Spotlight on Fritz Bertsch

Once a year we try to pin down Powerhouse Planning’s founder and president, Jessica Bertsch, and ask her to impart some words of wisdom, Powerhouse history, etc. for us to share with you. This year, we decided to take things in a slightly different direction and instead asked Jessica’s husband, Fritz, to sit down with us and give us a slightly different perspective on Powerhouse—how it started, where it’s going, and what sort of impact having an entrepreneurial wife has had on their family.

First, Fritz is actually the fourth of five Fred Stanley Bertsches, the name having been passed down through the generations. Fritz is an active-duty Coast Guard officer who recently celebrated his 20-year anniversary. He’s not slowing down or looking to retirement just yet, though. After recently finishing up a two-year tour as the commanding officer of the USCGC VIGILANT, a 210’ Medium Endurance Cutter, he is now taking up a fellowship that will see him spending a year studying at Carnegie Mellon University. After that, it’s up to the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard has been a part of Fritz and Jessica’s story from the very beginning. Back in 2004, Fritz met Jessica when she was vacationing with friends in Nassau, Bahamas. He was deployed there with the Coast Guard and wandered into a restaurant/bar to watch a basketball game. As Fritz says, “Jess made the mistake of asking me who was winning. After that she couldn’t get rid of me.” Several hours later, knowing he was leaving the next day, he asked Jessica if he could call her when they were all back stateside. She agreed, and the rest is history.

Being married to a military member can make having your own career difficult, and Fritz says it was “extremely difficult” watching Jessica continue to juggle her career and sacrifice opportunities so that he could focus on making the most of his military service career. Even though they made their decisions together, the stress and frustration of juggling all the aspects of a civilian career and a military lifestyle isn’t easy. “It is awe-inspiring to think of the sacrifices she has willingly made in supporting me. In truth, she has served our nation as well through her support and efforts because I know I would not be where I am today without her,” Fritz says.

When Jessica hit upon the idea for Powerhouse, Fritz remembers most the passion she had for the idea. It wasn’t so much about finding a portable career or making money, but what drove Jessica was the idea that Powerhouse could “provide opportunities and possibilities for military spouses who were just like her.” The untapped potential in the military spouse community is incredible, and this talent is so often underutilized due to the uniqueness of military life. Fritz knew Powerhouse would be successful not simply because it was a “solid concept” but also because of the passion Jessica had to make this a reality for others like her.

It’s never easy to start a business, and even though the early days were stressful and meant lots of working at all hours of the day, the commitment to learn while doing everything the business required was “impressive to watch,” Fritz says. Although Jessica might disagree, Fritz says his role was minimal during this time: “I jumped in where I could, like dropping things off at the post office. I simply have tried to be supportive and return the favor of love and support that she continues to provide me.” Jessica has stated many times that his support role is what got her through those early years.

Today, Fritz and the rest of the family continue to provide support and expertise where they can. Fritz lends his knowledge and free time to the financial side of things when needed, but he claims his efforts surely cause his wife “more stress and consternation than I relieve.” Their three children help out as well, stuffing envelopes, keeping themselves occupied when Mom needs to work and Dad is deployed, and other tasks as their ages and skills allow. Powerhouse really is a family affair for the Bertsches, and one made even more so this last year as Jessica ran Powerhouse while simultaneously homeschooling her children with assistance from her mom, a retired schoolteacher. Fritz can’t imagine Powerhouse going forward being anything but successful. In fact, he thinks the next ten years will see similar growth to what the company has experienced its first nine years. He’s noticed the personal growth Jessica has achieved reflects the company’s growth. “She continues to refine her approaches to problems and has gotten even better at multi-tasking,” Fritz says. At the same time, Jessica and Powerhouse have learned to establish boundaries and limits to maintain a healthy balance. It’s not always an easy endeavor and can lead to increased stress levels at times, but in the end Powerhouse’s flexibility is key. Even while becoming an entrepreneur and growing and honing a business model that provides career opportunities for military spouses and veterans, Jessica has been able to be present with their children and be “an amazingly loving and supportive spouse, the nucleus of our family,” according to Fritz. While the Bertsches’ situation is unique to them, the flexibility Powerhouse provides for its freelancers is, as Fritz says, a “wonderful thing.”

