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0 comments | Posted by: Terri on February 18, 2013 | Categories:
Have you taken a look at your business website lately? If you were a potential client, would your website instill a sense of confidence in your services? These are the questions Darryl Parker, of Parker Web, asks when maintaining and updating websites for small- to medium-sized businesses.
Originally starting out in 2002 building websites from scratch, Darryl and his team realized they would have to change with the times if they were going to continue being successful. “A significant reduction in project work during the 2008 recession had us looking at our company in a new light,” says Darryl. “Although we were already taking on web maintenance work, it was not our priority. As we developed the processes and systems around website maintenance, and built an even larger client base, we found we offered some unique value to the marketplace.”
Parker Web is now fully focused on web maintenance services with a focus on eCommerce operations. Below, Darryl gives advice on ensuring your business has a competitive website, emphasizes the importance of customer service and shares his prediction on the future of web browsing:
What are your recommendations for people wanting to keep their websites fresh and up-to-date? What should they be looking for?
My number one and most often overlooked tool in the website kit is the use of traffic analytics. We highly recommend Google Analytics. Even a cursory, uneducated review of the stats once a month or so is bound to turn up information that would be useful to you and your online business efforts.
Secondly, I recommend determining a path to make your website operationally-integrated into your business. This could be as simple as appointment-setting or bill payments or as complex as a ticketing system or online order-tracking. The web can quickly become the most valuable resource in your business if you look beyond marketing and develop an operational perspective on its use.
Finally, web credibility is a concept with which every small business owner should familiarize themselves. Most buying decisions today are Internet-influenced. If you meet someone at a networking event or at the Chamber of Commerce or even go on a sales call, you can bet they will come to your website and make a determination if you are credible or not.
You seem to put as much emphasis on customer service as you do technological know-how. Which is more important, and how do you maintain a good balance between the two?
Our customers tend to not be web-savvy, and they’re the first to admit it. They’ve hired us to be the web-savvy part of their operation. We gain and keep customers because we don’t fall into tech-speak or take an aloof approach to their needs. We realized very early on in our transition that web developers lacking in quality customer service were not a good fit for the customer experience we wanted to provide. I’m very happy to say we’ve made customer service priority number one by focusing on timely and knowledgeable communications and providing guarantees like our “Two Business Days or Less” service level agreement.
How do you see the increase of mobile web browsing, tablets and smartphones changing business websites in the future?
We’ve seen a marked increase in mobile device usage. In our own experience, our local B2B websites are averaging about 10% accesses through mobile devices and local B2C sites are seeing 25% or more. Due to the difference in screen resolutions, you must optimize the display of your site for traditional standards, even if you’re a small business. Failure to do so will have a rising impact on your perceived credibility as a business.
Check out www.parkerweb.com for more information on Parker Web and their web maintenance services. Need an idea for making your website operationally-integrated? Check out our appointment-taking and webchat services!
0 comments | Posted by: Terri on October 29, 2012 | Categories:
The people of PureWaterGear see themselves as “Chief Evangelists” of their state-of-the-art filtration system, designed to filter water through everything from bottles to pitchers to shower heads. As Bob, CEO and founder of PureWaterGear, puts it, “What we do is a crusade, literally a God-given mission to impact humanity. The people we influence are people who understand the impact one filter can have in their lives.”
Bob is quick to emphasize PureWaterGear as more than just a storefront. A large portion of their proceeds are donated to charity, and their filtration products are a vital part of missionary trips world-wide. Below, Bob talks about the many misconceptions surrounding the bottled water industry and the satisfaction that comes from bringing clean drinking water to those who need it most:
How did you come up with this idea, what was that “a-ha!” moment?
Every 1.7 seconds another person dies from a water-borne illness. In some parts of the world, people walk miles to get to water (that’s not necessarily clean). Oftentimes, donated wells become overtaken by militants or pirates who charge local villagers fees to access the water. It’s because of these things, and hundreds of others, that I began on this path. The only way to solve these issues is PureWaterGear’s individual filtration systems. Our products allow these people to turn any water source into a reliable clean water source. People don’t realize how important water is until they travel abroad. PureWaterGear is the safest most reliable way to consume water on any continent, bar none.
