The Barefoot Spirit https://thebarefootspirit.com Founders of Barefoot, a Top Global Brand New York Times Bestselling Authors International Keynote Speakers, Entrepreneurial Coaches. Wed, 17 Oct 2018 18:01:31 -0700 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 Solve Business Problems with What You Have at Hand https://thebarefootspirit.com/solve-business-problems-with-what-you-have-at-hand/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/solve-business-problems-with-what-you-have-at-hand/#respond Thu, 11 Oct 2018 17:00:59 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=15193 We recently had the opportunity to speak to the Aalto Fellows, a group of the top students from Aalto University in Finland. They were in Silicon Valley for the entrepreneurial tour and we caught up with them at Stanford University. What was most impressive about this group was that it was organized and financed by […]

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We recently had the opportunity to speak to the Aalto Fellows, a group of the top students from Aalto University in Finland. They were in Silicon Valley for the entrepreneurial tour and we caught up with them at Stanford University. What was most impressive about this group was that it was organized and financed by the students themselves! What better way to get a taste of true entrepreneurship?

We knew that by the time we spoke to them they had heard many entrepreneurial stories from some of the top companies in Silicon Valley. We knew that they had heard from many of the entrepreneurial academics about what it takes. And we also knew that they had heard from the VCs who “built” the Valley about what they look for in fundable projects. So, what were we going to tell them that was new and different, valuable and practical, memorable and applicable?

Most of the businesses they visited were wildly successful “unicorns” financed by VCs. They had plenty of assets and resources right from the start. Of course, they had to give up quite a bit of their equity to get their financing in the first place. And, of course, for every unicorn there were 19 failures that nobody ever talks about.

Is it possible to bootstrap your business when you’re under financed? Is that, in itself, a proving ground to learn how to solve business problems without tons of resources? We believe it is. It’s what happened to us and it can happen to anyone.

When you’re undercapitalized and running out of runway, you have no choice but to get creative, and you have no choice but to get resourceful. You must learn quickly how to communicate with your creditors in such a way that they will extend your credit and terms instead of putting you on a cash basis.

Sure, you can be resourceful, use a laundry room for an office and a door for a desk as we did. Sure, you can hire your family and make trades for goods and services as we did. But that only goes so far. Sooner or later you’re going to need some financial help. We found that help in our three key relationships.

  1. Vendors

We looked at our accounts payables, and it didn’t take long to realize that in our business, the glass company had the most at stake. The more wine we sold, the more glass bottles they would get to sell us. That’s right, they would get to sell …and make more money! So they were a natural strategic ally …if we could just convince them that we were trustworthy.

We decided to meet with them on a quarterly basis and share our plans and challenges. We showed empathy for their concern that we would pay our bills on time. When our cash flow projection indicated that we were going to be late, we called them way in advance and alerted them. We offered a payment plan based on our receivables to bring our account current, and we always did!

They felt comfortable extending our credit and terms. They enabled us to expand nationally without having to raise outside funds. This is a clear example of how soft skills can earn you hard cash!

  1. Employees

We looked to our employees to solve problems, develop innovations, and remain excited and loyal to our company. Rather than putting them on a need-to-know basis, we did just the opposite. We put them on a know-the-need basis. We figured they couldn’t help us if they didn’t know what our needs were.

Once we had a serious problem. The good news was that we had been authorized in a giant chain store in Florida. The bad news was that they put us, like all new products, on the bottom shelf (nobody looks down there). The scary news was that if we didn’t sell a hundred cases in 90 days, we would be out of the chain … FOREVER!

One of our people joked and said, “Well, we’re ’Barefoot,’ we’ll just go after the foot traffic!” “HaHa!” we laughed. But then somebody else said, “Wait a minute, that’s not such a crazy idea, why don’t we just put decal footprints down the wine aisle and turn them into our position on the bottom shelf?” We used those footprints all over the country. And that idea came from the receptionist!

  1. Buyers

In our business, our buyers where the distributors and the retailers. The distributors wouldn’t buy unless the retailers would buy. The retailers wouldn’t buy unless their customers would buy. Most VC financed companies would earmark a large chunk of money for advertising to get the word out to bring the customers into the retailer stores.

