Business

Einstein – Definition of Insanity

Madness in the signage and graphics industry

Definition of Einstein

Albert Einstein once said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Think about this quote for a second and ask yourself, does this quote apply to the way you run your business?

Have you been doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results? If so, you may want to read on. In a world where technology is becoming a key productivity tool for the success of any business, it simply comes down to whether you accept and take advantage of technology or reject it. Are you willing to change or will you do the same over and over again? T

Here are two main reasons why I ask this question. First, many store owners have trouble understanding how new technology, specifically software, can become a major benefit to their business, and second, owners have trouble measuring the profits they are losing by rejecting this technological change. Have you ever rejected technology?

“If it is not broke, do not fix it!” Mentality

Do you expect to increase profits by continuing the same business strategy year after year? If so, how long do you think the method will work?

Many store owners just don’t see the need to update or change their current method. They believe there is no need to invest in a new method when the old one still seems to work well. This is the common one: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” mentality. Well, I hate being the one to say it, but just because something isn’t “broken” doesn’t mean you can’t make it work better. When new technology, such as software, could save you a great deal of time and money, how can you not accept it?

In an industry where there is an ever-increasing level of competitiveness, store owners must take advantage of all available methods to help them reduce costs. Would a commercial printer looking to grow his business limit his shop to a single one-color press? Sure they can continue to operate with a one color press, but a two or four color press would not help expand their business to other areas more effectively. In this example, the current method works, but a technological change would help increase the growth capacity of the company.

Exploring these other areas helps companies maintain and increase their profits. By not embracing new technology, store owners greatly limit their earning potential. By using the power of technology to make their business practices more efficient, owners can continue to achieve their goals.

Are you sacrificing yourself?

Many store owners we spoke to have a hard time visualizing how much money they are losing, or actually, how much money they are giving to their competition, due to inconsistencies in the workflow process. These workshops feel that they are doing well with the system they currently have and do not see the need to switch to a new method. This lack of vision can cause homeowners to limit their future earnings.

On the opposite side, homeowners who see the need for a change begin to pay more attention to how much money it will cost to make the change rather than how much they are losing. These homeowners are feeling insecure and wondering if today’s investment will pay off tomorrow. For those homeowners, how much will it cost them not to change? Do you even know? Is it one, three, possibly five jobs a day? Do the math. How much money / time is wasted due to inefficiencies such as erroneous estimates, overpriced or underpriced jobs, or lost invoices.

Ask yourself, how long can a company continue to compete if it is not as efficient as its competition? If companies choose to stay with the same system they have been using for years and reject change, are they, in essence, choosing to sacrifice future earnings?

$ 100,000 a year

One particular company we spoke to was losing 4 orders per week to its competition. Since only one person in the store could estimate, it took days to get quotes for customers, forcing their customers to search and eventually accept offers from competing companies. When this company finally analyzed their method and applied a dollar amount to the loss, they estimated that they were losing about $ 100,000 in revenue a year. Incredible true? How much would 4 orders a week cost you? Or if you could accept 4 more orders a week, what would you do with the extra profits? How can a company like this miss a $ 100,000 opportunity? Simply put, insanity, Einstein’s definition.

It is not just an estimate

Companies are not only losing profits due to erroneous estimates; they are also losing profits due to lack of customer follow-up or management. When sending estimates to potential customers, how often do companies remember to follow up with them? With the constant chaos that store owners experience on a daily basis, this tracking process can become quickly forgotten, especially if the current estimating system does not include this integration.

How much can a company increase its “win” rate for estimates by making follow-up calls to all customers with pending estimates? Using powerful integrated business management and estimating software, such as Cyrious, the company can automatically create reminders that will tell employees who to call, when to call, and why. Keeping all customer, contact, and order information together in one place, increases the ability to save time and build customer relationships essential for business growth and expansion.

Adapt to change

By adapting to change and embracing and leveraging technology, store owners using Cyrious Software have become more efficient and profitable.

