Caring For Your Business

by Al Smith

guest blog post by Gini Dietrich


Caring For Your Business

 I’m not going to lie. 2011 has been a terrible year. I’m thankful it’s nearly over.

But 2012? It’s shaping up to be a good year. A really good year.

Sure, we’ve hit the double dip recession and the economy doesn’t look like it’ll rebound until 2013. But it’s still going to be a good year.

Why? Because we’ve gotten lean and mean, we’ve figured out what our vision is and what we want to accomplish, and we spent this year setting the foundation for growth.

I’m here to give you some tips on doing the same so your 2012 shapes up to be as excellent as mine.

  1. What is your vision? When I started Arment Dietrich, I didn’t really know what I wanted to achieve. I knew I wanted to grow a public relations firm focused on real business results, but that’s not really a vision. Through Spin Sucks (our blog) and the forthcoming Spin Sucks Pro, I realized what I really want to do is change the perception of the PR and marketing industries. It’s a big, big vision and it may never be accomplished in my lifetime, but everything we do leads us to that vision.
  2. What do you want to accomplish? This is different than your vision because it’s more immediate. Where do you see yourself at the end of 2012? Do you see it as a successful year? What has to happen for you to feel like it was successful? Write those things down. For instance, I knew I wanted to write a book that had a publish date that coincides with the full, public launch of Spin Sucks Pro. Success is very measurable because either I’ll have a book or I won’t (I will – in May).
  3. Set the foundation. A lot of the things you’ll need to do to move toward the vision and to accomplish what you’ve written down will require a foundation. Perhaps it’s developing a content strategy or creating a community on one of the social networks or writing a book proposal or developing a new product or service that will be sold later in the year. Whatever you decide, the foundation needs to be built. And, if you’re like me, it may take one crummy year to get it where you need it so you have many years of success. This is a marathon so keep that in mind as you’re building. 
  4. Get lean and mean. This was a really interesting exercise we went through this year. We cut everything we could think to cut. And then we cut some more. Just because you have an office lease or contracts on equipment or bank loans does not mean you can’t renegotiate terms or get out early. We spent a good portion of the year getting as lean as we could by doing some of these things in order to make cash king in 2012.
  5. Maintain your optimism. It’s easy to get down, especially when we keep hearing about how terrible the economy is. But if you maintain your optimism, it’s amazing how things tend to work out. The power of positive thinking definitely applies. Keep your vision posted on the wall in front of you so you can see it all the time. And, when you get down, look at that vision and think about how great things will be when you achieve those lifelong goals.

It’s not going to be easy, but I guarantee if you do these five things, you’ll beat the economy and flourish while your competitors flounder.


Gini Dietrich is the founder and chief executive officer of Arment Dietrich, author of Spin Sucks, and founder of Spin Sucks Pro. She can be found on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Google+.




{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Nancy Davis November 25, 2011 at 8:26 am

I needed to see this today Gini. Last Friday I got really bad news in the mail. I can sit in self-pity about it or I can get off my rear and do something.

I have been working more on my book (which I now need to charge for it was going to be free but not anymore) and has me thinking about financial matters differently. I have to accept that I can’t handle this myself and I may have no choice but to file for bankruptcy to survive this.

What that has done is make me see that I was taking jobs out of desperation that were not a good fit for me. i need to find a place where I can use what I am good at and get paid for it.

Staying upbeat and positive with all of this upheaval is the really huge challenge and the other day I stayed in bed and just sobbed. That will happen, but then I got up and did some work on the book and sent it off to a friend who is going to help me format it. So, the show must go on.

I have a quote from Seth Godin taped above my computer where I see it constantly. It reads “the job isn’t to catch up to the status quo; the job is to invent the status quo” I need to see that all the time so I don’t forget my purpose. Thanks for the reminder.
Nancy Davis recently posted..I’m Not Gonna Write You a Blog Post


Gini Dietrich November 25, 2011 at 8:41 am

Staying in bed and sobbing is OK for a day. My favorite quote is, “It’s not in that you fall, but in how you pick yourself up when you do.” As long as you pick yourself up, even after a good cry, you’ll move forward. Love you!


Kaarina Dillabough November 25, 2011 at 8:59 am

Gini, as always, you provide practical, implementable tips that make rock-solid sense. I WTSD (I will leave it to Al to explain that, but in polite, G-rated terms:) all the time. Writing makes it real. As I say: a plan in your head is no plan at all!

The foundation is being set now. I can’t get much leaner and meaner. And the one thing I always have in abundance, even on bad days, is optimism. I lead a blessed life, and I am the master of my destiny. Sure, I have bad days, and I can bay at the moon or gripe about them. But I allow those gripes, I time them (OK Kaarina, you’ve got half an hour, or a day, or an afternoon to have a pity-party, then get over yourself and get on with it!) and, in similar terms to yours…I pick myself, dust myself off, breathe deeply, smile and DO.

Our thoughts create our reality, and I’m thinking great thoughts for 2012. Cheers ! Kaarina
Kaarina Dillabough recently posted..What’s “social” got to do with it?


Gini Dietrich November 25, 2011 at 12:34 pm

I think it’s so you that you time yourself to feel lousy. I love that about you!


Bill Dorman November 25, 2011 at 9:35 am

Whoooeeee; I know lean and mean. When you go from over 100 employees to 70 in a three-year period, guess where some of those cuts came from? Of course, in a service industry, personnel is our biggest expense.

In commercial insurance (businesses) we are directly affected by how well the businesses we insure are doing. You would have to be living under the Geico rock not to know it hasn’t been good during these last three years.

