Want to Read She’s On Her Toes on Kindle? Now You Can!

Big things happening with She’s on Her Toes!  Hopefully you’ve seen that my book, She’s On Her Toes: How I Started A Business, Expanded It, Almost Lost It, and Got Back On My Toes is available for sale on Amazon and in my Pure Barre studios.

But now … you can read it on Kindle too!  If you’re interested in a great beach read …

Click here to purchase for your Kindle. 

Click here to purchase a paperback copy on Amazon.

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What I’m Packing for Vancouver

I’m headed to Vancouver, Canada in a few weeks and for some reason it seems appropriate to start thinking about what to pack.  Typically, I’d wake up the morning of my flight and put everything in my suitcase, but I’m attending a conference with my business coach, and it’s definitely important to be prepared.  We’re going to the ActionCOACH Global Conference—I was invited to attend because I won an award at the North American Conference back in February (read about it here).  So, this time around I’m going to be ready!

For starters, they keep the conference rooms f—king freezing.  Layers are a must—and that was an area I struggled with at the last conference.  This time I’m going to be prepared!  I’m packing a few scarves, t-shirts, and cardigans.  Did you know the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is going on?  Check out some great layering pieces that I’ll be packing:

Treasure & Bond, Plaid Blanket Wrap ($29.90, regularly $45.00)

I love a scarf!  I just can’t help it.  Summer, Winter, Spring, Fall—you can always wear a scarf.  And whoever came up with the idea of a blanket scarf or wrap was really onto something, because it opens up the possibilities for use.  I can use this as a blanket or pillow on the plane.  I can wrap it a zillion ways to stay warm in the conference room.  And I can definitely wear it when I get back all Fall and Winter.  Sold.

Treasure & Bond Blanket Wrap

 

Halogen Lightweight Tie Sleeve Cardigan ($69.00)

If I have a great scarf and some t-shirts, my next layer should be a cardigan or light sweater.  Easy to layer up or take off if it’s too hot.  Alas, this cardigan isn’t on sale, but the price is great and something tells me it won’t be in stock for long.  How cute are the sleeves?!  I’m loving black (of course) and the Purple Plum color.

Tie Sleeve Cardigan

 

Gibson Convertible Neckline Cozy Fleece Tunic ($54.00)

I promise I have some sale recommendations!  But I’m loving that this sweater can be worn 2 different ways.  I could wear it as a cowl neck tunic sweater for the conference and then wear it off-shoulder to go out at night.

 

Hinge Tie Back Cardigan ($41.41, regularly $69.00)

Ok, this is on sale and super cute.  I’m loving the tie in the back!  After the conference, I’m definitely wearing this out to meet friends for coffee and drinks.  How cute would it be with the blanket scarf?

Hinge Tie Back Cardigan

 

But no travel outfit is complete without a great pair of pants.  Of course, I’m wearing leggings just about 24-hours a day, but occasionally I switch it up and wear … jeans.  I know that some people disagree about jeans in a professional setting but I’m pretty sure they’re still stuck in a corporate job working behind a desk and miserable—so I’ll keep wearing jeans.  I think as a small business owner of 5 years, I’ve earned the right.  And … lucky day!  The jeans I wear from Paige are currently on sale 33%.  They’re never on sale, so this is a great time to get an extra pair or try a new wash.

Paige Transcend – Verdugo Ankle Skinny Jeans ($131.34, regularly $199.00)

Paige Jeans

 

Finally, when attending any conference, you’ve got to have the right supplies.  Pens, pencils, notebooks—my Day Designer, of course.  I like to get a new notebook for each conference, that way I can file it and return back to the ideas later.  If I try and take conference notes in my daily notebook, they somehow get lost or thrown out.

When I first worked in investment banking, I was super conscious of my supplies being too girly.  But, then I got over it.  Get something fun that will keep you engaged!  I’m not sure I can do glitter notebooks, but this pink notebook with the rose is really pretty (it will also be easy to find if my desk gets cluttered, oops) and I’m loving this classic marble journal from Target.

Ban.do Whatcha thinkin’ bout? Journal ($8.40, regularly $14.00)

Nordstrom Journal

Target, Marble Journal ($6.99)

 I think that’s a good start to my packing!  But maybe I need a few more scarves …

Thank you to everyone who has bought my book, She’s On Her Toes!  I’ve received some great messages from you and really appreciate you reaching out.  It makes me so happy you’ve enjoyed the book and its message.  If you haven’t purchased, check it out here.

