Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Desperate Times equal Desperate business?

I have learned over the years that attitude is everything. So what do you do after a year or more of slumping sales, a downward economy and a new kind of savvy coupon shopper? By shear determination we have hung on by our fingernails. Recently it was brought to my attention that our newsletters, flyers, mailers, and up to date info about our company are seemingly desperate! *GASP* Despite a positive attitude, and a jolly outlook that it would get better, the days have turned into months which has now turned into a year and so on. I have found myself worn out, jaded and out of ideas. Did I know that my newsletters, flyers and up to date info were on a downward spiral showing to the world that I was worn out and jaded? No. But they were mirroring my own personal feelings on a subconscious level without me realizing it.

With this new found "a-ha" I set out to make a change. Little did I know I would quickly fall right back into my pattern and head down desperate road. So what do you do after a year or more of slumping sales, a downward economy and a new kind of savvy coupon shopper? Hire a consultant. Get outside feedback. The chain of command or shall I say pattern will not change without some outside influence. It may be harsh, and you may not want to hear it, but if you don't you will end up in the downward spiral with no way out until desperation turns ugly.

You may say to yourself that you cannot afford a consultant. You may say you don't need one. Well I say you can't afford not to, and if you are reading this, like me, you need to get out of your desperate times.

Remember as individuals we mirror our surroundings. We are in an increasing environment of lack, less is more, and survival. Pay attention while you watch TV. Count the commercials that focus on saving more, get more for your money and roll back pricing. As business owners we mirror this mentality and in turn get desperate for that savvy coupon shopper that drains us, and allows us to get jaded and tired. A consultant can give you outside answers. They can step back and look from the outside in, without emotion and the "yea but" syndrome. We are personally invested in our business's. We don't want to be told that we are doing it wrong and we don't want to hear the ugly truths of our horrible reoccurring patterns down desperate vs prosperous road. Get a consultant.

I believe whole heartedly that an outside influence will change the way you look at your daily business, and the verbiage you use to sell it. Instead of 'yea but' and 'I cant because' you will learn to step back and say 'ok how' and 'I can with'. It will open your eyes to a whole different, and BETTER reality of business.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Social media solutions

So sorry for the lack of attention I have given this blog. I thought that my slacker friend Kristen would contribute, but she is apparently a lackey. Thats what happens when you give an associate a bottle of booze and a little quiet time.

I just returned from High Point market. What a treat. Very tiring but when there is free booze and sandwiches (can we say TWO of my favorite things) its hard not to make it into something 20 thousand more times special and enjoyable. Not to mention all the free pens, tape measures and slippers! Yes, I said SLIPPERS. When your feet hurt that bad, slippers are just the thing.

I went to several seminars and the trend in speeches was the increasing popularity in social media. Blogging, twitter, facebook, linked in, and many others. Even iTunes makes it easy for a user to create their own podcasts. How great is that? Well I really enjoyed all the tips and tricks, but I think the most valuable tip I learned was this:

1)Keeping up with social media as a business owner is very time consuming and difficult to keep up with on a regular business. Have your interns put together a list of topics for the next three months. Then all you have to do is fill in the blanks.

2)Another great tip. Have every person on your staff contribute to the company blog, tweets, and company facebook wall. It creates a personal connection with everyone around you and allows people to get to know who you really are and what makes you tick.

And don't panic if you don't have staff or interns to help you with these things. Create staff. Maybe your cat, or young child can be a contributor. Make it fun and light. Everyone finds comfort and giggles in something unexpected. And the best part is you will grow your following and company!!


Friday, September 11, 2009

The concept of "batching"

I discovered the wonderful and talented Ali Brown through the social media mania of twitter and have not looked back. Band of Barbies was created to empower, enlighten and instruct woman entrepreneurs on the secrets of how to run a successful business with PASSION and ENTHUSIASM. She is light years ahead of the game, and BOB has a few years to catch up, but I came across her article on "batching". A powerful time saving technique to help all of us do everything on our checklists and still have time for friends, family, and social events.

Most business-owners don't enjoy handling administrative tasks. We prefer to be brainstorming for that next big idea, executing our business plan, or out networking to build buzz. The good news is that there's a simple way to handle repetitive tasks more efficiently and make more time for the fun stuff.

It's called batching.

