Do you want the good news or bad news first?

Monday Jenn & I had a long Skype meeting {3 hours! Granted the first 30 minutes were to fawn over sweet Lucy but I digress}. We've been busy with the start of the new year & new projects; so to keep us on task we’ve been having weekly Monday afternoon meetings.

Once we got through canoodling Lucy {well, I canoodled & Jenn just cooed at her over the computer}, Jenn immediately went into, ‘Ronii you owe B&A a blog post.’ She’s trying real hard to keep me on task. I took a big, deep breath and said, ‘I know.’ in the most pathetic of ‘I don’t wanna’ tones.

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Effective Planning: 5 Sure-Fire Strategies + Tools

It’s that time of year again. You know, when you have to start making plans for your business for next year + all the goals you want to accomplish.

There are lots of questions around planning. What are your business goals for 2016? How will you reach them? What pieces + parts need improvement? What resources do I need to help with those improvements? How am I going to make more money in 2016?

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25 Tips to be Consistent With Your Brand

Recently, I was researching a business and came across its Facebook page. The cover image was great + conveyed a strong message with the logo prominently placed. I know exactly who they are. But the little square profile image that shows up in my newsfeed is different (I noticed because I do branding). You know what though? New potential customers like you + me who like that page will never notice that brand’s updates in our newsfeeds because it’s the wrong, outdated logo.

On social platforms all we see is that little square profile image and if you have a different image, icon or logo then how do people know it's you

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The 5 Senses of Your Clients’ Brand Experience

By definition, brand experience is the perception that a customer develops from a brand’s various actions. It's all the touchpoints that a customer has with a brand. Touchpoint’s being websites, ads, commercials, packaging, customer service reps, etc. 

A customer’s brand experience stems from every piece + part of your business.

I’ve always had the philosophy that everything in your business...

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Get all Warm + Fuzzy: 3 Tips for a Stellar Brand Experience

You know that warm + fuzzy feeling you get when you’ve just popped into the Coach Outlet to grab a quick gift for your bestie {and happen to pick up a new wallet for yourself} and the girl that is ringing up your purchase is meticulously wrapping your gift {and your gift to yourself} in tissue paper with a little sticker and gingerly putting it in the bag?

That’s when you know you have had an experience.

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The ultimate guide to finding inspiration: 35 ideas for sparking creativity

It’s a crisp fall day and leaves are painting the horizon in rich orange, yellow + red hues. Steam rolls off the top of your warm pumpkin spice latte as you watch a light morning mist lift up over the hills. In this quiet moment your mind expands + potential ideas bubble to the surface sparking infinite possibilities.

This. This is inspiration. A muse. Your muse.

This is where art + science + technology comes from. Were innovations to make our world better are formed.

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8 Ways to Think Like a Creative Genius

The pressure’s on.

There’s a deadline.

And you're looking at a very blank page on your screen.

For what feels like hours when it’s really only been like… 5 minutes.

You think, 'Why does this keep happening to me?'

Procrastination is your best friend and your worst enemy when it comes to writing, designing + creating.

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3 Tips to Perfectly Prevail Over a Business Bully

If you thought you left your high school bully stuffing you in a locker back in high school, think again. Bullies are everywhere. A bully is a bully regardless of age, education or social status.

I'd like to think in the business world that we all keep our eyes on our own paper. And that there is enough work + success to go around that we all get to drink bubbly champagne on yachts in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea like Beyonce. Is business so terrible out that we need to resort to bullying colleagues to make ourselves look {read: feel} better?

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Brand Positioning: It’s not you, it’s me. Actually, it’s you. You’re boring.

Branding is a hot topic around these parts (parts = my office chair). I’m obsessed with lots of things but brand strategies is in my top 3 along with close, authentic relationships and ‘Hot Now’ Krispy Kreme Donuts. The inventor of Spanx is a billionaire because donuts {and bacon} are delicious (honestly, I can’t take credit for that one because I saw it in a birthday card the other day).

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Masterminding: Empowering you to #BeAwesome

Flight delayed... AGAIN!

