Achieve Strategic Advantage and Create Urgency and Growth with these New Books

Popky, Linda J. Marketing Above the Noise: Achieve Strategic Advantage with Marketing that Matters. Bibliomotion, 2015.

This book introduces the Dynamic Market Leverage Model, which measures marketing clout by looking at eight core marketing disciplines and five additional Leverage Factors (delineated by the author) that can help an organization focus on key aspects of their marketing function that will provide the most significant return on their marketing investment.

It is the author’s belief that today’s businesses need to stop trying to keep pace with the latest and greatest marketing tactics and instead focus on developing those long term strategies that build customer loyalty and convince prospects to buy. Businesses do need to be aware of, and integrate new media and new approaches, but they need to do so in a way that makes sense for the business. They need to maintain a clear focus above the din of the roaring crowd—above the marketing fray.

Most organizations don’t have the luxury of being able to start from a clean slate to develop new marketing strategies. They have existing customers, existing channels and relationships, existing ways of doing business. With limited resources, they’re not able to integrate every new tactic as it appears and they’re not sure how to prioritize all of these options. Marketing Above the Noise provides a framework that marketers can utilize to maintain focus.

 

Jennings, Jason and Laurence Haughton. The High-Speed Company: Creating Urgency and Growth in a Nanosecond Culture. Portfolio, 2015.

Jennings and his researchers have spent years “up close and personal” with thousands of organizations around the world, figuring out what makes them successful in both the short and long term. He understands the challenges that keep more than eleven thousand CEOs, business owners, and executives up at night, and he knows how the best ones combine speed and growth to deliver greater-than-average returns to shareholders.

The High-Speed Company reveals the practices of businesses that have records of growth. One key distinction is that they’ve created extraordinary cultures with a strong purpose, trust, and follow-through. These companies burn less energy, beat the competition, and have a fun along the way. Jennings shows you how to build and sustain your own.

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More Secretary of State Business Workshops Scheduled

Wouldn’t it begreat to have someone explain things in person and help guide you through the State of Ohio’s “Business Central” website?  Someone  to help you decide which are the correct forms to fill out?

You can get that help and more by attending a workshop put on by a representative from the Ohio Secretary of State’s office.  It is a wonderful opportunity to get hands on help and you can even get your business signed up during that session if you would like. The speaker will explain the process and then guide you through the correct form/s to fill out.  Several dates are available, please call the Business & Government Division at 330-643-9020 to sign up for class.

 

The workshops will be held in the computer lab on the first floor of the Akron-Summit County Public Library on:

 

April 14th @ 5:30pm

May 12 @ 11:00am

June 9 @ 5:30pm

July 14@ 11:00am

Aug 11 @ 5:30pm

 

Parking is free after 5pm

Please bring a flashdrive if you are planning to save your work.

 

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Spring Forward or Fall Back?

Have you ever wondered about that pesky time switcheroo where you have to either fall back or spring forward  that happens twice  a year?  Did you remember to change your clock, or were you living behind an hour?  History.com delved into some facts and myths to bring you some fast facts about daylight saving time. (article available at http://www.history.com/news/8-things-you-may-not-know-about-daylight-saving-time)

Springing forward may seem simple enough, but daylight saving’s history has actually been quite complex—and misconceptions about it persist today.

