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Wednesday, 20 March 2013 13:57

Keeping the engine of your business running

Written by Deb Neuman

I was driving to a meeting recently when my car decided to stop. When I tried to restart it, nothing happened. So I had Ms. Jetta towed to the dealer. My guys at Darlings started her right up (naturally)! But they knew I had a problem and performed diagnostics. Sure enough, the problem was with a relay sensor that had gone bad. They explained to me in terms I could understand that this led to a breakdown in communications with the engine. Bottom line: there was miscommunication going on under my hood that was causing my car to stop when I wanted it to go.   

 

Wednesday, 13 March 2013 16:41

Just start

Written by Deb Neuman

I've been running solo for a while training to run a half marathon in April. I've been able to log eight miles consistently, and every time I feel a little bit stronger. But last weekend I ran in a 5k race and I felt like a mule trying to sludge through a muddy field carrying a load of firewood. Seriously I was slow.   

This was my first race this year, and I forgot one critical thing don't try to be like the others. Find your own pace and stick with it! I made the mistake of starting out too fast to keep up with the faster runners and lost my mojo about halfway through. I should know better!   

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.

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