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FCES15: Top 10 PR do's (and a few don'ts) - Fri, 2015-11-27 04:30
"Whatever I present to you is my PR moment," Nick Powills, CEO of No Limit Agency, said in opening his session at the Fast Casual Executive Summit in Miami.

Top 3 non-pumpkin trends of the season - Fri, 2015-11-27 04:30 talks with food experts and restaurant operators to find out three of this season's top-trending menu items.

Qmee Releases List of Top 10 Most Popular Kids Holiday Gifts for 2015

PR Web - Fri, 2015-11-27 04:30

Ultimate Online Shopping Resource Helps Users Find the Best Deal and Earn Rewards Back on Gift Searches

(PRWeb November 18, 2015)

Read the full story at

Sir Grout of Houston, Local Tile and Grout Restoration Provider,...

PR Web - Fri, 2015-11-27 04:30

Make It Right Guarantee showcases the superior stone, tile and grout restoration service for guaranteed customer satisfaction

(PRWeb November 17, 2015)

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CruiseOne Adds Dream Vacations Brand to its Travel Franchise Portfolio

PR Web - Fri, 2015-11-27 04:30

Dream Vacations further aligns franchisees with what they do … sell all vacation experiences

(PRWeb November 17, 2015)

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Andrews International Execs Attend OSAC’s 30th Annual Briefing

PR Web - Fri, 2015-11-27 04:30

Executives from security company Andrews International are headed to Washington, D.C. this week for the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) 30th Annual Briefing to be held at the U.S. Department...

(PRWeb November 17, 2015)

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DTT Secures New Relationship with FastBreak

PR Web - Fri, 2015-11-27 04:30

Leading hospitality loss prevention provider DTT announces today a new partnership with Ed’s FastBreak, a 20-unit convenience store brand.

(PRWeb November 17, 2015)

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Restaurant Brands International Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research

Topix - Thu, 2015-11-26 18:29

According to Zacks, "Restaurant Brands International Inc. operates as a quick service restaurant company. It is the parent company for Tim Hortons Inc. and Burger King Worldwide, Inc. Tim Hortons menu includes premium coffee, hot and cold specialty drinks , specialty teas and fruit smoothies, fresh baked goods, grilled Panini and classic sandwiches, wraps, soups, prepared foods and other food products.

Categories: Today's Food News

PSA must improve performance in Germany, CEO says

AutoNews - Thu, 2015-11-26 11:40
PSA must urgently improve its position in Germany, where its market share lags rivals VW brand and Opel as the automaker fails to convince customers of the value and attractiveness of its cars, CEO Carlos Tavares told a German magazine.
Categories: Latest News

51 Ways to Say Thank You – A Gigantic List (Bookmark It!)

Small Business Trends - Thu, 2015-11-26 11:30

Saying “thank you” is good manners. And it brings with it satisfaction that makes you happy. Since it’s the time of year when individuals tend to show gratitude to one another, it’s a great time for your business to do the same.

Below are ideas for ways to say thank you to your customers, clients, partners, suppliers and anyone else who has helped you along the way.

