No.29/ July 19, 2007

The Corporate Muse

Dear Friends and Readers,

Welcome to the July issue of The Corporate Muse.  This month we concentrate on the decisions we all have to make as business owners. Our feature in the networking/marketing section focuses on building the right relationships, while the writing section features an article on editing.  

As always, we welcome your comments and input on how we might make The Corporate Muse more relevant to your needs. Write to us at:




Second Guessing Your Decisions

A few weeks ago, I turned down a client.  It was a tough decision.  Business had hit a bit of a slump with no new prospects on the horizon.  But after multiple email transmissions, I felt strongly this woman would be a royal pain in my tush.   I said no.

Then the doubting began. 

Did I make the right choice?  I'll probably never know.  But experience has taught me a few things.

Take for example the car I had for thirteen years.  I had just separated from my first husband and decided for the first time in my life I would have the vehicle I wanted.  (He was in the habit of buying something "close to what I'd asked for.  They all turned out to be lemons.)

So I made a list of all the features I wanted in my new car – okay, nearly new car.  I test drove a number of vehicles, but none was quite right.  After a few weeks, the process started to get old. One day, I came across one that had the right features, but after driving it around, it didn't feel quite right.  I couldn't hand my money over to the sales person.  I kept looking.

One night, I had a dream about the car.  (Mind you, I'd been praying about my upcoming purchase, not just relying on my own judgment.)  In the dream, I saw very clearly what the car should look like.

A couple of days later, my youngest son came home and said he'd seen the perfect car at a lot near our house.

We went to check it out. 

I kid you not, it looked exactly like the car in my dream. 

After I drove it, I knew it was the "one."  And best of all, it was better than what I'd asked for!  I bought it that day and drove my little Dodge Shadow across the country and back several times.  I rarely had repair bills (and most of those came toward the end of the car's life).  It was the best car I've had to date.   And it was a blast to drive.  

If I might say it, the moral of the story is simple.  Had I purchased the car with all the right features that didn't feel right, I would have missed owning the perfect car.  

This can be equally true in business.  Like I said before, I'll probably never know if turning down that client was a good thing or not.  But I received a referral yesterday that could be a huge boon to our business.  It might not come through, but if it does, I can say unequivocally it's the better of the two. 

We can't know what will happen, what might happen or what would have happened if we'd chosen differently.  But we can evaluate our decisions after the fact. 

Let's take these two examples.

In the case of the car, I have no way of knowing if the "almost right" one would have been as good as the one I chose.  But I know I drove a great car for thirteen years – and loved every minute of it. 

The second scenario is still in progress.  I can't know for sure if the first prospect would have turned out to be the pain I thought she'd be.  I do know the second lady has connections that could, as the guy who referred her to me said, "take me to the moon."  Given the two side-by-side, even without guarantees, I'd still pick the second.  

Making good decisions will never be easy.  And second guessing will probably always be part of the process.  But taking a look back at the good choices you've made throughout your life can help relieve the anxiety of your present and future decisions. (SKC)

© QuickSilver Publishing, LLC 2007 -- Andy & Shawn Catsimanes;; mailto:; Sign up for The Corporate Muse:



Connect, Don't Sell 

Many novice networkers, try too hard to sell themselves.   

You know the type.  Nervous and a little pushy.  Attends many different networking events.  Flits from group to group, entering awkwardly into conversations and thrusting his business cards at anyone who will take them.  Whenever someone mentions his line of work, he lets everyone know he's available for clients.  He's not a bad guy.  Just inexperienced. 

Once our little network junkie returns home and comes down from his seminar high, he sits by the phone, hoping his efforts pay off.   But the phone never rings.  No one remembers him or if they do it's with a wry smile.  You see our little friend has made a major faux pas.  He simply doesn't understand the fundamentals of networking. 

It's a common problem. 

To illustrate the point, I'd like to share a personal story.  Many of you remember I recently ghost wrote a novel, but few of you know how the project came about. 

For a number of years, Andy and I have been talking about flipping houses.  We've quite a bit of time studying the subject so we don't jump into it blindly.  As part of our research, we began listening to a local radio show on Saturday afternoons dedicated to real estate investment.  The show's host, who does this for a living, also teaches a course on remodeling homes for profit.  We had considered taking his class, but it's quite pricey, and at the time, we couldn't justify the expense. 

Then last summer, while I was in Colorado helping my son and his family, the investor offered a class at a huge discount.  Andy signed up.  During the day-long class, Andy got to know the guy a little bit. 

After I returned home, we did  a ride-along to several of the houses his company was working on at the time.  Got to see the "down and dirty," so to speak, of the business.   It didn't scare us away (although we've yet to invest in our first house). 

Part of the deal with the course was that the investor would do two deals with you, where he'd walk you through the process, then split the profits with you.  We went to lunch with him a couple of times to discuss this possibility.

A few months later, he contacted us about something totally unrelated to the housing industry.  He had an idea for a movie he'd been throwing around in his head for years, but didn't have time to write himself.  He is fortunate enough to have some Hollywood contacts and they told him he needed to get into book form first.  That's when he called us.

Now, it just so happens, my first love is fiction.  And after he gave us the premise of his novel, I was hooked. 

As promised, I finished the manuscript in six months (and thoroughly enjoyed the project).  He called me yesterday and said he's about to sign a contract.  Exciting stuff.

But here's what I want to point out.  He hired me without ever having read one word I'd written.  He hired me, because he'd gotten to know us, like us and trust us.  The end.

And I also learned today he's been singing my praises to other people (which surprised me just a little since he had not been so demonstrative while we worked together).  As a result, I could end up with some very influential clients.  It all happened because we got to know one person a little better.   All we wanted was more information on investing.  We had no idea where it would lead.

And that's the idea.

Showcasing your talents is important, but it's more important to build relationships.  In the end, people will hire you because they like you.  It's all they need to believe you'll get the job done.



 A Word About Editing

Write profusely, edit judiciously.  But give your work a rest first.

Walking away from your copy gives you the opportunity to separate yourself from your work.  Because writers frequently fall in love with their own words, they don't always have an impartial eye.  It's easy to miss mistakes as a result.

Set your manuscript aside for a few hours, or better yet, a few days or weeks (if you have the time).  It will give you a more realistic perspective.  It will make it easier to cut out excessive words or even rephrase that beautiful paragraph you so proudly composed.

Scrutinize your copy with a fine toothed comb.  Consider every word suspect.  Read your work three or even four times.  Perfection is your goal, especially if you're writing for someone else.

Don't count on Spell Check or Grammar Check.  These tools miss certain errors, such as whether you meant too, two or to.  And will occasionally give you a bad or even wrong suggestion.  Believe it or not, your computer's word processing program doesn't know everything.

Make editing a priority.  It's an intrinsic part of writing.  Without it your copy will be less crisp or even a little rough around the edges. 

No matter how great your first draft, you'll end up with a much better product if you edit with the same intensity as you write.


Thanks for reading. See you next month.

Andy & Shawn

© 2007 QuickSilver Publishing, LLC -- All Rights Reserved -- Andy & Shawn Catsimanes

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"With Andy & Shawn's help, 'Snapshots from the Soul' became a reality. They demonstrated great sensitivity and compassion and we enjoyed working with them very much."

~Dennis E. Chapman, Associate Executive Director, City Union Mission, KC, MO


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~ Olga O'Mara


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~ Christopher Hebard
Pruett Media