Welcome, new PMA/PPFA members!


PMAlogo_CMYK_smallA warm welcome to all our new PMA and PPFA members, including: PPFA_RGB_150

  • Pat’s Place, Goldedendale, Wash.
  • Photogenic Inc., Chicago, Ill.
  • Sity Communications Inc., Richardson, Texas
  • Stitch and Frame Inc., Lafayette, La.
  • T Distribution of Texas, Houston, Texas
  • Tech Mark Inc., North Little Rock, Ark.
  • ArtiFarti Framing & Gallery, Sale, Victoria, Australia
  • Evonik Cyro, Sanford Maine

Business Success: Words to the wise

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Business Success LogoI don’t care what the children’s rhyme says about sticks and stones; we all know words can really hurt. The right words can also really help. In the time-crunch frenzy of our daily work lives, it’s easy to keep our messages to each other as quick and efficient as possible; but sometimes, taking the time to say a little more can make a big difference.

This week, Todd Patkin, author of a number of books, including Twelve Weeks to Finding Happiness: Boot Camp for Building Happier People, shares some simple statements business leaders can use to build morale, productivity, and a happier workplace.

14 Things Your Employees Are Dying to Hear from You:

Todd Patkin

Todd Patkin

Phrases to Help You Revive Wilting Employee Engagement This Spring

What were your last 10 or 15 employee conversations like? Chances are, they included phrases like, “I need you to finish that projection by the end of the day,” or, “I’m putting you on the Brown account,” or, “How much longer do you think it’ll take to finish that PowerPoint the client requested?” After all, you can’t run a business without addressing these types of issues. And chances are, unless they were delivered in a, shall we say, forceful tone of voice, your employees don’t mind hearing pertinent instructions and questions. So why does their morale seem to be, well, wilting?

The problem might not be what you’re saying, but what you’re not saying. The good news is, with a few well-chosen words, you can nurture employee relationships and help their engagement blossom this spring.

In the midst of the everyday chaos of running a business, leaders often don’t think about what they could or should say to motivate their employees. Often, leaders assume that their employees know how they feel—about each person’s individual performance and about the company’s health in general. Usually, though, that’s not the case.

I speak from experience. For nearly two decades, I was instrumental in leading my family’s auto parts business, Autopart International, to new heights until it was finally bought by Advance Auto Parts in 2005. One of my most reliable growth strategies was proactively nurturing my employees’ attitudes about their jobs by engaging them in conversation. Now, I translate that experience into consulting with organizations to help them build corporate morale and promote greater productivity.

They’d never bring it up themselves, but there are certain phrases your employees really want to hear from you. Some have to do with affirmation; others center on encouragement, reassurance, respect, gratitude, or trust. When you verbalize these things—which takes only a few seconds of your time!—you will notice a big change in your employees’ motivation, commitment, and productivity.

If you start incorporating these phrases into your at-work vocabulary, your employees’ engagement will “blossom” this spring

“I need your help.” The age of rule-with-an-iron-fist, top-down leadership is fading fast. More and more, organizations in all industries are realizing that there’s an almost-magical power in the synergy of teams. Here’s how that applies to you: Your employees all have unique skill sets, experiences, and ideas—so tap into them!

Yes, your employees will be looking to you to steer your company in the right direction, but I promise, they know you’re human, and they don’t expect you to have all the answers. So the next time you’re facing a difficult decision or brainstorming options, ask your team for help. Rather than losing respect for you as a leader, they’ll appreciate that you treated them as valued partners—and they’ll feel more invested in your company’s future because they had more of a hand in creating it.

“How is your family?” The truth is, people don’t care how much you know (or how good you are at your job) until they know how much you care. Your employees will be more loyal and more motivated if they feel valued as individuals, not just as job descriptions. So get to know each team member on an individual basis and incorporate that knowledge into your regular interactions. For instance, if you know that John in Accounting has a daughter who’s applying to college, ask him which schools she’s considering. Or if Susanna in HR just came back from vacation, ask to see a few pictures.

