Written about it before, will write about it again. The rigours of business travel. Sigh.
Sitting in Premium Economy on Virgin Atlantic on my way from London to NY. Arrived 2 days ago from Sydney via Christchurch (NZ) and back in the saddle. Flew business class the last trip, a must for 30 hours travel each way, couldn't justify it for such a short hop across the pond. To travel right everyone says drink lots of water, no caffeine and/or alcohol. Me, I indulge in the vine AND drink lots of water. I can sleep just about anywhere, so that's helpful. But honestly, travel is not fun, at least not to me anymore. Especially after 25 trips this year, no matter what class you fly. Perhaps private makes the difference. Oh, to be rich. Well, it's commercial for this chick. Glass of champagne, bottle of water, a little vintage Roxy Music on the Bose. Trip 1 million begins.
So, it was bound to happen, I'm going to write a book about runing a small business. Of course I am! It won't be your "Top 10 Tips to Making it Rich in Business", or "3 Key Ways to Manage an Unruly Team..." I'm working off the premise that most "real" small business owners are not only looking for good ideas and new ways to make it in this VERY tough economy, but maybe just a bit of encouragement that they are actually doing a good job - if not the best, definitely the best they can do.
In my opinion those of us that have taken the plunge should give our big collective selves a big pat on the back. We may not be changing the world (though some of you are trying), but we are not on the dole or working off someone else's back. Running your own business means you're willing to take a risk, if that is only a nice way of saying you're a gambler at heart. But here's the thing, lots of people talk, but very few take the walk, and that's a VERY few, I might add, when the banks have dried up their funding and a good dollar (or euro) is hard to find.
I'm writing a book for the big business people (I was going to say guys, but that's a bit sexist, isn't it?) too because they need a little kick in the rear. They need a little reminder that small business fuels most economies, and while they may feel entitled, they need us - they could learn a bit from us too. When the economy crashed we didn't get bailed out did we? How many of us are still making it work, without the added backdrop of a running cash flow? We're mean, we're lean and we are going for it. No matter what! Because we have guts, never mind the glory. It doesn't really pay the bills anyway....Here's to the small business owners and all those people that have the daily nerve to work for them. You're my heroes!!
Have you noticed lately that stores are open one week and closed the following week? Often with nothing left to show but newspaper covered windows. You aren't going crazy! Yes the economy is in the trenches but luckily stores have used this misfortune in a positive way. In a traditional business plan, staying in business for just a few weeks would conclude as a flop. However, many brands are choosing this outcome on purpose. Pop-up stores have become a growing trend in and around New York City. Pop-up stores or stations, showcase merchandise for a limited amount of time to create buzz. Considering the bone-chilling cost of retail space and the state of the economy, this is the perfect solution to desperate landlords and brands. Pop-up stores provide brands with an alternative way to connect with customers without the burden of monthly rent.
Gap has recognized this trend and isn't missing the boat. Now through February 7th, customer's can keep their New Year's resolution at the pop-up store next to the Fifth Avenue flagship store. The pop-up store houses Gap's newest line of activewear. In addition, the space offers sessions, demonstrations, and tips from Crunch personal trainers and instructors. Shoppers can receive free Crunch guest passes or exclusive membership offers with a purchase.
Check out the latest shopping & activewear trends at the Gap Flagship store before next week's newspaper takes over the store front.
Well, according to the news and trend reports that's exactly right. They are. Reconsidering. What else have we been reconsidering based on the economy? I've reconsidered going to my incredibly amazing derm because he doesn't take insurance. I've considered switching out my car when the lease is up (though I love my Audi) because maybe it's just me, but the thing seems to be a bit of a gas guzzler. Forget about the cost to my pocket, I've got to consider the cost to the environment. I have definitely reconsidered buying some of the outrageously expensive face creams I've used over the years. I've tried a new product by Origins that I really like and it's 2/3 less expensive. And for my hair care I opted out of the hyper expensive brand arena. For my hair it's L'Oreal Paris all the way (they are a client, but I'd use them anyway).
If I'm doing this, I'll bet a ton of other people are doing it - watching their wallets. So yes, that baby boom of the boom years may be on the decline, but so are a lot of the ways we spent our cash when money was flowing (or credit was readily available for just about everyone).
