Category Archives: Announcements

17Aug/09

Marketing Mondays | Your Business is Small – So What?

Seth Godin knocks it out of the park again!

I was speaking with a social media-inclined friend about local SEO and how to respond to customers.  Here, Seth discusses how small businesses are at an advantage in these and several other areas.

Lessons from very tiny businesses:

1. Go where your customers are.

Jacquelyne runs a tiny juice company called Chakwave. I met her in Los Angeles, standing next to an organic lunch truck. Like the little birds that clean the teeth of the hippo, there’s synergy here. The kind of person that visits the truck for lunch is the sort of person that would happily pay for something as wonderfully weird as her juice. And the truck owners benefit from the rolling festival farmer’s market feel that comes from having a synergistic partner set up on a bridge table right next door.

2. Be micro-focused and the search engines will find you.

My friend Patti Jo is an extraordinary teacher and tutor. Her new business, The Scarsdale Tutor doesn’t need many clients in order to be successful. This permits her to focus obsessively and that gets rewarded with front page results on Google. Not because she’s tried to manipulate the seo (she hasn’t) but because this is exactly the page you’d hope to find if you typed “scarsdale tutor” into a search engine. Could she do this nationwide? Of course not. But she doesn’t want to or need to. Living on the long tail can be profitable.

3. Outlast the competition.

I was amazed at all the empty storefronts I saw in LA on my last visit. On one particular block, three or four of the ten lunch places were shut down. And the others? Doing great. That’s because the remaining office workers who used to eat lunch at the shuttered places had to eat somewhere, and so the survivors watched their business grow. A war of attrition is never pretty, but if you’re smart about overhead and scale, you’ll win it.

4. Leverage.

Rick Toone runs a tiny guitar-making operation. His lack of scale makes it easy for him to share. When others start using his designs, he doesn’t suffer (he can’t make any more guitars than he already is) he benefits, because as the originator of the design, his originals become more coveted, not less valuable. He leverages his insight and shares it as a free marketing device.

5. Respond.

This is the single biggest advantage you have over the big guys. Not only are you in charge, you also answer the phone and read your email and man the desk and set the prices.

So, don’t pretend you have a policy. Just be human.

12Aug/09

Liberty National Insurance to hold “We’re Hiring” Event

Liberty National Life Insurance Company, announced it will hold a “We’re Hiring” event on Wednesday, August 19 in Lakeland. Liberty National is in the most aggressive growth mode in the Company’s 109-year history and plans to hire more than 100 Agents in the Tampa area. These events are part of 125 events as Liberty National seeks to hire more than 2,500 Agents across the U.S. in one day.
When: Wednesday, August 19
Time: Interviews at 9 a.m., Noon, 3 p.m., 6 p.m.
Why: Liberty National is seeking to appoint 100+ Sales Agents and Sales Management positions initially, with the possibility of additional growth in the future. The Company provides complete training and the opportunity for rapid advancement at every level.

More information: www.lnlcareers.com


Hiring events will be held at:

Hilton Garden Inn Lakeland,
3839 Don Emerson Drive
Lakeland, FL 33811
Location number: 863-647-0066

 

Additional hiring events will be held at:

Quorum Hotel
700 N. Westshore Blvd.
Tampa FL 33609
Location number: 813-289-8200

St. Petersburg Marriott Clearwater
12600 Roosevelt Blvd.
St. Petersburg, FL 33716
Location number: 727-572-7800

10Aug/09

Natalie’s Sports Bar & Grill and Commissioner Justin Troller Team Up to Give Back

Local City Commissioner Justin Troller and restaurant entrepreneurs Kenny Baldwin and Natalie Oldenkamp of Natalie&Justin-SideNatalie’s Sports Bar & Grill have joined forces to raise money for school supplies benefitting the students of 10 area elementary and middle schools. The idea surfaced when Kenny’s daughter was assigned a school project that ultimately cost the family over $100. Kenny was shocked and couldn’t imagine that every family in his daughter’s school would be capable of affording such an expense. He expressed these concerns to Commissioner Troller one night at the restaurant, and the idea took off. Natalie’s would hire him as a server, and Justin would donate his wages and tips to the cause. The group is in the process of forming a 501(c)3 and looking for matching donations from local businesses. Commissioner Troller’s goal is to raise $1,500 by the 24th of August.

Giving back is nothing new to Commissioner Troller. He promised during Natalies Signhis campaign that he would donate his commission earnings to charity- and he has kept his promise, donating $12,000 to various Lakeland charities in 2008!

