Thursday, December 29, 2011

Do You Have Enough Sensing and Intuitive Types in Your Business to Succeed? An Important Question Every Business Leader Should be Asking Themselves as We Face Daunting Challenges in 2012

A very good writer, technologist and a real smart guy who I am just very lucky to call a friend wrote a very compelling blog titled, “What Happens When You Put 1 and 1 Together?”  

With his permission, I am reposting it below for your reading,  contemplation  and hopefully some assistance as you plan for the formidable issues facing our world, our country, our economy and our businesses as we have known them in the past.
Before and after you read his blog, ask yourself, “Do You Have Enough Sensing and Intuitive Types in Your Business to Succeed?”


Q: What happens when you put 1 and 1 together?

A: Depends on the type of personality you ask.

To my observation there are two types of people in the world. The first type conceptualizes that when you put 1 and 1 together, you get 2. The second type accommodates the notion that put 1 and 1 together, you get 11.

If you bang around a 
Meyers-Briggs lexicon of psychological types, you'll find that the first type is called a Sensing type. These folks rely upon the concrete facts to understand the world. The second type is called an Intuitive personality. For them, reality is a Big Picture in which the given experience is but an episode in a larger story.

For Sensing folks the role of language is to describe the world. For Intuitive folks the role of language is to express the world. Sensing folks ask, "How does it work?" Intuitive folks ask "Does it work?" For the Sensing folks, the beauty is in the balance sheet. For the Intuitive type, the beauty is.

When it comes to commerce, the Sensing type understands a very important fact: A business that does not make money,  ain't. If the dollar amount attached to Accounts Receivable is not greater than the dollar amount of Accounts Payable, even the mightiest of businesses has a problem. And, if the problem goes on long enough, the business has a Big Problem. Profitability is acutely describable, always has been, always will be. As any Captain of Industry will tell you, profitability is best handled by Sensing folks.

Still, there is a whole world out there that cannot be described with words: explaining the color, red to a blind man or the sound of a chirping bird to one who is deaf. The only description is the experience itself. This is the world of the Intuitive. One just knows what it is.

Intuitive people experience a thing as part of a past, present and future whole. These are the people that see a ski and motorcycle and imagine a snowmobile. They see two cans tied together by a string and imagine computers talking to one another via an Ethernet cable. Give an Intuitive person a good cup of coffee, put him or her in front of sales force and you have a chain of Starbucks.

Businesses that last need both Sensing and Intuitive folks. Yet, it seems that as a business matures, the power bias moves to the Sensing. Profitability, while essential, becomes paramount. Success is known more as a measurable quantity rather than a state of experience. Creativity, the de-facto realm of the Intuitive folk and the indescribable soul of an enterprise, becomes a transient commodity purchased from Ad Agencies that have a proven track record of staying on budget while increasing sales and market share. The transformation is not one of nefarious premeditation intent on sucking the life blood of originality from the corporate environment. Rather, to paraphrase an often used term, "it's just Sensing being Sensing." 

So what's the point here? My point is this: If you are a reader that happens to have hire and fire power in your enterprise and also happens to be very good at understanding and defining profitability, when you look about your direct reports, how many people do you see that can accept that when you put 1 and 1 together, 11 is a plausible, if not useful result? If it's not half, you might be in some very real trouble.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

CMO? CDO? - Unfilled Senior Posts Because of Role Confusion or Lack of Understanding?

I read an article yesterday that stated that there are six major American Companies with CMO openings that have remained unfilled for over six months and in some cases up to 18 months. 

Say What?

The primary reason cited was that the CEOs and/or Boards of Directors of these various companies were wrestling with the concept of, “What is a CMO in today’s multi-media world?”  And, in some cases, the debate goes so far as to suggest that the CMO position could be outdated?

Say What?

In this day of ever growing use of Digital Media, there is apparently a debate in Corporate America whether Marketing is still a primary component of senior leadership. Some are even asking if the Marketing Role has been replaced by a more digital one, now coined a CDO?


I help my clients who are mostly medium sized businesses utilize the best practices in the digital world. Often I find myself explaining (repeatedly) that digital tactics: email, paid search, analytics, etc. ARE NOT the end-all-be all answer to successfully marketing a company with a guaranteed high ROI.

Wouldn’t it be nice if it were that easy?

