Entrepreneur


Technology Doesn’t Replace That Human Touch

By Tom Irmen

There’s no question that improvements in technology can help businesses enhance the customer experience. But it’s unlikely that this technology by itself will ever replace that human touch. While technology can help improve the customer service experience delivered by humans, reliance on technology alone can result in the absence of that human experience that is the foundation of a meaningful, long-lasting relationship. Unless you are in a generic marketplace where you are unable to successfully differentiate yourself and where low prices dominate, the absence of genuine customer relationships can severely impact your bottom line.

Because technology is playing an ever-increasing role in our daily lives, creating and maintaining genuine relationships are all the more important to your customers today. And the more you reach out to your customers on a personal level, the greater the trust and loyalty that results.

Meaningful relationships help you better understand your customers and their competitive marketplaces. It also places you in a much better position to assist them in a way that will truly differentiate you from your competitors! And when competitive situations arise, as they inevitably do, your customers, whose loyalty you have earned, will likely confide in you. Remember that the lack of human relationships in business makes you particularly vulnerable.

I joked recently with a new client who, in his first email to me, asked me to call him personally. I asked him his age, suggesting that he was probably at least 50 years old. When he asked why, I explained that it has been my experience, as well as the experience of a great many of our clients, that a growing number of potentially new customers choose to conduct business exclusively via text or email. This is particularly true of many younger entrepreneurs. It seems that they have chosen to conduct their businesses in a generic world. While perhaps appearing efficient on the surface, just imagine how this generic environment deprives these same entrepreneurs of the very relationships that might have helped their businesses to prosper.

Don’t ignore the power of the human touch, as genuine relationships will trump any advancements in technology.

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Dr. Edmunds


Discover Your UltraSlim®

Lose Fat Fast

If one of your New Year’s resolutions includes losing weight, an UltraSlim® treatment might just be what the doctor ordered. UltraSlim® is the only non-invasive procedure for immediate fat loss without dieting, exercising, drugs, or surgery. Patients lose an average of 3.5” immediately, and you are guaranteed to lose 2” in one Fat Burning Treatment or your money back.

The UltraSlim® device uses a special patented type of light to stimulate and shrink fat cells. The treated fat cells respond by opening temporary pores in the cell and emptying their fat contents, releasing all of that stubborn fat you can’t seem to get rid of – without dieting and exercise.

Patients have lost an average of 3.5” of combined fat from the waist, hips, and thighs at each visit. In multi-site clinical trials, UltraSlim® was proven 100% effective for all patients, with 98% of patients losing at least 2” of fat at each visit.

Safer than any other body contouring technology, UltraSlim® Professional is the only body contouring device that is “Risk Group 1” – the same risk group as a tongue depressor. All other contouring devices risk serious side effects and adverse outcomes such as pain, bruising, and swelling. With UltraSlim®, there is no pain, no discomfort, and no side effects.

Other uses for UltraSlim® include cellulite treatments, which visibly reduce the appearance of cellulite, and non-invasive facelift treatments that significantly improve the appearance of your skin and neckline in only two weeks.

To learn more about UltraSlim® and the other services offered by Kathleen O. Edmunds, M.D., including gynecology, MonaLisa Touch, and SculpSure, call 865-684-1766 today or visit them online at www.edmundsgynecology.com. For more than 27 years, Dr. Edmunds and her all-female staff of compassionate and caring healthcare professionals have remained committed to providing all of their patients with the highest level of care available.

Kathleen O. Edmunds, M.D.
6311 Kingston Pike, Suite 21E
Knoxville, TN 37919
865.684.1766
www.edmundsgynecology.com

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GO! Contemporary Dance


Jehanne… The Story of Joan of Arc

“One life is all we have, and we live it as we believe in living it.” – Joan of Arc

On February 23rd & 24th, GO! Contemporary Dance Works will present Jehanne… the Story of Joan of Arc, a full length contemporary ballet, at the Bijou Theatre. A large creative effort with more than 60 dancers, five choreographers, and an expansive creative team, this one-of-a-kind ballet will capture the intensity, conflict, and resolve of this medieval teenager who was both a maiden and a warrior during a time of spiritual and political upheaval.

Jehanne, which is the 15th century spelling of Joan, was scripted by Artistic Director, Lisa Hall McKee, to chronicle Joan’s life in a visual labyrinth of the medieval time period. McKee has contrasted haunting moments such as her visions, trial, and death with elaborate, ornate, and lively scenes such as the banquet hall where she meets Charles VII.

