The 5 Senses of Your Clients’ Brand Experience

By definition, brand experience is the perception that a customer develops from a brand’s various actions. It's all the touchpoints that a customer has with a brand. Touchpoint’s being websites, ads, commercials, packaging, customer service reps, etc. 

A customer’s brand experience stems from every piece + part of your business.

I’ve always had the philosophy that everything in your business...

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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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8 Ways to Think Like a Creative Genius

The pressure’s on.

There’s a deadline.

And you're looking at a very blank page on your screen.

For what feels like hours when it’s really only been like… 5 minutes.

You think, 'Why does this keep happening to me?'

Procrastination is your best friend and your worst enemy when it comes to writing, designing + creating.

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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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Time Management 101: The Falsity of Busy

A few years ago I had a dentist appointment. I’m one of those very few people that loves going to the dentist. That’s probably because I don’t have any cavities and haven’t had any major dental work so all I ever get is a cleaning. I was chatting with the hygienist while she cleaned and when the dentist came in she asked the same question that most people ask, “How’s it going?” I gave my standard answer...

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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.

Information Overload: 3 Strategies to Make Your Marketing Good

Buy this! Get this FREE! Sign-up Here! Get our new product here!

Our world is loaded with these and many other demands. Everyone is trying to get you to buy their product or get you on their mailing list. Let’s face it… it’s what we call Marketing! And you know what… we DO it too! We want your business and for you to like us, just like everyone else. And I bet you want people to buy into what you are selling or offering and like you too. It’s all part of your marketing too!

So how do you get your target to bite without sounding pushy or being like everyone else? How can you stand out from all the rest? With the information overload that your potential target market is on, how can you make them see AND trust you? Luckily for you, I came up with some helpful tips that we live by at B&A, and so should you.

Our top 3 tips to help you get through the information overload:

  1. Be yourself: Yes I said it… BE. YOURSELF. No one wants to buy into a fake personality or product. We preach that the brand of your company is what you do and why you do it. It’s about you. You can’t sell something you’re not and be successful. You have to be yourself. Your target will know if you are not sincere or authentic. Humans communicating to humans, what a novel concept. (and yes, I am aware that we have beat this to death in everything we write, but IT’S THE TRUTH AND NEEDS TO HAPPEN!)
  2. Know your target: You can’t market to everyone all the time. You have to know who it is that needs your product or service and can’t live without it. Part of knowing your target is also knowing how to reach them. Not everyone loves Facebook or Twitter. Oh let’s just say that you are an engineer. Chances are your target prefers email over social media avenues. So to market to that target, put your information into an email strategy. Now if your targets are young professionals between the ages of 23-35, chances are very high that adding a social media strategy into your marketing mix will resonate with this target group. Know who it is that needs what you are offering and how to reach them… we CANNOT stress this enough.
  3. Make your information fun: As you know, we love Champagne. So we created our Champagne Thursdays. Even wrote an ebook with our top 5 marketing tips paired with our favorite Champagne recipes (if you don’t have yours, go here to get our free ebook. Shameless, I know!). Along the way we have added Wine Wednesdays and the B&A book club to our social mix. What is something fun that you do in your business or with your employees? USE IT!! Market it, tell your peers and talk about it, put it to your advantage to stand out and be a little different. Make your information fun! Don’t make everything so business-y, business-y.  Offer your uncorked (yeah, see what I did there… another reference to Champagne) idea as a free gift. Draw them in to buy what you really want them to. If they like you and trust you, they will love the information you are giving them.

Being in today’s market as a small business, you need to have a great personality and stand out above the rest. That will get you noticed. So hopefully you are following the 3 tips we laid out for ya. If not, maybe you should start. Have fun with your business and make it fun for your customers and clients.

xoxoxo,

 

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,

 

BE CONFIDENT! Don’t just think you are confident.

Be Confident in your Communication and Stand Out from the Crowd.png

Are you confident? Or do you think you are confident?

Believe it or not there is a difference. And I am just figuring this shit out… in my 30’s of all ages. I guess it is better late than never, right? (I don’t sound very confident there do I? See I am still working on this confidence thing.)

In today’s world, T.V., magazines and every other social stimulus out there are telling us how we should look and feel. It really breaks down your confidence doesn’t it? It does mine. Women especially have a much harder time with this. We are constantly thinking we aren’t pretty enough or we aren’t thin enough or our hair isn’t the right color or… seriously the list goes on and on and on… Even men are starting to exude less confidence.