Basically, batching allows you to carve out a chunk of time and plough through a bunch of similar tasks at once. Once you get into the groove with a certain task, you'll usually notice that you become more efficient, but you'll lose that momentum if you switch gears too often and keeping starting different projects.

Here are five areas where batching makes sense.

1. Email. Some productivity experts recommend that you turn off email notifiers, check email just a few times per day, and alert important contacts so they'll know when to expect a response. That way you won't get sidetracked each time a new message pops up. Even if you don't have the will-power to swear off email for most of the day, you can save time by flagging emails that require a detailed response and setting aside a chunk of time to respond to several emails at once.

2. Invoices. Depending on your business cycle, it may make sense to schedule a day at the beginning or end of the month to send out invoices. Or you may need to spend an hour or two each week to process that week's invoices. Whatever your time line, it makes sense to handle a stack of invoices at once rather than dropping everything to handle them as they come in.

3. Phone calls and consultations. If you need to schedule several meetings, then set aside some time to make all your calls at once. You may end up leaving a few messages, but as long as you're in a phone calling mindset and have all the numbers in front of you, you'll ultimately save time. I teach members of my Millionaire Protege Club to batch their coaching calls with clients as well - condensing all calls into just two days a week frees up your other days for project work.

4. Blogging and social media. If you use blogs and social media to promote your business, then batching can be a huge help. Perhaps spend a few hours at the beginning of the week writing up several blog posts at once and schedule them to publish throughout the week. If you're on Twitter, then services like Hootsuite.com allow you to schedule tweets to automatically publish at specific times of day so your followers continue getting updates from you even if you're busy doing other things.

5. Other administrative or housekeeping tasks. The concept of batching can be applied to other aspects of your life, too. For instance, if you need to write thank you notes after a wedding or baby shower, you could batch the thank you notes and write several at once. If you want home-cooked meals for your family but don't have time to cook from scratch each night, you could make a large batch of food on Sunday evening and reheat it throughout the week. Look at the tasks you perform for work or home on a regular basis, and you'll probably find other examples, too.

By batching similar tasks together, you'll be amazed by how much more you can accomplish without working longer hours!

Offered to you by: Self-made multimillionaire entrepreneur and Inc. 500 CEO Ali Brown. She is devoted to creating financial freedom for women globally through the power of entrepreneurship. To learn how to create wealth and live an extraordinary life now, register for her free weekly articles at www.AliBrown.com


Monday, September 7, 2009

How to overcome Negative Influences

Everyone's goal in life is to achieve, in some form or fashion, a level of success. Whether that success comes from being a savvy business owner, successful manager, stay at home mom, or the world's most successful couch potato. So technically speaking our business in life is to be successful. Most importantly our purpose is to achieve happiness and through this we attain true success. However, in a spiraling economy, and a cloud of negativity swirling around like a dust bunny, the vacuum of persistence to stay positive has lost its electricity.

As church is to Sunday's 90% of the human race DEFAULTS to negativity when times go south. We as a society have come to EXPECT things to just come to us. And if they don't we are for lack of a better word, not as fortunate or lucky as "they are". So how do you protect yourself from the invasion of the devils workshop of negativity? How do WE become one of "they's"
I think Napoleon hill said it best:
" Nature has endowed us with absolute control over one thing, and that is thought"
In 1929 following the crash of Wall Street the people of america were consumed with lack, poverty, desperation, foreclosure, job loss......sound familiar?? Everyone was consumed with fear. And those that succeeded like Rockfeller, Kennedy, Carnegie, Stone, Vanderbilt, had one thing in common. They protected themselves against negative influences. They refused to succumb to the outside influences. They refused to accept the norm and follow the heard. They were leaders rather than followers. They rose above the evil supremacy of overwhelming negative pressures, and mastered happiness in all forms.
Our economy is in dire straights. We are feeling it, hearing it, seeing it, reading it, dreaming it! It effects each and everyone one of us in different ways. But remember that you have the power to step aside. Recognize that we are susceptible to SUGGESTION. Our greatest weakness as a race is to be overcome with fear and to except too often the word IMPOSSIBLE. The news, the magazines, the internet, your friends, family, co workers. The influences are everywhere. Unfortunately the heard, raptured and engulfed with fear, refuses to move or budge. Paralyzed with worry, panic, anxiety and apprehension we too get wrapped up in the tornado of terror. SO how do we avoid this constant invasion of self destruction?