What are some common misconceptions regarding bottled water?
One of the most common misconceptions about bottled water is that it’s good for you. Granted, the idea of choosing water over a soft drink is well-intended, but its execution is the crux of whether it’s truly a good decision. Bottled water has practically no FDA regulation when it comes to quality. Oftentime the bottles are filled with tap water. Even if the water is from a virgin aquifer from the Fijian or Hawaiian islands, by the time the consumer gets it the water has likely transformed into a toxic soup filled with chemicals like benzene and BPA due to plastic leaching.
Drinking water is vital to sustaining life. Up to 80% of the human body is comprised of water. It’s crucial you drink clean, contaminant-free water. In order for your body to utilize the water you drink, it has to remove any toxins that you may have ingested while drinking the water. As we say here at PureWaterGear: Use a filter or be a filter.
How much of an environmental impact does PureWaterGear make?
PureWaterGear makes a tremendous impact on eliminating plastic pollution. One PureWaterGear bottle will effectively eliminate 500 single-use plastic bottles. Over 65 million plastic bottles are disposed improperly on any given day of the week. If everyone used a PureWaterGear bottle, we could literally eliminate improper disposal of single-use plastic water bottles.
Tell us more about the Nourish a Life Program.
nour·ish [nur-ish, nuhr-] – verb (used with object)
1. To sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life,
health, and growth.
2. To cherish, foster, keep alive, etc.
3. To strengthen, build up, or promote.
Our goal with Nourish a Life is to follow the above definition as our personal and corporate mission. Whether it is supplying international mission-based groups with safe water filtration bottles for use in their travels, supplying them to distribute to the people they are ministering to overseas, or taking care of people close to home–the homeless, underprivileged & children. Doing our job to impact others with the tools we have.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of the this crusade is watching people’s eyes go wide-open when they understand what’s in our water, what’s in the bottles they use and how simple it is to fix it. No matter where I am, it seems like someone comes up to me and asks me “What’s that?“ about my PureWaterGear bottle. Meeting new people and making an impact, sharing the passion and mission without question makes every day worth it.
To find out more about PureWaterGear products or their charitable programs, visit their website or email Bob@PureWaterGear.com.
0 comments | Posted by: Terri on September 21, 2012 | Categories:
What do you see when you look at your car? Most people see just a way to get from Point A to Point B. Greg Charanduk, Founder and CEO of Sobil Media sees two things: underutilized advertising potential and an opportunity to be rewarded for some brand-name love. While consulting for a sign company, Greg was sitting at a traffic light when he was struck by a thought, “All these mobile billboards were surrounding me with no advertising on them.” Wanting to inject some warmth into the idea, he added a social media component and launched Sobil Media, an advertising company combining mobile advertising, social media engagement and fan rewards. The whole concept boils down to one sentence, “It’s easier to love a brand when the brand loves you back.”
Below, Greg talks about the changing advertising industry and the power of fandom.
How did you come up with the idea of combining social media with the concept of literal mobile advertising?
The whole advertising environment is changing very rapidly. Maybe not in the advertisers’ mind frame, but in the consumers’ mind frame. The younger generation—any generation for that matter—they really don’t have time to look at advertisements. There’s been a disruption. Companies buy advertising, either in radio, TV or print and the social groups are saying–whether consciously or inadvertently–“You know, I’m not going to buy into that anymore.” The consumer has started to tell advertisers what they want. Now, the biggest challenge for advertisers is engaging the consumer or getting a return on investment from their social platform.
