The Barefoot Spirit https://thebarefootspirit.com Founders of Barefoot, a Top Global Brand New York Times Bestselling Authors International Keynote Speakers, Entrepreneurial Coaches. Thu, 11 Feb 2021 17:24:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Last Post for The Barefoot Spirit https://thebarefootspirit.com/last-post-for-the-barefoot-spirit/ Thu, 11 Feb 2021 18:00:45 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=17677 We have been writing weekly posts for The Barefoot Spirit since 2011, ten years. And in that decade we have been sharing our hard-learned business lessons in hopes of saving you the pain we went through. 500 Articles In the process, we have written over 500 articles that will continue to reside on our website. […]

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We have been writing weekly posts for The Barefoot Spirit since 2011, ten years. And in that decade we have been sharing our hard-learned business lessons in hopes of saving you the pain we went through.

500 Articles

In the process, we have written over 500 articles that will continue to reside on our website. They cover everything from starting a business to growing a business, and from expanding a business to being acquired. They cover leadership, company culture, and decision making. And they cover how to be resourceful, how to get strategic allies, and how to engage your community and create loyal customers.

Free Education

We had a simultaneous 10-year speaking career and used many of the questions we got from students, entrepreneurs and wantrepreneurs all over the world as the subjects for our articles. Our articles have addressed the main questions most people have about business and business challenges. We invite you to peruse the hundreds of articles on www.thebarefootspirit.comto get a free education from folks who have actually done it.

Street Language

We tried to avoid all the new academic buzz words and latest thought leader terms for concepts that have been around for decades, and instead presented universal guiding principles for success in straight-forward, down-to-earth street language. Probably our greatest compliment came from a student of entrepreneurship who said, “You guys make it sound doable!”

Experience in Demand

And it is doable, and doable faster if you have the experience of those who have done it on your side. Lately, due to massive unemployment caused by the pandemic, and so many folks rethinking their livelihoods, we have seen a big jump in new business and a corresponding increased demand for our advisory services. We, too, are transitioning our efforts, to now concentrate on our clients as we continue to provide the principles, pointers, and insights we have been posting.

No More Newsletters

We will continue to write articles for the business press and appear as guests in the various forms of business media. The Barefoot Spirit website will continue to host our articles, interviews, and business resources. We just won’t be sending them out in a weekly newsletters going forward.

Use the Site

As you know, time is our most valuable commodity and we will be devoting ours to our clients. Meanwhile, if you have a question about business, enter it into the search bar on our site and you will be surprised at how many helpful articles pop up!

Thank You!

We want to thank all of those who have taken the time over the years to send us notes of appreciation about how our articles have helped their businesses and their understanding of business altogether. Thank you for your encouragement!

Surf’s Up!

We are embarking on a new era of entrepreneurship where the demand for new businesses is outstripping the supply of entrepreneurs. There has never been a better time to go into business especially if you address the issues of health, climate, and safety that seem to be cresting into a giant wave of opportunity for those who are willing to ride it. Surf’s UP! Please use our resources to help you stand up and give the world what it needs!

That’s All Folks!  Cheers! M&B

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 Value of Experience https://thebarefootspirit.com/the-value-of-experience/ Thu, 04 Feb 2021 18:00:49 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=17672 One of the main reasons we were successful building the Barefoot Wine brand is that we were smart enough to know that we were not smart enough in many areas. In those areas, we would hire an expert. Those areas included finance, taxes, compliance, the industry itself, chain store sales, winemaking, wine marketing, bottling, and […]

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One of the main reasons we were successful building the Barefoot Wine brand is that we were smart enough to know that we were not smart enough in many areas. In those areas, we would hire an expert. Those areas included finance, taxes, compliance, the industry itself, chain store sales, winemaking, wine marketing, bottling, and production, just to name a few. If it sounds like we used experts in most areas, we did! And in many areas we should have hired them sooner!