Creative Ways to Say Thank You
  1. Send out hand-written Thank You cards to your top clients and be sure to make each one specific and personal.
  2. Invite members of your community to a party at your local store or restaurant.
  3. Offer free samples of your products to holiday shoppers.
  4. Consultants, package your best advice together in a free eBook and give it away.
  5. Hold an online contest to give away a free product or service to one (or more) of your most loyal customers.
  6. Bakeries and coffee shops, host a free tasting event.
  7. Award a shopping spree or free gift card to one of your customers and ask them to pay it forward by doing something nice for someone else.
  8. Call up your best clients and take them to lunch – just because.
  9. Send a discount to your customers on the anniversary of their first purchase from you.
  10. If you have customers around the country (or the world), host a coffee meetup when you visit a new city and invite customers who live nearby.
  11. Publicly thank your customers individually on social media.
  12. Let customers share their input on which charities you support over the holidays.
  13. If you offer any membership based services, offer surprise upgrades for the highest membership level to a few of your lower-level subscribers.
  14. Send a gift or card to your customers on their birthday or other dates that are important specifically to them.
  15. Host a meet-and-greet event to offer customers the chance to get to know the people behind your business.
  16. B2B businesses, send more business to your clients by giving them relevant referrals whenever possible.
  17. When customers share suggestions, send them a personalized note letting them know how you implemented their feedback.
  18. If you have customers who pay a regular monthly fee for your services, discount a small percentage off their fee for one month.
  19. Send a gift card or discount code from one of your partner businesses to your customers.
  20. Host an after hours event like a reading or an open mic night.
  21. Promote your partners or business clients with a quick shout out on social media.
  22. Create a section of your website specifically to showcase your partners and business clients. Highlight different clients on your main page every week.
  23. Send out some branded gifts like t-shirts or tote bags with your company logo.
  24. Offer complimentary coffee and other treats in your entryway or waiting area.
  25. Find a book that you think would be useful for your clients or partners and share it with them.
  26. Reach out to customers on a regular basis just to make sure they’re satisfied with your products or services.
  27. Highlight standout customers in a blog post or video on your website.
  28. Share relevant articles or other resources from sources that aren’t your own with your customers on social media or via email.
  29. Bloggers, offer free ad-space or sponsored posts to loyal readers who fit with your content.
  30. Host educational seminars or online classes and invite your existing clients early.
  31. Offer up your space for local groups or charity organizations when you’re not using it.
  32. Sponsor local meetups or networking events to help your clients meet others in their industries.
  33. When you launch a new product or service, publicly call for customers to help you name it. Give a prize or public shout out to the winner.
  34. Create a video that says thank you to customers and shows them a behind the scenes look at your company.
  35. Send individual thank you messages to customers who share your products or nice experiences about your business on social media.
  36. Retailers, offer complimentary giftwrapping with purchases over the holidays.
  37. Send a gift card or coffee via Starbucks’ mobile app to customers you can’t meet with for coffee in person.
  38. Create a personalized eCard to send to your customers on holidays.
  39. Plan a happy hour outing once a month and invite your clients, partners and employees out for an informal get together.
  40. When a client mentions a unique hobby or interest, make a note of it and use that to pick out any future gifts, rather than just sending generic items.
  41. Host a giveaway when you launch a new product or service, giving your best customers a chance to try it for free.
  42. Send your clients a basket of their favorite baked goods or other snacks just to let them know how important they are to your business.
  43. Be open and honest with your customers when your business goes through any changes, good or bad.
  44. Local businesses, include a bulletin board in your location that customers and community members can use to share information about local causes and events.
  45. Use your social media accounts to promote or highlight important local issues and keep community members informed.
  46. Send a free gift, along with a thank you note, to customers along with their purchase.
  47. Offer a loyalty program that gives customers a discount or incentive for repeat purchases.
  48. Send cards to people on holidays other than the major ones, especially if you have clients who don’t celebrate things like Christmas.
  49. Hold a flash sale, just for an hour or two, to give deep discounts to customers who are ready to buy – now.
  50. Pick up the phone and call your clients just to check in and see if there’s anything you can help them with.
  51. Say thank you in person. Every time a customer does business with you, say “thank you.”

Using the above creative ideas for ways to say thank you will really show your appreciation. And remember – it’s important to show gratitude and say thank you on a regular basis as well.

Be sure to check out our gift giving guide for a slew of gift ideas as well!

Thank You Image via Shutterstock

This article, "51 Ways to Say Thank You – A Gigantic List (Bookmark It!)" was first published on Small Business Trends

McDonalds planned for Greystones will not go ahead

Topix - Thu, 2015-11-26 10:13

The drive-thru plan would have seen the fast-food chain located 30m from the grounds of a school campus in Greystones that is home to three schools. One of the schools had been granted leave to a seek a judicial review to the plans, but it has now been confirmed that Lidl, which owns the site, will pursue other plans for the lands.

