Autor: Scott

~ 29/11/06

There are a lot of promises out there in networking organization land.  “Our group offers over 75% decision makers!” “Guaranteed leads with every visit!” “Free oil change with every handshake!” With all this hype, it can be hard to decide where to spend your hard earned money and time.

How do you choose which one to join? Just remember this… Not all decision makers and leads are created equal. While the above statements may be true, the questions is, do these decision makers and leads fit within your marketing focus? The best way to decide is to first identify who you are and what you sell.

Who you are: Networking is about beneficial connections. It is about building a network of acquaintances that will help you in your professional life. These people can be friends, coaches, mentors, partners, and/or prospects. The best way to find these people is to be someplace where you are comfortable and can be yourself. If you like social settings, happy hours may be the best place for you. If you like volunteer opportunities, volunteer. If you crave structure and a more “professional” setting, groups like BNI may be your best vehicle. Just be comfortable and genuine. People can sense when you are out of your element and will tend to stay away from you. Not good for networking.

What you sell: Again, all decision makers and leads are not created equal. You can be in a room full of business owners, but if you sell $1,000,000 computer systems, the woman who owns the pet store and is looking for a PC may not be ready to write you that check. Of course, as mentioned in prior posts, never underestimate the power of her network. While she may not be able to buy from you, she may know 5 people who can. Be specific about what you do and who your best prospect is.

Armed with this knowledge, investigate the various groups and ask questions in order to find the best fit for your personality and product. If the organization charges, what are the added benefits for being a member and are there additional costs to attend events over and above the yearly dues? A lot of organizations will try to deflect the cost by talking about the opportunities to make deals. While this may be true, cash is king and cash flow, not “opportunities” makes the car payment. Do not over extend yourself to join a networking organization. The best things in life are free, and sometimes, so are networking opportunities. My best networking success stories come from weddings, holiday parties, and airline gates.

Bottom line, be yourself, be comfortable, know your product and your ideal prospect, and make friends. Networking is fun! Really! 

Post tags:

Autor: Scott

~ 26/11/06

Thanks to all that made it last Tuesday for our Toy Drive at Mandarin! We ended up filling the three bins with toys as well as several large trash bags. Impressive!!! Pictures should be up soon.

If you did not get the chance to stop by or forgot your toy, you still have a chance (though the free drink offer was time sensitive ;-P) Just bring your toy(s) to the Big Brothers Big Sisters office at 4625 Lindell until December 5th.

Thanks again for all your support!

Post tags:

Autor: Marcia

~ 24/11/06

So…..I want you all to be honest with me, okay?

Were you waiting outside of Macy’s with your ”Biggest Sale of the Year” coupons, or had a tent pitched outside of BestBuy at 4am? Did you tackle an elderly woman in Walmart for the very last digital camera on the shelf?

Now be honest with me…….come on. I won’t judge you, I promise. However, I will lovingly tell you that you are better than that, and you have your whole life ahead of you to get cuffed and dragged away with a misdemeanor battery charge on your record. Come on! Grandma was 80 years old….was it worth the $50 you saved on the Canon? I think not hon.

 So, as your shopping partner in crime,(pun intended this time, perp!) I am here to assist you with the rest of your shopping adventures. See below for some of the hottest gift ideas for the special ladies in your life (pay attention gents!) whether it be your mom, sister, boss, stylist, or BFF. Who knows? Maybe it’s time to squash the drama between you and your “frienenemies” by giving a fab gift instead of the olive branch….Now only if they would stop talking smack?! Hmmmm….babysteps.

**10)Sarah K. Brennan Designs Dress**

These gorgeous dresses made out of bold and sumptious fabrics will be available at BYRD (8117 Maryland Ave, Clayton MO 63105) beginning this Friday, November 24th with an inaugural trunk show featuring the St.Louis native herself. You may recognize her from the horribly executed Martha Stewart’s version of the Apprentice….Martha better stick with baking cookies, because Sarah’s dress line has real flair with classic silhouettes and a whimsical twist. The trunk show is extended through Saturday from 10am-close. Any girly girl would squeal with delight to have one of these under the tree.

**9)Gift “Mini Membership” To Solera Health Club & Spa**

Located in the Executive Building of the Westin Hotel downtown-811 Spruce Street, you can get into shape in a quiet, serene environment while staying within your budget!

