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28 12, 2014

Want to Get Noticed? Get a Job in Target

By |2017-03-03T12:06:54-05:00December 28th, 2014|Categories: Blog, Building a Brand, Change, Competitive Advantage, Entrepreneurs, Motivation, Success|Tags: , , |2 Comments

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Whether you’re in the market to sell yourself or your business you will have to build your brand. Your brand is what makes you unique—it’s what makes you.

Mark Zuckerberg in his "hoodie."

Mark Zuckerberg in his “hoodie.”

When I mention “hoodie” who do you think of? Could it be Mark Zuckerberg? He took hoodie to another level.

Don't forget clean underwear.

Don’t forget clean underwear.

My mom used to say, “Your reputation is all you have.” In those days it means a “good” reputation. These days I’m not sure if it has to be good. You just need a reputation!

Alex from Target,  no longer unknown.

Alex from Target, no longer unknown.

Building your brand isn’t easy. There’s lots of competition and everyday there’s a new unknown who’s become famous.  Last week, Alex was a 16 year old cashier at Target, overnight he became a celebrity with 300,000 followers on Twitter. Someone snapped a photo of him, and it went viral. He says he still doesn’t ’ know what has happened but there’s the buzz that it was a PR stunt from Target. It doesn’t matter, 30 days ago he was an unknown, know he is being represented by Shahidi, who is guiding him on next steps. We now have a brand called “Alex.” Alex was wearing a red Target shirt; I don’t think it was the shirt that made him famous. It was probably his innocent good looks. Here’re some ideas for building your own brand.

No matter what you do, you need your own personal brand to be remembered. If you’re in the sales business, you need customers to remember who you are. I remember I had a salesperson that was known as “the really tall, good looking salesperson.” He was 6 feet tall and definitely good looking. It got him lots of repeat business.

Here are some ideas for building your brand.

"A ship is safe in the harbor but that's not where it belongs."

“A ship is safe in the harbor but that’s not where it belongs.”

Be bold. Take a shot, don’t be afraid to be you and stand out. Your boldness may be your clothes, your hobby or your blog. It might be your haircut. Blogs have made many people famous.

Look like yourself.

Look like yourself.

Look good. Just because you’re running to the post office doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dress up. My mom used to say, “Put on your lipstick, you never know who you’re going to meet.” This was the upgrade from my grandmother who said, “Don’t forget to wear clean underwear in case you’re in an accident.”

Practice random acts of kindness.

Practice random acts of kindness.

Practice “random acts of kindness.” We always remember people who are nice to others. It never hurts to be kind.

Recognize opportunities.

Recognize opportunities.

Get known for working hard and doing an excellent job. This will also make you feel good about yourself.

Have fun.

Have fun.

Be fun, don’t take everything so seriously. I was lucky enough to work with Madeline Kahn in the 50’s. We were both college students working in a hotel in the Catskills; she was a singer and I was a waitress. In the afternoons, she used to dress up as Greta Garbo; a famous vamp from the 20’s and lounged around the pool.

Madeline Kahn, "Blazing Saddles."

Madeline Kahn, “Blazing Saddles.”

One day, the owner came out and yelled at her, “His line, Madeline; you have to get serious if you’re going to be a star!”

If you’ve ever seen “Blazing Saddles” you know she was silly and became a star.

Listen up.

Listen up.

Listen to others. A good listen that isn’t critical is always remembered. You don’t have to be a social worker; you just need a kind ear.

Albert Einstein said he wasn't smart, he was curious.

Albert Einstein said he wasn’t smart, he was curious.

See yourself as entrepreneurial. Being entrepreneurial with interesting ideas will always help your brand.

Take a chance.

Take a chance.

As Dr. Seuss said, “Be who you are and way what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

Lisbeth Calandrino has been a business consultant for over 20 years. To speak with her about your business or have her train your employees, reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com. She lives in Historic Hudson Park with her cat, Rainyday.

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7 10, 2014

“Think Pink.” What are you Doing to Connect with Your Customers During “Breast Cancer Awareness Month?”

By |2017-03-03T12:06:54-05:00October 7th, 2014|Categories: beliefs, Blog, Building a Brand, Reaching the Consumer|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

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Beat breast cancer.

Beat breast cancer.

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation,  more than 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer across the United States this year, worse; approximately 43,000 will die as a result of being afflicted with the disease. I lost both my sister and cousin from this dreaded disease. There aren’t many months that give us an opportunity to stay in front of our female customers and make a difference.  October, Breast Cancer Awareness month is one; the other is Women’s Heart Month, February.

