The Barefoot Spirit https://thebarefootspirit.com Founders of Barefoot, a Top Global Brand New York Times Bestselling Authors International Keynote Speakers, Entrepreneurial Coaches. Thu, 16 Jan 2020 06:17:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.2 Do a Re-Take on Your Miss-Take https://thebarefootspirit.com/do-a-re-take-on-your-miss-take/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/do-a-re-take-on-your-miss-take/#respond Thu, 16 Jan 2020 18:00:56 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=16834 As we grow up, we were told not to make mistakes. In school, mistakes could result in poor grades …or worse, lost games! In your job, a mistake could land you in the unemployment line. Is it any wonder that we tend to downplay and downright hide our mistakes? We feel embarrassed and ashamed. We […]

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As we grow up, we were told not to make mistakes. In school, mistakes could result in poor grades …or worse, lost games! In your job, a mistake could land you in the unemployment line. Is it any wonder that we tend to downplay and downright hide our mistakes? We feel embarrassed and ashamed. We wish they had never happened. But there they are, mistakes! They seem unavoidable yet somehow predicable.

Don’t Hide Mistakes

As employers, we noticed that new employees, coming from other companies where mistakes were especially frowned upon, would seem to “whistle past the graveyard,” pretend like they never happened, or say things like, “Oh, don’t worry we have it all straightened out now,” as if the repair or the patch was the end of it – as if it was more important to simply get by the mistake than to take a good look at it and figure out how it happened …and how to prevent it in the future.

Celebrate Mistakes

Mistakes are inevitable. It’s what you do with a mistake that’s important. In our business, we celebrated our mistakes and the mistakes of our people. Why? Because with the right attitude, inspection, and redesign, we knew we could make the mistake less likely to reoccur in the future.

Write New Documents

In fact, we learned that every mistake was caused by some kind of a misunderstanding, lack of information, or poor communication. So we focused on documents. Yes, documents! We knew that behind every mistake was a document waiting to be written, corrected, or clarified. Maybe it was a sign on the wall, a clause in a contract, an item in a job description. Maybe it was something on a checklist, a policy, a procedure, or a signoff sheet. But it was a document. And sometimes more than one!

When we started our business our contracts were three pages long, but when we sold our business, they were 37 pages long! Every mistake, when seen as an opportunity to tighten up, tune up, or level up is a gold mine. Randy Arnold once said, “Never waste a perfectly good mistake!”

Building on the Backs of Mistakes

So, given the number of mistakes we made building the Barefoot brand, is it any wonder that we entitled the 8th chapter of our Business Audio Theatre production of The Barefoot Spirit, “Never Waste A Perfectly Good Mistake”?  And yea, like any successful business, ours was fraught with mistakes. Chapter 8 recalls many, but more importantly, it tells the stories of how we used them to get better and how we used them to grow!

Giving Permission

You see, the key to getting the most out of any mistake is the magic word, missing in so many companies, missing in our upbringing, schooling, and former employers. That word is “Permission.” Not permission to be incompetent, but permission to admit to a procedural mistake, as long as you make it right, and not just right, but w-r-i-t-e! Write it down and improve the documents so the whole company continues to improve.

Taking Responsibility

In one scene, we arrive in Chicago for a big trade show where key buyers are coming to see our new products, but the new products are not waiting for us at the hotel like they were supposed to be. Aside from the graphic irritation and outright yelling that ensued, it becomes clear that the hotel receiving clerk refused the packages because the recipients, us, weren’t registered at the hotel …yet!

Never mind that he should have checked for future bookings, never mind that he had, to say the least, a very simplistic view of his job, and never mind that he screwed up a very expensive trip for the hotel’s guests who would never stay there again. And never mind that his paycheck is paid for by that guest and others! We took responsibility. We had to. Otherwise it would happen again, and again. So, ultimately  blame was not satisfying; however a solution was. We thought, “What can we do on our end to make this less likely to reoccur?”

Best Laid Plans…

Our next package to a hotel in advance of a trade show had one inch high lettering across it saying “DO NOT REFUSE THIS PACKAGE! Your Guest Michael Houlihan will be here on March 19th to claim it. Your boss Mary Smith ext. 293 is expecting it. Please call 1 800 750 8000 with any questions.” We wrote a new policy for all outgoing packages. We followed it up with a procedural checklist and signoff for our own people. Problem solved, right?

