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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    5-17-12 Another great example of collaboration

    I’ve written recently about collaboration (4-5-12).  This is a term I use a lot.  I believe it’s one of the most efficient and effective ways to create business.

    Last weekend, I went for a visit to Greenbank Farm, one of my favorite places on Whidbey.  In addition to hiking to the gorgeous viewpoint that lets me see the Olympics and the Cascades, I stopped off for a visit at the Galleries at Greenbank, which include Raven Rocks, Artworks and Rob Schouten.

    In front of the Rob Schouten Gallery now sits the gigantic “Nest,” one of the best visual examples I have seen illustrating the power of collaboration.  Rob explained it to me: “My initial thought was to create the nest as a promotional piece for the ‘Birds and Nests’ show. I couldn't quite figure out how to make the eggs, nor did I have time to do so. Then I realized what a great opportunity this was for a collaborative effort.”

    (Photo: Rob Schouten Gallery; Left to right: Dan Freeman, Sharon Spencer, Rob Adamson, Rob Schouten)

    The end result is magnificent.  Rob Adamson made the gorgeous eggs.  Sharon Spencer and Dan Freeeman worked on several elements of the design and construction of the piece.  Dan came up with the idea of making a tripod table with a wire mesh top that became the base for the nest with branches woven through the mesh.  Sharon knew where to get the mosses and the lichens that line the nest.  Jonni Reed provided a pile of branches from her pruned fruit trees that were trucked over.

    Rob says, “The experience of being in sync with other artists as you are creating is tremendously stimulating and inspiring, and we are already talking about doing something like this again.”

    The finished “Nest” is spectacular, and everyone who comes within 50 feet of it is drawn to the Rob Schouten Gallery ….and many come into the gallery to see what’s inside, as well.


    5-10-12 Making eye contact

    I did a presentation to the Central Whidbey Chamber of Commerce last Tuesday, and, in talking about marketing, I emphasized the importance of good customer service (you’ve probably heard me mention that a bit in this blog).

    Recently, I walked into a national bank, and the teller focused on the transaction, but didn’t look at me. I believe making eye contact with a customer or potential customer is an essential first step to making a positive connection.  (My local bank, Whidbey Island Bank, provides the opposite experience; every time I go into the bank someone says "Hello" and engages with me.)

    If you have an on-line business, this doesn’t apply. But, even in today’s internet world, most small business owners/managers frequently meet people face to face.  Depending on what source you check out, you’ll find that human communication is 70 – 90% non-verbal.  Yep, even with today’s texting and networking, most  human communication is without words.  (Ever notice how often you have a “gut feeling” when you meet someone new?)

    And, making eye contact (with a smile) is one of the most effective ways to let someone know you appreciate their business.

    Here’s an excellent article I discovered about this:




    5-3-12 Three basic ideas when thinking about how to increase your business 

    When you’re thinking about how to best use your dollars for marketing, here are the three ways I approach this:

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

    2)      You are more likely to sell to new customers who are much like the customers you already have; 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.

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

    So, two wise ways to use your advertising dollars are to promote your business to current satisfied customers and to ask your customers for referrals to others they think will want to do business with you.


    4-26-12 The second simplest marketing research tool: “How did you learn about my business?”

    When someone comes into your store, or contacts you to purchase your product or service, be sure to ask how they found out about your business---and, keep track of what you learn.

    If you are already doing this…..that’s great! 

    Are you keeping a record of what you learn?

    Asking this question and keeping a record of the responses is important, so that you can see where to place your energy and dollars to promote your business. 

    On Whidbey, there is certainly a lot of word-of-mouth business, but we also have newspapers, emails, Drew’s List, bulletin boards, brochures, and promotions for non-profits (hopefully, you’ve heard me mention businesses that support the Whidbey Children’s Theater, for example).

    When you have a sale or any kind of special promotion, it is especially important to keep track of what brings potential customers to you.

    Be aware also, that advertising and promotion that works well may vary.  It is not uncommon for something to work great for a while, and then suddenly not be as effective in generating business for you. 

    That’s why it’s so important to continue to check on what works, and if something isn’t working as well as it used to, try something new.



    4-19-12 The simplest marketing research tool

    The most basic information needed when you run a store front business or a business out of your home is where do 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 promotion.

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