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Walmart pays $200M in bonuses to stores

Store Front Talk Back - Thu, 2016-09-22 12:44
Walmart pays $200M in bonuses to stores lheller Thu, 09/22/2016 - 12:44

The right promotional approach can lift coffee, tea profits even higher

FastCasual.com - Thu, 2016-09-22 12:23
There’s a reason so many brands are shining their spotlights on coffee and tea platforms - beverages are the holy grail of profit margin.

Tesla sues Michigan in U.S. court over direct sales ban

AutoNews - Thu, 2016-09-22 12:22
Tesla Motors is suing the State of Michigan in federal court over its law banning the direct sales of vehicles to consumers.
Categories: Latest News

Halloween spending to reach new heights

Store Front Talk Back - Thu, 2016-09-22 12:11
Halloween spending to reach new heights lheller Thu, 09/22/2016 - 12:11

Making the case for craft sausage on the menu

Nation's Restaurant News - Thu, 2016-09-22 12:01
Artisanal sausage catches the next wave of the farm-to-table movement

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50 Business Ideas for Introverted Entrepreneurs

Small Business Trends - Thu, 2016-09-22 12:00

If you like working alone and can sometimes get overwhelmed being around crowds of people all the time, you’re probably an introvert. But there are plenty of business opportunities for entrepreneurs who enjoy spending time alone. Here are some potential business ideas for introverts.

Business Ideas for Introverts Niche Blogger

Blogging gives you the opportunity to share your thoughts and expertise in writing without requiring you to even leave your couch.

App Developer

Mobile apps continue to gain popularity. So if you can develop those apps, you can create your own and sell it or even offer your services to other businesses.

Web Designer

Web design is another lucrative field where you can work mainly on your own and simply communicate with clients via email or skype occasionally.

Graphic Designer

You can also share your talents as a designer by creating graphics like logos or branding elements.

House Cleaner

If you prefer a more low-tech approach to starting a business, you can offer house cleaning services to people in your area.

Etsy Seller

If you like creating handmade items, you can craft those goods out of your home and simply list them for sale online on sites like Etsy.

Online Course Creator

You don’t have to be an extrovert to share your expertise with the world. However, creating online courses that people can buy and go through at their own pace might be more of an introvert-friendly route.

Dog Walker

Or you could spend your time in the company of dogs rather than humans by building a business as a dog walker.

Pet Photographer

If you love photography but don’t want to spend all your time photographing large events, you can instead offer your services to clients who want to purchase portraits of their pets.

IT Consultant

For tech-savvy entrepreneurs, you can offer your expertise as an IT consultant and allow businesses or individuals to contact you with tech issues or questions.

Social Media Consultant

Managing social media accounts requires you to interact with lots of people, but only online. So you can easily offer your services as a social media consultant for businesses without leaving your home or workspace.

Software Developer

For those who are extremely tech savvy, you can build a business as a freelance software developer or even develop your own programs and offer them for sale.

Pattern Maker

Crafty entrepreneurs, you can create patterns for things like sewing and knitting and sell those patterns as printables or hard copies online.

Online Editor

If you have strong communication skills but prefer working remotely and communicating mainly online, you can offer your services as an editor for bloggers or online publications.

eBook Author

If you have an idea for a book, you can write and self-publish your own titles on platforms like Amazon.

Woodworker

Woodworking can be another largely solitary activity. But you can sell the items you create online or in local stores.

Gardener

If you enjoy working outdoors, you can build a business as a gardener and work with local homeowners or businesses to create and maintain their outdoor plant life.

Translator

If you speak multiple languages, you can offer your services translating materials like books and presentations.

Errand Service

Some consumers could just use some extra help with everyday errands like grocery shopping and dry cleaning.

Bookkeeper

If you’re good with finances, you can offer your services as a bookkeeper for different businesses or organizations and work largely from your home or your own workspace.

Clothing Alterations

For those who are skilled with a needle and thread, you can start an alterations business out of your home or a small studio and work on small alterations projects for various clients.

Virtual Assistant

Or you can help businesses with a variety of different tasks while still working remotely as a virtual assistant.

T-Shirt Designer

If you’ve got some creative design ideas, you can add them to t-shirts and similar products and sell them online through services like CafePress and Society6.

Home Contractor

To start a business as a home contractor, you do need to be able to manage a team. But there are also plenty of tasks that you’ll likely need to tackle on your own.

Resume Writer

You can offer your writing services to job seeking clients by helping them put together resumes and cover letters.

Watchmaker

Watchmaking is an art that requires a lot of attention to detail, and is done mainly by one person working alone.