Showing genuine interest and caring is the greatest motivator I know. When you dare to “get personal,” your employees’ desire to please you will skyrocket. That’s why, when I was leading my family’s company, I took advantage of every opportunity I could think of to let my people know I was thinking about them. I recommended books I thought they might enjoy. I sent motivational quotes to employees who might appreciate them. I attended all weddings, funerals, bar mitzvahs, and graduations I was invited to. And you know what? Not only did I fuel my employees’ engagement…I also formed a lot of meaningful relationships that continue to this day.

“What do you need from me?” Often, employees are anxious about asking the boss for what they need, whether it’s updated office equipment, more time to complete a project, advice, etc. They may fear a harsh response, want to avoid looking needy, or simply feel that it’s “not their place” to ask for more than you’ve already provided. By explicitly asking what you can give them, you extend permission for your people to make those requests—and they’ll certainly appreciate it.

Be sure to treat any requests you receive seriously. If you can’t give an employee what she asks for, explain why and work with her to find another solution. Either way, this question, and the conversations it sparks, can give you valuable insight regarding how to improve your company’s operations, facilities, and culture. It can also show you how to best develop and support individual team members.

“I noticed what you did.” Every day, your employees do a lot of “little” things that keep your company running smoothly and customers coming back: Refilling the copier with paper when it’s empty. Smiling at customers after each transaction. Double-checking reports for errors before sending them on. And so forth. Unfortunately, in many organizations, these everyday actions are taken for granted, which (understandably) has a negative effect on employee morale.

Your employees want to know that you notice and value the mundane parts of their jobs, not just the big wins and achievements. That’s why I recommend making it your mission to “catch” as many of your employees as possible in a good act. Then, point out exactly what it is about their behavior that you appreciate. Phrases like, “Sal, I’ve noticed that you always take such care to keep the file room neat. Thank you!” take about five seconds to say, but they can pay long-lasting dividends for your company in terms of morale and motivation.

“Thank you.” Yes, your employees may crave recognition for doing the mundane parts of their jobs, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t also appreciate a heartfelt “thank you” for bigger accomplishments. Whether it’s “Thanks for staying late last night,” “Thanks for being so patient with Mrs. Smith—I know she can be a difficult customer,” “Thank you for making our first-quarter marketing campaign a success,” or something else, your people will treasure your appreciation more than you realize.

People love to hear positive feedback about themselves, and in most cases, they’ll be willing to work a lot harder to keep the compliments and thanks coming. Praise, especially when it comes from an authority figure, is incredibly fulfilling. (And sadly, it’s also rare.) On that note, make sure that you praise and acknowledge your people in a positive way more often than you criticize them. That’s because negative feedback tends to stick in most people’s memories longer, so you need to counterbalance it.

“Hey, everyone—listen to what Riley accomplished!” Everybody loves to be recognized and complimented in front of their peers. So don’t stop with a “mere” compliment when an employee experiences a win—tell the rest of the team, too! Whether correctly or incorrectly, many employees feel that their leaders point out only their mistakes in front of the group, so make it your daily mission to prove that perception wrong.

When I was at Autopart International and I saw that one of my people did something noteworthy, I made sure that everyone else knew about it by emailing the story to the entire chain. I could literally see the glow on the highlighted employee’s face for weeks, and I also noticed that many of the other team members began to work even harder in order to earn a write-up themselves. Other successful recognition strategies included writing thank-you notes to my employees and publishing a company-wide monthly newsletter highlighting our “stars.” Sometimes, I would even call my employees’ homes to brag on them to their families!

“What would you like to do here?” Sure, you originally hired each of your employees to do specific jobs. But over time, your company has grown and changed—and so have your people. That’s why it’s a good idea to check in with each one of them periodically to ask what they’d like to be doing. You might be surprised to learn, for instance, that your administrative assistant would like to be included in the next marketing campaign design team. You might be even more (pleasantly!) surprised to find that her social media engagement ideas yield impressive results.

