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Ex-Honda store chief barred from auto sales as he awaits trial

AutoNews - Mon, 2017-04-24 01:01
The former general manager of a St. Louis-area Honda dealership has been barred from working in auto sales while awaiting trial on charges he raked in more than $395,000 in fraudulent proceeds and caused the store more than $1.8 million in losses.
Categories: Latest News

O'Reilly dump gets customer feedback

AutoNews - Mon, 2017-04-24 01:01
Just two weeks 10 days after advertisers - led by prominent automakers - began pulling advertising from Bill O'Reilly's TV show in the midst of a sexual harassment controversy, the Fox News host was ousted last week after more than 20 years on the...
Categories: Latest News

Used-car demand going strong at dealer groups

AutoNews - Mon, 2017-04-24 01:01
Our annual ranking of the top 100 dealership groups by used-vehicle sales shows solid gains in used unit sales and revenues for those retailers.
Categories: Latest News

Segment splits in wholesale prices

AutoNews - Mon, 2017-04-24 01:01
Wholesale prices for full-size cars outperformed other car classes in March, gaining while auction prices for all other car segments fell.
Categories: Latest News

Toyota to take Mirai for a spin in China

AutoNews - Mon, 2017-04-24 01:01
Toyota will test the waters in China for its hydrogen fuel cell Mirai.
Categories: Latest News

Acquisitions fuel 1st-quarter revenue gains for Lithia

AutoNews - Mon, 2017-04-24 01:01
Lithia Motors' net income rose 26 percent in the first quarter, on acquisition-powered volume gains in all departments.
Categories: Latest News

Dealer uses her fashion sense to drive sales

AutoNews - Mon, 2017-04-24 01:01
Bowman Chevrolet is Michigan's second-fastest-growing Chevy dealership thanks in part to its owner's fashion-industry skills.
Categories: Latest News

Pizza WarLocal pizza franchisees set to take on fast food...

Topix - Sun, 2017-04-23 22:55

Bob Jacobs is representing a local Pizza Hut franchisees who are fighting the chain's parent company. Picture: Justin Benson-Cooper/The West Australian.

Categories: Today's Food News

Teacher claims Wendy's chili burned her

Topix - Sun, 2017-04-23 18:00

A North Carolina teacher told WCNC-TV that a cup of Wendy's chili left her with second-degree burns after a routine visit to the fast food restaurant. According to Felicia Harris, she noticed that something was seeping out of her bag from Wendy's on the way home after picking up her order.

Categories: Today's Food News

10 Books About Business Disruption

Small Business Trends - Sun, 2017-04-23 18:00

Have you heard the latest buzzword, Disruption?  It’s the offspring of buzzwords like “Growth Hacking” and “Pivot”.  And, it’s in the spotlight because disruption is a key component of new ways of thinking about things and creating new products and services.

This week’s book list is a collection of marketing books dedicated to the idea of disruption, disruptive innovation and disruptive entrepreneurship.

This list will take you on a journey via some of the most popular and defining books about disruptive innovation, entrepreneurship and marketing.

Don’t let the list or the topic scare you, rather use it as your own journey toward pushing your business into a safe harbor for growth.

Before you jump into the disruptive entrepreneurship topic, it’s a really good idea to get your feet wet.  The following books will help you understand the history of disruption.

Books About Business Disruption

Blue Ocean Strategy

by W. Chan Kim  Renée A. Mauborgne

One of the first books to make a splash in the disruptive marketing space has to be Blue Ocean Strategy.  This has been a bestseller since its initial publication more than 15 years ago and it continues to be the touchstone book when folks talk about the idea of turning industries and markets on their ear — and how to do it.

The idea is straightforward.  As long as you’re comparing yourself to companies in your industry and against the same attributes that define success in a category, you are creating bloody red oceans.  The way to truly succeed is to transform your industry or category be transforming the attributes that define it.  In other words, create clean “blue oceans” where there is no competition.

Even if you’ve read the book before, you’ll want to grab an updated copy because it’s filled with new stories, new companies and new Blue Ocean Strategies.

Instead of just talking about case studies and how companies found and staked their claims to new market space, Blue Ocean Strategy give the tools to do it for yourself.  Their website, blueoceanstrategy.com has dozens of downloadable worksheets to help you find areas in your industry that are ripe for disruption.

The Innovator’s Dilemma

by Clayton Christensen

If you like Blue Ocean Strategy, you’ll want to meet Clay Christiansen.  When you Google “Disruptive Innovation”, disruptive marketing, disruptive entrepreneurship, his books and his name will often come up first.

Check out his book, The Innovator’s Dilemma.

