No.5 /July 20, 2005

The Corporate Muse

Welcome once again to The Corporate Muse!  Computer problems (Aaarrrggghhh!) kept us from getting this ezine out on time.  We apologize for any inconvenience.  As always, we welcome suggestions and/or questions. 



The Value of Good Research


Remember those high school days when the teacher walked in and uttered the dreaded, “Research paper.”  Can’t you just hear the groans?  Armed with a thick notebook and pencil or pen, you trudged to the library and lifted the heavy tomes from the shelf; maybe you even had to ask the scary librarian for help.  Perhaps you were the sort to wait.  Then the night before the report was due; you pulled an all-nighter to make it come together.  Or possibly you loved the idea of digging in hopes of discovering a nugget or two you could use to dazzle the teacher and class when you read the dissertation aloud.  Whatever your school experience, you probably gladly kissed those days goodbye.  Right?


Not so fast.  Doing your homework, so to speak, can be an invaluable tool in many different areas of business.


Let’s say, for example, you want to start your own company.  First, you have to investigate its viability, whether or not your neighborhood or city can support it, and check out the competition.  Maybe the idea for the product or service struck you because of its originality – there was nothing else like it out there – but will it stand the test of time?  Are there similar industries you can look to as examples?   This might be the place to begin – interviewing someone who’s been down the road you’re thinking of taking.  Oddly enough, you might find yourself back in the library burrowing through the Book of Lists or the Entrepreneur and Small Business Problem Solver: An Encyclopedia Reference and Guide.  But your researching won’t end there.


If business is slow and you feel the need to take action to boost sales, you’ll scour the alternatives.  You’ll study all possible ways to make your company grow.  You’ll read up on marketing.  Talk to other business owners.  Retry an approach that’s worked for you in the past.  Check out the Wall Street Journal or US News and World Report to find out the latest trends.  Or better yet, hire a professional to do all those things for you.


Writers, marketing consultants and the like earn money by being good at research.  Comes with the territory.  While you may seek the expertise of one of these specialists and entrust your advertising dollars into their capable hands, as a perceptive businessperson, you keep your finger on the pulse of your enterprise and recognize there will be times when you need to be the one delving into a matter.  Especially those involving your company’s next move.  


If you’ve been in business a while, you might itch to branch out.  Perhaps you’re considering putting another store in a different part of town.  Or you’re thinking of adding on to your existing company.  Or you might be wondering about incorporating.  Should you or shouldn’t you?  Again you’ll seek information that will help you decide if the market and timing are right for such moves.  You may use the methods suggested earlier, or you might adopt new techniques, for instance, conducting surveys or taking a ride on the World Wide Web.    


Today, we live on the Information Superhighway.  There are more ways to find out more things than any other time in history.  For one thing, the Internet has simplified the researching process for us.  Type a word or phrase into a search engine and it does the work for you.  In seconds, the screen fills with hundreds of options.  But that doesn’t mean it’s the only, or even sometimes, the best solution.  Sometimes you still need to pick up the telephone – or even a book.


Maybe I’m prejudiced (as a writer), but I still like books.  I like the way I can sit down with one, unfold it across my lap or a tabletop, and flip to the index.  There’s something concrete I don’t feel when surfing the Net.  There’s also something I trust just a little bit more.  If you keep up with the news, you know that anyone can start a Website.  You don’t have to have credentials to be an Internet author.  But a person who writes a book has to have done his/her homework – he/she has to be qualified to write the material and convince an editor that he/she is the best one to write it.  Whichever way you choose to do your research, you might receive the bonus of what I like to call the “Serendipity Factor.”


What is the “Serendipity Factor?”  It’s that little chunk of knowledge you gain that has nothing to do with the topic of your investigation.  Something you can use later in conversation, or better yet, to improve your life.  So here’s to all the “Serendipity Factors” in your world (business or personal) – and Happy Hunting.     


Here’s a great Internet research tool you might want to check out:


(SKC)  © QuickSilver Copywriters 2005 – Andy & Shawn Catsimanes;; mailto:; Sign up for The Corporate Muse:




Ever heard of an “Elevator Speech?”  It’s a sentence or paragraph intended to give listeners a better idea of what you do.  Instead of saying, “I’m a copywriter” and having others look at you with a blank stare, you can say something like, “I help businesses get the word out about their products or services” or “I help end business owners’ worries over their marketing campaigns.”  Okay, admittedly, these are lame, but hopefully you get the idea.  For in-depth articles, check out:, or 




Try this exercise.  For the next few seconds, concentrate on your breathing.  Most of the time, we rarely think about this necessary act of life.  We just do it: in and out, in and out.  As you breathe, listen closely.  What sound does it make?  Is it rhythmic?  Can you identify its cadence?  Jot your impressions on a piece of paper; then move to the next phase.


Inhale deeply and hold your breath.  Now blow out.  What’s different about it?  Can you identify verbs to describe what you heard?  How about nouns?  Stretch that to adjectives and adverbs.  Write them down and try something else.


Maybe you want to experiment with a little shallow breathing.  Do you have children?  Did you or your wife use the Lamaze method of relaxation?  If so, why not try to pant like you were taught during the classes.  Or perhaps you’d rather go back in the recesses of your mind to a time as a child when you had the wind knocked out of you.  What did that feel like?  Again, record your findings.  Now study all that you’ve written.


You're probably asking, what's the point?  Well, it's simple.  Writers are asked daily to depict ordinary items or images in new or unique ways.  When you spend a little itme deliberating on a subject, it's amazing what develops.  Look at what you came up with in only a minute or two.  If you enjoyed this little discipline, try it with something else.  You'll be writing sonnets in no time!  Another idea to jump up the creative juices:  Bonus feature:


Thanks for reading. See you next month!


Andy & Shawn Catsimanes

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