Annual performance reviews might be a good time to discuss this topic with your employees. No, you won’t always be able to accommodate every employee’s preferences. But whenever possible, keep job descriptions within your company fluid and allow your people to have a say in matching their skills to the company’s needs. This is one of the best ways I know to build loyalty and encourage your employees to really take ownership of their jobs. After all, they’ll have had a hand in designing them!

“I have bad news.” You certainly don’t mind sharing good news with your employees, but bad news is a different story. Your instinct might be to play down negative developments, or even keep them to yourself entirely. Nobody wants to be the person who says, “We’re going to have to eliminate some positions over the next six months,” or, “Unfortunately, our company can’t afford to provide raises or bonuses this year.”

Nevertheless, your employees deserve to hear the truth from you as soon as possible. They aren’t stupid and will be able to tell when something is “up” even if you don’t acknowledge it. By refusing to share bad news, you’ll only increase paranoia and anxiousness—neither of which are good for engagement or productivity. But when you treat your people like responsible adults by being honest and open, they will appreciate your transparency…and often, you’ll find that they’re willing to voluntarily double their efforts to help you turn the tide.

“What do you think?” Maybe you’ve never put much emphasis on the thoughts and opinions of your employees. After all, you pay them a fair wage to come to work each day and perform specific tasks. As a leader, it’s your job to decide what those tasks should be and how they should be carried out, right? Well, yes—strictly speaking. But this unilateral approach to leading your team sends the impression that you’re superior (even if that’s not your intent) and also contributes to disengagement.

Employees who are told what to do feel like numbers or cogs in a machine. Often, their performance will be grudging and uninspired. To unlock buy-in and achievement, make your employees feel like valued partners by asking them for their opinions, ideas, and preferences. Again, they’ll be much more invested in your organization’s success because they had an active part in creating it. And guess what? Your employees probably won’t care as much as you think they will if their suggestions don’t become reality. Mostly, they just want to know that their voice was heard by the people in charge.

“Here’s how our company works and where we stand.” In many companies, employees in Sales don’t know much about what’s happening in Accounting. Likewise, the folks in Accounting aren’t really familiar with how things in the warehouse work…and so on and so forth. Generally, this state of affairs doesn’t cause too many problems. But helping your employees make connections regarding how your company works from top to bottom will streamline internal processes, reduce misunderstandings, and promote team spirit.

Again, this is all about transparency and treating employees like partners. When you make a point of showing everyone how your business “works” and how their specific job descriptions fit into the overall “machinery,” you’ll find that us-versus-them thinking tends to decline, and that profit-minded solutions begin to proliferate.

At Autopart International, one of the best management decisions I ever made was showing my employees “the numbers” on a regular basis. I made sure that everyone understood the relationship between their performance and the bottom line—and thus their own pay. Several employees told me that my transparency prompted them to think more carefully about how their own everyday choices and efforts affected the bigger picture.

“That’s okay. We all make mistakes. Let’s talk about how to fix this.” In business, mistakes are going to happen. And in many instances, the impact they have on your company revolves around how you as a leader handle them. Sure, lambasting an employee who has dropped the ball may make you feel better in the short term, but it’ll negatively impact that employee’s self-confidence, relationship with you, and feelings for your company for much longer.

Don’t get me wrong: You shouldn’t take mistakes, especially those involving negligence, incompetence, or dishonesty, lightly. But when your employees have made an honest mistake, try to be as understanding with them as you would be with your own family members. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that the employee feels very bad already, and that yelling or lecturing won’t change the past. Instead, focus on figuring out what went wrong and how to keep it from happening again. Did the employee (or the company as a whole) learn something? Should a process or procedure be tweaked going forward to reduce the chances of something similar reoccurring?

