December 4, 2017

Book Beckons Retailers to Invest in Mobile Technology

Serial ecommerce entrepreneur Stephan Schambach not only invented the online shopping cart, but he also keeps reinventing it.

In 1995, Schambach created the first-ever standard software for online shopping.

In 2004, he offered the first ecommerce solution on the cloud.

In early 2014, he noticed an increase in web traffic coming from mobile phones that mushroomed to more than half of all customer traffic by the end of the year.

In response, Schambach founded NewStore, Inc., in early 2015. A short time later, he created the first Mobile Retail Platform software to solve the omnichannel problem facing so many retailers and brands. Its goal? To help them deliver an extraordinary end-to-end shopping experience for their consumers entirely from a mobile perspective.

NewStore might only be two-plus years old, but it’s expanding as fast as the mobile retail industry itself. With offices in Boston, New York City, and the German cities of Berlin, Hannover, and Erfurt, NewStore’s director of corporate communications, Casey Antonelli, says, “This start-up is on steroids.”

About a year ago, after considering his boss’s undisputed position as a thought leader in the mobile retail industry, Schambach’s chief marketing officer told him he should write a book. Never one to let grass grow under his feet, Schambach published Makeover: How Mobile Flipped the Shopping Cart (and What to Do about It) in June of 2017.

“Our CMO really pushed him to do this,” Casey explains. “The goal was not to sell books. The goal was to increase our account-based marketing, or ABM, to reach new retail clients. We have a very targeted outreach to specific retailers. Since publishing the book this past June, that outreach includes Makeover.”

While Makeover is available for purchase online, NewStore published the book to give it away to individuals already in the start-up’s sales pipeline and to potential new prospects.

For example, Schambach hosts quarterly dinners for CEOs of select retailers alongside a high-profile co-host. The purpose of these dinners isn’t to push NewStore’s platform but to share ideas.

Casey notes, “Wrapping up the incredible round-table discussions that ensue by giving each CEO a copy of the book is extremely helpful, given how much information there is to absorb regarding retail’s transformation to mobile.”

This volume of information and the disruption this transformation is causing led Schambach to approach a publishing services company and use the services of a professional writer to craft Makeover.

“Stephan is constantly traveling from Berlin to Boston to New York,” Casey reflects. “It was incredibly helpful to have a dedicated writer to help put the book together.”

She adds, “We knew what the content was, and the publisher and writer helped us figure out how to make it digestible. From there, we had a great marketing team at NewStore to help us execute. Our CMO and project manager worked with the publisher and did a huge amount of work to get it printed and created physically.”

Having all the content related to mobile in one highly readable place has also helped Casey communicate mobile’s transformation and NewStore’s Mobile Retail Platform software to the press.

She concludes, “Makeover is an incredible little bundle of Stephan’s knowledge and take on the industry and has become a powerful marketing tool for us. It has spawned articles and quotes and all kinds of interest, and we’re just getting started.”

October 17, 2017

Don't Give Up

Companies that invest in their employees know personal development translates into organizational success.

Not surprisingly, the list of corporate clients that have turned to longtime management consultant Dr. Kay Potetz for leadership training is vast. Think Cleveland Clinic, Marriott International, Marathon Petroleum Corporation, Rubbermaid, Kent State University, the American Lung Association, and more.

After hearing her speak, people within these organizations would ask Kay if she’d written her ideas down. For a long time, the answer was no. Kay had a huge barrier to overcome before she could publish the first two books in her personal leadership trilogy: her own self-described “stinkin’ thinkin.’” 

Negative self-talk in the form of “I’m not a writer; how can I do this?” gave her a decade’s worth of trouble. This experience was not merely frustrating, Kay reveals. It was the worst part of crafting and publishing her two books.

Yet Kay persevered. Eventually, like many authors, she found that the process of writing was in fact a creative one. She explains, “Now I’m always interested in seeing what emerges as I write.”

With the aide of a writing coach, Kay published the acclaimed Take It Back: The Personal Power You Give Away Each Day in 2012 and Don’t Ever Let It Go: Hanging on to Your Personal Power in the Turmoil of the Twenty-first Century in 2017. She expects to publish her third book, What’s Your Part in It?, in 2019.

