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The lighter side of the menu

Nation's Restaurant News - Wed, 2016-04-27 09:10
As the seasons change, operators and chefs look to add lighter dishes to their menus.

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Spotlight: PeeqSee Offers an Interactive Social App

Small Business Trends - Wed, 2016-04-27 08:30

There’s no shortage of social media platforms for people to choose from these days. So it can be difficult to get one to stand out from the rest. That’s why PeeqSee focuses on creating an experience that’s truly interactive. Read more about the app in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What PeeqSee Does

Provides a social media app and site with interactive content.

Users can sign up for an account and use the platform on mobile or a regular browser. Then they can post content like photos or videos and add little interactive features to make the experience more enjoyable for everyone.

Business Niche

Allowing for truly interactive content.

Vacit Arat, CEO and co-founder of PeeqSee told Small Business Trends, “Users’ posts are interactive such that you don’t just “look” at them, you actively touch them (on objects that the senders prescribed) and engage. The posts react in a way that the sender intended, whether it is to satisfy a curiosity, to surprise you, to tell you a story that follows or to take you somewhere else.”

How PeeqSee Got Started

As a secure communication tool.

PeeqSee’s founders originally wanted to create a secure communication tool for consumers. Arat says, “The core idea of PeeqSee came when we decided that one of those fun ideas could be a standalone product without having to be part of a security tool. In the process, we realized that while many people believe making social media posts interactive is the next wave, they have surprisingly neglected to take steps towards it. We decided to close down our previous company and put all of our energies towards the new idea, patenting it and create a company around it.”

Biggest Win

Securing a high profile account.

Arat explains, “Our biggest win so far is when GoldenBoy, the boxing promotion company founded by Oscar De La Hoya, saw a big potential in us and signed up to use PeeqSee to promote its boxers.”

How PeeqSee Would Spend an Extra $100,000

Marketing.

How PeeqSee Got Its Name

Because of a domain issue.

Arat says, “We were going to name the company “PeekSee”, or “Peek”, but those domain names were taken, so we came up with “PeeqSee” as the alternative changing k to q. Since then, we continued to come up with the “q” versions of many words, and often compete with each other in doing that.”

Favorite Quote

“If you are going through hell, keep going!” ~ Winston Churchill

* * * * *

Find out more about the Small Biz Spotlight program.

Images: PeeqSee – Top Image: Vacit Arat, CEO and co-founder (left) and Kalana Jayatilake, Co-Founder and Chief Engineer (right)

This article, "Spotlight: PeeqSee Offers an Interactive Social App" was first published on Small Business Trends

Panera CEO: Q1 growth proves digital strategy is working

FastCasual.com - Wed, 2016-04-27 08:14
Sales are up 6.2 percent at Panera Bread's nearly 500 company-owned stores thanks to the rollout of the chain's digital operations, ordering and payment system.

Germany to offer 4,000 euro subsidy to boost EV sales

AutoNews - Wed, 2016-04-27 07:25
Germany announced a plan today to invest about 1 billion euros ($1.13 billion) to promote electric cars, which will include subsidies of 4,000 euros ($4,524) for buyers of EVs and 3,000 euros for those choosing to purchase a plug-in hybrid.
Categories: Latest News

AccorHotels Achieves Antitrust Clearance Of Proposed Fairmont Raffles Hotels International Acquisition

Hotel Interactive - Wed, 2016-04-27 07:00
PARIS--AccorHotels announces today that it has cleared all antitrust approvals in relevant jurisdictions, satisfying one of the closing conditions of the ...

My Experience With Transgender Bathroom Issues In the Workplace

Small Business Trends - Wed, 2016-04-27 06:30

What I am about to tell you is a true story of my experience as a business leader dealing with a transgender bathroom issue in the workplace.  It’s a challenging issue but one that, in many small business situations, can have a practical solution.

Nothing in what I’m about to tell you involves breaking any confidences.  This was all public knowledge in our company.  No real names are used, but the situation was very real.

During the late 1990s I was the executive in charge of a small office in the U.K.  I have a background not only in business but also as a lawyer. And the company I worked for sent me off to the University of Michigan Business School for a crash course in human resources and put me in charge of HR for a few years.

