Saturday, January 3, 2009

Marketing tip: Think through Big, Scary Ideas

Small Business Achievement Thinking Through Big Scary Ideas
by Mark Mikelat,

Mark Mikelat is a consultant for small businesses. He is on faculty at Long Beach City College and is the founder and owner of

Big scary ideas can grow your business, Mikelat says. "If you want big results sometimes you need to make big decisions. The challenge is that this idea is contrarian to our human nature. We work to maintain safety, comfort, and familiarity in our lives. ... Big scary ideas will bring accelerate growth your small business."

He gives an example: A client of his had opportunity to be on a TV show; in her application, she submitted just one line. No spark, no personality. Of course, she wasn't selected. Producers probably assumed she wouldn't make for an interesting show.

"This was her time to shine through, demonstrate her expertise to get on the show," Mikelat writes. "Why did not my client pursue this opportunity with greater enthusiasm? The reason is simple: it was a big scary idea. She had never been on television and the idea was intimidating. I understand that. Of course it is intimidating. That is why it represents such a great marketing opportunity. You can print out flyers and put them on cars in a mall parking lot. That will provide poor results because the idea is safe. Being on TV is not safe. Yet, this unsafe opportunity could have provided her the opportunity to sell 10,000 books by an enthused and engaged audience."

Mikelat isn't saying to just try everything at random. You need to check the risk, and weight it against possible rewards. In his client's case, he says, there was risk, of course, maybe perhaps stage fright. But no significant expense ... and the reward, that potentially would have reached thousands of viewers, and brought his client much new business.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Words that need to go out with 2008

Out with old, in with the new.
Ringing in the New Year is a bit like starting over. The slate may not be completely clean, but it is a good time to steel your resolve and attack anew some things you wanted to square away in 2008 but did not get the opportunity. Hey, we're all there on that one. My list is a mile long.
Along with bidding farewell to 2008, there are a few other things I'd like to kiss goodbye as well: words that I never want to hear used again. Ever.

In no particular order:

  • "Bling." Enough, for pete's sake! Especially now, in these lean times.
  • "BFF." As in "Best Friend Forever." A throw-back from our texting-happy nation.
  • "Bail-out." Over it. Should now and forever only refer to a relative in jail in need of assistance.
  • "Hot Spot." I never really figured this one out, anyway.
  • "Embedded journalist." They're on assignment, O.K.? Can't we just call it that?
  • "Insurgents." Don't get me started.
  • "Forecast cone." Weather people could just say they have no idea where the storm's going...
  • "Prequel." I want Hollywood to come up with some new ideas.
  • "Rehab." Sorry, Dr. Drew. Take it off my T.V.
  • "uber" anything. Ultra more than covers it.

And I'd like to add to this list any texting abbreviation that I can't understand. You know the script. All the OMG and such. (My 16-year old stepdaughter speaks in some sort of cryptic texting lingo that is unidentifiable. I wonder sometimes if she isn't working for Central Intelligence. Perhaps I'm just getting old.)

It would be nice to return to proper English again in 2009, whatever that may be. Somewhere between Elizabethan Shakespeare and things that are suitable for public consumption. Slang aficionados may want to hang me, but I still bid farewell to these words and all the images they bring with them. Anyone that uses them gets charged a quarter.

Happy New Year, everyone! May it healthy, safe and prosperous for all.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Life on Saltines and Jell-O

I had a recent bout with some bad gastrointestinal mojo, which landed me in the hospital for a few days. Not a fun place for a paramedic to be. Us medical people don't make very good patients.
Turns out I have ulcerative colitis AND bleeding peptic ulcers AND ulcers in my duodenum, thrown in for good measure. I'm pretty much full of holes. Why? Stress, spicy food, H-pylori, who the heck knows. Can't get a straight answer of any of the doctors that I now have to see.
What they DID tell me is not to eat anything heavy, greasy, fried, spicy, creamy, acidic, alcohol-based, vinegar-y, and caffeine-laden. This is pretty much everything out there. The good stuff. Like coffee. Or a cocktail with dinner. Or dinner at all.
And hot wings. You guys have followed my mission to find the best wings in Tampa Bay; alas, I'll never know. They just don't make enough Mylanta for me to chance it.
So I have been living the last few weeks on saltine crackers and different flavors of gelatin. If I am feeling brave, I sneak down a little chicken soup. This is not fun. I LOVE food. Lots of food. And having to go around watching people eat it all up is, at the very least, excruciating.
Right now as we speak, the guy next to me is eating gumbo. And yesterday my husband actually ordered a pizza and wolfed it down while saying to me "You poor thing."
Poor thing indeed. I am usually laid-back about a lot of things, but I now am in a constant state of being on the verge of throwing a tantrum. Especially during the holidays when full platters of heavenly stuff are being passed under my nose. My mother even makes her own holiday candy! It's got chocolate and peanuts and peanut butter all rolled into ...
I can't even talk about it. It's too upsetting. And when did every commercial on T.V. become involved with food?! Does every fast-food restaurant have to launch a new burger at once? And can't people meet for a facial instead of a drink?
And just who does Outback think they are with those steak ads?
O.K., I'll stop. But let me tell you this: Appreciate and love and each little snack you're munching right now. When you go out, order everything on the menu for me. Raise a toast to my ulcers. I'll be the one in the corner having green Jell-O and a side of cardboard.