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Using new media tools wisely

March 1, 2010

Plan your strategy to make social media marketing your interactive advantage. By Linda Kaun You might be tempted to jump right into social media marketing, sign up for Facebook and Twitter, start a blog, and add a few videos to your website. However, you’ll quickly realize it’s not the shiny new tools that lead to …

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Meet the press

Grab—and keep—media attention by following a few simple guidelines. By Janice Kleinschmidt When flu season hit and H1N1 vaccines grabbed top-of-the-news, above-the-fold status, Mahaffey Fabric Structures stepped up to help and gained valuable name recognition. The Memphis, Tenn.-based company set up a tent outside a children’s hospital for the influx of patients. First used as …

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Landing and managing big events

February 23, 2010

Knowing how to take on the ‘big jobs’ helps smaller companies stay in the game. By Maura Keller For many companies, handling large projects is the classic sticky wicket. If you handle the projects right, you will thrive. If not, they can make you fail—at least in earning “big client” referrals. And for many tent …

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Good media relations can grow your business

November 23, 2009

Free publicity is available when you develop relationships with the press. by Pam Lontos As a business owner, you’ve probably heard media exposure can greatly help your company, especially during tough economic times when marketing budgets are low and competition is high. Learning to leverage the power of the media can help you stand out …

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Adding value to your business

October 19, 2009

Shop owners share their secrets for selling, upselling, expanding, and finding and retaining customers. By Shelby Gonzalez Collapsing financial system got you worried? Now is the time to focus on making your marine fabrication business strong. Thriving shop owners from around the country share insights and tips for selling, upselling, expanding, retaining customers and getting …

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Marketing 101

September 25, 2009

By Pat Hayes, CPP Reviewing our company’s development and how we originally created a marketing plan started me thinking of the company’s humble beginnings. We started it from scratch; two employees and one customer. The plan seemed to develop as we progressed. As a one man show, you wear many hats and move through stages …

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Interactive tools to enhance your website

September 1, 2009

Reach out to your website visitors with interactivity. By Joe Dysart Increasing numbers of users view the web as a second home where they spend hours each day interacting with friends, colleagues, clients and customers. It just makes sense to tap into the many tools available to make your business’s site work harder for you. …

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Shop layouts that produce big payouts

August 19, 2009

Efficient and proficient shop layout and workflow optimize production, inventory, safety and the customer experience. By Maura Keller Marine fabricators have a desire to maximize their shop layouts to optimize production, inventory, safety and customer experiences. But that is easier said than done, especially when it comes to small, clutter-filled shop environments. Can it be …

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Gallagher visualizes success in the tent rental industry

August 1, 2009

Jim Gallagher communicates excellence—professionally. By Sigrid Tornquist “Sure, I could go out and do everything myself. I could create my own website, put a couple of Polaroids on there and say ‘look at me.’ But how am I going to grow my business that way?” says Jim Gallagher, president of Partytime Productions Inc. in Addison, …

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Customer service keeps businesses afloat

June 15, 2009

Focusing on customer service can help navigate a tough economic climate. By Abbie Yarger Businesses are doing all they can to stay afloat in today’s economic environment, from layoffs to budget cuts. One thing they shouldn’t cut is customer service. Creating and sustaining good customer service in tough economic times can give businesses an advantage …

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Cut costs, not customers

June 1, 2009

Think like your customers before making cost management decisions. By Marc Hequet Getting a grip on how to navigate through difficult economic times is challenging even for the most seasoned business people. It may be tempting to fiddle with prices and expend significant resources in scrounging for new business, but experts advise a different path. …

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Le Bel forms connections to fuel innovation

Claude Le Bel’s experiences and interests have led him to success. By Sigrid Tornquist “For me, everything is possible. You just have to find the right person for the job,” says Claude Le Bel, president and founder of Sollertia Inc. in Montréal, Quebec, Canada. Appropriately named Sollertia—which is Latin for ingenuity—the company serves as a …