WAKE UP PEOPLE AND STOP LISTENING TO THE SUPERFICIAL WORLD OF SOCIETY!!!

Sorry, I get a little out of control sometimes! I hate feeling inadequate, like I don’t measure up to what society thinks I should be. And THANK GOD I don’t have little girls. I wouldn’t know how to curb this nonsense to make them feel confident, when I can’t feel confident myself. Now I will say that the older I have gotten, the more confident I have become. I was always quiet and just went through the motions of everyday life, not standing out, or wanting to be recognized… but DAMNIT I want to be noticed and recognized now.

This is where the difference comes into to play. Don’t think you are confident! ACT CONFIDENT!!

  • Walk with your head up and shoulder’s squared! Good posture and looking ahead reeeeeaks CONFIDENCE!
  • Don’t second guess your decisions people! Stand firm on what you price your products or services. Talk like you mean it when telling people your decisions; don’t make it sound like a question.
  • Make eye contact and smile! You would be amazed at the respect you earn from just this alone. You will exude the confidence you need to close that deal or get that client.

So what is my point if you haven’t figured it out by now? If you act confident, whether you truly feel it or not, you will be confident. Eventually it will rub off… even on yourself, and you will start believing in yourself and your confidence. Being confident is a must when running a business. You have to look and act like you know what you are doing in order to grab those clients. Confidence plays a big part in closing that deal. Customers, clients and peers will respect you more if you have that confidence to say “Yes, I am a marketing expert. Yes, I can help you. This is what I can do for you. Yes I am worth $125 per hour.” You catching my drift!  So go on out there with your head held high and a smile on your face and…

BE CONFIDENT! Don’t just think you are confident.

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

Use Your Words

A couple of Thursdays ago we had our monthly Champagne Thursday Inspirations session and let me just tell you… IT WAS 4 HOURS LONG! That’s what happens when you work with such great friends. It takes you over 2 hours just to get caught up on life (and maybe a wee tiny bit of gossip). But really that is what makes us work; although sometimes we forget that just because we are great friends, we still CANNOT read each others’ minds…we still have to USE OUR WORDS! I mean, really, we can read each others’ minds to a point, but not all the time. We would totally be the coolest branding and marketing firm out there if we could read minds. But OH WAIT!... we are really cool because we have Champagne Thursdays and send ya’ll awesome tips and tricks and advice. (See we can read your minds. We know you want FREE stuff.)

Ok so where are we going with this? At B&A we are in the process of some refreshing and redefining things. Ooooh don’t worry lovelies, we are not changing what we do, why we do it, or who we are. That would really go against EVERYTHING we preach y’all. We are just making a few minor changes (really some pretty big changes to us but I digress). So watch out for some awesome updates!!!!

Anyway, back to my point… the only way that this refresh is going to work is if we USE OUR WORDS to communicate with one another and our fans. …IMPORTANT TIP AHEAD!!! PAY ATTENTION!!!... Remember in our last blog post when Ronii wrote about the elusive WOW! Factor, to get that you have to… use your words. It’s really hard to give you what you want if you can’t tell us what that is. Ronii does this to me all the time. She has this big vision for projects but then doesn’t use her words so that I make that vision happen because I can’t read her mind all the time (oh, the travesty). You know this. You experience it with you clients too. They don’t tell you what they want. We can’t (insert verb here like: help, buy from, be interested in, etc…) you if you don’t use you words. Just as we can’t help you if we don’t use our words. OMG! Who would have thought that? LOL! So are you getting the picture? GOOD!

So to recap what are you supposed to do with your customers, sales copy, projects, or that contractor you are hiring? And are we (B&A that is) supposed to do so you know what we do and can work together? OMG DID YOU SAY USE YOUR WORDS?!?! Sweet, you got the picture and we were effective at using our words. Makes us feel good that we aren’t just babbling for our own enjoyment on here. So go out and be the absolute best communicators you can be! USE YOUR WORDS!

The Elusive WOW Factor: 7 Tips to get the WOW

Generally, when I'm working with someone I ask what they are they looking for from their marketing and business and the answer I get 9 times out of 10 is, "I don't know, I just want the WOW Factor."

What does that mean?

My wow factor is different from your wow factor, which is different from the next person's wow factor. Use your words people. What does that mean?

