Articles

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By Pat Hammond

When you bring a new pet item to Pro Image Automotive's shop, they will give you a 5% discount on most auto services and repairs*.

My grandfather always said that when you bring an animal into your home, you treat it like a member of the family.

It doesn't matter if it's a cat, dog, gold fish, farm animal or family pet, our animal friends have the same needs as we do when it comes to food, shelter and health care and it's our responsibility as their caretakers to provide it. This is a sentiment that the staff at Pro Image Automotive takes to heart.

Since 2012 Pro Image Automotive has been proud to run an annual pet food drive that has collected more than 1700 pounds of pet food and supplies to benefit the Friends of the Manchester Animal Shelter.


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By Pat Hammond

He's dead Jim...

Last week I was all optimistic and talking about finding options, but this week I'm doing a reality check and sometimes when a project goes wrong it makes more sense to walk away than it does to fix it.

You heard me right, Little Miss Sunshine — I can fix anything, grudgingly admits that sometimes you just have to pull the plug and cut your losses.

  • If you are going to use more resources to fix it than you would to start over
  • If the best outcome of continuing the current course is less than optimal
  • If the original concept simply doesn't work

It's a lot of ifs and if you said yes to any of them, it might be time to set it aside and rethink your strategy.

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By Pat Hammond

Get ready for some fun!

Okay people, we're heading into the dark months. You know what I mean, that time of year when it's dark when you leave in the morning and dark when you get home at night and you're starting to feel like all you do is go from home to work and back without ever seeing the light of day.

Telling yourself that you have to go back out and network is going to make it all that much harder to drag yourself off the couch when you haven't seen the sun since last Saturday.

I get it. These are challenging times. The urge to put on the oldest sweats you can find and park yourself in front of the tv as soon as you get home is almost primal, but you can fight it. The key is to focus on the big picture. And no, I'm not talking about business.

I'm not even talking about working out, expanding your mind or learning new skills.

This week I'm talking about getting social and re-energizing after a long hard day. If you happen to meet some new people who may be able to connect you to a potential client, that's a bonus, but for this week we are putting all the business and self-improvement do-do behind us so we can focus on having fun. And what could be more fun than games?


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By Pat Hammond

Always turn into the skid...

Do you remember high school Driver's Ed class? Do you remember when the teacher said that the best way to recover from a skid is to turn into it? It's counter intuitive and you were sure the teacher was completely crazy, but it worked.

The same advice holds true for problem-solving.

Sometimes we get wrapped up in our own cleverness or worse, we're tied to the idea of "that's the way we've always done it."

Get over it.

Instead of flowing with the status quo face the problem head on.

Turn into the skid and look at the situation from a new perspective.

Think about what you're trying to accomplish then ask yourself what other strategies will yield the same results.

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By Pat Hammond

You think you can until you realize you can't...

Who here remembers the little engine that could? He climbed that steep hill by telling himself over and over "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can" until he finally crested the ridge.

Too bad life isn't like a children's book.

In the real world we sometimes have to tackle challenges that really are out of our reach. Sometimes it's because we've underestimated the time or skills needed to complete a task, other times it's because of something out of our control. In either situation there is a point where we should be taking a long hard look at whether it is reasonable to keep struggling or if it's time to phone a friend.

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By Pat Hammond

A Little Bit of Effort Can Save You a Big Headache...

If you're like me and seem to have brilliant ideas at the same rate other people fart then you can appreciate the appeal of jumping right into new projects.

Embracing your passion, striking while the iron's hot, breaking your neck because you didn't check how deep the was water first. Yeah, that last one's a doozie, but what can you do? It's just the cost of being creative, right?

For one thing you could save yourself a lot of trouble by doing your homework.

Believe it or not, I'm one of those people who thinks it's a-okay to dive right in, but only after I do a little research first.


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By Pat Hammond

"You don't have to wear the same thing, but you should try to coordinate." Local photographer Jeff Hastings from Frame of Mind Photography is on the phone with a client as I approach his table at Aroma Joe's Coffee shop. He is patiently explaining that coordinating outfits for a family photograph simply means that your clothes shouldn't clash. "You should try to avoid having one person wearing stripes and the other wearing plaid."

I try not to laugh as I drop off my laptop and go off in search of a cold drink.

By the time I get back he has finished the first call, responded to a handful of emails and is on the phone with an anxious mother.

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By Pat Hammond

Crazy Times --- Network While You Can!

Events are popping up all over the place this month. We've got workshops, seminars, job fairs and meetup groups galore, and it's all here in the Queen City.

We're starting this week with two free workshops on Saturday to help you stop stressing and get you and your money organized.

Jen Ryan Coaching just announced a free webinar "5 Easy Steps to Stop Stress and Overwhelm from Taking Over Your Life" for Saturday, October 3rd at 1:00 PM. Jen has been a professional coach for more than ten years and has an impressive list of satisfied corporate and private clients. She gets that even successful people can feel overwhelmed and is giving away her top five tips for taking back your life and still getting things done.


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By Pat Hammond

Reality Check

Criticism is one of those words that can send a collective chill down most of our spines.

It brings up images of disappointed parents, mean teachers and unreasonable bosses pointing out every little flaw, shredding our egos and deriding our efforts. It's not pretty and to be honest it usually has more to do with our own fears than reality.

The fact is that at its best criticism can give us valuable insights into how other people perceive things.

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By Pat Hammond

Step Away from the Word doc

As a professional designer I cringe when a client says that they use Word when they need to build an event flyer, and no, it has nothing to do with being a design snob.

No really, I'm serious. I'm not an Adobe groupie. I'll admit to a lingering addiction to Adobe Photoshop, but for most things if a program is relatively user friendly, low cost and does what I need it to do then I'm more than happy to try it.

Word does not meet that criteria. It is not cheap, not user friendly and beyond the scope of word processing it rarely does what you need it to do.

Don't bother to pound me with hate mail, my experience with Word stands on it's own. It's fickle and quirky and no matter how easy you think it is, using Word for anything other than it's original purpose is a crapshoot.

Having said that I understand the appeal.

When you're a small business owner on a tight budget you don't have the time or money to learn the ins and outs of an expensive graphic design program, so today I'm talking about the pros and cons of using an online app called Canva (www.canva.com) to make graphic documents like flyers and social media covers.


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