Archive for October, 2010

Marketing tips for small and startup businesses

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

October 25th, 2010 03:15am
Marketing tips for small and startup businesses
By Jenna V. Loceff, Business Journal Staff Reporter

Heather Prandini and Aly Anderson

SANTA ROSA – The Engine is Red and Notion:Creative give tips to small business owners on startup and do-it-yourself marketing.

Think before you speak

At its core, marketing and advertising are about creating conversations that start relationships. Many companies make the mistake of focusing on which megaphone they want to use rather than figuring out what they are going to say. Take the time to hone down who you are, who are you talking to, and why they want to work with your company. The answer to these basic questions is the foundation of your brand and your messaging.

Seduce your pre-customers

You can learn a tremendous amount of marketing truth by the study of romantic relationships. It is all about communication. Take your time to find the right prospects and begin a conversation, adjust how you talk and what you are saying to who they are. Spend more time listening than talking, and don’t be afraid to ask for the second date.

Focus on what you’re great at

As an entrepreneur you probably have to wear many hats during the startup phase, accounting, sales, marketing, customer service, etc. Make sure that you are spending your time wisely, and getting the biggest results for your time investment. If you have a natural talent for writing and communicating, focus on sales and marketing messaging. Even with tight budgets it’s important for a new venture to know when to bring in help. If it’s not your natural talent, find the right partner to get you there.

Quality over quantity

Many start ups don’t have the advertising budget they would really like, and usually have to make some tough choices and cuts to their plan. One common mistake is to execute a lot of small quick campaigns across many platforms, a 1/4 page ad in a local paper, a 2 week radio campaign, a coupon mailer, etc. It is far more effective to prioritize your media plan, and start with what you can afford to do really well. Creating a powerful and constant single campaign will deliver better results than three smaller, poorly executed ones.

Get creative

Before you instantly jump into spending your whole budget on bigger ad campaigns, make sure you have creatively evaluated some non traditional approaches. Whether it’s the advent of some surprisingly affordable digital approaches or some low cost guerilla tactics, spend wisely. Take the time to get to know your customer, and why they would choose you, and then focus on their day to day lives. Brainstorm ways you can cost effectively interact with the right person, at the right time, with the right message.

Identify your client

Know your market: know who you are targeting and know your competition. Who are your existing, potential and ideal clients; research what’s happening in your industry on a local and national level; fit into what’s happening but carve out a niche that highlights your uniqueness and sets you apart.

Create a brand

Hire a professional to develop a brand and that represents your business and appeals to your desired clientele. A cohesive brand includes logo, stationery, point of sale materials, ads, website and any other material that interfaces with the public eye.

Create a buzz

Promote, promote, promote. Talk about your business; attend professional mixers; offer your products or specialized services pro bono; send press releases, your product or a newsworthy story to a writer at a local newspaper, magazine or blog whose point of view and audience is aligned with your business goals. Since each generation receives and absorbs information differently, it’s important to utilize the proper media platform for your message.

Build trust

Connect with your desired clientele and peers via your story. Do something for nothing; get involved in your community by sponsoring or volunteering at a local event; meet new people and spread your story in a non-business environment; building trust with these new connections is an invaluable marketing tool that will spread through your clients’ and peers’ network of personal and business connections.

Maintain the relationship

Never stop marketing, even when business is booming. Maintain a consistent and broad marketing plan that reminds consumers why they need your services, highlights all facets of your business and targets multiple markets.

***

Notion:Creatve is located in Healdsburg and is owned by Aly Anderson and Heather Prandini. The Engine is Red is located in Santa Rosa and is owned by Chris Denny and Dan Sartin.

Nebraska Trails News October 20, 2010

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Teens Collaboration Between Agencies, Creates a Trail Plan for Crete’s Tuxedo Park

The Crete Youth in Governance Team (a 4-H community leadership program) works to develop their leadership and life skills while improving the community of Crete, Nebraska. The group consists of ten high school students full of energy and ideas.

The students recently conducted three public forums to discuss the needs of the community. After collecting and organizing data from these meetings, one of the hot topics that surfaced was the need for additional biking/hiking trails.

With this data, they approached the Crete City Council with a request to work on a trail plan. The city passed a resolution that allowed the Crete Youth In Governance Team to work with the city to form a task force to develop a comprehensive plan for the Tuxedo Park Community Trail.

Lee Ann Manning, the students Saline County Extension Educator with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, helped them realize the type of professional help that they would need to develop their ideas. After contacting Mary Hanson, a planner with National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) Program, the students received education in all aspects of trail development and grant funding.

