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Showing Love for your Business Community

Posted on February 14, 2016

I wrote this a few years ago and thought I’d re-post on this Feb 14th.  (I still don’t especially enjoy this holiday but I like the idea of using it as a reminder to spread the love when you can –  in work and play!)

It’s Valentine’s Day. Okay I admit it, I’m not a big fan of this holiday. I’ve never quite subscribed to the obligation of it all. I just think that for those you love, you shouldn’t need a holiday to remind you to show it. It’s the little things, done every day and out of genuine affection that matter most.

I believe the same is true for your business relationships. Read more…

 

3 Words for 2016!

Posted on January 1, 2016

I wasn’t even trying or specifically thinking about it but my 3 words for 2016 popped into my head while I was in the shower this afternoon  (admittedly nursing a minor New Year’s Eve hangover). The 3 words concept came from Chris Brogan who every year comes up with 3 distinct words that aren’t necessarily resolutions but rather themes on which to focus that will help him navigate the coming year. Read more…

 

So many resources for manufacturers, so little time

Posted on March 27, 2015

Recently, I attended an SBANE Advanced Manufacturing Seminar that assembled a panel of experts to speak about work force development. The event was excellent- chalk full of useful information from people who clearly care deeply about the New England manufacturing community. Leslie Parady from MassMEP did a fantastic job moderating and coloring the event with her experience and deep knowledge of the main issue at hand – connecting resources to those who need help whether it be a manufacturer looking to fill skilled positions or a high school student interested in a hands on career figure out his or her next step.

Overall what struck me the most about this panel were the vast resources- and I think we just scratched the surface- available to those who know where to look. There is no shortage of organizations working to help businesses of all kinds in MA. Whether or not they communicate or collaborate with each other effectively is another subject. The point is – they are out there so I thought I’d take some time to share links to some of these organizations: Read more…

 

Innovation Starts and Ends with People- SBANE AMC Panel

Posted on November 12, 2014

Recently SBANE brought together the New England manufacturing community to hear from companies using innovation to reduce costs, increase efficiencies, and train their workforce in order to compete in an ever challenging marketplace. The common thread for me was how the success of each initiative depended fully on the engagement of the people involved. Read more…

 

Great events to connect the MA manufacturing community

Posted on October 15, 2014

The greater Boston area has many events that connect folks from the tech and start up communities but I don’t think there are enough for those in manufacturing. We need more activities where manufacturers new & old, small & large can meet and learn from each other while they share best practices.

With that in mind, I wanted to pass along information on some good ones coming up. Read more…

 

His Genius Was Personal Connection

Posted on August 19, 2014

Like most who followed his career, I was greatly saddened by Robin William’s passing last week. I grew up watching him...early memories of Mork and Mindy, the Good Morning Vietnam soundtrack on repeat en route to New England with my family, and, of course, movie after great movie as I moved through my adult years...so my fondness for him extends far beyond an appreciation for his comedic brilliance. As I joined the many who re-watched their favorite clips or discovered new ones, I reflected on his genius while sadly wondering why he felt he couldn't go on. The latter I cannot even begin to understand for no matter how much you “see” someone, you never really know what goes on inside. Read more…

 

Learn from Mistakes to Better Serve Clients

Posted on June 5, 2014

Often in this blog I talk about maximizing return on activities that drive new business. It’s important, though, to not lose sight of your current clients and your processes in place to help you serve them. Maintaining their satisfaction and improving your ability to meet your commitments should always be a high priority. A recent client call reminded me of this as well as the invaluable lessons we can learn from our mistakes. Read more…

 

Know the destination before planning your marketing journey

Posted on May 21, 2014

Like most B2B marketers, you probably see value in face to face marketing activities such as tradeshows or conferences but may be frustrated with the difficulty in measuring results. You know they are useful and some show-generated leads have developed into strong, long term customers, but are they really worth all of the time, money and effort?  Could you have invested this elsewhere for a greater return?  You are not alone! Read more…

 

Don’t Sell, Consciously Converse (?)

Posted on April 28, 2014

Last month when Gwyneth Paltrow announced her “Conscious Uncoupling” with singer Chris Martin, there was a lot written about the phrase. Whatever your opinion, the term to me is a bit more palatable and productive than the much harsher “breaking up” that most of us use. However, if it were just the two of them, how they refer to their split would really only have meaning to them. But there are children (and fans!) involved so the softer language does matter. This got me thinking about “sales” and the negative associations many of us have around the word.

