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Discussions on marketing, social media, and small business topics.

Brand Voice Vibrancy

Constructing your brand’s voice is an art form. The importance of establishing and cultivating your brand’s persona, its character, and its narrative cannot be overlooked when developing the marketing strategy for your brand. Your audience will take note of and become familiar with your brand’s voice, and you absolutely want your customers to enjoy their interactions with your brand and content. Finding your brand’s voice is a journey. You not…

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Give Where You Live: Fifth Annual Colorado Gives Day

Today is the fifth annual Colorado Gives Day! The Community First Foundation created the movement in 2010 to celebrate and increase philanthropy in Colorado, through online giving. ColoradoGives.org provides objective, up-to-date information about participating nonprofit organizations statewide and serves as a platform for charitable giving year-round. The website features nearly 1,500 nonprofits in Colorado, which makes it hard to choose which organizations to donate to! That’s why we’re spreading the…

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Carey Yonto & Melissa Williams

Small Business Spotlight: Yoga Junction

Yoga Junction’s own Carey Yonto spoke with me about her journey into small business ownership. Who: Carey Yonto and Melissa Williams are co-owners of Yoga Junction. What:  An awesome, community-focused yoga studio featuring classes for all ages and skill levels. When:  Carey and Melissa took over the studio almost four years ago and transformed the space to fit their vision for Yoga Junction. Prior to ownership, they both taught for…

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The Great Thanksgiving Debate: To Open or Close Stores on Thanksgiving Day

Every year around Thanksgiving, debates arise regarding stores’ decisions to stay open or to close their doors on the holiday. This embattled issue inspires many to voice their opinions on the ethics of store managers maintaining operating hours – or even imposing longer hours of operation – as so many view Thanksgiving as a time that is meant to be spent in the company of loved ones, not spent working.…

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Small Business Spotlight: Little Horse Books & Vintage

I talked with one of the owners of Little Horse Books & Vintage, an awesome store in downtown Louisville, about his experience as a small business owner. Here’s the lowdown: Who: Mike Price, Boulder native and Co-Owner of Little Horse Books & Vintage What:  Little Horse sells books and vintage wares, with an emphasis on 20th century literature, art, poetry, furniture, collectibles, stereos, LPs and more! When:  The downtown Louisville…

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Grateful for Small Businesses

Give thanks and Shop Small this holiday season. With Thanksgiving just a couple days away, many of us are pondering the things that we are grateful for. Most likely to be #1 on the list is family and friends. Why is that? Because, as humans, we crave connection and meaningful relationships. These factors are equally important in business as they are in our personal lives. The most successful businesses build…

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Happy Thanksgiving – And Don’t Forget to Shop Small!

We’re sure you know by now, but along with it being the week of Thanksgiving this is the week to celebrate Small Business Saturday in your local community! Small Business Saturday is November 29, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Enjoy your time with your family, eat your fill on Thanksgiving, and then take your loved ones along with you to shop small! Small Business Saturday is your opportunity to support your…

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November 29 is Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday is fast approaching, and this year it promises to be the most widely celebrated annual event to support local businesses ever. Along with Black Friday and Cyber Monday – notorious sales days each year – Small Business Saturday is poised to become a major movement in holiday season shopping. Everyone has their favorite brick-and-mortar stores that hold a special place in their hearts and in their towns.…

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Shop Small in Boulder County

“When you shop small, it can lead to big things.” That’s the founding belief behind American Express’ Shop Small Movement, now a nationwide holiday tradition that encourages people to support their local small businesses. Since its inception in 2010, the Shop Small Movement has been making an impact in communities as people shop at their neighborhood retailers and become loyal customers. This year, the Shop Small Movement will be celebrated…

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Entrepreneur: “The Fours Ms of Social Media That All Marketers Should Master”

According to this Entrepreneur article, there are “Four Ms of Social Media That All Marketers Should Master.” The modern science of social media communication is complex, and each message posted by a company needs to have clout. Once these four Ms are mastered, however, social media marketing becomes a tactical, ingenious art. The first M is for Monitor. Every marketing professional should have a strategy to keep track of their…

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What the Fork Food Truck

The Value of Two Dollars (is More than You Think)