Also, never forget that mistakes are an essential part of growth. The innovation and creativity it takes to grow a business will be accompanied by setbacks and slip-ups. You don’t want to create an environment where people don’t take potentially productive risks because they’re afraid you’ll get mad if they screw up.

“You deserve a reward.” Simple things like gratitude, respect, and autonomy make people far more happy than, say, big salaries and corner offices. However, he isn’t denying that more tangible rewards like bonuses, vacation time, prime parking spaces, benefits, and more have their place in raising employee engagement. The truth is, you’ll be hard-pressed to find an employee who doesn’t appreciate these things.

When resources allow, look for ways to reward your employees for their hard work. Remember, nobody wants to work for a Scrooge! At Autopart International, I thanked employees with everything from sports tickets to door prize drawings to lavish company parties to vacations on Martha’s Vineyard. I found that when I treated my employees like kings and queens, they worked extra-hard to be the recipients of these perks…and they were much more resistant to moving when offers to work for “the other guys” occasionally came their way.

“I know you can do it.” Of course you should try to hire employees who are confident and self-directed. But even the most self-assured individuals appreciate an explicit vote of confidence from their leaders!

Constantly challenge your people and push them to improve while reassuring them that you believe in them. Everyone, no matter how capable or experienced they are, appreciates encouragement. At Autopart International, I found that tying verbal votes of confidence to something more concrete—specifically, employees’ pay—was one of the best ways to motivate them.

Specifically, I told my employees that I believed in their ability to help our company grow—so much so that I wanted to introduce the concept of performance-based pay with no cap. I found that when a leader is willing to bet large amounts of money on employees’ potential achievements, those employees will work harder for you—and for themselves!—than you ever thought possible. With this strategy, everyone wins.

“This task is in your hands—I’m stepping back.” Most micromanaging leaders don’t set out to annoy or smother their employees. The problem is, they care—a lot!—and want to make sure everything is done just so and that no balls are dropped or opportunities missed. The problem is, excessive hovering can give employees the impression that you don’t trust them or have faith in them—a belief that actively undermines engagement.

Once you’ve delegated a task, step back and let your employees do what you’ve asked of them. Yes, I know that can be easier said than done. If you have to, lock yourself in your office or go for a walk around the building to keep yourself from hovering! It may also help to remind yourself that you hired each of your employees for a reason, that you have faith in their potential, and that if they do need help, they know where to find you.

Remember, business is always personal. Specifically, it’s about reaching and motivating each of your employees on a personal level so that they care about contributing to your organization’s ultimate success. This spring, which phrases will you be adding to your at-work vocabulary?

About the Author:

, author of Finding Happiness: One Man’s Quest to Beat Depression and Anxiety and—Finally—Let the Sunshine In, Twelve Weeks to Finding Happiness: Boot Camp for Building Happier People, and Destination: Happiness: The Travel Guide That Gets You from Here to There, Emotionally and Spiritually (coming 2014), grew up in Needham, Massachusetts. After graduating from Tufts University, he joined the family business and spent the next eighteen years helping to grow it to new heights. After it was purchased by Advance Auto Parts in 2005, he was free to focus on his main passions: philanthropy and giving back to the community, spending time with family and friends, and helping more people learn how to be happy. Todd lives with his wonderful wife, Yadira, and their amazing son, Josh.


About the Books:

Finding Happiness: One Man’s Quest to Beat Depression and Anxiety and—Finally—Let the Sunshine In (StepWise Press, 2011, ISBN: 978-0-9658261-9-8, $19.95) is available at bookstores nationwide, from major online booksellers, and at www.findinghappinessthebook.com.


Twelve Weeks to Finding Happiness: Boot Camp for Building Happier People (New Focus Press, 2012, ISBN: 978-0-9885092-0-7, $13.99) is available from Amazon.com.


Break some rules

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Business Success LogoSome rules you just have to follow, like paying your taxes. Others — hey, go ahead and break a few, writes Intuit’s business blog. “Straying from standard practices might be a smart move.”

