What does what you say about your business say to your customers? Can they read the writing on the wall? If customers can’t quickly understand just what you are offering them, it’s likely you may never get the chance. No matter what your business is or how big or how small, the way you tell your story is key to success.Continue reading
Today is the big day, Super Bowl XLV. Folks will be donning green and gold or gold and black. Friends will gather around TV sets across the country gobbling up things they know that should not eat and for this one day of the year the DVR is set not to skip the commercials, but to catch them for instant replay.Continue reading
Whether you are charting the course for your personal career or the path your company will follow, there are two questions that have a significant impact on future success:Continue reading
We all dream. Without dreams there would be no innovation, no entrepreneurs, no purpose. From our dreams come vision, inspiration and hope. But dreams are not enough. To move from the world of dreams to the reality of success, you need to deliver. Otherwise you just keep dreaming and never get to see your dreams become real.Continue reading
Last week, I had the pleasure of listening to Lon Safko, co-author of the Social Media Bible speak to a group of counselors from SCORE and the SBDC as a prelude to Greater Phoenix SCORE’s Social Media Event this January 14th and 15th.
During his presentation, Lon kept emphasizing the reasons, excellent ones BTW, that businesses need to pay attention to and utilize social media. And repeatedly he punctuated his message with a continuing theme…Oh Yes! It’s FREE!
But is it?Continue reading
It was 30 years ago, that Summer between my Junior and Senior years of college. I was living with my parents in Danbury, Connecticut and had started dating the boy across the cul-de-sac. One Sunday afternoon, we went out on our boat – Me and my Dad – and that boy and his Dad. We were cruising around Candlewood Lake and anchored across from “Chicken Rock”.
“So, who’s ready to risk it?” – my Dad joked.
Everyone was laughing but I was game. I dove off the bow, swam to shore and started to climb. I was game – but not crazy. I climbed to the mid point – about 15 feet up – and jumped into the lake. As I was swimming back to the boat, my Dad started yelling and pointing at the rock. I looked back just in time to see that boy. He had climbed to the highest point – and dove in head first. Dad even caught it with his camera.
Ya gotta love a guy that’s willing to risk it all.
I did. Five years later, I married him.
What, you may be asking, does this have to do with entrepreneurship? Well, it’s not that different. Many will tell you, at one point or another – you have to calculate the risk and take that leap.
Entrepreneurs are a rare breed. We…
- assess risk
- weigh outcomes
- institute a plan
- execute it
And when we do it well – we reap the reward.
Sometimes when you take that risk – you end up building a really great business…
and sometimes when you take the leap – you get the girl. :0)
Thanks for stopping by. Stay Tuned…
Entrepreneurs are dreamers, creators, innovators, and builders. They come in all shapes and sizes, and have businesses that run the gamut from global ventures and high technology to localized products and services. But if there is one thing that entrepreneurs have in common, it is their generosity and willingness to help others. It’s probably because entrepreneurs understand what it means to strive, to struggle, and to work towards a dream.
Every year for the past 5 years as Chairman of OTEF , I have watched as entrepreneurs from Arizona and across North America gather at the Arizona Entrepreneurship Conferences to learn from each other AND to help OTEF, the Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation, raise the money need to fund programs that help at risk populations realize economic self sufficiency through entrepreneurship with classes, mentoring, and other resources. To learn more about OTEF and it’s programs – click here .
But even after the ‘show’ is over, the continuous challenge of funding these activities continues.
This week, we got yet another example of the generosity of entrepreneurs when the team at Pillsbury Wine Company, reached out with a wonderful offer to help in furthering our mission.
Pillsbury Wine Company is the brainchild of Sam Pillsbury, award-winning New Zealand and American film-maker (The Quiet Earth, Free Willy 3, Endless Bummer) and former co-owner of Dos Cabezas winery in Southeastern Arizona. Wine is his passion and Sam has done it all- from planting vines to serving Dos Cabezas wines at the White House. Dos Cabezas wines have received stellar reviews over the years and Sam is now ready to take his skills and experience in a new direction.
