Tweet for Business?
Torn between diving into social media for your business and steering clear? Drew Garber, CEO of PitchRate.com, offers advice on how to decide if Twitter is right for you.
First, you must have the resources available, as social networking is no part-time job. Secondly, know your market. Will your target audience be “tweeting” at a particular time of day—or at all? Third, Garber asks if you are an adventurer, because jumping into the Twitter pool may not always be a smooth, easy road. Finally, before tweeting for your business, be sure that you are creative and engaging enough to hold the attention of your target audience. That’s what wins the day in social networking.
You may not have known it, but your last purchase was probably influenced by the colors you saw in front of you. According to Sharon Conlee, creative director of Peoria’s cmfi group, the color of a product, logo or sign is a big factor in sales. In fact, research has shown that color can be up to 85 percent of the reason people decide to buy a product, and it increases brand recognition by up to 80 percent.
“The greatest value in the use of color is selling the right color at the right time, evoking the right emotions from your target audience to achieve positive results,” said Conlee. So the next time you’re at the store choosing among products, what ends up in your cart may very well be due to the color of its packaging or advertisements.
Paul Macek is the current president and CEO of Proctor Hospital. Prior to accepting that position last September, he was president of Christian Hospitals, affiliated with Barnes Jewish Christian HealthCare in St. Louis, and an adjunct professor in the Department of Public Administration & Analysis at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
Books That Made an Impact
- Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne
- The Heart of Change by John P. Kotter & Dan S. Cohen
- Leading Change by John P. Kotter
- Good To Great by Jim Collins
- Built To Last by Jim Collins & Jerry I. Porras
- Judgment: How Winning Leaders Make Great Calls by Noel M. Tichy & Warren G. Bennis
- Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
- Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
- It’s Your Ship by Michael Abrashoff
- Get Your Ship Together by Michael Abrashoff
- Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi & Tahl Raz
- What Really Works by William Joyce, Nitin Nohria, & Bruce Roberson
- What Got You Here Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith & Mark Reiter
- Climb Back from Cancer by Alan Hobson & Cecilia Hobson
- A Sense of Urgency by John P. Kotter
D.I.Y. Coffee Table Books
Presenting your photos in a creative, classy way can be a daunting task. For the less-than-artistically inclined, attempts at creating a handmade album may end up looking like a craft project gone awry. For a more professional look, many are turning to online companies that are replacing spiral-bound albums with bound books with captions and retouched photos. While going to the nearest copy store might seem like a less expensive route, some online businesses are offering to do the legwork with an end result worthy of your coffee table.
Most sites require photos that have already been digitized. But from photo scanning to restoration, websites like scanmyphotos.com offer a wide variety of services for those who cringe at the idea of facing the thousands of photos sitting in their closets.
Creating your own coffee table book can range in price from $25 to upwards of $150, depending on the quality of paper, binding and image resolution. Photo books can be made in a variety of sizes and bound in anything from soft covers to dust jackets. Many sites offer templates, so users can just place photos into premade layouts. Shutterfly.com offers templates designed by Martha Stewart and others, featuring characters like Dora the Explorer. There are countless options of how to present your photos—and cost and sanity do not need to be sacrificed.
There are other places to go for those who want to create original layouts for their photos. Blurb.com offers tips and guidelines to help construct professional designs, instead of the traditional photo album. Features like “Group Book” allow others to contribute pictures to your album. The finished product can even be sold at the site’s online bookstore, so friends and family can purchase copies for themselves.
Virtual Bookshelves for Movie Cataloging
Those of you with massive movie collections know how easy it is to lose track of DVDs-or forget what films you lent and to whom. With that in mind, Lifehacker.com has put together a user-recommended list of movie cataloguing software for cinephiles. The best part? You’ll never run out of shelf space!
Delicious Library for Mac OS X
Delicious Library allows users to display their library of movies on a virtual bookshelf. It’s not only functional, but eye-appealing, and you can also organize other items, such as books, music, artwork, etc. After each item is imported—manually or by scanning the barcode—users can search for items that have been loaned out to friends. The application comes with an easy process to list items for sale on amazon.com and a $40 price tag.
DVD Profiler for Windows
If your collection does not exceed 50 movies, this program is free of charge; beyond that, you’ll have to shell out $30 for an extended license. Movies can be manually input by UPC or title, and the application provides results to narrow it down to the specific edition. DVD Profiler also keeps track of movies you’ve loaned out or have on order. Finally, its Movie Pick feature will use your personal ratings and reviews to suggest a movie.
Collectorz Movie Collector for Windows & Mac OS X
This application has many of the same features as the above two, with bar code scanning, easy exporting and advanced searches. It is also able to organize TV series and boxed sets, including specifics such as what episode is on which disc. The Pro version runs $20 more and comes with additional features.
Eric’s Movie Database for Windows
Eric’s Movie Database is a much smaller download than the other applications, but for those who just want something free and simple, without all the extra bells and whistles, this is the application for you. It offers search capabilities, can pull cover art from the Internet, and is semi-portable, as all changes are written to its local directory.
Living with Mom…Again
Multi-generational households are becoming more and more common; 3.6 million parents currently live with their adult children. Such a merger happens for many reasons—caregiving, divorce, emotional support or difficult economic times. But even with so many families choosing to merge households, it may not be the right solution for everyone.
Before having an older parent move in—or before you move in with a parent—consider each family member. Everyone involved should understand what would be expected of them and agree to the responsibilities they would have if the households were to combine. The family should also consider the costs of living together. For example, you may qualify for a dependency deduction if a parent comes to live with you, but that parent might lose his or her homeowner’s deduction.
If this is the right decision, there are still several subjects to talk through. One of the first things to consider is how the costs of living will be split for items like utilities and food. Researchers suggest that if the senior is of sound mind, keep separate bank accounts because seniors in control of their finances thrive. Homeowners should also consider the safety and accessibility of their home. Some changes to consider include commercial carpet installation for easier wheelchair or walker maneuverability, lowering the peephole for seniors with height changes and maintaining clear walkways to prevent seniors from falling. It is also necessary to distinguish between shared and private space.
Caring for a parent at home can be rewarding and give the sense of accomplishment, but it can also be demanding and stressful. Careful preparation and continued communication are key to a successful merging of homes. For more information, visit homeinstead.com. iBi