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Christiansen brings Flagsource from loss to profit

May 1, 2009

Janice Christiansen rebuilds the family business one solution at a time. By Sigrid Tornquist “When you’re faced with a problem, you need to break it down and take one thing at a time—because it’s not the size of the challenge, it’s how you handle it,” says Janice Christiansen, president of J.C. Schultz Enterprises Inc. (Flagsource®) …

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Connecting with customers

Making design trends and economic realities work together. By Gina Wicker It is difficult to focus exclusively on design trends when the economy is the overwhelming trend these days, but the truth is that colors and patterns and economic trends have an impact on each other. With grim economic news and changes in our political …

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Winning government contracts

April 1, 2009

The U.S. government is big business and contracts for thousands of products. How-to advice helps businesses take advantage of these opportunities. By Teresa Bouchonnet On January 9, 2009, the U.S. government’s Defense Supply Center in Philadelphia (DSCP) awarded each of four different firms a contract worth a maximum of almost $488 million for a base …

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Schmieler creates customized cost accounting system

Greg Schmieler’s system maximizes profit for his awning business. By Sigrid Tornquist “Creating a cost accounting system changed my whole career life,” says Greg Schmieler, vice president of Laurel Awning Co. in Pittsburgh, Pa. “It changed the way the company is run. We now know what our profit is, what our costs are, and what …

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Social media increases business

Can businesses find success in social media marketing in today’s economy? Yes, they can. By Janice Kleinschmidt Take a page from the high-end playbook: President Barack Obama used social media to build a base of enthusiastic supporters who carried him to the White House. “Instead of asking ‘Where can I find people to hit with …

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Maintaining quality standards in a tough economy

February 1, 2009

Times are tough, so should you cut corners to compete? “No!” is the adamant response from quality advocates. By Marc Hequet So you’re known for your quality…Great! But how are you supposed to sell quality in this economy? That’s the challenge manufacturers face: persuading discount-seeking buyers to pay a premium for top-of-the-line goods. It’s not …

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Weisbart uses responsible business practices

Bud Weisbart makes a success of applying principles of social responsibility to the business world. By Sigrid Tornquist “If you believe in the economic system [of free enterprise], which we do, and if you believe in your own abilities to provide value within that system, then do it—just do it,” says Bud Weisbart, IFM, vice …

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Sales representatives take on a tough economy

January 1, 2009

Does an economy on the skids change anything for sales reps? Maybe—but remember the basics. It’s still about relationships. By Marc Hequet Sales is the lifeblood of any business. So—how’s your blood pressure? These are interesting times. With the economy on the skids, the job salespeople do is that much tougher. Customers haggle and stall, …

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Partnerships and subcontracting benefit businesses

Partnerships and subcontracting offer opportunities and solutions. By Janet Preus It’s not so complicated: there are certain things your company does very well, and there are other things that could be done more expediently by someone else. It could be a matter of expertise, time available, or any number of factors influencing workflow. The bottom …

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Burak cuts labor costs to improve business

Ed Burak improves the bottom line by shaving time off labor costs. By Sigrid Tornquist “The greatest expense for our business is the labor—shaving time off labor is key to our success,” says Ed Burak, president of Hudson Awning and Sign Co. Inc. in Bayonne, N.J. Burak, who runs the company with his wife Lynda, …

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Specialty fabrics industry remains optimistic in tough times

December 1, 2008

Working to stay healthy in an ailing economy. By Susan Niemi With news of the economy a daily presence, whether one opens investment statements or not, leaders in the U.S. specialty fabrics industry remain optimistic about the health of the industry. The Review magazine talked to several industry leaders during IFAI Expo 2008 held in …

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The benefits of entering the global marketplace

As the world shrinks, businesses can capitalize on widening their pool of customers. By Janice Kleinschmidt If we needed proof that we’re in an economic environment where lines on a map lose significance, September and October delivered. Though perhaps first to the trough, the United States held no monopoly on failed financial institutions and crashing …

