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Gaining Traction in the Marketplace takes Tenacity and Focus

You may hear about a brand that “just took off.” From our perspective, very few brands just take off. What’s more likely is that they started out small and sometimes took years to gain traction. As we’ve said many times before, it’s not the quality of the product, the price, or the demand so much [...]

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Tailor Your Message to What Your Audience Wants to Hear

If you want to make a statement, tell them what you want to say. If you want to make a deposit, tell them what they want to hear. Sounds simple enough, but what do they want to hear and who are they anyway? Every successful business learns eventually that there are a whole lot of [...]

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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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B2B or Not to Be? That is the Question!

We often hear, “Oh, we’re B2B (business-to-business), so we don’t have to worry about customers at the general public level.” The fact is, you do. It is an erroneous assumption that B2B is somehow insulated from the source of most income, the general public. If your client goes out of business, your B2B loses that [...]

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A Solid Business Foundation is Necessary for Success

When you build a house, the foundation must be laid strong and straight. If it’s not, the framers try to make up for it. When they can’t, the drywall guys try to make up for it. When they can’t, the painters try to make up for it. When they can’t, you’re going to have to [...]

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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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Entrepreneurship – Past, Present, Future

Title: Entrepreneurship Past, Present, Future Location: Palo Alto, CA (Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman) Description: Michael will be sharing valuable knowledge and experience to MBA students as a panelist at this private event being held by the Ohio State University Center for Entrepreneurship. This event includes a panel discussion, audience Q & A session, and a [...]

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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 [...]

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

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. [...]

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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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