I recently went on vacation and used a tour company.  The trip started in Paris, the first time I have ever been there and I wanted to make the most of it.  According to the brochure the hotels were, “handpicked” and in central locations.  Paris has 20 different neighborhoods which are called arrondissements.  The tourist locations which are ideal are between one through eight.

My hotel was in arrondissement 19, which means I was in the middle of nowhere.  It would take more than 2 changes on the metro to get into Paris proper and over 30 minutes.  The distance was not the only issue.  Two words: powdered eggs.

In a country that is home to the omlette, breakfast was a continental one with breads and meats and scrambled eggs. The scrambled eggs were suspiciously runny. It was then that someone in our group identified them as being powdered eggs.

Sure, I understand that the hotel is trying to make a profit and a way to save money is to buy powdered eggs and add water. Voila! Let’s fool the travelers.  (I am not going to talk about the dirty sheets.)

In the end, the tour company stressed completing the feedback form because, “we do listen.”

I have not heard from the tour company.  Actually, I did. They sent me a brochure.

If you are going to ask for feedback or ask for a completion of a survey, then you need to do something with that information.

1)    What are the questions you are asking and why?  For example are you looking for age information, what are your popular products or the value you provide?

2)    What are you going to use to gather information?  There is survey monkey online, but there is also social media or you can provide a mailing.

3)    How will you collect the statistical information?  Once you have the info then you need to set up interpreting the information.

You have collected this information so now what? Are you willing to change? Are you going to put this in your best practices? Will you reply?  Surveys and feedbacks can be great as they can bring to light legal issues and management issues along with marketing opportunities.   However, this can only happen if you do something with the feedback. Bonne chance!

The third time was the charm when it came to purchasing a new washing machine and dryer after the appliance revolt of 2016. For two weeks since the washing machine died, and the dryer decided to follow, I have learned a lot. I want to share that knowledge.
1) High efficiency top loaders washing machines require you to be either a) above 5’7” or b) have a long arm span to be able to reach into the washer.
2) Items that you want to clean must be placed in a circular pattern where you can always see the middle.
3) You cannot wash water resistant jackets or sneakers.
4) If you have anything in the pocket you are doomed.
After two deliveries of top loaders, I went with the front loader BUT without the pedestals. Of course you ask, why not the pedestals?
Pedestals only come in one height, which was too tall. In addition, they cost as much as a dryer.
I was a client of big box nameless store who did not provide me with any of this information. It was the second big box store that provided me with more information that helped me make the decision. No one mentioned these issues to me prior to my purchase, and I thought I had done my homework.
Recently I got a call from a potential client about a restaurant idea. Without any definite plans, I decided to send him home to do some thinking.
1. He was in a partnership with no formalized agreement. A delineation of responsibility was needed, and the partner needed to be a part of discussions.
2. Unsure of investment amount which made it difficult to:
a. Find rental space.
b. Or decide to buy an already existing restaurant
c. Look into franchising
That potential client was ready to become a client. I thought I was ready to buy a washer and dryer, but I was not. I needed more information.
A prepared client is better than one who is not prepared. The client will also save money, which is always a benefit.

I was recently was interviewed by Dr. Georgianna Donadio of the National Institute of Whole Health (NIWH).  NIWH provides credentialed individuals with educational programs.

Our conversation was about starting a business and included legal, marketing and management information in a short 20 minute segment.   To listen go here.

You are an integrative health practitioner, an acupuncturist, a yoga instructor, a massage therapist, naturopath, or health coach. You help others, and are an expert in your field, having studied and worked hard to develop your practice. However, a practice involves business know-how. Entrepreneurs, Cynthia Pasciuto of True North Business Consulting and Laura Greer of Mandala Services have formed the Institute of Integrative Business Studies to provide online business education to health and wellness practitioners.
Cynthia and Laura are not newcomers to the health and wellness field. Cynthia has taught at the local acupuncture school along with teaching at the undergraduate level. Laura has helped practitioners start, grow and manage thriving health and wellness practicices, has worked for yoga studios and has been a yoga instructor for over ten years. They both noticed there was a need for business knowledge often being asked for advice on social media, marketing, management and legal assistance. They wanted the health and wellness practitioners to succeed.
The Institute of Integrative Business Studies℠ is launching The Integrative Business Program℠, a series of online seminars aimed at helping integrative health practitioners learn what it takes to start, maintain and grow a successful practice. The objective of the Integrative Business Program℠ is to educate integrative health practitioners in order to improve their chances for success and to increase the accessibility of qualified practitioners available to the consumer. The program teaches participants crucial business and practice management principles in the areas of Patient & Clinical Management, Marketing & Public Relations, Accounting, Insurance and Finance, and Business Law.