Cyrious helps homeowners resolve a variety of different frustrations. Whether you’re an owner who is frustrated with estimating because it takes too long or one who is upset that orders get lost and misplaced, Cyrious has a solution. Cyrious helps end the lack of integration by providing the power of multiple software systems in one (estimating, accounting, job tracking, client management, etc.). No company is content with losing customers due to late quotes or losing money because parts are omitted from quotes and orders.

When owners understand the amount of time and money that a different method can save them, the switch to powerful software like Cyrious is simple. Is it time for you to explore different methods to increase sales and profits and make your business more manageable?

For more information on Cyrious software, visit http://www.cyrious.net, call 1-800-552-1418 or email [email protected]

Business

An Ebay auction business with a twist

Who would have thought eBay would become such a household name? eBay is not only the largest auction site, but also the largest market in the world and its global presence is unrivaled on any other website. eBay managed to earn a reputation around the world as the place to go to find what you are looking for. Regardless of what it is, somewhere in the world someone will sell it. Along with this reputation, eBay managed to do what many early e-commerce sites ruined, which was build trust with their customers. On eBay, people are willing to spend and the confidence they have in eBay’s payment and delivery system is reflected in their sales. With this in mind, starting an eBay auction business can be a very lucrative endeavor for you.

One of the things that makes eBay the success it is, is that they offer virtually anyone the opportunity to connect with your business. By opening your own eBay store, you can get instant access to a huge customer base, which is the crux of doing business online.

Many entrepreneurs who start their own online businesses fail by not attracting enough customers to their website. Online competition can be fierce and website traffic has become a commodity. By starting your own eBay auction business, you can eliminate this problem to a great extent. Starting your own eBay store is incredibly simple and inexpensive, and you can connect to eBay’s proven payment system without any hassle or lengthy application and approval processes.

If this sounds too easy, hold up your horses. Anyone who owns and runs a store can tell you a simple truth: it’s hard work! Managing your own eBay store is no different and, along with success, it can bring many more “problems”. Dealing with customer issues, inventory, and shipping orders can quickly turn into a full-time job. Although the profit potential is great, an eBay auction business is still hard work and many online entrepreneurs are trying to escape a full-time job without sacrificing a full-time income.

However, there is a little twist on the subject, and out of the frustration of dealing with all the typical hassles that come with owning a store, many entrepreneurs turned to affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing became popular in the mid-90s and to this day it forms a large part of online businesses and websites like Amazon are almost entirely dependent on affiliates. The fact that eBay offers a very generous affiliate commission on the sale of products opened a new avenue for those who want to benefit from eBay without the usual hassles of running an online store.

By starting your own affiliate store, you can start an eBay auction business without selling anything. Simply by promoting certain products in your ‘virtual storefront’ you can direct customers to the most appropriate products and earn a commission on the sales that result from your recommendation. Although the profit margins are much smaller than if you had your own eBay store, the amount of work is much less. In fact, you can set your eBay affiliate store on autopilot and pretty much let it run on its own while still earning commissions.

Residual income is a very powerful concept and one that the Internet absolutely allows you to connect to. Today, most people earn “minimal income,” which means they trade time for money. On the other hand, residual income means that you work once and continue to work for you and earn money for yourself. This is the kingdom of the rich and with the Internet it is at your fingertips.

However, the idea is not to be enslaved by a job you hate and to create the life you want. Regardless of your preferences, you can earn money from home and with an eBay auction business anyone can. Whether you sell your own products or other people’s products, eBay offers you the opportunity. It’s all about taking action and making it work for you.

Business

How to trick a breathalyzer

Do you want to trick a breathing machine into a low test result? Or do you make sure you’re not causing a false high reading? It’s not that difficult, says a San Diego DUI law firm and attorneys – just control your breathing.

The simple fact is, these DUI guilty or innocent breathing machines aren’t exactly the trustworthy devices law enforcement would have us believe. There are dozens of factors that can cause false test results. An example of this lack of reliability is the fact that results will vary depending on the breathing pattern of the person being tested. This has been confirmed in several scientific studies.

