40 Stunning Ways to Landscape Around a Swimming Pool
Turn your basic swimming hole into a relaxing oasis with these creative ways to use low-maintenance landscape plants, hedges, rocks and more in your pool design.
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Whether your mom’s love language is chocolate, tea or flower seeds, wow her with a thoughtful gift basket this Mother’s Day — no wrapping required.
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Do you, or does someone you know, own a business? Could your business benefit from advertising to upscale homeowners?
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Set the scene for relaxing get-togethers and fantastic meals with these updates!
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Taking time this morning to give a special birthday shout out to our very own rock star – Danny Bates!
Danny always goes above and beyond for our team – we are grateful for him and his presence! He is kind, hardworking & he always has a positive outlook on life…. not to mention, his artwork slaps!🔥
Cheers to 27 years!🥂
“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” – Aristotle
There comes times when I have some self-doubt creeping in or sales may not be landing in my favor. Other times, it feels like relationships just don’t seem to be clicking. When I start to get a little anxious, I always get that hunger for learning. I wander around the aisles of the bookstore. I get on Amazon and read the reviews you know those “if you like this book you might also love ____”. Lately, everything I’ve read is just meh. Just repetition of the same material and content I’ve heard years before. It had been quite a while since I found a gem of a read. Definitely, quite a long time since I’ve picked up a book that is life-changing.
While waiting on a cell-phone repair, I wandered into a bookstore and this one called out to me, “READ ME!” High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard. It’s off to an inspiring start. It’s the kind of book that makes you want to rush home and devour some more.
I’d love to share a few of my all-time faves. This is my go-to list of books I’ve read most more than one time. Some are dog-eared. All have highlighted passages. Some I’ve read 10 times. Not only does the content never get old, I often discover something new messages within the pages. Life situations change and that old text now speaks to me in a different way delivering a new and timely lesson.
Whether you’re looking for a little positive thinking or ready to grow your business to the next level, I hope you enjoy these classics (followed by my two cents).
E-myth by Michael Gerber (Critical for every entrepreneur)
The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz
How to Win Friends and Influence people by Dale Carnegie
Good to Great by Jim Collins
Duct tape Marketing by John Jantsch (Practical advice for small businesses marketing that doesn’t cost a fortune)
Positive Personality Profiles by Dr. Richard Rohm (Forever changed my perspective on interactions with others)
10 X by Grant Cardone
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill (I had this one on cassette tape in my first car)
Selling the Invisible by Harry Beckwith
Drive by Daniel pink
One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard (Principles are timeless)
Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg (Give yourself permission to do great things!)
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell (Fascinating research into top achievers)
Just Listen by Mark Goulston
I’d love to hear your all time faves. I’ll add them to my “MUST READ” list.
Contributed by Heather Kuth.
All images are Heather’s own & may not be republished without express written permission.
For the last week, I have been watching a small business self-destruct via Facebook. It hasn’t been pretty and it was totally preventable if the business owner truly understood the power of social media.
I am part of a Facebook group for a vendor I use for my own sewing hobby/ business. The people in the group are not only very active in that particular group, but also in many other related groups. Over the last month, customers have noticed a sudden drop in overall quality of the vendor’s product. Naturally, these customers have reached out to the company’s customer service – but unfortunately, they have gotten less than satisfactory responses. Some customers have even been on the receiving end of responses that are accusatory in nature, with the company blaming their customers!
Customers are understandably upset & are now taking their concerns to the business’ Facebook page, which is common in the “social age.” This is where things are getting ugly. Instead of addressing negative comments & customer complaints, the company deletes them. The company owner has started sending rude Facebook messages to complaining customers, telling them not to post concerns or negative comments to the Facebook page, and going so far as to bring up comments the customers made in other groups.
Yes. The owner is “e-stalking” the customers & monitoring their activity on pages that are NOT the owner’s business page!
Further, customers are being banned from the group for “bullying” because they dare to post dissenting opinions. While all of this is playing out, these customers are talking in other groups and even posting screen shots of the messages they received from the business owner. The negativity is getting around and lots of people are talking…which also means that lots of customers are choosing not to shop there anymore. This includes people who have been customers for years and who have spent thousands of dollars with this company – and all of them are now taking their business elsewhere.