By the nature of this position being a C-Level role, it requires leadership, knowledge and specialized experience that no other leader in an organization possesses. So this is where I get confused -- Why on earth would a CEO, Board of Directors or any other non-Marketing executive try to define a role that is so specialized, especially in light of the influx, inclusion and  full impact of digital tactics on the palette? But I want to be clear that it is a palette. As similar as a variety of colors are to an artists, the variety of tactics available to the CMO are critical to leading an organization to success. A multi-channel approach always has been and always will be the healthiest and most agile formulation for a successful marketing program; regardless of the type of company. I’ve never understood why anyone would think that limiting their company’s options is a good idea. So why would you say that marketing is now only to be done via Digital Channels?

Say What?

I’ve addressed the Marketing role and its fundamental relationship and responsibility with Operations and Technology. If you’ve read them before, you might find them interesting to peruse again with this new info about the confusion of Digital tactics and whether or not they replace Marketing. If you haven’t read them before, you might see why I feel so strongly about Marketing as an integral C-Level position that must remain intact for businesses of all sizes to succeed and flourish.

CMO and CIO Mutually Exclusive Until Recently? Really? I Say Look Up A Ring in the Ladder!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Are You Managing your OB? Or, is it Managing You?

There are many things a leader has to worry about, especially in today’s business climate. What I encourage you not to overlook is your OB – Organizational Behavior. It can literally get out in front of you and if it does, it has the power to “make you or break you”. (This kind of reminds me of that saying, “I’m not afraid of what I know. It is what I don’t know that scares me to death.”)

I have worked for so many organizations that I have seen a lot. I’m never going to say that I’ve seen ‘it all’ because occasionally I am still shocked, but I’ve seen enough. (And later, I will write about the categories of these cultures and the pros and cons to each.)

With most leaders focused only on the bottom line these days, often the ‘softer skill set’ of business activities can fall to the back of the line. And, I understand this situation, but I caution you to incorporate thought, planning and most of all sound, well thought out communication to your employees about how much they matter to everyone’s success – the business’s and each individual’s success. Study after study show that the majority of employees want to do the right thing. Set an environment where they can.

 Job satisfaction is the number one reason employees stay with a company. And, even though the economy is rough, employees have long memories and you don’t want the best you have to go the minute the opportunity arises and the job opportunities gate floods open again. (In some regions, this is already occurring.)

Also, if you are currently in a position to be hearing nothing: no grumbling, no praises, no nothing from your workforce, don’t be mistaken and think you are in the clear. Quite to the contrary, you are probably in deep trouble.

Design communication and activities both formal and informal that portray your organization’s appreciation and desire for feedback on how things are going in your business. Many companies tout the age old adage of an “open door policy”. Then when a brave employee does walk through that door and either gets blasted for their feedback or ideas, receives defensive justification for why things are the way they are and/or gets placated to, the employee will share their disappointing experience with others and it will spread like wildfire through your organization. Then, that open door will stay open and no one else will dare walk through it. (And by the way when I say that the employee gets blasted, you all know I mean the subtle blasting or blackballing that goes on after the employee leaves the room *wink*.)

Instead, if you have an open door policy, truly listen, take notes and ask for the employee’s ideas on how to solve the problem (if problems are the topic.) Then promise to get back to that employee. And when you do, it doesn’t mean you have to do whatever they say or suggest, just follow through with courtesy and get back to them and truly thank them for sharing their ideas and concern for the business with you. Let them know you appreciate their ideas. This too will spread like wildfire.

There’s so much more to cover on this topic but the main message I want to get across, based upon a recent conversation with a client who has neglected her OB too long, is to don’t let it slide. Get ahead of your organizational behavior planning and execution. Listen, I know it is hard – but it is truly imperative to your success. If you are foreign to this topic, take a class and learn more on the topic. It is powerful and it can not only help you survive this recession but it can help you to thrive once it is over – some are thriving through it because of it.

I have often mentioned one of my two very favorite professors at UCLA Anderson Graduate School before, but if you need help in this area, this is THE GUY to contact. Dr. Eric Flamholtz.

Good luck to you and remember as the leader, you have a vast and large role to play but you are up to the task.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

What’s the Best Prescription for Posting to Your Blog? Is it QD, BID or PRN?

