7 sinful signing mistakes small business owners make

When we think of marketing programs our minds are quickly drawn to social, print and broadcast media. Although these programs can be quite glitzy and create media and consumer buzz they overshadow an extremely impactful marketing program not often considered by managers and owners. It is the signage used at the brick and mortar store itself.

Signs in windows, on doors, over display racks or by the register are interpreted by the shopper to determine the quality of the merchandise or the management of the store. Sometimes only subliminally but always effective in relaying a message.

Whether your store is in a mall, strip center or stand alone, the same psychology of engaging a customer applies. Yet many stores fail to consider the image their signage conveys to the consumer.

Here are the seven worst messages commonly conveyed:

“We sell crap”.
“I don’t do enough business to hire a second employee”.
“This is not a serious business”.
“We keep most our doors locked because we do not trust you ”.
“Go to the bath room elsewhere”.
“Details don’t matter to us”.
“You are not welcome here”.

This is excerpted from “Send customers a positive message”, part of the “How to” series at getmaximpact.com, a website based in Rochester Hills, Mich., dedicated to business and individual growth.

Federal Reserve officials comments raises more questions than answers

Charles Evans, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago made headlines on Tuesday when he spoke at an Economic luncheon in Detroit. Covering all the broad array of subjects from the housing recovery to the labor market, Evens first came out firing with information about short term interest rates.

“We started to taper our asset purchases, but we indicated that the fed funds rate would be near zero for quite some time — quite likely well into 2015. Barring any changes to our outlook, this would translate into seven years in which short-term interest rates would be at their zero lower bound. But policy likely will need to remain highly accommodative for such a time to ensure we make adequate progress toward maximum employment and price stability — the two congressionally mandated goals for U.S. monetary policy”

The asset purchases he is specifically referring to is QE3, the latest in a round of bond purchases by the Fed to stimulate growth in the economy. Whether it has helped or not remains to be seen, however last summer, Ben Bernanke who was the heading the Fed hinted at stopping the program. This immediately had had an adverse effect on the markets, as the Dow went from 15,000 mark down to the low 14,000’s. In an effort to do damage control, a couple of days later Bernanke made a statement using the now famous term ‘tapering’. This word seemed to have a pacifying effect on the stock market as it began to continue its climb up to over the 16,000 point mark.

However, as the forth quarter of 2013 came around, Bernanke felt that there was enough positive data in the economy to justify the early tapering phase. Ten billion a month would be taken off the initial per month policy of 85 Billion dollar bond purchases.

Unfortunately a consequence of this action is to see interest rates rise as a logical next step. This has caused fear in the markets, because since the 08’ crash, equities and foreign direct investment have been low risk/high reward avenues to make some money off the top. As a result of the tapering and implications of rising interest rates, investors have been pulling out of equities and emerging markets.

According to a Businessweek Report. Global investors pulled $6.3 billion from developing-nation stocks in the week through Jan. 29, the biggest outflow since August 2011, according to Barclays Plc, citing data from EPFR Global. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index declined 0.8 percent to 919.48 and has fallen 8.3 percent this year.

As a result, January has been anything but good, the Dow has seen around a 1,200 point drop, with fears of contagion rippling through the markets. So it stands to reason that based on past behavior the Fed would try to make a publicized statement in order to put investors at ease. Which is perfectly understandable, however it just raises some questions of the actual credibility of the statement itself. Some questions being.

What credibility does Mr. Evans have to his word now? Did anyone see a pinky swear? No, well then if the assumption is he is saying that just so the markets can hear it, then what are the negative repercussions if the Fed does in fact have to raise interest rates before 2016?

If this trying to deflect the eventual rise of interest rates, what is the importance of rising rates in relation to the stability in the markets? Would keeping them so low have an equally detrimental effect? And finally, Why wouldn’t the newly appointed Fed chairman Janet Yellen not use this opportunity to come out and make this statement? Wouldn’t such a statement in the face of crisis assert her new position as the head of the Federal Reserve.

