Archive for May, 2014

Marketing with Events and Developing a Style Guide for Your Business

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

Tablet Readers RejoiceEdit

Its time again for another community news and information roundup. Here are the key insights from the blogs and communities we follow across the Web. It’s our weekly survey of what the small business community online is discussing. Enjoy and contribute.

Use Events to Grow Your Business (Event Supremacy)

Yes, search, social and mobile marketing are important for your business. But another very powerful yet sometimes less talked about approach is through events. If you want to learn more about how small businesses can use events to promote their brand, look no further. Rich Brooks, founder of the Agents of Change Conference, discusses his approach with host Vernon T. Foster in this podcast.

Your Organization Needs a Style Guide (Social Change Consulting)

No matter what kind of organization — business, non-profit or anything else — unless you plan to stay a solo act, you’ll need to plan for growth. One of the tricks here can be scaling your organization so that everyone understands how you do things. Here Justin P. Clark shares a technique from the non-profit world that business owners can use too. Adopt a style guide for your company.

Grow Your Business by Creating Something New (The Attorney Marketing Center)

You’ve heard the often repeated advice that entrepreneurs must work on their business not just in it. Here David M. Ward explains one important way to accomplish this simply by creating something new. Whether you are trying to grow a law practice or some other kind of business entirely, its about more than just taking care of day to day stuff.

Figure Out Your Ideal Customer (BizLaunch Blog)

Another way of growing your business is by defining your ideal customer. Here Lora Crestan, owner of Solstice Group, discusses creating a profile of the perfect customer or client your business aspires to serve. The exercise helps you direct your marketing efforts and create products and services specific to meet that customer’s needs.

Why You Need Content Marketing Strategy (Small Business eCommerce Blog)

Content marketing is an important part of promoting your business online. But, in this post, Simon Horton also points out that without a strategy your content marketing efforts are likely to be ineffective. Whether you run an eCommerce or other business, here’s a look at how to develop a strategy for those marketing efforts.

Create the Perfect About Page (Papermark Blog)

Your about page is more important than you think. It not only tells people about you and your business. It may also determine whether or not they decide to become your client or customer. Janice Hostager has more insights here and in the BizSugar community about how to get your about page right.

18 Tips for Reaching Your Target Audience (Smart Marketerz)

We’ve heard about developing a profile for your ideal customer. Here blogger Erik Emanuelli talks about reaching your target audience — and some advice about how to get it done. In the BizSugar community, Emanuelli also chats about how to define who your target audience is in the first place.

Get Some Extra Client Insight (Black Enterprise)

Beyond the importance of developing a target audience and ideal client, you should also know as much as you can about those clients. Here Carolyn M. Brown suggests Grapevine6 to give you more insight into your LinkedIn connections, for example. Think about how to get more insight into your customers.

10 Lessons to Learn About Blogging (Denise Mooney)

Mooney lists quite a few lessons learned blogging over the last year. But for small business owners, the most important one may be to treat your blog as a business. Here’s a bit more discussion on that point in the BizSugar community.

The Importance of Color in Your Marketing (SF Gazette)

You might be surprised how important a role color choice makes in Web design. In this post, Bruna Martinuzzi, founder of Clarion Enterprises Ltd., explores the psychology of color and how it can impact the success of your business. Consider the role color plays in your marketing efforts.

Drop us an email at sbtips@gmail.com to tell us what you think we should be sharing in our next community roundup. Or contribute to BizSugar.com where we go each week to find the best and freshest in small business content.

Tablet Readers Rejoice via Shutterstock

The post Marketing with Events and Developing a Style Guide for Your Business appeared first on Small Business Trends.

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Small creditors take legal action over OGX restructuring

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

Mr Batista’s oil and gas, logistics and mining empire of mostly start-up companies collapsed last year when OGX’s two main producing fields turned out to be duds

Two Moms Create Business Niche With Prenatal Vitamin Water

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

bump water

When Stacy Rauen and Amber Wilcox were going through their respective pregnancies, they couldn’t believe there wasn’t an easier way to get their necessary prenatal vitamins. Both women had difficulty with the standard pills due to their size and taste. Those factors, mixed with persistent morning sickness, made getting the necessary vitamins tough.