Christiansen says that most companies will miss out on new innovation opportunities regardless of what industry they are in because they do NOT do the two most basic things that we are taught in business school.

Listen to the customer and place your time and money in those areas that have the highest return.

He illustrates this point by focusing on failure.  Christensen takes a look back into historically successful companies that aren’t quite so successful today and then he digs a little deeper to see what happened — or what didn’t happen.

This book is ideal for people who love exploring business history, strategy and learning from it.

Innovation and Its Enemies

by Calestous Juma

Have you been hearing a lot of buzz around artificial intelligence? If not, expect to in 2017.

What makes Innovation and Its Enemies different from other books about the artificial intelligence trend is that it attacks what’s really underneath our reluctance to embrace new technologies; the fear that only a certain small percentage of the population will benefit from this technological advancement.

Juma is unafraid about exposing the extent to which modern technological controversies grow out of distrust in public and private institutions.

You’ll find a number of detailed case studies that include coffee, the printing press, margarine, farm mechanization, electricity, mechanical refrigeration, recorded music, transgenic crops, and transgenic animals.

Juma shows how new technologies emerge, take root, and create new institutional ecologies that favor their establishment in the marketplace.

Reinventing the Egg

by Roger Cusa

If you’ve been struggling in setting your brand apart from the competition, then Reinventing the Egg is the book for you.

When your customers have access to virtually perfect information and the ability to compare you against your competition and even have conversations with customers with experience with you and your competition, being average is just not an option.

In this book, Cusa shows marketing managers, business owners and entrepreneurs how to create new growth in business through innovation. It is not about incremental ideas or doing something slightly better.

Mapping Innovation

by Greg Satell

Mapping Innovation by Greg Satell won’t publish until the Spring of 2017, but it’s important enough to have you put it on your radar. Satell wrote this book for business owners and managers who are constantly being called on to “innovate” but given little to know instruction on exactly how to innovate or what to do to get innovative results.

In this book, you’ll get a simple-to-use framework for identifying the optimal innovation strategy that is most likely lead to a successful outcome, Insights into how the world’s top innovators implement their innovation strategies and A step-by-step guide to creating your own innovation playbook to win markets and run circles around your competition!

Disrupt Yourself

by Whitney Johnson  

Whether you are an employee or an entrepreneur, there’s no reason why you can’t put the principles of disruption to work in your own life and career.  In Disrupt Yourself by Whitney Johnson you’ll learn how to take the right risks, play to your strengths, embrace the constraints in your life, watch out for the entitlement mindset, learn how to go sideways and take on the stand of always being curious.

The crux of the book lies in understanding the “S-curve” model of how ideas are adopted.  The biggest lesson here is to be patient as ideas often need time to take off. Typically the process is inelegant riddled with failures, but if you understand that this is part of the process, you can easily take on new ideas that lead to innovation.

Disruptive Marketing

by Geoffrey Colon

The digital revolution hasn’t just changed how marketing messages are delivered, it’s changed how consumers behave.  With 75% of our screen time now dedicated to our devices, we’ve become even more savvy consumers of information. In Disruptive Marketing, Geoffrey Colon throws a wrench into old-style MBA thinking and challenges the reader to open your mind to obstacles, ubplug from your devices and work on the fly.

You already know that command-and-control marketing and message control have gone the way of the buggy whip.  But what’s next? What’s a marketer to do when the consumer is in control?  The real answers aren’t in an MBA classroom.  The answers lie in the digital version of guerilla marketing that is owned by the growth hackers, data punks and hybrid thinkers.

If you’re fascinated by the exponential growth some brands are able to achieve without doing fancy market plans or PowerPoint decks, then this book is for you.  While you may not be a growth hacker at heart, you’ll be exposed to a new way of thinking and implementing successful marketing strategies — no MBA required.

Crossing the Chasm

by Geoffrey A. Moore

Crossing the Chasm Geoffrey Moore wrote the original of this book in 1991. This is the third edition of this classic that has retained the original premise; how to close the gap between early adopters of a new technology and the laggards, while updating examples of successes, failures and approaches in the digital marketing age.

This book is ideal for high-tech marketers and B2B marketers.  Although the principles can absolutely be applied to B2C situations.  In the past, this gap between the early adopters of a product or technology and the mainstream adoption has been ignored.  But today, with so many social media platforms coming and going, this gap has become more visible.

Crossing the Chasm has also moved into the mainstream of business and marketing books as its classic tech marketing principles can be applied to more and more small businesses.