Through a series of circumstances, I was assigned to an office of our company near London for almost a year. The team there had about 30 people.

Robert had been with the company for a few years. Robert was married with children.

Then … Robert became Mary.

It turns out that Robert had been desperately unhappy as a man.  And so he began the sex change process, which I understand takes a period of time to be fully effective, involving medications, surgery and therapy.  While the sex change process was going on, Robert began his life as Mary.

The team there was, for the most part, in their twenties and thirties. Being a small office, they had worked together and socialized at the local pub for years.  Robert was a quiet and earnest person by nature, and seemed to get along with everyone.

So, Robert’s co-workers accepted him as Mary.

In fact, at the time, I remember thinking everyone was remarkably accepting.  No reason they shouldn’t have been — I’m not passing judgment with that statement.  It’s just that over the years, I’ve seen workplace dust ups over things much less significant than a co-worker’s sex change.  Having dealt with every imaginable workplace tension, some over relatively minor issues, I steeled myself for a backlash.

But it was a backlash that never came.

Robert (now Mary) was a good employee with positive reviews.  We didn’t want to lose an experienced employee. So we changed Mary’s personnel records to reflect her new name, along with her name tag and business cards.

Mary was in a tech support role and visited client sites in transgender attire.  It was obvious she was transgender during the early stages of her transformation.  The five o’clock shadow was still there, the voice was baritone, and other signs were still apparent. But everyone, including the clients, seemed to accept Mary’s situation.  Or at least, no one ever voiced an objection.

Life and business went on.

So what was the issue, you ask?  Well, if there was an issue – it was the bathroom situation.  But as it turns out, we were able to solve the transgender bathroom workplace issue in a small office with a practical solution.

How We Resolved the Transgender Bathroom Workplace Issue

At first Mary would go home to use the bathroom at lunchtime. Occasionally, Mary also used a nearby public bathroom that she could tell was unoccupied before she went in.

But eventually Mary approached us and asked to use the women’s restroom.  She no longer felt comfortable using the men’s room. And of course, leaving the office to find a bathroom was not realistic, either.

Now, in this office we had a small ladies restroom with an exterior door.  Inside were two stalls, each with a door and lock, and a communal sink.

So we called a meeting with the rest of the women to ask how they felt about their co-worker Mary, now a transgender person, using the women’s bathroom. Everyone agreed that Mary should be able to use the bathroom at work. But we could tell a couple of the women were uncomfortable with the idea of being in a toilet stall next to someone who still seemed masculine in many ways.

It was one of the co-workers who came up with the solution to the transgender bathroom workplace issue.  She suggested that the women, including Mary, knock before entering and wait for a response.  Depending on the response, each person would either wait or go in.

Not every woman had a concern with being in the bathroom at the same time as Mary, but for those who did, “knock before entering” solved it.

If anything, Mary seemed to feel more awkward using the toilets at the same time as her female co-workers, than vice versa.  So Mary also appreciated the “knock before entering” solution.

Being a woman myself, I also used this same bathroom and the “knock before entering” solution.

And that’s how we solved it — back in the 1990s.

As a company we were prepared to go further, by printing up an “Occupied” sign or even putting a lock on the exterior door and transforming it into a single-person bathroom.  But we didn’t need to go that far.  Knocking is what everyone accepted as a solution to the transgender bathroom workplace issue.

My point in writing this is that with all the talk about transgenders and bathrooms, I felt it was helpful to share a real life situation. I think it’s important to not focus on hypothetical problems or imagine the worst.  Instead, approach it like other workplace issues.

The transgender bathroom workplace issue we dealt with turned out to be less problematic than other situations I’ve dealt with.  Executives carrying on affairs with their underlings with resulting harassment claims; co-worker stalkings;  assaults; employee theft; attempted suicide; intoxication; psychotic episodes at work — these are all too common in today’s workplace.  I’ve dealt with them all.  All were far more difficult than figuring out a practical solution for a valued transgender employee to use the bathroom.

And I’ll bet most human resource managers today have dealt with similar gnarly issues.  HR people are used to dealing with the human condition. In HR, it’s all in a day’s work.