Insurance Is Wisdom

We didn’t look at our investment in experts as a cost. We looked at it as an insurance policy. Why make and pay for the mistakes we surely would make when we could avoid them for a fraction of the cost? In retrospect, we would have succeeded much sooner, with less cost, time, and anxiety, with even more advise.

Humility Is Strength   

It’s OK to not know it all. In fact, it’s the best attitude to have when you are in business. Just a little advice from the right person at the right time can make the difference between success and failure. Oh, don’t worry, we made plenty of mistakes anyway, and so will you. But it was through some of our missteps that we wound up disrupting the industry (but that’s another story).

Don’t Take It Personally

Today, the shoe is on the other foot (so to speak). We are the advisers and our clients are the entrepreneurs. One of the first things we look for in a client is “Will they take advise?” It certainly doesn’t do our reputation any good if they don’t take our advice, or if they “know it all.” Some folks take outside advise “personal.” They somehow think that their approach is being threatened and therefore they are being threatened. Others may think they should know it all since they are the “leader.”

History Teaches Lessons

Neither is true. Experience is based on history in a similar set of circumstances that is relevant to a current challenge. Without the expert advice, you will surely discover the realities and lessons from those circumstances in time anyway. But that’s time and money needlessly spent. But why discover the solutions the hard way when you can save all that time and money and succeed faster with expert advice?

Fake Experts

Just because someone comes up with a new term for an old concept, writes a book on it, hits the speaking circuit, and becomes a so-called “thought leader” doesn’t mean they have real life personal, and painful, experience. Look for the experts who have taken some phaser fire and maybe a photon torpedo or two. Talk to their clients and learn their story.

Succeeding Faster

As mentioned, we are advisors today. We save our clients the pain that we went through. We give them the benefit of our advice. They would likely succeed anyway, but with our help they will succeed faster.

Winning Strategy

It’s not just the game we learned how to play, it’s the strategy behind the game that results in a “win.” That strategy is a nuanced set of priorities and initiatives that can be the recipe for more efficient progress toward the ultimate end game.

The Big Check

Another thing we look for in our clients is their reason for going into business in the first place. We look for clients who are clear about monetizing their brand equity. In other words, clients who realize the end game is selling their business someday. In fact, they are looking for what we call, “The BIG check,” the one their acquirer will write them for their brand equity!

Experience Counts!

Those are the clients we can really help because the way to keep your records and the decisions you make during the growth process can make all the difference in getting your peanut in front of that elephant …and having them take it! Having been through the business journey from inception to monetization with a world-wide business, we have the experience that can get you to where you want to be – faster!

Need Experience on your side? Book a meeting with us now!

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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Business, Not Government, Will Enforce the Widespread Use of the Vaccine https://thebarefootspirit.com/business-not-government-will-enforce-the-widespread-use-of-the-vaccine/ Thu, 28 Jan 2021 18:00:22 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=17668 Now that the vaccines have been miraculously created in less than a year from the introduction of the virus, the question is: “Will they take it?” What happens if half the people refuse to take the vaccine? Will there ever be the “herd” immunity where the virus dies out because it can’t get a grip? […]

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Now that the vaccines have been miraculously created in less than a year from the introduction of the virus, the question is: “Will they take it?” What happens if half the people refuse to take the vaccine? Will there ever be the “herd” immunity where the virus dies out because it can’t get a grip?

Entertainment

The entertainment and travel businesses are hurt the most by a pandemic. Restaurants, bars, airlines, cruise lines, busses, trains, cinemas, live theaters, concerts, and sports events are the ones folks miss the most during the lockdowns. Those are the businesses we can’t wait to get back to. These are the fun businesses that provide more than service. They provide fun and entertainment! And that has been sorely lacking for way too long.

