No.17 / July 27, 2006

 The Corporate Muse


Oops. Sixteen perfectly executed newsletters and one ... not so good.  A family emergency sent us out west for a few weeks. It's really no excuse as our main article will explain. In the future, you can expect your issue of The Corporate Muse to arrive in your inbox every month on the 19th. We hope our flub didn't cause you any distrress. As always, we welcome suggestions and/or questions. 




The Beautiful Age of Satellites and Computers


Now don't get me wrong. Computers can frustrate me as much as anyone. In fact, they tend to bring out the worst in me. Get one that doesn't work properly and you'll see the redheaded dander fly! But I still appreciate all the wonderful things they do for us.


For one thing, it would be next to impossible for us to do what we do without them. Some copywriters (famous ones at that) refuse to build websites and prefer old-fashioned print books to any kind of electronic transmission. But for us, email, search engines, and, dare I say it, Microsoft Word are essential components of our business. In fact, for the most part, our client base has been built through associations formed on the Web.


Even better yet, the electronic age has allowed us a lifestyle we couldn't have begun to imagine five years ago.


Case in point, earlier I mentioned we've been out of town. Because we rarely go anywhere just to go, there were certain obligations along the way that kept us from the 24/7 schedule we frequently follow at home. (Okay, I'm exaggerating just a bit.) But other than those commitments and a few glitches in the system (mostly Internet connections that didn't work), we accomplished almost as much as we would have had we stayed in our cozy little duplex.  


During our travels, we visited the dude ranch my sister runs with her husband. It's located in a remote area of Wyoming. When my brother-in-law saw me sitting on the couch completing a project, he commented, "You really can work anywhere."


Armed with a laptop and wireless Internet, he's absolutely right. We can travel the world over and still get our jobs done.


I'm not telling you this to brag or cause envy. The reality of it is as amazing to us as anyone. The point I'm hoping to make is that the world is changing. It's growing smaller by the day and the potential for you and your company is enlarging exponentially.


On our trip home a few days ago, we listened to CD's by Thomas Friedman called, The World Is Flat. In this extensive series, Mr. Friedman explains how computers have transformed businesses. What would have been considered impossible a few years ago, not only has become possible, but standard.


Fiber optics have opened communication highways in the same way interstate highways released us onto the open road in the fifties. They've flattened the world; made it easier to travel -- and in the blink of an eye, too.


After all, who hasn't called for tech support only to have their questions answered by some whiz kid in India? Or "Googled?" Or "Asked Jeeves?"


These are examples of a world gone flat, according to Thomas Friedman. Without today's technology, without the ability to zoom across cyberspace, so much of what we enjoy today wouldn't exist. 


Maybe you're sitting there thinking this has nothing to do with you. You operate a small, local business. You have no desire to go global. 


Have you ever purchased office supplies at Wal-Mart, instead of the competition, because the prices were so much cheaper? We all know, as we wade through skinny aisles, complain about the parking, and mumble about how much we hate it, we'll be back to visit Wal-Mart next week. Wal-Mart has become an institution and a model for every retailer in America.


You may not want to be a big superstore, but no doubt, you want to succeed. And others generally pave the road to success. When we follow a winning formula, we're far more likely to make it.


Thomas Friedman says it this way:  "The fewer natural resources your country or your company has, the more you will dig inside of yourself for innovations in order to survive. Wal-Mart became the biggest retailer in the world because it drove a hard bargain with everyone in came in contact with. But make no mistake about one thing, Wal-Mart also became number one because this little hick company from northwest Arkansas was smarter and faster about adopting new technology than any of its competitors. And it still is."


Your ultimate goals may not include a virtual office or selling your products outside of your state, but no matter what you do, you will be touched by technology. Learn everything you can about it and then put that knowledge to use. Doing so will help you compete in an ever-shrinking market.   (SKC) 


       © QuickSilver Copywriters 2006 - Andy & Shawn Catsimanes; http://www.quicksilvercopywriters.com/; mailto: andy_shawn@quicksilvercopywriters.com; Sign up for The Corporate Muse: admin@quicksilvercopywriters.com



The blank page. Every writer -- or non-writer forced to write -- is faced with it at some point in his or her career. 

