Howard Block – Bay Hay & Feed

Howard Block, Ce-Ann, and Friends
Bay Hay & Feed is a remarkable landmark business which some years ago brought life to a 96-year-old building in the center of the Rolling Bay neighborhood. What started for two innovative islanders as a Sunday drive is now a large nursery and general store. It is also a fine example of what hard work, caring for your neighbors and community, and making connections with customers will get you.

In the journey to what has become Bay Hay & Feed — so goes local legend —
Howard Block, a native of Long Island, NY, and Ce-Ann, a local Bainbridge Islander, purchased the property essentially on a whim and a prayer. One day Howard and Ce-Ann just decided to find a new place to live and, well, the rest is history. The concept of a retail store setting was not a new concept to them; they had already owned a successful natural foods store in Durham, New Hampshire, where they both went to college.Bay Hay & FeedThe sale of that business paved the way to their new island adventure.

This Friday, October 29th, Howard Block will be speaking to the BBC (Bainbridge Business Connection) at our new meeting location, Local Harvest Restaurant. Coincidence? I think not. Come hear how Howard and Ce-Ann went from New England college students in the 1960’s to successful Northwest business owners.

Don’t miss your morning cup of BBC!

BBC taking a Labor Day weekend break – Bob Linz Sept. 10th!

First of all, the Bainbridge Business Connection will be taking a Labor Day weekend break this Friday, September 3rd, 2010. So enjoy your three-day weekend!

Bob LinzI do want to give you advanced notice of our upcoming speaker, Bob Linz on September 10, 2010.  He will speak on: “Setting Professional Rates For Consultants And Entrepreneurs.” Learn how to keep your business both marketable as well as profitable!  Bob may well change your prospective on how you offer your services and set your business rates.

I first met Bob Linz about four years ago at the Bainbridge Island Toast Masters noon meeting group. I was yet to discover my own voice — and place — in the Bainbridge business community.  Connecting with Bob was one of those “chance” meetings that would guide me down a whole new road of my entrepreneurial development.

Bob sat quietly in the small meeting room of the Winslow Arms dissecting some notes — from the look on his face — that he had in front of him.  I believed this to be the first time he was to speak on his chosen topic.  However, it was evident by the demeanor of the room that Bob was definitely one of the more experienced speakers.

Club president, Jim Sutton, gave a brief but spirited review of Bob’s accomplishments then welcomed him to the podium, which he quickly whisked away to one side.  What?  No podium to hide behind?  I had never heard of such a thing!

Bob stood motionless, looking into to each of our eyes as if to make some spiritual connection, then quickly engaged us with a tasteful bit of humor.  His 10 minute speech, to which I felt strangely compelled to listen, elicited none of my normally critical review.  What confidence he had!  Not a tremble or “um” or “tsk.”  I knew in that moment that I wanted to be able to speak like this guy.  I needed to hear and learn more, so I kept going back week after week to this room full of interesting people.

After a few weeks, Bob gave our group the first rendering of what was to become his charter speech, Setting Professional Rates For Consultants And Entrepreneurs.”  Even in its 10 minute formative beginnings, this talk was a huge step in my development as an entrepreneur.

I had previously struggled over what to charge for my services and, of course, arrived at something less then barely breaking even.  I was not taking into consideration:  one, I provided a valuable service; two, I had expenses to maintain that expertise; and three, I needed to be profitable to grow my business.  Imagine that. Bob put this all into prospective in the first 2 minutes of his energetic presentation!

So, mark your calendars for Friday, September 10, 2010, 7:30 to 9:00 AM, to meet Bob Linz — if you haven’t already — and get a good seat for his half hour presentation “Setting Professional Rates For Consultants And Entrepreneurs.” You will take away powerful tips on how to set marketable yet profitable hourly rates for your valuable services.