Go to the RCP website and print out this special offer. You can take advantage of the Silver Membership level for just $35 a month(normally $75) which includes access to the club,monthly health evaluation,monthly exercise evaluation,and free parking. The initiation fee is reduced from $100 down to $25……or you could upgrade as I did, thank you very much….to the Platinum membership(doesn’t that sound delightful?) for a bargain of $115 a month, you can treat yourself or BFF to all of the above and also:

2 -hour long personal training sessions a month ($120 value!)

1 -50 minute massage per month (um hello! $100 value!)

Unlimited Activtrax access-a computerized program that monitors your workouts. No cheating allowed!

Cupples Club Membership-1 weekend night stay in the Westin Hotel Executive Suites a year-can come in handy after a rowdy Cards game. 15% discount off of all services/amenities at the Westin and the Clark Street Grill, plus ability to use your membership card as a “House Charge” to be billed monthly.

So instead of Lipo Dissolve, do it the right way. Sweat to get the body that you desire. Treat your loved one to a 3 month membership….no contracts required! It’s set up on a month to month basis. Call (314)552-5738 and ask for John Burr for more information.

**8)Behnaz Sarafpour GO International Collection at Target**

I have hearted Behnaz since 2002 when she produced her first runway presentation with Style.com. This Parsons grad is the sweetheart of Vogue and many celebutantes including Jessica Simpson, Selma Blair, and Claire Danes……that’s if my word isn’t good enough….

Her designs are on the very pricey side, but for a limited time you can snatch up a snazzy collection at Tar-Jay and still be able to make your car payment. I am quite fond of the Stretch Velvet Skirt in vibrant Oxford Magenta, only $29.99 (also available in classic ebony for the more conservative) The Cropped Tuxedo Jacket at $44.99 is a “steal”…..there you again, you convict you. The Lace Covered Tee would be a nice accent in any stocking at $16.99. Check out the whole collection at your local Target store, or online at www.Target.com

**7)”Begin To Hope” by Regina Spektor**

This Soviet songstress who hails from the Bronx(she ain’t no JLO) is crushworthy with her unique and kitschy sound. You must buy this CD for anyone that you know who daydreams, giggles, and needs oxygen to breath. I recently saw her live at the Creepy Crawl and was instantly moved by her incredible talent. The song Fidelity is starting to get some airplay, but this is a rare CD where you can listen to it all the way through. Some other songs to pay attention to are Better, Us, and On the Radio. Check out her website www.ReginaSpektor.com (watch the adorable video for Fidleity while you are there) or her MySpace profile just in case you think that I am a crazed groupie. Make one promise though…purchase the CD at Vintage Vinyl 6610 Delmar Blvd….support your independant retailers yo!

**6)Squasht by Les Timpe Hat**

Okay, so maybe I viewed too many episodes of Blossom with Mayim Bialik’s wacky hat collection……but I am utterly infatuated with hats! I guess it doesn’t help that I have a local hat designer in my backyard either. Les Timpe’s collection of chapeaus are adorable and quirky. Her Mod Checkered Ribbon Bella Hat ($60) is my personal fave yet there is truly something for any cap conneisieur.

Go to www.squashtbyles.com to order,for more information and to see her other goodies. Ziezo also seems to have a nice collection on hand as well…..not to mention an upcoming boutique that will be located at 1301 Washington Avenue ….open by Christmas? One word. MASULLA. Enough with the subliminal messages right?

**5)Neiman Marcus Dessert Set**

I decided to not be biased on this list, so I did a shout-out to all the domestic divas in the house…..Neiman’s exclusively has silver-plated Shoe and Handbag shaped servers that will make cake baking and all that other junk that you guys do in the kitchen more fun. (Come on,is it really fun guys?) A definite must  at $45. Go to NeimanMarcus.com and enter “two piece dessert set” to view. Hint: I really heart angel food cake.

**4)L. Erickson Headbands**

Marcia! Marcia! Marcia! If another drunken moron says that to me again in a crowded bar….I will BLEEP!!! I guess Mr. Lapp has to censor me a wee bit:)

Miss Brady did have a rather desirable headband collection, and as we all know by now, this trend has been resurrected.Laurie Solet has a FAB collection at her store right now (8228 N Forsyth Blvd Clayton MO-as if you don’t flippin know where it is!)The L Erickson collection has been featured in InStyle and other fashion worthy publications. The French Velour Headband($45) in both blue and red are fantastic, pair it with a swooped bang and that little sparkle in your eye. Not that flashy? Buy the Wrapped Circles headband($48) or the Skinny Silk Headband ($13) to add a little dimension on that gorgeous brain of yours.

