We’ve been asked who we write for and why. The answer can be found in how we write. We learned most of our business knowledge the hard way. We write for you so you can avoid the painful lessons we have experienced first hand. We write to give you news you can use.

Even though we both have been to college, higher education isn’t required to understand these concepts. In fact, most of what we cover is not taught in college. It’s basically street smarts we learned by making mistakes and then scrambling to correct them.

We know that the majority of you are hard-working folks who are either considering starting a new business, or have already started one. Our posts are short and to the point, trying very hard not to use words that could be confusing. Although directed toward employers, most of the lessons we learned are valuable for employees as well.

You will find a consistent thread of philosophy that weaves its way throughout most of our posts. You must embrace a higher level of values to be sustainably successful no matter what you are doing. It is from that point of view that you make the big decisions that have far-reaching consequences throughout your business and career.

Some of these philosophical attitudes include:

  1. Treat the other guy like you want to be treated. This is what our parents used to call the “Golden Rule.” Answer the question, “How would I like it?” This affects many subordinate decisions, including the quality and cost of your product, customer service, employment practices, and incentives.
  2. Take responsibility for your own behavior as well as that of your company. This will have a positive affect on whether you blame and complain, or aim and gain. Focus on what you can do to avoid the problem in the future.
  3. Be part of your community. This means caring about the state of the planet and the human race, at least within your business territory. This will shape your carbon footprint, community outreach, support for worthy causes, and ultimately improve the reputation of your business.
  4. Take a smaller slice of a larger pie. This changes your attitude toward partnerships, and allows you to include others in your success. Your attitude toward teamwork, strategic partners, and paying for performance are all results of this concept.
  5. Practice basic humility. Realize that none of us know it all, nor can we do it all. Seek out experienced advisors, use outside services, and recognize what you are good at and where you need help.
  6. Demonstrate integrity. Basically, do what you say you will do, even if it’s more costly than you anticipated. Live up to your word and take responsibility for your own actions. Be sure your company provides timely service and stands by its guarantees.
  7. Believe in yourself. This affects your tenacity in the face of naysayers, financial hardship, and stiff competition. For start-ups, this is essential to help you get through the hard times until your product or service gains traction in the marketplace.

Your views on life, your fellow man, the planet, and your ability to increase value are reflected in your company’s culture, creativity, and success. When we write about the various aspects of business as we have experienced them, we try to tie them into these ageless virtues. They not only make good sense, they make good business.

We hope our posts are fun to read, easy to understand, and valuable to the vast majority of readers. Thank you for subscribing to our posts!

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.