Categories: Today's Food News

6 Creative Retail Ideas to Boost Customer Experience

Small Business Trends - Thu, 2015-11-26 09:30

The face of retail is changing. With constantly increasing competition from eCommerce websites and shoppers able to buy from their mobile devices any time they want, it’s become more and more challenging simply to get customers into your store – not to mention keeping them there.

With that in mind, below are some ideas and ways you can attract more customers and boost your retail sales.

How to Boost Customer Experience and Sales Open a Store Within a Store

I recently visited a coffeehouse that devoted part of its space to a small bookstore, owned by a separate entrepreneur. The same tactic can work for many types of retail products.

For example, the owner of a women’s clothing boutique could rent some space to a jewelry designer. Renting space provides you with some steady income, while the additional product line can draw different customers who may shop at your store as well.

Sell Food or Beverages

This area can be a little tricky, because depending on what you sell, you may not want the potential disaster of food and drink spilling on your wares.

However, if you plan carefully and choose to sell foods with minimum mess potential, refreshments can be a way to keep shoppers in your store longer. For instance, if you own a children’s toy store, a coffee cart to keep the parents’ spirits up while kids play could be a great idea.

Set Up a Vending Machine

Search online and you’ll find many services that provide vending machines to be installed in local businesses. Vending machines don’t just sell candy anymore. These days, you can find vending machines that sell everything from cosmetics to consumer electronics.

Look for a product that’s complementary to yours. Place the vending machine where it can be seen from your store window to draw in curious customers.

Offer In-Store Charging Stations

Keep customers in your store longer by providing free charging stations for their mobile devices. This is also a great way to prevent impatient companions (men) from dragging shoppers out of the store. If Steve discovers he can charge his phone while Sue browses, he’s likely to be much more patient.

Provide Entertainment

Poetry readings, book signings, puppet shows or musical performances by local bands or singers – depending on what you sell and who your target customer is, there are many types of entertainment you can provide.

Hosting entertainment is also a good way to get publicity in local publications or on community websites that might not normally write about a retail store. Promote a weekly entertainment event, and you could find a whole new audience of shoppers.

Try a Pop-up Shop

Opening a temporary, secondary space for a limited time is a great way to test new markets. If you’re considering opening a second location in a nearby town, you can test the waters with a pop-up shop to see if consumers in that area like what you’re selling before committing to renting a full-on retail store.

Pop-up shops also enable you to take advantage of seasonal marketing opportunities, test new product lines and benefit from the excitement of a limited-time concept. Pop-up shops can be set up in empty retail spaces. But you can also use the pop-up concept in a slightly different way by opening a kiosk or cart in a local mall, shopping center or busy Main Street retail zone. Make sure your pop-up shop succeeds by staffing it with an experienced and trusted employee.

What creative retail ideas have you tried in your store to attract more customers and boost customer experience?

Coffee Image via Shutterstock

This article, "6 Creative Retail Ideas to Boost Customer Experience" was first published on Small Business Trends

41 Things to Do on Small Business Saturday

Small Business Trends - Thu, 2015-11-26 07:30

This weekend is Small Business Saturday (November 28, 2015).

Small businesses depend heavily on their local communities.  As a customer, “pay it forward” and support small business in the way it matters most to them — through your wallet.

41 Things to Do on Small Business Saturday How Consumers Can Support Small Business

Spending your money at local businesses improves the local economy.  So it’s not just about supporting a business — you’re supporting your community, too. Here are things to do on Small Business Saturday:

1. Look and feel your best with a new holiday hairdo. Support your local beauty shop instead of fixing your own hair – you’ll love the way you look. And get a manicure or a pedicure at your local nail salon.

2. Is your home in disarray after that big Thanksgiving dinner? No worries. One quick call to a local house cleaner should have your domicile neat as a pin — and ready to entertain through the rest of the holiday season.

3. And who needs a trip to a national grocery chain? Buy fresh fruits and vegetables for your dinner table from the local farmers market.

