The Barefoot Spirit https://thebarefootspirit.com Founders of Barefoot, a Top Global Brand New York Times Bestselling Authors International Keynote Speakers, Entrepreneurial Coaches. Thu, 05 Dec 2019 18:08:47 -0800 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.4 Solving One Problem Can Lead to Another https://thebarefootspirit.com/solving-one-problem-can-lead-to-another/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/solving-one-problem-can-lead-to-another/#respond Thu, 05 Dec 2019 18:00:27 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=16730 Folks find it hard to believe, but even though we created a monster wine brand, we weren’t from the wine business. In fact, we didn’t even drink wine. It seemed so presumptuous, snobby, and exclusive. So how did it happen that two folks who didn’t appreciate wine wound up in the wine country and in […]

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Folks find it hard to believe, but even though we created a monster wine brand, we weren’t from the wine business. In fact, we didn’t even drink wine. It seemed so presumptuous, snobby, and exclusive. So how did it happen that two folks who didn’t appreciate wine wound up in the wine country and in the wine business?

We were urban refugees really; we move to the country with a vengeance. It wasn’t about the wine. It was about the wine country itself. It was about everything the cities were losing. It was about nature.

Bonnie was from Portland, Oregon, and Michael was from Oakland, California, and in the short term of their upbringing they had witnessed their respective cities get more developed, with infilling, congestion, and encircled with a seemingly endless horizon of suburbs expanding in all directions. Where there used to be forests, creeks, and farmlands, the cities’ natural surroundings were rapidly transforming into strip malls, subdivisions, and freeways. Where we it used to be able to walk into nature, now required a substantial drive.

It’s not that we didn’t like the city and city life, it’s just that we yearned for a part of our past that was no longer there. We independently found that place in Sonoma County, California. Here were rolling hills, redwood forests, oak woods, creeks and meadows – just like we remembered growing up, and all relatively close to San Francisco. Here was the Russian River, the Pacific Ocean, and the Sonoma Coast parks and beaches. But here also was the wine industry with thousands and thousands of acres under cultivation.

Was it any wonder that we were both sucked into the vortex of the wine business? At first it was innocent enough. Bonnie, with her background in organization, helped grape growers and wineries with office management and oversight. Michael, with his background in public administration, helped wineries deal with the government regulations, permits, and licenses.

Although we were on separate tracks, we were destined to meet. That happened one spring night at a small dance club that featured another one of their common passions: rhythm and blues oriented rock and roll. It was before Hip Hop. It was before Grunge. And it was before Disco. And it was live! It was loud! It had horns, and it was danceable. In those days, couples dance together. So, we met, we danced, and the rest is history.

Today when we are asked how we succeeded as a couple in business, we start off by saying, “Kids, don’t try this at home!” Aside from the initial period of adjustment (2 years, for us), we found that even though we had much in common, the differences we had gave us a well-rounded skill set to tackle the unknown, which is exactly what we were about to do.

Within a year, Bonnie noticed that her grape growing client hadn’t been paid for his grapes – for three years! So, she sent her new boyfriend, Michael, on an errand to go collect the funds! Michael only wondered a little what he had gotten himself into. When he arrived at the winery that owed Bonnie’s client the money, it had just declared bankruptcy! Now what?

Using his skills, he negotiated a trade for bulk wine and bottling services in lieu of cash. They thought they had solved the challenge. But the challenges had just begun! Now what?

In order to get the cash to pay the debt, they had to convince Bonnie’s client to go into the bottled and labeled mercantile wine business. He was already in the grape growing and winemaking end of the business and realized he could not take on yet another challenge! Now what?

So, they figured, instead of working for Bonnie’s client, they would take on the debt themselves along with the responsibility for the marketing of a branded wine product. This was the beginning of a seemingly unending string of “now what’s.”