Sitting at a bar drinking the sour mood away. At this point, I'm just ready to get home after my whirlwind trip to Charleston, South Carolina.

Yes, it has been an AWESOME time with some great ladies, lots of masterminding and girl time, but now it's time to get back home...

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Time Management 101: The Falsity of Busy

A few years ago I had a dentist appointment. I’m one of those very few people that loves going to the dentist. That’s probably because I don’t have any cavities and haven’t had any major dental work so all I ever get is a cleaning. I was chatting with the hygienist while she cleaned and when the dentist came in she asked the same question that most people ask, “How’s it going?” I gave my standard answer...

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Bringing Cocktail Napkin Ideas to Reality

It’s Thursday afternoon. And a long week already. You think your brain is about to explode because there is so much going on. Your business buddy texts you, “hey, what are you doing for happy hour? Wanna get a drink and catch up?” That sounds about perfect right now. The daily grind of working on this and that and demanding clients has you a bit down. And not only do you love a good cold libation you love the conversation you can have with someone who understands what you're going through. It is always a good motivator to chat with someone else who just GETS IT...

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Dirty Little Secrets: I've had Enough with internet Searching

I HATE the Google!

There! I said it. And it feels sooooo good to get it off my chest.

I can't stand researching or looking up information. Your mouth just dropped open, didn't it? You are probably thinking... "You do know you are in the marketing biz, right?" "Research is your job."

Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Bite me! I still hate the Google.

Every time I ask a question... "Well did you Google it?"  Noooo! That's why I asked the question. GEEZ!!!

Why does everyone love the Google? Our world depends on THE. GOOGLE. It is a verb in the dictionary for crying out loud!

goo·gle

verboften capitalized \ˈgü-gəl\

goo·gledgoo·gling 

transitive verb

:  to use the Google search engine to obtain information about (as a person) on the World Wide Web

Is this what life has succumbed to? THE! GOOGLE!

I mean.... COME ON! When you type in something you get a gazillion choices to pick from. Who the hell has time to go through all those links? I want an answer and I want it now. I don't want to click on 2, 3, 6, 10 links to find the answer. All I need is a phone number to my local liquor store DAMNIT! AAAAHHHHHHHHHHH! I HATE THE GOOGLE!

*inhale... deep breath...and let it out slowly*

Ok, ok I have to calmed down... as you can tell Google brings out a whole other side to me. The side that likes to use A LOT of 4 letter words. I am sure THE. GOOGLE. can tell me all about that mental disorder that I MUST have because I get so angry when I talk about THE. GOOGLE.

But let's be real for a minute... I am going to admit something that is very hard for me, but you have to promise to not let Ronii know. It would go to that Rock Star head of hers. I mean she is the one who is always telling me to "google it” (I totally just made that crinkly nose, high pitched voice “impression” of her), even when I know she knows the freakin answer... buuuuutttttt...

The Google is a powerful, useful tool. (I wish I was the genius who came up with that brilliant idea and then brilliantly branded the hell out of it.) You can find ANYTHING on Google. It might take some navigating (this is what drives me to 50 Levels of Crazy) to get to the right source of information, but the information is there. The key to Google is the words you put in the search. You really have to be specific on your search criteria to get faster and more accurate results that are on the coveted page 1. Otherwise you will get lost in Google universe and will be sitting in front of your laptop screaming at the search results on your computer screen, making your family (and neighbors) think you've lost your ever lovin mind and need to be wearing that fashionable white jacket that keeps your arms crossed against your chest and ties in the back. (I can neither confirm or deny that I may or may not have done this.)

You can find anything, and anyone for that matter. Businesses (especially small businesses) need the Google to help market itself. You know... that little thing called SEO. Yeah if you have enough meta tags and keywords and blah blah blah, you will pop up closer to the top of the Google List. Doesn't that just make you want to hate the Google too? Doesn't that make Google seem like it is all high and mighty and chooses what the searcher wants to see?  What gives THE GOOGLE the right to randomly (well not technically randomly) pick what IT thinks I want to see? It's THE. GOOGLE. It should know I need the address (because now I am at level 30 on my 50 Levels of Crazy meter) to MY local liquor store. NOT a liquor store in Idaho, but the one in Martinsburg damnit. I mean it is THE ALL KNOWING GOOGLE!

