Startup & Small Business - Page 18

Check out our latest entrepreneurial-driven content geared toward helping startups and small businesses grow their brands.

No Bartender Needed: 3 Recipes for Holiday Cocktails

This season is time for merriment, warming up by the fire, great deals for shoppers, and also when romance blossoms. There are many tried and true cocktails of the season that we all know about; and they still have their time and place. We scoured the internet for some new ones to try that may be a bit under the radar; that should put a warm kick in your seasonal to do list. Aside from office parties, the usual festivities and your family, these could be a sweet few selections for your friends night out for pool or holiday karaoke. Here are 3 recipes that are begging for sampling during Santa’s season.

Apple-Ale Wassail:

Allspice, cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom pepper nicely in this winter sipper. With a little more filling perhaps and less of a whiskey typed kick, the port flavors this one nicely and the recipe makes about 7 cups. The brown sugar and lemonade collide nicely, and this is one perfect by the fire flavor. After a successful gift buying spree or downhill sledding outing, it will get your thoughts aligned to the avenues of cheer. Maybe best sipped while watching a classic like “Polar Express.” Not only do apples keep the doctor away, they instill the charm.

The Gingerbread Martini:

A regular dirty or Cosmo is perfect for some instances, but in these holiday times may not quite measure up to what you really want to ring in some snowflake laden cheer. The ginger liqueur, optional vanilla bean garnish, and teaspoon of honey in this recipe will have you thinking about ski chalets, who’s been naughty or nice, and bobsled runs in no time. Norman Rockwell paintings back in the day depicted many having fun for the holidays, and we all envision that gingerbread village in our dreamy Christmas moods. Okay, well maybe not all the time, but this cocktail will have you in holiday mode within a few quick sips.

Jingle Juice:

Candy canes are always a symbol of the holiday season drawing near, and a legendary icon of the stocking stuffed treat many kids dream of on Christmas day. On the adult end of the spectrum, this orange juice and vodka cocktail will be a stellar kick to your caroling or carousing, and the additive or maraschino cherry juice will have you licking your lips in holiday glee. Almost reminiscent of a Mai Thai but possessing elements that are much more akin to the coming season, this drink takes the cake in many ways, the main being sheer holiday themed goodness. It’s already been confirmed that everyone in the office is ready for an ugly sweater party, it’s just about time to bring the goods to the table. The reindeer crossing is optional, but the festive spirit will prevail in many ways while you down this flavorful infusion.

“We Need to Talk”; the World of Sports from a Woman’s Perspective

As more and more people righteously desire to hear a woman’s opinion in sports, it has been long overdue to give the floor to some dynamic individuals, and have an hour long platform for women reporting on sports. This one is guaranteed to have substance, backbone, and voraciously inspiration in sports reporting. to take the floor in sports commentary. “We Need to Talk” will effectively give time once a week in TV land to provide role models for young women everywhere; and show that in the near future there will be many budding possibilities for other women sports anchors to enter the field.

Dana Jacobsen, Allie LaForce, Amy Trask, Lesley Visser, and Tracy Wolfson are the regular heavy hitting CBS correspondents on the beat, along with Andrea Kremer, who is an award winning journalist from the NFL Network. She specializes in health and safety, a subject that these days goes way beyond torn ACLs and stretching, into a wide plethora of topics that desperately need attention from the public. As athletes continue to push themselves to new heights of achievement, staying healthy and keeping up with new treatments available can be a full time job. The public is going to be very excited to hear these conversations about sports, from these authorities and role models that will portray the overlap of sports culture to everyday society.

A typical weekly format will touch base on the news of the day, social media segments, and the all important clip of one of the staffers talking about their personal relation to a story and how it affected them. With all the different types of people from many walks of life participating in sports and watching from home, there is also going to be an ultra important segment towards the end, “We Need to Listen”. This will focus on the opinion of someone outside the show for the week, and provide feedback on the issue. With an all-star female cast this show will certainly pave some new ground in the world of ‘women in sports’. Tune into CBS on Tuesdays at 10PM EST to catch all the latest highlights and sports news; football season is here and there’s bound to be plenty of fresh commentary from every yard line!

