Never Make Assumptions

kirkI heard an interesting legend about a business tycoon who gave his job candidates a special test during their job interviews. He would invite the candidates out for lunch and watch their actions closely. If they added salt or pepper to their food before tasting it, he would automatically rule them out. Why? Because he wanted people who didn’t make assumptions, since assumptions tend to be innovation killers.

Here’s the way I see it: Mark W. Perrett said it best: “If you don’t go through life with an open mind, you will find a lot of closed doors.” If you’re looking for exciting new ways to promote your business in print, our team would love to help. And remember, other printers may be nearby, but nobody comes close!

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Screenshots Galore

SCREENSHOTS ON A VARIETY OF DEVICES

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Screenshots can be a helpful way to save information, but with the plethora of tech devices available, it can be hard remembering the screenshot shortcuts. Here are tips how to take screenshots on a variety of devices:

Windows: Press the Print Screen key (also marked “Print,” “PrtScn” or PrtSc”), which copies the screen and can be pasted into any program, such as Outlook email, Word, or Paint. Or, if you want more specific content, Press Alt+PrtScn to copy only the contents of your current window.

Microsoft Surface (or other Windows tablets): On older devices, you can try pressing Fn+Win+spacebar, or the Win+Down Volume button at the same time. On newer models, press the Power Button+Down Volume button simultaneously.

MacOS: To copy the image of your Mac’s entire screen, press Command+Control+Shift+3. Or, for specific screenshots, press Command+Shift+4, then click and drag the selector across the area of the desktop you want to capture.

Chromebooks: Hold down Ctrl+Switch Window button (or Ctrl+F5 on a standard keyboard). To take a partial screenshot, click Ctrl+Shift+Switch Window (Ctrl+Shift+F5 on a standard keyboard), then click and drag the selection tool across a portion of the screen.

iPhone or iPad: Press the Power Button+Home Button at the same time.

Most Android phones or tablets (including new Samsung S8, S8+ and Galaxy Note 8): Press the Power+Volume Down.

Samsung phones or tablets (excluding version 8): Press the Power Button+Home Button at the same time

Trade Show Do’s and Don’ts

ETIQUETTE TIPS FOR TRADE SHOWS

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The most important part of any trade show or business event is how your staff presents themselves to potential buyers. Here are a few etiquette tips for trade shows and other business events:

  • Use approachable body language by standing in front of your booth, smiling, and keeping your hands at your sides, not in your pockets or folded at your chest.
  • Provide adequate staffing, so the booth is covered during lunch and other breaks, without overwhelming the booth space with employees.
  • Stay attentive. Don’t chat with coworkers or look on your phone or laptop.
  • Don’t solicit guests in the aisles. Let them show interest by arriving at your booth.
  • Be prepared to answer basic questions or know where to obtain more information if necessary.
  • Don’t eat or drink at the booth. Hide snacks, trash, and supplies behind a backdrop or under a skirted table.
  • Dress appropriately, and avoid wearing too much or too little. There is nothing worse than freezing or sweating at a networking event. Dress in comfortable layers that you can easily add or remove as needed, such as a suit jacket over a dress shirt.
  • Be cognizant of your personal hygiene. Use mints or gum to keep your breath fresh. Skip the cologne. Fragrances should be alluring, not overpowering. If you can smell perfume or cologne, within talking distance, it is too strong.
  • Avoid gaudy jewelry. You want to be remembered for your personality or impressive product knowledge, not your giant dangling earrings or over-jeweled hands.

If you’d like help creating supplemental marketing materials for an upcoming event, our creative team has many great ideas to ensure your company is noticed and remembered! Give us a call or visit us online today.

Making Philanthropy the Family Business

ThinkstockPhotos-668204996.jpgIf you ask the owners of many large, family-owned businesses what keeps everyone together, you may notice a trend: philanthropy. Helping others truly does run in the family, and multi-generational businesses are in a unique position to pass along not just the business perspective needed to be successful, but also how to have a positive impact on the community. Even if kids are too young to be involved in the family business, it’s never too early to begin coaching children about why it is important to help those who are less fortunate. It’s not just large organizations that benefit from giving back — family businesses of all sizes find that philanthropy offers a way for all ages to come together around a common goal.

Teaching Financial Stewardship

While most parents strive to raise children that are strong and confident of their place in the world, the reality is that there will always be others who do not have the same opportunities for nutrition, good schools, and a loving family environment. It can be challenging for kids growing up in a family business environment to understand that not everyone has access to the same technology, toys and clothing — and that being a good steward of finances means finding ways to contribute to the health and well-being of others. This often starts early with a percentage of allowance going to support those in need and can continue to grow throughout their life.

Legacy of Values

Passing a company down through multiple generations is a powerful legacy,  and one that provides no small measure of pride when passed along. The values of hard work, thrift, and benevolence make for great leaders in the community and in the business — and are a good way of maintaining strong ties with customers and employees. Even family members who are not a part of the daily running of the business are often able to get involved in a philanthropic effort in some way.

Deliberate Goals

Being deliberate about creating goals for your family business around giving is yet another way of enforcing the importance of strategy within the organization. When multigenerational leaders work together to solve challenging problems for the greater good, that hard work often spills over into daily life. A key to selecting a good philanthropic effort is that it’s large enough to engage family members of all ages in some way. This allows you to tailor opportunities for service and giving to the specific preferences and strengths of an individual. For instance, some people are born to be fundraisers and are able to weave a compelling tale about the how monetary gifts will be utilized in a way that compels people to provide cash infusions. If others are more comfortable working behind the scenes, there is plenty to be done there as well.

Building family values, providing support to the community — where’s the downside? When you need printed materials for your next community project, contact us at 856.4290715!

When Color Matters: Tips for Specifying Colors

LET YOUR TRUE COLORS SHINE THROUGH

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You’re designing a new brochure, flyer, or newsletter and want to make sure it looks great. You’re considering printing it full-color, but aren’t sure if that’s the best option to choose, considering your budgetary needs. Here are some tips to help you decide how many colors to use and how to make the most of the colors you choose.

When to use spot colors

  • You only need one or two colors for the printed piece.
  • Your project doesn’t include any full-color photos.
  • Your corporate colors need to be reproduced to exact specifications and cannot be reproduced faithfully enough by combining cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK)… the four “process” colors.
  • Your project calls for fluorescent, metallic, or other special inks.

When to use process color…

  • You need more than two colors.
  • Your piece includes full-color photos.

When to use both…

  • You want to enhance the colors by including a “bump” plate (an extra printing plate set up in one of the four process colors and meant to enhance that tone).
  • Your project includes full-color photos, but your logo or corporate colors don’t reproduce well with process color inks.
  • Your project includes full-color photos and also requires metallic, fluorescent, or other special inks.

No matter what color combination you choose, there are some things you can do to ensure your project goes more smoothly. For example, as you’re preparing your artwork, make sure you aren’t “duplicating” any colors. Look through the color palette in your page layout software. Remove any duplicate colors you find, and reassign the corresponding objects and layers accordingly.

Also make sure you give your colors the same names in each application you use for the project. For example, make sure you give the color the same name in InDesign as you give it in Photoshop and Illustrator. This will help reduce confusion and ensure the colors separate properly when preparing the piece for print.

And finally, if you decide to go with process printing, use your design software to convert any spot colors you have to their CMYK equivalents. When doing so, double-check the values the software assigns, to ensure good printability. For example, if Photoshop gives a color a 1% magenta value, you might want to do some tweaking to eliminate the need for that value. We’ll be happy to help you optimize your files for print and answer any questions you have while producing your files.

Boosting Customer Engagement with Fall-Themed Promotions

ThinkstockPhotos-594486944.jpgFall is a beautiful time of year with cooler weather in some regions, and connotations of family in all parts of the country. Fall brings with it traditional themes of back to school, falling leaves, carving pumpkins, football, and fall holidays. One of the most popular traditions during the fall season is the range of pumpkin-flavored treats available. Using these themes, you can create campaigns to drive new customers and return business.

1. Giveaways and Contests

It is always fun to promote a coupon or giveaway with a fall flavor. These can include coupons to neighboring businesses for cross-promotion or sweepstakes for fall gifts. For B2B companies, it is best to keep these rewards under $10 because some industries have strict limits on what they can receive as gifts. Easy gifts are seasonal doughnuts, bags of coffee, pumpkin pie or other food specialties of the season. If you prefer to offer non-food rewards, small sports-related gifts make good selections. It is best to have rewards that appeal to most clients whether men or women and any age.

2. Seasonal Discounts

Offering seasonal discounts as companies ramp up for the year can drive business. These discounts should be offered in early August to allow for planning time. Giving customers bulk discounts for large orders is a good incentive for any product or service.

3. Educational Videos

Combine some video with your print promotions to encourage loyalty from your customers. Videos can truly be on any subject to help customers better understand what you do and how best to approach you for specific jobs. Humorous videos are an excellent way to help customers remember what they have learned. You can promote custom products and services that make your business unique and invite them for a free sample after viewing the video.

4. Fall Infographics

The football theme is a great one for fall infographics. You can lay out a play-by-play scenario for a custom service on a colorful direct mail infographic that will catch your customer’s eye. Use it as a poster in your building, email it to your customer list, and hand it out with orders. Infographics are great for simplifying complex ideas with simple illustrations and graphic arrows.

These are just a few ideas to get promoting this fall. Remember, if you need help with your printing and marketing, give us a call today at 856.429.0715!

Healthy Employees Are Productive Employees: Why to Incentivize Health at Work

ThinkstockPhotos-836595382.jpgProductivity really is the secret to everything in terms of your business’ success. Happier employees tend to be more productive, which is why it is essential that you focus on things like corporate culture and team-building exercises whenever the opportunity arises.

Many people don’t realize, however, that this is only one small part of a much larger story. It isn’t enough for your employees to be happy – healthy employees are also significantly more productive than those who are not, which is why if you’re not already making health and wellness top priorities within your organization now would be an excellent time to start.

Healthy Employees and Productivity: Facts and Figures

According to a series of studies that were recently conducted on the subject, healthy employees may be a whole lot more valuable than you’ve even realized:

  • On average, employees who eat healthy foods (or who at least make an effort to do so) tend to be about 25% more productive than those who do not.
  • Employees that exercise for at least a half hour each week are an impressive 15% more likely to have higher job performance than those who do not.
  • Healthy employees also take fewer sick days, which is not surprising. The true revelation, however, is just how far this benefit goes: absenteeism is a massive 27% lower in employees who A) eat healthy, and B) exercise regularly.
  • The most important statistic of all is the fact that overweight and generally unhealthy employees cost employers in the United States an astounding $73.1 billion collectively per year, part of which has to do with the fact that they tend to file twice the number of workers’ compensation claims than those who do not.