               “…RSS fatigue is already setting in…” Seth Godin

 I can think of many things where more is better. A few things that come to mind are:

·         The number of karats in a diamond

·         The number of people you know that you can call upon when the “chips are down”

·         The number of mornings you can remember when you really took a moment to enjoy a new day with all of its possibilities

·         The number of times you said, “I’d never do that” (like parachute from an airplane) but you did it anyway and loved it

·         The number of times you took the high road when taking the low road was oh so tempting

But there are many things in life where less is more. We may each have our own list of what those are but one thing that is probably pretty common is the number of blogs that hit your inbox/feed daily by the same blogger.

I haven’t decided what the cause of this “too frequent blog posting phenomenon” is but here are a few theories I found while researching the topic and a few of my own.

Why do people post blogs daily and think that people will read them - daily?

·         There is a lack of understanding of human nature – none of us read anything every day unless it is from our maker, our boss, our loved one, a client or maybe a book we can’t put down (yes, I intentionally left out the newspaper since most people do not read the paper anymore and if they do, they do not read it from cover to cover like my dad did!)

·         In this relatively new era of freedom to communicate one’s thoughts with the masses, some may begin to think that others need to hear their thoughts daily

·         There is a misguided understanding that blogging is a replacement for “cold calling” and the more we write, the more chance we have that someone will read it and reply, take action or evangelize our brand

It is suggested that there is a connection to the quantity of posts to the volume of traffic. However, as seasoned marketers know, you want to choose quality over quantity every time. If you are using your blog for branding, you want loyal readers. You drastically raise the stakes on losing those loyal readers if you bombard them with too much information. They will tune out, log off and unsubscribe.  

If you are using your blog as a lure to get traffic on your page because you are advertising anything and everything on your site then you are hoping that you will create more ‘clicks’ on ads that pay you by hyper-posting. If this is the case, you probably aren’t writing for a loyal audience and you might want to consider some less work intense ways of driving traffic to your site. Blogging can be work. Try keywords, links, ads and other traffic generation tricks. It might work just as well for you and you might not offend true blog readers by filling up their ‘head space’ by over-posting to the same audience.  

So what is the right prescription for blog posting? I think your safest bet is PRN  (as needed). When you have something to say to the audience you are or want to reach… then say it. Don’t post just to post. We’ve all been guilty of saying too much too often, but I know that I get the best response when I write less frequently and only when I have something to say to my audience of SMBE’s and entrepreneurs. I also know that people I may initially “follow” get tossed in the Junk Mail or Block Sender Folders when I receive daily messages that clog my brain. The sad thing about that is that some of these things might be good for me to read, but I just don’t have the bandwidth to read all of it.

So, when it comes to the right prescription for blog posting, I think that substance over quantity will help all of us  to achieve true communication with those who we are trying to help, educate, engage, or…..

                               The Noisy Tragedy of Blog Commons by Seth Godin

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

An Exploding Industry is Blazing Down the Road Towards You!

Will Food Trucks Help to Revitalize Community Based Commerce?

Food Trucks have become a socio-economic phenomenon that are encroaching upon brick and mortar establishments at a rapid pace. The unique splendor of the movement is that they are locally focused, locally owned , locally supported and provide a real sense of community by providing a place to gather together; the likes of which we haven’t really experienced since the local drive-in burger joints, followed by ‘dragging’ down the boulevard on Friday nights.

This micro-movement really appears to have all of the indicators of providing a bright light of opportunity for growth in an otherwise bleak business and financial forecast. The even better news is that the “Food Truck Craze” is not just happening in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco or Boston. The business model is popping up everywhere – even in small towns. And, the food varies as much as the clientele offering everything from cupcakes to Croque Madame.

Many of the trucks promote (and insist) that they serve only locally grown food and purchase all of their supplies from local businesses. This bold and heroic statement might be the beginning of the real support of local community that we have all so longed for and yet, in many ways, felt powerless to affect.

For this, and many other reasons (like the food is fantastic!), I ask you to support your local Food Trucks and Street Food vendors and introduce as many as you can to this exploding industry.

How do you find a Food Truck? Most rely on the internet and walk-by/drive-by traffic, but there are local online sources popping up that specialize in listing the truck, its location, menu and sometimes it even provides a feedback mechanism for customer reviews/ratings. One that I found recently listing a new Truck that is opening next weekend is:  Food Truck Listings and Location Sites. Do a search and I bet you will be amazed at the array of variations available to you right in your area!

