Log in


<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   5   ...   Next >  Last >> 
  • September 18, 2023 11:36 AM | John Russell (Administrator)

    Chapter Nineteen - Principles Matter: Honesty is the Best Policy - Diana Mahaffey

    "We Wish We Had Known - Everyday Tips from Consultants to Grow Your Business"

    #Principled Leadership

    Principles Matter: Honesty is the Best Policy

    Dianna Mahaffey

    Mahaffey Consulting, LLC
    Founder and Principal


    Fake it ’til you make it is an amusing expression and may have some limited utility in life, but resist founding your business on this philosophy. Never lose sight of the fact that principles matter, in your personal life as well as your professional one. An ethical, scrupulous approach is paramount for consultants who have — or who are establishing — their own business and their own brand. 

          In our current context of pervasive misinformation and “alternative facts,” misrepresentation can feel commonplace, accepted, and even expected in our society. Don’t fall under this spell as you start a new business or seek to grow an existing one. 

          Instead, embrace the old adage “Honesty is the best policy.” Mom will be proud, your potential clients will respect your integrity, and your business will flourish as a result of the trust you are able to establish.

          Admittedly, you may feel awkward when a potential client inquires about specific experience or knowledge which you may feel you lack. Resist the urge to embellish. Be honest and upfront – and don’t internalize your perceived lack of knowledge or experience as a shortcoming. Viewed through the right lens, it’s probably an asset.

          The process of developing a new or better understanding of a field, technology, market, product or business challenge can inspire more creative solutions or approaches that haven’t been considered. This is one reason consultants can be very effective in helping clients overcome the proverbial struggle to “see the forest for the trees.”

          For me, every new client project is an opportunity to learn something new. This is what I love most about being a consultant. I embrace the learning process, which energizes me and provides

    the fresh perspective that my client needs. It also helps me, as a writer, explain a topic and its relevance to my client’s target audience – readers who are likely starting a similar process of acquiring a deeper understanding. 

          Honestly characterizing how you would approach a project, your existing knowledge and experience, and your confidence to perform any additional information-gathering will enable you to establish trust and a shared integrity with your clients.

          Stick to the same principles of honesty and integrity when executing client projects. Hopefully you won’t be asked to violate these principles or be in a position where they are being compromised by others. But if that potential is present in a possible client engagement, push back or walk away if necessary. You and the long-term health of your business are undoubtedly better off without it.

          As an independent consultant, there is no corporate reputation that transfers to you, for better or worse. There is no facade to hide behind. You are your brand. Make a positive first impression and uphold high standards of honesty and integrity throughout all of your interactions with a client or potential client. The value of establishing trust cannot be underestimated.


    As the founder and principal of Mahaffey Consulting, LLC, Diana Mahaffey creates comprehensive, written deliverables for a variety of marketing and other business needs. These might include:

    ·        White papers

    ·        Customer case studies

    ·        Press releases

    ·        Web copy

    ·        Article submissions

    ·        Company profiles

    ·        Market and competitive analyses

    ·        Marketing collateral pieces

    Diana helps clients fine-tune and communicate important marketing messages via compelling, effective content that is tailored to the right audience. She also provides freelance writing services to agencies, organizations and publications.

    With extensive experience developing, managing and marketing new products in dynamic, challenging environments, Diana brings excellent analysis and communication skills to every client project. She has worked for a wide range of organizations, both as an employee and as a strategic marketing consultant.

    Mahaffey Consulting, LLC has been assisting clients with strategic marketing deliverables and written communications since 1998.

  • September 13, 2023 11:45 AM | Catherine Barrance (Administrator)

    Book Launch Party!

    Come celebrate with fellow MABC Member, MJ Reiners, as she hosts a launch party for her newly released book, “Engineering an Epiphany: Master Business Evolution Using the 7 Forces.” This is her first energy engineering book for business leaders and change makers and is available on Amazon.

    The party will be held on Thursday, September 21 from 4-6pm at Serendipity Labs in Madison; head to the sixth floor of the Johnson Bank Building for the festivities!

    This book will teach readers how to use the powerful concept that helped MJ triple her change consultant salary, and how to use the energy secrets that make change stick. It will focus on the “7 Forces of Transformation” to increase business change capacity better, faster and cheaper!

