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Unified Wine & Grape Symposium

Today, Michael will be attending The Unified Wine & Grape Symposium
Built with the joint input of growers, vintners and allied industry members, the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium is held annually in Sacramento, California and is the largest event of its kind in the western hemisphere. Serving as a clearinghouse for practical information important to wine and grape industry professionals, the Unified Symposium… Read More

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Sales Professionals Deserve our Respect

From the outstanding musical, “The Music Man” to the hilarious movie, “Used Cars,” people in the sales profession have long been saddled with an unfair stereotype. Yet, without sales, few businesses would succeed.
Our economy relies on hundreds of thousands of salespeople that most of us never see, but their skills are responsible for our high standard of living. They call on the buyers who produce and sell… Read More

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Landing the Perfect Job Applicant Requires Seasoned Piloting Skills

When we owned Barefoot Cellars and were recognized for our success, we had our excellent staff to thank. So, it is not surprising that people ask us how we found such good people. Probably the most stressful part of hiring is, as Forrest Gump’s mom said, “You never know what you’re going to get!” Hiring anxiety is well founded.
Suddenly you are faced with the loss of productivity caused by the vacancy and the urgency… Read More

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Outword Magazine Interview

Barefoot Wine’s Founders Do Well By Doing Good
The story of how Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey in 1986 launched a scrappy new brand that would transform the US wine industry is one of accidental opportunity and the vision and courage to seize it. “We fell into business backwards,” Harvey says today.
And seize it they did. Houlihan, a wine industry business management consultant, and Harvey, an office manager,… Read More

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Improve Your Chances of Success by Starting Small and Carefully

As long as your product is not in a specific market or retailer, it can’t be discontinued. Once you are discontinued you may never get back. You’ve got one shot. Take careful aim and hit just one bullseye at a time.
The shotgun approach may get you more distribution in the beginning, but, due to complications and idiosyncrasies in the distribution system, or due to you own underestimations of labor and oversight, your… Read More

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The Advantages of Being a Small Start-Up – Part 2

This is the second installment in a four-part series designed to encourage small start-ups by recognizing some of their inherent advantages.
Small start-ups face a myriad of challenges. They are undercapitalized, unproven and have no market traction. They are up against the status quo that will use its established power and influence in the marketplace to suppress any new challengers. Buyers are reticent to take… Read More

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Dress for Success (Especially in the Office)

Many companies these days seem to think that they are giving their office staff some kind of a benefit by letting them dress any way they want. Business casual has become casual and casual has become downright scruffy. What happens when Mr. Big walks into your company and your people are dressed in a way that doesn’t telegraph customer service and professionalism? Before you can say anything, your new client has made… Read More

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Positive Company Culture is critical to Growth and Survival – Part 3

This is the third part in the series about the original Barefoot culture. Culture really sets the tone, boundaries, and expectations the team has toward your company, your mission and your product.
We’ve saved the best for last because having a common cause and a common challenge forges, more than any other single factor, positive company culture.
When you are growing especially a new a brand, something… Read More

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Positive Company Culture is critical to Growth and Survival – Part 2

A company survives and grows due to sales and the loyalty of customers and staff. Sales are based on price, value, dependability, integrity, availability and perception. The basis of perception is image, networking, and more recently, the transparency of the producer.
Transparency is what the brand stands for, its authenticity, its identification with higher values, and the actions it takes to demonstrate those… Read More

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Positive Company Culture is critical to Growth and Survival – Part 1

Company culture has a direct bearing on sales, and the survival and growth of a company. We have mentioned it before but think it is such an important factor in company success that we want to expand upon it here in a three part series on the original Barefoot company culture that established the “DNA” of the brand and “Baked In” the elements of enduring success.
To a large extent, the morale of the employees, as well… Read More

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