What exactly is a Food Truck? Back in the day, we called them Roach Coaches and this really wasn’t a fair name as the food from the trucks was always fresh and delicious. The problem was that they were usually isolated to construction zones and some industrial parks, so there was limited exposure and limited growth potential. Now however, they are hitting posh working areas and some are even teaming up with local coffee or dessert houses and are parking adjacent to them so that the businesses can share the customers. (Again – sounds like the old days when we helped our neighbors and looked for win-win relationships instead of only looking out for ourselves!) If I haven’t provided an adequate explanation of what a Food Truck is, here is a good one: Food Truck

What is the economic outlook for this business model? There are many articles and sources but here are two that I found interesting: Local Food as Economic Development by Ken Meter    The Road Ahead for Food Trucks by Suzy Badaracco

Are these trucks regulated for safety? The simple answer is yes. You will definitely want to check in with your local governmental agency for rules, regulations, permits, etc. but here is an example of Food Truck Food Safety Guidelines that I found to give you an idea of what is expected.

As with most niche’ industries are there off-shoot industries popping up around the Food Trucks? Yes and I only scratched the surface in the list I have provided for you. I know that with the ingenuity of the people that are starting these hip and entrepreneurial businesses, there will be like-minded people who will carve out new creative businesses to support the explosion of what I hope will be our revitalization of support for community based business. Here are a few auxiliary businesses that I found, but there are and will be many more: Mobile Cuisine Magazine   Truck Insurance   Mobile Food Franchises   Food Truck Industry News  

Finally … I would not be a good Aunt if I didn’t tell you about my niece’s new venture with two partners - all veterans of Chairman Bao. They open the Brunch Box truck window this weekend in San Francisco and if you can make it - you’ll be delighted with the amazing menu. Here is a great article with info about their business:

MMussard is a marketing, operations and executive consultant in Los Angeles. You can read her blog at

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

An Exciting Trend that Cures the 'Where Should We Eat' Blahs...

A fascinating food experience is transcending and defying 'brick and mortar' restaurants! Remember the 'roach coach'? Well how about strolling up to one and being able to order Croque Madame?! Awesome, right?
High end eateries are coming to a place near you and I dare you to try one and be not only amazed but impressed.
For those lucky enough to be in San Francisco, check out what's rolling into your hood soon:
I'll write more on this bursting industry later but for now, get ready to delight your tastebuds for brunch--yes brunch quality food--- at
I'd love to hear what you think if you are lucky enough to live in SF and get to try this new experiential delight and transformation of the delivery method of high quality food.

It's Vacation Time...Anyone Going to Pyramids? Read This First!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Mechanic and Cleaner Published on Assoc Content from Yahoo..

In case you missed it...
First post published on Associated Content from Yahoo!
I saw the movie "The Mechanic" last weekend and the violence aside, I related it to what I do as a consultant. Really!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A (Cautious) Nod to the Writer in Each of Us

I’m certain you’ve heard the saying, “there is a book in everyone”.  Although this may be true, I am finding it increasingly more important in this DIY society to ask some very important questions before you venture off into the “Hemmingway Period” of your life.
If you have a burning desire to share a delightful or maniacal character that you have developed with the world …or, you want to share your life story with others so that others can be helped to achieve the success that you have attained … or you want to help others to avoid and not repeat your mistakes, then it has never been easier to write and publish a book than it is today. I just got off a site that offered self publishing, rights filing, maintenance, etc. , etc., etc. for $199.00. What a deal! Or is it?
Inexpensive publishing options aside, I strongly encourage you  to consider the following three questions, at a minimum,  before you quit your job, go into the “Hemmingway Phase” of your life and write a book and publish it for under $200 and expect to make a living off of it.
Please ask yourself these three questions before you even consider the idea of writing a book as a profit generating tool:
1.       Does anyone really care what I have to say? Now this may sound harsh, but put more politely, have you done your market research and determined that there are not 100 other books written on the same topic? If there are, unless you are a celebrity or a well-known author with hundreds of thousands of fans -- no one cares.

Now, I don’t mean to be cruel, but it is true. There are people who care but the people who do care are probably your friends and family. If so, write your heart out and give them your book as a Holiday or Birthday Gift. That would be a well-spent $200.

Seriously, this truly can be a satisfying experience for you and for your friends and family who are interested in what you have to say, and more importantly, care about you. My dearest Aunt just sent me a book that she wrote with the aid of an historian about her life. She only printed about 15 copies and gave one to each member of her immediate family. As she and I were chatting one lovely afternoon (any afternoon that I can chat with her is immediately turned lovely), she told me that she had written this book to share the family’s heritage so that it would not be lost. I remarked how proud I was of her for doing that because many people think about it but few actually do it – but she did it. And, I can tell you from personal experience, it was beautifully written and did portray a time gone by and I loved every word – because I love her.

