Video Production In Oklahoma City
We were out in Oklahoma City this past weekend working on a video shoot for a client project and had an amazing experience working with the local production crew. Pre-production meetings took place at a local green screen studio where we all compared notes and planned for the shoot. We had a few actors, wardrobe changes, and few set props, but most of the backdrop was of local landmarks in and around Oklahoma City. We thought we would keep local landmarks in the video to stage a grassroots type feel for the client. The video wasn’t going to be broadcast on television but instead used for Youtube and Facebook video advertising campaigns. Social media has just absorbed video content like a sponge and the amount of people contributing content daily is keeping consumers pleased and engaged. It’s an industry ripe for the taking for any hungry marketer with a video camera or cell phone. Video is so easy to capture these days as most of our electronic devices come equipped with a built-in camera, and cameras, in general, are as cheap as they have ever been. Therefore, we felt that the platforms we wanted to syndicate this video on should be where everyone else that doesn’t have a million dollar budget is pushing video content. The shoot started early after our pre-production meeting and ran into the early afternoon. The people were great, we were able to send a live feed of the takes to our clients to get a real-time approval of the video clips as they were produced. Technology is definitely on the side of the videographer these days. Once we shot all our scenes and had it all approved, we packed up and headed back to the studio to make our cuts and create an edit decision list (EDL) for the final mix. The audio engineers were really prepared, they had multiple channels of clean audio to choose from and that helped. We had a few camera angles, so the cuts were nice and natural when they transitioned from one scene to the next. We used the Adobe Premier Suite for our post-production editing and the video came out really sharp after there were some color correction plugins ran on the different cameras to get them a little more even between cuts. We hired a marketing group called Beyond Theory that specialized in video production in OKC. They lined up the videographers, sound engineers, green screen studio, and the post-production house where we finalized the project before flying out of OKC. As another Usable Resource for any business owner, I would recommend the team at Beyond Theory in addition to the Adobe Premier Video Suite for your editing needs. Adobe offers a monthly license which makes owning it much more affordable than buying it outright. The monthly subscription plan gives you access to the software as well as updates made to the software and It also covers compatibility between operating systems. Video editing software has come a long way since the early days, and for the price point, you really can’t go wrong owning Adobe Premier or any of the Adobe Creative Cloud products. The audio editing features are good, but investing in a DAW like Pro Tools for post audio production is advised.
Company Lunch At Top Golf Scottsdale
We had a company lunch at Top Golf in Scottsdale and it was an amazing opportunity for all of us to have a few drinks, compete with each other, and share some laughs. I’m not big on company events that don’t offer team building games or interactions, so teaming up and competing for a high score at Top Golf was the perfect opportunity to continue building that rapport between co-workers and having some true fun while doing it. Golfing has always been a sport that’s synonymous with business. Getting the guys together for a round of 18 to discuss business has been an effective strategy for building relationships and making deals happen. When I heard the girls were getting together to swing some clubs and share a usable resource for our online community I was thrilled, plus I had always wanted to play a few rounds at Top Golf. Leading up to the event we all got together for a little gossip hour to discuss what we would be wearing and sharing while there. Personally, I’m not much of a golfer, so I didn’t have any cute women’s golf clothes to wear. I looked online and wasn’t a fan of the major label brands and what they had to offer which is what led me to look into some of the independent designer brands like Flirtee Golf. I ended up getting a skirt and a golf top to wear, something that fashionable cute with a little business built in for my coworkers. The other girls followed a similar path when choosing an outfit for the event. We all got a Lyft from Phoenix together and made the drive from Old Town Scottsdale to the Top Golf venue near the 101. Everyone showed up fashionably late and all the girls and their spouses looked amazing. We started off with some drinks to really get the party started and then ended up mellowing out for a few before grabbing a club and hitting some balls. Top Golf is cool because it’s not traditional golf, you golf from a platform and there are various games you can play to earn points. We all did pretty well, the games were pretty even and everyone was pretty close the whole time. We had plenty of time to talk business while playing, which leads me to the next suggestion I have for you. Top Golf is a very usable resource when it comes to planning a business gathering for either your internal group of employees on your business partners. Getting the right people into the right environment breeds productivity and can make all the difference when trying to build stronger bonds and build trust within a group of people.
Battling Bugs in The Home and Office This Summer
We spend a lot of time in Arizona, and bugs are big and creepy there. While this blog post may touch on some of the insects and rodents found there, some of these solutions are universal no matter which state you are in. Enjoy this usable resource and make sure to apply some of these tips to prevent bugs from infesting your home or office this summer.
There’s just no nice way to say it: summer can be excruciating. The long, hot, dry days with little rain and scorching hot temperatures make summertime feel like the heat just envelopes you, just like when you open your heated oven. To make matters worse, the bugs come out to play in the sun and finding a way to keep your home or office protected is an important endeavor. Finding a pest control solution for your home or office is an even more important endeavor.
While there are millions of different species of insects, only a handful of them seem to invade homes and offices on a regular basis. The best way to combat the bugs is to know what to look for and how to discourage them from moving into your abode. Not all bugs are attracted to the same elements; for instances, some thrive on water sources while others avoid them. Knowing how to prepare for these unwelcome summer visitors and how to dissuade them from returning means preparing now.
While tarantulas are scary looking, with their big, hairy, slow moving arms and body, they aren’t necessarily dangerous. Their bite will hurt, but they are not poisonous; just ugly and frightening. They like to hang out in grassy areas that have sandy and dry soil and at the base roots of plants. They may also make nests in your house, in attic spaces and darkened corners, and they only come out at night. Tarantulas like clutter, so any spot that gives them a place to nest, they will take it, like old sheds or old, empty boxes. You can use various powders to kill tarantulas but chemical sprays don’t work as well, since they don’t absorb the poison through their feet. You will also need to remove the clutter so they don’t return.
Summer is also prime time for scorpions, every desert dwellers nightmare. These suckers may be small, but they pack a painful punch if you happen to be stung by one. While they aren’t deadly, the venom they produce, especially the small ones, can cause breathing problems, especially in people who are allergic. The ones to truly watch out for are the bark scorpions; these nasty little guys are the only type of scorpion that can move vertically. All other scorpions are relegated to floors. To dissuade scorpions from hanging around your house, there are a few simple tricks, including changing your outdoor bulbs from white to yellow. White bulbs attract bugs; bugs attract scorpions, who then eat the bugs. The fewer bugs, the fewer scorpions. Win-win. Also, scorpions like those built up woodpiles, to make sure to use caution when picking up the wood around your home or office. Make sure you seal your property tightly; check the weather stripping around windows and doors to keep scorpions at bay.
While termites stay busy all year long, the especially like the summer months because this is when they build their mud tubes, or the chambers that take them directly to your house. If you keep firewood outside your home, make sure it is stored on racks above the ground and as far away from your home as possible. There are several ways to fight termites before they take a bite out of your home. You can make a boric acid and water mixture and paint it on a piece of wood outside your home. The termites will be drawn to it, but the poison will kill them. Termites don’t like white vinegar and lemon juice, either, so spraying the concoction on the affected area should eventually rid your home and office of them.
Probably the most nefarious insect of them all is the dreaded cockroach. Cockroaches just love the warm summers, and they will come out in droves. Once the summer monsoons hit and the immense rainwater fills the sewers, the roaches will start moving into homes looking for food. The best way to fight these dirty creatures is to keep your areas clean and free of food and debris. Take out the trash often, too. Make sure your home is sealed and that any holes in screens or fixed or replaced. Don’t give them an entryway into your home!
There are some simple steps you can take to ensure your home is not overrun with bugs during the summer. First, any outdoor items like chairs, toys, rugs, etc., should stay outside. Any items brought inside should be thoroughly cleaned, first. Outdoor furniture is often a beacon for spiders and other nesting bugs; make sure you clean off your patio furniture before you use it! If you see a build-up of water by your home, you are inviting bugs over for a party. Mosquitoes especially love standing water, but termites use water to build their mud tunnels and scorpions are drawn to water, too. You will need to keep your landscaping in check to make sure pests don’t decide to take up residence in your yard, and eventually, your house. Warmer states are also home to some beautiful fruit trees, but if they just litter your yard with dead fruit, the bugs will come. Fruit flies will have a frenzy with rotting fruit lying around, so make sure to care for your fruit trees.
