I’ve Moved to ChrisLugo.com!


I’ve officially moved to the “Bloggy Blog” to ChrisLugo.com – You should join me!  I’ll still be blogging about Pittsburgh Small Business and Community, just at a prettier blog with my namesake URL.

Please note: I will NOT be updating this blog anymore.  Please head to ChrisLugo.com IMMEDIATELY!

While you’re at it – subscribe to my blog via RSS Feed or Email!


Thanks for everything!  See you at ChrisLugo.com!

HEY – Remember Those Goals!?

It’s been 67 Days since most of our New Year’s Resolutions or 2009 Goals went into effect.

So dust off that blog post, because I’m asking the question:

HEY – Remember Those Goals!?

It’s human nature to start January off with a BANG – then let those weight loss, exercise and fiscal responsibility goals go right out the window!  What are you doing to stay on track?  Are you reaching out to your friends and community for help?  Do you need to find a community to support you?

Here’s where I stack up against my 2009 Goals:

  1. Communicate better in all aspects of my life
    • I have been more actively communication with family, friends and peers via Social Media and local events
    • Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Flickr, BrightKite, etc.
    • I get on the horn (phone) more often and take time to reconnect
  2. Focus on family and friends even more
    • I have found that enjoying the company of friends beats a night at the bar almost anytime
    • I feel I’ve gotten to know my new friends here in Pittsburgh VERY well
    • Trying to plan more time to visit family (Florida in January to visit Brother’s family/Two young nephews)
  3. Establish my new career path; Love my work
    • This has been challenging, but I’m working to get into the marketing space here in Pittsburgh
    • Working with Right Management and getting assistance with the search
  4. Get my blog going
    • CHECK – It has been fun writing (the few) posts for this blog
    • Highlighting PGH Small Business, Marketing and Community is what I’m ultimately striving for with this blog
  5. Tap into the Pittsburgh dog owner and social media community
    • Joined local Lawrenceville Dog Park Committee
    • Meeting LOTS of dog owners in PGH (Planning on hosting another Puppypalooza soon!)
    • Helping with the planning process of PodCamp Pittsburgh (Social Media UnConference)
    • Established The Cavaliers Drum & Bugle Corps presence on Twitter, as well as the Cavalier Alumni Association
  6. Investigate creating dog park in East End
    • As mentioned above, I’m helping a local committee market, promote and raise funds for a much-needed dog park in Lawrenceville (see previous post)
  7. Help my brother launch a business
    • Helped my brother establish LOCKDOWN LLC providing communication services to the Prison population
    • Unconventional business model, but I’m helping him get this off the ground
  8. Practice financial responsibility
    • Cutting back on impulse purchases
    • Saving money more often
    • Learning from my peers
  9. Be adventurous with food, drinks, entertainment and marketing methods
    • Who knew curry was so good!?
    • Trying new food and drinks almost everywhere I go
    • Learning more about niche, small business, social media, Word of Mouth and referral marketing
  10. Paint and volunteer more
    • Volunteering as a Board member of The Cavaliers Alumni Association
    • Painting for Lawrenceville Dog Park Art Benefit
    • Painting the house
    • Looking for more volunteer opportunities here in Pittsburgh
  11. Start moderate exercise program
  12. Learn as much as possible about social media and business
    • Google Reader, Twitter and LinkedIn have been my friend
    • Learning about Social Media by diving in
    • Learning about Pittsburgh Small/Local Businesses

I still have LOTS of work to do until I’m satisfied, but here are Six Simple Things you can do to stay on track:

  1. Keep the 2009 Goals List on your desk (preferably on top of the mess) – This way you constantly see your 2009 Goals
  2. Include your friends and family – They can help remind you of your goals or help/support you along the way
  3. Reach out to others in your community with similar goals – If it’s running, then find a local running Meetup Group
  4. Break your 2009 Goals into bite-sized chunks – If your goal is to loose 25 pounds, then work in 5lb increments
  5. Start slow and gain momentum – Like the point above, you can’t just jump into the 2009 Pittsburgh Marathon without training first
  6. Remember that your2009 Goals are for YOU – take pride in your hard work and accomplishments

Let’s keep each other in check.  I’ll come back in a few months and see how we’re doing!

In the meantime – What are you waiting for?  Are your 2009 Goals going to become 2010 Goals?

I’m personally trying to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Photo Credit: Catd_Mitchell

We Built This City (DogPark)!

Starship was on to something with its smashing 80s hit, “We Built This City.”  While Blender magazine named this tune “The #1 Worst Song EVER” in 2004, the catchy chorus speaks to the whole notion of building community.  Nowadays, “community” is getting  a lot of play in the social media world, but what about in real life?  What is your neighborhood, town or city doing to BUILD and ENHANCE the community?  And are the local businesses getting involved?

There are many fine examples of this very thing happening in Pittsburgh (Shopping Bloomfield for one) – but I’ve latched on to an effort near and dear to my heart (Dexter’s too!):  The Lawrenceville Dog Park.

