“You’re a mess, but that’s OK!”

You're a mess, but that's OK - Pathmaker BlogIn his book published in 1969, I’m Ok – You’re Ok, Dr. Thomas Harris did his take on Dr. Eric Berne’s idea of Transactional Analysis (TA). Harris developed four quadrants to :

  • I’m Ok – You’re Ok
  • I’m Ok – You’re not Ok
  • You’re Ok – I’m not OK
  • You’re not Ok – I’m not Ok

Basically, each one of these explains a state of existence that we all find ourselves in. We may fluctuate from one to another, or simply spend our entire lives in one of the quadrants.  Let me briefly explain each.

You’re not Okay – I’m not OK

An individual who feels this way is, without a doubt, the unhappiest of all individuals. They are not satisfied with anything anyone else does, nor are they satisfied with anything they do, either.

You’re Ok – I’m not OK

Here, an individual is content to accept that you know what you are doing and seem to be happy in life, but they, of course, are not.

I’m Ok – You’re not Ok

This, of course, is just the opposite of the prior one. Though self-confident and self-content, the individual here figures you,  no matter who you are, definitely need help.

I’m Ok – You’re Ok

This, of course, is the quadrant we all should strive to be in. Those dwelling in this quadrant know they have things under control and, as far as they are concerned, everyone else does to!

Our “Bumper Sticker Wisdom” for the day, “You’re a mess, but that’s ok” is somewhat of a hybrid version of TA. What it really amounts to, however, is that we need to accept people the way they are and let them know that we accept them as such!  If each and every one of us would do this, we all could go through life knowing that we are, in fact, accepted!

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Four Documents Every Business Needs

Four Documents Every Business Needs - Pathmaker BlogAfter a career that included working with companies of all sizes from start-ups to industry icons, I have learned that there are four vital documents that every business needs.

The problem is that far too many do not have them. The bigger issue is that not having them invariably leads to failure.

One: A Mission Statement

It only takes a few sentences to establish for yourself, your employees and your clients your raison d’etre. I have witnessed business owners struggle for day and weeks trying to define their mission. That worries me. If you can’t state your mission, what are you doing in business? No mission = no purpose. No written Mission Statement = no vision. “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

Two: A Policy Manual

A Policy Manual states the principles upon which your business operates. You might say that it is a compilation of the ethical and moral things you will or will not do to accomplish your mission.

A Policy Manual may deal with a wide range of matters from integrity to sustainability. For instance, you may say, “We will respect every individual and we will value their ideas.”

Simply put, a Policy Manual is the system of beliefs upon which you will run your business.

Three: A Current Business Plan

Your Mission Statement and Policy Manual should rarely, if ever, change. Your Business Plan must. I am writing this during the weekend of the 2015 NCAA basketball Sweet Sixteen. Each team has a clear mission and policies according to which they live and play. But they have a different plan for every game.

A company Business Plan defines where you plan to go and how you plan to get there, within the context of your Mission Statement and Policy Manual. As the game changes, so must your plan.

A Business Plan should include an analysis of all the factors that affect the business. It should include clearly-defined, achievable objectives, be reviewed at least annually, and revised as necessary based on the review.

Four: A Procedure Manual

No business can operate successfully for very long using a “fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants” approach. Every process needs to be controlled. That control is your defined procedures. It is critical that every employee knows and understands your procedures. The best companies audit their procedures from time-to-time to ensure that employees are complying with them. A Procedure Manual is an absolute must for ensuring consistency, accuracy and quality.

A Procedure Manual on its own will have no meaning to employees unless they know and ascribe to your Mission Statement, your Policy Manual, and your Business Plan. Most problems occur at the lower levels of the company when the people do not understand the big picture.


I said earlier that “not having them invariably leads to failure.” I did not say that having them will ensure your success, but having them will go a long way to helping your business succeed. Many small business owners feel no need to create and follow these documents, because it seems like a waste of time. Let’s put it this way, many people who have no teeth once thought it was a waste of time to brush them. I think you get the point.

