Tag Archives: business inspiration

3 ways to generate a treasure chest of ideas (Part 2 of a 3-part series)

Words are my thing.

Words make me happy. Words can bring people together. Words often bring about change. Words are powerful and when documented can impact lives for decades.

So when it comes to changing the way you do business, or solving a problem that has your company stumped, I think words are often one of the most important tools in your arsenal. 

As we continue to talk about idea generation and the impact it can make on your next challenge, I bring up one of my favorite brainstorming exercises. Check out idea empowerment tool #2.

2) Apply word associations to your problem-solving tactics.

This kind of brainstorming involves using multiple lists of words to discover uncommon links that creatively communicate or solve your current business objective.

Here’s an example:

You are a company that makes toothbrushes. Many of the dentists you sell to have made the comment that their patients aren’t practicing good dental hygiene. They tell you that they would buy more toothbrushes from you if the toothbrushes made their patients want to take better care of their health. Now, could invent such a toothbrush?

Wow sounds like a tall order and a great opportunity! By using word association brainstorming, you can tackle this challenge head on, it works like this. 


  • Survey the problem at hand or tackle an idea your company is trying to promote (i.e. creating a new line of toothbrushes that help encourage better dental hygiene)
  • Begin with a word that focuses on your challenge (i.e. Tooth, Brush, Hygiene) (see photo)
  • Circle the phrase or multiple phrases that work to solve your challenge (i.e. Floss Daily, Make Convenient, How Long to Brush?, Time Yourself) (see photo)
  • Join your words together and discover the power of word association brainstorming (i.e. Create a toothbrush that has a build-in dental floss dispenser and a timer to ensure a patient brushes their teeth long enough to remove build-up)


This not only works with inventing new product and service lines for your business, it’s also a great starting point for your marketing efforts. Take a look at the words you use to describe your situation. There’s probably a tagline, product name and a simple headline that you can create just from this exercise. Try it out. See what you think and let me know how it goes!

Happy Storming-

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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Filed under Advertising, copywriting, Marketing, Uncategorized, Writing

Does Your Biz Card Work For You?

Here’s the senerio, you’re at a “networking event” and you’re approached by a fellow competitor who asks for your business card.  If you’re like many people I talk to, you reluctantly take out your card, hand it to them, hoping to hear, “wow that’s a great card.” Most of the time let’s face it, putting yourself out there on a piece of paper isn’t easy. 

So why do many people cut corners when it comes to business cards? After all, this is the first impression many potential clients have of your business. Think about giving out your card this way. As the recipient puts the card in their pocket, they now have a tangible impression that they can hang onto and refer to when needing an expert. So what you have to say and how you say it better be memorable.

What makes a card stand out? Yesterday I was at a networking event and collected a few cards and I also threw in some cards I have picked up recently. Take a look at what I found.


Biz card collection Sept. 08

Biz card collection Sept. 08

As you can see the cards that stand out the most are:

  • colorful, have photos or eye-catching graphics
  • have a different shape, incorporating rounded corners
  • provide a clear vision statement (as a writer this is the first thing I look for-yes I am that geeky)

Now I understand that in some industries this color/unique shape is an easier sell than others. For instance, if you focus on a highly corporate target market, a card that is purple with a flying pink pig, might not be a good idea. But that’s just it.  It’s not just the design, it’s getting your brand out there. Who are you? What do you do? Is that clearly stated on your card?   At the end of the day, does your card pass the trash test?

Need some inspiration? Check out Flicker!  Or if you have the design already in you mind you can create some unique cards at Moo!

Happy Card Creating!

Share your cards with me, I’d love to see what you create to make a lasting impression!

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Filed under Advertising, copywriting, Marketing, Writing

Bikers, BBQ and Better Biz

This weekend my husband and I hit the road for the annual MS-150 Bike Ride. This year I took the short route, as I really hadn’t made the commitment to train as hard this year as I did in the past. He however had been training since May and was set.  Still even with a shorter ride, people were shouting words of encouragement to all the riders, which seemed to make the ride, along with the promise of BBQ at the end, somewhat painless.

As I continued my ride I got to thinking about training and encouragement.  What was it that held me back from training this year? Starting a new business? Hills? Fear of not finishing? Or just not organizing my schedule to allow time for myself? Who was shouting out and encouraging me along the way?

While many of us struggle to make time to exercise through out the week, we know how important it is. Your business is no different.

I ask what are you doing to “train for next year”? Better yet, do you have a coach, co-workers or a mentor standing on the side cheering you all the way to the finish line? What have been some of the road blocks in the past? Share your thoughts with me.

Check out some of the following links to get your training session started for next years big race. 

Preparing for next year’s tax season.

Why plan for today, tomorrow and the next year?

Planning for tomorrow’s business-books to read

60-second guide on how to organize your biz

Have a great week and get to thinking about your plan for the road ahead.

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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What’s Your Passion?

As many of you know, I just got back from the Creative Freelancer Conference in Chicago and I am excited about many new ideas, tools and people I encountered while I was there. If you’ve ever been to a conference on a topic that really fits you, you know how easy it is to get trapped in the excitement and feel by the end of the week that you could move any mountain that stands in your way. Last week, of course, I felt the same way.

Day 2 of Conference-Speaker Joan Gladstone

Day 2 of Conference-Speaker Joan Gladstone



I bring this up as I think I may have found the secret ingredient to keeping that enthusiasm you feel sustained, long after you’ve unpacked your bags and realize that the weird looking thing in your fridge is leftover meatloaf you forgot to throw out before you headed out on your journey.

It’s what I call professional passion. Sounds interesting, but seriously I feel it’s the key to keeping your business sustained and fresh. Read more about rediscovering your passion. See what Sean M. Lyden the principal and senior writer of The Professional Writing Firm Inc., a Kennesaw, Georgia, has to say about discovering your passion.

While I was at the conference, I bumped into a woman from El Salvador. Yes, someone had made the trek to Chicago all the way from Central America just to discover the world of freelancing. As college student in El Salvador, this ambitious designer told me the reason she was at the conference was because she noticed the word “freelancing” in an ad for the conference and was curious. Of course being a writer, hearing that someone selected a conference based on a word … well, I was all ears. Don’t you wish your clients were always this interested?

After talking to her I walked away realizing one thing. What brought this student all the way from Central America to the midwest was passion. I wonder, how many of us still have that eager passion which propelled us into the professions that we currently hold? I know for myself it started with helping others problem solve and my love for connecting with people. Yes, that’s the focus of my company Dog-Eared Pages, but I wonder, do we get bogged down by the day-to-day operation of our businesses and forget what lit our fire in the beginning?

I offer this advice. Spend at least 10 minutes 3 times a week reflecting on your professional passion and then take action. Here’s some questions to get you started.

  • Why did you choose your industry?
  • What brings you to work each day?
  • Is there something missing from your current work situation that keeps you from living your professional passion? What can you do to change it?
  • How can you take your professional passion and make it a central part of your daily routine?
  • If you aren’t passionate about your work situation, what can you do to get there?
Send me an email. Tell me some of your professional passions and how you plan to tap into those central themes to lift your business to the next level. I’d love to share your story with our readers.
Have a great weekend-

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