Had my Aunt’s book been written by someone I didn’t know, I would not have even read through the first chapter. But knowing her and the other people in the book gave me delight and insight into their lives that I had not totally known. I devoured every written word. I cherish the book and I love it so. Why? I love it because I know the author and I know the subjects in the book. If not for those important facts, I would never have cracked open the cover.

2.       Am I self publishing because I am afraid of rejection from publishers? If this is true, you need to really do some self examination and consider what is ahead of you. Whether self published or not, you will need to market, promote and sell your book. This process inherently holds rejection as well. Sometimes, a lot of it. So, if you are self publishing your book because of your fear of rejection from publishers, you will never make it through the marketing, promotion and sales process – NEVER!
I have a few clients who have written books and most are published by a publisher – but most will tell you that they could wall paper a room with their rejection notices - and then on that one bright day when they finally received a publisher’s approval, they framed their acceptance notice!
For those that have self published, they generally struggle terribly through the marketing phase. They have a difficult time going through the methodical process of identifying their audience(s). They can tell you all about the characters in their book, but they cannot articulate one market segment that would be most likely to buy their book.
This isn’t good news. The challenges of selling a book are hard and they are harder for those that are self published and/or on POD (Print on Demand) status because the bulk of the cost of promotion, labor of promotion and ideas and access to promotable events falls to the author.
3.       Have you established a budget to market your book and can you live (possibly on peanut butter sandwiches) until it reaches significant sales goals? Many authors that I speak to go “radio silent” when I ask them what their marketing budget is to promote their book. This breaks my heart as I know that this means that they have little to no chance of selling enough books to make a change in their lives.

One person I spoke to had what I considered to be a book “with legs” to it. In other words, this book could become a movie one day. It had the possible attributes to become a franchise, much like Harry Potter did. The characters were strong and unique and had a great target market segment of tweens and teens. It contained an archeological element like Indiana Jones. It had fuzzy characters and I had visions of licensing toys, rides at amusement parks, lunchboxes, sequels, etc. around this fantastically creative and fun story.  And when I asked the author what his budget was to market the book, he stated that he spent all of his money self publishing the book and didn’t want to send it out to potential publishers/promotional machines. It was his baby and he was sure it would just sell itself once he got it listed on one of the major .com book seller sites. The last time I checked, he still had all of the original first run copies of the book. Sad.

So please heed my humble but honest and caring advice. If you do write that one book that you have in you, please don’t assume that it will sell itself. Do everything you can to get it published by a mainstream publisher. That entity has the know-how to assist you with the critical aspects of the visual packaging of your book’s cover, spine and back. In addition, the established publisher has the contacts, relationships and experience to “plug you into” a promotional campaign that includes a well-planned launch, media coverage, book signings, reviews and the paperback announcement. If you are unable to get a mainstream publisher to publish your book, hire a professional marketer/promoter with a track record of success. Don’t fall prey to the “self help” seminars, webinars and “how to” guides that are out there. Most of them are bogus, over priced and based upon theory not practice or actual results. In this case, after you’ve put your words to paper, put your money where your mouth is and hire a professional who will get you and your book to stand out above the crowd. Don’t be another self published author who pours their soul into a book and then waits for it to sell itself. It is highly unlikely that you will succeed with a “build it and they will come” strategy.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Guest Blog: I Fought the Blog and the Blog Won! By Gordon Durich

 As a "traditional" writer for many years, the idea of blogging seemed at first foreign. However, in 2011, the world is full of blogs - some that hit the mark, others that seem, well, rather like a gripe fest. I mean not to minimize this form of popular culture and its prominent validity as a commercial form of mass communication. It is just that I was used to writing copy for publication in print form and then having my ink edited (and sometimes censored) to fit the tone of the medium for which I wrote. In the world of blogging, there seems not to be such a thing as editing!

My writing initially bore a naive and often gushy over-congratulatory and probably over-academic viewpoint. Then, I "sold out" and started writing more "business" pieces than I had ever thought possible. This was not by choice, but for survival - the almighty dollar. I began to write a lot of blatant advertorial copy for local small businesses. I churned them out and the business owners loved every glowing word.