We asked Fritz, “If you could be Powerhouse president for a day, is there anything you would change?” After assuring us he’d never take that job as he knows he’s not well-suited to it, he said that if he ever did find himself in that position, there is one thing he’d do: hire Jessica and make her the president! “She thrives in the areas that Powerhouse needs from its president and that’s why she has been able to make Powerhouse so successful.” Entrepreneurship is a fantastic opportunity for military spouses as long as the opportunity “meshes with the family dynamic and the setup of the family’s life,” Fritz says. It’s certainly worked for the Bertsch family.

We asked Fritz if there was anything he was willing to share that not many people knew and we offered bonus points if it was something Jessica didn’t know either. After assuring us that there isn’t anything Jessica doesn’t already know, he offered this one last insight into the story of their meeting: “I actually had to call Jess three times after meeting her in the Bahamas before she returned my phone call. Since she wasn’t ready to date at the time, I waited six months to officially ask her out. I have known how special she is since I first met her. Now, of course, she’s stuck with me and can’t get rid of me.” Given the amount of support Fritz has given Jessica and Powerhouse throughout the last nine years, we’re glad they’re stuck with each other.

 

2021-09-16T00:39:25+00:00September 13th, 2021|

Checking in with Powerhouse’s Jennifer Kirkpatrick

As dedicated readers will know, we like to shine the spotlight on some of our amazing, talented Powerhouse Planning “powerhouses,” aka the freelancers who are responsible for making Powerhouse what it is. Occasionally, we also like to direct that spotlight on the leadership team that consistently grows and shapes Powerhouse in the direction founder and President Jessica Bertsch envisions. This time around, we sat down with Powerhouse’s Jennifer Kirkpatrick, who recently took on yet another title—Experience and Project Manager

Jennifer started with Powerhouse over five years ago when, as she puts it, “Jessica invited me into her brain.” Originally signing on to be Jessica’s executive assistant (and, let’s be honest, right-hand woman), Jen has spent the last five years on “an inspirational, busy, challenging, soul-searching, fun, and amazing ride to personal and professional growth.” It is a journey Jen is grateful for and one that has given her so much more than she ever expected. She quickly went from “just an executive assistant” to assuming the responsibilities of Powerhouse Operations Officer, though it took Jessica a lot of convincing for Jen to accept the official promotion. Since then, Jen has added duties to those of operations officer, earning her the title she currently holds of Experience and Project Manager.

Jen is the one who maintains a working knowledge of all Powerhouse’s clients as well as of each Powerhouse team member, working tirelessly to strategize, lead, support, and manage as needed. In addition, she checks in with team members and clients to ensure that Powerhouse is exceeding their expectations, “whether by the services we provide or as a place to work,” she says. It is not where she thought she might end up when she first accepted Jessica’s offer to come work with her, but it is not an experience she would change at all. “Jessica is a natural born leader and truly inspiring woman,” Jen says. “Her strong discernment and huge heart continually provide me the push when I need it and a safe place to land when I start to fall. She sees the gifts you have when you may overlook them.” Jen adds that this leadership style, where she is constantly pushed to discover the depths of her abilities, is one of the best aspects of working for Powerhouse. It keeps the team dynamic, always looking toward growth potential, and that is why team members continue to succeed and exceed even their own high expectations.

For those who may not know, Powerhouse is a military spouse owned and operated business and one that largely employs military spouses and veterans, along with several who just love the Powerhouse mission to create a work/life balance for freelancers and entrepreneurial spirits. That is why Jen would highly recommend entrepreneurship to military spouses. “There is no easy path,” she says, “but with hard work, a passion for excellence, and the right team surrounding you, you will do well. The growth mindset really is the secret sauce to maintaining a positive attitude, which leads to wisdom and growth.”

That spirit is what leads to the Powerhouse difference. The commitment each team member has to each other and to clients results in dynamic performance and growth. Powerhouse offers many internal growth opportunities to its team members, such as book clubs, mentor sessions, and encouragement to grow not only in areas of expertise but also in areas of interest. Jen’s favorite internal opportunity is the monthly Power Hour, a time when team members come together in both professional and personal ways. Power Hours might include a guest speaker discussing some professional aspect of virtual work or a trivia night, but it’s a time for the virtual team to come together no matter where they are in the world in order to truly feel like a team—even without a physical office space.