Note to brands - you may not want to push a value message, but you had better consider how best to let people know you are a value, because no matter how deep the pockets EVERYONE is tightening up. LOL!
Have you ever felt like you were on a grand adventure? One in which you didn’t know the punch line? Perhaps your epic adventure is fraught with danger. What lurks around the corner? Will I find a safe place to sleep and food to eat? Maybe it’s just a lark, a chance to hit the open road and discover new paths to take, or not…
Business is like an adventure, if you ask me. And while this adventure can be DAUNTING, and cause you to FREAK OUT every now and then, if you’re in it, then you probably know that it’s worth it. When I started this business I was nervous. I wasn’t really capitalized to do it, but I wasn’t going to take no for an answer, plus I had that little voice inside whispering, “Yes, take a chance.” So, I did. And boy what an adventure it has been, from cash flow to HR to a crazy economy and a host of clients all wanting what they want when they want it.
My SVP and I had a meeting the other day to discuss some future plans and after that meeting we were both struck by how far we’ve come in only a few years. We don’t have the London office yet, and Mumbai is still way off on the horizon, but we have dreams and so far a lot of them have been coming true. If you don’t know me you would think I was some pr junkie and just LOVED every minute of this stuff. In addition to my kooky golf obsession I am learning to play the piano and I paint quite a bit (and yes, people have been asking to BUY my paintings…). Plus, I write (I have a young adult novel I sure would LOVE to have published). And in my former life, all that I used to care about was art, in whatever form I could find it.
So, pr just kind of happened. But hey, it’s a great way for me to make a living and I DO like it. But what I really LOVE is running a business, and mainly because it’s an adventure. You just never know what’s going to happen next, no matter how much you plan. So, if you’re thinking about getting in the game I say go for it. You really don’t have a lot to lose and it could be the adventure of a lifetime!
I just returned from a conference that wasn’t business related BUT when you own your own business it feels like EVERYTHING is related to business. I remember when we were kids in the 1960’s, flying then was a bit of a privilege. The food was served on real china (and tasted a lot like real food). You were expected to dress nicely (suits and hats) and if you were a little one, you were expected to behave yourself without any exception. My grandparents lived in Miami so we were often on an airplane. I have great photos of my mother with the three of us (a brother and a sister) deplaning by stairway. There was my mother, beautiful in a big brimmed hat and gloves with three little kids in matching sailor outfits (she was a MAJOR stickler for appearances). It was thrilling. I loved it.
Now, with an office in New York and LA I still spend a lot of time on airplanes, but oh how things have changed (no china and tracksuits reign as the uniform of the upper-class). American Airlines is my preferred mode of transportation. Preferred because they fly the most between my major destinations. And, they have pretty nice lounges. Because I fly quite a bit I have platinum status, which gets you upgraded fairly often. BUT, I tend to just buy the business-class ticket because you don’t want to get stuck in economy if you don’t have to. Now, I know I sound bratty, but flying is a bitch. So, I’m going to do what needs to get done to get there in comfort. And that’s really the point of the blog. Just how important is it to fly business if you are in business? Pretty darned important. But honestly, it wouldn’t be so important if air travel was just a bit more civilized. So I say bring back the good old days (everyone says that, right?). But forget the outdoor stairs, the jet way is much better in bad weather!
Everyone is talking about the economy. For those of us in business we’ve seen how it has affected our bottom line. Some definitely more than others… We’ve fared very well, but we’ve had our moments. Adjusting, and quickly, can mean the difference in making it or breaking it. But, how to adjust? For our company it has been about strengthening our core competency as we simultaneously look for more inventive, if not more revenue generating ways, to do what we do.
I’ve mentioned the concept of transaction quite a bit in the past few months, and for a good reason. It’s one thing to let people know your brand is out there, but it’s another thing altogether to encourage them to buy the goods. As a communications agency we must be focused on spreading the good news about a brand, but I see our role evolving to include the actual “pushing” of product. I believe that our clients will increasingly care about how our work is truly impacting sales. And as an industry it will be increasingly important for us to show how we are enhancing the bottom line. One reason why I am in love with our work in the social space, and why our Consumer Engagement Marketing team continues to push the envelop for this initiative, is because when it is all said and done, generating more revenue for the client (and being able to prove it) will definitely impact our bottom line.