With their new found knowledge in hand the students went to work analyzing flood plans, mapping out the trail , solving design obstacles and developing cost estimates. On August 17, the students presented their comprehensive plan to the Crete City Council.

( http://ne-crete.civicplus.com/documents/Clerk/Council%20Minutes

/3A%20Youth%20in%20Governance.PDF )

The City of Crete has started construction on the first phase of the trail. The Crete Youth In Governance Team has written two grants for financial assistance. The applications are pending, with grant awards expected by year’s end.

The students has since formed another partnership with the Crete Area Medical Center. Through this partnership, an application will be submitted next year for a Blue Cross, Blue Shield grant for funding to assist development of additional sections of the trail as part of a wellness program.

The Crete Youth In Governance Team is partially funded by a Rural Youth Development Grant supported by the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, and the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and is administered by the National 4-H Council, Youth in Governance grant project.

The Nebraska Trails Council plans on following the progress of the Tuxedo Trail on NTC’s facebook photo album page.

( http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nebraska-Trails-Council/109085345777094 )

Nebraska Tourism Launches Mobile Version of VisitNebraska.gov Website

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Nebraska Tourism Launches Mobile Version of VisitNebraska.gov Website

New site gives mobile users the ability to search for events, attractions and more

Lincoln, Neb. — Oct. 20, 2010 — To make it easier for travelers to get information while they’re on the move, the Nebraska Department of Economic Development’s (DED) Division of Travel and Tourism has developed a mobile version of the VisitNebraska.gov website. The new functionality allows users of mobile devices to search the Nebraska Tourism database of recreation, events and attractions. Travelers can also view podcasts of Nebraska’s Byways.

“Travelers are increasingly turning to Wi-Fi–enabled mobile devices or smartphones as a source of information as they travel,” said Christian Hornbaker, director of DED’s Division of Travel and Tourism. “By giving these travelers a mobile site that allows them to quickly find the events, attractions and recreational opportunities they’re looking for, we’re empowering them to be able to be flexible with their planning. And the ability to be flexible can be the difference between merely a good vacation and an absolutely unforgettable trip.”

VisitNebraska.gov visitors using mobile devices will be automatically routed to the new mobile site. It is also available through a link on the main VisitNebraska.gov home page. The site can be accessed by all types of mobile devices and smartphones including the iPhone and Android handsets. Specific support of the iPhone means the site contains no Flash or use of HTML5.

For more information or to view the new mobile site, go to VisitNebraska.gov and click on the Take Us With You icon.

2010 Nebraska Travel Industry Award Winners Announced

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

2010 Nebraska Travel Industry Award Winners Announced

LINCOLN, NEB. (Oct. 14, 2010)—More than 150 tourism professionals were on hand to honor their peers at the annual travel awards banquet Thursday evening at The Cornhusker, A Mariott Hotel, in Lincoln. The event capped the 35th Annual Nebraska Travel and Tourism Conference organized by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development’s Travel and Tourism Division and hosted by the Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Lieutenant Gov. Rick Sheehy announced the following 2010 Nebraska Travel Industry award winners.

The 2010 Henry Fonda Award – the state’s highest tourism award representing leadership, vision and dedication to the tourism industry – went to Chard Hirsch of Broken Bow, who has been an avid spokesperson and supporter for her community, county and the Sandhills Region for most of her life. Through the year’s she’s won Outstanding Elementary Teacher of the Year, Elks Outstanding Citizen of the Year, Junior Chamber of Commerce Boss of the Year, Outstanding Nebraska Retailer, Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year, and the KOLN/KGIN “People You Can Count On” Award.

For the past six years, Hirsch has been active in promoting and developing tourism along the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway. She was active in bringing the scenic byway interpretive center to Broken Bow and regularly volunteers her time there to share the byway’s history with visitors.

The Friend of Tourism Award went to the Nebraska Humanities Council. The council showcased Omaha’s artistic and cultural sides by hosting the Federation of State Humanities Council’s 2009 National Humanities Conference. More than 300 attendees representing every state spent two fun-filled days in Nebraska’s largest city. Conference attendees represented the cultural leadership of the U.S., and the time they spent in Nebraska changed their views about our state; so much so that many pledged to return later and vacation here.

The Outstanding Event Award for communities with populations up to 10,000, went to Nebraska’s Big Rodeo in Burwell. Since 1921, this town of 1,100 people has hosted one of the biggest events in central Nebraska. This year, every motel, hotel, bed & breakfast, RV park and campground from Burwell to Ord and surrounding counties was booked solid to accommodate the more than 20,000 rodeo visitors.

