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.


“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

Beastie Boys fight for their rights, file suit over commercial's use of 'Girls'

After weeks of speculation, statements, and half-hearted apologies, the Beastie Boys filed a lawsuit in California yesterday over the toy company GoldieBlox’s use of their song “Girls,” the New York Times reported today. As explicitly stated in the will of late member Adam Yauch, aka MCA, the Beastie Boys do not allow any of their music to be used in advertisements, but GoldieBlox, who filed a preemptive lawsuit against the group in November, have contended that the video they created constitutes a parody and should be protected under Fair Use.

Claiming that the San Francisco-based toy company “has engaged in the systematic infringement of intellectual property,” the lawsuit filed by the Beastie Boys contends, in part:

“GoldieBlox achieved and continues to achieve additional publicity, press coverage, and, upon information and belief, greater sales of its products, as a direct result of the Beastie Boys’ perceived affiliation with the GoldieBlox Advertisement. Unfortunately, rather than developing an original advertising campaign to inspire its customers to create and innovate, GoldieBlox has instead developed an advertising campaign that condones and encourages stealing from others.”

Although the lawsuit does not specify monetary damages, it claims the group is “entitled to recover from GoldieBlox the damages and lost profits they have sustained as a result of GoldieBlox’s unlawful acts of copyright infringement and to recover from GoldieBlox the gains, profits, and advantages GoldieBlox has obtained as a result of the wrongful conduct alleged herein.”

Late last month, Goldieblox pulled the video in question, which showed three young girls constructing a Rube Goldberg-type machine while a reconstituted, girl-power version of the Beastie Boys “Licensed to Ill” hit played in the background. In a statement dripping with a misguided sense of victimization, GoldieBlox — who posted the video and preemptively filed a lawsuit against a group that has been outspoken about not wanting their music to be used for commercial purposes — said that they merely wanted “to take a song we weren’t too proud of, and transform it into a powerful anthem for girls,” as if they had any claim to ownership over the original.

Bang!’s red décor brightens and romances up any meal, any season of the year

The red lights of Bang!’s signage and the luscious red interior of the restaurant herald the coming of something delicious and exciting. Even from the street, Bang!’s small remodeled-home space is intriguing. A front porch, and a back patio, plus a small bar downstairs and a living room of 5 or so tables, make for a very intimate restaurant/dining setting. And everything is red!
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Red is known as the color of courage, love, passion, and power. Some say that the color red can even increase human appetites and metabolism! While the science behind those statements remains to be rigorously proven, the color red does seem to connote its own mood, and the interior of Bang! definitely points in that general direction.

Bang!’s enchanting red velvet upstairs space is reserved for large parties, and consists mainly of a sofa or two, coffee tables and colorful accent pillow-cushion-stools. Overall the space at Bang! seems designed to imitate a small party or gathering in your own home. And upon entrance, a party mood, or a night-out-on-the-town mood descends. The full wall bar, highlighted in reds and bright lights, might just put the brain onto party thoughts.

The back patio, an outdoor space backing up to the bar, features a stone wall with tinkling, running water sounds as well as Christmas lights on the lone tree shading the water feature. In warm weather months, these are the tables to seek out. The front porch and front patio offer views of Market Street and a sideline view of the backs of the buildings on the Charlottesville Downtown Pedestrian Mall, which also has its own charm.

And the food? Well, it’s tapas or small plates–“Asian inspired” according to the website–and signature martinis. Small plate tapas allow for a greater variety of dining experience, since 2-3 dishes are needed to make a meal. Those with larger appetites can enjoy a greater variety.

The menu at Bang! works a little as in a sushi restaurant, where you mark up on the menu itself what you want to have. The order is then placed in the kitchen, and served at your table as the dishes are ready, in no particular order.

Bang!’s selection of vegetarian options is quite good, although a little on the “fried” side of preparation. Beef, shrimp, crab, pork and tuna tartare cover the meat options. But the presentation of the food and the atmosphere of the restaurant itself are one-half to two-thirds the experience. Desserts are kept simple with Asian doughnuts, fried bananas, chocolate and ice cream.Some patrons skip the main meal altogether, instead focusing on a great martini and a tapas appetizer or two.

Bang! is a great destination restaurant in Charlottesville because the vibe of the place is so red, romantic, and alive with energy. Bang! is located two blocks off the Charlottesville Downtown Pedestrian Mall at 213 Second Street, SW, and can be reached at 434.984.2264

Design a Business Logo – Creation and Style of Brand Could Be a Part of Graphic Design

