint: It’s a super handy resource list of what we use to stay semi-sane.)
 
That’s my New Year hot trends list.
 
What about you? What are your big plans for 2015? Hit the reply button and give us the juice gossip about:
 
In 2015, I’m totally committed to _________________ and I’m SO excited about ___________________.
 
Can’t wait to tip it back and let the inspirations flow with you.
 
Here’s to the happiest of happy New Years!
 
xoxo,
Ronii

Overwhelmed Much? 3 Strategies That Help Simplify

I was going through some of our blog posts recently looking for a post to maybe repurpose for a client that needs more content and wanted something different from their normal topic. I came across a post I did about a year ago about how running a business is hard. It was a pretty good post if I do say so myself. It struck me at how we (B&A) are in a different place in the business but at the same time in the same place. Because running a business is hard. Still.

One of the key things that post talked about was being transparent with the business and letting people see behind the scenes, good and bad. So much good has happened over the year and we have amazing clients that we are doing amazing work for and that’s all fabulous. But with all that good comes being overwhelmed sometimes. It made me think about how overwhelmed I can get and my reaction to overwhelm is to be tired. All. The. Time. Tired enough that a few weeks ago I blew off work in the middle of the day (I apparently called in sick) and took a nap. And then felt guilty about it. And then I was overwhelmed by the guilt, hence more tired and then overwhelmed even more. And it all turned into a vicious cycle. Now, what kinda crap is that?

There are so many things in my business that contribute to this overwhelm. Too many emails, perceived client demands (that I probably make up in my head), to-do lists, social media, social engagements, setting goals, meeting said goals, success, failure, meetings, strategies, business models… Should I keep going? Did I mention too many emails? This is the vein of my existence yet the goal of my ego.

Enough Already!

I’m over it. The being overwhelmed. I’m guessing you are too. Let’s all make a pack together. We are going to implement these 3 simple steps in reducing our overwhelmed brains that will also help reduce all this crappy stress.

  1. Unsubscribe from Emails: All those emails that you get that you save for later, skip over or delete altogether. Get rid of them altogether so they don’t even hit your box. I sign up for these guys all the time with all the good intention of reading them and then I just don’t for whatever reason. I’m really bad about saving them because I’m going to read them later when I have time. Reality check: I never have time. I’m not saying get rid of all of them. There are a few that I religiously read every time they hit my box. Here are a few that I read and highly recommend: The Middle Finger Project (warning if you like sugar coating don’t bother), Melissa Cassera (I totally have a girl crush on her) and Tara Gentile (she just knows her shit and like Star Trek). I do watch Marie Forleo and Carrie Green’s videos because that’s easy for me to listen to in the car. We sometimes send out emails and you should keep on that list really ;). Sorry I had too, it’s in my contract.
  2. Hire an Assistant: Or a cleaning lady, or a copywriter. Whoever it is you need help from. You guys all know Jenn around here. She writes for this blog and helps me exponentially. She runs all of our social media (among a lot of other things) and that was the best decision I ever made. Because now it actually gets done. Period. Best. Decision. Yeah, your going to have to pay for it and sometimes money is tight. I totally get it. I’m in the spot a lot. But trust me when I say you need help. You need someone that is going to do that crap you don’t want too or don’t have the skills to do. I totally have the skills to run our social media, I just don’t want too. So, I either pay someone to do it for me or it just doesn’t get done. I’d rather it get done. If you need help with something, get it. You don’t have to go with the most expensive option just something.
  3. Take the Nap: And don’t feel guilty about it. That’s just down right ridiculous. I tell people all the time there is no such thing as a marketing emergency. No one is dying because your sales copy isn’t whipped out in 10 minutes. I have learned that I’m a late afternoon and early evening worker. I get more creative work done between the hours of 4pm and 7pm than I do all day. Those are my writing and graphics hours. So if I try to do it in the middle of the afternoon and I’m overwhelmed or tired I’m just going to have to re-do it again because it’ll be crap. I might as well take a nap and do it right when I’m more refreshed and in my zone. That’s just me. I find everyone is different and your best times might be early in the morning (I still do have a conspiracy theory about morning people but I digress). Find your zone and then just take a nap already if you want.