1) Stop complaining. It is what it is. The old world IS GONE. We will not be where we were for many years. And that is ok. It forces us to be resourceful and creative, and open our minds to new challenges...like getting to know that neighbor that has lived next door to you for five years!

2) Stop finding fault with everything and everyone. It will get you no where. Look for the good, and find the glasses of lemonade with your new, fresh lemons.

3) Stop being hopeless. It will get better, especially if you change your outlook. Donate your time, give back, give to others. You will be AMAZED at how rewarding it is. Better than any pair of new shoes or golf clubs.

4) Stop worrying. It causes indigestion, headaches, and poor health. Really ask yourself: Where can I channel this unused energy into? Soup kitchen???Church? Neighbor?

5)Stop tolerating negative and discouraging influences in your life. It is extreme but I have completely stopped watching the news in all forms. I watch happy, stupid shows, meditate, clean, read, and read inspiring quotes.

6) Find someone or something that encourages you, inspires you and makes you feel GOOD!

If you follow these guidelines you will find yourself less agitated, worried, and strapped with fear. Help each other out. Many people feel that true success is a great career with lots of money. Americans define themselves through their careers, level of income, recognition, and status quo. But that is not TRUE success or happiness. True happiness is a happy home, great friendships, a supportive family, a career that you LOVE, and a little money to have great BBQ's with those cherished friends and family you love.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

How to stay upright in a downright economy.

Rumor on the street from economist, experts, specialist's, and full of shits, is that we are headed into another bleak fall and winter. While I am experiencing a wonderfully semi-profitable indian summer, I suppose all good things must come to an end. Hard to swallow when it seems that just a few short months ago (12 months to be exact) we were all wrapped up in our rugged, raw, unprepared, materialistic, individualism. Good Times.

Having the most profitable, and unprecedented successful year I have ever had, 2008 was turning out to be a wonderfully, exciting and opportunistic year. Then October hit. My husband lost his job, I moved into a space that chafed my expenses into a diminishing, turbulent overdrive that even Dale Earnhart couldn't navigate through. Somehow overnight I went from a few hundred dollars a month in expenses to over several, SEVERAL thousands, including a house mortgage. Out of work for eight months my husband sent resume after resume into the abyss known as the unfaltering, non existent job market. I struggled to keep my dearly beloved company, that I so lovingly nurtured into success after five years, alive and kicking as it hung on by a wing and a prayer. Not to mention a roof over our heads. And did I mention, there was NO business walking through my doors!

Luckily the past seven months, while bleak, inconsistent and fading, has taught me a lot about business and most importantly about friendship. I no longer rush into decisions. I take everything into careful consideration. I no longer take ANYTHING for granite. I APPRECIATE helpful, understanding, kind people. I see more generosity, and benevolence than I have ever seen before. And I am doing everything I can to be helpful, understanding, and kind to those around me. Be thoughtful, selfless, and compassionate. We are all going through different variables of the same circumstances. Case in point:

A new rep of mine (who has been a true pinhead to me since day 1) recently filed for divorce. Unaware of HIS circumstances I was frantically calling him for over a week trying to get answers on a product I had numerous questions about. Now, him not getting back to me was nothing new. I found through experience that it generally took about 7-10 cell calls, 2-6 emails, 1-2 texts and 2-3 corporate calls to get a response. By the time I FINALLY got a hold of him I was belligerent. My client had been waiting on an answer and I couldn't do anything about it because this prudent ass wouldn't call me back. So I let him have it. Well he broke down on the phone, in a blubbering, sobbing mess. I couldn't even understand his words he was so upset. ( Might I add, this is not my area of expertise.) In unfamiliar, and downright uncomfortable territory all I could think was "oh shit, holy shit, SHIT!, is there a handbook for this sort of thing?" I quickly got off the phone. Not knowing what the hell happened, in a dazed, and pathetic state I moved on to the next item on my "to do" list. Seemed logical, reasonable and rational. Except for one thing. I couldn't stop thinking about him. For the next three days all I kept thinking was I should call him. Finally on Friday I did. As usual he didn't answer. But to my surprise he called me right back. I explained to him that I did not need anything work related. I simply wanted to call to check in on him, see how he was doing, (the best that can be expected I suppose) and to see if there was anything I could offer to console him. I told him I understood what he was going through, and had been thinking of him.