Until then, stay on your toes!

When Things Seem Out of Your Control in Business

“It’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”  -Chinese Proverb

One of the most difficult things about being a business owner is accepting the fact that a lot of things impacting your business are completely out of your control.  Things like the weather, the economy, a catastrophic event, or overall trends in your industry can all have a huge impact on your business and there’s not a damn thing you can do about any of them.

I myself, experienced a period about a year ago when everything in my business seemed out of control (read about it here).  I’m not going to lie, it was an extremely scary time and at one point, I thought I would lose everything—as we all know, the exact opposite happened.  But as a business owner, how do you cope with that uncertainty?  When things seem out of your control in business, how can you remain calm to make sound decisions when all you’re thinking is, “I’m scared.”

I was in my studios working this weekend, and stopped to re-read an article that appeared in the local newspaper about 5 years ago featuring Pure Barre Winston-Salem.  I framed it; walk by it every day, but I haven’t read it since I hung it on the wall.  The article discussed the “new” trend of the importance of working out and how local residents were now placing value on health and fitness.  Now, in most places the subject of this article might not even be news-worthy.  But since Winston-Salem serves as the corporate headquarters for both RJ Reynolds (think Reynolds Tobacco) and Krispy Kreme doughnuts, a focus on fitness in the community seemed important to discuss.

The article listed several big box gyms and a few smaller boutique fitness studios in the area for readers to check out and start their new fitness journey.  Of the 10 listed, only 3 are still open … my business, the YMCA, and a Crossfit gym (owned by good friends of mine).  Wow.  The Y’s not going anywhere, so what special secret had my friends and I found to stay in business?  I can’t speak for my friends, but I guess I do have “secret” for coping with and managing things that are out of my control … I don’t worry about them.

Instead, I think about all the things that are within my control.  I focus my efforts working ONLY on those things that I can control.

Oh man, are you confused after reading that?  It really is that simple.

I can’t control the weather.  I can’t control the economy or the aftermath of the 2016 Election.  I can’t control if one of my employees sleeps in and doesn’t show up to teach.  I can’t control if someone sees how great my studios are and decides to open a competing business.  And I definitely can’t control if my clients would rather eat Krispy Kreme doughnuts instead of drinking green juice and eating vegan, non-dairy desserts.

But I CAN control how I REACT to all of these things.

I try not to get sidelined by problems.  Instead, I try to jump straight to thinking about their solutions.

Turning problems on their head and re-focusing your energy towards finding solutions takes some practice.  For most people—including me before I adopted this way of thinking—this also requires a total mental shift.  Why?  Because it’s easy to be negative and complain about all the things that go wrong in your business.  It’s a lot more difficult to take the time to find a solution, create a plan, and stay disciplined while executing that plan.

Does this mean I’m never frustrated with how things are going in my business?  Of course not.  In fact, I get frustrated and mad about my business all the time.  I have a rule.  I can only stay angry about something for one day.  After that, I have to move on and solve the problem or just let it go.  And if the first solution I come up with doesn’t work, then I try something else.  This is why I love working for myself—when you are constantly challenged to solve problems and find solutions, it’s pretty rewarding to add up all of your accomplishments.  The studios probably average about 1-2 problems each day we’re open, and after five years, that’s about 3,650 solutions found.  That’s a lot of accomplishments.  No wonder I feel like it’s time for a vacation!

If you find yourself stuck in the vicious circle of negative thinking because things just feel out of control in your business, take a step back and start to think about what you can control—your reaction to what’s going on around you.  Focus on improving yourself as a manager.  Focus on only working on what you can control and see what happens … You might just create some light in all that darkness.

Until then, stay on your toes!

Did you see my book’s on Amazon?  Check it out here:

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Y’all, My Book’s On Amazon!

Y’all!  After much anticipation, my book has made it to Amazon.  Yippee!

If you’ve enjoyed the blog, you’ll love the book of the same name, She’s On Her Toes, where I give advice on how to run a successful boutique fitness studio by hiring and training a rock star team as well as developing your own personal leadership.  Even if you don’t own a fitness studio, you can still apply all of the principles discussed to your business for a huge impact.