Market Forces

We submit that these worries will be satisfied, not by the governments’ orders, but by the businesses them selves! Businesses have to protect themselves to keep their staff and their customers. They know all too well the effects of a lockdown. They also have to protect their reputations. Businesses can’t afford to be seen as super spreaders or virus hubs. That would discourage customers! They also have to mitigate their risks from being sued for not taking adequate preventative steps.

Left Out!

But now what happens when the vaccine is widespread enough that only the folks who refuse to take it remain unvaccinated? They could be left out, literally! They could be refused access unless they show their vaccination card to board a plane, ship, or train, or to enter a restaurant, theater, bar, stadium, auditorium, or an opera house.

A New Consideration

So now the folks who are vaccine skeptical will have a new consideration: To be or not to be a part of a re-socialized society. This may be a much stronger argument to get the vaccines than preference, skepticism, or even a mandated order.

Do you want to fly to Hawaii …or New York? Do you want to eat in a fine restaurant? Do you want to go to the game? How about the movies? You are going to need your vaccination card! Businesses have every right to protect themselves, their liability, their staff, their customers and clients, and their reputation. Like the sign says:

“NO SHOES, NO SHIRT, NO VACCINE, NO SERVICE!”

Let’s Do It!

We hope each and every one of you gets your vaccine so we can eliminate this scourge from our lives. We all want to get back to business swiftly and safely! Once that is done, then we can all go out to dinner and a movie to celebrate!

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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Back to Truth, Competence, and Common Causes https://thebarefootspirit.com/back-to-truth-competence-and-common-causes/ Thu, 21 Jan 2021 18:00:47 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=17663 We took the day off on the 20th of January to witness the Inauguration. We were thrilled to hear the commitment from the new administration to focus on truth and common causes. We were especially relieved to hear that the distribution of the vaccines is on the top of the huge pile of work to […]

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We took the day off on the 20th of January to witness the Inauguration. We were thrilled to hear the commitment from the new administration to focus on truth and common causes. We were especially relieved to hear that the distribution of the vaccines is on the top of the huge pile of work to be done!

Top Priority

In term of business, defeating the virus is the most important challenge that we as a nation must overcome to get businesses back up and running again. It is clearly the top priority for our economy, as well as our health.

Our Experience

As product producers, we know the many obstacles to getting our product on the shelves of every store in every state. Even with a professional distribution system, the task is fraught with unforeseen challenges.  There’s timing, weather, storage space, paperwork, and human error issues that can result in the product never getting to its end users.

Vigilance

Decisions are made daily to circumvent these challenges – decisions made by professional distribution managers who have years of experience. Now imagine what would happen if the producers simply dumped their products in a warehouse and told the states to handle the rest.

The Hardest Part

In distribution, it’s the last few hundred miles where most of the problems occur. The shipments get smaller, the destinations multiply, and every handler must perform effectively until the product gets to your store in your neighborhood. It is now clear that distribution is where the breakdown has occurred under the past administration’s attempt to supply us with the vaccine.

Production Alone Fails

Without a doubt, the last administration botched the job. They somehow thought if the vaccine were produced and shipped to the states, that their job was over. Did they imagine that somehow (magically) it would get into peoples’ arms with an already assembled army of vaccine administrators all lined up in predetermined vaccine centers that everybody knew about? This distribution plan not only didn’t exist, but the administration refused to take responsibility for vaccinating the nation (i.e., getting it into your arm!). They fumbled the ball in the last 20 yards!

Competency Returns

This inauguration has renewed our faith for a competent vaccine distribution system to be established. The federal government will be committed to working with the states to ensure distribution – all the way into your arm! What a relief to most Americans and all American businesses!

Common Cause   

America is united in winning the battle against this virus. We all know that the only way to defeat the virus and get our businesses (and our jobs) back is through national (and ultimately world-wide) vaccination. This is now the #1 priority of the entire country. Let’s all work together to get this formidable job done! So, roll up your sleeves and get to work so we all can roll up our sleeves and get the vaccine.