He was besides himself. Surrounded by numerous good ol' boy friends, and numerous lady friends, not one of them had called him. Except me. Now I don't know the reasoning behind the divorce nor do I care to know the details. Im already in uncharted waters as it is. BUT, I offered a small donation of kindness. We ended up talking for a good 15 minutes. I could hear the change in his voice as we continued to talk. He was smiling, delighted, and pleased that someone took the time out of their day to call HIM. Now this seemed, at the time, like a small and foolish thing to do.(After all, this IS NOT my area of expertise. I am not nurturing, warmhearted,doting or thoughtful) BUT, when I went home that night I felt incredibly good about the small deed I had just offered him. And while I was looking for nothing in return, he has now become a good friend, and answers my calls EVERY TIME.

So the question at hand:
How to stay upright in a downright economy?
Offer joy and happiness to a stranger. Be warm and caring. Offer help, be thoughtful and be sympathetic. Be understanding, and most of all be selfless. You will be amazed at how good it makes you feel, and you will be amazed at how a small act of kindness, generosity, and compassion can change someone's life!


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Do what you know

Today I hired another assistant. New to the company, but I have known and worked along side her for four years. Now I know that those who follow the blog are aware of my love of all things "assistance". My company needs management but more than anything "I" need management. I am a force to be reckoned with. Like a turbulent tornado swallowed in paper paraphernalia, phone calls, sales calls, emails, minute details and posty notes. I race around claiming to juggle it all. But in actuality THEY juggle it all. I attempt a half assed version, throwing a half written, torn up, crumpled posty note at them with a laundry list of VERY important details, and miraculously they come out on the other side with a snazzy excel spreadsheet. Who knew there was a program with such nice lines, and columns? Does it come in color?

Somehow,someway, my girls take this holocaust of disorganization and come to me with a methodical ordered demeanor and supervise me. They are the gatekeepers. Im the front runner, chasing down the jobs, pursuing new jobs, making advances to get the job, producing smiles on the daunting client projects, conjuring up the best solutions and making promises that I KNOW my girls can keep. And at the end of the day I hope on a wing and a prayer that all those posty notes made some kind of sense and somehow ended up in one of those fancy spreadsheets with nice lines and columns. Yes Im sure the consistent lack of consistency with unhinged, loopy ways drives them nuts, with a side of bananas. BUT they always say to hire help that makes up for your inadequacies. I definitely fall short in the adequate, efficient, and organized column. Thus the reason I hire girls who are adequate, efficient, and organized for me.

So this post is for those who still think they cannot afford an assistant. You can not afford NOT TO. Without my girls, I would be a disheveled, inefficient windstorm with a barrage of pandemonium circling around me like pigpin from peanuts. Even with them by my side there is still a level of disorder (that I create, and it is totally all in my head) that surrounds me in overwhelming T-storms. But they come to me with a methodical ordered demeanor and supervise me. They are the gatekeepers. And somehow, someway they manage to manage me, crumbled, torn scribbled posty notes and all.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A good business woman= A TRUE BITCH

SO yesterday was one of those, um (finding the right timing and tact) challenging days. Lucky for me, I have been in business for a whopping 2 minutes and don't know shit because of it. (apparently I did just fall off the bunny truck yesterday) Lets realign here and back up to the point. YES THERE'S A POINT!!

My day started out fairly normal. But at noon I had to leave the office for an appointment. When I returned at noon, I had two men on a ladder in the rafters fixing a broken air conditioner,(that for a third time flooded the pink bathroom) a malfunctioning phone system, no internet, and a credit card machine that couldn't do transactions with no phone lines. F.U.N.!! So good to be BOSS LADY! As luck would have it, I walked in the door at that very moment. To top off my frustrations we have been working on two very large client projects with reps that are thickheaded blockheads that make life difficult rather than making things easier. You do make commission on this sale....no??

We placed an order through a vendor of ours that carries lamps. We placed this order two weeks ago. We have called, emailed, and faxed this order to them. To no avail we have not been able to get an acknowledgment that the order was in fact placed. Finally, today we discover the order was never acknowledged because it was never placed. Never mind the fact that we have been calling them about the order. So-I-was-pissed! I am trying to place an order for a product of which this company sells. Easy peesy right? Well apparently when you have been in business for a whopping 2 minutes it takes a wee bit longer to get things processed.