Would knocking on the bathroom door work for every small business that has a transgender employee?  Maybe not.  But with an empathetic approach that takes into account all your employees and visitors, including transgenders, I’m convinced a solution can be found in any small business.

Try talking with your employees and see how they really feel.  Don’t assume.  Ask them to propose solutions for potential transgender bathroom workplace issues that are fair — to everyone.  You might be surprised.

Door Image via Shutterstock

This article, "My Experience With Transgender Bathroom Issues In the Workplace" was first published on Small Business Trends

Curio-A Collection By Hilton Expands Its Presence In The Heart Of SoCal With The Addition Of Hotel La Jolla

Hotel Interactive - Wed, 2016-04-27 06:07
MCLEAN, VA--Hotel La Jolla - a boutique hotel with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean - today joins Curio - A ...

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Targets 100 Hotels In Middle East By 2020

Hotel Interactive - Wed, 2016-04-27 06:04
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES--From the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) in Dubai, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. today announced that ...

Negotiating the operating costs as rent for restaurant tenants

FastCasual.com - Wed, 2016-04-27 06:00
There are aspects of the operating costs that can be changed to the tenant's favor, although most commercial real estate professionals may explain that operating costs are not negotiable.

Valeo sales rise 9% on intuitive driving systems

AutoNews - Wed, 2016-04-27 05:44
French supplier Valeo reported a 9.4 percent rise in first-quarter sales, lifted by demand for pricier content such as display screens, parking assistance and radar systems.
Categories: Latest News

The Basic Concepts Of SEO Explained to Beginners

Small Business Trends - Wed, 2016-04-27 05:00

While SEO (search engine optimization) is not rocket science or brain surgery, it certainly isn’t the easiest paradigm to understand, especially to someone who doesn’t have a background in the internet or technology.

Whether it’s the way words sound (meta data optimization) or a particularly technical aspect of SEO (like schema markup), I tend to encounter confusion quite often with those customers who are new to the concepts of SEO.  In order to guard against a customer’s confusion or worse, feeling inferior, a successful sales rep has to create a bridge between the customer and SEO in order to grow a clear understanding of the practices of a successful SEO campaign.

This is vital to bringing the sales process to a successful close.  Having a customer leave a conversation confused in the least bit is often the death rattle of your sales cycle.  Never fear; analogies are here!  Just as the Internet is full of analogies (the web, crawling, server, etc…), SEO has some particularly helpful metaphors to improve anyone’s understanding of its basic (or even advanced) concepts.

Let’s look at three of these analogies in an attempt to acquire new tools to help others understand the basic concepts of SEO.

The Basic Concepts of SEO Backlinks = Votes of Confidence

In attempting to explain the importance of acquiring relevant, authoritative backlinks into your website, I often hear silence or muttering at the other end of the phone. Who knew that simply placing the word ‘back” in front of a concept that is seemingly universally understood, ‘link’, would lead to so much misunderstanding?

I find that discussing backlinks in terms of their function is very helpful in establishing what they are in another’s mind.  This is where “votes of confidence” comes into play.  If one can understand that these websites linking to your site are vouching for your site to the search engines, one can begin to grasp the importance and role of backlinks in an SEO campaign.  This simple metaphor helps do the trick of engendering a growing understanding of a key concept.

Alternate Metaphor – Popularity Contest

Conversion Optimization = Billboard on the Side of the Highway

Any (extremely) lazy optimizer can drive more traffic to a website.  Heck, you can pay five bucks to boost your traffic overnight, and you don’t have to do any real SEO work.  The catch is that it is highly doubtful that this traffic will lead to a conversion on your website.  After all, the goal of a website is to guide a user to take some action, be it read an article, purchase a widget, vote on a picture, or fill out a contact form.

To get this idea across, a coworker of mine uses the billboard analogy regularly.  He says something like this: “Your website is like a billboard on the side of the road.  People can drive past it all day long, but, if they don’t pull over and write down your information, what is the point of having the billboard?” His point is that having all the traffic in the world matters little unless those users are converting.  I really like this analogy, and I have adopted it in my sales calls.