    MJ Reiners launched Summerland Education LLC in 2011 to enable organizations to leverage internal resources and develop high performing work teams in order to reach their business goals. She has the expertise to execute organization-wide projects effectively while saving significant dollars, time, and stress, and has 22 years of working with executives and board members across the country.

    Learn more about MJ and her new book here and here: https://summerlandeducation.com/engineering-an-epiphany-book/

  • September 12, 2023 4:15 PM | Catherine Barrance (Administrator)

    Speaking Opportunity for MABC Members

    MABC member, Stuart Fields, was recently contacted by the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA) and was asked to share potential speaking opportunities for their organization.

    The IDDBA membership includes more than 1500 companies ranging from small independents to the world’s largest corporation, and one of their activities is to bring expertise to their members from experts in the industry through webinars.

    They are looking for possible Webinar presenters to give educational/business presentations (30-45 minutes) on a topic relevant to the industry; attendees to the webinars include c-suite to line-level managers. The According to the formal request:

    “Presentations should be educational in nature and should be brand agnostic. We are not looking for a sales presentation; however, you would note your affiliation at the beginning of the presentation to establish your expertise and you would provide your contact information at the end so that the audience knows how to seek out your services. The live webinars are free to the public and there is no financial exchange involved, but you get the opportunity to connect with the audience. We can share the registrants’ contact information with you as well.”

    If an MABC member is interested in collaborating with the IDDBA on a Webinar topic, please contact Stuart Fields, and he will share contact information and any additional background on the request.

  • September 11, 2023 4:22 PM | Tara Ingalls (Administrator)

    By Tara Ingalls, Owner Tingalls Graphic Design

    Becoming a guest author in our blog has three main benefits since only members can post articles:

    1. Expanded Reach and Exposure for MABC: Guest blogging allows you to tap into a new and potentially larger audience. When you contribute content to the MABC website, you expose your work to their established readership.

    2. Building Authority and Credibility:
    Publishing guest posts can enhance your reputation as an authority within your field. When you share valuable insights, expertise, and well-researched content, you position yourself as a knowledgeable and credible source.

    3. SEO Benefits and Backlinks:
    Lastly, articles will make a positive impact your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. When you include relevant links back to your own blog within your guest posts, you create valuable backlinks. Backlinks from reputable websites signal to search engines that your content is credible and worth ranking higher in search results.

    Below is a collection of resources and tips to help guide you as you write your article.

    Brainstorming Topics/Titles

    Below are tools to help brainstorm topics for your blog articles:

    https://answerthepublic.com/ - Get Instant, raw search insights, direct from the minds of your customers

    Google.com - In the search field, begin typing your industry's keywords and see what Google fills in as suggestions
    * TIP: once you get search results, look for the "People Often Ask" section of search results for FAQs

    5 Great Blog Topics You Can Use Today
     (Tingalls blog article)

    Popular Blog Article Formats

    • How-tos: "How to Boost Your Productivity in 5 Simple Steps."
    • Listicles: "10 Tips for Healthy Eating" or "7 Ways to Improve Your Writing Skills."
    • Questions: "Are You Making These Common Marketing Mistakes?"
    • Problem-Solution: "Struggling with Insomnia? Try These 5 Natural Remedies."
    • Comparisons: "WordPress vs. Squarespace: Which Website Platform is Right for You?"
    • Personal Stories: "How I Overcame My Fear of Public Speaking and Became a Confident Presenter."
    • Behind-the-Scenes: "A Day in the Life of a Digital Nomad: Working and Traveling.


    My opinion is that original, non-stock photos are best but if you need to use stock, you can find free images at Unsplash.com or paid stock images at istockphoto.com. Before uploading images with your article, be sure you rename the files from their stock name, i.e. "IMG_08383.jpg" to something more keyword-rich like "tingalls-graphic-design-website-tips.jpg"

    Structuring Your Copy

    To ensure your blog is SEO-friendly and ranks well in search results, it's important to structure it effectively. As far as length, some content marketing experts suggest that 1500-2000 words are the ideal length of a blog post. However, many companies and brands stick to shorter blog length guidelines (500-750 words) to honor a specific element of their marketing strategy.

    Below are the essential sections to include in your website blog:

    1. Compelling & Keyword-Rich Title - Craft an attention-grabbing title for your blog posts that contain relevant keywords. Compelling "problem-solving" headlines not only improve readability but also help search engines understand the content hierarchy. Remember, the headline you write should summarize the content of the article and resonate with your target audience.