But I digress again. Obviously, we need to The Google. And that local liquor store that I so desperately need the address too also needs The Google. This is why SEO may be an important factor for your business. While, I’d love to tell you that its easy, an SEO strategy is not. Google changes their algorithm constantly to get you, the searcher, better results but makes it harder for a business to get in front of those people. There are lots of articles and blogs out there that can give you tips and pointers on ways to get better rankings but truthfully and honestly when our clients ask us about SEO we recommend contacting a professional to talk to you about putting together a good strategy. One rule of thumb that we go by is: good content. Writing good articles and blog posts with valuable information is your best tool for SEO. People will find you if you have good information.

Now you are in the know as to why I hate the Google. I need something stronger than wine or Champagne now… maybe Fireball. Good thing I can Google the closest liquor store to go buy it...

So there are those of you that embrace the Google and love the Google. And there are those of us that despise it and just want a simple answer to a simple question and not having to take 15, 20, 40 minutes to find it. You obviously know where I am on that matrix! But where are you on the… love/hate the Google meter? Leave your comments below and tell me I’m not alone in this Google conspiracy.

2014’s Hot Messes Lead to 2015 Hotness

Hey Darlin’
 
Every year I make a couple New Year’s Resolutions that I get all hot + heavy over like that sultry summer love affair and 2 weeks in I’m crawling back to my old familiar ways.
 
Not this year. I’m not falling for the bad boy of business hype. I’m going for the good guy that wants a long lasting relationship that keeps on giving + giving.
 
I’ve been watching (and not in a creepy peeping Tom kinda way), all year long, and the #1 challenge I see you having is… organizing your business ops to make good marketing talk.
 
That’s why I’m declaring 2015 the Year of the Champagne Thursday.
 
I’m on a mission to get you popping a bottle of bubbly and gabbing about business, branding and booze (for the love of Ryan Gosling, let’s talk booze).
 
Here’s just a tasting what we have cooking for 2015:
 
:: We’re revamping our emails. I’m like pee-my-pants excited about this one. Every month our little corner of the business world will get a Happy Day present from us. Its gonna be something fun + useful that you’ll love and be able to use that very day.
 
:: While we’re revamping lots in 2015, we’re still here to help you with a branding session or workshop, marketing campaigns including social media + implementing business strategies that work for you.
 
:: You’ll hear from us on Champagne Thursdays. We’re officially making the last Thursday of the month Champagne Thursday cuz you know… its Thursday and all. And in between those you will catch us over on the blog or chatting it up on social media for #motivationalmonday or #winewendsdays, maybe #funfactfriday or (my personal favorite) #caturday
 
:: In addition to all that fun stuff I just mentioned, you can expect to get little presents from us like… THIS. (Hint: It’s a super handy resource list of what we use to stay semi-sane.)
 
That’s my New Year hot trends list.
 
What about you? What are your big plans for 2015? Hit the reply button and give us the juice gossip about:
 
In 2015, I’m totally committed to _________________ and I’m SO excited about ___________________.
 
Can’t wait to tip it back and let the inspirations flow with you.
 
Here’s to the happiest of happy New Years!
 
xoxo,
Ronii

Overwhelmed Much? 3 Strategies That Help Simplify

I was going through some of our blog posts recently looking for a post to maybe repurpose for a client that needs more content and wanted something different from their normal topic. I came across a post I did about a year ago about how running a business is hard. It was a pretty good post if I do say so myself. It struck me at how we (B&A) are in a different place in the business but at the same time in the same place. Because running a business is hard. Still.