Wrong! A year later, even with the signage, a package was again refused. Why this time? The sign was facing down when the package was delivered! New policy: one inch high notices on all 6 sides! Now the problem was more likely solved.

A Better Idiot

One of our executives chided the “make mistakes right” policy, saying, “But Michael, you’re trying to make everything idiot proof.” To which Michael retorted, “No, we are just trying to make it idiot resistant!” To which he retorted, “But Michael, even as we speak, they are building a better idiot!” …and so they were.

Chapter 8 is replete with scene after scene demonstrating mistake after mistake. But there’s a thread of principle in all the foolery. We improved our communications and became better focused and more realistic. In fact, we built our business on the backs of those mistakes.

ASS-U-ME

When the state governments started lowering the allowable blood alcohol level from 1.00 to .08, we thought that is was a great time for wine with lower alcohol, especially since most women weigh less than a man and could be over the limit with that second glass of wine. So we came up with a new 6% alcohol wine product that would enable most women to have a second glass. Brilliant! Seemed like a slam dunk. Right? It was more of a slam!

The many complaints we received went something like this: “Now you’re making me drink twice as much!” and “Why do I have to pay the same price for half the alcohol?” Opps! We thought folks wanted to consume less alcohol to abide by the reduced allowable limit, but we were very wrong about that.

What Can we Do?

The chapter goes on with even more mistakes, but we don’t want to spoil it for you. You can hear Hollywood actors performing the mistakes to sound effects and music in the audiobook.

You can also learn how to cop an attitude about mistakes that will take you and your company to the next level. You will see how when management grants permission to make mistakes, people become more creative and help improve your company. Get a good laugh and a few good lesson from our mistakes! And make the most out of yours!

Please be our guest to a free chapter from our new theatrically performed audio play and enjoy the show!

Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact sales@thebarefootspirit.com.

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Hardwired for Growth Podcast https://thebarefootspirit.com/hardwired-for-growth-podcast/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/hardwired-for-growth-podcast/#respond Wed, 15 Jan 2020 14:48:03 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=16827 M&B were interviewed on “Hardwired for Growth” by host, Brett Trainor. To listen to the interview, please click the play button below:                 Who We Are Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built […]

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M&B were interviewed on “Hardwired for Growth” by host, Brett Trainor. To listen to the interview, please click the play button below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact sales@thebarefootspirit.com.

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The Romance of the Wine Business – Not! https://thebarefootspirit.com/the-romance-of-the-wine-business-not/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/the-romance-of-the-wine-business-not/#respond Thu, 09 Jan 2020 18:00:35 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=16819 The wine business has always had an aura of romance about it. You know – swirl, sniff, sip. Say a few words in French and talk about mid-notes …Forget about it! Take it from folks who actually succeeded in the wine business. It’s more about forklifts, warehouses, trucks, and clerks! It’s about meeting a price […]

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The wine business has always had an aura of romance about it. You know – swirl, sniff, sip. Say a few words in French and talk about mid-notes …Forget about it!

Take it from folks who actually succeeded in the wine business. It’s more about forklifts, warehouses, trucks, and clerks! It’s about meeting a price point, staying ahead of the competition, staying in stock and not breaking a multitude of laws. And its about dusting bottles, pricing items, and putting up signage! So much for mid-notes.

Mystery…

Just like any business, it’s hard work, it’s hiring and firing, it’s cash flow management, and it’s earning and maintaining credit from vendors. And it’s sales, sales, sales! You may need a drink by the end of the day, but romance? Not even close!

This is not to say that the wine industry doesn’t like to portray itself as somehow mystic, ethereal, and mysterious. As our friend likes to say, “Where there is mystery, there is margin.” But at the lower, more competitive price points where we produced, there was neither mystery nor margin.

Velocity

We had to distinguish ourselves on the basis of value for price. Our mission was simple, four words: Best Wine, Best Price. Best price was the price at which most wine sold, which was the price that wine sold the fastest, referred to as the velocity price point. In every category there is a velocity price. Whether it’s a bicycle or a can of beans, you already know what you can expect to pay. That’s the velocity price.

