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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    7-26-12 Creativity is sometimes easier within a group

    I understand that many artists find their creative expression on their own.  They have a creative concept for a piece of artwork or music, and they execute the idea on their own.

    However, it has been my experience that if you ask a single person to come up with a creative idea for a plan or a marketing concept, or a way to solve a problem, often there is a deer-in-the-headlights moment.

    That’s why I love bringing people together and facilitating a discussion that will generate creative ideas and solutions to problems.  The most productive group number is 10; not sure why (in Jewish tradition 10 is a “minion” or the amount needed to have a formal meeting), but this does seem to be the magic number where everyone feels comfortable about speaking up and sharing opinions and ideas.  Less than 10, and sometimes the discussion isn’t quite as lively; more than 10, and it becomes a bit more difficult to control.

    I do want to stress the need to have a good facilitator for a group process.  It’s important that time is controlled, that the discussion stays focused and that everyone in the discussion feels comfortable speaking up.

    It’s also interesting to me that some of the most creative ideas coming out of someone in a group have been preceded by the phrase, “I really don’t know much about this, but……”

    To summarize: Bring people together in a group that have some kind of common interest (community, interests, knowledge, etc.); have an agenda that is followed as much as possible; create an atmosphere where everyone in the group feels comfortable speaking up; and make sure that no one individual dominates the conversation (I usually say something like, “I can see you feel strongly about this, now I’d like to hear what someone else has to say.”)



    7-19-12 Making a good visual first impression

    Have you noticed how you are attracted to some business cards, but that many don’t seem to create any impression?  When you go to a website, are you immediately drawn in to see what’s there, and do you get an instant impression of the business and/or the person?

    Logos, business cards and websites are generally the first entry point where someone connects with you as a business.  When I decided I wanted to create a fresh impression for my business and look for different places to sell my services, I began by hiring Tinuviel Creative.  Kim Tinuviel and I were already friends, so she knew my personality and my values.

    Hence, the sunflower that announces my sunny disposition (so I am told), yet a sophisticated, simple, design that I believe creates a first impression that represents my personality and my serious intention as a marketing professional.

    Whether you are starting a business, or revamping an existing one, ask some of your friends and business associates to give their honest impressions about your business cards and website.  If you do not get a clear, consistent response that reflects what you want to communicate, I strongly suggest you look toward creating that first impression you want.

    By the way, Kim not only does excellent business materials, she also is a fine photographer and artist who works with a variety of mediums

    Thank you, Kim!



    7-12-12 Creativity: Finding new ways to blend different businesses

    You’ve heard me mention that I believe it takes a lot of courage to establish any kind of a business.  Something else that I believe is equally important is to be creative about what you are offering and how you present your business to the public.

    Recently, I attended a special fund raiser for Drew Kampion, creator of the now iconic Drewslist, at Christina’s Island Real Estate & Art Gallery.  Walking into a real estate office that is also a spectacular art gallery is quite an experience.  Some people come to do business with Christina when they are in need of a highly qualified broker and are wowed by the artwork; some people come to see the artwork and appreciate the gallery and say they will remember when they need to buy or sell a home on Whidbey, they’ll come back for Christina’s help.

    In a small community like Whidbey Island, it’s important to have an open, creative mind when establishing any type of business, but especially a store front type of operation.  How do you get noticed?  How do you generate traffic?  How do you get people talking about what you do?

    Maybe creating a blend of two different businesses is just one way.

    To learn more about Christina Moat’s business model, visit the Whidbey Island Life Examiner:



    7-5-12 Local Farmers are contributing to a new business model

    One of the most noticeable elements of living on Whidbey Island is the abundance of locally grown fresh, healthy food.  I’ve enjoyed shopping in the farmers markets ever since I experienced my first summer of food abundance here.  I had simply thought this was a charming quality of life on Whidbey Island.

    Then I read this amazing article in a recent NY Times:

    Small Farmers Creating a New Business Model as Agriculture Goes Local

    The article was published on July 2, and even though it is in the New York Times, the dateline is Seattle.

    This was the first quote that grabbed me:

    “The movement toward local food is creating a vibrant new economic laboratory for American agriculture. The result, with its growing army of small-scale local farmers, is as much about dollars as dinner: a reworking of old models about how food gets sold and farms get financed, and who gets dirt under their fingernails doing the work.”

    …and this:

    “A study last fall by the Department of Agriculture said that local (farm) revenues had been radically undercounted in previous analyses that mainly focused on road stands and markets. When sales to restaurants and stores were factored in, the study said, the local food industry was four times bigger than in any previous count, upward of $4.8 billion.”

    So, when we visit our local farmers markets, purchase local foods in our Whidbey Island grocery stores, buy foods from stands, or eat in restaurants that tout local produce, besides reaping the benefits of delicious, organic produce, meats and other healthy foods, we can feel good that we are supporting a burgeoning new business model right in our own backyard. 

    Here are the current Farmers Markets that we can support (heading from south to north):

    • Clinton, Thursday, 4:00 – 7:30 PM
    • Bayview, Saturday, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
    • Langley, Friday, 3:00 – 7:00 PM
    • South Whidbey (Tilth), Sunday, 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
    • Greenbank Farm, Sunday, 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM
    • Coupeville, Saturday, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
    • Oak Harbor, Thursday, 4:00  – 7:00 PM



    6-28-12 Polling: How can there be such wide ranges of differences?

    Now that election season is ramping up, it seems we hear about new polling results every couple of days….and the results appear to be all over the place.  Since random sample surveys are based upon math principles, what accounts for the variations?

    How a sample is chosen and how a question is asked determine if a survey result will truly be providing projectable statistically valid data.

     A random sample means that everyone in a given population has an equal chance of being selected.  Anything that alters this concept biases the results.  Right now, we’re hearing a lot about polls relating to the November election.  Here are some factors that will affect the accuracy (i.e., the likelihood that the sample results will match the total election results):

    • Sampling everyone who is registered to vote, rather than only those who are likely to vote, will include a lot of people who will not vote. 
    • Sampling likely voters in a way that excludes certain elements of the population (such as neighborhoods with a lot of low-income or minority populations) will bias the sample.
    • Sampling using a self-select method (such as Survey Monkey) will exclude people who simply have no interest in responding.

    As part of the survey methodology, the survey company will want to have a screening question, (assuming they are using a list of registered voters) such as: “Are you planning to vote in the November election?”

    And, surveys are a snapshot of the moment.  If a major event happens that is widely reported in the news a few days before the polling is done, that will likely affect the results.