One of the key things that post talked about was being transparent with the business and letting people see behind the scenes, good and bad. So much good has happened over the year and we have amazing clients that we are doing amazing work for and that’s all fabulous. But with all that good comes being overwhelmed sometimes. It made me think about how overwhelmed I can get and my reaction to overwhelm is to be tired. All. The. Time. Tired enough that a few weeks ago I blew off work in the middle of the day (I apparently called in sick) and took a nap. And then felt guilty about it. And then I was overwhelmed by the guilt, hence more tired and then overwhelmed even more. And it all turned into a vicious cycle. Now, what kinda crap is that?

There are so many things in my business that contribute to this overwhelm. Too many emails, perceived client demands (that I probably make up in my head), to-do lists, social media, social engagements, setting goals, meeting said goals, success, failure, meetings, strategies, business models… Should I keep going? Did I mention too many emails? This is the vein of my existence yet the goal of my ego.

Enough Already!

I’m over it. The being overwhelmed. I’m guessing you are too. Let’s all make a pack together. We are going to implement these 3 simple steps in reducing our overwhelmed brains that will also help reduce all this crappy stress.

  1. Unsubscribe from Emails: All those emails that you get that you save for later, skip over or delete altogether. Get rid of them altogether so they don’t even hit your box. I sign up for these guys all the time with all the good intention of reading them and then I just don’t for whatever reason. I’m really bad about saving them because I’m going to read them later when I have time. Reality check: I never have time. I’m not saying get rid of all of them. There are a few that I religiously read every time they hit my box. Here are a few that I read and highly recommend: The Middle Finger Project (warning if you like sugar coating don’t bother), Melissa Cassera (I totally have a girl crush on her) and Tara Gentile (she just knows her shit and like Star Trek). I do watch Marie Forleo and Carrie Green’s videos because that’s easy for me to listen to in the car. We sometimes send out emails and you should keep on that list really ;). Sorry I had too, it’s in my contract.
  2. Hire an Assistant: Or a cleaning lady, or a copywriter. Whoever it is you need help from. You guys all know Jenn around here. She writes for this blog and helps me exponentially. She runs all of our social media (among a lot of other things) and that was the best decision I ever made. Because now it actually gets done. Period. Best. Decision. Yeah, your going to have to pay for it and sometimes money is tight. I totally get it. I’m in the spot a lot. But trust me when I say you need help. You need someone that is going to do that crap you don’t want too or don’t have the skills to do. I totally have the skills to run our social media, I just don’t want too. So, I either pay someone to do it for me or it just doesn’t get done. I’d rather it get done. If you need help with something, get it. You don’t have to go with the most expensive option just something.
  3. Take the Nap: And don’t feel guilty about it. That’s just down right ridiculous. I tell people all the time there is no such thing as a marketing emergency. No one is dying because your sales copy isn’t whipped out in 10 minutes. I have learned that I’m a late afternoon and early evening worker. I get more creative work done between the hours of 4pm and 7pm than I do all day. Those are my writing and graphics hours. So if I try to do it in the middle of the afternoon and I’m overwhelmed or tired I’m just going to have to re-do it again because it’ll be crap. I might as well take a nap and do it right when I’m more refreshed and in my zone. That’s just me. I find everyone is different and your best times might be early in the morning (I still do have a conspiracy theory about morning people but I digress). Find your zone and then just take a nap already if you want.

What do you think? Will these tips help with our overwhelm? What are some of your strategies to not feel so overwhelmed all the time? Obviously, email overload is the big one for me but what is your hot button? Leave me a comment and let’s work on reducing our overwhelm together.

Marketing Strategy: Tell a Story Pinterest Style

Pinterest Marketing Strategy

Hi. I’m Ronii. And I have a Pinterest obsession.

also have an elephant obsession, flamingo obsession and everyone knows about my crazy cat lady obsession, which you can find on my, you guessed it… Pinterest boards  There is no 12 step program for these addictions and I’m super excited about that. But I digress.

Recently I won this amazing Alesya Bag. How did I do that? My Pinterest obsession of course.