Jen’s favorite Powerhouse program is the Share the Goodness campaign, a direct correlation to her servant’s heart. Jessica started Share the Goodness as the charitable arm of Powerhouse, but she didn’t just focus on things that were important to her. She opened the program up to all Powerhouse’s freelancers so that the company can actively support the causes that are personally meaningful to the team. The program has spurred the formation of an entire professional branch for Powerhouse: working with nonprofits. Jen says, “The work we do with nonprofits has given me tremendous insight into the struggles of these organizations as well as compassion to work with the nonprofits I volunteer with to try to help them succeed.” To work with other people who have servants’ hearts just as strong as Jen’s gives her joy.

“I genuinely can’t think of anything to improve [about Powerhouse],” she laughingly says when questioned about what she would change if given the opportunity. “The best things about Powerhouse are its clients and its people. We work so well together. Everyone works hard, is amazingly talented, humble, kind, helpful, sincere, caring, compassionate, encouraging, and FUNNY! Also, we’re heard,” she continues. “Jessica listens to every suggestion, and even if it’s not implemented, we’re given reasons why it’s not in the best interests of our clients and/or team.” That openness is part of why Jen thinks Powerhouse will continue to grow, because Jessica has created a company where every voice is heard, which keeps Powerhouse growing and dynamic in the communities it serves.

Jen always thought her dream job would be to return to work for the Disney company, where she worked during her college years. It is, after all, “the most magical place on earth.” Since starting at Powerhouse, though, Jen’s changed her mind. She’s already got her dream job. “The way my job [at Powerhouse] has evolved is truly magical. Not to mention, when you live the military spouse life and are surrounded by military families, which I worried I’d miss when my husband retired from the Coast Guard, it’s a small world after all.”

We’re just glad that Jen has chosen to make Powerhouse part of her world. With her as part of Powerhouse’s stellar leadership team, the sky truly is the limit.

2021-09-04T22:15:29+00:00September 8th, 2021|

New Powerhouse Team Member

Anne Jeanene (AJ) McCoy Bengoa loves design, data, and working with a team of positive people. She is excited to begin a new journey of learning and growth with Powerhouse Planning, contributing however she can.

AJ grew up in Miami, Florida and moved to Washington, D.C. upon the completion of her undergraduate degrees. There she worked full time for a small business government contractor and pursued her first master’s degree. She then moved to Florida’s Space Coast to pursue post-graduate opportunities. There she met her amazing husband, a real-life rocket scientist who works for NASA, and they have been married for over 15 years. She has been busy raising their two kids, working part-time, and volunteering while enjoying the beauties and wonders of Central Florida’s waterways and all the joys of living where rocket launches may be common occurrences, yet are a marvel every time.

Never one to be idle, up until she had kids, AJ was almost always managing at least two jobs and volunteering on the side. Her life and career have been guided by her heart more than any goal, and she has constantly tried to embrace the many amazing opportunities that have come her way. Therefore, her experience is peppered with all sorts of jobs: graphic designer, teacher’s assistant, research scientist, dive master, and GIS specialist, just to name a few. Her two primary focuses have been science and design, but other interests and skills have managed to employ her as well during her life. These broad and diverse interests keep her happily engaged and learning all the time, as the pace of the career landscape is constantly changing.

AJ’s most recent degree was a master’s earned from the Geographic Information Science & Technology program at the University of Southern California. AJ has three additional degrees from the University of Miami and the University of Maryland, in marine science, biology, and graphic design, which allude to the dual careers she has maintained throughout her life. Over the years, she has worked for NOAA, University of Central Florida, NOVA Research Company, National Park Service, Disney’s Animal Programs, University of Miami, Brevard County Public Schools, the Florida Department of Health, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. She has been involved in all manner of graphic design; data collection, management, analysis, display, and distribution; as well as every aspect of publication, from literature reviews, writing, editing, and printing, with a particular focus on the visualization of data.

AJ loves camping, crafting, and any activity that involves water. AJ’s favorite place in the world is floating in an inner tube down one of Florida’s many spring-fed rivers, and scuba diving anywhere is a very close second.

2021-08-26T18:57:44+00:00August 26th, 2021|

A Few of Our Favorite Things

Have you ever checked out the Resource Library on our website? It is full of helpful, free resources that cover everything from small business start-up to coloring pages for your kiddos. We’re dedicated to providing resources that provide the most up-to-date information to help you make the best decisions possible for your careers, your life transitions, and more. Here are a few of our favorite resources.