We had no money for advertising. At first, we were scared that our product wouldn’t move fast enough for the retailers because nobody had ever heard of a brand called “Barefoot.” But then we got a call from a neighborhood group looking for cash donations for kids’ after-school park. We had no money, so we gave them product. We told them we hoped they would use it at their fundraiser and perhaps it would loosen up some checkbooks or they can auction it off for some slides and swings. Sales took off in their neighborhood.

We tried it in another neighborhood. It worked. We tried it in another city. It worked. In fact it worked so well, we took Barefoot Wines across the country without commercial advertising. Because we showed empathy for our customer, we gave them a social reason to buy our products.

Conclusion:

These techniques might not work for everybody. Every business is different. But there is a golden thread that weaves its way through all these examples and you can use it in your business. It can reduce your need for cash. It can reduce turnover and engage and empower your people. And it can bring you the customers you need to achieve a positive cash flow and beyond. That golden thread is empathy. The more you use it, the less money you’ll need!

We’re excited to announce that our new business audio book on this subject is soon to be released.

  • It will be unlike most business books that focus on companies that have a lot of resources. Instead, it will focus on the true story of the building of the Barefoot Wine brand which is a testimony to empathy and resourcefulness.
  • It will be unlike most business books that give you list after list in prescriptive text: the three things to do, the five things to never do, and the seven things your customer wants from you. Instead it, will be a series of stories designed to entertain and educate.
  • And it will be unlike most business audiobooks that have a narrator droning the story in your earbuds. Instead, the characters in the stories will be played by real actors, dramatically bringing the scenes to life as you jog or commute.

If this sounds like fun, you can find out more at www.barefootaudiobook.com

 

 

 

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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3 Overused Tactics of Poor Customer Service https://thebarefootspirit.com/3-overused-tactics-of-poor-customer-service/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/3-overused-tactics-of-poor-customer-service/#respond Wed, 10 Oct 2018 18:00:44 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=15149 We hope it’s an individual and not a company-wide problem. It could be poor hiring or poor training that results in certain counterproductive tactics that account executives and customer service representatives in big companies increasingly use. It seems to occur when companies oversell goods and services and then are unable to adequately service their accounts. The […]

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3 Overused Tactics of Poor Customer ServiceWe hope it’s an individual and not a company-wide problem. It could be poor hiring or poor training that results in certain counterproductive tactics that account executives and customer service representatives in big companies increasingly use.

It seems to occur when companies oversell goods and services and then are unable to adequately service their accounts. The people whose job it is to interface with the customer tend to be harried, overworked, and somewhat confused.

But the message to the customer is clear. “Go away, get off the phone. I don’t have time for you, you’re lucky to get me at all. Accept my excuses and empty promises or you’ll get even less.”

Any startup or buildup company would certainly go out of business if their representatives sent this message by their words, actions, or inactions. It seems like this kind of experience is a growing danger in some buildout and enterprise companies that grew too fast, promised ongoing results, and filled their service jobs quickly but not necessarily with well-trained professionals.

Poor Customer Service Examples

Here are some of the behaviors we have witnessed from a customer standpoint:

1. Missed Deadlines

“Don’t worry. I’ll have that for you tomorrow,” is the usual promise, evidently to get you off the phone. But then tomorrow comes, and the day after, and there is no communication whatsoever. You have to call or send emails day after day until you receive what they promised. The implication is that it’s up to you as the customer to oversee them as the service provider.

This sends an “I don’t care, you’re not important to me” message. This frustrates the customer and makes them wonder why they did business with the company in the first place. But they’ve already bought the service, and now they’re locked in. The representative knows this and so there is no sense of urgency. They’ve got us over the barrel!

2. Blaming Others

“It’s not my fault, the tech people didn’t get back to me.” Or “Well, that’s what I was told.” These same representatives force the customer to go only through them for all interactions with their company. The customer is at the mercy of the representative. The representative can say anything to the customer with no accountability. This is because the customer can’t access the right people in the company to get a satisfactory answer.