And that’s the point. Entrepreneurship is an adventure with daily challenges and roadblocks that must be overcome in order to just continue the adventure. Sometimes those solutions are hidden and take days and even weeks to solve. Sometimes you ask everybody for solutions and cast about in all directions.

And sometimes, after a ton of input from well-meaning contributors, all that information and advice suddenly gels and it hits you like a bolt of lightening in a flash that is so fleeting that you must stop whatever you are doing and capture it right then and there before it fades.

Such was the case with the most well-known wine label in the world. It came in a flash. Bonnie couldn’t contain herself. She was suddenly aware of what the label looked like. She had to get it down fast and refine it later. In entrepreneurship, you must be open to the amazing power of the human brain to sort, compare, contrast, and solve, even when you are sleeping or working on something else. Then suddenly, without warning, surprise! Problem solved!

An other great message demonstrated by this chapter is how to find and use strategic allies. Today Michael and Bonnie challenge their clients with the basic question: “Who gets rich if you get rich?” Seems odd on its face, but upon deeper inspection, it unlocks the door to the very folks who want to see you succeed. But where are they?

Bonnie found her greatest strategic ally in her accounts payable list. It was the bottling supplies company, the one that supplied the glass, corks, foils, and cartons. They could sell more supplies to a low-priced, high-volume product than a high-priced, low-volume one. They wanted her to succeed. And so, they provided tons of information, advice, and direction, including important production and packaging choices, legal requirements, and cash flow planning.

Successful entrepreneurship requires a certain mindset, one that recognizes that it is really all about problem solving.  One that says if I engage a set of principles, like a sea captain engages maps, radar, sonar, weather projections, wind direction and speed, currents and swells, I will make it to port. Like the sea captain, you don’t know what you will be up against, but you have mitigated the risk with those  guiding principles. Asking for help in the face of adversity, engaging your strategic allies, and keeping your mind open for solutions your brain has been working on, are a great start.

Build and inspire your team with the positive results you seek. They will help you get there!  And as you proceed along the journey, you don’t have to give up on your passion to pursue your opportunity. Bonnie and Michael found a way to use their business to promote their passion for nature. Follow your opportunity …Passionately!

Please enjoy Chapter 1 as our guest and see if you want to join us for the rest of the adventure!

 

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 of Story Podcast with Park Howell https://thebarefootspirit.com/business-of-story-podcast-with-park-howell/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/business-of-story-podcast-with-park-howell/#respond Wed, 04 Dec 2019 19:00:27 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=16719 M&B were interviewed on “The Business of Story” by host, Park Howell. To listen to the interview, please visit The Business of Story (Interview starts at 01:28)                  

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M&B were interviewed on “The Business of Story” by host, Park Howell. To listen to the interview, please visit The Business of Story (Interview starts at 01:28)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Brains Behind It with Dave Farrow https://thebarefootspirit.com/the-brains-behind-it/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/the-brains-behind-it/#respond Wed, 04 Dec 2019 18:00:57 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=16690 M&B were interviewed on The Brains Behind It, by host, Dave Farrow. To listen to the interview, please click the play button below:         Who We Are Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine […]

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M&B were interviewed on The Brains Behind It, by host, Dave Farrow. To listen to the interview, please click the play button below:

 

 

 

 

Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

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

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

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

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

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

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Underestimating What’s Involved Enables the Journey to Begin https://thebarefootspirit.com/underestimating-whats-involved-enables-the-journey-to-begin/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/underestimating-whats-involved-enables-the-journey-to-begin/#respond Thu, 28 Nov 2019 18:00:46 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=16715 When we wrote The Barefoot Spirit, we didn’t want it to be another wine story. You know, sniff, swirl, and sip, say a few words in French and talk about mid-notes. In fact, we didn’t really want it to have much to do with wine at all. We wanted it to be an entrepreneurial business […]

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When we wrote The Barefoot Spirit, we didn’t want it to be another wine story. You know, sniff, swirl, and sip, say a few words in French and talk about mid-notes. In fact, we didn’t really want it to have much to do with wine at all. We wanted it to be an entrepreneurial business adventure, because that’s what it was! Wine was just the vehicle that enabled us to learn classic business lessons, most not taught in school.