Having said that, if your doors are still open you still need insurance so there are still plenty of opportunities for us. Because we deal with the larger businesses, sometimes the ‘courting’ period can be 3 to 5 years and timing plays a big part as well.

Personally, I am extremely optimistic we have drawn the line in the sand and we will give up no more ground from here. In spite of the bad economy, we have stuck to our core principles because like Spin Sucks, that is what we are all about.

There are so many opportunities to take advantage of; now is certainly not the time to sit back and just ‘hope’ it is going to get better.

Your business model to success is very similar to ours; we (not me…..:) have been around since 1941 and fully expect to make a few more years. We didn’t get this far without having a definitive plan of action not only for survival, but growth as well.

That’s my story for today and I’m sticking with it…….
Bill Dorman recently posted..Life in the social media bubble, is it real


Gini Dietrich November 25, 2011 at 12:36 pm

You haven’t been around since 1941??


Barbara Klein November 25, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Lean and mean, I like that! 5 clearly stated practical tips as to what is important to take your business across 2012 and sail into smoother waters (what am I talking about? I do not sail). Interesting how many different aspects there are to CARE and it applies so well to business: communication, awareness, respect and encouragement!
Thanks, Gini, for a well appreciated post! Have a wonderful weekend and go out for a walk with your lovely dog!
Barbara Klein recently posted..Happy Anniversary!


Gini Dietrich November 25, 2011 at 7:02 pm

We thought we were lean and mean before. We really got there this year. It’s amazing what you can do when you really put your mind to it.

JB is snoring on the couch, but he’ll be out with me for a run in the morning.


Lori Gosselin November 25, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Hi Gini,
I’m latching on the “positive thinking” point you make. Just saying 2012 is going to be a good year is setting a powerful intention. Taped to my desk is the intentions I set for 2011. It’s interesting to look at them now. One got deleted, one came to fruition and the other is just getting started and nothing I could have done differently this year would have made any difference because everything that happened had to happen. It’s all leading me to where I want to be. I’ve learned so much from blogging, and not only ABOUT blogging. It’s been a valuable experience to be hanging out here with people like you. 2012 is definitely going to be a good year.
Can’t wait!
P.S. Hi Al! Another great GP!
Lori Gosselin recently posted..Who’s Got Your Back?


Gini Dietrich November 25, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Heck! You got a book published this year. Was that in your 2011 intentions??


Jack @ TheJackB November 25, 2011 at 1:32 pm

I keep eating Spaghetti-Os like I am still in college but I can’t seem to get lean and mean. Damn, it used to work quite well.

Well, if I had a choice I’d kick 2011 in the ass now and say get out but I guess that I’ll have to wait a bit longer. Lean and mean is good advice provided that it is done intelligently. Some businesses are cutting salary without regard for the experience that comes along with it.

They will miss those people.
Jack @ TheJackB recently posted..How To Deal With Anger Management Issues On Black Friday


Gini Dietrich November 25, 2011 at 7:04 pm

Mmmmm I used to love Spaghetti O’s. I’m with you – let’s say good riddance to 2011. Adios.


Al Smith November 25, 2011 at 1:42 pm

Thanks Gini. Really appreciate you taking the time to share this post. The 5 tips are wonderful. Especially like that last one. Stay optimistic. Always.

I’m with you, I thought Dorman was at least 70. Ha ! Luv ya Bill.



Gini Dietrich November 25, 2011 at 7:06 pm

Oh sure. You’re nice to me in public. I’ll remember this. xoxo


Al Smith November 25, 2011 at 7:12 pm

I am always nice to you. Shorty. Ha !

Al Smith recently posted..Caring For Your Business


Gini Dietrich November 28, 2011 at 8:47 am

Bah. Humbug.
Gini Dietrich recently posted..Eight Social Media Trends for 2012


Claudia November 25, 2011 at 6:13 pm

Al…you sure know how to pick great guests here! Gini…like Nancy said…this post couldn’t have come at a better time. Maybe the planets are lined up in such a way that a lot of us needed to read this post and pick ourselves up by our boot straps ( no seriously, my boots have straps)dust ourselves off and move forward. It HAS been a year and we all have our experiences that we can relate to one another about how bad it was for us…but, other than the interim agreement that you might get, it doesn’t solve anything. It’s time for action. I think what was really most profound about your lean and mean post is how real you got. Thank you!. Your points are excellent. I have been working on #1,2 and 3 but I need to really focus on #4 and 5. AND I need to write my vision down and keep it in front of me as often as possible to remind myself…it WILL happen.
Gini you are wonderful! Thanks for sharing.
Claudia recently posted..The Art of Being a Gracious Guest


Gini Dietrich November 25, 2011 at 7:09 pm

I finally figured out the vision AND posted it on the wall this year. It’s amazing what looking at it every day does. I highly recommend it. You could even post yours in all of the exam rooms. How cool would it be to share with your patients?


John Sherry November 27, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Gini, well done…for declaring what a washout of a year you’ve had. I’ve many business people who over egg their year and how well they are doing when I know they’ve struggled. Half the journey to success is to admit to yourself how tough it’s been when the lean times strike because no-one will think less of you in such a climate. This becomes a springboard to faith and vision as well as new planning to spark growth and improvement. You can’t deal with what you deny. Good luck to you for a year to remember!
John Sherry recently posted..How To Get To The Top


Gini Dietrich November 28, 2011 at 8:46 am

Thanks John! I’ve never been one to say it’s great if it isn’t. We learn a great deal from others when they’re honest.
Gini Dietrich recently posted..Eight Social Media Trends for 2012


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