Six Years

March 18th, 2015

March 18, 2015 marks the six year anniversary of Brownstone Marketing Solutions. It has been a great experience helping our clients grow their organizations while at the same time growing ours. We are thankful to God, and everyone who has partnered with us for help and / or supported us. 2014 was a great year for us as we experienced substantial growth. We hope to continue that trend by regularly providing creative products and services as we have done in the past. If you have a need, or just wish to talk with us about your business we encourage you to call us at 205-789-3600, or send us an email. All our contact information can be found on our website at http://www.bmsllc.biz/contactus.htm. We are grateful for where we are, and we look forward to working with others who wish to grow with us. We want to be your marketing partner for success.

How to Lose a Customer in Three Easy Steps

June 12th, 2014

I decided to try a local restaurant recently that had been advertising their lunch offerings. I had been in the restaurant once right after it opened, but left unimpressed. This time I was determined to go in and experience expected improvements.

The first thing I noticed before I got inside was their new summer hours posted on the door mentioning closing at 1:45 P.M. Although this closing time may be great for the owner and staff, it is not inviting for people like me who may want a quick lunch after the typical lunch crowd has left.

  • ISSUE 1: Business hours / practices are not flexible enough for clients.

After walking in the door I was not sure of the restaurant’s protocol. Should I wait for someone to seat me, or just select my own seat? A seemingly uninterested guy eventually mentioned I could just sit anywhere. After seating myself the waitress came over and provided me with a menu. She did not ask me anything except required questions, she did not inform me of any specialties, nor did she welcome me to the restaurant.

  • ISSUE 2: Poor employee attitudes can be the difference between mediocrity and success (or even failure).

My order taker brought my drink and eventually my food. The food was reasonably good, but not exceptional. Of course I needed a beverage refill before my meal was done, and my order taker passed several times, but skipped refilling my glass. Another waitress eventually took pity on me and came by with a refill (dry cornbread can be hard to swallow). The bill was left on my table without any questions from the order taker on how my meal was, did I want anything else like dessert, or requesting me to come back soon. After making my way to the register I paid and left.

  • ISSUE 3: Bad service after the sale often results in the loss of customer(s) and decreased revenue.

Based on my second experience I do not plan to return. Although some may think there are plenty of people who will fill my spot that may not be the case forever. Eventually if more people start experiencing negative issues they will find somewhere else to spend their money. Sometimes even basic things can mean the difference between success and failure in a business. Proper marketing can bring great results, but it will not provide the return expected if the business does not correctly meet customer needs.

Five Years

March 18th, 2014

Today marks the fifth anniversary of Brownstone Marketing Solutions. We are happy to have made the milestone that many consider a major hurdle in starting a successful business. It has been said that over 75% of business fail in their first five years. We are grateful to reach the five year milestone, but we know we cannot become complacent. Brownstone Marketing Solutions has established a foundation of helping others reach their goals while securing our own future. Speaking of the future…we expect continued growth and adjustments. We want to pursue some things we have not pursued in the past, and we want to increase our activity in certain areas.

We also want to thank our great clients who have supported us through the years. The first client we worked with helped us to establish our investment plan that we continue to use today. Many of our clients have asked for our help in areas outside our initial work arrangements. It has been gratifying to see client growth and trust in Brownstone Marketing Solutions. Of course we could not have started, or continued this journey without the support of God, our families, and our friends of whom we are ever grateful!

We hope you will consider working with us, and / or referring us as we build for the next five years on what was started in 2009. As we say…Brownstone Marketing Solutions is “Your Marketing Partner for Success.”

Dedication Pays Off

November 15th, 2013

I am sitting here today thinking about all the opportunities that are available for companies to grow. There are many options, but not all of them are equally effective for each business. Having a good evaluation system is part of the equation, but so is performing basic research and turning to others for help. The world is changing, but some principles will always remain the same. Building relationships, offering a fair value, helping someone with issues that cause pain are all long lasting values that help elevate one offering over another. At Brownstone Marketing Solutions we try to always put our client’s needs first and partner with them for success. Feel free to contact us with your ideas. We would enjoy helping you exceed your goals.

How to Keep Up in Marketing When Changes are Rapidly Taking Place

August 13th, 2013

Change is constant although some changes are slower than others. Lately I have been thinking about many of the changes that have been rapidly taking place over the last few years in marketing. I have come to the conclusion that even if you put full time effort into staying current with everything from the past, plus staying abreast of every new idea that is touted it cannot be done without some form of help. Some of the help may come as a brief summary, or instructional video, but other help may be required from contractors, co-workers, or employees.

One cannot stay on top of everything in marketing and business alone. Something will go lacking. What should we do? I think it starts with a plan and the willingness to implement effective time management principles. Recently people have begun expressing an interest in digitally disconnecting for a period of time. I think there may be value in this, but I also think there are many unnecessary distractions that some of us allow to take up our time. I intend to plan how to better use the resources I currently have and consider incorporating new resources when it makes sense. What methods and tools do you use (or plan to use) to try to keep up and stay current?