35 years of experience offered to you free of charge

Part 1

Why I Wrote Win-Win

Having spent more than 35 years deep in the trenches of developing cross-sector partnerships and cause marketing campaigns with the nonprofit, for-profit, education and government sectors, I have learned what works and what doesn’t. I have developed partnerships – from a local two-person art program, a three-county children’s magazine, regional and national campaigns for Fortune 500 corporations, to cause marketing for an international sports organization, and all sizes and variations in between. I have experienced people in all types of organizations working together. And through it, all I have developed a step-by-step, proven process to planning and implementing successful cross-sector partnerships.

Beginning with my first job at Cedar Point, the world’s largest pure amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio, where I developed a relationship with the state-sponsored Ohio Travel Council, I discovered the many benefits of bringing different sectors together in a mutually rewarding relationship. A few years later, I was hired by Marriott Corporation as Public Affairs Manager and given the task (at age 25) to design the opening promotion of its largest project in history: the family entertainment center Marriott’s Great America in Santa Clara, California. It was here where I conceived and directed my first comprehensive cross-sector partnership campaign, which I define as a partnership between two or more partners from the nonprofit, for-profit, education and government sectors, with the March of Dimes. This campaign raised $2.5 million (and in 1976 that was a lot of money!), 40% more than ever been raised by the March of Dimes Chapters West.

Through the challenges, opportunities and understanding gained through this relationship, the main theme of my career was set: cross-sector partnerships provide more benefit to all the partners than each could have ever accomplished alone.

From those early experiences and beyond, in my work as Public Relations Director of the United States Olympic Committee, to the founding of The William Bentley Agency, an integrated public relations/marketing agency, to the honor of serving as director of marketing & communications for the American Red Cross (San Francisco) Bay Area chapter, to my current role as Founder/CEO of Bruce W. Burtch, Inc., a cross-sector partnership consulting and training firm, each role and relationship along this path have created a foundation of knowledge that I wanted to share.

I wrote this guidebook because I have seen thousands of organizations from all sectors struggling through the recent economic times. I have seen and still see a lot of pain and a need for help and real answers. Yet I know from experience that there is an extraordinary amount of opportunity lying in wait for the right combination of partners, on any issue, in any sector, in any small town or metropolitan city, in any corner of the world. Cross-sector partnerships can be extraordinarily successful when these partners join together for their individual and mutual success, while focusing on creating benefit for the greater good.

Win-Win for the Greater Good is a guidebook, not an overview, not a nice collection of stories. My goal is to take years of experience in developing partnerships between all sectors and provide you with the blueprint, the materials and the tools that will guide you in developing highly successful, highly profitable cross-sector partnerships. Here you will find information from the very basic to more challenging concepts. Each reader comes to this guidebook with different experiences and different levels of expertise.

In 1978, I was asked by the president of a large foundation what I wanted to do with my life, and almost without thinking I said, “I want to do well by doing good”. He leaned back in his chair, laughed heartedly and replied, “I’ve never seen anybody do that before.” That very phrase to “do well by doing good” has been my personal mantra and foundation of my work from that minute forward. From the bottom of my heart I believe that doing good is the necessary prerequisite for doing well. Doing good benefits everything you do and everything you are. Doing good and doing well can best be accomplished through win-win partnerships.

The 7 benefits of video blogging

A Video Blog, also known as a “vlog” is a clever way to increase brand awareness, gain a greater following and most importantly, generate additional business. If vlogging is not yet a part of your digital marketing strategy, it’s time to jump on the video blogging wagon.

The 7 benefits of Video Blogging:

1. Good for your SEO strategy.

YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google. That means potential customers are more likely to search for a service, product or information on YouTube, than they are on Yahoo or Bing. See more from this awesome infographic. When you post a video, and somebody is searching for that subject, it will likely show up in a search engine if you have optimized it correctly. SEO quick tip: You can embed your video on your website and transcribe it increasing your chances to include the important keywords mentioned in the video.

2. Develops trust.

When a follower watches you in a video, he begins to feel like he knows you, delivering a sense of trust. People by nature are more inclined to use a company for business when they are able to put a face to a name. Even more so, if they already know how you talk and have seen you “in action”.

3. 2 minutes provides concise, quick information.

As a general rule, savvy marketers know to keep videos under the 2 minute mark, as to not lose the attention of the viewer. People are more likely to click on a video blog over a written one because it requires less effort to watch than it does to read, while still delivering the same results.

