Lessons Learned from the Rio Olympics


The Rio Summer Olympics came to a close this week. Regardless of which athlete or team you rooted for or if you only watched to see athletes fall, we can still learn a lot from these incredible men and women and apply these lessons to our own lives, both personal and professional.

Obviously one of the most basic lessons is that hard work really can pay off. Set a goal for yourself and work towards achieving that goal. Many of the athletes competing in Rio devoted years to perfecting their craft. They are extremely goal driven and that’s what keeps them motivated. The lessons? Dream big. Never believe that you can’t achieve what you set your mind to achieve. And dedicate yourself to achieving your goal.

The flipside of course is that sometimes, even when you give it your all, it’s still not enough and your competition will beat you.  Instead of making excuses why you didn’t succeed or blaming others, take responsibility, watch the instant replay and use the experience as a growth opportunity to help you be better the next time.  As they say, when you fall (off a horse, off a bike, on the field, etc.), get back up and keep on going. Everyone faces obstacles. It’s how we react to them that shows the true test of a man/woman.

Finally, remember no person acts alone. It’s important to have a support system behind you and to let them support you. Whether it’s waiting for your score, soaking up the love of your family or relying on your team at work, remember we’re only as good as the people we surround ourselves with.

Maximize Tradeshow Season


Tradeshow Season is in Full Swing

It’s that time of year again and many of us are hitting the tradeshow circuit in hopes of forming new relationships and securing untapped business. With every exchange of business cards and meetings with new clients, you have an opportunity to make a great first impression. The tradeshow is the perfect venue to show off your branding and share what’s new about your business.

Booth and Display You have approximately three seconds to get people’s attention as they walk by your booth. Are your booth and display in good condition? Do they accurately reflect your brand? Your booth represents your company so make sure your technology is up to date. For example, showing a demo on a slow laptop may give the wrong impression that your business doesn’t invest in technology.

Communications Good comprehensive branding includes your printed and online communications. Make sure all of your content is branded and uses a consistent tone. From your business cards to your marketing collateral, everything you create should have the same look and feel.

Dress for Success Your tradeshow attire is your first chance to make a lasting impression with customers and prospects. Make sure you look professional, yet approachable and make sure your logo is visible so no one has to guess which company you are with.

Take advantage of tradeshows and opportunities they present. From your wardrobe to your booth and everything in between, tradeshows are a perfect arena to showcase your brand.


Take Time to Relax


This Monday, August 15, is National Relaxation Day. This unofficial holiday is a great time to introduce some relaxation techniques into your daily routine. Here are three tips to help you relax. And they can be used any day you feel a need to de-stress, not just Monday.

Take some deep cleansing breaths. According to WebMD, “Take a 5-minute break and focus on your breathing. Sit up straight, eyes closed, with a hand on your belly. Slowly inhale through your nose, feeling the breath start in your abdomen and work its way to the top of your head. Reverse the process as you exhale through your mouth.

“‘Deep breathing counters the effects of stress by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure,’ psychologist Judith Tutin, PhD, says. She’s a certified life coach in Rome, GA.”

Drink some chamomile tea. For centuries chamomile has been known for its relaxing properties. Most offices have a water cooler so get up (and stretching in the middle of the day isn’t a bad idea), pour yourself some hot water and infuse the water with some chamomile tea.

Listen to your playlist. Research has shown that listening to soothing music can actually lower blood pressure, heart rate and anxiety. Research also shows that listening to upbeat music helps people blow off steam. So whichever your preference, update your playlist, pull out your headphones and just try to remember to hum quietly while at your desk.

What relaxation techniques work for you? We’d love to hear.


Preparation is Key: On the Field and in the Boardroom


Has it really been four years since the last summer Olympics? It’s hard to believe but here we are once again on the eve of the Opening Ceremonies, sporting our team colors and boasting team pride. What is it about the Olympics that bring out such strong patriotism and loyalty?

For the next few weeks fans will be following the different sporting events and watching the touching back stories. In addition to seeing their teams win or lose, they’ll also be coming in to work with some important lessons learned. Synchronized swimming and beach volleyball may not necessarily seem like teaching-moments, but you’d be surprised.

