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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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, [...]

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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” [...]

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Your Customer Service Department is much more than Complaint Resolution

Ever since the beginning of Return Desks and 800 numbers, companies have become more directly accountable to their consumers for quality and value. Before their existence, customers would just buy another brand if they were dissatisfied. Today most companies have a department or person dedicated to “customer service”. Rather than merely a complaint center, see [...]

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“The Thank You Economy”

On Tuesday we had the pleasure of attending Gary Vaynerchuk’s book signing in Marin County. He champions a classic message for a new generation and a new economy: “Companies that show they care have the market advantage.” Brands have to stand for more than the products they represent. We call it the “Soul of the [...]

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The Barefoot Spirit – Getting Started

As the Barefoot Wine Founders, we learned a great deal about business in the 2 decades it took to grow a best-selling brand. We started in 1985 with no money and no knowledge of the wine industry. We were successful because we followed timeless philosophical principles that can be applied to almost any business. We [...]

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