Archive for the ‘BNI’ Category

Linked In — LIVE, and other insights

Monday, September 28th, 2009

A few observations of late …

…..I was describing BNI today and explaining how we build out our referral network by tapping other members’ personal and professional networks …. it’s like LinkedIN, but face to face instead. Not as fast, not as transparent, but possibly more powerful. My vote is still out.

….As someone else pointed out last week, social media marketing is not for everyone, and if you choose to use it, you don’t need to leverage every tool — only the ones that are right for you.

….Hiding yourself on FaceBook makes it really hard to be found. My friend has a high privacy setting but she wanted to be friends with another friend, who was not yet my “friend,” so I had to invite her, she had to accept and now I can suggest to my third, hidden friend that she be friends with the first friend! WHAT!!! And we were all together in one room — in person — trying to figure this out. Hmmm.

….Old PR pitching tactics still work. I received a call this week on a news release I sent out in February by a reporter who saved it and pulled it out when he needed a story idea. Did I pitch it using social media too? Yes, I did, but that’s not what stuck. We are in limbo right now in PR — you cannot count on new or old tactics, exclusively, as a means of pitching news.

…. And last but not least! What does it say about oh-so-many-things in life to discover — on FaceBook — that my own brother is having a health issue? FaceBook first, then a phone call? I really prefer the opposite. No fault is being directed at my brother. Bringing it up at all is just my way of saying we might be living too fast …

Theme song for the day — Rick Springfield, Human Touch (yes, that dates me A LOT)

Behind the Scenes at BNI

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

When you voluntarily invest a large amount of time in something, you want to make sure you’re doing something that’s smart. If it’s fun, too, then that’s a bonus, but not always a requirement.

So, off I went Monday morning to receive my BNI “hymnal” — or leadership team guidebook — and sit in a packed room of about 120 other BNI leadership team members for our formal training. This was one of five or six similar trainings being done locally over a two week timeframe.

BNI — smart. Four hour training — smart, but NOT FUN. Surprisingly, though, there were some bonuses any way.

BNI, of course, is the business referral organization that I joined back in May.

A few things about the training session:

I thought that training the entire leadership team on each person’s role was actually very beneficial, and the training ran like a well-oiled machine — just like the entire organization seems to. This approach gives us insight into the big picture and how each person contributes to whole. Sounds basic, but it was pretty interesting; after sitting through weekly meetings for a couple months I got to see the Holy Grail or ideal way that things could/should be done and I couldn’t help but make some comparisons. Anyway, wouldn’t it be nice if companies could operate in the same fashion where everyone understood what everyone else was doing and how their individual parts contributed to the overall goals? I think employee production would soar.

The presenters were professional and polished, so I appreciated that during the long sessions, and it further increased my confidence in the organization, overall, to see strong leaders delivering professional training to the group. Kudos to Tom Fleming and his team. And, this is a testament to how leaders can make or break an organization by leading by example, demonstrating their values and maintaining an organizational culture in all that they do.

I have been adorned as the “attendance champion” for my Profit Pros chapter — no mystery there. But attendance is so critical to the success of the chapter and the overall productivity of the group that I am honored to serve in such a capacity. I recognize the value my time and effort will bring to the chapter and the region, overall, as well as how the time spent by others in different capacities will also make a big difference.

Changing gears … next up: I’m contemplating doing a 13-week radio show, possibly in partnership with a few other people. I wish my brother lived closer because I know he would do it with me — even though it’s a business thing. He’s just funny, no matter what, and I like funny.

I also have my BNI 10-minute presentation coming up in a few weeks, so I’m working on that, as well as instituting a follow up system for all of the individual meetings I’ve had with BNI members so far. Again, if you’re going to invest time in something, you really should be smart about it. I was a little overwhelmed by the BNI experience at first, but now I see how to be more proactive in making it work better for me.

That’s it for this week’s random observations. Make it a great day.

Heidelberg PR Updates for Summer 2009

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

It might work to your benefit, but some of my posts I’ve been writing in MS Word are apparently not transferable here, so please enjoy this abbreviated and condensed version of several posts I’ve planned for over the summer.

BNI — I joined, and you should check it out. My chapter, the Profit Pros, is great and very energizing. If you are a small business person or in sales or marketing, you should come visit us. We essentially train each other to make referrals to one another. It’s time consuming but worth it when a big referral comes in. A spot in our chapter is worth approximately $45K in new business each year for each member. Hard to believe? Come see for yourself. And, if you are in another part of the country, don’t worry. BNI — Business Networking International — is everywhere.

Charity Chics — just for “chics,” this group is about networking while giving back. All proceeds from meeting registration and door prizes go to a designated charity. So far, Hillsborough Achievement and Resource Center has been our primary charity. This group was founded by fashion consultant Lisa Ford of Invent Your Image and Karen Gillman, sales manager for Intelligent Office. It’s a first come, first serve registration process and only one guest per professional industry is permitted to attend any given meeting. A good use of time — check it out if you are local.

Tampa Jumpstart – I feel like I have a lot to brag about here. We picked our contest a winner a few weeks ago — Mike Mayo with Golden Vision Photography won over $26K of pro bono start up services from the TJS team. Here’s a TV clip announcing his victory, along with a few features Heidelberg PR placed in local business publications. Good luck, Mike!

