So, You Want to Boost Business……..

5 Nov

By: Sheilah Griggs

In working with literally 100’s of entrepreneurs over the years, there are several common attributes I find in successful people. First of all, most started their business based on something they loved to do or enjoyed being around. It’s hard to do the mundane duties of running a business if you are not passionate about your product or service. You need to believe that what you are doing is worth it, that it will make a difference and that it matters, if only to you. Never underestimate the influential power that comes from a person with passion. People seem to easily “catch” their message and they don’t seem belabored with trying to “teach” their vision. They are inspiring and all of a sudden people will begin to buy their product and build their brand for them. So don’t be afraid to show your passionate side – people like it!

Other successful individuals see a void, or need, in their own life and have their “ah-ha” moment about how to fill it. For example, let’s look at the successful international company, Spanx. If you don’t own some, your mother, sister or girlfriend does. One day, a 20 something young lady named Sara Blakely wanted to look better in her white pants so she cut off the feet of her nylons. Later, as she was walking around the city feeling svelte, she thought, hmmmm… I bet other women would like this too. And, she was right. She saw a need and she filled it…. and she’s kept on filling it with over 200 product lines.

Spanx

Courtesy of BayAreaBags.com

Now, what if Sara Blakely had her “ah-ha” moment and started absorbing all of the negative energy that began coming her way? You know, the thoughts like, “Well, maybe it’s a stupid idea” or “But, I’ve only got $5,000.00 in my savings” or “My best friends boyfriend rolled his eyes at me.”…. you get the idea. If she had decided to dwell in the negative she would have missed the opportunity of a lifetime. She would still be selling fax machines (no joke), she wouldn’t have had the ability to fund foundations that help women entrepreneurs and we all would look much worse in our cocktail dresses. Tragedy really. So, another highly important attribute is staying positive. People want to be around positive people. People want to buy from positive people.

You’re probably thinking, okay Sheilah, how do I stay positive even in such dreary times? The answer is to surround yourself with like-minded people – build your community. Start by talking to that one person that always makes you feel great – you may not even know him or her that well, but you always walk away feeling energized. Positive people draw positive people. Negative people draw downers. Start noticing what badge someone is wearing and hang out with your crowd. Watch the words coming out of your mouth so you will draw the kind of people you want, and at the same time you’ll make someone’s day with your energy.

Bottom Line: Start dreaming with passion, be around positive people and stick to one rule – no negativity. Just go for it. If you’re like Sara, you’ll boost your bottom line in more ways than one.

Advertisements

How I Learned to Network

1 Oct

By: Taylor Vick

I grew up in a suburban white community. It was all about the politics – think Real Wives of Dallas. The women who knew how to network the best were the ones who were always featured in the society section, their kids always got the lead roles in the musicals, and their husbands were always invited to the top men’s business associations in town. A powerful networker truly cannot be stopped.

Highland Park, TXI was first introduced to the real power of networking by my Grandmother. She had an author friend in town and I happened to stop by her house for a visit. This woman talked herself into getting me in touch with the National Debutante Cotillion, since she was so impressed with me. (I really only smiled and nodded as any shy 17 year old would do). A few months later, I received a call to join Washington D.C.’s finest for a week of Debutante parties. I was honestly in shock.

[Side note – anyone who knew me at 17 knew I was a total tomboy who only wore jeans, Dr. Marten’s and baggy shirts. Not exactly the “Debutante” or “Sorority” type].

Debutantes to me equaled white dresses, and a parent’s excuse to throw a mini-wedding celebration for the honor of getting a mention in the newspaper. Not my thing at all. I couldn’t have been any more wrong.

The Washington D.C. Debutante Cotillion was about the fabulous dress, but it was also about learning how to network. By watching the other guests, I determined three things: talk to everyone regardless of station, don’t be shy, and start a conversation because no one else will do it for you. Talk about the embodiment of Carpe Diem! This wasn’t your typical event. It was a bunch of politicians, original USA families who could trace their origins back to a founding father, military officials, and me. What did I have to offer?

National Debutante Cotillion

Taylor (in blue)

I blossomed into the best conversationalist I could be. I asked my conversation partner questions about what they did, their interests, their ideas. Never once did I offer a story about myself unless specifically asked. By listening intently, I instantly elevated my position as more than a Debutante. I was a powerhouse of networking!