When all else fails, a professional pest control company can help you devise a plan to kill the critters that are plaguing you. They can offer you regular pest control appointments to ensure your home is protected all year long. You can start by finding a company that will give you a free assessment and tips on how to keep your home bug-free. You will want your exterminators to be certified, experienced and to stand by their work; a reputable company will come back and spray again if the problem persists. Ask your family and friends for recommendations and check the Better Business Bureau and similar websites for ratings. Summertime is tough enough; no one wants to have to constantly battle bugs and the heat. Preparing early and finding a trusted, professional service are the best ways to keep your home free and clear!
A History of Wigs
So my father has watched his hairline recede for the last 10 years and has battled with confidence issues because of it. As a traveling sales manager for his company he relies on a polished, professional look to get him in the door and infant of his clients. Although he opted out of getting a wig, I decided to write this anyway. Thankfully he took my advice and visited and received a consultation for a hair transplant in Oklahoma City. It think a transplant will improve his confidence and won’t be as obvious as a wig might be. On that note, here is a usable resource about wigs. While searching for options for him I learned a lot along the way. Enjoy!
Wigs have a storied history, from the powdered wigs of the 1700’s to the outrageous wigs worn by today’s celebrities, wigs have been an integral part of society. From practical purposes to fashion accessories, wigs have been around for centuries.
Hairpieces have actually been around since the Egyptian days, when the hot, dry climate necessitated shaved heads for both men and women. Egyptians worn wigs to protect their exposed scalps from the brutal sun. Privileged Egyptians decided to decorate their wigs to celebrate their wealth and social status. Expensive wigs were made of human hair, animal hair, vegetable fibers and beeswax, and many had decorative items like beads, and ribbons. As with King Tut, the famous Egyptian prince, many of the wealthy were buried in their tombs while wearing their wigs so they could be beautiful and rich in the next life.
Although wigs were an everyday accessory for the Egyptians, not all cultures embraced the wig. It wasn’t until a major syphilis outbreak in 16th century Europe and those afflicted with the disease lost their hair. To be bald in 16th century Europe meant you had a venereal disease and that everyone would know, so wigs came into fashion. These wigs were made of goat hair, horse hair or human hair and then coated in a scented powder to hide any smell that might be associated with the syphilis disease. These powdered wigs, called perukes, were worn all the way through the 1700’s by colonial men and Englishmen alike. Since so many people needed to wear wigs, their price soon ballooned and soon the aristocrats started spending their money on elaborate hairpieces to show their wealth. The more money one had, the bigger the wig; hence the term “bigwig”. These wigs, often in different shapes and styles, conveyed one’s social status, for only the wealthy wore elaborate hairpieces. Lower class subjects tried to style their real hair to make it look like they were wearing wigs, since they couldn’t afford the real thing. Oftentimes, the higher classes would have their wigs stolen by less fortunate folks; possibly the precursor for the colloquial “wig-snatchers” of today
Another reason wigs were so popular hundreds of years ago: head lice. Lice were a very large problem back then, and the lice would infest people’s hair. To wear a peruke, a person would have to shave all of their natural hair off, so the lice would then take up residence in the wig instead. Ridding lice from wigs was a much easier task than trying to remove them from regular hair; wigs were returned to wigmakers who boiled them in hot water to kill the lice.
Wigs slowly died out in fashion in Europe after the French Revolution, when no one wanted to emulate the aristocrats any longer. King Louis XVI wore a wig because he was losing his hair, and the other noblemen of the day followed suit to show off their elevated status in society. The long, curly wigs worn by men and the bouffant wigs like those worn by Marie Antoinette lost favor once the aristocrats were overthrown; when Marie Antoinette lost her head to the guillotine, her wig went, too.
While wearing a wig is not an everyday occurrence for most modern day people, wigs now have a broader appeal than ever before. Wigs can be worn for purely aesthetic reasons, like matching an outfit. Lots of people wear wigs for vanity reasons; to cover thinning hair or to make them look younger and more vibrant. For others, wigs are just easy; you grab and go instead of spending a great deal of time on fixing your hair. Many performers wear wigs, like Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Nikki Minaj, and the wilder, the better. Some wigs are made out of real human hair, others are synthetic wigs that look like human hair, but are easier to maintain. Other types of hair pieces, like hair extensions, have grown increasingly sought after in recent years. Clipping in strips of hair to blend with natural hair has been a way to create more volume, or even lengthen short hair. Other entertainers like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera are known for changing their looks with hair extensions. Fashion wigs and costume wigs are another fun way of reinventing your look without a lot of effort, and they are also great for parties and Halloween!
Some wigs are worn for medical purposes, like those wigs used by chemotherapy patients who have lost all their hair. Some of these patients feel better wearing a wig because it makes them feel more like themselves before they lost their hair. Other medical conditions, like simple hair loss in both men and women, are cause for someone to wear a wig. The wig can cover the entire head or it can be just a toupee, or partial hairpiece used to cover the balding spot. While many years ago entertainers wore toupees for vanity reasons, fashion trends now embrace the bald head, and stars such as Vin Diesel and the Rock, Dwayne Johnson, have paved the way for balding gentlemen to embrace their shiny domes.
There are religious reasons people wear wigs, too. In the Orthodox Jewish culture, women wear the Jewish “sheitel,” which hides a woman’s natural hair from all men other than her husband. Once a woman has married, her hair is covered since she no longer needs to attract the attention of another man.
Regardless of why people wear wigs, whether it’s to follow the rules of a particular religion, to feel better about themselves or to celebrate individuality, there are no set standards. From wild, colorful hairpieces to simple clip in styles, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
So, no matter its function—practical, artistic, or just for show—the wig continues to play a pivotal role in our lives. The real question is: what’s the next step for this highly adaptable accessory? Matching colored hairpieces worn by servers at chain restaurants? Hologram wigs, that can be switched on and off with the click of a button? A subscription wig-by-mail service, a la Netflix? We can’t wait to find out.
10 Reasons Why Better Nutrition Improve Performance
If you are a business owner you can’t afford to take sick days, staying healthy through proper nutrition is key to running a successful business and here are some reasons why eating healthier is going to help you accomplish more of your business goals. So, whether you are trying to shed weight to pursue success, get fit for health, or simply live a much healthier life, eating healthful supplies many different advantages. Regardless of your inspiration might be, here are our top 10 reasons why you need to sneak a couple more protein rich, nutrient-packed, health foods in your diet plan as soon as possible.
1. You Will Be More Effective:
Just like the vehicle you drive, your mind wants quality nutrition pumping through it so that it can operate economically. There is 1 study that found that eating unhealthy foods places you in a 66% percent higher risk of productivity reduction. As noted in the beginning of this article, if growing your businesses this year is something you are going to take serious, then obviously a 66% decrease in productivity isn’t going to work. Eating a healthful, balanced diet to ensure that your brain gets the fuel it needs to perform at the highest level and provide you with the energy needed to gain enhanced productivity on the job. This is also something that should be passed along to staff members, co workers, and business partners as a beneficial pick-me-up for everyone.
2. You Will Be Happier – I Promise (unless you are a miserable person):
The food we ingest impacts our brain function, good foods packed with nutrition can influence mood and the better the foods you are feeding your brain the better the chances are for you absorb that energy into your everyday activities leaving you in a better mood as a result of better productivity. Did you know organic bananas contain 10 mg of dopamine, a principal mood booster that the mind love to absorb? The health benefits of Dark Chocolate are well noted throughout history. Did you know that dark chocolate, packaged with polyphenol, is known to improve serotonin, a neurotransmitter that lots of antidepressants also aim to increase. Please note that if you are seriously worried about your moods you need to see a physician, unless you just have a case of the dumps then a drink with a good friend might help, otherwise take a shot at eating a dark-chocolate coated banana for breakfast. This is a great way to kick off the day.
