Get Your Neighborhood Buzzing About Small Business Saturday

In 2010, American Express founded Small Business Saturday to help businesses with their most pressing need — getting more customers. The day encourages people to shop at small businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This single day has grown into a powerful movement, and more people are taking part than ever before. This year, the big day is Nov 29.

Save the date and plan to #shopsmall and spread the word to others in your local area*. If you are not a small business owner, encourage your local businesses to take advantage of the free promotional materials for this annual event.        Small Businesses are the heart of the economy

In 2013, nearly 1,500 Neighborhood Champions across the country tapped into the power of the Shop Small Movement for their communities. This year, you can be one of them by planning an event to celebrate Small Business Saturday with your neighborhood.

For business owners:

Take Part in Small Business Saturday

 

For supporters:

SHARE WHERE YOU’LL SHOP SMALL IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD

I will #ShopSmall for ________ at _________to support my neighborhood
*Fill in the blanks and tweet/ post this to promote the local businesses in your area.

Halloween Hype Leads to Scary Good Sales for Retailers

Halloween for retailers is not just about costume sales.  The celebrations for this holiday continue to increase sales for retailers through more elaborate decor, creative entertaining and of course more spectacular costumes for kids, adults and pets.  Average spending is predicted to be up again this year and with the holiday landing on a Friday, this equates to scary good sales!

4 reasons Halloween will be a boon for retailers this year

Awesome and creative costumes and decor adding to Halloween sales:

Cat in Costume

Baby Duck Halloween Costume

Decorative Pumpkins

Doggie Costume

Spider Ice Cubes

Give A Voice To Breast Cancer Awareness and Share Your Story

Beaucoup Designs True Blue Goes True Pink!

With Breast Cancer Awareness month  right around the corner, Beaucoup Designs will be offering exquisite new and cherished existing merchandise to help raise money and awareness for breast cancer.

Three new pieces will be available in early September from Beaucoup Designs owner and designer, Leah Ann Messer.  Two of these pieces were designed in honor of her sisters, Janet and Melissa, both of whom have recently battled with Breast Cancer. Leah Ann has designed a beautiful new bracelet named “Melissa”‘  and a stunning new necklace named “Janet”, recognizing the incredible courage and struggles experienced by each of her sisters.     Beaucoup_TruePink_Campaign

Leah Ann’s third design will be a beautiful pair of pink earrings, and they too will need a NAME!  In order to find the perfect name for this design, we are asking all of our customers, sales reps, and friends to email YOUR story and give your voice to raise awareness and help find a cure.  Your story can be about any experience you have had with breast cancer.  After receiving these stories, Beaucoup will publish them on their website, Beaucoupdesigns.com. At the end of October the Beaucoup Advisory board will choose one entry.  The new earrings will then be named after the author of the entry (or the subject of the entry).  This person will also get to choose the non-profit cancer organization of their choice and we will give 100% of the proceeds to this organization.

Please spread the word and give a voice to your story. Email your submissions to truepink@beaucoupdesigns.com.  In the email, include your name and contact information.  This information will remain confidential (it will be your choice to have your name attached) and will be published on the Beaucoupdesigns.com website.

We want to have a place where everyone who has been affected by this disease can have a voice, and by sharing these heartfelt and touching stories, we are able to help each other and help find a cure!

Leah Ann Messer- True Pink Video

 

 

 

Ivystone Events at Dallas Market Center-New Showroom Look Book

Ivystone Look Book- Dallas 2014Dallas summer market is here!  Join us in Ivystone Showroom #236, Dallas Market Center June 18-24th for a fantastic showcase of vendors and entertaining events throughout the market.

Your Ivystone sales rep will be on hand to help with products and events.

Preview Ivystone’s Dallas Showroom Look Book  for Every Style, Every Look, Everything You Need.

 

 

 

Do You Have What it Takes to be Lucky?

There are people in this world that just seem to be lucky. Everything seems to go their way. Even when an event that would be considered bad for most, “lucky” people seem to end up better off. Why is it that some people seem to be lucky? It’s not that they have some sort of lock on luck or that they were born under a “lucky” sign. Lucky Charms Learning to embrace opportunities and create your own luck can be the difference between a successful and happy life and passively waiting around for something good to happen.  So stop waiting and make your “luck” happen.

Here are 5 clear cut things that can improve your “luck” today.   With a little extra effort, you can be lucky too.

 

5 Things Super Lucky People Do

Best Practices for Exceptional Customer Service

Five stars service

A customer’s most important and lasting impression often comes from customer service—that personal contact with your company’s sales or other customer service personnel. Striving to make customers feel not just important but genuinely comfortable and willing to do repetitive business with you and your organization should be the goal to strive for at all times.

Each person’s idea of exceptional customer service will vary.  But most people agree that if the person serving you goes above and beyond what is normally expected with service, products, time and insights, that would be exceptional.       

With the move toward social media and the ability for customers to comment immediately on Twitter and Facebook; customer service is under the microscope at all times.  Albeit extremely important to have presence with websites and social media, the personal connection still reigns supreme.

Exceptional customer service will absolutely save your organization tons of costs because if done well you won’t have to fix problems or correct wrongs.  Setting out to achieve and sustain exceptional customer service has a huge added benefit of developing happy customers and retaining them for the long run.   Key to achieving this goal is to develop exceptional personnel who understand the importance of customer service to the overall business.  Focusing on empowering all personnel to serve the customer’s needs will never go out of style.

