SPPA eNews
Mar. 20, 2015

This month's Webinar Wednesday features 'QuickBooks Tips for Promotional Products Companies'
A recent industry survey found that most small to medium size distributors utilize the powerful and popular QuickBooks program to manage the financial aspect of their business. The problem with some of the basic procedures taught in QuickBooks courses is that they aren't the best fit for our complicated industry where customization, column pricing and discount codes are standard.

In this hour-long webinar we will explore industry specific best practices and standard procedures utilizing the QuickBooks program. By maximizing the time you spend on administrative tasks you will increase profits and gain extra time to grow you business (or do other things).

The webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, March 25, at 11:30 a.m. Central time. It will be led by Amanda Corey, CAS, who has been a promotional products distributor for over ten years, using QuickBooks and other popular software packages to help the administrative side of Biz-Mark Inc. run efficiently. Because she knows, and experiences, the day to day challenges that promotional products distributors struggle with, she is now sharing her knowledge and skills to teach, train, motivate and assist other promotional products professionals in becoming more efficient and innovative in their back office business practices.

There is no charge for SPPA members to attend the webinar. Register online to receive your log in instructions by clicking here. More

Infographic: Why you should be marketing with social media
By Kaylee Nelson
For as long as there have been businesses, there has been the promotion of those businesses. Business owners have always faced the challenge of how to get new customers through the door. Thus, the concept of marketing is not a new one — but the methods in how to do so are constantly evolving. First, it was catalogs and print ads, then radio and television, then static websites — and finally social media. Marketing through social media today is more valuable than ever in more ways than one. Check out this infographic to see how.More

Starbucks' #RaceTogether campaign is bad marketing, but great branding
The premise behind Starbucks' #RaceTogether campaign is almost sweet in its simplicity: We can solve issues if we talk about them. It's also ill-conceived, impractical and won't likely sell a single cup of coffee. That's why other brands should follow its lead. Asking baristas to engage customers in broad, vague conversations about race is like daring them with "Does God exist?" or "Is light a wave, or a particle?" More

Facebook's foray into payments: Should PayPal be worried?
Facebook dipped its toes in the payments world, but don't hold your breath for a PayPal competitor any time soon. After years of speculation that the social network would enter the space, Facebook announced a new feature that would allow users to send payments to friends using its popular messaging app. The feature wasn't a surprise announcement; CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed the feature in his company's second-quarter earnings call. Tellingly, the company also recently hired PayPal CEO David Marcus to lead its messaging products group. More

4 signs that it's time to say goodbye to a bad employee
By Anne Rose
You have a relatively new employee or independent contractor working for you. You've done training, enlisted a mentor to help this person and spent countless hours advising her on best practices. Yet there are still persistent deficiencies that leave you dissatisfied with her work. When do you pull the plug and say, "Goodbye. This isn't working out."? When do you admit that more training isn't going to solve the problems? Here are four signs that your employee isn't going to perform to your expectations — ever.More

5 unexpected ways Meerkat will crush it for sales, marketing people
So, if you haven't heard of Meerkat yet, don't waste another minute in the dark. Go check them out. In a nutshell, Meerkat allows you to live video stream to all of your Twitter followers. It allows sales people to become flies on the wall of their customers and prospects. And like most things, those who jump on it early will be the biggest beneficiaries. More

'Car Bomb Stout' promotion blows up in brewery's face
What started as a St. Patrick's Day promotion turned into a $2,500 apology from a Florida craft brewery. Fat Point Brewing posted pictures of cupcakes and beer to its Facebook page announcing the release of its Car Bomb Stout, which was to be served with Car Bomb cupcakes in honor of the holiday. But someone #8212; obviously, not a history major — forgot about The Troubles, the nationalist and religious conflict in Northern Ireland that began in the late 1960s and ended in 1998 with the Belfast Agreement. More

Negotiating the operating costs as rent
By Dale Willerton and Jeff Grandfield
When it comes to negotiating commercial leases and renewals, there are aspects of operating costs that can indeed be changed to the tenant's favor (although most commercial real estate professionals may tell you otherwise). The landlord wants to make sure that tenants pay for all the operating costs for the property — there's nothing unusual about that. But when we do operating cost reviews for groups of tenants in a building, we frequently find that the tenants are subsidizing capital improvements that the landlord is using to increase property value.More