Why Blog For Your Business?

Blogging for Businesses is probably the easiest way to move your chains up the SEO path. I  feel that it is the easiest and most organic thing that you can do to increase search engine optimization (moving you up in Google) for your business. A blog best explained is micro website that gives you a chance to provide new updated content about your business quickly and easily. Its not that I am not a fan of websites or web designers because that would be silly, I just like adding a blog component to your website to modernize the whole update process.

In my opinion, humble as it is, there should not be a website around without a blog component. These blogs can be made to look exactly like your website and as you provide new content that gives the web more things to pick up and list under you when you are searched online. You can write original content or you can share articles that are in your field that would be of interest to your client base. (Don't forget to credit your source). Or you can do a little bit of both like I am here. 

I have known my friend Mike Wolpert of Social Jumpstart  for over a decade when we both worked in radio together. He has moved on to bigger and better things in sunny CA and I am happy to be able to follow all of his awesomeness. He does a lot of cool multimedia stuff like educational training videos and a television show. I really liked what he had to say about Blogging for your Business and wanted to share his You Tube. Enjoy and take notes, because I sure did!

Little Blog Dress loves to show businesses how blogging can help their internet presence. Maintaining a blog constantly is easy, but it takes dedication. If you are interested in growing your web presence organically online, or you have always wanted to have a blog and don't know where to begin contact us so we can show you how!
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Enhance Your Overall Social Media

Any given day you can look on the internet and get smart tips from "experts" such as myself. Although they mostly say the same thing, I like these tips from Mantra....especially number 3 which I feel is the most imperative one!

Here are five important tips that will enhance your overall social media marketing experiences:

1. Create a landing page. A landing page is a one-page website that offers your visitors a quick peek at you and your small business before they are “overwhelmed” by your business website. In addition, successful landing pages offer visitors a valuable free offer in exchange for their name and email address. Landing pages are crucial to business success because they allow prospects to connect with you on a more personal level, quickly highlight the benefits of doing business with you and give your prospects a small taste of what your small business is all about.

2. Set up complete profiles on your social networks. If you want your marketing efforts to work, make sure that your social media profiles are complete. If prospects land on your profile page and it doesn’t have a picture and contains sparse information, they aren’t likely to feel any connection with you. You should provide as much information about yourself as possible. Remember, people want to get to know you, so give them what they’re looking for.

3. Participate; don’t push. When marketing on social media platforms, always keep in mind the 80/20 rule. You should spend 80% of your time sharing, answering questions and interacting with others and only 20% of your time promoting  your small business. If you stick to this rule, you’ll be viewed as a true participant as opposed to a pushy salesperson.

4. Be consistent. Social media marketing is all about consistency.It’s extremely important that prospective clients see you on a regular basis. Exposure is the key to gaining your client’s trust and eventual business. So, get on those sites and interact on a daily basis.

5. Create a daily schedule. If you don’t have a schedule, it won’t take long before you’re sucked into the “social media black hole.” Determine how much time you have to devote to your social media marketing and stick to it. If you only have 30-minutes each day, then only utilize three social networking sites and generate a strong presence on them. I like to use a timer (honestly!) to keep myself on track;when it beeps, I’m off to the next site.

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Using Groupon For The Holidays

No secret that I am a big fan of Groupon. We have one here in the city that I live, which is odd because commonly we seem to get looked over in Daytona Beach for a lot. Most of the time we are not known for much more than formerly being the Spring Break Destination in MTV's heyday.

I like how it really works for most businesses if you have the manpower to see it through and the promotional sense to do something special for your Grouponers (is that even a word) when they come in your business to redeem. I have been excited to have worked on a number of Groupon campaigns for some of my clients and nearly all of them have had measurable success.

According to an article last month in the Huffington Post, Groupon is stepping up their A game and offering deluxe offers with Grouponicus which are amazing trips at a Groupon discount, Epic Deals like a a cooking class with Chef Todd English.

Even if you just wanted use Groupon for your holiday shopping, it isn't a bad idea. I am not a 1000 percent sure that this isn't what some may consider tacky but in today's economy, I think what is most important is that the thought now counts more than ever.

There is also ways to use Groupon to take your personal holiday budget a little further. For the most of obsessives of all that is compulsive, imagine my sheer glee when I found the Daily Dibs article on how you can have all the National deals emailed to you daily for you to peruse! This will make my Groupon rep very happy because it gives me an additional resource instead of bothering him..."Hey, John can you help me find the city that has the Barnes and Nobles Groupon? (best Groupon EVER)." There are ways using this resource to find a discount on your holiday cards, get a deal on canvassing that print you have been thinking about etc and maybe give you ideas for that hard to buy person all while saving at least 50% on the price,  Brilliant!

I also wanted to make mention that Groupon offers gift cards for the people on your list that like Groupon as much as I do. You can have them emailed or snail mailed or you can, a better choice I think, go to CVS or Target and get one physically. Definitely, this just became a part of gifts to buy for those people that are just really hard to get exactly what they want. Pin It

Year End Musings

As most people do, when the year comes to an end...I tend to get a tad whimsical looking at the year that is ending. What have I done right? What could I improve? What was a total waste of my time? Most people don't really focus on the right, they want to focus on what to change, and what (or who) to get rid of as the year ends.

Am I following the rules or making them up as I go along? Can I actually do that or am I just being a complete pompous individual by creating my own work environment? I preach I say who, I say when, I say how much...but is there a fine line? Should I never ever work with someone difficult just because I don't have to? Isn't that arrogant?  Will it make me broke? Should I take the hit (after Christmas of course) and rid myself of the random few that give me the most aggravation? The ones that I have to chase to pay, the ones that do not respect that it is not ok to call at 10p because he was "thinking" about something... Isn't that why I went into business for myself to not be aggravated or am I a fool to think that one can be stress and agro free in a work environment?