Our real success had more to do with discovering and ultimately mastering the rules, strategies, and nuances of consumer packaged goods (CPG) distribution and merchandising. So much for “the romance of wine.” We could have been selling hammers!

And as in any good adventure story, the proponents must face the unknown and overcome seemingly unsurmountable challenges. They must overcome their own popular misconceptions and get their come-uppin’s in the real world. Notwithstanding some serious shockers, revelations, and cliff hangers, we wanted to give our readers some guiding principles for success (GPS) that worked for us and could work for them!

These principles are demonstrated in every scene with assumptions, actions, reactions, and outcomes, not always expected or desired. But in the process of working their way out of jam after jam, they begin to learn and apply these universal lessons. And that’s what ultimately leads to their success. That, and a huge amount of just plain hard work and tenacity.

Instead of following their passion into business, they followed their opportunity. But they don’t give up on their passion. It’s just that opportunity presents itself much more often than a profitable outlet for your passion.

The opportunity: A large unpaid debt owed to their client. The plan: Trade for goods and services. The debt they assumed in exchange for goods and services (bulk wine and bottling services). They suddenly were in an industry they knew nothing about, and they were in debt for a small fortune.

Plan A: Take the wine and bottling services, come up with a label, sell it to a big chain store buyer, take the money, pay off the debt, make a commission, and be down the road looking for the next opportunity. How hard could it be? How long could it take?

The proponents suffered from the popular misconceptions about the marketplace that come from having the shopper’s point-of-view. They grossly simplified what was going on behind the scenes (the distribution channel) and totally underestimated what was required of them. (Ignorance is bliss…)

Because they were outside the industry, and “didn’t know any better,” they asked a lot of questions, and they made friends in “low” places. These were the people who were doing the real work: bottling line managers, warehouse people, truck drivers, forklift operators, store clerks, and buyers. They got practical advice from folks who had seen the results of too many well-intentioned but impractical marketing, design, and packaging decisions. Their lack of industry knowledge was precisely what made Barefoot so disruptive – and successful!

But the road ahead, even with all that practical insight, was fraught with challenges and unexpected work that had to be done by them and them alone. Even if it meant that the Founder/President/CEO had to personally sell a Piggly Wiggly store in South Carolina in a torrential downpour!  Where are the mid-notes and the romance of the wine business now?!

Someone said, “You don’t always make the right decisions, but you always make your decisions right!” If, of course, you learn your lessons and keep on truckin’! The Barefoot Spirit is a story about lessons and tenacity. Please enjoy Chapter 1 as our treat!

 

 

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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Culture Eats Strategy Podcast https://thebarefootspirit.com/culture-eats-strategy-podcast/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/culture-eats-strategy-podcast/#respond Wed, 27 Nov 2019 18:00:54 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=16678 M&B were interviewed on the “Culture Eats Strategy” by host, Jaime Jay. To listen to the interview, please click the play button below:  

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M&B were interviewed on the “Culture Eats Strategy” by host, Jaime Jay. To listen to the interview, please click the play button below:

 

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Get Up Nation Podcast with Ben Biddick https://thebarefootspirit.com/get-up-nation-podcast-with-ben-biddick/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/get-up-nation-podcast-with-ben-biddick/#respond Tue, 26 Nov 2019 18:00:54 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=16699 M&B were interviewed on “Get Up Nation” by host, Ben Biddick. To listen to the interview, please click the play button below:           Who We Are Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine […]

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M&B were interviewed on “Get Up Nation” by host, Ben Biddick. To listen to the interview, please click the play button below:

 

 

 

 

 

Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

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

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

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

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

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

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A Transformative Idea: “Business Audio Theatre” From The Founders Of Barefoot Wine. Not Just Narrated … Performed! – Forbes https://thebarefootspirit.com/a-transformative-idea-business-audio-theatre-from-the-founders-of-barefoot-wine-not-just-narrated-performed-forbes/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/a-transformative-idea-business-audio-theatre-from-the-founders-of-barefoot-wine-not-just-narrated-performed-forbes/#respond Fri, 22 Nov 2019 20:22:10 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=16685 Over the years, I’ve written about, interviewed, and listened to Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey, the founders of Barefoot Wine and New York Times bestselling authors of The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. Recently their latest project caught my eye, or should I say, my ear. Welcome to the […]

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Over the years, I’ve written about, interviewed, and listened to Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey, the founders of Barefoot Wine and New York Times bestselling authors of The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand.

Recently their latest project caught my eye, or should I say, my ear. Welcome to the world of Business Audio Theatre, where business audiobooks are not just narrated but performed! Last week I caught up with the dynamic duo at their California Wine Country home. I wanted to know more.

Robert Reiss: You guys built and sold what is now the world’s #1 wine brand. Wasn’t that enough?

 

To read the complete article, please visit Forbes

 

 

 

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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En Factor Podcast https://thebarefootspirit.com/en-factor-podcast/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/en-factor-podcast/#respond Thu, 21 Nov 2019 21:47:47 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=16675 M&B were interviewed by Dr. Rebecca White on her podcast, “En Factor.” To listen to the interview,  please visit En Factor         

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M&B were interviewed by Dr. Rebecca White on her podcast, “En Factor.” To listen to the interview,  please visit En Factor 

 

 

 

 

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You Build Customer Loyalty by Ditching the Act https://thebarefootspirit.com/you-build-customer-loyalty-by-ditching-the-act/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/you-build-customer-loyalty-by-ditching-the-act/#respond Thu, 21 Nov 2019 20:03:50 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=16673 In Hawaii, they say, “If you cross someone’s property on the way to the beach, be the first to smile and wave.” This is great advice on so many levels. It shows that you are willing to take the first step to give the other person permission to take the second. And that’s how defense […]

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In Hawaii, they say, “If you cross someone’s property on the way to the beach, be the first to smile and wave.”

This is great advice on so many levels. It shows that you are willing to take the first step to give the other person permission to take the second. And that’s how defense barriers come down and friendly relationships follow.

In our digital world we find ourselves vying for attention in a sea of overly simplified sound bites. We have a tendency to become minimalist as a form of efficiency. “Just keep it to business,” seems to be the order of the day. And its corollary, “Put your best foot forward,” seems to make sure that our image is photoshopped to perfection.

It seems ironic today, with the big trend toward transparency, credibility, and authenticity, that many of us have found ourselves clothed in pretentions that inadvertently create barriers to the very trust we seek in business.

To read the complete article, please visit The Business Journals 

 

 

 

 

 

Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

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

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

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

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

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

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The Barefoot Spirit Audiobook https://thebarefootspirit.com/the-barefoot-spirit-audiobook/ https://thebarefootspirit.com/the-barefoot-spirit-audiobook/#respond Thu, 21 Nov 2019 18:00:40 +0000 https://thebarefootspirit.com/?p=16670 The Barefoot Spirit audiobook is a fully casted, cinematic-style theatrical production, with actors voicing characters, scenes with action and outcomes, and interviews. The stories are professionally performed, complete with sound effects and an original musical score. It was adapted for audio theatre from the original New York Times bestseller, The Barefoot Spirit, How Hardship, Hustle, […]

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The Barefoot Spirit audiobook is a fully casted, cinematic-style theatrical production, with actors voicing characters, scenes with action and outcomes, and interviews. The stories are professionally performed, complete with sound effects and an original musical score. It was adapted for audio theatre from the original New York Times bestseller, The Barefoot Spirit, How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand.