    2. High-Quality Content
    - Create well-researched, original, and valuable content that addresses your audience's needs. Focus on a specific topic and provide comprehensive information. Subheadings should be used to help to break-up long sections of copy and can also allow for quick skimming by the reader. Incorporate relevant keywords naturally into your content. Research keywords using tools like Google Keyword Planner to identify terms with high search volume and low competition.

    3. Add a Clear Call to Action -
    In the conclusion, add a clear and relevant calls to action that guides readers on the next steps. Whether it's signing up for a newsletter, downloading a resource, or leaving a comment.

    4. Author's Bio
    - Since this is a blog article for our MABC website, include a short paragraph about you as the author with a headshot and relavent links to your website and/or social media accounts.

    By structuring your website blog with these sections in mind, you'll not only create a user-friendly experience but also enhance our organization's SEO efforts.

    Email me (Tara) your blog and imagery and I'll get it scheduled to post on our website!

  • September 11, 2023 2:45 PM | John Russell (Administrator)

    Chapter Eighteen - The Customer is Not Always Right! - William McCarthy, PhD

    "We Wish We Had Known - Everyday Tips from Consultants to Grow Your Business"

    #Customer Service

    "The Customer is Not Always Right!"


    Project Manager and Trade Compliance Adviser

    onsultants need to delight our clients—to exceed their expectations. When a customer provides an implementation plan, we must first determine if it’s the right solution. 

         I was asked to lead a team redesigning a feedback system that aligned a critical component. This was a major project with a substantial budget and would likely raise the cost of the analyzer reducing margins in a price sensitive market. 

          The feedback worked like driver assist on an automobile that makes small movements on the steering wheel to keep the car in a lane. Occasionally (about once a day) the feedback loop would make a large unnecessary adjustment and become unstable. It would be as if the car suddenly swerved across two lanes.

          I asked to see the raw input. There were too many data points for Excel because the feedback system took thousands of measurements a second. 

          So I manually scrolled through the screens of data and noticed something unusual.

          The numbers ranged from 1-11 millivolts until suddenly a physically impossible reading like 60 billion volts would appear. It would be like that hypothetical driver assist was told that the car was two counties away. 

          Because the numbers were averaged it was impossible to see that the issue was a communication error and not a control problem without examining the raw input. The communication error was easily fixed with a simple electronic chip upgrade. My project was unnecessary. I provided a solution that put me out of a job. 

    Always ask about the why before starting any project.

    • Why is often more important than how.
    • Get down to causes and conditions before jumping to conclusions. 
    • Preparation is as important as execution.

    The customer is not always right. No one is...including you!

    • Be humble and respectful. 
    • Do not talk down to a customer, but do not assume they have the whole picture.
    • Remember they are asking for help. It is our job to give them the correct help.

    The customer is not always the right customer.

    • Be prepared to walk away if it is not a good fit.
    • Have a list of consultants you can recommend. 
    • Have confidence in your expertise.


    William McCarthy uses his strong science background with particular expertise in business processes to provide project management, product marketing and trade compliance for technologically oriented companies. 

    Trade compliance, the aspect of corporate compliance that ensures imports and exports conform with laws and regulations of all involved countries, can be especially complex for innovative technology companies. He translates between technical-oriented customers (engineers and scientists) and regulatory experts.

  • September 05, 2023 2:17 PM | John Russell (Administrator)

    Chapter Seventeen - Create Your Personal GPS - Nancy Kruschke, CPO

    "We Wish We Had Known - Everyday Tips from Consultants to Grow Your Business"

    #Time Management

    "Create Your Personal GPS"

    Nancy Kruschke, CPO
    Successful Organizing Solutions (SOS)

    Consultant, Coach, Speaker, Trainer, Author
    www.SOSorganize.net / Info@SOSorganize.net


    When I worked in an office, my tasks were rather routine, and I never saw the purpose of using a calendar other than for meetings with others. I knew what to work on because the files were stacked on my desk.  So, each day, I focused on reducing the stack.  For the most part, that worked well, unless one of the files on the bottom of the stack was a priority and I missed a deadline.  I needed a better strategy.

          It wasn’t until I started my business and realized how many hats business owners wear to keep the business running and moving forward that I realized the importance of using my calendar.  I thought back to my missed deadline and I knew I needed to figure out a better way to prioritize and block time for the tasks that need to be done to run my business.  I now call this strategy my Personal GPS.

