Thursday, April 28, 2011

Item of the Week: Car Magnets…Promote Your Company While You are on the Go

What a great way to promote your company…there’s no better place to advertise than on your vehicle that you drive every day! Chances are that you regularly drive around the area where your client base or potential clients are. Include your logo, address and phone number so people know where you are located and how to get in touch with you! Make sure it is designed so people who see it know exactly what you do and can read it even as they are driving by!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What to Cook, Bake, or in General to Make Wednesday

Chicken Fajitas with Spice Rub

by Amy Cotler From FamilyFun Magazine
Chicken Fajitas with Spice Rub 

  • 1 ripe avocado, cut into chunks and tossed in 1 teaspoon of lime juice
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream
  • Fresh ciliantro, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half
  • 1 small red or yellow pepper, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 8-inch flour tortillas

  1. Place your toppings (avocado, salsa, sour cream and cilantro leaves) in separate bowls and set them on your table.
  2. Next, make the rub. Combine the cumin, chili powder, oregano, and salt in a shallow bowl. Lightly rub the spices into the chicken with your fingertips until the meat is coated on all sides. Heat your grill to medium. Grill the chicken on both sides, just until cooked through, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat, slice thinly, and set it on a platter.
  3. While the chicken is cooking, toss the pepper and onion in the olive oil. Set them on the grill, using a vegetable screen, if desired, and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, turning once. Remove from the heat and set on the platter with the chicken.
  4. Place the tortillas on the grill for 5 to 7 seconds on each side, turning with tongs, until hot. Set out the grilled chicken, pepper, and onion with the toppings and tortillas. Let guests assemble and roll their own fajitas. Serves 4 to 6.
Kid's Steps: Kids can set toppings in bowls and rub the spices into the chicken (washing hands thoroughly afterward).

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Before & After Magazine – A Designer’s Best Friend

I have been a subscriber to Before & After Magazine for the past two years and I still enjoy every article that I read. If you are a designer looking for tips, tricks and inspiration, then you should take advantage of this great resource.

Recently in addition to their regular articles, they have started doing video tutorials as well. These videos are short and sweet, but are full of great information.

The magazine has articles on brochure designs, typography, creating logos, simplifying business cards, designing with words and pictures and so much more. I have incorporated many ideas and concepts from Before & After Magazine articles in my own designs.

Before & After Magainze is not free, but for a low cost you can either have PDF articles emailed to you or you can be a print subscriber. They also have a great of my favorites that I purchased from them is, "Graphics for Business."

To find out more or to subscribe, visit their website at

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day! Seven Ideas to Promote Your Business During Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day Everyone! I wanted to share this great article I found about promoting your business during earth day.

Seven Ideas to Promote Your Business During Earth Day
By Robert Piller

1. Give it Away: Promote your company’s participation in Earth Day by giving away custom-imprinted promotional products, from recycled tote bags, biodegradable sports bottles or imprinted seed packets or imprinted live tree seedlings.

2. Spread the News: Notify the media about the ways your company is getting involved in the green movement. It is newsworthy and favorable news coverage will be the best form of marketing.

3. Donate Green: Donate your green promotional products to a variety of organizations or groups, including schools, non-profit organizations, sports teams, churches and synagogues, etc.

4. Cooperate: Work with other local businesses to coop the cost of your green friendly promotional products. Contact other businesses to put each organizations logo onto a recycled tote bag, for example—spreading the costs among a handful of “green community leaders”.

5. Give to Get: Encourage your employees and customers to recycle. When they bring in a bundle for recycling, give them a free imprinted tree seedling or recycled sports bottle. Encourage the media to visit during this recycling effort.

6. Green Fridays: Have your employees wear imprinted green t-shirts and green caps to promote Green Friday. Make the last Friday of each month Green Friday—where employees wear green and must report how they have done an energy saving activity for the month. Top 5 winners get the afternoon off or a free eco-friendly gift.

7. Car Pool: Calculate the savings that your employees will help to make by car pooling, turning off lights, recycling, etc. You can use the US EPA’s Carbon Calculator to see how much your carbon footprint can be reduced. Keep a chart, much like the United Way posters, to track your organizations carbon reduction for the year and hold a party when your goal has been met.

