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At first glance technology expert Phil Simon appears to be just another white guy face in a sea of tech pros- until you peel back that first layer of the Phil onion to discover his sharp sense of humor, passion for all things “Breaking Bad”, and nearly savant ability to explain complex technology concepts to the average user who can’t figure out how to program the thermostat for their house, let alone determine what technology they should be using and for what purpose. Phil Simon is the master of breaking down the most advanced concepts for the rest of us and his seventh book “Message Not Received” does not disappoint. The premise is that new technologies and simpler language can fix your business communications. What? You weren’t sure they were broken? They are. Of course they are. I can sit in any bar in downtown Las Vegas and overhear a group of entrepreneurs besting each other with the number of emails they receive each day. Our ability to tie something entirely inconsequential to our sense of self importance blows my mind. A seasoned technology expert who has seen his fair share of holier than thou entrepreneurs cycle through the tech scene, Phil understands that the way we communicate at work is broken. Directly from the book, Phil quotes Cool Hand Luke, “What we got here is… failure to communicate.” 

One of the reasons I am a Phil Simon fan girl is because he indisputably identifies the problem and then lays out a simple plan for entrepreneurs and leaders to fix it. All too often the solution in business books is so ambiguous that you’re left feeling like the only solution is to throw in the towel and start over. Phil shares real life examples of problems and solutions from organizations of all sizes- from Goliath brands like Microsoft to his own personal experiences working toe to toe with big consultancy firms. My favorite chapter was breaking down all of the jargon and buzz words that are so common in communication today. Merely identifying them wouldn’t be enough for Phil, so he provides the reader and effective appendix with simple alternatives to horrible business jargon. The man literally gives you a chart! 

Continuing to break down current business communication tools and why they work or don’t work, Phil dares to get traditional by suggesting that some conversations still need to happen over the telephone or in person. Investing time in people! The very idea would send some leaders into a tail spin that there isn’t “an app for that”, but Phil goes there without apology. Oh don’t worry- he’s gonna hit you with some technology communication solutions in the next chapter, but I appreciated that he dared to say what so many techies ignore when communicating with others. In closing, Phil challenges the reader to answer if his message has been received. My answer: absolutely. This is the business communications book that every leader needs to read and implement at every level of their organization. 

*FULL DISCLOSURE: Phil did give me a copy of the book. Get your copy here


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I first met Kelly Knight as a grooming student at the grooming school I owned up in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Kelly’s passion for pets and pet owners was a driving force behind her entire lifestyle. Spending weekends at fly ball tournaments throughout North America, spending her days grooming cats and dogs on Vancouver Island, and spending her evenings posting photos of the sexiest hairless cat beast I know (seriously, Hippo needs his own agent- see photo at left). Today I am thrilled how Kelly has created a business around her passion for the four legged set. It is so true that if you do what you love you will never work a day in your life and I couldn’t be happier for Kelly to be doing just that. If you are a dog lover or know a dog lover who could use these hand crafted doggy goods please spread the word!  

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Hello to the lovely readers of the Keepin Up With Krista blog!  My name is Kelly Knight and I am excited to have the opportunity to tell you about my little business called PyratDog Crate Tags.  My entire life I have been involved in competitive dog sports.  My family’s sport of choice was a game called Flyball.  Flyball is a fun, fast paced team sport started in the 1980’s and is now played in many countries!  A great YouTube video of Flyball can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADuPCAVZyMc 

What is PyratDog Crate Tags?  Four years ago, I was packing my things to head to another Flyball tournament.  I had three of my dogs entered into the tournament, and that meant I was taking three dog crates with me.  It occurred to me that it would be nice to have name plates that I could attach to the outside of their kennel doors.  Being the artistic and creative personality that I am,  I made my own!  They turned out great and I posted them onto my Facebook page.  A short time after posting, one of my Facebook friends who also is involved in dog sports messaged me and asked me if I had considered making them by request.  I thought “why not?”  I made her tags, and she loved them.  PyratDog Crate Tags were born! I created the Facebook page PyratDog Crate Tags to promote my tags, and now I make them for people all over Canada and the United States!  Every tag is custom made, hand painted and made with the dog’s personality in mind.  People give me a little information, whether it be favourite colours or a theme they have with their dog, and I come up with something great that then customizes their dog’s crate or kenneling area! 

