The Barefoot Spirit https://thebarefootspirit.com Founders of Barefoot, a Top Global Brand New York Times Bestselling Authors International Keynote Speakers, Entrepreneurial Coaches. Thu, 23 May 2019 16:32:08 -0700 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.1 Proof: Fresh Air Improves Productivity and Your Bottom-Line! https://thebarefootspirit.com/proof-fresh-air-improves-productivity-and-your-bottom-line/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/proof-fresh-air-improves-productivity-and-your-bottom-line/#respond Thu, 23 May 2019 17:00:07 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=16061 What your people to be more productive? Here’s a novel idea, open the window! That’s right. Give them some fresh air! According to Joseph G. Allen , assistant professor and director of the Healthy Buildings program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the air quality in your office affects your employees productivity. He is the principal investigator […]

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What your people to be more productive? Here’s a novel idea, open the window! That’s right. Give them some fresh air! According to Joseph G. Allen , assistant professor and director of the Healthy Buildings program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the air quality in your office affects your employees productivity. He is the principal investigator of the CogFx Study  lead author of 9 Foundations of a Healthy Building.

These studies prove what we’ve known for years, there is a direct relationship between ventilation and a worker’s ability to process information, make strategic decisions, and respond to crises.

At Barefoot, we deliberately increased the amount of fresh air brought in from the outside. And why not? We started in a laundry room with a screen door left open most of the time. Our next office was in an attic, which we immediately put opening windows in. Then we move to an airport business park and chose an office building with windows that opened for this very purpose. When we finally got around to designing our own offices from scratch, we made a big deal about ventilation.

Sounds so obvious and easy. Well its not! According to Allen, “In the 1970s, efforts to conserve energy in the U.S. included tightening up buildings and reducing ventilation rates so buildings didn’t have to bring as much fresh air inside. This inadvertently led to a buildup of indoor pollutants and the birth of a phenomenon known as “sick building syndrome,” a set of symptoms such as eye irritation, headaches, coughing, and chest tightness that is still an issue today.

In other words, the windows were permanently sealed! Now you are dependent on whatever amount of fresh air comes in through the ventilation system. The rest is just circulating around.

Allen goes on to say, “There is a tendency to assume that, as long as commonly used standards for air quality are met, it won’t be an issue. But these standards aren’t very high. One common international standard that governs how much air is brought in from outside, “Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Quality,” does not even purport to assure “healthy” air quality.”

Many studies have demonstrated that the amount of ventilation (fresh outdoor air brought inside), is a critical to our health. Better ventilation reduces sick building syndrome symptoms, cuts absenteeism, and reduces infectious disease transmission.

Allen recent study found that “breathing better air led to significantly better decision-making performance among (his) participants. We saw higher test scores across nine cognitive function domains when workers were exposed to increased ventilation rates, lower levels of chemicals, and lower carbon dioxide. The results showed the biggest improvements in areas that tested how workers used information to make strategic decisions and how they plan, stay prepared, and strategize during crises. These are exactly the skills needed to be productive in the knowledge economy.”

In other words, the better the air quality in your office, the better the cognitive performance of your employees. According to Allen, “Businesses would benefit from recognizing this and taking action to optimize their air quality for employees’ health and productivity.”

So let’s say you have a typical sealed building and you want to reduce sick days and get the most out of your people? What can you do to improve the ventilation without losing the efficiency of your heating and air-conditioning. We asked an expert who works with some of the largest building portfolios in the country how he helps them achieve their sustainability goals and increase their ventilation at the same time.

Tim Grosse of E Squared Energy Advisors says “The advent of IoT/Smart Building technologies affords building owners 24/7 automatic control over internal O2 and CO2 levels via sensors and smart HVAC controls ensuring that a very high standard of indoor air quality is met. With the systems we represent, building owners enjoy a 20%-40% or more energy savings while significantly improving employee productivity.”

In fact, the Harvard Univ. study estimates that a businesses will see a $6,500 per employee, per year increase in employee productivity. And with the energy savings, these systems pay for themselves quickly and many times back over the lifetime of the equipment.

E Squared Energy Advisors has several systems available that optimize existing roof-top HVAC units saving both the time and money of replacements. If you’d like to learn more about how much your building can increase operating income via IoT/Smart Building controls while providing a healthier indoor environment for your employees, contact Tim at timgrosse@esquaredenergyadvisors.com  or call 469-888-4111.