“I designed the performance so all age groups could attend,” said McKee. “The portrayal of her death will be abstract, and the final scene will be directed to joy and hope in celebration of her life. It is an elaborate display of the medieval time period contrasted by stark, emotional, and empowering moments. Professional Harper Addison dances the role of Joan with incredible artistry and sensitivity. Strong, yet vulnerable. She is mesmerizing as Joan.”

Show times for this inspiring and inspiriting ballet are Saturday, February 23, at 2 and 7:30 pm and Sunday, February 24, at 3 pm. Ticket prices range from $17 to $27. Pre-show Medieval Banquets will be held prior to the Saturday evening and Sunday matinee performances and include a sweet and savory feast with live medieval entertainment and an opportunity to meet Joan and the cast.

GO! is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Tickets may be purchased by calling 865-539-2475 or online at www.gocontemporarydance.com.

GO! Contemporary Dance Works
865.539.2475
www.gocontemporarydance.com

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Next To New


Consignment Success Tips

Getting the Biggest Bang for Your Buck at Next To New!

If you are new to consignment, here’s how to make the most money with your consignment goods. Consignment shopping has been growing in popularity for years, and there is money to be made with these tips on how to make the most of your consignment experience at Next To New.

First, check your closet for merchandise that you no longer wear. Ask yourself, “Would I buy this again now?” If you answer no, consider selling these items yourself or donating them to charity.

The condition of the item and the original purchase date are key points. You may have a terrific suit with the original tags, but if you bought it 10 years ago, today’s savvy consignment customer will likely pass it by.

Before visiting your consignment store, check your items closely for any defects. A “pull here” or a “snag there” reduces your chance for success.

Make sure your items are cleaned or dry cleaned as necessary. All clothing should be pressed and presented on hangars. Customers will reward you for your efforts.

If you love it, just keep it. This should be an emotion-free business opportunity.

Here are 10 important things to consider when consigning:

1. At Next To New, we carry all major mall brands and all boutique designers.
2. Familiarize yourself with the brands the consignment store carries.
3. Consign items in season.
4. Consign best-selling sizes: For women, it’s sizes 10-16.
5. Consign designer accessories in any size.
6. Consign popular brands or classic brands that stand the test of time.
7. Bring a minimum of 20 flawless items (no missing buttons, stains, cleaned, pressed, and ready to sell) for the store to consider.
8. Accept the truth about the market value of your merchandise.
9. Next To New markets online, on local and cable TV, in magazines, and by email.
10. Our goal is to help you make as much money as possible.

Visit Next To New to learn more and to give your closet some much deserved breathing room. Our success is your success!

Next To New
7212 Kingston Pike
Knoxville, TN 37919
865.584.2878
www.nexttonewknox.com

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Kelly D’s Upstairs at the Mansion


Fall in Love with Upstairs at the Mansion All Over Again

Sweetwater Flower Shop owner and master floral designer, Jack Wilson, has two great ways for you to celebrate Valentine’s Day all during the month of February. First, visit the shop and discover fresh cut flowers, florals, women’s apparel, designer-inspired jewelry, home décor, and gifts galore that are perfect for just about every occasion. Secondly, visit the all-new Upstairs at the Mansion restaurant, now called Kelly D’s Upstairs at the Mansion after Kelly Raper Dalton, our new Executive Chef.

Kelly, a lifelong resident of Monroe County, discovered her love for the culinary arts at an early age, spending many hours in the family kitchen with her mom, Pat, who was an excellent cook. Kelly’s actual career as a chef started soon after she catered a large wedding for a family member. Self-taught, Kelly’s experiences have consisted mainly of catering weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, and special events, in addition to restaurant management. Kelly’s other hobbies include singing, horseback riding, and bowling.

Kelly’s dream, which has been to own a tea room style restaurant with a southern flare, will be realized in February when Jack leases Kelly D’s Upstairs at the Mansion, (formerly Upstairs at the Mansion). Kelly D’s Upstairs at the Mansion will open for business on Monday, February 4, after her Grand Opening on Saturday, February 2.

Kelly D’s Upstairs at the Mansion Grand Opening on Saturday, February 2, from 2 to 5 pm will feature samples of many of the featured menu entrees Kelly will offer, including homemade soups, salads, sandwiches, paninis, and teas – all served with a southern flair. Her other specialties include chicken salad, pimento cheese, and homemade dumplings. Kelly also promises you that you will fall in love with each one of her homemade pies and desserts.

Kelly D’s will be open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 11-3 beginning Monday, February 4. Kelly D’s will be closed Tuesdays and Saturdays initially, with the possibility of being open on Saturdays in the future. Kelly looks forward to meeting each of you, as well as exceeding your culinary expectations.