“They’ve changed the rules,” is another common excuse. In this scenario, the representative blames a third-party for not being able to deliver what they promised. While it’s true that rules change, the representative is under no pressure to identify those changes as soon as they occur. Sometimes the representative only finds out about the rule change when the customer complains about nonperformance. Since the customer can only go through a representative, the customer has no way of knowing when the representative was truly aware of any rule change. But the results usually waste the customer’s precious time. Again, this demonstrates no sense of urgency on the part of the representative.

3. Avoiding Work

“You don’t need that fixed anyway.” “Me and my colleagues have decided it’s not necessary and everything works fine just the way it is.” This is a typical tactic to avoid doing the work the customer requests. Even when it’s the company’s responsibility to provide services without glitches, the representative tells the customer that the glitches are okay and don’t need fixing.

This tactic creates an argument between the customer and the representative as to the true need for the fix. The representative takes the position, “I’m the expert, and I’ll be the judge of that.” This is to mask the fact that the work was not done in a timely manner. It’s like, “It doesn’t matter that we didn’t do the work because it wasn’t needed anyway.” It’s another convenient excuse.

Conclusion

We’ve witnessed other tactics of poorly hired or poorly trained representatives working for large companies that can’t service what they’ve sold. These include emphatically stated outright errors, poor or no preparation for meetings, little or no knowledge of account history, poor coordination, and never acknowledging a mistake or a missed self-imposed deadline.

All of these tactics can occur when representatives believe they are going to get paid no matter what happens to the customer. For them, it’s hours put in and they are overworked. So, their goal is to reduce the work any way possible. We’ve seen this problem occur in top-down companies that view customer service as “complaint resolution.”

These tactics ultimately discourage the customer to the point that they feel obligated to warn others that the company can’t live up to its promises. This reputation hurts the company’s sales. But in the meantime, companies that behave like this suffer a great deal of turnover. This is because they don’t treat their employees much different than they treat their customers. The good ones who want to do a good job, and want to work for a company that lives up to its promises will move on. The turnover hurts the relationship with the customer even further.

It’s only a matter of time before these types of companies will implode from their own policies. We’re shopping, how about you?

 

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 Tony DUrso Show Interview https://thebarefootspirit.com/tony-durso-show-interview/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/tony-durso-show-interview/#respond Tue, 09 Oct 2018 20:18:42 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=15172 M&B were interviewed on “The Tony Durso Show” by host, Tony Durso. To listen to their interview, please fast forward to 32:06         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 “The Tony Durso Show” by host, Tony Durso. To listen to their interview, please fast forward to 32:06

 

 

 

 

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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Multi-Motivation Interview https://thebarefootspirit.com/multi-motivation-interview/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/multi-motivation-interview/#respond Tue, 09 Oct 2018 19:15:48 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=15146 M&B were interviewed on Multi Motivation by host, Leland Jones. To listen to the interview, please press 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 Brand. The book has […]

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M&B were interviewed on Multi Motivation by host, Leland Jones. To listen to the interview, please press the play button below:

 

 

Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

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

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

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

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

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

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Entrepreneur – Outsource Everything but Accounting, Quality Control and Sales https://thebarefootspirit.com/entrepreneur-outsource-everything-but-accounting-quality-control-and-sales/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/entrepreneur-outsource-everything-but-accounting-quality-control-and-sales/#respond Mon, 08 Oct 2018 17:06:53 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=15163 It’s no secret that most startups are undercapitalized. They need every penny just to stay in business long enough to produce a positive cash flow. Even those that have achieved seed financing usually find out in short order that they need a much longer runway to give sales a chance to take off. Most investors […]

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It’s no secret that most startups are undercapitalized. They need every penny just to stay in business long enough to produce a positive cash flow. Even those that have achieved seed financing usually find out in short order that they need a much longer runway to give sales a chance to take off.

Most investors want to see some revenue before they will take a risk on you. So it’s critical, especially in the pre-rev startup phase, to strip your company down to its bare essentials, be resourceful, and discover and use your hidden assets. If you can’t lengthen the runway, you can at least lighten the plane!

