How to brand your business and position it for success

How%20to%20brand%20your%20business%20and%20position%20it%20for%20successFor small businesses, having a well-established brand with a loyal customer base is critical to both immediate and long-term success. While investing money in brand developing tools may be costly, building a suite of business cards, postcards, signs, banners, brochures and other products that give your business a professional look can be easily and inexpensively accomplished. When your brand acts as your identity, anything you can do to increase public awareness will only help your company. 
Here are some tips on what to consider as you’re developing your business suite from Staples, which offers a broad assortment of customizable Copy & Print marketing collateral.
First and foremost, it is important that your company map out exactly what it stands for, who your target customer is, how you would like to be represented, and how you want your message to be delivered. Once that has been decided, define your brand – how you are going to help a customer identify your business with a given product, promotion or piece of advertising. Will it be with a logo, color scheme or a slogan? To make this as effective as possible work with focus groups made up of current and potential clients, as well as peers within your industry so you can come to an educated decision on which vehicles will work best to accomplish your goals and objectives. Also, remember to always keep your marketing tools up to date. 
Next, focus on which marketing tools your company is going to use to deliver your message. If you’re not in a position to develop a complete set of marketing materials, then focus your efforts on one piece at a time. For instance, one of the most valuable tools in today’s market is a simple business card. With a business card in hand, an ambassador of your brand is effectively able to provide your contact info and exposure to the corporate brand. 
How%20to%20brand%20your%20business%20and%20position%20it%20for%20successBusiness cards are most impactful when the logo is prominently featured and includes your associate’s contact information, title, website URL and Twitter handle, among other things, and the font is easily readable. It’s also important to develop a consistent message to deliver across all channels at all times. This assists in building a recognizable brand that consumers will automatically associate with your company.
It’s also important that you consider your geographic location. If your company is located in a bustling community with a large amount of foot traffic, it may be a good idea to create a large banner to place on your store front which features a special offer or promotion. Using this type of tool assists in generating awareness and not only helps to attract new customers but retains existing ones by providing additional incentives to keep them coming back for more. Alternatively, if you have a business specializing in lawn care or real estate, then perhaps creating a lawn sign to place on your client’s property may be beneficial as the property serves as a testament to your services. 
Another low-cost promotional tactic is a well-crafted brochure to feature within the office or give to potential customers/clients. A high-quality brochure enables your company to relay in-depth information, such as the company’s mission statement, pricing, services, accreditations, certifications and more. Additionally, they give your organization an extra level of credibility since consumers have come to expect printed material from companies with whom they are doing business. Also if you truly want to make your brochure buzz-worthy, try to integrate an offer or coupon into the copy of the brochure itself. 
Lastly, it’s important to remember that creating an effective marketing strategy will take a considerable level of effort to organize and execute. However, having an assortment of customized marketing materials will attract your desired target customer and leave them with the information and incentive they need to revisit your company in the future.

Courtesy of ARA

Financial tips for new graduates

Financial%20tips%20for%20new%20graduatesIf you are a new graduate, a college degree is just the first step in the new direction your life will be taking. A new career, potentially a new community to live in and a bit of cash in your pocket to spend – there are a lot of changes happening.
College graduates carry an average of $25,250 in student loan debt, according to The Project on Student Debt, by The Institute for College Access and Success. Compiled with this debt are the potential expenses of job searching, moving, a professional wardrobe and a new car or bus pass. But receiving that first paycheck – and subsequent paychecks – can lead to bad financial management if not properly handled, says John Vaccaro, senior vice president from Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual).
“New graduates should curb their urge to spend freely and think about their future goals to avoid financial setbacks like credit card debt and spending beyond their means,” Vaccaro says.
To help prevent new graduates from sinking deeper into the debt hole, and to look ahead to saving for retirement, Vaccaro has some financial planning tips to help grads get the most out of their new paychecks.
* Develop a budget – Almost half of Americans report they’re living paycheck to paycheck, according to a 2011 CareerBuilder Survey. New graduates should create a budget, including all expenses from rent/house payments, to haircut costs and weekly groceries. Also include space for savings – if possible. Categorize each expense into a necessity category and a discretionary spending category, which will help highlight areas where expenses could be cut – if needed. For example, are payments for cable or satellite TV necessary, or could you survive with free local TV and a less expensive subscription for wireless or mail delivery movie rentals? Setting up a budget can help a new graduate determine if more money from a paycheck can be put into savings.
* Look into work benefits – The first job is a learning experience for many in figuring out benefits and making them work. Recent graduates should take advantage of any employer offered retirement plans like 401(k)s as soon as they qualify. For younger new grads, the combination of time and potential for a retirement account to grow are powerful in planning for retirement down the road. Health, life and disability income insurance are also good benefit options to research. If your company doesn’t offer these kinds of benefits, consider obtaining coverage independently.
* Pay off the right debts first – Debt can occur in a lot of different forms for new graduates. Car payments, student loans, mortgages and credit card accumulations are a few of the more common forms of debt. It’s a good idea to pay off those debts that have the highest interest rates and are not tax deductible first. Ideally, a person should have enough savings on hand to pay off a short term debt, like credit card purchases, on a monthly basis.
* Rein in spending habits – Look yourself in the mirror and identify your spending habits. If you like to impulse buy, try forcing yourself to delay impulse purchases by 24 hours. Also determine if your spending habits are influenced in any way by emotional factors or peer pressure. Once these habits are identified, it’s easier to establish ways to circumvent bad financial decisions.

