Host a Fire Sale, COVID-19 Style

A fire sale is what retailers would offer after a literal fire damaged their inventory. They’d sell whatever they could deeply discounted and trash the rest. The term is also used during any sale that will help a business avoid complete destruction. Even though it’s a virus not a fire that is ravaging some businesses’ output these days, it’s important to stay in business to sell what you can and shelve the rest for now. Know your audience, read the room, connect the dots. Whatever you want to call it, it is time to examine your customers’ situation closely. Use your intuition to pivot in this ongoing season of COVID-19. Offer your customers something they want at a price they can afford, via a safe and hygienic delivery system.   What do your customers want? Anticipating needs is part of good customer service. Consider that everyone’s connection to their homes has increased. Home offices, home schools, staycations. What can you offer that your customers can use at home? Can you offer them something that their children can do at home, independent of their parents? Do you possess some wisdom you can offer in these times? Can your product be used differently by families in quarantine? Finally, dig deep in your inventory to see what you can rotate out and sell extremely discounted or give away with other sales. Be creative!   What can your customers afford? Many people have little money to spend, if any at all. Look at who your regular buyers are. Develop family packs of your products or solo-size for your single customers. Price your products within a reasonable range of affordability and adjust your costs accordingly. Think meatloaf, not prime rib. Add some little things that let people know you care. In March and April some deliveries came with a roll of toilet paper–brilliant, even if un-appetizing! Alcohol wipes, masks, or a few coloring sheets for the children lend a sentiment of caring and will be put to immediate use.   Make your delivery system as easy as possible. If you haven’t figured out a way to deliver your product, you better hurry up! Deliver services using one of many virtual platforms that you should already be using. Distribute tangible products through no-contact (or minimal contact) pick-up, delivery by car, bike, or a shipping service (USPS, UPS, FedEx, and others) remain exceedingly important and will...
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Ch-Ch-Ch Diet

Summer’s coming. Time to at least try to shed a few pounds for the bathing suit. You know it’s bad when your kids say, “You need to go to the gym!” Here’s my foolproof diet that will work for any fool whose main food groups are nachos and See’s candy like mine are … uh, were. In the last three weeks I have lost five pounds. I know I can look a lot better if I take my kids’ advice and get my gushy self to the gym for some serious cardio and hefty weight training, but in the meantime, this takes zero sweat and zero pain. I’ve done this before and it always works, I just slowly slip off of it and am back up the scale. I simply take these three things out of my diet: cheese, chocolate and chips. As for chips, that goes for the American munchies as well as the chips across the pond better known as French fries. Pretty much everything fried is off limits. Cheese sneaks into your diet here and there so that you rarely even taste the hundreds of calories it equates to and the grams and grams of fat that enhance your roundness. Taking cheese off a burger, out of a sandwich and off the snack tray is a huge savings for a cheesy girl like me. I love cream cheese on a bagel or as a spread on a turkey sandwich. Hummus is a good, healthy substitute that I can live with. Chocolate is also full of fat. No doubt, that’s why it tastes so good. The way it melts in your mouth and envelopes your taste buds. Mmmmmm—delicious! But one Hershey’s* bar has 13 grams of fat. The recommended daily allowance for a 2000 calorie a day diet is 65 grams of fat or less. That means that a Hershey bar would take up 20% of your daily allocation—that would be the fat for a whole meal. I know that if I have a few pieces from a box of See’s Nuts and Chews or a Hershey bar, I’m not doing it as a meal. It’s a treat and as much as I want to believe that treats don’t count, or that the Diet Pepsi I have with it cancels it out, I know it shows up on the scale and as one more dimple on my...
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Advice From Mom