You can help Justin reach his goal and support a fellow Chamber business at the same time! Drop by Natalie’s every Monday and Thursday from 4:30 to closing, and request Justin as your server. Don’t worry if you don’t get Justin you can still enjoy a great dinner and support the cause by handing him $10 on the way out!

Natalie’s is located at 3120 South Florida Avenue. For more information on how you can help, call Kenny  Baldwin at 863-644-6000.

10Aug/09

Marketing Mondays | Five Tips for Facebook

The great Duct Tape Marketing blog provides us with this week’s Marketing Mondays post.  If you’ve been trying to figure out how to make facebook work for your business, consider utilizing the following:

1. Fan page – Facebook had personal profiles and groups from the start, but a few months ago they added to the function called fan pages and made them more business friendly. Any business on Facebook should create a fan page for their business and start optimizing additional content there. The cool thing about fan pages is that it’s now a lot like having another web site. You can add applications, newsletter sign-up pages and events and promote them to your friends on Facebook. When someone becomes a fan of your page, your updates on the page show up on their wall giving additional exposure. I wrote a pretty comprehensive post on the subject of Facebook Fan Pages here. Also, check out the Duct Tape Marketing Fan Page -http://www.facebook.com/ducttapemarketing – note the brand optimized URL – that’s pretty new and something you should take advantage of.

2. Custom HTML – this one’s a little more technical but when you create a fan page you will see that your page comes with tabs for various categories of content you create (each tab has it’s own URL so you can promote each section on your fan page around the web). Using the Facebook Mark-up Language (FBML) you can create custom boxes of HTML content, like newsletter sign-up pages, blog RSS feeds, and white paper downloads just like you might on your web site. FBML is a Facebook application you can get here. I’ve also done a quick little video showing you how to add FBML custom HTML here.

3. Special content – Give your Facebook fans a little something extra they might not find on your blog or web site. Upload images from your PowerPoint presentations, articles from the local publication you contribute to, or on the fly videos created using the Facebook video application. You’re bound to find some crossover from other social networks like twitter, so give the Facebook users something unique. I know some people caution about reposting twitter here, but I think it’s perfectly fine. I get lots of comments from people who just happen to like to use Facebook more than twitter and this way they still get updates.

4. Events, videos and apps – Use the heck out of all of the Facebook applications. (Here’s a post I did some time ago aboutsome of the best Facebook business applications, many of which are now compatible with pages.) Promote events, upload or record video, hold contests and polls. All of this extra engagement is so easy to do using pre-built tools. And don’t forget to integrate your Facebook activity back to your web site and blog using a Facebook Fan Box – I wrote about the Facebook FanBox tool here.

5. Ads for awareness – I think that Facebook has built one of the better ad targeting tools going. You can target ads to Facebook members on all kinds of criteria and run pretty low cost campaigns. The trick though is to run campaigns that are compelling and promote your FaceBook Fan Page instead of trying to sell something. Promote your white paper, events, and educational content – create awareness about your great content and your will get the chance to earn the trust it takes to actually sell something to someone. Here’s where you go to find more info about Facebook Ads. And, I wrote about using Facebook ads to create awareness here.

Even if you don’t sell anything online or provide support via email, you need to include social media in your marketing plan.  If you have any questions about using facebook or other social media tools for your local business, you can email Matthew Wengerd.

06Aug/09

USF Poly Now Accepting Incubator Applications

(Lakeland, Fla., Aug. 6, 2009) – The University of South Florida Polytechnic’s Blue Sky business incubation program is now accepting applications for space in its two facilities — a business accelerator, Blue Sky East in Winter Haven, and an entry-level incubator, Blue Sky West in Lakeland.

            “We want a diverse group of entrepreneurs with the potential to create a significant economic impact in central Florida,” says Marshall Goodman, VP and CEO of USF Polytechnic. “These facilities provide opportunities for a wide range of enterprises. Some will be raw start-ups, and some will be more advanced. Regardless of the stage, Blue Sky represents an opportunity to thrive."

            The application is available online at http://poly.usf.edu/BlueSky. Applicants must be for-profit technology corporations, with proprietary technologies preferred. Applicants can be a start-up company, an existing small business in a growth phase, an existing business launching a new business project, or an international business looking for a soft-landing site.

            The Blue Sky facilities are the first public business technology incubators in Polk County. They will focus on attracting and nurturing entrepreneurial businesses by creating a place where USF Poly faculty, staff and students can work with businesses to develop innovative technology. Incubated companies will benefit from the proximity to and resources of a national research university as well as the assets of economic development networks.