Stop Hesitating! 5 Reasons To Start Your Business Today

If you have ever had a dream to start your own business, it can really eat at you and your current career life. This is a good thing because all the daydreaming about being your own boss and doing things your own way will solidify your transition to entrepreneur. What a lot of people don’t realize about being your own boss is that it could absolutely be more time-consuming than the 9 to 5 work life, and not as stable, especially in the beginning.

We know that there are so many reasons why people do hesitate to start your dream business, and it is understandable. You may feel as if your idea has already been done, or if you are an artist, that of course, you may just “not be good enough to cut it.” These fears could always influence you, but every month in America, millions of people go through some type of job loss or change. One of the best things about starting your own company is that even though there will be plenty of change there as well, at least you own it, and it will be your entity.

Getting downsized is a bummer, and as long as you can sustain some life into a product line, you may embark on your most exciting journey ever. Here are some great reasons to start a company and put your idea in motion today!

Freedom and its Perks

Truly having time to spare is one thing that has been valued by many more than ever lately. Once you have a few talented individuals working for you and they can contact you when they need to, becoming the CFO is really what most end up doing. If you are superb at your craft, you’ll be able to monitor the financials and get free time at some point. On some days you will experience complete overload, but once you have a system in place for the usual inquiries, getting products out efficiently, and keeping customers around with social media, you may not feel as hurried or burdened as an hourly worker for another corporation.

Eventually Having More

Even though fear is still rampant and you may not hit the jackpot right away, if you do create something, own property, and offer goods or services, you could eventually have more. Even with the other layers of support, you’ll need to create something epic, drop-ship businesses, people who sell collector’s items, and personal coaches are doing very well. There really are great monetary rewards after you’ve toughed it out for a while!

The Feeling of True Flexibility

Having the time to do what you want when you want to will feel immaculate to you, especially since you were thinking about being your own boss in the first place. Website owners and product line designers may eventually have more time in the long run than coaches and salespeople, but after you have the foundation lain for your business, you can always turn some obligations down if they aren’t feasible. Other people that are excited and optimistic about what you are doing will be more profitable and easy to deal with in the long run.

Having a Life of Greater Extremes

In recent studies over 80 percent of respondents said that if the business in question was their very own, the passion they would display would be on a much higher level than if they were working for someone else. It’s not just the bottom line, the clout, or the freedom, you really feel as if you are branding yourself. If you have created something that you have already been passionate about all of your life, monitoring it, tinkering with it, and gaining more followers is always going to feel like blissful and passionate overload. You will truly own what you are doing, and if the long hours and endless prospecting ever get to you, it could still be better than doing all the work for someone else.

Letting the Difficult Fish Stray From your Hook

There are definitely reasons that letting difficult customers go is healthy for you. Some of them are so demanding that the time it would take to satisfy them will really drive you off your desired path as CEO. Because after all when you choose to start your own company, your dreams will best be fulfilled and you will be happiest when working with people whose ideas are close to your own. It can be a very difficult and long road to travel, but real organic business is done with those who are not only impressed by your ideas but want to travel the wonderful and prosperous road with you.

One of the best pleasures about being in business for yourself is finding others who want to see you succeed, not fail at your competitor’s heels. In the global business realm, if you are talented enough to take your own route in the first place, you will have your day to never deal with anyone that is aggressive or rude again.

Fashion Blog Watch: 15 Fashion Bloggers to Follow Now


This list of the best talent in fashion blogging includes top favorites Kate Loves Me, Dapper Lou and Trop Rouge, with glimpses of beauty, vanity and quirkiness from all walks of life. Even the Brooklyn Blonde has a killer say here with her commentary and travelogue. De Lune is another awesome addition to this list, from an art student and incredibly talented individual. Runway coverage, personal montages, and wildly exaggerated and wonderful opinions are all over this list of what to follow now on the web for fashion. Don’t you feel like encountering a burst of true flair in your smart phone and web surfing lately?