          Everyday millions of us use the global positioning system in our car or on our phone to help us navigate to our destinations, typically following the shortest path with the fewest detours or traffic jams.  So why shouldn’t we use the same philosophy to navigate through our day or week with the fewest interruptions and to meet our goals in the shortest amount of time?  My Personal GPS, formerly known as my calendar, keeps me focused, efficient and prepared to manage my business while serving my clients.

          I now help other business professionals prioritize tasks, stay focused on what’s important, and create boundaries by utilizing their Personal GPS.

        1.     Identify the white space on your calendar.

    White space = free or open time

        2.     Group similar tasks together.

    Review your task list or create a task list containing all your tasks. The most common groups include calls, emails, financials, reports, articles, professional development.  Most of us usually have about seven groups.
    3.     Block time on your calendar for each task group in your white space.
    Each group will require different amounts of time.  Some might only need 30 minutes per week, while others need 90 minutes daily.

    Also take into consideration your energy level when blocking time to work on each task group.  If you have more energy in the morning, block time to work on reports or write an article, those tasks that require more energy and focus.  Mid-afternoon you might have less energy, schedule routine tasks, those tasks which you could complete in your sleep.

    There are two blocks I recommend to all my clients.

    (1)        Email processing – block 30 minutes three times per day to consciously process your incoming email
    (2)        Prep/close – block 15-30 minutes at the end of each day.

    Prep = Look at your schedule for tomorrow, confirm you prepared for upcoming meetings and are ready to work on the task blocks you have scheduled.

    Close = Review your day, confirm you captured the tasks from today’s meetings, calls and emails on your task list.

          With practice, you will find the right amount of time to block for each task group. You will discover that using your calendar as your Personal GPS to navigate each day will help you stay focused, get more done and be less stressed.


    Nancy Kruschke, owner Successful Organizing Solutions (SOS) and co-owner of Productivity Training Academy (PTA), an on-demand productivity training company.    Nancy is a productivity consultant, coach and trainer. She didn’t plan on becoming a technology expert but starting with her first career in the financial industry, she quickly became the go-to person for any computer, printer or software question. And her technology skills and expertise have grown exponentially.

    For more than 20 years, Nancy has trained individuals and whole organizations on how to utilize the Microsoft Suite of tools to be more productive and collaborative. She is a Microsoft Office Specialist in Outlook and OneNote and has become an expert on Microsoft 365. But Microsoft may not always be the answer to a client’s business issues and Nancy takes the time to understand a company’s existing technology toolset and needs before making a recommendation.

    Nancy has over 30 years of experience. As a consultant/coach she has worked with businesses of all sizes; partnering with them to assess, design and implement customized technology solutions.

    She has a B.A. in business management from North Central College, Naperville, Ill. She is a member of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO), a Certified Professional Organizer®, and co-author of three books. Nancy lives in Madison, Wis., with her shih tzu, Osita.

  • August 29, 2023 8:09 AM | John Russell (Administrator)

    Chapter Sixteen - Three Ways To Improve Your Diversity, Equity And Inclusion Efforts - Lisa Koenecke, M.S. CDP

    "We Wish We Had Known - Everyday Tips from Consultants to Grow Your Business"

    #Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
    #Workplace Culture

    "Three Ways To Improve Your Diversity, Equity And Inclusion Efforts"

    Lisa Koenecke, M.S. CDP

    Inclusion Ally
    Certified Diversity Equity Inclusion Speaker

    InclusionAlly.com/ Lisa@LisaKoenecke.com

    Whether you own your own business or help other people with their business, you have probably heard the term DEI. Diversity, equity and inclusion have been with us for a long time. We are now using these terms to improve our environments. Let’s explore three ways to improve your DEI efforts.