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Sacrificing the Permanent on the Altar of the Immediate

Sacrificing the Permanent on the Altar of the Immediate - Pathmaker BlogLife is about choices – the decisions that we must make in response to circumstances and people around us.

One of our major problems is our failure to think about our choices with a long-term perspective. This often causes unintended consequences for ourselves and foists those consequences on others as well. We need to develop a mindset that understands that every decision we make has both immediate and long-term consequences. That mindset is determining to “Never sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate.”

A decision to disobey a direct order thousands of years ago caused permanent damage to the entire human race. “It’s just a piece of fruit. What could possibly go wrong?”

A decision “see how fast this baby can go” has put many a young man in a wheelchair – and created a burden for his family – for the rest of their collective lives.

A decision to “try” drugs has landed tens of thousands of people in poverty, desperation, jail or a grave.

One decision in favor of the immediate. Results that last a lifetime.

How You Make Decisions Can Affect Your Business’ Success

The executive staff was engaged in a major strategy session in which the life of the company was on the line, when one person proposed a counter-intuitive tactic. The idea created a stir in the boardroom, with some for and some against, but it met with an immediate dismissal by the CEO as a stupid idea.

The next day, the CEO called a special meeting of those who had been at the aforementioned one. This time he put the tactic back on the table. He said, “I spent a long time last night thinking about what would happen if we do this.” He paused judiciously. He continued, “Then I spent the same amount of time thinking about what would happy if we don’t.”

“Having thought it through, I still believe that we will take a hit short-term if we do it. On the other hand, I believe that it is the only path that ensures long-term success. The path we had previously espoused would give us the euphoria of short-term success, but ultimately would have been a nail in our coffin.”

The Right Kind of Decisions Come From the Right Kind of Decision Making

The CEO had done it. He had recognized that they were about to sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate. When he did, he changed the course of the company’s future from failure to success. The only way he could have made the right decision was to take the right approach and consider the more permanent effects more valuable than the immediate effects.

You will make better decisions, more often, that have better results in the long run, if you determine to count the cost of sacrificing the permanent on the altar of the immediate – and commit to never doing it.

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What Were They Thinking?

What Were They Thinking - Pathmaker BlogOn April 24, 2014, two men in Kenya were taking selfies with a wild elephant when they were trampled to death by the irate pachyderm who proceeded to bury their bodies with brush. What in the world were they thinking?

Just in case you may think that stupidity of this sort is limited to third-world countries, here is a story from Lake Allatoona, a few miles northwest of Atlanta. A recent high-school graduate, 18-year old Chance Turner, and his friends decided to play the Shopping Cart Game early one morning. This, by the way, is a regular pastime for collegial young men on vacation in NW Georgia. A shopping cart is tied to a tree near the dock. A, for lack of a better word, “brave” young man sits in the cart, whereupon his friends run him and the cart at high speed off the end of the dock. After the big splash, the rider returns to shore and everyone pulls on the rope to retrieve the cart for the next round.

On the morning of May 25, 2014, barely a month following the pachyderm paparazzi were pummeled, Chance decided to take a chance. Unfortunately, he also decided not to tie the cart to the tree AND to strap himself to the cart with his belt. The coroner ruled it an accidental death when he drowned in nearly 30 feet of water, still strapped to the cart.

What was he thinking? We can’t say for sure, but Chance’s parents agreed that, “Not one person thought that this was not a good game to play.” To put it simply, not one person thought at all.

Think about this

Life is full of risks. We have to have our wits about us to successfully turn risks into rewards. We can, if we so choose, think of ways to minimize some risks. For the most part, we simply have to understand the risks and react accordingly, which, apparently. none of these gentlemen did.

Einstein said that, “Only 5% of the people think. Another 10% only think that they think. The other 85% would rather die than think.” Why would anyone want to be counted in the 85%? The fact is that these three actually did die because they did not think.

It’s worse than you think

This is the place where you may be inclined to retort that these incidents were just flukes. Let me posit a theory: Let’s say that are on vacation, that you go to church on Sunday and you meet a guy named Anatole. The next time you go on vacation, you go to the same church and you see Anatole again. Another year passes, you go back to the beach, and there Anatole is again! Is it a fluke? Of course not. He doesn’t just go there once a year. He goes to church there all the time!