Based on the true story of the humble beginnings of the now famous Barefoot Wine brand, audiences will experience a rollercoaster ride, seat-of-your-pants, business adventure. From the laundry room of a rented farmhouse to the boardroom of the world’s largest wine company, they will accompany the founders, Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey, as they meet and overcome the apparently insurmountable challenges of being inexperienced and undercapitalized.

The audiobook is delivered in a fun and light-hearted style, so audiences can experience first-hand how a steadfast adherence to the guiding principles of the “Barefoot Spirit” enabled the founders to overcome obstacles, build strategic alliances, and forge a loyal and engaged team to take them across the finish line!

Like Barefoot Wine itself, this business theatre style audiobook pioneers a new category, offering a fresh genre and fun approach to business audiobooks.

Audiences will gain insight, inspiration, and innovative solutions as they are emerged in this engaging and entertaining business tale.  Each episodic chapter delivers a plethora of business lessons through dramatically performed stories that are memorable, practical, and applicable.

After You Have Taken the Leap, How Hard Could it Be?

 We are often told to follow our passion, but in this story, following your opportunity provides the more plausible route to entrepreneurial success. You can still employ your passion, but use it to capitalize on your opportunity. The only problem is that we tend to oversimplify the obstacles on the road ahead, especially when we are both excited and inexperienced!

We also tend to be guided by commonly held popular misconceptions. These are usually caused by our consumer-sided view of the marketplace. These fallacies can wreak havoc on first-timers. The unforgiving realities of the marketplace were there long before your “great idea” came along.

When you think about the business you’re going to be in, when you imagine what you will need, or try to project what you will be doing, it’s hard to accept the hard truth about what must  be done. The question is, “Will you do what must be done?” Will you object, argue, or try to say it’s someone else’s job? Or will you do it, no matter how seemingly contrary it is to what you imagined?

You’re in the Game, Now What?

 What if you go into business with your sweetheart? Does that condemn the relationship? Are there rules that keep your business and you as a couple together? Having different skill sets, clear boundaries, and mutual respect is a great start but, kids, don’t try this at home! It’s truly rare to find a partnership of business skills and love with the same person.

Sometimes being an outsider gives you a fresh and unique view of the market. It’s like slicing the pie a different way, a way that the industry hasn’t thought of, a market they may have not recognized or addressed. Being new, different and disrupting is a double-edged sword; you have pared down the competition, but you now have some missionary work to do.

Do what you do best and delegate the rest. Without adequate capital, you are forced to be resourceful, and without experience, you must defer to the skills of others. Be ready to pivot when your business success demands a new heading, even if you must take on more responsibility and uncertainty!

Taking on the Behemoth, the Right and Wrong Ways

You can be suddenly thrust into an unfamiliar arena, taking on challenges you did not expect. But you must perform. You learn by doing, on the fly. It’s not without cost, but it’s necessary.

You are in love with your product. It’s affordable, it’s attractive, and it’s what everybody wants. What’s not to like? This is the biggest mistake you can make! Your success requires all that, but there’s much more that can make you or break you. You just don’t know it yet. When you finally find this out, it can be quite a shock and a setback. You had better have a plan “B”!

Everybody wants to milk the cow. Nobody wants to raise the calf. When you are new and unproven, customers come one at a time. Discovering what they need and what you need to do to keep them is probably the greatest lessons you need to learn in order to move ahead.

The Brick, What it Is, and Have You Had Yours Today?

 Caution! Entrepreneurship is a Hardhat Area! Like any construction zone, you must be prepared for the unexpected “bricks” seemingly falling from the sky and knocking you flat. You may seek comfort in knowing that others in your shoes are getting hit with bricks as well, but that won’t make their blow less painful.

The realization that you have been operating under a misconception that costs you time and money is painful. The realization that you may have to start over can be down right discouraging. So, you may as well expect your brick for the day.

The trick is to pick up those bricks and use them to build a more stable platform built on the reality of the situation, not your preconceived notion. You must be humble enough and resilient enough to take your lumps and keep moving forward. Oh, and that hardhat? That’s your sense of humor!