Among the business rules you can break are:

1. “Avoid nepotism” — One of the biggest, unwritten rules in business is never to hire family members — yet bringing in a relative can sometimes be a solid solution.

2. “Sell to everyone” — Trying to be all things to all customers disappoints those who are not the right fit for your business, while alienating those who deserve your best focus.

Breaking these and other rules can help you “build a stronger company that is prepared for growth, the article advises.

The full story is here.




Photography businesses can reduce taxes using excess inventory

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Business Success LogoIn the photography business, excess, nonmoving inventory is a common problem that contains its own solution.

By donating new, idle photography items to charity, businesses in the U.S. can earn a federal income tax deduction under Section 170 (e)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.

The IRS Code says that regular C corporations may deduct the cost of the inventory donated, plus half the difference between cost and fair market value.  Deductions may be up to twice-cost.

Let’s say you’re a retailer of photo equipment and you buy a film for $2.00.  Your price to the consumer is $4.50.  Your deduction is $3.25.  If the markup is considerably higher, deductions are limited to twice cost.

If you’re an S corporation, partnership, LLC or sole proprietorship, you qualify for a straight  cost deduction.

Even if your photo business realizes only a straight cost deduction, it may be to your advantage to donate your stagnant inventory rather than clear it through a liquidator.  Since liquidators look for the lowest price they can get, their offer may be less than your cost – substantially less.

Investigate donating inventory before negotiating with a liquidator, however, to be able to justify the product’s fair market value with the IRS.

Besides the tax deduction, your company can realize other benefits by donating excess inventory:

Help deserving nonprofits, schools and church organizations.  This good deed can translate into good will.  Consider a gifts-in-kind non profit organization that accepts product donations from businesses and redistribute those goods to qualified nonprofits, schools and church organizations.

To earn this deduction, make sure that the nonprofit recipient is a 501( c )(3), since only that IRS classification of nonprofits qualifies. Public or private (nonprofit) schools may also qualify to receive these goods.

Have your accountant or tax adviser instruct the recipient group as to what information it needs to include in the documentation it furnishes you as proof of the donation.

You will need to include the recipient’s letter on your corporate tax forms as support for claiming the deduction.

If you have a large quantity of product (a semi-trailer or more), instruct the recipient groups that under IRS regulations, donated merchandise may not be bartered, traded or sold.  Charities, schools or churches may not auction or sell donated merchandise to raise cash.

