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Wednesday, 06 March 2013 16:20

Stay humble, rock star

Written by Deb Neuman

The Augusta Civic Center was all warmed up when Matchbox 20 took the stage to perform to an excited crowd of Mainers on a recent snowy March evening. Front man Rob Thomas and the band have reunited to release their new album 'North,' and Augusta was a stop on their tour to promote the album. Since this is a business column, not a music review column, I won't discuss their performance (yes, it was fantastic) or stage presence (yes, it was awesome) or Rob Thomas (yes, he's hot). What I will discuss is their humility.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013 14:33

Lessons learned in a fancy dress

Written by Deb Neuman

I remember the first time I felt uncomfortable and out of place at a social event. I was 10 years old and my family had moved to England to live for a year. For the first time in my life, I was the outsider. My first days at school were scary, awkward and challenging. I had no friends, had to wear a school uniform for the first time and barely understood what the kids and teachers were saying to me with their thick British accents. They were very slow to accept and embrace me, a 'Yankee.' So it was very exciting when a classmate invited me to her birthday party. The invitation read 'Fancy Dress,' so my mom took me out to buy the prettiest and fanciest dress we could find.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013 14:49

Find your core

Written by Deb Neuman

Lately I've had meetings and conversations with new and experienced business owners who wanted advice to help them grow. They differ greatly in terms of their businesses and their experience, but the one thing they all had in common was the challenge to keep it simple. They all wanted to take on too much at once, to offer more services than necessary or to market themselves in a way that would confuse customers.

Wednesday, 06 February 2013 15:17

Be mine

Written by Deb Neuman

'Tis the month for love - and love is big business! Valentine's Day will find many of you buying cards, flowers and planning romantic dinners.  According to a survey by creditdonkey.com, men will spend more than women. Guys are expected to spend an average of $84.39. Ladies are expected to spend an average of $48.13.

Here's a breakdown of what we plan to give for Valentine's Day, and what we hope to receive: 

 

Wednesday, 30 January 2013 14:47

Slacking is good for business

Written by Deb Neuman

I read a Facebook post from a business owner who said he and his family were about to end their 'stay-cation' and gear their business back up for the new year. He further reflected on feeling burned out after a hectic holiday season and how they needed a break. I can relate. I too have taken a January break from my business, and now I'm feeling ready to fire it up for the new year.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013 15:14

Own it

Written by Deb Neuman

The Lance Armstrong fiasco has me thinking about credibility and protecting your reputation and 'brand.' Although you may not be a star athlete concerned about resurrecting your broken reputation or protecting yourself from lawsuits, your credibility and character can make or break your business and professional success. Here are some ways to protect and preserve that credibility.

Avoid doing anything stupid. We're human, and humans make mistakes. You will make your share of yours. That said, try to avoid doing anything illegal or harmful to others.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013 13:47

It's nap time

Written by Deb Neuman

I got in my car after leaving the store and couldn't find my sunglasses. So I went back inside and asked several of the employees working behind the counter if they had seen them, describing them in great detail. One of them replied, 'Do they by any chance look like the ones on top of your head?' I thanked her and walked out with my sunglasses on my head and my tail between my legs. Then I went home and took a nap.

Wednesday, 09 January 2013 14:39

A bumpy ride

Written by Deb Neuman

I was braced for impact. My left arm was pushing against the seat back in front of me while my right hand cradled my face as I closed my eyes and did my best to imagine I was someplace else anywhere else! 'Please let this be over,' I thought. Every few seconds I would open my eyes to look around to see if the other passengers were as freaked out as I was. I looked to the flight attendant who was strapped into his seat to assess his facial expressions to determine whether or not I should start praying. This was the worst turbulence I had ever experienced. It wasn't just bumpy it was like a bad amusement park ride. We were shaken and tossed sideways, up and down. I wanted off this ride! This was just too much to take, but take it I did. What choice did I have? If this was to be the 'end' - then so be it. So I gritted my teeth, held my head down, cranked up my iTunes and rode it out with sweaty palms.

Thursday, 27 December 2012 18:47

Best toys ever

Written by Deb Neuman

I bought my 10-year-old nephew Twister for Christmas. Remember Twister? A game that includes a mat with circles of bright colors? Your spin determines on which circle you need to put your hands, feet whatever you can. The last person standing wins! Playing this with my niece and nephew has been a blast and a reminder of the best toys of days gone by. Twister was introduced in the late '60s and became a popular party game. It was the first game that made the players the actual game pieces. Sixty-five million of us have bent our bodies in unusual ways on Twister mats!

Thursday, 20 December 2012 11:06

Tips to start the New Year on the right business foot!

Written by Deb Neuman

This is peak time for many small businesses trying to meet the demands of the holiday season. I'm hopeful that this season turns out to be one of your best. I'm also hopeful that you'll get the chance to rest, relax, celebrate and spend time with those dearest to you very soon.

I also hope you get some time to step back from your business to reflect and plan for the coming year. The end of December into the New Year is the very best time to do that. A business owner recently shared with me that you need to be organized form the beginning because once you get busy, there is no time to back track to set things up right!

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