Recreation and Restcreation

July 3rd, 2013

I was at a car show recently with a fellow business owner. We were discussing the conflict of working long days versus taking time away from work. He mentioned his dad had told him something many years ago that made a lot of sense. His dad said that everyone needed recreation in order to create. I thought about that idea and considered that many forms of recreation also incorporate some form of rest. Then I realized there was a lot of truth in his dad’s words. Often people who are driven to succeed get caught up in their work without taking time away. Many entrepreneurs mention the long hours they work to realize their dream. Without taking time away though their effectiveness can be diminished.

I admit I am guilty of working longer than I should sometimes. It can be a challenge to meet goals with one of the most limited and valuable resources available (time). However, the more I think about the idea of incorporating additional rest in order to be more creative the better I like the idea. Will you join me in committing yourself to more recreation and restcreation?

What to Remember on Memorial Day

May 27th, 2013

Today is Memorial Day in the United States, and as I think about history and sacrifice I have come to the following conclusions:

  1. Sacrifice is important. In the case of fallen military heroes they made the ultimate sacrifice of their life (and their families’ lives) for our country. For their dedication they should have the ultimate honor. Some people also made sacrifices to get me to where I am today. For those who sacrificed for me I should always be appreciative and acknowledge their gift. I should also be willing to make the sacrifices needed that will honor what others have done for me and help others who need it.
  2. History is important. The military looks at the way an enemy has operated in addition to their capabilities. Always moving forward and never looking back is a good phrase, but lousy policy. Creating a baseline of events / data from the past is critical for reliable measurement. Reviewing past mistakes and successes to learn from them should prevent wasted time and resources. Considering the past and creating the future is a better way to do things.
  3. Working with reliable people is important. In the military each person has to rely on the other person. Focus should be on the team and its mission, not just the individual. Unreliable people doom many activities. Exceptional organizations find people they can count on to help them be successful.
  4. Timing is important, and in many situations timing is everything. If the timing is wrong then the mission probably will be a failure. Instruction and truth may not be received because the timing is wrong. Sometimes a pause should be considered before undertaking an activity. Establishing the correct timing of controllable actions and events can propel a person and an organization to the next level of success.

These are just a few thoughts surrounding Memorial Day from Jeff of Brownstone Marketing Solutions. Take time today to remember the fallen.

Marketing Greatness

March 27th, 2013

I recently heard Coach Josh Niblett of the Hoover, Alabama High School Football Team talk about greatness (Hoover High School consistently has a winning program). He mentioned many things that inspired me and others that heard him to dig deeper. One area he focused on was to do more than everyone else. To paraphrase he said that everyone has a cold at some point. Are you going to use that as an excuse to stay in bed? You say it is raining outside so I will not go for my run today. I have to admit sometimes I am guilty of making some of the same decisions when it comes to my personal life. After his challenging speech I am committed to improving in certain areas I have let slide in the past.

What about business and marketing though? What does it take to be great? In my opinion there are many factors that relate to being great in business. Do you provide super excellent service to your clients and prospects, or are you just doing what you committed to do? Do you offer trustworthy ideas, products and services to those who purchase from you? Do you market and advertise with integrity, or do you just try to make the sale? There are many ways to grow and sustain your business, but not all of them are the best way for your future. I encourage you to assess your status (where are you now?), and consider how you can improve for the future (myself included). If you wish to talk about this or other relevant topics feel free to leave a comment, or contact me directly at Brownstone Marketing Solutions.

13 Things to End in 2013

December 31st, 2012

Today is the end. It is the end of 2012. It should also be the end of many other things such as:

  1. Negativity
  2. Meaningless Relationships
  3. Activity for Activities Sake
  4. Poor Performance
  5. Time Wasters
  6. Poor Marketing
  7. Indifference
  8. Self-Centeredness
  9. Carelessness
  10. Little Personal Development
  11. Lack of Focus
  12. Lack of Success
  13. Poor Choices

Replacing the things on this list with positive things and alternatives will make your life better.  Let us all work to make each of our lives better in 2013.

Persistence

November 20th, 2012

Persistent Bug

I was sitting in the office recently when I saw a bug crawl across my desk. This is very unusual as I rarely see any creatures (other than humans) even in the hallway. The bug had an appearance similar to a lightning bug. I quickly brushed it off my desk and continued to work. Within two minutes I saw it crawling on my desk again. Once again I brushed it off and thought that should take care of it for now. Of course it did not, and before long the bug was back on my desktop. I stopped what I was doing, captured the bug and put him outside the building. Thankfully I have not seen him again.

During the encounter I thought about the persistence of the creature. Even though I did everything I could to dissuade him he still kept coming back. It was not until I put him in an area that was virtually impossible for him to return did he stop trying to scale my desk (he may have went to someone else’s desk, but I will never know). After getting back to my office from putting the bug out I wondered if I was persistent enough for my business. Do I consistently do the things I need to do to be successful?

What about my clients? Are they persistent enough in what they are doing to achieve the excellence they desire? I am not talking about being a pest to prospects, but I am talking about giving 100% in everything to accomplish strategic goals. I had to admit at times I am not persistent enough in certain areas. It is not that I give up, but I may not consistently give 100% to advance my vision. The bug challenged me to do better in all that I do. Now I want to challenge you. Be persistent in doing the right things and do not let roadblocks, or rejection slow you down. Give 100% to your dreams. If you are focused on obtaining the correct goals, have (and use) the right tools, plus consistently do the things you should do then you will have a high probability of success.