Author Archives: James Rothaar

I Hired Me to Fix My Own Business Model

Marketing James Rothaar

Manage your time wisely.

Every time I feel I deserve a break, this thought crosses my mind.

Talent is great; smarts are equally swell; the hardest worker signs both their paychecks.

With that in mind, I am going to hire myself on a trial basis and see if I can improve my business. There will not be a press release, as this is strictly a DIY repair project to see if I can add improve my business model.

Problem with the Process 

Essentially, I am a one-man marketing consulting service with strategic partners. I am currently the sales, marketing, and production functions as well as the accountant. I am disposable marketing manager; I come in, fix it, and go. I am affordable because my relationship is direct with clients, and my overhead is nowhere near that of full-staffed agency. That is my differential edge and elevator pitch in less than 60 words.

I have been freelancing professional for more than 10 years, but it has just hit me that I have been more like a lucky independent contractor than a prospering entrepreneur.

Separating Symptoms from Problem

My primary concern is that I am spending so much time try to figure out what and how to do things that nothing is happening at all. The only things increasing with my current system are my anxiety, stress, and senselessness. I have a couple clients and a few prospects, which is okay, but it is not quite there. To make a long story short, I am not running a small marketing company; what I am doing is barely managing a cluster of chaos without a routine or criteria to measure the value in what I am doing.

Defining Problem, Propose Solution

So, I have defined a problem that needs to be addressed. My time-management skills are abysmal. I need to fix my process and organize the workflow. So, I am doing putting together a schedule of time available and a checklist of duties. This will help me manage my time more efficiently and maintain the focus on prospecting, producing clients’ work, and getting new business.

Measuring Results

I am not sure why analytics is such a buzz kill on the entrepreneur cool cycle when it comes to talking business. Analytics means analyzing a situation and determining what happened.

Maybe it is because I married to a mathematician that I am so matter of fact toward it. But there are algebraic word problems being solved by fifth graders that are much harder than setting up analytics. So, I have set goals and will review my results every Monday morning.

On My Flailing and Waling 

I had a meeting with a prospective new client this fine Monday morning. We are going to begin a working relationship next week. However, despite securing a new business with my old “too busy to get add structure” mentality, I am sticking with my new time-management plan.

Now, I need to figure out a topic worth blogging about. Would this work?

 

 

Revisiting the Alter-G, the Anti-Gravity Treadmill

James Rothaar is trying out the Alter-G, the anti-gravity treadmill.

When I first wrote about this product, I thought it was the most incredible device I had ever encountered. Two weeks ago,  thanks to the Good Shepherd Penn Partners, I was able to test the anti-gravity treadmill at the exposition held at the Philadelphia Convention Center that preceded the running of the Gore-Tex 2014 Philadelphia Marathon.  It was a great experience. I spent about five minutes on the treadmill and was able to run at 12 mph while doing so. The treadmill originally cost about $75,000. The newest version cost about $29,000.

The remainder of this article was originally published by JustLuxe. It also appeared in several other publications.

Here is an exercise machine that is deluxe, purposeful, futuristic, and, perhaps, even miraculous in regard to its potential in benefiting mankind. It is a lofty assertion to proffer on an exercise apparatus in the age of myriad 30-minute TV infomercials for health products that guarantee a whole new you or your money back less shipping and handling. This time it is for real. It was designed by NASA and backed by the FDA, renowned medical professionals, and numerous professional sports teams. The proverbial horse of the different color is the anti-gravity G-Trainer treadmill by Alter-G.

Lars Barfod, CEO of Alter-G, conveyed, “We are rapidly changing the way effective rehabilitation is done for a broad spectrum of medical conditions. We’ve created a disruptive technology that allows clinicians to prescribe ‘un-weighting’ exercise to more of their patients faced with lower extremity pain, soft tissue healing constraints or mobility limitations. We believe the G-Trainer can revolutionize rehabilitative exercise in recovering from stroke, weight reduction in the obese, rehab after lower extremity fracture or joint replacement, and arthritis treatment, to name only a few.”

The G-Trainer, which is FDA-approved for medical and therapeutic purposes, utilizes air pressure to reduce impact and stress on lower extremities, specifically hips, knees, ankles, and feet. It works wonders for individuals rehabbing or recovering from an injury without risk of worsening their condition. It also is ideal for people looking to ease into exercising at a gradual rate. A user wears a pair of neoprene shorts akin to a wetsuit that creates an airtight seal from the waist down. The amount of pressure is set on an easy to use touch screen. The G-Trainer has users feel like they are running on air — and loving every moment of it.

