What is your reputation?

Whether you will accept it or not, every brand has one – a reputation.

Your reputation is a valuable asset, or it can be a huge turnoff. It all depends on how well you care for your reputation. Is it something you think about, or do you just brush it off?

Truth is, that should be one of the largest concerns of any company. The best form of marketing is Word of Mouth Marketing. What your customers say to their friends and family, who then talk to their friends and family, is your reputation. It spreads. And fast.

A bad experience.
A poor attitude.
A broken product.
A messed up drink.
People dont forget. In fact – they share.

So what are you doing to improve your reputation? How are you treating your customers differently than everyone else?

Stand out. Be different. Put that strong memory in your client’s minds that they will share with their networks and bring you future customers.

Word of Mouth Marketing is the best form of marketing – because it does the work itself. Take advantage of it. Use it.

You won’t regret it.

Test Your Fears

“Fear is only as deep as the mind allows.”
– Japanese Proverb

This past week, I spent some time in Las Vegas for a conference with work. There was a lot of work spent preparing for this past week, and once the day had finally come, I felt ready. The displays were setup. The flyers printed. The promo material arrived and displayed. Lets get this show on the road!

Yet – little did I know, the plans would not go as fully planned.

When it came time to present the new services of PayProMedia, CEO Matt Hoskins began to move towards the stage, and stopped to turn around, look at me and say, “Get up here.”

Someone slam the brakes! This was not the plan. I am not a public speaker. I am supposed to be the person in the back holding the wall up and smiling.

With no time for preparation – I was put on the spot. I join Matt up on stage to assist with half of the presentation in front of a full room of people.

One hour later, we were done. I was relieved. Get me out of here.

24 hours later, I sat on a plane staring out the window thinking back through that event. How could I have lived through that? I am not a public speaker. But I realized while on the plane, that it really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Actually, it wasn’t bad at all – and I wouldn’t mind doing it again!

Long story short, the lesson learned is to test your fears. You will never overcome them if you dont test them.

What fears are you living behind?

2013 is the year.

2013 is now underway.
It began just a few short days ago – but there is still a lot of year left.

And guess what – this is the year.

This is the year for showing love.
This is the year for generosity.
This is the year for helping hands.
This is the year for caring for the needy.
This is the year for change.
This is the year for making an impact.

This is the year.

A New One Has Come

The time has come. Another year has finished, with a new one starting.

It is hard to believe how quickly time goes by. It seems that every year goes by quicker and quicker. Which has brought me to think a lot over the past few months – if time is going by so quickly, am I using my time effectively?

I watched a video yesterday called “What’s Your Sentence?” I decided to write one for myself. “His desire and passion was to be a helping hand and make a difference in this world.”

What is your sentence?

As we move into this new year – take some time to reflect on how you are using your time. Are you doing what you enjoy? Are you making a difference?

Make your sentence. Live it out.

Information is key.

Recently, I played a little game of Doctor with my MacBook Pro.  We underwent an operation.  An operation that required opening up the machine.  The objective?  To upgrade the RAM.  It was an upgrade that was needed for some time, but I kept putting it off.  Lately, I have been doing more and more on my laptop, even throughout the work day.  While I am a large multi-tasker, my laptop was not.  This was evident in the slow response at times, also known as the spinning wheel of death.  After enough frustration, it was time to take the plunge.

While going through the process of ordering and installing the RAM upgrade, I began to think over the fact that I should have done this a long time ago.  Why did I wait until now?

I was slow.  I was outdated.  I was behind on the times.

With ten minutes worth of work, I was back up to speed.  I had updated my machine to meet the new standards of today.

While I realize that hardware upgrades, such as my RAM upgrade, can be expensive and burdensome to someone’s budget – I see the importance of staying up-to-date.  Not necessarily with hardware specs or owning the latest and greatest, but with information.

Every day, new information becomes available – all at the touch of our fingertips.  News articles, product releases, emerging technologies, scientific breakthroughs, and hours of media.  While it is certainly impossible to stay up-to-date on every single bit of new information – information is key.  There is value in information.

Staying up-to-date with the most relevant information to your life, like the specific skill set that you excel in, or the company you run, or the hobby you enjoy – know the latest and greatest will always push people to you when they have questions.  It shows value in you.

And it doesnt take a lot of time.  Set aside 10-30 minutes everyday to hop online to the relevant news source of your choice, or flip on the news channel of the TV, or scan the different related emails in your inbox.  It is worth it in the long run.

Remember – information is key.

We All Have One

This past week, I had the opportunity to travel down to Ball State University and speak on a marketing panel with Scott Feather and 3 other panelists.  Loved it.  It was a great time sharing about my experiences and engaging in deep marketing discussions with fellow professionals.

One of the questions that was asked to the panel was this, “What is one thing you recommend to a new-to-the-market college graduate?”  During this point in the conversation, I began thinking about brand.

My answer was this, “Think about your personal brand.  Think about what you want your personal brand to be.  Think about the future and what you want to be known for and what reputation you want to carry.  Then do what you have to do to accomplish that – even if it requires some major life changes now.”

Personal brand. We all have one. The question is  – what is yours?

And – is that the one that you want?

Take a break… But don’t stop.

After 16 long years, I finally got the opportunity to walk across the stage to receive my Grace College Bachelors degree and diploma.   That day was not too long ago for me, and I still remember the thoughts running through my head… “Whew, what a relief…  I actually made it.”

After many years of a lot of hard work, I accomplished my goal and received the reward.

At the time, I breathed out a large sigh of relief.  I was done with education… For good.

Or at least I thought.

And I sure was wrong.

I have come to quickly realize that I will never be done.  I never stopped.  While I may certainly differ from most people, I now realize that I always desire to learn more, to push the boundaries of my knowledge to further limits.  I do this daily.  I receive numerous data filled emails every night about the latest happenings in the technology world.  I have bought several books recently that dive into leadership and financial management.  I’ve downloaded several videos about the science of creativity and watched them numerous times.  I study articles left and right that explore the different techniques for management and effective team building.

Some call me a nerd.  I think of it as personal development.

It is not even just personal development.  The more that I develop myself personally, the more I am actually developing the company I manage and the employees I oversee.  The more developed I am, the bigger the impact I have on those around me.

So, as a leader, what are you doing to develop yourself and those around you? Are you pushing yourself to new bounds?

Warm, sunny winter day…

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been on the quest to capture the perfect winter shot for the next issue of the 2|8|9 magazine for Grace College. I’ve had numerous photo shoots in many different settings (night shots and during a heavy snow fall). Today, I was working on things at the office, and when I glanced outside, I knew I should get out there! 🙂

It was warm and sunny, a great winter day! Here is a sampling of my findings:
The Village at Winona

Ice Hockey

Want to see more? >>

Remembering the class of 2010…

Happy Easter!

Over the past couple of days, I have been borrowing a sweet camera from a friend and testing my skills at photography. I think I might have found new hobby!

I have also created a Flickr account to store them on.

What do you think? Should I find a new hobby? 🙂