Small Business Resources

We’re all about small businesses here at Powerhouse (being one ourselves, after all). Having been through the entire process herself, Powerhouse President Jessica Bertsch wants to do her part to make the process easier to navigate for others. So, if you’ve ever even thought about opening your own small business, you should check out these resources.

  • Starting Your Small Business is exactly what it sounds like—a resource that will take you through the initial steps necessary to get your small business off the ground.
  • Business Plan takes you through the process of setting up your own business plan to ensure you stay on the track you want.
  • Branding Your Business introduces you to the basics of marketing your business.
  • In-Office Team Building and Virtual Team Building are resources designed to help you build and maintain a strong, dynamic team whether your business have in-person employees or virtual ones.
  • Business Refresh, Goal Brainstorming, and Spring-Clean Your Business will help you redirect your goals and discover what’s working and what needs a little tweak.
  • Direct Sales is for all of you out there who are thinking of starting your own direct sales business. This resource even has tips for those of you who have been doing direct sales for a while.
  • Need to attend or plan a conference? Check out our Conference Attendance Checklist to ensure you don’t forget or miss a thing.
  • Nonprofits, do you need to start writing grants? Our Grant Library and Checklist for Grant Writers are exactly where you need to start.

Bonus resource: We even have a handy calendar of notable American holidays and military dates to help you plan your year.

Career and Life Transitions Resources

We all experience those times in life where we’re preparing for, or in the midst of, a life change. Whether it’s a career change, a personal change, or an organic transition from one phase of life to another, we’ve got you covered. Most of us at Powerhouse are veterans in the transition game, and we want to help others by providing some resources based on our “lessons learned.”

  • Moving soon? Check out our Move Binder. This handy resource will help you keep track of every part of the moving process. From deciding how and what to pack, to scheduling movers, to making travel plans, the Move Binder keeps you organized during a traditionally chaotic time.
  • Do you find yourself faced with becoming a military spouse? Don’t worry, a lot of us did too once upon a time. Our Transitioning to Military Spouse Life resource will demystify the transition period and help you gain an understanding of an utterly unique, and rewarding, life change.
  • Retiring soon? Check out our Transitioning Toward Retirement Designed specifically with our active-duty military families in mind, it helps you keep sane during a stressful time. With checklists to guide you through the process, beginning one to two years preretirement through to the “other side,” this resource gives you timelines and tips for dealing with all aspects of the process.
  • Finally, no matter what your career stage, we’ve got resources to help you find the right job for you. From resume tips and samples to interview checklists, we’ve got the resources to help ease the process, whether you’re changing careers, reentering the workforce after an extended leave of absence, or transitioning from the military to the civilian workforce.

Bonus resource: Want to do something simple to support our military families that doesn’t cost a thing? We have a 30-day calendar of ways to pray for those families who sacrifice so much for all of us.

20 Tips Series

In 2020, we created a “20 Tips” resource every month that focused on a different aspect of small businesses. These are some of our favorites:

  • “20 Tips for Time Management”
  • “20 Tools & Resources for the Small Business”
  • “20 Ways to Measure Business Growth”
  • “20 Tips for Freelance Success”
  • “20 Tips to Have Fun at Work”

Find them all here, including one particularly relevant to today, “20 Tips for Leading Your Business Through Challenging Times.”

Military Kid Resources

Finally, our military kids are some of America’s smallest heroes. In honor of the sacrifices they make, we have created a gallery of Military Kid Hero coloring pages. Perfect for those long hours in the car during PCS season, or just to keep your youngest “office assistants” busy and productive while you check out our other resources, download and print out all these coloring pages.

Newsletter and Blog

Powerhouse produces a quarterly newsletter delivered right to your inbox. Full of stories for inspiration, business tips, and tons more, this is one of our favorite resources. Sign up to receive our newsletter and check out past editions anytime. In addition, we are always updating our website’s blog, which is full of tips, additional resources, and lots of information on the Powerhouse team.

 

We’d love to hear what resources have been most helpful to you. Please contact us, and always remember, the resources are here for you to use whenever and as often as you’d like (or share with a friend). But if you find yourself in need of more help, Powerhouse’s team of freelancers stands ready to assist you.