The G-Trainer is making a significant impact on professional athletes and the sports world too. Los Angeles Lakers’ center Andrew Bynum has used the space-age treadmill to recoverfrom a dislocated kneecap. Dathan Ritzenhein, a member of the U.S. Olympic Marathon team and a Nike Professional Runner credits the G-Trainer for enabling him to qualify for the Olympic Marathon team.

“Without the G-Trainer I would not have been able to qualify for the Olympic Marathon team or win the USA cross country championships. I have trained right through a couple of season-ending injuries and come back even stronger than before,” said Ritzenhein. Major League Baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks has one at its spring-training quarters to assist players rehabbing from injury and to improve upon cardiovascular conditioning. Professional sports organizations using it include teams from the NBA, the NFL, the MSL, Major League Baseball, and major universities.

It is likely that many more teams will follow suit, as many G-Trainer users are claiming that their recovery time is shortened. It is being used to supplement traditional rehabilitation methods, such as aqua jogging, cycling, or exercising on an elliptical trainer. For example, the [then-] Lakers’ Andrew Bynum began his rehab with aqua jogging and is now running on 60 to 70 percent of his true body weight. Bynum weighs 285 pounds. Four hundred pounds is the machine’s weight capacity.

The only systemic flaw attributed to the treadmill is that due to its seal from the waist down, a runner’s natural arm position is slightly altered outwardly. The G-Trainer is FDA-approved for aerobic conditioning, weight control, gait training for neurological patients, and strengthening for elderly. Medical experts view its potential with great optimism. It is being used at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the Palo Alto VA Hospital, Optimal Results Physical Therapy, and the Athletes’ Performance Inc. Dr. Susan Lewis, orthopedic surgeon at Saint. Francis Memorial Hospital Center for Sports Medicine, commented, “I believe the G-Trainer will positively improve how rehabilitation is approached for a broad spectrum of injuries. At Saint Francis we want to offer the latest technological advances to benefit our patients, and the G-Trainer offers faster recovery by being able to adjust the rehabilitation program gradually as the patient improves.”

Dr. Amol Saxena, a podiatric surgeon at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation who is internationally known for research on chronic ankle pain, Achilles and peroneal tendons, stress fractures, midfoot injuries, and arthritis of the first metatarsal phalangeal joint, succinctly said, “I believe the G-Trainer will become the standard in rehabilitation and training.”

As I did my own “hamster on a wheel routine” on an average treadmill at the Brandywine YMCA today, I couldn’t help wondering what it would feel like if my legs felt as if they were carrying only half my weight. Savvy health clubs catering to serious clients need to be on this one to stay vogue. I am scheduled to check one out at the Baltimore Ravens’ training facility. That will, indeed, be a special day for me! Admittedly, the $75,000 price tag was the first thing that piqued our editor’s curiosity. I mean, after all, we are JustLuxe. But when you consider the improvement in quality of life this exercise machine is capable of delivering on so many levels, the G-Trainer would be a bargain at any price.

Hate Shopping on Thanksgiving? Then Don’t Do It!

Happy Black ThursdayI read an article today on Distractify by Megan McCormick with the headline: “Here’s The List Of Stores Staying Open On Thanksgiving Instead Of Letting Workers Spend Time With Their Families.”

It was an editorial and “listicle” rolled into one. Expressing a serious opinion over a trite topic is nonsense at its worst. However, in all fairness to Megan, this could be due to a dull executive editor that does not like creative or entertaining writing.

Complaining about retail outlets that are open on Thanksgiving Day ranks among the most ridiculous and, perhaps, sanctimonious traditions in America. Every year it prompts reports from numerous online and offline media outlets to acrimoniously bemoan how low-wage employees of these dastardly retailers are forced to work instead of being able to spend the entire day with their families.

The annual dogma includes two types of lists: stores that are open on Thanksgiving (a.k.a. the evil guys) and stores that are closed (a.k.a. the good guys).

Here are two words to rebut the whiny, smug writers who prefer being called “journalists” but require a team of editors and proofreaders to make their insipid work readable material: marketing research.

If there were not enough consumers that actually want to go shopping on Thanksgiving Day, would these retailers be open for business anyway? It is arguable whether they are right. And it also is possible that this practice annoys some people, such as all the journalists that deem this topic newsworthy—year after year after year.