In one, for example, a group of men drank moderate doses of alcohol and then had their blood alcohol levels measured using a gas chromatographic analysis of their breath. Then the breathing techniques were varied. The results indicated that holding your breath for 30 seconds before exhaling increased blood alcohol level by 15.7%. Hyperventilation for 20 seconds immediately before breath tests, on the other hand, lowered the level by 10.6%. Keeping the mouth closed for five minutes and using shallow nasal breathing resulted in an increase in blood alcohol level by 7.3%, and the test after a slow exhale of 20 seconds increased the levels by 2%. (“How Breathing Techniques Can Influence Breath Alcohol Test Results”, 22 (4) Medical Science and Law 275.)

Dr. Michael Hlastala, professor of physiology, biophysics, and medicine at the University of Washington, went further and concluded:

“By far the most overlooked error in breathalyzer tests is the breathing pattern … Alcohol concentration changes considerably during breathing … The first part of the breath, after ruling out dead space , has an alcohol concentration much lower than the equivalent BAC (blood alcohol concentration) Whereas, the last part of the breath has a much higher alcohol concentration than the equivalent BAC The last part of the breath can be more than 50 % above the alcohol level … Therefore, a breath meter reading of 0.14% taken from the last part of the breath may indicate that the blood level is only 0.09%. ” 9 (6) Champion 16 (1985).

Many cops know. They also know that if the machine contradicts their judgment that the person they arrested is drunk, they won’t look good. So when the arrested person is told to blow into the mouthpiece of the machine, they will yell at him: “Keep breathing! Breathe harder! Louder!” As Professor Hlastala has discovered, this ensures that the breath captured by the machine will come from the bottom of the lungs, near the alveolar bags, which will be the richest in alcohol. With the higher alcohol concentration, the machine will give a higher, but inaccurate reading.

Business

All about disclosures, exhibits, and notices for owners

As a real estate investor and renting to tenants, it is important that you know the paperwork, laws, and regulations that govern the way you do business. The regulations established by each governing agency provide guidance on what necessary disclosures should be made to each tenant who moves into one of their properties. Ignorance of the law is no excuse and if you do it incorrectly you can find yourself in many legal and financial problems.

There are different disclosures for different areas, but there are some that apply across the country. We will discuss these below:

Hazardous Materials Notice

This is not required in all municipalities, but it is common in California. Informs tenants of any hazardous materials that may have been used in the construction or rehabilitation of the property.

Lead Based Disclosures

This is a federal disclosure and must be disclosed to tenants. To comply with this disclosure, you need to know when your home was built, specifically prior to 1978. If your home was built prior to 1978, you will need to provide a brochure provided on the federal governments website stating that your home has been exposed to lead. paint. You will also need tenants to sign the form stating that they know there may be lead-based paint in the home.

Mold notification

Mold has received a lot of attention lately and can cause a great liability to homeowners. You can get mold disclosures at many landlord form sites scattered across the Internet.

In many cases, these notifications do not necessarily mean that there is a problem with your home or unit. It is simply informing the tenant and complying with federal, state, and local laws governing notifications and disclosures.

Roommate amendendum

This really comes into play for us since we live in a college town. The person signing the lease does not abide by the terms of the lease and the roommate claims to be ignorant of the whole situation. This amendment makes the roommate liable for damage to the property and the lease. It is important to know who lives on your property. I always get a list of all the people who will be the person’s roommates and ask them to sign the lease as well.

Pet Ammendum

This amendment is very important if you decide to allow pets on your rental property. Allowing pets can be a niche market, as many do not allow it. We have specific units that allow pets. These units typically have hardwood floors, so we don’t have to worry about pets destroying the carpet. Be aware that pets can also destroy laminate flooring. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you have hardwood flooring in a unit when you actually have laminate flooring. Damaged laminate flooring from pets can often be worse than the damage they cause to carpet. Also be careful about the type of pet you allow on the property. If a tenant has an aggressive pet that bites someone, you could be held liable. Be sure to clearly state what type of pet they are allowed and be very specific. If you allow pets, it is a good idea to request an additional deposit for the property. Pets can cause a lot of damage to property, as we have learned over the years. Cats in particular, if not cleaned afterwards, can leave an odor that is very difficult to remove, especially on the carpet.