I learn every day what it is like to be in business for yourself and the different peaks and valleys that comes with it but these are the things that I am thinking of as the year comes to an end. I would really love your comments and your experiences below. Pin It

5 Reasons Your Business Should Be Blogging

A lot of people do not really grab the concept of the importance of blogging. I promote it as a way to have constant movement for those SEO outlets to push you up towards the top of search engines. Read below at the best article from Marcus Sheridan (@thesaleslion) I have seen in a while on the importance of why everyone should have a blog component to their website.

Good thing you know JUST the person to help you maintain and manage it!

Does your business blog?

Have you been thinking it might be time to consider a blog, but aren’t sure (a) you can pull it off and (b) it will provide value?

Keep reading. This article will help you (or someone you know) understand the value of a business blog.

Is Google the Only Reason to Blog?

I have a question for you, and it’s a serious one: If you never garnered another single visitor to your company blog through search engine optimization (SEO), would you still have one?

For many, especially execs who don’t necessarily “get it” when it comes to content marketing, the answer would be, “No way!”

But for those persons and companies that have watched the magic of blogging and its effect beyond SEO, the answer would be a resounding, “Of course!”

That’s what this article is all about. There’s much more to having a company blog than just getting more visitors to your website because Google decided to send them there.

In fact, here are 5 other powerful reasons why you should be blogging, and I look forward to hearing what you would add in the comments section at the end.

#1: The Power of Team

Ever heard of HubSpot? The Boston-based company and all-in-one social media platform for small- and medium-sized businesses is one of the fastest-growing in the world, and considering Google just invested $32 million in the company, they seem to be on solid ground.

Although there are many reasons HubSpot is rocketing up the charts of the business world, one of the core components to their success model is the “team” feel of the company. Ranked two straight years as the #1 Best Place to Work by the Boston Business Journal, HubSpot allows EVERY single person in the company to produce content for the company blog. With over 300 employees, you can see why it’s nothing for them to post 3-5 articles on most days.

By allowing all employees to create content, companies like HubSpot have a constant flow of new names and ideas on their blog.
When it comes down to it, we, as humans, like to be part of a movement. We want to be part of a team. When all hands are on deck and each person is contributing to building the company’s content base, magic and momentum can truly happen, and all benefit together.

And keep in mind, this principle isn’t just for large companies. Whether you’re an army of 1, 5 or 500, working as a team to produce content can have a powerful effect on any company or organization.

#2: Blogging Sharpens Your Sword

Before I started teaching people about business and marketing, I was (and still partially am) a “pool guy.” That’s right, I own a company that builds in-ground swimming pools throughout Virginia and Maryland. Over the last 10 years I’ve had over 1000 in-home sales appointments.

Sales professionals constantly answer the same questions again and again. By writing out these answers, their ability to communicate with prospects and clients goes up exponentially.
Three years ago, when I embraced the power of content and started our company blog, I noticed many benefits. One of which was the fact that my sales presentations became much, much better. How so?

By creating 2 to 3 articles a week for my blog:

I was forced to stay up to date with every new technology in the industry.
I became much better at explaining things in a way the consumer could clearly understand. (In other words, I learned how to become a better teacher.)
I found that I seemed to have an answer for every question a customer could throw at me.
Simply put, writing a blog post is like practicing for a game. The more one practices, the better their skills, timing and overall play—which ultimately leads to more victories, or in this case, sales.

#3: You Become the Trust Agent

When it comes to blogging, the process of making sales is not nearly as complicated as we sometimes make it. Look at it this way:

Helpful Content = Trust

Trust = Leads

Leads = Sales

Do you remember your kindergarten teacher? (Yes, I know that was a long time ago, but try.)

How did he or she make you feel? Did you trust him/her?

Although there are many reasons why most of us love our earliest teachers, the biggest reason we respect and appreciate them so much is because they took the time to patiently teach us things in a way we could actually understand.

That’s right; they weren’t there to impress anyone, as their only goal was helping us understand.

When a company’s blog takes on this “kindergarten content” approach, they do everything in their power to answer consumer questions by seeing the world from the consumer’s point of view, not their own.

Once this occurs, walls of doubt are torn down and the trust level between the customer and the company immediately starts to go up.

Genuinely helpful articles, like this one above, will generate huge amounts of trust from consumers wanting to spend their money wisely.
And as I mentioned above, this trust will lead to more phone calls to your office, more forms filled out on your web page and eventually many more sales.

#4: Content is the Great Qualifier

Has your company ever gotten a lead that wasn’t exactly qualified or ready for your product/service? Chances are, if you’ve been in business for longer than a day, this has happened many, many times.

And when it comes to sales, the more time a sales department spends with unqualified leads, the less time they spend with qualified ones, which is obviously a very bad thing.

There are generally two types of consumers:

Price Shoppers: someone only focused on lowest price to make their buying decision
Value Shoppers: someone looking for a combination of product quality, customer service and reasonable pricing to make their buying decision
Ask any sales and marketing department which client they’d rather have and they’ll tell you “value.”

I mention this because with the advancement of the Internet, companies can now track behaviors of their leads when it comes to the content customers are viewing on their website.

For example, here are two leads my company has gotten in the last week. Which appears more prepared for a sales appointment?

