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

Making Brands a Familiar One in the Markets With Advertisement Services

Advertisements are widely used for promoting a brand or service in the markets to gain reputation within short period of time. They play a key role in television, internet, newspapers, and websites for producing impacts on the viewers. Many business companies now prefer latest techniques in advertisement process for targeting customers with powerful messages to boot sales one of which is corporate film production. Multimedia applications are playing a predominant role these days which help for establishing brands in the markets quickly. Moreover, they provide methods for reaching a wider audience while carrying out promotional activities.
Business organizations can graphic design, infographics design, animation, and other techniques for targeting audience with creative ideas. On the other hand, it is an imperative one to seek support from a leading animation company or studio from the markets for selecting services depending on the requirements. This in turn shows ways for influencing viewers to a larger extent. In addition, multimedia services are widely followed at different levels in order to cater the needs of business clients. These services can also be utilized for various purposes to gain better prospects. Experts from multimedia companies will give ideas for making videos and ad films to experience desired outcomes.
Several sources are available for knowing the details of animation studios or companies to select services according to needs. Online also helps for gathering details about them for improving standards in promotional activities. With animation services, business companies can be able to focus on getting high conversion rates and leads to witness major advantages. Advanced techniques are followed by animation companies when creating the videos and films to obtain optimum results. Furthermore, it is possible to produce best impressions on viewers with them to attain high levels in the markets.
Some companies even organize animation video production training programs for those who want to shape their skills in their job. These programs will give basic ideas about animation which helps for marketing products through online and other channels in an attractive manner. In addition, business companies can make high quality videos with them to get a better exposure. Different types of packages are available for choosing animation services at affordable rates. Moreover, one can be able to reduce competition levels in the markets with them by meeting exact requirements. Guidelines for making videos with 2 and 3 dimensional applications are offered for business firms to make campaigning process a successful one.
Business companies should go through the reviews and testimonials of advertising agencies in internet before choosing the services like animation video production or corporate film production. This will also help to get ideas about the entire process in proper methods.

Must – Visit Locations in Victoria

Victoria is home to a plethora of visitor’s attractions, from the heart of Melbourne to those more remote. Whether one is staying in a boutique hotel in South Yarra, guest house accommodation in Apollo Bay, or a caravan park at Halls Gap, there are myriad things to do and see.

Top of the list for a tourist to Victoria would have to include:

•Old Melbourne Gaol
This is one of Melbourne’s oldest surviving buildings, built in the 1800s to house a criminal population which was growing rapidly. An imposing place to experience, it was the site of more than one hundred and thirty hangings, and the home of many of our country’s most infamous prisoners: petty offenders, dangerous criminals, as well as the homeless and the mentally ill. Those executed include Ned Kelly. Visit the original gaol; enter cells and see authentic death masks (some even still have eyelashes); visit the watch house and the execution site; participate in a trial recreation; or even embark on a night time ghost tour.

•Phillip Island Nature Park
This region is home to the famous Penguin Parade, one of Australia’s most popular wildlife attractions. Just an hour and a half from Melbourne, settle in on the viewing platform at sunset. Every night, dozens of Little Penguins return to shore after a day at sea fishing – waddling up the beach to their night dens in the sand dunes. Other wildlife attractions in the Nature Park include the Koala Conservation Centre and the Moonlit Sanctuary.

•Sovereign Hill
Travel to Ballarat and step back in time to the 1850s and the time of the gold rush. This open air museum depicts Ballarat during its first decade after the discovery of gold. Over sixty historically accurate buildings, costumed staff, and everything from antiques to livestock are in place to complete the experience. Visitors can pan for real gold; tour old mines; view authentic blacksmithing; and much more. A visit is a fun and educational experience.

•Otway Fly Treetop Adventures
A great day out from accommodation in Apollo Bay, this adventurous day out is located in Beech Forest. Step out onto the Tree Top Walk, the world’s longest and tallest elevated walk. It takes the visitor via a loop of just under two kilometres to a bird’s eye view over the magnificent Otway forests, with a spiral stairway to a higher lookout and a springboard cantilever to look over Young’s Creek. For the more adventurous, grab an adrenaline rush with the Zip Line tour: traverse between platforms between the treetops via a steel cable suspended thirty metres above the forest floor. Not for the faint hearted!
There are many, many other attractions and must-visit locations in Victoria, from the Mornington Peninsula to the Great Ocean Road, Mildura to the Grampians, and the Dandenong Ranges to the Yarra Valley. Next time you’re planning a vacation, consider sampling some of what this southern state has to offer.

