Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Holiday Shopping? Take a Made in America Challenge!

Originally published in Solutions 11/30/2012.

The holiday shopping season is in full swing! By now we know, or at least we should, the benefits of buying American-made products:
  • Return jobs to America.
  • Buying American-made items requires less transportation, and therefore, less fuel. It is simply better for the environment.
  • American-made products are typically higher quality and will last you longer, saving you money in the long run.
  • Items made in the USA have more stringent safety requirements.
Get in the habit of checking tags when you are shopping, and make sure you are supporting your local economy, rather than those of other countries. There are also many web sites out there that have joined the movement, making your shopping easier. Here are a bunch of them:

You can also visit our web site for past America Proud articles and follow us on Twitter for our weekly favorite Made in America products.

Take your own Made in America challenge, and purchase as many USA-made gifts as you can this year. The job you help create could be your neighbor’s, or your own.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Does your front door need a renovation?

Small businesses can have many different types of front doors these days. Retail shops have a real front door, a threshold for customers to physically walk through. Some service businesses are the same. But many other businesses are virtual now and their front door may be their phone system, their website, their Twitter profile, or their Facebook page.

If you have a physical front door you walk through it and see it every day. It is in your face and you paint it or repair it as necessary.

But when was the last time you checked your virtual front door?

Your online gateway is just as important as your physical front door-and it’s critical if your company is virtual. It is vital for you to keep your website, Facebook page, Twitter profile, or whatever virtual platforms you use, current and informative.

Here are some things to consider: 

1.       Is your virtual look and feel current? Does it match your current corporate goals and objectives? Is it time to refresh?

2.       Do you update content regularly? This means often – daily or weekly. If not, start now!

3.       Do you walk through your sites regularly from the viewpoint of a customer to be sure they are user friendly and answering the right questions?

4.       Do you tell people how to get in touch with you in every way possible?

Your virtual front door is an important entry point into your business. Stop and think about whether yours needs a renovation today!

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. Visit the ProfessionalEdge website at, email, follow them on Twitter @profedge, or like their Facebook page.