Kelly D’s Upstairs at the Mansion
118 W. North Street
Sweetwater, TN 37874
423.371.4100

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Fitness Together


Fitness Together: A Healthy Resolution Kept!

Twenty-six percent of all Americans made New Year’s resolutions in 2018. Twelve percent of us kept our resolutions. Fifty percent of us just lost our motivation.

Why is it so difficult to make and keep our resolutions? Were we really as committed as we needed to be to succeed? Were our resolutions truly meaningful and achievable? Perhaps the new Maserati in our garage was a stretch, but then there were some genuine resolutions as well, like the ones that were health related. Some of us wanted to lose weight, improve our heart health, lower our blood pressure, and more. These were resolutions that, when achieved, could have had a significant impact on our health, well-being, and longevity.

Ask yourself if you really possess the necessary skills to create a healthy, realistic, and achievable plan of action for yourself, or do you find yourself pursuing the latest fad diet or exercise regimen? Does your lack of accountability find even your best efforts waning after just a few weeks?

For this month’s issue of Everything Knoxville, we interviewed two Knoxville area radio personalities, B97.5’s Michele Silva and WNML’s “Sports Animal” Will West, who will share with you their own healthy living success stories that they were able to achieve thanks to Fitness Together, the nation’s largest one-on-one personal training franchise.

EK: Michele, how would you describe the results of your personal exercise and dieting effort prior to your Fitness Together experience?

Michele: That’s easy – frustrating! You diet and exercise, and nothing seems to happen. We all know that diet and exercise are the keys to losing weight, and the older we get, the tougher it becomes. What was most frustrating was working out and eating well but finding out that the scale hadn’t budged. It drove me crazy. Fortunately, I discovered Fitness Together.

EK: Your health journey was complicated by an unexpected medical challenge. Explain.

Michele: I had been fighting sciatic pain for months and did not want surgery, but the disc eventually ruptured, and I had an emergency discectomy to repair the ruptured disc in my lower back. I was pain-free immediately thanks to Dr. Joel Norman. Although I had always had a gym membership and tried to eat well, I was not active during the months prior to surgery due to the pain and then for months following the surgery. I would exercise but apparently not enough. I was afraid to push myself – afraid that the sciatica would return. The worst part was that I was gaining weight and losing muscle. I ended up being the heaviest I had ever been.

EK: And that’s when you discovered Fitness Together?

Michele: Yes. I knew I had to do something, so I joined Fitness Together in Bearden. My personal fitness trainer, Chip Gibson, works with me two to three times a week. I like that all my sessions at Fitness Together are private. Lasting 45 minutes, they include a combination of weights and cardio exercises that are custom designed to help me achieve my individual goals. Chip is also helping me improve my nutrition as well.

EK: When did you begin to see the results of your efforts?

Michele: It took a few weeks to see some changes in my body. It can be a slow process, but it happened. I’ve had to learn to be more patient. According to the scale, I’ve only lost about 12 pounds, but my waist is four inches smaller, and my thighs and arms have gotten leaner. Even better is that I feel stronger, I have more energy, and now I am motivated to lose even more.

EK: Any additional thoughts you would like to share with our readers?

Michele: I’ve never enjoyed fitness as much as I do now. I absolutely love the journey I’m on, and I can’t wait to see where it leads me. My story can become anyone’s story. Thank you to the Fitness Together team. You’re awesome!

EK: Will, what was the turning point in your life when you knew things had to change for you?

Will: I was 36 years old and weighed 320 pounds and had a lean body mass of 161, meaning I was essentially 50% body fat. Also, I had already experienced my first chest pain. My family history of cardiac issues concerned not only me, but my friends and family members as well. It wasn’t one big realization that made me finally take control of my lifestyle and lose weight. Aside from the grim health risks of being as big as I was, I was also having to buy bigger and bigger clothes.

EK: How did you first learn about Fitness Together?

Will: As a radio host, I routinely met with the station’s account executives. One executive represented Fitness Together, who specializes in one-on-one personal training. After learning more, I said okay, this is the one for me, and I scheduled a trial evaluation with them. I couldn’t do a single push-up. I could barely use the elliptical machine for five minutes without having to quit.

EK: What sold you on Fitness Together?

Will: I could see that Fitness Together’s personal trainers were serious about helping me succeed. I’d never trained like that before. They gave me an exercise program that was strategic and personalized. They showed me that there was no excuse.

EK: Tell us about where you are today.

Will: Three short years later, I weigh 250 pounds and have achieved a lean body mass of 220. I’ve lost 20% body fat.