As professional speakers in the world of entrepreneurship, we hear hundreds of business ideas every year. The proponents are passionate and convinced that they have a marketable solution. This may be true, but the market usually requires more time than they have planned to accept their solution.

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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The Future of Consumption Podcast https://thebarefootspirit.com/the-future-of-consumption-podcast/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/the-future-of-consumption-podcast/#respond Fri, 05 Oct 2018 16:43:54 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=15155 Michael & Were were interviewed on “The Future of Consumption” by hosts, Walker Smith & Andrew Curry. To listen to the interview, please click the play button below. The interview starts at 7:16         Who We Are Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot […]

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Michael & Were were interviewed on “The Future of Consumption” by hosts, Walker Smith & Andrew Curry.

To listen to the interview, please click the play button below. The interview starts at 7:16

 

 

 

 

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 Winning Moves to Get to “Yes!” https://thebarefootspirit.com/7-winning-moves-to-get-to-yes/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/7-winning-moves-to-get-to-yes/#respond Thu, 27 Sep 2018 17:00:28 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=15138 We are often asked by young folks, “What’s the best way to present myself?” They want to know how to stack the odds in their favor at presentations, business meetings, and interviews. They look to us as managers, employers, and sales professionals to share our experiences in setting the stage to get to “Yes.” We […]

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We are often asked by young folks, “What’s the best way to present myself?” They want to know how to stack the odds in their favor at presentations, business meetings, and interviews. They look to us as managers, employers, and sales professionals to share our experiences in setting the stage to get to “Yes.”

We always start any business recommendation with, “Put yourself in the other person’s shoes.”Whether it’s a buyer, employer, or attendees at a business meeting, they are all people first. They have at least two important factors in common that influence their judgment.

First, they all want attention. So give them your undivided attention. Important meetings are best done in person. Text may be a great way to set up the meeting or advise of your status. Email is a great way to memorialize what was said and list the follow-ups. Phone calls are a great way to solve problems and clarify misunderstandings. But that first meeting should be face to face. If you can’t be there in person, you can use a video platform such as Skype or AppearIn.

Second, people are wired to make quick judgments about others. You, your intentions, and even your message will be judged even before you open your mouth. As unfair as it sounds, you are initially judged on your appearance. Everything you say thereafter is highly prejudiced by that first impression. So it’s critical that you put your best foot forward by dressing for success, and by visually communicating the kind of person they want to do business with.

Your appearance and body language can positively (or negatively) influence other’s reception to your message. Here are some tips that work well for us and that we have seen others use effectively to make that first, positive impression:

  1. Dress

As overused as it sounds, “Dress for Success” is still the best policy. It speaks volumes about your choices. Don’t dress flashy or like you’re trying to get attention. Dress neat, clean, wrinkle free, and professional.

  1. Smile

Even before they see you, take a few deep breaths and imagine how happy they will be with what you have to offer. Smile with the understanding that you will put them at ease and improve their situation.

  1. Walk

Walk in with confidence, poise, and energy. Pick up your feet. Don’t shuffle or look down. Look where you’re going. Demonstrate purpose, balance, and determination.

  1. Stand

Stand up straight. Look more like an exclamation point and less like a question mark. Step forward while extending your hand to shake theirs. Stand close enough for communication but far enough away to give them some space.

  1. Sit

Sit down gracefully. Move smoothly with poise and dignity. Don’t flop into the chair and don’t slouch. Keep your back straight, shoulders back, and head up.

  1. Look

Make direct eye contact with the speaker. Look directly at the person to whom you are speaking. Don’t look down, up in the air, or a way in any fashion. Lean forward slightly to show interest in what is being said.

  1. Hands

Keep your hands on your lap when listening. Don’t touch your face or rest on your elbows. Use your hands for emphasis when you are speaking. Keep your palms up as much as possible. Don’t cross your arms. Put your shoulders back in an open and receptive posture.