    1.     SHOW

    •       How do you show someone that you are an ally?   What a great question.  As a consultant, you might show your allyship by offering to meet at a conducive time for your client depending upon where they live in the world or what their daily schedule might allow.  SHOW through flexibility.   
    •       Other ways to SHOW your inclusion is by learning a different language (even just a greeting) and understanding important dates on a calendar so you can plan around celebrations. You can also SHOW your pronouns next to your name for video conferencing or in your email signature.  These are excellent ways to SHOW you’re making an effort in the world of DEI.
    2.     SHIFT
    •       What does SHIFT have to do with diversity, equity and inclusion?  Thanks for asking!   When we SHIFT, we make a change.  For the purpose of DEI, let’s consider SHIFTING our mindsets and behaviors, shall we?   Brilliant!  In business, we work with lots of different personalities, deadlines and communities.  Those who are able to SHIFT their mindsets from exclusion to inclusion might benefit greatly.  We all have unconscious biases.   
    •       Please consider SHIFTING your everyday language, your marketing efforts and access to your company to become more inclusive.   
    •       What if you were to SHIFT some of your resources to create an employee resource group?  How about SHIFTING your supplier from a large distributor to a local business?  These examples will SHIFT how the community views you, and perhaps increase your ROI.
    3.     SHAPE
    •       Let’s consider our mission/vision statements, our policies and our procedures as our third way to improve your DEI efforts.  Certainly, there are many ways to SHAPE your business, and please remember there is a difference between equity and equality.  Equality is where everyone has a pair of shoes, equity is where those shoes fit!   
    •       As you SHAPE your policies, have you enumerated out all of the populations you want to serve? We usually think about race, gender and age, so, please SHAPE your policies by including abilities, veteran status and gender identity.


    As an experienced and energetic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) professional speaker and facilitator, Lisa specializes in counteracting unconscious bias and LGBTQ+ inclusion in business. Her impact is amplified through strengthening each person’s allyship. With a demonstrated history of working in secondary education and a passion toward community and social services, she is an expert in counseling, crisis intervention, educational leadership and program development.

    After receiving her diversity and inclusion certification from Cornell University, Lisa launched her Inclusion Ally business. Being an expert in LGBTQ+ issues has allowed her to present in all 50 states and keynote numerous school counseling conferences.

    She is the author of the best seller, “Be an Inclusion Ally: The ABC’s of LGBTQ+.” It became an International Book Award finalist.

    Lisa’s speaking style can best be described as dynamic, energetic and interactive. After 12 years of being a middle school counselor, she is now an adjunct instructor at Lakeland University training the next generation of school counselors. 

  • August 21, 2023 11:36 AM | John Russell (Administrator)

    Chapter Fifteen - The Deal is Never Done Until the Check Clears - Lee S. Johnson

    "We Wish We Had Known - Everyday Tips from Consultants to Grow Your Business"

    #Business Contracts

    "The Deal is Never Done Until the Check Clears"

    Lee S. Johnson

    Partners in Development, LLC
    Founder and Principal
    LeeJohnsen.com/ Lee@LeeJohnsen.com

         How do you put a price on the loss of a business relationship, let alone a friendship?

         Several years ago, a colleague asked me to assist with a project that involved the design and delivery of a training program to one of his clients. My colleague and I had worked together for years and had become personal friends.

          My colleague had established a relationship and agreement with the client regarding the project deliverables. When my colleague was called out of the country for an extended time due to a family matter, he asked me to step in. After explaining and asking for my help, of course, I agreed. Once my colleague left the country, I began working directly with the client.

          As things progressed, I learned the client had a different understanding of the expected deliverables. In the absence of my colleague, I made decisions based on my experience with other clients. These adaptations required additional time and scope to meet those expectations beyond my initial understanding.

          Following the training delivery, the client was pleased and commented the program exceeded their expectations. In following up with my colleague, I shared the client’s comments and presented him with an invoice. My colleague later called saying that my invoice was larger than expected and he would only pay half.

          Without further story details, you can likely guess its moral. Always put business agreements in writing!

    Let’s Make a Deal

          It’s been said, “If two parties want to do business together, they’ll work out the details. If one of the parties doesn’t want to do business, the details won’t make it happen.” Once the two parties agree to do business together, now is the time to work out those details to ensure mutual success.

    Create a written agreement that spells out:

    ·       Project deliverables, responsibilities/expectations of each party, timeframes, contingencies and payment terms. (For projects over an extended period, build in installment payments based on scope and partial deliverables.)

    ·       Include a debrief at the end of the project to discuss results, provide mutual feedback and follow up, if desired.

    ·       Ask the client to review the agreement and return a signed copy (written or electronic). If there are questions or changes, resolve them and create a final agreement.

    ·       Secure final signatures of all parties and provide copies.

    Establish regular status updates to discuss progress, obstacles, and options to address. Rarely does everything go as planned. When working virtually, misunderstandings and misinterpretations are not uncommon.

    ·       Share feedback as agreed. Ask your client for feedback and adjust as needed. Consider having the client sign off on work completed.