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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7 Rules for Couples in Business (and Life) Podcast with JJ Flizanes https://thebarefootspirit.com/7-rules-for-couples-in-business-and-life-podcast-with-jj-flizanes/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/7-rules-for-couples-in-business-and-life-podcast-with-jj-flizanes/#respond Tue, 21 May 2019 16:43:47 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=16051 M&B were interviewed on “Spirit, Purpose, & Energy” by JJ Flizanes & Doug Sandler. To listen to the interview, please visit iTunes          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 Brand. […]

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M&B were interviewed on “Spirit, Purpose, & Energy” by JJ Flizanes & Doug Sandler. To listen to the interview, please visit iTunes 

 

 

 

 

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 Problem With Tariffs https://thebarefootspirit.com/the-problem-with-tariffs/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/the-problem-with-tariffs/#respond Thu, 16 May 2019 17:00:23 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=16027 Don’t be fooled by the idea that the other country will pay for the tariffs Everything is about to cost you more! Don’t be fooled by the idea that the other country will pay for the tariffs and somehow the US will just collect new funds to benefit the national budget. No, you will pay […]

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tariffsDon’t be fooled by the idea that the other country will pay for the tariffs

Everything is about to cost you more! Don’t be fooled by the idea that the other country will pay for the tariffs and somehow the US will just collect new funds to benefit the national budget. No, you will pay for the tariffs.

We know because we were in the business of incorporating other countries’ products in the products we made. When those products increased in price for any reason, we would try to absorb the costs as long as possible, hoping they would go down eventually. But when they became permanently higher, it was kind of like a “Who goes first?” game where everyone in the industry would wait for the first competitor to raise their price to cover the increased cost, and then everyone else would do the same. That way the entire category would increase its price at the same time.

And who suffered?

Well, initially it was the American producer, but eventually, it was the American consumer. So now, what we used to buy for $5 costs $6. So now our money became less valuable. Now the people on fixed incomes have to do without. Inflation happens!

But wait! There’s more! Now the farmers who are targeted by retaliatory tariffs can’t compete and they must rely on the US government for more subsidies. Guess who pays for those subsidies. We do in the form of increased taxes. Ironically, the farmers don’t even want the subsidies; they want their export business back!

Ultimately both sides get hurt in a tariff war. And ultimately it negatively affects world commerce and finance. The idea that one side wins and the other side loses is ridiculous from a business standpoint. The concept of free trade benefits consumers because it drives down the cost of goods by allowing for the whole world to compete for the production. So the consumer pays the lowest price possible with a world-wide source.

Now some may argue, and rightly so, that certain foreign governments subsidize their producers to give them unfair advantage and thereby hurt American producers. They also argue that some countries flood the market and abuse the free trade systems by underpricing and monopolizing the US market to the point that US producers can no longer compete.

There are other issues with intellectual property and equitable market access that also need to be addressed. But tariffs tend to hurt the consumer and damage relationships. We’ve long believed that interdependence on trade promotes peace and security, whereas, isolationism and protectionism promote conflict.

The Best Price Wins in World Trade

One of the realities of world trade is that the countries that can produce the product at the best price will win the world market. Should all countries try to produce all products? Or can some countries produce some products better than others? Are there better ways to negotiate trade agreements bedside putting the burden on our consumers and our taxpayers? We think so.

Tariffs are a simple-minded approach to a more sophisticated problem. Tariffs hurt American business, consumers, and taxpayers. We need a scalpel, not a meat ax!

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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Nanyang Technological University from Singapore Visit their Outdoor Classroom in The Wine Country https://thebarefootspirit.com/nanyang-technological-university-from-singapore-visit-their-outdoor-classroom-in-the-wine-country/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/nanyang-technological-university-from-singapore-visit-their-outdoor-classroom-in-the-wine-country/#respond Fri, 10 May 2019 06:47:43 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=15998 What if, instead of sitting in a classroom, listening to a lecture, and watching a slide deck, you could go outside into a beautiful natural environment and enjoy an interactive learning experience? Instead of being lectured to, you could enjoy a skit performed live with the actors playing parts demonstrating the business principles throughout story. […]

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What if, instead of sitting in a classroom, listening to a lecture, and watching a slide deck, you could go outside into a beautiful natural environment and enjoy an interactive learning experience?

Instead of being lectured to, you could enjoy a skit performed live with the actors playing parts demonstrating the business principles throughout story. How would you like that?