No one is forcing anybody to go shopping on Thanksgiving Day. It is a personal choice to do so. Additionally, it is possible that some of these vilified merchants offer employees a choice to work or take the day off. Also, it could be an escape clause for some folks who would prefer to be anywhere else on Turkey Day than with a bunch of folks they would rather not be around. Everyone doesn’t get that warm, fuzzy feeling from being around less-than-loving but harshly judgmental family members.

Just because it bothers you that some department stores are open, is that really a reason to slam them for it?

Nobody seems to complain too much about restaurants and bars being open on Thanksgiving Day. There are plenty of low-wage employees that work in those places that aren’t able to spend the day with their friends and families. So, why aren’t they picked on annually?

What about sports events, such as the NFL, the NHL, the NBA, and the NCAA playing games on TD? Those venues are full of low-wage workers, including cheerleaders, vendors, parking lot attendants, and others that do not get a day off.

Theaters are open on Thanksgiving, and so are gas stations, grocery stores, convenience stores, and drug stores. Aren’t these American workers missing a day that they should have off to spend with their family and friends too? People complain about retailers being open on Thanksgiving. However, if the gas stations are closed, or there are no sports to watch on TV, or there are no theaters, restaurants, or bars to frequent, that is an entirely different story.

Perhaps the real reason this topic is revisited annually is that it is a very simple to write a list-styled article on it.

Let the shopping season begin on Thursday or Friday. Who cares?

Social Media Speeds Up Calls to Action, Saves Lives of Pit Bulls

Screen shot 2014-11-25 at 9.45.39 AM

This is one of those stories that show us why the world is a better place due to the Internet and online social networks. Somewhere in between all those images of what folks are eating, insipid posts, and frothy comments that we see on a daily basis, there is real value to it all.

An ordinance to ban pit bull and Rottweiler dogs, take those animals away from owners, and then euthanize these family pets was reversed and shutdown in the Louisiana village of Moreauville over the past few days.

An announcement was made on Monday. On November 21, owners of these breeds were mailed notifications informing them that they had until December 1 to surrender their dogs or the pets would be taken away. Three days later the law was reversed due to an overwhelming number of people stepping up and signing a petition online. On November 24, that decision made by the village’s aldermen was reversed.

A local TV station, KALB, interviewed a mother and her daughter from a household that was soon to be adversely affected by the law. The family was going to lose its pit bull, Zeus. The dog is an “unofficial” special-needs animal that helps a wheelchair bound little girl by monitoring he spasms and awakens the little girl’s mother when her daughter experiences these spasms.

More than 200,000 signatures were gathered via an online petition to Save Zeus. A Facebook page, Saving Zeus, received more than 29,000 through Monday.

So, without social media, how long would it have taken for us to discover this story? How many households would have lost their beloved pets? What would have happened if there were no places to gather and organize at the speed of reality?

When I read stories like this, I realize that the Internet and, more importantly, social media is as purposeful to society as it is one of its biggest time-wasters. There really is more to it than Kim Kardashisan’s latest post of images of her airbrushed butt.

Here is link to the full story.

 

Effective Vs. Efficient: Which One Matters Most?

Effective vs. EfficientThis is not a test to determine how a brain works. However, it may be good to note your first thought on this topic. It may help you in determining the career path that is best suited for you. Are you seeking to create a business opportunity, or would you be better suited to make it better?

If you ran a business and had to choose between being effective and efficient and could select only one, which would it be? There is no right or wrong, response, especially when it involves a business. However, do keep in mind that effectiveness is necessary and that efficiency complements it.

If a business model has a market and is making money, that would indicate that it is effective. A need for a product or a service in a marketplace means that the business model would be effective. Whether an organization with an effective product or service is operating efficiently could be an entirely different story.

Effective is mandatory; efficient is optional (to a point). If a company operates inefficiently, it may affect its ability to be effective.

A pizza shop is a good example of a business to look at to distinguish the difference between effective and efficient. A pizzeria that is known for its great pizza is likely to have customers due to its reputation. It may be the worst-ran business on the planet with a nasty owner, a staff of disenfranchised employees, and no semblance of culture, or organization. It doesn’t matter. If it has customers that love the pizza, the business is effective.

Being inefficient could become a problem, especially if there are comparable options out there. However, if a business is unique and has a following, only those with intimate knowledge of it may even know that it is operated inefficiently.