What is a couple of dollars worth today? A food truck roving the streets of Scranton, Pennsylvania, has discovered that two-dollar bills have made its business memorable and profitable. The What the Fork food truck gives customers two-dollar bills as change for their orders when they pay in cash, and it’s setting the truck apart and keeping people coming back for more. Mario Bevilacqua owns What the Fork, and this…

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No, Red Bull Doesn’t Give You Wings

Did anyone actually think that the energy drink’s slogan, “Red Bull gives you wings,” was a factual statement? Red Bull recently settled a false advertising lawsuit because of the slogan (which is a principle influencer in Red Bull’s commercials and advertisements) and the apparent lack of wings being grown but consumers of the Taurine- and caffeine-loaded beverage. As a result of the settlement, Red Bull has agreed to pay roughly…

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Shellshocked

The Internet is abuzz with trepidation about a new bug in software systems, and it’s with good reason. Shellshock is the name bequeathed to the bug that affects Bash, a shell program, and it’s threatening enough to make cyber security experts shiver with fear. It is predicted that this ‘Bash Bug’ could have more crippling consequences than the Heartbleed bug that reared its head in April. Shellshock is as serious…

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Google Cloud Platform

Good Google News for Startups

Google announced a new program that could be a great ally to new startup businesses. Google’s Cloud Platform for Startups offers startups $100,000 in Cloud Platform credit that can be applied toward all Cloud Platform products. The offer also comes with 24/7 support for eligible startups, including around-the-clock phone customer service and little to no wait times. Cloud Platform solutions engineers are available to assist startups one-on-one as they dive…

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Instagram Innovations

“At Instagram, we’re always looking to inspire and empower brands to create beautiful and engaging imagery that resonates with our community of more than 200 million worldwide,” declares the message on Instagram for Business’s blog post announcing the app’s new business tools. These tools are focused in three main areas to allow business to add more value to their brands: account insights, ad insights, and ad staging. This tool triad…

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“I want to have the worst restaurant in the San Francisco area!”: Botto Bistro’s One-Star Squabble with Yelp

A couple of weeks ago we told you about the Union Street Guest House’s fiasco with its threat (and attempted action) to fine customers for writing negative online reviews. The story about the boutique hotel in Hudson, New York, quickly went viral and inspired many people to post bad reviews of the Guest House to demonstrate their disapproval of that policy. On the opposite coast, an Italian restaurant in Richmond,…

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Fast Company Visual Marketing

It’s a Visual Marketing World

“The future of marketing, it would seem, is visual,” a Fast Company piece declared. Our digital world has been evolving more visually with every new app and online domain developed. This evolution clearly shows that we are optically-inclined creatures, drawn to adorable, enticing pictures as well as clever, entertaining videos. The article continues: “Consumers easily view and create high-quality, provoking images every day, and never before have they been so…

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Contently

Content Marketing Strategy and Your Digital Business Plan

Content marketing strategy – what is it? It’s a catchy phrase for the powerful content of online domains and how that can be directed at certain people. In laymen’s terms, it’s a tool that you can use to attract your desired audience to your website and to your organization. It’s a great strategic element that small business owners can utilize to generate attention from and interaction with followers and customers. Successful…

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Louisville, Colorado Joins the Beerfest Circuit

As you may (or may not) know, I’m one of the organizers for Pints in the Park, a local small-town brewfest taking place in Louisville, Colorado on August 30th, 2014. Our Board decided back in January of 2014 that this would be a great opportunity to introduce the area to as many local breweries as possible, and also make sure guests got to dine on some great food and listen…

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SEO

SEO and the Business Owner: a Love Story

We all know by now, or we all should know by now, the importance of good SEO. (If you’re not an expert yet, don’t worry. Watch this helpful short video to get a quick overview.)  SEO, or search engine optimization, is what can direct online traffic to your website instead of your competitor’s site. The rise of the Internet Age was eventually accompanied by SEO, and best SEO practices are…

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Union Street Guest House

Fining for Negative Reviews is the Wrong Move

The purpose and beauty of customer-written reviews is to share their honest experiences with others who are looking into the same experience. Really, any business people interact with can (and should) be reviewed in order to give potential customers information before they commit to one. Reviews written by all types of people about all types of customer service experiences is a modern-day tool that can not only educate customers but…

