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

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,

ZEST IT UP! And You Will Come Out Smelling Like Lemons Too!

Have you ever had a headache so bad it felt like your head was being split wide open? Yeah I had one like that the other day, and every little or LOUD noise my boys made, I thought my head was splitting even further open. UGH, IT HURT SO BAD!!! And trying to concentrate on client work was hard, but I managed to get a few things done. GO ME! Anyway, Ronii was telling me about this home remedy thing she heard about… you put lemon rinds on your temples and secure with a towel tied around your head and leave on until you start feeling a tingling sensation then remove. Yeah I see that face you are making. That was my reaction too, BUT IT WORKED! It took the splitting feeling away. I could again function and handle my ever so active boys. AND, I smelled all lemony fresh too!

Ok so where am I going with this you ask? It’s all about the zest. The zest of the lemon, which is the rind, is what helped my headache, and zest can help with your marketing. ZEST IT UP! Don’t sit around being all blah and shit, add some zest. Grab people’s interest. Do something zesty and fresh that you are not seeing from your competitors. You could provide some kind of give-a-way to get people’s attention. People love FREE stuff. Take B&A for example, we have this fucking awesome gift for you if you sign up to get our Champagne Thursdays Inspiration tips and antics (Oh I know, I am shameless), but you will love our little gift. And yeah it involves Champagne and a lot of it. It’s zesty! And it’s here, right now. Over there <- ! So GO, sign up. It's free.

Adding that zest to your marketing is super easy and doesn’t have to be complicated. Make it fun and exciting. Have a customer appreciation party, provide something fun for FREE, offer a promotion that will grab their attention… the list could go on. But if you are looking to make a BIG statement, update your look. You don’t have to go all crazy, but maybe change the look of the outside of your office building or the décor inside.  People will notice the little changes. That is what grabs their attention. So find what best suits your needs and ZEST IT UP BABY! And trust me you will come out smelling like lemons. Or is it roses? Lemons works better for my example. You get the drift.

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! :)

Blurred Lines... Branding

Have you heard that new Robin Thicke song called “Blurred Lines”? It is like my new favorite song these days. The beat is amazing and it is REALLY risk-a (SHHH don’t tell anyone I secretly enjoy listening to dirty songs). Really gets me jammin’ while driving in the car or dancing around the kitchen while cooking dinner (yeah I might even break out stripper moves if I am by myself, can’t let me boys see me dance like that). Yeah, I have dance parties in my kitchen. My boys think it is hilarious, but never fails, they too join in by dancing around the kitchen with me.

So the other day while sitting at my computer working on marketing this and that, the song came on (yeah I listen to music ALL the time, helps my thought process… REALLY it does) and a thought occurred to me…branding can get blurry. You don’t want a blurry brand do you? Yeah didn’t think so. If you don’t want your brand to be blurry, don’t confuse your customers & clients by changing it around every month or have a different message on your different marketing avenues. Keep it the same throughout your marketing materials. You know… be consistent, and things won’t get blurry. Yes I am aware that we have talked about consistency before, and we are not afraid to keep reminding you either. Being fucking consistent, means no blurred lines in your brand. HMMM… imagine that.

We are always telling our clients here at B&A to think about what you do and why you do it. Use that to determine what your brand should be. It definitely shouldn’t be blurry. It should be straight forward. Now take your branding material and use it EVERYWHERE! AGAIN, BE CONSISTENT! Don’t switch it up and cause confusion. Don’t make it blurry. You don’t want to confuse people do you? Confusion doesn’t bring in the $$! Having a simple brand that isn’t blurred and being consistent with it brings in the $$.

At B&A, we strive to teach our clients this very SIMPLE technique. If you don’t learn anything else from our blog posts and marketing expertise, PLEASE remember this…

NO BLURRED LINES! AND BE CONSISTENT BITCHES!

And if you haven’t heard the song, go out and find it and dance around the kitchen or office until you become dizzy (you know you want to break out your own stripper moves now) and maybe your brand will become clear and not blurred… then be consistent with it, maybe even a little risk-a…

Sweet & Salty Marketing: Top 3 Ways to Mix It Up

You probably know this but B&A is a virtual company. My right hand girl, Jenn, is in West Virginia and my other starlets, Taylor and Corinne, are all over Charleston. And me? You can’t nail me down, I’m all over the universe most of the time. Because we are a virtual organization we love, love, love cool communication tools like Skype. A couple of weeks ago I was instant messaging with Jenn about this and that and the other and most of it was completely unproductive (like the conversation we had using all emoticons). Music was a big topic of conversation for us that day probably because we are so inspired by it and how it forms the soundtracks of our lives. Back in the day, I was a huge Bush fan (still am!) and somehow they came up in the conversation and Jenn says (types actually) that she follows Gavin Rossdale on Twitter (we’re marketers so we are OBSESSED with social media tools). She then says (types) he curses A LOT.  I LOL’ed back saying (typing), ‘I love when British guys curse because you expect them to be prim and proper with that accent then foul curse words come out and its shockingly good. You know, kinda like sweet and salty together.’