 Kay explains that when she published her first book, she had no expectations regarding its impact. She merely wanted to be able to respond affirmatively to those clients who kept asking if she’d written any of her tips and insights down.

What she found was that being a published author promptly gave her presence and authority. She explains, “People think you’re brilliant if you’ve written a book. It gives you an immediate air and makes your business more acceptable.”
Now semi-retired but still in demand for her leadership training seminars and management expertise, Kay finds it convenient to sell her books at conferences and lectures, through her website at, and in eBook form on Kindle and Amazon.

She expects to begin her third book in early 2018, again with the help of her writing coach. She took out an ad in Psychology Today to publicize her first two books. This time, she’s considering hiring a marketing firm to help with promotion.

She muses, “People are thrilled to associate with those who have written a book. That’s why I tell first-time business book authors, ‘Don’t give up. Don’t let your own stinkin’ thinkin’ prevent you from putting your ideas down on paper.” She adds, “Like me, you might be surprised at what a difference it makes in terms of your credibility and in meeting the expectations of your clients.”

Kay’s advice to organizations—“Invest in your employees … Invest in yourself!”—are words she clearly takes to heart. 

February 24, 2017

Book for "High Potentials" Practices What It Preaches

The best business books address a compelling issue, and there’s a doozy of a problem making the rounds at corporations all over America: lots of talented people assumed to be “on their way up” aren’t paying attention to their growth or advancement.

High Potentials Boot Camp…The Ultimate Playbook for Winning at Work offers a cure. Having worked with executive leaders in the C suite of Fortune 100 companies for two-plus decades, author Chuck Berke contends that taking responsibility for their development and advancement is the single most neglected element in many executives’ work lives.

In fact, Dr. Berke explains that a surprising number of the most talented and determined men and women are too busy with work tasks to pay attention to their own growth. This can be catastrophic, because personal development is crucial to long-term satisfaction, fulfillment, and retention, not to mention the success and competitiveness of goal-driven business ecosystems.

High Potentials Boot Camp began as a general compilation of ideas related to common leadership challenges. After conducting a series of workshops emphasizing the collective struggles of mid- to early senior-level executives on the rise, Dr. Berke realized he wanted to target this specific group.

How great is the need for such a book? Dr. Berke says new clients began contacting him as soon as word got out that he was writing it.

“The topic resonates. High potentials seem to realize they’re good at tasks but don’t know how to manage their careers. CEOs may not be the target audience, but this easy-to-read guide can still help them understand some of the challenges common to people coming up now,” he says.

Even before he sold a single copy, Dr. Berke was using the book to create workshops based on specific chapters such as listening, work/life balance, reputation management, the art of saying no, and branding.

I’m thinking of the book as a business card in a lot of ways. As a thank you for some clients but also as a way to introduce myself in a compelling way to new businesses. It’s a business development tool.”

As an adjunct to High Potentials Boot Camp, Dr. Berke developed a Career Assessment quiz to highlight growth skills and gaps and provide insights on what individuals can do to promote themselves at work. He’s also thinking about creating an ancillary workbook for teams based on the book.

While it’s too early to assess the long-term impact, Dr. Berke hopes his book will help him become better known. He works closely with a number of companies, but he’s seeking opportunities to branch out. By all accounts, he’s well on his way.

 “Today I have a call with a prospective client who wants to create a leadership program for his entire company. To say I have a book that addresses some of these topics has given me an entrĂ©e.”

Dr. Berke is already considering writing an additional title honing in on the benefits of taking a systemic rather than a linear approach to problem solving.

“Human beings often fail to see context,” he says. “We may acknowledge it, but we seldom embrace it because we don’t understand the whole picture, the way things connect. My new book will tackle the many ways this issue shows up, such as in management.”

But for now, this nationally recognized leadership and career coach is content to help executives who hold themselves to relentlessly high standards take a practical and more intentional approach to their advancement.

He concludes, “Hard work and talent aren’t enough. You have to seize control of your professional growth and development. In a sense, that’s what I’ve done by writing this book."