Lawn Care

For those who enjoy spending time outdoors, you can start a lawnmowing or fertilizing service and simply visit your clients’ homes on to provide those services on a weekly or regular basis.

Christmas Tree Farm

If you’ve got some land and time on your hands, you can start a Christmas tree farm on your property. And then you’ll only really have customers visiting during the final month of the year.

Bicycle Mechanic

For those who are skilled with bicycles, you can offer your repair services to customers in your area and just have them drop off their bikes so you can complete the work before returning them.

Auto Technician

Or if you’d prefer to work on automobiles, you can start a small auto repair garage and complete repairs on your own or with a small team.

Pool Cleaner

Pool cleaning is a potentially lucrative business idea that you can do mainly on your own, especially if you live in a warm climate.

House Sitting

Or you can provide a service to people in your area who want someone to watch their home or pets while they travel.

Car Wash Service

Car washing and detailing is another service you can provide to people in your area that allows you to work on your own or with a small team.

Recycling Service

Some customers also need help getting items that can be recycled out of their homes. You can start a service to pick up items like electronics and take them to the proper recycling centers.

Window Washing

You can also offer your services as a window washer for homeowners or businesses and build up a client base in your area.

Photo Restoration

You can also build up a client base of people who need help restoring old photos. You can even just have clients send you their photos so you can work out of your home or your own workspace.

Florist

If you have an eye for design and enjoy working with flowers and plants, you can start a florist business and spend most of your time creating flower arrangements for customers and events.

Laundry Service

Laundry is one of those regular tasks that some people just don’t have time for. So you can build a business offering that service to people in your area.

Massage Therapist

If you’re trained in massage therapy, you can offer your services to clients and work mainly in a quiet environment.

Illustrator

For artistically inclined entrepreneurs, you can offer your services to customers, businesses or even authors and work on your illustrations in the environment of your choosing.

Baker

You can also build a business selling baked goods to consumers for parties or events.

Affiliate Marketer

Bloggers, social media pros or website operators can build businesses by including affiliate links in your site or posts and then you can earn a portion of the sales from the people you refer.

Ecommerce Reseller

If you want to scour ecommerce sites like eBay for deals, you can actually build a business around reselling those items.

House Painter

For those who enjoy painting and want to work on large scale projects, you can offer your services as a house painter to local homeowners.

Phone Repairs

People drop or damage their phones every day. So you can build a business by offering to repair those devices where possible.

Proofreader

Or you could offer services to authors, bloggers or other businesses and simply read through their written materials for spelling and grammatical errors.

Custom Embroiderer

If you’re skilled at embroidery, you can have customers send you clothing or accessories that they want monogrammed or embroidered and then charge them for your custom services.

Snow Removal

During the winter months, you can charge customers in your area to shovel or snowblow their sidewalks and driveways.

Welder

Or you can offer your services as a welder for builders or contractors and choose the welding projects you want to work on.

SEO Consultant

SEO is an important aspect of marketing for online businesses. You can contract with some of those companies to improve their websites and content so that it is more likely to appear in search results.

House CleanerDog WalkerPatternsGardenerBicycle MechanicIntrovert Photos via Shutterstock

This article, "50 Business Ideas for Introverted Entrepreneurs" was first published on Small Business Trends

CVS expands Curbside to 4,000 stores, gets overwhelmed

Store Front Talk Back - Thu, 2016-09-22 11:41
CVS expands Curbside to 4,000 stores, gets overwhelmed lheller Thu, 09/22/2016 - 11:41

American Blue Ribbon CEO resigns

Nation's Restaurant News - Thu, 2016-09-22 10:57
Hazem Ouf helped turn O’Charley’s, Bakers Square owner into $1.2 billion company Hazem Ouf helped turn O’Charley’s, Bakers Square owner into $1.2 billion company

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Staples Print and Marketing Services Put to the Test

Small Business Trends - Thu, 2016-09-22 10:30
Sponsored Post

My husband and I have been Staples customers through our businesses since 1999.

Why have we stuck with Staples for over 15 years? It’s a convenient and cost-effective place to shop for office supplies, printers, office furniture and more.

Despite being regular Staples shoppers, we hadn’t done much with the Staples Print & Marketing Services — that is, until recently.

Staples challenged us to test out its Print & Marketing Services. They gave us a gift card. They put no restrictions on using the gift card other than asking us to do at least two projects — one involving a straight-forward quick print project and one more advanced project using in-store assistance.

Here’s the report of our test.

What is Staples Print & Marketing Services?

Think of Staples Print & Marketing Services as a print shop dropped inside your local Staples store.