The Outstanding Event Award for communities with populations greater than 10,000 was given to Kool-Aid Days in Hastings. When Edwin Perkins invented Kool-Aid in 1927, he couldn’t have imagined it would one day lead to an annual festival. What began in 1998 as a way for the Hastings Museum to celebrate its new Kool-Aid exhibit has since grown into a three-day, community-wide celebration that attracted 40,000 people in 2010.

The Outstanding Tourism Association Award was won by Beatrice 20/20 Vision. This grassroots organization uses creative and forward thinking ideas to promote and develop the Big Blue River watershed as a recreational destination. What began as a project to clean up the river quickly turned into a campaign to increase the river’s economic, social and tourism potential.

The Outstanding Tourism Campaign Award went to Scotts Bluff County Tourism. “Nebraska’s Landmark Country,” the new marketing brand for Scott Bluff County, takes advantage of two scenic wonders unique to the region, Scotts Bluff National Monument and Chimney Rock National Historic Site. “Nebraska like you’ve never seen it” is the brand’s tag line and it promotes the area as a place that will inspire and surprise visitors with its stunning natural land formations and wild beauty.

The Outstanding Tourism Publication Award was won by the Lexington Visitors Guide. Published by the Lexington Clipper-Herald Newspaper, the guides’s 35 pages are packed with everything there is to know about the city. Colorful photographs show visitors how much fun they can expect to have in Lexington, whether exploring the Heartland Museum of Military Vehicles, fishing or bird watching, hunting, or visiting the Antique Extravaganza or the Dawson County Fair.

The Outstanding Website Award went to the Nebraska Association of Bed and Breakfasts. Members of the association are continually working to increase membership, promote the state’s many B&B’s and stay current with the latest marketing trends and ideas. In 2009, the site was completely redesigned, including a new address (www.nebraskabb.com), an interactive map and the latest technology. Members can update and edit content, upload photographs and information, and promote their B&B to particular target markets.

The Outstanding Tourism Attraction Award was given to the Cedar Run ATV Trail. The trail – on exposed sections of the lake bed – began as a way to bring outside tourism revenue to Harlan County Lake when water levels dropped due to a multi-year drought. When water levels rebounded, an innovative partnership between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Harlan County Tourism, Harlan County Community Foundation and the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission garnered the support and funds to create the Cedar Run ATV Trail. Local lodging tax revenue more than doubled during the past two years, due in part to its promotion as a haven for ATV riders.

The Outstanding Nature-Tourism Entity Award celebrates the state’s many outdoor recreational pastimes and activities. This year’s winner was Calamus Outfitters/Switzer Ranch. The ranch is a 12,000-acre operation located in Loup County near Calamus Reservoir. Since 2000, the ranch has become an outdoor recreational paradise offering lodging, hunting, trail rides, bird and wildlife viewing, and canoeing, tanking, and tubing trips, and unique Sandhills Safari Tours. The ranch also has become a haven for bird watchers, with participation in its bird watching tours increasing from 50 in 2005 to more than 500 in 2009.

Nebraska Trails News

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Visit the trails and stay at a B&B!

Nebraska Trails News
September 20, 2010

Web Sites Offer New Features

The Nebraska Games and Parks Commission recently revealed an exciting new tool on their web site that all trail supporters will enjoy. Whether you are a biker, hiker, equestrian, water and motorized trails users, check out the Commission’s new GIS (Geographic Information System) page at: http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/trails.asp

This page provides an interactive map detailing trails and their amenities at Eugene T. Mahoney State Park, Platte River State Park and Branched Oak State Recreation Area. Be sure to check back for updates as more park area trails are added.

According to Nebraska Game and Parks this page also includes a very helpful feature for those looking for special trail events. Listed under the Trails home page, go to Resources, then Trail Events. To have an event added to the list, send an email to ngpc.trails@nebraska.gov.

Who uses Google Maps? Did you know that there is a new feature bicycle users will find very appealing? Google has started including bike routes in many U.S. cities including Omaha and Lincoln. Go to http://maps.google.com type in Lincoln or Omaha, on the More tab pull down and select Bicycling. The bike routes will show up as green lines.

Fremont/Pathfinder Trail System

The City of Fremont’s trail system is a work in progress according to John Schmitz, director of Fremont Parks and Recreation. Currently, three trails on the east and west sides of town and one connector trail are completed.

The finished trails are the FEVR/Airport Trail (1.5 miles), Military Trail (1 mile) and the Johnson Lake Trail with a connector (1.1 miles total).

There are three projects in the planning stage that have been awarded grants with completion, possibly one to three years away. When these projects are complete, a continuous trail system will run from Johnson Park on the east side of Fremont to the State Lakes, west of Fremont. Additional plans, exists so that the trail system leading to the south and east will eventually connect to the Western Douglas County Trail System near Valley.