That’s when the two women put their heads together and came up with a business idea. Wilcox told Small Business Trends:

“Since we were drinking so much water, especially sparkling water, and you need more water when you are pregnant, we thought, ‘Why can’t we sip our way to a healthy baby?’ We couldn’t believe there wasn’t an easier way to get the folic acid you need during pregnancy.”

bump water

Then Rauen, Wilcox and their husbands began looking into making their idea a reality. They did some Internet research and spoke to other moms and doctors to make sure there wasn’t a similar product already on the market.

Then they teamed up with a beverage development company, since they didn’t have any previous experience in the beverage industry. They conducted tasting rounds at their homes with friends and family. They hired a branding company to take care of things like their logo and website. Bump Water was officially in the works.

The two families worked long nights and weekends to make Bump Water a reality. They even poured their savings into the project. So to fund their initial production round, the first-time business owners held fundraisers for friends and family and started an Indiegogo campaign.

bump water

Now, the business is experiencing steadily growing sales on its website and Amazon.com. They are also in talks with “quite a few major retailers,” according to the founders.

Even though they are seeing some success now, the founders said that starting a business in an industry that was new to them wasn’t without its challenges. Before Bump Water, Rauen worked as a magazine editor and Wilcox was a stay-at-home mom. So things like lead times from vendors and review time frames for major retailers were things they had to learn through trial and error.

But through it all, both founders said they are proud of their product and business plan. Even though they were unfamiliar with the beverage industry, they knew through their own personal experiences that there was a hole in the market. And they did something about it. That niche, Wilcox said, is how they were able to find success:

“Try to create a unique product that fits a specific need. We were amazed a product like Bump Water didn’t already exist, so we created it.”

Images: Bump Water

The post Two Moms Create Business Niche With Prenatal Vitamin Water appeared first on Small Business Trends.

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Mexico issues more Banamex arrest warrants

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

Citi, has purged a dozen staff at Banamex after a two-month investigation and has admitted it failed to spot warning signs of the alleged fraud

Bulgarian Embassy in Moscow Issues 100,000th Visa for 2014

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

Bulgaria’s Embassy in Moscow has issued the 100,000th visa for 2014 to a 2-year-old Russian girl, the Ministry of Economy and Energy informed, Saturday.

The Bulgarian Ambassador to Russia Boyko Kotzev greeted Oksana and her mother Elena Shishkina, who accepted the visa.

Traditionally, Oksana and her mother received a free week-long holiday in a five star hotel in Bulgaria, as well as free airplane tickets.

This year the Bulgarian Embassy in Moscow saw increased interest by Russian citizens. In May 2014, the number of issued visas only in Moscow has grown by some 9% compared to the same period last year. The average number of visas issued per day reaches 4000-5000.

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Two Books with Perfect Phrases to Help You Get the Job Done

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

perfect phrasesStrap yourself in, this is going to be a super-two-fer book review!

How many times have you been stopped cold because you just didn’t have the right words to close the sale or to make an announcement of some sort.  These are two times in the live of a small business that can really make a difference.

This week, I received two review copies of books that are in a series called Perfect Phrases.  The one that caught my attention first was Perfect Phrases for Sales Presentations: Hundreds of Ready to Use Phrases for Delivering Powerful Presentations That Close Every Sale and it’s companion Perfect Phrases for Writing Company Announcements: Hundreds of Ready-to-Use Phrases for Powerful Internal and External Communications.

Both books are written by Linda Eve Diamond and both have been a Godsend to me.  You see, even though I’m a big time talker, when it comes to making announcements or starting a sales conversation – or even responding inside of a sales conversation – I’m often speechless.  It’s like I can’t think fast enough on my feet.

Ta-Da! What to Say When You Don’t Know What to Say

I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to receive these books as review copies.  Because more often than not, what stops me is simply not knowing what to say.  Both of these books solve that problem by giving you more than enough phrases that you can choose from and practice with to get you over that insecure hump and get you into the conversation that matters.

Inside the Sales Phrases Book

I’m going to start with Perfect Phrases for Sales Presentations because I suspect that this is the one you are really interested in.

First, let me tell you that this is a book you can carry in your briefcase, purse or computer case.  It’s just under 180 pages and it’s going to be your go-to cheat sheet for the next time you do a sales presentation – no matter what your level of expertise.

