Ideas in Color

Here’s a little dip into the creative process for all of you out there who don’t identify as creatives.

First and foremost, know that there is a mysterious part of you that has amazing ideas. Sandcastles and tree fort ideas. A place where your mind is wild, where it does not jump when it’s told to jump. Let’s take a moment to let that wild mind roam.

Trick yourself into believing you can. I find that creative writing when I’m half-awake is an amazing time to catch my critical self unawares. Why do you think those painters, musicians, and writers you love were terrible drunks? They were distracting the I’m-bad-at-this voice with vice. They lowered their inhibitions. That has it’s risks in real life, naturally. But being able to tune out the critic when your creative side is slicing through the noise is imperative to getting that idea to see the light of day.

Stop giving a sh*t about anyone else’s opinions. Until you’re ready to sink money into an idea, let it dance around. Don’t worry about the outside world. This is your world, kid. You get to have ideas and to create as wildly and as often as you want to

Practice! The more you practice– aka. give yourself permission to be creative– the better your ideas and your creative output will be. You’ll see– the more often you let your wild, untamed, creative self out of the box, the juicier and more fun the ideas.

Hold a hand. There are lots of people out here who are willing to help your ideas become reality. Contact me today to schedule some time to create your next big idea. I’ve got you, and I’m holding onto your ticket to ride.

Pivoting to Stay Afloat

Romance is the love affair with the happy outcome. How it can blind the small business owner! During the uncertainty caused by the COVID pandemic, my colleagues who own small businesses have been forced to wipe the stardust from their eyes.

How do you make up for the absent business lunch rush, or the missing tourists rife with cash– or even the preoccupied parents who had free time to shop during the school day? What can business owners do to stay afloat when services can’t be accessed? How can you pivot to become innovative?

As an entrepreneur, I have my ear to the ground, and I’m hearing some strategies that are working for small business owners in my circle during COVID:

Downsize. Noooo!… but, maybe? It’s flipping painful to close a location of your business that can’t keep up. But cutting labor costs, overhead and insurance, utilities and associated costs with a location that’s become ghosted can help the overall health of a business. Better to be sleek and mobile than bloated and sunk.

Focus on alternatives. A friend who owns a liquor store in a ski town has found that manning a take-out window has allowed him to lower staff costs and maintain social distancing. He’s wondering if he’ll ever go back to the way things were.

Assess what’s working. A restauranteur upped her pre-packaged take-out inventory, adding new cold shelves so customers could take home more prepared foods– because that’s what’s working during COVID. That new innovation is creating a new revenue stream. It’s also targeted a new clientele, and it’s a keeper. Strengthen what’s working, and then communicate to your clientele what’s new.

If you have time to lean… you have time to clean. Anyone who’s worked in the restaurant industry has heard this. Now is the time to do the deep dive. Get rid of stuff that’s not serving your business (the old files that can be shredded or archived– both physical and digital: inventory can be donated to needy causes). Spruce up the office or the warehouse. Get to know what you have got and release what isn’t working, so you can be prepared for whatever is coming.

Tackle your business plan. If you haven’t written a business plan– now is the time! What better way to assess the past and envision your future.

Re-imagine your image and brand. This is a Joly Herman Creative specialty. Contact me for a strategic message package. Let’s deep dive into what works, and ask questions about what might need to be cast off. I’d love to hear what you’re up to!

Why We LOVE Small Businesses

The American dream looks like this.

Two women– whose backgrounds intersect enough to begin a conversation– share a dream. They both have expertise in a field: one is an RN and yogi with extensive knowledge of the body, and the other is a licensed therapist whose specialty is the mind and spirit. They realize that their idea of movement therapy goes beyond what is found in the community. So they develop a completely new methodology of movement “work-out” that brings consciousness, exuberance, aliveness, and healing into their classes.

