Welcome.

America’s economic strength has always been reliant on start-up businesses and small entrepreneurs for new products, job creation, and the development of new brands. This site is dedicated to those Americans who, by choice or necessity, become self-employed and start their own business.

Here you will find the business philosophies and guiding principles we learned over several decades of success with new ventures. They are presented in summary fashion in our Business Blog. More detail can be found in our Speaking Topics, Group Seminars, and Consulting Services.

We are also writing a book, “The Barefoot Spirit,” which chronicles the experiences and business lessons learned building the Barefoot Wine brand.

Since one of our business philosophies is to have fun, we will include a personal blog and some photos. We will add videos and interviews with like-minded business leaders going forward.

The Advantages of Being a Small Start-Up – Part 3

YOUR BRAND HAS MORE THAN ONE PURPOSE
By focusing on your customer, and not your big time competitors, your small start-up has the opportunity to address the market with creative and relevant products.… Read More

In this series we have examined some of the powerful advantages of being small, undercapitalized and able to turn on a dime.
These days, with lawyers running the big corporations either in fact or in fear, more and more truly game changing concepts are coming

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Wildwood Foundation Fundraiser

Title: Wildwood Foundation Fundraiser
Location: Wildwood Conservation Foundation & Retreat Center, Guerneville, CA
Description: Friday, February 3 — Sunday, February 5
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey joined fellow donors during this weekend at the Wildwood Retreat Center in Sonoma County to celebrate the birthday of Barefoot Wine Ambassador, Randy Arnold.  To learn more about Wildwood, please… Read More

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Winning Distribution Strategies

Title: Winning Distribution Strategies
Location: Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, CA

Successful brand building hinges on diligent management of the 3-tiered distribution channel and appealing to customers at all levels. Houlihan and Jones bring extensive street smarts and proven techniques to attract trade partners and cement their loyalty. This course is designed for owners, national sales managers… Read More

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

MAKE YOUR SIZE WORK FOR YOU

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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The Advantages of Being a Small Start-Up – Part 1

WHY LIGHT-ON-YOUR-FEET TRUMPS BIG-AND-POWERFUL

Today we need new products, new services, and new ideas to invent our way back to prosperity. Small start-up producers have always been the backbone of the economy, not just because they provide the most new jobs, but because they improve the very quality of our lives by bringing more good ideas to the market. This is the first in a four part series on why small start-ups have an advantage over big companies.
“Build a better… Read More

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Dress for Success (Especially in the Office)

SEND A SILENT AND POWERFUL MESSAGE: PROFESSIONAL CUSTOMER SERVICE HERE!

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

UNITED WE STAND!

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

CUSTOMER SERVICE AND STAFF ACKNOWLEDGEMENT ARE ESSENTIAL

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

GENEROSITY AND PERMISSION ARE A GOOD START

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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Business People making mistakes right

Making Mistakes Right

DON’T WASTE A PERFECTLY GOOD MISTAKE!

Everybody makes mistakes, so why not take advantage of them? If your company culture does not give permission to make mistakes, your staff will hide them.
They’ll want to ‘fix’ it fast and hope you never find out. They may be the only ones who know how to fix it, and they, or someone else, are likely to make the same mistake again. Here are some tips on how to turn mistakes into assets.
1) Give your staff permission to make… Read More

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