  1. It’s “daylight saving time,” not “daylight savings time.” 
    Many people render the term’s second word in its plural form. However, since the word “saving” acts as part of an adjective rather than a verb, the singular is grammatically correct.
  2. Though in favor of maximizing daylight waking hours, Benjamin Franklin did not originate the idea of moving clocks forward. 
    By the time he was a 78-year-old American envoy in Paris in 1784, the man who espoused the virtues of “early to bed and early to rise” was not practicing what he preached. After being unpleasantly stirred from sleep at 6 a.m. by the summer sun, the founding father penned a satirical essay in which he calculated that Parisians, simply by waking up at dawn, could save the modern-day equivalent of $200 million through “the economy of using sunshine instead of candles.” As a result of this essay, Franklin is often erroneously given the honor of “inventing” daylight saving time, but he only proposed a change in sleep schedules—not the time itself.
  3. Englishman William Willett led the first campaign to implement daylight saving time.
    While on an early-morning horseback ride around the desolate outskirts of London in 1905, Willett had an epiphany that the United Kingdom should move its clocks forward by 80 minutes between April and October so that more people could enjoy the plentiful sunlight. The Englishman published the 1907 brochure “The Waste of Daylight” and spent much of his personal fortune evangelizing with missionary zeal for the adoption of “summer time.” Year after year, however, the British Parliament stymied the measure, and Willett died in 1915 at age 58 without ever seeing his idea come to fruition.
  4. Germany was the first country to enact daylight saving time. 
    It took World War I for Willett’s dream to come true, but on April 30, 1916, Germany embraced daylight saving time to conserve electricity. (He may have been horrified to learn that Britain’s wartime enemy followed his recommendations before his homeland.) Weeks later, the United Kingdom followed suit and introduced “summer time.”
  5. Daylight saving time in the United States was not intended to benefit farmers, as many people think. 
    Contrary to popular belief, American farmers did not lobby for daylight saving to have more time to work in the fields; in fact, the agriculture industry was deeply opposed to the time switch when it was first implemented on March 31, 1918, as a wartime measure. The sun, not the clock, dictated farmers’ schedules, so daylight saving was very disruptive. Farmers had to wait an extra hour for dew to evaporate to harvest hay, hired hands worked less since they still left at the same time for dinner and cows weren’t ready to be milked an hour earlier to meet shipping schedules. Agrarian interests led the fight for the 1919 repeal of national daylight saving time, which passed after Congress voted to override President Woodrow Wilson’s veto. Rather than rural interests, it has been urban entities such as retail outlets and recreational businesses that have championed daylight saving over the decades.
  6. For decades, daylight saving in the United States was a confounding patchwork of local practices.
    After the national repeal in 1919, some states and cities, including New York City and Chicago, continued to shift their clocks. National daylight saving time returned during World War II, but after its repeal three weeks after war’s end the confusing hodgepodge resumed. States and localities could start and end daylight saving whenever they pleased, a system that Time magazine (an aptly named source) described in 1963 as “a chaos of clocks.” In 1965 there were 23 different pairs of start and end dates in Iowa alone, and St. Paul, Minnesota, even began daylight saving two weeks before its twin city, Minneapolis. Passengers on a 35-mile bus ride from Steubenville, Ohio, to Moundsville, West Virginia, passed through seven time changes. Order finally came in 1966 with the enactment of the Uniform Time Act, which standardized daylight saving time from the last Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October, although states had the option of remaining on standard time year-round.
  7. Not everyone in the United States springs forward and falls back. 
    Hawaii and Arizona—with the exception of the state’s Navajo Nation—do not observe daylight saving time, and the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands also remain on standard time year-round. Some Amish communities also choose not to participate in daylight saving time. (Around the world, only about one-quarter of the world’s population, in approximately 70 countries, observe daylight saving. Since their daylight hours don’t vary much from season to season, countries closer to the equator have little need to deviate from standard time.)
  8. Evidence does not conclusively point to energy conservation as a result of daylight saving.
    Dating back to Willett, daylight saving advocates have touted energy conservation as an economic benefit. A U.S. Department of Transportation study in the 1970s concluded that total electricity savings associated with daylight saving time amounted to about 1 percent in the spring and fall months. As air conditioning has become more widespread, however, more recent studies have found that cost savings on lighting are more than offset by greater cooling expenses. University of California Santa Barbara economists calculated that Indiana’s move to statewide daylight saving time in 2006 led to a 1-percent rise in residential electricity use through additional demand for air conditioning on summer evenings and heating in early spring and late fall mornings. Some also argue that increased recreational activity during daylight saving results in greater gasoline consumption.

Which timeframe would you prefer? Spring Forward or Fall Back?

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National Weather Service to Test Impact Based Warnings on April 1st

In 2012 the NWS Central Region identified five offices to begin the impact based convective warning experimental product to better communicate threats to partners and constituents. The “Impacts-Based Warnings” demonstration was well received and the demonstration was expanded to all 38 Central Region offices in the spring of 2013. The positive feedback is supporting a continued expansion in the spring of 2015 to include 19 Southern Region offices, 7 in Eastern Region and 3 in Western Region.

About

Any effort to change core convective warning products must operate under tight restrictions, including time constraints and procedural limitations. In addition, any radical changes to the convective warning products would demand a rather large adjustment by core customers and partners, and a massive public education effort. Therefore, this demonstration will work within the boundaries of the well-established weather enterprise infrastructure to ensure easy absorption into mass communication channels.

The demonstration will build upon pre-existing Central Region efforts to employ “event tags” at the bottom of each warning for severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings. The additional tornado event tags will have tornado threat information attached to them as a quick means to provide users and partners with potential high impact risk signals that prompt faster risk assessment and protective action.

Project Goals

Provide additional valuable information to media and Emergency Managers

Facilitate improved public response and decision making

Better meet societal needs in the most life-threatening weather events

Intended Outcomes

Optimize the convective warning system within the existing structure

Motivate proper response to warnings by distinguishing situational urgency

Realign the warning message in terms of societal impacts

Communicate recommended actions & precautions more precisely

Evaluate ability to distinguish between low impact and high impact events

Warnings enhanced by:

Improving communication of critical information

Making it easier to quickly identify the most valuable information

Enabling users to prioritize the key warnings in your area of interest

Providing different levels of risk within the same product

Enabling the NWS to express a confidence level of potential impacts

Highlighting storms that are particularly dangerous

Allowing users and vendors to develop apps and tools for the public and broadcast meteorologists to better communicate areas of increased risk

This project will be evaluated by:

Social science research groups and National Weather Service

Using focus groups and surveys

Media partners

Emergency Management

Public

NWS Forecasters

Click HERE for more information.