3. Your Stress Levels Will Decrease:
There are Specific foods we can incorporate into our diet that have the capacity to moderate our body’s natural level of cortisol, the stress hormone that get’s us all… well, stressed. There are a number of studies that have found that nutritional foods packaged with vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids, and magnesium help decrease cortisol levels naturally in our body. After the body reaches a chronic state of anxiety, it breaks down proteins internally to prepare for the battle ahead. This is not healthy as our bodies can use those proteins for more productive things like muscle growth. Eating a protein-rich diet, such as fish and milk, helps replenish protein levels in the body and maintain healthy cortisol levels.
4. Will Help You Control Your Weight:
There are some common sense efforts you can make to increase your health and controlling your weight through proper diet and exercise is one of those things. healthy choices like substituting soda with water, picking carrots rather than chips, and ordering a side salad instead of chips not only can help you eliminate weight, in addition, it will be able to help you to save money. If your eating habits are something that you have trouble with you can join a local gym, or if your business is taking up most of your time you can hire an online nutrition coach that can help you plan your diet with the foods you love, just portioned so that you can still eat what you want but at the same time loose the weight needed to get healthier and more productive. The typical American family blows about $850 annually on soft drinks, which may easily be substituted with healthier alternative. I heard a Dr. say one time, “would you wash your car with soda? So why would you put it in your body?” Interesting thought for sure!
5. Better Health Equated To Less Eating:
As you transition your diet into something of quality foods and less garbage you tend to eat less because your body is getting the nutrition it needs to thrive and operate at a high level, quality will always trump quantity when it comes to fueling the body. Fresh foods in your diet include fewer low-nutrient fillers which the body burns off much faster than “filler foods”. If you’re getting and eating less food, then you are going to have less body fat, and more cash in your pocket for other things.
6. It Tastes So Much Better – Trust Me:
Ok, there is probably not a kid in the world that would exchange their Big Mac to get a beet hamburger right? But chances are there isn’t a kid in the world reading this article either. Though taste is subjective, when properly prepared, healthy foods can taste amazing. There are studies that study show that individuals tend to perceive that healthful foods taste better though they usually don’t. In a blind taste test, participants stated that organic coffee tasted better than the ordinary cup a Joe they were drinking, the funny thing is that the 2 cups were exactly the same brew. So it’s always possible that a beet burger is better than a Big Mac….. or not.
7. You Will Gracefully From Older:
So many people pump their bodies with toxins that destroy the skins service, dry it out, and leave the body wrinkled in time. But why pay for expensive and painful Botox processes to cover up something that could have been prevented anyway. How about just taking care of your body and skin with proper nutrients and through better diet and exercise? Fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants can help protect your skin and clean your blood. Fresh berries and salmon contain super antioxidants and natural omega-3 fatty acids that equally help to enhance the health of your skin’s cells and slow premature aging.
8. You Can Get Fit:
Get fit so you can be more productive. Finding a local Gym to workout at with a personal trainer can benefit productivity and your desire to improve your health. If time is limited you can always look into an online nutrition coach to help you stay the course when starting off. Once the initial stages of dieting have begun, it is often times easier to navigate the process alone. But having an online nutrition coach to design the meal plans and walk you through he first few months can be extremely beneficial for improving success. There are personal problems people have like disordered eating that can be difficult to overcome. Issues that can surface as a result of these disorders, particularly over the long term may be a risk factor for chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, obesity and cardiovascular disease. If all you are eating is junk and you are missing out on the benefits of nutrient rich foods packed with protein, minerals, and vitamins your body needs, your muscle mass will decline as your own fat storage accumulates internally. There are some estimates that say at least 30 percent of cancers are associated with diet. This is sad since this means it could be avoided with diet and exercise. One study stated that six thousand girls were tested and it was found that the girls who ate the maximum amount of cabbage, turnips, broccoli, lettuce, and cauliflower had a lesser chance of developing breast cancer after menopause. I wonder how much cabbage that is exactly?
9. Diet And Exercise Will Increase Your Life Span:
This isn’t a guarantee but it will definitely increase your odds if the alternative is eating fast foods and junk. By eating healthy you can avoid ailments that may decrease your life expectancy. There was another study that suggested that a daily diet of vegetables and fruit, in conjunction with exercise, prolonged life expectancy for women in their 70s. My mother is in her 70’s, this is a study I will be sharing with her. There was another group of researchers that examined a group of volunteers over the course of a year and the study indicated that vegetarian or vegetarian low-meat diets might help you live a longer lifetime. And yet another study points to nuts as a means to lower your chance of early departure. However you want to digest this, a healthful diet may play a significant part in how long you will live. Get yourself an personal trainer if you need help, hire an online nutrition coach, find a local doctor, join a local weight loss club for motivation, just do something about if you are struggling with your health and weight.
10. Put More Money Back In Your Pocket:
A lot of the benefits of healthful eating contribute to possible savings. All the eating out you might be doing, the money spent on fast food, and junk food goes to the waste side. Also,iIf you are staying healthy with diet and exercise, you will have fewer health bills to pay and by cutting back on food, you will eat less which equates to fewer trips to the grocery store, which equals savings on not only food, but gas, and time. By taking care of your body properly through diet and exercise you can then take care of the rest of your life.
Roof Replacement in Oklahoma City
There was a storm that blew through Oklahoma this winter that knocked one of the trees down on our vacation property in Oklahoma. There are two issues that came of this. First we had to hire a tree trimmer in Oklahoma City to come in and clean up the overhang from the other trees on the property. We have some much overhang on our property from the old growth trees it’s a disaster waiting to happen. In addition to getting the trees trimmed, we should probably have some cut down also. There is always the possibility that extreme winds rip through Oklahoma and de-root our trees. Cleaning the property up and preparing it for the eventual wind storm that is inevitable is the best thing we can do for preventative measures. The other issue that came of this was the reality that we needed to replace our entire roof. We knew we had to repair the damage, but when the roof estimator came out and evaluated the damage he was adamant that we replace the whole roof. I don’t think we had replaced it since we owned it. The roof was an old shingle roof that husband would maintain on occasion if shingle broke loose or rotted out. What we didn’t know was that there was water damage to the plywood underneath the shingles. So while the roof appeared healthy on the surface, it was a mess underneath. We hired an Oklahoma City roofing specialist to re-roof the entire home. We also found out while they were in the attic that the water had dripped through and damaged some items we had store in the attic. Fortunately most of it were things we could replace. The new roof was a composite shake that basically has a lifetime warranty. They look like real wood shakes, but are synthetic and last longer. We are excited about the repair being done and this shouldn’t be an issue again in our lifetime (hopefully). If you have a home or vacation home in Oklahoma and are in need of a roofing contractor or a qualified tree trimmer I would recommend both of the companies we hired. This is another Usable Resoure from your friends at YourUsabilityResource.com.
How To Own And Care For Your Classic Car
Some people collect stamps; some collect rare coins. When you’re really rich, what do you collect? If you are Ralph Lauren, Tim Allen, Jay Leno or Jerry Seinfeld, or a number of other filthy rich celebrities, you collect classic cars. It’s hard to imagine adding a fish tank to a car, but singer Wyclef Jean did just that. When you have money to burn, burning it with gasoline seems like a logical choice. This is another usable resource for those of you continuing to build businesses and make money. With more money comes more toys! If you have decided to diversify your portfolio with a classic car collection there are some things to consider.
Unlike most classic car owners, Jay Leno asserts that he drives them all—all 169 automobiles and all 117 motorcycles. He’s the proud owner of such sought after cars as the 1930 Bentley G400 with its V12 engine; the 1970 Mazda Cosmo 110S, a limited edition car, and the aerodynamic and sleek 1963 Jaguar XKE Coupe. Ralph Lauren’s collection, the cars he DOESN’T drive, include a 1929 Bentley Blower and a 1958 Ferrari Testarossa. Tim Allen, of “Home Improvement” and “Last Man Standing” television shows, is an enthusiast of American muscle cars, including a 1965 Shelby Cobra S/C. And Jerry Seinfeld, who built a career on “nothing”, spent a lot of something to acquire a 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS and a 1955 Porsche 550 RS—as well as another rumored 44 Porsche models. When you have the money, you can literally burn it—with gasoline fuel.