The book is divided into three sections. The first section is a foundation builder; mindset, attitude and who you need to be to become successful.  Part two contains the meat of the book – it’s the one that’s going to have all the dog-ears.

Part three is designed to get you into the habit of practicing, strengthening and implementing what you’ve learned here.  Ideally, the intention is to wean yourself off the book.  But if you’re like me, you’ll skip sections one and three and firmly use section two.

There are phrases for every sales circumstance; cold calls, warm calls, hot calls, when you’ve been referred. Here are just a few examples:

“I wonder if you could help me.  I have a product/service that is designed to increase internet security, who would be the best person for me to speak with?”

“Thank you for calling XYZ company, I have a note here that you requested additional information and I had some questions.  If you have a few minutes now, I can help you with that.”

This book is killer useful.  But one thing that was missing for me was the social media aspect of prospecting.  These days so many people make first connections online, it would have been nice to have these phrases customized for LinkedIn or Twitter.  That’s not to say that you can’t do this with the phrases that are offered – it’s just that it would have made the book more current for today’s selling environment.

Perfect Phrases for Announcements Focuses on an Often Ignored Communication Opportunity

Let’s jump into the next book about phrases for company announcements.  I say that this is an ignored area of company communication and one where people tend to get – how shall I say – LAZY.  This is why it’s often the brunt of radio shows and jokes where people read silly emails and corporate announcements and focus on the poor phrases and flat out miscommunication.

I also call this a communications opportunity because internal announcements speak very loudly about the unstated culture of a company.  For example, it’s not unusual for organizations to say that “people are their most important asset” and then to put out announcements that give the opposite impression.  Internal announcements are a critical component to maintaining and building corporate culture and morale – and deserve more attention than they get.

Like Perfect Phrases for Sales, Perfect Phrases for Writing Company Announcements is divided into three parts and follows the same structure; introduction, phrases and an implementation section. Below are just a few phrases that I found really useful.

Here is one praising a team for winning an award:

“We didn’t win the state award for Best Restaurant because we have the best chefs, waitstaff, bus crew or bar tenders – we won because you are all the best at what you do and you work as a team to give our customers and outstanding dining experience, Congratulations everyone – and thank you!”

And here is one talking about restructuring, certainly a more difficult topic:

“We realize our new product line reflects a shift in the company’s overall philosophy.  We appreciate your support over the years and hope you will continue to be as enthusiastic about our new direction as you have been along the way.”

About the Author

Linda Eve Diamond is the author of several books in the areas of education, self-help, motivation, teambuilding, business writing, and poetry. Listening is a critical skill is a central theme throughout her diverse work.

After writing and teaching indication skills in a corporate training setting for nearly 15 years, she decided to find to her focus on communication by exploring the importance of listening from the inner to the interpersonal.

She’s written more than seven books on these topics and has co-written Perfect Phrases for Writing Company Announcements with her mother, Harriet Diamond, who is also an accomplished author of several training books.

If you’ve been looking for some handbooks with ready-to-use phrases to get your conversations started and move them forward, these two are a great addition to your library.

The post Two Books with Perfect Phrases to Help You Get the Job Done appeared first on Small Business Trends.

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Psy’s Gangnam Style Hits Astounding 2B Youtube Views

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

South Korean pop phenomenon Psy’s Gangnam Style has become the first YouTube video to surpass 2 billion views, crossing the mark around shortly before midnight, Friday.

The unlikely hit holds the record for most overall views and most views in a day – 38 million.

No other video comes close to Gangnam on the streaming service’s list of top videos. Justin Bieber’s Baby is the only other billion-plus video at 1.04 billion views.

Psy has three of the top 15 videos on the site.

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Bulgaria’s Sofia Municipality Sends Aid to Bosnian Flood Victims

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

Bulgaria’s Sofia Municipality has sent humanitarian aid to 30 families who were affected by the recent floods in Bosnia’s capital Sarajevo.

The initiative is under the patronage of Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova and will help 30 families who lost their homes in the heavy floods in Sarajevo.

They will receive new stoves, refrigerators, washing machines and beds, the website of Sofia Municipality informs.

The domestic appliances are provided by companies members of the Confederation of Employers and Industrialists in Bulgaria, and the transport – by the National Association of the Bulgarian Road Carriers.