Light bulb, most people love sweet and salty, right? I know I do! It’s a scientific fact that your taste buds transmit the sweet and salty tastes to your brain triggering different parts of the brain. These reactions in the different parts of the brain are what give us the pleasure of sweet and salty together. Why not mix up your brand story and marketing messages into sweet and salty morsels for your customers to gobble up (I don’t know that I like the word gobble but I’m going to use it here anyway). Here’s 3 ways you can mix with sweet and salty. 

 

  1. Mix your industry buzz words with some hard-core slang: Well, maybe not gangster hard-core but you get what I mean. Industry buzz terms are so status quo, blah, blah, blah; so mix it up with some cool ass slang like, ‘We are marketing professionals with mad skillz.’
  2. Use opposing colors in your visual identity and representation: Color is very powerful in your branding and marketing because it is so emotional. Did you know that red (and several variations) makes people hungry? That’s why restaurants use red in their décor. Using colors that are opposites on the color wheel can work very well together like blue and orange. Sweet and salty.
  3. Partner with an unlikely vendor to provide your clients something completely different but amazing: This one may be a little tougher but opposites attract, right? Hence, sweet and salty. Recently, Ash Ambrige at the The Middle Finger Project released a FREE legal clinic for her audience. Technically, she’s in marketing and this is about legal business stuff. Sweet and salty at it’s finest.

 

Two flavors that are completely opposite but work so well together, that’s what you’re trying to achieve. Life isn’t match-y, match-y and your business doesn’t have to be either. When looking at these messages keep in mind your target market because your messages should always be centered on them. But I bet you if you asked them, they might think its odd to have chocolate covered bacon but would love to try it.

What are some of your sweet and salty ideas? We want to hear what you have done to mix it up in your business.

Uncork Your...

Uncork Your…Champagne? No wait… Marketing? No…Champagne!

So obviously ya’ll know by now that we love our Champagne. I mean come on, who doesn’t? Ok, so I know some people don’t, but you can do so much with Champagne… When you uncork that bottle, the bubbles start flowing and the smell is intoxicating. I personally like my bubbly with some Chambord Liqueur. It adds that little bit of sweetness to the dryness of the bubbly.

I recently had to research drink recipes that involve Champagne for a little 'som, something' that you will so want to get your hands on (stay tuned for more info about that, you DO NOT want to miss this). Who knew there were that many drink recipes involving Champagne? I was in heaven, and now have a MUST DRINK list ready to go for our Champagne Thursdays. What’s Champagne Thursdays? Really, you haven’t heard of our Champagne Thursdays? Where have you been, under a rock? You really need to read our social media posts more often. Maybe even go to our website and sign up to get tips and antics from our infamous Champagne Thursdays brainstorming sessions (I know, I am shameless for this plug).

Ok so where was I… oh yeah, talking about the oh so many Champagne recipes. Like I said, I was in heaven. So many options and different scenerios to try… kinda like marketing, don’t you think? Hence, why we at B&A LOVE our Champagne and our Champagne Thursdays brainstorming sessions. Some of our best ideas come from these sessions. You would be amazed at the craziness that comes out of these sessions. Marketing couldn’t get any better. LOL! No but seriously, you don’t want your marketing to be dry like some bubbly is, that is why there are so many flavors and mixtures you can make and add. Do the same with your marketing… Diversify, experiment, mix it up!

Now I am not saying go out there and get all crazy and go all willy nilly. No, you still have to have the brand, basic message, your tagline or most important message you are trying to relay, (your Champagne) and then you take that message and add it to your business cards, website, brochures, signage, social media sites (these are you mixing ingredients). You want a consistent message that shows up everywhere. So find your Champagne, and then decide what you want to add to it to get your message out there. Oh and maybe uncork a bottle of Champagne to drink while you figure out your marketing recipe.

Why Didn't I Think of That?

Picture this. You can’t sleep. It’s 3AM. You finally get up because you’re keeping the cat up (or your spouse, it’s your story). You wander into the living room in a sleep-deprived state. You turn on the TV in hopes that you make the noise in your head stop and get pre-occupied with whatever is on the TV. The only thing on is infomercials because really that’s all that’s on at 3AM. You finally get tired of flipping through all of them and just land on a channel with an infomercial about, let's say, how to clean your house better. You call the number and order one because it is totally going to change your life. Your head starts churning again about work and your watching the commercial thinking, “Why didn’t I think of that and make millions?” 

You’ve done it, I know. Admit it. We have all looked at Mark Zuckerburg and thought, “Why didn’t I think of that? A website that other people generate the content for you? WTF?”