Someone who has read 55 pages of your website.Someone who has read 3 pages of your website.
100 out of 100 will say the first one, as that particular person has shown not only are they a serious shopper, but they’re also very, very informed as to the company’s teachings and product doctrine. (BTW, if you’re not blogging, there’s a good chance your company website doesn’t even have 55 pages, so let’s get busy!)

Remember, the more pages a visitor reads on your website, the closer they are to making a buying decision with your company, so integrate your blog’s content into every aspect of your sales approach.

Also, if you’re not currently using a technology that allows you to track lead analytics, I’d strongly recommend it, as it can save your company thousands and thousands in saved time alone.

#5: The Power of the Blog Comment

Does your company blog allow for comments and promote discussion? If not, you’re missing out on a golden opportunity to learn from readers and allow them to tell you exactly what they’re interested in.

Often businesses approach blogging from a very myopic and limited point of view, and simply don’t do a good job of seeing the world through the eyes of the consumer.

By promoting active discussion on your company blog and then truly listening to what is said, you will constantly get questions from individuals wanting to find out more, much of which can then be turned into another blog post.

As you might imagine, this cycle of “teach then listen” can become an ever-flowing content factory for any company that takes the time to do this the right way.

Also, the comment section of a blog is your great opportunity to build a community of passionate individuals who appreciate your company’s brand and mission, thereby becoming your greatest advocates, on- and offline.

Comments + Conversation = Passionate Community
Now It’s Your Turn

I’ve shown you 5 reasons (beyond SEO) why your company should have a blog. But I’ve also intentionally left out many others because I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter as well.

What do you think? Have you seen these 5 benefits within your company? Which one has made the most impact? Also, what would you add to the list?

Jump in, everyone! I love nothing more than discussing the power of great content, so please leave your thoughts and questions in the comments box below.

About the Author, Marcus Sheridan

Known for his boundless energy and enthusiasm, Marcus is a thought leader & popular social media speaker. Download his FREE 230-page Inbound and Content Marketing Made Easy eBook. He's on Twitter @TheSalesLion Other posts by Marcus Sheridan » Pin It

What I Learned In My First Year As A Business Owner

I have been so crazy, I wanted to take a second to reflect on the fact that I have pulled this whole thing off for an entire year! This month marks a year that leaped and let the net catch me as I started my own business, full time. Honestly, I still don't believe it that every day I wake up I can do whatever I want. Thankfully because I am so passionate about what I do, its usually hitting the ground running but if I wanted to take a bed day that would be fine too. (more about that later).

Some things that I was told, taught or learned that I can share.

1. Work with WHO you want to. It is easy to be very anxious and say yes to every piece of business that comes your way. After all, you are new-who are you to turn down good money? Once you get a good base however, I found that one the joys of working for yourself is the least you could do is work around people you enjoy. They don't have to be your BFF, but you can set the attitude, the expectation and the dynamic that makes your business yours. Why would you work for someone who didn't respect your time, your experience and your talent?  What does your boss say about such behavior? Yes, that's right...you now get to make that choice.

2. Work WHEN you want. I learned a lot about time management and I still have a far way to go. What works for me, may not work for you. Like I mentioned, I spent an entire year working 24/7 with the biggest smile on my face. Any former employers may take a second look of who is writing this blog...but I enjoyed what I did so damn much, that I had to tell myself to stop working...quite the difference between some jobs where it took me an act of congress to work with my whole heart in it the whole time. I rented office space to give me a little separation from it all. This has really kept me focused.

I also did the best to my ability to take bed day at least once a month. There is really no one to monitor you PTO, so a bed day takes care of that. I would do my morning work, schedule no other appointments, kiss the mister goodbye, shower, get into new Pjs, lowered the air, and enjoy a day from bed.. Sometimes I worked, sometime I caught up on TV and chilled and napped. The idea is, it is such a rat race-the least you can do is slow down and pull the cool sheets over your head. It was always exciting when a bed day presented it self...just a random day that nothing was scheduled became the day when I got a little of my sanity back.

3. Say HOW MUCH and go get your damn money. For the past ten years, my paycheck depended on how much I collected at the end of the month. So, I became really good at becoming Louie the Bill Collector. Starting your own business, you can set your own billing rules...I keep my prices aggressive, and make sure that everyone is crystal clear on my billing policy. Because my work is creative, I feel that a cash-up-front- or front of month is pretty mandatory. If someone decides to stiff you, you worked for free all month for nothing. Things I plan to write about soon have to do with this issue. Like the two times that everything was hunky dory with the client and then all of the sudden everything I did was wrong, nitpicking galore and they became a unhappy unreasonable client. You see, this validates the person when they cancel on you out of the clear blue because "this isnt working", which is code for I am out of money or I am shutting my doors soon. Every single one of my peeps are good pays, and I love them for that.  I stay on them politely and mid month send them a friendly reminder. It goes back to making it a rule to work with good people and dumping the bad attitudes, the non payers and the pain in the asses.

Some of the best advice I received was from my friends who worked for themselves and had some wisdom to share:

Don't hire an assistant to help you work, hire someone to do the stuff you no longer have the time to do-like clean your house. 

Be crystal clear about the things that you are good at, don't be good at 100 things, it puts you in a more focused position to help your client to the best of your ability. Why spread yourself thin? Be good at what you are good at and leave the rest to others. 

Stop using the word Just. I just wanted to...is a sentence I start so many times. It sounds like you are making excuses. So Stop. 

I ask you-what have you learned in business??

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Color Scheming The Technical (Nerdy) Way

From my article at Becoming the Mrs., but I think you can use this process for many different uses!

