Wine with a wink

Of course, producing great wine requires hard work and dedication, careful attention to details, and a lot of help from Mother Nature.  It takes years to plant, harvest, ferment and eventually, bottle wine that is worthy of being shared at a special occasion. As people who spend our days tracking down the components of costs that go into each bottle of wine and helping winery owners make sense of the numbers, we certainly don’t take the business of making wine lightly.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate the lighter side of the business.

Many successful wineries …

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The World Is Changing … Fast

I had the pleasure of attending another incredible tech conference this week. Sponsored by XERO, a cloud accounting solution provider, the event was held in San Francisco on Pier 27.  First, can I just say how fortunate I feel every day to live in such a gorgeous part of the country? Wow.

I don’t think I will ever get used to the variety of  experiences (not to mention changes in temperatures) that exist within a short radius of Napa.  The event was beautifully situated in one of the most scenic areas …

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Outsourced not “Out… Sorry”

There are certain tasks that no one in your winery wants to do.  Okay, maybe there is someone who gets a real thrill out of filing Form 5120.17 in your winery. But they are the exception and please, please, be kind to those people.

But for most people dealing with high volume, highly regulated or low reward transactions, automation is the answer. Sometimes you  automate  the transactional stuff (sales tax), but you just can’t stay on top of the rules (compliance), or the payment deadlines, or the darn form changes (payroll).  In other cases, there …

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Calendar Confusion

Note: this post originally appeared on LinkedIn

Calendar courtesy of Frye's Printing, Napa, CA

Calendar courtesy of Frye’s Printing, Napa, CA

Do you suffer from tax season deadline confusion? Let me help you gain some perspective.

While it gets confusing at times figuring out which United States income tax return is due when, it is far easier than figuring out the date of many springtime religious holidays, festivals, or celebrations. Here are just a few events to consider:

For those who celebrate Easter, a complex bit of calculus is necessary. I was raised Catholic …

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Applied DISC – how to write for different audiences

Our firm uses the DISC behavioral approach in almost everything we do. We teach teams to understand their own natural communication styles and to adapt when they are communicating with those who have different observable styles. We use DISC in sales training classes, in selecting our own team members, and in helping others resolve conflicts. It is a tool (which regularly involves exercises with crayons) that aids us every time we attempt to share or explain financial statements or tax returns.

DISC Colors

But DISC is also a valuable aid for writing. Once …

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Gratitude

Bright skies, cool weather and balloons floating overhead. And that’s just my morning commute in the Napa Valley.

Balloons in paradise Nov 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Changing the View

It is amazing how much you can take for granted. Over time, as you go about your daily chores, driving hither and yon, rushing to work and back again, you stop noticing.

The first time I drove up highway 29, my heart skipped a beat. I was bursting with joy. I could barely believe my good fortune at having a chance to work in a magical place like this. But that was 8 years ago. I have traveled thousands of miles since then, met hundreds of people, consumed loads of grits, tasted some incredible wine, and learned to pronounce Gewurztraminer (sort …

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When it comes to software, design matters.

Automated business solutions are readily available for the wine industry.  They range from Accounting software to CRM, Point of Sale, Wine Club, Production, Harvest Management, and eCommerce solutions. Some are focused on ease of use while others are focused on depth of features and customization capabilities.  Depending on the business problem you are out to solve, you might be swayed by one aspect of the software more than others. For example, no matter how well designed,  a difficult to use Point of Sale solution would not be a wise choice for a winery tasting room. The choices get more complicated …

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Is there an app for that?

There are apps for weight loss, for learning how to read, and even an app for your unborn child to choose his (her) own name.  In a world  full of “apps”  it is easy to seek a technical solution for every problem.

Unfortunately for most businesses (and for many individuals) some problems cannot be solved through automation alone. 

Look at sales and marketing. How many businesses have sought to boost their lagging sales by implementing a new CRM system? If your biggest sales and marketing problem is finding a contact’s address, then …

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What is your story?

I have never met anyone who won every battle they fought or who got through every altercation unscathed. As mere mortals, we experience plenty of successes and failures. We regularly witness or experience both personal and business tragedies but in most cases we manage to persevere. The question is – how will we carry the scars of battle?

The key, in my opinion, is how we choose to view and tell our story. When a tragedy happens, do we take it as confirmation of our own failings, or do we look for lessons that we can learn from the episode? It’s never easy and I don’t want to trivialize the emotion of the moment or the …

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