I contacted my rep immediately. (NO SURPRISE he didn't answer his phone!) I explained that this is unacceptable. I refuse to run in circles to order a product that I can get elsewhere. I also refuse to PAY my staff to run around re-faxing, re-emailing and calling six times over with no answer. I advised my rep to provide a SOLUTION to my woes immediately, or I would place my order through another vendor. Apparently, the union was instructed to strike because he called me back immediately. Not to FIX the problem, but rather to tell me that he did not appreciate my CONDESCENDING tone, and that his lines are of utmost QUALITY and they do not operate a leaky vessel. He also informed me that I should learn a thing or two about business because I seemingly know nothing other than being a BITCH.

Again, may I remind you I called asking for a SOLUTION. Somehow that question resulted in a discussion about, CONDESCENDING behavior, QUALITY, and A LEAKING VESSEL. Gosh, that really solves my problems with getting my order placed. I find it funny that Im the one that needs business manners 101 when he himself doesn't know how to understand and interpret a message. So here is my business tip for today!

I have been running my own business for 5 years. I have been in the business of design for 12 years. When a man is outwardly demanding, aggressive, assertive, and to all intents and purposes superior in behavior, they are considered the impeccable business man. Good at what they do. When a woman is demanding, aggressive, and assertive she is to all intents and purposes considered a BITCH. I am very good at what I do. I am surrounded by an impeccable, sharp-witted, shrewd and supportive staff, OF WOMEN. Every week, and I mean EVERY week we run up against some good ol' boy, conservative, yahoo hick that tells us otherwise.

When I first started in this business it scared the hell out of me. THEY scared the hell out of me. But when you open your own business you have to remember that you wouldn't be doing it if you were not GOOD at what you do. Remember to have thick skin, be clever, perceptive and most of all be shrewd. It takes great strength and courage to open up your own business. It also takes a lot of savvy minded individuals to make it successful. I have been called every damn thing in the book. Unfortunately, the good adjectives generally come from other WOMEN! I don't care if you sling mud at me. I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that I am good at what I do. I KNOW that my staff is good at what they do. And if that amounts or equals to being a BITCH, then I will say it loud and wear it proud!! Because that is being GOOD at what you do!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

To advertise, or not to advertise.

I have had every Tom, Dick and Harry in my store. (see previous post) And yes the economy is, for lack of a better word, floundering in it's best effort to get upright, despite being out all night with the Bush daughters mixing alcohol till 3 am. (bad idea, NEVER ever mix) But every sales pitch I hear from my advertisers, "you have to stay in the game, stay in front of your audience" And while there is some truth to this, keep in mind that their sales pitch gains them a chubby little commission.

I have been advertising for three years. I have used numerous angles. I have tried substantial ads, skinny ads, and square ads. I have tried direct mail, newspaper and pamphlets. SO what has yielded the most gains? None of it. BUT what I have seen with my consumers is the presence, the "planting of the seed". When they walk in the door they have "seen" me somewhere. I often laugh because they will blurt out some magazine I have never heard of and they will argue to the death that they saw me in there.

My biggest advertising gains are the people I meet at shows, galas, engagements or meetings. (AND through other trades that I work with). Not the ones that are already customers or clients but the "potentials". Often times, business owners will say it is all about word of mouth. Yes that is VERY important. But when a "potential" meets you, the personal level of connection that could not be captured through that substantial ad, skinny ad, or square ad is cemented in stone. You have now grouted their thought process with super glue. They may not need you right now, but if you have done your job, they will REMEMBER you. They may have looked at that ad a hundred times, but now there is a face and a personality attached to it. So when they need you, they will call.

I don't want to float my own boat here, (it is a great boat with shiny instruments, a fancy name and a big horn. Whoop Whoop!!) but I see every opportunity as a business opportunity. I eat, sleep and breathe business. How can I be better, how can I leave the best impression, what can I do to make my services better, what products can I carry that are the best? This exclamation point attitude has been my saving grace in these harsh times. I have cancelled most of my advertising, to my ad reps disappointment, but I have found a GREAT sense of camaraderie and partnership with everyone I meet. They are all hopeful and HELPFUL. Everyone is helping everyone out. We are all in the same boat (although I think mine is THE best boat... and well decorated!)