A local favorite of the existing trails system is located within Johnson Park, where the trail and connector, loop around Johnson Lake and through the arboretum. The beauty of the natural elements on this section is attractive enough to have gotten first time users outdoor and on the trail.

The trails system in Fremont has had such a huge impact on healthy living trends in the town that planning for additional trails to be built in the future will continue.

Swing by Fremont to get a little exercise and relaxation, and maybe find a favorite fishing hole. To check out what is available at Johnson Lake go to: http://www.fremontne.org/attractions.html

NEBRASKA TRAILS COUNCIL

RECIEVES AWARD

Annually, the Nebraska Recreation and Parks Association (NeRPA) presents awards to professionals, organizations and park projects that merit recognition. On Monday, September 13, the Nebraska Trails Council and the Papio Missouri River NRD were awarded the “Benefits are Endless Award”. Accepting the award for the NTC was Secretary Karen Andersen.

In 2009, “A Natural Fit” a joint conference at Ponca State Park was successfully sponsored by these three organizations: Nebraska Recreation and Parks Association, Nebraska Trails Council and the Papio Missouri River NRD. NeRPA thanked these groups for their commitment to enriching park and recreation opportunities for Nebraska through the numerous educational opportunities that they provide.

Become a sponsor of the Nebraska Trails Council’s new “Nebraska Trails News” a monthly email publication, sent out to over 200 trail advocates.

For just $50 you can co-sponsor an issue and fill one of these two spaces to advertise your business, trails group or an event.

For a $100 an issue you can fill both spaces for even more advertising.

Interested?

Email us at: netrailscouncil@

gmail.com

What are the two longest “Rails to Trails” trails in the United States?

Cowboy Trail (321 miles when completed)

Katy Trail in MO. (225 miles)

Become a sponsor of the Nebraska Trails Council’s new “Nebraska Trails News” a monthly email publication, sent out to over 200 trail advocates.

For just $50 you can co-sponsor an issue and fill one of these two spaces to advertise your business, trails group or an event.

For a $100 an issue you can fill both spaces for even more advertising.

Interested?

Email us at: netrailscouncil@

gmail.com

YOUR ELECTED OFFICALS

Governor:

Dave Heineman

U.S. Senate:

Mike Johannes

Ben Nelson

U.S. Representatives:

1st District-Jeff Fortenberry

2nd District- Lee Terry

3rd District- Adrian Smith

Government website:

www.usa.gov

www.nebraska.gov

Other Trail News

· The Steamboat Trace in southeast Nebraska has been completely reopened from the Nebraska City trailhead to the city of Brownville. There are still a few rough spots from flooding between Peru and Brownville. A big thank you to the Nemaha NRD for getting this great resource back on line as soon as possible.

· The Nebraska Games and Parks reports that clean-up efforts from flooding on the Cowboy Trail are continuing. Some repairs and bridge work are awaiting FEMA and other federal agencies funding. The Cowboy Trail remains open safely open from O’Neil to Valentine which is a total of 123 open trail miles. The trail clean-up and repair crews really deserve all of our thanks, as well as the leadership of the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission.

· The Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT) recently sent a letter of support to members of congress for the Recreation Trails Program (RTP) that is up for congressional approval. The Nebraska Trails Council was one of many prestigious groups and/ or individuals that sent their support for RTP and were thanked by CRT for adding their name to the list of supporters. To find out more about RTP click here: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/rectrails/

Reader’s Digest 12 Free Pumpkin Carving Stencils

Friday, October 8th, 2010

12 Free Printable Pumpkin Carving Stencils
From the book, Halloween! Your Best Ever
Nothing captures the playful spookiness of Halloween more than glowing jack-o’-lanterns. So rev up your creative juices with our twelve ready-to-carve designs. Before you proceed, don’t forget to check out our Step-by-Step Pumpkin Carving Guide!

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Oprah Winfrey Is Planning to build a B&B in Hawaii

Friday, October 8th, 2010

OPRAH Winfrey is reportedly planning to build her own bed and breakfast in Hawaii!

The TV talk show host — whose The Oprah Winfrey Show is in its last season — is renovating a 12-bedroom inn on the island of Maui that will be low-key, rustic retreat.

“Oprah’s planning on having a high-end bed and breakfast for her friends and wealthy customers who like the quiet of the Mai countryside ,” a source told American tabloid the National Enquirer.

“It will be a place for people to rest and reflect.

“Oprah plans to personally play hostess on the ranch when she is on the island.”

Oprah has evidently experienced what a difference a B&B can make for the traveler!



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