Through strategies, case studies, and personal anecdotes, I’ll walk you through how to:

  • identify and hire committed employees,
  • practice stable management techniques,
  • effectively lead your team to success,
  • run your organization with minimum stress,
  • recognize when it’s time to expand, and
  • grow your business into something amazing!

I’ll also tell you how I started my business, expanded it, almost lost it, and got back on my toes … It’s been a crazy journey, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Buy She’s On Her Toes here.

Enjoy!

My Employees Don’t Need Me Anymore. What’s Next?

Yesterday, I walked into one of my studios and my manager told me she was working on our August schedule.  Great.  I sat down expecting to be asked a question about how to do something or to help her out with a problem.  Instead, she told me she didn’t need me to work that much in the studio or to teach.  I was immediately filled with mixed emotions.  I was so happy that she had things under control, but I was also a little sad.  My business has taken a lot of my time and energy—ok, almost all of my time and energy since I opened my first location.  What am I supposed to do now?

I’ve been asking myself “What’s next?” a lot recently.  My business turned 5.  I wrote a book and am anxiously awaiting the final steps in the publishing process—so close, about a week left until the book is available for sale!  I’ve hired a great manager and now an assistant manager, and will be focusing on training them to run the studios on a day-to-day basis.  So, what am I going to do now?  How will I occupy all this new-found time?

While I’ll always be involved in my studios to some degree, I’m thinking about starting another business and entering the ranks of serial entrepreneurs.  I’m still in the discovery phase and not ready to announce what I’m planning, but when you are your own boss, it’s important to diversify your revenue and protect yourself financially.  So, if starting a business is risky, why would owning multiple businesses be better than owning one?

You Won’t Be Starting from Scratch

If you started one business, find a second that complements your existing business, so you won’t be starting from scratch trying to build a brand-new client base—sell to your existing list. My next potential business endeavor is very complementary to my Pure Barre studios.  In fact, it’s the same business model of working to get every client on a membership to earn reoccurring, predictable revenue each month.  That’s what I know how to do—create a sales process that works to convert first-time clients into members and create an environment that people want to keep coming back to visit day-after-day, week-after-week, and in a lot of cases year-after-year.

My clients will also be very interested in this potential business idea and will most likely want to try it out (just an FYI, it’s not fitness).  Starting any business is difficult and challenging, but if you already know who your client is, where they live, where they hang out, and that they already support your existing business, chances are they’ll be interested in checking out your next business, which means you won’t have to build an entirely new client base from scratch.

Diversifying Revenue Protects You Financially

Financial advisors are always telling investors to diversify their holdings, meaning don’t put all your money in one investment, especially don’t put all your investment savings in the company you work for.  The same is true for businesses—if you can start one business, get it established and find a trusted manager and rock star team to help you run it, starting another business will help diversify your income like you’ve been advised to diversify your investment portfolio.

There are two ways to diversify one’s income, active and passive.  You can actively start another business or get a second job to earn income.  Or you can earn income passively, by renting real estate, selling a book, or adding dividend-earning stocks to your portfolio—you’re not actively working towards earning the money, this income is just showing up into your bank account.  Earning both active and passive income is a great way to diversify and protect yourself financially, especially if your business is cyclical.

You’ll Never Be Bored

By starting another business, you’ll get to learn new skills, solve new problems, and expand your capabilities as an entrepreneur.  With all these new challenges in store, you’ll never be bored and will always be learning.  Besides the obvious personal and leadership development, starting another business can also expand your network and possibly lead to other opportunities to serve in your community.  All exciting!

I don’t know about you, but the more I have going on, the more I can get accomplished.  Since I have a great manager and rock star team to help me run my studios each day, it’s time to start looking at my next opportunity.  I mean, when your employees tell you they don’t need you anymore, I guess you have no other choice but to listen!  But they’ll always need me to sign their paychecks …

I’ve been reading several of Tony Robbins’ books, so I’ll give you a run-down on them in my post on Thursday.  I might even have another update for my own book.  Eek!

And on Friday, the start of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, I’ll share some of my top picks for Fall boots—because it’s never too early to make your Fall boot purchases.

Until then, stay on your toes!

Best Way to Drink Your Veggies … And My Book!