Sam is joined in the project by winemaker Eric Glomski, formerly with David Bruce and Caymus wineries in California and by Rob Dunaway, attorney/businessman, voted one of Phoenix’s top 12 business advisors in the New Times 2001 Readers Poll.Rob, also a founding member of OTEF’s board of directors, brought us a special opportunity and now I am sharing it with you.
It is the opportunity to support the Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation this holiday season with a gift of wine to yourself, to a loved one, or for a valued business associate. In return, PILLSBURY WINE COMPANY, the hot Arizona Wine Company that critics are raving about, is donating 12% of the wine sales to OTEF.It’s really easy – just email LindseyHigginson@aol.com and let her know which and how many of the AWARD WINNING, FOOD ENHANCING RHONE VALLEY STYLE WINES Pillsbury has to offer you would like to order plus your contact information so Lindsey can get back to you and “This is for OTEF” to trigger the donation!Bottles signed by Sam Pillsbury can also be arranged.See this really is a great opportunity. In one fell swoop, you get to help OTEF teach entrepreneurship skills to at risk groups as well as present great programs like AZEC09, plus you get access to wonderful, award winning wines, AND if you have not finished your holiday shopping – here’s your chance.
The Wines of the Award Winning Pillsbury Wine Company
For your shopping pleasure – here is the list of wonderful Pillsbury wines…Pillsbury 2008 Rosé $20Provençal style ‘onion skin’ pink with hints of watermelon, red cherry and strawberry on the nose, bright and refreshing in the mouth, with a clean finish. It will pair well with any light fare, especially salads, fresh fruit, and cheese and crackers. 94 Cases made. Alcohol 14%.‘Local Product of the Month’ Phoenix Magazine, August 2009.Pillsbury 2008 Pinot Gris ‘Casa Blanca’ $20We call this ‘Casa Blanca’ because the Pinot Gris made from these high altitude Arizona vines have twice been served at White House State Dinners. It has a nose of freshly chopped apple, followed by ripe peaches and apricots on the palate. It pairs well with salads, seafood or lighter chicken dishes. 230 Cases made. Alcohol 12.5%. Not yet rated.Pillsbury 2006 Roan Red $24A blend of Grenache and Mourvedre with a small amount of Syrah and Petite Sirah, aged in neutral oak. Bone dry, unfined and unfiltered. Fragrant herbal nose with hints of lavender and honeysuckle. It has spicy ripe red-cherry fruit, with hints of vanilla and tarragon and an autumnal, forest-floor character, with a lovely long finish. Pair with pastas and lighter meat and poultry dishes. Alcohol 13.7%, 329 cases made.93 points. Mark Tarbell, AZ Republic (highest score ever given an AZ wine)Pillsbury 2007 Roan Red $2493.2% Syrah, 6.8%Grenache. This Roan Red is different than the 2006. Our Syrah vines are an Aussie Shiraz clone we planted in the Arizona High Desert in 2000. This is an intense wine with a spicy nose, cherry/cranberry and dark berry fruit with silky tannins and hints of sweet walnut, cucumber and blood orange. Pair with lamb, pasta or robustly flavored chicken dishes. 186 cases made. Alcohol 14%. Not yet rated.Pillsbury 2007 Diva $3664.3 % Grenache, 21.4% Petite Sirah, 14.3% Mourvedre. This blend is a Chateuneuf du Pape style blend, and once again made with our ripest fruit and matured for 15 months in neutral American and new French oak. A fragrant wine with suggestions of super-ripe wild strawberry, macadamias, tobacco and bitter-sweet chocolate with ample tannins, making it perfect for steak or barbeque and big rich casseroles. 173 cases made. Alcohol 14.5%.Gold Medal, 2009 Arizona Wine Growers Association Competition. 2006 Diva called Best Wine in AZ by San Francisco Examiner and Wine Spectator gave it 89 points.Pillsbury 2007 Petite Sirah. $54This monster Petite Sirah was picked late at 28 brix and develops an intense, almost chewy chocolate-like quality and some real fruit complexity. We tend to avoid late-pick reds as the overripe fruit and high alcohol tends to obscure the complexity of the fruit, but Petite Sirah seems to come into its own when made like this. It is bone dry, has hints of intense black berry fruit, roasted cocoa, green apple, sweet blueberry, crème brulée and rose petal with big tannins. 30 cases made. Alcohol 15.4%.