Save this short checklist as a reminder and review it before your next meeting. You will be pleasantly surprised at the results. These are the visual messages we are all communicating every day. By themselves, they won’t guarantee a “yes” but you will be less likely to get a “no” from the get go.

Good luck at your next meeting!

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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What Business Should I Go Into? https://thebarefootspirit.com/what-business-should-i-go-into/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/what-business-should-i-go-into/#respond Thu, 20 Sep 2018 17:00:31 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=15118 Discovering Business Opportunities in Problems We are often approached by young folks who ask us, “What business should I go into?” – as if there was the realm of all possibilities. We assume by this question that these folks have not decided to “follow their passion.” So we talk with them about how most business […]

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What business should I go intoDiscovering Business Opportunities in Problems

We are often approached by young folks who ask us, “What business should I go into?” – as if there was the realm of all possibilities. We assume by this question that these folks have not decided to “follow their passion.” So we talk with them about how most business opportunities present themselves as solutions to problems they are personally experiencing.

“Why hasn’t anyone done this yet?” might be their first reaction. And this is where many wantrepreneurs stop. They don’t do the research to find out why. Perhaps someone else did think about it but was unable to make a profit or get it into circulation. Many great ideas are collecting dust in warehouses somewhere because they may have solved the problem, but they were unable to solve the distribution challenges.

Many young folks spend too much time perfecting their product while grossly underestimating what it will take to get it in the marketplace. They tend to take distribution management for granted. Their idea is so good, it will distribute itself! Not!

The Challenges of Selling Online

Many think that they can “just sell it online, avoid the middleman and go directly to the customer.” They might, but then they face several challenges that are generally overlooked:

First, they are making their idea and the market for it highly public before they have amassed even a small war chest to protect their idea. This opens the door to copycats who already enjoy a war chest and already have secured access to the bricks and mortar stores. They can achieve instant market penetration and outlast you in court.

Second, online sales are a race to the bottom price-wise. The first thing your customer will do is check for a lower price. Never mind that yours is the original, and never mind that yours is of high quality. They can’t physically feel it and compare it to others in a tactile way. They must buy on picture only and so price becomes the major differentiator.

Third, because you are selling onesies and twosies, direct to consumer, you will never get a big check for a massive volume from a major retailer. So you won’t be able to compete with competitors who will benefit from quantity discounts for substantial purchases.

The good news is that anybody can sell online. The bad news is that your risk of failure is much greater.

So, our answer to “What business should I go into?”

“Choose one that you can achieve distribution with.” We strongly advise a careful study of the distribution system for your great idea, even before you finish it. Why waste your time if you can’t get it to market?

We suggest you engage someone who has already successfully navigated the distribution system for your kind of product. You may be surprised to hear what they might have done differently, now that they know what was required.

A distribution advisor can save you tons of money, time, and anguish. They don’t cost, they pay!

As advisors ourselves in this critical area of business success, we caution against growing faster than you can support the cost of sales. We advise our clients to test out distribution for their great idea in a small area to discover what they really will be required to do in a larger area. That education will determine their strategy for success. And isn’t that the whole idea? Not just coming up with a great solution, but actually getting it out there and keeping it out there?

So, go into a business for which you understand the distribution. Then you can solve a problem, and we can all thank you by buying it!

 

 

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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To Succeed in Business, Delegation is Not a Choice, It’s a Requirement! https://thebarefootspirit.com/to-succeed-in-business-delegation-is-not-a-choice-its-a-requirement/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/to-succeed-in-business-delegation-is-not-a-choice-its-a-requirement/#respond Thu, 13 Sep 2018 17:00:28 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=15099 We like to say, “Do what you do best, and delegate the rest!” That sort of flies in the face of, “If you want it done right, do it yourself!” Is there a middle ground that gives you the time you need to focus on moving the company forward using your best skill sets without […]

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delegationWe like to say, “Do what you do best, and delegate the rest!” That sort of flies in the face of, “If you want it done right, do it yourself!” Is there a middle ground that gives you the time you need to focus on moving the company forward using your best skill sets without being disappointed by the performance of those upon whom you rely?

