Carolyn Browne Tamler

has helped hundreds of businesses and organizations with her thoughtful facilitation and research services. She also writes colorful and compelling articles about new business initiatives! Would this help you? Call Carolyn today!

RSS Feed
Subscribe by Email
This form does not yet contain any fields.

    p:| 360.222.6820
    c:| 425.351.7531

    f:| 360.222.6820

    2055 Pheasant Farm Lane
    Freeland, WA 98249

    Make Good Use of Your Sidebar

    Use this space for anything from simple blocks of text to powerful widgets, like our Twitter and Flickr widgets. Learn more.

    To access Website Management, hit the 'esc' key or use this Login link.




    7-30-15 Bubba Burgers: Having fun is good for business

    I just published an article about “Bubba Flame Broiled Burgers” in Whidbey Local .

    When I first spoke to the owner/manager, Heather Koch (her husband, Greg, is her partner in the business), I had to wait while she finished taking an order from a customer.  Taking the order including hollering the order back to the crew, making a silly comment and encouraging her gang to sing while they worked.

    Sitting around the Bubba food truck and having lunch on a picnic table under an umbrella, you hear non-stop singing and laughing.  It’s difficult not getting caught up in the mood.  When people pick up their orders, they walk away smiling.

    I really noticed the contagious mood created by the Bubba Burgers crew.  You can feel the pleasure customers get just doing the simple transaction: selecting from the menu, placing the order and waiting for the meal to be served.

    It’s all done with smiles and laughter.

    Of course, it helps that the food is really delicious.


    7-23-15 Guidelines for facilitating a productive meeting

    As a professional facilitator, it's sometimes difficult for me to participate in a meeting where I feel there is a lot of talk not related to what needs to be accomplished. It's also frustrating to hear people who want to dominate and direct the discussion according to their own opinions and ideas rather than sticking to the topics being presented.

    Here are my suggestions for having a meeting that will be productive and make people feel it was a worthwhile use of their time:

    • Have a set of clear goals for what the meeting is intended to accomplish;
    • Create a simple agenda and follow followed it as much as possible;
    • Allow people to contribute their ideas, but keep people focused on the main goals of the meeting;
    • Plan two hours for the meeting, so that people will have a little time to socialize at the beginning, but the meeting itself is to be limited to no more than an hour and a half
    • Keep everyone focused on the agenda and assure that no single voice dominates.

    One of my favorite tools is having people volunteer ideas that I can “laundry-list.”  When everyone seems satisfied that all of the ideas have been listed, invite people to come up and choose three (or five, depending on how long the list is) as their top priorities.

    Every time I use this tool – listing ideas and having people prioritize – I am always pleased that there is a clear consensus on three, four or five items. This provides tangible results that can be passed along or used for making decisions.

    My overall goal is to have everyone leave a meeting smiling and feeling confident and comfortable that they were able to share their ideas, hear what others had to say and feel that their time was honored and well spent.


    7-16-15 The City of Langley launches “Here for You,” a program to encourage tourists and locals to visit Langley businesses

    Visitors to Langley will be noticing “Here for You” signs in the windows of many of the businesses, most often posted above their days and hours of operation.  It’s a simple way to let people know they are welcome in the stores and their business is appreciated.

    There is a downloadable brochure listing summer days and hours that businesses are open that is available through the Langley Chamber, Langley Main Street Association and City of Langley websites.  Print copies of the brochure are also being distributed by the Chamber and other organizations and lodgings.

    This was a major collaborative effort of the Chamber, Langley Main Street and the City.  The brochure lists 67 businesses.  As Mayor Fred McCarthy pointed out, “This is a good time to remind everyone how important it is to shop local and buy what you need here in Langley at our local businesses.”

    From a marketing perspective, it combines many aspects of building a successful business: collaboration, letting people know you are open for business and doing a community marketing effort.


    7-9-15 Fair Trade Outfitters is filling a niche on Whidbey Island

    One of the most effective marketing tools is to offer a product that is unique and fills a niche.  Letting people know you have something special that they want usually portends a successful business.

    A new business just opened in Langley that does just that.  Fair Trade Outfitters on Anthes Street in downtown Langley is offering a large selection of women’s clothing, as well as some men’s clothing,  that is “fair trade,” defined by owners Barry and Lily van Gerbig as, “products that are made by workers who have jobs with reasonable hours, who receive fair wages and who work in clean, safe environments.”

    While there are some fair trade products available on Whidbey, such as coffee, this is the first clothing store devoted entirely to fair trade items.  

    I wrote about Fair Trade Outfitters on Whidbey Local and invite you to read about this new niche business:



    7-2-15 Creating key messages for your business

    Once you have gotten clear on what is special or unique about your business (from the 6-25-15 Blog), it becomes easy to create some key messages that you can use in all of your promotion to identify what you are selling.  Remember, you are not just selling a particular product or service; you are selling customer service that accompanies the transaction.

    A key message needs to be simple and easily understood.  The concept is that at every opportunity when you are interacting with customers, or potential customers, you reinforce your message.  Key messages not only appear in your advertisements, they also are repeated by you, and any employees you may have, whenever you are talking about your business.

    I was going to pull out some key messages I saw in ads in the newspaper, but then I thought it might be fun to suggest to Blog readers that you send me some key messages that really resonated with you.  If you see a good key message from some business here on the Island, send it to me:

    I’ll be sharing these with you in a future Blog.

    (Once I wrote this Blog entry, I realized I didn’t have a key message for my business since I moved to Whidbey.  What came to me was “Whidbey’s business storyteller.”  Let me know what you think.)