Archive for December, 2009

 Balancing career and family becomes increasingly difficult this time of year. The decision to focus on family and taking a break from business is made by many. But is that wise? Are your competitors taking a break? Can work wait until the New Year? Are you delegating work but not working yourself? Hasn’t the social media prism allow you to stay connected?

I’ve heard other franchise executives make the statement that they “will shut down at the end of the year” or “it’s time to take a break and focus on just my family”.  Most entrepreneurs will admit that taking time off whether it’s a well deserved vacation or just a few hours out of the office is almost impossible. It’s impossible because entrepreneurs  are workaholics and  don’t know how to turn work off. They live their passion and enthusiasm for their work.

This year I have more major family events happening the last three weeks of 2009 than I had the entire year. I have one son graduating from Air Force Officer Training and the other son graduating from College and then getting married! My daughter and other family members and friends arrive for the holidays that has me making six trips to the airport.  There is also the cleaning, shopping and cooking required.

So what is an entrepreneur/franchise leader to do? Officially I will be taking 11 vacation days. Before leaving the office I left a holiday message indicating that I will be out of the office until the New year but invited callers to send me an email which will immediately appear on my blackberry. I have attended three end of the year staff meetings with franchisees and their team virtually using video Skype. One meeting was a 20 year celebration for Jen Morack as a COMPUTER EXPLORERS New Jersey franchisee! I have responded to franchisees who needed to discuss important issues regarding their business and corresponded with business brokers and their clients.  

As I officially take vacation days my focus and attention is my family and their needs. We have a lot to celebrate and I want the end of 2009 to be an unforgetable event. At the same time I am keeping both eyes on business. I spoke to one franchisee from the grocery store parking lot. Windows were closed, radio turned off and my complete focus was on our conversation and her needs. When I did the video Skype with Jen I had a banana cake in the oven. Jen and her team were showing me all of their baked goodies for the meeting and the aroma of my cake put me completely in the moment of their meeting!

I just finished reading Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary writes about the importance of personal branding and transparency. He believes in combining business and passion and how you should love what you do. I totally agree! The internet and social media has changed how we can conduct business today. It has opened doors for me to always be connected to my team, my franchisees and our customers. Attending franchisee meetings via video allows me thank them individually for their hard work and express my appreciation. All of this takes very little time away from my family.

In my opinion franchise executives, business leaders, entrepreneurs, etc can enjoy the season without taking a complete break from business. The last thing I want is the someone else to get the competitive edge.

COMPUTER EXPLORERS Team enjoyed putting the following holiday message for you. Please have a safe and holiday season.  Happy New Year!

Best of the Best in Blogs

I am working hard to become a Digital-Age Leader and I spend a great deal of time with my TLN (Twitter Learning Network), view reading recommendations of my network on LinkedIn and connecting with those mentioned on Twitter for #FollowFriday. I realized what is missing is a resource of blog recommendations. My iGoogle home page, Google Reader and email is filled with notices of updates to what I believe are some of the best blogs. Most social media users are aware of Seth Godin, Mashable, Chris Brogan  and Unmarketing. Below I will list a few that I believe should be part of the best of the best in blogs!

Steve Cunningham, CEO of Polar Unlimited offers free book summaries through his ReadItForMe page. Most of my recommendations on my ReadingList on LinkedIn have been recommended by Steve.

Ken Colburn, CEO of The Data Doctors has a weekly radio show in Phoenix. Each segment is saved as a podcast and can be found on iTunes or on his blog The Computer Corner. I like to listen live through streaming on his website but when I miss a show I will download and listen when it’s convenient. Ken is a techie and is very entertaining providing what’s new in technology and helpful hints.

Sue Young is originally from NJ and moved to TX. This may be what got my attention to Sue but it’s not why I recommend her blog Get in Front Blogging. She offers sound advice on blogging and how to build business buzz.

The Business Makers Radio Show is local to Houston. I met Esther Steinfeld at a TweetUp and started following her show. I had the honor appearing on the show earlier his year and enjoyed my  interview . She and the team at The Business Makers provide a great resource for entrepreneurs.

These are a few of what I believe are the best in blogs. Read and judge for yourself and don’t forget to visit their Twitter link and Facebook fan page!

I know I am a social media fiend

I started a Twitter account in December 2008 which opened my world to social media. I visited Twitter and Facebook off and on but  did not became a serious user until March 2009. In a very short time using social media I’ve learned a great deal and met some very influential people. I spoke at another franchise annual conference on social media, receive emails and calls requesting assistance and some have actually labeled me “an expert”! That is far from the truth but I am working very hard to learn as much as possible  positioning  myself as a leader in the franchise industry using social media successfully for marketing and branding.

My Twitter Friend Sue Young recently posted “You Know You’re A Social Media Fiend When ….” on her blog. Her list of 30 indicators  is hilarious and is almost spot on for me.  I thought about her  list and below is  my personal top 5 indicators that is proof I am becoming a social media fiend (and proud of it).

#1 I have panic attacks if I can’t log on to everything! (I start my day with coffee, Facebook, Twitter, Email, etc)

#2 When purchasing a new handbag the criteria is first and foremost that my blackberry, Flip and digital camera fit comfortable and easily accessible.

#3 I am asked  constantly: “Are you going to  Tweet or Facebook that?”

#4 I live by the transparency rule.

#5 I shamelessly try to out tech/out social media friends and family.

Hello I am Deb and I am a social media fiend and  I don’t want to join a support group.