**3)Make a Wellness Gift Basket**

I can’t tell you the last time I did a Downward Dog or meditated while listening to Enya.It could be due to the fact that my attention span competes with an 8 year who has a Ritalin prescription? ……

Oh yea, back to my list…Head to MacroSun located at 1310 Washington Avenue to put together a unique gift basket. I just love the smell of exotic incense in this place…. or is it the freshly brewed roast next door at the Washington Post ??mmmm…yummy…..Focus Marcia. Focus!

Gil Williams/owner will be happy to show you around this eclectic space. I LOVE the sheer gold and red Cotton Mantra Scarf with silver pinstripes ($6.50).It will make a great compliment to any outfit. Pick up the Arjuna Sweet Balinese Cone Incense ($4.50) wrapped in a beautiful hand-made leaf box. The sweet and light fragrance will make you forget the frigid weather outside. The Silver Lord Buddha Pendant, also hand-made will make a great discussion piece. Lord Buddha born in Nepal had teachings of  freedom from suffering if we cultivate generosity,compassion and clarity of mind. Yea, sign me up. Pass the word on with this pendant and for $38, you can make that ”frienemy” of yours feel quite guilty.

**2)Betsey Johnson “Carissa”Sandal**

Oh Betsey Johnson…..the dame of all dames….how I worship you so. Your tongue in cheek sexiness showcased in your collections and those wonderful little cartwheels that you do down the runway. MUAH!

Known for her wonderful little dresses, Betsey also has expanded her wonderful design empire to accessories including SHOES! My personal Cryptonite is expensive designer shoes……but at $139 at Nordies (West County Mall)…these are ORGASMIC. The “Carissa” (we are on a first name basis after the O) has satin whip-stitching trim on the straps of this high-heeled sandal (4 inch heel ladies!) and is completed with a satin bow.

(The bow is a prevelent theme in Ms.Johnson’s Fall/Holiday collections) This delicious  little shoe is available in Black, Champagne, and RED. Buy the RED, do it. Do it. Do it. Do it.

**1)Gift Certificate to Maurizio’s**

You think I am joking?! Think about this, your fave gal or mom perhaps??…… is out and about wearing the Sarah K Brennan dress,dainty headband,”Orgasm” shoes, flaunting that tight little bod from her workouts at Solera. She’s getting her groove on to the beats at R Bar…. then she heads to Dolce to do vodka shots with Jamie the bartender ….what’s next…..Maurizios. Nothing like a $10 pizza buffet after a glam night out on the town. So be a hero, purchase a ($50? $100?) gift certificate at 11003 Olive Street or call (314)621-1997. Open 7 days a week until 3am. Send her home with a pizza not a headache! 

Ta Ta for now. Happy Holidays! 

Post tags:

Autor: Leigh-Anne

At 6:45 a.m. last Sunday morning, I found myself unlocking the door to my apartment, begging my feet to last just ten more minutes to carry me upstairs to bed. As I was getting ready to tuck myself in for a few hours of much needed shut eye, I glanced in the mirror and noticed two very distinct navy blue circles underneath my eyes. While I hoped it was just some misplaced eyeshade from the night before, I knew better. Saturday was the first night that my partners and I opened our business (a bar/restaurant), and thinking back to the few weeks prior, there weren’t many nights when I averaged more than four hours a sleep a night.

You always hear entrepreneurs and small business owners referring to their business as their “baby.” Well, from my experience so far, this description couldn’t be more accurate. Opening a business means many late nights…followed by many early mornings. It means dealing with a lot of temper-tantrums. It means second-guessing as to whether or not you are always doing what’s best for it. It means constant care and attention. There is never really a point when you stop worrying about it…and obsessing over it. It’s a 24-hour job, and no matter what you are doing, it is never far from the forefront of your mind.

A business, like a child, can be selfish. It takes and takes and takes, sometimes without offering much back. It sees your sweat, and it owns your tears. It makes you so grateful to be alive and even sometimes has you wishing you weren’t. It can at times be confusing… frustrating… impossible. But still, you would give everything inside you, and more, to see it succeed.