The great thing about classic cars is they are the great equalizer—you don’t have to be insanely rich to own one. You may have gotten lucky and your old uncle may have left you his 1960 Ford Thunderbird for you to tool around in, or maybe you bought a classic before it was a classic and held on to it. If you weren’t lucky enough to happen onto a classic car, you can still save your money and invest in a sweet ride, or start your own collection! We spoke to an OKC car detailing professional about maintaining the vehicle in an effort to retain its value. He went on to say that the attention to detail monthly is dependent on how well the car is kept. Obviously the better it’s maintained, the less time you have to invest in detailing it when it’s time to sell.
So where do you begin to find these classics, and what can you expect? One great idea is to scout out classic car shows, held at various spots across the country. It’s an excellent way to see these cars up close and personal and to ask other car enthusiasts how they got their start. If you’re feeling very brave, and you have the dollars to back it up, you may even bid on one of the beauties, but you should do your homework first.
If you have your eye on a specific car, it is best to learn all you can about its history and its upkeep. You may get a screaming deal on the car itself, but if you intend on driving it and the parts are astronomical, you probably won’t drive it—or possibly own it—very long. If you intend to drive it, it doesn’t have to be in competition level condition, as long as it is maintainable. If you do plan to show it, it will need to be as original as possible, and you will want to try to keep the mileage low. The weather is another factor to consider; you don’t want to subject your car to the elements, if possible, so you’ll also have to factor in where you will keep the car. Parking it on the street is probably not the best idea for various, obvious reasons!
If you decide to move forward with the purchase, recognize that buying the car is one expense; maintaining and housing it are ongoing, separate expenses. You will have to obtain classic car insurance which is costly, as well. However, if you budget in these additions, you should be able to enjoy your purchase without worry. Classic car owners find that these vehicles are well worth the effort and expense; owing a piece of history makes it worthwhile. Who knows, after buying your first classic, you may be on your way to an extensive collection!
Newly Installed Granite In Our Phoenix Office
Many of us have the luxury of owning our own businesses, homes, and vacation homes. We just remodeled the interior of one of our offices in Arizona. My business partner had bought out an industrial space in Phoenix and completely remodeled the interior of the space before moving any employees into it. The new office space has an open floor plan and is equipped with a beautiful employee kitchen and eating area. As we discussed this project prior to completing it, we determined there were some touches we really wanted to make it unique to us and our business. Granite countertops was one of those must have items we wanted all throughout the office. We had a granite installer in Phoenix come in and measure all the surface areas and confirm path we could install the natural stone in both bathrooms and the kitchen area. They took measurements and confirmed that they had enough granite material to cover all the surface space in the kitchen and bathrooms. At that, I will leave you with this. Granite is beautiful, durable, and highly recommended. Below you will find my take on granite, enjoy!
As few as thirty years ago, the only people who knew about granite were geologists. When granite first made its debut as a countertop, it came in limited colors and it was very expensive. These countertops were so expensive, people who opted to have them installed could not expect a fair return on investment. Fast-forward thirty years, and granite is the go-to natural stone used in homes and businesses as the countertop of choice. Its varied designs and colors as well as its durability have made granite countertops increasingly popular in many American homes. Granite is something homeowners nowadays, well, take for granted!
Your parents or grandparents had to muddle through with tile, solid surfacing or plastic laminate countertops; not so anymore. Countertops have grown up and become their very own status symbol. Years ago, an entire kitchen would cost the same amount as a few slabs of granite today, but in its defense, the granite is much stronger and longer-lasting than any of the countertops of yesteryear. While laminate countertops peel and tile countertops chip, granite countertops will last until you decide to replace them, not because you must replace them. Plus, the granite’s natural colors can be used to highlight the kitchen, making it a showpiece of the home.
Granite is known as an igneous rock, which means “born of fire”. Granite is formed from molten magna far beneath the Earth’s crust and then it hardened as the Earth cooled. Formulated of quartz, feldspar and mica, these large mineral grains fit tightly together. As the most common rock in the continental crust, it is mined and cut into slabs, where it is polished and sold mainly for use as bathroom and kitchen countertops. While granite is generally lighter in color, it is noted for its “vein” or “flecks” of darker color that come from additional minerals in the granite. Granite does not crack or chip easily, and it is very easy to clean, making it a desirable kitchen workplace. It is highly scratch resistant and can withstand hot pots and plates without damaging its surface, making it an excellent product for both kitchen and bath counters. While it is scratch resistant, it is also a very porous material, so cutting directly on the granite is not advised. Germs and bacteria can build which can lead to some health hazards. It is important to have the granite countertop sealed preferably once a year to help protect against its porous nature and to ensure it doesn’t succumb to stains. Once granite has been damaged or broken, it is difficult to repair. A stone restoration professional should be called to assess the damage and to see if the stone can be repaired. The other major drawback to granite is that it is not a ‘green’ substance; its harvesting process requires digging up the Earth to retrieve it.
Having granite installed in the kitchen or bathroom is a great long term investment. Since it is so durable and easy to clean, it is very desirable, especially when it comes time to sell your home. Granite, when well cared for, will outlast even soapstone and quartz when used in a bathroom or kitchen. Aesthetically, they are beautiful, and you can select the colors and the amount of mineral color you would like to run through it. If you appreciate the veins and flecks, you can get something with more character, while granite offers subtle colorations, too. With so many different colors and patterns to choose from, and the durability of the rock itself, it’s no wonder granite is such a popular natural stone.
As with many types of natural stone, there are variations, and not just in the color. “Granite” is a loose term; natural stone dealers consider granite to be any type of rock with big grains and hard minerals which may not technically be considered granite by geologists. Natural stone dealers can have the granite quarried into a dimension stone, a natural rock that is cut into slabs of a certain length, width and thickness. Natural stone dealers know that granite, in the broad sense, can be used not only for durable countertops, but also for headstones and monuments. Found in such places as Yosemite Valley, California, and Pike’s Peak, Colorado, granite is abundant and beautiful. Even Mount Rushmore in South Dakota was carved in granite almost 80 years ago, and the presidents look like they haven’t aged a day. The rocks resistance to acid rain and general weathering make it an excellent outdoor choice for these purposes, as well. To say granite is rock hard is giving too much credit to the term “rock hard”; granite is virtually stronger than steel. Second only to diamonds in hardness, granite is an excellent choice for heavy duty jobs.
Granite is plentiful, especially in areas like India and Brazil, where it is less expensive to extract from the ground due to labor costs. Once it was determined that there was a demand for granite, more and more sites began mining it, causing costs to drop and the color options to increase. In the United States, the areas with the most granite are Massachusetts, Georgia, New Hampshire, South Dakota, and Idaho.
Granite comes in so many colors and styles, it is best to work with an expert when selecting which will work best in your home. Selecting a natural stone like granite will bring a warmth and elegance to your home, and its ease of care is unmatched. While initially the cost may seem expensive, the durability and longevity of the stone will give you your money’s worth. This natural stone is unique in each slab, and it never loses its brilliance, even as it ages. You will want to make sure that you seal your granite at least once a year to protect it from oils and stains. Since the material is so porous, items like red wine and mustard can’t add colors to your granite that you don’t really want! Like most materials, the better you care for it, the longer it will last.
Take A Vacation And Enjoy Boulder Colorado
All business owners find themselves working real hard at some point in their business ventures. Regardless of how busy you get, you must make time for yourself and your family. Balance is key to a healthy work/family life. Your Usability Resources are meant for the busy individuals who can’t find the time to locate the information they require in a timely manner. This resource page is about Boulder Colorado and the various things you can enjoy should you decide to visit the popular tourist destination.