You can walk up to the counter with your marketing collateral on a USB thumb drive. Let’s say you bring in a brochure on your thumb drive that you’ve already had designed. Then you pick your paper, quantity and other options, and have your marketing materials printed professionally. The in-store option is especially helpful when you want a human being to explain choices or assist with anything unique about your project.

But Staples offers more than what you see in the store. There’s an online component, too — and that’s also attractive for small businesses. Let’s say you have an important meeting coming up with a new prospect. You realize you are out of business cards or need a special marketing piece fast. It could be midnight, yet you can go online and create those materials using any of the many Staples marketing templates. Or you can upload designs that your designer has already created for you. Then you electronically submit them to be printed at your local Staples.

If you’re in a hurry, Staples advertises same day printing for many projects, provided you place your order before 2:00 pm. Or if you have a little more time, you can have printed items shipped to your office.

In addition to the quick print options in the store, Staples can also send your project out to a production facility for printing. This is a great option if you require advanced binding, special paper or special finishes.

So depending on your needs, your timing, your design choices and your budget, you have multiple options with Staples Print & Marketing Services.

Our Projects

We tried out three projects.

  1. We created two sets of business cards using an online business card template. We had them printed on glossy premium paper at the store.
  2. We printed some copies of our digital magazine. Normally the magazine is read online, but we’ve been asked for print samples occasionally. We took the opportunity to print some copies to better explain what we do as a business. (Yes, even as a digital publication it helps to have something tangible to show.) This project turned out to involve more than printing because of some font problems in our PDF file — I’ll explain later how Staples fixed the file.
  3. We set up and printed a postcard to use as marketing collateral at events using our own professional design.

Reviewing our Staples Print order.

Our Results of Using Staples Print & Marketing Services

How were our results? Overall, Staples Print & Marketing Services exceeded our expectations. We tried the online services and also visited our local Staples in Naples, Florida twice during the project. Here are seven takeaways from our challenge:

1. Multiple options

One of the best things about Staples Print & Marketing Services is that you have multiple options.

  • If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, you can design your own marketing materials online and even get same day printing. For simple items like business cards or a marketing postcard, entrepreneurs will appreciate this.
  • If you prefer to have your marketing items professionally designed, you can get them printed at Staples and it will do them justice.
  • And if you want hands-on help from a human being to explain options and make sure your materials come out great, you can go to your local Staples store and get personalized help, too.
2. Speedy Quick Print and Same Day Printing

Need quick print items? Staples is very fast.

We essentially got 24-hour turnaround for our complex project. We received our order a day faster than had been quoted to us.

For the business cards, we submitted the order online at 2:30 pm and got a call that the order was complete at 6:30 pm the same day!

3. Printing Professionals Who Actually Help You

Are you ever frustrated thinking you can’t get personalized help at a chain store? Well this is not the case at Staples. The Staples Print & Marketing Services in our local store was staffed with people who are knowledgeable about printing.

We dealt with two different Staples personnel in the Print & Marketing Services area. Here’s where they beat my expectations: they caught and fixed a problem with some fonts — at no extra charge. The PDF of our magazine is a very large file and some of the letters in the header fonts showed up as error marks due to a problem in the PDF file itself (the large file might have been corrupted when I downloaded it). The Staples Print supervisor caught the issue through printing a sample and called us.

When we first got the call, my heart sank. I feared we’d have to delay a few days while we requested a different file from the designer. But I needn’t have worried. The Staples supervisor requested a Word document showing the underlying content. After we emailed the Word doc, she fixed the messed-up header fonts on multiple pages of the PDF. A few hours later we got another call that our print job was complete. How’s that for service?

4. Marketing Templates That Prevent You From Making Mistakes

For two of our projects, we used the Staples online marketing templates system. Here’s why I was impressed: the output looked professional, the system was very easy to use, AND it kept me from making mistakes.

First, we used the business card templates that qualified for same day printing. We chose a two-sided business card template, uploaded our logo and voila. In 15 minutes we had created and proofread our business cards. Everything was properly lined up. Even better, the template software prevented me from distorting the logo (i.e., stretching one side out of “aspect ratio” alignment), something I inadvertently seem to do without realizing it until I see the printed item.

Second, we used the “Upload your Own Design” option for an 8.5 x 5.5 inch postcard that we’d had professionally designed. When I tried to upload the design file initially, again the Staples online system saved us. It pointed out that our image size was too small and therefore would not look good when printed. It also alerted us that our words and logo were too close to the edges of the postcard, and that if we wanted the postcard trimmed around the edges, a corner of our logo might be cut off. I was able to send a screenshot showing the problems (below) to our designer and he turned around a revised image file.