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Become a Tourist in Your Own City : Akron2Akron and Jane’s Walk

As a lifelong resident of the Akron/Summit County area, I can appreciate the idea for being a tourist in my hometown.  I feel as if I know Akron pretty well, but I still have a mental list of places I wish to visit here (restaurants especially!).  There is a companion list of places I used to go to which no longer exist, and which I miss dearly-but that is another story.

Akron2Akron (https://www.facebook.com/akron2akrontours and https://twitter.com/akron2akron ) is a fledgling group of local residents who meet for informative and entertaining walks which highlight the charms and challenges of Akron’s various neighborhoods.  Areas visited thus far include North Hill, Firestone Park, and Downtown Akron’s Historic Cultural District (including Main Library, of course!).  Next on the agenda is a tour of Wallhaven, with more walks in the future.

Akron2Akron and the Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study (also known as AMATS, http://amatsplanning.org/ ) are teaming up to co-sponsor Jane’s Walk in Akron.  Jane’s Walk is an international movement of free citizen-led walking tours, in other words, precisely what Akron2Akron has been doing.  The difference is that Jane’s Walk ( http://amatsplanning.org/ ) takes place on one weekend, rather than being spread out through the year.  This year it will be the weekend of May 1-3.  This is the second year in which Akron is participating in these walks which take place to honor forward- thinking urban activist Jane Jacobs (1916-2006). Her most notable book is The Death and Life of Great American Cities, first published in 1961 and enduringly influential.  This title, as well as a number of others by Jane Jacobs, is available at the library.  AMATS and Akron2Akron are actively recruiting fellow residents willing to plan and lead tours in our area (not restricted to the City of Akron) during the first weekend in May.  Akron’s Jane’s Walk coordinator is Phyllis Jividen whose contact information may be found on the Jane’s Walk website (http://janeswalk.org/united-states/akron-oh/ ) along with information on what goes into leading a walk (http://janeswalk.org/information/lead-walk/ ).

The weather has turned toward spring (fingers crossed), so no excuse not to join these intrepid and energetic “tourists” in celebrating Akron Neighborhoods.  And watch for information on available walks in Akron in celebration of the Jane’s Walk weekend, or volunteer to host one yourself.

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Are You Self Employed? Check Out These IRS Tax Tips

Many people who carry on a trade or business are self-employed. Sole proprietors and independent contractors are two examples of self-employment. If this applies to you, there are a few basic things you should know about how your income affects your federal tax return. Here are six important tips about income from self-employment:

  • SE Income.  Self-employment can include income you received for part-time work. This is in addition to income from your regular job.
  • Schedule C or C-EZ.  There are two forms to report self-employment income. You must file a Schedule C, Profit or Loss from Business, or Schedule C-EZ, Net Profit from Business, with your Form 1040. You may use Schedule C-EZ if you had expenses less than $5,000 and meet other conditions. See the form instructions to find out if you can use the form.
  • SE Tax.  You may have to pay self-employment tax as well as income tax if you made a profit. Self-employment tax includes Social Security and Medicare taxes. Use Schedule SE, Self-Employment Tax, to figure the tax. If you owe this tax, make sure you file the schedule with your federal tax return.
  • Estimated Tax.  You may need to make estimated tax payments. People typically make these payments on income that is not subject to withholding. You usually pay this tax in four installments for each year. If you do not pay enough tax throughout the year, you may owe a penalty.
  • Allowable Deductions.  You can deduct expenses you paid to run your business that are both ordinary and necessary. An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your industry. A necessary expense is one that is helpful and proper for your trade or business.
  • When to Deduct.  In most cases, you can deduct expenses in the same year you paid for them, or incurred them. However, you must ‘capitalize’ some costs. This means you can deduct part of the cost over a number of years.

Visit the Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center on IRS.gov for all your federal tax needs. You can also get IRS tax forms on IRS.gov/forms anytime.

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Trying to start your business, but bewildered by how to go about registering?

Wouldn’t it be great to have someone explain things in person and help guide you through the State of Ohio’s “Business Central” website?  Some to help you decide which are the correct forms to fill out?