It stares. It beckons. It may even cajole. But it doesn't fix itself.  In order for words to appear on a page, a writer must write.


Here are a few ideas to help jog you into action:


  1. Don't Start at The Beginning -- Many times the first sentence is the hardest. Try writing in a different order -- the end, the middle, the one statement floating around in your head. The sequence doesn't matter near as much as just getting the words down. You might find the mere act of writing something frees your mind.
  2. Talk About It -- To a friend, a family member, someone even suggested a stuffed animal. Voicing your subject helps solidify it. In twenty minutes, you may see exactly what you need to say and how you need to compose the piece.
  3. Write Anything -- For five to ten minutes just free write. In other words, put words, sentences, thoughts, whatever comes to mind on your paper or computer. Don't try to make sense of it and don't stop. Set a timer or stopwatch and just write. You'll be amazed at the ideas that come from this exercise.
  4. Take a Walk; Take a Shower; Clean the House -- Get away for a while. Water is a great motivator. Walking by a lake or river can be very inspiring. I know a woman who spent eight hours riding on a ferry to keep herself on task. But oftentimes, just taking a break can stimulate you to finish the project.
  5. Relax! -- Tension can be one of the biggest obstacles. Worse yet, tension breeds tension. The more uptight and worried you become about completing your assignment, the less likely you are to work on it. Stressing about it won't make it right. Take a few minutes and breathe deeply. Try yoga or stretching. Go for a massage. Yes, these things take time, but they're worth it if they do the trick.

The worst thing you can do when writer's block strikes is just sit there. Try a few of these suggestions. If all else fails, take a nap. Who knows? Maybe you'll dream the about the words that escape you now.





Preparing for a networking event means setting goals. If you don't know why you're going or what you hope to accomplish, you'll walk away shaking your head and wonder what all the fuss was about. At least, that's what the experts told us. 

Ryan Healy admitted, "I wasn't focused when I went to the Big Seminar the first time." Now, he attends every seminar with a specific objective in mind. "I'm looking for someone who's qualified to pay my fees and qualified to provide, not just one project, but ongoing work. It's an expensive proposition to try to gain a client for a single project and then that's the end of the relationship. It still can be worthwhile to you, but it's much better to spend time with people who have a lot of projects to work on."


Stephanie Frank agreed. "The biggest thing is you've got to set your goals first. If you're at Step 0 and you want to go to Step 1 and you want to meet one person who can help you with your current situation. Whether that's being in overwhelm, whether that's writing a book, whether that's putting up a website ... set your goals first. Put them in writing. 


So you don't get overwhelmed by the information, by the people, by the process, the possibilities. Networking is a very purposeful tactic. You're really looking for those kinds of people that are going to advance you to the next level. Those people who are in alignment with whatever it is you are doing."


And Mike Morgan said, "My #1 goal at the seminars was to make contacts that would result in business ... (I) focused in on how many people I was going to have a good conversation with every day. First day at Big Seminar, I hit that goal by lunchtime, so I tripled the goal. I met that by the end of the night. Focused on outcome -- to walk away with some business." He knew what he wanted and how to get it. As we've mentioned before, the first Big Seminar he attended netted him a $25,000 payday.


A word of caution:  There's a delicate balance between knowing what you want to achieve and having a somewhat mercenary attitude. When we went to our first Big Seminar, we believed we'd come home with a few big-money clients. It didn’t happen. Why? Because we walked around ruthlessly handing out business cards. We had the unmistakable look of desperation in our eyes. Yes, we had goals. We planned to meet people who could further our business, like Stephanie. We longed to make contacts that would result in business, like Mike. We anticipated finding clients who could pay our fees, like Ryan. But our fatal mistake was forgetting the first rule of networking -- centering on the other person. We were so anxious to make up the fee we'd paid to be at the seminar, we concentrated on the wrong thing. And it showed.


Our second seminar experience was much more productive. We relaxed, had a good time, and listened to as many people's stories as we could in three days. We met our goal.


Give heed to the professionals and you can do the same.




Thanks for reading. See you next month!


Andy & Shawn Catsimanes

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Pruett Media