Category Archives: Chamber Events

Faith in Your Business Epiphany

By Tommi Wolfe, The Startup Expert and CWCC Member

I was watching TV on a lazy Sunday morning recently, and caught the tail end of Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, just as Mastin Kipp told the story of the small 8′  x 8′ room representing the size of his faith.

And then it hit me. The size of our faith is a mega-indicator of our business success potential. And this is true regardless of how religious you may be or what your beliefs are. The fact that I see demonstrated daily by my clients is this:

Your faith and belief in yourself, your future and your businesses is arguably the best indicator of your future success as an entrepreneur.

images-1Kendra Prospero
Turning the Corner LLC

When you BELIEVE you are going to succeed, this totally governs your decision making. You act boldly and fearlessly, bounce back from mistakes, and think expansively. I am reminded of one of my favorite clients, recruiter and career counselor  Kendra Prospero, winner of The Startup Expert business of the year award last year. She broke 6 figures in her first year of business, and we celebrated the holidays with a company lunch that boasted around 10 people. She never considered failure at all; her business Turning The Corner LLC’s growth was meteoric because her big decisions were grounded in a place of confidence. She has always had huge faith in her ability to succeed.

Sadly, the converse is also true. I watch entrepreneurs who really don’t believe in their ability or their future success. I watch as they make small, fearful decisions, one step forward, two steps back. You can’t succeed with this lack of belief and faith, and sadly their progress is predictable and unimpressive.

Luckily, when your work matters and you are doing what you are meant to be doing – then it is about something way bigger than you. This is your universal and divine permission to BELIEVE, and to take FEARLESS, COURAGEOUS ACTION.

I leave you with a few more words of inspiration from Oprah’s show: “Fear is trusting in your own power. Instead, trust in the universal and the Divine. When you are doing what you are meant to do, all you need to do is get out of your own way”.

If this article has piqued your interest and you want more specifics on how to start earning abundantly, join Tommi and the CWCC for on March 22, 2013 for Client Attraction Secrets Live  and on July 31, 3013 for Show Me the Money.

Tommi WolfTommi Wolfe specializes in helping new, service-based companies start and grow quickly, simply, and profitably.  She can help you in two special ways. She can make sure you have the entrepreneurial skills and techniques you need to run an awesome business. And, because she’s been down this road before, she can provide the excellent support system you need.  For more information visit http://www.thestartupexpert.com.

Entrepreneurs: Is Your Business Brand the Same as Your Personal Brand?

By Lori Dubois, Marketing and Branding Expert and CWCC Member

When starting a small business, there is so much of “you” in the business it is sometimes hard to tell where you end and the business begins. This can serve you well—it’s easier to get (and stay) excited about a vision that you created and own. When the days get long, it’s easier to keep going when you have a high stake in the success of the business. At what point, though, does the business have its own identity? How do you know how much of you should be reflected in your business brand?

It is highly likely that your personal brand is stamped all over your business; it can be difficult to avoid. You naturally make decisions based on your core values, what you like, and who you are. We often build a personal brand by default; meaning we don’t spend the time to purposefully create the image we want to portray, it just kind of “happens.” While this may not be the ideal way to build our personal brand, it certainly is not the way to build a business brand.

It is worth the time and effort it takes to plan and carefully craft your business brand. Branding your business is like planting a stake in the ground that says “this is who we are and this is the space we claim.” This process should be done independently of building your personal brand. Of course, it makes sense that your core values will be aligned between your personal values and business values. It would be difficult to put your blood, sweat, and tears into a venture you didn’t really believe in.

Whether you are starting or running your first business, or are a serial entrepreneur and have several business ventures under your belt, make sure each business is branded uniquely. This is for differentiation purposes—clarity in how your business is unique in the marketplace. This does not mean your personal brand or brand of other businesses you are involved with don’t align with your business, it just means that at its core every organization should have a unique identity.

Want to find out more about branding your business? Come to “Branding Uncensored for the New Year” on November 13, 2012, at the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce. As you work on your marketing plan for 2013, make sure you are on track to leverage a strong brand to grow your business. Learn about the five critical pieces of a brand and how to avoid common misconceptions about branding.

Lori Dubois owns Dubois Information, a marketing communications company helping small to medium sized businesses build a brand that tells their unique story in the right way to the right people using the right methods. Dubois Information works with business owners to communicate better with their clients and prospects through email marketing, newsletters, surveys, web content, video, and social media strategies. www.DuboisInformation.com, 303-221-1129

Your Brand VS Brand X – How to Differentiate

By Emilie Downs, Owner, Imago Visual and CWCC Member

If you are competing on price, it means your customers can’t tell the difference between you and Brand X.

If clients are asking you to discount, it means they are making their purchasing decision based solely on price. You don’t want that. Why? Because it means they can’t tell the difference between you and your competitor. Come on, you’ve heard it before, “I think your estimate looks great, BUT your price is higher than the other bids we received.”

Then, the long pause…. Are you going to discount? Are you going to try to defend yourself by stating all the reasons why you’re worth more? It’s too late. It’s too late to try to explain how you differ now, “We have great customer service.” So does the competition. “We have a great product.” Well, so do they. Better luck next time (better evaluate your brand).