I was going to write a whole post on juice, but then my book showed up!  So here’s my favorite green juice recipe …

Green Juice

1 cup spinach

2 cups kale

2 cups parsley

1 cucumber

3 celery stalks

This is the cold-pressed juicer I bought and use to make juice (making carrot-ginger juice in the picture):

SKG Wide Chute Anti-Oxidation Slow Masticating Juicer

 

 She's On Her Toes

And you’ll need glass bottles to store your juice:

Epica 18-oz. Glass Beverage Bottles, Set of 6

But …

Check out my book!  I’m so excited!  Just a few more weeks and then it will be available for purchase on Amazon and Kindle.  What do you think?!

She's On Her Toes Cover and Interior

Seeking Health & Wealth Mastery

I’ve been thinking about how health and wealth are intertwined—you really can’t have one without the other.  If you’re in poor health you can’t enjoy a good quality of life or enjoy even the basic things that most of us would define as “fun.”  Conversely, without wealth, or abundance, you’ll have difficulty reaching a state of feeling healthy, strong and confident about where you are in life.  Without health, you won’t have a wealth of amazing life experiences.  Without wealth, you’ll struggle to reach a healthy state defined as “feeling good” both in mind and body.  So why does it seem so difficult to have both at the same time?

There have definitely been times throughout my working life when I put wealth (monetary gains and career advancement) above my health.  When I worked in investment banking I worked 70-80 hours a week.  I ate all my meals at the office and was lucky to sleep 3-4 hours a night.  A week was deemed “good” if I left the office before midnight on Sunday—that meant I would get a decent night’s sleep, spend some time with my dogs, and have a chance to pack a lunch with real food to start out Monday.  Living such an intense life with little sleep takes its toll—my health suffered and I rarely found time to spend with my friends and family, but I was killing it at work.

Similarly, when I opened my first Pure Barre studio five years ago, I had to work all the time.  That’s what you do when you start a business.  There’s lots to complete to build a business.  Today, there is still plenty to accomplish—we have a new cardio class launching on Monday, August 14th called, Empower, so I have to learn how to teach it; I just hired some new teachers and they have to complete their training; we are approaching our busy Fall season and I have to prepare so we can maximize those opportunities to reach new clients; and … my book is almost finished—just a few more important decisions to make before it will be ready for sale.  But even with that swirl of activity, I’m sleeping 7-8 hours each night, eating well, maintaining a great social life and even starting the process to open another business (that’s top secret for now).  So, what’s the difference?  How am I managing to at least attempt the balance between health and wealth?

I think it all boils down to setting priorities and thinking creatively to reach those goals.  Sure, because I’m my own boss, I have more flexibility to choose where and when I work.  But I’ve found a few tools that have helped me become more efficient including time blocking, creating a Power List, and focusing on one thing at a time (there is no such thing as multi-tasking).

Time Blocking

The concept of time blocking is pretty simple.  You create blocks of time to get your most important tasks completed first and then everything else gets done at the end of the day.  Each night you also set aside a block of time to plan your next day and ensure your top priorities are actually tasks that will help you reach your broader goals.   Planning the night before means that these top priorities are just in fact that—top priorities not just line items on a list.

If you get to the most important stuff first thing, you’ll actually get it done.  You won’t run the risk of being sidetracked or getting tired in the afternoon and not finishing the things that are most important.

Maybe you’ve noticed that I tend to post new blogs really early in the morning—usually at 5:00 AM—but sometimes the posts are later, like 6:00 or 7:00 AM (like today, ah!).  If I couldn’t make time to write first thing in the morning, I run out of steam by the afternoon to write and then I’m off schedule posting.  It’s all about blocking out the time for what’s most important when you’re freshest and capable of working at your best.

To work smarter, you’ll have to build a better to-do list by making your to-do’s things that are actually important and help you accomplish your goals.

The Power List

If you struggle to develop good, lasting habits, then creating a Power List of your priorities is a powerful tool.  The Power List is all about narrowing down to 3-5 activities that you want to incorporate into your life to improve it.  You have to keep the list small and focused because the idea is to actually get everything completed, every single day.  Then, when your Power List becomes habit and you don’t have to actively think about completing your tasks, you can move onto new Power List items and keep growing.