So Alesya Bags ran a contest on social media to tell them in 140 characters where you are going on your summer vacation and why you need an Alesya Bag for your trip. The top 5 most creative entries would win a bag and you can enter everyday until the finish of the contest. I’m sure that you are painfully aware as much as I am that 140 characters is short. Like Daisy Dukes kinda short. How am I going to tell my summer adventure in this short format and get the emotion I want across? Oh, and did I mention that you had a hashtag to use as well taking up even more precious characters? Yeah, that too. But...

Challenge Accepted.

Pinterest obsession rears its beautiful winning head with storytelling.

At B&A we have been using Pinterest for a variety of initiatives over the years. We use it as a collaboration and content distribution tool. Branding and vision boards are big for us and our clients and it’s an amazing collaboration tool for us to gather visuals that drive art direction. And like everyone else we use it to distribute our content like blog posts, products and ideas.

Since on Pinterest you can tweet your pins (or post to Facebook), I decided I wanted to use it. One because I wanted to tell a story and not just a tweet and two because I freakin’ love me some Pinterest. I figured why can’t I use Pinterest more like a storyboard rather than as a vision board and then tweet out each pin with a teaser to read that piece of the story?

I will admit this storyboard idea took some planning and definitely time, but I WON! And if I can utilize this strategy to win an amazing bag (which by the way I’ve been carrying for a couple of months now and want to marry it) then I’m sure I can use the same strategy to win audience engagement and hopefully customers. 

Tweetable: Utilizing Pinterest in multiple ways for business is a good strategy for winning audience engagement and potential customers

Tell a story with a Pinterest Storyboard  

Here’s how I did it:

  1. I planned out the days of the contest and knew that I needed about a post a day because I got an entry per day.
  2. I created a separate board that was named the hashtag and wrote a short description about what my story was about.
  3. I outlined the story by day so each piece of the story had one post. I started my story with an overview of everyone needs an adventure and why I needed an Alesya Bag for that adventure. Then everyday you got a little piece of the adventure until we got to the final days and I revealed where I was going on my summer vacation. I put these all in a doc so that it could make the daily task of posting a bit quicker.
  4. Everyday I pinned an image that correlated with that day’s piece of the story and used the pin description to write that day’s adventure. It was longer than 140 characters but it gave an expanded detail of the adventure and then I used the tweet this pin on my Pinterest app to submit via Twitter with a shortened version or teaser of that day’s adventure.
  5. The last day I gave the big reveal. But then after I found out I won. I did do a final post to conclude my story that I did actually win the bag because that was the goal of that board.

This strategy was so much fun to plan and do and it worked. We can translate this same strategy into a marketing campaign that tells a story rather than just pretty pictures and distributing content. It's a great way to engage your audience and then get them hooked on following the story and engaging with your brand. It could work for as a story countdown on a product launch (watch for this from us in the fall) or leading into a big announcement or sale. The one thing that I found to be a disadvantage is that if you go to the board because pins post by day the story on the board is backwards and you have to read the whole story from the bottom up. But the point is to get people to follow daily so that shouldn't have a huge impact. 

What do you think about this strategy? How will you use it? Do you have any other cool tips for using Pinterest as a business or marketing tool? Let us know in the comments and if you decide to run a story, post it here so we can follow it. I’d love to know your results. 

Things Go Wrong… 5 Tips to Still Rock It Out

OMG! NOT AGAIN!

How can this be happening… AGAIN?

Are you kidding me?

WTF?

I know I am not the only one who has ever said these… repeatedly… sometimes it seems like I say them every day. Please tell me I am not the only one. You have had these moments… right? Shew! I feel so much better now. Actually, I am gonna let you in on a little secret about me… when I have THESE days I feel so much better after a long cry. (OOOHHH it’s not taboo to talk about crying now I hope).

Anyway… recently I had a fuckin meltdown because NOTHING was going right in my personal or professional life. I was feeling inadequate all the way around. NOT GOOD! I do believe that if you are trying to run a household, juggle two jobs AND two kids, something is bound to go wrong at least once a day. Well, mine hit several at a time and all within 24 hours.

