May Door Opener

Get out of the slump and get back to the basics!

By Jean MacDonald

This month I am featuring two extraordinary women who are wonderful resources and have helped me recharge my batteries when I am stuck! Who have you worked with lately, that with their creativity have helped you out of a slump?

Bounce back ability! We all have lows and highs in business. Recovery is key, and what we are doing to recover quicker so business does not flounder is important. I was taught several years ago when I was in a slump to STOP everything, take my mind off what was happening and do something for myself. In other words, get my mind off the problem. The old adage is we are going to hit the wall at some time. We are going through a crisis, in a crisis, or coming out of one. They happen to all of us in business and in life. Do you constantly beat up on yourself or make excuses why things are not working? This is setting yourself up for disastrous results. Do you want to wake up next year where you are today, or are you willing to take action and stop procrastinating?
Do you notice how successful people just seem to keep on going, seem to always make the next sale, land the next deal? -STOP- You can also have the same success!! They have just learned to bounce back faster. When they do have the valleys of business they regroup, look at the situation, find mentoring help and move on. They don’t hash it over and over or use the woulda, coulda, shoulda! Here are some basics that could help you out of this SLUMP:

  1. STOP! Break the cycle, do something else and get your mind off the present situation.
  2. Go back to the Basics. It has been said by many great sales leaders that going back to the basics of the business will help you develop your skill level and generate business faster. The basics are learning the script, teaching technique or understanding how to deal with the customer. Go back and learn these simple skills.
  3. Focus on what you have done well in the past and do this again. Look back at the things that have made you successful and work on those again.
  4. Stop Criticizing what you shoulda, woulda, coulda. You can do it and you need to believe and be kind to yourself.
  5. Don’t compete with others! This is your game and your journey. Think about how to do better yourself. Focus on today and have the best day ever.
  6. Don’t make major decisions when you are in this mood. Our judgment may not be clear when we are in this Slump. The approach is to reassess your situation and move forward.

Take the time to reevaluate your slump! What are the basic things you can do that will move you forward? What have you done for you lately? It is not all about work. Find the balance that will give you the energy to move in the right direction. 

Finding Riches in Creativity & Fun!

By Rae Luskin

Imagine yourself working in a place bursting with energy and vitality. The people around you are happy all day long. They love what they are doing and are committed to your vision and mission. They are laughing and smiling.

Creativity and imagination are key to the success of organizations today. In stimulating, fun and playful cultures, employees are more productive. They have 51% lower turnover (Gallup) They have 125% less burnout (HBR), 43% more productivity (Hay Group) and 33% more profitability (Gallup).

Here are five ways to make your workplace more creative and fun.

  1. Invest in imagination. Allocate time to day dream and play with possibilities. At Google employees are given one day a week to work on a project of their choice that doesn’t fall within their formal job description. Google reports that they get many ideas that can be applied to the rest of their organizations’ core work.
  2. Have fun. Get the office together and have a white board scribble and doodle contest, dress up as your favorite superhero or crank up the music and dance and watch how the creativity begins to flow. Children laugh an average of 400 times a day and that number drops to only 15 times a day by the time people reach age 35.  Laughter releases endorphins which make you feel good. Laughing increases oxygen intake, thereby replenishing and invigorating cells. It also increases the pain threshold, boosts immunity, and relieves stress. When you are less stressed you are more creative.
  3. Cultivate curiosity.  Regardless of where or how we work, the best creative minds are the most curious.  One of my favorite movies growing up was Auntie Mame. Mame implores her young nephew Patrick to avoid dullness by “soaking up life, down to your toes.”  Take a class. What have you always been interested in learning? Try a new recipe or restaurant. Share it with your colleagues.
  4. Do your brainstorming offsite. Go to the amusement park and take a ride on the roller coaster or get in a hot air balloon. Go to a museum and see things from a new perspective.
  5. Design an inspiring and flexible work space. Google again had been a leader in this arena.  Employees glide around the building on razor scooters and climb ladders between floors. They design their own workspace with treadmills and tinker toys while writing on walls. You can start small and rearrange the furniture. Hang art work on the walls or cover them with black board paint. Bring in fun things such as Nerf balls, a basketball and hoop, or party blowers.

Striving to create a fun, exciting, dynamic workplace where imagination, curiosity, collaboration and play is encouraged should be the goal of any company. Looking at creativity as a most valuable asset and treasure has been embraced in the corporate world so eloquently by Zappos’ core value “create fun and a little weirdness.”

Rae Luskin is the owner of The Winning Adventure  Author of two books : Art From My Heart and the recently released Learning from Failure: 11 Sure Ways to Turn Your Worst Failures Into Your Biggest Success. Rae is known for her ability to make creativity and innovation easy for anyone to achieve.

Head to Chicago for a dynamic duo seminar on June 4, 2014

Click on the flyer to view larger and download

Click on the flyer to view larger and download

Things to consider when hiring a Marketing Professional

By Leslie Lipps

mar•ket•ing: the action or business of promoting and selling products or services. Technology today affords businesses with a wide of array of powerful marketing tools. Understanding what those tools are and how to best use them to reach your customers and increase your profits should be your key marketing objective.

A marketing or creative services professional should be your expert advocate for
your business. Choosing a professional that is a good fit for your business is an important part of the process. Interview more than one creative professional to ensure you find a good fit for your style and needs.

Here is a list of some critical aspects and questions you should ask prospective creative professionals to help you in the decision process. Keep in mind that you are hiring expertise to anticipate and prepare for all possible scenarios that might impact your business in the short and long term.

Needs Assessment: What do you really need? What does the expert think would be the best options to start with and why? If you are not sure what you really need, what process do they suggest to develop a concrete assessment and plan?

Samples: Do they have samples of their work you can see?

Support and Maintenance: How are instructions and technology support handled?

Expertise: How does the professional stay current with technology and industry trends? Are they able to prepare files and products for all platforms and devices and understand the key industry “best practices”? Can they effectively communicate what tools are available to your business and provide appropriate strategy?

Collaboration: Will you be working with an individual or a team? Will the professional train staff, empower team members and provide documentation?

Time: Is a clear project timeline given? What expectations are given for returning emails and phone calls to keep the project moving?

Quality: Are graphics files created and provided in vector and high resolution format?

Customer Service Style: Is the professional a good fit for the personality of your business?
How approachable are they when you have a question or concern?

Experience: How long has has the professional been in business and field?

Testimonials and Recommendations: Ask for a list of references and clients that it would be ok to contact.

Assurances: What benchmarks can be used for measurement on the success of any given project now and in the future?

Deliverables: Ask for a detailed project description that includes the full scope of the work and if appropriate what additional options or products are available to add on later and what is their cost?

Investment: This can vary to a great degree and is important to navigate to fit your needs. When comparing the cost of a project or any service, make sure you are comparing the same project needs and quality level. Ask for a detailed estimate of what the project includes and what items can be added later or are necessary that are not included.

Compare "raw costs" of physical out of pocket dollars, but be sure to take into account labor (yours or who you hire) and most importantly the cost of lost opportunity that a substandard branding message or web presence can cost you.

Leslie Lipps • Your Marketing Department • • 847-223-2692