4. Don’t forget the flowers. While you’re at the farmers market, buy some fresh flowers from the local flower vendor. They’ll be great for your holiday entertaining.  You’ll feel good every time you look at the flowers, too, knowing you supported a local vendor.

5. Feel like splurging on some bling? Visit your hometown jeweler. Buy something sparkly for yourself or someone special in your life.

6. Or just take care of your existing bling.  There’s more than one way to support a small business. If a new jewelry purchase isn’t on your list, how about dropping off that watch or necklace that’s in need of repair at the local jeweler?

7. Will you be traveling and visiting relatives this season? Call the local pet sitter and make sure “Spot” has some company and is well cared for while you’re gone.

8. Add to your collectibles or pick up something nice for the house. Visit the local antique mall and treat yourself to a special treasure. Make it an outing and include your out-of-town guests, also.

9. You’ll need wheels to do all that shopping. So keep those “wheels” greased and get your oil changed at the local mechanic’s shop.

10. Uh-oh. Is it snowing where you’re at? Better call the local snow plow company.

11. Planning on wearing that great outfit for the holidays? Good news – you’ve lost weight (lucky you!). Time to visit the local seamstress to have that dress taken in.

12. Or maybe your holiday best is still in good shape. The trouble is, maybe it hasn’t been cleaned in a while.  The local dry cleaner can help you with that.

13. Your printer is running low on ink and paper. Better stop and pick up some office supplies from the local, privately-owned supply store.

14. What if you don’t want to cook when entertaining this year? Order something dangerously delectable from a local caterer for your upcoming Christmas party.

15. Here’s a bright idea about holiday lights! Pay your landscaper (who’s probably experiencing a slow down at this time of year) to do your exterior holiday decorating.

16. In need of an evening out after slaving over a hot oven on Thanksgiving? Hire your local babysitter for the evening. Take friends or your significant other out to dinner.

17. No need to shop in a grimy car. Stop at the local car wash or detailing shop and put a shine put on it.

18. Plan to do some shopping online. But don’t just hit the Amazons of the world. Purchase a handmade craft from an Etsy artisan or eBay entrepreneur.

19. And speaking of artisans, here’s something else to consider. Doesn’t a flatbread pizza from the local pizza parlor or bistro sound good tonight?

20. Looking for a special gift for a special someone? The best place to find something artsy or clever is a local craft show or boutique that carries unique gifts you won’t find in a Big Box.

21. Say thanks with a huge potted plant. Need to bring a hostess gift to an upcoming party? Or what about a “thank you” to the individual who provided Thanksgiving dinner?  Visit your local florist and pick up a gorgeous locally-grown poinsettia — or have it delivered.

22. Don’t let lack of sun get you down – get a tan!  For those in colder climates, brighten your day even if you can’t get away for a tropical vacation. Visit your local tanning salon for 20 minutes of warm “sunshine.”

23. Want your home in tip-top shape for holiday entertaining? If you’re finding it hard to work around that broken drawer in the kitchen, don’t worry. Hire a local handyman to come and make repairs before the big day.

24. Homemade holiday cookies sound good.  If you simply do not have the time to bake cookies yourself, never fear. Ring up the local “cookie lady” (every town has one, you know you do) and place your holiday order in time.

25. If you ate too much turkey, consider it an opportunity. Maybe it’s time to have a work out with your local physical fitness trainer or visit that locally-owned gym franchise today.

26. Avoid a doggy dilemma. If you have a pooch that will be alone while you’re out for the day supporting small businesses, here’s an idea. Hire a local dog walker to get your pup out and about, too.

27. And here’s another idea for man’s best friend. Picking up Spot’s uhhh … “spots” in the backyard is no enjoyable task. But that’s what the local pet waste cleanup company is for.

28. Dogs need pampering, too. While you’re doing all of the above, Spot could use an appointment at the local pet groomer as well. (Don’t forget that pretty little bow or bow tie!)

29. Make beautiful music. Have a piano collecting dust that you’d like to play when company visits, but haven’t played it in years? Call the local music teacher for a brush-up lesson. Or two.