Well….you have 2 chances for that exact thing.   On March 10th at 10:00am and April 14th at 5:30pm at the Main Library, a representative from the Ohio Secretary of State’s office has kindly offered to come to the library and help educate anyone who wants to learn about starting their business.  It is a wonderful opportunity to get hands on help and you can even get your business signed up during that session if you would like. The speaker will explain the process and then guide you through the correct form/s to fill out.

The workshops will be held in the computer lab on the first floor of the Akron-Summit County Public Library on:

 

April 14th @ 5:30pm.

 

Parking is free after 5pm

Please bring a flashdrive if you are planning to save your work.

 

 

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Does your business have a blog?

Look at these tips that were suggested by Eric Siu who is the CEO of Single Grain and Founder of Growth Everywhere to improve your own blog:

Radical transparency. Want to really blow people away? Give them your secrets! The idea of radical transparency is often used on financial posts, in which business owners or individuals talk about their income, their outstanding debts or other interesting monetary tidbits (as in the case of Pat Flynn’s income reports on his “Smart Passive Income” website).

A complete “how-to.”“How-to” posts are always mentioned on lists of recommended blog post formats because readers really respond to them. But how often have you clicked on a “how-to” post, only to discover a sparse list of bullet points that doesn’t leave you any more educated than you were before you arrived on the site? If you want to really make your mark, make your posts so epic that people walk away with a complete understanding of the process you’re trying to teach.

Massive list posts. Again, list posts are a popular blog post format because they do tend to capture more attention than other structures. But that said, it’s getting harder and harder to stand out with lists of five to 10 items. Want to be truly epic? Create a massive list post with around 100 entries (or even more, if you’re feeling ambitious).

Explore a hard truth. There’s so much BS online that readers are sick of it. Despite your spin team’s best efforts, most people know when they’re getting the whitewashed “truth” rather than the real deal.

For this reason, one of the easiest ways out there to gain attention with epic blog content is to explore a hard truth. As an example, check out Common Health’s controversial post, “Why I Quit Medicine.” It isn’t always fun to be so blatantly honest, but your readers will absolutely love you for keeping things real.

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Small Business Grants? Maybe…

A popular question over the years is if one can obtain a grant for their small business. Unfortunately, despite what those in the media would have you believe, the answer, in most cases, is no.  The federal government DOES offer grants for highly specialized businesses which are beyond the scope of most entrepreneurs.  The reality is that obtaining money for funding, running and especially starting a small business is scarce.  Even loans are not easy to get, but not impossible if one has a sound business plan.  Most businesses have to get their funding in other creative ways such as savings, personal loans from friends and family, and credit cards (which should be executed carefully and wisely).

Every once in a while, articles and advertisements appear that assert they have information on obtaining small business grants.  It is important to use caution when investigating these claims. Scams are common and most of it is repackaged free information, so never pay for it.  Anyway, here is an article that lists information on small business grants for minority owners, and others really. It may be worth your time to look at them, although they are probably not a panacea for funding, or easy to get.  Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably not worth your time.

http://www.blackenterprise.com/small-business/top-10-grants-financing-black-businesses-minority-entrepreneurs/

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Winter Driving in Ohio

As our recent round of Ohio weather has shown, winter is not nearly done yet.  February is the shortest month, but its placement-at the end of winter-always makes it seem the longest!  Icy weather like we have experienced recently often results in treacherous driving, not to mention even more stressful navigation of sidewalks, parking lots, and driveways.  Our friends at the Ohio Department of Transportation have supplied us with an internet tool to help us on our travels.  OHGO (www.ohgo.com) is the streamlined and updated successor to Buckeye Traffic.  OHGO lets you select your area of the state on a map and immediately lists local traffic alerts and areas of slowdown.  Buttons on the right side of the page allow display of construction areas, road sensors which detect freezing, and cameras showing real time traffic flow.  A very handy feature is the Winter Conditions button which displays whether to anticipate icy, wet, or dry road conditions for a given area and is frequently updated.  This stripped down and easy to use website allows a quick check of major roadways.  If only there was such a thing for those always problematic side roads!

Another concern this time of year is the burgeoning number of new potholes and the increasing size and depth of those already in existence.  Downtown Akron routes as well as other major throughways throughout the city are the worst.  Stephanie Warsmith of the Akron Beacon Journal reported recently on this year’s bumper crop of potholes and steps which City Council has taken to add  an additional $1.3 million to the $2 million already slated for road resurfacing, which includes pothole repairs, in the city of Akron (http://bit.ly/1E0G5Dp).  The Summit County Engineer’s office also spends much time and effort on late winter/ early spring pothole repairs.  Their website provides a link for your enjoyment which clearly explains how potholes form (http://www.summitengineer.net/resources/learning/52-potholes) and how to report a pothole to their office (http://www.summitengineer.net/component/content/article/45).

So armed with these handy tools and information, we shall all just hang in there, drive carefully, and watch out for potholes!  Spring will come!

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