Business Highlight: Ponto Footwear

Love the planet you walk on.

This is the motto that the company Ponto Footwear has adopted and used to backup their planet centered mission. They believe that taking small steps in the right direction to helping the planet, adds up to making a big difference, and are dedicated to contributing to that core belief. To back up that motto, their values are clearly outlined on their website as conscious consumerism and circular economy / circular production.

When it comes to conscious consumerism, Ponto Footwear believes that our connection with the things we own is important, and therefore they ask the hard questions. Questions like: Where did they come from? Who made them? How were they produced? And at what cost? They aim to not only be as responsible and sustainable as possible with their manufacturing processes and the materials that go into creating their shoes, but also as transparent as possible with their customers.

I love seeing companies like Ponto Footwear come forward and base their business models on helping the planet.

We’re seeing a lot of companies having to rethink the way they do business and how it affects the planet, and when a company like this bases their entire mission on that, it sets a really good example and shows other companies in the industry what is possible.

While the term ‘conscious consumerism’ is being spread around a lot more these days, the terms circular economy and/or circular production might be new to you. Circular Production is a term that refers to the waste a business produces and how manufacturers handle that waste to create a circular economy that doesn’t feed the crisis facing our planet and oceans. Circular production is what allows the possibility for a circular economy, which is a systemic approach to economic development designed to benefit businesses, society, and the environment.

What stands out the most to me about Ponto Footwear is that they take this into account in a very direct way by partnering with Soles4Souls, the largest shoe and apparel non-profit in the US that helps uplift people while keeping unsellable inventory out of landfills. They invite their customers to take part in their buyback program to help them get closer to activating a more circular economy by giving you a credit toward your next pair of Pontos, when you appropriately recycle your first pair. For every pair of Pontos that you send to a regional Soles4Souls distribution center, they’ll give you a $25 credit to be applied to your next pair of Pontos shoes. Those shoes will then empower an aspiring entrepreneur in a developing nation to re-purpose the shoes, be resold and kickstart someone’s entrepreneurial micro-enterprise.

Beyond their amazing business model, Ponto Footwear creates shoes with a great design that is both fashionable and multi-functional!

And if you don’t know how I feel about that by now, let me just say— I’m a HUGE fan! Form and function that is elegant with an edge is my sweet spot, and Ponto Footwear has accomplished just that. They have options for both men and women and have embraced the idea of ‘less is more’ by designing a shoe that is a hybrid product for life on the go. Their main style, ‘the pacific’ can be worn to work, the bar, a wedding, and pretty much anywhere. It’s a minimalist design and it definitely embraces the quality over quantity factor. 

Furthermore, their website is sleek, minimalistic, and has an earthy feel, to go with their core values of not taking up too much space and also representing how much they care about the planet.

Their loading icon is brilliant. Their videos are also sparse in a fabulous way, with earthy solid tones to not be overbearing. The name of their company comes from their childhood beach, Ponto Beach, and their logo is unique, intriguing and again, as sleek as their product. Thought-out branding and strong values that have a deeper meaning and a bigger drive, is something I’m all for! The big stuff is in the small details.

I hope hearing about Ponto Footwear inspires you and gives you some ideas for how you can make a greater impact with your own business, and the best part is, now you can head over to Ponto’s site and get some well-sourced shoes to make your own business moves in style, and w/ greater impact too.

I hope this monthly business highlight inspires you to make meaningful moves and use your business to give back and make a greater impact.

Tools That Simplify Running Your Business

I went full time with my business during the summer of 2014 - almost 7 years ago!

Then, due to life changes, I (sort of) had to start from scratch in 2017. Since then, there’s been a lot of trial and error to get to where I am today – like, creating different processes, utilizing templates of all sorts, adding the wrong team members, adding the right team members, letting go and delegating, etc. Below you will find some of the tools that have improved the efficiency and effectiveness of my business – tools I recommend and can’t live without.

Being a business owner is not easy.

There have been days I’ve wondered why the heck I even picked entrepreneurship (well, it actually picked me but that’s a different story for a different day) and days when I wanted to run down the street and convert everyone! So, having the right tools to help me out is truly essential to making it happen.

Just like anything in life, it has been a roller coaster. As you know, there is quite a bit of pressure to make it all work, but it is also truly exhilarating when things do start to work!

I’m not sure about you, but I’m the type of gal who makes things work in a thrifty way.  I don’t like to spend extra money when it’s not needed, but I certainly will spend it when it is necessary. To be honest, I err on the thrifty side because I don’t need the latest and greatest to move forward. And really, we don’t.

But when it’s time to level up, I do!

So yes, I catch myself sometimes holding on to things a tad bit too long.  And, at times my sweet, fancy program colleagues, who wonder how I survive without using (fill in the blank), will get after me! Yep, I can own that I used spreadsheets for bookkeeping way too long when there are glorious programs like QuickBooks that simplify life so much (facepalm).

What I’m saying is that the programs I use are good ones. If you don’t like to overspend but like to simplify business, check out this week’s video and have a look-see at the list down below:

Asana –

My team and I basically live in this program. As we say, “If it’s not in Asana, it’s not happening.”

So, if you are looking for a program to keep you organized, on top of due dates, in communication with your team or clients, this is it! We use the pro version, but the free version will get you far.