When you picture Boulder, Colorado, snow and the Rocky Mountains may come to mind. Boulder, however, is more than just a mountain town; in addition to being home to just over 100,000 people, Boulder offers plenty of activities to keep any visitor busy. Just forty-five minutes north of the capital of Denver, Boulder offers the laid-back, outdoor lifestyle that makes it a popular tourist destination.
Activities abound in Boulder, regardless of the time of year. A very outdoor community, Boulder offers an active outdoor adventure for novices to experts. Boulder features of 300 miles of beautiful hiking and biking trails of Boulder Creek Path that borders Boulder Creek. Rock climbing is also a very popular sport in Boulder, featuring unique rock formations at the Flatirons, Eldorado Canyon just south of Boulder and Boulder Canyon to the west. Boulder Creek is a hot spot, especially in the summer months. Tubing, kayaking and fly-fishing are attractive options on the creek and boat rentals on the Boulder Reservoir are available, too. To soar to new heights and truly see all of Boulder, try a glorious hot air balloon ride or helicopter ride. Horseback riding at one of the various stables near Boulder is another great way to explore the prairies. With almost 300 sunny days per year, outdoor adventures in Boulder beckon!
Of course, spring and summer are not the only months to venture outside in Boulder; fall offers fairly mild temperatures while winter brings an average of 90 inches of snowfall each year. Cross country skiing, ice climbing, and snowshoeing are all well-liked winter activities. Downhill skiing is just thirty minutes away, as well.
For professional sports enthusiasts, Boulder is a perfect place. Located just twenty-five miles north of Denver, a quick trip into the city to see the Broncos play football or the Rockies play a baseball game is totally feasible. Denver is also home to the Colorado Avalanche hockey team, the Denver Nuggets basketball team and the Colorado Rapids soccer team, so there is something for sports fans.
Boulder Art and Artist Attractions
Boulder residents enjoy an area celebrated not only for its outdoor activities, but as a mecca for artists. Named one of the Top 10 Cities for Artists by Business Week magazine, Boulder boasts a vibrant art culture. The Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art offers educational programs and houses some of the finest in local and national contemporary art works. Food is also a favorite feature in Boulder, with the city being recognized as America’s Foodiest Town by Bon Appetit magazine. If you’re looking to expand your arts, culture and culinary horizons, Boulder had a lot of options. From October to May, Boulder features a series of Bach-focused events and concerts, as well as the Boulder International Film Festival in February. Boulder also offers a series of summer concerts at the Colorado Music Festival. Boulder’s Art Week, March 30-April 7, this year, hosts art walks, exhibitions, performances, workshops and music all throughout the town. If you’re looking to enlighten your taste buds, the aptly named The Kitchen features farm to table fresh foods and features a community night dinner on Mondays where groups share meals family-style. Snarf’s, with its unique sandwiches, is a Boulder must-dine and for the special night out, Frasca, serves the finest pastas, seafood, and lamb, all paired with the perfect wine.
Fun Things To Do in Boulder
Boulder prides itself on offering unusual but fun events to attract visitors. The Bolder Boulder, a 10 km race run on Memorial Day, has been a Boulder staple since 1979. Runners of all abilities are invited to participate with the race ending at Folsom Field. It’s the fifth largest timed race in the world! If you’re into challenges like the Bolder Boulder, here’s an even bolder one: the Polar Bear Plunge. On New Year’s Day, you can join in as others jump into the freezing Boulder Reservoir—just to say you’ve done it! Hot tubs are nearby for plungers to warm up after their dip in the reservoir. Trick or treat takes on a whole new meaning in Boulder; dozens of people participate in the naked pumpkin run. Runners don just tennis shoes, and a hallowed out pumpkin on their heads to hide their identities as they maneuver through town wearing nothing but a jack-o-lantern grin. Another unusual Boulder event: 420 day. Since marijuana has been legalized in Colorado, groups of people gather on the University of Colorado at Boulder campus to partake in marijuana smoking at 4:20 in the afternoon, on April 20th. Marijuana can be purchased legally at this Colorado dispensary (https://helpinghandsdispensary.com/). Since Boulder is a college town, offbeat events are the norm in this city!
However, if you are looking for ‘normal’ fun while in Boulder, you can always check out the delightful shopping at the Pearl Street Mall. With four blocks of prime restaurants, and specialty shops, Pearl Street Mall is a favorite spot for tourists. Pearl Street is home of the Band on the Bricks, a weekly, free event featuring beer from local breweries, music and street acts. The local farmers’ market by Pearl Street is also a popular place to pick up fresh goods during the spring and summer months. Near the college campus, The Hill, features nightlife and stores geared towards the college aged crowd. While by the college campus, bring the younger kids to the Media Archeology Lab, home to technology of yesteryear. Kids will marvel at old typewriters, rotary telephones, microfiche, and the first home computers. This is a “hands-on” museum where visitors are encouraged to explore. Or, take the kids to Gateway Park Fun Center where they can race go-carts, play mini-golf or run through the human maze! Older kids may enjoy the shows and lectures at the Fiske Planetarium, featuring the Zeiss, a one of a kind stargazing machine. In addition to Eldorado Canyon State Park and Chautauqua Park, the whole family will love the challenge of Flagstaff Mountain, whose apex features a nature center, interactive exhibits and stunning views.
Boulder offers a great deal of activities, especially if you are an outdoor enthusiast. Visiting Boulder any time of year offers different opportunities for sporting adventures, nightlife, culture, excellent food and fun for kids. Plan your vacation to Boulder today!
FlexJobs has reported the top freelance career fields and the top 30 companies hiring this workforce so far in 2018.
While freelancers aren’t eligible for benefits, they have more flexibility and freedom than traditional employees. This may explain why a FlexJobs survey showed freelancers working remotely or from home are generally happier than more traditional employees. In the US, the total number of workers freelancing has risen to 35 percent.
Small businesses are the fastest growing segment of organizations using remote workers and freelancers. As freelancers are also technically identified as small businesses, these two groups are changing the labor market and how talent is acquired.
Sara Sutton Fell, Founder and CEO of FlexJobs, explained how this work model has changed the workforce in the past decade. In a press release, she explains, “The demographics of freelancers are just as varied, spanning generations, educational backgrounds and career levels, but they share an important commonality, which is that they freelance because they value work-life balance and flexible work arrangements can help them achieve it.”
Top Careers and Jobs
The top five careers were in computer and IT, accounting and finance, HR and recruiting, editing, and administrative. Freelance jobs such as data analyst, receptionist, project manager, bookkeeper, content designer, QA specialist, chemist, proposal writer, and HR specialist were posted on FlexJobs matching those careers.
The 10 Top Freelance Fields
The top 10 freelance jobs in the U.S. at present include:
- Computer & IT
- Accounting & Finance
- HR & Recruiting
- Editing, Proofreading, and Writing
- Project Management
- Data Entry
- Research Analysis
- Software Development
- Technical Support
The list of companies hiring freelancers shows there is no one specific industry. Companies across all segments are using the pool of workers who identify themselves as freelancers.
The Top 30 Companies Hiring for Freelance Jobs in 2018 So Far
Freelancers seeing work may want to pursue it with one of these 30 companies already known for offering these opportunities:
- Kelly Services
- Real Staffing
- Accounting Principals
- Dahl Consulting
- Computer Futures
- Onward Search
- Robert Half International
- Creative Group
- 24 Seven
- Apex Systems
- Judge Group
- ics – Infinity Consulting Solutions
- Horizontal Integration
- Procom Services
- i. Systems
- MATRIX Resources
Looking for a Job?
If you are a freelancer, FlexJobs makes the following five recommendations to land your next job.
- Figure out your freelance niche.
- Set up a solid freelance foundation.
- Consider your network.
- Reach out to old employers.
- Drum up new business, because as a freelancer, you are your own business.
FlexJobs has a good vantage point of the trends taking place with remote jobs. The company offers an online platform for job seekers and companies featuring freelance work opportunities in more than 50 categories. The 2018 top 100 list, as well as this roundup, was whittled down from the more than 49,000 organizations who posted the highest number of freelance job openings on FlexJobs for the year.