I knew exactly who to connect to whom. I was able to remember birthdays, anniversaries, and important stories or dates in that person’s life. After the parties were over and life had settled down, I was able to write thank you notes, send birthday cards and otherwise let my new friends know that I was thinking about them.

The result of all of this is that I have a place to stay in most metropolitan areas in the USA, as well as in many European countries. Not only that, but I have a wide variety of connections I can tap for business recommendations, political influence, business ideas, and (my favorite part) friends I can count on for travel.

The biggest lesson I learned for networking is: the more you practice, the better you become at it. Practice really listening and remembering facts, dates, ideas, etc. Practice making social situations about everyone else other than yourself. Be gracious. Don’t interrupt. And more than anything: be there to have fun!

Networking…. It’s Elementary

27 Sep

By: Sheilah Griggs

Networking

Copyright Health Care Leaders: http://www.hclabc.bc.ca

The word “networking”, while creating an orgasmic flurry of excitement in some, can often cause an otherwise mature adult to roll their eyes like a teenage girl. Why such extreme reactions? The one panting thinks he will meet someone at the next meeting that will make him a millionaire and the other sees it as a waste of time because the guy living from event to event is doing so over a garage.

Networking alone does not put food on the table nor does being a hermit help grow your business. If you are fortunate enough to have a team where the introverted workaholic is balanced by the gifted socialite, then your chances for success are good. But what if YOU are the team?

Regardless of the scenario, everyone can find their balance if they stay networking neutral. How do you do that? Well, first of all, stop looking at it as “networking” and start looking at it as making friends. Now, what did we learn about making friends in elementary school…. Be nice, don’t interrupt and share your toys. Things really aren’t that different – our clothes are just bigger.

Nobody liked the pushy bully in school and now he’s grown up to be a salesman – no matter what he’s selling, people will go hide in the corner to escape his mouth. Selling should not be your goal. Building a relationship should be. You can’t expect a deal to close on the first night…. people who do that are called sluts, if you recall. So, be patient, be charming, and be liked.

Arcadia Playground

Copyright Arcadia Playground: http://www.plioz.com

Nobody really liked the snotty “soch” that wouldn’t share her Aqua Net and talked about, well, about herself. So focus on asking questions and give your elevator pitch in a conversational way and when solicited. Don’t worry, people will ask what you “do” because it’s more comfortable than asking who you “are” on a first date.

The shy girl always on the sideline at the high school dance probably grew up and created something amazing like the windshield wiper. But, at a networking event, she’s probably still waiting for someone to smile her way. Be the one who does it! Bring someone out of their shell and they’ll never forget you. If you were the star quarterback, probably by now your waist line is higher than the number on your jersey but all of that attention probably gave you quite a bit of confidence. Use your powers for good – help someone feel part of the action. Be helpful to someone else and you will be remembered.

Of course, if we only knew back then that the “nerd” would grow up to run a Fortune 500, we might have said yes when he asked us out. So, when someone who doesn’t seem like your “type” wants to chat or grab coffee, take the half hour to do so. You’ll still have friends the next day at the lunch table, trust me.

In a way, all this “networking” stuff is really very old school. In all of this over sharing and electronic communication we’ve seemed to have forgotten the art of conversation…. but that’s for another blog.

Stock Footage, Editing, and Music with Larry Roy

14 Sep

By: Taylor Vick

The editing process is something that has always amazed me. It takes such skill, attention to detail and focus to edit footage. Larry Roy was available to answer some questions about editing from a producer’s viewpoint, and how he manages all of that content.

Taylor Vick: Stock footage versus original footage?

Larry Roy: Stock is more cost efficient when the style or quality of footage you need is way beyond what the commercial budget will allow. Footage from a certain era, for example. It’s obviously easier you use stock WWII footage, than to attempt to re-create it, unless you have the scene calls for something very specific, and you have the budget. Or maybe you need footage of sharks – not something you would typically go out and film even if you have the budge, since there is great shark footage available.

If you need to portray a specific location or event, or a very particular style of footage, then original footage is best. It localizes the message and adds credibility. We prefer to shoot footage whenever possible, but again, it’s gaging what is more important–the quality or the specificity of the shot? If you can afford both, shoot original footage in most cases. Since stock footage is of course available to anyone, we often add a treatment or filter, or vary the speed, to give it a unique flair.