By Gary C. Smithwww.naeir.com

Focus on: Sarah Beckett, MCPF

Sarah Beckett
Sarah Beckett

Sarah Beckett

Custom picture framer Sarah Beckett, MCPF, describes her taste as “pretty neutral,” favoring grays, blacks, whites, and taupes.  “I like to take a more minimalist approach, that my customers like,” she explains. “I call it a transitional approach.”
But there’s nothing minimalist about Beckett’s passion for framing, sparked when she was hired by a frame shop in 1995.
It’s been an upward trajectory ever since for the award-winning owner of SB Framing Gallery in Milwaukee, Wis. A long-time member of the Professional Picture Framers Association (PPFA), she is a PPFA Chapter President PPFA competition winner, PPFA Master Certified Picture Framer (MCPF), and Chair of the PPFA Chapter Relations Committee.
Sarah started her undergrad degree at UW Stevens Point, majoring in Public History with a minor in archaeology, before transferring to Carroll College (now University), graduating in 1995 with degrees in Fine Art and American History.
For the winter of 1994 she interned in the Archives department of the Minneapolis Institute of Art, updating the artwork database – and where she was “wowed” at seeing a Georgia O’Keefe exhibit being put up.
She also worked part-time at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, helping set up the library in the archives department and working in the museum’s gift shop.  “I loved American Civil War history,” she says. “The hand-painted murals in the museum were amazing to watch, and I got to go with a flag conservator into the flag vault and see all the history there.”
After graduating, and unsure of her career goals, she got into framing – hired by U Frame It in Madison, Wis., and taught how to frame, she worked her way to assistant manager before hitting a career ceiling.  She then applied at Eye Level Framing that had recently opened in Madison, working there for six months before becoming co-owner from 2001 to 2007.  In 2007, she decided to branch out on her own, and opened SB Framing Gallery in the arts district of downtown Milwaukee, and started turning a profit within six months.
SB Framing Gallery is slowly diversifying in gifts, including unique photo frames from La Ville, Diane Markin, Bella, Guerrini, American Choice, and David Howell, and photo frames Sarah makes from scrap.  Quick impulse buys are framed postcards of Milwaukee; as well as kugels (glass ornaments) from Iron Art Glass, tiles from Motawi Tiles, and Arts and Crafts prints from Yoshiko Yamamoto and Laura Wilder.
The frame shop is located in the Historic Third Ward of Milwaukee, where Sarah usually participates in one of the quarterly Gallery Nights held each year. She belongs to the Merchants Association that meets bi-monthly and tries to keep up the Third Ward businesses and interest in the area.
Sarah first joined PPFA when she worked in Madison, in the early 2000s; and earned her Certified Picture Framer (CPF) designation but let it lapse. “When I started my own business in 2007 I decided it was important to have the most up-to-date education in the framing field and rejoined the PPFA and took the CPF exam again,” she says. “I started going to Chapter events, and I enjoyed meeting other framers and talking shop as well as making friends.” She is also a regular participant on the PPFA Framers Corner online forum.
Sarah joined the PPFA Wisconsin Chapter board in 2008, serving as President in 2012, and again this year.  She has enjoyed the annual PPFA Conventions in Las Vegas, concurrent with the West Coast Art & Frame Expo.  “Oh, my goodness, it’s a whirlwind – non-stop classes, PPFA Chapter Leaders Conference, judging for PRINT Competition, trade show, and dinners with friends. But now I have the fever and can’t miss one.”

– By Sheila Pursgolve

PMA helps you promote National Photo Month in May

May is National Photo Month
May is National Photo Month

May is National Photo Month

May is National Photo Month in the U.S., and we have lots of tools and resources to help you promote all the fun and joy of photography to your customers, including:

  • National Photo Month logos
  • “Print It or Lose It” posters
  • Customizable e-newsletter content/templates on lots of photography topics
  • PMA Academy photography classes for customers
  • PMA TV – marketing tips galore from PMA keynote speakers
  • Certified Passport Photo Center program
  • Royalty-free images
  • Free listing in Find a Digital Lab
  •  The Big Photo Show consumer photography event in Los Angeles, May 17-18, which will drive consumer interest nationwide

Visit the National Photo Month page here – and let the celebrations begin!

PMA and PPFA welcome new members


PMAlogo_CMYK_smallWe’re so happy to welcome all our new members, including: PPFA_RGB_150

  • York Framing Gallery, Santa Cruz, Calif.
  • Lewis & Clark, Raleigh, N.C.
  • Matilda Framers, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • Premier Galleries Inc., Flower Mound, Texas
  • Select Mattes, St. Louis, Mo.
  • Pat’s Place, Goldedendale, Wash.
  • Photogenic Inc., Chicago, Ill.
  • Sity Communications Inc., Richardson, Texas

Business Success: There’s one in every crowd

Business Success LogoIt’s great to work with highly talented people who are also kind and pleasant to be around. Nothing makes you appreciate those wonderful coworkers more than having to work with someone who isn’t so kind and pleasant. Some folks, in fact, are downright insufferable, and can make a workplace miserable. Since punching these people in the nose is pretty much never a good solution, what do you do?
Judith Orloff, MD, TED speaker and author of  The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life, offers some great suggestions on getting those not-so-easy personality types to work well with the rest of the team.
Five Difficult Workplace Types — and How to Get Them to Cooperate