Photo via Shutterstock
This article, “Top 10 Freelance Gigs Available in the US Right Now” was first published on Small Business Trends
Technology is giving small businesses advantages previously only enjoyed by big companies. This week, a lot of companies serving small businesses released new tools to help companies like yours bridge the tech gap.
QuickBooks released a new platform for accountants to manage small businesses. Salesforce and Salesfloor each have new products out to help with turning browsers into customers. And Wix has a new logo tool to boost your marketing efforts.
There’s all this and plenty more happening this week. Check out all the headlines in this week’s small business news and information roundup.
QuickBooks Accountant Apps Provision Small Businesses and their Financial Advisors
The new release of QuickBooks Accountant Apps Program from Intuit (NASDAQ: INTU) gives accountants a platform for making top-rated apps available for their customers. QuickBooks Accountant Apps Program Accountants can now provision, purchase and manage apps recommended by accounting professionals and fully compatible with the QuickBooks suite of products.
Wix Now Has a Logo Maker for Small Businesses
The new Wix (NASDAQ: WIX) Logo Maker gives small businesses the ability to create a free logo to boost their marketing efforts. Thousands of small businesses rely on Wix and its DIY website building platform to create their site. With the Wix Logo Maker, you will be able to create a logo designed by you to fit your brand and customizable to be displayed across different platforms.
The New PicMonkey Focuses on Selling to Small Business Brands
PicMonkey has announced a new visual communication platform looking to address the space between Adobe and Canva. The missing middle is an addressable emerging market worth $5 billion potentially serving both personal and professional customers including individuals, small to medium businesses and social media teams.
Holiday Returns by Customers are at 28%, Survey Says
The 2017 holiday season saw 28 percent of the gifts people purchased returned, at a value of $90 billion. The new infographic, report and survey by RedStag Fulfillment and Optro not only looks at the return rates of gifts, but how they impact businesses.
Paysafe and Verifone Offer Mobile POS to Restaurants and Small Retailers
A new partnership between Verifone (NYSE: PAY) and Paysafe will provide quick service for restaurants and small and medium-sized businesses across the United States with innovative payment solutions. Paysafe is a global provider of payment solutions while Verifone specializes in connecting payment devices to the cloud.
New Salesforce Essentials Gives Small Businesses Enterprise Level Tools
Salesforce (NYSE: CRM) just announced the release of Essentials providing small businesses for the first time with a variety of apps for what the company calls the number one global CRM platform. Sales Cloud Essentials and Service Cloud Essentials are the first Salesforce Essential apps available.
SALESmanago Offers Entrepreneurs One of Its Marketing Tools for Free
SALESmanago is giving a single marketing automation tool free to young entrepreneurs and startups in all industries. The offer from SALESmanago is invaluable for individuals and companies just starting their entrepreneurial journey. And with digital presence now a key component for business success, using digital channels for your marketing is critical.
Small Businesses Add 68,000 Jobs in February
With 10,000 more jobs than January, the ADP Small Business Report shows private sector small business employment increased by 68,000 jobs in February. February 2018 ADP Small Business Report The ADP (NASDAQ:ADP) report is stressing the importance of small businesses in contributing to the overall economy of the country.
March Madness Will Draw Your Employees’ Focus from Work, Surveys Says
The madness has begun. And if you have millennial employees, there’s a good chance the NCAA men’s basketball tournament will distract them. Employee Productivity During March Madness You’re likely to see the famed basketball tournament brackets floating around your office.
Small Biz Spotlight
Spotlight: How One Company Aims to Go from Selling Socks to Changing the World
Some businesses start with a major change or innovation. Others start with something small — like a sock. The Cause International is an example of the latter. But though the idea started small, the team still hopes it can make a big impact. The clothing company puts a major focus on giving back to communities around the world, from Chicago to Guatemala.
Small Business Loans
Government Says Most Poultry Farms Are NOT Small Businesses, Can’t Get SBA Loans
An evaluation made by the Small Business Administration’s Office of Inspector General regarding loans made to poultry farmers and growers concluded most do not meet regulatory and SBA requirements for eligibility.
US Chamber of Commerce Backs New Bill to Help Main Street Businesses
The US Chamber of Commerce sent a “key vote” letter to the Senate in support of S.2155, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act. The bill looks to provide community banks with regulatory relief after the blanket implementation of financial regulations following the 2008 financial crisis.
Small Business Operations
BlueJeans Updates Meetings Platform, Can Your Small Business Team Benefit?
BlueJeans has redesigned and updated its meeting platform with a new user experience to better serve the collaborative workforce of today — including your small business team. The latest BlueJeans desktop app was developed and then tested with thousands of users to make sure it delivered with the new features.
The New YouTube Studio Offers More Insight for Your Small Business Channel
The new YouTube Studio is finally here. YouTube Studio is Out of Beta YouTube Studio features a new dashboard and three new metrics to help you gauge the popularity of your videos uploaded to the site. The tools help you manage your videos and all the other activity on your channels. These updates were launched in beta a little while ago.
Cracking the Code on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: How It Will Impact Your Business
Normally at this time of year, individuals and small business owners are solely focused on their 2017 taxes. But with the passage of the sweeping tax overhaul, this is no ordinary year. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act takes affect starting with your 2018 return and beyond, but the changes are so significant, it’s important to understand the bill and how it will impact your small business.
Lawyers and Law Firms Not Seeing the Benefits of Federal Tax Cuts
Law firms aren’t jumping for joy in the same way many other small businesses are because of the recent passage of a new tax bill. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act includes plenty of deductions and changes that could benefit small businesses in various industries. But it also imposes some new limits on deductions that may be especially relevant for law firms.
Kradle Launches Small Business Management Software
Kradle announces a new software package designed to help small and medium-sized businesses in any industry manage their operations. The company touts its product as a self-managed software allowing businesses to achieve their competitive potential.
Microsoft iOS Camera App Turns Business Cards into Contacts
The Microsoft Pix camera app for your iPhone now has a business-friendly feature. The app lets you scan the business card of a contact you’ve just met. It takes the information on that business card and then updates your Contact data for that person. The app also scours LinkedIn to find the new business contact’s profile so the two of you can connect.
Only 20% of Tech Jobs are Held by Women, How About at Your Business? (INFOGRAPHIC)
After a long slump, the tech industry appears to be finally back in business. Surprisingly, however, that has not brought cheer for women techies. Women in Technology Statistics According to data compiled by virtual event solutions company, Evia, women make up less than 20 percent of U.S. tech jobs, even though they make up more than half of the U.S. workforce.
Photo via Shutterstock
This article, “In the News: Big Business Tools Now Available to Small Business” was first published on Small Business Trends
Canva how-to video: Recommended small business resources
See more recommended small business resources at https://awakenbusinessconsulting.com/recommended-resources/
In this quick Canva how-to video I’m going to show you examples of ways I’ve used the free Canva graphic creation tool for many, many purposes (Facebook posts, Facebook ads, Pinterest posts, even the thumbnail for this video!). I’m also going to show you exactly how to use the tool for all your graphic needs.
You really can create your own graphics without being skilled in graphic design! I used to hire designers for so much and have to wait days or even weeks for every knew thing I needed. Now with Canva I not only save all that money, but I also save all that time waiting! When I need something, I make it, and get on with what my primary objective was. Wouldn’t that be nice? Well enter the Canva world and it will be. This how-to video is a really easy way to get start absolutely painlessly. Enjoy! And cheers to your success.
I’ve been in business a loooong time, and I’ve gotten my tools down to just those that deliver the best value for what they do. See the full resource guide on my site at https://awakenenterprises.com/recommended-resources/ for additional “best of class” tools to help you achieve your business goals.
And of course, if you have any questions about the video content, just comment below and I’ll do my best to answer.
Lawrence Cole of Google: Machine Learning Taking SEO Out of Black Box, Giving SMBs More Access to Insights
Last year at Nextiva’s NextCon event, one of the featured presentations was from Lawrence Cole, the Head of Mid-Market, U.S. West for Google. It was such a good session that I’ve been wanting to have him join me for a conversation for this series ever since.
