Observing the Olympics

It doesn’t matter where you live, you’ve probably heard that it’s an Olympic year.  As I was noticing it, well, everywhere, I was reminded what a great family experience this is.  Here are some of my reasons for watching (or attending) with your family.

1-it’s a great opportunity to share and learn about different cultures.  You can not only help your kids learn the different flags and colors and what countries they belong to, and be exposed to different types of people, you can even go so far as to have different foods during the events to get your kids to try different things.

2-it’s clean fun.  There are bound to be some mistakes and some less-than-perfect people attending, but overall watching a sports-themed event is pretty straight forward.  And those mistakes and human issues are great opportunities to talk about touchy subjects with your kids if they’re old enough.

3-it’s a great chance to learn about new sports.  Growing up I always enjoyed watching the gymnastics, but now I realize there are so many more sports that you can watch.  You never know what your kids will be interested by and want to pursue.

4-you’e all together.  Yes, it’s simply an excuse to get the whole family in the same room at the same time.

5-it makes for lots of fun play afterwards.  If you can really get your kids interested, you’re guaranteed fun play ideas for months to come.

Are you planning on watching with your family, and what do you look forward to most?

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Basics of Business

Creating and running a business is no easy task and many people each year fail at their attempt to get into the market and make a difference in the world.  There are many reasons for the failure, and each business’s story is different.  Some of the reasons may be the same but there are factors that influence each of the reasons differently.  I’ve been thinking a lot about business success lately and what I can do to help you be more successful in your business, as well as your life.  The good news is I’ve got some new ideas and you’ll be seeing some of them soon (I’ll share them on this blog and my websites).  Today though we’re going to take a minute and look at some of the basics of a business.

1-An Idea

All businesses start on an idea, a thought on how to do something different, better, with more impact, cheaper or faster, among other things.  The relevancy of the idea is important, as are the details of how that idea will come to life in a business setting and be embraced by customers.

2-Take Action

Ideas are great but if you’re not taking action and putting effort into those ideas, the ideas are worthless (unless you can sell them to someone willing to actually do the work necessary to make them successful).

3-Watch the Money

In this day and age it’s pretty easy to start a business on next to nothing (I’ve done it).  But if you want to be successful once you start getting money in you have to be smart about how you spend, use and save it.  The money is what everyone’s watching, and usually indicates the health of the company.

4-Know your Customers

Customers are key to being successful.  You have to know, reach, appreciate, please and celebrate your customers.  They are the lifeblood of your business and if you don’t know what they want or need, or if there are any people who need what you’re offering, you’re going to struggle.

5-Spread the Word

You could have the best business in the world but if no one knows about it, you’ll fail.  Marketing, whether you’re talking about a website, store location, social media, advertising or the product/service itself, is crucial to getting paying customers in the doors.

These are 5 big areas that impact your business each and every day.  If you’re not seeing the results in your business that you would like to see, I’d love to talk with you about changes you can make to better help your customers and your bottom line.  Share your thoughts on business basics below!

Finding Freedom

This month we’ve been talking about freedom, it’s something that can be difficult to find, hard to accept and challenging to work with in relationships.  But it’s something that’s really important for both you and your partner to work on.  Recently I read this quote by Neale Donald Walsch:

“…love is sometimes shown in the things you don’t say, don’t keep track of, and don’t notice. The greatest kindness is often shown in letting things go.  None of us is perfect, but we can all be perfect friends and perfect partners by allowing those that we love to be imperfect.  Give those around you the “break” that you hope the world will give you on your own “bad day” and you’ll never, ever regret it.”

In relationships we’re all working on giving and receiving, and learning the roles that we each play in each other’s lives and in our own.  It’s important to allow, and even encourage, freedom to be pursued, because a partnership, a relationship, is healthiest when you’re not completely depending on someone else for your happiness.

Each day is a new opportunity to learn more about each other, discover what the other likes and dislikes, and try to do a better job loving and supporting each other.  It’s a chance, however scary, to let the other person be themselves, try new things and even have the occasional bad day.

I encourage you to sit down with your partner and discuss your relationship.  Are you giving each other enough freedom?  Too much freedom? Enough love and attention?  Showing forgiveness?  Giving each other credit when it’s due?  What areas of your relationship do you need to work on most?

The Legacy of a Life

This week the business world, and the world as a whole, lost a great man-Stephen Covey. He’s written many books and has taught the world many things about what it means to be a leader.  His most well-known book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, has been on my to-read list for a while, but recently I picked up his book First Things First.  Today I thought I would share a few thoughts from that book that spoke to me about Stephen Covey, and about his perspective on business and how we are to live.