TV: Do you have any editing tips?

LR: Editing is really where a story gets told, whether it’s a commercial or it’s a short video or a feature film. It’s where you piece together the sequence, timing and flow.

Beyond timing and flow, editing is a lot of decision-making about what to use and what to leave out. On most projects, we overshoot to give us options in post. (It’s no fun to produce a 3-minute video with only 2 minutes of good footage!) Editing can and should involve trial and error, because the timing and feel is so important.

In commercial advertising, we typically edit video to audio. In other words, you have a recorded script or on camera talent, or music–something that marks a beginning and end. Audio and video of course have to work together in some logical or aesthetic fashion. So if you lay down your base audio track, driven by words, sounds and/or music, then you’ve got something from which you can tell the visual story. Audio is generally enhanced, or “sweetened” at the end of a project, but in its rough form, it typically starts the editing process.

In short, my advice is to be prepared, have a vision for the project, but allow for creative ideas to flow once you sit down to edit.

TV: How do keep track of all the different edits/shots?

LR: On set, we use verbal remarks, slates, shoot logs, and good script supervisors! Often the audio remarks a director makes on set while the camera’s rolling guide the producer and editors in post. And even in this day and age, a good paper log to refer to when in post-production helps. Digital production makes shot management much easier now, as opposed to tape and time code, since each take of a scene can be captured as a separate clip.

Also, we tend to shoot to edit. Because I’ve done a lot of producing, I understand what an editor has to go through, and try to think ahead when shooting so as not to make the editor’s job a nightmare. Yes, we’ll overshoot, but mainly to give us options where we expect to need them. When shooting B-roll for some long-form product, our shots are pretty planned, but we improvise on the fly as well to capture different angles or elements or scenery, just for variety. There is a “must have” list of shots, then there’s everything else.

TV: How do you go about selecting music to go in the commercials?

LR: To me, the mood that you want to create with the commercial should drive the music selection. If it’s intended to be light-hearted and fun, then the music needs to follow suit. If the tone is more somber and serious, then the music needs to match that. Some of the best post-scoring to me in commercials is what’s NOT there–a strategic break in all sound to accentuate a point. We often use a straight percussion, or a recurring sustained note to create a unique feel or sound.

Production: Proper Prior Planning

9 Sep

PlanningOne of the most important parts of production is the planning. Here, Larry Roy talks about the planning and preparation process and how to overcome on-site challenges!

Taylor Vick: Are there any on-site challenges that you have to overcome on the day of the shoot?

Larry Roy: Yes – all kinds of things! Despite the fact that we place a huge emphasis on planning and preparation, something unexpected almost always occurs, and you have to fix or adapt to on the fly. When shooting outdoors, weather is always a factor, and not just severe weather. Direct sunlight is not your friend either, but you plan for that. Shooting at dawn or dusk takes precise timing in order to capture just the right light. We’ve dealt with everything from stray dogs, to construction crews, to random onlookers who want to “participate” in the shoot.

If you’re shooting indoors there could be technical issues, lighting challenges, wardrobe and set design issues can pop up. Last minute client changes are always fun, too! That’s why the planning is so important: You assemble the people, equipment and resources you need well in advance, you scout your locations, you allow flexibility in your shooting schedule for the unexpected, and then hope it doesn’t happen!

TV: What do you do if there is unexpected noise at the shoot? How do you fix it?

LR: Well if you’ve planned well, then you are at a location where that isn’t a concern. However, sometimes things just happen–like planes, trains and automobiles! If it’s a man-made noise and can be temporarily halted, then you negotiate with whomever you can to make that happen. If not, you either wait it out if it will go away, or somehow find a way to cover it or muffle it on site. Another option is an editor’s nightmare, which is to say, “We’ll just fix it in post!” (post-production). This may require “looping” the original audio, or covering it with music or other sound design.

TV: Have you ever had any challenges with crews in Nashville?

LR: Yes, but rarely. Maybe we’re short a microphone, or missing a needed camera lens, or a battery or light just dies on the set. But as for crew, Nashville has plenty of great people who know what they are doing–and love doing it.