This whole new trend of online blogging is a curious beast and for a time, I resisted it.
In spite of this, I have come to learn that blogging can in fact lead to a new career for some who can manage to put words together in a fetching way. Why not make a living by using the written word in a new forum and format? Look at the journey of Julie, the based-upon-a-true-story character in the fanciful Meryl Streep movie "Julie and Julia" who turned her obsession with Julia Childs into a professional goldmine. I think that's when I really "got" it.

So now I find myself joining the ranks and writing online – blogging!  

In Public Relations and advertising, a simple slogan can tell a story. And yet blogs are all about words, words, words. I would love to see blogs by the likes of Mark Twain, George Orwell, Og Mandino and some of the Greek philosophers. Could they keep up with the routine of cranking out the daily volume of words that the bloggers from San Francisco to Sydney are doing?

We may all be living in a world of monomania, but there is always a void to fill. It's either "them" or "us" and someone has to keep the wheel spinning. What will replace the blog? I can’t wait to see ... but in the meanwhile, I’ll continue to write - online that is.

Gordon Durich studied Media and Creative Writing in Melbourne, Australia, worked as a features writer and in Public Relations. His mentor is Phillip Adams, Australian media guru and broadcaster.  He writes for AOL and the odd print publication, odd being the operative word.
Gordon Durich  Also, on Facebook  and LinkedIn.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Interview on Consulting and Turning Around Businesses with Ron Kilgore

UPDATE: The mp3 file is working now. Take a listen!

In a recent interview on KNX, Ron Kilgore introduced me in the following way:

"I came across an interesting business blog recently, written by Mary Mussard, a business consultant talking about her approach to working with companies. She joins us now on the business hour..."

Then, with that great voice of his, he asked the following question(s):

"Mary - of course, you would like to be called in to help thriving companies thrive more but I imagine lots of calls come when things are headed downhill..." is my answer and more of his great questions:

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Mechanic and The Cleaner

I saw the movie The Mechanic last weekend and the violence aside, I related it to what I do as a consultant. Really!
For those of you who have not seen the movie nor understand the term mechanic, it is a person who is well skilled at their craft. They are a professional in a wide variety of areas and are hired by different individuals to “solve problems”. Now in this Hollywood Script, the problems are people who the mechanic is hired to eradicate and make it look like an accident. Leaving the eradication aside,  the idea of being broadly and deeply experienced in a variety of areas and knowledgeable about many things is what I could relate to. I often am hired to be in a specific role with specific skills but due to circumstances, organizational structure, and more, I often find myself relying upon expertise in all of my toolkit: operations, marketing and management. I don’t ‘eradicate’ anyone, however, I do bring a vast set of skills that can be used and tapped into if the situation calls for it -which it often does.  I view this as a real value-add to my clients. They don’t get a specialist in one area, they get a specialist in the three major areas of business and they are so integrated that knowing each and knowing the whole is to my client’s advantage.   
Another term used in Hollywood mob style movies is the Cleaner. This is a person who is called in after a crime has taken place to remove all evidence of the occurrence.  Occasionally, you will see this character in political or greed motive mystery movies as well. Ironically, I can relate to that position too! Again, not in the felony sense, but in the sense of coming in after the ‘damage’ has been done and fixing things so that a business will operate as if the mistakes never happened and it is set to survive and even flourish.
In business, we use words like, rebrand, re-engineer, reorganize, etc. but when it comes down to it, we are talking about mechanics and cleaners. The thought of using those titles is amusing to me as it makes me look at titles like CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) and wonder if somewhere someone thinks of it as Chief Mechanic Officer. And then, there is the Cleaner, I suppose that would be your typical CCO!
If you haven’t seen the film yet and like that type of movie, watch it. But watch it through a business person’s eyes and look for the traits of a good Mechanic – well skilled, strategic yet flexible, plans ahead for all possible outcomes and succeeds at the end.
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Beautiful art from reclaimed glass transformed to "Slump Sculpture"

Please help to support this "green" artist. Her work is stunning and is all made from reclaimed glass!