Someone might look at the work I do and think, "that chick is nuts, how could anyone work with her." Obviously, they would be right but that's another post for another day. But others love it and want more of my WOW Factor. So what is that wow factor and how do you get it?

The elusive WOW Factor is that 'thing' that makes people go 'whoa.' For some it is in the look and the design, the visual. For others it is the words you use and how you make them feel. But regardless, the wow factor grabs you by the balls and makes you say, "how you doin'?"

Some tips that we use when creating the wow,

 

  1. Those who fail to plan, plan to fail: Do I really need to explain this again? You must plan and you must set goals for any project and that especially includes your marketing and branding.
  2. Be consistent: I feel like I say this over and over and over... and over. Please people, if you never ever work with us or you hate us and never read another post, please take this advise. Be consistent with your brand acorss all medias. That means no different logos that are just slightly changed to fit the piece you are working with.
  3. Be differnt: No one ever remembered the status quo. Did you? Remember, sometimes even bad press is good press. Case in point, Miley Cyrus' twerking VMA disaster. You think that was a coincidence that she had an album coming out like the next week?
  4. Stand for something: Dammit! What do you stand for? Shout that from the rooftops and hold your ground regardless of the naysayers. 
  5. Less is more: This is self explanatory. Size really doesn't matter.
  6. Know your customer's wow factor: You have to know who your target customer is and what makes them go "whoa, how you doin'?" Because that's when they buy from you.
  7. Use your words: While we are living a visual world, the word is still powerful. We still need to use bold, desciptive words like kumquat. Don't be a kumquat.

 

This WOW Factor thing isn't all that easy if you aren't clear on what you do, and more importantly, why you do it. I'll be honest. I struggle with this for B&A as well. I like to over-analyze and over-complicate things that I lose clarity sometimes. I'm currently going through that where I'm getting back to the roots of why I started this company and how I serve others with my work. I'll sit down with a glass of champagne (go figure) and work out a new plan and then go from there with all the other points to get my mojo (or WOW Factor if you will) back. It's all coming together soon.

What's your thoughts? Use your words and tell us how do you capture your WOW Factor or what brand just that somethin, somethin. Until the next big things comes along...

be cool man,

It Is What It Is… Or is It?

It is what it is… if there is one saying that I ABSOLUTELY hate in the world today is this one… It is what it is! NO IT BLOODY HELL IS NOT! Sorry! I get a little angry when I hear that saying. Even when I say it, I get all fired up and start cussing and shit! Ooops… I did it again. Isn’t that a Brittney Spears song from when she was cool? But I digress.

Is it really what it is? I don’t think so. I think that's a cop out for people that are afraid of change or don’t know how to fix whatever it is in their life that needs fixin’ (that’s my southern girl coming out).

Whether you are in a job that you can’t stand, a relationship that is no longer working or your four year old cries all the time when he doesn’t get his way (YES that is my child. My god that child seems to cry all the damn time. He has cried from the time he entered this world). Yes, I spoil the crap out of him because he is my baby but does he have to cry all the time when he doesn’t get his way. It is what it is… right? Ugh. Sorry got off on a tangent there. Where was I… oh yeah, whatever that little thing is that is bothering you…FIX IT! It is not what it is! People change, jobs change, environments change… it is ok if you change too. Don’t let it be… it is what it is. If you can fix it, fix it!

Now how does this apply to your marketing you ask? Do you ever say 'it is what it is' about your marketing campaign? (Don’t you hate it when someone answers a question with a question?) Don’t let your marketing be… well… it is what it is. If it isn’t working, change it. It’s your business, right? Now remember don’t change your brand message or story, people identify you by that. Keep your brand your anchor (don’t know what we mean, check out this article Ronii did for SheOwnsIt.com). But change up the rest of your marketing if it has gotten to the 'it is what it is' point. Add a freebie for your new customers, like we did with our new ebook. (You can sign up and get it right over there <-. I know. Don’t judge me).

Change your marketing around. Don’t use the same ones all the time, particularly if it doesn’t work. I give you permission to break up with that old, out-dated marketing that doesn’t work anyway. That feels good doesn’t it? Like a weight has been lifted. You know you could reach new customers by trying different marketing, right? So go out there and don’t let your marketing or your life be… IT IS WHAT IT IS! It doesn’t have to be.

Is your marketing 'it is what it is'? What are you going to do to change it? Let us know in the comments below.

xoxo,

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! :)