Screenshot showing how the Staples marketing template software prevented a subpar printing project.

5. Rewards and Discounts

We’ve been members of the Staples Rewards program for years – the more you purchase the more savings you get. Staples Rewards pays members 2 percent back and gives other discounts. We got a nice rewards discount of 20 percent on our print order.

6. Business Advantage

By talking in person with the Print & Marketing Services supervisor, we learned about another Staples program called “Business Advantage.” The Print supervisor signed us up on the spot for a Business Advantage membership. As I understand the program, it offers customized solutions for businesses with 10+ people working in them. Under the program, more than one person in your organization can place orders under your business account. You are also assigned a representative as a single point of contact.

7. Cost Effective

Last but not least, prices are cost effective. Here’s one comparison:

Our last order of 500 business cards at a competing online provider cost over $50.00 (after discounts, but adding back in $14 for shipping), pre-tax.

The same type of cards (double sided and glossy fronts) cost $39.99 for 500 cards at Staples, pre-tax. There was no shipping charge as I picked them up at the store which is five minutes away.

What We Didn’t Put to the Test

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one thing that we did not put to the test. And that is: printing a large magazine on a regular production basis (i.e., monthly).

Don’t mistake me — I was happy with the limited copies of our magazine printed at Staples. But keep in mind, I opted for a small number of copies to use as samples. I really didn’t test Staples on producing thousands of copies of a printed magazine of 48 or 52 pages, month in and month out.

Staples does offer saddle stitching and glossy heavyweight paper– the kind of treatment a magazine in production deserves. But I’d want to delve deeper into such advanced options and that was beyond the scope of this test which focused on quick print items and trying out Staples’ marketing templates.

Were We Happy?

So, were we happy? Definitely. For small businesses, Staples Print & Marketing Services is a fast, reasonably priced and professional option for getting quality marketing materials and business cards created and printed. If that’s your goal, you can’t go wrong.

Disclosure: Just to be clear, this is a sponsored communication. We’ve been Staples customers for over 15 years in our businesses, long before any relationship with Staples. But Staples’ underwriting compensation of this test made it possible for me to take the time to try multiple aspects of the Staples Print and Marketing Services, and write about it for our audience here at Small Business Trends.

Images: Small Business Trends. Top image: Staples Print & Marketing Services located inside a Naples, Florida Staples store.

This article, "Staples Print and Marketing Services Put to the Test" was first published on Small Business Trends

Taking Inventory

Hotel Interactive - Thu, 2016-09-22 10:28
BirchStreet Broadens Its Offering, Customer Base With Acquisition Of AccuBar

McDonald’s exec moves to Dunkin’

Nation's Restaurant News - Thu, 2016-09-22 09:30
Dave Hoffmann named president of Dunkin’ Donuts U.S. and Canada operations Dave Hoffmann named president of Dunkin’ Donuts U.S. and Canada operations

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Watch Out! YouTube Calls On Users to Help Enforce Community Guidelines

Small Business Trends - Thu, 2016-09-22 09:30

YouTube is encouraging and “empowering” its users to “flag” content that does not meet the site’s community guidelines, while also offering more transparency on how its flagging feature works.

The video site’s renewed call on users to help enforce its community guidelines by flagging inappropriate content on the platform comes hot on the heels of YouTube’s apparent demonetization of some videos for content considered unfriendly to advertisers.

Empowering the YouTube community to use the flagging feature located beneath every video and comment will help “keep YouTube a platform where openness and creative expression are balanced with responsibility,” the Google-owned video site said on the official YouTube blog.

Among some of the community guideline no-nos are:

  • No spam, misleading descriptions, tags, titles or thumbnails in order to increase views.
  • No copyright infringing content. Only upload videos that you made or are authorized to use.
  • No predatory behavior, stalking, threats, harassment, intimidation, invading privacy, revealing other people’s personal information, and inciting others to commit violence.
  • No posting videos that encourage others to do things that might cause them to get badly hurt, especially kids.

“We have trained teams, fluent in multiple languages, who carefully evaluate your flags 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year in time zones around the world. They remove content that violates our terms, age-restrict content that may not be appropriate for all audiences, and are careful to leave content up if it hasn’t crossed the line,” announced the video-sharing site on the YouTube blog.

How Flagging Content on YouTube Works

When flagging, any user from anywhere in the world can report which policy they think a video violates, from spam and sexual content to harassment and violent content, YouTube said. This in turn helps the video site’s team to route and review flagged content more efficiently and effectively:

Interestingly, over 90 million people have flagged videos on YouTube since 2006 — that’s more than the population of Egypt, according to YouTube. And over a third of these people have flagged more than one video. “As YouTube grows, the community continues to be very active in flagging content: the number of flags per day is up over 25 percent year-on-year,” stated the video company.