I imagine that seeing it OPEN for the first time is a lot like seeing your child walk for the first time or watching he or she participate in a first sporting event or recital. There is a nervous energy, almost to the point of nausea, and you bounce back and forth between uncontainable excitement and absolute terror. Every mistake seems magnified to you, and there may even be a point or two when you think…”How did I get myself into this? What was I thinking? Do I have ANY clue what I am doing?”

You do everything in your power to ensure that everything goes smoothly, but at a certain point, you just have to sit back and watch. It may take a while before it can stand on its own, and no matter if it’s a day, a month or twenty-five years old, it will always need your guidance and attention.

My partners and I probably should have gone home Saturday night after we closed the doors to our first opening, as we should have been exhausted. But there was something pumping through our veins that kept us up past sun-up, aside from the celebratory champagne and cigars.

It was a sense of accomplishment. The satisfaction of bringing something into the world that has the potential to change lives. Not just our own, but our family, our friends, and absolute strangers. It was the anticipation of never knowing what the next day would bring or who may walk through the door next. But above anything, I think it was being able to look around at something so great, and say “We did this.”

So this is what it feels like to be an entrepreneur. And I suppose a parent, for that matter.

Now, if only those cigars had said, “Congratulations…It’s a Bar!”

Post tags:

Autor: Dave

~ 21/11/06

Once again we wake up to a new chapter in the St. Louis public school district’s on-going chaotic merry-go-round. For the last 4 years, we have watched the St. Louis school board bumble one thing after another in a desperate attempt to keep the school system out of the control of the state. Finally, last July, School Board President Veronica O’Brien got her wish and removed former Superintendent Creg Williams with her hand picked choice- Diana Bourisaw. Less than 6 months later, O’Brien wants Bourisaw gone as well. In fact, she now says that the Superintendent should have her powers suspended and the state should take an overview position with the system. Seems Mrs. O’Brien doesn’t like the fact that the Bourisaw thinks the system is improving, and isn’t going to always carry the water of the Board.

Here’s what Me thinks. I think its time for Veronika O’Brien to lose her God complex, and let the people that were put in the position of leadership, be leaders. There is no one on this earth that can actually believe that this school system could have been fixed in the time Bourisaw has been in office. And if O’Brien is so threatened by the fact that her former crony won’t be answering to her whims on every issue, it would be appear its time for the School Board President to walk away from the same district she has helped drive into the ground over the last several years.

Please don’t think that the issues above are as simple as what is written. They are not. And the problems listed do not start or end with the board president. I just think that at some point, people have to be accountable for their actions. It was Vernoica O’Brien that wanted the Superintendent..so she should either live with her choice, or move on. I guess it really IS that simple.

Click here for the full story.

Post tags:

Autor: Scott

It is Christmas come early… Well not until 2010… But hey! It is closer to the city…

This just in from the Post… “Nordstrom Inc. said Monday it will move into St. Louis Galleria in 2010, breathing new life into two levels of dark space left empty when Lord & Taylor closed during the summer.” More here.

Now if we can just get an Urban Outfitters and a Steve Madden on South Grand, it will be paradise. 

Post tags:

Autor: Marcia

~ 18/11/06

Hey boys and unselfish gals shopping for someone else besides themselves……um is that a myth?

Just a quickie sale report. Head to Saks or Saks.com for some awesome deals for men  ….up to 40 percent off of retail prices!

You can purchase lines like Lacoste for your little prepster spirit. May I suggest the Lacoste Relaxed jeans with classic five pocket styling for hanging out on the weekends. Originally priced at $125 – NEW REDUCED PRICE $86.90. Not bad. Not bad.

Have I told you about my good friend Bruno Magli? Well lemme tell you, my man makes some FAB shoes….check out the Milto Loafers orginal price $365 – NEW REDUCED PRICE $254.90 and Dress Medallion Oxfords original price $345- NEW REDUCED PRICE $240.90.

Ferragamo has some stellar ties orginally priced at $130-REDUCED TO $77.90. My man Ferragamo’s Delirio Lace Up shoes in a rich Tan originally priced at $360 are priced to move at $269.90.