But what did we mean by “Best Wine”? Everybody says their product is the best. For us best meant the greatest number of medals awarded in industry-recognized third-party competitions. So for us, “Best Wine, Best Price” simply meant most medals at the velocity price.

Next!

So aside from entering every competition we could find, how did we win? That’s all about the sourcing, winemaking, and adherence to taste profiles. And that’s all about the winemaker. So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that Chapter 7 of our business audio theatre, The Barefoot Spirit, opens with the unlikely events that led us to hire the world’s most awarded winemaker – which she soon earned after a few years making Barefoot Wine.

At the time she was also conspicuous as a woman in a heavily male-dominated profession and was, in fact, one for the first women winemakers in the industry.

Our previous winemaker advised our salespeople to slow down on sales because there was a shortage of wine. He was right about the shortage, but the real shortage was a shortage of optimism, ideas and innovation at a time of very limited supplies. This is when we say, “Never, but never, tell a salesperson to slow down on sales!” When we heard about this, we just looked at each other and said our favorite four letter word, “Next!”

Assertive!

We called a friend who was a winemaker in his own right and asked him if he knew of any winemakers we could hire. He said, “Well, last week there was a lady winemaker who came through here. I wanted to hire her, but the board members thought she was too assertive!” We said, “Get her over here right now!”

She came over we talked for hours and she was hired just like that! Jennifer Wall distinguished herself as not only assertive, but imaginative, resourceful, and practical. She proceeded to overcome the supply, inventory, and quality control challenges and rack up tons of awards in the process. (She still makes Barefoot Wine, and still wins tons of awards!)

Somewhere in the World

Meanwhile, back at the shortage. We asked, “So, Jen, how are you going to overcome this wine shortage?” Her answer was very big picture, “Somewhere out there in the world there’s too much wine and we are going to find it!” And for the wine drought of 1995 and 1996, we use reds from France and whites from Chile. We were able to hold our price point, deliver gold medal quality, and stay in stock! All the while insisting that the salespeople increase sales! No romance, but a huge amount of hustle!

The rest of the chapter is replete with entertaining short scenes that recount the real nitty gritty challenges of the wine business including the myriad of laws that created roadblocks in each state, until of course, you figured out the legal work-around.

No Free Wine!

In Nevada, for instance, we got an ad in the Safeway chain and thought we would entice the store managers to bring in multiple cases and display them to get the most out of this opportunity. Our idea seemed simple enough, “Buy 10 cases, get one free!” But no! That was illegal in Nevada! You can’t give away free alcohol in Nevada.

Gambling is legal, walking on the street with a drink in your hand is legal. Heck, prostitution is legal! But you can’t give away a free case of wine. – So, “How do they do it in Nevada?” we asked. Our distributer replied, “Well, if that’s what you want to do, we usually give them eleven for the price of ten!” …Done! And it goes on like that throughout this amusing and informative chapter.

Superstars

At Barefoot Wines, there was so much new information coming in every day that the learning curve was getting steeper and steeper – it was like running into a wall. But what kept the company going was its ability to attract and keep incredible talent that invented their way out of the obstacles driven by the belief that there WAS a solution. Just keep asking and trying until you find it! THE ANSWER IS THERE!

Another Barefoot superstar was none other than Randy Arnold who understood that the wine business was won one customer at a time! He believed the days of mass marketing were over. He believed in micro-marketing. It’s hard to believe that in this 21st century, hyperconnected, social media world, there was ever a time when a wine bottle did not have an 800 number. So we decided to go for it!

The lawyers told us not to. They said we would increase our liability and get calls from inebriated patrons late at night. They were right and some of them were quite entertaining. But more importantly, we got feedback that gave us a real edge.

The Barefoot Guy

In one scene, one of our salespeople shows up at a customer’s door and introduces himself to an astonished consumer as the Sales Manager from Barefoot Wine. “I hear you got a bad bottle of Barefoot and I’m here to replace it and give you a tee-shirt!” Now, just imagine this kind of personalized attention in today’s so-called interconnected world!

In another scene, Randy Arnold returns an 800 number call to an on-going party in Chicago. The party goers can’t believe it! A real person, the National Sales Manager, no less! He said how much he appreciated their calling to say that they were enjoying Barefoot Wine. With the loud party going on in the background, the person answering the phone yells, “Hey everybody! Be quiet! It’s the Barefoot Guy!” And that handle stuck with Randy thereafter!