Every year we are blessed with a visit from the Master of Science Technopreneurship and Innovation MBA program at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. After touring Silicon Valley, we invite them to the Sonoma County Wine Country for some fun in nature, along with a unique learning experience.

Tour. Wine. Learn.

This year included a nature tour, wine country picnic in the coastal redwoods, and some tools they can use in their new careers. The day concluded with a wine tasting (Barefoot wines, of course!) and a stroll through the Armstrong Redwoods State Park.

The lessons we shared were about How Soft Skills Earn Hard Cash. These critical skills are so often overlooked in the pursuit of technical excellence.

Short Skits in Lieu of the Usual Lecture

But this year there was one notable exception. Instead of a lecture with Q&A, we did something entirely different. We worked out and performed 6 short skits.

There were 3 acts, with 2 scenes in each, which focused on a real business challenge. Each of the 3 acts demonstrated one of the 3 key business relationships (Employees, Vendors, and Buyers). And each one of the scenes in each act demonstrated two opposite ways of handling the challenge, one lacking soft skills and the other embracing soft skills.

The students saw the stories acted out with the subsequent consequences of the different approaches to the same challenges.

To make it fun, we created two fictitious skateboard companies, one, “Cheap Skate,” and the other, “Above Board.” They couldn’t be more different in their approach to employees, vendors, and buyers.

We even had props we used to make it more fun including caps printed with Cheap Skate and Above Board, telephone bells, and, of course, skateboards!

The CEO of Cheap Skate operated from a foundation of fear and limited wealth. He was short-sighted and narrow-minded which resulted in him losing his best salesperson, losing his credit, and getting discontinued from Skate Board Depot.

The CEO of Above Board practiced empathy, inclusiveness, and showed concern for the goals of others. He attracted the best people, avoided turnover, got extended credit, and the Skate Board Depot buyer promoted his products.

After each scene, the students discussed what had just happened and why. Because they were allowed to witness the action and come to their own conclusions, we believe they will be more likely to remember and use the lessons. Oh, and we were the actors!

Thank you, students of Nanyang Technological University!

We want to express our gratitude to the students of Nanyang for allowing us to experiment with this new experiential learning format. It was a learning experience for us as well.

We hope the students of Nanyang will always benefit from employing soft skills that will reduce their costs, increase their credit, and promote their products.

Here’s to always staying Above Board in the way we treat others in business and in life!

 

 

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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Entrepreneur – Rheem Manufacturing Sets Aggressive Sustainability Goals for 2025 https://thebarefootspirit.com/entrepreneur-rheem-manufacturing-sets-aggressive-sustainability-goals-for-2025/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/entrepreneur-rheem-manufacturing-sets-aggressive-sustainability-goals-for-2025/#respond Mon, 06 May 2019 17:06:34 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=15977 Sixtyfive percent of the energy that is delivered to the typical home is used for heating the home, cooling the home or heating the water used in the home. The rest is used for appliances, lighting, tools and electronic devices. We have been reporting on startup companies that are making a difference. But what about the big […]

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Entrepreneur startups and cost of sales

Sixtyfive percent of the energy that is delivered to the typical home is used for heating the home, cooling the home or heating the water used in the home. The rest is used for appliances, lighting, tools and electronic devices.

We have been reporting on startup companies that are making a difference. But what about the big boys? What are they doing to make a difference with the biggest mega-trend facing the economy? According to Nielsen, consumers are voting with their purchases for sustainably made and packaged products. Rheem Manufacturing Company is the only North American company that has both HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) products as well as water heating products available in the commercial and residential marketplace. We wanted to know how such a large company with such a huge impact on our home energy use was making a difference.

To read the complete article, please visit Entrepreneur 

 

 

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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Being Proactive and Be Indispensable https://thebarefootspirit.com/being-proactive-and-be-indispensable/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/being-proactive-and-be-indispensable/#respond Thu, 02 May 2019 17:00:25 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=15962 When we were building the Barefoot wine brand, we used to drive our people crazy. Every time there was a foul up, a glitch, or a mistake, we would stop everything, focus on what just happened, and more importantly brain storm ways to prevent it from reoccurring. Our people would push back with, “Look, we’ve […]

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When we were building the Barefoot wine brand, we used to drive our people crazy. Every time there was a foul up, a glitch, or a mistake, we would stop everything, focus on what just happened, and more importantly brain storm ways to prevent it from reoccurring.