2018 Search Marketing Trends
And this week I was able to talk with him and get his take on a number of themes around search, SEO, conversion rate optimization and how machine learning is democratizing the availability of insights in all these areas.
Below is an edited transcript of our conversation. To hear the full interview, watch the video below, or click on the embedded SoundCloud player.
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Small Business Trends: Maybe you can give us a little of your personal background.
Lawrence Cole: I actually got my start working as an engineer quite some time ago. I was a software engineer for EarthLink at the start of my career, back when they were, I guess you could say cresting in their trajectory some years ago.
I spent a lot of time in the logistics industry. I work in the crosses of several different departments, and functions.
I also spent a great deal of my time in the small business space. Starting small companies, working from small companies, so I spent a great deal of time developing an understanding what small companies go through. Even some of the initial digital marketing skills that I’m now able to apply, and lead new teams.
In a large tech company, they really began with me being a person who, either from my own, or someone else’s small businesses, figuring out things such as search engine optimization, email marketing, digital marketing. Even before we had social media, and Google Adwords, and these sorts of platforms. I’ve had kind of a mix of large company engagement, and small company engagement. Even now, a lot of the teams that I lead deal primarily with small companies, and start-ups. Sometimes maybe starting to begin to startup a small companies. Now they scale into half a billion, or a couple of billion dollars in revenue.
Small Business Trends: How has search engine optimization changed over the last couple of years or so, and is it as important, or is it more important today than it was a couple years ago?
Lawrence Cole: I think it’s always important, because it is just one of many ways to get in front of people. I think that search engine optimization has become a little more commoditized than it used to be, which also, I think makes it a little more equitable of an opportunity. I can remember doing well in search engines had a lot to do with you being in a certain loop of people who had figured out some things, and they were way ahead of everyone else. Now, with all the information, with it is much less of a black box. It’s available for everyone, but it also makes it a lot more competitive as well, because the tools for success are more common in knowledge than they used to be. But, like I said, it’s always a worthy investment.
I think that you should look at a marketing and customer acquisition strategy very wholistically, as opposed to hanging your hat on any one thing by search engine optimization, or social media, or ads spend, to look at it in its totality, and to figure out, more important than anything else, where your perfect customer lives. One of the best platforms, and method is to reach out to them.
Small Business Trends: There’s a lot of emphasis on CRO, conversion rate optimization. It seems like there’s so much coming at people. They’re looking for information. They’re making quick decisions. They’re also making quick decisions as to where do they spend that little piece of time that they have to try to figure out the challenge that you’re trying to solve. Maybe you could talk a little about the urgency of trying to get that person’s attentions that’s doing a search, and converting that attention into an actual interaction opportunity.
Lawrence Cole: I think one of the distinctions about customer acquisition as things have changed over the years is that focusing on urgency is not necessarily the way you want to go. For one, it is very difficult to influence consumers to do anything they don’t want to do in this economy. There are so many choices… There are so much that are educated on what their choices are, and their habits have changed. They spend a lot more time researching, because they can on their phone at their fingertips. Typically, when someone’s seriously considering what we have to offer, they probably already determined that they want what you have. They’re just trying to decide who to get it from.
In terms of optimizing for conversions, my advice is to focus on being as frictionless as possible. Making it simple, and as easy, and seamless as possible. Reducing the number of steps that it takes to be able to get to whatever it is you have to offer. I can’t tell you how many time that I, as a consumer, have been on the way to buying something from a company, and they ended up losing my money, because it just took me too many steps, or I had to wait too long, or something would not load. I just went elsewhere, and bought the exact same thing from someone else.
So, I think making your process as friction free as possible. Looking at things like the speed of your site, the number of steps that it takes to get to your shopping cart, the number of different types of payment that you take, do you even take PayPal, and not look just on your regular desktop site. You need to think about mobile, because more and more people are competing to go from, not just researching on mobile, but being very comfortable at purchasing on mobile, as well. Especially for things that are not huge, and major purchases. I think that all of those things should be considerations, but the bottom line focus really should be on how frictionless as possible can you make your customer acquisition process.
Small Business Trends: It’s been months, but I remember in your presentation you talked about how Google has about seven properties that have over a billion active users. An incredible amount of interactions that Google has an opportunity to look at. How could a small business, how could any kind of business who’s looking to build relationships, look at any of the ways that Google, and the data that Google has to help them, leverage that data and be more strategic with the way that they interact, or try to get the attention of somebody they’re trying to do business with?
Lawrence Cole: One of perennial challenges with small businesses, Brent, is a lack of access to leverage; Not having the financial resources, not having the headcount resources to compete with larger concerns in the same space. One of the things that is going to, and is already begun to democratize that, is machine learning; and how Google, in particular is using and leveraging machine learning in our products to look at a innumerable number of signals across those several properties. To be able to collect really smart data that can help small businesses to optimize the return they’re getting from what they’re investing.
When I began managing paid advertising, everything was manageable, and your results had a lot to do with the skill of the person who was managing your account. What machine learning is doing, is it’s taking the focus of optimization away from human knowledge, and it’s shifting it over to machine knowledge, and machine learning, so that even a small business can compete very well if they can be smart about how they’re leveraging automation. Then things like remarketing, and some of the audience based targeting options, customer matching – matching for similar audiences- that Google has available to everyone on its platform.
Small Business Trends: Talk a little about video. It captures people’s attention in a way that text just doesn’t. When you look at the opportunity that video presents for engagement from a customer-vendor perspective, what do you think small businesses need to know, and maybe they just don’t seem to be embracing well enough?
Lawrence Cole: I believe that one of the misnomers is that a small business can’t compete in video, because they don’t have access to large scale production, equipment, or talent, to write, et cetera. The reality is that there are many ways to scan that casts. For instance, I think that the most important thing is to understand how ubiquitous video is becoming. By 2020, something like 90% of the time people spend online will be watching videos. A lot of it is who is understanding what the folks that you are looking to target see is important. What are they watching? You can leverage that without a video. You can place an ad next to a video, or on a video, and be able to leverage that without any production at all. Or, you can produce things very cheaply, or pay to get them produced very cheaply.
Let’s say you don’t have a big budget to spend on marketing that video. Producing something as simple as a how-to, can be very powerful, because people forget that YouTube, which is a part of the Google family, is the number two search engine in the world, next to Google search. I tell people that people go to Google search to look up what … they usually go to YouTube to look up how. So, if I had a haven’t tie a bow tie, like two years, I can relearn how to do it, I go to YouTube to do that. If I forget how to, YouTube tells me how to do that.
You have this type of powerful service that lands to needing to tell a story about it, or show someone how to do it, how to use it. You can actually do it very well for free, by just simply putting a YouTube video up that helps to drive traffic to your site, or your app based on the quality of your content, and also how good of a job you do at second targeting. Those are two options. One is there is cost, but it doesn’t require video, the other one requires video, but it has little to no costs. That will allow small business to be able to answer in that space with the goal, of course, of scaling.
Small Business Trends: One last question, before we search, what do small business need to know about voice search, and how quickly do they need to start thinking about it being a need to be prepared, versus nice to be prepared for it?
Lawrence Cole: One of the things about a small business is that it’s so much nimble than larger competitors, and that market allowed the companies that I’ve worked with to become large, who have become companies that drive hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars in revenue. It’s because they entered a market as a small competitor, and they got ahead of the curve on a trend. In terms of any trend that we know is going to become fairly ubiquitous, whether it’s mobile, video, voice. Those are all things that a small business person should be looking at, and relentlessly thinking about ways that they can cut some of the larger competitors off at the pass by being a fast mover in new trends, and being able to use that to siphon some of the market share.
The thing about larger companies is that they typically take a longer time, and to be able to catch on to trend, they have a lot more loops, and they often wait, and look at the market, and see how things shift first, before they invest. Small companies, they absolutely need to be at the forefront of any trend that comes out. At the very least being educated on it, and maybe doing some light, and extensive testing to see if it works for you.