EK: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Will: Whether you’re 20 pounds overweight or 70 pounds like me, Fitness Together will work with you, one-on-one, to help you achieve your personal fitness and health goals. You can literally lose inches while adding years to your life. Their experienced, certified professional trainers can help you create the accountability and provide the support you’ll need to succeed. Looking back on it, I don’t know if I would have lasted very long the way I was going. This program has been that much of a blessing to me.

Don’t put off that all important first step. Call Fitness Together today to request your free, no-obligation, one-on-one consultation and complimentary workout. Fitness Together: One healthy New Year’s resolution worth keeping!

Fitness Together
865.273.0380
www.knoxft.com

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Graphic Creations


Helping Our East Tennessee Business Community to Expand Their Brand

“I believe that what Graphic Creations does best is to help area entrepreneurs successfully differentiate their products,” said Jim Caughorn, owner of Graphic Creations. “By combining our more than three decades of in-depth graphic expertise with our corporate experience, we are able to assist both large and small businesses to successfully navigate today’s ever-changing business landscape.”

First launching in 1987 by former co-founders Debbie Billings and Jim’s father, James Sr., it’s unlikely that either Debbie or James could have envisioned all of the marketplace changes that would occur or the impact from rapidly evolving technology that resulted.

“I truly respect what Debbie and my dad accomplished,” said Jim. “Our team looks forward to the future and to continuing to help our East Tennessee business community thrive.”

From its most humble beginnings as a print center copying and selling UT class lecture materials, Graphic Creations has evolved into a full-service graphics source for all of your branding requirements, including:
» In-house design & creation
» Digital printing
» Copying
» Full bindery
» Signage & display
» Print – market – mail
» Apparel
» Promotional items
» Vehicle graphics
» Die cutting
» Foil stamping
» Embossing

“What’s even more important than the multiple services we offer is our in-house marketing expertise and our intimate knowledge of East Tennessee’s business community,” said Jim. “Our familiarity with our community helps us help your business successfully navigate this unique marketplace we call home. You simply can’t accomplish this with any other out-of-area source you may have used in the past or are contemplating using in the future.

“Regardless of your current or future graphic requirements, I invite you to discover how Graphic Creations can partner with you to expand your brand. We would like to offer you the opportunity to tour our new 12,000 square foot facility. We also welcome the opportunity to listen to you and your dreams for your business and to learn just how we can help you achieve your goals. We invite you to dream and grow with us in the New Year.”

Graphic Creations
213 East 4th Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37917
865.522.6221
www.graphiccreations.com

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Entrepreneur


Plan – Action – Success

By Tom Irmen

First launched on July 5, 1994, as an online book seller, Amazon founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, has been at the helm of this incredible success story navigating this garage start-up to the largest online retailer in the world.

Amazon’s mission statement:
“Our vision is to be the earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”

Amazon’s mission statement has become the guiding force behind its success, and the unwavering commitment to this mission on a daily basis by its 400,000+ associates makes this success a reality.

Many small business owners recognize the importance of developing their own mission statement, but the mere existence of a mission statement is no assurance that your business will prosper or that your customers will benefit. A truly successful mission statement must be customer centered and be embraced by all of your associates. It must become deeply embedded in your company’s culture. A successful mission statement will differentiate the spectacular from the mediocre.

For an example, examine Apple’s entry into the brick and mortar retailer store marketplace. Apple stores are located in upscale shopping areas and feature a professional, high-tech look and are amply staffed by highly trained associates that appear to genuinely enjoy what they do and interacting with their customers. Not focused on selling, Apple associates instead focus on building long-term relationships while helping to improve people’s lives.

Contrast this experience with Comcast/Xfinity. You have to love the newly branded Xfinity name. Their new retail stores are a vast improvement over their earlier stores, featuring the same upscale, high-tech look as Apple stores. But this is where the similarity ends, because their customer service is abysmal. If they do indeed have a company wide mission statement, they need to communicate it to their associates and encourage them to fully embrace it. They have emulated the Apple “look” but little else. They have chosen form instead of substance.
A well-thought out and carefully implemented mission statement can catapult your small business toward long-term success for both you and your customers. But a mission statement with no substance that is not embraced by your associates will ring hollow and result in a generic experience for you and your customers.

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Closets by McKenry


Moving… A Good Time to Organize?

A new home makes life a little busy and stressful, but staying organized in the process and at the new home sure helps.

Closets by McKenry owner and custom closet designer and professional organizer, Chris McKenry, answers common homeowner questions regarding moving.

EK: What is the single most important thing for a homeowner to do prior to moving?