One Call for All LogoNote: Some of Bob’s accomplishments include president of Investment Assets Management LLC, where he works as a real estate broker with family investment groups in long term investment planning and implementation.  Bob is also executive director for “a unique Bainbridge Island tradition,One Call for All, which was started almost 50 years ago when a few forward-thinking islanders decided to combine the individual fund appeals of multiple organizations into one annual fund drive.

Don’t miss out on your morning cup of BBC!  See you at the Pavilion!

Tim Longley
BBC Chair

What’s that you say?

I'd like to tell you about this amazing little device...Greetings BBC Members,

Last week I challenged you all to write a referral for a BBC member and bring it to the next BBC Meeting (which is this Friday, May 28, 2010). There will be prizes for the best 3 written testimonials — read to, and voted on, by the membership at large.

For those of you that were not able to be at our last meeting, what we are trying to develop are the skills necessary for providing testimonials that actually mean something to a reader or prospective client that the recipient (a BBC Regular) can proudly display on their marketing materials or web page. Testimonials are some of the most powerful marketing tools for both the recipient using them and the testimonial provider as well.

“WHY” you ask? There are a bunch of reasons:

  1. You are helping your fellow entrepreneurs market themselves to a wider audience. Let’s face it, when you put good stuff out to the world, good stuff comes back. Call it what you will, but it is just plain reality in action. (Throw a ball against the wall — it comes back. Throw a mud pie at the wall, well; it sticks to the wall to remind you how stupid that move was….)
  2. The recipient of your kind words may reciprocate with similar kind words for you to use on your marketing materials. But let’s remember — don’t give a gift expecting one back.
  3. If your name shows up on other local businesses enough, customers and other business people tend to think you are a “Go to” person. Trust me — I found this out a couple of years ago.  It’s a good thing though.
  4. You feel energized when you do something good for someone else in need. It is powerful medicine that will energize your business as a benefit.
  5. You learn by writing. Dave Kragen will tell you this. You keep writing, you will get better and better at it. Writing and rewriting, this is what will get those stalled creative juices flowing — so typically vacant once we become set in our ways. And, writing about other people, can help you write about your own business.

SO…what is a “Good Testimonial?”  Let’s start with a basic principle that I have NO idea who wrote it originally — but it just makes complete sense:

Remember the “4 S’s”: Great testimonials are specificshortsizzling … and signed.

Avoid the “4 L’s”: Long, lame, lazily-written, and lacking a point.

Here’s A Good Testimonial: (OK… its mine but I like it)

“I sleep well knowing that Dave Kragen has proofed, edited, and ensured that my message gets out in a highly professional manner. Dave has the gift of emulating his client’s written voice without detracting from their message. I believe that KaveDragen Ink is a necessary component to successful business writing.”    —Tim Longley

Here’s An Example Of A Bad Testimonial:

Dave Kragen has been a neighbor of mine for 13 years and he likes to write and do well system projects and he is a good pool player. HE also likes cats and his wife is a teacher so he must be purdy smart. So if you want someone to write stuff for you – call him. “—Anonymous

Yeah that’s gonna work.  So bring those testimonials about a BBC member and see if you can win a prize. But remember, you will take away a lot more than that.

See you Friday for your next cup of BBC!

Tim Longley
BBC Chair / Talking Head

Edited by KaveDragen Ink, LLC

At: Cafe @ The Pavilion
403 N. Madison Ave.
Bainbridge Island, WA  98110

7:30-8:00 – coffee, tea, delightful food, visiting, informal networking, sharing

8:00-8:30 – formal meeting

8:30-9:00 – more informal networking and sharing

What is the Bainbridge Business Connection?

Cooperation - ToleranceWhat is the Bainbridge Business Connection? What exactly is it that the BBC does for its members?  What’s in it for the community?  What are the standards that have been established over the last year?

BBC has evolved from a bunch of local business people getting together to share a waffle and an “iLearning Global” video to a much larger group of Bainbridge Island entrepreneurs.  What a year!  What an outcome.  I think it is time to take a moment to reflect back on who we are and what we are doing now — and maybe a look ahead into the future a little.  Sort of a State of the BBC message from your humble talking head (Tim).