End of the school year. ‘Won’t work worth a damn’ internet service. Can’t watch videos for B&A Book Club because of said crappy internet. Causing your boss more work. Starting a part time job. Not getting client work done faster. House looking like a tornado came through weeks ago and still is trashed. Ok I think you get the picture… or do you need more? No, I am done… for now ;).

If you feel me Tweet: Got #99Problems but does anyone really care?

Ok let me get to the fuckin’ point… we all have these days. Sometimes they are completely out of our control and there is NOTHING you can do about it at the time. But, what you do is what will define you. You can either go sulk in the corner and complain about it on Facebook, Twitter and to your friends for days on end or you can just roll with it (Tip #1). I tend to just let it all pile up and then have a meltdown (don’t ever knock the healing power of a good cry). I swear I feel 90% better after a good long cry (Tip #2) and then all you have left to do is just roll with what has been dealt to you at that particular time. You pick yourself back up, blow a kiss at your reflection in the mirror and go get shit done!

Business won’t get done while you bitch and whine and complain about it. Put your big girl panties on and OWN IT (Tip #3)! If you caused more work for said boss (ahem… Sorry Ronii!), just apologize and move on to the next item on your to-do-list and ROCK IT. Client work doesn’t wait for you to keep beating yourself up. And, yes, electronics suck and don’t always work when you are expecting them to so you take a break. Go sit out on the deck with a glass of wine to calm the stress that is building up and adding to your breaking point (Tip #4). Go talk to your best friend (you know she always makes you feel better because of her quirky attitude and AWESOME personality…ahem…again Ronii that’s you – five). Just walk away from the problem for a few and come back renewed and ready to take on the world!

Don’t ever let your feelings of inadequacy or technology crappin’ out be what defines you. MAKE the actions on how you deal with these little hiccups in life and business be what defines you! So are you going to continue to beat yourself up…OR… roll with the punches? Tell me your ‘shit hits the fan’ story. I bet we can relate and pull together, together (wait, that looks weird but oh well I’m rolling with it).

It’s My Birthday! 29 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Me (+ 8 more)

Well, actually tomorrow is my birthday. So in celebration of my 29th birthday I’m listing the 29 things (in particular order) you probably didn’t know about me. Plus 8 more… because I'm actually 37 this year. I’m departing from our traditional ‘let’s learn about marketing and business’ post and giving you a sneak peek into the crazy mind of a creative entrepreneur/human. I get tired of the ‘let’s learn something’ format and like to hear about humans and can only assume that you like sometimes too, hence my shameless self promotion on my birthday because let’s face it, it’s really all about me up in here.