Custom Labels – Suiting the Special Needs of Businesses

Custom labels are indicative. Anybody can have a fair idea of what they do by mere pronouncing it. In order to understand it, we can call it those labels which are designed to suit the special needs of the businesses. The needs might be of the commercial or the industrial arenas. There are many pros attached to these labels. The article will help individuals understand their vitality and advantages.
Major benefits:
• The clients can easily identify your products from that of your competitors. This can go in a long way of attracting them and increasing your sales.
• It aids in better building of the brand image.
• If they are used in labeling of the home made products, then they give the products a distinct image.
• They are efficient tool of marketing which can boost business in long run.
With so many benefits attached to them, more and more enterprises are using them for branding purposes. If they come in form of removable labels, then they are attracting businesses even more. It is because they can suit the needs of enterprises with ease and occasion and are economical to purchase. Also they come in types and can be selected as per needs.
Reasons to go for custom labels:
Gone are the days when the variety of things in the market was very limited. Today, we have different quality products. Also they come with distinctive features which make them suit varied needs. In cases of the customized labels also, the above is applicable. You can pick up the label with the design of your choice and the best part is that it gets available to you with much ease. If you are the lover of vibrant colors, then it is easy to pick up the one which is decorative and which would attract the customers.
Also you can choose the material on which they would be made. Even one can get them printed in bulk quality. As they get printed in bulk, this gives them the economic benefits. The best part is that now these labels can allow anyone to customize cap. Normally caps are used as one is attending a promotional rally or some marketing activities. When label branding is done with these removable lid labels, then the caps could be altered as per the promotional activity and the product advertised.
Thus, allow branding to be economical, different, vibrant and quick with the removable labels available from destinations like lidlabels. After all it is the best promotional activity which would benefit an organization in the long run.

Outdoor ad campaign launched to amend Constitution

The leader of the nationwide transit-based outdoor advertising campaign to end the government shutdown claimed victory on Tuesday at a press conference in a West Palm Beach law office saying that “We targeted millions of Americans who wanted to make themselves heard through the signing of the outdoor ads and Congress heeded their call.” The campaign featured signable, petition-formatted ads on buses, bus shelters, rail stations, and airports.

Jay Schorr, who heads Vehicles for Democracy (VFD), the coalition that mounted the outdoor advertising effort also announced Tuesday a follow-up transit advertising campaign in support of a constitutional amendment that would allow for a national initiative – the ability of American voters to propose and vote on federal laws.

“This latest government crisis has shown that the time has come for a fourth check and balance on the federal government – the right of Americans to propose and vote on federal legislation,” said Schorr, owner of TMR Multimedia, the Hollywood, Florida-based communications company that created the cutting-edge outdoor advertising campaign to end the government shutdown and the campaign in support of a national voter initiative.

“Congress has proven itself unresponsive and unwilling to yield to the will of the People. So now we’ll help empower the People with our outdoor campaign to take charge of their own legislative destiny.”

Voter initiatives and referenda are commonplace on the local and state levels where city charters and state constitutions provide a means by which voters can propose, overturn and/or modify laws through public elections. While the requirements for voter initiatives vary from state to state, the general procedure involves getting a certain percentage of registered voters (usually ten percent) to sign a petition supporting putting the proposed law on the ballot for a public vote.

Schorr says that the petition-formatted outdoor transit ads are the perfect way to collect the required number of voter signatures to get proposed laws onto ballots.

“Millions of Americans each day use public transportation,” said an ebullient Schorr. “People have had it with Congress, and they want to do something about it. These transit-based outdoor ads are going to change the way Americans pass laws.”

The call for a national initiative constitutional amendment is not new. Many prominent government leaders, businessmen, academicians, and other leaders have endorsed the concept. But getting the requisite signatures in each state and or municipality is a time-consuming and money-intensive task.

“Using transit ads formatted as signable petitions is the most cost-effective way to get the requisite number of signatures,” Schorr said. “We’ve got a captive audience of millions of voters who want to change the way our ineffectual government works. The ads give them the opportunity to voice their opinions where they live, work, and play.”

