Staying Productive During the Dog Days of Summer

The dog days of summer are here. It can be hard to stay productive during this season while co-workers and employees go on vacation, summer hours go into effect or maybe even your business slows down a bit. In this post we will look at ways to stay productive during the dog days of summer.

What are the dog days of summer, anyway?

What thoughts come to mind when you hear the phrase “the dog days of summer”? Warm weather, sunny beaches, pool side barbecues or family road trips? Or maybe you think of it in more of a literal sense like dogs lying around in the heat or playing around like this fun video from America’s Funniest Home Videos (AVF).

Sidney Hall [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Sidney Hall [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

While the term may mean many of those things to us today, I think you would be surprised to learn about its origin. It comes from the Greek belief about the star Sirius also known as the dog star in the Canis Major and Lepus constellation. Take a look at the image above. The Greeks believed that Canis Major was like a dog chasing a hare named Lepus. The dog star Sirius is at the tip of the dog’s nose. The dog days of summer occur when Sirius lines up with the Sun. These days are believed to be the hottest days of the year. However, we know now that this couldn’t be true. While the months of July and August are usually the hottest the hottest days can vary from year to year depending on where you live. We also know that a star could never warm up the Earth as much as our Sun already does. However the term “dog days of summer” has stuck and taken on a whole new meaning. Continue reading

5 Ways to Spring into Renewal

spring-into-renewal

Spring is such a gift. After cold gray winter months it is a delight to enjoy the cool air and beautiful colors of spring.

Out of all four seasons, spring represents a time of renewal. Flowers are in bloom, trees grow back their lush green leaves and the streets of residential neighborhoods are filled with the sounds of lawn mowers pruning fresh green grass.

The beauty of this season brings on a feeling of change or the want and need of something new. It’s a good time to evaluate how you are servicing your business needs and how you can implement changes to your business to maximize and satisfy the feeling of renewal for your team and your clients. Continue reading

How to Stimulate Creativity

As marketers, business people, developers, innovators, bloggers, parents and creatives we have to be on top of our game in order to stay ahead. Technology is always changing the way we communicate. We have to be fast thinkers in this instant world that we live in.

I enjoy watching Ellen DeGeneres whenever I need a good belly laugh. I came across this video with Ellen and Rebel Wilson the other day and thought it was a fun example of how in marketing or in life we can fall into situations where we need to do a little improvisation as well. I have also come up with a few ideas to share about how we can stimulate our creativity when we run into a block.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

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What Changing Fall Leaves and Your Business Have in Common | Managing Business Change

fall-leaves-managing-business-change

Fall is one of my favorite seasons. I love the crisp cool air and the beautiful Fall foliage. Have you ever wondered why leaves change color? Well, it’s all about chemistry.

The simplest way to describe the process where leaves change color in the Fall is that the chlorophyll breaks down and it’s green pigment fades away. The leaves on a tree are what generates energy for the plant to survive. Specifically, chlorophyll allows the plants to absorb energy from light. Leaves have other colors in them such as yellow and orange. These pigments are always there and become more visible when the green chlorophyll begins to disappear. The reds you see in the Fall come from another chemical process involving red anthocyanins. In the Autumn there is less intense light from the sun and the leaves become sensitive to colder temperatures. The leaves then change color and eventually fall off when the tree is ready for winter hibernation. Learn more about how leaves change color in the following video. Continue reading

In Marketing Timing is Everything: Nissan’s Second Royal Baby Tweet

nissan-royal-tweet

Like when you are shooting the winning score seconds before the clock runs out or making the decision to have a baby timing is important. In marketing timing is everything. Being in the advertising specialties industry, I live at least three months ahead of everyone else. In this sort of business you have start marketing and planning before the idea even reaches your customers mind. Sometimes it’s a no brainer, for example, I wouldn’t start my holiday promotions in July. If your timing is too off you can miss the opportunity to connect with potential customers. Continue reading

Why Persistence is Key for your Business When Giving Up is Not an Option

I have seen this video circulate around the internet several times. It never ceases to motivate me and inspire me. Arthur’s story is truly inspirational and it’s a good lesson on persistence. Watch how he proved doctors wrong and changed his life forever, all because he decided to never give up.

There are many times in business when you feel like giving up. Sometimes you feel like the best answer is to quit. There may be good reasons to quit somethings but that’s where you have to trust your own judgment. Is quitting the best answer? When quitting is not an option there is power in remaining persistent and never giving up. Giving up doesn’t pay off. I have learned this first hand while running my own promotional items business through many ups and downs. Continue reading

Intentional Mistakes and Why You Should Make Them

This video offers great advice from scientist Dr. Gresham. As mentioned in the video, 30-50% or more of scientific discoveries are, for the most part, accidental. There have been some great accidental discoveries that have changed our world. For example, Coca-Cola started creating it’s recipe off of a mixture that was originally created by pharmacist John Pemberton to cure headaches. Silly Putty was discovered while James Wright was trying to come up with an artificial rubber for war efforts. Penicillin was an accidental discovery. Alexander Fleming discovered it when he returned from a vacation to find mold on one of his petri dishes which had killed off the surrounding bacteria. Continue reading

What is it Big Deal this Year at the Westminster Dog Show?

