Devote Yourself to creating something that gives you purpose . . .

"So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they're busy doing things they think are important. This is because they're chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning."

Tuesdays with Morrie, author Mitch Albom

Friday, November 20, 2009

December 15, 2009 - Elks

Laura Edwards, IT Works Consultant is putting together a Expo at the Elk's downtown Grand Haven on Third Street on December 15th. She is looking for people interested in having a booth.  She would like to have 20 to 30 vendors. If you are interested, please contact Laura at 231-750-2191 or by email at

November 21, 2009 - Party on the Greens

The Party of Parties on the Green:
A unique shopping event with a “home party” feel

Shopping • Refreshments • Style • Fun

Purchase locally provided specialty and one-of-akind gifts and beat the holiday rush! Hand crafted baby items,jewelry, children’s clothing
and accessories, tote bags, purses, decorations and more.

Featuring local consultants from:
• Tastefully Simple
• Creative Memories
• Longaberger
• Pampered Chef
• BeautiControl
• Shaklee
• Juice Plus
• FlashPoint Global

. . . along with area artists and Jillyn Segroves, photographer, and
Michele O’Brien, chiropractor.

Saturday, November 21
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Grand Haven Golf Club

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Yak About It

Sunday, November 15th, our friend, Jan Rohr's from Norton Shores will be competing for your attention on the website  She is the inventor of the PooDunki.  You may have remembered the story a few weeks back when she was featured in both the Muskegon Chronicle and again in the Grand Rapids Press. 

Let's help Jan be a winner in tomorrow's competition by either casting your vote, talking about her product (online), or purchasing a PooDunki for the pet lover on your Christmas shopping list.

For a link to this website, click here.

On Monday, November 9th, I won my competition on Yakaboutit and captured 80% of the votes, conversation, and even had a few purchases!

Style 'n Wrap - Heat Resistant Hairstyling Tool Organizer (November 9th Competition)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Wag Your Tail . . .

Okay the title to this post is a little pun, but I'm so happy to announce another accomplishment of one of our ladies in this network, Inge Bonfoey, inventor of the Towel Tog® just appeared last evening on Happy Hour, Fox News Network.  She was presenting her patented mirco-fiber towel for pets.  She has put a lot of thought and energy into creating a marvelous product for pet lovers.  Want to save your furniture and carpet from the effects of a wet animal . . . wrap them in a cozy towel tog and your pet will be happy and so will your animal.

See the Clip below and learn about this program on Fox News Network.  Maybe you'll find there is an opportunity for your invention or business venture too.

Keep Your Dog Dry (click on this story)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Training Resources

Are you looking at your To-Do list of all of the things you need to accomplish before the end of 2009 and saying,    "CALGON - take me away!"?

Are all of your 'rocks' getting too heavy to push uphill by yourself?

As we are all running lean and trying to do more with less, our To-Do lists are in danger of becoming Not-Done lists. Know when to say when. Ask for help.

Not So Basic Training can assist you in your time of need. Areas where we can help:

  • Training you need to design and run before the end of 2009 that you are thinking "that is SO not going to happen", but does need to get done.

  • Projects that need assistance (manpower, direction, accountability, etc.)

  • Coaching that needs to happen to bring an employee back in line, but you have no time to train the 'coach' to do the job that needs to be done.

  • Employee surveys. How are they feeling about your company, leadership, the culture. VERY important information in these tough times.

  • Team building. Your people don't have to like each other, but they DO have to work together respectfully.

  • Strategic Planning. What is your plan moving forward? Are your people trained in setting good solid goals?

  • Interviewing. It IS all about getting the right people on the bus....

  • Develop New Hire Orientation programs. Please do not just throw people into their new jobs and expect them to sink or swim. Help them succeed!

Much, much more!

Mitzi Taylor will be one of our upcoming speakers at 3 Degrees-Connected™ and share ideas to assist small business entrepreneurs.  Click on her name to read her personal biographical information.  

Come join us in January and refresh your business objectives and set obtainable goals.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Making a Difference

As holiday season approaches, we are hearing lots of conversation about the economic conditions here in the U.S. Merchants are frantic about whether this years sales will help them avoid bankruptcy. I know that our purchase dollars can have a significant impact on the outcome for many retailers. If your home is like mine, now more than ever, the phone is ring off the hook asking us to contribute to all sorts of causes. Everyone has needs.

Consider this year instead of passing the $25 to $50 gift card to your relatives in exchange for the same $25 to $50 gift card; do something significant with your purchasing power this holiday season. Not only think of the gift recipient, but whether your spending keeps a business afloat, does your gift serve the needs of your community, does your gift serve the needs of someone who might not otherwise receive a gift.

A recent article about what big box stores plan to do this holiday season showed that we depend on materialism. The plot of the story goes, "we will limit supply to increase the demand". Do we really want to buy into this form of commercialism, or do we want to rethink our holiday strategy.
  • Think about giving the $25.00 gift card toward a cause on behalf of someone else. In an organization such as KIVA, you can purchase a gift certificate for someone to invest in a micro-loan of their choice.  This gift is then invested as a micro-loan on behalf of a business in need.   When the loan is repaid, the recipient can chose to either re-invest or withdraw the funds for their own use. Is the gift still worth $25.00?