One of the biggest reasons for failure we see as advisors to small and medium-sized businesses is owners trying to do everything themselves. This keeps them from scaling and also keeps the company from doing its best. When owners try to do everything themselves, they think they’re saving money. Or, they think they’re saving the job from an undesirable outcome. But actually, they’re stretching themselves too thin and reaching beyond their skill set.

Our job as advisors is to identify the skills they need to delegate to move the company forward. We face two major challenges. One is that the owners tend to think they can do everything themselves – to the point that they actually hurt their own businesses by exhausting their limited skill sets. Another is that the owners simply don’t know how to delegate.

Most owners have great concepts they thoroughly believe in. It’s why they took the big risk, quit their job, and bet everything on a successful outcome. It’s why they work 17 hours a day, six days a week, without a vacation. But are they good people managers? Not necessarily.

Yes, they’re the owner and they think they’re the boss. They’ve certainly done all the hiring up to the point where they have achieved a positive cash flow. But now that they’re expanding, they need to bring on a full staff. Now, who will do the hiring, the training, and the holding people accountable?

Most owners take it for granted that they know how to hire and direct people to get the job done. The idea that at some point in the growth of the organization, they need a professional to do this work may be the last thing that crosses their mind. But we think it should be the first.

As businesses develop through the four stages of startup, build up, build out, and enterprise, they require very different management skill sets. If an owner can take the business through the treacherous startup phase and get a few big clients in the build-up phase, why can’t the same owner take it to the buildout phase where the business scales and expands? This is the phase when most businesses fail. They typically fail because owners underestimate the amount of work that’s necessary to properly service all their new clients and accounts.

This is where delegation becomes absolutely critical. This is where the business requires a serious professional who understands the challenges ahead, knows what to look for in terms of new hires, has the ability to define and communicate the deliverables, and establishes a system of accountability to see that the job is done, and done right!

For most successful businesses, this person is not the owner. It’s difficult for owners who’ve taken “their baby” so far to give up a certain level of control in order to see it climb to the next level. It certainly was for us, and in retrospect, that view actually held our business back for several years. It wasn’t until we bit the bullet and put professionals in charge that we began to see the growth we always knew would eventually happen.

Don’t get us wrong, we made several false starts. But with every disappointing trial, we learned more about what we could delegate and what we should not. We still had the final say on hires but we allowed our managers to develop their own accountability plans – which we also approved.

The key to successful delegation for us was in the accountability plan. Basically, answer the following questions: What will get done? Who will do it? Are they qualified? When will it get done? How often are the status reports? What will they contain? And when is the deadline?

It’s still going to be a white-knuckle ride for the first few years of delegation. It terrifies most business owners to give up control! But you’re going to get better at it. And what if the person you’re relying on doesn’t perform? You can always use our favorite four-letter word, “NEXT!”

 

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 – Startups That Overlook the Cost of Sales … Fail! https://thebarefootspirit.com/entrepreneur-startups-that-overlook-the-cost-of-sales-fail/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/entrepreneur-startups-that-overlook-the-cost-of-sales-fail/#respond Wed, 12 Sep 2018 15:52:19 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=15095 You often see line items on business plans for the cost of goods sold, also known as COGS. Most startups are painfully aware of the cost of goods, but there is another cost that is even more painful if it’s overlooked, and that is the cost of sales. In today’s “scale fast and fail fast” […]

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You often see line items on business plans for the cost of goods sold, also known as COGS. Most startups are painfully aware of the cost of goods, but there is another cost that is even more painful if it’s overlooked, and that is the cost of sales.

In today’s “scale fast and fail fast” world of entrepreneurship, it’s easy to scale fast and fail permanently when you don’t appreciate the true cost of sales. Part of the problem of scaling fast is that you can scale so fast that you actually make sales you can’t sustain.

Why? Because you inadvertently chose to make sales to a customer or in a territory with costs you can’t afford. But you didn’t know those costs when you made those sales. In fact, you were probably thrilled to make any sales and couldn’t wait to get back to your investors with the news!

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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