Brother CreativeCenter “Back to Business” Contest $500 Prize Suite

Brother Creative CenterBrother has created a free way for anyone to design professional business cards, mailers, calenders, posters, and much more by editing templates provided in their CreativeCenter.

If you can point and click you can create beautiful marketing materials. Print them out on your own printer or save them as a PDF file. Easily upload and use your own photos to make them even more special.

Even if you have no graphics skills to create marketing materials,
you can make beautiful documents like the ones below.

This is an example of a mailing created [Read more...]

Three Questions You Need to Answer Before Writing Your Business Plan

What if I fail...making the leap cartoon

Image Credit: Marketoonist Business Cartoons ~ For Sale for Commercial Purposes ~ Free to Use in Blogs with attribution and link

A business plan is an important document for any company. It defines the company’s objectives, and how the company intends to achieve those objectives.

Such documents are a vital part of encouraging a bank to give you a loan, getting investors to back your ideas, or even just displaying a better understanding of how your company is operating.

Considering how important a business plan is, it is necessary to do a good job, so you should not jump straight into writing one without a certain degree of preparation. Pause for a second, and consider the answers to some basic questions to help you construct the business plan you need. [Read more...]

Why It’s a BAD Idea to Order Business Cards #SmBiz #FAIL

Playing at Business? Or Making Money?

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Hiya Steppers! Kurt here again from Shoestring101. In my last guest post here on Growmap, we talked about 7 Reasons to Start Your Business on a Shoestring.

The reason I pointed that out was to talk with you TODAY about this trap most small business starter-uppers fall into:

It’s called “PLAYING business”. [Read more...]

3 Reasons to Schedule Your Hourly Employees in the Cloud

3 Reasons to Schedule Your Images in the Cloud

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Scheduling is hard. I used to work in a grocery store —  and it didn’t matter if you were the employee or the manager — scheduling and communicating with hourly employees and coworkers was always a huge hassle.

Managers spend hours preparing the work schedule — figuring out who’s available and who’s not. Flipping through post-it notes and emails to make sure you don’t schedule your Shift Lead, Sally, on a day that conflicts with her classes or second job.  Not to mention when someone calls in sick or doesn’t show up.

Fortunately it’s 2014 and we have the cloud, smartphones, text messaging and social media to help coordinate and communicate with hourly employees more efficiently.

Below I will review 3 really cool ways technology and devices can be used to more effectively schedule and communicate with our hourly employees. [Read more...]

How Retail Businesses Use Business Intelligence to Maximize Profitability

Big Data both structured and unstructured

Click image to see The Retailers Guide to Big Data [Infographic]

Classic retail business design involves choosing a product, determining the proper price through supply and demand analyses, and setting up a distribution channel.

One of the earliest examples of a famous retail operation is the Sears, Roebuck, and Company.  They are famous for their longevity, as well as their famous catalog, which has been published for over 100 years.

Interestingly, modern marketers are stupefied when they realize that Sears delivered their voluminous catalogs free of charge, even to customers that rarely made purchases.  They immediately imagine Sears’ retail profits being eaten up in their catalog-publishing department.

Although the market environment once allowed this type of operation, modern companies must streamline every [Read more...]