Jan Bolick

Traditions

There are all kinds of traditions at all times of the year. Whether it’s the tradition of having pizza on deadline night. Or quarterly team bowling tournaments. Or annual office clean outs. Traditions can be powerful. Reassuring. Grounding. Bonding. The holidays are especially full of traditions. And sometimes they need to change. A childhood friend of mine had a wonderful nurturing mother. In preparation for Christmas, she worked hard to get the house cleaned and decorated to perfection. She spent hours making nine different kinds of cookies, coconut cake with freshly grated coconut, and an unbelievable fruit cake. All family recipes – beautiful and delicious. When it was time for all to enjoy her fine work, she was exhausted, depressed and crabby. She yelled at the kids, complained of a migraine headache, and went to her room to sleep. Such good intentions. All wasted. The kids wished for years that she would skip all that work so they could just enjoy being with her for the holidays. When Ryan was 6 years old, I thought about this and asked him what was most important to him during the holidays. His response: “It really doesn’t matter much Mommy. As long as I get to stay home and make cookies with you.” Wow. There were half dozen or so other projects and events that I had planned to squeeze in between...

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From 76 Koozies to Two Cars: Would You Like To Trade?

Students in the Business 500 class at Kenan-Flagler started with 76 koozies and want to finish with two cars by December 5th. Their story lured me out of retirement as a columnist for Chapelboro.com. Did you read about the red paper clip guy? He had lots of ideas and plans, but wasn’t making any money. Then he remembered a game he played as a kid called “bigger and better.” Why not do that now? Right then and there, he made an official decision to play “bigger and better,” looked down on his desk, saw a red paper clip and decided to start with that. After months of delays and excuses, he finally got started by posting a picture of the red paper clip on his blog and in the barter section of Craigslist, asking if anyone wanted to make a trade for something bigger or better. His goal was to keep trading up until he got a house. He traded the red paper clip for a pen shaped like a fish. He traded the pen shaped like a fish for a doorknob – and on and on. His 14th trade was for a house at 503 Main Street in Kipling, Saskatchewan. Since then, he has: given speeches all over the world about that one red paper clip written a book about it (published in 14 languages – “including English,”...

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Simple Problems: Simple Solutions

The facilitator for the April meeting of the Chamber of Commerce Small Business Roundtable was Tori Williams Reid, Ph.D., co-owner of Right at Home – Durham/Chapel Hill, an in-home care and assistance company. During a session entitled Simple Problems: Simple Solutions, Tori invited participants to share current business problems and then for each one, she led a discussion on potential solutions. At the end, she asked participants to share aha moments – things they had done that had changed their business. I didn’t attend the roundtable planning to write this article, but left thinking there were a lot of Good Business tips that could be valuable to others. So here goes. I don’t claim it to be a complete list of all ideas mentioned during the session, and can’t give credit to each individual for his/her contributions so will simply thank all participants of the Small Business Roundtable for these great ideas and reminders that can help all of us do Good Business. Make the most of networking opportunities. Choose just one or two groups or methods of networking rather than spreading yourself too thin. Evaluate periodically to determine which groups and methods are delivering the best results. Have a goal in mind for each networking event (examples: meet a particular person or meet people in a particular industry). Follow up (item #2biii may be needed for this). Be...

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Time To Bring The Bunnies

If you’ve had the pedal to the metal, pushing hard to make sales quotas, production schedules and tax deadlines, I encourage you to take a break for a morale and productivity boosting bit of nonsense. And if you need an off the wall, hoppin’ idea…this one certainly qualifies.   Several of the seventeen divisions of The Village Companies, now called VilCom, used to have an annual Bunny Toss. Everyone was invited to bring a chocolate bunny in a box. The event was held on the lawn of McClamroch Hall (right there on Weaver Dairy Road) where bulls eye targets had been drawn on big boards. The goal was to throw your bunny and hit the bulls eye. There were prizes for coming closest to the target, farthest from the target; and for smashing your bunny into the most pieces.   Seems to me it could have been called a Bunny Bash.   At this point, no one can remember what the prizes were; they just remember that they had a Bunny Blast.   If you don’t have time to pull this off before Easter, that’s okay. After Easter may be even better because everyone can buy bunnies on sale.   While it is certainly one heck of a silly idea….in the words of philosopher, Ludwig Wittgenstein:     What kind of silly things go on at your office?  ...

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Good Green Business At Open Eye Cafe

Who needs paper when you can just write someone’s order on the counter? Good green business by Open Eye Cafe; in Carrboro. Important keys to success: Dry erase markers Metal, glass or other surface from which dry erase markers will easily erase. Got any other examples of good green business? Tell me in the Comments section...