At this point, the answer to the question “how important are healthy employees?” becomes resoundingly clear: very, very important. But saying that you value your employee’s health is one thing. Actually taking steps to show that this is true is something else entirely.

How to Value Health at Work

Luckily, valuing healthy employees is simply a matter of a series of small choices. You can begin by making sure that healthy snacks are available for employees in the office who may be “burning the midnight oil,” for example. If you’re one of the many workplaces around the country that has a vending machine on-site, consider restocking that vending machine with healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables instead of the traditional potato chips and sweets. People will absolutely start to eat them, especially if they don’t really have an alternative.

You’ll also want to consider emphasizing health in terms of things like employee benefits packages. Consider throwing in a free gym membership to a local fitness club that employees can take advantage of after they’ve worked with your organization for X number of weeks or months. It may not be something that everyone uses, but those who do will benefit greatly. You’ll also benefit, too, as this is a clear sign that you actually care about the health and fitness of your employees – something that will make it easier to attract top talent in the future.

Also remember that according to one report by Quantum Workplace, employees tend to be 14% more engaged when they are provided some time off to “recharge their batteries,” so to speak. So the next time you think it’s a good idea to make people work incredibly long hours week after week, you may want to think again.

Ways to Protect Your Brand in the Real-Time Information Age

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A brand is more than just a company logo, and it’s bigger than any one particular product or service. Instead, it’s the feeling that people get when they think about your company. It’s what goes into the instinct they have regarding whether or not to make a purchase.

 

A brand is also massively important in terms of how successful your marketing efforts will be in the long-term. The impression someone has of your brand is something that occurs almost immediately.  48% of consumers say that they are more likely to become loyal to a brand if their first experience is a positive one, regardless of whether or not that experience actually took the form of a purchase.

That means your brand must be protected at all costs, particularly in the real-time information age that we’re now living in. People are being marketed to from nearly every angle. If you don’t work hard to strengthen and hone your brand, you run the risk of being lost in the shuffle. Hope is not lost, however, as there are a few key things you can do to protect your brand as much as you can.

Consistency is Key

One of the most important things you can do to protect your brand is focus on something that real-time information doesn’t provide: consistency. According to one study, 90% of consumers expect that their experience with a brand will be similar across all channels – whether you’re talking about print, in-person interactions, or digital content.

Don’t Wait For Your Audience to Come to You

Another study estimates that, on average, you really need about five to seven positive brand impressions with a consumer before they start to remember your brand in a similar light. This is good, but you need to remember that in a real-time information age, you don’t necessarily have the time to wait for a consumer to initiate those impressions.

Also, consider the fact that brands that are consistently presented are three to four times more likely to experience brand visibility. YOU must be reaching out to your audience by way of consistent, enjoyable and helpful experiences whenever and wherever you can. Increase the frequency of the print marketing collateral that you’re putting out there and focus on being helpful, educational, and informative.

The Unmistakable Benefits

Give people as many opportunities to experience your brand as you possibly can and your entire identity will benefit as a result. If brand visibility is something of a numbers game, you need to play those numbers as well as you possibly can. Don’t wait for someone else to hopefully do it for you.

Successful branding brings with it a wide range of different benefits, from increased customer loyalty to an improved image, to a relatable identity and beyond. But in an age where information is everywhere, your brand is something that you also need to work hard to proactively protect. If you don’t, you run the risk of watching those important relationships with your audience begin to deteriorate

Maintaining a Work/Life Balance: Why Perspective Is Key

ThinkstockPhotos-697895326.jpgWork/life balance? No problem, right? But then those daily tasks start to add up and your nights start getting longer. You start going in on the occasional Saturday, then the “frequent” Saturday. Pretty soon you’re so bogged down with your “to-do” list that you can’t even think about taking that vacation with your family.

Maintaining a proper work/life balance is a challenge, sure – but it’s also a lot easier than you might think.

Enjoying Life is a Task, Too

When the pendulum that is your work/life balance begins to swing decidedly in the direction of “work, work, work,” you start to encounter a few key problems almost immediately. You’re trying to do too much at the same time, and the quality of work tends to suffer. You’re also getting burned out, which leads to less getting done because you lack the motivation to push on when you need it the most.

This is a large part of the reason why experts agree that you should look at downtime for what it is: a mission-critical task that you need to preserve your productivity throughout the week.

As you begin to build your schedule each week, make sure to add leisure activities at strategic points when you’ll need them. Don’t be afraid to add “go to the movies” to your calendar for Thursday, or pencil in that lunch with your old college friend on Monday afternoon.

If You Want to Move Up, Plan Some Down Time

Human beings NEED downtime to stay efficient. It’s a way to periodically re-charge our batteries. It’s the reason why people say you shouldn’t cram all your studying into the night before a big test in college and should instead break your coursework down into smaller, more manageable chunks in the weeks proceeding that moment. The former is an absolute recipe for disaster, and the latter supports the way your brain operates.

If you add in leisure items to your list of things to do, you’ll enjoy the added benefit of being able to check them off said list throughout the week. When you do this, it releases endorphins into your brain – meaning that you get a boost of satisfaction from having accomplished something, anything, and you get to take a mental breather at the same time.

None of this is difficult advice to follow – all it requires is some perspective about the things that matter most in life. Yes, work is important, but actually living your life is important, too.

Binder Cover Inserts

GIVE YOUR BINDERS A PROFESSIONAL TOUCH

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Whether you use binders to organize your internal information, provide hands-outs at presentations, or simply distribute binders to help customers to track their product or warranty information, custom binder cover inserts are a great marketing tool that can provide custom branding and give your information a professional touch.

When a binder is sitting on a shelf, its spine is the only way to know what’s inside. Ensure that your important information is used and remembered. Our creative team can help you design a binder spine and cover that’s easy to identify and so enticing, the binder won’t sit on that shelf for long.

We can also help you make organizing even easier. Don’t forget we can also print your three-hole drilled pages, inserts, and custom tab dividers. If you have questions or would like a custom quote, give us a call today at 856.429.0715!

Marketing Habits To Break

COMMON MARKETING MISTAKES MANY BUSINESSES MAKE

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Here are a few of the common marketing mistakes many businesses make:

  • Jumping on the bandwagon. Some marketers blindly follow new social media trends because “everyone is doing it,” regardless if it is right for their business and product line.
  • Not tracking campaign performance. Whether you are using print media or email/social campaigns, it is important to track coupon codes, click-through rates, engagement rates, leads, and more.
  • Linking to a random website page rather than creating a landing page that is specific to your campaign. Increase conversions and ensure that visitors can easily find the information they are looking for by creating a custom landing page.
  • Set it and forget it. Always remember: if it is worth doing, it is worth doing well. Regularly review Google AdWords and other paid social campaigns frequently so you can adjust as needed.
  • Using the wrong types of content on social networks. For example, you should use images on Instagram and Pinterest. Use videos on YouTube, Facebook, and Snapchat. Publish industry news, white papers, and company updates on LinkedIn, Twitter and forums.
  • False scarcity. Avoid pressuring people to buy with messaging such as “Buy Now! Limited Quantities” especially if this is not true and you plan to promote something for more than a few days.

Focusing on product features, not benefits. Customers want to know how a product will solve their problem and what value it will offer them.

3 Signs to Help You Identify if Your Market is Changing

ThinkstockPhotos-495668090.jpgSo much of your marketing success depends on your ability to get the right message in front of the right people at exactly the right time. To accomplish this, you need to know your audience – and the market that they inhabit – as intimately as possible.

But what happens if one day, suddenly and without warning, that market begins to change? Worse yet, what happens if this trend started while you weren’t necessarily paying as much attention as you should have been? The answer is both unfortunate and straightforward: you’ll be stuck playing “catch up.”

This is a situation that you do NOT want to find yourself in. Here are a few key signs that indicate a market change may be taking place.

Product Innovation Is No Longer a Key Value Driver

You’ve worked hard to build a robust and stable business and nobody offers what you do in quite the same way. You’ve had a tremendous amount of success relying on this type of innovation up to this point as a result. However, if things start to shift in the opposite direction, you may be looking at a market change that you’ll want to adapt to as fast as you can.

Simply put, product innovation – that is, the quality of what you do and how you do it – should always be the key value driver for your business. If you start to have to fall back on things like your prices, the reputation of your brand, or simply your ability to “out market” your competition, it’s likely that your audience is reaching a maturity level that will represent a challenge in the future.

Look to Your Competitors

Competitors are not always a hurdle to be overcome. Oftentimes, they can be the “canary in the coal mine,” so to speak, especially in a situation like this one. Take a look at some of the leaders in your industry, especially competitors that are larger than you are. What are they doing? Are they growing or retracting? Are they doing something that nobody else is doing because they can see something coming down the road that nobody else does? Keeping an eye on the health of your larger competitors can be a great way to stay ahead of the larger market trends that may be right around the corner.

Listen to Your Customers

Ultimately, the most important thing you can do to identify signs that your market may be changing requires you to see your marketing strategy as a two-way street. You’re not just communicating with your audience; your audience is also communicating with you. If you’re having a hard time getting solid insight into the direction of your industry and market alone, cut out the middleman and go right to the source: ask your audience what they see as their future needs in the areas you’ve dedicated yourself to serving.

Send out surveys or questionnaires asking for raw, honest insights into the questions you’re asking yourself today. Take a current client or customer out for dinner and ask them what they see for the next five or even ten years in your industry. Never forget that without these people, your business wouldn’t exist – so it’s in your own best interest to listen to them as often as possible.

Print Advertising Feels Like Printing Money

ThinkstockPhotos-122424050.jpgWouldn’t it be great if you could print your own money? Life would be so much easier, right? Well, maybe not, but here’s a little secret that feels like printing money: print advertising.

Print Advertising is Like Printing Money

Good advertising can go a long way for your business. Sometimes it’s hard to explain what good advertising is, but you know it when you’ve seen it. Whether it’s a heartfelt image or a tagline that makes you think, there’s just something about incredible advertising that has a way to move and motivate you.

Good print advertising can inspire you to make a change, donate to a cause, or purchase that cool, new tech device. It provides everyone who passes it, holds it, or takes it out of a mailbox the chance to see that printed information. And, since print advertising is often locally targeted, it means that you can create a far more personal connection to your community than you can with digital ads.

Every time someone sees your printed advertisement and, in turn, goes in and buys a product or service from you, you’re essentially printing your own money! These customers may have never come to your business and purchased your product or service without seeing the advertisement.

You Like What You See, You Buy What You Like

Picture this: You’re walking down the street. Maybe you just finished grabbing a coffee with a friend, and you’re heading back to your car. You check your watch to make sure you’re still on time to pick up the kids from school. You look up and there, on the side of a building, is a poster for a brand new product one of the local boutiques is offering. It stops you in your tracks as you gaze up at it. It’s incredible! How come nobody else ever thought of that before! You pull out your phone and snap a picture, so you remember to pick up the item later.