Zoom –

This is not a secret tool nowadays, but if you haven’t for some reason found your way to it, it’s time.  We are virtual and have had all our meetings online since the beginning. This is our go-to platform. The free version works great for one-on-one meetings or for shorter meetings with a group.

Calendly –

Life saver, period.  No need for the please-send-me-a-few-times-and-days-that-work-for-you kind of emails anymore. What’s even better is that you can pick which times you are available. (Nope, doesn’t have to be all day, every day.) I, for example, like to keep my calls on Tuesday and Thursday, so that on the other days, my head can stay in creativity mode.  We have the pro version, because we have other program integration needs, but on most occasions, the free account should do. Also, the design of this program is just more pleasant than a lot of the other scheduling tools, which obviously is important!

Apple Reminders –

Yes, all our to-dos are in Asana, but I still like to have my own day planned out. I put the top three most important tasks in my reminders, and I set a time next to it so I can try to stay on schedule.

LastPass –

We deal with a lot of clients and client access, which means we have a lot of passwords to keep track of. It used to be a headache, because we didn’t have them all in one spot and honestly it wasn’t very secure (shame on me). We now have incorporated LastPass in our work processes, and it’s fabulous! Not only can our clients share their access without worry, but also the whole team has one spot where it is all neatly organized and secure.

MailChimp –

A great and simple tool to get going and grow your email list. It’s free for up to 2,000 contacts, and I can’t wait to pay more to send out more emails. 😉 To grow your list, you might use something like a lead magnet. One thing I really like about MailChimp is that you can build out a popup/modal window to entice users to sign up for your lovely emails.  This program also has a clean and clever design – always a plus to have a visual delight!

SiteGround –

For hosting, this is our go-to for setting up client websites (and our own). They now also buy domains, which I really like, since I have a bit of an organizational addiction and like to keep things neat and consolidated in fewer places. They are also known for their security, which is essential when it comes to hosting. Sadly, nobody escapes the possibility of malware and hackers nowadays. They have great support, and the pricing is good. It might not be the cheapest, but this is one that is worth it! You don’t want to have trouble with hosting as it can get awfully expensive.

DropBox –

We use Dropbox as our filesharing tool. It’s free – I like it 🙂 and it’s easy to use. I like to be able to either share a folder with a client or just a link to a specific place.

OneDrive –

This is our teams cloud storage that we work from. We actually picked this because it came with Microsoft 365 which we use for email. I was going back and forth regarding G Suite but landed on OneDrive because we had already started with it. We do love it, but for big programs like these that encompass a lot, do your research before you pick one. This is also another one where spending a little extra is worth it.

Slack –

This is where my team and I discuss things. We communicate a lot in Asana, but if you need to go back and forth on something, Slack is the place. You can actually integrate it with Asana (which we haven’t) to create to-do’s, etc. It is a delightful tool, and the free version works great for our small team.

QuickBooks –

Cue the angel music.  I mentioned at the top that I used to use spreadsheets…up until not long ago. Oh, but I liked collecting the numbers, adding the numbers, and… (facepalm).

Yeah, that can be done in QuickBooks too, and so much more easily.  I had a bit of a learning curve when I started, but now – holy smokes! I might hand this task over to a team member in the near future, but I do believe it’s important to have a grasp and basic knowledge before handing it over. Never again spreadsheets! In addition to keeping our accounting in order, it keeps our products/services list, sends out invoices, sends out automatic reminders, etc. They do charge too much for clients who pay with credit card, I have to say, but at this point it’s worth it.

I hope this sparked some ideas on how you can simplify your business life!

Building a Personal Brand

Before jumping into how to build a personal brand, let’s establish what it really is.

Your personal brand is basically you being the face of your company with your values and your ways of doing things. It’s how you show up, and how you make people feel.

I was recently watching a video, where Marie Forleo was interviewing Seth Godin, one of my favorite marketers.  Seth breaks everything down to the basics and states the facts just how they are, raw and real. There is no fluff with him. In this specific episode, they talk about the practice of doing your work and how essential consistency is. (“The Practice” is also the name of his new book. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s probably as brilliant as all of his other work.)

Doing anything regularly is a big part of building a personal brand.

Next they talked about authenticity, which most likely is something that pops in your mind when you think about a personal brand…which make sense, but Mr. Godin puts a different perspective on this idea. He says that the only time you are authentic is when you are a toddler, because you don’t have any executive functions, but beyond that you are busy calculating what you would do as a civilized productive contributor to society.

Within this idea are the golden nuggets of what you should deliver to your audience.

an authentic experience that they can consume. Hallelujah.

So, although authenticity might come to mind when talking about personal brand, it’s really a calculated experience on how you want to show up. It’s about learning along the way how you want to be and how you don’t want to be. When you do that enough times, without being influenced by or desiring to impress, but instead doing what you believe is true, that’s when you are establishing your personal brand.

How do you make it happen? Well, that is simple, but not that easy.

You do uncomfortable things, until you do them well. Then you rinse and repeat.

You do things and then take a step back to evaluate if that is how you would do it again.

It’s about looking inwards and then really listening to your truth. It’s a constant growth process, but as time goes by you start gaining clarity on what feels right and how you’d like to show up.

Then, you incorporate those values and ways into your business and “all of a sudden” you have built a personal brand. The neat thing that comes with all that work is that you are building a business that also stands out, because you are doing it your way.

I hope this gives you more clarity on what a personal brand is and how to create one.