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The Aveda Way

It was a gift card and my long time hairstylist being on maternity leave that finally nudged me in to Aveda Institute for something other than Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours. When I walked in the door, a young woman greeted me, escorted me to the scheduler for check in and then to the waiting area where there were magazines, a water cooler and hot tea. All nice touches. I grabbed a magazine but skipped the beverage. But then… Simone came up with an entire tray of water and tea. And delivered it with such a great smile! How could anyone turn her down? In just a few minutes, the student stylist assigned to me appeared and led me from the waiting area into a big buzzing room where we weaved our way through rows of steel work-spaces topped with mirrors until we stopped at her workstation. Attached to her mirror was an Aveda recruiting poster that read: “Do what you love. Love what you do.” It seemed to me that’s what everyone was doing. Once she got me seated and caped, the student stylist interviewed me about my “needs” and then asked if I’d like a stress relieving ritual – sort of like “would you like fries with that”.  Except the rituals are free! Before actually taking care of my “needs”, the student stylist called her instructor...

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Ready To LAUNCH

Have you heard about LAUNCH? It’s a fabulous collaborative effort between The Town of Chapel Hill, Orange County, UNC-Chapel Hill and the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership. It will help entrepreneurs develop new ideas into businesses that will grow and stay in Chapel Hill. At last week’s Friends of Downtown meeting, entrepreneur and Chapel Hill-Carrboro Citizen of the Year, Jim Kitchen (that’s him in the photo) explained that the logo, includes everything : UNC (of course in blue) Chapel Hill Orange County (represented by the orange circle) Moving up, acceleration (represented by the arrow) Before sharing more about Jim’s presentation, I’d like to share a bit about his background. While in school at UNC, he launched several businesses including the local time-temperature-weather service and a marketing company. Then – when frustrated by trying to plan Spring Break trips with friends, the idea for his next business was born. He launched Spring Break Travel shortly after graduation, ran it for 18 years from his upstairs office on Franklin Street. See the blue awning? That’s the entrance to Jim’s office. In 2005, he sold Spring Break Travel to a multi-national company. Now what? What would he do with all his time, energy and talent? In addition to earning an MBA and running in multiple marathons, he’s been helping  children and their families through his involvement with Make a Wish Foundation of Eastern...

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Angels Everywhere

I’m breaking a rule here on the last day of 2012.  Most of what I’ve written here did NOT take place in Chapelboro.   But it could happen here.  And it does.  And it could happen more.   It’s just that sometimes we forget or don’t even realize the impact we have.  The impact we could have. In our role as business leaders,  as family and community members, each of us has the opportunity to affect others in simple, yet powerfully positive ways.   Like Mr. Parsons, Mr. Lewis and others did in the story below. **** Art, Ryan and I rode  the train from the Atlanta airport to the Peachtree Center Station. We asked an attendant for directions to our hotel. His name was Mr. Parsons.  As he gave us directions, he walked with us down one escalator, through the subway area and then up another escalator. It was a long walk. There was time for him to tell us a little history about the area, tell us about some interesting spots to visit and even talk a bit about sports. We asked where we could get a route map for the train. “I just happen to have one right here,” he said as he pulled one from his pocket and gave it to us. When we got to the top of the last, and very long escalator, he...

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And the blanket total is…

For the past 20 days, many individuals and businesses have contributed to the 9th annual drive to Blanket Orange County. Take a look at what BOC volunteer and Keller-Williams Realtor, Kim Solomon found when she went to pick up blankets donated at the YMCA.   That was last week. Darcy Gunn from the YMCA called again yesterday to say the box was o’erflowing again! And look at the piles of blankets picked up by BOC volunteer, Farley Bernholz. Farley has picked up at the UNC Wellness Center almost daily to keep their box from overflowing.   Even so, Wellness Center manager, Mike Martinho has been stashing them in his office for between visit overflow prevention. BOC volunteer and Coldwell Banker/HPW Realtor, Gayle Claris will be delivering a big load of about 40 blankets to IFC tomorrow. Thirty of these were donated by Homewatch Caregivers of the Triangle.  About 15 more blankets await Gayle’s pick up at the Chamber of Commerce and Aloft Hotel. Rosemary Waldorf, former Mayor of Chapel Hill who now works with Bryan Properties, just picked up 20 blankets from H2Only Cleaners and the UPS Stores. Susan Reda, owner of Susan Reda Productions, has coordinated these pick up efforts and spread the word to media contacts. And speaking of media contacts…Ron Stutts and Aaron Keck have done interviews, invitations, articles and announcements to get the word out to...

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