All of this is the power of print advertisement. People pay little mind to online advertisements, and TV ads are often on while the viewer is off grabbing another beverage from the kitchen. Print ads, however, are there regardless of what a person is doing and how often they pass a certain intersection. And every time someone sees the advertisement and buys something, you’ve just printed more of your own money.

So, what are you waiting for? Now is the time to start printing your own money in the form of print advertising!

Boost Your Marketing Prowess with Perfect Postcard Design

POW! PUNCH! POSTCARDS!

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Postcards are an excellent way to grab attention, partly because you can get your message across to the reader without requiring them to take action like opening an envelope or an email. With a postcard, your message is always front and center as soon as the printed piece hits their hand.

However, readers can easily be turned off by an unattractive postcard design or miss key information if it’s not well-presented. Keep these perfect postcard design tips in mind to boost your marketing power and encourage your audience to take action on your message.

Get to the Point

You should have one obvious call to action for your postcard and create the rest of the design around driving home that point. Do you want customers to take advantage of an expensive offer for a high-end brand? Or are you looking for a fun response to a social media inquiry?

Understanding your audience and what you’re trying to accomplish will help drive design direction for your postcard. Each detail of the postcard, from the fonts and colors used to the size of the card itself and the finish, should all build the look and feel that will reinforce your brand and message.

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Attention-Grabbing Design

Even the classiest of postcards can be attention-grabbing, whether it’s font size, bright colors, or added pops of foil or other special treatments. Try experimenting with different cardstock options or graphics and put them together in creative ways. Look at your design in real size from across the room. Are you able to easily tell the main point, and does the postcard design look like something that would catch attention at a glance? If not, try again!

Don’t Be Boring

People receive dozens of pieces of mail in a week, and you have only a split second to catch their attention. One of the best ways to do that (other than the design) is to have fun with the message and the layout. A bright pop of color is great, but having that integrated around a fun message will keep them reading once they’ve picked up the postcard. Don’t overstuff the postcard space with text, but look for a good balance that provides enough information for the reader to take action. Here are some quick tips that will help:

✔ Be brief: Less important details can be relegated to the back, to keep the front clutter-free.

✔ Be unique: Consider postcard designs that are extraordinary such as odd shapes or sizes.

✔ Be clear: Providing a specific call to action and benefits to your audience will help them engage with your message.

✔ Be engaging: If one postcard is great, a series of postcards can provide you with an even greater impact.

If you liked these tips, our postcard pros have tons more. They’re standing by to help you design the right postcard to meet (and exceed!) your business goals. Contact us today at 856.429.0715 to learn more and get started writing your postcard success story!

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Want to Be Successful? Take Time to Dream

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One of the most famous dreamers of our time is Steve Jobs, the Co-founder and CEO of Apple, an iconic visionary who believed so deeply in the power of his dreams that he was able to bring them to life for millions of people. Jobs believed that the era of mediocrity was over and that you should put in the work on every project to make it great. His famous recommendation to a Disney retail executive to “Dream bigger” when it came to Disney stores resulted in a new type of store experience that continues to delight children of all ages. How can you leverage these same tactics and take the time to dream big in your own life?

Dream Fearlessly

Individuals often lose confidence in their dreams because everyday reality creeps in and has a way of tamping down your passion. Big dreamers are different. Even if you think they’re relentlessly optimistic, it requires constant hard work and commitment to make dreams come true, and a fearless need to be successful.

Believe in Yourself

Constantly second-guessing yourself doesn’t leave a lot of time for forward movement, making self-confidence a critical requirement for living your passion. You have to identify every element of your vision down to the smallest detail, and then break it down into the small steps required to make it happen. Professional athletes are very familiar with this concept, as they are coached to visualize making a basket, getting a hole in one, or nailing a complicated gymnastics floor exercise.

Take Action

Dreaming is great, but once the dream is solidified it is time to begin moving! Harness your beliefs and stay focused on reaching your goal. There will be others who will support you along the way — great! There will also be those individuals who are constantly looking to undermine your skills, your ability, and your passion. Graciously ignore them, and keep taking steps to move your dreams forward into reality. Pausing too long to consider the consequences can often result in a missed opportunity, which may not come around again.

Compete to Win

Successful dreamers are by nature quite competitive. They’re always looking around for how their competition is doing something and finding a way to improve upon the concept, or better yet — revolutionize it in their own way. Solving problems for your customers is a daily devotion, allowing you to rise to any challenge and overcome it as you follow your dreams.

Leave Space for Dreaming

What can you stop doing (immediately, next week, in six weeks) that will free up additional time for dreaming? It can be incredibly difficult to fuel your passion when you’re so caught up in everyday activities and overall busyness that you aren’t able to stop and think. Actively look for ways that you can create space in your daily activities that provide a block of time in which to think about the future and how you’ll get there. Your future self will thank you!

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, persevere. When things don’t work out exactly as you had planned — keep going. Remind yourself that nothing good comes overnight, and success can take years to achieve. Stay resilient, be patient and keep dreaming!

The Path

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One day long ago, a calf decided to cross a thick forest to return to its pasture. Not knowing where it was going, it forged a twisted, confusing path full of turns that went up and down hills. The next day, a dog came by and used the same path to cross the forest. Then, a sheep took the same path, which was followed by its fellow flock, and various other animals.

Later, a group of travelers came along and decided to take the path that was well worn. They went left, right, around deviating obstacles, and complained about the terrible path the entire way, but did nothing to create an alternate route. After many years, travelers continued along that same, well-worn path, each time taking three hours to cover a distance that would normally take 30 minutes had they forged a smarter path.

Here’s the way I see it: Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best, “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path, and leave a trail.”

Solar Charging Tips

TIPS TO MAXIMIZE YOUR CHARGE

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Solar charging can be a great solution for powering your cell phones and other mobile devices when on the go. The angle of the panel toward the sun, cloud cover, and time of year all affect the quality of the sunlight that reaches the panel. Here are a few tips to maximize your charge:

  • Bright sunlight at a 90-degree angle to the panel will convert the most light into electricity and charge devices the quickest.
  • Keep your phone cool and in the shade. If your phone is in the direct sunlight, it can overheat and be difficult to charge.
  • Windows may affect your charge. For example, energy efficient windows block sunlight.
  • Charge when the sun is strong for best results. Heavy cloud overcast may not provide enough sunlight to create a strong charge.
  • Avoid moving around when charging. If your screen turns on and off again, it could drain your battery quickly.
  • Check the wattage rating to see which devices you can effectively charge. For example, a small handheld charger may not be powerful enough to charge a laptop.

If you need help ensuring print materials are powering at full strength, our creative team is here to help! Give us a call today at 856.429.0715.

What Leadership Really Means in the Era of Working Remotely

ThinkstockPhotos-614419830.jpgMore employees are working remotely than ever before. According to research conducted by GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com, roughly 50% of the workforce in the United States holds a job that is “compatible” with at least partial telework. Of those people, about 20 to 25% of them actually do work remotely at some frequency.

More than that, a further 80 to 90% say that they would really like to work remotely at least part time – pointing to a trend that is only going to get more popular as time goes on.

Employees who are all able to work from home (or wherever they’d like, really) sounds fantastic… if you’re an employee. But what if you’re an employer? More than that, what if you’re a leader? How do you continue to do your job of bringing people together to benefit the greater good if they’re all spread out over a potentially massive geographic area?

The Job Hasn’t Changed…

The “good news” is that the leadership qualities required to steer any organization towards success have not changed, nor are they likely to ever do so. You still need to be an excellent communicator, making sure that everyone is on the same page, that they know what “success” looks like, and that they all still feel like they’re contributing to something much more powerful and important than themselves.

You still need to be willing to lead by example, never asking someone to do something that you’re unwilling to do yourself. You still need to inspire people to give their all not because their paychecks depend on it, but because they just can’t help themselves.

… But the Tools Have

Things have changed, however. In terms of communication, for example, you need to be willing to adapt your process to rely less on face-to-face interaction and more on the digital resources that you have available to you. Collaborating on a project no longer involves sitting in the same room and hammering out ideas. Now, it’ll involve using some cloud-based solution to give everyone editing access to the same files at the same time.

This type of thing will require an adjustment from your perspective, but it is one that is undoubtedly worth making. Typical telecommuters tend to be much happier with their jobs than people forced to come into the office every day, which will directly affect both productivity and work quality in a positive way. 73% of telecommuters say that they’re more satisfied with their company than they’ve ever been before. Most of them work more than 40 hours per week. They also tend to work harder to create a friendly, cooperative, and positive work environment – something that you’re also trying to do by being the best leader you can be.

In truth, how you’re able to change your management style to keep up with the demands of the modern telecommuting workforce will go a long way towards deciding what type of leader you’ll be today, tomorrow, five years from now, and beyond.

Event Tents

SPREAD THE WORD AT INDUSTRY EVENTS

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Event schedule table tents are an excellent way to spread the word about various happenings at industry events, such as conferences and trade shows. For example, trade shows may offer an expo timeline, different speaker tracks, meals, social events, and much more.

Event tents are a convenient way to keep everyone informed and also encourage social collaboration visiting with other attendees about upcoming events.

Table tents can easily be displayed on counter tops, social gathering areas, bar tables, registration areas, presentation conference rooms, and much more. When placed in hard to miss locations, table tents are sure to get noticed and read. And, because event tents are so affordable, they can easily be changed daily to keep up with busy schedules and keep your messaging fresh.

If you’d like help creating the perfect table tent for your upcoming event, give us a call today at 856.429.0715!

The Persisting Power of Loyalty

 

What is loyalty? Loyalty is words combinedThinkstockPhotos-484012828.jpg with actions. It is devotion tested by time. It is steadfast security that grows from a most prized character quality. Theodore Roosevelt said, “It is better to be faithful than famous.” American author Elbert Hubbard agreed: “If put to a pinch, an ounce of loyalty is worth a pound of cleverness.”

Relationally, loyalty builds trust, security, affection, and the ability to thrive. The same is true professionally – only as we build loyal customers and employees will we begin to see business prosper and flourish to its fullest potential. So how can you grow something so intangible, yet so critical, to the foundation of your organization?