Business

How to dissolve an LLC

In these tough economic times, I get as many inquiries about the dissolution of LLCs as the initial organization. Some business owners find it somewhat surprising when presented with the steps required to legally dissolve their US-based LLC.First, the basic steps for dissolution of the LLC:

  1. Members vote to dissolve;
  2. Adoption of the dissolution plan;
  3. Real liquidation of the business;
  4. Obtain a tax clearance letter from your state tax authority and
  5. File a certificate of dissolution with the Secretary of State’s office (for the state where your LLC is organized).

Step 1 seems simple enough at first glance, but what if fewer than all the LLC members agree to dissolve? First, check the LLC’s operating agreement to see what percentage of member votes it requires for dissolution. Typing “Sample LLC Operating Agreement” into Google (TM) will return a list of sample agreements that must contain language for the dissolution of the LLC. If your operating agreement is silent on the subject, then LLC state law controls. Most require the unanimous consent of the members to voluntarily dissolve the LLC with the notable exception of California. See Cali. Corp. Section 17350 (b) of the Code (“majority vote in the interests of the members”). If the unanimous consent of the members is required in the operating agreement, is there still a way to dissolve the LLC with less than unanimous consent? Yes. Most states allow legal action by dissident members to dissolve an LLC when they have reached a management standoff. It’s costly and time-consuming to go to court on such an issue, so try to resolve it with your peers before going down that road.

The dissolution plan basically sets out the methodology under which the LLC’s business operations will be suspended, assets will be sold, creditors will be paid, and what will happen to the remaining funds. If the LLC is insolent (meaning its assets are less than its liabilities), then the plan must address the allocation of the LLC’s assets among creditors. One suggestion on this front: pay all government tax authorities before private creditors, if possible. The plan must be adopted by the members of the LLC. After the adoption of the plan, the next step is the actual liquidation of business affairs. The law requires that the LLC’s creditors be notified that a dissolution plan has been adopted. Once the LLC’s business affairs have been settled, the LLC requests a tax settlement letter from the appropriate state tax authority. Once purchased, the tax settlement letter is filed with the certificate (or notice) of dissolution at the Secretary of State’s office. In most cases, you can find a pre-printed Certificate of Dissolution form on the Secretary of State’s website. I suggest obtaining this form at the beginning of the dissolution process and reading the instructions carefully. The instructions should list all steps for dissolution in your state.

There is a simplified procedure for dissolving an LLC that has not yet started business operations. Better yet, the website of the secretary of state (or equivalent office that makes incorporations) often has a pre-printed form to use in dissolving LLCs that have not yet started business.

Business

Buying an ice cream truck – make things work for little money!

Hi, my name is Tim and for the past two years I have made a living as an ice cream vendor in Boston. I remember when I first had the idea of ​​running an ice cream truck business, I was put off by the mistaken belief that the upfront costs involved – the truck, equipment, and inventory – would make it unfeasible for my budget. However, after doing some research on the different options available, I found that this was not the case; in fact, there are many options available that make getting started easy and affordable. Here are two things anyone thinking of buying an ice cream truck should know:

First of all, you don’t have to buy your truck outright; To be honest, I wouldn’t suggest buying a vehicle unless you’re committed to making this a long-term business venture. If you want to buy your truck, a good place to start is Craigslist. With a little research and persistence, you can find some really incredible deals by searching the site from your local area. If you keep going like this, you should be able to find a truck that will cost you no more than $ 3000- $ 5000.