So it becomes clear that the more complex our world gets, the more value there is in authentic, clear, customer connections.  Ron Frank of IBM summarized it well, “As organizations become more intelligent, top CEOs are focused on drawing deep insights from customer data making it possible to understand customers and engage with them as individuals.  In parallel, some have leveraged more traditional and personal ways to connect with their customers and the teams that serve them to a larger benefit”.

How to Improve Your Customer Service Game in 2014- is worth the read- from Intuits Small Business Blog.

What is one small customer service choice you have taken that has seen notable results?

Going beyond what may normally be expected, here are additional posts to help serve you:

15 Customer Service Skills Every Worker Needs

10 Examples of Shockingly Excellent Customer Service

 

Tips for Building Better Passwords

Love them or hate them, passwords are the initial line of defense in our daily digital lives, usually playing the leading role as gatekeeper to our precious online information.  This inevitability leaves people stuck attempting to remember several passwords and manage them properly, something that usually means they’ll create an easily remembered and crackable password once and use it everywhere.

While online security professionals can enforce policy on a password’s length, expiration and use of character types, typically only a small segment of the population creates truly strong passwords they will remember and avoid using elsewhere.

There are ways to build better passwords with simple changes that can add strength to your current password status.  Note this phrase: two-factor authentication is a big deal in the security world.

With that said, here’s a primer on passwords, easily shared with business colleagues or family members who like us might need a reminder about the importance and practice of online security.

Why are passwords important?                            Password Security

Having a password is the most basic level of protection you can have for the information you are storing in services or applications, be it your personal Facebook account, your online banking site, or your company’s customer tracking system. The problem is that everything is online now, and everything needs a password. So it’s tempting to make your password simple and easy to remember. Perhaps you have a go-to password you’ve used for everything since college. Or maybe you write your password down so you don’t forget it.

If you do any of those things, you’re probably in the majority, not the minority. Creating long, complex passwords that are unique for every service you use is a challenge, and remembering them all is near impossible.  (Learn about Last Pass, a password tool highlighted in the video below).

The problem is that simple, easy-to-remember passwords are also easy to “crack.” That’s likely why a major study found that 76 percent of network intrusions (breaches) in 2012 involved weak or stolen passwords.   A fix may be easier than you might think. For starters, head to Intel’s Password Grader to see just how easily cracked your current password is.

Once attackers have your password, they have access to your account and any information stored in it. From there, they may be able to do all sorts of things, and what was intended as a form of protection could become a threat in itself. For example, if you use the same password across multiple sites, once an attacker has compromised your information on an unimportant one, they can turn around and use it on a site you do care about.

Or say you use different passwords, but the same security questions. They could find the information for your security questions and then set up a fake “change password” request using your information and actually lock you out of an important account.

Bottom line: passwords are an important security measure for every aspect of your life, the key is to make them workable for you yet extremely difficult for offenders to crack.

How can you protect yourself?

There are a number of things you can do to reduce your risk and increase the protection offered by passwords.

Tips for passwords to protect your security

What NOT to do when creating online passwords

 

Inside the Minds of 10 Successful Entrepreneurs (and what you can learn from them)

Business owners are all different, each having a unique entrepreneur mindset that contributes to their success. Their entrepreneurial approach might have to do with their personality or even the area of business which they have chosen to focus.

When figuring out your own methodology and challenges of entrepreneurship, it can help to learn from the experiences of others.

What makes a man tick?Explore the mindset of 10 well-known entrepreneurs from a variety of different fields, I particularly am inspired by stories 6-10 . The hope is that you will find something in each of their stories that will help you in continuing your own entrepreneurial adventures.

10 Mindsets of Successful Entrepreneurs

From Small Business Trends- October 2013

 

Celebrating 20 Colorful Years! Be Inspired by Company C’s Decorating Tips

Company C_20_Colorful_YearsPlan to inspire your customers this season and into 2014 with great merchandise (of course) and captivating displays of color. This awesome “color” inspired blog  from company C founders Chris and Walter Chapin is an overflowing cup of creativity to use and share with your customers.  

Company C was started in a garage in 1994 by Chris and Walter Chapin and is now a premier design studio and leading producer of exceptional home furnishings displaying their love and adaptation of color. Twice a year the Company C Design Studio brings you the hottest colors from fashion, the coolest colors from nature and the trend setting color combinations nobody has seen yet!

May your cup runneth over with creativity and inspiration……start your own colorful conversations by posting a photo of your unique seasonal displays here and on Facebook or Pinterest to share and inspire others.

” I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for.” Georgia O’Keefe

For suggestions on colorful products and designs contact your Ivystone and Simblist rep

CompanyC-Green&Serene

CompanyC_wisteria

CompanyC-Inspiration

 

 

Learn From the Experiences of Fellow Entrepreneurs

10 mindsets of successful entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs are all different. They all have a unique entrepreneur mindset that contributes to their success. Their mindset might have to do with their personality or even the field in which they have chosen to work.

When figuring out your own approach to the challenges of entrepreneurship, it can help to learn from the experiences of others.                                                                          Sharing Entrepreneurial Stories

Here are the experiences and entrepreneur mindset of 10 well-known entrepreneurs from a variety of different fields.   We hope that you will find something in each of their stories that will help you in your own entrepreneurial adventures.  From Small Business Trends (10/16/13)