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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Violence is Bad for Business. Private Corporations React to Inciting the Mob https://thebarefootspirit.com/violence-is-bad-for-business-private-corporations-react-to-inciting-the-mob/ Thu, 14 Jan 2021 18:00:23 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=17655 Business requires a stable playing field to prosper. They can’t risk having their customers questioning their ethics or their commitment to the democratic process. But that’s exactly what just happened with several large corporations and several large social media platforms. The events of January 6th put these Big Boys on the spot. Were they inadvertently […]

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Business requires a stable playing field to prosper. They can’t risk having their customers questioning their ethics or their commitment to the democratic process. But that’s exactly what just happened with several large corporations and several large social media platforms. The events of January 6th put these Big Boys on the spot. Were they inadvertently sponsoring violence?

Would that question hurt those big companies? And for social media providers, would that question hurt advertising and result in more controls on their platforms? Many evidently couldn’t wait to find out. They had to get out in front of the problem. So several large, well-known companies immediately ceased political donations and several large social media providers finally enforced their stated rules of not “broadcasting” untruths or incitement to violence.

21st Century Elba

Today, being permanently banished from Twitter and other social media is like what happened to Napoleon in 1814 when he was permanently banished to the island of Elba. Interestingly, in the 21st Century, this was not done by any government, but by private industry seeking to protect their own business!

Today, social media providers make money on the traffic. They argue that they are simply a communications platform and cannot be held responsible for the posts of their users. And sure, they waive the 1st Amendment around. But the vast majority of their customers didn’t see it that way. They saw what occurred and asked, “How could this happen? Was the platform itself enabling misinformation and violence by allowing it to be spread?”

Guilt by Association

There’s a good reason Napoleon was banished to Elba; it was to isolate and muzzle him. There’s a good reason why social media has and will continue to tag misinformation and banish abusers who misinform others and incite violence; it is to isolate and muzzle them.

In the long run, abusers are simply bad for business! Would you advertise or purchase goods and services from a company that appears to condone violence? It’s notably regrettable that both the big corporate donors and the social media platforms did not take action sooner, before, however inadvertently, they were associated with the way their donations and social media services were used.

So now we are witnessing one more check and balance we enjoy that’s not in the constitution. It’s in the marketplace!

Market Forces to the Rescue

This action by the private sector certainly puts their users and beneficiaries on notice. You can lose your funding and be banished from social media if you promote falsehoods and incite violence. The private sector can choose to do business with whomever they please and under the conditions and rules they demand. “No shoes, no shirt, no service!”

Addiction

Unfortunately, too many people have become strung out on social media. Not only did social media allow communication between the insurrectionists, but it was a repository for their documentary images designed to get clicks, “likes”, comments, and shares – even if it was illegal, even if it was violent!

Notice how the January 6th rioters were preoccupied with selfies and shocking images of disrespect, defamation, and entitlement. They evidently felt that posting the riot was going to give them the affirmation, the validation, and the endorphins they crave.

A Bridge Too Far

This was obviously a bridge too far.  We are very disappointed with the way social media has gotten out of control. People are getting hurt, and our institutions have been damaged. There evidently needs to be a whole lot more control over how social media is used with a healthy respect for its addicting nature.

As businesspeople and business promoters, we are proud that the marketplace itself exerts a balancing force to counteract this kind misinformation and violence. We hope that customers will overwhelmingly continue to avoid businesses that advertently or inadvertently enable misinformation and violence.

Each time we give our time, attention, or money to a company, we are sponsoring and voting for what that company stands for. Every vote counts. What sort of conduct are you supporting?