Our people would push back with, “Look, we’ve solve the problem can’t we just move on!” or “Don’t worry about it! it’s all taken care of!” Like all we were interested in was moving on and quickly getting by the  problem. But neither one of these responses makes the problem less likely to reoccur. The door is still open for an expensive and painful encore in the future.

Philosophically, we, as owners and leaders, took the position that preventing a reoccurrence was more important that the quick fix, brushing it under the rug, or washing our hands of the problem. It’s going to come back! And if you don’t take it seriously, it will damage your business.

So, what can you do? One way is to be proactive, and not reactive. In other words, anticipate a misunderstanding, glitch, or foul up before it occurs. Don’t just wait for it to show its ugly head again. Take steps to prevent it in advance.

For example, establish and use crosschecks. Get into the habit of doublechecking your work before it goes live. And set up other crosschecks, like putting another set of eyes on it, to prevent it from happening again.

And once you have set up the procedures, use them! We would require a rewrite of a procedure. If that didn’t work, we would require a check list. If that didn’t work, we would require a sign off sheet. If that didn’t work we would send out a pink termination notice.

When you act reactively instead of proactively you are sending a message to your boss that says, “I really don’t care about this job, I just need the money!” Show your boss and your customers that you do care. Act proactively to improve their experience by voluntarily developing new procedures that reduce the likely hood of reoccurrence and follow the procedures you do have in place that will prevent new mistakes before they happen.

Because we were such sticklers for proactive prevention, one of our people complained, “You guys are trying to make everything idiot proof! To which we responded, “No we’re not, we are just trying to make things idiot resistant!” to which he retorted, “But even now, as we sit here , trying to make things idiot resistant, they’re building a better idiot!”

And, it’s because of the better idiot that proactive people will always be indispensable and never run out of work!  It is also why companies with proactive people will have the best practices and succeed in spite of the “better idiots”!

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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Russian Students Visit the Russian River! https://thebarefootspirit.com/russian-students-visit-the-russian-river/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/russian-students-visit-the-russian-river/#respond Thu, 25 Apr 2019 17:00:58 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=15951 We recently had the honor of hosting 40 graduate entrepreneurship students from Skolkovo Moscow School of Management. They were here to tour Silicon Valley and gain knowledge from the shrines of American Entrepreneurship. At the end of their tech tour, we invited them up to the Russian River wine country. Here they enjoyed some time […]

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Russian StudentsWe recently had the honor of hosting 40 graduate entrepreneurship students from Skolkovo Moscow School of Management. They were here to tour Silicon Valley and gain knowledge from the shrines of American Entrepreneurship. At the end of their tech tour, we invited them up to the Russian River wine country. Here they enjoyed some time in nature, a few talks on entrepreneurship, an outdoor luncheon, a history lesson about grapes and wine in Sonoma County, and yes, a wine tasting.

Skolkovo is one of the top universities in the world and is associated with MIT. The students were in their 30s and many already had their own businesses. Others were either considering the prospects or just wanted a better understanding.

Introducing the Russian Students to Soft Skills

We knew they had seen a lot and heard a lot about hard tech in the Valley. Between the VCs and the auspicious examples of technical success, we figured they might appreciate a more natural environment and a talk on something entirely different, so we presented them with our course on “How Soft Skills Earn Hard Cash.”

We decided to take them through the three basic soft skills (Appreciation, Acknowledgement, and Communication), and how they apply to the three basic business relationships (Employees, Vendors, and Buyers).

Although soft skills are not the only thing you need to be a success, their absence can result in expensive and crippling turnover, higher costs, loss of credit, and loss of customers. In other words, there has to be a balance between tech skills and soft skills.

We were impressed with the students and their sincere interest in achieving business success. We started with what we had in common: a desire to have loyal and engaged employees, a need for extended credit and terms, and a need for ongoing and increasing business.

Even with the obvious cultural differences between our societies, business is business and people are people. How folks are treated makes a big difference in their discretionary decisions regarding your company’s products and services. And probably the most important consideration you can give others as a business person is respect for their concerns.

If they are employed by you, do you have their interests at heart?

Do you demonstrate it? For instance, can employees enhance their careers with your company? Do they get the compensation, recognition, education, security, and the time with their family they need to remain loyal?

If they are your vendor, do you treat their salespeople with respect?

Do you call in advance of a late payment with a plan to bring your account current? Do you consider a long-term contract so they can feel confident extending the terms and credit you need to grow your business?

If they are your buyer, do you service what you sell?

