I have art for sale. Asking $1.5 million.

Thank you to everyone for the kind words and birthday wishes!  It’s a great day. 

My 7-year-old daughter set her alarm and woke up early so she could fix me breakfast in bed.  I had eggs, toast, bacon, and hot coffee.  She also made me a sculpture commemorating our largest achievement of the year; she learned to ride her bike.  More on that later.

My wife and in-laws treated me with tickets to Spamalot, a cultural juggernaut and right up my alley! 

My new job is going well, and if things go according to plan a new office will be in place at the end of the year.  My very gracious employer has already agreed to leverage our grand opening as a fund-raising event for a local children’s charity.  Details will follow after the holidays.

All that to say, I’m enjoying being spoiled! 

I would like to ask a favor.  Check out WorldOrphans.  Their model is one I dearly love.  They empower a local church to meet the needs of their community and then help them create the means to become self-sustaining.  I’ve seen widows and widowers take on six to ten kids and begin their own families.

I would like to ask your help in a couple of ways.  One, post their link to your profile, Twitter, or blog.  They are working in so many areas of the world, you might create a supportive relationship by introducing them to someone in your network.  Two, consider giving a small gift. 

A friend once asked a very legitimate question, “Why are we “helping” orphans in Africa when we have so many challenges right here at home?”  Personally, I don’t care if it is Africa, Haiti, China, Ukraine, or America… one less orphan is one less orphan.  One child with a bed is one less child on the street.  I don’t care where in the world it happens, it just needs to happen.  If supporting World Orphans isn’t of interest, then maybe one of these others are: 99 Balloons, Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter.  Or, if you dare, find one near you and give to them.

Being born was great and all, and I would take the credit but Mom really did all the work; however, it would sure go a long way if I knew being born helped someone I would never meet.

Marlow's First Bike Ride

And regarding the artwork:

It is my daughters sculpture of her riding her bike.  The sculpture materials are drinking straws, wire, rings and duct tape.  It’s currently on sale for $1.5 million.

Thanks again for your kind words and for making it a great day!!

Selling everything and moving to Dubai!

The Caubble Family

Well, ok… just a little misleading.  No, the Evans family is not moving (sorry to disapoint you).  And no, that picture has nothing to do with the Evans’ either.

I just found out about this family and have been reading their blog.  It’s inspirational and exciting.  Check out their story.  I hope it challenges you as it did me today. 

John, Leslie, Jonathan (13), and Jared (11) Caubble are currently preparing to relocate to the Middle East. Their blog is designed as a communication tool with family and friends. For more ministry updates, please email John at jcaubble@gmail.com.

Kids from Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter

There will be a special event from 11:00 to 3:00 on Saturday, October 16th.  Tickets are $25. 

The theme is a sustainable Tailgate Event and it will be family friendly.  There will be separate areas focusing on games and activities for children and they will have multiple interactive areas for guests to learn about sustainable efforts. Jack Ingram will be performing at the halftime show. 

Check out their website.

URGENT Request for Local NWA Business!

Ok, some of you know about one of my favorite places, World Garden

It’s a business.  It’s a ministry…  It’s a busistry! 

The profits from this incredible soup and salad restaurant benefit orphanages, farmers, local shelters and more.  Every week, hundreds of folks in Benton and Washington counties receive meals, free of charge through the efforts of volunteers that make those meals in the World Garden kitchen.  It’s truly a business that believes in impacting it’s community.  World Garden now needs the community to help!
The goal is simple.  It’s a business so “donations” are not an option.  World Garden needs customers.  The goal is 500 customers per day for the next 5 days.  Support this business that helps so many.  Here are some ideas for you:
1.  Go have lunch there and pick up lunches for others in your office.
2.  If you have an office meeting or event coming up in the next few days, see if they are available to cater your event.
3.  Eat an incredible salad bar for the next 5 days.  (They have an incredible steak fajita nacho dish too).
4.  Finally, offer to buy lunches for your client’s offices.  Trying to court a client?  Buy their office lunch and deliver it.
OK, that’s the goal.  Use this social network and get the word out.  For the next 5 days, everyone eats at World Garden; open 10:30 to 3:00.  Ready, Go tweet, Go Facebook, Go Eat!

Better is better

I wish I could sell better.  A number of my clients are certainly feeling the pinch of the economy and growing competition.  Their challenges and concerns are substantial.  However, their responses seem almost counter productive at worst and at best unimaginative.  A few examples probably explain my point:

The car dealership who is hurting.  His lot is pretty sparse, selection is down, and foot traffic on the lot is noticeably light.  His solution is to do more traditional advertising via television commercials.  So, he uses the coop dollar he receives from the dealership to produce his commercials.  Why?  It’s cheaper.  The result is, his commercials look exactly like all the other commercials and there is nothing to separate him from his competition.  In fact, most folks who viewed his commercial couldn’t remember the name of  the dealership that was being advertised.

A local charity relies almost completely on volunteers to help communicate their core message.  Why?  Because it’s cheap.  Unfortunately, the story being told by the volunteers is shot in such a manner that what you notice most is that; they are boring, the video is really bad, the audio is difficult to understand (natural sound with lots of ambient noise).  I shouldn’t say, “they are boring”.  In fact, the story they have to tell is quite compelling.  It is a story of life and death, literally.  However, the person doing the interview has never interviewed anyone before.  The people telling the story don’t know where to look, who to talk to, and stumble through their story.  The emotional impact is lost and the piece looks boring.

Another charity is having a fund-raising based almost solely on silent auction items.  Not a bad idea but execution is everything.  You have to create a means of capturing information on the attendees so you can follow-up later.  They are producing a great event using totally volunteers.  That is great for the event but then who does the follow-up?  What does the event lead to with regards to donor or civic involvement for the future?

Here is the “Better is Better” part.  DECIDE what a victory is!  Make a decision that says, “If I invest X amount of dollars, I need X amount of Y”. The car dealership would be much better off producing a locally produced commercial with a local well-known spokesperson.  Instead of purchasing dozens of balloon looking things that sit on the car antenna, instead of purchasing “commercials in a can”, why not utilize local events/knowledge/personalities/testimonials to build credibility.  Even broadcast live from a local High School football game.  SOMETHING that sets you apart.  Compare the return on the dollar for something like that and see what happens.  If you’re the charity that needs a story told.  Invest the money necessary to create a story with impact.  There is a reason everyone loves a good movie.  They FEEL something.  As a charity, you have to remember that no one does anything unless they feel like it.

I’m ending this before I start to ramble.  As a salesperson, my “Better is Better” is to find a way to communicate my message above to clients that “don’t get it”.  Help them see beyond the notion that they have to do it cheap and help them see that effective is always affordable.