 

 

 

 

 

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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World-Class Performer Interview – Michael Houlihan https://thebarefootspirit.com/world-class-performer-interview-michael-houlihan/ Fri, 08 Jan 2021 17:46:20 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=17640 Read a recent interview on World Class Performer with Michael Houlihan below: Michael Houlihan is a leading business strategist, keynote speaker, consultant, and corporate trainer. He was the founder, president, and CEO of Barefoot Wines and is co-founder of Business Audio Theatre. Houlihan is also a C-Suite Network member and trusted advisor and the author […]

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Read a recent interview on World Class Performer with Michael Houlihan below:

Michael Houlihan is a leading business strategist, keynote speaker, consultant, and corporate trainer. He was the founder, president, and CEO of Barefoot Wines and is co-founder of Business Audio Theatre. Houlihan is also a C-Suite Network member and trusted advisor and the author of the bestselling business book The Barefoot Spirit.

Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?

I grew up in Oakland and attended catholic schools. I got a great education for the times. I had one sister and two brothers. I was #2. Oakland, even then, was gritty. You had to know how to behave. You had to be a homie. I walked home past a junior high school that had bigger kids because they went to the 9th grade and our school only went to the 8th. Plus we had to wear catholic school uniforms, so we were walking targets in east Oakland. One Christmas I got a new basketball. The next Saturday I took it to the playground at the Junior High school where the kids were bigger and more aggressive. They all wanted to play with my new basketball, but I told them that I was forming a team and only wanted the biggest guys on my team. The next week I was walking home and got jumped by several kids from the junior high. As they were threatening me, I mentioned that Reggie, Eddie, Tyrone, and Elron were on my team. They backed off, helped me up, and dusted me off. They just said “Hi” after that. Lesson: There’s more than one way to do things, find strategic allies that you can help and can help you. And yes we won all the games!

To read the complete interview, please visit the World-Class Performer 

 

 

 

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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How We Went from Wine to Business Audio Theatre https://thebarefootspirit.com/how-we-went-from-wine-to-business-audio-theatre/ Thu, 07 Jan 2021 18:02:13 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=17632 They say California has three world-class exports: Hollywood, Technology and Wine. This is the story of how we wound up combining all three! After we sold Barefoot Wine our acquirer asked us to help them keep, as they put it, “the Barefoot Spirit” alive at their giant company. We worked for them for a year […]

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They say California has three world-class exports: Hollywood, Technology and Wine. This is the story of how we wound up combining all three!

After we sold Barefoot Wine our acquirer asked us to help them keep, as they put it, “the Barefoot Spirit” alive at their giant company. We worked for them for a year to do just that. Since then, they have made it the world’s largest wine brand! We were happy to help out and in the process we learned quite a bit about large companies.

By Popular Demand

Over the next few years we worked as advisors to start-ups and build-ups to give them the advantage of our hard earned experience. During that time we got numerous requests from our former employees, vendors, and customers saying, “You guys got to write a book about you approach to business!”

A Fizzled Attempt

So we set about collecting our notes and wrote our first business book. It was organized the way most business books have been presented for the past twenty-five years. You know, “The three things you got to do, the five things to never do, and the seven things you customer wants from you.” It was so prescriptive and boring that we threw it directly in the trash! Who was going to remember the three things anyway?

Delegate

Then one day, on a flight to New York, Bonnie busted out loud laughing. She realized she was making a scene. She held up the book she was reading, pointed to it, covered her mouth, and said quietly, “You’ve got to read this! This is our new author!” One of the principles we preach is “Know what you do best and delegate the rest!”

So we hired Rick Kushman, a celebrated journalist from Stanford who was a food and beverage columnist for the Sacramento Bee, author, and radio and television personality. And, most importantly, shared our sense of humor.

100 Bottles of Wine

For a little over a year, Rick made the 90-mile commute to our place on Tuesdays and returned home on Wednesdays. Over 60 dinners and even more bottles of wine, we told Rick our story of how we built the Barefoot Wine brand. After some serious editing we finally published The Barefoot Spirit, named after the term our acquirer used to describe the spirit, approach, and culture we had at Barefoot that made the brand so popular with consumers, retailers, and distributors.