You may have seen national retail stores marketing pink-themed products over the last few years. Every time a pink product is purchased – be it a makeup bag, purse, scarf or t-shirt – a portion of the proceeds is donated by the merchant to the breast cancer organization of their choice. If you don’t want to peddle pink merchandise, how about holding an event in your store and have a pink theme? How about holding a pink hat contest?

Whatever you do, make it matter. To make it matter even more, Fabulous Floors Magazine is giving away $100.00 to the store that has the best party with the most people supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Please send me your photos and the details, so I can blog about it either in October or November. I know; the rules are more subjective than objective, but one of you will win. Please share your stories; it’s the stories that keep the fight alive.  My sister was too late; my cousin wasn’t up for a repeat fight.

I look forward to your entries, whatever you do, it will make a difference.

I can’t wait to see the photos.

Thank you for making a difference.

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20 05, 2012

Is Your Brand of Business Putting You Out Of Business?

By |2017-03-03T12:07:06-05:00May 20th, 2012|Categories: Blog, Building a Brand|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |4 Comments

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Are you burning your brand?

I conducted a workshop  this  week with a group of  small business owners.  I asked if they had the same passion as when they first opened their businesses; they all laughed at me. I said I knew my business was in trouble when I decided it would be easier   without customers  and employees; this got a round of applause.

The longer you’re in the business the more you get worn out. How can you do the same thing day after day and not get tired? You have to re energize yourself and your passion.

I’m convinced that many people go into business for the wrong reasons. If you ask why they’re in business they often say: “It’s to make money.” I then ask: well are you making money? The majority will say “no.” Then I ask why haven’t they made money and they come up with a ton of reasons–usually it’s the economy, no customers and bad employees.  These are the same people who rarely attend a seminar or hire a business coach. Instead they turn up their noses at anything that goes against their thinking no matter how good the idea.

I went to see one of the business owners that didn’t attend the workshop and asked her why she hadn’t attended.  Her answer: “I don’t need it.” I then asked how her business was doing and she said “not so good.” I really wasn’t sure what to ask her next but she obviously doesn’t have much faith in anything.

Today I stopped by a local nursery and told them it was nice to finally see them open. She laughed and said “its been a long winter.” I agreed and said “I would love if you would put up a sign that said, “200 days until Spring”  instead of the one that says “Closed for the Winter.” She laughed and asked me “why” to which I replied, “It makes me depressed.”

She laughed again and said “It depresses me too!” Case closed.  (You may have read my blog “Closed for the Winter” that I wrote about this nursery.)

Do you think people listen to what they say?

In order to make a business work, you must have passion and a plan.  One without the other rarely works. If you don’t have passion it’s hard to stay focused; a bad day becomes a bad week. If it doesn’t go your way you stop all forward movement.

I observed businesses with no hours posted on the doors, “A be  back in 10 minutes sign”  (with no time on the doors stating when they left) and no emergency phone numbers. This isn’t a business that wants to make money; this is one that forgot about its customers.

As my mom used to say, “You can explain until you’re blue in the face, and no one is listening.” I think she was referring to me.

So what will build passion? Here are 8 ideas that might help.

  • Talking with other business owners about what works. They don’t have to be in your business to get ideas.  This is different than complaining about the economy and talking about what doesn’t work. Look at the half full glass of water not the half empty glass. Share ideas. A friend of mine said she got a call from a design competitor. At first she was nervous about talking with the woman then she realized she might learn something. She even took it a step further and decided they might even work together! Good for her! I turned out there were products she could sell the other designer. I spoke with several of the businesses in my workshop who can’t wait for the next one.
  • Take a class on marketing, social media or ideas on how to grow your business. I have been listening to the radio station (on my phone) called Freakonomics, the hidden side of everything. A funny and thought provoking view of many things in the world.
  • Do something that you enjoy; at least once a week. Many business owners do nothing but go back and forth to work. Give yourself a break.
  • Sing out loud! Singing is a great way to relieve stress.
  • Go to the gym or get some serious exercise. Working out will release endorphins, a chemical that will make you feel better. Endorphins act as analgesics, which means they diminish the perception of pain. They also act as sedatives. I can’t say enough good things about the gym; working out helps me get better sleep.
  • Look up videos on how to energize your passion. Simply Google or YouTube t videos on unleashing your potential.
  • Read a book on business or motiv