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!

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    2055 Pheasant Farm Lane
    Freeland, WA 98249

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    3-2-17 Your first job as a retail business owner is to make a person feel welcome coming into your store

    Recently, my husband and I stopped off at a takeout restaurant on our way back to Whidbey.  We had been to the place before.  The restaurant was busy, and we stood in line behind two people waiting for service.

    We waited for our turn....and none of the staff looked up from what they were doing; no one made eye contact or said “Hello” or “We’ll be with you in just a minute.”  We waited.  Finally, Rich said, “Let’s go somewhere else.”  And, we did.

    I can imagine the young staff had had a long day, or some cranky customers, or were just anxious to be done with their work day and head home.  

    But, as the customer, my only concern was being waited on, or at least having someone greet me and say they would be helping me soon.  I wanted to feel welcome.


    Anyone who is meeting the public in a business must always be aware of the power of that first moment when a potential customer walks through the door.  More than anything else, a customer must be noticed and made to feel welcomed.


    2-23-17 Here comes Langley Mystery Weekend - A great event for tourists and locals

    This weekend is the 33rd annual Langley Mystery Weekend when hundreds (or is it thousands) of folks descend on the town to look for clues, meet the potential villains and see if they can solve the murder mystery.  It costs $10 to participate, but, of course, anyone can simply wander around town and look at all of the characters, and of course say hello to the friendly people who live in Langley.

    No one really mentions that this is also a great way for the local businesses to have lots of visitors stop in, see what is available, and...maybe purchase something.





    2-9-17/2-16-17 A delightful Whidbey tradition and a great example of the power of collaboration

    If you have been reading my blogs, you will notice there are some repeating themes.  One of these themes is the power of collaboration. 

    The weekends of February 11 and 12 and 18 and 19 are the annual Red Wine and Chocolate Tour put on by the Whidbey Island Vintners and Distillers Association.

    Four wineries and a distillery on South Whidbey are part of this collaboration, as well as other events that are presented by the association at other times of the year. People are invited to tour and sample.  Inviting people to visit these five businesses rather than simply promoting a visit to a single one greatly enlarges the potential market for each.

    My adult children look forward to coming to Whidbey to participate every February.  My guess is that lots of friends and family also pay a visit to Whidbey Island to be part of this event.

    So this collaboration is not only benefiting the participating businesses, it is creating an event that is promoting tourism on Whidbey.

    You’re invited to join in on this collaborative event and sip, sample and have a relaxing day on Whidbey Island.

    For details about the 2017 Red Wine and Chocolate Tour, visit the website for the Whidbey Island Vintners and Distillers Association:


    2 -2-17 The Three Simplest Marketing Concepts

    When you’re thinking about how to best to do marketing and promotion, here are three guidelines for using your money and energy most effectively:

     1)      It is always easiest to sell more to those who are already satisfied customers buying your product or service;

    2)      You are more likely to sell to new customers who are much like the customers you already have, or have been referred to you by current customers; and

    3)      It is hardest to sell to new people about whom you have little information.

    Item 1 assumes that you do everything to keep your customers happy so they’ll want to keep coming back to you.

    Item 2 is based on the idea that the kinds of people who really appreciate you, what you sell, and how you do business are likely to want to do business with you, once they know who you are….and especially if they have heard good things about your from their friends.

    Item 3 means it can be very expensive to simply place an advertisement without knowing details about the audience that will see the advertisement.

    The most cost effective way to promote your business is to continue to be sure your current customers are satisfied customers and let them know how much you appreciate their business and having them refer you to others.

    Remember….a satisfied customer may tell several people; a dissatisfied customer tells everyone they encounter.


    1-26-17 Obtaining a zip code is a simple tool to learn about your customers

    One of the most basic pieces of information you need when you have a store front business, or a business out of your home, is knowing where your customers live.

    A simple method to answer this question is to create a system where you get the zip code of every person who comes into your business or contacts you to make a purchase. This can be done on a computer or by doing listings and hatch marks on a piece of paper near your register (OK, I know this doesn’t sound very high-tech, but it works).

    You can keep track of these zip code tabulations by the month or season, or after you have done a new advertisement, or a special promotion.

    Once you see the patterns, it can provide you with valuable information about where, geographically, to focus your energies, and your advertising dollars.


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