So, to be successful in any business, ultimately “romance” has to take a back seat to innovation, hard work, hustle, and stellar customer service. No mystery there!

Please enjoy a “taste” of The Barefoot Spirit business audio theatre by being our guest to a free chapter!

Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact sales@thebarefootspirit.com.

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My Wakeup Call Podcast https://thebarefootspirit.com/my-wakeup-call-podcast/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/my-wakeup-call-podcast/#respond Wed, 08 Jan 2020 18:00:51 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=16804 M&B were interviewed on “My Wakeup Call” by host, Dr. Mark Goulston. To listen to the interview, please click the play button below:         Who We Are Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine […]

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M&B were interviewed on “My Wakeup Call” by host, Dr. Mark Goulston.

To listen to the interview, please click the play button below:

 

 

 

 

Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact sales@thebarefootspirit.com.

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Tradies in Business Podcast (Australia) https://thebarefootspirit.com/tradies-in-business-podcast/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/tradies-in-business-podcast/#respond Thu, 02 Jan 2020 18:04:13 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=16794 M&B were interviewed on “Tradies in Business” (Australia podcast) by hosts, Warrick Bidwell and Nicole Cox. To listen to the interview, please click the play button below:          

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M&B were interviewed on “Tradies in Business” (Australia podcast) by hosts, Warrick Bidwell and Nicole Cox. To listen to the interview, please click the play button below:

 

 

 

 

 

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Strategic Allies Come in all Ages, Creeds, Styles and Languages https://thebarefootspirit.com/strategic-allies-come-in-all-ages-creeds-styles-and-languages/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/strategic-allies-come-in-all-ages-creeds-styles-and-languages/#respond Thu, 02 Jan 2020 18:00:27 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=16786 Early stage businesses have to go through some unexpected contortions, make some unanticipated sales, and welcome the help of unlikely allies – just to survive! Survivors will testify that keeping an open mind and not missing any opportunity to reduce the need for capital or get the word out are all essential. Basically, as the […]

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Early stage businesses have to go through some unexpected contortions, make some unanticipated sales, and welcome the help of unlikely allies – just to survive! Survivors will testify that keeping an open mind and not missing any opportunity to reduce the need for capital or get the word out are all essential. Basically, as the Beatles say, “I get by with a little help from my friends.”

Who those friends are, and how to find and engage them, are the lessons dramatized in Chapter Six of the business audio theatre, The Barefoot Spirit, aptly entitled, “Mama Mabel, Surfers, and Monks.” How unlikely a combo is that? But wait! There’s more, a lot more!

Japanese Party

The scene opens with a string of identically dressed Japanese businessmen, complete with blue suits and grey ties filing into a tiny makeshift office in the attic of an old winery building on a rainy Saturday morning. They are led by a cowboy in muddy boots. What transpires in that tiny, leaking conference room is nothing short of miraculous for the fledgling Barefoot Wine company. It’s the true story of how the clash of the cultures is bridged by an international and timeless ploy, humor!

Fighting the headwinds of national competition and dysfunctional distribution in the USA, Barefoot is saved by unforeseen alliance with a Japanese supplier buying party supplies by the international-container load. Each load had everything you needed to party. They had chips, dips, hats, paper plates, and napkins, but needed a fun party wine beverage to go with it! Barefoot foot the bill! That business was in cash and lasted for many loads. Go figure.

Great Dane

Barefoot learned something important from the experience. Did we say it was in cash? Yes, most international sales are in cash. The perfect solution for a cash strapped company investing in growth at home. Thus started something they never saw coming: international trade.

It wasn’t long before their Danish CFO decided to try to get the largest supermarket in Denmark to take Barefoot. They did and boom! Multiple containers were sent to Denmark, of all places. The good news was that the business was in cash. The bad news was that it was overseas and virtually impossible to manage. Both international businesses faltered by events that could have been easily managed if the sales were inside the US. But it was a great patch on a bald tire of a budget. It got them through.

Oddballs Unite!