Fox 13 News Clip on TJS Winner
Maddux Business Report Article on TJS Winner
Tampa Bay Business Journal Article on Winner

And now for some Heidelberg PR news on our newest clients! Since May, we have been helping Waterside at Coquina Key with sales outreach through resident, prospect and Realtor events. Upcoming events and photo recaps are posted on the Waterside FaceBook page under Waterside at Coquina Key. So far, we’ve had a lot of fun — and even made some sales from these events, so if you are interested in the property in any capacity, stop by.

Recently, we also helped out Rapid Refill Ink in Carrollwood with a Back to School promotion, although they offer eco-friendly, convenient and affordable printer cartridge refill services all year long, around the country. Check out their latest press release. It might change your mind the next time you go to throw a used printer cartridge into the trash.

And, although the account is not new, I had the pleasure this week of attending a check presentation from WalMart to a Florida division of the Boys and Girls Club for a $150,000 grant in support of a new educational program to help keep kids in school, along with the ever enjoyable interactions with Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo as we gear up for the final 2009 $5 Day Sept. 13, sponsored by WalMart’s Hillsborough and Pinellas County stores.

And then, finally, for some good news and some bad news. The good news first: Heidelberg PR and Action Coach Pinellas have entered into a strategic alliance to further the business goals of each firm. Heidelberg PR will provide subject matter expert coaching and services to ACP’s managing partner, Barbara Kyes, and, in return, I am receiving weekly coaching and training from Barb and her team. This promises to be a very interesting 12 months!

And now, for the bad news. HARC — the Hillsborough Achievement and Resource Center — is facing some extreme financial hardship on account of some unfortunate decisions by the State of Florida and the Agency for Disabled Persons. The situation is overviewed in this press release that Heidelberg PR issued a few months ago, but the issue remains, and many disabled adults will suffer as a result of some poor decision making. Help us tell the story to anyone who might be able to help!!

These are the summer highlights. School starts next week, so maybe I won’t have to go three months again before I have time to say what I want to say.


Monday, May 18th, 2009

See the FOX 13 news clip below, followed by a press release regarding a program I am involved in to award a deserving new Tampa Bay entrepreneur $25,000 in pro bono services.

Tampa Bay Small Business Jumpstart
3111 Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd., Ste. 100
Tampa, FL 33607

Julie Heidelberg
Heidelberg PR

Tampa Bay Small Business Jumpstart Contest
Will Award Budding Entrepreneur $25,000 Prize
The Jumpstart package provides a wide collection of FREE start-up services to help a
local victim of downsizing create their own small business

TAMPA, Fla. (May 18, 2009) – In honor of national Small Business Week, eight local business entities, including have banned together to launch the Tampa Bay Small Business Jumpstart contest. The contest winner will receive $25,000 in pro bono business start up services to launch a company of their own.

To qualify, aspiring entrepreneurs must meet two primary criteria:
They lost their job due to the economic crunch (laid off, downsized, etc)
They are not looking for a new job with another company or organization, but instead, have either decided to start a business of their own in the last six months or plan to start a business within the next two months.

The Jumpstart winner will receive a package of services that includes internet marketing and web site development, on-site IT support, a public relations campaign, office space and receptionist support for nine months, start-up accounting services, life coaching, printing services and ongoing business planning and counseling. Full details on the award package are posted at

Jumpstart contest applications will be available online at on May 18, 2009 and are due at 5 p.m. on June 18, 2009. There is a $20 application fee, and all contest proceeds will be donated to the Hillsborough Achievement Resource Center, which serves disabled adults.

Jumpstart Origins
The Jumpstart concept originated with Jeremy Knauff, CEO of Wildfire Marketing Group and author of School’s Out: A Real World Guide to Marketing Your Business from A to Z.

“There are a lot of people out there who have lost their jobs due to the economy,” Knauff said, “and that reality drove me to recruit like-minded business people who wanted to help at least one person overcome an unfortunate hardship.”

Jumpstart participant Karen Gillman, sales coordinator at Intelligent Office in Tampa, was one of the first to team up with Knauff.

“Today, with so many people facing unexpected changes in their careers, the Small Business JumpStart contributors felt compelled to provide some assistance to someone who wants to change their life in a very significant way,” Gillman said. “To start a new company after losing a job requires so many things – not to mention courage, determination and creativity – but you also need tangible resources like office space, marketing materials and advisors. That’s where we knew we could help.”

Who are the Jumpstart contributors?
Providing life coaching:
Clestine Herbert, Divine Discipline,
Providing public relations services:
Julie Heidelberg*, Heidelberg PR,
Providing virtual office services and meeting space:
Karen Gillman*, Intelligent Office,
Providing on-site IT support services:
Louis Ayoub*, IntelliTECHs,
Providing printing services:
David Bell*, PA Printing Service,
Providing accounting services:
Rosella Rinaldo Paul*, CPA,
Providing ongoing business planning and counseling services:
Kim Wagner, USF Small Business Development Center,
Providing Internet marketing and web site development services:
Jeremy Knauff, Wildfire Marketing Group,

*These contributors are also members of the “Profit Pros” chapter of a Tampa Business Networking International (BNI) chapter.

For more information about the Tampa Bay Small Business Jumpstart contest, the contributors, the application and the award package, please visit


EDITOR’S NOTE: Headshots of the contributors are available through Heidelberg PR.