Disruptive Selling

by Patrick Maes

If you haven’t noticed, the sales process has been turned on its ear.  Much of the educational component of selling has been outsourced to online content and to referrals and recommendations from friends, family and colleagues. Whether you’re a seasoned salesperson with decades of experience or a newbie,  Disruptive Selling by Patrick Maes is going to be a welcome addition to your bookshelf or digital reader.

The author leads startups, managers, sales and marketing people through a clear process of how to use today’s technology to connect with and convert customers.  Another benefit of this book is that the author, Patrick Maes brings a global perspective to the selling process.  This is invaluable as the world gets flatter and flatter.

A Manager’s Guide to Disruptive Innovation

by Philippe Silberzahn

Many of the books on this list are written for the disruptor.  A Manager’s Guide to Disruptive Innovation by Philippe Silberzahn is actually written for the disrupted.

There are two sides to the disruption coin and this book shows you the good, the bad and the ugly of how industries and their leaders have dealt with disruption.  Silberzahn heavily references and analyzes the work of Clay Christiansen (referenced earlier in this list with “Innovator’s Dilemma”) and then digs even deeper into the topic.  If you are an established company that holds a significant amount of market share in your space — this is the book for you.  It will help you overcome the catch-22 that grips incumbent companies; to embrace the disruption and lost your competitive advantage or to ignore the disruption and lose your business.

There is only one answer and that is to prepare for disruption and create your own disruption.  This book will show you how.

Disruption is the New Normal

To disrupt means to interrupt.  The assumption is that things are moving along steadily and then something happens to interrupt that motion. Disruption is seen as something that is a surprise, that is unexpected and that doesn’t happen very often.  Perhaps this used to be true, these days you can count on disruption as much as you can count on change.

The books listed here will get you familiar with disruption in such a way that you will see it coming, you will embrace it and perhaps even create it for yourself.  Happy Reading.Reading.

This article, "10 Books About Business Disruption" was first published on Small Business Trends

McDonald's, fast-food chains find antibiotic-free beef, pork hard to deliver

Topix - Sun, 2017-04-23 15:47

The world's largest burger chain and its fast-food brethren have made commitments to remove antibiotics from chicken, but plans to curb the use of antibiotics in beef and pork have been far less common. It's a far more complex and expensive proposition, and fast-food chains are largely taking a wait-and-see approach before changing the way their burgers and bacon are made.

Categories: Today's Food News

Guru Introduces New Feature to Get Paid As You Complete Tasks

Small Business Trends - Sun, 2017-04-23 15:00

Starting May 2, all freelancers working in the Guru platform will be able to create task-based agreements that will see them get paid once they complete their tasks.

Guru Task-Based Agreements

“We already introduced recurring billing to give you greater control over how you get paid,” said Guru’s communications manager Anna Bassham in an official post on the Guru blog. “We also added the ability to duplicate miscellaneous invoices to save you time. And now, we’re thrilled to give you the ability to get paid for tasks as you check them off your list.”

Just last month, Guru introduced new collaboration features, including a new chat room to organize discussions, an improved task management system with messaging and file sharing as well as private and public file folders.

In June last year, the freelance marketplace also dropped their $25 minimum invoice requirement, allowing freelancers to invoice any amount of money. And now, the get paid as you complete feature adds more flexibility to when and how freelancers get paid. This is, of course, a major win for freelancers as they can now work with employers to break bigger tasks into smaller tasks.

Like most freelance websites, Guru posts jobs in categories that range from IT based to finance to writing to customer service.

The platform has recently become more aggressive, introducing a number of new features that could potentially see its membership increase from the current 1.5 million members.

Image: Guru

This article, "Guru Introduces New Feature to Get Paid As You Complete Tasks" was first published on Small Business Trends

Fast food companies serving grease, salt keep dudes in sight

Topix - Sun, 2017-04-23 13:25

Consumers are maddeningly fickle, switching up tastes on a dime under influence from the latest health craze or rage on social media. But dude, if you want predictability, look to the hungry young men of America.

Categories: Today's Food News

10 Pest Control Franchise Opportunities to Consider

Small Business Trends - Sun, 2017-04-23 12:00

Infestations of bugs and insects are an unhealthy inconvenience in the home and in commercial environments. In domestic settings, infestations can lead to damage to property and can prove detrimental to health. In commercial premises, pest invasions can result in business closure and a significant loss of income.

Given the pressing demand to identify and control infestations ethically, quickly and efficiently, pest control franchises provide a great opportunity for those looking to be their own boss in an industry that is in high demand.

If the thought of running your own pest control company and embarking on a rewarding, challenging and in-demand business venture sounds appealing, take a look at the following ten pest control franchise opportunities in the United States.

Pest Control Franchise Opportunities Hitman Pest Control

Hitman Pest Control is dedicated to exterminating pests and keeping families safe and healthy. The pest control company offers organic only pest control services that utilize botanical products.

