"The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing."
- Stephen Covey
It’s been a couple of weeks since my last blog and if I don’t start typing right now, it may turn into three. The last few weeks have been a complete whirlwind of activity and I just simply haven’t had the time to devote to writing, and the blog has simply taken a backseat to other, more pressing priorities. It’s not like I haven’t thought about writing either, in fact, many different blog titles have crossed my mind, such as, “Do The Right Thing”, “The Entrepreneur’s Wife” and “Not Everybody Makes the Cut” to name a few.
Usually my process for writing a blog goes like this:
1. I need to get inspired. Something has to happen to me in real time that gets me fired up about writing about it.
2. It needs to have mass-appeal. I can’t write about something so obscure that it has no value to anyone but me. A lot of my jokes are like that, so they never end up as Facebook statuses because only I would laugh at them.
3. I need to put it in my calendar. I usually try to write every Thursday of the week. I don’t want to commit to a daily column, but weekly is doable. When I find the time that is. I’ve been particularly busy lately, but I’m recommitting to a weekly blog post every Thursday. (fingers-crossed)
This week is about catching up on my priorities and since I was inspired enough to think of titles, here are a few mini-blogs to get us up to speed:
“Do The Right Thing”
A few weeks ago I had an opportunity to bid on a large scale project for a potential client that we had an ‘in’ with. Going into something highly favored has its advantages no doubt. The issue was that this particular client needed to secure 3 bids. They only had one bid secured and we were asked to produce another one, plus recommend a firm to provide the third. My concerns with recommending a firm to provide a third bid quickly became anxiety. I didn’t want to pull someone from our network and ask them to provide what in fact would be a ‘ghost’ bid, or a ‘false’ bid. Especially, since there was a high likelihood that I may have to pull them into the project eventually, should we win it, because of the sheer size of the project. There shouldn’t be a connection between two firms submitting bids to a third party. Its unethical. Plain and simple. Instead, I went and Googled a couple of random web development firms and submitted their names to the client. We may not win the job, but we did the right thing. I reached out to the client and informed them that we only felt comfortable submitting one bid. They understood. Always do the right thing.
“The Entrepreneur’s Wife”
My wife and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary a couple of weeks ago. The actual date of our anniversary fell on a Monday. A Monday that I was supposed to be with clients at a Grand Prize Press event in Omaha, Nebraska. I sheepishly asked my wife if she’d ever consider a trip to Omaha to celebrate our nuptials, and she politely declined. Cow tipping was not her idea of fun. (No offense Omaha-dians! I’m not actually sure whether or not cow-tipping is a real past-time in Nebraska, but I have a good hunch that it is.) Needless to say, she is used to this. Being an entrepreneur’s wife or the spouse of someone who is self-employed, or who travels often with clients is very different from being the wife of someone who makes widgets 9-5 Monday through Friday. She gets it. She knows that when duty calls, I have to report at my station. As Creative Director I was responsible for all the signage, collateral, press kits, stage dressings, podium signs, step and repeat banners, the oversize large checks, press badges, etc. etc. This Grand Prize Press event was the culmination of a year-long campaign promotion and I needed to be there. She understood. We spent a few days in Cape Cod prior to my trip to Omaha and celebrated there in a quiet, tourist-free, idyllic atmosphere. Floating on a canoe on a lake and biking together along the Cape Cod Rail Trail. It takes a special lady to put up with our constant working and our inability to shut down when we need to. She reminds me when I need to "put my phone away". Except I should have made it a “tech-free” weekend because it would have saved me a lot of $$$$ that I’ve already lost on Facebook stock. Mr. Big Shot decided to buy some while bicycling… when multi-tasking goes wrong.
“Not Everybody Makes the Cut”
This year has been tremendous as far as the growth our firm has experienced. Not only has our client stable grown, but the scope of the projects that we are tackling has grown as well. Before we burn out the small staff we do have, we have been aggressively pursuing relationships with new consultants. Ninjas or Navy Seals are really what we need. Despite the bad reputation it gets, I have to admit that I’m kind of a Craigslist addict. It’s just too easy to launch the Craigslist iPhone app look for just about anything. It’s just as easy to post, and its free, so I have been posting up job opportunities to see just who is out there. Recently we hired a web developer on a trial basis who despite waving many red flags throughout the process, I tried to embrace as part of the team. Very professional and polite, his skills were on point. I was willing to put up with his ‘quirks’ because he worked fast. However, I didn’t get the sense that he was a ‘team player’. It appeared that we were always keeping him from doing something more important. This was another classic example of having the skills, but not the positive attitude to go with it. A growing firm needs employees that see the value in growing along with the company and making recommendations that will make the workflow process smoother. You’ve got to roll up your sleeves and make it better. Show your value by bringing value. Needless to say, it didn’t work out with that consultant, and that’s OK – the feeling was mutual: it just wasn’t a good fit, nothing personal - we keep it moving and will definitely be putting some job postings in other forums besides Craigslist.
Well, that gets us back up to speed with what’s been happening at Peralta Design lately. Another good reason for writing weekly is that I will again be able to promise the blog posts will be shorter. (Nobody likes to actually READ right?)
Balancing priorities is something that every small business has to get better at. The truth is that this blog is something that will get pushed down the To Do List, when the To Do List starts getting a bit overwhelming. The Blog is supposed to be something fun. It’s not going to come before family time, and its not going to come before client time either. I do want to make every effort to be consistent and continue to post weekly, as it will have to be, if its to gain any traction and followers.
It’s a work in progress. We are all works in progress.
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Ramon has over 19 years of experience in award-winning, market-proven, print collateral, marketing material, iphone/ipad app and website design specializing in corporate identity and branding. Ramon’s passion for entrepreneurial design was borne out of 10 years as Creative Director for Jay Walker at Walker Digital, the Stamford based idea laboratory and business incubator holding over 300 US Patents. Ramon served as Senior Art Director on the start-up launch team behind Priceline.com, a Walker company and invention. Most recently, Ramon's logo and identity work was selected to be published in "Typography and Enclosures" the fourth book in the Master Library series by LogoLounge.
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