Meanwhile, back in the US, a fledgling retail company was starting out. Most of the industry did not take them seriously. They were sure it was a fad and would be a flash in the pan. Like Barefoot, they used humor and fun. Like Barefoot, they used color and a lively culture to attract shoppers bored with the standard corporate approach to retail. It was serendipity for the two oddballs to meet and do business, support each other, and help each other grow across the country. The unlikely “partners”? Barefoot Wines and Trader Joes!

Surf’s Up!

When Michael was going to school in Santa Barbara, surfing was all but mandatory. So it wasn’t surprising that when an LA salesperson suggested he check out the Surfrider Foundation, Michael searched them out. He went looking for some kind of a big corporate office in the charming Southern California beach town of San Clemente. It wasn’t corporate and it wasn’t big. It was a butcher-papered windowed storefront in a strip mall. But, like Barefoot Wine, it was destined to become global.

The story of how this alliance began and how it blossomed is a lesson for any business looking to get the word out while saving the planet. It is a lesson on how you can use your passion to follow your opportunity! Don’t miss this long-lasting and tactical alliance between two “misfits” that changed the world!

Lake Tahoe to Mono Lake

What Barefoot called “worthy cause marketing” predated cause marketing and was somewhat different. Instead of announcing to the world your good deeds, you just did them quietly in the hopes that the already established network of nonprofit members would have a social reason to buy your products.

They did! And in Barefoot’s case, they became advocates for the brand. In fact, Barefoot was so successful supporting worthy causes like Keep Tahoe Blue and Save Mono Lake that they never depended on commercial advertising! Listen to how it all started and think about how you could apply these principles to get the word out in your own business.

Lafite vs, la Foot

Barefoot was trying all kinds of ways to get the word out. One ploy became the cute story for Thanksgiving in 1995. For years, Barefoot was laughingly referred to by the industry as “the Chateau la Feet” of California Wine. So, it wasn’t long before Barefoot had big foot printed tee shirts that celebrated that nomenclature. “Now,” they thought, “wouldn’t it be great if we just got the attention of the real Chateau Lafite Rothschild in France? That would really get the word out there,” they hoped.

Five years later they got their wish. A telephone call from a top New York attorney confirmed, “The Baron took umbrage!” and thus started a ground swell of support for the underdog, Barefoot Wine. And thus started an international story, carried by the Associated Press, Reuters, and others around the world. Enjoy the sarcasm and comedy as Barefoot agrees with the Baron, “Our wine is $6, his is $126. If there was confusion, we’d be ruined!”

Life Force

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Bonnie’s mother Mabel was doing all she could to support Michael and Bonnie in their new business. That included folding those tee shirts mentioned previously and packaging the marketing materials for the distributers across the country.

She needed help! She got it from an unlikely source: the local Thai Buddhist temple! The monks liked being around Mabel’s “life force” and would gladly help just to be near her. Find out how all this came about as you listen to the amazing surprises in this chapter.

But as you listen to these well-performed scenes, you can’t help but take away the message that solutions are all around you. If you believe there is a solution, take regular inventory, and keep your mind and eyes open for answers, you can use what you have to get what you need – especially if you keep your sense of humor and look for fellow travelers, no matter how unlikely they may seem!

Please be our guest to a free chapter and see if The Barefoot Spirit audiobook isn’t the perfect companion for your next road trip!

 

Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact sales@thebarefootspirit.com.

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Fueling Deals Interview https://thebarefootspirit.com/fueling-deals-interview/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/fueling-deals-interview/#respond Wed, 01 Jan 2020 18:51:06 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=16777 M&B were interviewed on “Fueling Deals” by host, Corey Kupfer. To listen to the interview, please click the play button below:                  

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M&B were interviewed on “Fueling Deals” by host, Corey Kupfer.

To listen to the interview, please click the play button below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Discrimination Against Older Job Applicants is Illegal — and it’s Bad for Your Bottom Line https://thebarefootspirit.com/discrimination-against-older-job-applicants-is-illegal-and-its-bad-for-your-bottom-line/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/discrimination-against-older-job-applicants-is-illegal-and-its-bad-for-your-bottom-line/#respond Wed, 01 Jan 2020 18:42:31 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=16775 The ad says, “Recent College Grad.” Another says, “Digital Native.” Still another says, “Looking for a Cultural Fit.” Most recent college grads are under 30. Most digital natives were born after 1980. A cultural fit in a company of predominately younger employees leaves out older folks. Are these add words discouraging to older applicants? You […]

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The ad says, “Recent College Grad.” Another says, “Digital Native.” Still another says, “Looking for a Cultural Fit.”

