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Weighing 26st Nicola Martinel was making herself ill but her mum's words encouraged her to finally change her life As Nicola Martinel finished off a supersized packet of crisps, she then ripped open a family-sized bar of chocolate and wolfed it down, before hiding the empty wrappers under her bed.
Microsoft has joined the ranks for the top 5 tablet sellers according to research firm IDC. The Redmond, Washington based tech giant sold 900,000 units and had 1.8% market share for the first quarter of 2013.
Now it might sound as if 1.8% market share isn’t much to crow about. Keep in mind, though, that a year earlier Microsoft had zero market share.
Even more telling is Apple’s drop. A year ago it had 58% market share of shipments. This year in the first quarter of 2013 Apple shipments made up just 39% market share.
Most of Microsoft’s tablet sales came from the Surface Pro, which uses the Windows 8 operating system and targets business users. ”An interesting factoid from IDC is that the more expensive Surface Pro made up a large amount of the 900,000 total Surface units. The Surface Pro first went on sale in the U.S. and Canada in February, and Microsoft has plans to expand it even further across the world to 25 countries in May,” writes Jake Smith on gadget site PocketLint.Surface Pro: A Business Tablet
Microsoft products appeal to business users. And the Surface Pro is a business tablet.
One of the advantages of a Surface Pro over other tablets is the ability to use Microsoft Office programs you might use at work, such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint. You don’t need to learn a new operating system if you’re using Windows 8 on your desktop computer.
Equally attractive for business users is the hardware. The Surface Pro straddles the line between laptop and tablet. There’s a built-in stand, and a snap-on keyboard that doubles as a cover. And it comes with a stylus so you can draw, select items or make handwritten notes.
And that’s exactly the kind of business tablet that business people need. Tablets that are mainly navigated through touch are great for browsing and playing games. They are ill suited for work such as creating and editing documents.
My Google Nexus 10 (made by Samsung) is light enough to hold with one hand and slip into my tote bag. It is terrific for watching videos and reading the news. But trying to write a business document or create a post with it is frustratingly slow. Nor can I edit a PowerPoint presentation or an Excel spreadsheet.An Effective Ad Campaign for Business Tablet Users
Microsoft has an effective television ad campaign going on now for the Surface Pro that I have to believe is helping raise awareness.
The ad features business people (actually professional dancers) doing a “dance” while sitting around a conference table. The music is catchy and upbeat. The ad conveys that meetings can be fun and exciting, not dull and boring — IF you have a business tablet like the Surface Pro. The ad flashes quickly to the Surface Pro tablet being used for business purposes. Those few quick flashes are enough. We business users already know what kind of applications Microsoft offers – we don’t need more.
Some commentators have criticized the ad – I could not disagree more. Perhaps to a geek the commercial seems old fashioned. But from the perspective of a business user, the ad is energetic, memorable and manages to say quite a bit about what the Surface Pro tablet can do for business users — all in 30 seconds.
The 30-second version showing on television now has better business focus than the longer online version embedded below, because it leaves out the distracting middle part with the beatbox. The ad ”speaks” to business people, just as the Surface Pro itself “speaks” to business people.
Image of Surface Pro: Microsoft
The post Microsoft Now 5th Largest Tablet Seller, Propelled by Upbeat Ad appeared first on Small Business Trends.
Hobbies: Gardening in the Columbus City Garden, watching TV, especially dramas and sci-fi such as "NCIS" and "Stargate" and sports, including college football and professional basketball.
If you are a business owner that accepts credit cards for payment, you may be already familiar with the frustrations of the dreaded chargeback process. This is when a customer contacts their credit card company to dispute a charge or have a charge reversed. But have you ever stopped to look at them from the point of view of your customers?
By gaining a better understanding of why and how they occur, you might be better equipped to prevent these potentially costly situations in the future. In the following infographic, Chargeback.com takes a look at “Two Sides to a Chargeback.”
[Click to view full size version]
The post Merchant Versus Customer: Both Sides of a Chargeback appeared first on Small Business Trends.
Grecian Delight Foods, a manufacturer, national marketer, and distributor of Mediterranean-inspired foods based in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, announced it is another step closer to surpassing aggressive growth goals with the hiring of three top-level executives.
Recently hired executives include Michael Lerch as chief financial officer; Peter Cokinos as general manager and executive vice president; and William Nagle as director of business development.
Hamburgers are horrible for humans-partly because alongside hamburgers, there's generally soda and French fries.
3D printing is like having a small-scale manufacturing device right in your home or office.
3D printers are devices that can create three-dimensional objects. Most 3D printers create objects in plastic. Some use ceramic, metal or other materials. There’s even a 3D printer that forms items out of chocolate or cheese.How does 3D printing work?
In a way, the term “3D printing” is misleading. It sounds like a 3D printer somehow folds ordinary paper into objects – like origami.