Artist will be present at opening so join her as she unveils her new solo showing of her collection, Compulsion - Please share!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Cowboy Wisdom Radio Interview Highlights

I was recently asked to do an interview for a fun radio show called Cowboy Wisdom. Here are a few thoughts and some of the information that I shared with their listeners...
While I was thinking about this interview and the prior conversation I had with the host, Bob, I thought of the name of the show and what the meaning behind Cowboy Wisdom is. When we think of a Cowboy/Cowgirl, we think of a rugged, can-do, gets stuff done, fall off the saddle and get right back up again and ride hard till you get the job done kind of person, right?
When I thought about this, I thought I might need to rebrand myself to be, “The Cowgirl’s Common Sense Approach to Marketing and Business”!
The Main Question I Always Get Asked Is: What is it that I do?
·         I give advice, consultation and planning strategy based upon experience having spent 1/3 of my career in marketing, 1/3 in operations and 1/3 in general/executive management – I’ve seen a lot work well and a lot fail – but what I know beyond a doubt is that most “best practice” can be applied across all industries and types of businesses. Utilizing what I know, I help leaders start, transform and turn-around their businesses.
 What are the Common Things that I See Across Various Businesses?
·         One thing I see too little of is the understanding that there are no new ideas – just new ways of accomplishing them! – Examples: Word Of Mouth Marketing (WOM) has been around since BC. Now, we use it with different tools and applications and call it Social Media Marketing – The amazing thing to me is that people are now stumbling upon the realization that there could be negative ramifications to utilizing Social Media – “someone may say something bad about me” – well, let me remind you'all (see there is that cowgirl coming out already!) that the age old adage for Word Of Mouth marketing was that a happy customer would tell 1-3 people about their experience and to the contrary, an unhappy customer would tell 10 or more ---- The same rules apply in Social Media and it should not be a surprise to anyone. Utilizing this technique (WOM or SM) is under-valued and under-appreciated for its power – Good or Bad. It requires careful thought before launching into it. And, it definitely requires a seasoned professional
·         Common Sense Isn’t Common Enough! When developing a marketing plan or a business plan – do your homework! Who really buys/needs what you are selling? What problem does it solve? Many businesses get stuck in the mindset of who they want to sell to vs. who will and does buy what they are selling. When I walk them through the dollars and cents of selling to who they want to sell to—often the numbers won’t sustain their business – when we look at who NEEDS and BUYS their product, the numbers add up and if they adjust to the new reality -  they succeed.

What One Thing Every Business Can Do To Improve Their Business Today?
·         Customer Retention  Management or CRM – It is as simple as providing your customer(s) and prospects with products and services, emphasis on service, above and beyond how anyone else provides them.
What Is the Most Overlooked and Under-Utilized Tool by Businesses Across the Board?
·         They don’t pay attention to trends and data. We all know, that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. (If you don’t know that, turn on Dr. Phil – he says it almost every day! LOL.) I cannot tell you how many clients I ask the primary question: “Who is your customer?” and they give me an answer that does not match what the tends and data history of who their real customer is. Another of the easiest ways to increase sales is to identify prospective customers who look like, behave like and spend like your current customers. Makes sense, right? It is so logical. But, you’d be surprised that so many businesses don’t do it because they think they know who their customer is and they don’t. I’ve disproven people over and over again. And, once we identify the real customer, we can turn the business around and grow it.
Hope some of these things can help you. I’ll write more about what I shared with the Cowboy Wisdom audience later…. Enjoy the long weekend!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

How to Build an MLM Business Now to Provide Income in Retirement

I was recently asked this question by Catherine. In her case, she is in the beauty business, but the concepts apply to any MLM and even to Craft Businesses. Here’s what I told her:
Dear Catherine,
Here are a few ideas that I hope can help. If you have ANY questions, please let me know!

Your approach should start local, grass roots and VERY personal. I recommend you look for any opportunity where you currently belong to a group, association, church, etc. and seek out what advertising options they have. Usually they have a bulletin or newsletter and ads are relatively inexpensive. Remember to think,”I’m building my business so it is great income when I retire in 3 years”. Don’t be short sited --- you are in this to win it—by the time you retire!
Write a blog. You can do it free on many sites like blogspot
Topics should be relevant and targeted towards “hot” topics like aging, green/chemical free items, etc.
Some blog topics might be:
• Top 10 beauty products as rated by my customers
• Why sell beauty products in this economy?
• Why sell beauty products at my age?
• Age defying products for the Cougar in all of us!
• What do you buy the man who has everything?
• Another baby shower? What to buy as a gift?
• Another wedding shower? What to buy as a gift?
• New mom? Great supplemental income idea!
(I can offer more if you need them – Also, NOT to plug me, but my biz does ghost writing and can do articles for about $30 a piece. So if writing is tough—we can get you covered. But I suggest you go for it yourself. Everyone has stories and people like to read about things that are real—so choose topics of real experiences with products/customers. Then post a link to your new blog on Facebook and Twitter and send a link to your existing customers.)