I come from a place of ‘Fendi before Food’ when it comes to rough times—economic or otherwise. Carrie Bradshaw famously said: "When I first moved to New York and I was totally broke, sometimes I bought Vogue instead of dinner. I found it fed me more."
More often than I like to admit, I have marched right on by the corner deli and into Intermix to buy myself a present. It’s amazing how a new top or bangle can fill me right up when washed down with a Diet Coke. To honor this spotty logic, I’ve asked the girls to rebel against the “Fabulous for Under $10” epidemic we’re all in, and to send me their picks for “Fabulous for Over $1,000.” Take that, economy.
I have lusted over a mirrored bedroom set for years now. But the fact that I have yet to live in any city for longer than three years has really cramped my style. Regardless, someday I hope to see myself reflected back at…myself…from a room brimming with mirrored furnishings that make me feel like I live in Paris circa 1922. This Haute House collection at Neiman Marcus (minus the headboard) will do me just fine. Price? $2,997.00. Bargain basement this is not.
Although I currently spend the bulk of my $$'s on cabs (to avoid the onslaught of the after-work rush hour) and my love of shoes, if I could purchase anything in the world it would be art. The barren walls of my apartment are really in need of Joan Miro, a Spanish Catalan painter, sculptor and ceramist born in Barcelona. I’m not the only person thinking this so his works are pricey at best. But we all know where my next $40K is going.
- I love Chanel.
- I’m trying to branch out of my overly black wardrobe and bring a little color into my life (Joe and Jesse would be so proud!)
- How amazing would this look with a pair of over-the-knee leather boots...and my great-great grandmother’s vintage mink hat? Mmmmm.
I was harassing Dania in my sweet little way (I started trash talking Ohio) to get her pick and this is what she sent:
WHAT: Cartier Love Bracelet, yellow gold with diamonds
WHY: Because I LOVE ME and I deserve it!
Price available upon request. (Hoytie Toytie, Little D.)
We all know that social media marketing is on the rise, but by how much exactly?
Last week, Forrester Research released their Interactive Marketing Forecast for the next five years that estimated social media marketing to grow at an astonishing annual rate of 34 percent – faster than any other form of online marketing – to hit 3.1 billion by 2014.
Of course, social media is still an infant – compared to other segments of online marketing, like display advertising and search marketing — but an infant that’s growing really fast. In just five years, this kid will be making more money than both email and mobile marketing. Quite a promising forecast, isn’t it? Can we get a portable time machine already (say, in the form of another iPhone application and fast-forward to 2014?!
However, it looks like 2009 is not a bad year either, despite the mostly cloudy economic climate. The experimental phase of social media marketing is coming to an end. eMarketer.com called 2009 “the year of building social media strategy.” Indeed, it seems like everybody is finally realizing the importance of social media, and companies all over the world are busy developing best practices and implementing first social media strategies.
Still very young and under-developed, social media is like a kid who is only getting ready to start school this fall. And gosh, aren’t we anxious for this kid to study well, grow up strong and healthy, and start making a lot of money – as soon as possible?
This has been an interesting year so far. At the end of 2008 we had a lot on the books, but closing the deal was difficult as brands were starting to get scared. The market was shifting. The concept of zero credit started sinking in and fear became the overarching mood. As we sat on the edge of 2009 we had the feeling that it was time to batten down the hatches. I knew we needed to get smart fast and push forward some of the new strategic platforms we were starting to explore. WOM was beginning to gain strength and finding a neat connection between communications and sales was clearly going to become even more critical in a tight economy. So, we started moving in on our target. We launched a few WOM programs with clients (great ROI) and developed an innovative Web-based lifestyle hub. And guess what? It’s working! Lots to do, exciting times ahead, but when it’s all said and done adversity will either bring you down or will push you to make it happen. I have the best team in the world (I do!) and we’re doing it right (inside joke, check out www.icanhascheezburger). LOL.