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Dumb Starbucks

I’ll Have a Venti Dumb Macchiato, Please

You might have heard of the parody coffee shop (or should I say art gallery?) that Nathan Fielder opened in Los Angeles, California. Fielder called his shop Dumb Starbucks, and his parody business of the mega coffee chain burst into the international spotlight within a matter of hours. Fielder was relatively well known before this espresso-fueled endeavor for his career as an actor and as a stand-up comedian. Audiences recognize…

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BuzzFeed

A Tip of the Hat to Buzzfeed

BuzzFeed, a social news and entertainment company, is revolutionizing online advertising and marketing with a social format and content-driven publishing technology. Its global audience is transfixed by the variety of posts on BuzzFeed.com, ranging from hard-hitting news stories, playful quizzes, artist and musician profiles, politics – oh, and plenty of cat videos. You name it and you can probably find an article about it on BuzzFeed. BuzzFeed’s “social content marketing,”…

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Takeaways from the Facebook Study

The recent controversial study conducted by Facebook on the emotions of a sample of its users certainly has stirred up conversation. The study, conducted in 2012 by a “Facebook data scientist” and researchers from Cornell University and the University of California, was theoretically to reveal insight on users’ emotions connected to social networks. Some are calling the ethics of Facebook’s Emotional Contagion study questionable. The study measured users’ emotional responses…

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An Intro to the Internet of Things

The evolution of technology in the past few decades truly has transformed the way we interact and do business. As a species, we have had to learn and keep up with the latest and greatest technologies to stay current and to stay savvy. There is nothing that has had greater impact on our lives than the Internet and its vast interconnectivity. Today, there is anticipation that the next level of…

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4 Tips for Gaining Repeat Customers

Customer service is essential for the survival of any business.  This is even more true of small businesses and start-ups as loyal customer base is needed both to grow and to succeed.  Economically speaking, you want your customers to return to your business again and again because it ensures that your business will continue to thrive.  Building relationships is important in all aspects of life and your business should be…

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How to Deal with Startup Stress

Stress is a fact of life.  It occurs when a certain situation puts a large amount of pressure on an individual’s life.  Sometimes, the amount of stress that is put upon a person can seem inescapable, which can bring about feelings of discouragement and defeat.  In fact, many people try to avoid stressful situations at all costs because they know all too well what happens when stress gets the best…

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Photo Credit: Wise HR Partnerships

Yelp’s Mighty Influence Being Challenged by Alternative Sites

As the world’s population continues to spend more time online, the amount of content they share online will also increase.  Whether they share photos, music or even opinions, it is important to comprehend that sharing anything can have tremendous impacts–both positive and negative. There are many websites that allow you to cast your opinions or reviews on businesses and services.  Yelp, which is one of the most popular review sites,…

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head-start-YMCA

YMCA of Boulder Valley Annual Campaign Drive

Alright, alright, first, a little back story. I began serving on the board for the YMCA of Boulder Valley beginning this year. I have quite an affinity for this place for several reasons, not the least of which is this was the place that served as the springboard for all our family has done with the sport of hockey. Some 14 years ago, I got a membership here, and my…

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Website Wisdom: 8 Ways to Stay Ahead of Disaster

Your website: It’s the face you show the world and it’s the place you direct your customers to probably every day. When it’s running like you want it to, it’s a thing of beauty. But when things go wrong, man, they go wrong. This post isn’t going to be the cure-all for what ails your site, but might give you some ideas on how to prevent big issues later on. Consider…

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2014 will be awesome

Parting Notes on 2013

It’s that time of year when people start formulating their resolutions and plans for the coming year. In small business though, this is something that should go on throughout the year, maybe with a slight revision now and again. I’m baffled sometimes by the “start anew” theme, as if the lessons and journey in the previous year are some how stuffed in a little box that goes off to storage.…

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small business saturday

Small Business Saturday Lesson: Be Awesome, Not Awful

Small Business Saturday isn’t new, but it is definitely still experiencing growing pains, which can make it tough on businesses that volunteer to get the word out. Our business has been participating the last several years in Small Business Saturday, so we’re not new to it, but it’s still a new concept to myriad merchants. The work calls for getting materials into the hands of local small businesses. The effort…

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The Fast, the Furious, and the Delicious

I’m sure you’ve noticed the growing popularity of food trucks around. How could you not love good food at fair prices that moves all around town? Don’t worry — they’re not going anywhere! Unlike many restaurants, food trucks tend to be run by cooks who are passionate about what they create and serve. Perhaps this is because most trucks have a more specialized menu. Taco trucks, waffle wagons, beer-mobiles, coffee…

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Stay Strong, Colorado!