Your branding efforts (or lack thereof) directly correlate to the amount of money in your pocket. Don’t believe me? Think lower prices are the way of the “new” economy? Think again. If that were true, why would anyone shop at Whole Foods? We all know the joke, “don’t you mean Whole Paycheck?” You see, Whole Foods is a premium brand. They stand for organic, unprocessed food because you want to fill your body with the best food money can buy.

Let’s turn that idea on it’s head: If there’s premium food for purchase elsewhere, why would anyone shop at King Soopers? Because they are looking for affordable, nutritious food to feed their growing family–that is the King Soopers brand.

The bottom line: Which brand do you want to be? There’s no right or wrong answer here. But there IS a difference. There’s a BIG difference between the two brands. There’s no confusion. You expect that your grocery bill will be higher at Whole Foods. You are not surprised to save money at King Soopers so you stock up on the basics.

If you’re spending time responding to comments like, “What can you do for me that Brand X can’t do?” or “I guess I don’t see the difference between the two services.” Then it’s time to differentiate–and to make sure those differences are heard loud and clear by your potential customers.

If you need help setting your brand apart from the rest, or would like to learn more from Emilie on branding, sign up for “Branding Uncensored for the New Year: Essential Planning for Your Business Brand” on November 13th.

This popular branding seminar led by Emilie Downs and Lori Dubois will:

  • Lead you through our signature 5-step branding process-what it takes to build a strong brand and why it is so crucial to your business.
  • Explore some common branding misconceptions, how they can be barriers, and how to use them to your advantage.
  • Show you how to differentiate your company through your brand.
  • Discuss the impact of social media on your brand.

Register today!

Emilie Downs is the owner of Imago Visual a branding company based in Denver. In her 15 years of experience, Emilie discovered business owners often have trouble conveying their exciting and unique message to customers and employees. We help our clients move beyond business categories, to telling their brand story, both verbally and visually, resulting in clarity for their businesses, employees and customers.

Interviews at the Annual Awards VIP Reception

Announcing the 2012 Annual Awards Recipients

On October 3, 2012, as the CWCC community, including Denver’s business elite, entered the Marriot City Center downtown, the air dripped with anticipation.  Excitement over who would win the coveted Lifetime Achievement, Young Professional and Company of the Year awards buzzed through the crowd.

Everyone who attended the Annual Awards Luncheon was moved by humble and heartfelt acceptance speeches and was treated to a special talk given by Kim Jordan, the co-founder of New Belgium Brewing Company, chronicling her rise to the top of a male-dominated industry.

At the end of this uplifting day, dedicated to honoring and celebrating Denver businesswomen and the companies that support women, we were all inspired to do more, be better and give back, so without further ado, here are the companies and individuals that provided that inspiration:

Volunteer of the Year:  M.L. Hanson, M.L. Hanson and Associates

Leads Leader of the Year:  Nancy Collins, Sassy Golf

Sponsor of the Year:  Xcel Energy

Company of the Year – Small Business:  Iron Horse Architects

Company of the Year – Medium Business:  Allonhill

Company of the Year – Large Business: KeyBank

Sustainable Company of the Year:  Sheraton Downtown Denver

Young Professional of the Year:  Jennifer Alderfer of North Suburban Medical Center HealthONE

Lifetime Achievement of the Year:  Sheila Gutterman of Gutterman Griffiths PC

Congratulations to all of our esteemed recipients.  You are in good company and are part of a long tradition set by the CWCC when we began honoring women and companies through the Annual Awards.

Please look for event pictures taken by the talented John Bosley of John Bosley Photography to be posted in the coming weeks.

We hope to see you next year at the 2013, 25th Anniversary Annual Awards Luncheon.

The CWCC would like to thank Premier Sponsor Kaiser Permanente Colorado, Distinguished Sponsor Xcel Energy and VIP Reception Sponsor Key4Women-KeyBank.  We’d also thank our generous supporting sponsors:  Bryan Cave HRO, EON Office Products, IBM, and Mortenson Construction and all of our table sponsors. We also greatly appreciate our emcee Scott Bemis. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Cost-Effectiveness of the Cloud

By Bryant Hill, President Harper Communication

As stated before in our previous blog on the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce website, “the cloud” is simply a metaphor for the internet. Therefore, all services that a company receives from the cloud originate from a site not at the customer’s location, but are received at the customer’s location over the internet. So, what besides competitively priced products are some of the cost factors that make the cloud so attractive?

First and foremost, cloud computing is a monthly based subscription service that allows a customer to pay for only what they need. So what don’t they need? When a customer considers the cloud, they needn’t consider space planning for hardware, or new employees to manage the hardware, software and applications that run on the hardware. With the cost of new space rising in a down economy, relocation to a new location to accommodate hardware and new personnel to manage the hardware can be prohibitive. Capital investments in equipment and technology can be equally prohibitive. In this case, these are all costs that can destroy a great idea before it becomes a reality.