 

2021-08-08T21:47:50+00:00August 9th, 2021|

The Importance of Brand Consistency

 

If you’ve ever done a branding exercise—designed a logo or rebuilt a website, for example—then you’ve already begun to embrace the idea that branding is an important part of business. And yes, the visuals of your brand, like logos and websites, are important. But your brand is much bigger than the aesthetics.

Your brand is everything that a customer or perspective customer encounters when it comes to your business. It’s your mission statement, your values, your written communications, your commercials or print ads, and, of course, it’s your products and services.

If your brand were a person, it would be the equivalent of its personality. There’s even a term for this: your brand identity. And the people interacting with your brand make purchasing decisions based upon emotion, not logic (even when they think they’re being super smart about “doing their research”).

Your job as the creator or manager of your brand is to make sure the emotions your customers feel include sentiments like familiarity—they recognize and know your brand—and dependability—they feel like they can rely on you to be the company you present yourself as. If you don’t care about your “brand identity,” if you think that’s a bunch of fluff that has no substance, you send that message too (one that’s better for your competitors).

So, what’s the secret to sustaining a brand that’s easily recognizable and trustworthy? Brand consistency is everything. And yes, you can hire very expensive consultants or teams to support this effort, but if the budget’s not there for the pros, you can also still be mindful about brand consistency and reap the rewards.

Get team buy-in. Your employees should be experts on not just your products/services, but also the story your company tells—its value proposition. This is true whether their job description includes sales or not. When everyone working for you is clear on your “why” and “how,” they’re better able to support your brand consistency efforts from within.

Refer to the manual. Create and enforce brand guidelines that are to be used by everyone involved with the business. These are the colors and fonts we use. Here’s our origin story. This is the tone/voice we write with. These are our target demographics. Mapping out the visuals and storytelling choices you’re committed to as a business in a set of brand guidelines means everyone has and can easily follow the same set of rules. That translates to greater brand consistency.

Pro Tip: Your brand guidelines can be an informal document or a beautifully crafted packet. Either way, they are (should be) a living, breathing thing that is regularly revisited, reviewed, and updated as needed. If there are changes made as you do business (e.g., new product offerings, new graphics, etc.), make sure those are reflected in your brand guidelines and then implemented across all platforms and branding assets.

Promote accessibility. The best way to get everyone on the same page—your best chance of having consistent brand promise and delivery—is to make sure your branding assets, including your brand guidelines, all live in the same place and can be accessed by the content writers, web designers, and marketing specialists who need them. This way, everyone is pulling from the same agreed-upon sources. And it’s an easy way to avoid version confusion too. This folder/file/drive should always house the most recent versions of any branding collateral you use.

Pro Tip: Worried about losing or deleting the older versions of things? Make a sub-folder in your branding assets collection for archived materials, and you can easily go back and reference what has been used in the past.

Whether you dive in and fully commit to revisiting and revamping all the elements that together make up your brand identity or decide just to dip your toe in, like with one of the suggestions above, it’s worth the effort. Your customers and potential customers will get to know you better when what they see is consistent in all the places you interact with them (social media, website, etc.). As that happens, you’ll show yourself to be familiar, reliable, and trustworthy. And ultimately, that will allow you to share more of your special brand of value with the world.

2021-08-01T21:06:08+00:00August 1st, 2021|

Spotlight on Powerhouse’s Sarah Zerr

While Powerhouse Planning (Powerhouse) may be an entirely virtual company, we still manage to find ways to connect with each other, ensuring we know each other and work well together. We may be spread out across the country, but we were doing remote teamwork well before it became a thing this past year. It’s part of what makes the Powerhouse Team Solution so successful. So, imagine our excitement three months ago when we were introduced to our newest team member, Sarah Zerr.

Sarah, like so many of us at Powerhouse, is a military spouse. She’s also a Marine Corps veteran and helicopter pilot. After hanging up her active-duty hat, Sarah decided there was no better way to start her civilian career than as one of Powerhouse’s stellar project managers. In her first few months, Sarah has slowly been getting acclimated to the way we do things and taking more of an observer’s role while she learns the specific processes and structure here. Her “outsider’s view” of things has already been making an impact, one we’ll be seeing much more of soon.