How to Reach your Target Audience and Tap Into Their Buying Impulse

Connecting properly in places where they hang out

Even if at the very beginning phase of your marketing campaign you are not ready to participate actively in all aspects of the hunt, knowing where they lurk is crucial. Websites like LinkedIn are becoming more and more popular to find where key groups of people are hanging out; but remember the good stuff doesn’t all happen just in one night. You may have to hang around for awhile and participate in conversations that are not always completely relevant to get the feel of these groups.

Placing targeted ads on LinkedIn would be optimal; but there are other ways to accomplish reaching out to your target market. As far as Twitter is concerned, when you first connect with a new user, you can always send them an introduction email that shows them what you do with a URL attached. Here you are getting into a sheer numbers game, but many product marketers gladly play it, and track its data.

Beware: if you go much farther than this during a first connection, all may not go well! Some of the basics of finding your target market on the internet involve waiting. This is the reason why many marketers have other streams of revenue in the early days; it is well worth the wait to reveal what you are thriving on, or wanting people to purchase. A savvy user and potential customer will hold you in much higher regard if you two chat about other business related topics before you play all your cards and tell them your business.

Even if you are desperate for more customers, the worst way to go about this is to give someone new your entire pitch at first, such as “I am in the business of personal coaching and mentoring. If you want, I can give you a free consultation ASAP!” If you take this route of presentation, you could very easily come off as desperate.

Making sure your plan is able to find and define the target
As far as web and mobile marketing goes, it is more crucial than ever to be involved in conversations about topics that are popular and somehow leaving your mark there. Some marketers think that it is so time consuming that they may not want to leave comments on blogs with their URL and signature, but these can steer you towards some new customers and following.

Even though sometimes budget will not allow, advertising on social media can be a big boost. Some argue that Facebook is not as effective anymore and losing its kick; but hordes of people do hang out there every day and buying ad space there is always bound to reward. Even though it can always change and be hard to nail down daily, the conversion of Facebook ads is about 4.3%, a pretty high value.

Once you have your own Facebook and Twitter pages for your product or idea, your own posts can build organic traffic that may create an even bigger buzz than paid posts, but generating some followers with the paid route is one important tool in the very beginning. If you think that you know exactly who is on Twitter and how frequently, think again; the fastest growing user demographic on the social media site is 55 to 64 year olds. Depending on what your product is, this may give you a whole new dimension of placing paid ads, or simply searching for folks in who you are following. When thinking about the weekends and how to reach your target market, keep in mind that as far as social media is concerned, the weekends are not dead; there is 17% more use and engagement during this time.

The practice of making a Venn diagram (especially if what you are marketing is a book) may seem simple, but can help you figure out your target market. Simplifying where your target market may be by watching where the lines overlap can really show you whether or not to have placement of extra pushes in marketing. It can also help you distinguish whether or not time spent on certain demographics is worth it; as even smaller parts of the circle are potential customers lining up for what you have to offer.

What’s under the cover?
Not just in the book realm but in many others, the cover can really do a lot of work for you in narrowing down your target market. If you are marketing a product that is a clothing line or even Smartphone accessory, you can show the types of people you are going after using it. One surprising fact is that the luxury market stayed a little more intact during the recession, some people who wanted to escape still did. Are you providing an oasis to escape, or a lower cost activity like a coffee show that may be visited with more frequency? If you are providing a lower cost activity or product, you will need to do more volume. This is absolutely possible, but something you need to know up front.

Once you find the target market and the folks that are most apt to buy your product, there is still a lot to be done; and any trends will affect you. After understanding the proper channels, research, and where your target market spends time, you are on your way to success. With proper customer service, SEO techniques, and other web maintenance, the sky is the limit for your brand of product.

As in the surf industry this year, there are still major shakeups in the marketing world, where no one is safe and fear can come creeping around the corner. From “suggested posts” on Facebook to other tactics in social media, there are other ways to gain momentum. Once your target market starts talking to each other about how much they like to use your product, you will be happy you took the time to seek them out, and engage them aggressively.

