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.




    2-28-13 Being passionate about what you do makes good business sense

    If you have been reading The Business Buzz on Whidbey Local ( and if you have seen some of my recent Blog postings, you may have noticed a common theme.  Everyone I have been writing about really loves what they do and/or the products that they sell.

    When I was thinking about my Blog for this week, I thought about Sweet Mona’s, Sue Averett, Fern Ridge Alpacas, Whidbey Cupcakes, Vino Amore, and several other businesses about which I have written in the last several months.  And the word, “passionate” came to me.  These people care about what they are doing almost more than making a living at their business (though obviously this is a major consideration, and all these businesses are successful).  They are doing something that gives them a great sense of pleasure and accomplishment.  They believe that what they are doing generates something positive in the lives of others.

    If you are doing something that you really aren’t enjoying, maybe it’s time to ask yourself, “What ways of earning money are possible for me that will give me a sense of passion?”



    2-21-13 A celebration can provide the basis for some great PR

    I’m always on the lookout for examples of excellent marketing.  Sweet Mona’s in Langley is the basis for my blog this week.  Her celebration was a great example of creating an event and marketing it in a way that honored her current customers and invited others to learn about her business.

    Mona opened her business as a chocolatier seven years ago.  It just happened that she opened on February 17th, which falls between Valentine’s Day and Langley’s Mystery Weekend, and for the next five years she enjoyed the uptick her business got from these two events.

    This year, she and her husband Tony, who is now a full-time partner in the business, decided to have a 7th anniversary celebration.  And, what a celebration it was.  Those who came were invited to select any seven chocolates in the case for just $7; there were drawings for prizes (42 items were donated, with over half coming from the local community); and, of course, there were lots of chocolate samples.

    She widely publicized the event in the local newspaper, through emails, and through Drewslist. I wrote two articles as well in Whidbey Local - and in Whidbey Island Life Examiner - ).

    Mona says the event was a roaring success: “Looking over our sales for that day I’d say that over 100 people took advantage of the 7 for 7 chocolate promotion. We had an outstanding sales day that even beat out Valentine’s Day, and Valentine’s Day was a record day for us this year.”

    Mona estimates that about two-thirds of those who came to the store were Whidbey Island residents; the other third heard about the event and came to Whidbey to celebrate with her.

    She feels that seven years in business is quite an accomplishment for a small business and that “It seemed right to celebrate.”

    It’s also likely that a lot people who walked through the door for the celebration hadn’t tasted her terrific chocolates before.  They will most likely be customers in the future and tell lots of others about their experience.


    2-14-13 Making a case for your business

    Recently I participated in a Board Retreat for the Whidbey Children’s Theater.  As a non-profit organization we are constantly looking for donations to keep us going.  We talked about the need to “Make our case” to build our donor base.

    As I was coming home I realized that for-profit businesses, whether offering goods or services, are in the same boat.  In order to get people to buy what you’re selling you need to make your case. 

    It’s likely that you have competitors who are selling what you sell or providing the same or a similar service to what you provide.  Your challenge to build your business is to make the case for why your product or service is superior to what someone else is offering.

    This is kind of the same theme as my question, “What’s special or unique about your business?”  If you need some help answering the question, ask some of your satisfied customers why they buy from you, or why they buy your product, rather than making another choice.  What makes your business special may be the quality or uniqueness of what you provide and/or it may be the kind of customer service that is part of your business.

    Make the case for why someone should buy from you rather than someone else.  And, each time you make a sale, be sure to ask the customer why they bought from you.


    2-7-13 Creating gifts to build your business

    A few months ago my photographer friend Sue Averett asked if Rich and I would like to participate in a photo exhibition she was creating called Emanations of Love.  We were pleased to be part of this and even more excited when we learned that she would give us the photo as a gift when the exhibit was done.  Sue did this for over 60 people. 

    The results of her labor and craftsmanship are now on display at the Timbuktu Java Bar & Gallery in Freeland, and Part Two of the show will be displayed in March at The Queen’s Buns inside the Cash Store in Bayview.  Sue obviously invested an enormous amount of her time, as well as considerable money to produce this exhibit

    Rich and I went to the opening on February 2nd, and like the others who came, we were genuinely impressed with Sue’s artistry as well as the presentation of the photos on the wall of Timbuktu.  We not only heard people talking about Sue’s talent, we heard them talking about ways they wanted to hire Sue to do photographic projects.

    Whether Sue will get a quick return on her investment is not known, but what is obvious is that many people have learned about who she is, what she does, and the excellence of her work.  And, it’s likely to be a major source of new business for her in the coming months.

    For more information about the exhibit and Sue Averett’s Studio, read the Whidbey Island Life Examiner.



    1-31-13 What’s special or unique about your business?

    It’s likely that whatever business you are in, there are others selling the same or similar products and services.  Even if you feel you are offering something very different from what others sell, the same question needs to be answered in order to successfully promote yourself: You have to be able to describe what is unique or special about your business .

    What makes you unique may be the product itself, or it can be the kind of special attention you give to each of your customers.  It can be the way you stand behind what you’re selling. 

    If you’re not sure how to describe these special qualities, ask your friends and current customers.  If people are satisfied with what you’re selling, they can also give you their reasons….and these can become part of your message to attract more customers.