What do you think? Will these tips help with our overwhelm? What are some of your strategies to not feel so overwhelmed all the time? Obviously, email overload is the big one for me but what is your hot button? Leave me a comment and let’s work on reducing our overwhelm together.

Marketing Strategy: Tell a Story Pinterest Style

Pinterest Marketing Strategy

Hi. I’m Ronii. And I have a Pinterest obsession.

also have an elephant obsession, flamingo obsession and everyone knows about my crazy cat lady obsession, which you can find on my, you guessed it… Pinterest boards  There is no 12 step program for these addictions and I’m super excited about that. But I digress.

Recently I won this amazing Alesya Bag. How did I do that? My Pinterest obsession of course.

So Alesya Bags ran a contest on social media to tell them in 140 characters where you are going on your summer vacation and why you need an Alesya Bag for your trip. The top 5 most creative entries would win a bag and you can enter everyday until the finish of the contest. I’m sure that you are painfully aware as much as I am that 140 characters is short. Like Daisy Dukes kinda short. How am I going to tell my summer adventure in this short format and get the emotion I want across? Oh, and did I mention that you had a hashtag to use as well taking up even more precious characters? Yeah, that too. But...

Challenge Accepted.

Pinterest obsession rears its beautiful winning head with storytelling.

At B&A we have been using Pinterest for a variety of initiatives over the years. We use it as a collaboration and content distribution tool. Branding and vision boards are big for us and our clients and it’s an amazing collaboration tool for us to gather visuals that drive art direction. And like everyone else we use it to distribute our content like blog posts, products and ideas.

Since on Pinterest you can tweet your pins (or post to Facebook), I decided I wanted to use it. One because I wanted to tell a story and not just a tweet and two because I freakin’ love me some Pinterest. I figured why can’t I use Pinterest more like a storyboard rather than as a vision board and then tweet out each pin with a teaser to read that piece of the story?

I will admit this storyboard idea took some planning and definitely time, but I WON! And if I can utilize this strategy to win an amazing bag (which by the way I’ve been carrying for a couple of months now and want to marry it) then I’m sure I can use the same strategy to win audience engagement and hopefully customers. 

Tweetable: Utilizing Pinterest in multiple ways for business is a good strategy for winning audience engagement and potential customers

Tell a story with a Pinterest Storyboard  

Here’s how I did it:

  1. I planned out the days of the contest and knew that I needed about a post a day because I got an entry per day.
  2. I created a separate board that was named the hashtag and wrote a short description about what my story was about.
  3. I outlined the story by day so each piece of the story had one post. I started my story with an overview of everyone needs an adventure and why I needed an Alesya Bag for that adventure. Then everyday you got a little piece of the adventure until we got to the final days and I revealed where I was going on my summer vacation. I put these all in a doc so that it could make the daily task of posting a bit quicker.
  4. Everyday I pinned an image that correlated with that day’s piece of the story and used the pin description to write that day’s adventure. It was longer than 140 characters but it gave an expanded detail of the adventure and then I used the tweet this pin on my Pinterest app to submit via Twitter with a shortened version or teaser of that day’s adventure.
  5. The last day I gave the big reveal. But then after I found out I won. I did do a final post to conclude my story that I did actually win the bag because that was the goal of that board.

This strategy was so much fun to plan and do and it worked. We can translate this same strategy into a marketing campaign that tells a story rather than just pretty pictures and distributing content. It's a great way to engage your audience and then get them hooked on following the story and engaging with your brand. It could work for as a story countdown on a product launch (watch for this from us in the fall) or leading into a big announcement or sale. The one thing that I found to be a disadvantage is that if you go to the board because pins post by day the story on the board is backwards and you have to read the whole story from the bottom up. But the point is to get people to follow daily so that shouldn't have a huge impact. 

What do you think about this strategy? How will you use it? Do you have any other cool tips for using Pinterest as a business or marketing tool? Let us know in the comments and if you decide to run a story, post it here so we can follow it. I’d love to know your results. 

2 Lessons for Running a Business! Do you learn something new every day?

Our Champagne Thursday Mastermind Sessions are always a learning experience… even for us! In January we discussed many plans for our company, which will essentially resonate with all you fabulous entrepreneurs and small business owners. So you better be on the lookout for some amazing things ahead.