Read more…

 

Don’t just play, define the game

Posted on March 26, 2014

When I speak with people about their frustrations with in-person marketing efforts, such as participation in trade shows or conferences, they often wonder about the lack of “real” return. They report an inability to measure results or complain of poor post event follow through. Sound familiar? These are common challenges that can actually be symptoms of poor preparation.

Read more…

 

Show Your Biz Community Some Love

Posted on February 14, 2014

It’s Valentine’s Day. Okay I admit it, I’m not a big fan of this holiday. I’ve never quite subscribed to the obligation of it all. I just think that for those you love, you shouldn’t need a holiday to remind you to show it. It’s the little things, done every day and out of genuine affection that matter most.

I believe the same is true for your business relationships. Read more…

 

From band love to strong business relationships

Posted on February 5, 2014

My favorite “local” band Lake Street Dive is performing on the Colbert Report tonight! I am super excited for them and find myself telling everyone I can. The other day I was wondering why I’ve developed an almost 15 year old, school girl level enthusiasm for this group. Yes, they are undeniably talented and I could only dream of a voice like Rachel Price’s, but it is more than that. Read more…

 

Losers Spray/Winners Focus – Especially at Trade shows

Posted on January 22, 2014

At a recent SBANE breakfast event, I heard Jim Norrod, former CEO of Segway and BigBelly Solar speak about strategies he has employed to successfully turn around companies. At one point while bulleting out key lessons learned, he noted that in business “losers spray/winners focus”. Wow..this caught my attention. While a bit harsh, it struck me as perfect advice for those looking to make an impact with their In-Person marketing efforts. Read more…

 

New Year – New Blog

Posted on

Happy New Year!

I’m excited to reboot this blog a bit for 2014. (Design updates to come soon too!) My goal is to provide you simply with useful content to improve your In-Person marketing activities and ultimately grow your business. The lens will be through what I’ve learned and continue to discover about how success in business is all about developing strong, value based relationships. I want to show you how do to this- strategically, thoughtfully, and with purpose. Whether you are unsure how to engage with people at a networking event or having trouble getting real ROI from your trade show activities, this blog will address a range of challenges professionals face when navigating the human element of business.

That’s the current plan, anyway. I may veer off a bit and but I want this to be about helping you so check in periodically and see what I come with –  and thank you!

Patty Katsaros

 

A Case for Personal Connections

Posted on September 30, 2013

Hello! Hope you are having a great start to the fall season. I spent much of September traveling through Asia & India to organize events where top MBA school admissions professionals can speak directly with prospective applicants.

Every year, despite the opportunities to connect virtually with prospects, these representatives invest considerable time and money to meet them face to face. Read more…

 

Introducing OpenHub!

Posted on May 29, 2013

I’m proud to help launch OpenHub, an organization built on the  the Boston World Partnerships tradition and designed to “Open Boston” for organizations and individual working to do great things!

OpenHub was founded to serve as a resource in developing economic growth and cultural prosperity of Greater Boston, Massachusetts, and New England. Read more…

 

SXSW reflections – In Search of the Human Side of Tech (and great music)

Posted on March 18, 2013

I had the pleasure of breaking free from the New England cold for a trip to the fabulous Austin, Texas for SXSW.  From the hype on past conferences specifically the tech portion, I was admittedly a bit concerned that I’d spend much of the time fighting the slight nausea I tend to feel when listening to techie hipsters engage in epic one-upsmanship on the latest trends in brand/media/tech.

While I’m sure it was there, but I happily found many sessions where speakers passionately spoke about the human side of technology. How they are making lives better through connections and shared experiences.  I wanted to share a few highlights so you’ll check out these people and their endeavors for yourself. Read more…

 

Do You Have What I Need?

Posted on February 17, 2013

How many times have you had a forgettable conversation at a bar, networking event or conference where the person’s “technique” consisted solely of a monologue about themselves? Actually, you probably can’t recall because it was indeed… forgettable!

Where many go wrong in both social and selling situations is that they assume you want what they are offering. Your main job in any interaction should be to listen…really listen, probe, question…to discover what you can do to improve the other’s condition. Only then can you present your offering in a meaningful and thoughtful manner that will matter to your new connection and help you achieve your goal (whether it be a sale or a hot date for this Friday night). Please just don’t forget to be authentic…

Try this next time you are out and about and let me know how it goes!

