Categories for Running Your Business

Simple Suggestions For 2013 Planning

December 18, 2012 11:08 am Published by

If you’ve been too busy to notice (and who hasn’t?), it’s time for 2013 predictions, the turn of the year offering an ending and a chance at a fresh start. A clean slate.
Which makes the last weeks of 2012 the perfect time to create your plans for the next 12 months. It’s only natural in this economy that you be focused on the bottom line, yet it’s critical that you take the time away from the day-to-day and do some planning for the year to come. Just as you wouldn’t go on a trip without knowing where you’re going, or build without plans, operating a business without planning makes no sense.
Issues like tax planning, marketing planning and the often overlooked planning for training
It’s important that on a regular basis, for instance now at the end of the calendar year, you make the time to see where you are, what resources you have at your disposal, and think about goals for next year. This is also a natural time to look at your operation… see what’s working and what might not be.

Halloween Promos That Are Scary Good

October 20, 2011 12:37 pm Published by

You probably started getting the costume catalogs while summer was still in all its glory. And the candy displays have been in the stores for weeks now. As a non-gift holiday that offers a break from the gloomy news of the day, even those with tight budges can take part and enjoy the fun.
It seems that consumers are embracing All Hallows Eve in a big way this season. You might think this costume wearing, candy collecting holiday is just for children, but there’s big money to be made. Spending is estimated to total $6.9 billion this year, up from $5.6 billion last year and more than two times what consumers reported they’d spend back in 2005.
Seven in 10 Americans plan to celebrate Halloween, up from 64% in 2010, the highest in the ten years the National Retail Federation has been conducting such surveys. And while the holiday falls on a Monday night this year, figures from Pizza Marketplace’s 2007 Pizza Industry Study, have Halloween as the third busiest day of the year, right behind Super Bowl Sunday and New Year’s Eve.

Gifts And Awards: A Smart Way To Keep Your People Happy

September 7, 2011 12:33 pm Published by

With all eyes on the kids going back to school, it’s an appropriate time to recognize parents and the struggles they deal with as we all settle into our fall schedules. If you’re running a business, you’ve probably noticed the sudden need of your employees (or your own, for that matter) for a flexible schedule or a few last minute days off. Juggling these scheduling challenges, along with running a business, is no easy task.
But if you can accommodate these requests… its a cost free way to reward employees for a hard summer of work, or prepare them in advance for a hectic fall season. In today’s tottering economy, businesses of all sizes need to keep employees motivated and rewarded. But just how do you go about it?
Motivating people isn’t easy… but understanding that every one of your employees is driven by something different is a good place to start. While money is a motivator for some segment of the workforce, this really isn’t true for everyone. Others work for a show of appreciation, acknowledgement of a job well done, a chance to learn new things and the feeling that their suggestions are heard and implemented. Recognizing these non-monetary needs will help as you try to keep your own workers content and motivated.

How Promotional Products Help You Attract The Right People

June 6, 2011 4:11 pm Published by

We’ve talked a lot about using promotional products for getting the attention of customers and potential ones… but not so much about the valuable role that these items play in attracting the attention of talented people to work alongside you. As we enter the season when grads everywhere are moving from the hallowed hallways into the hard, cold reality of the working world, it’s a good opportunity to consider how promo products can help you snare the cream of the crop.
When it comes to job hunting, today’s graduates have an abundance of technology at their command. Social networking websites like LinkedIn and Facebook have replaced the help wanted sections of local newspapers. Those companies who have a presence on these sites and post openings on job boards have embraced the changes in the way applicants search for work, but make a mistake in relying on hard, cold technology alone. Choosing where to work isn’t always a purely logical decision… there are other considerations… feelings involved… intangibles. Promotional products are the way to take your recruitment efforts to that next level, offering your business a tangible, lasting way to reach talented people… to show them they are of value… sought after… important.
The promising news for the 2011 graduate is that this is the first time since 2007 that businesses report a two digit increase in hiring according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). Employers are actively recruiting on campuses once more, and hiring is up 19.3% for 2011. What’s more, companies aren’t holding being young and inexperienced against you… growth has been fueled as a result of  improvements in earnings and liquidity, leaving them facing a human capital replacement cycle unlike anything in the last 20 to 30 years.