Courtesy of ARA

Moving? Make sure your possessions are protected

Moving%3F%20Make%20sure%20your%20possessions%20are%20protectedThe average American makes 11.7 moves during a lifetime, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s about one in six people pulling up stakes each year.
With so many on the move to new homes, new cities and new opportunities, it’s important to protect household items while in transit or in storage before arrival at the new location, according to Charles Valinotti, head of product and underwriting with insurer QBE.
Your homeowner’s insurance policy will protect your personal possessions, whether they’re located in your home or in a moving truck. However, Valinotti cautions that there may be a time limit attached to the coverage, such as a 30-day period, and your policy may only cover up to certain dollar limits on property being moved or stored.
“Ask your agent to explain the level of coverage, what exactly is covered and confirm that your items are insured if you have to store them,” he says.
Other points to keep in mind as you hit the road:
* If you’re using a professional moving company or shipper, verify that they’re insured and bonded to cover damage they may be responsible for. Valinotti says to keep in mind most movers limit their responsibility to basic damage amounts. “You may want to check into buying additional insurance to make sure you’re adequately covered during your move.”
* If you’re packing and moving yourself with a rented truck, take a look at your auto insurance policy. Many policies will cover rental trucks, but only up to a certain weight. “Don’t assume your policy covers you when you’re behind the wheel of a 26-foot, 13,000-pound moving truck,” he says.
* In a self-move, careful packing is critical, as well as keeping your property locked up and secured along the way.
* Note the condition of your items being relocated. Then if you have a claim, the condition of your possessions will be documented.
* Know the value of high-dollar items that will be making the move. “Make a complete list of everything,” Valinotti suggests. “Take photos and, if necessary, get appraisals of these items before the move.”
Valinotti says before a move is a good time to review your overall insurance coverage to make sure you’re adequately covered and whether you need to increase your limits. “A good look at insurance coverage every couple of years is something everyone should do,” he says. “And you don’t have to wait until you’re ready to pack up and relocate.”

Courtesy of ARA


1834 Ocean Front

Over 17,000 square feet. This is a step free ground level mansion with near door parking and an attached six car garage with direct entry.

12 bedrooms, 11 bathrooms. Breakfast nook seats 10, formal dining seats 24. Kitchen is fully equipped and features only the finest VIking appliances. Patio access from the breakfast nook and master bedroom.

Electronic amenities include Flat Panel Plasma TV’s in the living room and all of bedrooms with Blu-Ray progressive scan DVD players. Wireless high-speed cable modem internet access throughout.


Culver City, Ca

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Culver city is located just west of the City of Los Angeles. Since the 1920?s Culver City has been a significant center for motion picture and televisions production. The reason for this popularity was mainly because Culver City is home to the famous MGM studios and Sony Pictures Entertainment.

In the 1990?s Culver City launched a program that completely revitalized downtown Culver City. Many of the shopping centers were restructured and the community began to look increasingly better. Culver City has been a very artisic city, with its many art galleries and productions the city plans to stay this way for a while.