Do keep in mind that disregarding the value of being efficient could hurt you. If two pizza parlors make the exact same pizza, the shop that delivers better service, meaning that it is more efficient, will probably do better than the other one.

The terms are not synonyms of each other. So, the next time someone asks, which one takes precedence? You know that effective is the most efficient response to that question.

This video by Roger Reece offers more insight on the difference between effective and efficient.

 

Is Maintaining a Business Blog a Corny Joke? (It Is on Mondays!)

Jokers-WildWhile maintaining a blog consistently has proven to be beneficial to generating more business and bolstering SEO, many firms do not update theirs regularly. Last week I found a research study that highlighted the benefits derived by small and midsize organizations that consistently post new content on their blog. And the results were significant.

Frankly, I was skeptical because the publisher of this report was a marketing company whose specialty is blogging for other businesses. Obviously, it is hard to imagine a service provider talking about its lack of relevance. However, when I found that they did not have their own blog, it confused me a lot. How could a company that offers blogging services not have a blog? Holy conundrum! Now what?

So, if blogging frequently is really good for business, why do less than one-third of small to midsize firms do it regularly? It is something to consider. Perhaps, it is one of those talking points awaiting an elaborate dissertation from one of those social media gurus or rock stars of marketing.

To blog or not to blog is a topic I plan to delve into further … but not today.

That is enough critical thinking for today. Nothing makes you yearn to extend the weekend like going back to work on Monday. So, while you are back at work and being productive again, here is a little nonsense to help get you through the day.

 The Best, Bad Corny Jokes of the Day

What do you call a bounced check for $1,000?

A grand illusion!

 What did the animals in the jungle say to describe their kindhearted king of the beasts?

“He’s a dandy lion!”

Why weren’t any of the studios interested in a screenplay written by a gravedigger?

It was a basic cemetery plot!

Why did the confused accounts payable clerk insist on placing all of the company’s invoices onto soggy grass before processing payments?

He was told that no bills are to be paid until they are over dew!

What do you call two ticks trying to negotiate a deal?

Flea bargaining!

What do you call a locomotive with a brain?

A train of thought!

What did the condemned to death prisoner say to the governor when they crossed paths while walking past each other?

“Pardon me.”

 Can you guess the name of the new TV show about a lost wolf?

Where Wolf?

What did the frustrated TV repairman say to his customer after trying everything he knew to adjust the color on the television?

“It’s not me … so, it must be hue!”

 

 

A Business Blog Can’t Compete with Kim Kardashian’s Big Fat Ass!

 

JamesRothaar.com

The cover of Paper features Kim Kardashian’s big fat ass!

Many marketing firms claim that blogging is a smart way to spend time trying to grow a business. While blogging may draw attention to your company from around the world instantly, you need to ask yourself a question.

Why would anyone want to read your business’ blog, which focuses on the same old business principles that were found etched into walls of cave men’s dwellings, when they could instead be looking at Kim Kardashian’s ass?

This is my excuse for not blogging regularly. I cannot compete with Mrs. Kanye West’s baboon-size butt. More people are interested in looking at her rear end than they are in reading about my MBA-driven bottom-line analyses.

Listicles … Schmisticles!

Writing witty list articles on how to integrate vertical and horizontal markets; 10 ways to prepare for a meeting; five habits you need to incorporate into your daily routine; six ways to reach out to bloggers and journalists, or maximizing your time optimally with these seven tips do not hold a candle to Kim Kardashian’s two fleshy butt cheeks.

Maybe I am being overly cynical, but It would appear that the only businesses that do keep their blog current are those that are trying to sell blogging as one of their marketing services. And even those companies don’t always keep current blogs either (present company included, unfortunately).

Preaching vs. Practicing:

A market research study released in August 2013 by Passle, which is a UK-based firm that sells content marketing for businesses, reached Screen shot 2014-11-12 at 11.43.09 AMout to 802 marketing professionals of small- and medium-size firms to determine how many keep up with their blogs.

The “keep-up” status was based on whether these companies put up three blog posts within the past year. Seventy percent of the respondents conveyed that they were unable to maintain an updated blog. Upon reviewing this question, Passle then went out and asked 200 additional marketers of small- and medium-size companies if they had done 12 blog posts within the past 12 months; 71 percent reported they had not done so.