Patty
@PHKoules

 

 

Share Your Network To Grow

Posted on January 24, 2013

Are you looking for new ways to engage with your customers and expand the relationships with them?  Have you considered how those in your personal or professional network could add value to your clients and deepen the connection? Resources such as your service providers, vendors or even other clients could be useful to your customers as they look to grow sales, streamline processes and cut costs. Unless it could harm your business, why not make the extra to effort to share?  Here are some ways to do this: Read more…

 

Pairing Food with Lasting Connections

Posted on January 15, 2013

As recently published on Boston.com’s Global Business Hub:  

While you may appreciate cuisine and even consider yourself a foodie, you may not have contemplated the role food has played in building your relationships. The experiences shared while breaking bread are often the most memorable. Food brings people together in a most meaningful way. In business, however, we often lose sight of this little gem when organizing customer or employee related events. We focus instead on how to bring people in, whom to invite, even what content to provide – but the food is often an afterthought at best! Read more…

 

Too shy to network? Think differently

Posted on December 31, 2012

If you consider yourself shy or introverted networking may be a source of anxiety. To overcome this, I invite you to consider a different approach to reduce stress and even help you stand out from others in the networking scene. Instead of going in thinking you need to be “on” or provide a perfect 30 second elevator pitch,  focus your energy on how you can help others. Make it about them instead of you and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results. People will remember you and will oftentimes work to help you in return. In addition, the connections you make- while fewer in number- will be deeper than those of quick card exchanges. It sets the stage for the strong relationships that lead to both personal and professional growth. Read more…

 

Helping SBANE Members Expand Their Network

Posted on December 27, 2012

On Dec 13th, I presented concepts from my Art of Networking series to members of the Smaller Business Association of New England (SBANE)  together with career coach Leto Papadopoulos from King & Bishop. We were assisted by Ann DeBiasio from Eastern Insurance and Neal Fey also from King & Bishop. The purpose of the seminar was to improve members’ networking skills and prepare them for SBANE’s Dec. Open House networking event that immediately followed. Read more…

 

Networking in Style: 5 Steps to a Great Holiday Networking Event

Posted on December 17, 2012

5 Steps to turn a holiday networking event into a fabulous evening where meaningful connections are made!

1) Start with a warm, festive atmosphere……


Read more…

 

Top 10 Networking Tips

Posted on November 11, 2012

As recently published in RebelWomen.com  here are my Top 10  networking tips!

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When you are starting a new venture, expanding your network is key to accelerating growth.  Unfortunately,  many view “networking” as an intimidating and time consuming endeavor and find every excuse to avoid attending such events.   Networking should be an integral part of all new businesses’ sales and marketing plan.  Here are the 10 ways to make the most out of networking events.
Read more…

 

Taking Connections Offline to Engage

Posted on October 2, 2012

We all know that social media can help your business connect online with more people but it is important to think also about how to turn these into profitable connections. For B to B focused companies or many service providers, this means taking these followers offline to develop relationships and close deals. If your clients cannot purchase your product or service online, your marketing plan must include offline engagement strategies.  Read more…

 

Strong Brand = Lasting Impression

Posted on August 19, 2012

Ever start trying to explain what you do only to watch the recipient’s eyes start to wander?  You can practically see their thoughts meander towards the bar as you proudly present the opening paragraph  of your resume.    Without an attempt to frame your skills in terms of value, you will quickly lose your audience. At networking events where time is limited and the pace is a bit hectic,  you truly only get one chance to make a first and lasting impression.
Read more…

 

Pop-Up lunch w/ Chef Marcus Samuelsson!

Posted on July 30, 2012

Wonderful to host Chef Marcus Samuelsson @KitchnTable within the 3Scoops Cafe in Brighton while he was in Boston promoting his memoir Yes Chef. I look forward to reading his book and highly recommend you check it out as Marcus is a truly inspiring and gracious man with an incredible story.

 

Read more…

 

Art of Networking #1- Wrap Up & Pics

Posted on July 28, 2012

Nothing is more satisfying than watching interesting and energetic people connect with each other. The folks at KitchnTable served up a fabulous meal while we talked about networking best practices and applied some of the concepts!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some key tips: Read more…

 

Food = Magic

Posted on July 23, 2012

Ever notice how injecting food into a situation instantly elevates the quality?  You could be standing around at a boring exhibition, stale networking event or lame cocktail party but once that smiling waiter brings around some scrumptious hors d’oeuvres suddenly there’s something to talk about…

Great food has the power to bring people together and create long-lasting relationships like nothing else.  This, of course, is nothing new.  Food has been at the heart of strong families, communities and cultures since the dawn of civilization. It’s universal…think back to some of your most cherished memories…how many involve food?