Here’s the point. It is no fluke that those gentlemen met their demise. People who think don’t do it just once a year. They think all the time. In the same way, people who don’t think practice the deadly art of not thinking all the time. It’s only a matter of time before not thinking catches up with them.

Thinking takes practice, but it can eliminate a whole lot of unintended consequences that make us look foolish, or even make us look dead. Don’t be a fool. Think.

(Thanks to the DarwinAwards.com for the true stories of people who weren’t thinking.)

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Indecisiveness - Pathmaker Blog“I thought I was indecisive, now I’m not so sure.”

There is no doubt about it, our society, both in the public and private sector, needs to have someone who can make a decision. We live in a world of wishy-washiness, where so much time is spent avoiding the need to make a decision that those decisions never seem to get made. You want to know the reason this is true? Because more and more people are Unable to make the same decree that Harry Truman did – The Buck Stops Here!

I think the thing that may be the most devastating about this is the fact that those who are willing to make decisions and stand by them are known as leaders. And friends, we are dangerously short on real leaders in this country! In business this is not only especially true, but especially sad as well. The sadness is because so many of US fear retribution should our decisions fail. As a result, no one takes the risk of being a decision maker. The real question is, how can we overcome this problem?

The secret here is this: If you have created an environment where people are afraid to make decisions and/or take chances, you are thwarting the very essence of creativity at your place of work. Risk is always an important part of ultimate success, and if you have nurtured fear to the point that no one dares to make a decision and stand by it, then you have already doomed your business to eventual failure!

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It ain’t the Size of the Dog in the Fight…

It ain't the Size of the Dog in the Fight - Pathmaker Blog“It ain’t the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

It is sad to listen to so many of the youth, and entrepreneurs, of today, who basically claim that they can’t compete in today’s economy or marketplace because they just don’t have what it takes to make it. They look at the circumstances around them as giants, and virtually give up without even going into battle, never considering today’s point: “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog!”

What those of us with experience in the business world, and life in general, need to do is impress upon others the fact that if you want it bad enough you can get it – whatever “it” is. Make no doubt about it, the task/struggle won’t be easy. You are going to have to fight, sometimes tenaciously, but anything worth having is worth fighting for. Precious few of us ever have anything given to us. Rather, we must go out and get it. And, we cannot allow the giants that seem to stand in our way stop us. So, if you are hoping to achieve a particular status; master certain tasks or rise to the level of success you are hoping for, do a little introspection and determine just how much fight you have in you!

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Rat Race

Rat Race - Pathmaker Blog“The winner of the rat race is still a rat!”

There is no doubt about it, life is passing us by at breakneck speed and everyone is trying to get ahead of everyone else on a daily basis. To describe this phenomenon we came up with the phrase “rat race.” By definition, rat race is  “a way of life in which people are caught up in a fiercely competitive  struggle for wealth or power.” Our quote today is most explicit, forcing us to make a poignant determination – are we one of the rats?

You see, we often believe that if we win the rat race, all is well and good.  But, the validity of the statement, “the winner of the rat race is still a rat,” cannot escape us.  So, now we must ask another question: Do we want our families and employees to think of us as rats?

To avoid the idea of being a rat, we must realize that there is more to life, and even work, than just winning!  To deal properly, and effectively, with people, either at home or at work, we must be human, not a rodent – not even the King Rodent! As you pursue career goals and attempt to get ahead at work, remember that you are human, as are those you work with. So, make sure you are more concerned about the human race and less concerned about the rat race as you proceed through life!

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Search Engine Marketing – PHASE I – RESEARCH


It’s hard to believe. Established in 1960, the Internet has been around for over half a century! And there are two things that have always been associated with the Internet: Emailing and Searching. The question is, “Does your Search Engine Marketing Program perform as though it is as old as the Internet itself?? If you feel your Search Engine Marketing Program could serve you more effectively, you need to contact Pathmaker Marketing LLC right away!

“How”, you may ask, “do I know if my Search Engine Marketing Program is meeting my needs or not?”