Bottom Line:

So, if blogging about a business works so well, how come most small to mid-size companies do not keep up with it? I am blaming Kim Kardashian’s fat ass. It is easier to do that than to figure out how to be consistent, engaging, informing, and entertaining. What is your excuse?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social Network for Affluent Costs $3,000 per Year

Netropolitan Club

Photo courtesy of Netropolitan Club.

In marketing terms, this story is an extreme example of price skimming in a market.

The Netropolitan Club is a social network that caters to rich people, according to its founder James Touchi-Peters.  Mr Peters, a music composer, a performer, and the former conductor of the Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra, recently told the the L.A. Times that he realizes that his lifestyle is far different than most people and that he wanted to create an environment where he and like-minded individuals could gather and talk about their shared interests, hobbies, and affairs without being criticized by others members for doing so.

The new social network for the rich began signing up members this past Tuesday. Unlike the most social networks, there is a fee to become a member of this one. There is a $6,000 initiation fee plus a $3,000 annual membership fee. While the founder compares it to Facebook, it is actually more akin to Google +. Members can login to the site and begin following members instead of reaching out and becoming their friends.  Discussing their latest experiential vacation, the newest yacht by Azimut, or when Bugatti is going to create its next million-dollar or more automobile could not be simpler. Members also will be in advertising-free network, as no soliciting is permitted.

Personally, I would rather buy a new water toy, take a really cool vacation, or just donate the money to charity rather than spending it to be part of an elite social network. But that is me, and people are entitled to spend their money their way. However, I do wonder if these wealthy individuals that want this type of social-network experience know that they already can have it on Facebook for free. All they need to do is set their security settings so that “friends only” could read their posts. It is the same thing  … but it is $9,000 cheaper. I guess I really don’t get it.

Kudos to the PR behind the Netropolitan Club, as this lighthearted story is making the rounds globally. It appeared on a segment ABC News in August and has been written about in both the L.A. Times and Entrepreneur magazine just this week.

Will Karl Lagerfeld’s ‘Hard-Copy-Only’ Publication Be Relevant to Market?

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock and JustLuxe.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock and JustLuxe.

Fashion designer extraordinaire Karl Lagerfeld recently announced that he is going into the newspaper business.

The Karl Daily is expected to launch later this month in Europe and Asia, according to Women’s Wear Daily. The publication, which is being touted by some as the soon-to-be-the-largest in the industry, will be available in only a hard-copy format. There will not be a digital version of TKD.

Lagerfeld told the WWD that he likes paper and is not really into social media. He says it is a joke of sorts.“I’m a paper freak,” he told WWD. “I think it’s fun, it’s modern, it’s not pretentious. It’s like a private joke.” That is great. Karl Lagerfeld is a billionaire. He can afford to be coy and cavalier.  Whether his newspaper succeeds or fails, it is probably not that important to him.

Will anyone but consummate industry insiders buy it and read it? Will it be a relevant product? Mr. Lagerfeld is going with his own tastes and preferences over the market’s expectations. This could turn out to be a joke that nobody (investors) finds very funny.

When he designs, his attitude and independent streak are what makes for  a winning model. However, when the public is  accustomed to digital publications that at least complement hard-copy formats of newspapers and magazines, this is risky business.

So, even if an fashion icon publishes a hard-copy newspaper about fashion that is worth reading, will anyone care?

Is Attention-Seeking Sports Uniform of Cycling Team PR Coup or Blunder?

colombia-womens-cyclingI double-checked to ensure that I was not reading The Onion, seeing an ad for a gentlemen’s club or that an NFL team’s cheerleaders just got a new uniformbefore commenting on these attention-snaring outfits of the Columbian’s women’s cycling team.

What blows the flame off my candle is that the design was approved in the first place. While there is no accounting for taste, there obviously  also was no allowance granted for decorum either. Why would a country do this to their female athletes? The men’s team uniform is styled similarly with the “naked” spot in the mid to lower regions.

NPR posted a photo of the Colombian men’s that was tweeted by the Columbian cycling program, Ultimo KIlometer that read, “it’s cycling, not fashion!” The tweet has been re-tweeted more than 11,000 times.

Granted there have been some fairly odd-looking uniforms designed for sports teams over the years. Blunders that would make you wonder and then some … but WTF were they thinking when they signed off on these uniforms?

Bad taste in uniforms usually means ugly colors or bad artwork … it is generally is not something viewed as being recklessly provocative looking as these.  Check out these snazzy sports uniforms from soccer, hockey, and baseball.

Stade

canadians

bucs