It IS Easy Being A Green Business

April 8, 2011 10:41 am Published by

It’s the time of year when all of us start thinking green. Maybe it’s that the mountains of snow are finally melting and we’re actually seeing green again… and in a case of perfect timing, we’re also smack in the middle of the build up to the annual Earth Day celebrations on April 22.
Today our planet is in just as much danger as it ever was, and climate change may well be the defining issue of our time. It’s not something any of us can afford to ignore… at least not any more. Businesses have a responsibility, just like the rest of us, to the planet and the people on it. What’s more, consumers want to do business with companies that are environmentally responsible. Going green, it seems, has finally reached the mainstream.
Marketing rules for businesses who are going green are simple and common sense — the first (rather unexpected) one is not to lead with the green benefit. It’s almost like you’re trying too hard when you shout “Earth friendly” at people. Instead, focus on the primary, distinctive benefits of your product/service and then mention (or conclude with) the environmental ones advises Jacquie Ottman, consultant and author of the new book The New Rules of Green Marketing

Promotional Products Offer Unmatched Exposure For Your Business

February 9, 2011 10:01 am Published by

These days businesses are looking for promotional products that aren’t so much a quirky novelty, but rather something more practical and useful. Think ice scrapers, cotton shopping bags, pocket diaries, pens and mugs. It might surprise you to learn that mugs, the longstanding staple of the office, are actually used more than 2,000 times.
That’s lots of opportunities to expose your logo and name there.
In fact, nothing beats promotional products for making an impression… unlike TV or radio spots that people purposefully ignore, or newspaper and magazine ads that can easily be missed in a sea of the same type of ads… promotional items make an impression when they’re received, and then again and again every time someone looks at them. It’s no surprise then that according to a landmark ASI study in late 2010 they’re far more cost effective than any of those other (TV, radio, print) forms of advertising.

Lessons from the front: How NOT To Do Email Marketing from Chili’s – No Place Else!

November 17, 2010 2:05 pm Published by

I’ve been a customer and fan of Chili’s for a long, long time. In fact, my ex-father in law actually built the first one in Dallas, so we go back a little.
Imagine my joy when I see an email from Chili’s in my inbox, with the subject line “That Happy Little Place Between Work And Home” – offering some kind of happy hour special. Then imagine my disappointment when I see that their email marketing vendor has somehow screwed something up and caused the email to be worthless.
Chili's Email Marketing FAIL
Now imagine potentially half a million (HALF A MILLION? YES!) Facebook fans talking about this messed up email.
I head to their Facebook page, and it looks like this has been going on for at least 2 hours.
So here’s the skinny: Fish Bowl sends out a non working email on behalf of their client, Chili’s. The email falls apart and is totally confusing and non-functional. Recipients begin to talk about this on the Chili’s Facebook page.
Somebody should be fired over this. Epic fail.

In fact, you can make your own chili. Here’s an awesome recipe from Jen Reviews.

Why It's Good To Follow Up… And Follow Up Some More

September 16, 2010 5:16 pm Published by

Math might not be your strong suit, but the numbers in a recent piece in Marketing WizdomWhy 8% of Sales People Get 80% of Sales — are too striking to dismiss. It’s all about the value of follow-up… hard, thankless work to be sure, but clearly of incredible value too. One of the most surprising figures to come from the piece is that a paltry 2% of sales come from a first encounter — a monumental 98% happen sometime later.
Shows you just how important follow up is to making those sales… hmmmm?
What’s more, author, entrepreneur and marketer Robert Clay mentions a mountain of research that supports the idea that 80% of business is not awarded until the fifth (yes, FIFTH) interaction. And since so many sales people (business owners, too) give up well before that… this leaves the tenacious 8% who never say die… and end up with the sale. So how do you join that number?

Earth Day 2010: Your Chance To Go Green

April 8, 2010 8:28 am Published by

Spring has to be one of the most incredible times of year, especially if you live in the colder climates. The temps get warmer… the snow and ice are melting fast and the color green is literally everywhere.
As the 40th anniversary of the first Earth Day approaches, I can’t help but think back to one of my all-time favorite creative projects… writing the product sell copy and supporting “stories” for a catalog of recycled business forms timed to be introduced around the earth-friendly holiday back in 1993. Today our planet is in greater danger than ever, and climate change may well become the defining issue of our own time.
But back in the early 1990s, offering recycled business forms was a pretty significant step for a corporate citizen to take. It was exciting to be a part of it all. There was detailed research, endless vendor meetings, sample products to test and photo shoots to attend… there was passion and creativity and the thought that what we did might, in fact, change the world.
The finished catalog was a triumph of organization, of creativity and resolve… a piece I continue to display in my portfolio. Trouble was, that in the end our creative feat cold not save the line that garnered a lukewarm customer response and was discontinued several years later. So much for changing the world.
The hard fact was that our customers just didn’t care enough to buy them… even at the same price.

Google Alerts: An Unexpected Tool For Your Business

March 3, 2010 3:03 am Published by

Promo Marketing blogger Michael Cornnell recently put up a great piece on Google Alerts, a web tool that more and more business owners (myself included) are finding rather useful. If you aren’t using it already, you might want to start, especially after you see all the ways it can pay off for your business.
Google Alerts are an easy, no cost way for you to put the impressive Google search engines to work combing the internet for a particular term or phrase. Some of the smart suggestions made by Cornnell and others as to (more…)