Let’s say you love Red Bull, for example. You like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. But how does Red Bull engage you in a real, tangible way? Well, Red Bull can solicit you from Sobil Media as a mobile billboard. They go onto their Facebook and say, “Hey, followers, we got this great offer through SobilMedia.com. When you register as a driver there, you may have the opportunity to drive our brand on your car.” Now they’re not just advertising on a billboard or on a helmet. They’ve taken their whole advertising campaign to reward a follower and crowd source their follower base. If Red Bull says to Sobil, “Hey, we’re willing to give $100 of Red Bull every month to our follower for advertising,” there’s a real cash value to the consumer of $100. But the investment dollars from Red Bull is considerably less. And what business wouldn’t want to reward followers in the product or service that they’re offering? It changes the whole relationship. And there’s nothing more powerful in advertising than the spoken word of a satisfied person.
Looking at your website, it seems like you’re reaching out not only to businesses interested in advertising but to drivers as well?
Yes, we’re going to actually add another dimension to Sobil Media, where you can earn Sobil Rewards just for driving your car. Say you drive 300 miles in a month. You’ll be able to redeem rewards from those miles, just by driving. There’s no fee. There’s no catch to it. We’ll reward you Sobil Rewards for the amount of miles you drive, and you’ll be able to redeem offers from advertisers, like a free oil change, a free cup of coffee, all types of offers from advertisers we partner with.
How would the vehicle owner get the advertisements on their car? Would they have to take it somewhere?
All the advertisements are going to be professionally designed by authorized Sobil advertising agencies. It’s not going to look corny or cheap. Our plan is to partner with decal companies all throughout North America. We’d say, “There’s a window of time between Monday and Wednesday, when’s the best time to take your car down?” If the client allows, we’ll eventually go mobile. We could put the advertisement on at your place of work or your home in the evening. We’re trying to make it easy for the driver so they don’t have to take a day out and try to get there car to someplace to get the installation done.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced getting this started?
The biggest challenges have just been normal early adopter objections, like, “Will I have to drive any advertisement?” Obviously there’s no obligation to the driver. You can say no to any campaign. You can say yes to any campaign. There’s no obligation to the driver to drive any brand. People are always wired to think there’s a catch. But there’s no catch.You just drive as you drive, you love the brand, you drive responsibly, all the things that 98% of people would do anyway.
0 comments | Posted by: Terri on September 14, 2012 | Categories:
Victor Williams knows what it’s like to be down on your luck and looking for a job. Faced with bankruptcy, divorce and a foreclosed home, he found himself in the same boat as millions of others in a bad economy. Far from seeing that as the end of the road, he saw it as an opportunity, “I noticed a lot of people looking for employment opportunities that were good at what they do but not so great in the interview process or with writing a resume. So I designed a couple formats I thought would make their resumes attractive, in addition to providing the content.” Resume Scribes has since evolved into a full-service, nationally-operated, career coaching company specializing in resume writing and interview preparation.
Below, Victor talks about the most important things employers look for in a resume and the satisfaction he gets from doing his job, “My philosophy, and the company’s philosophy, is that when something as important as employment is on the line, everyone deserves an opportunity to present themselves within the best light possible to get a job, because it’s so fundamental to existence.”
How did you come up with the idea to start Resume Scribes?
I’d been a recruiter for many years and had a lot of success running a recruiting company called Trinity Management Consultants. Originally, we’d redo a candidate’s resume free of charge. We ended up closing Trinity due to vendors going bankrupt when the economy turned, leaving us hanging with a substantial amount of money. And then I went through a bunch of personal things: divorce, living in my car and just everything everyone else was going through. I started noticing a lot of people looking for employment opportunities that were good at what they do but not so great in the interview process or with writing a resume. So I designed a couple formats I thought would make their resumes attractive, in addition to providing the content.
In this economy, when times are tough it costs companies money to make a bad hire. So they really have to go with what they think is right. The person who interviews well and has the nice resume has the leg up. That was really my focus, to help people get back to work. It’s tough, I mean, even if you have a good resume and you interview well, the sheer volume of people looking can prevent you from getting a good opportunity.