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Takai works to provide innovative products

Junko Takai’s dedication to providing products that make a difference rests on a conservative fiscal foundation. By Sigrid Tornquist “Sometimes when companies make a lot of money, they invest that money into stocks—they invest profits into something other than their own businesses— we reinvest our profits into our core business,” says Junko Takai, president of …

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Armijos connects with clients

November 1, 2008

Sam Armijos creates connections with clients—in person, in cyberspace and in the pages of a book. By Sigrid Tornquist “There is no alternative to meeting face-to-face. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether I showed potential clients something I designed or not. It is whether they feel they can work with me,” …

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Egnew combines business and community

October 1, 2008

J.C. Egnew builds a business where the community and company support each other. By Sigrid Tornquist Success? “It’s about assessing risk. One of the things I spend a lot of time doing is looking for opportunities and assessing risk,” says J.C. Egnew, founder and owner of Outdoor Venture Corp., which manufactures custom tent systems in …

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Trade shows benefit businesses in numerous ways

September 1, 2008

Make your next trade show the business opportunity it truly is. By Richard G. Ensman Jr. It’s that time of year: Your mailbox is filling up with those colorful mailings about your upcoming trade show, and you’re not sure whether to go or not. After all, it is expensive. First, there’s the cost of travel, …

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Donating excess inventory benefits businesses

July 1, 2008

Your business may be sitting on an important tax deduction—and you may not even realize it. The deduction lies in your excess, overstock inventory. By donating that nonmoving merchandise to charity, your company can earn a federal income tax deduction under Section 170 (e)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. Regular (C) corporations may deduct …

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Composites allow creation of custom materials for unusual applications

June 1, 2008

It sounds like science fiction: portable airport hangars supported by columns of air, paper that conducts electricity and synthetic mother-of-pearl that can be bent without breaking. We have now entered The Matrix, but don’t expect to see Keanu Reeves in a black coat defying gravity and leading a cyberpunk revolution. The revolutionaries developing composite materials …

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Positive strategies create competitive businesses

May 1, 2008

They cut your profits, bid for your jobs and entice your best customers with special deals and useless gimmicks. Those Other Guys. Whether your head-to-head competitors do business across town or across the ocean, their successes can bring you anxious days and sleepless nights if they’re coming at your expense. One nightmare that wakes business …

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Rosania takes a risk to expand products and improve processes

Sometimes the greatest risk and greatest opportunity for a company is in daring to imagine a different way of doing business. By Sigrid Tornquist “It’s easy to talk about change. It’s much more difficult to implement it,” says Robert Rosania, IFM, CPP, and CEO of Ehmke Manufacturing Co. Inc. When he joined Ehmke in 1993 …

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Tailor your Web presence to bring in customers

March 1, 2008

Stephen Sibbald’s 15-year-old nephew washed boats for his uncle one summer, but he really wanted to work on the computer. Sibbald made him a deal: One boat-washing day earned one computer day. By the end of the summer, Scottie’s Canvas & Marine Outfitters in Fort Myers, Fla., had a Web site selling a $120, French-made …

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IFAI Expo Americas 2010: Grow your business with product innovation

January 1, 1970

Compiled by Galynn Nordstrom, Janet Preus, Chris Tschida and Susan Niemi Dennis Paris of Tangerine Strategies LLC, business and marketing consultants, defines new product development as the creation of a product that will generate value for your customers vs. the competition. Revolutionary products change market behavior; evolutionary products add benefits or quality to the market. …

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IFAI Expo Americas 2010: Social media opportunities

Compiled by Galynn Nordstrom, Janet Preus, Chris Tschida and Susan Niemi In the 1960s, television was the marketing medium, well suited to the promotion of big consumer brands to a public with greater buying power than ever before. But times have changed. As consumers deal with less discretionary income, they want a closer look than …