Sofia Municipality has contacted the victims of the floods in Belgrade, Zagreb and Sarajevo under the initiative of Mayor Yordanka Fandakova.

Meanwhile, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) estimated the damages from the devastating floods in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina at around EUR 3B.

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Turkish PM Warns Against Taksim Anniversary Protests

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has urged young Turks to ignore calls to mark the first anniversary of Istanbul’s Taksim Square protests, Saturday.

Thousands of police officers and dozens of water cannon trucks are to be deployed to the square, according to media reports.

“One year later, people, including so-called artists, are calling for demonstrations, but you, Turkey’s youth, you will not respond to the call,” Erdogan told a crowd of a thousand young people in Istanbul.

“These terrorist organisations manipulated our morally and financially weak youth to attack our unity and put our economy under threat,” Erdogan said, as quoted by international media.

A number of people were killed with thousands more injured in heavy-handed police crackdown after protests against plans to redevelop Istanbul’s Gezi Park in 2013 turned into mass anti-government rallies.

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Gazprom Criticises EU Over South Stream Gas Pipeline

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

From Financial Times

By Christian Oliver in Brussels and Jack Farchy in Moscow

Gazprom has accused the EU of applying double standards to block its landmark gas pipeline into Europe in a case that looks increasingly likely to spiral into an acrimonious legal showdown.

The confrontation over the South Stream pipeline comes as Russian, Ukrainian and EU officials meet in Berlin on Friday to try to forge a compromise in a dispute over Kiev’s gas price and prevent supply disruptions to Europe.

Construction work on South Stream, a proposed pipeline running from the Black Sea to Austria, is expected to start next month but Russia is accusing the EU of trying to block the project because of the crisis in Ukraine. Last week, Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, threatened to divert the pipeline and complained Brussels was “constantly throwing a spanner in the works”.

The EU is worried about whether the pipeline will abide with its competition rules that are intended to stop gas supplies being dominated by an export monopoly such as Gazprom.

The main battleground for an impending legal struggle is likely to be Bulgaria, where South Stream is due to enter the EU. Officials from the EU say their primary concern is whether Bulgaria’s parliament will amend the national energy law to rule that an offshore segment of South Stream lies outside EU competition directives.

This week, Jos? Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, made an unusually direct threat of legal action against Bulgaria’s socialist government, one of the EU’s political parties with the closest ties to Moscow. “Some of the agreements that have been or are being negotiated on South Stream are in contradiction of European Union rules, so we will act,” he said.

But Gazprom has now responded by accusing the EU of hypocrisy over the case. It says that the pipeline running from Russia under the Black Sea to the Bulgarian port of Varna is an import pipeline and not part of the EU’s transmission grid, which would be subject to competition law.

The European Commission said it applies the same rules to all pipelines and added that any infrastructure in EU waters must abide by EU competition laws. These rules are intended to prevent one company dominating the supply chain by insisting on auctions for supplies along transit routes.

In a document explaining its legal position, Gazprom’s South Stream Transport company said the EU was applying rules to penalise Russian gas that it did not apply to the Greenstream, Maghreb, Transmed and Galsi pipelines that import North African gas into Spain and Italy.

“The South Stream offshore pipeline in this regard?.?.?.?does not fall under the scope of the third energy package,” the Gazprom document said.

Brussels is also probing other concerns in Bulgaria such as the way South Stream construction contracts were awarded to Russian and Bulgarian companies. The main construction company is set to be Russia’s Stroitransgaz, owned by businessman Gennady Timchenko, who is on a US sanctions list because of his links to Russia’s leadership. EU officials are also examining whether the transit fees are in line with regular commercial rates.

The legal disputes over Gazprom are likely to be coloured by whether a deal can be brokered in Berlin over a gas price for Ukraine. Moscow has softened its position in recent weeks, indicating it would be ready to lower prices for gas supplies to Ukraine from the level of $485 per thousand cubic metres that was announced by Gazprom in April.

However, it has maintained that Kiev should pay off at least some of its accrued debt as a precondition to negotiations, with a plan proposed by the European Commission for Ukraine to pay $2.5bn over the next week.

Without a deal, Gazprom is threatening that it could cut supplies to Ukraine from June 3.

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