How About A Giveaway To Celebrate Summer??

 

Woman at beautiful beach holding sunglasses

Ahhh…wish this was me right now but in a couple of days it will be!

How about a giveaway to celebrate the long-awaited arrival of SUMMER???  For the chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card, click here to enter! There are tons of chances to win and with all that cash from Amazon, you can fill your Kindle with lots of fabulous summer reads…people seem to like this new book UNLIKELY VENTURE. Just something I’ve heard… =)

The giveaway ends on May 30 and the winner will be notified by email.

Why Do Startups Fail?

A multitude of potential pitfalls can negatively impact entrepreneurs as they eagerly try to build their fledgling companies…and basically crush their spirit if allowed. In my experiences, there are four reasons that stand out the most:

  • Lack of Research – Research is imperative. It provides insight about what your competitors are doing so can stay several steps ahead and create innovative ways to develop and market your offering. It also provides you with insight about the costs and components of running a successful business in your target industry. Spending time investigating a specific market will show whether there is a demand for your intended offering. Successful research will help shape your vision and strategy. Without it, you risk the future viability of your business.
  • Poor Planning – There are a lot of moving parts that need to come together before your finished product is ready for sale. You have to coordinate delivery timeframes with vendors and partners who are all part of your launch schedule. In addition, you need to plan for bill payment. Figure out what your accounts receivable schedule looks like so you can continue procuring supplies and services you need in a timely manner.
  • Boiling The Ocean – Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what will be a hit in the market. Hindsight is always 20-20. Sometimes you decide to make six different handbag styles, each available in seven different colors because you don’t know which one will be “the” one until it suddenly appears in an issue of InStyle and you now need to satisfy excessive demand without nearly enough inventory because you spread your resources too thin….ahh, but I digress. Focus groups can help! Talk to your target market and gather feedback. It may push out your delivery timeframes but the insight can help perfect your offering.
  • Nothing Unique – If there is nothing new or different about your product, nobody is going to buy – no matter how much you love it. It’s hard to pull off those rose-colored glasses and embrace the reality staring back at you. Leather handbags? Not otherworldly. Romance novels? Been there, read that. The key is to make your work stand out. Dig deep and find what sets your product apart from the competition and play that up otherwise it’ll get swallowed up into the abyss. Perfect your offering. You care, so figure out a way to make everyone else care. Establish a connection, show how them why they should be invested, convince them why they need your product.

THINK BIG…THEN ACT

Bill Rancic has certainly come a long way from his win on The Apprentice. He was just featured on The Rhode Show to talk about a new campaign he is running with Intuit Quick Books to celebrate the success of small businesses in America, which have accounted for two-third of new jobs created in the United States in the past decade. They’d run a similar campaign a few years back and it was so wildly successful, they’re going to make the deal even sweeter this time around.

Original ‘Apprentice’ Winner Bill Rancic Shares Advice – The Rhode Show

Small business owners will get a chance to compete for a free ad that will be aired during next year’s Super Bowl. Imagine your company being among the ones that paid $4.5 MILLION dollars for their precious 30-second spot. The opportunities that can result from that exposure absolutely boggle my mind.

But they aren’t stopping there. Procuring funding for expansion is always a costly prospect in the form of sky-high interest rates so Intuit is creating a fund to help small businesses finance their longer-term activities as well as bringing together a network of small business experts to share experiences and offer guidance and advice.

There’s MORE!! Bill goes on to share some of his own tips in the video clip below. It’s super-short and worth a watch. He basically has three tips for aspiring entrepreneurs:

  • Be Agile – You need to adapt and be flexible and respond to changes in market influences.
  • Don’t Go It Alone – Tap trusted subject matter experts, learn from their mistakes, drink in their advice.
  • Work Hard & Live Lean – Don’t expect a paycheck quickly and learn to do without while you grow your business.

All extremely important messages. I have one more to add to the mix:

  • Do Your Research! – Learn about every facet of your target industry, understand all the nuances, dependencies, challenges, pitfalls. Figure out what the competition does well and come up with ways to do it better. Embrace innovation. Soak up knowledge like you’re a sponge and then apply it to your long-term strategy. These activities will save you a lot of money, aggravation and disappointment. Trust me, I know.