  • Consider supporting local businesses with your purchase dollar rather than looking at larger discount chain stores.  Let the merchant know that you are doing this because you feel their business is important to the community.

  • Consider making personalized gifts with special meaning from your heart, rather than spending your resources unnecessarily. 

  • Consider the phrase "time is money" and give someone your time as a gift this holiday season.  Create your own gift card indicating what you plan to do, go ahead and print a value and redemption date on the certificate. 
3 Degrees-Connected has set up a KIVA lending group which supports women-owned businesses in other parts of the world.  A link to support this collective giving through 3 Degrees-Connected is found in the left sidebar to this blog.  

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Setting Up An E-Commerce Shopping Cart

Have you ever heard the phrase, or have you ever used the phrase "you don't know what you don't know"? 

I think this is a common phrase uttered a time or two by small business entrepreneurs.  That is why we are always on the look out for good mentors, good books, free classes, and sometimes good articles on the Internet.

Lately I've been trying to learn a little more about e-commerce, driving traffic to my website, creating a simple, clean presentation of my products, and resolve the dilemma of what is the best shopping cart experience I can give my customers without costing an arm and a leg.  I'm sure I'm not much different than any other new entrepreneur faced with this same task.

Making the decision on whether to process credit cards or continue to use a PayPal solution has also surfaced a time or two.  Comparison shopping takes time and how do we know that there isn't a solution we haven't evaluated that would be better than the best we've looked at thus far.

While considering all these questions, I came across a well-written article that provides a great outline of what to look for when considering an e-commerce shopping cart that I will share below.  Although this article was written in 2005, the outline and topic is still very relevant today.   I know that I will answer all the questions in this article before talking with anyone about a lasting solution for my website. 

10 Things You Should Know About Shopping Carts by Robert Speyer was published on the Best Syndication website.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Developing a Press or Media Kit

If you've wondered about getting the word about about your business, products, or services, have you considered developing a press or media kit?

According to an article published  on the website "All Business.Com" the following article lays out the steps to create a press kit for your company.

The article entitled "Developing a Press Kit" highlights five steps to developing your press kit which include:

  1. Letter of Introduction - this letter should quickly describe your company and your products or services and provide a compelling reason why it is important for the recipient of the letter to learn more about what you have to offer.
  2. Corporate History - this basic information about your company from its founding to the current state should include a brief history, your mission statement, significant goals you wish to achieve and information about the owners.  You may also wish to include photographs if they are relevant. 
  3. Single Sheets - this information provides greater details about your products or services and it may include items like business brochures.  Consider including a list of frequently asked questions, your marketing demographic information, and upcoming events (be sure to keep this current if it is included).
  4. Press Coverage - include anything positive that has been written about you in the media or outline appearances you have made, CD's or DVD's. 
  5. Photos and Other Images - if you have a business logos, product demonstration DVD's or anything that promotes your business in visual form, include it in your press kit.
Remember to keep all this information in order as you may need to access and present it to further the cause of your business, products, or services.  This is your business resume.  Make it as elaborate as you like and provide plenty of information to create an impressive image for your company.

News - The Stocked Kitchen

Sarah Kallio and Stacey Krastin know how to get things done.  If you've started a business and want people to know about it, developing your marketing and advertising strategy is very important.  The two ladies who own Stocked, LLC and are known as the inventors of the Stocked Kitchen have laid out a plan to get the word out about their product, the Stocked Kitchen.

Sarah has appeared on Take Five G.R. a few times, and they have had articles in the local newspaper as well as Women's Lifestyles Magazine.  In the article below, Sarah is recognized in her home town newspaper.

Mt. Pleasant - The Morning Sun


Detroit - Macom Daily News

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pitch Night

In looking for another article published by the Holland Sentiential, I came across this article by Peter Danning regarding a "Pitch Night" hosted by Elevator Up, a Zeeland based Business.  I found it interesting and know that I will be looking for the next event:


The Holland Sentinel

Posted Oct 12, 2009

Zeeland, MI — .Sometimes the step between having a great idea and acting on it is insurmountable.

To help West Michigan entrepreneurs bridge that gap, a Pitch Night is set for 5:30 to 7 p.m., Oct. 20, at the Elevator Up offices, 201 W. Washington in Zeeland.

This free event is hosted by Elevator Up and Lakeshore Advantage. Anyone with a new business idea can make a five or 10 minute pitch, said Amanda Choko of Lakeshore Advantage, an economic development firm.

“Part of our mission is to inspire people to think entrepreneurially and launch new ventures,” Choko said. “There are a lot of people with really great ideas around you, and you don’t always get to hear them.”

Aaron Schaap, 28, started Elevator Up, a Web hosting and development company, in 2004. He said there still isn’t a real good infrastructure to help West Michigan start-ups flourish.

“This is more of a safe haven for people who are taking ideas and wanting to develop them,” he said.

Schaap said Pitch Night is also about giving constructive criticism.

“We’re trying to change the mindset of a couple things,” he said. “One is ‘Michigan nice’ — people won’t tell you when an idea sucks.”

The first Pitch Night in July had seven pitches and around 30 in attendance, Schaap said. This time around, organizers are hoping for better number in each category.

If interested in pitching, send the idea to Otherwise, Schaap said just come and find out what bright ideas are on West Michigan’s horizon.