1-are you looking at what is “best”, or what is “good”?

2-extreme wake-up calls are necessary today

3-doing more things faster is no substitute for doing the right things

4-if you don’t take care of the big stuff in your life first, you won’t be able to

5-to get and work towards any goal is an act of courage

6-ask with intent, listen without excuse, act with courage

7-no one person has all the talents, ideas and capacity to perform the functions of the whole

8-our expectations are within our control

In his own words, “…Don’t be seduced by the good, go for the best.  Go for that which represents your unique contribution.  Make it comfortable to leave the comfort zone and uncomfortable to stay in it…”

I think the best way to honor Covey and respect his legacy is to not just read his words and apply the advice, but to make our unique contributions to the world as he did his.  Are you doing what only you can do?

We Scream for Ice Cream

There are few things more wonderful in the summer than some cold, delicious ice cream.  It also happens that July is National Ice Cream month. So to celebrate I’ve gathered some delicious ice cream options you can try.

Delicious Ice Cream Recipes

Vanilla

Strawberry

Coconut

Mocha

Sweet Cream

Margarita

Fun with Ice Cream

Coconut bonbons

Snowy peak pops

Watermelon bombe

Baked snowballs

Grasshopper pie

Cranberry ice cream pie

Banana split ice cream cake

Ice cream cookie sandwiches

Ice cream pizza

Triple Decker baked Alaska

Mini banana splits

Chocolate hazelnut ice cream sandwiches

Dulce de leches torte

Chocolate marshmallow sandwiches

Mississippi mud pie

Even more fun:

Ice cream cookie cups

I’d love to know what your favorite flavors are and how you like to enjoy ice cream most!  Share your ideas and suggestions below.

Freedom of Business

This month on the social networks and blogs we’re talking about freedom.  It’s an important topic for many reasons, and is one of the most frequently expressed reasons for starting a business and not working a job.  Let’s start at the beginning:

Everyone defines freedom differently.  I may see freedom as working at 2am.  You may see freedom as working in your PJ’s.  You probably already know what freedoms you’re looking for if you’re thinking about leaving your job.  If you already are in business for yourself you probably can remember back to what you originally thought you wanted in the way of freedom.  That may still be the case, but you may have discovered a thing or two about freedom since then.

Second, not everyone cares about your freedoms.  Whether you like it or not the world is full of demanding people.  Some of those people you’ll see right off the bat won’t respect you and the decisions you’ve made.  Sometimes you can make accommodations for those people.  Often, you’ll just have to put your foot down and say no.

Finally, your freedoms are what makes you unique.  In the USA we take certain things for granted, because they’ve been declared as “freedoms”.  Other countries have different freedoms.  Depending on what freedoms you prefer will help you determine where you live.  Likewise, what you’ve chosen to base your business upon will help you set yourself apart from similar businesses.

Ultimately it comes down to freedom being one of the best things in life.  With your words and actions you show the world how much the freedoms you have chosen mean to you.  What freedoms have you chosen in your business?

Liberty Bell Business

Somewhere in your US history classes you probably heard about the Liberty Bell which is currently housed in Pennsylvania, and maybe about the history, or rather mystery, of the crack in the bell.  It was always a historic bell, commissioned to remember the founding of the USA and the writing of the Constitution. But it went down in history folklore when it was cracked.  On this Fourth of July I think the Liberty Bell has a few lessons it could teach business owners.

First, there must be a purpose in your business.  I don’t believe that any business started on the basis of just money can truly achieve what a business started on purpose and passion can.

Second, just like the Bell, your business needs a story.  I wish they had done a better job keeping track of the life of the Bell, because all we really know is that somewhere between 1830 and 1850 the bell cracked to what we see today.  There’s a lot that could have happened in those 20 years, just like there’s a lot that can happen in next 20 months, days or minutes of your life and business.

Third, the Bell has stood the test of time.  Today it’s more difficult than ever to make a business last, and some businesses are even created to be short term solutions leading up to the true passion and purpose of your business.

Finally, the Bell stands for something important: hope.  Truly successful businesses not only share hope with the world, they help the world make that hope a reality.  Each and every business is started with a hope, but not many are able to achieve the success that the Bell has.

This week as you hopefully take some time to relax, think about your story, passion and future.  What are you doing to represent the Bell in your business?