But seriously there was more talk about owning your own business and what directions you need to take and so forth… I mean really B&A is a small business and we are still learning and growing. But there comes a time when you have to really think through some things about your business…

Lesson #1

Not everyone that starts a company can or should actually run their company. We work with a wide variety of entrepreneurs and small business owners. One thing that we have learned (because you know… ‘you learn something new everyday’… or at least you should Click to Tweet) is there are those that are fantastic at running a company and keep on task with what needs to be done in daily business operations. AND THEN… there are those that start a company and are really good at what they do and working with their customers, but have no idea on how to run their company to keep it afloat. True there are those that can do both, but more than not you are either one type or the other. So have you ever asked yourself that question? If not, you should.

So go ahead. Ask yourself…

Are you better at running a company or starting a company?

Lesson #2

So not only do you need to think about whether or not you can run your company, but you need to think about how far you yourself can take your company before you run it into the ground. Let’s just say you are brilliant at running your company, but you have reached a plateau and have done all you can. Do you reach out for help or keep truckin’ along in hopes that something will pick up or come your way? Decisions! Decisions! (I believe we wrote a blog post about that awhile back. It might benefit you to check out our other blog posts too.) Most of you will keep on truckin along. BUT is that the wisest choice to make? Do you let go of what you built so someone else can either destroy it or make it better? Tough call! But really it is something all business owners need to think about…

Know your sell point before you run your company into the ground!

You have to know yourself and your strengths and weaknesses before you can decide whether you want to run a business.  So did you learn something new today? If so, please share it with us!

xoxoxo,

 

Strategorize Your Business

Strategorize Your Small Business

Strategorize? WTH? I get a look and a giggle. “You are making up words again!” Well I thought I would be able to prove the Chief Rockstar wrong… again, but it looks like… yeah, I am making up words again. LOL!

What exactly is strategorize?

Well the thing is… I have a habit of running two words together when I am talking, especially when I am drinking. AND because this word came out of our previous Champagne Thursday Mastermind Session… wait… WHAT?... you haven’t heard of our infamous Champagne Thursday Mastermind Sessions before? Well you really need to go check it out -> HERE!

Ok, where was I? Oh yeah making up words especially when drinking, Champagne something… blah blah blah. So anyway, we were discussing the plans for our Champagne Thursday Mastermind Sessions and POOF… strategorize just came out. This led to some giggling and laughing and “WTH does that mean?” and “You are making up words again” and some more laughing… So what was I trying to say?

Strategically Organize The Shit!

Yeah that’s right…strategically organize turned into…STRATEGORIZE!

So what does it mean? It means to strategically organize. LOL! Sorry I had to state the obvious. Really what it means is that we will be organizing our mastermind sessions to fit the targets participating. DUH! Really that is a no-brainer. But really we are gearing the lessons to those in the need. We will strategically organize or… strategorize the aspects of running a business and operations marketing to fit your needs. We find out what your strengths and weaknesses are, and compose the mastermind session around it. We strategorize your needs so you better benefit from our lessons. It really is a WIN WIN for all involved. And let’s be honest…strategorizing can be used in all aspects of your daily day-to-day life and your day-to-day business operations. Don’t let important dates go by the wayside. Keep your budget on track. Don’t get overwhelmed with your kids activities and your work schedule. Keep important documents in a safe place. Keep your projects tracked and on task. Keep your to-do list manageable. And the list is endless. Simply…Strategorize That Shit!

So…how did you strategorize today?

Jenn.png
 

2014 Planning: Here's to a Uber Successful New Year

How to be Uber Successful in 2014.png

Can you believe that 2014 will be here in 2 weeks? Yeah, me either. And I'm sure by now you have seen/read approximately 2,521,470 blog posts on how everyone is setting goals and planning how to be uber successful in 2014.

Well, here's another one. Joking (kinda)... not really.

Uber success in 2014

This time last year B&A was humming on all cylinders. We had made plans for 2013 to be the best year ever. Then, summer came along and things changed because people change, economies change... we change. And Jenn would hate to hear this but it is what it is. Whether it was out of my control or I totally just fucked it all up, it left me feeling defeated because I didn't make the big yearly goal happen. I didn't get that trip to the Caribbean I wanted. So this year I'm doing my planning and goal setting a little different. I'm making it more like a to-do list.