The Lawrenceville Dog Park Committee (I’m not only a recent member, but I’m also a client) has been investigating the building of a much-needed dog park in the East End/Lawrenceville area.  I have been impressed with the dedication of the group, as well as the generosity and support of the local business community.  You can read more about the effort (including events, proposal and location info) at http://lvilledogpark.blogspot.com.

Lawrenceville Building [even more] Community

Lawrenceville is already known for its thriving boutique arts and business district.  The Lawrenceville Dog Park is to be (knock on raw-hide) open by summer, and here are a few thoughts on what this dog park will add to this community:

  • Public amenity that provides a safe recreational area for our pups (BIG & small)
  • Attract new Dog-Loving residents to Lawrenceville neighborhood
  • Attract visitors & commerce to Lawrenceville neighborhood
  • Provide an exercise outlet for our pups
  • Enhance Dog-Owner community with social opportunities
  • Highlight Dog-Friendly businesses
  • Incorporate and Highlight the growing local Arts Community

Local Pittsburgh Businesses (and Artists) Digging the Dog Park

These local Pittsburgh businesses and artists have thrown their collective support behind The Lawrenceville Dog Park effort (and we couldn’t be more thrilled!):

Featuring donated artwork by:

  • Stella Belikiewicz
  • David Calfo
  • Mary Coleman
  • Kate Dougherty
  • Monika Gibsoon
  • Will Kesling
  • Beth Kiewicz
  • Lyn Lewandowski
  • Deborah Mahan
  • Tra Nelson
  • Cloin Noonan
  • Jay Resler
  • Anthony Schafermeyer
  • Richard Schnappp
  • Jenny Snyder
  • J. Woolslayer
  • Zombo

An impressive 125 Artists, Belly Dancers, and Dog Lovers showed up and supported The Lawrenceville Dog Park at the Benefit Variety Show (Follow the process via Twitter).  When I think about what community means – The residents AND local business here in Pittsburgh are STEPPING UP!

Dexter will soon be playing with and sniffing the dogs of Lawrenceville, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

UPDATE: Have your pooch try the Grasso Roberto‘s Doggy Gelato and Enrico Biscotti‘s Doggy Biscotti (I tried both)! Muy Delicioso!

Feel THESE – 100% Totally Natural

Feel THESE – 100% Totally Natural!

Let me start by saying I condone fake boobs.  That being said, when it comes to your business, reputation (branding), or communications – Organic Growth Rules!

A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled upon a website TweeterGetter.com which promises 19k+ Twitter followers in 30 days!

[If you’re not sure what Twitter is, check this out]

While it’s definitely alluring to grab a flock of followers in flash, I can’t help but notice that Tweeter Getter is just the Pyramid Scheme de jour..err, Twitter.  Now, I know there are arguments FOR this service, but do you really expect to get something (a $hit ton of followers) for nothing?  What do I know…

Would you apply a similar Pyramid Scheme to your business?  Think about it:

  • Grow too fast – how will you ensure quality products or services
  • Experience good growth initially, then unsustainable sales
  • Gain customers that don’t actually care or evangelize your business
  • Don’t know who your customers ARE or  how can you provide value
  • Backlash from those against this shady approach
  • Damage to reputation/brand (5 yrs to build brand, 5 min to destroy)
  • Etc. 😉

Surely there are hundreds of other reasons the method above stinks.  I’m going to try the old fashioned (yet, modern-ish) approach to Twitter, my reputation, and business.  You can help me determine if this is a smart approach (or not):

  • Know who my contacts are and how we can benefit each other
  • Build my followers in a natural, organic way
  • Engage in meaningful conversations
  • Provide relevant information
  • Gain friends, followers and peers who will HELP me when needed
  • Help my friends, followers and peers
  • Support the PGH community
  • Learn as much about the community, industry and best practices – and SHARE
  • Do GREAT work
  • Exude Awesomeness

What do you think about TweeterGetter? Am I flat out wrong?  Is “Awesomeness” a word?

Photo credit: contraquien

What Have You Done 4 Me Lately?

Thanks for Your Business!

I recently took my dog Dexter to the vet for a routine visit.  We could not have been more pleased with the service at East End Veterinary Medical Centre, and after receiving the “Thank You/Welcome” card (to the left) it got me thinking…

What Have YOU Done For ME Lately?

More specifically – What has your business done for its customers lately?

Veterinary offices seems to do a good job, in general, of keeping in contact with their customers in a seemingly genuine manner.  A simple Thank You card, a visit reminder, or similar note goes a LONG way in my book.  Especially when the communication let’s me know that I am a VALUED customer.

Imagine that – Your Customers like to be Valued.

How can you take this further without being totally obnoxious?