Hitman Pest Control has been offering people interested in running their own pest control business training and franchising opportunities since 1995. A cash investment of $55,000 is required to be a pest control franchisee with Hitman Pest Control.

Mosquito Joe

Mosquito Joe provides pest control treatment to commercial and residential customers by specially-trained mosquito control experts.

Since 2010, Mosquito Joe has been offering franchise opportunities to those interested in starting a profitable and lucrative franchise in pest control. An investment of between $30,000 and $50,000 is required. Five days of training is provided at Mosquito Joe’s headquarters.

Liberty Pest Management Services

Liberty Pest Management Services provides a number of pest control services, including termite and wood destroying, bed bug management, rodent management, vegetation management, non-pesticide treatment, amongst others.

The company has been offering franchises since 2003. A $15,000 cash investment is required to become a Liberty Pest Management Services franchisee.

Eco Safe Pest Control

The Eco Safe Pest Control has been franchising since 1972. The company is committed to providing natural, organic pest control services, education and protection. The company prides itself on being an environmentally-friendly pest control franchise. Many of the products used by Eco Safe franchises are manufactured by Eco Safe’s sister company and are organic and safe.

A $35,000 cash investment is required to become an Eco Safe Pest Control franchisee. Education and training is provided. Financing for the cost of a franchise is available.

Critter Control

 

Critter Control franchisees provide environmentally-responsible pest and wildlife management solutions. The company began franchising in 1987. In 2011, Critter Control began offering home pest control services.

Investments for a Critter Control franchise range between $23,725 and $94,575. Franchisees benefit from Critter Control’s recognizable brand name, a high ranking website presence, qualified personnel, mentor networking opportunities, comprehensive initial, on-going training, and more.

Lawn Doctor

The Lawn Doctor is dedicated to preventing lawn pests from damaging the beauty of a garden, yard and other outdoor areas. The company offers an effective and bespoke solution for eliminating mosquitoes and ticks, which can carry diseases and cause damage to health. This external pest control company has been franchising since 1967. An investment of $30,000 is required to become a home maintenance and pest control franchisee with The Lawn Doctor.

Mosquito Shield

Since 2001, Mosquito Shield has been providing commercial and residential customers with professional pest and mosquito control services. The company proudly asserts that more than 90% of its corporate customers return for its services, year after year.

Mosquito Shield offer a franchise opportunity programme to enable individuals to own a franchise in the rapidly growing pest control sector. Training is provided following a cash investment of $25, 861. Mosquito Shield allows franchisees to profit from the overall success of the company.

BedBug Chasers

BedBug Chasers recognizes that bed bugs are growing at an epidemic rate and uses proven technology to eliminate infestations. The company uses chemical-free and green convective heat to kill bed bugs and eggs in a single treatment.

BedBug Chasers offers a low investment franchise opportunity for individuals to set up their own bed bug control franchise. Franchisees are required to make an initial investment of between $99,425 and $143,550. Financing options are available.

Superior Mosquito Defense

Superior Mosquito Defense was founded in 1996 and has been offering franchise opportunities since 2013. The company provides professional mosquito control services, using innovative pest-control techniques to keep mosquito populations to a minimum in properties.

Superior Mosquito Defense offers franchise opportunities for individuals wanting to run their own pest control business. The franchise investment fee is low and franchisees receive dedicated ongoing marketing support, training and continued support from a team of mosquito control experts.

Geese Chasers

Geese can be unfriendly, bothersome and unsightly, and Geese Chasers provide a professional geese management service to eradicate to problem of geese.

Geese Chasers was established in 1999 and remains one of the leading companies in geese control in the United States and Canada. The company offers franchising opportunities for home-based geese clearing businesses. Franchisees benefit from a specially-designed training program, sales development, advertising and promotional support, a website area on a corporate site, among other perks.

As of 2013, the pest control sector was worth an incredible $11 billion in the United States. With the demand for quality, ethical and efficient pest control services increasing, pest control franchises are proving to be a lucrative business investment.

Pest Control Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "10 Pest Control Franchise Opportunities to Consider" was first published on Small Business Trends

Conquering Big Obstacles Means Getting a Little Scrappy

Small Business Trends - Sun, 2017-04-23 09:00

Scrappy: A Little Book About Choosing to Play Big isn’t your average “you can do it” motivational book. It’s a book about grit. It’s a book about overcoming a big obstacle and becoming even bigger in the process. It’s about understanding the process that allows high-performing athletes, innovative entrepreneurs and world-class entertainers to consistently overcome and excel.