What this notable rise in flagging activity and renewed push to encourage it really means is that small business owners who depend on YouTube for their revenue need to be increasingly careful not to accidentally violate the video site’s guidelines. There have been reports that the YouTube complaints-appeals system is not particularly great. Apparently, YouTube users who get flagged and appeal a complaint can easily get trapped in a confusing automated system that can be quite inconveniencing.

Not all flagged content automatically gets removed, though. YouTube says it also takes into account local laws in the countries where it operates and if they receive a valid legal notice that content violates a local law, they will restrict that content in the local country domain.

“We hope this additional transparency will help you continue reporting responsibly,” the video platform said.

Image: YouTube

This article, "Watch Out! YouTube Calls On Users to Help Enforce Community Guidelines" was first published on Small Business Trends

SCORE and Sam’s Club Announce 2016 American Small Business Championship $25K Grand Prize Winner

Small Business Trends - Thu, 2016-09-22 08:30

SCORE, a nonprofit organization that provides mentorship and education to small business owners, and Sam’s Club, the nationwide wholesaler club which also serves many small businesses, recently announced the winners, or Champions, as they call them, of the 2016 American Small Business Championship.

The Small Biz Championship program, a national competition open to small businesses around the country, is hosted by SCORE and Sam’s Club to address the unique challenges and obstacles faced by small business owners. It typically rewards 102 small businesses and entrepreneurs, two from each state and the District of Columbia, for their sacrifices and dedication in making their businesses successful.

Rewards for Entrepreneurs Making their Businesses Successful

This year’s edition of the American Small Biz Championship had 103 Champions from 48 states giving the winning responses to the question, “What sacrifice have you made to help your business succeed?”

The Small Biz Champions were awarded a $1000 Sam’s Club gift card, an all-expenses paid trip to attend a regional Championship Celebration and Symposium, SCORE mentoring and training for a year and national publicity for their small businesses.

As per the competition practice, one Grand Champion is selected from the group of finalists by a judging panel of small business experts to win $25,000 grand prize, depending on how effectively they utilize the Sam’s Club gift card and the SCORE regional training events.

The Grand Champion in the 2016 American Small Business Championship was Ninja Park Obstacle and Fitness Training Gym, a family-owned obstacle training facility located in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Ninja Park Emerges as 2016 American Small Business Championship Winner

According to a press release provided by SCORE announcing the Grand Prize winner, Ninja Park offers clients of all ages and fitness levels classes, parties and training sessions that build strength, self-confidence and perseverance skills. The business was one of nearly 400 small businesses that entered the 2016 American Small Business Championship from across the nation.

“Thank you, thank you! We are so excited and grateful. I am inspired by the work that SCORE does to assist people like us with the often difficult job of starting, operating, and growing a small business,” said Ninja Park co-owner, Marie Takach in prepared comments in the release. “I am also so grateful to Sam’s Club. Their efforts are invaluable in assisting small businesses like ours in growing so that we can help more people in our community.”

Garrett Takach, who founded Ninja Park in 2014 when he was just 18 years old, said his close relationship with his younger brother who has autism inspired him to start a business that helps autistic children learn to overcome obstacles in a fun, safe and supportive environment.

“Our hope is that the lessons learned in our gym can be taken home and utilized when facing everyday life challenges,” Garrett Takach said in the release. “Winning this Championship will give us the opportunity to buy special needs equipment, expand our children’s obstacle and party area, and offer more times to accommodate greater numbers of clients.”

Founder Takach accepted the $25,000 Grand Prize at the SCORE Awards Gala that was held at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He said the prize money will go into the continued development of Ninja Park’s program for children with autism.

Image: SCORE Foundation

This article, "SCORE and Sam’s Club Announce 2016 American Small Business Championship $25K Grand Prize Winner" was first published on Small Business Trends

In-N-Out fans create petition to add new menu item

Topix - Thu, 2016-09-22 08:10

More than 20,000 people have signed a petition calling on the iconic West Coast fast-food joint In-N-Out to add a veggie burger to its menu. The Change.org petition, started earlier in September, says that the chain is letting its fans down by failing to serve a hearty and healthy meat-free option.

Categories: Today's Food News

Landis Group Acquires Ultramodern Hyatt Place Princeton Within Carnegie Center

Hotel Interactive - Thu, 2016-09-22 07:32
PRINCETON, NJ-–The Landis Group, a leading real estate development and management firm, today announced the off-market acquisition of Hyatt Place, a ...