There are so many people who are very good at what they do and can flat-out get the job done, but they’re not people people or their writing skills are horrible. I don’t try to change them, because you are who you are. My job is to get them to tell their professional story.
Looking at your website, you offer quite a bit more than resume writing.
Yes. The thing that distinguishes us from everyone else, in addition to our expansive product, is the built-in career interview preparation component that goes into every resume we write. I need to talk not only about what you can do, but prepare you to tell your story in an interview. A lot of people will say, “Well, I interview pretty well,” but then I’ll say, “So, tell me about yourself,” and that ends it for people. They’re nervous. They don’t know where to begin or where to end. I tell them, “Look. Whenever you hear that question, that’s a time of excitement for you, because you get to tell your professional story.” And that’s where I really help them see the big picture and tie in their experiences. That’s the component I think everyone needs. We really try to prepare you for success in you career and in an interview.
We also designed this corporate product called “The Exit Strategy,” because people were getting laid off in droves. They’re getting terminated, even if they’ve worked with the company for 20 years. Normally, when you’re terminated or laid-off, you just get your final check and off to the unemployment depot. It puts a lot of pressure on families and professionals. I thought, look, why don’t we design this package for when a corporation lays you off or fires you, they pre-pay to get your resume done and some career coaching. It’s a nice way to say goodbye to someone, or at least a way to say, “Okay, you’re going to have a struggle, but we’re going to try and get you a leg up on the competition.” It’s a humane way to lay people off in a tough economic time.
As a resume expert, what would you say are the most common mistakes most people make on their resume?
The failure to tell the reader early on in the resume who you are and what you can do. That’s key. With a lot of resumes you read the first page, and you’re like, “Oh, okay, I’ve seen they’ve done accounting, they’ve done customer service…” You, as the reader, have to summarize what position you think they’d be good for, but each resume is only getting about, on average, five to ten seconds. What we try to do is give a strong summary, right up front. For example, if you’ve been in customer service, we’d say “Customer Service Rep/Customer Service Senior Manager looking for XYZ opportunity to…etc.” You’re letting the reader know right up front what you can do. A lot of resumes fail to do that. And if it doesn’t pop, it gets sent to the “maybe I’ll come back to you” pile. What’s important to a potential employer is that you know the job, you can do the job, and, in your current capacity, you can increase sales, save money or streamline the process. That’s the hallmark of our design, immediately you know what the person can do.
What do you find most rewarding about your job?
Helping. I still, to this day, get great satisfaction out of delivering someone’s resume. I always tell them, “I think the first thing you’re going to say is ‘Wow.’” And I would say 97-98% of the time, that’s what they say. It’s not that we embellish or exaggerate anything, it’s just clearly our style, our format and our ability to draw on our recruiting experiences. I think people have a hard time believing who they are can translate on paper. But I think we do a really good job of that.
My philosophy, and the company’s philosophy, is that when something as important as employment is on the line, everyone deserves an opportunity to present themselves within the best light possible to get a job, because it’s so fundamental to existence. We take a lot of pride in doing our part to help people, not just to get a job or perform well in an interview, but shed light on where their career is going. Whether it’s tweaking that plan or daring them to dream, we can show them the steps on how to get there. It’s helping all around. That’s just the bottom line for us.
To learn more about the services Resume Scribes has to offer, contact them toll-free at 866-497-5192 or visit their website at www.resume-scribes.com.
0 comments | Posted by: Terri on August 8, 2012 | Categories:
Devorah and Rod England founded Wounded Warriors – Sons and Daughters of America (SAD) in 2004 as a way of providing financial assistance to returning disabled veterans. “We realized our military were getting discharged, coming back and having problems,” Devorah recalls. “Back then, the length of time between getting discharged and receiving their disability checks was six months. Now, it’s anywhere between two and four years.” Since then, the non-profit organization has evolved, widening their focus to alternative treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Below, Devorah talks about Wounded Warriors – SAD’s goal of building a holistic restoration center in the pristine mountains of Colorado and the challenges they face in realizing their dream.