Do you honor your warranties? Do you provide the kind of support they need to stay with you, increase their purchases, and promote your products? Do you understand and address every level of buyer from your warehouse to your ultimate consumer so your products will move freely through the channels?

All of this really comes down to putting yourself in the other guy’s shoes. Know what they want, and get what you want by giving them what they want first. In other words, as our friend Ivan Misner likes to say, “Take off the bib and put on the apron!” Or, as we like to say, “If you are going to be a jerk, get out your wallet! It’s going to cost you more.”

These lessons are international and timeless. Anyone with a great idea that can change the world will have a much easier time doing so by practicing these soft skills. They can make the critical difference between success and failure.

When we first got into business, we thought that our product was so good, that it would sell itself (Gold Medal winners under $6). We couldn’t understand why the world wasn’t knocking out windows and kicking down doors to get to us. It cost us plenty of time, money, and anguish to finally learn and master these essential skills, which, ultimately, resulted in our major success.

We were thrilled to be able to share the practical benefits of soft skills in business with the impressive students of Skolkovo.  We wish them the best in their own businesses and hope they will return for  another visit to their “Outdoor Classroom in the Wine Country!”  Надеюсь увидеть тебя снова в ближайшее время!

 

 

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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It’s Official, Time in Nature Reduces Stress https://thebarefootspirit.com/its-official-time-in-nature-reduces-stress/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/its-official-time-in-nature-reduces-stress/#respond Thu, 18 Apr 2019 23:16:03 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=15943 We’ve know it all our lives. When we get stressed, we go outside and take a walk in nature. We even put a ton of time, money, and energy into restoring a creek near our home by removing truckloads of garbage and invasive species. We invite our friends, neighbors, students, and clients to take a […]

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We’ve know it all our lives. When we get stressed, we go outside and take a walk in nature. We even put a ton of time, money, and energy into restoring a creek near our home by removing truckloads of garbage and invasive species. We invite our friends, neighbors, students, and clients to take a walk on what we call our Nature Trail. Why? Because we know it is calming, centering, and well, just plain improves your outlook.

But up till now, we have only had antidotal evidence that walks in nature actually reduce stress. Now, a new scientific study by the University of Michigan finally confirms that time in nature, they call a “Nature Pill”, actually reduces cortisol, a leading stress hormone. Their findings were recently published in Frontiers in Psychology.

They asked a group of adults to spend 10 minutes or more sitting or walking in nature three times a week for eight months. Then, once every two weeks, the scientists took saliva samples to measure levels of cortisol before and after the nature experience.

According to Mary Carol Hunter, the study’s lead author, “(The) participants were free to choose the time of day, duration, and the place of the nature experience, which was defined as anywhere outside that, in the opinion of the participant, made them feel like they’ve interacted with nature.”

Interestingly, they were told to avoid factors know to influence stress like the use of social media, Internet, phone calls, conversations, and reading while taking their “nature pill.” In other words, just be presentin nature for 10 minutes or more!

Our business cards say that we are “Advisors, Speakers, and Hikers.” We spend as much time as possible in nature. And when we’re hiking along, we often see other folks walking the trails but not really interacting with nature. Instead, they’re totally engrossed in their devices, staring into space texting or chatting it up instead of appreciating the beauty that surrounds them. We appreciate the Michigan team for eliminating this obvious source of stress from their study.

According to Hunter, “Our study shows that for the greatest pay off, in terms of efficiently lowering levels of the stress hormone, you should spend 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking in a place that provides you with a sense of nature.” She goes on to add, “This will allow customized nature pill prescriptions, as well as a deeper insight on how to design cities and well-being programs for the public.”

We love the idea of taking a “nature pill.” Just imagine eliminating all the pharmaceutical prescriptions that try to reduce our stress! Maybe we should all just put down our devises for 20 minutes a day and get back in touch with our natural roots as human beings on this wonderful planet and let nature do her magic.

This is just one more (official) reason to save our environment and make nature once again a part of our lives!  See you out on the trail … without your phone!

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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Some Cultures View Soft Skills as a Sign of Weakness https://thebarefootspirit.com/some-cultures-view-soft-skills-as-a-sign-of-weakness/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/some-cultures-view-soft-skills-as-a-sign-of-weakness/#respond Thu, 11 Apr 2019 17:00:01 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=15914 We often invite international Entrepreneurship Master’s students to our home in the wine country. We want to give them a break from the steel and glass buildings on the campuses they tour in Silicon Valley. They come from all over the world to pay homage to the great Technopreneurship successes of our time. After touring […]

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soft skillsWe often invite international Entrepreneurship Master’s students to our home in the wine country. We want to give them a break from the steel and glass buildings on the campuses they tour in Silicon Valley. They come from all over the world to pay homage to the great Technopreneurship successes of our time. After touring Google, Facebook, Twitter, and others, and after being dazzled by technology and lectured by VCs, they get to put their feet on the ground – literally. We take them to what we call “Your Outdoor Classroom in the Wine Country.”