Marketing on the big screen 2014: “The Wolf of Wall Street”


Featuring more swear words than any other drama ever and an abundance of nudity and bad behavior, there are some great things under the surface here for those interested in marketing. Even though the subject of this film Jordan Belfort was a swindler and a con man, there are some very informational clips in this flick about calling on the phone, and pushing products. Considered not relevant by many because of not much internet presence in the movie, there are some great tips on being confident while on the phone and acting like you own the place. Even with things being so digital now, this awesome Scorsese movie has a lot of pointers about making the close on a sale, which many marketers are still needing to do an a good old fashioned face to face meeting.

Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success

Readers of authors like Malcolm Gladwell will definitely enjoy this blend of what leadership, success, and the skill of simply having influence will show them. A focus on making sure interaction with others is your prime focus, and stories of those who remained behind the scenes while creating their success are heralded in this great example of 2013’s marketer knowledge banks on the press. Different takes on numbers and large entities toppling such as Enron are delivered here in a fashion that will make any marketer reflect on what the future holds and how they can shape it.

Raise the Bar; an Action-based Method for Maximum Customer Reactions


The new book Raise the Bar; an Action-based Method for Maximum Customer Reactions is by Jon Taffer, who prevents many businesses from eroding into dust with his skill set. On Spike TV’s “Bar Rescue”, he shares his wealth with bar owners who desperately need one last chance to succeed. With theories based on the notion that you can always control your customer’s reaction and make them really buzz about your business, many owners way beyond the restaurant realm will want to crack this for some excellent pointers. There’s nothing more exciting than finding the book that pushes your business above the rest.

Amusement Park Season 2013: A To-Do List of America’s Biggest & Baddest Thrill Offerings

This year the positive news that amusement park attendance is up is music to many different sets of ears. A true roller coaster junkie will wait all year sometimes to travel to these places, and there is really something to be said for hearing the screams of thrill seekers spiraling over you while you wait in line. We are going to give you a list of some of America’s best locations to take the family or just your significant other.

From coast to coast, amusement parks have become more modern and high tech, but the initial thrill and wonderment is still there, like popcorn, arcades and gardens. There is so much to see and do that when a child first gets through the admission gate, you may wish you had a leash on them. Amusement parks are held in regard as the “trip of the year” for many families and especially if you can find a way to avoid the weekends, you may be able to ride until your heart’s content. Here are a few of America’s best parks to wet your appetite for a thrillseeker’s dream.


Cedar Point, Sandusky, OH

Sitting on Lake Erie and boasting the title of the only amusement park in the world with four roller coasters taller than 200 feet, it is simply world class. This park has also received the Golden Ticket Award from Amusement Today for the last fifteen years straight. If you stay in one of the four six resorts in the area, you can get into the park an hour earlier than the general public, and when you arrive here it deceptively looks just like any resort on the ocean. Soak city is the adjacent water park on site opened in 1988, and requires separate admission. Cedar Point has 16 roller coasters, the second most coaster populated park in the world.

The Gate Keeper is the newest ride here, the world’s largest wing coaster that careens from the main gate over the beach. The Gemini is a twin coaster where two different cars race each other, and was the tallest in the world when it opened in 1978. The Magnum XL-200 was the tallest roller coaster in the world when it opened in 1989, and when I rode that thing I was amazed at how scary it was. It no doubt holds some serious clout still in the coaster world. Every other form of ride imaginable is at this park, and it ranks number one on many lists for vacations. The location on the lake is incredible for otherwise landlocked folks who can still enjoy a great beach of blue waters that you view from all the tall rides.


Kings Dominion, Doswell, VA

Opened in 1875, this awesome destination spans 400 acres and has 60 rides, with 14 roller coasters. There is a great 1/3 scale rendition of the Eiffel Tower, and around 1998, they started adding some very serious roller coaster action. The Dominator, built in 2008, is the world’s largest floorless coaster, and has the second largest vertical loop on the planet. When you look at this thing, it is a confusing contraption of blue and yellow mesh that looks like a Lego set designed dream, and is one scary devil of a thrill ride. The Grizzly, built in 1982, is simply one of the baddest wooden roller coasters in the world.