Color Scheming The Technical (Nerdy) Way

One of the first things that you will prob do when you begin the planning for your wedding is decide on which colors to use. Some brides use their favorite colors, others use season appropriate themes. Some are even nice enough to ask for their fiance's input. If you are undecided, check out what the web has to offer via amazing Apps and websites to create a color scheme and keep you organized:

There are apps on your smartphone like My Pantone that will take your picture and extract the exact pantone color out of it for you to use. You can then take the color of your choice and start your vision board of ideas using this color.This app is great because it gives you color combinations with the color you chose to give you a chance to brainstorm other color options. Don't want to pay for the app? You can also take the color, throw it in a program that has color picker option like Paint.net and get the HEX code. The HEX code, simply explained is the web version of your color for backgrounds and text color for invites. This may seem a little extreme, but its your day and everything should be perfect right?? 

One you get your Panteone and Hex Color Codes, why not do a Google search for decorations and other things to keep in the same color family for more inspiration. 

Here is a quick example how to grab the Hex Code:

The color I chose is PANTONE 18-4434 TPX Mykonos Blue. The HEX is 126091. Here is how I found the HEX code:

1. Copy or Save the image that has the color you want.
2. Open it in your choice of design program. I like Paint.net because it is easy (and free)
3.Find the color picker in the Tools menu. It looks like an eyedropper. Click on it to activate-
4. Press F8 to activate your Colors Menu
5. Click on the image on the color you want.
6. Copy the HEX number. Your printer may want the numbers for the R G and B as there are some programs that don't have Hex, only RGB specs.

Now that you have the HEX code, you can google it and see what ideas can add to your planning. 

When I googled 126091 HEX Color, I discovered this cool site that gave me similar and complimentary colors.

I am interested in seeing your color combos and what you come up using this technical (but exact) way to color coordinate your wedding! 

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Women Dominate Social Networking

According to an article in NY Daily news, women like their social networking! While men are more dedicated to their phones and voicemails, women use social media and networking to stay in touch with their friends and family.

"Our findings show that men tend to lag behind women when it comes to communicating with others through social media, in life which debunks other recent studies that suggest that men are more savvy networkers between the sexes," said Rebtel CEO Andreas Bernstrom.

Ok, so that wasn't a "direct" quote exactly...

Read full story from NY Daily News

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It's all make believe, isn't it?

"A girl should be two things: who and what she wants." 
Maybe it was the hurricane but a bunch of weird but good things have been happening to me professionally lately. Of course, each comes with its own story...wouldn't be like me if not. 
I have won an award. So we have a newspaper that bestows Best of accolades on the city each year. I have always thought, surely these things are politically motivated. Turns out- with a little urging, I convinced enough people to vote for me and I won Best In Social Media. Not bad, for a little engine of one. Here is the funny thing, since I don't advertise with the paper, they aren't in a huge rush to communicate with me. Still waiting on my certificate-but look I have a pretty logo to share with you! 

My Twitter following is starting to look up. I am really enjoying being a part of Twitter. It is just so much more bonding than Facebook. I am obsessed with the amount of followers I have and I can't wait till I have more followers than followees.  I am following awesome people and I feel on top of my game. Through Twitter, I found out about The Braid Bar which will be an asset to my NYC trip next month and I received the holy grail Missoni for Target lookbook before most people.

Someone put it best: 

Facebook is for the people you know while Twitter is for those you want to know.

And I made a new friend in a little brand called @dkny. She is actually the face of their PR...funny and entertaining and when she and I were musing about the hurricane. Her RT and her blog (click to see it) gained me quite a couple of followers this weekend. Love when someone gets my humor :-)

Clearly on a roll, I decide to take my snarkiness to the Today Show and post this:

Although I missed it, my friend @Ginger23 exclaimed:@littleblogdress OMG you made it on the @todayshow!

So I am now scrambling to get a transcript to see where my dreams have come true, that I made it on the Today show without the book in my head that I plan to promote. But, true to Law of Darlynn-we changed the channel and missed the opportunity to hear it. 

Am I done? Oh God no! Friday afternoon, I am scratching a lottery ticket off and get The Symbol TWIST. That. Means You. Win. Every Prize. 

After I stopped hyperventilating, come to find out...well...they don't stick $30k prizes on the Win ALL like you think they would. I won a whopping $25. But I'll take it. 

Last but not least, someone send me the current issue of Volusia Flagler Business Report this morning. Apparently according to page 8, My company is the 13th largest in the area web design firms. 

Except. I. Don't. Do. Web. Design. 

Sigh. To add insult to injury, someone stepped on the computer after my services description and I am AAA, whatever that means. But I'll take it...my name looks fun in print. And it is one  of the most reputable publications in town. Nice honor :-)

But, Not so much fun-I have one employee. 


There it is in Black and White. 

I plan on adding to my staff to increase my self worth:


Felicity-Executive Assistant

So, um how was your weekend?? 

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Channeling Al Roker-A Social Media Guide To A Hurricane

Living in Florida, afternoon rain is the norm. Actually, much to the dismay of my lawn we haven't had a ton of downfall this year. This week is the 19th year anniversary of Hurricane Andrew and we in Florida still feel the sting of the 2004 Hurricane Season. With Hurricane Irene looking like it will affect our weekend plans, I was thinking how more connected we are now then we were seven years ago thanks to social media and smart phone technology.

Of course, I am sure a good old fashioned weather radio will do just fine. But, I bet that we can get a little more technical in this day and age.

The first thing you want to do is connect with your National Weather Service for breaking news alerts to come to your email, Facebook or Twitter.

To start, you need to find the branch of  National Weather Service for your area. The easiest way to find that out-go to the NOAA Website and enter your zip code, in the left hand corner in blue will tell you what is your nearest NWS branch. (see below) On the website you can then sign up for weather alerts-but you can also find their page and handle on Facebook and Twitter in order to get the information the best way that is most convenient for you.