Instead of steel, glass and concrete, we offer grassy meadows, creeks, oaks and redwoods next to a vineyard in the Russian River Valley. Instead of tech talk, engineering, VCs, and unicorns, we offer soft skill approaches to the three critical business relationships: employees, vendors, and buyers.

We sit them down in a natural setting and engage them in a discussion of how to use soft skills to earn hard cash. It is, after all, through soft skills that we are able to attract, train, and keep the best people. It is through soft skills that we are able to establish extended credit and terms. And it is through soft skills that we are able to make sales and achieve loyal customers.

But some students come from cultures that view soft skills as some kind of weakness, like actually being soft and weak.

They may come from cultures that are relatively new to entrepreneurship. For instance, they themselves may have good reasons for not trusting their governments or businesses. They may view monopoly, brute strength, amassed wealth, or coercion as the primary tools used to achieve entrepreneurial success.

Of course, the problem with that type of thinking is that it reduces the opportunities for entrepreneurship unless of course, you are in the moneyed class. When nobody trusts you, you can easily suffer from high turnover, lack of staff engagement, and having to spend too much of that money because you are less likely to secure beneficial credit and terms.

Hence the fascination with the West. Our business culture is based on trust! And the foundation of trust is compassion. “Does the person I’m doing business with understand, care,  and acknowledge my challenges? Do they communicate with me in ways that make me feel comfortable taking a risk with them?” These are the questions that, if answered in the affirmative by your employees, vendors, and buyers, can significantly reduce your need for capital and dramatically increase your bottom line.

A business culture based on trust is not weak!

Its strength is based on mutual benefit and the proliferation of entrepreneurship, not just “old money.” That proliferation results in more breakthroughs that reduce costs and raise everyone’s standard of living. Most of the jobs in the US are with small entrepreneurs.

We draw a distinction between engineering on the one hand, which is based on the laws of physics and hard science,  and negotiation on the other, which is based on mutual benefit and soft skills. A good negotiator discovers win-win situations and efficient solutions, which displays anything but weakness. On the contrary, it demonstrates a transcendent strength that turns competition into cooperation.

Cultures that are relatively new at entrepreneurship are sending their students to the US to see what makes us tick and why our form of entrepreneurship works. We hope to share these underpinnings of soft skills and their impact on the trust that promotes credit, terms, loyalty, and reduces the need for capital. We hope to demonstrate how soft skills earn hard cash!

Perhaps they will take home some of these soft skill seeds and plant in their own back yard. And perhaps they will blossom into more opportunities for more of their own people! Soft skills are strong skills!

 

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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Entrepreneur – ReGrained Markets Food Made From Upcycled Brewery ‘Spent’ Grain https://thebarefootspirit.com/entrepreneur-regrained-markets-food-made-from-upcycled-brewery-spent-grain/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/entrepreneur-regrained-markets-food-made-from-upcycled-brewery-spent-grain/#respond Sun, 07 Apr 2019 21:32:33 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=15894 Last month at O’Hare International in Chicago, we were waiting at the gate for our flight back to San Francisco. We thought we’d use the time to discuss our upcoming article on entrepreneurship. We were looking for another example of an entrepreneur who is demonstrating a new way to make a deposit by making a […]

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Entrepreneur startups and cost of sales

Last month at O’Hare International in Chicago, we were waiting at the gate for our flight back to San Francisco. We thought we’d use the time to discuss our upcoming article on entrepreneurship. We were looking for another example of an entrepreneur who is demonstrating a new way to make a deposit by making a difference.

We must have been getting a little excited about our favorite subject because suddenly, a young man who was working feverishly on his computer overheard us, stopped, looked up and said, “I’m an entrepreneur!”

When we asked him about his business, we were immediately drawn into an exciting conversation. This young entrepreneur had figured out a practical way to take the spent grains used in beer brewing and market them as healthy and delicious foods! Wow! Like, “Eat your beer!”

To read the complete article, please visit Entrepreneur 

 

 

 

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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