SO my tip for today is: reevaluate where to best spend your dollars. Is your advertising working? If not look to something else. If you are considering advertising, reconsider. It has been helpful to me in the past. But we are in different times and different circumstances. This is a NEW economy. Take that money and invest in your business in other ways. Get creative, and invest in those around you! They, the community, and friends are the "potentials" that yield the biggest gains in business, and lasting friendships. (band together barbies! these are harsh times and we don't want our roots showing!)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

No soliciting means...come on in??

So I don't want to get off on a rant here, .....wait yes I do. I have a HUGE problem when every Tom, Dick and Harry comes waltzing into my store trying to sell me everything from pizza, software, to light bulbs. Really? Do I look like I need you to come in here and sell me light bulbs?? You might be shocked to learn this, but there is this little store called Home Depot, I think there may even be another store like it called Lowe's and they have a plethora of light bulbs in every shape, size and wattage; even indoor and out door selections! So no I don't need you to come into my very BUSY life trying to sell me a light bulb. I have an ASSISTANT that will gladly run to Home depot or Lowe's to buy one for me. She even changes them out for me. Will you do that Mr "I sell light bulbs"!?

So my purpose in writing this post is that I HAVE HAD ENOUGH! Two weeks ago I had a girl come into my showroom "pretending" to shop. When I offered her something to drink she came at me like a jet falling out of the sky. Sprinting in an orchestrated incessant flight pattern straight for my office. She pulled up the chair and plopped out her dog and pony show claiming to have the best advertising rates in town with Comcast. Um.......back the "f" up here. Did she just invite herself into my office? Did she just shove my fabric samples, wallpaper, paint chips, AND my vendor books out of the way and plunge her advertising shit, I mean garbage on MY desk!! ( Ok breathe, in out, in out, deep breaths, dive deep into my soul to find the tact) I could not believe what I was witnessing. Somehow, someway I found an inkling of tact (Not much) and asked her to get her shit, I mean dog and pony show, out of my office, and kindly, (not really) told her to get the "f" out of the store.

I took my 3x8 "no soliciting" sign down and had a 11x14 one made at Office Depot. Surely this will get noticed and no one will DARE enter my castle unless they are here to see me, shop, or they have been invited. How generous my thoughts can be when there is HOPE! And not only did I put one 11x14 sign up I put up two, just for good measure. I like to be clear and concise about my intentions.

As I was getting ready to lock up last night two girls strolled in. Nice and sweet making lovely comments about my antique abacus. If you are unaware of my handsome, useful antique abacus I suggest you read the previous post. Proud of my accomplishments for the day my abacus gleamed with yellow. No good deed goes unnoticed. And then without any hesitation the blonde one runs up to our check out counter and starts blurting out how great and inexpensive her Office Supplies is. Out comes the book with all her fancy instruments, utensils, equipment and SHIT! Holy mother of Jesus Christ all mighty, so help me GOD!! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Yellow. I had YELLOW!! In a super sonic instant I turned into Lucifer. The princess of darkness (Embezzled in pink feathers, diamonds and a martini...ok wait that isn't very scary, that sounds like Liz Tailor) the evil spirit demon of rage came over me and I screamed at her to remove herself from the store because I don't work with people who are illiterate. And we don't appreciate soliciting!!! Do you know what she said!!!!!!??? " Oh no, I think you misunderstood we weren't soliciting, we just wanted to show you what great products we have and at such great prices." Ok so you are illiterate and DUMB. GET OUT!!!! YELLOW people. I had yellow.

So my perfectly pleasant YELLOW day turned into a lucifer fighting, knock down drag out RED!! I wish I could invent a life sized bug zapper for solicitors. It would be inviting, shiny, fancy, and promise gargantuan returns so encouraging, favorable, and assuring that they would float without trepidation to the golden land of DEATH!!!

