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Mary Schmidt Business Builder & Renovator

Mary

Idea Pool

“It’s Almost Painful.”

Mary Schmidt

Nov 29, 2016

Recently, I was talking to a young, scary smart CEO friend about what’s truly important and the ubiquitous tyranny being “busy!” He’s been doing a lot of thinking about all this and “It’s almost painful.” 

I don’t know if this should count as wisdom (even given that I’m of a - ahem - certain age), so let’s call it one of my lessons learned. 

“Painful” is a good sign. It means we are working outside our comfort zone.

If we’re always comfortable, we’re not going to change much, for

In Brain Food, Start-Up Sanity Checks

Biz Lessons From The 2016 Election

Mary Schmidt

Nov 17, 2016

No, these are decidedly “not normal” times and this was not a “politics as usual” election. However, some basic, unchanging truths about biz planning and marketing strategies were well illustrated. Rather you’re an entrepreneur or in an established company, keep the following in mind:

1. Assume all your assumptions are wrong. Then do another scenario, and another.

2. Things that look great on paper go awry in the real world (People aren’t line items on spreadsheets and they will use your

In Brain Food, 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

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.”

As

In Brain Food, Mindful Mondays, Pet Peeves

The Three Most Abused Words in Business

Mary Schmidt

Mar 16, 2016

In no particular order:

1. Partner.

As in, “We want to partner with you, Mr./Ms. Customer.”  Calls to mind a meeting I once had, in a Fortune 50 gig, with one of our top sales executives.  He had great fun (snort, snort), “Yes, we want to be YOUR PARTNER, Mr. Customer. Give us all your money!”

“Partner” implies that both parties in the transaction are in it for more than dollars or that single transaction. There’s nothing wrong with being an operationally excellent company who excels at

In Brain Food, Marketing Troubleshooting, Pet Peeves

“Experts Don’t Know Any More Than I Do.”

Mary Schmidt

Feb 18, 2016

lists 

Doesn’t it seem like there are about a billion experts out there, with many promoting a list that will magically make us successful, happy, wealthy and wise?

The other day, I had lunch with a delightful entrepreneur.
She’s pouring her passion into an inspiring endeavor that will help make the world a better place. Very smart, savvy woman (an attorney by trade) who is diligently diving into all things marketing, including social media. And so we came to all those experts…As we discussed

In Brain Food

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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