Scrappy is about how to stack the cards in your favor when all the bets are placed against you.

What is Scrappy About?

Scrappy is not about overcoming the everyday obstacle (traffic jam, printer jam or annoying customer). It’s about overcoming a significant and dominant obstacle that lies between you and your goals. For some people, it might be finding the right investor to believe in your dream. For others, it might be getting that interview for a job that involves several hurdles. For still others, it might be obtaining a significant market share in an industry filled with industry giants. Regardless of the hurdle, the book’s focus is on the mental (and sometimes physical) work that it takes achievers to overcome it.

The book’s answer is to be “scrappy”, a flexible method of planning, strategy and execution that focuses on making big moves to out think or outperform the competition. When it comes to competition, the “little guy” has a few options open to bring home the win. You can out think, outperform or outlast the competition. The book’s preference is for the first two (out think and/or outperform). Terri L. Sjodin, the author of Scrappy, argues that this ability to out think or outperform your opponent is the key and process to what helps an underdog win.

When an “underdog” out thinks or outperforms a bigger competitor, this gives the underdog distinction. It sets the business apart from the rest. Because of this distinction, the “underdog” gets three things to fuel its fight: attention, results (for good or bad) and a path forward. Using what the company learns, it can consistently maneuver around the obstacle for a better advantage. With that advantage,(which comes with risk) an underdog can successfully win in the shadow of the obstacle, whether it’s a market leader, job interview, or career-starting audition.

In addition to being an a author, Sjodin is a speaker and consultant who started her 20-year old business, Sjodin Communications, from a spare room in her home. Since that time, she has helped a diverse array of clients including Fortune 500 companies and members of Congress. Sjodin was entered into the Speaker Hall of Fame in 2012 in addition to winning the highly exclusive Certified Speaking Professional designation and a host of other speaking and writing awards.

What Was Best About Scrappy?

The best part of Scrappy is the book’s inspirational attempt to define a process that many might see as vague. There are many stories about people who have “made it”, but it can  be hard to understand why everyone can’t do the same. Sjodin’s book provides a framework for understanding that problem with a new perspective. Scrappy provides plenty of stories that show a process and customizable strategy for dealing with persistent and large obstacles that occur in business and life.

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

The “scrappy” method in the book was written to apply to a broad range of issues instead of specific ones.This means that you won’t find “10 Tips to Beat the Next Silicon Valley Superstar”. Instead, you will find stories and broad recommendations about how you might adapt your current strategies to achieve your goal.

Why Read Scrappy?

Scrappy should speak to the same audience that liked “The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, A Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage” but it takes a slightly different perspective on how to move ahead if you are facing a large obstacle. In “The Power of Broke”, the goal was to use the resources and restraints of your current environment to become a success. In Scrappy the advice is the opposite. The goal is to actively shape your current environment so that you reaches your goals.

In other words, if you want to be motivated to conquer obstacles, “The Power of Broke” might help. If you want to understand a mental process to conquer those obstacles, Scrappy can help.

This article, "Conquering Big Obstacles Means Getting a Little Scrappy" was first published on Small Business Trends

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Topix - Sun, 2017-04-23 08:35

Loved by millions, a Big Mac will set hungry diners back A 2.99. But - perhaps unsurprisingly - it could be doing your body serious harm.

Categories: Today's Food News

Palmerston North workers join fast-food worker strike

Topix - Sun, 2017-04-23 03:55

Staff from KFC, Pizza Hut, Carl's Jr and Starbucks restaurants around the country walked off the job at midday on Saturday after pay negotiations broke down last week. The group picketing the Rangitikei St KFC was part of the 2000 Restaurant Brands workers who are asking the company for an extra 30 cents an hour over three years.

Categories: Today's Food News

Carbiz goes toe to toe with CarMax

AutoNews - Sun, 2017-04-23 01:01
Some dealers shudder when they hear used-car giant CarMax is opening a store down the road. This used-only dealer deliberately placed his second store next to a CarMax. Here's his strategy.
Categories: Latest News

Zing! KFC's Newest Fetching/Eye-Catching Colonel Sanders

Topix - Sat, 2017-04-22 18:32

Confession: I've never been all that big on chicken. As a kid, I'd usually eat "the crispy part" and leave the rest largely untouched.

Categories: Today's Food News

KFC changing chicken sandwich prep, aiming to improve taste

Topix - Sat, 2017-04-22 13:56

KFC is aiming to take a bigger bite out of the chicken sandwich market by changing how it prepares them. The chain says it is hoping to improve the taste and is switching from filets that were breaded and frozen offsite before being shipped to the stores in favor of filets breaded at the stores.

Categories: Today's Food News