Saturday, May 28, 2011

Summer in Maine Bucket List

Hard to believe Memorial Day weekend is upon us – especially considering the “March-like” weather we’ve been having lately!  All the more reason to remind you that summer in Maine is a precious and fleeting thing!   So – it’s time for my annual “Summer Bucket List” reminder.   This is a Memorial Day tradition that I established a few years ago and I encourage you to give it a try.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Everything Speaks

This week a banker friend thanked me for something I said when I made a customer service presentation to his employees a year ago -  “Everything Speaks”.  To which I replied, “Don’t thank me – thank Walt Disney.”  Spend a day at Disney and you’ll see what I mean.  Everything is clean, well maintained, visually appealing and the customer service is the best there is! 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Listen to your gut

A man, I’ll call him Jim, called me seeking advice about how to file a patent for his invention.  That call saved him more than $1,000!  Before he called me he had called one of those “patent places” that he found on line.  He told them about his invention and they told him it was a great idea. All he had to do was send them the money and they would get the patent process started.  Can you say SCAM!?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Everything has a shelf life

I finally threw out the Children’s Nyquil that has been in my medicine cabinet since my nephew was one year old and visiting his Auntie Deb.  He’s almost nine now.  The Nyquil expired long ago and as we all know it’s never a good idea to keep things past their expiration date.  I’ve been on a Spring cleaning tear lately.  Going through every drawer, shelf and closet and getting rid of everything that has expired, that I no longer need and that is no longer working for me.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Is the Customer Always Right?

Ask anyone who works with the public and they’ll tell you that one of the keys to survival is having a good sense of humor and the ability to let criticism roll off your back.   I learned this lesson quickly when I operated businesses in Bar Harbor during the summer tourist season.  

Friday, May 20, 2011

Social Networking – Just Do It and do it Well!

The last time I checked the statistics - 350 million plus users are on Facebook.  By the time your read this that number will be even larger and growing!  If you’re not using Facebook and other social media sites like Twitter and Youtube to promote your business you’re missing a huge marketing opportunity and likely losing business to your competitors who are using social media!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

“Farm Living is the Life for Me”

I recently attended a Bangor Greendrinks event that featured Maine farmers talking about why they farm, how they farm and how the rest of us can support Maine’s farms.  This event featured a great film documenting life on the farm from a large potato and dairy farm operation to smaller farms harvesting for individuals and farmers markets.   Produced for the Maine Farmland Trust – “Meet Your Farmer” is a must see!   This film will give you new appreciation for farm life and why we should support Maine farmers.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

I love this time of year.   It’s the time for new beginnings and optimism.   I was reminded of this on a recent trip to Bar Harbor as I indulged in one of my favorite ice cream flavors at the Mt Desert Island Ice Cream shop on their opening day. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Saving Lives and Landfills one Bar at a Time

The last time you stayed in a hotel - chances are you used part of the soap they provided and left the rest of it there.  Ever wonder what became of that soap?   Several years ago frequent traveler, Shawn Seipler wondered the same thing.  So he talked to his buddy Paul Till and together they decided to conduct a little research.  They discovered that each day in North America, nearly 2 million bars of soap and bottled amenities are discarded as trash - sending nearly 358 tons of soap and plastic bottles to local landfills on a daily basis.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Running a Marathon

For the past few months I’ve been training for my first half marathon and on April 3rd all that work will be worth it when I (hopefully) cross the finish line!  Marathon training is a lot like what it takes to be successful in business.   You might be thinking that’s quite a “stretch” but hear me out!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Business lessons from American Idol

I have to admit that watching American Idol is a guilty pleasure of mine.   I can justify this (in part) by noting that there are a lot of good lessons from Idol that can be applied to business. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Going Green

Spring is here (finally) and Earth Day will be celebrated this month which makes this a good time to think about “greening” your business.  Being green is not only good for the environment – it’s good for business.  It can save your business money and more and more customers are seeking out businesses that are “green”.   You can decide just how “green” you want your business to be.   You can do a little or a lot depending on what works for you.  

