Saturday, December 19, 2009

Is Your Business Weatherproof?

Yesterday, my family and I packed up our things and set out on our own version of a "Griswold Style" Christmas Vacation. Over the next two weeks we will be driving across 15 states beginning with Florida, in an attempt to visit most of our relatives on both sides of the family and do a little business along the way. Stops will include Washington D.C., New York City, Pittsburgh, PA, Lexington, KY, and Jackson, MS (in that order).

Little did we know when we scheduled our hotels, tours, etc... that we would be greeted on Day 1 with the largest blizzard to hit the northeast (particularly Washington D.C.) in nearly a century! As we approached the North Carolina / Virginia border this morning en route to DC, we made the decision to check into a hotel near Roanoke Rapids, NC around 3:30 AM and ride the storm out for the next 36 hours. The decision was obviously a wise one, as I sit here and type from the comfort of a nice, warm hotel room while I-95 from Richmond to D.C. has officially become a closed "parking lot".

If you've ever lived in a cold climate, you'll know just how debilitating the winter months can be. Whether you're commuting to work, making sales calls, taking the kids to school or shopping for groceries... everything moves at a snails pace and in some cases comes to a grinding halt. In particular, for those businesses that still rely on traditional forms of marketing to generate sales, poor weather conditions like today can be disastrous. Just ask any retail business relying on foot traffic.

However, for those of you who have embraced social media, the impact of poor weather has less of a negative effect. In fact, for some of us, poor weather can have a positive effect- as it forces more and more people to embrace social networks as their primary way to network and generate new leads. Is it any coincidence that some of our (Fast Pitch!) best months for new membership have typically come during the winter?

So, as we continue to watch the highways throughout the Northeast remain closed for the next few days... just remember, the highways of communication inside the Fast Pitch! community are alway open with thousands of professionals ready to do business. Login and start making your business weatherproof!



Friday, December 11, 2009

I Never Know What You're Doing...

There's a five-minute exchange in the 2005 movie Wedding Crashers where John Beckwith (Owen Wilson) visits the legendary Chazz Reinhold (Will Ferrell) to talk about the 'business' of crashing weddings. John is desperately in need of some advice after his best friend and fellow crasher, Jeremy Grey (Vince Vaughn) decides to leave the lifestyle behind and get married. The scene is best known for the seemingly immature Chazz yelling to his live-in mom, "Ma... the Meatloaf... ####! ". By the second attempt, Chazz is bewidlered and says to John, "What is she doooooing?... I never know what she's doooooing... back there."

Needless to say, John is having a difficult time understanding how Chazz can possibly be the legendary mentor described by Jeremy. Given the surroundings (Chazz is 40-ish, lives with his mom, watches cartoons, rides a skateboard, etc.), John is obviously unimpressed and eager to leave. But then a funny thing happens (literally), as an attractive girl makes her way into the scene and the brilliance of Chazz is realized (see clip).

He met her at a funeral!

In a split second, Chazz goes from being a loser to becoming an "innovator". You see, much like in business, success in Chazz's world involves a simple formula: Low Overhead + Out of the Box Thinking = Positive Results. For many of you trying to market your small business during tough economic times, the need to be creative and resourceful is greater than ever.

So the question is...

"What are you doing?"

With the New Year fastly approaching... Maybe now is as good a time as ever to start thinking like Chazz?


Happy Holidays!