The Integrative Business Program℠ consists of a number of courses that run for a length of -6 weeks each. Weekly online sessions are 1 hour in length and each course is taught by an expert in the topic.

Courses start in September. Sign up today for a free introductory webinar on Tuesday, August 30th- Jumpstart Your Business: Top Ten Things You Need to Know! Sign up for the free webinar at http://www.integrativebusinessstudies.com/jumpstart

The Institute of Integrative Business Studies℠, where holistic health and business practices meet, is sponsored by the Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine Association of Massachusetts and The National Institute of Whole Health.

More information at http://www.integrativebusinessstudies.com or
Contact: inquire@integrativebusinessstudies.com

Yes, usually an article like this would come at the end of September at the beginning of fall, but I did my traveling in May and June this year so I wanted to share what I learned.

Look before you step:
In Florida I stepped on a stinging bee/wasp. To this day I have no idea what insect family it was in, but I was enjoying the beach and the next thing I know my foot is on fire. An emergency room visit, an IV course of antibiotics along with having the stinger still in my foot for 12 days later is a reminder that you have to asses risk before going into a venture, and to have a plan in case something happens. In project management it is called Risk Management; there should always be a Plan B.

You have to think about marketing all the time:
Tennessee was having unusually hot, humid weather for June. In Nashville with my friends we went to Broadway. If you have never been to Nashville, this is where you can find country music being played. I was tired and decided to go back to the hotel, and a friend said she was ready to go back too. We walked and she pointed out a minor celebrity. She wanted to continue walking, but I wanted to go up to him. I pulled her with me, and we ended up having a fifteen minute conversation where he tried to convince us to join a Facebook campaign. It taught me that every conversation is a marketing opportunity, which is why True North always thinks about the marketing element when providing legal coaching.

Negotiate properly
In Ireland I forgot the key step in negotiations-sometimes a cultural translator is needed. I have been to Europe before, and considered Ireland a European country where they happen to speak English with an accent. No need to speak a foreign language. First, I did not always understand when people were speaking to me, and then I assumed that I could haggle and get a discount. In Ireland, the price set is the price set. Lesson learned. True North provides negotiation services, preparing you to enter your negotiations so that they are win/win.

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Welcome to TrueNorth Business Consulting presentation of a Business Makeover. Each month will feature an idea that can help your business. True North focuses on small businesses, but especially helping health and wellness practitioners to maintain and grow their business using the areas of law, marketing, insurance and project management.

I gave a seminar, and when I finished I had a few people come up to me to ask questions. I was surprised that the questions were ones that would require about 5 minutes of internet research to get an answer. It struck me that people don’t do research, and part of managing any project or making a business decision is looking at historical information.

Historical information let’s you see what was done right and what was done wrong. Other people have made similar or the same decisions. You may be able to find some information on the internet, or you may have to ask others.

An example I like to use to illustrate the usefulness of research is designing a website. Once you decide you need, or want to revamp a website, what do you do? Well, first you want to look at other websites-see what they have done successfully and not so successfully. What do you like about that website? Next, you want to think about the elements—do you want a blog? Do you need a shopping cart?

Before you hire someone, you want to look at what is available that you can do yourself. There are online blogging programs, like WordPress or LiveJournal that you may want to use, which would be less expensive.

If you are using a web designer, then get referrals to many. Ask to see their work, and talk to their clients, if possible. You want to make sure your project comes in on time and within budget. Check out the web designer’s previous experience.

Lastly, you want to make a list of all the things you want on your website, along with a date of when you want them completed by. As time goes on with your project, then you can check off things on your list, and also write comments on what is going well and what you need to change.

In the future, when you need another website, you will have your research, plus your historical information to go back to. You will notice a faster project, and have used your research skills to get you there.