Core Value Index (CVI) Calendar Magic

Posted by Michael Hartzell on Sat, Oct 31, 2015

I use a calendar vs. a spreadsheet for marketing/business planning. (I love spreadsheets but hate taking time to transfer a plan to a calendar. Seems like one step too many.)  Blocks of time are color coded based on the types of activities on the calendar.

The calendar is blocked-out a little like this:

  1. Research (Listen) 
  2. Learn (and/or train)
  3. Plan
  4. Create / Build
  5. Connect / Share
  6. Analyze

Back to #1

It is like a dance, a song, a beat. These are activities in which I excel so work seems like a little too much fun on some days.

Color codes in the calendar include the CVI Core Value so I know if I will have a fun week.  If there is too much green and red in the calendar, uh oh. 

The Core Value Index (CVI) has become a warning tool to say: “Mike, your colors show you are spending too much time in areas you are most comfortable with.” or it might also tell me to get more Almond Roca ready because it will be a tough week.  

When you make a plan and calendar, you might find a similar issue. Instead of maintaining a balance of activities to grow business, you might be focused on analytics. (I love numbers so must be careful with time analyzing as well.)  Or you might find your calendar full of networking and connecting (...with little creating/building time invested.)

Have you seen an example Core Value Index?

Below is a snapshot of a CVI showing my core value index to be creative, intuitive, an innovator and connector, This is why I work so well with people who are builders, I am an Innovator/Merchant.  

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Tags: Business Planning, Core Value Index

Celebrate With These Small Business Owners Graduating from SBA Emerging Leaders Program

Posted by Michael Hartzell on Wed, Oct 28, 2015

Small business owners begin the journey with hope and determination as they overcome fears and persist regardless of barriers. Fortunately, there are support programs to ensure success. 

Fifteen small business owners across the state of Washington graduated from the SBA Emerging Leaders program, a seven-month executive education program for local business on the brink of growth.  

“Small business owners often know where they want to take their business, but struggle with how to get there. The Emerging Leaders initiative provides the tools and expert guidance to spark sustainable growth,” said SBA Seattle District Director Nancy Porzio.

According to Seattle Emerging Leaders Instructor Mary Marshall, “every $200 the SBA invests in the Emerging Leaders program creates a new job in the local economy.”

As you read the names and businesses of the graduates, remember how recognition, celebration, and congratulations are as easy as:

  1. Picking up the phone.
  2. Sharing a blog.
  3. Pointing others to their business via social media or email.
  4. Making a comment on their social media accounts.
  5. Sending a personal "Way to go!" card in the mail. (Yes. The mail) 

Or if you are local, you may decide to visit in person on the way to your next destination.

The SBA has done the work and made the announcement. I have added website links for you to click below. It takes less than five minutes to make an introduction and make their day. 

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Tags: Guerrilla Marketing, Business Success, Business Success Stories, SBA

What (or who) Influences Research for New Marketing Technology Solutions

Posted by Michael Hartzell on Thu, Oct 22, 2015

This particular marketing chart shows how social media accounts does little to influence decisions while peer recommendations is an important influence. 

What it does not tell you is whether the vendors use social media tools to connect and add value or instead used in traditional methods similar to broadcasting.  However, the study also demonstrates that buyers feel that vendors’ social activity can help establish a company’s credibility. article refers to the survey:

"There appears to be demand for more marketing technology, according to the report, as more than 4 in 10 feel that their existing stack is out-of-date and insufficient."

The report also talks about when the search begins:

"Not surprisingly, the search for a new marketing technology most commonly takes place when respondents recognize a need (44% share) or when the current solution isn’t delivering the right results (21%).

But marketers typically learn about marketing technologies before they turn to search: 30% said they usually first learn about them from peers or colleagues; 20% first from publications or blogs; and 13% first from search.

As for the publications that inform them, Forbes (44%), Wired (37%) and the Wall Street Journal (35%) are the destinations where the largest proportion of respondents read about marketing technology solutions and marketing industry news."

In segmenting respondents by titles, the Walker Sands study notes that:

  • Price is the top purchase factor for CMOs 

  • Peers are the first place each job title first learns about solutions

  • The company or product website is on par with product demos as the top content source 

  • Budget is the biggest obstacle to a purchase for each job title

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Tags: Analytics, Marketing, Marketing Chart

Free Educational Resources and Practice Tests at Varsity Learning Tools

Posted by Michael Hartzell on Wed, Oct 21, 2015

You have seen tutor signs similar to the one above and while their entrepreneurial commitment is appreciated, you will move on to another who has more skills.


"Learn" is one of the four "Ls" in "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey. (Live, Love, Learn, Leave a Legacy) When a person stops learning, part of that person dies. Learning is more important than many realize. I highly recommend the book by Mr. Covey.

Free Educational, Training and Testing Resources

Free educational resources are available at Varsity Learning Tools. Over 75,000 professionally have written problems and thousands of distinct practice tests across 150 subjects. This includes subjects like history, math, foreign languages, and science for all experience levels.