The workplace is filled with difficult personalities–bullies, know-it-alls, rumor mongers… Our fallback reaction when faced with problem people at work is to either assert ourselves or walk swiftly in the other direction.
But there’s a middle ground, a way of communicating that’s more effective, because it’s not rigid or oppositional. It’s about being fluid, surrendering to your intuition, and letting go of your need to push back or control the outcome. Your ability to go with the flow is really important when dealing with difficult people.
Here’s a look at some common difficult personality types, and how to deal with them.
The Narcissist. These types have an inflated sense of self-importance and entitlement, crave attention, and require endless praise. Some are obnoxious ego-maniacs, others can be quite charming. Both types know how to belittle you and make you serve them. First, let go of the belief that you can win them over with loyalty and love. Narcissists value control and power over love, and they lack empathy. Next, don’t make your self-worth dependent on them. Seek out supportive coworkers and colleagues instead. Finally, to get your goals met with narcissists, frame your request in ways they can hear — such as showing them how your request will be beneficial to them. Ego stroking and flattery also work.
The Passive-Aggressive. These types express anger while they’re smiling or showing exaggerated concern. They always maintain their cool, even if through clenched teeth. Start by trusting your gut reactions and the feeling that their behavior is hurtful. Say to yourself, “I deserve to be treated better and with more respect.” If the person is someone you can speak directly with — a team member as opposed to a boss — address the behavior specifically and directly. You could say, for example, “I would greatly appreciate it if you remembered our meeting time. My time’s very valuable, as is yours.” If the person doesn’t or won’t change, you can decide whether to accept their behavior or not.
The Gossip. Gossipy busybodies delight in talking about others behind their backs, putting them down, and spreading harmful rumors. They also love to draw others into their toxic conversations. Start by letting go of your need to please everyone or control what they say. Then be direct. Say, “Your comments are inconsiderate and hurtful. How would you like people talking about you like that?” You can also refuse to participate by simply changing the subject. Don’t share intimate information with gossip mongers. And finally, don’t take gossip personally. Realize that gossips aren’t happy or secure. Do what you can to rise to a higher place, and ignore them.
The Anger Addict. Rageaholics deal with conflict by accusing, attacking, humiliating, or criticizing. Let go of your reactivity. Take a few short breaths to relax your body. Count to 10. Pause before you speak. If they’re spewing verbal venom at you, imagine that you’re transparent and their words are going right through you. To disarm an anger addict, acknowledge their position, and then politely say you have a slightly different approach you’d like to share. Request a small, doable change that can meet your need. Then clarify how it will benefit the relationship. Finally, empathize. Ask yourself what pain or inadequacy might be making this person act so angry.
The Guilt Tripper. These workplace types are world-class blamers, martyrs, and drama queens. They know how to make you feel terrible about something by pressing your insecurity buttons. Start by surrendering the notion that you have to be perfect. Everyone makes mistakes, so if the guilt tripper is scolding you, you can simply apologize or take responsibility, and that will shut them down. Also, know your guilt buttons. If there’s something you feel bad about, you can work on being compassionate with yourself so you’ll feel stronger when this difficult coworker tries to push that particular button. Finally, set limits with the guilt tripper. Tell them you can see their point of view, but that it hurts your feelings when they say those things, and you’d be grateful if they stopped saying it.

Increase sales by fostering community, more

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Business Success LogoOf course you’d like more customers to walk through the door regularly. What’s the best way to get them in? “It may be time to scale back on promotions and take a hard look at what you’re providing potential clients,” according to advice on Intuit.com: Success means creating relationships that last through the good and the tough times.

The best way to begin those relationships can be by providing customers your expert advice. “This encourages people to seek out your company when it’s time to make a purchase.”

The four tips detailed in the article are:
1. Foster community.
2. Answer people’s questions.
3. Provide useful materials.
4. Let existing customers draw new clients.

The full article is here.