Unfortunately I do not have a tip here. I have tried, (and my staff has tried) EVERYTHING to get rid of them. Like fly's to cows they wont go away. They are obnoxious, rude, unsavory despicable creatures. Lets put our heads together and come up with a juicy, no holds bar solution to kill them,( I mean get them to go away~smile~)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Assisting Barbie

Well here it is folks! We are L-I-V-E!! Whoo hoo! We have actually been live for a few weeks, but now we are LIVE with a capitol "L" and showin' off the spiffy NEW blog.(YUP, thats right take it all in, we know ya'll are flustered with envy) Our plan is quite simple. We want to help all you striving entrepreneurs out there get visibility, devise successful plans for growth, serve up some juicy tips and share all things business, so that we can learn, acquire mad skills and become proficient in something other than disorganized pandemonium.

As a business owner myself, I have stumbled along the way, occasionally stubbing my toe, somedays cutting off my arm, and I have been known to put my foot in my mouth a time or two as well. Just ask my partner in crime Kristen! Tact is not my strong point. I say what I say and I think later, divvying up the consequences as I count my winnings and losses for the day on my snazzy abucus. When my abacus gleams with yellow I have done well. When it possesses nothing but red, Im at a strong disadvantage for the following day. DAMN!

Many of my friends had the opportunity to be mentored. I however did not. I have stuttered through my share of presentations, been ill equipped for a rather important meeting and possessed hesitant tact since I was 2. I have bumped into, tripped, stumbled, and faltered through my short comings gaining insight, perception and a new perspective. Somehow through the grace of GOD I have blindly unearthed and discovered (accidentally I might add) true success. SO here in lies the importance and purpose of this blog.
My first tip I would like to share is my greatest and most invaluable tip to success. GET AN ASSISTANT!!! For four and a half years I raced all over town trying to get a handle on my chaotic, confused, muddled unorganized life. Operating a business, transporting samples, schlepping samples, chauffeuring, working with vendors, screaming at vendors, gathering with other professionals, intersecting at some point with clients, running a household and occasionally meeting for a birthday, holiday or get together of which I had NO TIME FOR! I convinced myself I did not have the time or money to AFFORD an assistant...for four and a half years people!! What I soon realized is that I spent more time spinning my wheels doing unproductive busy work than I did designing,.. ummm isn't that what Im supposed to be doing? Hang on let's take a look at that business card, ah yep thats what it says INTERIOR DESIGNER "The accessible affordable solution to all your interior design needs!" But my blue collar roots automatically defaulted to lack and cluttered my thoughts with "I can do it myself, it saves me money!"

Then the day came upon me. Like church is to Sunday the angels sang, the doves clapped their wings in the misty air and she arrived! She capitalized completely on my disorganization. Within one week she had a system, for me and her. She took away all my busy work, ordered samples, ran samples, schlepped samples, took over phone calls, met with vendors, screamed at vendors, cancelled appointments, made appointments, and stayed on top of my billables in a timely, CONSISTENT manner. Even chased down the non payers so that every month I didn't have to turn my designer badge upside down and turn into a designer hitman. Sliding down dark ally's, I had to make advances, dismiss politeness and become an uncivilized savage to track down every apathetic, unconcerned client and customer to collect my MONEY! But for the first time in four and half years I was doing more design work. She was doing the dirty work. I wasn't spinning my wheels for countless hours, (wee hours), playing catch-up. I soon realized I was wasting away an incalculable amount of time each week doing work that was completely against my grain, wasting away a perfectly good day to be creative and inspiring. That was left for the wee hours when the most inventive and experimental designer comes out. No wonder my clients raised a brow a time or too!

When she came into my life six and half years ago I was terrified to let go. To be submissive (god forbid) and not be in control of everything and every aspect. BUT what finally made it hit home for me was when I quickly, VERY quickly started making twice the amount of money I had been making in the previous years. I soon understood that by her doing the busywork which I hated, I had tenfold the amount of time to do what I do best; DESIGN.(yup still says the accessible affordable designer on the card, and in big words INTERIOR DESIGNER) So if you say to yourself that you cant afford and assistant, think about what you could accomplish with an assistant. Think about how much more time you would have doing what you do best. The money will quickly follow to cover that expense, and you will be AMAZED at how soon you will give in, and freak out when they leave for two weeks vacation!! A-hem, Kay I hope you are enjoying your stupid trip in Cali, but you will have to skip a year of college to make this up to me!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Coming soon!