The Power List should be comprised of things that are important to you to create your best self.  Activities like reading 10+ pages a day, writing, working out, eating balanced meals and snacks, spending time outside, etc. … The Power List should not include things you have to do every day, like going to the grocery store, brushing your teeth, or getting to work on time.  Creating a Power List is all about focusing on a few small changes, mastering them, and building good, lasting habits.

Focus on One Thing

Have you fallen victim of the multitasking myth?  Do you actually believe that you can do more than one thing at a time and do each to the best of your ability?

Multitasking is not a strength.  And the ability to multitask should never be used to determine which candidate to hire for a position.  In order to be your most productive it’s important to pick one thing and do it well.  Then move onto the next.

“Multitasking is merely the opportunity to screw up more than one thing at a time.”

–Steve Uzzell, Award-winning photographer, speaker and author

I love this quote because it’s 100% true and a critical component to finding health and wealth simultaneously.  Don’t screw things up.  Focus on one thing at a time.

Fortunately, you don’t have to sacrifice productivity to have both health and wealth in your life.  It’s just about working a little smarter to prioritize what’s actually important to you.  Using the tools of time blocking, creating a daily Power List, and avoiding multi-tasking to manage your time can greatly increase your chances of achieving health and wealth.

But is there anything else you can do to get to health and wealth mastery?  Sure!  Eat better.  Specifically, eat more veggies.  But that’s so lame.  Those in the know drink their veggies in cold-pressed juice or smoothies.  Tomorrow, I’ll share my favorite recipes and tools for making great-tasting juices and smoothies.

Until then, stay on your toes!

Top Trends You Need to Know About Now In Health & Fitness

In the very dynamic health and fitness industry, the “next best thing” seems to be popping up on a daily basis.  It’s hard to separate fad from something that will last and often-times experts disagree on what is healthy or not.  It can be really confusing.  The bottom line is, living a health-focused life isn’t going away anytime soon, so the more you can create a health-focused business, the better you can serve your clients.

But despite all the confusion, there are a few trends in the industry that are worth taking note.  Specifically, the use of natural remedies to treat the source of disease as opposed to managing symptoms once diagnosed, taking your workouts with you always including while on vacation, and tracking your fitness progress with wearable technology.

Using Turmeric to Fight Inflammation

Turmeric isn’t just a key component to Indian food anymore—it’s one of the best ways to naturally fight inflammation in the body.  Diseases including arthritis, heart disease, asthma, diabetes, and cancer are all believed to be caused by chronic inflammation in the body—oh, and general muscle soreness is also the result of inflammation, although this is the less serious kind called, acute inflammation, which eventually goes away.

The active substance found in Turmeric called curcumin, is what makes the herb so powerful and anti-inflammatory.  I’ve been taking Turmeric daily for about nine months and have experienced some great results including less muscle soreness after working out and quicker recovery in between workouts, almost no headaches or migraines, and the chronic pain in my lower back has almost gone away (sometimes when I push my workouts or sit for a long period of time with bad posture, it comes back briefly).  I’ve been using Youtheory Turmeric capsules that I buy at Costco or here on Amazon.  This particular brand also contains a black pepper which improves the absorbability of the turmeric into the body.  Turmeric can be a little messy (it stains), so I find the capsules to be really easy to take, but there are also great recipes for turmeric teas and the this one for a turmeric latte, that will help you get more turmeric into your diet.

Folks, I am not a doctor, and simply informing you of something that has been working for me, personally.   I checked with my doctor before taking turmeric, so you’ll always want to check with your own doctor before taking any supplements to make sure they won’t cause you adverse side-effects or interfere with your prescribed medications!

Staying Fit on Vacation

Ever go on vacation and come back dreading getting back into your daily healthy routine of clean eating and regular exercise?  Me too!  More and more people are choosing to plan vacations with their health in mind including staying on track with their eating and exercise while away from home.  And more companies are starting to take note … The Westin hotels has a partnership with New Balance so you can borrow workout clothing and shoes and some rooms event have Peloton bikes to log a few rides during your stay.

