Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Take Control. Beat Cancer.

It feels good to be in control—or at least, to have a handle on things within your reach. But that kind of security isn’t always in the cards. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with cancer, then you get it: A cancer diagnosis is a line-drive foul ball that you didn’t see coming.   

Three years ago, my sister-in-law, Katie, was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma at age 32. It was news that sent my family reeling—and the reason I accepted the nomination to fight for those battling blood cancers as part of THE LEUKEMIA & LYMPHOMA SOCIETY'S (LLS) 2017 Man & Woman of the Year Campaign.

When she was diagnosed, Katie was the picture of health. She is also one of the most positive people I know, which played in her favor. Katie fought a long, hard battle and won. During her chemotherapy treatments, she took drugs that threw her body into a nauseating faux menopause to protect her eggs. One year later, she got pregnant.  Today, with 14-month-old Luke running circles around her, Katie is battling bladder cancer. So, her fight continues—and she faces it every day with that same positive mindset and amazing resolve.

I’m grateful for the treatments and therapies that have written a promising next chapter for Katie.  But there is so much more to be done. With Katie as my inspiration, I’m working to help raise funds for LLS for research and treatments. My team, KATIE’S BLOOD, SWEAT & TEARS TOUR, is competing against other teams in NE Ohio in a 10-week fundraising campaign.  

PLEASE JOIN US in giving cancer patients a fighting chance. EVERY DONATION helps! I’m asking for only two things:

  • 1.      Click on this link to access our team page and make your tax-deductible donation online.
  • 2.     Forward this blog to your friends and family

On behalf of Katie, the Connor family, and others who are battling to gain their footing and fight back—thank you.

Tim Connor

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Luck Behind the Shamrock Name

If you’re lucky enough to be Irish, then you’re lucky enough. That’s how I felt growing up in an Irish family—and as an adult, I feel equally as proud to be part of an organization that shares a bit of that heritage.

I get the question often: How did Shamrock get its name? So today, on St. Patrick’s Day eve, seems like the right time to share the story: In 1978, Shamrock founder Neil Bennett took a leap of faith, leaving his secure sales position at a major business forms company to start an entrepreneurial venture.

The story follows that as Neil sat at his kitchen table contemplating his new startup, he studied the shamrock plant sitting in front of him. It brought back childhood memories of shamrocks displayed in his grandmother’s home. And that’s when it hit Neil: “why not name the company SHAMROCK, the legendary good luck symbol of the Irish?” 

And so, Shamrock Forms was born. Working from that same kitchen table, Neil’s sales grossed $400,000 the first year. In less than two years, he rented office space, hired four employees, and sales grossed $1.2 million. And the rest is history, with the Company growing and diversifying to evolve into the full-service marketing solutions resource that it is today.

Shamrock didn’t stumble upon that success by luck. It’s no coincidence that successful people, like Neil, who work the hardest and surround themselves with good people, seem to have the most luck. I’ve always believed that we create our own luck—and Shamrock is living proof of that. For more than 30 years we’ve focused on serving our clients first by providing added value, and the rest has certainly followed.

May the road rise to meet you.

And may you enjoy the holiday tomorrow, snow and all!

Tim Connor

Thursday, March 9, 2017

5 Steps To Selecting Executive Gifts

It’s the thought that counts: That’s the gift-giving mantra that many of us embrace—and one that rings true when considering executive gifts: Putting thought and effort into the discovery process first is what helps us arrive at the right gift, for the right occasion, and at the right price. 

The "Gold Watch" gift is rare today!
Here are my 5 essential steps to gift-giving success:

  1. Vet your client list. Consider there are many organizations that cannot accept gifts from their clients and vendors. It’s important to vet the client/recipient list so that the gift campaign does not work against you.
  2. Identify your demographic. Think about who the gift is going to and then, how will it arrive—wrapped? In original retail packaging? Personalized with your logo? Will it be shipped, hand-delivered or presented at an event? 
  3.  Consider the occasion. Is the gift commemorating a holiday? An anniversary? A thank-you gift?
  4. Identify how the gift will be used. Do you see your gift sitting on your client’s desk? Is it a lifestyle product that you hope makes it to your client’s home? An impact piece? Something that has a short shelf life, such as food?
  5. Establish a budget. Does that include packaging and shipping?
These discovery prompts lead to solid gift-giving solutions. For example, one of my customers wanted to spend $50 on an apparel item for a client gift—but was worried that putting their logo on the chest might prevent the client from wearing it. The solution: We imprinted the customer’s logo on the lining of the jacket, which gave a nod to their brand without making the gift feel too self-promoting. My customer was pleased with the result—his gift was the right product, presented in the right way (with subtle branding), and at the right price.     