Today, 24 states and hundreds of municipalities – encompassing 70 percent of U.S. citizens – have voter initiative provisions in their constitutions and charters, according to the Initiative and Referendum Institute at the University of Southern California. The VFD wants to expand that number and work toward passing a federal voter initiative.

“There is no doubt that when these ads are placed before voters they will sign them wholeheartedly,” said Schorr.

Schorr says the option to sign the outdoor ads allows people to actually do something about a stalled political system; to reprimand Congress in the form of overt public prodding.

“Obamacare is probably the hot topic du jour,” Schorr said. “All you hear on TV, online and in the newspapers is, ‘Obamacare … Obamacare … Obamacare.’ While Obamacare is important, if we’d had this type of outdoor campaign years ago the Obamacare debate would have been solved by now … by public proclamation.”

The marketing and political applications for the signable outdoor ads are numerous, according to advertising analysts, especially when embedded chips are included to facilitate instantaneous data collection, market research, polling, and other uses.

“Commuters are a captive audience that is politically and commercially motivated,” said David Leone, who runs a marketing consulting firm in Chicago. “Mobilizing that consumer base translates into a very potent political and marketing force.”

For Schorr, the innovative outdoor advertising campaign is all about making a difference for the good.

“American lawmaking is about to change for the better thanks to our transit outdoor advertising campaign,” proffered Schorr. “The power to govern derives from the people. Our job is to help the people take back the lawmaking power that has always been vested in them.”

In defense of fizzy yellow beer: A craft beer lover’s manifesto

Craft beer lovers put your tulip glasses down and hear me out!

Your love of everything hoppy or sour or dark has triggered your judgment to go skunky. Your quest for a pint of something, anything, with an ABV of 8% or more has caused you to miss some very important things in our world of beer.

Sure, you know how many different names and types of hops go into your favorite Double IPA, but surely that hasn’t enhanced your life quite as much as learning about “cold filtering” and quality ingredients like rice and corn.

The release of delicious flavors like chocolate, vanilla or bourbon from a barrel aged stout are simply no match for the over- and mass-produced juice of the people(?). Surely millions of consumers intelligent enough to shop for what they view on television advertisements cannot be wrong, can they?

And just think, without fizzy yellow beer, how would you know when your beer is cold and at a correct temperature to drink? The use of blue mountain graphics revolutionized how otherwise dimwitted beer drinkers could decipher when their beer was at a correct temperature for consumption. Sense of touch (and common sense) be damned!

Of course, craft beer is no match for sense of humor displayed by the fizzy yellow stuff. How boring would your Super Bowl Sundays be without the hilarious multi-million dollar commercials produced by the macrobrewers force fed to us by the television networks? Frogs and Clydesdales speak volumes about the world’s most consumed adult beverage compared to actual quality ingredients and craftsmanship.

Beer is like dating. Sure, Dad will be impressed by Craft Beer’s substance, attention to detail and sense of community, but the fancy packaging and huge budgets of our macrobrews will win Mom over every time.

And just a quick history lesson. America was founded on the transparent beer that so many beer geeks despise today. Immigrants brought tradition and culture in the form of lager beer with them to the new world. And as Americans do, we found a way to make it quicker and make more of it by cutting corners (ingredients) and removing the majority tradition from the original recipes.

You craft beer snobs are more focused on the quality of your beer and its ingredients than the things that actually sell beer. The shape of the can, and how two vents will release beer into your mouth quicker for example. Smoother liquid flow allows you to chug your beer faster so you can drink more of it. The shape of the vessel should always be more important than the contents within. Side note to craft beer geeks: Chug means to guzzle watered down versions of a beer from a dirty can.

Let us not forget the health implications of our beverage choices. When making the choice to consume alcohol it makes sense to go with a low calorie choice. Choosing a quality Barleywine or Stout may exceed your taste expectations and invoke a conversation about flavors and smells, but think of all the calories! The healthier recipe for the macrobrews we love so much are centuries old and have not wavered, if you don’t count the whole rice thing.

The fizzy yellow beer makers have captured our attention with their clever advertising and fancy “hand crafted” ways of producing beers and have made it easy for us to consume beer. Let us hope they will leave the complicated stuff like small batching and souring to you flavor-loving, creativity-enjoying, conversation-desiring craft beer lovers.