Pure Barre has always been easy to take “on the go” because there is little-to no equipment involved.  You could really complete a Pure Barre workout anywhere you can keep your balance!  But now Pure Barre has made it even easier to keep up with classes with the new Pure Barre On-Demand (PBOD) streaming service.  Simply log on and follow along for classes of 5, 10, 15, 30, 45 and 55+ minutes.  The best part … PBOD is available for every client with a 12-month membership at no additional cost.  How fun will it be to log on your phone and take a class at the beach?  Or get invigorated with a quick workout in your hotel before a work presentation?  PBOD won’t include your favorite teacher driving you to work just a little harder with that subtle correction, but it’s a great way to add more value to your membership and keep your workout routine away from the studio more consistent.

Taking Collagen for Joint Health and Better Skin

Collagen is another supplement that has incredible health benefits but also makes you look great too.  Um, yes, please!  After taking collagen for about a month, I’m convinced it must be the secret of every actress that looks amazingly youthful.  Again, you’ll want to consult your doctor before taking any supplements—what works for one person might not be the best thing for you.

Collagen is what gives your skin strength and elasticity—it’s also the “glue” that supports your joints and tendons keeping your body together.  Pretty important stuff.  Collagen is naturally produced in your body, but unfortunately, as you age, that production slows down.  In fact, your collagen production starts slowing in your 20’s and you can lose up to 1% a year going forward.  After a while, that can really add up and you’ll start to see visible signs including wrinkles, less firm skin, and creaky joints.

It’s easy to take a collagen supplement in pill form or get a powder to mix into coffee or smoothies.  I use this one from YouTheory that I buy at Costco or you can get on Amazon. You can also naturally ingest collagen through bone broth—which you can also get at many grocery stores and Costco.  It’s right by the chicken stock.

After taking collagen for a month, I’ve experienced greater recovery between workouts.  I’ve actually been pushing my workouts over the last month and feeling really good especially with my shoulder injury—no re-injury or pain through my shoulder.  But let me tell you about my skin and hair.  OMG.  My hair is out of control—it’s grown at least 3 inches yet is somehow fuller.  I’ve also received several compliments on my skin.  Some scar tissue I have has really improved in appearance as well.  Again, check with your doctor to see if adding a collagen supplement is right for you.

Wearable Technology to Track Workout Progress

It seems like just about everyone has an iWatch or FitBit to track their workouts.  Wearing a heartrate monitor is a great way to measure the intensity of your workout, keep track of daily activity, and calories burned.  But what do you do with all that information?  And what zone should your heart rate be in when you work out?  Pure Barre is actually launching a brand-new cardio-based class in August, and one of our clients, Dr. Joey Christiano with Wake Forest Baptist Health, as graciously offered to educate us about how to properly track your heart rate and use heart rate as a measure for your workouts.  Dr. Christiano will be at Pure Barre Winston-Salem on Monday, August 14th in the evening and at Pure Barre Clemmons on Tuesday, August 15th in the evening (we’ll announce the exact times in a few weeks).

One of the great things about owning a fitness studio is that the industry is always changing and evolving.  That keeps things exciting, but with change sometimes comes confusion about what trends will become widely accepted and what trends will simply fade away.  The use of natural remedies to treat the source of disease as opposed to managing symptoms once diagnosed, taking your workouts with you always including while on vacation, and tracking your fitness progress with wearable technology all seem built-to-last.  At a minimum, you might want to at least do some research on and see if they’d be of benefit to you.

I cannot stress enough that you shouldn’t just start taking supplements without consulting your doctor, so make sure you take that step before adding any new supplements to your diet.

On Thursday, I’ll be writing about health and wealth—is there a correlation?  How can you ensure both?  And then on Friday, I’ll share how I’m eating more veggies—by drinking them!  I’ll share some great smoothie and cold-pressed juice recipes.

Until then, stay on your toes!

My Top Picks for a Crossbody Bag

When I worked in investment banking, I travelled every couple of weeks and was well-prepared for each trip.  I had a great bag that was easy to keep my wallet, parking ticket, phone and keys organized so there was never a freak-out moment of, “Where’s my (fill in the blank)!”

But when I opened my business, my travel bag wasn’t so useful and got replaced with a larger work bag to fit my computer, files, water bottle, extra charger, and a host of other office supplies that I lugg around from studio to studio and meeting to meeting.