As I have mentioned we are still under construction. Kristen and I wanted to get the temporary storefront sign lit up to let you all know what's moving into the vacant blog next door! We have great plans and ideas to help all you business owners get THE best exposure, and visibility available. We have plans to help you get the most out of our blog and yours. And we hope to drive as much business as we can to your virtual storefront too.

We are encouraging everyone to give us feedback. Our plans are grand, but we also don't want to throw stars in your eyes if our coming attraction is going to fall flat of your expectations and needs. Tell us what you are lacking in today's new economy. What help do you need, that isn't being offered? How are your vendors falling short on helping you make the most of your product sales, and PROFIT? We want to hear from you! And tell us the experiences you are having with customers!

Thanks, and again stay tuned. We are hoping to have everything up in the next few weeks!!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Im being told that it is the middle of summer and the height of "vacation season", (not to be confused with mating or hunting season, recreational sports typically found in the fall.) As a business owner I find that my Tuesday's are actually Saturday's which somehow turn into Wednesday's. You can see how the confusion, disorder and chaos starts, and how the art of multi-tasking becomes a blessing/benediction/disruption as we fade into fall. Isn't it January? Didn't we just celebrate the New Year? How the hell did it become July? This was the year I would get organized and FINALLY have my books in order for the tax season! And yet it is in fact the end of June, I am still not organized, no where near ready for tax season and did I mention, it's vacation season!

Unfortunately I will not be participating in the vacation activities, (a bit of a loner I am). Call me crazy but Im trying to keep my company a float amidst this economic calamity/delay/fiasco, (according to economists, a minor set-back until 2010) so vacationing is not on the calender for us this year! But this is not a disastrous prescription for self-destruction. This is a time to FINALLY get organized, prepare the books (cook the books, who the hell will notice!) and get my humble abode ready for hunting season, I mean fall.

Despite these blighted times through the eyes of those around us we still master it all with ease, grace, and poise, and even manage to give a little back to the community. Like celestial super humans we business owners are a dyeing breed heading to extinction surrounded by a corporate big box mythology. But not to worry. Kristen and I have a plan. A ginormous, colossal plan filled with VERY important ideas! As I have mentioned before we are still ironing out the details. But, we are here to help! We are conjuring up a significant brainchild in the form of a grand movement and reinstating the thrill and joy of being a business owner. The pride in ownership. Not to mention the satisfaction of a job well done! Stay tuned, tune in, pay attention and keep your ears to the ground as more information will be coming available. Make sure you leave us your thoughts, comments and anything in between. How can your business be helped in these times? What things are working, and what is no longer working? Give us your thoughts! We want to hear from you! And follow us to continue getting all the up to date information!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Welcome! Please excuse the mess. We are still getting it all together. Literally! We are so pleased that you have taken the time to stop by. We still have some work to do, but we look forward to hearing from you.

Band of Barbies was created by two fabulous gals, who are entrepreneurs, looking to help other entrepreneurs get exposure, more visibility and create lasting partnerships. We feel that in this day and age there is a pride of ownership in owning your own business, and it can be difficult in these harsh economic times competing against big box stores. Being an entrepreneur means you get very little sleep, you eat in the car, running down the hall, or in a corner (if you are lucky!), you multitask like super woman on steroids (or ritalin, which ever works best for you)running payroll, signing checks, deploying a 1000 questions by the new employee, answering the phone, and emails, all while signing the box that the polite brown uniformed man is eagerly shoving in your face to sign for the damn package! Yes it can be challenging, and frustrating particularly when the ungrateful customer walks through your door explaining that your newly arrived package, from the brown uniformed man, is product that can be found at Marshall's! WTF!

We respect and honor your lack of sleep and mad multitasking skills. It takes courage, will power, audacity, and a whole lot of moxie to weed your way to the top of being BOSS. Especially when your friends say, "Oh it must be so nice to come and go as you please, and do what ever you want because your the boss"!! I will remember these remarkable, simpleminded words when Im dealing with the ignorant Marshall's woman and unclogging the toilet while my roof is collapsing in because the idiot next store decided to power wash his dry wall. Its good to be BOSS!

So this ladies is for you, and us. There is something to be said for those of us who can pull our sleeves up and find pleasure and gratification in the all american dream. So have a seat, grab a martini, and join the cause!

Leave us your thoughts and comments. As we build our community we will feature your business's, promote your product, offer advertising, and post about how fabulous as cotton candy you are!