The answer is in the search results. Where do you show up when someone searches for a term that applies to your company? If you’re not dominating page one, then you need to beef up your Search Engine Marketing efforts.

But it goes beyond that. This is vitally important: The fact that you show up on Page One when you search for your company name and the city in which you are located does not mean you have an effective Search Engine Marketing Program. You see, your Search Engine Marketing Program should be sending you new clients, not people who already know your company’s name and where you are located!

The challenge is to get Page One Rankings when people search for something they want and you offer. As you undoubtedly already know, when someone does an Internet Search and they get voluminous results, they tend to refine their search. For example, if you searched the Internet for “Trucks,” you will get a lot of results! This is when the refinement takes place. You may next go to “Trucks for Sale,” only to find that there is still a large number of listings! So, you keep refining it down until you get to “Chevy Pickups For Sale Between Five and Fifteen Years Old.” We recently worked with an Auto plex in Canada who discovered that there were over 50,000 term variations involved for their product offerings! Your goal is to show up on page one for as many Search Phrases as possible, and that is exactly what the experts at Pathmaker Marketing LLC are dedicated to doing for you!

With Search Engine Marketing you have two categories of terms/phrasesShort Tail and Long Tail. With Short Tail the term or phrase is two words or less. Long Tail is three words or more. The “Tail” gets longer each time you refine your search. Our talented staff can help you determine the Keywords you will want to concentrate on, and then incorporate them into your Search Engine Marketing Program.

At this point you may be wondering, “Why, exactly, do I want Page One Rankings?” The answer is simple: Page One Rankings will get qualified traffic to your Website! Simply speaking, people will click on your listing because they are looking for what you offer! That’s why we at Pathmaker Marketing LLC will concentrate on one thing and one thing only-creating your Search Engine Marketing Program so that it will diligently send you qualified leads.

Pathmaker Marketing LLC has three objectives while developing your Search Engine Marketing Program: 1) Get Page Rankings, specifically Page One; 2) Get Traffic to Your Website; 3) Convert Visitors to Customers. We meet those objectives first though comprehensive Keyword Research. Once we have discovered the Total Universe of Terms, we focus on the Winnable Terms by refining the list. Once we have identified the Winnable Terms, we approach your Search Engine Marketing Program with a five-pronged method of attack.

Our first area of concentration is Pay-Per-Click Advertising. As we refine your Keyword List en route to determining Winnable Terms, we seek those with a low enough Pay-Per-Click cost to make your quest for Page Rankings a viable undertaking. Next, we focus on Search Engine Optimization. This is a specialized undertaking that the Pathmaker Marketing LLC staff is most adept at, and has had excellent results with for many other clients!

Then we focus on Link Building. A science in itself, Link Building is one of those tasks that, while appearing to be tiresome, burdensome and even boring, is an important aspect in a Search Engine Marketing Program.

We follow Link Building with the development of Social Networking. Unbeknownst to many business people, Social Networking can be an integral part of their Search Engine Marketing Program, and not just a way to keep in touch with friends.

Last, but certainly not least, our talented staffers can help you develop a Blogging regimen that will anchor your Search Engine Marketing Program, as each post will work directly to strengthening your Page Ranking. Utilizing our knowledge and skills regarding Blogging. You can even retain us to actually write the Blog Posts for you.

We Can Help You DOMINATE Search Engine Real Estate!

entry level package

Ever hear the term: location, location location? It refers to where you want to buy real estate. It’s sage advice to not put your dream house in a run-down neighborhood if you expect it to gain in value. It’s better to have the small house in a good neighborhood than the big house in a bad neighborhood.

There’s a similar adage when it comes to marketing your website:

Dominate page one real estate in search engines if you expect to turn your website into a revenue powerhouse. When someone searches for a term, and all the listings on page one refer to your organization, you’ve effectively eliminated the competition on that search term! And Pathmaker Marketing can help you do it. We’ll help you use blogs, link building, social media, pay per click advertising, and search engine optimization to dominate search engine real estate, which will bring more visitors to your website. And we’ll help you convert those visitors into assets such as emails lists, sales leads, and sales!