10 Ways to Value Your Customers and Add Value:

  1. Genuinely THANK your customers for their business – IMMEDIATELY…DO IT NOW
  2. Take time to LISTEN to your customers’ needs and wants
  3. Make relevant suggestions; ensure TRUST in the relationship
  4. Update your customers on what YOUR business is doing in the community/industry
  5. Participate in Community/Conversation (Online and in Real Life!)
  6. Make it easy for customers to give feedback and participate in the Community/Conversation
  7. Give your customers the tools to be your WOM advocate
  8. Make it right or Apologize – Immediately
  9. Make your customers the Rock Stars
  10. Do something Unexpected and Amazing

Now, I know these are all Über Basic and non-specific, but just think about them a little.  Have you thanked your customers lately?  I mean REALLY thanked ’em. And what are you doing to extend or enhance the customer’s experience BEYOND your immediate interactions?

I’ll give you some examples of what else a vet could do (for dog owners):

  • Sponsor dog owner/Meetup groups
  • Create map of local dog parks
  • Create list of local groomers, trainers, pet supply stores and pet friendly businesses
  • Sponsor community dog friendly events
  • Start opt-in mailing list highlighting dog health issues, events, and CUSTOMERS
  • Partner with key local business to provide discounts or incentives for customers
  • Encourage the writing of reviews and blogging of experiences

This by no means an all-inclusive list.  I’m sure you all could come up with 20 more things to add.  Oh, and did I mention your business still has to provide a great product or service?

Just always keep in mind:  Value Your Customers and Add Value.


Negative-to-Positive & Winnie da Pooh

Flickr Credit - hagner_james

This week, I learned that almost ANY negative can be turned into a positive, and that Winnie the Pooh is wise beyond his years.

Gary Vaynerchuk (of WineLibrary.tv) had to react quickly when one of his sites (Cork’d) was hacked by a friendly porn site. TechCrunch picked up the story immediately. Gary, without waiting for advice, posted a Seesmic video to TechCrunch explaining the breach. The response was overwhelmingly positive because people appreciated his honesty, integrity, brevity, and genuine nature displayed in the video. Gary’s general approach to the “crisis:” Don’t wait for situation to escalate, take responsibility, take action and reassure audience/customers. Plainly – Don’t let it get out of hand and be genuine!

Negative is the New Positive…huh?

How did this become a positive for Gary and Cork’d? Gary posted multiple times on Twitter for help form developers. TONS of loyal, qualified followers replied, a respected Marketing Guru responded, and he effectively promoted Seesmic (others). This all lead to the positivity surrounding Gary’s response to the hack, AND fans getting a chance to help in the process. SO much more for US to sink our teeth into when we know the man in charge actually cares.

[Be sure to watch Gary Vaynerchuk’s video]

The positive PR and word-of-mouth that followed Gary natural reaction are priceless. All because some porn affiliate was hacking off.

What does Winnie the Pooh have to do with this?

Flickr Credit - disneyandy

Well, Pooh doesn’t have anything to do with the above situation explicitly, but James Chartrand at CopyBlogger brought up Winnie’s brilliantly simple approach to Life/Blogging. Keep it simple; keep it positive; get out and go to people; be patient; please your friends and love your honey…literally. How does this relate to Gary Vaynerchuk’s situation? Gary kept it simple with his video response; he didn’t focus on the negative aspect of getting hacked; Gary focused on his CUSTOMERS first and he didn’t let this ruin his “honey.”

*We all have a lot to learn from Gary and Winnie the Pooh. I know I’ve learned my share this week.

What Have You Learned This Week?

Are My Goals For 2009 Lame?


photo credit - Tojosan

Have you made you goals for 2009, yet?

This is the time of year when we all make (or have made) our resolutions. I know I’ve made my share, and like most I let those resolutions fade as quickly as my summer tan.

I’m hoping this year will be different – for both of us. But why IS it going to be different? I have a bit more motivation than usual this go-round because I’m currently on the job hunt. With my new-found free time, I’ve convinced myself that I CAN DO IT (if you’re going to laugh, please do so as a comment)!

Moving into 2009, I feel more prepared than ever before: family is supportive, social media is becoming a buddy of mine, Pittsburgh is swell AND I have a Puggle that loves me. What more do I need to get on top of these goals? What more do YOU need?

My goals for 2009 (are they totally lame?)

  • Communicate better in all aspects of my life
  • Focus on family and friends even more
  • Establish my new career path; Love my work
  • Get my blog going – covering Pittsburgh, small business, marketing, family and whatever else I may find helpful/amusing
  • Tap into the Pittsburgh dog owner and social media community
  • Investigate creating dog park in East End (How awesome would that be?)
  • Help my brother launch a business
  • Practice financial responsibility
  • Be adventurous with food, drinks, entertainment and marketing methods
  • Paint and volunteer more
  • Start moderate exercise program (nothing crazy)

And the bonuses:

  • Learn as much as possible about social media and business
  • Jump in the Monongahela River – CHECK (Pics and Video proof)!!!

How are your Goals for 2009 coming along?

I’m already making some progress on a few of these (pull-up Master Jedi, job prospects, Twitter). Let me know if I can help you in any way. I will keep tabs on myself with this blog, and I trust all of YOU will keep me in check this year.