  1. I hate the idea of a bucket list. Why can't we all just live our lives and do things we want to do.
  2. I want to learn how to surf.
  3. Speaking of learning stuff, I want to learn to sail too.
  4. I have this paralyzing fear of failure. And I'm a perfectionist, which is a deadly combination for a business owner. Hence no products yet like I promised. I’m trying to break through my upper level limit. 
  5. In the holy trinity of people in business models (the finder, minder and grinder), I'm a minder and love to strategize and think, which generally leads to over thinking. And I don't really link/want to implement or sell. 
  6. I'm a terrible "networker." It's really hard for me to meet new people.
  7. Most people probably know this, but I'm terrible with names. I recognize you and can probably tell you your birthday but I can't remember your name to save my life.
  8. I hate the concept of hustle. It bothers me that it's meaning is deceiving yet in business every guru talks about how you have to hustle as in work your ass off for 90+ hours a week. I'm tired. And I'm tired of working my ass off 90+ hours a week, hence starting my own business.
  9. My favorite restaurant is Rue de Jean. It's so indulgent.
  10. I love to go to the movies and have a huge tub of popcorn with lots of butter and a diet soda. Ironic, I know.
  11. Even though I'm a huge WVU fan, I did not go there or graduate from there. But it's the representation of the state.
  12. I'm a couch potato. And I love watching TV. It's relaxing to me.
  13. When it comes to TV though, I can’t commitment. Which is why I don’t watch shows like The Voice or American Idol. That’s just too much commitment for one week let alone a whole season.
  14. I'm extremely loyal. If I form a bond with you, you better be prepared for "till death due us part" because you will have me forever whether you like it or not. But I will always be there for you and will do anything within my power to help you.
  15. But once I'm done with you, I'm done. No confrontation, no explanation, no apology. Just done. A trait I get from my dad.
  16. I hate confrontation.
  17. I don't drink nearly as much as our readers probably think I do. One or 2 a week, maybe.
  18. My family is like the Cleavers. I'd rather hang with them than anyone else. And when friends talk about their dysfunctional/fighting family, I just can't relate because mine is awesome.
  19. I'm a thinker and analyze everything and everyone. I want to understand what drives peoples’ behaviors and decisions. I love psychology. A trait I get from my mom.
  20. My family in WV calls me Ronii Anne. But my middle name is Leeanne, which is my mom and my godmother's name together.
  21. My mom told my brother and me once that, "Brett was the smart one and Ronii was the pretty one." I’m still in therapy over that (not really).
  22. I'm the fuck up of the family. And I'm totally not (completely) a fuck up. I have a Master’s Degree for goodness sake. Just goes to show you how sane my family is.
  23. I love to eat! I love food and I love lots of it. I’m not one of those girls that picks at her food when you go out. I’m the kind of girl that licks the plate after I eat everything on it. The only thing that saves me from being 400 pounds is that I love to work out too and workout almost every day.
  24. While speaking of things I love. I LOVE to sleep. And its no secret that I’m a night owl and I think that early morning people have a conspiracy against us. I’m not one of those over zealous people that say, “I only need 4 hours a sleep a night.” Bullshit. That’s your exhaustion trying to convince you that you get enough. If I had my way I would get between 9 and 10 every night and sleep in until 10 every day.
  25. I’m a really slow reader because I read every word on the page but my comprehension is amazing.
  26. I counted and I have 5 books started and not finished yet. That’s just what I do.
  27. I love the Twilight Saga and I’m Team Edward. And one time on the way back to Charleston from Raleigh, I missed my exit and ended up in Wilmington, NC because I was so engrossed into listing to the book.
  28. I really might be the crazy cat lady. While I only have 1 cat, I’m freakin’ obsessed with her and she’s kinda mean. She probably reflects my personality perfectly.
  29. My favorite color is red.
  30. I have never broken a bone. Or at least that I went to the doctor and they told me it was broken. 
  31. I’ve never had a cavity and love to go the dentist. My dentist in SC is the son of my childhood dentist in WV (who my parents still go too).
  32. You would think that because I love to eat I would love to cook as well. Nope. Not the case. I only cook out of necessity.
  33. Confession: I really don’t know what I want to do when I grow up.
  34. I have been an extra in a couple of TV shows.
  35. I minored in French in college and really can’t speak a lick of it anymore. If you don’t use it, you lose it.
  36. I have a part time job at Curves and coach women on health, wellness and fitness. I’m a multi-passionate person.
  37. The lead singer to Tonic hit on my one time after a concert at the 9:30 Club in Washington DC. That was pretty cool.

Here's my birthday wish: vanilla cake with buttercream frosting and a drizzle of chocolate ganache with a glass ob bubbly (of course). If you could deliver that to... Kidding. My birthday wish? Leave us comment with something we don't know about you. What is that awkward thing that I'm totally going to make fun of you for? Because I probably do that same awkward thing too and probably do a lot of people. I can't wait to hear all about you too. Don't let me be the only one here sharing. That would be awkward.

Information Overload: 3 Strategies to Make Your Marketing Good

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Our world is loaded with these and many other demands. Everyone is trying to get you to buy their product or get you on their mailing list. Let’s face it… it’s what we call Marketing! And you know what… we DO it too! We want your business and for you to like us, just like everyone else. And I bet you want people to buy into what you are selling or offering and like you too. It’s all part of your marketing too!