How to Hit the Enemy Where the Enemy is Not

 One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is underestimating the cost of sales. Not the cost of goods, everybody knows what that is, but the cost of sales! That’s the cost of getting your product to market and keeping it there! This includes customer service, exchanges, store visits, representatives’ compensation, expenses, promotions, and the list goes on!

And, the cost of sales is not the same in every market, or even with every customer. Some are just higher maintenance than others. Some may be so high, in fact, that you may not be able to expand in that direction until you have a war chest. You may want to strike where the enemy is not! With reduce competition comes reduced costs of sales, plus more appreciative buyers.

Expanding into an expensive market can drain your budget. You may not be able to provide the customer service necessary to protect your reputation. Look for places and ways to expand that are affordable, practical, and provide a rapid return.

Mama Mabel, Surfers, and Monks

Finding your strategic allies is crucial to success. Basically, look for who benefits when you benefit. Whether it’s increased business or finding your way around a problem, identifying these natural allies can reduce your costs, mitigate your risks, and improve your sales.

Strategic allies can come from the most unlikely places. Keep your eyes open for companies, groups, and organizations you can help …and who can help you. They may have goals in harmony with your business, your approach, or your values.

By supporting non-profits and worthy causes, you can give their members a social reason to buy (and advocate) your products. Standing for a cause bigger than your product’s features and benefits can gain you respect, loyalty, and engagement from your employees, vendors, and customers alike.

 The “Romance” of the Wine Business & How You Can Take This into your Niche

 Once you really get into a business, you realize that it is harder work and different work than you had imagined. You also realize that you must delegate the technical aspects to experts. This requires an honest understanding of what you really need.

Different industries seem to develop a bigger-than-life outward appearance of wonder, mystery, and excitement. But down deep they are just like any other business. The romance quickly fades, and it’s soon all about getting the tedious work done!

Identifying the real priorities is key. Minding the mundane details is crucial! It’s not what you think your business is all about; it’s discovering and tending to the hidden, surprising, and inglorious work that needs to be executed with excellence and tenacity.

Why You Should Never Waste a Perfectly Good Mistake

 From our upbringing to our formal education, from sports to our first job, mistakes are frowned upon. So much so that you would be wise to fix them quickly and hide them, like they never happened. Taking this programming into the business setting is a real recipe for disaster.

Most mistakes that hurt your business are repeat mistakes. They’ve happened before, but they were covered up. Who wants to get fired for making a mistake, right? Wrong! If mistakes are handled properly, they can be the building blocks for your success. But top management must promote a culture of permission to encourage admission, investigation, understanding, resolution, and mitigation.

It’s not the mistake, it’s what you learn from the mistake, and what you do about it. Identifying mistakes and setting measures in place to reduce the likelihood of their  reoccurrence is how you never waste a perfectly good mistake!

Why A Smaller Slice of a Larger Pie is a Great Growth Strategy

 Companies who try to see how little they can pay their employees are looking at labor as a commodity. This can set them up for an increase in the #1 hidden cost of any business: Turnover. You don’t just lose the cost of replacement, you lose all your training, corporate knowledge, and the value of their relationships with vendors, outside services, and customers.

But you also lose something else, you lose the benefit of their engagement in problem solving. Viewing your people as your greatest asset instead of a necessary cost, will pay off when you share your challenges with them and ask frothier  help.

 When they can benefit financially from your success, they will be less likely to leave and more likely to help solve your problems. They are already committed to your company. Besides, who cares if they make more when you make more? When you pay for production, the producers can’t afford to leave, and the non-producers can’t afford to stay.

This is an outline of some of the lessons we learned, and they are all portrayed in stories performed by professional actors with sound effects and music in our audiobook, The Barefoot Spirit. In the coming weeks, we shall delve further into these lessons, so tighten your seatbelt! It’s going to be a wild rocket ride into the real world of entrepreneurs!

 

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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