Alternate Metaphor – Restaurant menu

Schema Markup = Writing Your 11th Grade Term Paper

This is one of the more daunting challenges when it comes to SEO, and, to be honest, it took me several conversations with coworkers and family (Thanks, Mom) to come up with this one.  Just mentioning this word, much less explaining it, will cause eyes to glaze over and minds to be numbed.

So, and this is not a perfect analogy, think about when you had to write that high school term paper.

You likely had to use footnotes, MLA Format, and proper quotation practices or your teacher marked you off.  There were certain structures that you had to include in your paper to properly convey the meaning you wanted to convey to anyone reading it.  In the same way, schema markup is a way of coding a website so that the search engines better understand its content. Obviously, this explanation isn’t ground shaking in its intricacy, but this is the world of metaphor, so we are in the business of creating images, not math equations.

Alternate Metaphor – Please tell me if you know one

After writing my first two blog posts about SEO, much of the feedback that I have received from friends in family goes something like this: “I loved your post, and you write great, but I have no idea what you are talking about.”  I can’t help but think that if I am not going out of my way to help my client understand SEO, he or she is probably leaving our conversations with the same confusion.

It doesn’t have to be this way if we work hard to create analogies that explain our industry in terms of everyday things, they will go a long way to helping people understand the basic concepts of SEO.

SEO Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "The Basic Concepts Of SEO Explained to Beginners" was first published on Small Business Trends

sweetFrog Teams Up with BK Racing, David Ragan

PR Web - Wed, 2016-04-27 03:30

Nation’s premier frozen yogurt franchise joins BK Racing as leading race sponsor; New No. 23 Toyota Camry to be revealed at April 24th Richmond NASCAR event

(PRWeb April 18, 2016)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/04/prweb13344231.htm

Your Pie, Originator of the Down-the-Line Pizza Concept, Finds New...

PR Web - Wed, 2016-04-27 03:30

Customized Pizza Franchise to Open First North Carolina Location in the Raleigh Area This Fall

(PRWeb April 18, 2016)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/yourpie/franchise/prweb13344956.htm

New York State of Mind: MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes Opens New...

PR Web - Wed, 2016-04-27 03:30

Customizable Burger Franchise Continues Expanding Footprint in the Empire State

(PRWeb April 18, 2016)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/mooyah/franchise/prweb13347718.htm

Qmee.com Shares the Top Ten Celebrities that Correlate with Searches...

PR Web - Wed, 2016-04-27 03:30

Search Loyalty Browser App Digs into Political Searches and Shares the Surprising Famous Faces Searched by Trump and Clinton Supporters

(PRWeb April 18, 2016)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/qmee/search/prweb13347722.htm

Revolutionizing Originator Risk Management for Financial Institutions:...

PR Web - Wed, 2016-04-27 03:30

Argos Risk Launches New Product Line for Financial Institutions to Automate Originator Risk Management

(PRWeb April 18, 2016)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/04/prweb13345459.htm

Local High Tech Fitness Studio to Open New Locations

PR Web - Wed, 2016-04-27 03:30

4U Fitness, the first and only EMS franchise in the U.S., officially launched on March 20th, with two time Miss Figure Olympia Erin Stern at IHRSA 2016. 4U Fitness has programs for everyone and it is...

(PRWeb April 18, 2016)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/04/prweb13347962.htm

Receive Pans at No Cost with Purchase of a Cambro Flex Station

PR Web - Wed, 2016-04-27 03:30

Limited time offer helps schools better serve mobile meals.

(PRWeb April 17, 2016)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/04/prweb13347675.htm

Engel & Völkers Top Producers Awarded at Dallas Exchange

PR Web - Wed, 2016-04-27 03:30

Engel & Völkers Florida recognizes Florida advisors and their accomplishments in 2015 at North America Exchange event in Dallas, Texas.

(PRWeb April 17, 2016)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/04/prweb13347002.htm

sweetFrog Announces Grand Reopening of Nottingham, MD Location

PR Web - Wed, 2016-04-27 03:30

Leading National Frozen Yogurt Franchise Reopens Perry Hall Community Location, the 30th in the Old Line State

(PRWeb April 15, 2016)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/04/prweb13332079.htm