I had a fantastic time working with Wendy Zoog and Julia Harkleroad, founders of KALOS Experience. They came to Joly Herman Creative bubbling with ideas, and I was able to be a pragmatic sounding board, consulting about marketing plans, business plans, and their ultimate goals. They left deeply engaged in conversation about how to apply these tools to grow their business. And they are growing. Check out how their community is thriving now, and how you can get involved in a movement.

In my mind, it’s the risk takers, visionaries, and innovators that make the U.S.A. the best place to be an entrepreneur. Contact me today to put your dream into motion.

The Great Refresh

I’ve come to crave the siren song of the deadline. My adrenaline starts pumping, my thoughts race, I feel like a machine that is focused, churning, and fully alive. When the work gets done and I’ve checked it, I’ll step back. Sometimes I’ll finish a day ahead of a deadline so that I can wake up with a fresh perspective. A hot cup of black tea in hand, the door shut to the world, I put on my editor’s cap and take another look.

When the process is all over and the deadline has been met, I’ll re-visit what’s gone out over time, but I think it’s important not to obsess. In fact, I think it’s important to step back completely from a project and look at something else. Or look at nothing at all.

I like to purposely refresh my creative mind. Whether I take a walk and really look at the trees, hear the crickets and birds, or take a weekend road trip where I can listen to someone else’s story, try new foods, and watch the skies change throughout the day, the reset is crucial to preventing burnout in my work and personal life.

Are you taking time to refresh and reset? Is it something that comes naturally to you? Or do you need to schedule it? Get to know your patterns of productivity– are you a streak shooter, or a steady cruncher? By learning to respect your personal work cycle, you may find yourself becoming happier and healthier in your business life.

You now officially have permission take a breather, put the work aside, and trust that you will be just as good– if not better– when you come back. Drop me a line if you want to look at how your productivity cycles are working for you– because small business owners need to avoid burnout, no matter how driven we are.

Politics and Business

When I lived in Germany, I had the privilege of working in a public Montessori school as a teacher of English language. Upon signing my contract, I was asked to check boxes regarding my tax status. There I encountered a line item that was utterly unfamiliar to me. Which religion would I be sending a portion of my taxes to? I was asked to check a box. Catholic, Protestant or “other.”

Moreover, when it came to the point when my preschooler was to enter preschool, I would choose from the two dominant religious affiliations for her preschool and elementary education, which were funded by these taxes– or else go to a state-funded school, for the “others” who didn’t affiliate with the two religions.

This shocked me to my core. I was raised in the United States– we don’t pay taxes to a government mandated religious institution. We practice separation of Church and State. I didn’t realize how fundamental this founding tenet was in my understanding of how the world worked, until I was asked to check a box.

Here’s a question that relates to small business owners: like this instance of conflagration of Church and State, should business and personal politics ultimately be kept separate? As a business owner, would I be alienating “others” when my ideology becomes too narrow for my clientele? Or is my business intended for political expression? Does taking a stand help my brand, or hurt my brand? What does my demographic think? Am I clear about the potential benefits and/or disadvantages of mixing politics and business?

I think examining these questions is an important aspect of doing business today. I’d love to hear what you think. Drop me a line, and let’s analyze your demographic’s needs and check to see if your messaging is in sync with your clientele.

Stay Green

Your product might change, your services might change, and even your branding might undergo some changes, but it’s important to the longevity of your business to be able to craft content that has staying power.

Creating messaging that feels relevant for a long time isn’t rocket science, but it takes a steady hand. You want messaging that reaches a large audience, is relatable, but also relevant. A term that gets thrown around in branding and design is “evergreen.”

How do you stay green? Ironically, it’s by keeping tabs with what is going on. Making tweaks when necessary (COVID’s mask requirements have been a game changer in 2020), and looking at what your demographic is up to– and reacting to it.

But you have got to have strong roots. A narrative that tells your business’s story is absolutely crucial to all of your messaging. By staying true to your narrative– the story of your business and brand– you can retain the clients you’ve won over from the start, even while your business blossoms.

Drop me a line to find ways to innovate and be true to your brand. I look forward to talking with you.