Contact Us to Today See How We Can Help You
Turn Your Website Into a Revenue Powerhouse

Through any of our Search Engine Marketing Packages, Pathmaker Marketing can help you employ appropriate strategies to dominate page one real estate for your organization.

entry level package

This package includes the basics you need to begin securing more real estate for your organization in search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing.

  1. Strategic Keyword Research – We will put our powerful tools to work identifying up to 50 relevant keywords that people are using when they search for organizations like yours.
  2. Keyword Prioritization – We will run the keywords identified in Step 1 through our Keyword Difficulty Ranker, which is proprietary software that helps us pinpoint which of those keywords will be relatively easier than others to establish dominate positions for your organization in search engines.
  3. Traffic Conversion Ideas – We will provide 6 strategic suggestions to improve the traffic conversion process on your website. This will help you convert visitors to assets such as email lists, sales leads, and sales.
  4. Volume Link Building – There are various different kinds of inbound links that will help your website get higher rankings in search engines: Volume, Authoritative, Deep and Local. Search engines will see these links as improving your site’s “popularity”, making them valuable for increasing the site’s rankings. This process drives traffic to your site. For this package, we’ll work to develop Volume Links (100-300 inbound links to your home page).
  5. Pay Per Click Advertising – We will work with you to set up a Google Adwords account and launch Pay Per Click advertising. The cost for Pathmaker to set up and manage the campaign is included in this package. Advertising costs – the amount you are charged each time some clicks on your ad – will be paid by you directly to Google. We do not “mark up” or broker the exchange of money you pay to Google or other search engines for paid advertising. As a starting point, we request $100 in click through traffic each month for the six month period. (You can increase this Google ad spending amount if desired).
  6. Dedicated PPC Landing Pages – We will coordinate appropriate dedicated landing pages to which all advertising visitors go. This will help convert site visitors into lists, leads or sales for your organization.
  7. Google Conversion Code – We will install Google Conversion Code onto your website to help us identify and report to you which of your keywords are the most successful at driving traffic to your site.
  8. Social Networking – We will work with you to expand your search engine listings on your priority keywords through social networks such as Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Plaxo, etc.
  9. Accountability – We are accountable to you and will provide a regular Progress Report on our accomplishments on your behalf.

advanced package

This package includes everything in the Entry Level Package PLUS search engine optimization and most in-depth link building.

  1. Social Networking Growth – We will help you get friends and followers in your social networks and begin promoting your products, services and events through them.
  2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – We will identify the 6 most promising keywords for getting search engine traffic to your site and have tweaked your site to convert visitors to assets, then we will begin the process of optimizing various pages on your site to be found by search engines – using the keywords we identified. The goal of this step is to see your website get ranked in the Top 10 listings on Google on your priority keywords. To do this, we will make SEO improvements to your site copy, keyword density, page titles, meta tags, etc.
  3. Search Engine Submissions – We will submit your website up to 25 different search engines, including Google, Yahoo and Bing.
  4. Link Building – We will build upon the Volume Link Building performed in the Basic Package to add the following.
    1. Authoritative Link Building: We will work with you to identify outside sources that are considered experts in your industry and work to establish links from as many of these sources as possible.
    2. Deep Link Building: Each month, we will strive to secure inbound links to subpages on your website.
    3. Local Link Building: We will strive to secure links that show your business, along with other businesses in your area, when someone searches for your keyword in your location.

premium package

This package includes everything in the Advanced Package PLUS additional SEO and a powerful blog tool that can significantly increase your organization’s presence on the Internet.

  1. Additional Search Engine Optimization We will optimize for an additional 6 keywords, and help you add additional content to accomplish this if necessary.
  2. Blog Marketing – This powerful tool will take you leaps ahead of other blog tools in terms of getting you ranked in search engines. We will:
    1. Design a header and buttons for your calls to action.
    2. Incorporate 15 of your strategic keywords into the blog, giving you one blog for each keyword. Each time you post content to one of the keyword blogs, that content will automatically flow to others of your keyword blogs as appropriate.
    3. Help you reach a critical level of 200 blog entries by offering our expert ghostwriting services to post 2 blog entries per week for each of the 6 months. Our research shows that 200 blog entries is the level at which you will begin to dominate page one real estate in search engines!
    4. We will autoflow the Blog onto the blogging networks (WordPress, Blogger, LiveJournal, Xanga, Vox, etc.