This is especially important now for more professionals who compete in the world where the youth appear to be more "up to date". Those of us over 42 years of age know this is NOT true but must still find ways to prove that we are not antique dinosaurs ready for pastures.

Varsity Learning Tools also offers practice tests and problems for common standardized tests like the ACT, SAT, GRE, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT, ISEE, and SSAT.

40 million

To date, students have completed more than 40 million problems on the Varsity Learning Tools platform. Each question is tied to a specific academic concept, which means your students can pinpoint their particular strengths and weaknesses in almost any area.

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Tags: Education, Free, Training, Skills

Mindfulness - There is now an app for that! Lower your mental workload.

Posted by Michael Hartzell on Thu, Oct 08, 2015

Mindfulness involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there's a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment.

Mindfulness is a popular method to handle emotions by paying attention to them. It is derived from the Buddhist concept Sati

You may practice mindfulness since a very young age but not realize it. Here are a couple examples:

At Lafayette Elementary School in Northwest Washington, Sofia Parodi recently took a coveted seat at the head of the classroom and asked a fellow fourth-grader to switch off the lights and instructed the class to “Close your eyes and take three deep breaths,” They fell into a familiar rhythm of silently counting their breaths, then sharing their experience with their classmates.. Source: The Washington Post

Mumpreneur Dani Matthews shares the weekly mindfulness schedule she has set. Source: The Huffington Post

Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Buddhist leader who introduced mindfulness to Westerners (Google got first dibs on him as a guest speaker), once said, “The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention.” Yet for the majority of sentient beings today, simply getting through an episode of “The Big Bang Theory” without tending multiple screens is a quasi-mystical triumph. Naturally, the architects of our electronic age approach the situation as if it were an engineering problem.

And so... the architects of our electronic age have invented an app for that!

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Tags: APPS

Spot Pyramid Schemes Before You Sign Up

Posted by Michael Hartzell on Wed, Oct 07, 2015

If you’ve ever been told that you could make easy money and it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Pyramid schemes often sound like enticing business deals, but fraudsters may use this “business model” - to take advantage of you.

"The SEC’s guidance on pyramid schemes advises investors to “exercise caution...if what is being sold is speculative or appears inappropriately priced.” But experts say this can be difficult to judge.

Pyramid-scheme operators have “learned the techniques of saying we’re a legitimate company,” by purporting to want to make money mostly from sales, rather than new recruits, said Joseph Mariano, chief of the Direct Selling Association.

There is no hard-and-fast test of whether a scheme is legitimate, according to lawyers. Instead, the decision rests on what is often a complicated analysis of revenues and other factors. “It can be like nailing Jell-O to a tree proving they’re pyramids,” said Kevin Thompson, an attorney for multilevel-marketing companies." - WSJ,com

Before you invest your time and money, it’s important to ask good questions and research the company.

Here are some typical characteristics of a pyramid scheme:

  • Emphasis on recruiting
  • No genuine product or service is sold
  • Promises of high returns in a short period of time
  • Easy money or “passive income” (money you earn without doing anything)
  • No demonstrated revenue from retail sales
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Tags: Pyramid Scheme

More business success with a little SOB

Posted by Michael Hartzell on Sun, Oct 04, 2015

I love acronyms. Of course, everyone knows acronyms are a blessing and a curse. Every organization has its set of acronyms. If a list grows too large, it causes more confusion instead of creating more simplicity. Being new on a team is difficult enough, and then the acronyms begin to fly.

A few of my favorite acronyms are:

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Tags: Funny, Definition

How to go bigger with a tight budget and not waste months executing

Posted by Michael Hartzell on Fri, Oct 02, 2015

At some point it becomes apparent that you are alone, short on time, lack the necessary skills and frankly... there are things you just don't like to do.  You wished for magic or "psychic magnetism" but you have not yet found where to get it online.

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Tags: Consultant Support, Outsourcing

How to do Webinars 101: Tips, Tricks & Don’ts

Posted by Michael Hartzell on Tue, Sep 29, 2015

If your talent is "speaking and presenting" and you want to learn how to excel and implement webinars into your marketing mix, this is for you. Andrea Goodkind, Senior Marketing Manager at BrightTALK goes through the basic elements of doing webinars. Webinars are a great tool to create and nurture higher-quality leads.

Don't let the "Webinars 101" title fool you. Even the most experienced presenters will walk away with good information from Andrea. The presentation includes recent data about webinars... best days, best length and other great data.

Here is the Webinar 101 presentation:

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Tags: Marketing, Webinars

Turning Seth's Checklist into a "To-Do" List for Success

Posted by Michael Hartzell on Sun, Sep 20, 2015

Each day Seth brings challenging ideas to entrepreneurs and uses the 26 letters of the alphabet masterfully to both validate and poke. His recent article "Ad Blocking" brings me to the question ---- who is going to do the work?

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Tags: Recruiting, Guerrilla Marketing, Marketing, Inbound Marketing