Most recent college grads are under 30. Most digital natives were born after 1980. A cultural fit in a company of predominately younger employees leaves out older folks.

Are these add words discouraging to older applicants? You bet.

Recently, Michael was interviewed on the FOX Radio Network during drive time as a workplace cultural expert on this issue. But instead of dwelling on the legalities and enforcement issues involved, he took a much different tack. Whether it can be proven illegal or not, whether the threat of liability is strong enough to end this type of discrimination, the fact is, it’s just plain bad business.

Here are a few good reasons why.

To read the complete article, please visit The Business Journals 

 

 

 

Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact sales@thebarefootspirit.com.

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Brand Growth Strategy Requires Strategic Allies and a Home Court Advantage https://thebarefootspirit.com/brand-growth-strategy-requires-strategic-allies-and-a-home-court-advantage/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/brand-growth-strategy-requires-strategic-allies-and-a-home-court-advantage/#respond Thu, 26 Dec 2019 18:00:22 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=16768 Be a “big fish in a small pond,” they say. We would add to that, “Start with a pond you already know,” and “make friends with some other big fish in that pond.” In other words, choose your battles and your battleground. Make sure you know the terrain. And develop some strategic allies in that […]

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Be a “big fish in a small pond,” they say. We would add to that, “Start with a pond you already know,” and “make friends with some other big fish in that pond.” In other words, choose your battles and your battleground. Make sure you know the terrain. And develop some strategic allies in that battleground.  This is the advice we give our brand building clients today. It worked for us and it can work for you.

It’s easy to get confused when you are starting your business. You can come into it with many popularly held misconceptions. We certainly did. Some glitzy and powerful markets like New York City may tempt you with the “If you can make it here you can make it anywhere” philosophy. But that’s where all your competition is, slugging it out with huge promotional budgets you don’t have.

Another factor to consider is your own unfamiliarity with outside territories. Without anything in common between you and those unfamiliar markets, before you even start, your brand will be playing at an extreme disadvantage.

So, you not only have start out in a smaller market, you have to be familiar with that market, and, we dare say, even like that market! That means you know something about the market even before you go there.

Such is the lesson in Chapter 5 of our business audio theater, The Barefoot Spirit. Hollywood actors play the parts of key characters in telling scenes that make the lessons learned come to life, complete with sound effects, and original musical score. The listener is taken behind the scenes and witnesses the strategies that built the now-famous Barefoot Wine brand.

“Ya Gotta Know the Territory”

Just like the opening song from The Music Man, you have a tremendous advantage when you know the territory. In the opening scene, Michael is chatting it up with a store owner in Santa Barbara, where he went to school. He shares his love for some of the more subtle charms of the California coastal jewel that only a local would know. They bond. The store owner buys. Folks in Santa Barbara think Barefoot is a local brand.

Change the Rules

Ever wonder how the rules change? It’s usually as a result of a lot of hard work and lobbing, not to mention legal expenses, where someone in the industry finally convinces the regulators that they will still get their taxes and compliance, but in a more progressive way. That person was Bonnie Harvey with help of her compliance specialist who pioneered a new form of winery license that enabled Barefoot and many others that followed, to secure full winery status without bricks and mortar, and without vineyards! Sometimes, in order to survive, you must change the rules!

Change the Terms

Before they were able to achieve full licensing, they had to use the descriptor, “Cellared and Bottled” on their back label rather than the term, “Produced and Bottled.” Its competition was quick to accuse them of simply buying bulk wines and bottling them – implying no control over the quality of the product. The opposite was the fact.

They had to create a new term that implied more control over quality than just “Cellared and Bottled”.  They invented the term “Vinted,” which heretofore was not in the lexicon. Even though the regulators turned down their application using the word Vinted on two occasions, they kept applying. Finally, they got a different officer. She approved it! It’s now commonly used in the wine industry.

Good News – Bad News

In one scene the whole staff is gathered for a video conference with their Florida salesperson. “I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news,” the salesperson says. “The good news is that we have been approved for a test in the largest chain store in Florida; the bad news is they put us on the bottom shelf where no one will see us.” Somebody said sarcastically, “Well we’re Barefoot, so I guess we’ll just have to go after the foot traffic!”