If you are looking to incorporate your smartphone, your Ipad or social media for your weather, I have some suggestions:

Obviously, The Weather Channel (Weather.com) does a stand-up job on the social media front. They have a facebook, a twitter page and an app. But the newest thing that puts them miles away from their competition is The Weather Channel Social. This is the holy grail of weather and social media. It has everything you could ever ask for to be completely connected to the weather in your area. You put in your zip code and it connects you to what people are saying about the weather in your area, local  flight information, etc. Sure that radar picture is really boring interesting, but this is a good chance to keep you completely connected . Make it a part of your homepage.

The Weather Channel app is free and king in its field. They do an excellent job connecting to its listener and getting them the most accurate information in a really easy way to understand. It is so cool to my nerdy butt self that something so mundane as the weather is marketed so attractively. It has made me fall in love with The Weather Channel brand.

Christian Science Monitor has some apps they suggest for Hurricane Tracking:

The Hurricane HD app is equipped with "video updates for storms currently underway or forming," notes ABC News. It covers hurricanes all over the world. The app costs $2.99.

The iMap Weather Radio app draws on your phone or tablet's GPS and alerts users if they enter an area "where a watch/warning is subsequently issued," among other things. The app costs $9.99. As advertised, this is a radio app. While some users swear by its voice and text alerts, one user says the updates arrive about 30 minutes after the National Weather Service issues a warning: "It once 'alerted' me of a tornado warning after the storms had cleared out." He recommends a NOAA all hazards weather radio (or see the American Red Cross radio below) for faster alerts.

You can also get free weather reports and alerts on your phone or computer by following certain Twitter sites such as: The Weather Channel's twitter feed @weatherchannel

or MyWeather.com tweets: @MyWeather,

or Accu Weather's @breakingweather

You could do a search for "name of hurricane" on your Twitter account and get all of the above in one feed. Also, don't forget to follow your favorite local meteorologist on Twitter-like mine: WESH's @TonyJMainolfi

As much as I love Al Roker or Jim Cantore (who my best friend thought it was a good idea in 2004 to leave my evacuation packing to go a couple of blocks down the road to meet him....true story)-these are a couple of ideas to bring out the meteorologist in all of us.

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Be Still My Missoni Heart

Ladies, just a few weeks away. Here are some looks from the lookbook that I must have. I have word that we will be able to go online at midnight September 13 to secure the hottest looks this fall. Set your alarm, bitches!
Sweater Coat $79.99
Space-Dye Knit Shirtdress $54.99

Slouchy Bag $34.99
Silk Scarf* (tied on bag) $19.99

Corduroy Jacket $69.99 
Rain Boots* $34.99 Flowery

Long Gloves* $19.99
Extra-Long Scarf $24.99
Pink or Black

Tights* $16 each
Pink and Black

3-pc. Ceramic Puzzle Trays $19.99 each

6-pk. File Folders $4.99 each

Target’s Much-Anticipated Collection by Missoni to Debut in September
Retailer’s largest limited-time designer collection spans more than 400 items

MINNEAPOLIS (July 2011)—Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) is partnering with Missoni, the iconic knitwear empire recognized as a symbol of Italian luxury, to introduce an affordable, limited-edition collection for fashion and home. Missoni for Target brings a rich heritage of signature prints and patterns to apparel and accessories for women, men, girls and baby, as well as home furnishings. Ranging in price from $2.99 to $599.99, with most items less than $40, Missoni for Target will be available Sept. 13 through Oct. 22, 2011 at all Target stores and Target.com. Pending availability, select pieces from the collection, including a variety of online-only items, will be available for an extended run through early December at Target.com.

“Working with Target to create a mass collection that reflects the spirit of Missoni has been extremely energizing,” said Angela Missoni. “Each piece is special to me because so much thought and care went into every aspect of the design. I can’t wait to introduce the collection to Target’s guests across the United States.”

Target’s largest limited-time designer collection to date, Missoni for Target reflects the Missoni values of family, color and quality. Offering a modern, fresh take on the late 1960s, an era during which the Missoni brand flourished into a global force in fashion, the collection features intertwining textures and patterns in a variety of bold colors such as purple, blue, black and coral.

“Target’s designer partnerships continue to set new standards, and we worked closely with Missoni to create a collection that brings the allure of their iconic Italian brand to our guests at remarkable prices,” said Kathee Tesija, executive vice president of merchandising, Target. “The quality and design of Missoni for Target are exceptional, and with more than 400 colorful pieces to choose from, our guests can experience a taste of ‘la dolce vita’ simply by shopping at Target.”

Missoni for Target includes knit dresses, sweaters, swimwear, shoes, scarves and intimates for women, as well as beauty items such as cosmetic cases, brush sets and hair accessories. The men’s collection features silk ties, sweaters, scarves and knit hats, while the girls’ and baby assortments include knit dresses, cardigans, scarves, gloves and rain boots. The expansive home collection offers bedding, luggage, dinnerware, stationery, bicycles and outdoor furniture in variations of stripes, zigzags and abstract floral patterns, and marks the first time Missoni has created iPad and iPod covers.

About Target
Minneapolis-based Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) serves guests at 1,762 stores in 49 states nationwide and at Target.com. In addition, the company operates a credit card segment that offers branded proprietary credit card products. Since 1946, Target has given 5 percent of its income through community grants and programs; today, that giving equals more than $3 million a week. For more information about Target’s commitment to corporate responsibility, visit Target.com/hereforgood.