NYT’s Best Seller

We were thrilled when our book became a New York Times Best Seller in the Business category! In the months and years after that, we traveled the world and spoke to more than 60 schools of entrepreneurship from Dublin to Melbourne.  In addition to keynote speakers, we became known as business thought leaders, resulting in hundreds of our articles being published in international business publications.

Buds

One day, about 4 years back, we noticed that half of the audience coming in to hear us speak was wearing earbuds. So, we asked them what they were listening to, “Was it rock, hip hop, or jazz?” One said. “No, it’s a podcast on how to improve my business” and someone else said “I’m listening to War and Peace! It’s so long and I’ve always wanted to read it. But now I can listen anytime I want!”  Wow!

Game Changer = Our Audiobook

We thought, “If that’s what’s happening now, we should convert ‘The Barefoot Spirit’ into an audiobook to reach a wider audience.” So we bought the top 10 business audiobooks and gave them a listen. Most were done in the prescriptive text format, and all were just read to you.

We certainly got a lot out of each and every one and we enjoyed the mobility, but strict narration, even by a celebrity, seemed somehow single dimensional. We wanted something that was more fun and engaging, something people would remember and apply in their own businesses.

Flash from The Past

It was then that we happened to be crossing the Arizona dessert between speaking events when over the radio comes APR’s A Prairie Home Companion doing a 1945-style radio theatre, Guy Noir, Private Eye, with actors, sound effects, and music! We loved it!

Hollywood

We knew then what we had to do to make our audiobook stand out, but where would we find the professional actors, sound people, editors and musical score writers who could accommodate us? Welcome to Hollywood! Our dear friend Ryan Foland, the Communications Specialist at UC Irvine, introduced us to Matt Weinglass (of all names), the Director of Sherwood Players, an award-winning indie film production company.

The “Audies”

We knew that several works of fiction had been performed in audiobooks using a fully-casted ensemble, but to our experience it was yet to be done for a business audiobook. One year, and a ton of lessons later, we published The Barefoot Spirit audiobook. It was recognized as one of the top five business audiobooks for 2020 by the Audiobook Publishers Association! We went to NYC again in February 2020, this time to collect our medal at the “Audies.”

Other Founder’s Stories

After receiving tons of press in the business journals and 5-star ratings on Amazon, we knew we had hit on something new in the business world! We wanted to share this new approach with other founders who wanted to keep their story alive, entertain and engage their people, and build their brands with an even wider audience. Having been through it, we had first-hand knowledge of exactly how to (and how not to) produce a fully casted business audiobook.

Common Principles

The idea of saving and performing other founder’s stories especially appeals to us because we had met so many of them on the speaking circuit and found we had so much in common. At one level, most successful founders subscribed to the same business principles even though they are applied in vastly different industries. We find that a fascinating and necessary lesson for students, wantrepreneurs, and folks trying to grow their businesses.

Technology Wins the Day

Oh, and about the technology – none of this could be possible without MP3 and other recently developed editing and recording technologies that enables, among other things, remote and Covid-safe production. So there you have it, Hollywood, Wine, and Technology!  Now, let us make your legacy memorable using our proven formula and Business Audio Theatre. Cheers!

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 Re-United States of America https://thebarefootspirit.com/the-re-united-states-of-america/ Thu, 31 Dec 2020 18:00:32 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=17628 One of the most difficult challenges we face as Americans is to reunite the country after an extended period of acrimony. That divisiveness is threatening our collective security and our economy. While we have been busy blaming each other, our rivals have been taking advantage of us and the virus is running ramped. Obviously, hyperboles […]

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One of the most difficult challenges we face as Americans is to reunite the country after an extended period of acrimony. That divisiveness is threatening our collective security and our economy. While we have been busy blaming each other, our rivals have been taking advantage of us and the virus is running ramped. Obviously, hyperboles on both sides are grossly over-generalized, over-retweeted exaggerations that have us focusing on our differences rather that what we share in common.