The White Water Canyon ride is reportedly one of the most awesome rafting rides in the world, and many were modeled after its style. A cult classic film Rollercoaster about a mad bomber was filmed here among other locations, and was a contributing factor to early “coaster mania”. The Avalanche is a bobsled themed ride where park goers feel as if they are in the winter Olympics, and is a crowd favorite.


Six Flags Magic Mountain, Valencia, CA

One reason why this amusement park is so big on roller coaster addicts’ list is that there are 17 roller coasters here. It is well known among coaster fanatics that in 1976, they became the first amusement park on the globe to have a 360degree steel looping roller coaster, and shortly afterwards the rollercoaster Colussus was a great wooden racing addition like Cedar Point’s Gemini coaster. In 1982 the Freefall was added, one of the first “free dropping” elevator up, drop down type rides. Riddler’s Revenge, built in 1998, had six loops, and is one mean, green scream inducing ride.

The Goliath is another notable ride here that goes up to 85 MPH, and many coaster enthusiasts have travelled from far away to ride it. The parks’ close location to the film industry has had it featured in several major productions, most notably appearing as “Wally World” in the 1983 comedy National Lampoon’s Vacation. Magic Mountain is known as a true giant of amusement parks;  the palm tree laden landscape makes it a true gem among summer vacationers.

YouTube Marketing; the Vital Presentation of your Product (Value of Video)

What is the initial value of video marketing?   

When YouTube videos are used for marketing, a very interesting statistic is that 46 percent of internet browsers say they may stay longer on a website if it has video. Another amazing thing about YouTube videos and how they reach people is the relative success of videos that were just a testimonial or single person speaking. It is always best to put together a video that shows your business or solves a problem, but just having a testimonial or monologue still puts your company out there and lets viewers see how great your ideas are.

Another very exciting thing about having videos embedded to a company page is visitors almost always stay longer when there is something for them to watch, even if it does not convert a buyer on the first visit, it will stick in their subconscious much longer. With the many directions that current technology can pull you in, keeping the content simple can be a task, but a very rewarding one.

Other things video does for you or your product

One of the most powerful things about having a video on YouTube is it can sell for you all day and night. Simple web pages can too, but video gives the prospective client visualization or face shot of who they are dealing with. If you are a company that is in the business of marketing and branding concepts, reading text and client lists works for a while, but having a face to explain it all can provide an enormous missing link.

If someone is reading about the ways you can benefit them from making contacts or gaining sponsorship for you, they may start to get very excited and impulsive. If they click on a video and a friendly face tells them, “Hi there! If you are interested in making your company or artist TAKE OFF, you have come to the right place!”, the right kind of consumer who is already salivating over the presentation will really start to be engaged and become interested in what you have to say.

Some tactics to make your content stand out w/ tips & ideas

If the fact that there are so many of millions of videos out there worries you, don’t be discouraged! If what you are wanting to market is unique, then as time passes, your video will retain some views and your page will be visited. Some firms that have had amazing success are engineering and development, they put videos on YouTube explaining how they streamline processes and save companies money.

There were many instances in which companies were inundated with phone calls just days after they put up a YouTube video, and linked to their home page in the description. If you feel like you can, make your video funny. This can be done with whiteboarding, animations, sketches that show someone as the butt of a mild prank, or over exaggerating what you offer. Since content is interchangeable, if you feel something does not work, you can replace it or move your optimization towards others.

You can always upload new content, and do video blogs about news events related to your business. If you are a green or eco minded business, you can upload a quick commentary of your opinion on a certain issue or problem. The most organic traffic to be had is if you provide a solution to a problem in a video. Whether or not it is lawn care, beer brewing, preventing using too much water, or weatherizing a home, when a customer sees the process being performed on video, all of a sudden they get a sense of faith in you.

If you have someone just average looking and not a movie star, perhaps all the better; the trust building will attract buyers with stability. You can use video editing software that comes with Windows and Mac platforms to juice up your video as well. A good rule of thumb is that if you see a really amazing effect or video edit, use it just once in your video. Having something become translucent, very colorful or futuristic looking can boost the allure; but sticking with basic dissolves and fading up from black is still king as long as your content delivers a good message.