But that’s not how 3D printing works. Instead, 3D printers start with a computer-generated design for an object. Then the printer forms a three-dimensional object out of plastic or other material. Most 3D printers work by layering the material in thin layers over and over until the material builds up.
The technology isn’t new. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, aerospace companies and auto manufacturers have been using large, industrial-grade 3D printers for about 25 years. What’s new is the availability on the market of cheap 3D printing options affordable by small businesses.
Recently, 3D printers became a sensation online, when one was used to create a functioning handgun. The YouTube video demonstrating it has over 3 million views. The U.S. State Department has demanded the files be taken offline.How can small businesses use 3D printing?
3D printing can be used to create prototypes of new products. It can be used for industrial design and even small-scale manufacturing operations.
For inventors and small business manufacturers, developing product prototypes can be a laborious and expensive process. 3D printing can simplify prototyping by allowing creators to make digital files of their new designs and then simply print them on-premise. For certain items, this could prove easier than fabricating prototypes by hand. It can be less expensive than finding an outside facility to produce prototypes.
In certain cases, 3D printers can even be used for the manufacturing production process itself.Examples of 3D printed items
3D printed items can be used in a wide range of industries. Its use is not limited to creating prototypes. Here are some examples:
3D printers still vary greatly in size, capacity, and price. Industrial grade 3D printers go for up to $1 million.
However, you can find affordable, do-it-yourself options on the market. A 3D printer called the Cube (pictured), made by 3D Systems, can be purchased online and will be available at Staples stores in June for $1,299. The Cube is preassembled and can hook up to a Wi-Fi network, allowing users to download their designs and print them into real objects. Or you can insert a USB stick with the design and print.
For those who don’t own a 3D printer, there are online 3D printing services like Shapeways that allow users to create digital designs and have them printed and shipped by the company. Users can even set up their own shops to sell their designs to others.
Image: Cube 3D printer by 3D Systems
Huddle House is offering a $25,000 financial incentive to the first 100 franchisees who commit to a remodel by July 31, 2014.
Franchisees would use $20,000 of the incentive to offset the costs of the remodel, with the remaining $5,000 to be used for local marketing efforts.
Should Huddle House reach its goal of 100 participants, the overall company investment in the incentive program would be $2.5 million.
Merchant Warehouse and LevelUp announced a $1 million co-sponsored development fund, which will support the creation of custom-branded mobile payment apps running on the LevelUp White-Label platform for merchants around the country.
Qualifying merchants will be able to tap into the fund to sponsor 25 percent of the cost of a custom-developed LevelUp White-Label mobile payment and loyalty app, along with seamless integration with the Merchant Warehouse GeniusM Customer Engagement Platform.
Statistics show that 49 percent of American adults are not married, and the trend is expected to rise.
To me, the fun fact about famous people is not the TMZ-style stories of who-left-whom-for-who. It’s the business end. I get a bit fascinated by musicians, and how they attempt to balance artistic statement with being accessible to the public – another way of saying, “Gimme enough sales so I can continue my artistic statements.”
At least that was the thesis for the music business of yore. Without a doubt, the Internet and digitizing the music format has reshaped how music artists garner fans. Witness how YouTube expanded the careers of Justin Bieber or Psy.
Lady Gaga’s success has been outstanding, and she has been named to the Forbes top celebrities list. A viable business model underscores her fame, a model with tactics that small businesses could adopt on a smaller scale.
Author Jackie Huba (@jackiehuba) examines Gaga’s model in her book Monster Loyalty: How Lady Gaga Turns Followers Into Fanatics. I was intrigued by how the book came about – a blog post on Lady Gaga garnered the most replies on the author’s blog. So I downloaded a NetGalley copy for review.
Lady Gaga’s career history is as extensive as a 27 year old singer’s can be. Despite her first singles having achieved 6 number one hits – a record – Lady Gaga does not have a storied musicianship like, say, the Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson or Madonna, an artist she is regularly compared to. So those artists may have more material for an author to research and draw business concepts from.
But the context Huba sets for Monster Loyalty is worth the study. Lady Gaga’s success is examined against a social media and digital marketing landscape in which the target audience must be constantly engaged and immersed in an experience. It is a different audience landscape from the one in the heydays of Madonna, Michael Jackson, the Rolling Stones and others. Small business owners are more likely to identify with Madonna than Lady Gaga, but reading Monster Loyalty teaches a different spin on the value of social media – one that does not require a discussion about a tweet or like.
Take the first chapter of the book, for example. It examines the value of the “one percenters” – that core audience that responds to your product. The one percenters are your superfans – the “Little Monsters” as she calls them. Lady Gaga spends nearly all of her effort on this highly engaged fan base.