The second mistake many people often make is thinking that ice cream trucks are made for a purpose. The truth is that very few of these trucks were built to sell ice cream. Most of them, including mine, are just pickup trucks and pickup trucks. Converting a truck or van is a relatively simple process, all you really need is a side window and your freezer bolted to the vehicle’s body and you’re good to go. It’s probably best to have a professional do the conversion for you, but if you’re mechanically inclined and have the right tools, it’s definitely a do-it-yourself project. If you search hard enough, you should be able to find a used truck for less than $ 1,000. Estimate another $ 1,000 at least for a cold plate freezer (I have some tips on my site for making a cheap freezer if you don’t want to get a cold plate) and another hundreds to install your service window and buy paint to paint your truck. Make sure you buy thick Plexiglass for your service window (I got 1/4-inch from Home Depot) and note the size of the Plexiglass you can buy before cutting the window hole so that you only have to buy one piece (what will). it will probably cost around $ 100).

Business

5 Best Wealth Books Ever Written

1. Think and get rich

Originally published in 1937, this classic best-seller is arguably one of the best wealth books ever written. This book helped millions of people around the world achieve their dreams. The author, Napoleon Hill, spent his entire life researching the world’s most successful, wealthy, and powerful people, including Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, John D. Rockefeller, and Charles M. Schwab. In this book, Napoleon Hill revealed his research wisdom in the form of ‘thirteen steps to riches’ that will change your life.

2. The richest man in Babylon

Published in 1926, this classic is considered one of the most inspiring wealth books ever written. Loved by millions, this timeless classic holds the key to everything you want and everything you want to achieve. This is the book that reveals the secret of personal wealth. This is the book that keeps the secrets to acquire money, keep it and make money earn more money. Countless readers have been helped with this famous book. This book offers an understanding and solution to your personal financial problems that will guide you throughout your life.

3. Rich dad, poor dad

Rich Dad Poor Dad is the best personal finance book ever written and has been a best seller for many years. Have you ever wanted to know why the rich get richer and the poor get poorer or why many highly educated people struggle financially all their lives? Then this book will give you the answers. This book will show you how the rich, the middle class, and the poor spend their money. In this book, author Robert Kiyosaki gives you great advice that can change your life.

4. Secrets of the millionaire mind

This book has appeared on the New York Times bestseller list and was number one on the Wall Street Journal’s list of business books. In this exceptional book, author T. Harv Eker teaches you how to think and act like a wealthy person. According to T. Harv Eker, if you think like the rich think and do what the rich do, chances are you will get rich too! Using the principles he teaches, T. Harv Eker went from zero to millionaire in just two and a half years. He believes that the key to achieving great wealth begins with thinking, because thoughts lead to feelings, they lead to actions, they lead to results. A must-read book on building wealth.

5. The millionaire next door

Too often millionaires are stereotyped for having extravagant lifestyles and irresponsible tax habits. But the truth is, more than 99% of millionaires are hard-working, methodical investors and savers. In this best-seller, the authors: Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko reveal that most millionaires are remarkably frugal and careful with their money. Most of America’s truly wealthy don’t live in Beverly Hills or Park Avenue, they live next door. They are the people who own the dry cleaning business, the car dealership, the restaurant chain, the bread company, the jewelry store, the cattle ranch, the trucking company, and the plumbing supply store. Read this book to learn how millionaires created their wealth.

Business

Are you inventive enough to be an inventor? Some guidelines for the success of the invention!

Inventors make a lot of money when the invention is needed and when the process is done correctly. There are different types of inventions. Some inventions are more practical, making everyday life easier for people (pens for example), some inventions are simply for entertainment purposes (television) and some inventions are multipurpose (educational devices that are also entertaining). Furthermore, some inventions are simply responses to medical problems, as in prosthetic devices, while others are simply “improvements” made to existing inventions. As you can see, something can be successfully invented in many styles and through many creative avenues.

However, in general, inventions succeed or fail, depending on the need or desire of the consumer for the product. Let’s face it, if something isn’t needed or wanted, no one will buy it, no matter how smart it is! Even Thomas Alva Edison (invented the light bulb) failed thousands of times before inventing many successful products, as did the famous British inventor Sir Clive Sinclair. One of Sir Clive’s “famous failures” included an X-Bike that was a cross between a pair of scissors and a bicycle. Thomas Edison’s biggest failure overall was an invention of a mining operation that would separate iron from other low-grade minerals, and Mr. Edison spent his fortune and eventually lost it, attempting a successful “method of invention.”