In the company world, demand for brand style services is progressively growing as businesses are attempting to become visually appealing. Whether or not you’re running a business or providing a private service, to draw in additional customers you need to provides a operate on to your business. Having a custom-built brand identity would assist you to achieve additional customers. It’ll boost your image within the market. Services of graphic style firms can certainly meet your desires.
You need to think about few things, before discussing your necessities with a brand designer. Choose an organization that’s familiar for providing efficient answer. it might be knowing take the services of an organization familiar for its performance and responsibility. Choose an organization that’s sure by shoppers and includes a satisfactory performance record. It’s continually recommended to urge the services of Associate in nursing previous and sure company despite of their high charges.
Creation and style of brand could be a part of graphic design that has become highly regarded in recent years. Before choosing an organization or a personal designer, do bear all the out there specifications and choices. a decent graphic style company can allow you to specify and discuss your actual necessities. Once they get all needed details, their designers can try and develop the most effective attainable custom-built brand for your business. Pick an organization wherever you get to move with the designer at varied phases of coming up with. This may certify that the brand is obtaining designed as per your necessities and any amendment if needed is completed timely. Most of the brand style firms have their own websites wherever details regarding all their services square measure provided. You’ll be able to bear a company’s web site wherever details regarding the packages offered by them square measure given.
Before creating any investments, the general public square measure skeptical regarding the result. Check the credentials of an organization before taking their services. Choose an organization that may manage many similar comes like brochures or business card in order that all of your desires will be consummated by them and you do not got to take the services of the other company. A custom-built package offers varied styles of brand style services at an inexpensive value. One will get confused whereas choosing a graphic style company considering the big range of firms concerned during this field however if you follow all the rules you’ll be able to manage to relinquish your business a whole makeover.

Celebrities at Mardi Gras – Ranking the Ride

Every year in New Orleans there are Celebrity Grand Marshalls, Monarchs, and Kings of the Parade and a few that go along for the ride. With the close of Mardi Gras Day, 3/4/2014 here is a brief review and rankings of the celebrity riders.
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This year’s riders along for the ride included Orpheus Founder, Harry Connick Jr who is ranked at 1,155 on IMDB Professional and is known for his roles on “Will and Grace” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” as well as being a top musical talent.

John Schneider rode as one of the Monarchs of the Orpheus Parade and ranks at 1,881. He is best known for his work on “The Dukes of Hazzard”, “Smallville”, and, coming soon – “Smothered.”

James Roday also rode as one of the Monarchs of the Orpheus Parade and ranks at 1,551 on IMDB. He is best known for is work as a writer, producer, director, and actor on the show “Psych.”

Hugh Laurie rode as King Bacchus this year and ranks at 1,411 in his celebrity status. He is best known for his roles on “House”, as “Bertie Wooster”, as well as being one heck of a musician!

Quentin Tarantino also rode in the Orpheus Parade and is more well known by name than face, as he has written, directed, and produced some top films including “Kill Bill”, “Pulp Fiction”, “Inglorious Basterds”, “Reservoir Dogs” Quentin Tarantino. He has also been in a number of movies as an actor and ranks in celebrity status at 226.

Ian Somerhalder road as Co-Grand Marshal in the Endymion parade and ranks at 186 in celebrity status. He is best known for his work in “Vampire Diaries”, “Lost”, and “Smallville.”

Norman Reedus tops out the celebrity ranks at 73 and road as Co-Grand Marshal in the Endymion parade. He is best known for his roles in “Boondock Saints” and “The Walking Dead” and is a frequent guest at the Wizard World Comic Conventions and can be seen at their next con, this weekend in Sacramento.

While not one of the parade royalty, Mayor Mitch Landrieu deserves an honorable mention as riding with John Schneider in the Orpheus Parade and he ranks in at 468,247 in celebrity status for his work as Himself in interviews, documentaries, and music.

Don’t take it too hard on only getting an honorable mention, Mayor Landrieu. The writer of this article, John N Collins only ranks at 3,714,415 on IMDB and is mainly known for presenting the “Best Science Fiction Feature” Award at Hollywood’s Shriekfest for the past two years.

Better store signs, stop telling customers you are not a serious business

When was the last time you saw a handwritten sign at Nordstrom’s or Macy’s? Although it is true their customer might now be your customer the reason they do not use handwritten signs has nothing to do with demographics. Instead it is all about impression.

Handwritten signs or signs with tear-off sheets send a message to customers that you are not a serious business.

Handwritten signs project an unnecessary sloppiness and unprofessionalism in these days of inexpensive computers and printers. Take the time to create a professional sign to show attention to detail in all aspects of your store or restaurant.

A restaurant on Square Lake Road in Troy, Mich., had five handwritten signs on their front window. Each could have been replaced by a computer generated sign that would have had very low costs to produce.

Signs with tear-off slips are equally as bad. They typically are posted as a community outreach to show you are supporting the community. Maybe they are for another business that does lawn care or a customer trying to sell an old appliance or a church running a rummage sale. Regardless the reason these should not be the focal point of the front of your establishment.

Instead offer the neighborhood a place to exchange information by creating a community bulletin board. It should be located in a spot that is not a main focal point for the arriving customers. Regular customers will quickly learn where it is and will appreciate the business’s willingness to facilitate the communication vehicle.

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. Used by permission.