I work well with to-dos and deadlines so this approach is perfect for those that like to get things done in small more digestible tasks. I get really overwhelmed when the sheet of paper says, 'Make more money.' What? How do I just make more money? I can't do that. And when I get overwhelmed, I don't do anything. Then I completely stress out. And when I get stressed my ear hurts and my whole body gets achy. And guess what? That just isn't working for me anymore.

How to get more stuff done in 2014

  • Use my products: For 2 and half years I have been saying I want to create a product suite because that is the easiest way to scale and monetize a consulting business. I have in my mind what I want to create so I'm going to use those tools for myself this year and Voila! new B&A products. Done and done.
    • Big 2014 Goal: Create products and make more money.
  • Simple, simple, simple: I tend to over think and over complicate everything. So this year I'm really going to KISS (Keep it simple stupid) and concentrate on making things simple. My attention span is that of flea anymore. So, when I create those products above I'm going to make them 1 page (2 max).
    • Big 2014 Goal: Create more freedom, more money and more love.
  • Plan more: Evernote is totally gonna save my ass this year. I tend to be a go with the flow kinda girl. But I love a good plan. A SIMPLE ONE. And we are going to use online collaboration tools this year to get those plans out of our heads and into action.
    • Big 2014 Goal: See above about creating stuff.
  • Join a support group: Or mastermind. Whatever you want to call it. I'm a weird mix of introvert and extrovert and I thrive on interaction with people but it is very easy for me to be a hermit. So I need a group of biz peeps with a structured format to get my ideas flowing and worked out.
    • Big 2014 Goal: Again with the creating.
  • Show some love: To my family, to my friends, to my personal brand site, to B&A products, to myself. I need to be better about appreciating what I have and letting the people that matter know how much I love and appreciate them.
    • Big 2014 Goal: Be a nicer person (That's totally stupid, I know, but trust me on this one)
  • Eat better: And lose 10 lbs (isn't this on everyone's list?)

What are your goals this year? How are you planning to be uber successful in 2014? What are some of your best tips and tricks for planning and setting goals?

Taa Daa - New Website! Why We Switched

So if you haven't noticed... we have a new website. If you didn't notice, you must be living under a rock or something. You may have also noticed that in this re-design we changed things up a bit (I really mean a lot). Not only do we have a new look but we have some new offerings and a new flow to our business. And I'm sure that many people are totally confused because I preach consistency, consistency, consistency. But I have a business case for why we are changing things.

Even though I love research and data, I'm a creative at heart. And as a creative I get bored easily. But that definitely was not the driving factor of this re-design. While our old website was beautiful, it didn't reflect who we are today. Our style has evolved and changed over the years as well as the direction and service offerings of the company. Creatively, the old website was a conglomerate of several team members that are no longer with the organization and the impression it was making was starting to pull away from who we are now and where we want the brand to go. That was actually reason #2.

Reason #1: The bigger reason for the switch is a platform version change. I'm a huge fan of Squarespace. I have been on SQSP5 for a long time and fell in love with it the moment I signed up but it just wasn't functioning the way I wanted it too. As you may recall in a previous post that we had a rough summer. Over the past 6 months we have been working away in our Champagne Thursdays on the strategic direction of the company. I have made no secret about how I'm tired of the consulting business model and exchanging minutes for dollars. It just isn't scalable, hence making it hard to monetize. I have been working on a product line up for years and have been dragging my feet partly because I couldn't figure out how to sell downloadable products on the SQSP5 platform and it seemed like a daunting task to figure it out (I'm not an html expert and I don't really want to be). In the past year, I have put a couple of my clients on the SQSP6 version of the platform and fell even more in love. And guess what, e-commerce are already built in.  Even for digital products and services! Wha, wha!

I actually started talking about a new website in the spring and drug my feet on that too because I spent so much money building the old website. I wanted to get as much out of that site as I could because I was so invested in it, monetarily. But it just wasn't functioning the way I wanted it too. I couldn't sell products. I couldn't make changes easily. The blog layout wasn't the most optimized. But I had invested so much time and money in it! And it was pretty and people loved it. I had people all the time tell me how much they loved our website. It has been a struggle for me for a long time letting it go and deciding it was time for a change. It was time for a functionality, design and business model change.  Functionality being the main driver.