Release Blitz – “Deceitfully” By Leighton Riley

Title: Deceitfully (Sinfully #3)
Author: Leighton Riley
Release Date: May 7, 2015
Find on Goodreads

High school reunions are supposed to be joyous times of sharing memories and success…not gunfire and death… 

Tate’s always been the player with a sweet heart. Payton was his “almost” love but things are different now. Tragedy strikes, leaving dozens injured and a handful dead. Now, he wants the girl who cared for him when he needed it most.

With deep-rooted resentment toward each other, twins Stella and Sophia are not on the best of terms. Stella, always inferior to her sister, is blossoming into the beautiful woman Tate sees her as now that they are together. Misunderstandings along with hidden pain and love surround Tate and Stella as they step into a serious relationship.

Will Sophia play nice and be happy for her sister?

Life can change in a second. For Tate and Stella, overcoming their past to live in the moment is easier said than done.

Amazon

Just as I was about to fall asleep, I heard her come back into the room.  She took the tiniest of steps like she was scared to come any closer.  A mix of emotions covered her face, but in the end, it was her smile that got me.  It gave me hope.
I had to ask, I had to hold on to the slightest chance that she was wrong before.  She told me all she knew, and it was final.  I listened to her sweet voice, but all that came to my mind was the fact that he was gone.
Closing my eyes, I wept.  I had the slightest urge to pull her close.  It was crazy, we barely knew each other, but I was holding on by a thread.  Her soft, cold hand lay on top of mine and my heart skipped a beat.  Putting my hand on top of hers, I held on to her, hoping that she’d give me the strength I needed to get through it all.  With my luck, she’d be gone by tomorrow.  For the moment though, she was there for me, and I wasn’t going to give it up.

Texas born and raised, I found my love for dirty books rather recently. I work in real estate for my day job and I write contemporary romance with a twist of suspense and erotica. Sinfully, Regretfully, and Deceitfully can be read in order or as standalones. Sinfully and Regretfully take place around the same time frame and can even be read in reverse order (will give more background on Payton and Ryder’s story). Tate’s story, Deceitfully, will finish off the series and will be out in spring of 2015.

 

Why Employers Should Aspire To Be Like Captain America

It should come as no surprise that I saw The Avengers: Age Of Ultron on opening night. And while I am disappointed to say it was not my favorite installation, I still enjoyed it. Kind of. Well, as much as I could after three Jack and Cokes at ten o’clock at night, sprawled out in a big La-Z-Boy seat. Way past my bedtime. =)

Anyway…

I’m definitely not happy that Tony Stark has lost his swagger. That was one of the most fun parts of these movies. But what was really cool to me was seeing Captain America really take charge and lead his troops, so to speak. There’s so much to respect about a guy who strives to always do what is right and just. But not only that. He knows people. He understands their strengths and weaknesses and aligns them to the tasks where they can best deliver value to an endeavor.

Employers, take note. You can learn a few things from Captain America’s leadership style.

1. Check your emotions at the door – During The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Cap realized that what he’d wanted out of life before he’d been frozen was very different from what his life’s mission had become so many decades later. He has a duty to support the greater good and lives to fulfill it. His needs are pushed to the back burner as he strives to conquer evil and protect the lives of the innocent.

2. Stay true to your moral center – Tough decisions aren’t always the popular ones but a strong leader understands the potential negative impact of ambivalence and complacency. Cap always strives to do what’s right even if he knows the decisions will not be embraced wholeheartedly. He never backs down from what he believes is the right thing to do.

3. Be loyal to your brand – Just like Cap is recognized for traits such as individualism, justice and fairness, employers should make sure they are exemplifying the elements of their brand – what sets their company apart from the competition.

4. Take care of your own – Employees are the backbone of any business. Understanding their strengths and weaknesses is critical to ensuring you have the best people making decisions on your behalf. Cap knew which of his counterparts he could count on to deliver results. Hulk, SMASH!!!!!

Courtesy of www.imd.com

Courtesy of http://www.imd.com

Mega Summer Giveaway – $500 GIFT CARD!!!!!!!

