Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I'm my own best friend.

My wife is an awesome baker. (She is an awesome person too, but that is another topic.) What she does with baked goods is magic. She is an artist. Scones, Muffins, Lemon Squares, Cookies for any occasion – you name it. The skill, as near as I can tell, requires a delicate balance of following recipes and knowing when to add a pinch of this or a touch of that. It is part art and part science. Every detail gets tender loving care. I often hear her quietly having what sounds like a conversation in the kitchen. She might be on the phone, but frequently she’s just talking her way through another culinary creation.

“Bing, who are you talking to?” I might ask.

“Oh, I’m just talking to myself. I’m my own best friend, you know.”

It’s kind of a routine banter we have but it never gets old. We are both amused in that moment and generally move on with whatever we are doing in separate rooms. Pretty soon the smell of fresh baked product is filling the air. How great is that?

My wife is on to something I think. Whatever you do and whatever you set your mind to, it pays to be your own best friend. If you follow that simple rule, soon you might just fill the room with something fresh that will make those around you smile.

I love you Bing. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Get Some Help

Interior Design and Marketing

I met an interior designer this morning. Angie was clearly passionate about what she does. “I’ve been doing this for a long time. People are surprised how quickly I can offer ideas that will improve the design of a room or space. Sometimes it’s as simple as moving furniture, or layering elements, window treatments or unique features on wall sections. When I work with someone, it is all about them and what they want. It isn’t about creating a designer showcase. The spaces I enjoy doing the most, incorporate the personality and goals of my clients. If there is no collaboration, the design will ultimately be impersonal.” She went on to say that the greatest thrill for her is the feeling she gets when she has a satisfied customer. 

As she was talking I couldn’t help thinking about how important it is to find people like that when you are designing your marketing efforts too. You need help but you must also be willing to collaborate to get the kind of results you seek. Your business is your house and your castle…but it has to be comfortable, inviting and functional. A qualified interior designer can suggest color palates, fabrics and techniques that can make a world of difference. A marketing expert can help you understand message strategy, media and ways to differentiate your business from your competition.

You spend all kinds of time and money building your business. Doesn’t it make sense to seek professional advice when it comes to marketing? As a member of the American Marketing Association for more than 15 years I’ve met so many talented people working for companies, or as consultants or as managers of marketing communications firms. It can be a challenge finding the right fit for your needs. However, you might be surprised how much value you can gain by consulting with a professional. Don’t be afraid to suggest a budget parameter you hope to live within. Most professionals understand how to work within constraints. 

The give and take in collaboration is finding a balance. You want an optimal use of resources to accomplish your goals. Get some help.