Friday, January 29, 2010


Have you ever sat down and analyzed (or tracked) which sales/marketing strategies work for you?

At Diana Bishop’s Big Idea Adventure workshop this week, a group of us did just that. It was fascinating as we brainstormed sales activities vs. those that would fall more closely under marketing. What did we learn?

That the old-fashioned, in-your-face sales approach just doesn’t cut it anymore – at least not for us. What was working well we found was when offered some information, so people felt they were getting something out of the connection, and were not being pressured into buying something they may or may not want or need.

We also learned that too often we fall into the product-story trap instead of building the relationship first.

We spent three hours with Diana – time well spent because as the workshop progressed, I could see we were all starting to think differently and consider that big idea that would make us stand out from the crowd.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Those who know me, know how much I am a stickler about finishing our meetings on time. I recognize, especially with our evening events, that we have all put in a long day, and are back into the fray the next morning, so I try to be respectful of people’s time and energy levels.

So it was really unusual to see so many people still gathered at the conference centre on Tuesday, long after the session had ended. True to form, I had ended the event on time, but no one wanted to leave. We had 90 women at that event, so you can imagine the noise level and energy in the room.

Our speaker, Donna Messer, had created such a buzz that people wanted to continue connecting with each other and if possible, grab a moment of Donna’s time too. It was 9.45 before the last person left.

What was the topic that generated this level of interest? How to network effectively. Donna, often known as the Queen of Networking, had worked the room introducing women to each other. She made a point of finding a common denominator and you could see the light bulb going on as women embraced the idea of connecting and helping each other.

Mission accomplished. That’s what Company of Women is all about.

Monday, January 18, 2010


We have a couple of friends who have just been told they only have a few months to live. Sure gives you pause for thought. What would you do if you were given such news?

Would you carry on, assuming you are physically able, business as usual, or would you spend the time with family and close friends and get your affairs in order? Would you travel? Would you say “yes” to some experimental treatment that might buy you a few months, but make you sick? Or would you cocoon yourself, and cut yourself off from everyone?

Over the years I have sadly had other friends who faced a similar prognosis and each dealt with it in her own way. It’s hard to know, and as friends standing on the outside looking in, it’s hard to know what to do to help, to lessen the load and make this last journey more bearable for all involved.

What I do know is you have to take your cues from the person dying, and respect their wishes, which can be hard if he chooses to cut himself off from everyone. So while you maybe can’t help the individual, you can support the family.

I know when I was going through chemo, one of the best things someone did for me, was cook meals. In fact, the children so enjoyed her meals, they wondered if she did breakfasts!

I remember one friend who was estranged from her son. So he did not know she was dying and had only a few weeks left. I persuaded her to let him know, because there was unfinished business between them and I felt he needed the opportunity to say his goodbyes. He never came. I don’t regret getting her to reach out but I learned that we can never predict how other people will behave and we can only take responsibility for our own actions.

So what would you do? It’s hard to know until we get there, but why wait. Life is precious. Don’t take it for granted. If you have always wanted to travel – do it. Tell those you love how you feel about them. Don’t wait until you have a terminal prognosis to live your life. Do it now because none of us really know what tomorrow will bring.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Plan for Success

Since we got our farm, my husband has longed to have a really big Christmas tree. And I mean really, really big. We have a room that could take such a tree – in fact a small tree looks totally lost and out of place.

Well this year his dream came true. We found this brute of a tree, brought it home and then the fun began. Our first challenge was how to get it into the house. We ended up opening up a never-used door, moving heavy furniture out of the way, just so we could get it in.

Next we had to get it into the tree container and with just two of us, that was no simple task. Decorating the tree came next. Andy needed a two level ladder to put the angel on her perch at the top, and to add the lights and decorations. It was nerve-wracking holding on to the ladder as he delicately placed everything on the tree. Bottom line, it took us all day to decorate it.

Now anyone who came to the house during the holidays admired the tree, always commenting on its size and it was a thing of beauty. But it’s a bit like setting lofty business goals – be careful what you wish for, because sometimes when you get it, it’s not what you think, entails a lot more work than you thought and is over in a flash.

Will we do this next year? Probably not. It’s been a one-year wonder. We did it, have the photos to prove it but I suspect next year, we will be back to a more modest tree – but who knows, memory is a funny thing – we may, by then, have forgotten the work, and just remembered the joy.

As you set your goals for the year ahead – think long and hard about what you want – and what you will do if you are successful. Often we over look that part – the planning for success and it’s just as important because you don’t want to get there and find it’s not what you wanted after all or it was not worth the effort to get there.