Business has been booming, so I recently started offering leash hooks too!  Many people don’t crate there dogs, so the leash hook offers the chance to have a custom personalized piece of art and a place to put that leash so your not always searching for it. It is my goal to grow PyratDog Crate Tags and have tags all over the world one day, so I would appreciate it if you could help me spread the word. 

For more information or to place an order you can head on over to the PyratDog Crate Tag Facebook page

Thank you for the opportunity to tell you all about it!

-Kelly


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My first business was created by cashing out every penny of my 401k fund and investing in myself out of consumer frustration. Not only did I not have a marketing plan, I didn’t do any market research and went with my gut. Yes, my trusted gut that had only ever worked for massive companies with huge marketing departments in house. How hard could it be to market a business in a country where I was a brand new immigrant and didn’t have a friend, let alone any business contacts? Allow me to share with you the four free marketing tips that saved my business and helped me become an award winning fast growth entrepreneur.

TELL EVERYONE: Word of Mouth Marketing is King

It’s not about who you know, but who you know who knows someone you need to know. Create an affordable postcard and set about spreading the word guerrilla style. Enlist your neighbors, the parents of your child’s classmates, your daycare lady, anyone you know to help you get the word out. Never waste an opportunity to tell someone why you began your entrepreneurial adventure. If you have a brick and mortar, share your passion with each customer who comes through your door. If you are a service provider, share your story with each new client. It’s not about fancy marketing pieces, but it is about knowing your why and sharing your passion for why you are doing what you are doing with everyone. Passion is contagious, so build your own buzz in the community. You are going to be the best publicist your brand could ever have.   

PARTNER UP: Build an Army Who Care

If you are giving someone your business, then they need to be spreading the word about your business. Auto insurance agent already has someone else in your business that they refer all their business to? SWITCH. Pay more. It will be worth it when you gain a business partner who is invested in helping you grow your business. One of my biggest referral sources was my local wine store, which I frequented for both sanity and gifts for referral partners. Every day we vote with our dollars and if the people you give your dollars to aren’t invested in your business, move on to more enthusiastic business partners.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Your New Best Friend

Not sure about this social media thing? Learn to love it. Buy Dave Kerpen’s “Likable Social Media” and dive in because social media is going to be your best friend in the free marketing world. Think of social media as a small town square. LinkedIn is the local banker, who always knows what business is growing and who is hiring. Twitter is the church, where everybody is always chatting and carrying on about what is new in real time. Facebook is your local store, where what you love and buy says a lot about who you are. Being from a tiny town myself, social media always made perfect sense to me because it was the way my small town worked, but online. As a new entrepreneur back in the MySpace days before Facebook was on the scene, I just started by spending an hour a day chatting with new people. Gradually that grew and grew and, as new social media communities like Twitter and LinkedIn came on the scene, I dove in because my MySpace friends had already helped guide me to the best restaurants, baby stores, and gyms in my community. Find a social media community that clicks with your style of communication and master it before trying to be all things to all people. Better to be a master of Facebook than a jack of all social media trades.

GIVE BACK: Do Good and Good Will Come To You  

You’re a busy, talented, important individual who has something to give to the world. I know this because you took the rare leap into the shark infested waters of capitalism. Congratulations! Now, don’t just hoard all that talent with your business. Find a cause. Preferably something that you are equally as passionate about. Every entrepreneur should have a philanthropic cause that they contribute to at least one a month. It will grow your network and keep your priorities in line. As you get to be an even bigger deal, give back more. Not necessarily more money, but more time, more resources, more of whatever it is that you have to make the world a better place. My passion for entrepreneurism comes from my core belief that we all have something to give. You were put on this Earth to do more than just make money and setting aside a day each month to step outside of your business to put your time and talent to work for something bigger than yourself will keep you humble and sane. The more good you do, the more good will come to you and your business.