Emerald Business Systems Blog

Why Small Business is Fed Up with Government | Small Business Trends

Posted in General Business by ebs4pos on January 29, 2010

“…what really grinds the gears of small business owners is the near-complete inattention by lawmakers on who creates jobs.” So said Kimble Fletcher Ainslie in a Cato Institute article from December 20, 2001 titled “Bush Ignores Small Business.”Eight years later under a different president, Catherine Clifford’s article in CNNMoney.com on September 30, 2009 continued the criticism of lawmakers ignoring small business: “Business owners really bring out the pitchforks when they consider the speed with which billions of dollars were distributed to large Wall Street firms and banks. That is what sticks in the small business owner’s throat more than anything…”

via Why Small Business is Fed Up with Government | Small Business Trends.


Should a Blog be Your Social Media Hub?

Posted in Online Business,Social Media Marketing by ebs4pos on January 27, 2010

The divine corporate blogging expert Debbie Weil recently asked this question on her blog, as part of a Kindle version refresh of her excellent book “The Corporate Blogging Book.”

Debbie asked me to think about whether a blog should be the social media hub – your epicenter, the place where you’re trying to bring your customers and prospects. Based largely on the comment I left on her blog, here’s what I think. What about you?

via Should a Blog be Your Social Media Hub? | Blogging and Content Creation | Social Media Consulting – Convince & Convert.

Five Ways to Effectively Follow Up (Without Being Annoying or Breaking the Bank) : Money :: American Express OPEN Forum

Posted in General Business by ebs4pos on January 27, 2010

I’ve been interrupted at the dinner table by countless marketers who can’t wait to sell me their product. They launch right into their spiel and are met not only with a dial tone, but with a potential customer who is now annoyed at the item they’re trying to sell. Charities. Financial products. Lawn care services. All of them pester, all of them annoy, and all of them lose my business.

Yet these organizations keep trying. Why? Because they know if you can effectively follow up and keep a customer’s attention, they’re likely to become a repeat customer who will bring you a steady stream of revenue. Such steady streams are the lifeblood of every small business.

How can a small business balance the need to maintain a connection to their customers without crossing the line into the type of annoyance that drives them away? Here are five tactics for doing just that.

via Five Ways to Effectively Follow Up (Without Being Annoying or Breaking the Bank) : Money :: American Express OPEN Forum.

4 Elements of a Successful Business Web Presence : Technology :: American Express OPEN Forum

Posted in General Business,Online Business,Social Media Marketing by ebs4pos on January 27, 2010

What’s the most important piece of your business’s web presence? Your website, of course.Creating a website requires a good deal of thought; it’s important to plan what information you want on the site, what the layout will look like, and how you’ll connect each piece together.Think of your website as your hub; it’s what people will see when they look for you. Here are four elements of a successful business web presence that can help ensure that your first impression is a good one.

via 4 Elements of a Successful Business Web Presence : Technology :: American Express OPEN Forum.

Point-of-sale Software Top Ten Mistakes to Avoid

Posted in POS,Retail by ebs4pos on January 24, 2010

Independent retailers have traditionally been technology laggards. This slow adoption of new technology has provided hidden benefits though. Economies of scale are achieved at larger retail stores and the new technologies become available to independent retailers at much lower costs. Today, independent retailers have access to point-of-sale systems with features comparable to large competitors. The costs of these systems are often hundreds of times less than the investment made by the large retail chains.Measured by dollars, the technology investment made by an independent retailer is considerably less than their larger counterparts. But if you measure the investment against annual revenues i.e. percent of revenue, the comparison becomes similar. Once understood, independent retailers should approach their technology investment like the large retail chains. Unlike other purchases a retailer will make, the technology decision is one the retailer will live with for many years. The amount of time required to implement a system and become productive in its use will be the largest costs associated with any system. Economists refer to these types of costs as “sunk costs”. Sunk costs are those costs that are incurred and cannot be recovered to any significant degree.

via Point-of-sale Software Top Ten Mistakes to Avoid.

8 ways to build full-service restaurant sales

Posted in Restaurant by ebs4pos on January 23, 2010

While full-service restaurant sales aren’t expected to rebound as quickly as in other industry segments, the National Restaurant Association offers eight ways that table-service operators can weigh the odds of recovery in their favor and build much-needed sales.

In its “2010 Restaurant Industry Forecast” the NRA expects full-service restaurant sales in 2010 to grow at a lesser pace than the industry as a whole, like it has for years as the segment takes big hits from consumers trading down and quick-service competitors increasing quality offerings.