This sort of negative attention and resulting customer exodus will certainly have a long-term impact on this vendor’s business. As Maya Angelou famously said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” – and you can probably imagine that being insulted by the owner of a company that your dollars helped succeed makes someone feel pretty terrible for a long, long time. In fact, research shows that 39% of consumers will continue to avoid vendors two or more years after a bad experience.
What’s more, a handful of bad customer service experiences can have far-reaching effects – 54% of consumers have shared bad experiences with more than five people. Websites like Yelp! have not only made sharing poor experiences easier, but they’ve also broadened the audience for these tales. This means that even consumers who have not personally been affected by a company’s bad business manners may steer clear of it anyway – as much as 88% of consumers have been influenced by an online customer service review when making a buying decision.
The owner of the company I’ve been watching implode on Facebook could have handled it so much better simply by being transparent over social media. Addressing customer concerns in real time and in a public space makes them feel appreciated & important, and other customers who witness the exchange can rest assured that they will also be heard if they have a problem. Peter Roesler at Inc. offers some good advice:
“A key tenet of good PR is that whenever a company makes a mistake, they need to make an honest effort to acknowledge the problem, apologize and ameliorate the situation. Trying to hide or ignore a problem will only make the effects worse in the long run. This is especially true with complaints on social media networks. Ignoring, deleting comments from, or banning consumers with a legitimate complaint only makes them angrier and they are likely to attack the social media page, or the brand itself, in other ways. For example, they may use a friend’s profile to continue posting negative comments, ad infinitum. They may also take their angry comments to a review site or list the business with a scam site.”
The message here is clear: if a business doesn’t properly manage its social media and proceeds to ignore the concerns of customers, then it is just digging its own grave.
Welcome back to RSVP’s This Week in Advertising feature! This regular series includes the news tidbits from the advertising world that interested, excited, or amused us this week. We’re glad you’ve joined us – let’s see what happened This Week in Advertising:
- Let’s kick off with a quick lesson in what NOT to do when your company is on the receiving end of some backlash: Seasalt & Co., a company specializing in Photoshop tools, posted a bizarre ad featuring an ominous-looking tree with an even more sinister noose dangling from one of the branches, ostensibly to promote their latest line of graphic design tools…somehow. When the responses they received were less than flattering, the company began threatening legal action against those who complained, then eventually deleted their social media accounts, only to resurface later, with their Facebook page scrubbed clean of the ad, the responses to the ad, and any reference to the ad. A halfhearted and confusing apology (predictably) soon followed, and we suspect the clean-up will continue in coming months. The moral of the story? Think before you advertise, and take criticisms to heart – preferably without unnecessary legal threats.
- At the other end of the tact spectrum, online retailer ModCloth is known not only for selling high-quality clothes in kitschy cuts & prints at affordable prices, but also for promoting realism & body diversity in their advertising – they were the first company to join a pledge against using Photoshop on their advertisements to create “unattainable body images,” and the company frequently uses images of everyday customers wearing their clothes in catalogs. They continue this tradition with their 2015 swimwear campaign, which features actual ModCloth employees instead of models. The ads include women of various heights & shapes, and have generated quite the social media buzz on Facebook, Twitter & Tumblr.
- ModCloth may not care much for Photoshop, but millions of graphic designers the world over do, and use the program to design & create the eye-catching ads we see in our daily lives. Adobe is celebrating its iconic design program’s 25th anniversary with a vibrant 60-second ad set to Aerosmith’s “Dream On”, which will air during the Oscar Awards this Sunday evening.
- Oh, did we mention the Oscars are on this Sunday? You can prepare for the big night by watching the stirring, emotional ads the Academy developed to promote Sunday’s show – just have some tissues ready.
- Oscar-night ad spots are as coveted as those nestled in between plays on the Super Bowl, and American Express alone will be airing four ads, each costing the credit card company around $2 million dollars. These commercials will feature various celebrities – who are also AmEx clients – talking about their rises to fame & overcoming the obstacles that stood in the way of their dreams…dreams that are now worth $2 million dollars.
- We know this isn’t *technically* advertising-related, but we can’t help but be fans of Mad Men, the hit AMC show that has transfixed millions over its seven-season run. The show, set in the dog-eat-dog world of 1960s advertising firms, begins its final season on April 5th, and the first trailer indicates that the swinging-sixties have given away to a very sideburn-ed & plaid seventies. Catch the spot here, and be sure to tune in to AMC on April 5th – it’s certain to be memorable.