Spring into SUMMER with a giveaway to end all giveaways!!!!! And have a mojito while you’re at it. LOL.

Mojito

Of course I’m participating!!!! =)

Amy Brantley, owner of A Girl and Her eBooks and Book Promos by A Girl and Her eBooks (a fellow entrepreneur =)) is hosting a $500 gift card giveaway to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Walmart, Target, OR PayPal (Winner’s Choice).

Is that INSANE or what?????

All you have to do is click HERE to enter! You have so many entry options to maximize your chances at winning this fabulous prize!!!

The contest ends June 21, so get your entries in!

GOOD LUCK!!!!

Drawing Inspiration From The Silver Screen?

I read an interesting article in Forbes today titled Four Movies Every Entrepreneur Needs To Watch.

Cool picks, couple of my faves made the cut. Definitely check them out. Chris Myers has some interesting perspectives to share and I have a few of my own selections to add to the list.

The Pursuit Of Happyness

Chris Gardner. If his story doesn’t make you want to grab life by the horns and charge, I don’t know what will. The guy had no resources, a young son whose livelihood depended on his success but man, did he have the will to win. Entrepreneurs often face seemingly insurmountable obstacles and the successful ones never let themselves get burdened with a defeatist mentality. Frustration may reign temporarily but at the end of the day, they’ll do what they need to grow and prosper.

Take away? Never let a lack of resources hold you back from accomplishing your goals. Stay true to your dreams and push forward until you reach them.

Moneyball

I bet Hubby will like this one. =)

An interesting pick from me but in this case, it totally fits the list. Billy Beane, GM of the Oakland A’s, figured out there were certain stats that were better indicators of offensive success and it turned out those stats were cheaper to buy on the open market than more commonly tracked stats, like speed. By re-evaluating the way the industry identified and paid for talent and fundamentally changing their win strategy, the Oakland A’s made it to the playoffs in 2002 and 2003 with a fraction of their competitors’ payrolls.

The end result? Management transformed their way of thinking and strategizing, yielding huge returns for the team for years to come.

Iron Man

Okay, this one is a no-brainer and not just because I have a tiny celebrity crush on RDJ. Genius billionaire playboy philanthropist…hello!!! He’d been kidnapped and forced to make a weapon of mass destruction. Instead, using a box of scraps and his engineering brilliance, he created a powered suit of armor used to escape his captors. Yup, Tony Stark, probably the sexiest entrepreneur to strut the Earth, transformed himself into a superhero whose cutting-edge technology ultimately saved the world.

Message? A new take on an existing product can make a business explode with possibilities (no pun intended).

8e236d56f816252c888e03c0fb59a78a

OMG I’m The Female Version Of Steve Jobs!!

Hubby is a crazy fast reader. He can blow through one of my 250-page manuscripts in an hour…less than the amount of time it takes me to drive to the nail salon, get a mani and drive home.

He recently read Becoming Steve Jobs by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli…in about two hours. 435 pages, by the way. What the WHAT?????

Becoming Steve Jobs

Becoming Steve Jobs

Closing the book, he looked up and said, “I want to show you something but I don’t want to show you something.”

Hmmm. Intrigued? Um, YES!

He reluctantly flipped open the book to a folded down page and pointed to a passage. “I’m not showing this to you to say I condone it or anything but I think you should read it.”

What the heck could it possibly SAY???

Well, allow me to indulge you. I also took the liberty of boldfacing some of the key words.

“Jim Collins, the bestselling author of the management classics Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies and Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t, has a wonderful phrase to describe an essential characteristic of great leaders: deep restlessness. Collins applies this phrase to Steve, one of the two great leaders who inspire him the most.”