Let’s Make Every Day, Earth Day. It’s a win-win opportunity.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Item of the Week: Eco Friendly Products

Are you looking for ways that you can help save the planet? Now you can. There are lots of options out there for eco-friendly promotional products. Some ideas that we love are:

  • Reusable grocery bags - Not only will your customers see your name every time they pull out their grocery bags, imagine all of the other shoppers who will be exposed to your name!
  • Recycled pens
  • Biodegradable water bottles
  • Earth friendly golf balls - Don't feel guilty about losing golf balls again!
  • Recycled calendars 
  • Water powered clock - No batteries needed. You never have to worry about power outages making you late to work again!
Check out more eco products...Eco-friendly Promotional Products

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Item of the Week: Greeting Cards

Take a second and picture this. You get home from work and check your mailbox and there is a card or a letter from one of your friends or loved ones. If you are anything like me, this makes you feel special and you rush inside to open it.

With all of the technology that is available to us, it is convenient to get in the habit of sending email after email, because at the click of the mouse, the recipient gets your message. It is apparent that because of the convenience of technology, sometimes we forget the importance of the personal touch. Whether they are thank you notes, congratulations notes or birthday cards, a handwritten note will mean more to a customer then an email. It makes them feel special and like they aren’t just another number on your long list of clients.

From generic to customized greeting cards, there is a plethora of options for you to choose from. So, get out your favorite pen and start sending handwritten greetings to your clients!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What to Cook, Bake, or in General to Make Wednesdays

Printed from COOKS.COM

Read more about it at,171,155191-247207,00.html
Content Copyright © 2011 - All rights reserved.
2 lb. bag frozen hash browns
1 bar Cracker Barrel sharp cheese, grated
1 can cream of potato soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 c. sour cream
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1 chopped onion
Salt, very little
Fresh parsley

Crumble hash browns in a 9 x 13 casserole. Cover with sharp cheese. Combine together remaining ingredients. Spread over potatoes and cheese. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake, uncovered 2 hours at 300 degrees. Serves 10. Can be made in morning and cooked later.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Developing Your Core Clients

Do you rely on repeat business from current and past clients? If so, have you fully developed your core clients full potential?

Instead of focusing on your “once in awhile” clients, you should focus on the strong base of clients  -- the clients that are and will continue to be long-term clients. Research shows that in most business to business companies that 20% of clients produce 80% of profits.

Follow this five-step approach to help your company develop core clients.

1. Identify the most profitable clients.
2. Learn each client’s needs and wants.
3. Analyze the offerings they need and use.
4. Focus marketing efforts on the profitable client types.
5. Monitor satisfaction levels.

Identify the Most Profitable Clients

Go in to your accounting records and look at the revenues each client generates, what it costs to sell to them and to service them.  This will help you discover which clients are profitable and which ones are unprofitable. Unprofitable clients are those clients that cost you more to market, attract and satisfy.

Learn Their Wants and Needs

Once you have decided on your core group of clients that you want to focus on, the best approach to find out your clients wants and needs is to ask them. Some ways to gather this information is through written surveys, focus groups, face-to-face visits and in-depth interviews.

Analyze the Offerings They Need and Use

Do your products and/or services meet the needs of your customers? Are there some services that your clients do not utilize? Are there some services that you could begin offering to meet their needs better?

Focus Marketing on the Profitable Client Type

The feedback you receive from your profitable clients should be the basis of your marketing efforts.

Monitor Satisfaction Levels Religiously

To keep ahead of the game, you need to understand your clients future needs, what will they want to do or need in the future. You can do this a few ways, (1) by asking the right questions and listening during your every day interactions and meetings with your clients, or (2) by using focus groups or user groups for feedback on what upcoming trends your customers are paying attention to or interested in.

Source: Selling in Deep Carpet: Developing Core Clients by Clare G. Ross

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Item of the Week: Promotional Products

What better way to say thank you to your customers for their business then giving them a gift to show them your appreciation. Wouldn't it be nice to give them something that will be both useful and will also remind them of your company every time they use the product? A few lower priced items that I have had success with in the past have been as follows:

  • Tape Measures - You can never have enough tape measures!
  • Stainless Steel Water Bottles - These water bottles are durable and will keep your drinks cold all day long. I personally use one everyday!
  • Multi-Tools - The guys love them. A screwdriver and a level all in one place! These are so small that they can fit your glove box.
  • Jotters and Padfolios - A jotter can fit in someone's purse or glove department and a Padfolio is great for taking to meetings.
  • Post-it-Note Cubes - These were a HUGE success. There is nothing better then walking into a clients office and seeing your post-it-note cube sitting on their desk. (HINT: Make sure your name is towards the bottom of the pile so they can see it as long as possible!)
  • Stocking Hats - A great idea for winter, wouldn't you want your customers to walk around town with your logo on their hat!?

