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Mary Schmidt Business Builder & Renovator


Idea Pool

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

Do Good: Do Nothing.

Mary Schmidt

Apr 01, 2016

Yes, you read that right. Do Nothing.

We are all faced with URGENT! IMPORTANT! every day. If we don’t ACT RIGHT NOW, all will be lost.  Well, maybe…maybe not. And if we rush in without knowing what we’re doing, we could actually do more harm than good.  These days, thanks (or no thanks) to social media, we can be instantly aware of all the world’s ills and outrages.  And, of course, the world is full of really awful people and terrible tragedies (and always has been. Over all, the quality of

In Do Good. Do Well.

Social Media Isn’t Marketing.

Mary Schmidt

Apr 01, 2016

Certainly, marketers have glommed onto SM for communications. Especially the increasingly desperate (and clueless) ad and PR agencies (who anoint themselves social media experts…and send out cold email spam to bloggers - such as me - about topics that aren’t even remotely related to my blog and biz.  Jelly Belly jelly beans and moms? Really?)

However, social media isn’t marketing.  (Just as advertising isn’t marketing, another one of my pet peeves.)  It’s a tool set that can - properly used -

In Marketing Troubleshooting, Pet Peeves, Social Media Reality Checks

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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