Get a sign or many made for your car. If you can, get several with different messages to keep it fresh and interesting. You can get them pretty inexpensive at:

Get signage for your yard (if you are allowed) at Vista Print – again get many if you can to keep them fresh- think: products per season, sales, best product, extra income job available, etc.
Advertise for reps on Craigslist under “jobs”- hit new mothers, retiring people, etc.

Keep using Facebook and tell stories from products that customers bought and liked or bought gifts that were a ‘hit’ and then add a link to the product on your site.
Mention targeted messages on Facebook and Twitter about age defying, lipstick that lasts all day – you know the common “women issues—tell people how to address them. Think of yourself as providing solutions, not selling products.
Target women your age – they will relate to you the best - what issues do they have? Solve them with your products and/or by offering them a job!

Advertise in Penny Saver – usually inexpensive

Join or go to any/all community events where women are. (Recent studies still show that women make 50%+ of the purchase decisions in households.)
Offer to give a free speech on the issues facing aging women and how your products or becoming a rep can help them. Tell them your story of starting this to help build over the next three years so you have some additional retirement income. Plant ideas for people!

Get in with local realtor(s) - ask them for new home sales info. Be the ‘welcome to the neighborhood’ with a free gift and a discount off their first purchase.
Join the Chamber of Commerce
Search the internet for posted beauty problems and find blogs that you can answer questions to and always include your link to the solution.

Do a free lunch or cocktail party and have your top sellers or best “solution” products on display for sale/order. Have cards set by each product for people to read about why the product is so great. If you have a quote about the product from a current customer, even better—put that on the card. (If you are going to place orders versus sell that night—have little cards made up that they can pick up with the product name and number on it and come to you to order (also put your website on the card in case they want to order from home!!) With this approach it is a party- but it also doesn’t have that “pressure feel” to it—remember the plastic container parties of the past where you felt pressured? This allows people to have a cocktail and mill around and chat and look at fun items – this is really a good idea around holidays.

I hope that helps a little! Let me know if any of these work or not! If they do – great. If not, tell me and I’ll give you some more ideas.
Some of this is trial and error but the things I want you to ALWAYS be thinking are: Is this (wherever you are right now) an opportunity to give my card, talk about a product, place an ad, etc.
Also, establish yourself as the local beauty products expert. Invite questions from people.
If these ideas work—help others (who are NOT) in your region ;)

Good luck and let me know how it goes!


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Give the poor interviewee a break!

A question was recently posted on a networking site about what an executive candidate should wear to an interview with a company that does not follow a dress code. Here was my answer and I hope some of you take my "give the poor interviewee a break" suggestion to heart!

This really "depends". I don't think there is a one size fits all for this situation. As with all interviews, do your research. If you can, reach out to someone in the company and ask for their advice - (use LI to find them !) do it – definitely. (You may also build an advocate in the company in the process!)
In my case, when I was a GM, managing developers and client services staff, we wore biz casual on M-Th and casual on Fridays. If clients were around, we wore business attire. (Although, when we got to know our clients very well- we told them to wear jeans in the office if our meeting was on Friday and they all did – and LOVED that we invited them too!)
My instructions to anyone in the company who was hiring/interviewing was to spell out the expectation for people before the interview. It just was one small way that we could put a candidate to ease a bit. I’d rather they be concerned with expressing their aptitude and rehearsing the “interview questions” and boning up on our industry, clients and business than what type of clothing to wear. I always paid attention too. If I specifically told them we would all be in jeans due it being Friday and told them they could do the same, I noticed those who didn’t. It said something to me that the GM invited them to be casual and they disregarded it or didn’t listen. Now, I never expected them to show up in flip flops and a torn and stained shirt with their jeans but if we were all in jeans—they could be too! I found it interesting to see how they would ‘adjust’ to this…..Those who did it tastefully i.e.; some type of jacket, a shirt or smart t-shirt and jeans with a belt and good, clean shoes, always won out with me.
This is an age old question and it has always amazed me that hiring managers and HR professionals do not cover this when setting up an interview. C’mon folks, let’s put this question to bed and just set the expectation. Give the poor interviewee a break!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I hope some of these answers are helping you. Many are reading and I appreciate everyone's support. 

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