Who Knew??  The prestigious Westminster Kennel Club dog show is not only allowing mixed breed competitors but it also allowing the sport I practice with my dog, agility. Only 225 dogs can participate so you can image many of us didn’t get in. Like a lottery, the dogs were selected at random. To qualify, you have to be at the “Excellent and Master’s Level”. We were there but sadly didn’t get in.

westminster-nyc

The first widely documented appearance of dog agility was at the Crufts Dog Show in England in 1978. It was originally designed as an entertainment segment between the conformation and obedience rounds. It was enthusiastically embraced by the spectators. Agility intrigued dog owners with its demonstration of speed, agility, and the enthusiasm of the competitors. It is open to a of a variety of breeds and it had quickly grown into an international and local sport with standardized equipment.

crufts-dog-show

How Agility Training is Making a Difference at Westminster

This year will be the 138th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Westminster Dog Show is the one of the longest-running shows of its kind, starting back in 1877. This prestigious dog show judges canines in categories, such as Best in Group, Best of Breed and Best in Show.

The New York the Championship course will be a hybrid of the qualifying rounds and will be televised. It will be run as a ‘time to beat’ course. The first dog will set the baseline time for the subsequent competitors. Agility has become an exciting canine sport for spectators and it has become the fastest growing dog sport in the country. I am not going to bore with my experiences running my dachshund. I have already done that and if you want to look at my experiences please read: How Agility Training Has Helped Me Overcome Business Obstacles.
Why is this a big deal? For 138 years NO mixed breed dogs have appeared in Westminster and agility wasn’t even thought of.

How can you relate this huge change made by the Westminster Dog Show to your Business Plan?

When you make business plan to you plan for growth and planning for growth is essential. Sometimes it is hard to face the fact that things do change because we go through life thinking that this will never happen, or why try because it will never work. Often we see businesses fail because they are not willing to stay with the plan. Make a plan.

  1. Think about Funding Needs. Do you have the money to expand your business?
  2. Describe your product. What are you really selling. Establish your unique selling proposition. What makes you different from your competitors. This is where promotional products can be used to show how and why you are better.
  3. Organize Your Company. Make sure that everyone in company knows not only what their role but what are the goals of your company.
  4. What are your Marketing and Sales Strategies? Marketing attracts your customers which generate sales. The advertisers at Westminster is big business. There are rows and rows of booths selling items. Many companies donate anything from food, dog treats, and dog bags with their logos items.
  5. Target Market.  Knowing your target market you are able to establish pricing, distribution and what your marketing strategies will be in order to become profitable. This is important as it will give you the indication for the growth potential within your industry.

No one can never say “never”. Having a dog show in New York City was considered nuts. However a group of sporting gentlemen decided that they would hold a dog show in Manhattan and the year was 1877. Look at the growth and how this one show every year has influenced shows everywhere. What is interesting is that Westminster pre-dates the invention of the light bulb, the automobile, and the zipper; the building of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Washington Monument; and manned air flight and the establishment of the World Series.

“You just never give up, no matter how hard the challenges are, and observe this world with a healthy dose of criticism and don’t just follow the herd like somebody else might do.” – Renny Harlin

Create your own path to success, and know that if you’re the only one walking it, you must find the way!

roxie-hoop

OK I wasn’t selected this year, but I will try again next year. I am sure the agility portion of the event is going to be successful and more dogs will be allowed to compete. Roxie and I plan to be there next year. Don’t forget to look for us….

Have you ever seen the Westminster Dog Show on TV or in Person? Do you have long term goals for you and your business? What have been working on?

How Teamwork is the Root of Any Successful Business

redwoods-teamwork

As a native from San Francisco I visit California often, and love while I am in  the bay area taking those drives through Northern California. I will never forget the experiences of driving through the magnificent Redwood National Park.  The reason why I’m talking about redwoods is because I had come across several articles that related these beautiful trees to teamwork. I knew that I wanted to focus this week’s post on teamwork and I found their root system and it’s comparison to teamwork really fascinating.

I became very interested in these amazing trees and wanted to research and explore them more. I learned some very useful information. Growing to a height of 350 feet, the coast redwood trees of Northern California are part of what makes America beautiful. Beyond their visible beauty, these trees also possess an inner beauty that goes all the way down to their roots. For such a tall tree, the coast redwood trees have a root system that is considerably shallow, only extending 100 feet from the base of the tree. The inner beauty of these trees is that they stabilize each other by intertwining their roots with neighboring trees. They’re a team and literally need each other for survival. It is the intertwining of their roots that enables them to remain stable during storms that sometimes bring floods and high winds.

Just like in nature, business comes with its own set of storms that can bring major complications. So the question then becomes, is teamwork the answer to strengthening your company’s foundation; its roots? Yes, effective teamwork is essential to the success of any business or project.

Photographer Nick Nichols wanted to accomplish the impossible. He wanted to photograph the “most complex architectural tree that Earth has known.” Watch the video below to see how he was able to accomplish this for the National Geographic magazine. It is evident that he required a team and without teamwork he would have never been able to accomplish this.

Key Factors within Teamwork for Successful Business

Putting a Team Together
Building a team takes time and effort. What you put into the team is what you will get out of it so if you want excellent results you first have to put together a team of excellence. If team creation is something new for your company, it will change its DNA doing so, the changes must be made uniformly, across the whole organization. Google is a company that is all about teamwork, it’s a part of the Google culture. They almost solely work in teams and feel that this not only makes their company more effective but fun also. Teamwork increases efficiency and opens the door for different minds to focus on the same project.
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