My friend, colleague, co-founder of the BBC, and staff writer (Dave Kragen) put it better than I could myself.  We are a community of small (and/or home) business entrepreneurs encouraging one another, person-to-person.  We seek to offer:  general business tips (via guest speakers/presenters); a place to learn and hone communication skills and market-place experience; a place for honest critique of one another’s advertising ideas, company marketing strategies, and general web presence.  We are also a place to discuss the general market environment both locally and nationally.  We are a community resource for local business just starting out or growing or changing.

What we don’t want to do is spread our business cards around, hound each other for sales, and expect referrals from each other while we sit quietly in the corner.  We also do not want to be a place of unqualified judgments about one another’s products, services, or potential markets.  We especially do not want maligning of or negative gossiping about any member’s reputation, character, or products/services — for any reason!  We are here at the BBC to focus on one another’s strengths as colleagues, founders of new opportunities that we can share, consultants for better business practices, and ultimately “growth promoters.”  We are, after all, each other’ most powerful sales force.

At our weekly Friday morning breakfast gatherings, we continue to learn about one another as people struggling with making a living in a complex marketplace. We are all about encouragement. And as we become comfortable and respectful of our member’s products/services, we may find ourselves making a referral — but a referral with heart and credibility — because we are learning to know each other better.  It is a very powerful marketing strategy.

Again, Dave K:  We at BBC are about HOW to be more successful and credible business people contributing in positive ways to our communities.  It’s not so much about WHAT we sell or WHAT services we offer, as about HOW we do business with integrity on Bainbridge Island and in Kitsap County.  We are just plain business folk getting together to cheer one another on and to be the best business people we can be.  But that’s what we love about the BBC!  A couple hours each week that we can feel really great about!

Don’t miss your morning cup of BBC!

Tim Longley
BBC Host

David Kragen
BBC Editor & Chief

So… Now that that’s over…

Now that that's over...BBC & Cafe @ The Pavilion – 16 April 2010

Well, we’ve all paid our taxes now, so it’s only fun from here right into Summer and the Grand Old 4th Of July with the Bainbridge Island Yacht Club’s Fireworks, the first ever BBC Booth, and—maybe?—a BBC Float; but that’s still just a bug in the wind! Right?

(Bug in the wind?)

7:30-8:00  &  8:30-9:00

So, this is our low-key mid-April BBC Friday.  Let’s just concentrate on getting to know one another better, even more than “what we do,” make it “who we are.”  First and foremost, this Friday, we should seek out a few people we’ve never spoken with, or with whom we’ve spoken little.  Ask about “Their Story”; then, after listening lots, tell a little of your own story.

So, plenty of time for visiting, gossiping (“I didn’t say that!”), networking, coffee/tea and bagels and usually some kind of fun breakfast sandwich (for those who don’t want to indulge in a big, delicious Danish or sweet roll).

Thanks once again to our gracious hostess, Thuy Nguyen.


During our regular-regular BBC ½ Hour Special time, we will talk and brainstorm some more about the upcoming 4th Of July.  We’ll also update everyone on the ever-gradually should-maybe changing BBC web presence. It will happen.  (“Who said that?”)  And if nothing else and there’s a few minutes left, we’ll play act and put on a short version of “The Taming Of The Shrew”; definitely not “High School Musical.”

Goodnight.  And remember:  “You won’t be there until you get there.”

Dave Kragen
BBC Staff, COC Gendarme, and City Of Bainbridge Island Secret Service

PS… Tim is busy applying a new look to our BBC BLOG…This will teach him not to leave his computer on…

Take a look when you get a chance!