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Easter Candy Favorites

You know it’s Easter when the stores are filled with chocolate bunnies and Peeps.   When it comes to what’s in our Easter baskets – we all have our favorites!   One of mine are Cadbury Crème Filled eggs.  This is the only time of year I allow myself to indulge in these delicious chocolate and sugar delights.   They bring back fond memories as a child living in England and discovering them for the very first time.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Time to Write that Business Plan

It’s time to remind you to write a business plan!  I know, I know – you’ve seen this movie before.   But if you’re still one of the many business owners or “wanna be” business owners who have not written one – this is your friendly reminder to do so!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

To Fear or Not to Fear

Fear is both good and bad for us.   Without fear we’d all be dead!   Fear helps keep us and those we love safe from harm.  It keeps us from taking stupid risks.  But fear can prevent us taking risks that can be good for us.  Too often we get in our own way of accomplishing great things because we fear the worst. 

What Zappos can teach us

A company that really gets it when it comes to customer service is  They consistently rate high in customer service surveys and personally – I’m a fan!   I like them because they offer products I can’t find locally with free and speedy shipping  - plus returns and exchanges are never a hassle.  But what I especially like about Zappos is their sense of humor! 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Million dollar inventions for under five dollars

Nearly every day I receive a call or an email from someone with that “million dollar idea”.   The more I work with inventors the more I realize that there is no “right” formula for successfully taking an idea and turning it into a million dollar home run! 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Talking to Strangers

My friend Mackie and I arrived at the Montes Café in Bangor, Maine for lunch.  It was the last day of their “Mexican” week and I was not going to miss out on my favorite fish tacos and to die for chocolate kahlua cake!  What we got was a lot more than we bargained for!  

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Secrets to getting media attention

Many of you have been asking me how you can get more media attention for yourselves and your business.   Some have asked to be guests on my radio show – Back to Business (shameless self promotion), others want to get on other radio shows, get your stories in newspapers/magazines and on TV.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Slinky was a “Fail”?

Nearly every day I receive an inquiry from someone looking for help with their “million dollar idea”.   The more I work with inventors the more I realize that there is no “right” formula for successfully taking an idea and turning it into a million dollar home run.  A majority of good ideas never get from the “aha” stage to the market for a variety of reasons.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Talk About It

Two meetings stand out for me this past week.   What they both had in common was that the individuals I met with were seeking advice for their business start-ups.   What they didn’t have in common was what each person took away from our meetings.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Happy Valentines Day Co-preneurs!

Relationships are complicated enough – imagine being in business with your significant other!  As we celebrate Valentines Day lets raise a glass and toast those “co-preneurs” who have committed to each other through thick and thin – in sickness and in health and when cash flow is good and not so good!    When I bring this topic up most people fall on one side of the fence or the other.  One side responds with “I would love to work with my significant other” while the other side adamantly states “Are you kidding me???!!!”

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Building your SUPER TEAM!

It’s Super Bowl week!  Sadly my team – the Patriots will not be vying for a ring this year – but my second favorite team will be.  I’ll be waving my terrible towel and hoping that the Steelers can pull it together and take the win!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Time to tend to the garden

I just spent the last week cleaning up my website.  I also spent it cleaning out closets, medicine cabinets and that scary junk drawer in my kitchen.   Next up is my blog, closet and paperwork.   I know from past history that January is the month when I’m most motivated to get my life in order.   After that - forget about it!    I strongly encourage you to do the same.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Networking vs Soliciting

I believe in the power of networking to grow a business and to open doors to new opportunities and relationships.   But there is a fine line between “networking” and “soliciting” and if you cross that line you run the risk of damaging relationships to the point of damaging future business.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

#@&% Happens

I was out and about running errands after Christmas when suddenly fire trucks and other emergency vehicles came screaming into the mini mall where I was shopping.   I had no idea what was going on and I didn’t see flames or smell smoke but a few minutes later I saw the store next door flooded with water. 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year - NEW Attitude

I recently read a great quote about “attitude” being the only thing we can control.  How true!  As we ring in the New Year after what has been a rather challenging year for many of us I’m reminded how important attitude is.