Ya gotta love it!
Glorious wines from Generous People coming together to make life better for others. Like I started off saying – entrepreneurs are some of the most generous people I know.
Thanks for stopping by. Stay Tuned…
I was scanning some articles online this morning when I cam across a fun one at How Stuff Works titled 23 Must-Have Toys from the 1950s and Beyond. So I decided to check it out. Of the 23 ‘must haves’, only Strawberry Shortcake never made it into either my or my children’s toy collection. But it was the Cabbage Patch Kids that brought back the memory of how one innovative toy really drew a crowd.
Xavier Roberts was a teenager when he launched his Babyland General Hospital during the 1970s in Cleveland, Georgia, allowing children to adopt a “baby.” In 1983, the Coleco toy company started mass-producing these dolls as Cabbage Patch Kids. Each “kid” came with a unique name and a set of adoption papers, and stores couldn’t keep them on the shelves, selling more than three million of the dolls in the first year.
It was just before the Christmas holidays in 1983, and my fiance Chris worked at Coleco, home of the Cabbage Patch. EVERYONE was trying to get their hands on the little darlings – even employees. The company had to even hold a lottery for employees to be able to purchase them. So after months of lotteries, we had a small collection of six Cabbage Patch Kids ready for adoption.
I really did not give it too much thought when I lined up the ‘Kids’ on the back seat of my car and left my home in South Windsor, Connecticut on a Saturday afternoon to drive down to see our families in Danbury, Connecticut. But I got a real lesson on what it is like for an innovation to draw a crowd when I stopped at a McDonald’s along the way to get a Diet Coke. The young girl at the drive thru window saw into my back seat, and exclaimed!
WOW! Where did you get all those Cabbage Patch Dolls!
That’s all it took. Before I had even been given my cup, my car was surrounded by Moms, wallets and checkbooks in hand, asking me what it would take to sell them “Just One.” I explained that they were gifts and that they were not for sale, but finally the manager had to come out and move the eager Mommies away – before I could put my car in gear and make my escape from the drive thru. I learned a lesson that day…
When an innovation capture’s the public’s imagination – it draws a crowd.
Over twenty-five years have passed and I have seen many innovative new products come and go. Some are just a passing fad, but others have real staying power. As an investor, I look for those companies with inventions or solutions that can make life better in one way or another. Products or services that capture the imagination and can, with the right resources, literally draw a crowd in their chosen marketplace.
Some of these companies have been in technology – like when Bernie Vonderschmidt, the first Chairman and CEO of Xilinx, shared his vision of the next generation in silicon technology,the FGPGA, or when Dr. Michelle Hanna of RiboMed helped me to imagine a day when we could detect and treat diseases like cancer BEFORE it was too late and our loved ones were suffering. Others have not. But none of the innovations I have invested in have been toys. Perhaps because I never got over the experience of being ‘mobbed by Mommies’ at McDonalds.
Thanks for stopping by. Stay tuned…
From time to time, I get involved in answering a tricky question. “What is this company worth?” Sometimes the question comes up when speaking to a business owner or executive who is truly trying to increase the value of their organization. At other times the question is raised from someone looking for investors or buyers. And then most importantly – I ask it myself when the buyer or investor might be me.Continue reading
A business owner asked me the other day, what was the best marketing strategy ever? I did not have to think very long. To me, the answer is Southwest Airlines in its early days. In a day when Southwest was competing with industry giants to launch a new airline, they broke through and succeeded by demonstrating that they were the airline you wanted to fly by doing the following things.Continue reading