Some things we’ve already learned even before the games begin:

  • Preparation is key. You can’t step onto a balance beam or a race track without practicing any more than you can step into a board meeting without preparing. Whether it’s months of practicing on the field or weeks of research and rehearsal, remember, practice makes perfect.
  • It’s all about teamwork. Yes, there may be some star players on your team but at the end of the day, it’s the combined efforts of all of your players that help you succeed.
  • The game or sport isn’t over until the clock runs out. Even if you miss the first putt or touchdown, it doesn’t mean you’re out of the game. It just means you have to work harder to achieve your goal.
  • The converse is also true. Just because you’re winning doesn’t mean you’ve won. You still have to show up and give it your all. Resting on your laurels is never in vogue.
  • However, sportsmanship is always in style.

Which events will you be watching and which do you think will provide teaching moments?

Color Can Strengthen Your Customer Communications

color your communications

Believe it or not, fall is coming. The Pantone Color Institute®, the global color authority and provider of professional color standards for the design industries, has been prepared for months, and issued their Fall 2016 Color Guide. According to Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, “The desire for tranquility, strength, and optimism have inspired a Fall 2016 color palette that is led by the Blue family. Along with anchoring earth tones, exuberant pops of vibrant colors also appear throughout the collections… Blue skies represent constancy as they are always above us. Grays give a feeling of stability, Red tones invite confidence and warmth, while the hot Pinkish Purples and Spicy Mustard Yellows suggest a touch of the exotic.”

Just like The Pantone Color Institute, those of us who are involved in billing, understand how important color is to our critical customer communications. When used strategically throughout an invoice or statement package, color has proven to help customers find critical information, encourage action and identify your brand.

Are you incorporating color into your critical customer communications and taking full advantage of the color opportunities in your invoice/statement package whether digital or print? From the company website to the company emails to the mailing envelope to the invoice/statement itself to any additional message pages or inserts, you have the ability to use color to draw attention to important information. Take full advantage of the opportunity you get each month to directly communicate with your customers through your invoice or statement package. Use color for dynamic messaging, full color envelope messaging or colorful inserts to enhance your message.

According to Xerox Corporation, color increases readers’ attention span by 82 percent. It also improves reading comprehension by 73 percent. And a recent Pitney Bowes study found that 69 percent of the study participants were more likely to open an envelope with color or graphics on the front than those without.

Harness the power of color. You’ll be glad you did.


Keep in Touch Over the Summer with a Company Newsletter

Company Newsletter

Summertime is here and with it comes the desire to spend those long lazy afternoons out in the sun. Whether you’re relaxing on your deck, by the pool or oceanside on the beach, a newsletter always provides great reading material. Use your company newsletter to connect with your customers and maybe even garner some new ones. Show your customers that you care to keep them informed by providing insight into what’s happening in your company, answer frequently asked questions and provide general information about your service. You can use your newsletter to share details about new product promotions being introduced into your company.

You can also use your newsletter to drive traffic to your website. With the proper placement of links to topics of interest, your website could become a hub of activity. A newsletter provides you with the unique platform to share more information in one place than just a social media post or a blog. You can expand on topics that are important to your company thereby creating a real bond with your customers. If you do a good job writing your newsletter and captivate your audience effectively, they are more likely to share the newsletter with their friends thus broadening your company’s reach with just the click of a button. A report by Quartz Insights says that 90 percent of people who read their newsletter and like it would share it. This could increase your readership and possibly even your customer base in an instant. So have fun with your newsletter and make it a piece of literature that your readers look forward to reading when lounging out in the sun.

Paper is Still Preferred for Credit Card Statements

Paying Bills

We live in an on-demand age where information can be received in an instant by pressing a few keys on a mobile device. So if you assumed that most people now prefer receiving their credit card statement online nobody would fault you for your logic.

And yet, a recent survey from CreditCards.com reported that 93 million credit card holders receive paper statements and for 43 million of those, that is their preferred choice. Not only that, 50 percent of those receiving paper statements indicated that they would even be willing to pay to continue to receive paper statements if necessary.

In this digital age, why are so many people opting for paper? Of those surveyed, 80 percent of those who receive paper statements said that they use the printed statement for record keeping and 74 percent indicated that the tangible paper statement reminds them to make a payment.

The survey went on to reveal that 67 percent of those receiving the physical statement use it for informational purposes to let them know how much they owe and 50 percent said that they do in fact pay their bills by check using the enclosed return mail envelope. Further, more than 25 percent of those receiving paper statements reported that they do not have regular internet access.

Are you primarily sending electronic statements to your customers or do you still send printed statements?


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