Chris: Create a “to-do” list. It becomes your activity list. You need to find a moving company and get everything packed, but work, family responsibilities, and other commitments have not slowed.

EK: How can a professional organizer assist homeowners during a move?

Chris: A professional organizer can be of enormous help in many ways. During the packing process, they can assist you in assuring that each box is placed in the correct room of your new home where the contents will be used, which is not necessarily in the same area of your new home. Even before the move, your personal organizer will help you be more organized. This makes unpacking much easier.

EK: What does the homeowner need to do to prepare their new home prior to moving?

Chris: Ask yourself if your new home meets your storage needs. Unpacking will be much easier if the pantry, closets, and even the laundry room and garage have storage systems that work for you. Don’t think of a closet as just a place to keep “stuff” behind a door but as a good storage design and place to showcase your collections in a way that brings you joy.

EK: We’re moved. Now what?

Chris: When unpacking, sort by category in every room and then start placing. In closets, use uniform hangers so everything will hang at the same level and clothes will not be playing hide and seek.

Utilize walls for vertical storage. Open wall space works well for ties and belts in closets or pots and pans in the pantry.

Line a wall with shelves if you need storage in a garage or basement. I love the beauty of stylish design and architecture, and there is something appealing about a wall of modern shelves organized into zones. A slat wall is also a fun way to organize a work space.

EK: Any final thoughts?

Chris: The best and most important moving tip is to declutter before you pack the old house. There is a lot of junk hiding in our homes that is no longer important. With the clutter gone, all that is left to organize is what will enhance your new home and life.

Chris McKenry provides custom closet design and professional organizing services to unpack your home.

Closets by McKenry
865.249.6382
www.ClosetsByMcKenry.com

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Plantation Reclaimed


Five Creative Ways to Incorporate Reclaimed Wood in Your Home

Reclaimed wood offers an incredible story that’s taken centuries to write. Some pieces may come from 18th and 19th century barns. Others may come from warehouses and factories built during the Industrial Revolution. Because of its varying origins, reclaimed wood exhibits characteristics that cannot be replicated, and no two boards are alike. You can sometimes discover exceptionally tight grain patterns, nail holes, weathered colors, rich patinas, saw marks, or other stunning characteristics in these one-of-a-kind products.

You will be able to create a space as unique as your taste with genuine reclaimed wood. And because there are so many ways to incorporate it in your home, from floor to ceiling, your only limitation will be your imagination.

Here are just a few ways you can incorporate reclaimed wood into your home or office:

1. Wide Plank Flooring
Reclaimed wood offers a remarkable and durable wide plank flooring experience. It is often available in much wider widths and longer lengths than today’s typical hardwood flooring. Antique Historic Planks may contain a blend of original saw marks, mixtures of grain patterns, and light and dark boards.

2. Reclaimed Wood for Ceilings
Reclaimed wood can also create stunning ceiling treatments. Authentic Reclaimed Barn Siding is a perfect solution for this application. Our Reclaimed Barn Siding comes from antique barns and other wooden structures that our craftsmen de-nail, hand inspect, and kiln dry to ensure it is of the highest quality. Grey-Brown Barn Siding is particularly unique in that it renders a weathered patina from direct exposure to exterior elements during its lifetime.

3. Reclaimed Wood for Walls
We weren’t joking when we said reclaimed wood could be used for floors, ceilings, and everything in between. If you are looking for a product to create an accent wall, reclaimed wood is the perfect solution. An accent wall of Grey-Brown Barn Siding, with its nail holes, deep grain texture, and weathered knots, can transform any space.

4. Fireplace Mantels
Reclaimed Fireplace Mantels are historic masterpieces of both beauty and style. We handcraft our Fireplace Mantels from generations’ old historic beams that supported old agricultural and industrial structures. Our Hand-Hewn Mantels feature original axe marks, while our Rough Sawn Mantels offer a smoother surface.

5. Reclaimed Trim & Baseboards
Even in the largest projects, the smallest details often make the biggest difference. The addition of Grey-Brown Barn siding, window trim and baseboards will perfectly complement the other reclaimed wood elements in your home or office.

We would love to demonstrate for you just how reclaimed wood can be creatively incorporated in your residential and commercial projects, from those applications already listed to beams, wooden vents, stair systems, and more. To learn more, you are invited to contact us to discover how reclaimed wood products can create the totally unique “showcase” look you’ve been searching for in your home or business.

Plantation Reclaimed
865.243.4604
www.plantationreclaimed.com

Luxe Homes & Design
865.755.4680
www.luxehomesdesign.com

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