4. People are visual.

People prefer to see something visually over reading content (which forces them to use their imagination). By providing the visual stimulation, you require viewers to do one less thing.

5. Videos generate more shares than any other type of posts.

If you want something to go viral, a video blog is the key. Currently, the most shared and “liked” content on Facebook is videos followed by pictures followed by articles.

6. Excellent for How-Tos or tutorials.

Again, since people learn best visually, videos are a great platform to teach your customers something new. Video how-to’s give your viewers the chance to see exactly how something is done and to pause or rewind when needed.

7. Generate income from your videos on YouTube.

YouTube allows you to monetize your videos by permitting YouTube to place ads in the video. Ads are always content appropriate and if you generate high viewership, you can make anywhere from $0.01 to $2.00 per 1000 hits from YouTube!

Bill Gates Quotes – The Best Quotes for Life and Business

Bill Gates is one of the most well known and sought after entrepreneurs in the world. He’s been at the top of the Forbes’ Richest People in the World list for many decades now. As such a high profile individual, entrepreneurs and now philanthropist, it’s no wonder why so many people are searching for “Bill Gates Quotes” on the internet.

Seeking out quotes from your favorite celebrities, athletes and individuals around the world is a great way to get inspired and put you back on the right path in whatever it is you are trying to achieve.

I’ve written a 1,200 word post on my favorite Bill Gates quotes and what they’ve meant personally for myself and my business. Now it’s time for you to look through some of Bill’s greatest quotes below and see which of them are your favorites and apply to your currently lifestyle and business.

15 BILL GATES QUOTES TO GET YOU MOTIVATED

“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”
– Bill Gates

“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”
– Bill Gates

“If you can’t make it good, at least make it look good.”
– Bill Gates

“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.”
– Bill Gates

“I believe that if you show people the problems and you show them the solutions they will be moved to act.”
– Bill Gates

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
– Bill Gates

“I’m a great believer that any tool that enhances communication has profound effects in terms of how people can learn from each other, and how they can achieve the kind of freedoms that they’re interested in.”
– Bill Gates

“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”
– Bill Gates

“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.”
– Bill Gates

“I really had a lot of dreams when I was a kid, and I think a great deal of that grew out of the fact that I had a chance to read a lot.”
– Bill Gates

“Just in terms of allocation of time resources, religion is not very efficient. There’s a lot more I could be doing on a Sunday morning.”
– Bill Gates

“If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25 cars that got 1,000 MPG.”
– Bill Gates

“At Microsoft there are lots of brilliant ideas but the image is that they all come from the top – I’m afraid that’s not quite right.”
– Bill Gates

“I think it’s fair to say that personal computers have become the most empowering tool we’ve ever created. They’re tools of communication, they’re tools of creativity, and they can be shaped by their user.”
– Bill Gates

“We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.”
– Bill Gates

Advertising Inflatables Can Be A Great Marketing Tool

If you are into business, you should know that you cannot survive the market without marketing your products and services. These days nothing really sells without proper marketing. If your target customers are not aware of your products and services, they will never know of their existence; hence, won’t bother to buy them. But, given the tight marketing budgets that businesses mostly have, opting for advertising inflatables can be a great way to publicize your products and services at cheap and affordable rates.

Inflatable ads can get you success across various business areas. It does not really matter if you have a B2B or B2C business, or whether you want to market your products and services, advertising inflatables can be a useful choice for you. This type of advertising has achieved success across all businesses, from hardware catering services to suppliers, and office renovators and car dealers. No matter what line of business you are in, publicizing with inflatables can do a great job at marketing your business.

Advertising through inflatables have several options to choose from, depending on your unique requirements and kind of promotion that you want. You can choose between tents, golf packages, rooftop balloons, inflatable costumes, giant inflatables, etc.

You can also order for customized inflatable ads, which sets you quite apart from the crowd. After all, the more creative you are, the more attention you are likely to grab.

With advertising inflatables you can send the message that you want, across to your target audience or invite them for a particular event or simply market your products and services through attractive inflatable ads. And the best part is that you can do all these without having to pay much. So, if you are a small company you can easily afford to publicize your budding brand by the means of this type of advertisement. Doing so can help you save you quite a lot of money that you can use in some other aspect of your business, helping it become more and more prosperous.