    ·       Invoice promptly.

    At the completion of the project:

    ·       Conduct the debrief, including any follow-up actions and observations of potential additional needs.

    ·       Promptly submit the final invoice.

    ·       Thank the client in writing, with an expression of your appreciation and desire to collaborate in future opportunities.

    Final Note: While these recommendations may sound like common sense, I have learned that common sense isn’t always common practice. Apply these practices and make your common practice permanent.


    Lee is the founder and principal of Partners in Development (PID). The motto of PID, “Closing Gaps in Workplace Performance,” acknowledges that there are many reasons why organizations and their team members either do or don’t achieve their expected results. Lee works with them to discover all the reasons for performance gaps and applies solutions to close them.

    Lee specializes in helping virtual team leaders and members feel like they’re working in the same room – even when they’re not. For over 10 years, he has become an expert at building the performance of organizations with global virtual teams and a hybrid workforce. In 2019, he released the second edition of his book, “Literally Virtually, Making Virtual Teams Work” and has spoken to audiences internationally.

    Strengthening the skills of organizational leaders and team members is Lee’s passion. He has designed, developed and delivered face-to-face and live, online training on topics including leadership and management, coaching, leading virtual teams and organizational development. Previous projects have included employee engagement surveys, strategic planning, executive coaching and team interventions. Previously, he held officer and management positions in Fortune 500 corporations and government agencies.

    Lee is a published author coauthoring the book “Real World Teambuilding Strategies That Work.” He has served as an adjunct instructor at five universities. He has the international distinction of being one of only a few who are certified by three international human resources organizations.

  • August 14, 2023 8:04 AM | John Russell (Administrator)

    Chapter Fourteen - Discover Your Unique Selling Proposition - Tara Ingalls

    "We Wish We Had Known - Everyday Tips from Consultants To Grow Your Business"

    #Business Branding

    "Discover Your Unique Selling Proposition"

    Tara Ingalls

     Tingalls Graphic Design, LLC
    Owner and Creative Director
    www.tingalls.com / tara@tingalls.com 

    “How is your business unique?”

    I'm always surprised how many of my clients don’t have an answer to this simple question. Their responses are usually in one of two camps: either they’ve never been asked or they simply don't know. If you yourself don't know, how are your customers supposed to know why to choose you?

         When I give presentations on branding, I ask business owners to raise their hands if they have “excellent customer service, affordable pricing and friendly staff.” Without exception, everyone in the room raises their hands. They wouldn't be in business long without these things. But in continuing to ask more and more questions, what I realized is that true differentiation typically lies within four key areas: people, process, products and pricing.

          At Tingalls Graphic Design, we believe branding is all about differentiating yourself from your competition and then creating messaging and artwork based on those unique selling propositions (USPs). If you truly aren’t different than your competitor – or you don’t know how to articulate how and why you are better – how can you expect your customers to make their decision to support you?

          Throughout the years, I’ve been able to work with my clients to help them discern their USPs using simple questions based around those four key areas. Grab a pencil and let’s dig in!


    • ·        Do you have team members that have reached milestone anniversaries?
    • ·        What skills or ongoing education is your team provided to stay current in their trade?
    • ·        Is your team empowered to make customer-centric decisions?
    • ·        How quickly do you and your staff respond to customer requests or feedback?
    • ·        How would you describe your company culture?
    • ·        How does your company culture extend into the customer experience?


    • ·        How easy is it for clients to get information about your business?
    • ·        Are you clear about the process of working with your company?
    • ·        Is client onboarding effortless if they have to move companies?
    • ·        Are you available after the project/service is complete?
    • ·        Are you a one-stop shop so your clients don't have to complete portions of the project elsewhere?


    • ·        What features do your products/services offer that others don’t?
    • ·        What solutions does your company offer others haven’t even thought of or can’t imitate?
    • ·        Is your product or service more reliable/durable than your competitors’?
    • ·        Can it be easily maintained throughout its lifetime?
    • ·        What is your product or service guarantee?


    • ·        Does your pricing reflect the value you offer?
    • ·        Is your pricing transparent and competitive?
    • ·        How close are your estimates to final invoices?
    • ·        Do you offer financing or a payment plan?
    • ·        How is your pricing model different than others?

          The list above is just the beginning. Feel free to create new questions as they arise and keep asking yourself, “Why is this USP important to my customer?”