Initially, Powerhouse drew Sarah in because we’re primarily made up of military spouses and veterans. “Having been both, I know and appreciate what type of person it takes to serve in those ways,” Sarah says. Being fortunate enough to call our founder and president, Jessica Bertsch, a friend was icing on the cake. “I knew any organization [Jessica] was a part of, especially one she founded, was going to be a great place to work and spend my time,” Sarah says. With only three months under her belt, Sarah says she’s already found a work home that speaks to her, one that allows her to fit work in at her own pace. She can have a heavy workday one day and the next shift to a light one to focus more on her young family. “At my current stage of life with two young kids (and now a puppy), work is what actually provides balance,” she says. Finding a company that not only understands but also actively promotes that work/life balance for its employees is key.

Speaking of that young family, Sarah and her husband are the proud parents of Ellie, 6, and Jack, 4, as well as a teething, four-month-old goldendoodle puppy. “He’s fun and cute, but it’s a tad hectic with a new puppy and little kids who aren’t the most trained themselves,” she says. Having recently transitioned from her Marine Corps career flying CH-46E helicopters is a change for Sarah and her husband who were married shortly after their graduation from the Naval Academy. Her husband, a Marine Corps major, recently made a minor career change himself, when he transitioned to the Marine Corps Reserve. Having a little more stability in their home life is something the family is looking forward to enjoying, along with experiencing all those daily little moments.

“I love photography,” Sarah says, “It’s a bit of a creative release, but has been awesome capturing so many memories.” She started her amateur photography hobby when her oldest was born and quickly learned that having the ability to capture those everyday moments spoke to her. She says, “I love looking back at older pictures of the same activity and seeing the obvious changes, even in a photo that is taken just months apart.” Sarah says that her favorite photos aren’t the posed ones, but the ones that record those “tiny details [that] make me stop and appreciate them more.”

That passion for capturing still images is something Sarah also uses to speak for her. In fact, when asked to describe herself she replied, “I’m someone who hates talking about myself. I’ll just give you extra photos for the blog article instead.” What those photos show is a woman dedicated to her family and one who truly enjoys spending time with her favorite people. Being a mom, Sarah says, is satisfying,  and she hopes one day she’ll look back on these years as one of her greatest accomplishments. But she also finds “managing an idea that turns in to awesome physical content is a great small win that I directly see and feel good about.”

Which is why Powerhouse is such a good fit for her, and it speaks to the best advice she can give: “Decide what it is you need or are missing. For me, I needed something to be able to point to and say, ‘I helped achieve that.’ Once you identify what you truly are missing to feel fulfilled, it may take some sacrifices in other areas to achieve it, but it is worth it.” For Sarah, that was why Powerhouse was such a perfect fit. It allows her to be involved in content creation, taking a client from that initial idea all the way through to the “beautifully developed product.” That she can also work with nonprofit clients is a bonus. “Helping the helpers also has some pretty high job satisfaction,” is the way Sarah puts it.

It’s clear Sarah will positively contribute to Powerhouse over the years, and she’s excited for the roll out of our new website. While not quite ready for prime time yet, the website is one of Sarah’s first projects with Powerhouse, and she can’t wait for everyone to see what we’ve come up with. “At Powerhouse, we have helped with the branding of a lot of companies. I think our new website and content brings our branding up to the outstanding level we offer our clients,” she says.

We couldn’t leave without asking Sarah to tell us something about herself not many people might know, especially her new colleagues at Powerhouse. She says, “Although I was a Marine Corps helicopter pilot, I actually hate roller coasters and most amusement park rides. I am not looking forward to when my kids outgrow the kiddie rides and I have to go on the big roller coasters with them.” Don’t worry, Sarah, now that you’re with Powerhouse, some of us will volunteer to go on those rides with your amazing children so you can keep your feet firmly planted on the ground. Which is honestly one of the things we love about you.

2021-07-08T02:28:20+00:00August 1st, 2021|

New Powerhouse Team Member

Emily brings her passion for helping others and experience in operations, marketing, event management, and customer service to every project and team. Emily served in a number of operational, logistics, event management, and client care roles in both professional and collegiate sports. Following her time in the athletic world, Emily transitioned into health care, serving in business development roles for both a hospital and a pharmaceutical company.