However, inventors are rarely deterred, and continuing to try and invent eventually leads to extreme success, as in the cases of Thomas Edison and Sir Clive. Successful invention involves a certain number of steps or processes that will routinely lead to successful inventions:

A. Realistic evaluation of the potential of the invention. Let’s face it, if it’s not “needed or desired,” it won’t sell.

B. If a patent is needed. In some cases, believe it or not, it is not.

C. The legal protection of ideas. Do not allow ideas to be stolen or copied.

D. The development of a marketable product. In addition to being necessary or desired, a product must be affordable enough for prices to appeal to the consumer.

E. The engineering and prototyping methods for making an invention a reality. This must be done correctly for marketing to be successful.

F. Licensing issues. Some inventions require researching existing licenses and also obtaining licenses.

G. Propose to companies and approach companies for the promotion of the final product. The correct methods to approach interested companies and investors.

H. Royalties and Advance Payment Options. Without the knowledge of these issues, investors can lose money in the long run.

I. Verification of existing patents, trademarks and copyrights. There is no point in inventing something that is already protected by someone else.

As with any other type of business (and inventing something is generally a “business venture”), a lot of work needs to be done before, during, and after the invention process. Everything from the right market research to the right patent processes, trademark and copyright information, needs to be established a lot, and successful inventors proceed slowly and carefully during each stage of the invention process. Also, successful inventors are very determined and patient. Typically, many failures occur with each product before an “invention success” occurs, so a calm and dedicated personality is also necessary.

Although there are tons of books and other materials on the proper procedures to follow, a future inventor can also save money on materials and save time by visiting US government sites specifically configured for the needs of inventors and product / service creators. . These sites are:

United States Patent and Trademark Office: http://www.uspto.gov

United States Copyright Office: http://www.copyright.gov

If you prefer to buy a book or report on how to successfully bring an invention to market, a simple online search will reveal literally hundreds of those materials.

As with any commercial enterprise, future inventors who are informed and equipped with the “tools” necessary for a successful invention, do their “invention homework”, and support their efforts with the necessary funds, most of the time they will produce a invention that works. , it takes, and best of all, it “sells”. After all, what better reward than knowing that consumers were so excited about an invention that they would gladly pay for it?

Business

8 Great Karate Studio Poster Ideas

Karate studies generally seek the best way to attract business and motivate new students to take an interest in martial arts, self-defense, and discipline. Adding attractive signs is a great way to grab the attention of the meek and listless or energetic and undisciplined and bring them into your studio. Here’s a rundown of the 8 best karate studio poster ideas.

Garden signs

Using yard signs for advertising in your neighborhoods and around local hot spots like schools, daycare centers, and grocery stores is a great way to build your school’s reputation and gain awareness. Include the name and phone number of your dojo, and the variety of classes it offers to both children and adults. Be sure to list the benefits and strengths of enrolling in your martial arts studio.

Vinyl banner

Hang an eye-catching and demanding billboard over your martial arts studio to attract potential students. The strong design and motivational message designed with a large font is easy to read from a distance and extremely motivating. Keep your message direct and add a motivating image. A large outdoor sign is the ideal way to celebrate a grand opening or announce a new promotion. Posters must also be used at all events. Martial arts posters are the perfect way to announce your dojo’s top students, celebrate the belt test, or promote an upcoming competition.

Wall decals

Increase motivation within your karate studio by using decorative vinyl. These fabric decals are reusable, can be cut to any shape, and are specifically designed to be applied anywhere without causing damage. Cut a reusable decal in the shape of a martial arts teacher or a specific move and place it around the walls of the dojo and competitions to motivate students, teach about the moves, and emphasize skill mastery.