About Missoni
The family-run fashion house Missoni has been at the forefront of Italian fashion since husband and wife Ottavio ("Tai") and Rosita Missoni started designing their unconventional patterned knits in the neighborhood of Varese in 1953. The brand is famous for its unique knitwear, made from a variety of fabrics in a kaleidoscope of colorful patterns, such as zigzags, stripes, geometrics, and abstract florals, bohemian accessories and must-have swimwear. There are currently 37 freestanding Missoni boutiques worldwide, in addition to Missoni being carried at leading department stores and retailers worldwide.

For more information, visit Target.com/Pressroom.

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I say WHO

A surprising perk of owning your own business is the option to NOT work with someone. For most of your adult life, you have been subject to working with narcissistic beasts that you had to grin and bear- all because they were standing between you and your next pair of shoes, or meal as it sometimes was. 

Although one should never turn away good money-don't you feel a little stupid when you are CEO of ONE and you are having anxiety working with a difficult client? Choosing who you get to work with has to be one of the nice things of working for yourself, right? 

Interesting psychological battle I had when I met with a gentleman who was so used to beating up on salespeople to get what he wanted, when I walked away from the table he was shocked. Do you not want my money-he asked incredulously? Of course I wanted his money, but I could do without his demanding attitude and nasty nature. It seemed to me that this guy was so used to getting his way from salespeople who were intimidated to keep his business that I surprised him by walking away. 

Things to keep in mind when dealing with the unfriendly:

1. Keep it Kind. At the end of the day, you don't want to burn a bridge. I usually tell people that I am jammed up and it will be months before I can give him the proper attention his business needs. That seems to work a little better than, I rather eat glass than take your business on. 

2. Offer him some other options. Since you are sooo busy, give him some names of people (your competition) that may be able to help him. I don't want to be the first to admit, but maybe you and his (or her) personality just doesn't match and someone else may have a better turn with him. As long as he is not a raving lunatic, you are instilling a little good will along the way and everyone is happy. Your competition may be a little bigger and have a staff that has to deal with whatever personality is put in front of them. You still end of smelling like roses in the end. 

3.  Don't apologize. You aren't working round the clock, 24/7 for no reason. The least you can do is pick the people that are supporting your quest to become a solo success. I find that this is more important to me than I thought it was. The idea of being in business for yourself is to take what is good and get rid of what was bad and make your own thing work. Not that it will always be blue skies, but it is a lot easier to weather the storms with clients you actually like and want to work with. 
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Facebook Takes A Trip Down Memory Lane

There is an advantage to being on Facebook all day long. You notice when Facebook tries to sneak one in on you. I was looking through my photos to add to that platform I am cheating on Facebook with (Google +) and noticed a new feature. "On This Day" which shows your Facebook status and comments from the 2010 and 2009. It looks like the only way you can find this feature is burred in the photos. When looking to find more information on this throwback, I think Mashable had a good thought why this is being tested.   This will definitely serve as a reminder of how Facebook has been part of your life for quite some time. It's a nice step up from poking, I'm a fan!

Wonder if I will regret these throwbacks...singing Debby Boone, really?
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Word of Mouth is Dead

Every business has the potential to be reviewed. It doesn’t matter if you are a restaurant (most popular) or a funeral home (I’m not kidding) - If given the opportunity and the outlet, a customer will sing your praises or voice a valid concern. As more and more people rely on the opinions of others via online review sites such as Yelp, Google, and Urban Spoon, how your business is perceived on these means is important.

If you leave a review unaddressed, good or bad-it may change the opinion of future customers. There is a saying that if you have a good experience you tell a couple of people, a bad one- you tell everyone. Having the opportunity to go online and let your opinion be known before you have even left your business takes this adage to a whole new level. You need to make sure you have the good sense to address any review, good or bad. I am a little obsessed with online reviews because I have seen businesses affected by the way they are handled.

Here are some tips to make the best out of your reviews, good and bad:

1. Make sure all your sites are claimed under you as the owner. This gives you the opportunity to add pictures, fill out hours, information, areas served, etc. You can fill in additional contact information, your website and specials. It also makes you look like you have this area of your marketing plan handled. Nothing looks poorer than that unclaimed box with a question mark in it!

2. Set up Google Alerts for the name of your business and category i.e. “SBT Designs” and “Interior Design in Chicago”. Make sure you set up a search in Twitter, and check your @replies. Facebook has also recently given you an option to be notified via email each time a comment is left. You need to make sure that these are checked often, if not every day. The quicker the response, the better the outcome.

3. Time to monitor! A lot of this is organic, you can go in and check (daily) on these review sites but there are some platforms like Hootsuite that will allow you to do the searches all in one place.
Address them. Within 24 hours (hopefully). If they are good, share it on your Facebook and other social media. Make them a part of your marketing plan, add them to the testimonial portion of your blog or website. If they are bad, and it is valid-contact the reviewer as the owner, be polite and offer to rectify their time by bringing them back in on your dime. This is not the time to be argumentative. If you feel like you are going to be combative, ignore the review and move on. I promise that they if you take these steps, they will change their review and praise you for your excellent attention to customer service.

Be humble and listen to what they have to say. If there is a resounding theme, your clients are trying to tell you something.

This may seem like a lot of work, and some business owners aren’t comfortable opening up and putting themselves out there for the world to critique. I would much rather see you take the control and time to make the effort before someone does it for you.
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Socially Acceptable: Spotify

It would be a good segway to tell you that I am sorry that I haven't written in a while. I haven't been on vacation and work hasn't been too busy. But, every moment of my free time has been spent building bigger and better playlists and excitement on Spotify. An official time suck warning as you continue to read my experience of this hot new way to play and share your love of music.