A few higher end items that I have had success with in the past have been as follows:

  • Poker Set - Complete with poker chips, cards and dealer chips.
  • BBQ Set - Everyone needs a heavy duty set of grilling tools for their spring and summer cookouts.
  • Car Emergency Set - Jumper cables, flares...anything that you might need if you have car trouble.
  • Binoculars - A great tool for nature lovers is a high end pair of binoculars!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What to Cook Bake, or in General to Make Wednesday

Spinach, Tomato, Feta & Egg Wrap

(Reipe from


    2 La Tortilla Factory Whole Wheat Low-Carb/Low-Fat Tortilla, Large Size 1 C. chopped fresh spinach 1-1/3 C. Egg Beaters 1-1/2 T. Athenos Red. Fat Feta Cheese 1-1/2 T. Athenos Basil & Tomato Feta Cheese 2 T. Hunt's Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes w/Garlic 4 halves sun-dried tomato in oil & spices, chopped


Spray medium sized skillet with nonstick spray and bring to medium heat. Add chopped spinach and both types of tomatoes. Stirring occasionally, cook for about 1 minute (until spinach has wilted). Add the cheese to the pan and cook for an additional 30 seconds (cheese should be melty). Removed from heat.
Spray a small skillet with nonstick spray and bring to medium heat. Add 2/3 C. of the Egg Beaters, and cook to form an egg patty (flipping and folding until firm). Remove egg patty and set aside. Cook the remaining 2/3 C. of Egg Beaters the same.
Heat tortillas in the microwave until slightly warm. Place 1/2 the veggie/cheese mixture in the center of each tortilla. Place an egg patty on top, and wrap the tortilla up envelope style (folding the sides in first, and then rolling it up from the bottom). Place the wrap in a warm oven or toaster oven (with seam side down and bake for 1 - 2 minutes (until thoroughly heated).

Number of Servings: 2

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Designing Visually Pleasing Materials

Have you ever completed a design and have not been pleased with the end result? If so, it is possible that you are missing one of the four elements of design: balance, visual syntax, unity or proportion. I’m going to explain a little bit about each of these four elements.

Balance – In order to achieve balance, you should focus on optical weight. Optical weight is a visual system of measure.  Optical weight is based on the following six rules:

  1. Anything located in the upper left hand quadrant of a layout has the most optical weight.
  2. Large items are noticed more, seen for a longer time and remembered more.
  3. Elements that are dark carry more optical weight.
  4. Color conveys more optical weight than black and white.
  5. White space draws attention to the other information on the page.
  6. Rectangles are normal shapes, everything else conveys optical weight.

Visual Syntax – Typically a person’s eyes go in a Z pattern when looking at a piece.

So, to increase visual syntax, you should try to use a Z page layout.  You should include the “What’s in it for me” across the top, filler text in the middle and a call to action across the bottom.

Unity – There are seven elements that contribute to the unity of your piece. They are as follows:

  1. Typography – try to stick to only using 2 fonts. You can have an additional font if necessary, but two is the key number.
  2. Paper – The heavier the paper, the more important people perceive something is.
  3. Style of Art – Don’t mix and match different styles of art.
  4. Color – Don’t overdue it on colors, stick to a color scheme.
  5. Size – 30% of your design should be white space. Let the content determine the size of your piece.
  6. Graphic Elements – You can use repeat graphics throughout the page in order to grab people’s attention.
  7. Grid – Don’t go from 1 column to 2 columns, keep things consistent.

Proportion – The underlying skeleton of your layouts.

To make your piece proportionate, you should consider whether you are going to use a one-column (newsy or important perception), two-column (formal and conservative look), or a three-column (flexible, friendly and casual look) grid layout.

The grid is the key to your design. You can make your piece graphically appealing by carrying headlines, text and graphics through two or more columns.

These are just a few things to think about when you are designing a piece. When you complete your design you should go back and make sure your document has used these four elements correctly.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Why Is Customer Service So Important?

       You are important to us, and to our business.
   Surrveys show that 85% of customers who take their business to
a new supplier, do so because of customer service issues.
   You're the reason we're in business, so it is our goal to keep you
happy with service and products you receive from us at Big Red
   We want your products to meet and exceed your expectations
every time, and the best way to get what you want is to ask, we're
here to listen!
   If you're not sure what you want, we will be more than happy to
offer you our tips and advice.
   We'll be the first to admit that we are not perfect, but when things
go wrong, you can be sure that we'll make it right.
   You're opinion is important to us, so if you have any suggestions
on how we can serve you better please let us know.