So how do you get your target to bite without sounding pushy or being like everyone else? How can you stand out from all the rest? With the information overload that your potential target market is on, how can you make them see AND trust you? Luckily for you, I came up with some helpful tips that we live by at B&A, and so should you.

Our top 3 tips to help you get through the information overload:

  1. Be yourself: Yes I said it… BE. YOURSELF. No one wants to buy into a fake personality or product. We preach that the brand of your company is what you do and why you do it. It’s about you. You can’t sell something you’re not and be successful. You have to be yourself. Your target will know if you are not sincere or authentic. Humans communicating to humans, what a novel concept. (and yes, I am aware that we have beat this to death in everything we write, but IT’S THE TRUTH AND NEEDS TO HAPPEN!)
  2. Know your target: You can’t market to everyone all the time. You have to know who it is that needs your product or service and can’t live without it. Part of knowing your target is also knowing how to reach them. Not everyone loves Facebook or Twitter. Oh let’s just say that you are an engineer. Chances are your target prefers email over social media avenues. So to market to that target, put your information into an email strategy. Now if your targets are young professionals between the ages of 23-35, chances are very high that adding a social media strategy into your marketing mix will resonate with this target group. Know who it is that needs what you are offering and how to reach them… we CANNOT stress this enough.
  3. Make your information fun: As you know, we love Champagne. So we created our Champagne Thursdays. Even wrote an ebook with our top 5 marketing tips paired with our favorite Champagne recipes (if you don’t have yours, go here to get our free ebook. Shameless, I know!). Along the way we have added Wine Wednesdays and the B&A book club to our social mix. What is something fun that you do in your business or with your employees? USE IT!! Market it, tell your peers and talk about it, put it to your advantage to stand out and be a little different. Make your information fun! Don’t make everything so business-y, business-y.  Offer your uncorked (yeah, see what I did there… another reference to Champagne) idea as a free gift. Draw them in to buy what you really want them to. If they like you and trust you, they will love the information you are giving them.

Being in today’s market as a small business, you need to have a great personality and stand out above the rest. That will get you noticed. So hopefully you are following the 3 tips we laid out for ya. If not, maybe you should start. Have fun with your business and make it fun for your customers and clients.

xoxoxo,

 

2 Lessons for Running a Business! Do you learn something new every day?

Our Champagne Thursday Mastermind Sessions are always a learning experience… even for us! In January we discussed many plans for our company, which will essentially resonate with all you fabulous entrepreneurs and small business owners. So you better be on the lookout for some amazing things ahead.

But seriously there was more talk about owning your own business and what directions you need to take and so forth… I mean really B&A is a small business and we are still learning and growing. But there comes a time when you have to really think through some things about your business…

Lesson #1

Not everyone that starts a company can or should actually run their company. We work with a wide variety of entrepreneurs and small business owners. One thing that we have learned (because you know… ‘you learn something new everyday’… or at least you should Click to Tweet) is there are those that are fantastic at running a company and keep on task with what needs to be done in daily business operations. AND THEN… there are those that start a company and are really good at what they do and working with their customers, but have no idea on how to run their company to keep it afloat. True there are those that can do both, but more than not you are either one type or the other. So have you ever asked yourself that question? If not, you should.

So go ahead. Ask yourself…

Are you better at running a company or starting a company?

Lesson #2

So not only do you need to think about whether or not you can run your company, but you need to think about how far you yourself can take your company before you run it into the ground. Let’s just say you are brilliant at running your company, but you have reached a plateau and have done all you can. Do you reach out for help or keep truckin’ along in hopes that something will pick up or come your way? Decisions! Decisions! (I believe we wrote a blog post about that awhile back. It might benefit you to check out our other blog posts too.) Most of you will keep on truckin along. BUT is that the wisest choice to make? Do you let go of what you built so someone else can either destroy it or make it better? Tough call! But really it is something all business owners need to think about…

Know your sell point before you run your company into the ground!

You have to know yourself and your strengths and weaknesses before you can decide whether you want to run a business.  So did you learn something new today? If so, please share it with us!

xoxoxo,