Small Business Trends: Lawrence, this has been great. I really appreciate the time. Where can people learn a little bit more about some of the things that we just talked about?
Lawrence Cole: One of the places that I would send people to is actually Google Adwords Academy that’s free. It’s a wealth of information. It’s kind of a gateway to a lot of the tools, and resources that we have to offer. To begin to develop a general acumen around some of the best practices.
Again, when I started doing digital marketing, all of this stuff was a black box. You had to find someone, or pay someone who was willing to give you the secret sauce, if you will, of how to be successful online. Now, it’s all free information that’s just out there for everyone. I would definitely start there.
This article, “Lawrence Cole of Google: Machine Learning Taking SEO Out of Black Box, Giving SMBs More Access to Insights” was first published on Small Business Trends
If you want to find out the successful search strategies of your competition, Alexa.com, a subsidiary of Amazon, has added gap analyses to its suite of competitive analytics tools to make it happen.
Marketers and site owners will be able to use the new features to close the gap with their competition and discover existing but not previously seen opportunities. Alexa.com will now have Competitor Backlink Checker and new updates to Competitor Keyword Matrix for identifying the keyword and backlink strategies your competition is using effectively.
As part of the different moving parts in search engine optimization, keyword and backlink strategies may not be familiar to most small business owners. In fact, many small businesses lack SEO knowledge, with 54 percent indicating they don’t even have an SEO budget, according to a recent survey.
The Alexa.com platform simplifies SEO so you can focus more on your business, whether its marketing or another industry with an online presence. Andrew Ramm, President of Alexa.com, explains what the new enhancement will offer marketers.
On the company blog, he explains, “By taking advantage of these competitor gap analysis tools – and combining them with our robust SEO research and site audit capabilities — marketers will be able to find, reach and convert their target audience more effectively.”
The Revamped SEO Tools from Alexa
The Competitor Keyword Matrix tool lets you compare up to 10 sites at the same time so you can see keywords different from yours being used by the competition.
The matrix list can include popular or similar sites competing with yours and expose the top keywords responsible for driving traffic to them. When you identify the keywords, you can add those keywords in your own content marketing efforts.
The Competitor Backlink Checker allows you to visually compare backlinks for up to 10 sites at a time. You will be able to evaluate which of your competitor’s sites are linking the most and highlight those that haven’t earned links. Jennifer Yesbeck, Marketing Manager at Alexa, adds, “Armed with this knowledge, marketers can plan their backlink strategy and build an outreach list.”
Give Alexa.com a Try
You can try Alexa.com, including the new features, with a free seven-day trial. If you choose to move forward, there is an Essentials plan for $99 per month and an Advanced version for $149 per month. The features include different levels of site audits, keyword search, backlink checker, competitive analysis tools, pageviews and more.
Photo via Shutterstock
This article, “Alexa.com Revamps Competitor Keyword Matrix to Analyze Your Competition” was first published on Small Business Trends
We cartoonists have to worry about weird details. For example:
How many ups and downs are funny?
Would a curvy line be funnier?
Should it dip below the bottom axis, and if so how often?
How should the graph end?
It took me a few tries before I decided that this line graph was funny enough, but I think I got it.
This article, “When it Comes to Excitement, the Sales Report Never Disappoints” was first published on Small Business Trends
President Donald Trump’s decision to fire outgoing State Secretary Rex Tillerson could pitch oil prices upward as the White House is expected to become more aggressive toward foreign oil companies.
Impact of Rex Tillerson on Oil Prices
Tillerson’s ousting could tilt the balance of power away from oil producers in Iran and Venezuela, analysts told The Wall Street Journal Wednesday. Replacing the former ExxonMobil CEO with CIA Director Mike Pompeo will likely prompt oil prices to pitch upward, they added.
She was referring to Pompeo’s well-known animus to the 2015 international agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program, which, if eliminated, could reimpose economic sanctions on Iran that would limit its oil exports and reduce global supply. Pompeo has also expressed interest in slapping energy sanctions against OPEC member Venezuela.
Oil prices edged slightly higher Wednesday ahead of U.S. inventory data that are expected to show a rise in crude stocks. Other analysts suggest that the oil markets don’t appear spooked by Pompeo, a former Republican congressman from Kansas.
Surging non-OPEC oil supply is likely smothering any geopolitical angst from Tillerson’s ouster, according to Bloomberg’s Liam Denning. Another possible reason for the oil market’s relative nonplussed position on Pompeo, he added, is fatigue with the chaotic nature of the Trump administration.
Trump’s ever-changing governing ethos makes “it tough to draw any conclusions about the direction of policy, much less wager money on it,” Denning said, adding that it is not clear if eliminating the Iran agreement would effectively cut off Iranian barrels.
“Europe has been a big buyer of these since the deal went into effect, and China’s imports of Iranian oil have jumped too,” he added.
Republished by permission. Original here.
Photo via Shutterstock
This article, “Tillerson Departure Could Impact What Your Business Pays for Oil” was first published on Small Business Trends
GUESS Designs For Small Business Growth: FREE Resources
Small Business Training And Business Tools For Rapid Business Growth. Free Resources And Business Ideas.
Salesforce (NYSE: CRM) just announced the release of Essentials providing small businesses for the first time with a variety of apps for what the company calls the number one global CRM platform. Sales Cloud Essentials and Service Cloud Essentials are the first Salesforce Essential apps available.
The apps are backed with the power of Salesforce Trailhead, Einstein AI, Lightning and AppExchange, which will give small businesses access to enterprise-grade CRM solutions. Salesforce says this is going to future-proof businesses in a rapidly evolving digital environment while allowing them to work smarter and faster with a strong focus on customers.
Small businesses spend a considerable amount of time on manual processes. According to Salesforce, this can amount to 23 percent of an averages small business’s workday. This means a quarter of their time could be better used to drive more productive business initiatives, such as growth. Salesforce Essentials has been designed to overcome this challenge in an easy to use platform small organizations can capitalize on.
In a press release, Mike Rosenbaum, Executive Vice President of CRM Applications at Salesforce, said, “With Essentials, we’ve taken the full power of Salesforce and tailored it for the unique needs of small businesses. Essentials is easy to set up and use — and it’s future-proof, so small businesses can add new capabilities quickly and easily as they grow.”
Salesforce Innovation for Small Business
Salesforce Essentials delivers the same innovative solutions and CRM platform used by 83 percent of Fortune 500 companies. Salesforce said the only difference is it has been optimized to address the needs of small businesses.
The tools include using Trailhead to quickly get started with Salesforce and learn what you can do with the technology. Once you know your way around, you can use Salesforce’s AI platform Einstein to work smarter and also work faster with the Salesforce Lightning platform and the Salesforce Mobile App.
When you are up and running, and ready for your next step, scalability will not be an issue because Essentials is built on the world’s No. 1 CRM platform.
The New Apps
Sales Cloud Essentials gives small sales teams the ability to work smarter and sell more quickly by increasing efficiencies in the sales process. Teams can access comprehensive customer history, including activity history, key contacts, customer communications and internal account discussions in one place with Lightning Sales Console. The information, which includes reports and dashboards of company performance, can be accessed from anywhere with the Salesforce Mobile App.
Service Cloud Essentials makes it easy to set up a help desk to deliver personalized customer service instantly. It gives service agents a complete view of all customer interactions in a single and unified desktop view. This lets agents understand the history and context of each call so disputes can be resolved quickly and accurately.
Customers can make contact via phone, email, Twitter or Facebook. And the Service Cloud Mobile app lets agents provide customer service from anywhere.
Salesforce Essentials Launched – Pricing and Availability
The Salesforce Essentials apps, Sales Cloud Essentials and Service Cloud Essentials are available now. They are priced at $25 per month per user, but you can try them at no cost for 30 days.
This article, “New Salesforce Essentials Gives Small Businesses Enterprise Level Tools” was first published on Small Business Trends
Small business resources website
The small business resources website is located on www.atsearches.com/Smallbusinessresources. The site is filled with rich content about small business resources that you can use to get your small business started on the right footing.