Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Great Songs for Summer

1.      “Hot Fun in the Summertime”, Sly & the Family Stone

2.      “Summer Wind”, Frank Sinatra

3.      “School’s Out for Summer”,  Alice Cooper

4.      “Summer Nights”, Jim Jacobs, Warren Casey/Grease

5.      “Summer Breeze”, Seals and Crofts

6.      “Summer in the City”, Lovin’ Spoonful

7.      “Summer Nights”, Rascal Flatts

8.      “Summertime, Summertime”, The Jamies

9.      “Summertime” George and Ira Gershwin/Porgy and Bess

10.   “In the Good Old Summertime”, George Evans/Ren Shields

Happy Summer Everyone!

What’s your favorite summer song?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


We’ve all had or been around children who are constantly asking us “Why?” “Why is lettuce green?” “Why is the air clear?” “Why do I have to eat vegetables?” This is how children learn. They get information by asking us “Why?”

“Why?” is also the most important question for your business. With everything you do, everything you write, every piece of information you provide you should be answering the question “Why?”

Why? Because it’s how your customers and potential customers will get information from you.

An example: A web banner ad has to be brief and to the point. The point should be the answer “Why?” “Why should I take a closer look?” “Why should I remember that web site?” “Why does it matter to me?”

This is the same for everything potential customers see about your company. Your “Why?” should become part of your branding. It should come through in everything people see and hear about you. And it should be a nutshell “Why?” Concise and to the point. Your elevator pitch on a diet. “Why will what you do benefit me?” “Why should I choose you over your competitor?” “Why should I invest my money in your product or service?”

Are you answering the question “Why?” in everything you do?
Kerry Brooks is Co-owner of
ProfessionalEdge Associates, offering a wide range of marketing and support services to businesses that want to increase their success, but aren't in a position to add to their staff.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Naming Your Business - What's in Your Name?

What’s in a Name? Shakespeare may not have been referring to naming an organization when he wrote those words, but it is a very pertinent question.  And the answer is everything.

Naming your business or organization is fun, but it is often a lot harder than it seems.  A business owner must be mindful of trademarks and other legal issues when choosing a name.  But let’s start with the fun part!  Here are some steps to follow:

1.      Write down all of the words you can think of to describe your product(s) and service(s), as well as the business traits and skills of each business partner.

2.      Think about the message you want to send with your business name.  Do you want to be cute? Offbeat? Professional? Caring?

3.      Start sifting through all of those words to see if anything pops out as a potential name.  Write down as many potential business names as you can put together.

4.      Start researching your favorites.  Find out if anyone else is using the name.  There are some gray areas with using the same name if the other business is completely different than yours or if your markets are very different.  You may wish to consult an attorney to be sure your business name is legal.

5.      Consider how the name would work as a domain name, and search to see if potential domain names are available.

6.      Once you have landed on a favorite or two, run them by trusted friends and colleagues to get their feedback.  After hearing their reactions, you may want to return to the drawing board, but this is an important exercise.  Repeat these steps as necessary until you get it right.

Some other considerations:

1.      Think down the road – if your business grows or changes, will your name still fit?

2.      If you are selling your products and services nationally or even globally, does it make sense to refer to something local in your name?

3.      Small businesses often do better with names that describe the business, product, or service rather than an elaborate name.  That’s not to say you can’t be creative, just make sure people at least have an idea of what your business is about when they see your business name.

What’s in your name?

Kim Luedke is Co-owner of
ProfessionalEdge Associates, offering a wide range of marketing and support services to businesses that want to increase their success, but aren't in a position to add to their staff.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Outsourcing Key Business Functions Can Benefit Your Small Business

As published in Solutions – May 2012

Entrepreneurship and solopreneurship are at an all-time high in our country and that means there are more great minds than ever available to help you run a successful business. Let’s face it, you are great at what you do, but most small business owners don’t have all of the skills necessary to fully run a business. One way or another, you need support. But it’s likely that you don’t require full time staff to conduct every area of your business.

Outsourcing some or all of the core functions of your business can provide you with a higher level of support for far less than it can cost to have someone on staff. There are many small companies available to help with your accounting, marketing and social media, IT, event planning, administration, and more. These core business services are all vital to the success of every small business. But not every small business can afford to hire all of these positions.

Here’s an example. One of our clients is a small start-up. They have 7 staff members, and all of them work on the core function of their business. It is vital to their success that they have every one of those positions. But they also work on government contracts, and that requires very specific accounting, contracting, and administrative skills they don’t possess.  Instead of hiring accounting, contracting, and administrative staff that would have to replace those 7 key positions, they have outsourced accounting, administration, and contracting to small businesses that specialize in providing those services. For significantly less than what they would pay for a full time bookkeeper, they have hired an accounting consulting firm and they receive the benefit of at least five different individuals with five different skill levels, from entry level bookkeeping to tax experts and a CPA. Hourly rates paid are based on the level of skill provided. The accounting firm understands the intricacies of the business and serves as the organization’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO), a function this small company couldn’t afford at this stage in their business.

A marketing/social media consulting firm can provide consistent, strategic outreach to your clients and prospective clients keeping your time free to bring in new business and focus on your core business areas.

If you don’t already have IT skills on staff, it makes sense to hire an IT consulting firm to cover those skills.

The impact to your budget will be minimal but the impact to your business can be substantial if you take your time and select consultant companies for the right tasks the same way you would hire someone internally.

Take a moment to think about what tasks you may be able to outsource that would help support your business.

ProfessionalEdge offers a wide range of marketing and support services to those who want to increase their business success, but are not in a position to add to their staff. They write a regular blog to help businesses navigate the world of marketing and social media along with many other helpful business topics.