I played with the idea of a brand refresh too. That was a different business decisions that I made and will talk about more in the future. But in the meantime, I hope that you love our new look as much as we do. We are so excited to have a refreshed look and flow to the site. Throughout the whole process the motto was 'simple and authentic' and I feel that we achieved that. We want people to understand what we do and how we can help your business and I hope this new site gets that message across. There will be lots more coming over the next 6 months as we develop all the tools and trainings and we will keep you posted when those are available. 

Until next time, be cool man, 

Ronii.png

A Lifestyle Business Model

As you probably have read by now, Jenn came to Chucktown a few weeks ago for what she probably thought was a nice, relaxing vacay at the beach. Yeah, that didn't happen. We burneded the candle at both ends.

We worked really hard. Seriously!

We really did work because when you own a business it never stops. We played really hard too though. But for us, if work and play aren't the same thing then we don't want anything to do with it.

Don't you agree?

It was great to have her in Charleston for a number of reasons but as I mentioned in an earlier post, we've had a bit of a rough summer at B&A with some changes going on. So we both really needed to do the work and the relaxation. And the laughter. We needed to laughed A LOT! Laughter is the best medicine.

In the 6 days of eating and drinking and laughing and galvanting we talked a lot about what B&A is and does and wants to be. My goal at B&A has been, and always will be, to help people. Not necessarily businesses but people who work in or run businesses. In additional to helping people, I want to create my own lifestyle. I want my work in the world to fit around the lifestyle I want, not my lifestyle having to fit around my 'job'.

Jenn coming to visit was a perfect example of the lifestyle business model that I'm trying to create.

  • We had a leadership meeting on a boat watching dolphins and dipping our toes in the water (thanks Concentric! I hope we can use your boat again for something). Why can't all leadership meetings be on a boat?
  • We had a Champagne Thursday meeting with one of our favorite clients Verve Media and worked out a new marketing plan. Why can't all business meetings involve cheap champagne?
  • We talked over our strategies and to-do lists over Lavendar Martinis at Cypress. Why can't you talk over strategic ideas and innovations over martinis or your cocktail of choice? (We are equal alcohol drinkers around here)
And there were a ton of things just like these that we did but we got a ton of strategy work done.

Speaking of strategy work, I'm going to tell you now that I'm changing the B&A business model a bit. We are still going to do the great consulting work that we do for our awesome clients but we are going to start working smarter rather than harder. I'm a big believer that to be successful you have to be scaleable and monetizable. So we are looking at and developing products and services that accomplish both in conjunction with our goal of helping people. We definitely aren't giving up our Champagne Thursday lifestyle but are using that as the catalyst to be better at what we do. This is just the next extension of the lifestyle busniess model and you'll see it happening over the next 6 months.

I'm not doing this big re-brand/launch thing (I'm kinda over all that). Its more of a refining process of what we currently do and making it easier and more accessible to you. This is a philosophy I have had for a long time and have been working with clients and I think now is the time to 'put my money where my mouth is' and do it for us. You'll like it. I promise!

WORK HARD, PLAY HARD: B&A STYLE

So I just got back to WV from a week long business/pleasure trip to Charleston, SC. Boy, am I exhausted. I thought my 4 and 6 year old boys wore me out, but working for Bartles & Associates is super exhausting, yet SUPER FUN! I laughed so much and hard. Working with small businesses and creative entrepreneurs is like the best job EVER! Not only do you form a business partnership with your clients, you forge friendships.

You get great perks too!

Two days into my trip, we are out on a boat for a leadership retreat with Jim and his crew at Concentric. It was a great perk but was literally a 2 ½ hour business meeting at the same time. It was an awesome time getting to understand one of our small business clients and what they do and what they need (specifically from us).

Several days later into my trip I felt like a model. Having a uber-talented photographer/videographer as a client is exhausting. Dana at Verve Media Photo+Video took headshots and video of us at B&A for our own marketing material (so be on the lookout for our new promotional marketing stuff). Those that know me know I HATE having a camera in my face and I don’t like ANY pictures taken of me, but Dana made it fun and not so intrusive. AND I LIKED THE PICS – that she let me see so far. Dana and her team are phenomenal and so much FUN! I laughed so hard at all of our wacky antics. Oh, and if you are signed up for our Champagne Thursday Inspirations, you would know that Verve Media was a part of our Champagne Thursdays Mastermind session for this month! (Shameless plug alert coming up…) If you are not in the loop, you better go to anywhere on our site and sign up (under Bartleby’s Goodies) to get your own inside scoop on our fun way of doing business and FREE marketing (and business) advice.

