The Barefoot Spirit is the spirit behind the famous Barefoot Wine brand. The word “spirit” has lots of meanings, including religious connotations, although that’s not how we used it.
Just as often though, it’s used to define a certain style of performance, as in, “That’s the spirit!” which refers the type of tenacity that overcomes obstacles or solves problems. “They have great team spirit!” is used to identify a social culture in which the team shoulders together to achieve a common goal. We also use the term “the entrepreneurial spirit” to define a sense of innovation, resourcefulness, and “can-do” attitude to achieve business success.
The Barefoot Spirit is a style of business that incorporates all these meanings. It’s the American entrepreneurial spirit, west-coast style and with a heart! It also incorporates a few important extras that made the difference for us and can for you as well. It’s a business style that comprehensively permeated every aspect of our company from employees to customers, from bankers to supplier, and from consumers to community. It profoundly elevated our business from form and function to relationships, lessons, respect, and – well – fun!
The basic premise of the Barefoot Spirit is building relationships with that old fashioned adage your grandmother used, “Follow the Golden Rule.” This requires that you look at every business relationship from the other person’s perspective. That’s everyone! What do they want- in detail? The answers may surprise you (they did us!) because most don’t have anything to do with your product, quality, demand or price.
Building relationships goes beyond what the other person wants; it goes into the community itself. By supporting the community in which you do business, your company stands for more than the mercantile goods and services it produces. In this way you are making the world a better place, resulting in your people feeling like they are making a difference, and making your customers happy to reciprocate by purchasing your product.
Another premise of The Barefoot Spirit is tenacity. What keeps you going when you are up against seemingly insurmountable challenges is validation, the fuel for tenacity. You will find validation in little victories and a carefully maintained tribe of advocates and cheerleaders you can rely on when times are tough. You can ask them, “ Tell me again why you think our idea is so good?”
Tenacity requires facing your fears. The biggest question we get repeatedly is, “How do you prepare to respond to the unknown?” We have developed a guidance system that provides entrepreneurs with a set of standards to hold every decision up against to help them make more right decisions. We call these collective philosophies, “The Entrepreneur’s Guiding Principles for Success” or simply, “GPS.” The GPS consists of a set of tools we have identified within 20 guiding principles responsible for our success. It may not have all the answers, but it does have the fundamental foundation required to answer most of the questions.
The Barefoot Spirit picks up where traditional form-and-function business education drops off. After the launch, it’s all about business navigation. Every entrepreneur”SHIP” that sinks was first launched. If you know where you are starting from, where you are going, and how to get there, you have a much better chance of making it successfully to port. The Barefoot Spirit’s GPS offers tools you can use to stay on course.
Today we travel the world bringing The Barefoot Spirit to aspiring, launch- and growth-phase businesses to keep them from losing their most precious assets: time and money. We offer the GPS business guidance system to help create more successful entrepreneurs in this and the next generation.
We’ve change the name of our Facebook page from The Barefoot Wine Founders to The Barefoot Spirit. Here we provide tools and updates on our constant quest to help new businesses get The Barefoot Spirit and achieve success!
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.