In order to accommodate new technology in the cloud, a company no longer needs to “get ready to get ready” by purchasing hardware, building out space, securing heating and air conditioning, hiring new people, providing benefits to new employees, experiencing protracted ramp-up times, etc. A company doesn’t need the expenses of IT expansion, or the headaches that come along with them. The capital costs for expansion can be high and dangerous to a company’s profitability. Depending on the size of the company, thousands or many thousands of dollars could be spent on building an IT infrastructure that does not provide the desired return on investment for many months or even years, if ever.

So what is the most important cost consideration for implementing cloud technology within a company’s IT infrastructure? A company needs to consider its bandwidth’s volume and the costs necessary to acquire adequate bandwidth for its cloud environment. The success of a company’s cloud computing and IT managed services in the cloud is based upon a company having adequate bandwidth. However, it can be a tricky proposition to get the right bandwidth product at the right cost. Some vendors will lock you in for many years and charge you for an internet product that is not flexible or agile enough to fit your bandwidth requirements whether your environment is expanding or contracting. There is no reason to be “stuck and gouged” by one carrier in a long-term contract anymore. The cost for bandwidth is as competitive as it has ever been because the number of carriers providing internet access continues to grow, whether telco, cable, wireless or satellite. There is no reason to not get the best product at the best price for a company’s needs in today’s competitive marketplace.

So what are the real costs of cloud computing? Internet and monthly subscription costs for services such as Microsoft Windows Server Client access Licenses, Microsoft Office, security, backups and storage, virtual desktops (if applicable), email, database applications, proprietary software applications subscriptions housed by the cloud computing provider and a monthly subscription for managed service packages (MSP) to manage, monitor and maintain all of the customer systems are the real costs. Nonetheless, cloud computing and managed services can be much more cost-effective for a company than purchasing hardware, building out space, providing environmental efficiencies, hiring IT staff, providing salaries and benefits for them… and trying to navigate that battleship through narrow tributaries and often shallow water.

With cloud computing and managed service packages, a company can invest in IT services on an as-needed basis, expand and contract instantaneously, spare the capital investment in soon-to-be outdated technology, and spare the investment in soon-to-be escalating salaries and benefit costs. So, like a speedboat, a company can be more agile, react to market conditions more quickly by expanding or contracting its monthly IT requirements, and place the profits of smart IT decision-making in its pocket instead of into more equipment and people to manage, monitor and maintain its IT equipment.

If you’d like to learn more, we invite you to join Harper Communications for a free webinar on September 13th from 10:00 to 10:25.  Find out more and sign up for the webinar here.

Harper Communications is a full-service cloud computing, cloud communications, managed services, consulting and training provider. Harper Communications’ products and qualified staff represent a total solution package, a single source for planning, designing and implementing a cloud computing solution.

Video – a Method to the Madness

By Lori Dubois, Marketing and Branding Expert and CWCC Member

There is no doubt that video is big. Who hasn’t watched a YouTube video of a funny cover of a popular song (the US Olympic Swim Team doing “Call Me Maybe”) or a silly pet video or even a date invitation (Tim Tebow or Justin Beiber)? It’s clear that we like to be entertained and share our best finds with our friends. Beyond silly or downright hilarious entertainment, has video really hit the mark in other areas, such as education, how-to’s, or dare I mention – business marketing?

The short answer is yes- video serves a purpose beyond the most obvious. For some time, many business owners and marketing professionals have been toying with the intention of making a one-time, brochure-like video, and many have dipped their toes into the video-water, most often by placing a video on their website. Whether or not you are one of these people, or whether or not you have recognized a return on your investment from video, there is a movement afoot that flies in the face of most current video marketing tactics.

This method involves developing a video strategy that includes creating a video campaign.

The strategy piece is based on utilizing marketing and branding principles to determine if video is a fit for your company. If it is a fit, take time to identify your audience, craft a message that clearly tells your story in the most compelling way for that audience, and make sure your brand is carried through in the video(s). The campaign piece is based on posting multiple videos where people will find them.  Simply posting a video on your website is something Kevin Campbell, 30-year film and video veteran, refers to as “running a commercial only on the TV in your house.” Makes you think, doesn’t it? If you want to run a commercial, I’m guessing you want a lot more people than your family to see it.

Enter the concept of YouTube channels. Did you know YouTube is routinely used as a search engine? YouTube is the third highest visited website in the world (as of 8/7/12 according to Alexa Rankings), only behind Google and Facebook. People are going to YouTube and looking for everything from touching wedding proposals to how to fix their computer to where to find a great cosmetic dentist. Could people be looking for a business like yours on YouTube? Quite possibly.

Want to know more? Come to “Making Video Your Marketing Superstar” on August 24, hosted at the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce. Presented by Emilie Downs, Owner of Imago Visual; Kevin Campbell, Owner of Kevin Campbell Films; and Lori Dubois, Owner of Dubois Information; you will learn how video can take the driver’s seat in your marketing efforts to create more leads and increase your bottom line.

Lori Dubois owns Dubois Information, a marketing communications company helping small to medium sized businesses build a brand that tells their unique story in the right way to the right people using the right methods. Dubois Information works with business owners to communicate better with their clients and prospects through email marketing, newsletters, surveys, web content, video, and social media strategies. www.DuboisInformation.com, 303-221-1129