Mother’s Day is a great day to take pause and reflect on the things you learn from your mother. Sometimes it takes a while to agree with her and knowing that should only give us more patience as mothers. Maybe patience isn’t the word for it … long-suffering, maybe. It is frustrating when your kids do not acknowledge your wisdom at the moment but somehow you hope that one day they will get it. Wisdom, after all, comes from reflection and wholly accepting the experience. Here is a list of ten things my mom repeated to me as I was growing up and will share them with my kids–some I already have. (I picked the things I agree with.) Mommies are entitled to take a bite out of any sandwich they make for their kids If you get the heal of the bread loaf, you get to make a wish on the first bite Some recipes are for sharing and some for keeping in your family Ketchup can make dry leftover Thanksgiving turkey taste delicious on a sandwich Neosporin makes every boo-boo better Sometimes you just have to grin and bear it Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve Leftovers from a party taste better than at the party Marry a man who can cook Nothing good happens after midnight If your dinner party menu isn’t turning out, serve more...
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Impressionism

Years ago, 1994 in fact, when I started my public relations business as a home-based business, the whole concept of being home-based was new. It was difficult to convince certain business service providers that I was a legitimate business. I lost out on a few clients as well. There was one who insisted that I needed to have a boardroom and supply them with a bookkeeper who was not also home-based. The irony there was that the client was a local association who fought hard to maintain their rights to compete with government entities to contract out for their services. There were associations that came to our rescue to act as a middleman for credit card companies, FedEx delivery services, and other things that became obstacles in our neighborhoods. The Home Office Association of America is a national group that helped secure those services for home-based businesses, and the local Chamber of Commerce was savvy enough to create a special discounted membership fee, and a networking forum for us to enjoy. I went to the Home-Based Business committee meetings of the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce religiously. I spoke about the importance of public relations, I put together the monthly newsletter (my husband always loved the article I wrote entitled, “My Dog, My Co-Worker”). We were savvy, we were professional, we were determined, and we were dressed up. Dressed up? you ask. Yes, I always laughed to myself when I showed up to these evening meetings with full make-up and dressed in professional business clothes, when the reality was that unless I had already had a meeting that day, I spent my day in shorts or sweats, my hair in a ponytail and zero make-up. I knew that almost every one of the 25-30 home-basers in that room was in the same boat. Sure, there was the occasional person who actually collected a paycheck and their home-based business—when successful–was their ticket to working in sweats … uh, I mean to freedom, their ticket to freedom. We wanted to give the impression that we were 100% professional, 100% of the time That’s why we got dressed up for these meetings, even though we knew we were in the same boat. Fast forward to present when I hang out with home-based mothers much more than any other sector of my life. We do the same thing in our own way,...
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Reluctant Housewife

I call myself a reluctant housewife. The kids get to me sometimes and the husband annoys me sometimes. I even yell at the dog on occasion. But the worst part of being a housewife, is indeed, the house. I hate to clean. I am not one of those women who live for the smell of Pine-Sol or run a white glove across a surface to check for dust. Don’t get me wrong, I love a clean house, I just hate the process of getting that result. The dusting, the vacuuming, the sanitizing, mopping, polishing, waxing–I just do not enjoy it. Easily solved, right? Just get a cleaning lady and quit complaining. Problem: cleaning ladies cost money, the last time I checked. I used to have one when I first had my second child and simply could not find time to put the cleaning above the mother, wife, career woman roles that I played each day. It was easy to justify and I could afford it. Then things changed. I had less income as my children got older and I took on more volunteer commitments. I think it is a normal cycle of a mother’s life to volunteer more and work less. Admittedly, my volunteer work was more about my taking on leadership responsibilities within the Junior League and less about my children’s schools or activities, but it served the same purpose. It offered me a little area of my life where I could be a grown-up away from my house and have some control over my involvement. Anyway, the point is, there was less money in the bank though I was just as busy as I had been with more clients and less volunteer work. The dish gloves went on … reluctantly. I clean sporadically and make the most effort when we are having company. Good thing that I host a lot of volunteer meetings a my house or the bathrooms would almost never be cleaned. This is one of those things about staying home with my children that I wish someone would have brought to my attention. Where was the career counselor? On the contraty, I like to decorate, which requires cleaning–big cleaning, but one project a year is about all I can do and those seeem to take a year to complete and that takes money too. My plan is that I will just continue to reluctantly...
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