How Small Business Owners Can Support Other Businesses

If you yourself own a small business, you know how important it is to support other business owners. You, too, can support Small Business Saturday. Here are ways  to meet your business’s needs with the products and services local entrepreneurs provide.

30. Order in for lunch. If Small Business Saturday isn’t a day off for you and your employees, at least try to enjoy it.  Call the local deli and have a lunch tray delivered.

31. Remember those delicious cookies? Don’t just order them for yourself and your family.  Place a cookie order with a local bakery.  When you get the cookies, put them in pretty boxes or festive bags, and deliver them to clients and customers as holiday thank-you gifts.

32. Get a little artsy. Retail store owners, hire a local artist to paint your store display windows with nostalgic holiday scenes that evoke emotion for the holidays.  You’ll be helping your business and supporting another!

33. Just relax. Call and schedule a day outing at a locally-owned spa to treat your team.  Or schedule a masseuse in for chair massages for the entire office one afternoon.

34. Nothing says thank you like caffeine. Consultants, buy one of your cherished clients a gift certificate to a local cafe. Send it to him or her as appreciation for the support of your business.

35. Is your computer at work running slow? Make a note to hire a local IT specialist to come in the following week and give it a boost.

36. Kick that holiday party up a notch. Hire a local event planner to plan for your upcoming office party.  Hurry!  You don’t have much time left, so call today.

37. Order branded calendars and holiday cards.  Visit your local printer or locally-owned UPS Store franchise and order calendars and holiday cards.

38. Decorate your website for the holidays.  Send an email to your Web designer. Hire him or her to design a festive holiday “skin” or header for your website.

39. Order Amish goodie boxes.  The Amish are a very entrepreneurial group and have websites where they sell Amish cheese, meats, gifts and more.  Place your order for gift boxes for employees and clients, today.

40. Contribute to a local cause.  Even small non-profits need money to survive, pay their workers and perform their good works. So support a small non-profit in your area. Mail a contribution check today. You’ll be putting money back into your local community … and doing good.

41. Get started on next year’s marketing strategy.  Get serious about next year’s goals. Email your marketing or PR agency — before you forget — to schedule a meeting to work on some marketing initiatives for next year.

Last but not least – don’t stop buying after Small Business Saturday.

Make this list of things to do on Small Business Saturday come alive 365 days of the year.  When it’s time to make a purchase, shop your local area first. “Shop small” online whenever you can.  And “dine small” at local restaurants and eateries, too, throughout the year.

Lantern, Antique, Flowers, House, Dog, Spa Images via Shutterstock

This article, "41 Things to Do on Small Business Saturday" was first published on Small Business Trends

VW gets record fine in South Korea for emissions cheat

AutoNews - Thu, 2015-11-26 06:01
South Korea became the first country outside the U.S. to punish VW Group for cheating in emissions tests, slapping the automaker with a record fine of 14.1 billion won ($12.31 million) and ordering a recall of 125,522 vehicles.
Categories: Latest News

Fast food farce: When your sandwich doesn't look as advertised

Topix - Thu, 2015-11-26 01:56

For decades, the fast-food industry has been plastering its products everywhere you look - TV, Internet, billboards and junk mail. Regardless of the medium, there is one thing that never changes.

Categories: Today's Food News

On the road in Japan

AutoNews - Thu, 2015-11-26 01:01
During a recent trip to Japan, I couldn't entirely stop being an auto reporter. Here are some thoughts and observations from my first extended return to Japan in eight years.
Categories: Latest News

Macca's snack with calories of eight Big Macs

Topix - Wed, 2015-11-25 21:46

LIKE your McDonald's McNugget? We have good news. The fast food chain's latest idea involves a lot of them.

Categories: Today's Food News

Check Out the Top Pinned Products on Pinterest

Small Business Trends - Wed, 2015-11-25 18:30

As we get into the holiday season, the visual bookmarking tool Pinterest is looking to help those who may be running short on gift ideas, publishing a list of its most-pinned products of 2015.