So next time you develop an event or throw a party, think about how you can use the food to stimulate true interactions that can be the foundation of real connections.   Read more…

 

Fab Food, French Style & Fantastic Connections!

Posted on June 27, 2012

What a wonderful night!  Everything from the amazing food by Wheeler Del Torro & Marc Orfaly, chef and owner of Pigalle, to the music from the great Jose Ramos and his band made this evening truly special.  The French Cultural Center served as a perfect setting to prove once again that fine cuisine and champagne are magical in creating lasting connections! Read more…

 

Learning From Our Mistakes

Posted on May 28, 2012

Have you ever finished a sales call and wished you could get a “do-over”? I had one recently where upon hanging up the phone I immediately thought of ten things I could have done better. We all have those days when we may not be on top of our game or perhaps we lose ourselves in the excitement of a prospective new client. A bad sales call, however, isn’t a failure IF we take time to learn from it. Here are some steps to benefit from a miss: Read more…

 

Don’t Sell Products – Solve Problems!

Posted on March 11, 2012

Raise your hand if you love to sell… who does?   Trying  to convince someone else to buy your product or service can be intimidating, nerve wracking and a bit painful at times.  Hard selling can conjure up visions of the used car salesmen and  instantly put people on the defense.

Instead of selling, try solving!

Solutions come from first understanding the problem so start by actively listening as described in a previous post. Next, and just as  important, you must have a genuine desire  to help.  You may have a quota to  fill or sales goal to reach but without truly caring about the individual’s  unique requirements, your attempts to win them over will fall flat.  People know when they are being sold to…and they usually don’t like it.  If you focus your  efforts instead on finding the person a solution and making their lives just a
little better,  you will find that “selling” can be fun and rewarding.  Now, of  course, this might mean that your product/service cannot actually solve your prospect’s issue and (gasp!) you have to send him/her to a competitor.  In the end, however, you will be remembered  for your helpful behavior and the favor may be returned with a future sale or referral.

If you maintain this  philosophy throughout your career, the rewards will far outweigh any sales you  may have lost by being honest!

-Patty Katsaros

 

Whitney’s National Anthem

Posted on February 12, 2012

Upon learning of the passing of the great Whitney Houston,  I watched again her amazing rendition of the American National Anthem, sung at the 1991 SuperBowl after the start of the 1st Gulf War.  What makes it so great is not the flawless and pitch perfect singing or the fantastic styling but the emotion and passion of her delivery that radiates from start to finish.  It stands out among the countless other high profile versions where it clearly is about the singer and not the song.   With Whitney’s version,  you really feel that she is proud of the freedom she has and thankful for the men and women of the armed forces risking their lives to protect it.    

Here, watch it again:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wupsPg5H6aE&feature=related  

So how does this relate to your business?  With a true passion,  you stand out from the presumed superstars who may be flawless mechanically but lack the emotion and authenticity that makes people want to actually work with them.  When you truly believe that the product or service you provide can benefit your customers, it is easy to connect with them.  It’s not about you, it’s about helping make your clients’ lives a little better….Just like it wasn’t about Whitney on that electric night in Tampa over 20 years ago.

-Patty

P.H. Koules Consulting

One final note-  you may not know that Whitney released the version of her National Anthem and donated the proceeds to helping soldiers and their families.  After 9/11 she re-released it to help firefighters and the victims of the terrorist attacks.  A class act indeed–Rest in Peace, Whitney.

 

The Power of Listening

Posted on January 18, 2012

In business situations and in life, it is quite easy to listen to a problem and quickly jump in with advice and answers that come oh so easily from your outside perspective. These solutions are informed from your experiences and seem clear as day to you… obvious even.  But while you are seeing that proverbial forest, are the quick solutions right for your friend/relative/customer…and are you really in the best position to offer such advice? For example…do I really want dating advice from a friend who’s been married her entire adult life?

In business, it is important to consider such things before communicating with current and potential customers.  When you offer a solution in the form of your product or service, do you truly understand your recipient’s unique perspective? While it may seem obvious, there is no better way to gain an acute insight into your customer’s perspective than to first listen.   Your customers want to tell you about themselves and their problems….so let them!  Not only will this foster a relationship but it will provide VIP access into their situation.

 

Now, here’s the tough part… it’s not enough to just hear them, you need to ACTIVELY listen.  Here’s a definition found on  WikiEd that I think sums it up perfectly:  “Active listening is a way of listening that focuses entirely on what the other person is saying and confirms understanding of both the content of the message and the emotions and feelings underlying the message to ensure that understanding is accurate.”