After the laughs died down, somebody else said, “Wait a minute, that’s not such a bad idea! Why don’t we just put decal footprints down on the floor to walk folks to our products?” That person was the receptionist. In most companies that practice the need-to-know philosophy, that idea would have never surfaced. Barefoot practiced just the opposite: know-the-need!

Jujitsu Adversity

There’s so many licenses and permits involved in selling a controlled substance like alcohol, Michael and Bonnie were certain to miss one. In one scene, they were pouring their products as requested by the hosts after winning a gold medal, when an alcoholic beverage officers comes up and cites them for breaking the law. They didn’t have the right license to pour for the general public. What would it be? A $10,000 fine, or a 30-day license suspension.

They obviously couldn’t afford the fine, so they took the suspension. But they learned something that later turned out to be a major key to their success. They offered their buyers a discount if they paid cash for a month’s supply delivered before the shutdown. The buyers not only took it, they asked for it again the next month! They learned that the buyers’ warehouse people had no room for a shipment that big and demanded that the buyers reduce the price on Barefoot and move it out quickly. They put Barefoot on sale, stacked it on the floor so it got a lot of attention, and that enticed many new customers to try this crazy brand with a foot on it!

Strategic Allies

Who are they? Today, Michael and Bonnie advise their clients to find them in their accounts payable. They’re the ones you pay the most money to every month. They’re the ones who will “get rich if you get rich!” In their case, it was the glass company because at high-volume, low-priced wine would sell a lot more bottles than the $20 and $30 wines.

Michael and Bonnie engaged them in two ways: First, they met with them often and told them their plans and progress. Second, they called in advance with a payment plan when they could predict that they could not make their payment on time. By demonstrating empathy, they were able to build their credit which reduced their need for capital.

Appreciate the Unappreciated

Sometimes what you need is right under your nose. In the remaining scenes, Bonnie and Michael’s long time friendship with the LGBT community paid off. A top salesperson for one of their distributers wasn’t being appreciated by his boss, even though he was the best sales manager for Barefoot in their company. When it became apparent that the reason for the internal friction was that this sales manager was gay, Michael and Bonnie saw an opportunity to offer him the National Sales Manager position at Barefoot.

A year later, he was working directly for Michael and Bonnie! And thus began an amazing and innovative campaign that would push Barefoot Wines to become Wine Spectator’s coveted “Hot Brand of the Year” for consecutive years. The Barefoot Spirit is dedicated to Randy Arnold, one of the wine industry’s first openly gay winery sales rep. Listen in while Randy solves problem after problem with insights and techniques you can use in your own business.

Please enjoy a free chapter on us and see if you don’t want to take The Barefoot Spirit audiobook along on your next road trip.

 

Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact sales@thebarefootspirit.com.

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BookTrib – The Barefoot Spirit Audiobook Review https://thebarefootspirit.com/booktrib-the-barefoot-spirit-audiobook-review/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/booktrib-the-barefoot-spirit-audiobook-review/#respond Thu, 19 Dec 2019 20:19:55 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=16762 Here at BookTrib, I’m asked to review a lot of books. You can find me most evenings, weekends and train commutes deep inside a book bristling with Post-It notes. So it was a refreshing change when I was asked to review the audiobook of The Barefoot Spirit (Footnotes Press) by Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey, founders of […]

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Here at BookTrib, I’m asked to review a lot of books. You can find me most evenings, weekends and train commutes deep inside a book bristling with Post-It notes. So it was a refreshing change when I was asked to review the audiobook of The Barefoot Spirit (Footnotes Press) by Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey, founders of Barefoot Wine. Not just an audiobook, mind you, but a “business audio theatre” book. A what, now?

As soon as I started listening, I understood. This wasn’t just a voiceover artist reading a book out loud for me. Rather, it was an immersive listening experience, including actors playing the parts of various characters, punctuated by sound effects and enhanced with music. In a nonfiction audiobook, no less. I was embarking on a journey of the mind’s eye into an engaging, often funny, informative look into the struggles, ingenuity and humanity behind the founding of America’s top wine brand.

To read the full professional audiobook review, please visit BookTrib

 

 

Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact sales@thebarefootspirit.com.

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