I’m in the car a lot. And I’m a radio listener. Radio as an advertising medium is another topic for another day but FYI if used right it is very effective. I’m listening to the radio and my head is wandering. When that happens I tend to not flip the channel when a commercial comes on. I’m sitting in traffic and a commercial comes on and the very first thing they say is, “FREE PIE WEDNESDAYS!Now you have attention!

Are you fucking kidding me? FREE PIE!

I mean who doesn’t love free? And who doesn’t love pie?

Don’t tell me you don’t like pie because if you don't we can’t be friends.

Why didn’t I think of that? FREE PIE WEDNESDAYS!

The commercial is for O’Charley’s and you can view the YouTube commercial here. What a brilliant promotion.

You have to purchase an entrée to get the free pie and it is only on Wednesdays and its for a limited time. Why is this great? Well, let me tell you. It's. FREE. PIE. But seriously, this is a great promotion because it gets you to come in a buy something on one of their slowest nights for a new product they are introducing. And they have made it exclusive by saying it is for a limited time only. It hits all the high points of a promotion. And its free pie! The point (besides I love pie)… create promotions and incentives with very specific goals. And give away free pie.

I’m totally bummed that I didn’t think of this promotion. I should have thought of that. I’m smart enough to think of promotions like that. I wish I had thought of that. Although, we do have Champagne Thursdays.

Did I mention that I love pie? Keep that in your back pocket for any special events like the upcoming B&A anniversary on July 1st. But guess where this girl is going on Wednesday night? Who’s going with me?

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. 

What Exactly Do You Do?

“I see you work for a company called Bartles & Associates. What exactly do you do?” Ummm… what do I do? Let’s see... I write blog posts, play around on pinterest, facebook, and twitter, drink Champagne… Hmmm… oh I also handle office management stuff, write copy for websites, revamp current marketing material, and create strategies. That about covers some of what I do at Bartles & Associates. Sounds a little hectic, but hey we have marketing to do. Did that answer your question?

Oh, you want to know how we market your business? I see. Well, that is a little more complicated and involves lots of Champagne and brainstorming. Every company is different you see. We find your strengths and work with those to provide you with the maximum potential for marketing your company. Oh you don’t understand that? LOL! Let me try this simpler explanation… We find what works best with the operations you already have in place in your company and use those to your advantage. We help give you an edge…find what sets you apart from your competitors and FLAUNT IT! We help make your marketing materials cohesive, so that the same information appears EVERYWHERE! We make you POPULAR so get you noticed!

Oh now you understand what I do! GREAT! Think you can explain it back to me? Because really understanding what we do helps us, help you. I may get overwhelmed and client work gets a little (or A LOT) hectic at times, but working at B&A I always remember the Champagne… and that boss of mine (LOVE YOU!) always nagging about blog posts and needing this sales strategy or that copy edit on website content or following up with a client about lord knows what, won’t let me forget… Oh who am I kidding… I LOVE MY JOB AT B&A! You gotta know what you do and LOVE IT! So ask me what I do and I will tell you… 

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

Consistency In Business

Consistency!  Ever hear that used in business?  I have, many times.  If there is one thing I have learned from being in Direct Sales, is that consistency helps you succeed.  At every training I attend for Premier Designs, we talk about consistently working our business.  We need to keep in contact with our hostesses, keep in touch with our customers, meet new people, make those phone calls, send those emails, and attend meetings and trainings. Being consistent in all these areas helps you build your business and succeed, and let’s face it; it’s good customer service.  To be consistent, I set time aside each day or week to take care of all these “tasks”.  If I can’t get them done when allotted (because we all know that sometimes life happens and children are unpredictable) then I adjust and set time aside later in the week.

I find that this transcends to any type of business.  Looking back to my time as a Realtor, I had to be consistent in my daily duties as a Transaction Coordinator.  I had to set aside time to return emails, make phone calls, set up home inspections or schedule closings.  Each week, I had to send out newsletters to our buyers and sellers.  Each week, there was a Sales Meeting to attend.  The most important task was making sure properties and the Realtors I worked for were marketed and advertised in the appropriate magazines and online.  Brand messages and marketing communications need to stay consistent for businesses to help with recognition, which generates more clients.  You could say the same about Coke or Apple.  They are consistent with their branding and marketing strategies and are easily identifiable.  All this being consistent helps a business grow.

And now at B&A, I have to be consistent in preparing what our clients want and need.  Being consistent in attending meetings and returning phone calls are the key to growing our company and getting new clients. Plus, it is smart to practice what we preach.  We provide branding strategies and marketing messages to keep our clients consistent in their messages and grow their business, so it only makes sense for us to do the same.  Consistency to me is the most important attribute that is needed to be a successful businessperson or entrepreneur.