Between business meetings with small business and entrepreneur clients, eating, drinking, visiting a winery and distillery (add link) (all in the same location for convenience), and many, many other adventures, my trip went by way too fast. Oh did I mention…WE GOT TO WORK ON THE BEACH TOO! Yeah, there are some AMAZING perks to working for B&A and helping our clients achieve their maximum potential and creativity!

Its Hard. Running a Business

Its hard, this running a business thing. I get it. I have one too. Believe me. Its hard. And time consuming. And draining. And frustrating. And painful. And happy. And then sad. And successful. And then failure (in no particular order). And, well, hard. Its all these things all balled up into one big jumble of emotions. I tell people all the time.

I'm like a great Monet masterpeice, from afar its beautiful and put together but when you get up close its just a chaotic mess. (That's a tweetable for ya!)

I go through successful and painful moments just like you do in your business. And some weeks are just an absolute shit storm. But you only see the good parts. Because that's what I want you see, right? Admit it, you do it too. I'm sharing with you some of the 'reality' parts that your never get to see this week.

 

  1. I had 2 employees quit. Well, 1 quit and the other I think quit. I don't really know but her Facebook says she left our firm.
  2. Not 1 but 3 websites had 'emergencies' this week. I'm still dealing with one that I can't figure out what's wrong. (Hopefully by the time this gets posted it will be solved.)
  3. The venue for a luncheon didn't have us on the schedule and we were at the last minute scrambling to get that taken care of only to be told that we had to pay in full in advance. (That ended up going off without a hitch and no one was the wiser.)
  4. I think I hate my website. Not really hate. I really do like it but it just isn't meeting my company's need anymore and it may be time for a change. I don't know though because I spent a lot of money on this website less that 2 years ago.
  5. In addition to the website, I might be having an identity crisis too.
  6. There is no stability in my daily schedule and it is all over the place not leaving me any time to work on (or in for that matter) my business.
  7. I'm re-doing my home office so everything is out of it and scattered everywhere making my brain scattered and I have company coming in less than a day.

 

I work with several small business owners and my issues seem to be not uncommon (I realize that's a double negative) from any one of them. Even the most successful and established businesses I work with seem to be re-thinking, re-working and re-organizing their businesses and structure recently. It seems to be a constant battle. Its the nature of the entreprenuer. We are always solving problems and creating ideas. If you don't like change then entreprenuership is not for you, my friend. It is constantly changing and constantly chaotic.

At B&A you'll see some of those changes soon and you may just see a new website. I'm going to switch up a few of my blog entries so that you can see the inside workings of what running this business looks like. I know you want to know (wink, wink). You know how I know. Because I know that you know that I know about something. You know? Really though, because I want to see the inside of your business and know that I'm not the only one out here that has the same decisions to make. So if you ask me where I want to go for happy hour and I say, 'I don't care.' Know that I really don't care. That is one decision I don't really care to make because as long as they have champagne, wine or beer I don't really care where it is. I make decisions all day long and by happy hour I don't want to make anymore decisions. Just take me to drink.

A great quote that I use often sums it up perfectly, 'I'm not telling you its going to be easy. I'm telling you its going to be worth it.' Here's to the chaos of entreprenuership! And a look under our hood. And maybe a better week next week! :)

Decisions

"Life is the sum of all your choices." – Albert Camus

I don’t think this could have been said better. And it’s eerily true. Every decision you have ever made in your life has landed you in the exact spot you are in now. Any situation, outfit, environment, or mindset that you are currently in is because of the choices you made, either today, yesterday, or any day pretty much between when you were 16 and the present. Everything you say and do is the result of a decision. Making decisions is about realizing goals and utilizing the most beneficial path to achieve them – whether it’s the fastest path, the cheapest path, or the path filled with champagne and expletives. 

Decisions can be a fun thing, even if they are risky or tasking or dangerous. Because making a decision means you are essentially at a fork in the road. You could…continue to do things the same, or you could choose to do it a different way. Or two different ways. Or three. Regardless – the fact that you are faced with a decision, whether you brought it on yourself or you were forced to do so – means you have the opportunity to change things or do them differently. So many people are scared of making decisions. But decisions are your chance to turn a challenge into an opportunity. And they are necessary in business and in life.