Can you tell me about your role with Wounded Warriors – SAD and how it started?
We originated in 2004. We became a non-profit for disabled veterans after our son Robert Jepsen was injured in an IUD blast in Iraq. We realized our military were getting discharged, coming back and having problems because, back then, the length of time between getting discharged and receiving their disability checks was six months. Now, it’s anywhere between two and four years. So from 2004 to 2010, we helped our military financially. We paid for mortgages, car payments, utilities, food, anyplace that we could help, that’s what we paid for.
My husband, Rod England, was our marketing and sales person—he did most of our fundraisers and that type of thing. When he passed away in 2010 of cancer, we were on hold for almost two years. During that time, I started researching and studying alternative methods of treatment for PTSD. I had the opportunity to travel to Israel, which only has 5% reported PTSD, compared to the United States, which is well over 90%. My question was: what is the difference and why is there such a huge difference?
I had the opportunity to meet and talk with several different IDFs (Israeli Defence Force) and visit Israeli trauma centers. I realized the difference was the manner in which they treated PTSD. In the United States, everyone is put on antidepressants and given psychoanalysis or counseling. In Israel, they have a great diet. And diet is very important in anything. When my husband was going through cancer, I learned a lot about diet and how important it is to feed and nourish the body in the right way to combat anything. My husband was diagnosed in 2000 and given six months to live. We started researching, reading and studying diet. He lived for ten years with a very high quality of life. Our bodies are designed to heal themselves.
Not only is the Israeli diet very vegetarian, they also don’t put people on drugs. They have these great therapy centers with things like equine therapy and animal therapy. They have what they call “healing rooms”, which are all about frequencies: frequencies of light, water, sound and even touch. The rooms are quite an experience. They just soothe and calm the senses.
I learned a great deal about frequencies, animal therapies, that type of thing. When I returned from Israel, I was able to experience a system called the Synchronicity Wave System from Dr. Kaufman. It’s a system that has created a barrier with frequencies that go into the cellular level with their own light and color. It reboots the traumatized or damaged cell, kind of like healing or waking the cells up.
Since 2010, I’ve been putting together all this research and notes. What we’re trying to do now is establish a restoration center in Crawford, Colorado using equine therapy, aromatherapy, essential oils and Machesah healing rooms. Mechesah means “safe haven.” They’re healing room in which everything is about frequencies. And, of course, the diet is very important. So we’re going to have a raw chef that will know how to cook and prepare meals using the raw method.
Well, of course, number one is donations: monetary needs. We’re also looking for donations of volunteer time. We have several things we have to do to get the center ready. We have to do some restoration to the facility itself. We have to make it handicap accessible, and we’re going to put in healing gardens. We have to commercialize the kitchen. The local commission there is looking at the center as being a type of institute, so therefore we have to have our kitchen up to commercial code.
The place we’re looking at getting was intended to be a hunting lodge. It has 17 rooms, 18 bathrooms, a weight room and a media room that we’re going to transform into the healing room. It’s on 94 acres, has staff housing, two separate houses and a river that runs through it; it’s just the perfect setting.
We need several volunteers because we intend to be as self-sustaining as possible. We’ll have a gardener and greenhouses, and an Outdoor Adventure program—all of which will require a lot of volunteer time. Basically, we’ll want to enlist the community into being an interactive part of the center.
What’s the outlook on this, time-wise?
The property is actually going through a foreclosure period, so we’re waiting for that to finish before anything else. We were hoping to be into the revamping part this fall, but right now we’re waiting.
You can contribute to Wounded Warriors-Sons and Daughters of America and find more information about the Restoration Center and its holistic treatments at http://dev.americaswounded.org. Returning disabled veterans can apply for treatment here. Keep an eye out for upcoming job listings as the Restoration Center becomes a reality. Stay on top of the latest happenings on their Facebook page.