Vinyl lettering

Vinyl letters are cut to the shape of your school schedule and the studio name adds a professional look to any business and is a common way to share information. You can also list your classes along the windows, such as Kids Classes, Self Defense, and After School Program, as a way to inform the community and potential enrollees of what you offer.

Vinyl decals

Add impact to the front of your studio by using vinyl decals that can be printed for a variety of uses. Vinyl decals are a sticky material that works great for adding window appeal and attracting attention. They are made to go outside so they are weather resistant and better suited to tinted windows, but can also be printed inside out and cut into any shape. Cut to size a vinyl decal in the shape of your dojo emblem or create a window sign listing your services in full color.

Window clips

Enrollment Specials and Enrollment Promotions are a great way to increase student enrollment. Add window stickers promoting your upcoming classes and promotional offers to attract new business. These are also great for special self defense classes, after school registration, and tournament dates. Window stickers can also be used as fun and motivational decorations for classroom mirrors. Continue your wall decals in the classroom by cutting out ornaments in the form of poses or martial arts instructions as a fun way to motivate students to check their poses.

One-way vision

If your study classroom is covered with distracting windows and peeping spectators, one-way vision is ideal for advertising on your windows while still blocking visibility from outside. The material is solid from the outside and visible from the inside, offering great noticeable publicity and privacy, but still letting in light.

Car stickers

Let your parents and students promote your dojo using car stickers. Car stickers are a great way to show off student activities and promote your study of karate. Car stickers can be placed on the windows of parent vehicles with the name and emblem of the dojo and personalized with the student’s name. This is a great way to allow students to spread the word about their school.

Business

Marketing and Marketing Communications for Small and Medium Businesses: Important Forecasts for 2017

2016 ended with Americans exhausted by emotionally harrowing politics, stories of foreign entanglements and violence at home. Companies have also struggled with modest economic growth and a turbulent stock market. As we begin 2017, everyone – consumers and organizations alike – faces uncertainty in a variety of areas.

Against this backdrop, companies have yet to develop, plan and execute strategies for profitable growth. After speaking with various colleagues and clients, and reading feedback from various experts and forecasters, here is my take on what awaits small and medium-sized B2B and B2C businesses in the coming year:

one. A significant number of marketers, both large and small, will conduct agency reviews in 2017. The current Advertiser Insights report (based on 420 marketers representing about 90 percent of the top 100 US advertisers) reveals a staggering number of planned reviews:

· 66% Creative Agency Review Plan;

65% plan to check search agencies;

64% plan to review media agencies;

61% plan to review digital agencies.

Why? Beyond the lack of trust in the authorities of society as a whole, trust has also been lost, rightly or wrongly, between marketers and their agencies. So if you are feeling concerned about your agency relationship, acknowledge that you are not alone.

two. There will be significant increases in the number of companies hiring “temporary workers”, that is, freelance contract workers and freelance specialists. Faced with minimum wage increases, increases in health care costs, and rising payroll taxes, companies are obviously doing everything they can to reduce their fixed labor costs. But the ability to hire top-tier talent in the short or long term is also a practice that’s gaining a lot of momentum. In fact, a recent Deloitte University Press survey showed a “significant 7 percent increase” plus a “44 percent increase” in planning to hire casual workers in the next few years.

Keep in mind that these “outsiders” bring fresh energy and ideas to any type of organization and, at the same time, can provide some savings to your bottom line.

3. Media fraud and ad blocking will increase in 2017. Much was uncovered by the National Advertisers Association’s eight-month investigation into undisclosed refunds flowing from digital media companies to agencies. However, there is an incentive for scammers to keep doing what they are doing due to the ability to bypass fraud detection systems. This widespread practice can influence agencies’ media recommendations (and bottom line), although it obviously does not serve the best interests of clients.

Perhaps most importantly, the staggering growth of ad blocking in the markets poses a huge threat to digital media. At least 419 million people around the world are blocking ads on their smartphones, almost double the number blocked on desktop computers. That’s 22 percent of the world’s 1.9 billion smartphone users (PageFair – Ad Blocking Goes Mobile).