* Entry Level and Advanced Packages are for a 6-month contract, and and Premium Package is for a 1-year contract. All fees must be paid in advance each month by credit card or check.

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Is “Good” Good Enough?

Is “Good” Good Enough?“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” ~ Confucius

“The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” ~ Helen Keller

I’m not going to build a case in this post. I’m going to answer the title question and hope that I leave no doubt whatsoever in your mind that the answer I propose is the only right answer.

The answer is that “good” is never good enough. Good is merely “okay.” It is doing only what is expected. It is never stretching to reach a greater goal. Good is mediocrity. It is certainly not giving something all you have got.

Good is a reasonable effort without the passion of one’s heart. Good is lukewarm – neither hot nor cold. Good is getting by. Good is ordinary. Genius is the brain at work. Greatness is the heart at work. Good is just working at work.

Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, once said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” Jobs saw great work as a matter of the heart.

The Holy Bible, the source of inerrant truth, admonishes us to do all that we do to the glory of God. Would you offer God less than all of your heart and mind and soul and strength?

I love writing. I write about everything from sermons to the stock market, from inspiration to immigration, and from micro-technology to macroeconomics – and I love every minute of it! Let me clarify – I do not just do what I love to do. Rather I have learned to love whatever I set my hand to do. If I am going to do something, I am going to do it with great passion. It makes life thrilling.

I cannot imagine the shallow life a person lives just being good at something. What is the point? Being good can’t even get you to heaven. That takes a passionate submission to the love of God and obedience to Him. (John 14:6)

Another writer once told me that what he writes about doesn’t matter – he’s just putting words on paper to make a living. In my days of operational management we called that a “lunch bucket mentality.” It’s a description of a boring life of punching a clock and doing the same mindless work day in and day out without any passion to excel. It’s an “I punched the clock – I put in the time – Now pay me” kind of lifestyle in which people start the work week by counting the days and hours until the next weekend.

I am sorry to tell you that the life of “good” is available to you, if that is what you really want. But you need to count the cost before you make your choice. Why settle for good, when you can be great?

John Piper said, “Most people slip by in life without passion, spending their lives on trivial diversion, living for comfort and pleasure.” Some would call comfort and pleasure a good life. He calls it a wasted life. If you don’t agree with him now, someday you will. If you are living a “good” life and doing a “good” job, it’s not too late to make your life and your work great.

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Life is like Football

Life is like Football“Life is like a football game – you need to make a few first downs before you score your touchdown!”

I have noticed in my lifetime that football has replaced baseball as America’s favorite spectator sport. And, since the 1930’s, when two of Notre Dame’s Four Horseman, Elmer Layden and Jim Crowley, made the long, low-probability “Hail Mary” pass a part of the team’s arsenal, we have been thrilled every time it pays off, And, those instances are burned indelibly into our brain, forever a part of football lore. However, what we don’t remember is all the times that it doesn’t work! The more productive course of action is a well thought-out game plan that incorporates a balance of running and passing plays, building up a series of first downs that eventually leads to a score! There is a lesson to be learned here in the business world, too!

Successful businesses, really successful businesses, are built over a period of time with a lot of creativity and hard work involved. You have to grind out success, taking chances when necessary, but not allowing every business decision to be a “Hail Mary” in nature. However, we have too many entrepreneurs going into the business world with the thought that they are going to get rich quick via the good ol’ “Hail Mary,” and are not prepared, nor willing, to grind out the first downs!

One of the reasons this may be true is that our entrepreneurs of today have not had the training to be successful, and don’t know where to go to get it. That’s why Pathmaker Marketing, LLC has dedicated itself to assisting companies, new and old, in this exploding world of technology that we live in. To see how Pathmaker Marketing can help you with Website Design, Search Engine Optimization, and Search Engine Marketing click here. One thing you can count on is that we won’t just throw up a “Hail Mary” on your behalf!

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