Focus on: Paul Dawson, Hydro Photographics

Paul Dawson
Paul Dawson

Paul Dawson

Straight up, I have to be honest…. I’m biased! I’m in awe of Paul Dawson. He is a champion, a leader, a pioneer, funny, crazy, dedicated and smart, with amazing business acumen. As a passionate supporter and full-on activist for PMA, and in particular, PSPA, he helps our association in numerous ways. Paul is the perfect example of if you want things changed, don’t whinge about it, get involved and do it yourself!

Born June 1968, in Mordialloc, Victoria, Australia before moving at aged 5 to Port Macquarie, on the north coast of New South Wales, Paul left school at Year 10. At age 19, after working for 3 years for the State Bank, he decided to leave Port Macquarie and head to the big city, working at another bank in Sydney, part time, as well as a sales rep for Morey Boogie Body Boards and Wet Suits, managing a surf shop and sorting mail at the post office at night.

Working 16 hours a day, still involved in the surfing scene, Paul was given the opportunity to open up his own surf shop back in Port Macquarie, so he borrowed $20K, got some stock, opened Hydro Surf and operated the business successfully for 5 years.

Paul Dawson shopHe was president of the Mid North Coast Board Riders and President of Bonny Hills Junior Board Riders, and got into photography through writing a weekly column ON THE BEACH in Port Macquarie News. He always wanted to have photographs in the column and kept hassling the newspaper photographer to take them. One day he was told “here’s my camera, and my tripod, here’s a roll of film, this is how you work it, go and do it yourself.” So Paul took the photographs, processed them, and had a photograph in the newspaper the next day, which gave him a real buzz and a passion for photography.

A professional photographer since 1988, Paul has achieved worldwide acclaim for his pictures, which have featured on the front pages of major metropolitan newspapers including The Daily Telegraph, The Australian, The Weekend Australian, The Age and The Sun Herald’s Weekend Property section. Paul’s photographs of major Australian news events, including the Kempsey bus crash, the refugee landing at Scotts Head and Australia’s largest Heroin Haul, were sent worldwide.

While still working in the surf shop, he started doing school formal photography, and just as he was recognized for his surf photography, he was soon sought after to do family portraits – he would take his film for processing to the local shop but decided he could do better himself. Thus, Hydro Photographics was born, with encouragement from Agfa rep Steuart Meers, who lent him enough for a new Agfa MSC2-3. There were a few scares at the start, trying to run the surf shop and the photography shop at the same time. When digital first came in and processing became too competitive, he decided to go full on into school and freelance photography, and at this point photographs 20,000 kids per year.

Regularly asked to speak and educate photographers and students on workflow and file /color management issues, Paul remains passionate about the photography industry. He is the National Chairperson of the Professional School Photographers Association of Australia and New Zealand (5 years), has re-written the Australian Code of Practice for the School Photography Association, is a spokesperson to the photographic industry on industrial relations laws, and is always keen to help fellow photographers. In 2011, Paul was awarded a PMA Distinguished Service Award for service to the photographic industry.

Paul says “he has learnt over the years that someone else knows something that you don’t, so it’s always good to listen. There have been a lot of people who have helped me over 25 years, and I feel being involved with PMA, PSPA or an industry association is the best way to repay them – sharing any knowledge to those starting out or needing assistance.”

During the last couple of years, Paul has been heavily involved with the Google Business View program, photographing inside businesses using Google Street View technology. He assists people in setting up their Google+ social and business pages so that they are both effective and optimized. In 2012 and again in 2013 he was awarded the prestige “Google Business Photos Photographer of the Year” for Australia/New Zealand.

To relax, Paul used to play golf every week, playing off a handicap of 6; these days he likes to spend more time with his family: wife, Shannon and two daughters, Mia and Grace.

As this article goes to print, Paul is in John Hunter Hospital waiting for a pacemaker, having had an issue with his heart last week. The doctors say this will keep him goin,g but he has asked for a “lifetime warranty on the battery!” Everyone connected with PMA and PSPA send Paul their good wishes for a quick return to health.

 – By Barbara Bryan