I’m back to traveling more—just got back from a meeting in Denver and have trips scheduled to Vancouver, BC and Phoenix, AZ over the next few months—so it’s time to find another crossbody bag to keep my travel essentials secure and accessible.  The goal is to get a bag that will be nice enough to carry out in the evening, but casual enough to carry through the airport wearing jeans.  I’ve narrowed it down to the following (a few are on sale!):

Tory Burch Fleming Swingpack Crossbody Bag ($428.00):  OMG.  I think I’m in love.  This bag is waaaay more than I wanted to spend, but I’m a true believer in buying one quality piece and using it every day for years until it’s time to be replaced with another quality piece.  I really like that this bag could be worn on the shoulder and as a crossbody bag.  And totally love the detail and chain handles.  I already have a Tory wallet that will match with this, so I’m going to keep thinking about it.

Tory Burch Crossbody Bag

Rebecca Minkoff Chevron Quilted Love Crossbody Bag (on sale $176.98) and Rebecca Minkoff Mini Feed Unlined Bag (on sale $116.98):  I really like a white or neutral bag in the summer, and these are on sale right now—definitely more in my budget.

 

Rebecca Minkoff Crossbody 1

Rebecca Minkoff Crossbody 2

Street Level Faux Leather Crossbody Bag ($52.00):  I wasn’t thinking about a backpack, but this bag is in contention.  The price is right.  I love the color and that there are multiple pockets to keep my phone and tickets at easy reach.  This might be the winner.

Street Level Crossbody

 

Vince Camuto Gally Leather Crossbody Bag (on sale $105.86):  Loving that this is a great, basic crossbody bag that will go with anything.  It’s also real leather and could easily be used during the day or dressed up at night.

Vince Camuto Crossbody

 

 

What do you think?!  I’m kind of thinking the Street Level backpack is going to be a great choice.  Still pondering the Tory Burch bag though.  So many choices!  Let me know if you have any suggestions.  Definitely looking forward to having this bag on my trip to Vancouver later this summer!

Next week, I’m back to my regular posting schedule of Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.  I’ll discuss more about what’s trending in the health and fitness industry and why you should make health your business.  I’ll also delve into whether it’s possible to have wealth without health—um, probably not!  And finally, we’re getting deeper into our Pure Health Challenge, so eating your veggies is key.  But what about drinking them?  I’ll share some great smoothies and how I make cold-pressed juice at home.

Until then, stay on your toes!

 

How to Form the Right Strategic Partnerships for Your Business

At the beginning of your business lifecycle, you’re just living day-to-day, constantly putting out fires or just able to focus on accomplishing what’s directly in front of you.  But as you hire and develop a team of great employees, you can start to think and interact beyond the walls of your business.  Maybe you start to meet and socialize with other business owners.  Maybe these other business owners have a similar client base to your own—wouldn’t it be great to work together and join forces to market both businesses together?!  Maybe, or maybe not.  Working with another business, or forming a strategic partnership, to reach a similar client base can be a great business tool or a colossal headache.  Does it make sense to create a strategic partnership and link your business to another?  Ask yourself these 3 questions:

Will both businesses receive equal benefit from the partnership?

This is the most important question to ask yourself when looking to partner with another business.  If both of your businesses won’t equally benefit from working together, then it can’t really be called a “partnership.”  Now that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t figure out a way to work together, but a true strategic partnership is mutually beneficial for both parties and not a one-sided endeavor.

Signs that you’re not entering into a strategic partnership:

  1. You will be spending money on an event or promotion to benefit both of your businesses, and the other business will not be sharing the expenses, or vice versa.
  2. You and your team do most of the labor to organize an event or promotion and the other business does not, or vice versa.
  3. Your business receives a disproportionate amount of leads from an event or promotion and the other business does not, or vice versa.
  4. You put your business at legal risk forming this partnership–if you answer “yes” to this question, no need to bother asking any other questions.  No partnership should put your business at risk.  It’s a no-go.

We just had a great event partnering with Village Juice, an amazing restaurant serving cold-pressed juices, smoothies, salads, and toasts.  Everything served is clean—meaning no artificial ingredients.  As their website says, “We believe real food doesn’t contain ingredients, it is ingredients.”  Since we’re in the middle of the Pure Health Challenge (Literally half-way done!), having an outdoor class at Village Juice was a great way to get my clients together for a fun class, drink and eat some healthy, tasty food, and socialize after.  Both businesses received an equal benefit from this partnership—Lonnie, the owner of Village Juice, was assured a packed house on Sunday morning after class and we had a great event venue and a chance to refuel with clean food which will promote better post-workout results.  Both businesses also got a chance to show potential new clients what we’re all about.  A partnership at its best!