Digital and mobile media won’t go away, but using them effectively is challenging. Find professionals you trust to make sure you get what you expected.

Four. Since customers and followers are the lifeblood of any business or nonprofit organization, organizations will need to significantly increase their efforts to better understand their real-world wants and needs. A recent McKinsey & Co. study of about 700 top executives found that: 1) only 6 percent of companies felt they understood their customers’ needs very well; and 2) seventy-two percent considered the knowledge-of-the-client budgets inadequate.

There has been an explosion in the amount of customer data available, with new software programs mining all kinds of purchase and opinion information, including social media. To be competitive, organizations will need to continue expanding their knowledge using this new information. It just doesn’t seem smart to even consider developing a specific strategy or plan without knowing your customers, so make sure you have the skills to obtain and interpret the correct information.

5. Developing and maintaining a positive customer experience will become the new king of marketing. Distrust of institutions appears to be rampant: products are withdrawn from the market, passwords are stolen, online tweets have as much credibility as government agencies. Starting with employees, make sure they have the knowledge and tools to provide better customer service, create a positive experience, and promote repeat buying and customer referrals.

Confidence is the new black. All aspects of a brand’s life must convey reliability, delivered consistently and credibly, at every point of contact.

6. The acceptance and use of direct mail by millennials will continue to explode. Yes, millennials. And yes, traditional mail. This demographic is the one most likely to open and read direct mail. In fact, 63% reported that they made a purchase based on a direct mail article that they opened in the last 3 months (Direct Marketing Information Trends Study in the US).

Perhaps their flood of spam, disrupted advertising, and meaningless content will leave you tired of staring at screens and searching for a “new” medium. After all, it’s not about technology; it’s about efficiency.

7. While internet media spending will be tied to television for the biggest spending in 2017, more marketers will acknowledge that the majority of top media spending is still accounted for by traditional media (65%). Spending on television will increase by 1 percent, away from home by 4 percent, as radio will remain unchanged and only magazines and newspapers will show decreases (by 5 and 9 percent, respectively). Additionally, the Marketing Services category will increase by 2.8 percent to $ 237 billion, led by sales promotion, telemarketing, direct mail, and event sponsorships. (Age of advertising)

It goes without saying that determining where to spend your money on marketing communications is becoming increasingly complex. The key to doing this successfully is understanding the difference between selecting the newest “efficient” tactical tool and selecting the most “effective” one. This becomes increasingly important for small businesses, which cannot afford costly mistakes.

8. Much more time and smart thinking will be spent developing marketing strategy, positioning, and planning for marketing and marketing communications. A study of “Significant Brands” conducted by Havas in 2015 reported that most people wouldn’t mind if three-quarters of all brands disappeared forever. Also, most brands haven’t updated their strategies to satisfy today’s internet shoppers. These buyers have access to a wealth of information and have a wealth of purchasing options at their fingertips. It is more vital than ever that, to survive, you must continue to keep your brand meaningful to its constituents.

Both for-profit and non-profit brands must make absolutely clear how they differ from the competition and make their value proposition completely credible at every opportunity. Once your plan is implemented, you also need to know what is working and measure everything.

Marketing Communications and Value Marketing Consultants

2017 brings a considerable number of unknowns and concerns facing your customers, prospects, and even your employees. Clearly, they are more cautious about what to believe and who to trust for the next year. All organizations are faced with these problems and the dilemma of how to run a successful business in this climate.

Many small and medium-sized organizations are partnering with established and independent senior consultants to assist them with marketing communications and marketing plans and budgets, evaluating, developing, refining and, if applicable, implementing. If this is something you might consider, look for people with extensive experience in B2B, B2C, and nonprofits across all industries and brands. Look for consultants who are media neutral and don’t sell a particular discipline. And make sure they are passionate about analyzing the results and willing to “tell it like us” so that candor can flourish.

Improving the ROI of profitable sales and marketing communications is a daunting task. Finding the right consultant to partner with can take a bit of searching, but as Yogi Berra said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”