“A New Way of Doing Business”

City of Bainbridge Island LogoBBC Members! In the BBC tradition of “a new way to connect” — this Friday, March 26, 2010, at 8:00 AM, Interim Deputy City Manager Stan McNutt and City Council member  Barry Peters, will be giving a short, informational presentation regarding the Bainbridge City Governments program A New Way of Doing Business.Barry Peters City Council Bainbridge Island

In the past few months, the City Council has been working with Barry Peters and Stan McNutt on an intensive Governance Review process.  Through this process, the Council has done an review and rebuild of the policies, procedures, and guidelines that create the framework for the City Council/Manager form of government.  Stan and Barry will update us on this important process and its result — a new way of doing business for our City government!

The new level of teamwork that is being realized — both within the Council and between Council, staff, and community — has opened the way for the City to serve as a facilitator for innovations like the Google Broadband initiative and other economic opportunities for the island.  Stan and Barry will talk about some of these new initiatives and address your questions about how the City can help support sustainable business development on Bainbridge Island.

This Friday’s BBC will be a great opportunity to ask those tough questions about how home-based or entrepreneurial businesses, without “brick and mortar” locations, fit into the vision of the new city governance.

So dust off those questions you’ve been saving and connect with Stan McNutt and Barry Peters this Friday!

We will see you all for that morning cup of BBC!

Tim Longley
BBC Chair

Now located at Café @ The Pavilion

Stop Reacting & Get Back to Creating!

David EmeraldThis week’s Friday Morning with the BBC will feature speaker David Emerald, Author of “The Power of TED. ” David is also the Co-founder (with his wife Donna Zajonc) of the Bainbridge Leadership Center. David’s Topic will be “Stop Reacting & Get Back to Creating!”

“As entrepreneurs and small business owners, we often begin ventures with vision and passion.  However, as we begin creating, the challenges we face can weigh us down and force us into a Problem-focused and reactive orientation.  By understanding the differences between a Problem Orientation and an Outcome Orientation, we gain the awareness necessary to break the cycle of reacting and get back to the creating. “Book - The Power of TED

The presentation is based on David’s ff’s book, The Power of TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic).

Don’t miss this interesting topic – and we plan to keep it on schedule for those of you with commitments after 8:30 AM.

Also, remember to bring those surveys or email them to Dave or myself.  If for some reason you didn’t receive your survey by email, contact Dave or Tim to have a copy sent to you. Thanks.

Tim Longley
BBC Chair

How to Give a Good Referral?

Annoying referral How many referrals did you pass along this month? Were you listening to your friends, clients, casual acquaintances, folks met on the bus?

When you’ve said, “I am so tired of that faucet dripping, it’s driving me nuts,” do you have a friend, business acquaintance, or an outspoken client, who can’t wait to run down the list of businesses that can come to your rescue (even though all you really needed was a therapist)?

I have a few colleagues like that. They are kind of deal-killers for me to be honest. We are bombarded with advertising and media overload nearly every waking moment.

OK, so why is the Chairman of the local Business Networking Group talking like this?  Hey, aren’t you supposed to be encouraging us to make referrals for one another?

Yes.  But I didn’t say anything about annoying everyone with whom you come in contact.

So, just for fun—and for a great, controversial meeting topic—here are my top ten ideas for providing great referrals:

  1. Be quiet and listen to your friend, colleague or client:  One of the most important rule of good listening is to keep your mind open. Don’t, for instance, start thinking about solving the person’s problem before they even finish their sentence. Hear what they are saying—completely—and take a few seconds to try to stand in their shoes.
  2. Ask some follow-up questions about their situation and echo back to them what they told you:  Using the above example, say, “So your faucet is dripping like a sieve and for some reason it is driving you over the edge. You said you could fix it, but you just have too much on your plate and are very stressed out. You say you don’t know what to do.” Thought it was a plumber they needed, did ya? Wrong! If we would have listened longer we might have found out what they really needed was a massage and Qigong lessons. Ooops.
  3. Make a mental note about the person in need of assistance:  Are they wired or are they laid-back? Do you think referring a business colleague that is “like totally mellow” would work for someone that has ADHD?
  4. Try to make the highlight of your conversation about your new or ongoing relationship versus just another advertisement for a business colleague:  If you are in the latter frame of mind, it’s likely that your “target” (in the above case) will just try to brush you off, so you will stop trying to sell them on something they may not be able to afford anyway.
  5. Make sure you really know the business, and preferably the business owner, you are referring:  You are just like the company you keep. For example, you won’t find me referring someone to a car dealer who simply offered to buy me dinner if I would send their way some poor unsuspecting sucker, er person, I know (and probably like) into their clutches. If I am referring a business to a friend, colleague, or client, I want them to have a great experience. Remember, that friend, colleague, or client is also going to be in a position to refer my business to someone else.
  6. When making a referral, think of that “emotional tidbit” that will stick in the mind of the person to whom you are giving the referral:  Emotional experiences, whether good or bad, leave strong traces in the brain. For example, “Joan at Alpha Massage hit a spot in my neck that absolutely lifted the world off my sholders. She is a terrific massuse!”
  7. Let the person receiving the referral have their own “ah ha” moment:  Don’t go immediately for their jugglar vein with, “—and Joan can be reached at this number/ email—can I have her call you?” I can’t think of a better reason to scan my calls or make use of my spam filter than this. If you made an impression on them with your emotional hook, then they will likely ask you how to get a hold of Joan.
  8. The businesses in your circle of influence are a major part of your own business’s  success:  Your network wants you to be successful, because the more clients you connect with, the more potential clients for them. It’s the only pyramid scheme that actually works (ok … I am going to get letters for that comment).
  9. Be sure to let your colleague know that you were thinking about them:  Tell them you dropped their business name/referral on a potential client. This gives them a chance to know what expectation you set on their behalf and a brief snippet on what the prospective client is like. Both parties will appreciate your effort and will remember you when they want to refer someone.
  10. [And finally, my favorite, and the reason people actually come to me for referrals….] Get to know your colleagues on a personal level:  Do things together. Get involved in each other’s charity or social groups (this does not include email, twitter, or other SN, social networking media).  If you are in the trenches together—eye ball to eye ball—you have a much better chance of winning the little battles that life puts in front of you.

Thus, the subject matter of this Friday’s open discussion session.  Bring your thoughts and ideas!  And bring a friend!

Who would of thought – 1 Year Today?

Bainbridge Business Connection is One Year Old today!

One year ago today we founded a “networking” group that  we had been warned in advance  — “this was done before… and destined to fizzle in a couple of weeks” (well it did do that a couple of times) but here we are today!

Our small group of entrepreneurs has become so much more than I or my “personal board of directors” had ever dreamed possible – but that is exactly why it was formed; To bring together the energy, the talents, the resources, and the friendship of a unique group of business people that struggle every day to bring Bainbridge Island (and in some cases much further) the goods and services need to make it thrive.   I can’t tell you in words how exciting and valuable this experience has been to me over this year.

In 2010 our Friday morning group will be growing in exciting new ways.  We are planning, with your help, to blaze some new paths into “making connections in a new way.”  We might even dust off a few old tried and true events and exercises to make it interesting. But the bottom line of today’s message is to express to you how glad I am that I get to make this journey with you!

Happy Birthday Bainbridge Business Connections! And Thanks to Kevin Dwyer and the Chamber of Commerce for getting the word out about us.

And don’t forget to have your morning cup of BBC!

Tim Longley
BBC Chair

Was There a Buzz at the BBC?

Was there a buzz at last Friday’s BBC meeting? Oh yes. I could feel it as I walked around the room. Six groups of BBC members took their first shot at the “Your Own Personal Board of Director’s” exercise and the energy in the room was contagious. Way to go BBC!

This week we are going to continue the exercise only this time each “board” member will bring their own issue to the table. What strategy or idea have you been struggling with? What can you do better to generate business in these tough times? What do others in your entrepreneurial situation think?

While you ponder that, I found this article about “Type of Entrepreneurs” that was kind of interesting.