Three Primary Pathways

The good news is, you already have buy-in at some level. Whether you have a small business or thousands of employees, customers and co-workers have entrusted you with their money, their well-being, or their future. And people who have “bought in” are looking for reassurance that they’ve made a good decision! How can you move them from the point of trial commitment to a place of wholehearted ownership? Here are three pathways to press into:

  1. Cultivate Loyalty. Being so focused on bringing prospects through the front door, sometimes, you can forget about those going out the back. Enduring connections happen when you urge your clients and employees to stay the course by encouraging them to renew their commitments and helping them VALUE what is VALUABLE.
  2. Celebrate Loyalty. This can be as simple as a Christmas card or as heartfelt as a personal phone call. As a company, be sure to set tangible goals and conspicuously celebrate the progress that’s been made. Look for strategic ways to cast vision, gather testimonies, craft impact pieces, and honor important milestones. Creatively appreciate your clients and co-workers, and publicly commemorate a job well done!​
  3. Reward Loyalty. According to the book Marketing Metrics, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70 percent, and they typically spend 67 percent more than first-time clients. Additionally, persuasive personal recommendations are most likely to flow from your base. What are you doing to reward that devotion? Aren’t your most valuable clients or employees worth a little extra expense? Consider personalized incentives, tailored service packages, or preferential terms, discounts, or benefits. Give these influencers personal access to your leadership and go the distance to meet and exceed their expectations. Don’t forget, authentic personal relationships are a powerful motivator.

Prioritize People

Are you looking to cement your customer base so your organization can flourish to the fullest? Prioritize people as you cultivate, celebrate, and reward loyalty. Companies that can do this will experience enormous benefits through a thriving reputation, consistent customer retention, and enhanced employee satisfaction.

Your Company’s Waste Makes This Man Rich

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Matt Malone would probably be considered an odd fellow and maybe even mentally ill by those seeing him on the street. However, for those who know Malone personally, they might think that he’s a genius.

Malone is, in modern terms, known as a dumpster diver. That involves essentially going into large dumpster bins and rummaging around to see what people have thrown away.

Malone was first introduced to the practice by accident when working in a company that got rid of far too much valuable, working equipment. What he realized at first was that the items were still usable, valuable, and most importantly, functional. However, when he took them home and started making inventions with the items, he realized something more – people wanted what he was finding and were willing to pay real cash for the items.

Diamonds in the Rough

Today, Malone is at an expert level, finding gems in the rough and converting them into sales of hundreds and even thousands of dollars. In fact, he makes more in dumpster-related sales than he does in his regular job.

However, this article is not about Malone’s success. It’s about the fact that Malone’s earnings are possible because businesses regularly throw away thousands of dollars of perfectly fine commodities and equipment simply because it’s not needed, no longer perfect, or no one knows what to do with it in the office. As a result, companies small and large are bleeding expenses daily without seeing the full benefit from what was bought. And that makes Malone a rich man.

Whether it’s security cameras, unused ink toner, or usable furniture, companies move out perfectly viable goods and products to their collective dumpsters every day. And this obvious waste and loss of company money is because there is no incentive within most companies to try to make things stretch further. Don’t need that toner anymore? No problem, buy a new one and throw the old one in the box in the hallway. The janitor will take care of it regardless of the fact we spent $300 to buy it on the last office supply order.

Reuse, Resell, Recycle

People regularly make fun of the TSA and government airport security, but the security agency has one step up on some of the smartest companies. Instead of adding more trash to landfills with all the nail clippers, pocket knives and nail files they confiscate from travelers at the security gates, they bundle them into large bins and sell them on eBay, recouping actual cash from free confiscations. How many companies actively recoup funds by reselling what they don’t need? Not enough, which is why Malone and dumpster divers like him are becoming rich people.

Many parts of the world look at the U.S. and see it as synonymous with waste and laziness. But it doesn’t have to be this way. A simple bit of attention on equipment and inventory can change behavior dramatically in every office and program.

General Motors got smart and now saves a $1 billion a year. By simply making it clear not to waste and to proactively consolidate extra material for reuse or resale, companies can add a small, but valuable additional revenue stream to their bottom line. That may be bad news for Mr. Malone, but he’s likely not too worried. So many businesses are throwing away so much product daily, he’s unlikely to run out of free trash discoveries and supply for a long time.

Present Like a Pro

FINISH SPEAKING BEFORE YOUR AUDIENCE HAS FINISHED LISTENING

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Larry Hagner once said, “The best speakers in the world are the best story tellers.” Here are a few ways to organize your presentation to ensure you have finished speaking before your audience has finished listening:

  • Start strong and captivate your audience in the first few seconds. The beginning of your presentation is crucial – start by entertaining them. For example, tell a story that leads to a cliffhanger… then use your conclusion of your presentation to reveal the ending.
  • Establish credibility. If you were introduced, don’t repeat your bio, rather find creative ways to mix your background experience into your introduction.
  • Remember the 10-20-30 slideshow rule from Guy Kawasaki (from Apple). Limit your presentation to 10 slides, 20 minutes, and use a font size of at least 30 point.
  • Engage your audience and try to make it a conversation, and less of a presentation. Strive to have a couple of points where you interact with the audience and ask questions.
  • Use your voice and body language. Vary the speed, pitch, and volume when talking, and make your gestures open and confident, and move naturally in the space you’re given.
  • Smile and make eye contact with your audience to help build rapport. It also helps you to feel less nervous because you are talking to individuals, not to a great mass of unknown people.
  • Offer hand-outs that highlight key points and helpful resources you discussed. Also, include your contact information for future inquiries.

If you’d like help designing the perfect handouts for your next presentation, or promotions materials to promote the event, we’d love to help. Visit us online or give us a call today at 856.429.0715!

4 Illustrator Hacks You Didn’t Know You Needed

EASY-PEASY DESIGN TRICKS

Whether you’ve been using Adobe Illustrator for years or are just getting started with it, you might not know about these often overlooked functions that can help take hours off of any given project.

Check out these four Adobe Illustrator hacks to make your next project a breeze, while allowing you to still get that good spot for your five o’clock exercise class.

Copy & Paste & Paste & Paste & Paste & Paste & Paste

Let’s say you’ve created a selection that you want to paste repeatedly in multiple areas of your project. Yes, we all know about > Command-C and > Command-V…But really, how fun is it to keep scrolling back to the same content to copy…. and then scrolling back to your new spot to paste? Pretty much less fun than visiting the emergency room after showing your co-workers your side plank on top of that exercise ball you use as your desk chair.

Next time you want to copy and paste the same content repeatedly, choose Select > Save Selection. Name your selection something clever so that you can reselect it at any time from the Select Menu, and conveniently paste that selection into as many parts of your project as you need to, without losing your data.

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Erasing In A Straight Line

Your newest project involves some majestic free-form design work. It’s got some rough edges, though, and your scheme requires some clean lines. You’re ready to start erasing using the free-form eraser tool, but quickly realize you forgot your morning triple shot cappuccino and you’ve got the shakes.

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Before you reach for that can (or cup) of liquid fuel, here’s an option that won’t jar your nervous system. You can easily erase in a straight line in Illustrator by pressing and holding the Shift Key before you start dragging with the eraser. Problem solved.

Creating Color Harmonies

You may not be able to create harmony amongst your family or rival sports fans, but you can do your part to promote world harmony through your designs. Check out this little hack to make them think you spent an entire afternoon contemplating complimentary hues.

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To create an instant color harmony based on a single color, choose color harmonies from the Color Guide Panel. What may have taken hours before, you can now accomplish in 37 seconds.

Converting Text to Outlines

If you’ve been in the business long enough, you’ve likely run into this situation: you’ve just finished your design work and sent it off at 4:50 p.m. At 5:05 p.m., you get a call to let you know they don’t have the font you used, but you’re on your exercise mat, leg warmers on. You don’t get the message until the next day and you now can’t meet your deadline.

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You can easily avoid this situation in the future by converting text to outlines by right clicking the selected text and choosing Convert to Outlines for press-ready artwork. By converting text to outlines, it eliminates the need to send font files along with the Illustrator file when sharing with others. Before getting too hasty with this neat hack, though, keep in mind that converting to outlines is a one-way street. This means you’ll be unable to go back to regular fonts after converting. Make sure you’re working from a COPY of your document so that you can easily get the original text back if necessary.

Save yourself some time and frustration – don’t work harder, work smarter with these easy-peasy design tricks.

4 Productivity Tools That Will Give You Back Your Sanity

ThinkstockPhotos-534040654.jpgWhether you’re working from home or the office, distractions happen, and they can be a productivity killer. Nearly everyone has an example of weeks that you look back on and wonder “What happened? I know I was busy . . ” while still feeling as though you’ve accomplished nothing. With deadlines crashing down on your head and the constant demands of family and work, it’s important to be as productive as possible to maintain your sanity. These productivity tools are vetted by experts to help bring balance back to your life — while still getting things done.

1. Time Trackers

Even if you’re not a fan of tracking every task that comes across your desk, a time tracker can provide a valuable way to give yourself mental freedom from specific tasks. For instance, what if instead of tracking the time you’re doing something, you track the time when you’re not doing something — like checking email? Set a timer for three hours and (gasp!) close your email client completely. Turn your phone over on your desk, and turn off the ringer. For three hours, allow yourself to focus on something other than responding to others. You will be pleasantly surprised at how productive you’re able to be without the constant distractions caused by emails, text messages, and social media without feeling like you’ve been out of the loop for too long. Of course, you can always use time trackers in the traditional way, by setting estimates for time and tracking how long specific tasks will take. Either usage will help bring your productivity back into focus!

2. Take it to the Cloud

Cloud-based document and data storage platforms allow you to be productive regardless of your physical location — a critical need in today’s always-on business world. Google Drive, Dropbox, and Box are a few of the options that offer low-cost ways to sync your information between tablets, mobile phones, and laptops or desktops, so you’re never truly away from the office. More corporations are utilizing these cloud alternatives to traditional enterprise data storage due to the relatively inexpensive cost and ease of use for employees.

3. Expense Management

Mobile apps such as Expensify allow you to take a quick snap of receipts and classify them by project, something that is invaluable for today’s busy professional. Keeping track of receipts and ensuring that they get assigned to the right account is yet another of those small yet nagging tasks that can reduce your available mental space without a single return. Clear out the clutter mentally and physically when you use a digital expense management tool.

4. Email Productivity

Professional emails can be a hassle, from trying to remember to send something at just the right time to getting off the myriad of email lists that tend to stack up in your inbox. Tools such as Unroll.me will quickly unsubscribe you from a wide range of email lists in a few short seconds, while tools such as Boomerang allow you to schedule messages for delivery at a later date. This keeps your email from hiding at the bottom of an inbox that is stuffed full overnight.

Ultimately, these productivity tools will help you squeeze a few extra moments into your day by automating simple tasks such as unsubscribing from email lists and having the information at your fingertips when you need it. When you’re able to take these actions when you think of them, you’re clearing your mind for additional productivity — instead of having to maintain a mental database of open tasks to be completed. Take back your sanity by becoming more productive and regaining some of your focus!

The Story of a Chicken

kirkOne day, a meat counter clerk who had an amazing day clearing out his inventory proudly flipped his last chicken on a scale and weighed it. “That will be $7,” he told the customer. “Hmmm…” the customer hesitated. “That really is a little too small. Do you have anything larger?” the customer asked. Hesitating, but thinking fast, the clerk returned the chicken to the refrigerator, paused a moment, then took the same one out again. “This one,” he said faintly, “will be $8.” The woman paused for a moment, then said with a big smile, “I’ll take both of them!”