Emily grew up in a small town in Kentucky and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. After graduation, she started her career in sports in California. Always up for a challenge and new adventure, Emily has had experience with teams and organizations across the United States, from the west coast to the southeast and a few in between. Emily brings her passion for helping others to her personal life as well. She served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children, working to meet the needs of children in the foster system of Kentucky. Outside of her professional and philanthropic endeavors, Emily is a newlywed who lives in Atlanta with her husband, Eric, and “fur babies,” Oliver and Brady.

2021-07-28T01:52:28+00:00July 28th, 2021|

LEADERSHIP SPOTLIGHT

The Art and Science of Marketing, Possibly According to an Actual Superhero

By: Julie Kirchner

Superheroes.

If Spandex-clad, masked vigilantes just sprang to mind, you’re not alone. But do modern-day superheroes actually exist?

We contend that they do. Because we’ve met one.

Enter this trailblazer in the marketing arena. She is someone Powerhouse has been privileged to partner with over the last few years, and after witnessing her skills and mindset at work, we put Batman on warning.

“If I could be a superhero, I’d love to be Connector Woman. I love bringing interesting people together to see what magic we can create,” says Rissa Reddan, Marketing Leader for Demand Generation at Equifax. There couldn’t possibly be a more exquisite interpretation for marketing than “bringing interesting people together.”

Reddan recently stepped into her new role as Demand Generation Leader for the U.S. Information Services business at Equifax, which is a one-billion-dollar-plus business. “My goal is to communicate how we help customers solve for growing business challenges,” Reddan says. For the past two years, she served as Senior Vice President of Marketing for the Commercial Business at Equifax, and prior to that, Senior Vice President of Marketing for PayNet until its acquisition by Equifax in 2019.

Reddan says, “I am thrilled to be a part of Equifax’s transformation. At Equifax, our goal is to help small businesses access capital. We know that when the small business economy thrives, so, too, the U.S. economy.”

And she’s right. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, small businesses account for 99.9% of businesses in the United States and provide nearly half of all jobs in its private workforce. (more…)

2021-07-02T14:53:22+00:00July 1st, 2021|

Did You Know?

Roughly 80% of small businesses are utilizing social media, however only 39% of them update their sites “as needed,” according to research published in The Journal of Marketing Development and Competitiveness. Yet how do most of us search for a business when we need a new or new-to-us product? We open Google and “let [our] fingers do the walking,” as the old Yellow Pages commercials used to say.

Now, more than ever, we are relying on our computers, tablets, and smartphones to help us shop, conduct business, and basically stay connected in both our personal and business lives. Our external communications are key to helping us promote our businesses, shape perception, gain more sales, and (bottom line) grow our businesses.

Various external communication tools exist such as websites, blogs, live events and conferences, email and newsletters, press releases, and the ever-present social media. Not only are these critical to promoting our brands, but they are also crucial in helping us build loyal customer bases and generate new leads.

If you feel lost on how to make the most of your external communications, Powerhouse Planning can help. We offer business development services that can help you bring your business to the next level. Contact us today for details.

2021-07-01T14:34:53+00:00July 1st, 2021|

3 Tips to Streamline External Communications

By: Meghan Traynor

Let’s face it—growing a business isn’t easy. You may have heard that effective communication is key for your business to thrive. With many businesses working remotely these days, streamlining your company’s external communications strategy is more important than ever.

So how can you make the most out of your external communications strategy, whether you are using social media, email newsletters, blogs, or a combination to connect with your audience? We’re glad you asked.

  1. Create content that relates to your brand. A good communications strategy should build brand awareness. To save yourself time in the long run and give yourself the opportunity to create valuable content, take out your calendar and brainstorm themes and holidays that relate to your brand. Put all these ideas into a strategic communications plan to refer to when you’re creating content. Most importantly, make sure your content always ties into your company’s brand.
  2. Be relatable and authentic. Get to know your audience. Review analytics to determine what content gets the most engagement. Find out what your customers value. Use these as tools when creating your companies’ external communications. Your audience wants to see the authenticity of your company, and what better way to get your brand out there than by being uniquely you in all you do?
  3. Marketing collateral. When designing graphics and marketing collateral, you want your audience to be able to understand clearly what your company is all about. What is your company’s message? If a stranger looked at your content, would he or she know what your company is all about? A great resource for this is Donald Miller’s book Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen. The Powerhouse team found tremendous value in this read during a recent virtual book club.

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2021-07-01T23:43:51+00:00July 1st, 2021|
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