Why this is so important to the mission of the BBC – specifically your chosen “Board of Directors” is that it takes a good combination of these personality types to build a successful strategy. See if you can find yourself in these descriptions, and then see if you can spot them with the people that you have in your group:

The Nine Personality Types of Entrepreneurs By Darrell Zahorsky, Guide

  1. The Improver: If you operate your business predominately in the improver mode, you are focused on using your company as a means to improve the world. Your overarching motto is: morally correct companies will be rewarded working on a noble cause. Improvers have an unwavering ability to run their business with high integrity and ethics.Personality Alert: Be aware of your tendency to be a perfectionist and over-critical of employees and customers.Entrepreneur example: Anita Roddick, Founder of The Body Shop.
  2. The Advisor: This business personality type will provide an extremely high level of assistance and advice to customers. The advisor’s motto is: the customer is right and we must do everything to please them. Companies built by advisors become customer focused.Personality Alert: Advisors can become totally focused on the needs of their business and customers that they may ignore their own needs and ultimately burn out.Entrepreneur example: John W. Nordstrom, Founder Nordstrom.
  3. The Superstar: Here the business is centered around the charisma and high energy of the Superstar CEO. This personality often will cause you to build your business around your own personal brand.Personality Alert: Can be too competitive and workaholics. Entrepreneur example: Donald Trump, CEO of Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts.
  4. The Artist: This business personality is the reserved but highly creative type. Often found in businesses demanding creativity such as web design and ad agencies. As an artist type you’ll tend to build your business around the unique talents and creativities you have. Personality Alert: You may be overly sensitive to your customer’s responses even if the feedback is constructive. Let go the negative self-image. Entrepreneur example: Scott Adams, Creator of Dilbert.
  5. The Visionary: A business built by a Visionary will often be based on the future vision and thoughts of the founder. You will have a high degree of curiosity to understand the world around you and will set-up plans to avoid the landmines. Personality Alert: Visionaries can be too focused on the dream with little focus on reality. Action must proceed vision. Entrepreneurial example: Bill Gates, Founder of MicroSoft Inc.
  6. The Analyst: If you run a business as an Analyst, your company is focus on fixing problems in a systematic way. Often the basis for science, engineering or computer firms, Analyst companies excel at problem solving. Personality Alert: Be aware of analysis paralysis. Work on trusting others. Entrepreneurial example: Intel Founder, Gordon Moore.
  7. The Fireball: A business owned and operated by a Fireball is full of life, energy and optimism. Your company is life-energizing and makes customers feel the company has a get it done attitude in a fun playful manner. Personality Alert: You may over commit your teams and act to impulsively. Balance your impulsiveness with business planning. Entrepreneurial example: Malcolm Forbes, Publisher, Forbes Magazine.
  8. The Hero: You have an incredible will and ability to lead the world and your business through any challenge. You are the essence of entrepreneurship and can assemble great companies. Personality Alert: Over promising and using force full tactics to get your way will not work long term. To be successful, trust your leadership skills to help others find their way. Entrepreneurial example: Jack Welch, CEO GE.
  9. The Healer: If you are a Healer, you provide nurturing and harmony to your business. You have an uncanny ability to survive and persist with an inner calm. Personality Alert: Because of your caring, healing attitude toward your business, you may avoid outside realities and use wishful thinking. Use scenario planning to prepare for turmoil. Entrepreneurial example: Ben Cohen, Co-Founder Of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.

Each business personality type can succeed in the business environment if you stay true to your character. Knowing firmly what your strong traits are can act as a compass for your small business. If you are building a team, this insight is invaluable. For the solo business owners, understand that you may need outside help to balance your business personality.

I have a couple of speakers negotiating for time on our schedule so keep your eye on the website. Subjects: Personal Leadership Strategies, and “Sales and the Telephone”…is it for your business?

Don’t miss your cup of BBC!

Tim Longley

BBC Chair