Here’s the way I see it: As Bo Bennett once said, “For every good reason there is to lie, there is a better reason to tell the truth.” If you’re looking for a printer who will give it to you straight every time, give us a call today.

Labels that Shine

ADD AN ELEGANT TOUCH OF CLASS

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The eye-catching, shiny metallic finish of foil labels can be a great way to grab attention and add an elegant touch of class to your products, packaging, and envelopes.

Foil labels are a favorite marketing tool for corporate anniversary events and other celebrations, florists, gift shops, awards, upscale packaging, address labels, warranty seals, and much more.

While popular colors include gold, silver, blue, and red, foil labels are completely customizable, so you can choose any color, die-cut shape, or size to complement your design. You can also add extra effects, such as custom embossing, which creates a raised 3-D impression that can add depth, or use holographic foil imprints which can be layered on top of artwork to enhance the appearance of your foil labels. Labels can be printed on rolls or per page.

If you have questions or would like ideas for the perfect foil label for your next event or promotion, give us a call today!

 

4 Ways to Incorporate Humor at Work

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Nothing is more embarrassing than telling a joke and having it fall flat at work, but don’t let that stop you from adding appropriate humor to the workplace, as it can be a great way to reduce tension and improve overall relations.

Having fun with the people you spend at least 40 hours per week with can raise your mood and boost camaraderie throughout your office. Here are some of the top ways you can incorporate humor at work:

1. Hire for Personality and Cultural Fit

When you’re the hiring manager or simply someone able to have input into hiring processes, try to look for someone to join the team who approaches work seriously, and themselves lightly. This could come in the form of an easy smile, a little self-deprecating humor, or the ability to find the amusing side in everyday situations that others may consider stressful. When you have someone on your team who can inject some fun into the workplace, it gives others permission to crack a smile as well.

2. Encourage Silliness

Sure, you don’t want to be silly all the time as you’d get nothing done, but a little wackiness once in a while can break up an otherwise boring or tedious day. Send a cute animal meme or 30-second video to a small group of work friends and enjoy the smile on their face when they view it. If it’s not against your rules, post a humorous cartoon that has a positive message. It is important to be careful, however, as longer videos beyond two minutes or so sent to a large list of people can effectively kill productivity (which won’t make your boss happy at all!)

3. Keep it Professional

A great rule of thumb is that if you would be embarrassed having whatever you want to say plastered on a billboard — don’t say it! Same goes for the grandmother test. If you wouldn’t want your grandmother to hear what you’ve been saying, you probably should abstain. Don’t make fun of others even when it’s “just for fun,” and keep teasing to a minimum. This especially holds true if you’re a supervisor or in another position of power. You may not realize that your good-natured poking fun at others can be taken much more seriously when there’s an imbalance of power.

4. Inspiring Others

You’re more approachable to others when you’re smiling, which may be one of the reasons that many leaders work hard on keeping a pleasant look on their face. When you work hard to uplift others with a pleasant word, even sharing amusing inspirational videos can provide you with some personal collateral to be used at a later time. It’s important to note that individuals who appropriately use humor at work are likely to be promoted more quickly and make more money, so there are definite reasons to putting some fun-loving vibes into the air!

Using humor appropriately at work can tighten the bond between co-workers, keep those creative juices flowing, and make the days fly by! However, you always have to balance the good times with ensuring you’re being as productive as possible on the job. Jokes and effective banter can improve your standing within the organization specifically because it is assumed that you are mature enough to understand the proper use of humor and that you’re relaxed and confident enough to call attention to yourself.

Social Media Calendar Tips

TIPS FOR CREATING A SOCIAL MEDIA CALENDAR

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A social media calendar is an excellent way to stay organized and ensure you have timely content that is ready to share. Here are a few tips for creating a social media calendar:

While there are several social media channels available, it is best to build a presence on a small number of channels that are a good fit for your business. You can always start with one or two channels, and add others over time.

  • Remember not to pack your schedule with promotional posts, since the goal of social media is to grow relationships. Limit your promotional content to just 20 percent of your weekly posts, with the other 80 percent focused on engaging and informing your audience.
  • Create post categories or themes so that you can sprinkle different types of content throughout your social sites. Content examples could include tips/tricks, specials, how-to videos, quotes, events, or re-shares. Also include useful content that doesn’t get old, such FAQs from your website, customer testimonials, or other industry tips.
  • Schedule out your categories on specific days. For example, post tips on Mondays, and specials on Fridays.
  • Get organized and include all the information required for posting, including date, time, text, link, imagery, and even character count (for Twitter).
  • Remember that quality trumps quantity when it comes to social media. This is also true when it comes to the size of your audience.
  • Follow engagement metrics (comments, likes, shares, clicks, etc.) to track results and see what types of content your audience prefers.
  • Stick with it! You won’t find social media success overnight, so be diligent to keep going.

If you’d like help creating the perfect print promotions to supplement your overall marketing strategy, our creative team would love to help. Ask us for some creative marketing samples today!

Why Does Elon Musk Want Dissenters in his Company?

ThinkstockPhotos-615829998.jpgIn many companies and organizations, there is a position that most employees learn to avoid. It’s the position that stands out from the crowd and represents the minority voice on the team. Instead, folks learn to see which way the water is flowing and the music is playing, and they align their interests and concerns accordingly. It’s often couched in phrasing as “being a team player” and being a “proactive player instead of a negative burden” or similar.

Elon Musk, the well known chief executive of SpaceX which just recently solved how to create a space rocket that can land itself and be reused again, follows a different path with his employees. He actually wants people to tell him when they think he’s going down the wrong path. As Musk puts it, the lone dissenter or minority voice often points out issues and facts that if ignored can turn into costly problems later on. However, if a company team only follows the majority path, it can quickly turn into the fatal path of groupthink and “yes” men, ignoring major warning signs a big disaster is about to occur.

The Reward Dissenters Bring

Elon Musk and SpaceX are no strangers to risk. They operate in the high stakes game of off-Earth space transport and travel. A mistake in this environment has almost always meant total loss and millions of dollars wasted. So from Musk’s perspective, a dissenting voice provides multiple benefits. It forces the supported path to be defended better by showing why the concern raised is not an issue, a form of vetting before moving forward. Second, the minority opinion frequently brings up risks or concerns that may be glossed over otherwise because they are inconvenient to the supported path. Again, the biggest business mistakes often start with small, ignored issues, like a small leak in a levee.

The idea of rewarding the person who raises potential problems goes against the trend of American business. For decades business managers have been taught that the team is all-powerful and that many minds in synergy produce more than the individual alone. However, this also assumes a lot of mistakes are made along the way to develop that experience. In rocket-building, however, mistakes can’t be tolerated, so Musk believes in asking every question and giving a chance for dissent, an antithesis to traditional corporate culture.

Think This Doesn’t Apply to You? Think Again

Some might argue that the same situation of a rocket company doesn’t apply to a business creating software or coffee-makers. Businesses can afford to have mistakes and still make sales. However, in practice, this logic fails when the company gets sued and loses a major product warranty or personal injury case. Litigation has killed more than one small or medium business with a great product or service but no defense to a mistake that harms someone.

Musk doesn’t believe every dissenting opinion should be followed. In fact, he notes in his advice they can be incorrect. However, listening causes the path chosen to be analyzed just a bit further to identify weaknesses missed. And in Musk’s business, if it exists, avoiding that weakness can mean his multi-million dollar rocket landing again in one piece. What does it potentially mean for your company?

Unique Forms For You

Your business is like no other, and the forms you use every day should reflect that.

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Add Pizazz
Keep your branding vibrant with forms that are full of color. There’s no reason your forms need to be boring.
Size Matters
Whether you need small, half-size, or oversized forms, we can create the right size form for your unique needs.
Carbonless Parts
Two- and three-part carbonless forms are the most common, but we can also create more parts if you need them. Need four parts? No problem.
No matter what kind of forms you need, we will make sure your forms are a true reflection of your brand.

Sell With Words That Inspire

A RECIPE FOR SUCCESS

You’ve just created the most ingenious product that the world has ever seen. It simultaneously makes you lose weight, look younger, have the energy of a two-year-old, all while converting your trash into $100 bills. You’ve created a sales page for your product, with a picture of the product and the words, “A great tool for everyone.” But, the response…well, the silence is deafening. You scratch your head in wonder.

What’s missing on your sales page is, well, a lot actually. Writing sales copy is both an art and a science. Before you put your pen to paper or start tapping on the keyboard, you need to have a solid understanding regarding these three things:

  1. What your product or service does, especially the benefits to the customer.
  2. What sets your product or service apart from the competition?
  3. Who your customer is, particularly what they want in life and how they spend their time.

Truly understanding these three things will make the rest of your job much simpler and help you as you navigate your way through the sales progression.

The Sales Progression

Every piece of sales copy worth its salt, regardless of the medium, has three phases:

  • Grabbers: get the undivided attention of your audience.
  • Description & Benefits: make them physically crave what your product or service can do.
  • Clinchers: get them falling all over themselves to make a purchase.

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Within each of these phases, you want to maximize the impact of your words because people lose interest fast. We’ve gathered some tried and true formulas for making your words count. Let’s take a look.

Grabbers

Because shooting your prospects with a squirt gun isn’t always an option for getting their attention, try one of these:

  • Introducing _________!
  • Exclusive offer for ___________ members only
  • Free _____________!
  • Save up to ___________ %

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Descriptions & Benefits

Here is where you make your prospects really fall in love with your product by telling them how amazing their lives will be if they buy it.

  • Poignant, memorable, your ticket to ___________
  • Grow your _____________
  • Boost your ____________
  • Take control of ___________

Clinchers

This phase is essentially where you want to include a call to action – tell your prospects exactly what you want them to do. More often than not, they’ll do it.

  • All this can be yours.
  • Want to save even more?
  • Here’s how to get started.
  • Why wait another day?

The Takeaway

The key to moving your products off the shelves is using your understanding of your product and your customers to choose impactful words that will grab their interest and make them fall in love with your product.

Why Educated Confidence Will Carry You Far In Business

ThinkstockPhotos-472675690.jpgTo say that confidence is an important quality for a business leader to have is an understatement. At any given time, your employees are going to be looking to you to make decisions and provide insight. They need to know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you’re confident in the actions you’re taking. You need to know that you’ve given serious thought to the long, often difficult road ahead of you and that you’re making the right move for the right task at the right time. If people can see that you believe in yourself, in your business, and what you’ve worked so hard to build, they’ll start to believe in those things, too.

But something many people often don’t realize until it’s far too late is that “confidence” and “educated confidence” are NOT the same thing.

What is Educated Confidence?