Whoa…and here I was thinking I was just a little ADD…

“Collins believes this restlessness is far more important and powerful than simple ambition or raw intelligence. It is the foundation of resilience, and self-motivation. It is fueled by curiosity, the ache to build something meaningful, and a sense of purpose to make the most of one’s entire life.” (Page 295)

I couldn’t stop the smile from spreading across my lips. Finally!! VALIDATION!!!! No wonder he was so torn…

Yes, I constantly get new business ideas. Yes, I like to act on several at once. Yes, I’m sometimes all over the place with my grandiose plans. NO I CANNOT SIT IDLE WHEN I COULD BE EXECUTING ON POTENTIAL OPPORTUNITIES!!! NO I DON”T LET POTENTIAL FAILURE DETER ME…EVER!!!!!

Hell yeah! This is me, embracing the restlessness!!!

Release Blitz! “Not Your Hero” By Anna Brooks

 

Title: Not Your Hero
Author: Anna Brooks
Release Date: April 18, 2015
Find on Goodreads

Sam Monroe is cynical and trusts no one. He lives his life just the way he likes it – no promises and no regrets. All he wants is a willing woman a couple times a week to give him a few moments where there are no painful memories. 

Courtney Gallagher is a single mom doing her best at raising her young son. She longs to feel wanted again, to receive the touch of a loving man. Even though her heart is fragile, she has hope there’s someone out there for her and her son.

Courtney rents a place from Sam, and their relationship becomes complicated. Sam is willing to let her in his bed, but not his heart. Courtney feels a pull towards Sam, but learns that trust is definitely something to be earned.

Can she forgive his mistakes? Does he want to be forgiven?

Amazon

“Is it really gonna be like this?”
“Like what?”
I sit in my chair, back to him, and start twirling pasta. His arms cage me in from behind and his stubble tickles my cheek. “You acting pissed at me. I told you. I fucking told you that I can’t do more. I told you to make me leave, but you didn’t.”
He runs his nose behind my ear, and I clench the arms of the chair, forcing myself to stay still. I don’t want him to see how affected I am. “But you didn’t. So we fucked, Courtney. And we could do it again. In fact, I jack off thinking about doing it again. You know where I live if you want a repeat.”

Anna has always had a passion for writing, and is thrilled to have published her first novel. Along with several other projects, she is currently working on the next book in the It’s Kind Of Personal series. Born in Wisconsin, she’s lived in several Midwestern states. Anna enjoys reading, writing, and spending time outdoors with her husband and two boys.
Facebook Twitter Website Goodreads

 

Think Twice Before Joining The Style High Club

Hubby recently joined the Five Four Club. For $60 per month, he was promised an entirely new and fashionable wardrobe. Upon registering, he completed a detailed questionnaire so the company could gauge his style and taste and send him items according to his preferences.

Sounds simple enough, right?

The first shipment came the other day. I had to include pics because not only were the styles completely off, but the quality is extremely sub-par. The jacket is some kind of flimsy nylon material and the shirt is just a plain black t-shirt with a couple of buttons. Neither one of us was impressed and Hubby decided to cancel the membership.

IMG_2364

IMG_2365

After keeping him on hold for about twenty minutes, Hubby found out he couldn’t return the clothing items for a refund. That’s part of the program, not one they widely publicized, by the way. He was definitely cancelling after hearing that.

But then the customer service rep said if he’d like to continue the membership, they would send him higher quality items the following month. Hmm.

Can you say swindled???

That first month tells this company a lot about their subscribers. If customers let it go without complaining about the crappy items they’d received, the company continues to send them shoddy items, saving themselves wads of cash because they’re able to keep costs down and send the lower quality merchandise.

For the subscribers that may not be happy with the quality, they may not want to sit on hold for eons so they’ll just suck it up, take the clothes and not wear them (at least they won’t if they have wives like yours truly).

Only a few will be disgusted enough to call, sit on hold and complain to customer service. These are the ones who they still have a shot at retaining. Offer them better quality to keep them happy. It’ll cost the company a little more, but they’re already making money hand over fist with the others who are just accepting what was sent.

Then there are the dissenters…the ones whom they can’t convince to stay. These are probably few and far between and not the true target for this company anyway, so better to let them go. Not cost to the company since they don’t give refunds. They still sucker them for $60 a pop (even if it was only ONE pop).

The Five Four team is not really embracing the concept of customer loyalty. Or maybe they just don’t care. Seems like a scam to me. Buyer beware. Big time.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 141 other followers