I have been a big fan of Rhapsody but I must now focus on Spotify, the newest, most popular kid on the music playlist block. Its an amazing musical pieces of heaven that lets you play any piece of music you could ever think of ...ever!!! Do you also know how little work I have done this last week as I have made playlist for every genre you could ever think of? For a measly $10 a month for the premium membership (there is a free option on Spotify, you just cant play it anywhere but your computer) you can make your own play lists for every aspect of your day. You can then buy the whole playlists with a couple of clicks, and sync them straight to your iPod, iPhone or Android device (with the premium version).

You have to be invited to get Spotify for now, but keep your eyes on Facebook as brands like Coke have been partnering with Spotify to give out free invites.

One really great feature that Spotify has manage to capture that Rhapsody falls short is the sharing capability. You can connect to Facebook to see which friends are in the cool kids club like you and see what playlists they have chosen to share with the world. I have some amazing musicians and friends in the music industry that have given me some insight to their brilliance in music selection. It is like you came to their house, grabbed their CD collection and went to town. Isn't it always fun to have that friend that will always come to you and say-"You have to check THIS band out". Spotify now gives you that option.

Like I bragged about Rhapsody, who now feels like an ex-boyfriend, you can hear a song on the radio and listen to the artist's full album in a couple of clicks. You can catch a GREAT oldie at the end of the song (happens to me all the time) and just grab your Spotify on your phone and listen to it again instantly. The phone app downloads are lightening fast, and you can download playlists to listen without an internet connection.

So if you need me, I will be on Spotify trying to create the best 90's boy band playlist. Leave your selection below! Pin It

LIttle Blog Dress Meet Becoming The Mrs.

An awesome opportunity for me. I am now a guest blogger of Becoming the Mrs. I am really excited for this opportunity!

Here is a link to my first article Pin It

Socially Acceptable-IPad Covers

My professional looking leather IPad cover is starting to get a little thin and weak....Im sad to say that it will needs to be replaced. At least this is the very careful story (even if it is a tad true) that I am telling anyone who will listen. When looking, I wanted something that would actually protect, and I would like it to look professional and classy, if possible. Because I have had my time of bad luck lately...combined with the fact that I was a very good girl with my money in Atlanta...I thought it would be fun to buy myself a little pick-me-up.
May I present the contenders:

The DIY Awesomeness

Amazing Prada Inspired  DIY from PS I Made This

The Fabulous But Oof Not Recession Friendly
Burberry $475.00
The Holy Grail

Chanel, $One Arm and One Leg$
The Winner
Kate Spade, $85.00
Not only am I a Kate Spade die-hard but I know that the quality will be top notch, and the design is very inspiring. It is a little pricey, but I think it will be something I will have for a very long time!
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It worked for Betty White, Vote for Me!

So our newspaper comes out with an annual Reader's Choice Award. They tried something different this year, instead of listing potential business...it looks like they sold prime spots to area business and then left the rest for the public to fill in. Smart? Rigged? At any rate they will get a couple extra gimme votes, similar to the election days, when you just pick the guy with the best name for Secretary for Agriculture. (You know you have done it)

Luckily, no advertisers have paid for the write-in for Social Media so its a big black line for to fill your favorite social media marketing company. That is Little Blog Dress. Little. Blog. Dress. It is on the right hand side all the way down near the bottom. So, take a second to vote, and if you have a business...I will be sure to do the same! You can click here to get started.

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You Can Now Say You Know Someone Who Got Skimmed.

Usually, my posts are full of inspiring prattle of what social app to use this week. I wanted to share this with you in hopes that this will make you aware that this can happened to you. As it happened to me.

I was in Quickbooks online billing my wonderful clients and I came across one that I was sure had paid. So, I went into my bank account and the balance caught my eye....$-275.00 which was strange, as I have overdraft protection. When I clicked on my account to see, it was like all the blood had left my body...because in front of me were 15 charges from Nairobe Kenya. Total Charges over $1300.00. I still had my card in my possession. Here is the kicker under Reg E, the bank is not required to recover my funds themselves because it was taken out of my business checking account. I am fairly lucky as I bank at a small bank where I know a couple of board members and almost all of the employees...so I do have faith that they will do whatever they can to recover my funds.. They are a little horrified that this happened as well. Not the best time to be their guinea pig, but I know that they will help me if they can. This is probably the only thing I know for sure.

Some advice I would like to share to ladies (and boys) who own a business and have a business checking account.

1. Cut up your debit card attached to your business account. Right this very second. Don't be arrogant like someone at the end of this keyboard saying well, if my card got stolen I would know and report it and stop it right away. Click click click....hear that? That is the said debit card I am banging on the computer screen to remind you that I still have it in my possession.

2. Cancel your overdraft protection. Yes, a good thing to have in theory, but had I not had it...I prob would have saved myself a TON of money. There would have been nothing to drain from. Instead, the overdraft overdrafted about an additional thousand dollars to further fund these souless cusswords.

3. Choose CREDIT when pumping gas. Also, jiggle any device taking your credit card to ensure that it dosn't contain a skimming device. Can't believe I just wrote these words.

4. Don't use your debit card when shopping online. Remember when debit cards were introduced? One of their first marketing campaigns was the benefits of how easy it was to use your debit card instead of cash. Don't. Get a credit card. Use Paypal. Read fine Print.

5. Use only ATM's that are at a bank or a trusted institution. That pizza parlor that doesn't take debit but has an ATM for your convenience? Like my eternally wise boyfriend said, oh no problem babe, we will just go back to the Pizza parlor and have them pull the security camera over the ATM and see if anything happened. I get it.