Trust, belief, faith, conviction – these are all among the most essential ingredients that go into creating a confident leader. But one of the most important is also one of the ones that is rarely mentioned – humility. Humility allows you to acknowledge that even though you’re a leader, you’re still just one small cog in a much bigger machine. A living, breathing machine with a life of its own – one that is much more powerful than any one individual working within it, even when that person is yourself.

In many ways, educated confidence is all about slightly adjusting your perspective to account for your own limitations. You need to be confident in the fact that you’re not always going to have the right answer to every problem you face. And that’s okay – because you’re also confident in the people around you and you know that you’ll get through it together like you always do.

You need to be confident in the fact that you are going to make mistakes as a business leader – probably a lot of them, in fact. But this is something that you welcome because you’re also confident in your ability to learn the right lessons from these mistakes and strengthening yourself and your entire organization in the process.

It’s All About the Decisions

It has been said in the past that leadership essentially comes down to your ability to make decisions – but this is only one small part of a much larger story. It’s also about your ability to see those decisions through the lens of all possible consequences, both good and bad.

An overly self-confident leader often becomes one that people follow because their paychecks depend on it, not necessarily because they want to. We’ve all had these types of bosses – the people who are experts at delegating responsibility (read: barking orders) but who always seem to disappear when those proverbial chickens come home to roost.

A leader armed with the power of educated confidence, however, is someone that people follow because they just can’t help themselves. They acknowledge that they don’t have all the answers and they likely never will, but that’s okay – because “we’re all in this together.” It’s the idea that just because you’re a leader doesn’t mean that you’re always right – and you wouldn’t have it any other way.

Educated confidence is that little voice inside your head that says “maybe I should get a second, or third, opinion on this, as this is definitely outside of my wheelhouse.” It’s a voice that you shouldn’t try to stifle or tamp down, resist or ignore.

Instead, you need to give that educated, confident little voice a megaphone.

Google Map Tips

OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO WITH GOOGLE MAPS

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If you’ve only used Google Maps to get directions or locate an address, you’re missing out on many other useful features. Here are just a few examples of other things you can do with Google Maps:

  • Find available ride-sharing services (such as Uber) that are available at your location. After entering your destination in Google Maps, swipe right on the transportation options on the top of the screen and click the stick figure holding a briefcase. This will prompt a pop-up screen on the bottom showing price estimates and wait times.
  • Add multiple stops on your journey. Start by entering your starting point and final destination. Then, click the three dots in the top right corner and “add stop.”
  • See a street view image (where available). Search for a place or drop a pin. Click on the thumbnail image to enlarge and rotate your view.
  • Search for things nearby. For example, type in “pizza near me” to see the closest options, or enter “pizza near XYZ” to find something near your upcoming destination.
  • Edit your directions by dragging and dropping any part of your route to go around or through specific locations.
  • Access Google Maps offline, which is great for limited or non-existent coverage. Go to Google Maps menu (in the upper left) and choose “Offline maps” to get started. Remember, offline maps expire in 30 days, so you’ll need to update them if you have it downloaded longer than a month.
  • Remember where you parked. After parking, tap the blue dot of your location to prompt a pop-up screen, and you can mark your parking location on the map.
  • Share your location. Click on the Google Maps menu, and choose “Share location.”
  • Easily save your home and work addresses under the Google Maps menu, so you don’t have to type them in every time you want to navigate around them, find local restaurants, etc.

If you’d like time-saving tips for your next printing project, stop by or give us a call today! We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Conversational Marketing: Increasing Consumer Engagement

ThinkstockPhotos-495388524.jpgAs a business owner, you undoubtedly understand the importance of marketing. What you may not be familiar with, however, is which marketing techniques work best.

One marketing tactic that has proven itself to be of the utmost value regardless of the industry you are operating in is conversational marketing. Increasing customer engagement and boosting profit levels, this form of marketing has great potential.

The Ellen Degeneres 2014 Oscar selfie that largely boosted the popularity of the Samsung Galaxy phones is a great example. Samsung didn’t push out the photo everywhere. Instead, it marketed itself and the platforms it was shared because they included conversational engagement. The same can be accomplished across offline marketing platforms when print media is properly integrated.

What is conversational marketing?

Conversational marketing intertwines digital marketing mediums with marketing methods that include actual conversations, such as face-to-face or telephone marketing. With today’s internet applications, like Facebook Messenger, conversational marketing has become extremely simplified. The goal of conversational marketing is to make existing and prospective customers feel heard.

What is different about conversational marketing?

A key feature of conversational marketing that is different from most other forms is that it engages customers through one-on-one conversations. Both inbound and outbound marketing strategies are unified through conversation marketing because data is tracked and analyzed to produce targeted messages that create and promote consumer-specific offers.

Another notable aspect of conversational marketing is that it overcomes channel fragmentation. For example, traditional marketing platforms placed their focus on automated direct communications through outbound channels; mobile messaging, emailing, outbound telemarketing, etc. These automated messages were not producing engagement because they were not ‘real.’ With conversational marketing, though, inbound channels, including website chat tools, instant messaging, and call centers, use real people to carry out real conversations with consumers which greatly improves customer engagement.

Marketers have been challenged to take advantage of inbound interactions as a way to drive their marketing campaigns, and conversational marketing has served as a viable, effective, and cost-efficient strategy for achieving this goal. While outbound marketing tactics are limited in the number of customer interactions they can provide, conversational marketing increases customer response rates.

Developing Conversational Marketing Campaigns

An effective conversational marketing campaign allows businesses to capture consumer conversations and points of contact to develop the right message with the right offer, all the while using the right channel of communication. Developing this type of campaign means using a real-time recommendation engine that allows businesses to anticipate and prepare for consumer interactions before they take place.

Just like the popular 2014 Oscar selfie, your business needs to integrate conversational marketing techniques into its overall marketing strategy. Offline printing, including flyers, newsletters, and advertisements are a great way to accomplish this goal.

A Simple Formula for Living

kirkI came across these simple but inspirational tips for living the other day and thought you would enjoy them as well.

Live beneath your means.
Return everything you borrow.
Stop blaming other people.
Admit it when you make a mistake.
Give clothes not worn to charity.
Do something nice and try not to get caught.
Listen more and talk less.
Take a 30-minute walk every day.
Strive for excellence, not perfection.
Be on time.
Don’t make excuses.
Don’t argue.
Get organized.
Be kind to unkind people.
Let someone cut ahead of you in line.
Take time to be alone.
Cultivate good manners.
Be humble.
Realize and accept that life isn’t fair.
Know when to keep your mouth shut.
Go an entire day without criticizing anyone.
Learn from the past.
Plan for the future.
Live in the present.
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
It’s all small stuff.

Here’s the way I see it: Abraham Lincoln once said it best: “Whatever you are, be a good one.” And keep us in mind next time you need quality printing your customers will love!

You Can Never Have Too Many Purchase Points

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The sales funnel in a business has changed dramatically in recent years, thanks in large part to how digital and print marketing have been married together. The customer experience is now a fragmented one, and if you’re only giving your audience one opportunity to buy, you could be leaving lots of money on the table. In truth, you can never have too many purchase points in today’s modern climate for a number of key reasons.

How Freedom Gave Way to Multi-Point Marketing

The internet, in particular, has naturally led purchasing decisions to become more complex over time. Because more information is now readily available than at any point in the history of consumerism, people now spend huge volumes of time researching before they make that move towards a purchase. They’re also getting their information from many different sources. Dimensional Research conducted a study that revealed 90% of people are influenced by online reviews before making a purchase. Another study revealed that 36% of people use a company website before making a purchase, another 22% rely on face-to-face interaction, and 59% even find out what their friends or family members have to say before they make a decision one way or the other.

You might think that this massive influx of information would make the sales funnel simpler, as it’s now easier than ever to find the actionable information you need to make the most informed decision with your hard-earned money. However, it’s actually had the reverse effect. Things have gotten significantly more complex as even the average consumer’s opinion is now being pulled in a number of different directions.

The 21st Century Sales Funnel

This massive shift in the way that consumers operate has created a ripple effect, changing the way businesses operate at the same time. It requires marketers, in particular, to respond in more diverse ways, starting with not just how they’ve optimized their sales funnel to take into consideration 21st-century buying practices, but how they’ve designed the funnel in the first place.

According to a piece that first appeared in Forbes, content marketing is one of the primary keys to helping address these modern day challenges. Essentially, modern businesses need to assume that EVERY point in the sales funnel is a potential purchase point and content needs to be created to match. Content marketing lets businesses created and distribute relevant, valuable, and consistent content to attract their clearly-defined audience. If you’re assuming that your audience could be ready to buy at the drop of a hat, naturally how you design that content will have to respond.

In essence, content and your larger marketing efforts must now be ready to address problems earlier in the buying cycle than ever before. The only purchase point in your sales funnel can no longer be the one at the end. Any point can now be a purchase point if you know what you’re doing. These types of techniques also give way to an added benefit of allowing marketers to take advantage of more diverse channels to attract the largest audience possible from the outset.

So, not only are you getting consumers who are ready to buy sooner than ever before, but you’re also getting a larger number of leads entering into the funnel. It may be trickier to manage, but it’s the type of situation that our marketing ancestors would have gladly killed for.

Reputation Management: Why You Need to Keep a More Proactive Watch Over Your Most Valuable Asset

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While it’s true that your brand’s reputation will play a significant role in an essential factor like word-of-mouth, the real power of paying attention to what people are saying about you runs a bit deeper.

 

The Importance of Reputation Management: Facts and Figures

Consider the following statistics to help paint a vivid picture of the situation you’re dealing with:

  • According to one study, an incredible 74% of people now consult Yelp or a similar service when looking for some type of business or service provider – even if they plan on carrying on a relationship exclusively in “real life.”
  • The above statistic may actually be on the conservative side – another study indicated that 97% of consumers say that they read online reviews about local businesses on a regular basis before deciding whether or not to make a purchase.
  • Speaking of which, a one-star rating hike on a service such as Yelp often equates to a 5% to 9% rise in overall revenue. Let that sink in for just a second.
  • Another study by the World Economic Forum revealed that on average, more than 25% of a company’s market value could be tied back directly to its reputation and general perception.
  • A massive 86% of people say that they would pay more for services if they could guarantee they were being provided by a company with higher ratings and a larger number of positive reviews.

As these and other statistics indicate, reputation management is a lot more than just doing what you can to control word of mouth. Even people who discover your brand, your products, or your services entirely independently of anyone else could still shy away from that purchase if your reputation isn’t what they were expecting.

The most alarming statistic of all, however, is the fact that 50% (!) of business owners say that they have found incorrect information on their business listings. This means that not only is this info damaging your reputation in a potentially harmful way to your bottom line, but it’s doing so needlessly as it is incorrect in the first place.