Shamrock jackets using the subtle 3-ring version of our logo.

Some customers start the gift-giving process backwards—starting with the item first. But to get it right, it’s more about knowing your audience than picking the right product. Using this discovery process as a guide, you’ll find that you arrive at the ideal gift.

What’s the best executive gift you’ve received? I’d be interested in your feedback tberry@shamrockcompanies.net

Take care,

Tim Berry    

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Top Five Life Lessons

I was driving home from a business meeting when I received a random text from my son, who at the
time, was a sophomore at the University of Arizona. He asked, “Dad, what are the top 5 life lessons you have learned?” With the help of voice to text technology, I responded immediately:

  1. YOU GET WHAT YOU GIVE - I can’t explain it, but this one is just a law of nature. People generally get back what they give. In other words, people usually get what they deserve in life. Or, as ye sow, so shall ye reap. Forget about “win-win,” and try to always give more than you expect in return. The funny thing about this approach is that it finds a way to pay you back…
  2. YOU BECOME WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT - If you think in positive terms, you get positive
    results; and if you think in negative terms, you get negative results. Set goals and think about them in a relaxed, positive way. You must CONTROL YOUR THINKING. It is much easier and more natural for people to think negatively, which is why only about 5% of us achieves “success.” This comes from an insightful book that I have on tape, called The Strangest Secret in the World by Earl Nightengale. Buy it and listen to it often!
  3. STEADY WINS THE RACE - Try to avoid getting too high, or too low. Life can and will change very quickly—so expect change. Try to see the big picture. Simply said, keep your chin up when things don’t go your way. Fight through it – there will be better days ahead. AND, when things are awesome, try not to get to cocky or comfortable. Stay focused, enjoy the ride, but make sure you are prepared if things turn.
  4. FORGIVE OTHERS – Everyone make mistakes, including you. If you want (or need) others to forgive you, then you need to be willing to forgive others. We are all so different, and that is a good thing! Accept it…embrace it. Look for the good in people, and be willing to overlook what you perceive as their weaknesses.
  5. TAKE CARE OF YOUR MIND AND BODY – Eat healthy, exercise – both physically and mentally (think about that). Don’t pollute your mind or your body with things that are unhealthy.
And Honorable Mention – My Mom passed a few years back, but she left me with so many gifts of wisdom. She used to say, “Everything in moderation”, and she encouraged me to have a “healthy balance to your life”.

What "words of wisdom" would you like to share with your children or coworkers?  Let us know!
And if you'd like to discuss any of the ones I've mentioned here, you can email me BDeGarmo@shamrockcompanies.net or tweet me @BobDeGarmo.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Power of TED Talks

The steady decline in print newspaper circulation and the increase in digital media ad sales, confirm that more of us are turning to TV, online, and social media channels for everyday news and information. I know I do. And because of the speed of digital delivery, I often find myself shoveling in data and information almost at a faster rate than I can digest it.

Therein lies the beauty and value of TED talks: These short presentations provide insight into a specific topic in a compelling and engaging way that makes us think. So often in today’s fast-paced world, we don’t take the time to stop and really think.

Whether you’re interested in neuroscience, cybercrime or self-improvement, there’s a TED talk for you. One of my favorite talks to date is by researcher BrenĂ© Brown—it’s called The Power of Vulnerability. It also happens to be on the list of the Top 20 TED talks of all time:

In her 20-minute talk, Brown delves into the value of allowing yourself to be vulnerable—to admit that you don’t have all the answers. From a business perspective, that vulnerability is what ultimately strengthens the team. This talk prompted me to focus on the way that I manage my communications and interact with my colleagues. It made me think—and then gave me the framework that I needed to formulate a plan for action and self-improvement.

If you’re looking for satisfy your thirst for knowledge or even to broaden your perspective, TED is a great place to start, www.ted.com.

I’m interested to hear which talks speak to you: tconnor@shamrockcompanies.net

Good luck,

Tim Connor