In other words, your marketing should be on those who are responding the most to your product or service. Huba notes this philosophy against 2011 research by Forrester showing most marketers are focused on new customers, not existing ones, and certainly not on such a tiny group as the one percenters:
“Fifty nice percent of CMOs say acquiring new customers is one of their top priorities…Only 30 percent of CMO respondents say they are focused on retaining customers as a top priority.”
With such a deliberate focus on addressing her fan base, you might conclude that Lady Gaga is a manipulator. But she doesn’t come across that way in the book. Instead she just comes across as someone who knows on which side her bread is buttered. When it comes to her fans, Lady Gaga believes:
“I’m not the beginning anymore. I don’t see myself as the center. They’re at the center. I’m the atmosphere around it…I will continue to become whatever it is [the fans] would like for me to be.”
Lady Gaga’s viewpoint could fit into Gary Vaynerchuk’s The Thank You Economy quite easily. That is the point of business books written about famous people – to learn more than leadership from sources seemingly disparate from your own past experiences.
Huba deftly enhances her points with a mix of business data and highlights from Gaga’s career. For example Lady Gaga understands her one percenters – her devoted fans. The book reveals how Gaga developed her own community network.
“In late 2010 Gaga and her team realized they could create their own private place for the superfans, the Little Monsters. Gaga herself dreamed up the idea after seeing an advanced screening of The Social Network….[her manager Carter] partnered with some of the best in Silicon Valley, and created a firm called Backplane, which would build a niche social-network platform that could be used by other artists and even brands. Gaga invested her own money into the venture.”
The suggestions may seem out of reach for the small business owner. Yet a small business owner can learn the value of Lady Gaga’s choices. In Thank You, Vaynerchuk refers to the context of relationship and how your brand “must improvise and be willing to go where the consumer leads you.” In Monster Gaga demonstrates that improvisation, built on the context before her. She may have certainly had the money to build a social networking platform of her own, but the structure of the idea can be emulated through similar, affordable platforms that you learn about everyday on Small Business Trends.
Business tools alone do not guarantee success. It’s how those tools are applied to make a sustainable business model. If you read Monster Loyalty you will learn the right attitude to apply to the numerous digital marketing strategies touted every day. It will be the winning attitude that will take your business to the next level.
The post Monster Loyalty: Savvy Engagement Tips From Lady Gaga appeared first on Small Business Trends.
Bodybuilder Kameron Bailey is not always the "killer" his nickname, Killer Kam, suggests.
The women featured here barely use their kitchens. They'd rather spend up to 7,000 a year on takeaways to fuel their busy lifestyles.
AN enormous eight metre tall fast food take away sign at KFC in March is an eyesore says neighbours and has been placed too close to a nearby bungalow.
Fast-food workers and labor activists staged sporadic walkouts and protests at various chain eateries in Friday as part of an organized nationwide protest to gain better wages and working conditions.
Welcome to our latest curated list of events, contests and awards for small businesses, solo entrepreneurs and growing companies.
To see a full list or to submit your own event, contest or award listing, visit the Small Business Events Calendar.Featured Events, Contests and Awards
Access to Capital Chicago
May 22, 2013, Chicago, Illinois
Join us at the Navy Pier to learn how you can raise capital for your small business. Meet 1:1 with loan officers. Attend panels on traditional and alternative lending options, start-ups, crowd-funding, and more.
sbtrends (Get 30% off)
Making Money Online: Ecommerce Done Right with John Lawson
June 25, 2013, New York City
Looking to create independence from this shifting job economy?
Want a stream of income that works for you around the clock?
Have a great idea of what to sell online but don’t know how to get started?
Dreaming of growing your online store from a hobby to a full fledged, profitable business?
Join John Lawson, award winning Social Commerce Strategist, American Express featured businessman, author, and founder of 3rd Power Outlet – an online clothing retail outlet that has exceeded $25 million in sales.
John will be sharing his practical, down-to-earth methods for building your own ecommerce business from the ground up in this two part workshop, packed with resources, tips, and how-to instruction.
SBTRENDS ( $25 off)
WBENC National Conference & Business Fair
June 26, 2013, Minneapolis, MN
The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) will convene 3,500 decision makers from the nation’s leading corporations, government entities and women’s business enterprises (WBEs) to generate business together and stimulate economic growth at the 2013 WBENC National Conference & Business Fair in Minneapolis, MN, June 25-27, 2013.
Big Awards for Business
August 14, 2013, Online
The Big Awards started with a mission of recognizing real talent and performance. Real business people, those with experience and knowledge, judge the Big Awards. Request an entry kit today and submit your nomination by August 14, 2013.
SBT50 ($50.00 off)
The post Check Out a Small Business Event, Award or Contest appeared first on Small Business Trends.
Some workers at about 50 fast food restaurants in and around Detroit walked off their jobs as part of an effort to push for higher wages.