Getting a Grip on Your Reputation

The most important thing to understand about reputation management is that it is NOT something you do once and then forget about. This will require you to look online on a regular basis to see what people are saying about you, what information is getting posted, and taking advantage of any opportunities for course correction as they present themselves.

But even going beyond just correcting false information, there are a number of other essential proactive steps you can take to help strengthen your reputation as much as possible.

Send follow-up surveys to buyers to see what you did properly and, more importantly, what mistakes you made. If someone sends you an email with a legitimate issue, be sure to follow-up on that issue within 24 hours.

Never, under any circumstances, encourage people to leave “fake” or “artificial” reviews about you or a competitor. The consequences far outweigh anything you will gain. This includes offering gifts for good reviews.  If you’re caught, and you likely will be, there is no telling what damage you might sustain.

In the end, reputation management is something that you will have to do on a regular basis moving forward. It’s a large part of why many businesses hire employees with this particular job in mind. But then again, when you’re talking about what is arguably the most valuable asset your business has, it makes perfect sense that this amount of effort would be required.

Customer Care Card.

 A VERY HELPFUL AND THOUGHTFUL ADDITION TO ANY PURCHASE.

product-325Customer care cards are a very helpful and thoughtful addition to any purchase. Care cards can not only thank customers for their purchase, but they can also include convenient information on your return/exchange policy, your contact information, warranty information, signup information for exclusive discounts and promotions, re-ordering instructions, and much more. Customer care cards can be designed in any format, ranging from a simple, flat one-sided card to a folded card, or even an elaborate die-cut or foil-embossed card. As a creative alternative to a card insert, customer care statements could also be created as a sticker to affix directly on your packaging to ensure it gets noticed. Order yours today! Call us at 856.429.0715 or visit: www.sjprinter.com

3 Gems for Small Business Owners from Jack Ma

ThinkstockPhotos-637152312.jpgAt a recent business leader meeting put on by American Express, Jack Ma from the Alibaba Group was the guest celebrity speaker. The reason why was that Mr. Ma was invited to share a bit of his wisdom and advice, particularly to small businesses. American Express has been maintaining a campaign of supporting and driving sales to small businesses to help them grow nationwide.

A Little Bit of History

Jack Ma did not come from well-established roots like, for example, President Trump. Ma was born and raised in mainland China, competed against thousands of others for a rare spot in the Chinese university system, and could not find regular employment many times. Then, with a spare moment of luck, he was exposed to the internet and realized nobody had catered websites to the Chinese. From there, his success took off, most notably with Alibaba.com.

Simple Gems of Advice

In his speech, Mr. Ma focused his advice to small businesses on three points:

  1. He advised business owners and those considering the venture to find out why businesses fail. Schools typically only teach success stories, but it’s critical to know what causes some people not to succeed to avoid the same mistakes.
  2. Business owners should listen carefully to their next-door neighbors. They are, literally, average consumers who can tell a business owner a library of secrets about what a consumer actually looks for when shopping. The problem is, people tend to avoid their neighbors thinking they’re too nosy. It’s an opportunity missed.
  3. Small businesses should “fix the roof when the sun is shining.” It’s an analogy that essentially means a business owner should be making changes and additions when things are going well. When things are rough, or there’s a major challenge, it’s not the time to be spending energy and money on fixes. Get to a good point again before thinking about changing operations or adding to costs.

Get Out of the Weeds

A lot of what Mr. Ma provided in his speech may seem like common sense for small business owners, but it’s hard to focus on thinking strategically when one’s head is buried deep in just trying to make it through the day. This is why his advice is so important; it reminds business owners to take a moment once in a while to get their head out of the weeds and think in terms of running a company again instead of momentary crisis management. In Ma’s opinion, smart and successful business owners are looking, learning, and timing their decisions with the best opportunities. And, they are not ignoring the best sources of business lessons when they become available.

Printing Considerations for Envelopes

CREATE THE BEST COVER-UP

An envelope can be so much more than simply a covering of some sort for your correspondence. The right envelope can instantly convey a wealth of ideas before its intended recipient even opens it up. The next time you’re working on choosing the right envelope for your marketing, keep the following considerations in mind.
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Envelopes: The Making of…

Knowing what type of envelope will best fit your needs starts with an understanding of how they’re made. Envelopes start as flat paper and go through the envelope conversion process to become an envelope. The flat paper is cut to the right shape, an adhesive is applied to the envelope flap, and the paper is folded and glued to take the final form of the envelope. Printing the envelope after the envelope conversion process is an economical way to purchase envelopes, but limits the design options for the envelopes. Printing the envelope before the conversion process allows for the greatest amount of creativity.

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Make Your Envelopes Stand Out

Printing envelopes before the conversion process offers a fantastic way to grab your customers’ attention. Try adding some special effects to your envelopes like printing envelopes emblazoned with graphics on the outside, print on the inside of the envelope, or even simply print your envelopes in four-color. Little additions like these can make a huge impact.

Solutions for Differing Budgets

As with any order, it’s important to weigh where the cost breaks are and what techniques are more cost effective than others. Large runs of 5,000 or more envelopes could lend themselves to customizing envelopes with engraving, printing and embossing. Even though this process is both more expensive and time-consuming, its costs could fall enough so that the project falls within your budget and you’d get the benefit of an impactful first impression. For smaller runs, the benefit versus cost of customization would need to weighed, since smaller runs of customized envelopes would not be as cost effective.

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When Designing Envelopes, Keep Postal Regulations in Mind
Nothing would be worse than a beautiful envelope that the post office won’t mail! You’ll need to limit the use of both the return address information and any graphics to the envelope’s upper left corner in order to meet the regulations of the post office. Also, the envelope’s face needs to be left blank. This allows the post office to include any necessary information and provides a place to add the recipient’s address. Be sure to double check the mailing regulations or ask before ordering your envelopes.
If printing envelopes after the conversion process, one thing to keep in mind is that when designing your envelopes a clear area of 3/8-inch at the top of a pre-made envelope should be built in to provide the space needed to pull the envelope through the press when it’s being printed.
Knowing these considerations prior to making a decision can help you choose the envelope design that best meets your needs and your budget.

If You’re Not Already Blogging, Now Would Be an Excellent Time to Start

ThinkstockPhotos-626669886Many people fail to realize just how important blogs are to a successful business because they still think about what blogs used to be. In the early days of the internet, many blogs were essentially “live journals.” If you wanted to read about what a trendy high school girl was having for lunch with her friends, she probably had a Blogspot blog that would let you do just that.

But today, blogging has become much more powerful and is one of the best ways to connect with your target audience.

The Power of Blogging: Breaking It Down

It’s been said that an incredible 79% of shoppers spend half of their shopping time researching products on the internet. While it’s true that product pages, technical specifications sheets, and other resources are important, users are also gravitating towards something much more human and valuable – blogs.

Think about the things that the right blog allows you to accomplish. First, it lets you dive deeper into certain topics, products, and services more than you ever could on a traditional product page.

Blogging is also a great way to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry, regardless of what that industry happens to be. It’s a chance for you to show that you really can walk the walk in addition to talking the talk, which ultimately helps build brand loyalty over the long-term.

Blogging, in general, also has a number of clear advantages over other forms of communication when it comes to engaging with your audience, as illustrated by these stats:

An Easy Way to Expand Your Reach

Remember, your blog is not a silo. The content that begins on your blog will ultimately make its way across social media as your users begin to share it, thus bringing more people back to your website over time.

Blogging can also help tremendously with SEO and search engine visibility. One of the factors that Google’s algorithm looks for when determining rankings comes down to how often a website is updated. If you publish one high-quality piece of content to your site every day, guess what? That counts.

Nobody is saying that blogging is the ONLY technique you should be using to connect with your audience. In truth, your long-term success will come down to you employing as many techniques as you can in order to further your quest of reaching the right people at the right point in their purchasing journey.

Buried Treasure

kirk

An old man buried a large amount of gold in a secret spot in his garden. Every day he went to the spot, dug up his treasure, and counted every piece to make sure it was all still there. One day a thief was passing by and noticed the old man secretly burying something in his garden. He waited until nightfall and quietly dug up the treasure and left with it.

The next day when the man discovered his loss, he was overcome with grief and despair. He cried and screamed until his neighbor came over to check on him and asked what had happened. “My gold! My gold!” cried the old man wildly. “Someone has robbed me!”

“Your gold was buried in your garden? Why didn’t you keep it in the house where you could easily access it when you wanted to buy things?”

“Buy things?!” the old man asked in disbelief. “Why, I would never buy things with the gold. I couldn’t think of spending any of it.” The stranger picked up a few large rocks and threw it into the hole. “If that is the case,” he said, “cover up those stones. They are worth just as much to you as the treasure you lost!”

Here’s the way I see it: Sometimes the things you own end up owning you. A possession is worth no more than the use we make of it.

If you’d like help with your printing projects so you can focus on the more important things in life, we’re here to help!

Why Patience is One of the Most Important Qualities a Leader Can Have

ThinkstockPhotos-624713098.jpgThe chasm between a leader and a great leader is a deep one. It is one that is often filled with qualities like clarity, decisiveness, courage, passion, and a healthy amount of humility given the circumstances.

But one of the major qualities that is essential to leadership that people don’t talk about nearly enough is patience. When patience is practiced wisely, it can have a dramatic effect on your entire organization from the top down.

The Ripple Effect of Patience

In general, patience is more important than just being willing to wait for results. Yes, all people are different and employees need to be given room to move at their own pace for the sake of quality. But, the true benefit of patience runs much deeper.

First and foremost, patience shows respect in a way that also encourages productivity at the same time. If you’re the type of leader who delegates responsibility but then spends hours each day telling people to “hurry up” or to “get things moving,” ultimately all you’re really doing is creating frustration or fear in an environment where you can afford neither.

Being willing to wait for someone to work at their own pace shows an employee that you value their overall contribution to the larger organization. You didn’t just choose any person for this job; you chose the right person for the right job. Sometimes, that takes a little more time than you’d like, but that is perfectly fine. Patience is also an important acknowledgment that every person progresses at a different pace. If you’re up in arms every time someone takes a little more time to complete a task, what you’re doing is communicating that they’re not as good as someone else when given the same responsibility.

Patience Also Says a Lot About You, Too

Being patient with others isn’t just about your employees – it also speaks volumes about you. When you’re constantly working from a place of “I needed this yesterday,” all you’re doing is artificially inflating the stakes of the business you’re trying to run. You’re not making considerate decisions; you’re making ones fueled by little more than raw emotion and a ticking clock.

Patience shows that you’re the type of leader willing to stop and let things breathe for a moment. It shows that you’re willing to listen and consider all variables before making a thoughtful judgment about what to do next. It shows that you’re not the type of person to make snap decisions that you’ll later regret and that your employees shouldn’t be willing to settle for that, either.

