Who Am I?

Over the last 35 years, I have worked closely as outsourced executive, staff, consultant, business partner, business owner, and publisher with – and for – dozens of companies in multiple industries. The time has come to put those experiences and skills into a well-defined service package, so the name Business Strategies Etc. has been brought back.

Gail Nickel-Kailing
Principal

Let’s hop onto the way-back machine for a little history and my path to the present.

Long, long ago in a place far, far away, I began my business career managing Swiss Colony Restaurant and Cheese Shop. It was a busy place and generated nearly $1 million in sales annually – way back in the 1970s! A move to Swiss Colony Catalog, as a food gifts designer, gave me the opportunity to market seasonal and holiday food products through more than 20 million catalogs per year.

Leveraging this retail and direct marketing experience, I purchased Houseworks, Madison WI, where I sold imported fabrics, home décor, and gifts for the home and family.

It was my interest in mail, direct marketing, and distribution that lead to a position at the US Postal Service where I advised companies of all sizes on optimum methods of designing and preparing large quantities of correspondence, publications, and products to be carried through the postal system.

In 1990, when the Postal Service went through a number of major changes, I spread my wings as an independent consultant to commercial printers, catalog mailers, insurance companies, government agencies, and periodical publishers. My business specialties, at Nickel Resources, included counsel regarding distribution center design; evaluation and recommendation of list management software, mailing equipment, and mail center fixtures; and analysis of bulk mailing programs to ensure maximum mailing efficiency and postage savings.

Because volume mailing required sophisticated computer technology, I joined software pioneer, Postalsoft. During my tenure, as I progressed to Vice President of Corporate Planning, Postalsoft grew to nearly $30 million in revenue and more than 300 employees. The company name was changed to FirstLogic and it was finally acquired by Business Objects/SAP.

A move to ImageX.com (acquired by Kinkos/FedEx), an early e-commerce company, allowed me as Director of Strategic Marketing to participate in the development of complex online marketing, sales, and distribution of customized products. A year of explosive growth – from 70 to 700+ employees – an initial public offering (IPO) and secondary offering totaling more than $120 million, and six acquisitions, honed my skills and encouraged me to leverage my consulting abilities, first for CAP Ventures (now InfoTrends), and then as an independent consultant.

I launched Business Strategies Etc. in 2001 to specialize in strategic business and marketing planning, technology implementation, and marketing communications and promotion. And in 2010, I segued into support for small and mid-sized businesses and food-related businesses.

Some of the projects I’ve completed include:

  • Development of channel marketing and collateral distribution programs incorporating electronic and print-on-demand documents as well as traditionally printed promotional materials and direct mail, for manufacturers offering a wide range of products, including commercial exterior lighting, recreational vehicles, water treatment products, and others.
  • Product management, including product launch, of a variety of technology products including software and hardware solutions.
  • Management of strategic planning processes for companies in industries ranging from Medicaid claims processing, secure network access appliances, services to the disabled, software as a service, and others.
  • Detailed analysis of print procurement and mailing operations resulting in recommendations for operational and procedural improvements to capture cost savings completed for companies in the following industries: insurance, banking, catalog and direct mail, specialty printing, and government.

A nationally recognized speaker on a wide range of subjects, I bring enthusiasm and a unique blend of experiences to the podium. And as an industry analyst and journalist who has contributed to publications in the US, Canada, India, and Brazil, I’ve covered a number of “beats,” particularly the “good food” system, sustainability, distribution, and commercial printing.

Read our online magazine, GoodFood World, now in its seventh year of publication by Business Strategies Etc.

My goal is to keep small businesses IN business!