Full-service sales are expected to total $184.2 billion in 2010, a 1.2 percent increase from 2009, while industry sales are expected to total $580.1 billion, a 2.5 percent jump. Even worse, after accounting for inflation, real full-service segment sales are expected to decline 1.5 percent in 2010. That follows on the heels of a 2009 decline of 6.2 percent.

“One of the primary differences in this past recessionary period compared to historical recessionary periods is that the higher-income households — the prime table-service market — reported substantial decreases in net worth as well as confidence,” said Hudson Riehle, the NRA’s senior vice president of research and knowledge.

Indeed, full-service operators, from lower-priced casual-dining chains to high-end independent operators have bore the brunt of this latest recession. Casual-dining chains have posted the largest same-store sales declines throughout the industry, and high-end independent operations have posted the largest numbers of closures.

Here are eight ways the NRA suggests full-service restaurants can build their business in a flat segment of the industry:

via Nation’s Restaurant News.

“Business bureau inquiries increase”

Posted in General Business by ebs4pos on January 23, 2010

As the economy struggled last year, Oregon consumers became more cautious — checking up on businesses and industries before spending money.The Oregon Better Business Bureau reported a 215 percent increase in online traffic to its Web site, http://www.bbb.org, in 2009, compared with 2008. The BBB also recorded a 32 percent increase in the number of reliability reports it provided free to consumers on local businesses.The BBB received the most inquiries last year about real estate loans, followed by new car dealers, roofing contractors, auto repair and service, and cell phone service and supplies. Rounding out the top 10 list of inquiries were heating and air conditioning, used car dealers, general contractors, construction and remodeling services, and auto body repair and painting.Heading the list of consumer complaints were new car dealers, followed by used car dealers, auto repair and service, television cable and satellite and videotapes, disc sales and rentals.Rounding out the top 10 complaint list were property management, collection agencies, real estate loans, retail furniture and Web shopping.

via Business: Home | “Business bureau inquiries increase” | The Register-Guard | Eugene, Oregon.

“Lane’s welcome mat”

Posted in General Business,Retail by ebs4pos on January 20, 2010

Lane County’s where it’s at — and the folks at Travel Lane County want everyone to know, according to CEO Kari Westlund. That’s why the organization has worked to build a $300,000, 2,000-square-foot visitor information center, dubbed the Adventure Center, in the Crossroads shopping center off Gateway Street.Travel Lane County has been developing the visitor center, which is set to open by Feb. 1, for about six years, Westlund said. It was funded by cash reserves generated by hotel room taxes and funds the agency generates through other means, such as ad sales. It will cost about $150,000 to operate each year.But Westlund said it should be worth every penny of the construction and operational costs. “We can provide a wonderful introduction to Lane County here,” she said.

via Business: Home | “Lane’s welcome mat” | The Register-Guard | Eugene, Oregon.

Engage Subscribers: 6 Fun Email Ideas

Posted in Social Media Marketing by ebs4pos on January 17, 2010

It’s time for the annual post-holiday tightening of the purse strings. Consumers are holding tight to their cash, assessing the damage to their wallets and making New Year’s resolutions to save.

So now may not be the best time for sales-focused email marketing. Keeping your readers engaged is important, though. Making them happy is even better.

And what better way to do that then with fun activities that keep them looking forward to your emails?

Here are 6 ways different companies are doing just that.

via Engage Subscribers: 6 Fun Email Ideas.

Retail Companies Deploy Windows 7 – Windows for your Business – The Windows Blog

Posted in General Business,Retail by ebs4pos on January 17, 2010

I’m Erwin Visser and I’m the Senior Director for the Windows Commercial Product Marketing team at Microsoft. In my role, I have the pleasure of working with Windows business customers and partners in the Enterprise, Mid-Market and Small Business segments.

Microsoft is at the National Retail Federation Conference & Expo this week, so we thought it would be a good time to talk about what Windows 7 has to offer Retail customers and share stories from some of those who are deploying Windows 7.

In the Retail space, we’re seeing the demand chain replace the supply chain as the main driver, which puts consumers in control and makes the shopping experience an important differentiator. Smart retailers are tracking data to gain insight and deliver an engaging shopping experience across all channels. Windows 7 features enable retailers to make users productive in the store, at headquarters, and on the road. They can enhance the customer experience by bringing new opportunities like multi-touch capabilities to their stores. PC Management becomes streamlined with easy migration options, power saving features, centralized management and virtualization capabilities.

We’ve heard from several of our Retail customers on the benefits they’re finding with Windows 7. If you’re interested in learning more, check out these case studies:

via Retail Companies Deploy Windows 7 – Windows for your Business – The Windows Blog.

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