Some very wise picks are the Hugo Boss Striped Shirt orginally priced at $185.00-REDUCED to $110.90. Great investment piece, why buy Banana when you can buy the real deal, capeche? The Armani Border Striped Sport Shirt originally priced at $235 is a fantastic deal at $163.90! Pick up some Z Zegna cotton brown trousers marked down from $195 to $135.90.

My personal fave is the Ermenegildo Zegna Multi-Striped Tie. It’s available in green and yellow. I am a little partial to the Green, got it? The original price is $140 and then just recently reduced to $83.90. Let’s just make this as painless as possible, hand over your Mastercard now, sweetie!

Some other lines to check out are Diesel,Canali, Ike Behar, and Ted Baker.

Now go make me a ham sammich!

I mean it.

 

 

 

Post tags:

Autor: Marcia

Hey there guys and dolls!

Not all of us may gush when thinking about all the designer goodies at Needless Markup…..oopsie I meant Neiman Marcus. However, I certainly get all warm and fuzzy just thinking about the Diane Von Furstenburg wrap dresses that will be drastically reduced for us with shallow pockets and less than desirable credit limits. “What do you mean I only have $150 available on my card?!”

With the holiday season looming around the corner, take advantage of this sale! This sale means that you can take an extra 30% off of already reduced prices on women’s contemporary and career sportswear, galleria dresses, eveningwear, and selected coats, plus Neiman’s own cashmere line.

The sale runs from November 20- 26th. 

By the way, I wear a 7 1/2 (37 in European sizing) if you need to hit the shoe department for your Christmas shopping list.

**Make buddies with a sales associate and they can “pre-sell” and hold merchandise for you prior to the official sale start date. Just hand over the AMEX and they will charge it on the first day of the sale. Go now to secure the best selection and start off the holiday shopping blitz right! Who knows, you may even be able to treat yourself to a nice little Burberry scarf from all the savings!**

Ta Ta for now!

 

 

Post tags:

Autor: Scott

~ 17/11/06

A bit of a blogger brawl going on over at Urban Review today @ www.urbanreviewstl.com/archives/000926.php. Steve Patterson vs Dave Drebes with some jabs from Antonio French and Brian Marsten. Gotta love St. Louis.

For the record… I have no investors and never claimed to be “Indy.” Enjoy!

Post tags:

Autor: Scott

~ 16/11/06

In my job, I often go to events geared to training small companies and entrepreneurs on various aspects of business. Topics like how to successfully hire, maintain financials, recognize trends, market your business, etc. Often, the topic of “How to Network” comes around and that usually gets my eyes to rolling.

The message is always the same, whether it be from a sales coach or marketing guru: “don’t talk to people you know… don’t sit with people you know… limit your conversations to 5 to 10 minutes… quickly identify if someone is of value to you or a “timewaster”… get lots of cards, make notes on them…” The idea is; you have a limited time with a room full of people. Identify the people who are going to be able to further your career, talk to them, and excuse yourself from the people who can’t as fast as possible. Sound cold and transparent to you?

I have seen many people employ this technique of networking. Some are masters. They can work the room and blow you off if they perceive you are not “valuable” and leave you feeling like you just met the greatest guy on earth. Most, however, suck at this, leaving you feel cheap and used by the end of the short barrage of qualifying questions. Worse still… imagine if you are a decision maker. By the end of the night you will be hit upon by so many sales people that you will feel like the only cute girl at a science fiction/fantasy convention. And you wonder why most networking events are only filled with sales people?

I approach networking the same way I approach sales, make friends. Forget titles, forget techniques… have fun. Networking is about beneficial connections, social and professional. The only real “timewasters” are people who are boring or creepy. Excuse yourself from them as quickly as possible but never leave a great conversation just because their title does not fit your target marketing criteria. When it comes to friends, don’t shy away from them, leverage them. Get your friends to introduce you to new people and vice versa.

Bottom line, you never know where business will come from and title does not always mean decision maker. That school teacher you might have blown off by following the established networking method? Well his wife may be the Senior VP of Marketing that won’t return your calls. Even more important, you may miss out on the chance to interact with a really great person and potential new BFF. In the words of Jeffery Gitomer, famed sales guru, “All things being equal, people want to do business with their friends. And all things being NOT so equal, people STILL want to do business with their friends.” Go make friends.

Post tags:
Newer Posts »