No time? Perhaps a two-letter word will help

Most frequently heard question: Do you have a minute?

Actually, no, I don’t have a minute. Neither do you. But what do we say? “Sure.”

The response is automatic. We’re being polite. We really do want to help and we’re convinced (even if secretly) that we’ve got the right answers. But all the while, we’re frustrated because, no, we don’t have a minute. Not right now certainly.

How about trying this instead: No, I don’t have a minute right now. But, I do have 15 minutes later today (or tomorrow or next week). Can you stop by at 3 p.m., and we can talk?

This works. Almost every “have-a-minute” request can be scheduled later at a time when you’re able to focus your undivided attention. If the “have-a-munute” is likely to be complicated, suggest sending a talking points note so you’ll be prepared.

Marla Tabaka, the Successful Soloist blogger for, offers three simple and exceptionally helpful tips for leaning to just say “no.”

Building an “umbrella” social media brand for your business outreach

Develop your umbrella brand. Start with a strong image.

Key West Realtor Brenda Donnelly owns two business brands: Island Homes Key West and Historic Key West Vacation Rentals. They serve different target markets, but the information needs of both clients often overlap. Donnelly sells homes, inns, bed-and-breakfasts and guesthouses. She also markets and manages high-end vacation rental properties. Her home buyers often start as vacation home renters. She also maintains a companion blog.

Although the two businesses are separate, it’s easy to see the ways in which a vacation rental can turn into a home purchase — a home that may return to the vacation rental market under Donnelly’s management. Each business feeds the other.

The challenge is establishing an “umbrella” social brand that allows Donnelly to connect with both target audiences. She needs to speak to the specific needs of each target audience while easing them between renting and owning — all without duplicating information or draining her time and resources.

So, we are creating an umbrella brand that she can use across both companies. We’re starting with one, highly identifiable icon coupled with a strong branding statement: Stay a week. Stay a month. Stay a lifetime. We’ll add streamlined social media accounts that can “push-pull” friends and members across both businesses’ websites. Next step: Creating customized, original website and social media content for both target audiences.

Don’t let social media kill your business

Six tips to grow, not kill, your business

You opened your business to make money and serve your customers. You’re not in business to “do” social media. But…. These days no business does business without a significant commitment to social media connections. So, you “get” a website. You “get” a blog. You “get” accounts for LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Klout, Instagram, and the ubiquitous Facebook.

Social media management becomes a major time drain and you who always hated writing term papers in school find yourself scrambling to write blog posts. For every minute you’re managing social media, your clients are waiting for your return phone call. And, you’ve begun to swear.

If that sounds familiar, here are six tips to ensure social media helps you grow business, not kill it:

  1. Clarify what you want to do
  2. Consolidate. Organize your web work
  3. Do it once; use it twice
  4. Put it on your calendar
  5. Outsource the writing
  6. Keep it simple. Invest a little; learn a lot



McCormick Foundation recognizes Key West Watch biz plan

Key West Watch was named one of three runners-up in the annual McCormick Foundation New Media Women Entrepreneurs Initiative. The program, which awards grants to start-up companies owned by women, this week recognized four winners and three runners-up from a field of 227 applications.

Being a runner-up on this list is a very big deal. Competition for the grant program is fierce. To make it to that final round is pretty darn sweet. I’ve worked on the Key West business plan since 2007, when it was nothing more than a napkin and some scribbles. I’ve believed in it, and to have that plan recognized as one that’s got the legs to make it, is, well, way cool.

The top four projects split $56,000 in grants; we remaining three get bragging rights, and clearly, I am taking advantage.

This puts Key West Watch in amazing company with six other women-owned projects Projects like these demonstrate the diversity, power and effectiveness of women in business. It is a humbling experience to share a list with them. (And, I’ve invited them all to Key West next year for an anniversary celebration.”

Read more about the awards and the winners.

Here’s the list of winners from yesterday’s news release:

The winners are:

  •, an ambitious effort launched by former New York Times editor Jeanne Pinder to do what many thought couldn’t be done: bring transparency to health-care costs by helping consumers compare significant variations in local prices for the same medical procedures.
  • Symbolia, a tablet magazine spearheaded by media strategist Erin Polgreen that will blend investigative journalism with comics and illustration.
  • Carolina Public Press, a non-profit, in-depth, investigative news site for western North Carolina, launched by journalist Angie Newsome.
  • The Seattle Lesbian, a daily news site started by two journalists, Sarah Toce and Charlene Strong, who aspire to roll their initial success with news and traffic to a national network of sites.

Runners-up included:

  • Florida Voices, a digital opinion and commentary project to capture the conversations on state issues.
  • Key West Watch, a web, print and social media initiative to connect off-island Key West homeowners to news and public policy decisions that affect island life.
  • The FilAm, an online magazine for Filipinos in New York.

Winding down beta testing

This is the final week for this beta version of Key West Watch. For the next few months, I’m going behind the scene, so to speak, to build the integrated architecture that will support the company. While the WordPress platform and various social media programs can do a lot, they can’t support the entire operation — especially Key West Watch @ Home and the print products.

That means it’s time to build out as the central CMS, and from there I can feed and support mobile, paper and extensive galleries, calendars and news content.

Building the website will be a challenge. I have partnered with ELCInnovations to do the build. First step will be the content map, then the site map — and then build and integrate the subscription-based Key West Watch @ Home service that will be the primary revenue driver.

Knowing how these things work, that architecture build will take three to six months and I’ll be working on “evergreen” content during that time. And, I’ll complete the marketing and revenue plans.

Three things I’ve learned over 40 years in the information business: Without strong, updated, important and useful content, you die; (2) without an exceptional, consistent print-web-broadcast marketing strategy, you never get born; and (3) without revenue you don’t live long.

Assuming all comes together, then we should launch the company in the late summer or early fall of 2012.

I’ll post occasionally just to keep my hand in, so check back on my progress. And, thanks to my those who are my “charter members.” Your support is important.

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