          When your list is complete, or when you’ve run out of steam, share it with your team members for their input. Employees in different departments – not just communications or marketing – may bring fresh and thoughtful ideas to the table owners. Do some online research to weed out any answers your competitors could also lay claim to, or that seem disingenuous.

    Once you've compiled your list, perform an audit on current marketing efforts to see if they align with your new findings. Build messaging and create artwork to add to your website, social media, and employee onboarding paperwork so everyone on the team is clear on the company’s position in the marketplace.


    Tara Ingalls is owner and creative director of Tingalls Graphic Design, LLC. Since 2000, her firm has been Madison, Wis.’s go-to design agency for incredibly fast logo design, print collateral and website design solutions. Their stress-free design process keeps clients engaged with approval checkpoints along the way to ensure satisfaction.

    View their design portfolio on the web at www.tingalls.com, email info@tingalls.com, or call 608-268-5525 to learn more.

  • August 07, 2023 8:36 AM | John Russell (Administrator)

    Chapter Thirteen - Constructive Joy: The Indispensible Twin To Hard Work - Hollie H. Hollister

    "We Wish We Had Known - Everyday Tips from Consultants To Grow Your Business"


    "Constructive Joy: The Indispensible Twin To Hard Work"

    Hollie H. Hollister

    H Cubed Group, LLC
    Founder and Principal
    HCubedGroup.com /

    “Every JOY is gain.

    And gain is gain, however small.”

     Robert Browning

    My clients and colleagues often jest that I trick them and their teams into creatively approaching their most dreaded tasks and/or daunting projects from a place of “constructive joy,” ranging from networking at business events, growing their leadership skillsets to hammering away at high-impact projects.

          No tricking involved. It’s a customized practice fitted to each individual, team and organization.


          While it may appear that constructive joy has always been embedded as a north star guiding my collaborative work, this is not so.

          In one of my past lives serving as a new marketing services manager and first-time supervisor at an international Fortune 500 company, I was tasked with rebuilding the marketing services department during turbulent times. With so much riding on my position, I put in grueling hours months at a stretch with disregard to my wellbeing.

          Fortunately, I had the foresight to go against the grain of the company culture and invest in hiring a leadership coach to help me navigate the interdepartmental warfare and unchartered terrain.

          Prophetically my leadership coach shared that each time a person burns out, it will take them substantially longer to come back. Regretfully it took me three times to trust this advice with every fiber of my being. The third time I walked to the very edge of burn out, I wasn’t sure I was going to come back.

          What I wished I had known as I entered the business world is that constructive joy is not a nice to have. It is an essential form of self-care and an indispensable twin to the work we are called to do.

    A bit of warning…constructive joy is not a “one-size-fits-all” approach. For example, it may look different to an introvert, extrovert, solo entrepreneur, leadership team and vary by industry type or if working from home, work office or in a hybrid work environment.

          Although there are hundreds of variations, the heart of this process involves teasing out each individual’s interests and passions (personal and professional) combined with drawing on their strengths.


          A core action step is to bake in the practice of constructive joy up front so that it becomes a key ingredient or component to help prevent or minimize depleting tasks or work environments.


    Here’s a simple three-step exercise to jump-start your weekly constructive joy practice:


    ·        1)     List up to three recurring work tasks or events that regularly drain your energy.

    ·        2)     Select the one that feels the most draining.

    ·        3)     Brainstorm by yourself or with trusted colleagues how you could infuse one or more of your interests, passions and/or strengths so that it that would contribute to an uplifting or more energized work experience.


    Hollie Hollister is a pragmatic visionary who aspires to combine the personal with the professional to bring fresh thinking, unique insights and holistic solutions that help heart-based small business owners grow their businesses and themselves (all without stifling who they are or selling their souls).

    She has a talent for blending wisdom with “constructive joy” and creatively distilling it into guiding principles and simple, workable steps to help her clients, colleagues and friends reach their goals.

    Specializing within the area of coaching and leadership development, Hollie has over 18 years’ experience working with organizational groups across diverse industries within the private, government and social sectors, including Fortune 500 companies.


    Support services for heart-based small business owners to (re)discover and put into action their personal leadership practice include:

    1) Kick-start strategic thinking sessions to identify and activate their core values.

    2) Customized coaching and mentoring packages.

    Hollie is active on LinkedIn and would welcome connecting there: https://www.linkedin.com/in/holliehhollister/

<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   5   ...   Next >  Last >> 
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software