However, having told you that inflatable ads are a great way of marketing your business, you need to understand that you have to design your ads in a way, so that they do not get lost amidst the other ads. This means its design has to be pleasantly different. Try to use your colors intelligently, so that grabbing eyeballs is easy.

Once you are done with designing your ad, the next important step is to place it at the right places. You should place it tactfully, so that it more people see it. Place them in crowded places like shopping malls, parks, business events, trade fairs, etc., and also make sure that over shadows by other ads. So, your job does not end with getting an attractive ad made by finding out a strategic place for its placement.

Advertising inflatables are one of the most effective of all outdoor advertisement tools. Get hold of a service provider, who can make great ads and then you make the best use of them.

Online universities offer 4 year degrees no matter where you live

The University of Phoenix has launched a new series of ads being aired locally showing the value of their online education. You see candidates interviewing for jobs and during the process they come across other University of Phoenix students who are in power to hire.

Previously the University of Phoenix dominated the online education space. But now they face competition from traditional colleges who are seeing the benefits of offering online classes to students. Colleges are learning to adapt to attract not only the traditional student who comes to them after completing 4 years of high school, but also to offer classes for those who are furthering their education while working full time or raising families.

There are also younger students who can’t afford the high cost of tuition and don’t want to leave high school and start racking up debt by moving right into a 4 year university degree. Online courses give them the chance to work and carry a course load.

The problem for the University of Phoenix is these same students still want their degree to be from colleges with prestige and easily recognized names when they list it on their resume. There are options now for flexible classes from schools such as The University of Maryland, Penn State and Temple University. It is up to you whether you share that your degree was earned online instead of attending traditional classes.

College degrees are expensive and students are looking for the best value for their money. The University of Phoenix needs to develop a brand that can compete with what traditional colleges can offer as far as name recognition and how they are perceived by hiring managers.

Honolulu 2014: Foodies travel guide to the best burgers

If you are planning your first trip to Honolulu, you may of taken the time to research the location a bit? If you didn’t, here’s the skinny on the tantalizing local food options to enjoy.

If you enjoy seafood you will find the freshest on the planet. It couldn’t be fresher if you caught it yourself. Fresh luscious fruit and produce grown locally and served up from the farm to the table.

After a few days of healthy wholesome eating, it’s time to sink your teeth into something hot and super meaty, the ultimate All American comfort food, a monster cheeseburger.

The featured cheeseburgers come in three sizes, large, extra-large and nearly competitive eating size. In no particular order, check out these meaty delights.

Big City Diner, with several locations around Honolulu, offers a spicy Korean Kimchee burger, served with the restaurant’s signature “Grandma’s Famous” Kimchee fried rice. You can literally walk up to any local on the island and ask, where can I find the best Kimchee fried rice? Big City Diner, every time.(Casual Attire.)

The Plumeria Beach House restaurant at the lavish Kahala Resort in Honolulu, offers a signature Kahala Burger. The cheeseburger is masterpiece of ground black angus chuck, topped with a fried egg, white cheddar cheese, chunky avocado guacamole, bacon, shaved onions, all propped on a sesame bun, served with smoked paprika seasoned fries.

Once you try the Kahala Burger you will crave it again! Be prepared to make a second visit for a second-round before you depart from the island. (Stylish island attire.)

Stage Restaurant is atop the Honolulu Design Center, offers a decadent mushroom, bacon, cheddar burger. The burger is made with certified angus beef, sautéed mushrooms, crispy Maui onion “rings”, bacon, swiss & cheddar cheeses on a house made bun with black pepper aioli. The Stage Burger is big, hearty and so delicious, right down to the last bite. (Stylish island attire.)

Teddy’s Bigger Burger, with several locations around the island, is the primo go big or go home, cheeseburger in paradise. The cover photo of the article features Teddy’s Tokyo Tower Burger. This behemoth of a burger is a “Man VS Food” worthy tower of beef, cheeses, battered onion rings, bacon, slabs of avocado slices, chucks of bleu cheese and all of the usual fixings. Teddy’s Tokyo Tower Burger is for a Godzilla size appetite.(Casual Attire.)

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