These are just a few of the many reasons why patience is one of the most important qualities a leader can have. It’s also important to remember that you need to be patient with yourself. Patience is a virtue, yes, but it’s also something of a discipline. You’ll need to acknowledge the importance of patience and the role it plays in your business so that you can grow into the type of leader who no longer has to make an effort to be patient with others. Instead, it will become an afterthought.

It’s Time to Get Social

A CREATIVE WAY TO INCREASE SOCIAL INTERACTIONS

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Is your business looking for a creative way to increase customer social interactions? Consider sending a direct mail piece with an oversized logo sticker, die-cut card, or other type of promotional piece that your customers can take photos with and then post them online. For every tagged image with your hashtag, your customer/prospect will be automatically entered into a drawing to win a gift card or free product.

Since you are mailing your audience something to physically take photos with, be sure to include a brief info card or flyer in your mailing with simple directions that encourage a call to action.

If you’d like help creating a direct mail piece that will get your audience talking, give us a call today! Our creative team would love to help.

Legal Printing

PUT YOUR LEGAL PRINT PROJECTS IN HANDS YOU CAN TRUST – OURS

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We take quality seriously, especially when it comes to the legal industry. We know that your printing projects require confidentiality, discretion, meticulous detail, and tight deadlines. Our experienced print team can handle even the toughest legal project requests with a smile, including last minute changes and rush jobs.

 

We provide a wide variety of legal services, including:

  • color and/or black and white printing and copying
  • brochures and flyers
  • booklets
  • posters
  • custom tabs
  • over-sized mounted courtroom graphics and exhibit displays
  • secure online document ordering
  • Bates numbering
  • scanning to disc/email
  • binders with tabs
  • bindery services

…and so much more!

Whether you are working on a court case, deposition, or daily activity, put your legal print projects in hands you can trust – ours. And remember, other printers may be nearby, but no one comes close.

What’s Your Password?

kirk

Have you ever thought that something as simple as a password could change your life? Surely you’ve experienced that cringe-worthy moment when you receive the dreaded “your password has expired” message. Chances are, creating a new password has never really been a big deal, until recently. Now, you’re required to use one uppercase character, one lowercase character, one symbol, one number, no less than eight characters, and you can’t use the same password you’ve used before!

My password expired the other day, and just as I started ranting about how I dislike creating new passwords, my coworker said, “try using a password that will change your life.” After thinking about it, I typed a password: gratitude#1. My password reminded me to be thankful several times a day when logging into my computer for the next 30 days.

Here’s the way I see it: Positive thinking can turn any moment of despair into an opportunity for inspiration.

Wish You Were More Productive? Try These 3 Tips!

ThinkstockPhotos-502922626.jpgBeing productive means making room for the things you really want and uncovering new and innovative ways to work smarter, not harder. Thankfully, it’s a lot easier than you probably think it is. If you want to become more productive, here are a few key traits you should focus on.

Take Frequent Breaks to Recharge Yourself

Although this may seem a bit on the counterintuitive side, studies have shown that taking frequent breaks throughout the day help to recharge yourself. Our “biological clock” has two basic forms that are dictated by our natural twenty-four (circadian) rhythms and our shorter than a day, but longer than an hour (ultradian) rhythms. Our ultradian rhythms essentially function in 90-minute intervals. This is why it’s so easy to go from “firing all cylinders” to “boy I need a nap” and back again throughout the course of your work day.

Remember that managing your time and managing your energy are not mutually exclusive. Taking breaks will help get you over the hump and allow you to come back better and stronger than ever.

The Results Are All That Matters

In a piece originally published by Forbes on how to be a more productive manager, it stated how one of the key traits to focus on is leaning into the results, not the process. One of the reasons why we often feel overwhelmed at work is because we’re just not getting the results we’re after with a particular task. This causes our productivity (and as a result, our morale) to take a nosedive.

Because of this, it’s important to make your number one priority a high-quality, consistent, and reliable output, rather than simply trying to do as many things at the same time as possible.

Discipline, Discipline, Discipline

According to the experts at PsychCentral.com, one of the essential things that you can do to become more productive at work is to maintain a strict sense of self-discipline at all times. Highly productive people aren’t just able to eliminate tasks that are ultimately time-wasters – they also have a high degree of personal responsibility and are constantly looking for ways to improve themselves, both of which fall back under the distinct umbrella of discipline.

Hitting goals, meeting deadlines, fulfilling promises – these are the true goals behind that task you’re trying to find the time to accomplish. Maintaining focus on these through strict self-discipline is the perfect way to suddenly find more time in each day.

These are just a few of the key traits that you can focus on to instantly become more productive at work. This was the good news – the better news is that gains like these in your professional life will undoubtedly have a ripple effect on your personal life, too. You’ll be happier at home, and you’ll have more time to spend with your loved ones. It really is a win-win situation.

Your Willingness to Accept Feedback Will Affect All Areas Of Your Business

ThinkstockPhotos-637152194.jpgMany people make the mistake of assuming that feedback automatically equates to complaining. After all, people tend to not speak up about issues unless the topic reaches a boiling point, right? In reality, feedback doesn’t have to be like this at all. When given properly, feedback is constructive and can help to both reinforce what you’re doing right and pinpoint what you may be doing wrong.

No one is immune from the concept of feedback because no one is perfect. When you learn to accept feedback (regardless of where it is coming from or how positive or negative it may be) it will have a dramatic effect on all areas of your business.

Accepting Feedback Helps Employees Feel Engaged

A willingness to accept feedback has a direct relationship with something all business leaders should be concerned about: employee engagement. Feedback goes beyond open and honest communication and enters into a realm where employees are free to speak their minds when they feel it is necessary to do so.

If employees don’t feel like they can come to you with issues they see as essential, it can have a negative effect on your entire business. According to one study conducted by Execu-Search, 42 percent of all employees feel like company leadership does NOT contribute to a positive company culture. This goes a long way towards explaining why, according to a Gallup study, 51 percent of the U.S. workforce is not engaged.

The most alarming statistic of all is that these types of disengaged employees cost businesses between $450 billion and $550 billion annually. As a leader, this is the type of situation that you’re creating for yourself by being unwilling to accept feedback from those around you. Even if you don’t agree with something that an employee has to say, just the fact that you’re willing to listen to them goes a long way towards keeping morale (and company culture) as strong as it can be.

Feedback Acknowledges the Importance of Continued Learning

Feedback is also critical to the modern business for the simple reason that it sets the tone for everything that comes next. It’s less about your willingness to listen and more about showing that you’re always looking for ways to improve, to do better, to make stronger decisions, and to increase your performance.

Luckily, it isn’t hard to accept feedback at all, and you get can plenty of practice because it’s around us all the time. Every time you’re talking to an employee, or a customer, or a vendor, you’re getting feedback. Going out of your way to hear it can help make employees feel more valued, which in turn motivates them to work harder. It can also make your customers feel more valued, which strengthens your long-term relationships.

This type of actionable information is crucial for you to make stronger, more informed decisions in your position moving forward. Going out of your way to get constant, honest, and (yes, sometimes) raw feedback helps make sure that your actions are aligned with the goals of your business.

The Unexpected Benefits of Returns

A STRATEGIC RETURN APPROACH CAN HELP YOUR BUSINESS THRIVE.

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Can a return policy boost sales? The answer is yes! While it may sound counterproductive, a stellar return policy can increase customer loyalty and also boost additional sales after returns are made. This is because the majority of shoppers who return or exchange an item will make another purchase if the return experience was positive.

While returns are a growing issue for many businesses, a strategic return approach can help your business thrive. Here are a few tips to create a return policy that can help boost sales:

  • Create a simple policy with clearly outlined rules (for example, must return with receipt within 60 days from original purchase date).
  • Make it easy to find your return policy. Consider printing your return policy on your receipts, including a return policy card with all purchases, and ensure your return policy is easily available on your website.
  • If you are an e-commerce business, offer free return shipping, which will boost your customer’s confidence and encourage future purchases.
  • Promote your return policy on social media and in product advertising. For example, “free shipping on purchases and returns” can be a tremendous selling point.

If you’d like help promoting a return policy that will build customer loyalty, our creative team would love to help! Stop by or give us a call today at 856.429.0715

The Rise and Fall of Nate Silver: A Lesson in Risk Communication

ThinkstockPhotos-543817436.jpgPolitical prognosticator and analytics guru Nate Silver rose to national fame by correctly predicting elections. But in 2016, Silver joined almost every other analyst by projecting a victory for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. Was Silver’s good luck over?

Cognitive Bias and the “Failure” of Data

Actually, Silver’s estimate for the 2016 election was closer to correct than almost anyone else’s. He saw Clinton as a heavy favorite, but still gave Donald Trump a roughly one-in-three shot of winning. But the world didn’t remember that part of the projection once the election results came in. They just remembered the part Silver got wrong.  Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman has an explanation: cognitive bias.

Kahneman studied how people make decisions and judgments, and he quickly discovered that they don’t make any sense. People like to think of themselves as logical and rational, but they mostly use logic to justify believing whatever they want to believe anyway. And one thing people absolutely love to believe is that the future is certain. Human minds loathe uncertainty. Uncertainty breeds anxiety and fear—sometimes paralyzing fear. So when given a number like “one in three” or “ninety percent,” they subconsciously convert the odds to “yes” or “no.”

This cognitive bias is often very useful. You probably never consider the statistical chance that you’ll be run over by a bus because if you did, you might never leave the house. It’s far easier, and probably mentally healthier, to treat the risk of bus accidents as a 0. But the tendency to round probabilities up or down can be disastrous in the business world.

Communicating Risk

Have you told your boss that there’s a 90% chance you’ll make the sale? If the deal didn’t go through, you were probably in a bit of hot water. Has a supplier ever told you her product’s failure rate was less than 1%? You’d probably be pretty mad if your order was a dud. The problem with both of those statements of probability is that they do a poor job of communicating risk. They invite the mind’s cognitive bias to take over and convert the estimate into a certainty. When that certainty turns out not to be so certain, it feels like a broken promise.

That’s why the world decided Nate Silver was wrong. They had rounded up the probability of a Clinton victory to a guarantee. When Trump won, it felt like Silver had broken his word. His failure wasn’t in the data—it was in the way he communicated the risk.

The lesson here is that quoting numbers won’t save you. Don’t just toss out percentages—put them in context. Visualizations are one useful technique. If a product will fail one time in a hundred, a graphic with 99 white shapes and one black shape gets the message across far more effectively than the numbers. Analogies are also effective. A 90% probability? That’s about the same as the chance that an NFL kicker will make a 32-yard field goal. Anchoring the numbers to a familiar context creates a lasting impression. It forces the mind to acknowledge uncertainty.

In business and life, people care about honesty. But if your goal is to be trustworthy, it’s not enough to state the facts. You have to make those facts sink into others’ minds. When it comes to probabilities and risks, that task is taller than it looks.