A lot goes into decisions. Listing the options, weighing the outcomes, entertaining your intuition, and of course, making a choice. Despite all of this heavy work, my best advice would be to implement your decision with joy and conviction. Whatever you’ve decided to do; do it 100%. Don’t be a sissy. 

We covered a ton of stuff during our last Champagne Thursday celebration. Lots of topics, both fun and serious, resulted in us having to make decisions about the business. Decisions about business development, about what to give away to our stellar clients and followers, what our next white paper would be on, and also that extra dry champagne was, in fact, our champagne of choice. And we are thrilled to see where the decisions take us. Even small decisions can have a huge impact on your business, and we are proof of that. B&A is the result of hundreds, maybe thousands of decisions made by all of us at one point or another (admittedly, some of these were made under the influence). We are pleased with our progress and plagued with new sets of decisions every day. We talk about them. We drink over them. We weigh the potential outcomes. And then we decide what the best course of action is, for us and our clients, and do it 100%. 

Don’t be a sissy. Face your decisions head on and take your business by the horns. You won’t be disappointed. 

Cobbler's Kids Never Have Shoes

Have you guys noticed we did some updates to our website? (Shameless plug alert!) Go sign up for our Champagne Thursday Inspirations! We will send you some of our quirky ideas that come out of our infamous, drunken-hazed evenings (sometimes Champagne Thursday comes twice a week). Ok, I'm done with that. I promise. Maybe.

Back to the topic at hand. Confession. We FINALLY updated our website. After a year and a half. Just like a cobble, a marketer never markets for themselves.

You know nothing about this, right? Quit bragging. We know you're perfect.

Honestly though, you're sitting there shaking your head in agreement. No matter what profession you're in you never do that thing for yourself. 

Funny story, my other half is a carpenter. And a brilliant one at that. He is an artist with wood. Do you know how long it has been since we had doors on our kitchen cabinets? TWELVE years. That's a 1 and a 2 put together. He still doesn't unload the dishwasher. And when I complain about it and ask why, do you know what he says? "I don't know where anything goes." Seriously! We have no doors, you can see everything!

A carpenter's house is never finished.

But I digress. Do you have this problem? What do you do for other people that they pay you money and you don't do it for yourself? We should be leading by example, right? (This is why we updated our website) How do we solve this problem? For me, my team held me accountable. I set a goal that I want to generate new business and send new people to our website. When they came to our site they would get outdated information and I didn't want to be embarrassed and then I have to talk my way out of a paper bag. I hate doing that! I'm really not good at it.

So, I challenge you! For 1 hour today, right now, go do what you make money at and do it for your business and yourself. Otherwise I'm going to call you out on it in front of everyone on Facebook. Not really. Yes, really. You would do it to me. I totally will do it.

Here's to rocking it out rockstar!

~Ronii

Write That Sh!t Down

Yeah I need to remind myself of that everyday… write it down or you will forget. And I usually do, forget that is. LOL! When you are trying to run a household with 2 very active little boys or work as a Roadie at B&A, there are things that need to get done. I tell myself, “oh I will remember that”. And BAM!... two days later, I forgot about a website copy edit I was supposed to do or a play date my youngest was to attend. ‘WRITE THAT SHIT DOWN’ I tell myself. You can’t keep forgetting to do things. 

Working in the marketing field, there is no room for mistakes or forgotten tasks. Clients are depending on you to get everything right down to the last detail. And this goes for any business not just marketing. We may think that we can remember every little detail a client tells us, but in reality you will forget some important fact or question. WRITE THAT SHIT DOWN! It is just a good business practice. People are relying on you to have their website just how they want it with the correct information on it, or a logo that depicts their business and is ON all important business transactions. Can you remember every last detail a client has asked for? I know I can’t. Keep yourself organized and on track by WRITING THAT SHIT DOWN! 

Life is crazy and can get busy, or in my case crazy busy! Tasks or dates can get lost in the shuffle of daily life. When it comes to your business and your clients, do you really want to forget? Didn’t think so. WRITE THAT SHIT DOWN! You will thank me later. I promise.

~Jenn