Unfortunately, not every partnership is as well-paired as ours with Village Juice.  One time, the studio was asked to have an off-site class at another popular local business.  We spent a lot of money to rent equipment and market the event.  We also closed our studio to encourage people to attend what was billed as a special and unique off-site class.  We taught the class—doing most of the labor.  Unfortunately, the other business didn’t do any marketing to their own clients (even though they had agreed to) and the only people who showed up were invited because we had told them about the event.  So, we closed the studio, invited all the people in attendance, did all the work, and the other business had a huge sales night.  We unfortunately, got very little benefit from the experience, other than knowing that we’ll never schedule another event like that again.  Does this mean that I wouldn’t work with this business again?  No!  I’d be happy to go back and teach a class at any future event they’d like to schedule—for a fee.  If they wanted to host a class in the future, I would require a fee to teach the class and they would be responsible for all of the marketing to build attendance.  Why did this experience lead to a failed partnership?  Perhaps it’s because we really aren’t trying to reach the same client base.

Are both businesses really trying to reach the same client base? 

To get the most from a strategic partnership, you’ll want to determine if your potential partner is really trying to reach the same client base as you are.  So, go ahead and ask them: “Who is your ideal client?  I just want to a make sure we’re going to be putting our efforts towards the same goal.”  If your potential partner is actually trying to reach a new demographic by working with you, perhaps you would be better-served to forgo this pairing.  Why?  See above.  If you end up spending more money and more time to get less than the other business, then you don’t have a great fit for a strategic partnership.   This leads us to the importance of setting expectations for any future partnerships.

Do both businesses have the same expectation about the goals of partnership?

The best strategic partnerships occur when both parties take their time to establish the primary goals and direction of the partnership.  I am really excited about a new partnership that Pure Barre Winston-Salem and Pure Barre Clemmons has formed with Fleet Feet Sports of Winston-Salem.  During the month of November, Pure Barre will be part of Fleet Feet’s Living Fit Series and have 4, 45-minute classes at Fleet Feet on Monday’s at 6:00 PM.  Pure Barre is a great cross-train for running and we recently created a package specifically for runners or those who like to cross-train—Flex Barre, which is 4 classes a month for $69.  This package is great for anyone who is running or doing other cross-training, but still wants to add Pure Barre for a low-impact strength training exercise.

Before we both agreed to this series of events, I met with Stacie, Director of Training Programs at Fleet Feet, to discuss how working together could directly benefit both businesses and what our goals and expectations of the events were.  Stacie was interested in providing a great cross-train for their running community during the colder “off-season.”  Although, is there any off-season for runners?!

Since we now have our Flex Barre package, I was interested in reaching out to introduce Pure Barre to more people in the running community.  Most importantly, both Pure Barre and Fleet Feet are constantly seeking to offer their clients a quality experience.  Our main goal at each business is to build a great brand that is synonymous with quality and excellence.  I can’t wait to update you on how this partnership goes.  I think it will be really fun and exciting!  Who knows, maybe those runners will inspire me to do a little cross-train—or at least get some new shoes.

Hopefully you’ve noticed that each of these 3 questions build off of one another.  You really need to ask all 3 to get to the answer of whether a potential strategic partnership is a good fit for you and your business.  Don’t be afraid to ask direct questions.  If you ask a question and the answer is a little shaky or vague, think about that and whether it’s a sign that the proposed partnership is not necessarily going to benefit your existing clients or allow you to gain access to new clients.

Partnerships can be a great business tool, but if they don’t work out, you might feel taken advantage of or angry that your expectations weren’t met.  I’ve partnered with other businesses with great success and unfortunately had some less stellar outcomes.  Sometimes it’s important to take the risk and see what happens, but a little preparation and definition of what each potential partner is seeking can go a long way to serving the needs of both businesses.

I’ve been able to travel more recently—which has been great!  But I’m finding that I need to get back to having great accessories to make travel easier—like a cross-body bag.  I’ve been looking at some options and I’ll give you my top picks on Friday.  Hopefully I can make a final decision by then!

Until then, stay on your toes!