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Mary Schmidt Business Builder & Renovator


Idea Pool

Markets: Creating or Evolving? Disruptive or Incremental?

Mary Schmidt

May 03, 2016

Recently I was talking to a young entrepreneur (or trying to…the man’s ability to not take a breath was truly amazing). I did manage to get in one or two basic questions about his market research and product viability. He then proceeded to give me a lovely 101 lecture on creating markets, using Steve Jobs and Apple as the example of creating a market and a demand.  If they could do it, so could he! And, certainly, Apple is a fascinating story, but “they” didn’t do it overnight (and Jobs had a

In Start-Up Sanity Checks, Marketing Troubleshooting

You Mean You Don’t Care What I Had For Lunch?

Mary Schmidt

May 02, 2016

pimento cheese(Previously published on LinkedIn.)

But look! I posted an image which is supposed to increase my views! And it was really good sandwich! And, here’s the recipe!  Okay, I’ll stop now.

Here’s a very brief Social Media sanity check for you.

LinkedIn now has over 400 million users. I’ve personally got about 500 followers (which is not anywhere close to a “power number” and I’m fine with that. I only have one brain and a limited number of work hours to offer. I’m not a mass marketer of

In Brain Food, Marketing Troubleshooting, Pet Peeves, Social Media Reality Checks

Do Good Do Well: The Power of Home

Mary Schmidt

Apr 29, 2016

“Home is a name, a word, it is a strong one; stronger than magician ever spoke, or spirit ever answered to, in the strongest conjuration.” — Charles Dickens

Friends and regular readers know I love to “nest.” My home is my sanctuary and the foundation for much of my sanity and calmness. However, what if I didn’t have that? Here in the “first world” we often forget that many of our fellow human beings don’t have even the basics…forget not being able to afford a new car or a kitchen

In Do Good. Do Well.

The “So What” Test for Entrepreneurs

Mary Schmidt

Apr 27, 2016

In talking with entrepreneur clients, I often do a bit of tough love and give them the “so what” test.  (Better to hear from me than a potential investor or customer.) 

If you’re thinking about starting a new biz or have a cool new invention - before you max out the credit cards, quit your job or clean out the kids’ college fund - think about how you would answer the following:

1.  “I’ve got a great _________!  Nobody else can do it.”    So What? What problem does it solve?  Do people

In Start-Up Sanity Checks

Mindful Monday: “Be cheerful, live your life”

Mary Schmidt

Apr 25, 2016

Getty Image photo
Photo credit: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Yes, it’s Monday again.  But, c’mon. It’s only a day out of a week…part of an artificial time construct we humans have crafted. It could just as easily be called Friday…(Do you feel better already?) And, there wasn’t even such a thing as “weekends” until the late 19th/early part of the 20th century.  (Thank you, labor unions! More at Where the Five-Day Workweek Came From.

And so we come to that image. Here’s why I so love history (and

In Mindful Mondays

A Patent Isn’t a (Commercial) Product.

Mary Schmidt

Apr 07, 2016

Consider the ballpoint pen. John J. Loud patented a “rolling-pointed fountain marker” on October 30, 1888.  Over the next 30 years, 350 similar patents were issued by the U.S. Patent Office. But none of these products appeared on the market.  The idea was fine—they just couldn’t get the ink right. If it was too thin, the pen leaked. Too thick, the pen clogged. Eventually two French brothers solved the problem and licensed their patents, in 1950, to a Frenchman named Bich. He then took

In Brain Food, Start-Up Sanity Checks, Marketing Troubleshooting

Mindful Monday: Sometimes I’m Not Okay and Neither Are You.

Mary Schmidt

Apr 04, 2016

“I’m not against having a nice day. I’m not against happiness.”— Barbara Ehrenreich at TEDxZaragoza (video here).  Ms. Ehrenreich conceived of her book, Smile or Die, How Positive Thinking Fooled America and the World, when “she became ill with breast cancer, and found herself surrounded by pink ribbons and bunny rabbits and platitudes. She balked at the way her anger and sadness about having the disease were seen as unhealthy and dangerous by health professionals and other sufferers.”


In Brain Food, Mindful Mondays, Pet Peeves

Start-Up Sanity Check for B2B Tech Ventures

Got a great idea? Are people telling you it’s crazy? Good! You’ve got to be a little insane to take that start-up leap – rather it’s out of your garage, the lab or a day job. I'll help you decide where and when to leap (and what to do when you land).

Investment: $500.00 (Why do I call it an investment? Two reasons: 1. If you’re willing to pay, that tells me you’re serious. 2. When you pay for advice, you’re more likely to value and use it.)

Drop me a line and we’ll see if we’re a good fit. If I can't help you, I’ll tell you (and if possible, tell you who can.)

Got funding? I work with one to three start-ups a year, on retainer (minimum of three months, maximum one year).

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Social Media Isn't Free, Easy or Magic.

If one of the self-anointed experts contacts you, pitching magical thinking, ask:

1. What results can I expect if I work with you? (Note: Twitter followers aren't necessarily customers.)

2. What kind of time will I have to invest? (Social media, properly done, is all about personal relationships. You with your customers...and a good relationship takes time.)

3. How do I integrate social media tools with my current operations? (Your salespeople need to know what you're saying on Facebook. Your customer service process and policies should be consistent across the board, from phone to Twitter.)

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