In lieu of our recent flood disaster here in the Boulder area, let’s take a moment to appreciate the wonders that can develop through community support and involvement. Though the flood has destroyed so many homes and belongings, the local public has really banned together in an incredible effort to help. It’s great to see so many folks donating their money, time, effort, homes, and overall goodwill to help out…

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Saving Face, One Comma At a Time

When creating a website, blog, ad, flier, etc. for your brand, unprofessional appearance is not an option. Misspellings, bad grammar, and low-quality images reflect poorly upon any company.   Grammar Griping Spellcheck was invented for a reason; you have no excuse to spell anything incorrectly. However, don’t put all your faith in the computer — it can’t catch everything. Always proofread your work. Heck, even read it out loud. Your…

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Getting Involved and Giving Back

When running a small business (or any business, really) it’s important to give back, not only to your customers and clients, but to your whole community. When you actively support your community, they, in turn, support you. Being involved in local events and functions is an excellent way to show the public that you (as a business) are dedicated to helping others. Besides giving you that warm fuzzy feeling of…

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The Power of Plastic

Don’t you hate when you find yourself in that terribly awkward situation where a vendor accepts only cash, but your wallet contains only cards? What do you do? “Hold on a sec, let me run to the ATM”? Yeah, right. Luckily this is becoming less of a problem as businesses adjust to the modern methods of payment, but there are still a couple instances where you’re glad for the loose…

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Tech Takeover: Operation Coffee Shop

Remember, back in the day, when people went to coffee shops for the sake of coffee and friends, rather than a caffeine boost and free WiFi? It’s amazing what an impact technology has had on the world. Walk into any Starbucks and observe all the people and their laptops clustered near every outlet. Some small local places are resisting the tech takeover by not offering WiFi or outlet access, but…

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lighting money on fire

Ticker Shock: Facebook Drops Brands from Ticker Feed

If you manage a page on Facebook, and if you’re paying attention to your Insights and to the “xx people saw this”section on your posts, you’ve likely noticed your views tanking. A glance to the right will tell you pretty much all you need to know: Pages are no longer showing up in the streaming ‘Ticker’ and haven’t been for at least a few weeks. When it went live back…

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Is Your Website an Ancient Artifact?

Today Mashable published a post about a relic that is considered the world’s first website. Now at first blush, it’s no beauty, but for it’s time (this version is 1992), it was a staggering, awe-inspiring piece of work.  For the first time, people from around the world could view something from the comfort of their home (if they were so fortunate to have a computer and dial-up modem) or office,…

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Alternative to Feedburner

Awhile back, we learned Google would be pulling the plug on Google Reader, and you could hear the collective grown. I personally like Feedly much better. (Slicker, prettier, but yes, a bit slow.) There are a lot of alternatives, though.  Any way, there was a rumor floating around before that announcement, and that was that Feedburner (another Google product) would be discontinued. What’s a blogger to do? Well, we’re trying out…

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Not Everyone Is Cut Out To Lead

This post will be short and sweet: I’m sick to death of people in leadership roles that have no business being in them. I will not point fingers and single out people who are in this roles (You don’t have all day for a list that long, and neither do I!) but after reading this, you’ll know be able to spot these sacred cows without any trouble. Who are they? …

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Marketing Like It’s 1999?

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IuRzJRrRpQ We’re really an interesting business society. While billions are spent every day on marketing by large corporations (yeah, like the Super Bowl!!), the small business community is constantly trying to find ways to save their marketing dollar. That scrappy mentality is what eventually makes some small businesses wildly successful, but deployed poorly, it can be the undoing of many others. It’s hard to believe that in 2013, the “that’s…

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The Business of it All

We have the same 24 hours that everyone else has. We blame the lack of time, but I really blame the lack of initiative, the lack of focus, and the overabundance of excuses for the reasons that we don’t get what we really want and deserve. Commit yourself to changing that.

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