Some of the top pinned products are pretty great gift ideas. Here they are, from one to ten:

  1. A new wave water bottle
  2. A solar charger for your smartphone
  3. Lace-up boots to hit the pavement 
  4. Glow in the dark leggings take athleisure to a new level
  5. Asymmetrical coats
  6. Artful gemstones 
  7. A smarter way to pack your bag
  8. Stylish swaddle blankets
  9. Graphic tees and tops 
  10. Tapestries to transform your bedroom

While the listingof top pinned products itself offers shoppers some pretty awesome suggestions, ideas and inspiration, it also highlights the type of products and content that is resonating best among the Pinterest audience.

If you are marketing products that are similar in theme or style to any of the products on the list, you should be considering using Pinterest as a marketing platform for your products, borrowing ideas from the products on the list on how to do just that.

According to a CivicScience survey, Pinterest users shop more on Black Friday and Cyber Monday than the average online user. Pinners spend four times more on games and toys, three times more on accessories, housewares and clothing and 2.2 times more on media and electronics. The study also found out that Pinners will shop across more types of stores, including small businesses.

With the findings in mind, any brand, advertiser or small business that seeks to increase their sales this festive season should therefore seriously focus on Pinterest.

The social networking site has immensely grown in the past year, recently announcing that it had hit a major milestone — 100 million monthly active users.  With the addition of individually relevant search tools and improved on-platform buying options, Pinterest is on track to become an e-commerce giant.

Pinterest Image via Shutterstock

This article, "Check Out the Top Pinned Products on Pinterest" was first published on Small Business Trends

DoorDash, a food delivery startup that's rumored to be raising at a...

Topix - Wed, 2015-11-25 17:35

DoorDash, a food delivery startup that's rumored to be raising at a $1 billion valuation, has some shady instructions for its delivery workers The startup's delivery people, independent contractors called Dashers, pick up food from restaurants and bring it to customers in 21 metropolitan areas in the United States. Some of the company's practices have come under fire.

Categories: Today's Food News

Dojo: Pebble Shaped Device Provides Home Network Security

Small Business Trends - Wed, 2015-11-25 16:30

It’s called Dojo and it looks like some kind of pebble-shaped contraption with no buttons.

But what it is, in actuality, is a different kind of security device. Instead of protecting your premises from physical intruders, Dojo is designed to keep cyber attacks out, providing home network security.  

This video gives a brief overview of the device and its functions:

There are an increasing number of “smart” devices on the market, all connecting to your network with access to your information. This presents a security problem that the makers of Dojo feel has not yet been properly addressed. An especially daunting concern for the small business owner with a home office.

So how does Dojo propose to help?

What Dojo promises to do is continually scan the connected devices on your home/office network. By learning your patterns and “getting to know” your devices, Dojo finds common vulnerabilities and then blocks security and privacy risks.

Dojo sits on a dock, presumably to charge as there is little information regarding just what functions the dock performs. The dock does have ports to connect to your network but the Dojo device itself is wireless. It can be picked up and carried around your home/office if you so desire. There seems to be little call to do so though as all security issues are addressed through a companion app.

You control Dojo through a “chat” app, as the company calls it. The app doesn’t talk to you, but notifies you of detected threats in a simple text format. Much like chatting with a friend over text message. The company claims all notifications are sent in plain language that is easy to understand with no technical knowledge.

Through the app, you are supposed to be able to control what is blocked and what information is shared and with whom. Dojo’s idea is to put security in the hands of the consumer, as the company states on its Amazon page, “There is no other technology that exists for consumers today. There are enterprise and state technologies that thwart hacks and safeguard data, but there’s nothing that helps the everyday consumer manage these types of vulnerabilities. And nothing that anyone could understand without some kind of security knowledge. We set out to build something that will define this market.”

If you are interested in Dojo you can preorder the device for $99. The wait isn’t too bad for it either. Dojo is set to be released March 8, 2016.

Image via Dojo-labs

This article, "Dojo: Pebble Shaped Device Provides Home Network Security" was first published on Small Business Trends