In other words, you need to forget about yourself for a while and work to understand not only the message but the non-tangibles behind the message.  Only then can you begin to truly grasp perspective to craft a helpful solution.  Further, your suggestions have a stronger chance of being adopted, accepted and if you are in a selling situation-  purchased.

Before offering a quick fix:

- Take some time to put yourself in your prospect’s shoes. If this proves difficult, ask additional questions to obtain a clearer picture.    It is important to acknowledge the legitimacy of the issue and empathize as best you can.  Don’t fake it, though.  If you really can’t relate, you may not be the correct person to offer up a solution or advice.

- Look beyond the content and study the emotions behind the issue.  If the person is asking for assistance,   there is some level of emotional investment and potential consequence if the issue is not resolved. You can gauge this by listening for the “whys” & “whats” of a problem….  Why is it a problem? Why come to you and why now? What are the causes & potential effects? & etc…. Engaging the person with questions will help you fill in the gaps.

 Don’t be shy; if he or she is coming do you for advice, you need to fully understand the situation.  Ask questions and most importantly LISTEN to the answers!  

Okay, now you are ready to start thinking about the solution….

 

Happy Listening!

~Patty Katsaros
Owner & Principal Consultant 
PH Koules Consulting

 

Great Food, Smart Ideas & Holiday Fun!

Posted on December 20, 2011

So what do you get when you stick smart business owners in a room together with delicious food …well some great ideas for one!   This was confirmed at the P.H. Koules Consulting Small Biz Connect event that was held on Dec 15th at the new Kitchn’ Table @3 Scoops Cafe in Brighton (.    While the scheduled topic was “Growing Sales on a Tight Budget” we ended up spending most of the time on online marketing.

Start of a fabulous meal!

This is a pretty amazing time for marketing small businesses if you stop to think about it. Technology has enabled the average entrepreneur to reach people like never before.   So throughout the night, we touched on inexpensive tactics for increasing visibility such as active Facebook and twitter use, PR opportunities, Linked in, blogging and etc.    We debated the usefulness of social media in general and strategies for engaging with your fan base.   We discussed concepts like:

  • Social media engagement is like the holiday season motto- ’tis better to give than receive!
  • Blogging is useful when establishing creditably and expertise in an area (and great for your website SEO-  Search Engine Optimization)
  • Facebook is an excellent means to establish brand affinity, a human  connection with fans (i.e. sales prospects)  and to continuously update them on the latest special or event
  • Twitter is, of course,  great for quick updates but also to enable referrals (retweets)
  • Good press coverage is invaluable and can be obtained through more than just luck…online media sites & direct outreach to local/national press is essential.  You never know what will be picked up until you try!

The group also shared specific tools with which they have had success.    For example HARO for PR – (HARO stands for Help a Reporter Out.  Love that!) , Shoptique  & Etsy  (online clothing boutiques & handmade items respectively)

Sharing great ideas!

Two common themes emerged that I believe everyone could agree to:   First, when it comes to using available online tools, there is no “best” method. It mostly depends on your individual goals.  Before jumping on any number of bandwagons out there, you need to think through what you are trying to accomplish and how to best reach your target customer.   Second, top notch social media and online marketing is NO substitute for a great product or service.   The businesses we had in the room that grew mainly from personal referrals could certainly attest to this….their products speak for themselves!

So as you look ahead, take time to celebrate your successes from this past year,  think about what your goals are and never lose sight of providing your customers the best product or service you can offer!!

Happy Holidays from P.H. Koules Consulting!!

-Patty Katsaros

Here are some of the great businesses that joined us.  Check them out!!

Angela J. Musi Certified Public Accountant: angela.cpa@verizon.net

Boston Beauty: www.bostonbeautyonline.com

Chef Allan’s Inflight Catering Inc:  www.chefallans.com

Image Conscious Studios: www.icscreative.com

Kango Gift:  www.kangogift.com

Thirty Petals Boutique: www.thirtypetals.com

Verve Coaching: www.vervecoaching.com

Few final notes: 

  • If you would like to inquire about joining us for the next event tenatively scheduled for Jan 19th,  please contact me:  patty@phkoulesconsulting.com)
  • If you are interested in hosting your own event at Kitchn’ Table @ 3 Scoops Cafe in Brighton let me know or contact them directly http://www.facebook.com/3scoopsbrighton .  They did a great job and the food was fantastic!!!