Common Ground

It’s easy to forget that both sides live in the same country, on the same piece of real estate, and have one of the highest standards of living in the world. We are the envy of the world and there are those who would love to take it away from us… all of us, regardless of what “side” you are on.

Distracted and Mugged!   

It’s easy to take our standard of living for granted while we argue with each other. No wonder our adversaries want to amplify any divisiveness on our social media! We’ve been hacked in more ways than one. They have taken advantage of our freedom of speech to “shout fire in a crowded theater!” And what’s more important is that they have tapped into our pride, anger, and emotions …while they are mugging us. They really don’t care who wins our arguments, they just want us to continue arguing, so we won’t notice that both sides are being mugged.

Short Sighted

Controversy sells advertising. Each side picks their media of choice and follows it loyally which is what the media needs to sell ads. The problem is that this approach is short-sighted and self-defeating as it ultimately hurts the very economy that supports the products they are trying to sell!

Watch Out!

So as we approach the New Year, it is to the advantage of both sides to protect our collective self-interests by focusing on what we both have to lose. The county itself, after all, wouldn’t be here without a common enemy, a common concern, and a common resolve. Now is the time to refocus on our common priorities: the virus, the hacks, environmental catastrophes, and the disruption of international supply chain. We have common concerns that are more important than our differences. Our adversaries know it. Shouldn’t we?

Do’s and Don’ts for a Re-United States of America

Do Focus on Our Common Concerns.

  • Discuss and support the vaccine efforts. (Most Americans, regardless of politics, realize that the vaccine is the ultimate response to the virus.)
  • Discuss and support the need for heightened cyber security. (Again, most Americans will agree that this is a priority.)
  • Discuss and support the need for employment, security, and mitigation of climate disasters. (Few will argue about these.)

Don’t Insult or Denigrate Your Fellow Countrymen.

  • Resist the urge to say, “I told you so” if your position appears to have been correct. (Offending their pride will further divide.)
  • Resist the urge to lay blame. (Focus on taking it from here forward.)
  • Don’t hold a grudge. (Request their help to solve common concerns and common threats.)

First, Put Out the Fire!

We’re sure there’s a lot more we can all do to work together to unite our country again. But these may be a good place to start. Let’s work together to put out the fire in our own house! After all, we will have nothing to argue about if it burns down!

We wish you a very happy, safe, and peaceful New Year and a re-United States of America focused on what we all have in common!

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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How to Turn Your Customers Into Advocates (even during a pandemic) https://thebarefootspirit.com/how-to-turn-your-customers-into-advocates-even-during-a-pandemic/ Wed, 30 Dec 2020 18:00:48 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=17625 The pandemic has resulted in many businesses closing. Many are hanging on by a thread. Others have been turned upside down. And many more have lost customers and sales. What can you do about it? Some may advise you to advertise more. That can be effective. But there is a form of advertising is the […]

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The pandemic has resulted in many businesses closing. Many are hanging on by a thread. Others have been turned upside down. And many more have lost customers and sales. What can you do about it?

Some may advise you to advertise more. That can be effective. But there is a form of advertising is the most effective in these uncertain times, a form of advertising that folks are looking for right now: Quality. That’s right. Quality.

Tough times require longevity

People want to get the most for their money right now. They don’t know if or when they will get more. If they are going to part with their precious savings, it better to be for a quality product. They can’t really afford to buy disposable products that need regular replacement. Now they need products that will last, services that over-deliver, and brands that guarantee performance and longevity.

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.

The post How to Turn Your Customers Into Advocates (even during a pandemic) appeared first on The Barefoot Spirit.

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Virtual Author Interview https://thebarefootspirit.com/virtual-author-interview/ Mon, 28 Dec 2020 16:09:41 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=17621 M&B were interviewed on the Virtual Author video podcast by host, Paul Page. To watch 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 the Virtual Author video podcast by host, Paul Page. To watch 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.

The post Virtual Author Interview appeared first on The Barefoot Spirit.

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