6. Send a positive thought for me. Although, I havent shed many tears which is amazing. I did however drink 2 bottles of wine on Wednesday and ungodly amount of beers on Thursdsay. Insomnia has come back in full effect. Im not eating as much, as I find myself going oh good I skipped lunch, that $20 towards the recovery of my funds. Eventually, I will be in a funny farm and I hope you all will come and visit. I do have hope in knowing that it will all come back around. If nothing else, maybe someone will read this and have the AHA moment that would prevent this from happening to them. Pin It

How GroupMe Made Me A Better Girlfriend

Well, my Iphone fell off the table and shattered last week. I feel like I lost an old friend. Kind of silly, but I really liked my old phone...I had it for a record two years. Previously, I had owned every new phone within a six month trend. And this was my first relationship with the Iphone after I have broken off all connections with my beloved Blackberry. The only thing that lacked in my new relationship was Blackberry Messenger. I really liked the BBM. Up till now, there was no suitable alternative that would push messages to my Iphone. Applications be darned, they had nothing.

Then came along GroupMe.

According to this great review, GroupMe is a free service that facilitates group texting, or SMS, and allows users to maintain relationships in clusters as well as one-to-one communications. Download the app (it's available for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry), join a group of friends or colleagues, and you can easily broadcast text messages to your group. 

I was instantly attracted to the ease of it, you could download the app or use it the more traditional Group Texting ways. It also didn't matter what kind of phone you had, from the newest of Droids to the slowest of Speak and Spells, GroupMe welcomed you. 

My friend's phone 

What was also cool, is that with one touch of a button it initiates a conference call. You also can have some fun with it, you can enter your location and you can easily share pictures.

But, what I find most interesting is how this form of communication can really strengthen the bond between you and your girlfriends. I have four girlfriends that are members of the Junior League with me. These girls and I have always been friendly and have done movie dates and are the best happy hour companion a girl could want. We come from all stages of relationships, two married, one live in boyfriend, one almost engaged and one astonishingly single (as she is the greatest). Our work lives are different and our schedules are different but the five of us have formed a connection started by the Junior League ...but incredibly strengthened by GroupMe. After a little coaxing, I got everyone on board to connect this way...three Iphones, One Blackberry and One Speak and Spell (who just upgraded to an Iphone woohoo!).

Initially, it was to coordinate our first Happy Hour, but it became quick to what girlfriends look for: an outlet of support. I can say that I know these four girls a lot better thanks to our back and forth banter, whether it is to commiserate on an issue or just a shout out from one of us that we need a little extra luck for our day, the application has some surprising benefits.

The application can be downloaded from the Appstore here. Try it, make new connections and let me know what you think! Pin It

Socially Acceptable-Instagram

I had a conversation this weekend with another volunteer as I was complaining that I forgot my new camera at home. I was looking forward to taking pictures at the event we were hosting. It was then I remembered that even though my new camera takes really nice pictures, there are some kick bootie apps out there that take your smart phone camera to the next level. 

This morning, I had camera in one hand and Iphone in the other to try to capture the last launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavor. Um, yeah...have you ever pointed your camera or phone directly at the sun? I think I am still squinting. Like a paparazzi in front of Brangelina....I just prayed and blindly shot upwards. It's safe to say, I will not be joining the troops at TMZ anytime soon! What I took on my phone was fair, if not average. Until I remembered to throw it through the greatest photo app of all time: Instagram

Take my original (don't make fun of me) Endeavor Shot

Now we throw it in Instagram for some awesomeness


X-Pro II

Lord Kelvin
First off, I am obsessed with anything that looks vintage and they really have amazing filters that make your photo look amazing. Instagram also lets you add the location using Foursquare and then share your work of art on your Facebook, Twitter, Email etc. Lots of Options, Lots of Fun!
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The Rules of Engagement

Lately I have been on both ends of practicing what you preach when it comes to listening to what your customers have to say. I am a little obsessed with online reviews, what people are saying about other brands and how they respond to it. Anyone that is under my umbrella, I make sure that I consistently use whatever platform necessary to ensure that if they are being talking about (positively or negatively), we are on it. We address it and thank or we address it and fix. Out of the all the things that I promote, I feel that this step is most important.

People want to feel that they are heard whether they have a praise or a problem. In today's world, it is so easy to find a platform and address your issue positively or negatively. Don't you want to be on top of this if your business is the topic at hand?? I think this makes a huge difference in the way you conduct business. Its thrilling to write about Lush LTD, the Setai in Miami and Patsy's NYC and within hours they are on it, thanking you. It makes me want to tell everyone I know!! Scream it from the rooftops, these people get it! They actually care about the people that engage with their brand!!

Not so thrilling, the THREE companies I contacted (a fitness center, an organic food buying club, and a clothing line) this week looking to be a customer with no response via email. I get that there are companies that actually do not know how to use the Twitter account they set up...but an email from a potential customer looking for more information to buy your product and you aren't gonna respond?? Business is that good??

Maybe its the Italian in me, but these things I don't soon forget. Today, I said no to my poor friend's birthday request because it was a restaurant whose owner screamed at me to get out years ago because I asked to make an appointment with them about advertising. So why would I give them the privilege of being a patron, even after all this time? As one wise woman once told me, at the end of the day even if we don't do business together, I will still be a customer. If you are not a jerkasaurus.

You can have the best product, but if you don't have the service or the engagement to back it up...you will lose.

By the way, this week's big winner? The Philadelphia Beer Man who lets you tweet him from your seat at the ballpark to order your cold beverage.

What do you think?? Pin It