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Creating an Impression – Very Impressive

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Good News!

The bad thing about a business card is that generally it goes in the pocket with the stack of 50 other cards you’ve been handed, but a great thing is that it doesn’t have to be that way. Pictured above is the business card of @jonray (on Twitter) that he handed me at the Austin Mashable party this past week (which was a blast, by the way). I must confess that I was blown away. Why was I blown away? Because I wanted to take the time to deconstruct it carefully so that I would be able to reconstruct it. I wanted to examine this “note” he passed me at the party in place of a card.What was even more impressive is that when he handed it to @khartline of Mashable, guess where it went? I won’t say where she tucked it, but if you think back to high school, it’s where you hope a pretty girl will keep your love note…

It Made Me Wonder…

So the point of this clever little conversation starter is that @jonray took the time to create an impression, and it made me wonder- do we look for opportunities to create an impression in everything we do, even as small as a business card? If it still looks like a business card, maybe not.


Do You Have to be Cutesy?

Should agents make cute folded notes for potential clients? Maybe not, but I imagine that with inspiration like this, one of you is already cooking up a way to “create an impression” right now.

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Jay Thompson

    August 4, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    I think it’s brilliant.

  2. Ken Brand

    August 4, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    It’s remarkable, thanks for sharing.

    Think about those indelible first impressions, the first mental image, the opening riff. Great writers open with it. Great films open with it. The Symphony Conductor lifts her baton. Listen to the opening riff of great Rock n Roll songs, you recognize the first two seconds instantly forever.

    Want to move people? Open BIG = First mental image/emotion/impact Close BIG = Last mental image/emotion/impact.

    For example, your image posts does that in red spades.

    Rock ON – kb

  3. Candy Lynn

    August 4, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    I’s say Hugh -@gapingvoid may just have some competition!

  4. Holli Boyd

    August 4, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    reaction in one word – awesome

  5. Jamie Geiger

    August 4, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    It’s the little, unique things that people remember, and it doesn’t have to cost a thing- great idea!

  6. Jayson

    August 5, 2008 at 1:46 am

    Everyone always says to make an impression, or to be creative, but it’s 1000 times better to see a great example first hand.

  7. first time home buyers loan

    August 5, 2008 at 2:31 am

    its really mind blowing man !

  8. Jennifer in Louisville

    August 5, 2008 at 5:09 am

    Interesting spin on an old concept. Definitely made an impression. (Though I wonder how truly effective it will be long term. At the end of the day, you are left with a very large, and easily damaged record of his information. In 6 months, will you still have his contact info – or will the most you remember be “the cool dude, don’t recall his name, that gave me the note on paper”.

    I think inserting his “real” card INSIDE the note would have been even better. It would have still gotten his point across – and given you something more durable/convenient for actual use in the long run.

  9. Eric Blackwell

    August 5, 2008 at 6:13 am

    I think it was a great way to get the attention of the recipient. Like Jennifer, I think that there may be some real value in having the professional business card there as well. Shows them that you can do both. Make a great impression AND be professional.

    Eric

  10. Glenn fm Naples

    August 5, 2008 at 7:30 am

    A very good technique to be different. In addition, to being different – you can read the printing. No matter how a kewl an idea – someone has to be able read it.

    Benn – you should have added a disclaimer – this technique can only be used by those individuals whose printing is legible. 🙂

  11. Benn Rosales

    August 5, 2008 at 9:43 am

    Interesting that another card be used, and maybe he had one, but in this one instance, his approach was compelling, if you read his blog, he even had a plan before attending the conference and wrote about it. He had a goal, he set it, and he executed and he made connections- myself being one of them.

    I’m not easially impressed by people, but in this case, it was a total package. I agree that not everyone will be this deliberate and as polished, but that’s why I said this isn’t for everyone, but how about looking harder at the details.

  12. Jon Ray

    August 5, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    Thanks for the write-up! A lot of great advice here in the comments section. Just wanted to say to #8 & #9 that I agree and I already have had a graphic artist draw up the cards that will be inserted into the folded pieces, but at this particular conference, they were not printed yet.

    I also think that it is important to always follow up with people on a regular basis. It’s true that a person might lose or damage the paper contact I was giving out, but I make sure to follow up with all of my contacts multiple times a year, so that they will always remember who I am. The point is that by making a knock-out first impression, they will welcome any other correspondence that I send in the future.

    Thanks, again to everyone who commented. I’d encourage you to continue the discussion over at my blog, if you like. At The Papertank we are constantly creating unique marketing ideas for our clients and I would love to get into a discussion about other things that have stood out to you and made a lasting impression.

    -jonray

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Business Marketing

Bite-sized retail: Macy’s plans to move out of malls

(BUSINESS MARKETING) While Macy’s shares have recently climbed, the department store chain is making a change in regards to big retail shopping malls.

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Macy's retail storefront, which may look different as they scale to smaller stores.

I was recently listening to a podcast on Barstool Sports, and was surprised to hear that their presenting sponsor was Macy’s. This struck me as odd considering the demographic for the show is women in their twenties to thirties, and Macy’s typically doesn’t cater to that crowd. Furthermore, department retail stores are becoming a bit antiquated as is.

The sponsorship made more sense once I learned that Macy’s is restructuring their operation, and now allowing their brand to go the way of the ghost. They feel that while malls will remain in operation, only the best (AKA the malls with the most foot traffic) will stand the test of changes in the shopping experience.

As we’ve seen a gigantic rise this year in online shopping, stores like Macy’s and JC Penney are working hard to keep themselves afloat. There is so much changing in brick and mortar retail that major shifts need to be made.

So, what is Macy’s proposing to do?

The upscale department store chain is going to be testing smaller stores in locations outside of major shopping malls. Bloomingdale’s stores will be doing the same. “We continue to believe that the best malls in the country will thrive,” CEO Jeff Gennette told CNBC analysts. “However, we also know that Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s have high potential [off]-mall and in smaller formats.”

While the pandemic assuredly plays a role in this, the need for change came even before the hit in March. Macy’s had announced in February their plans to close 125 stores in the next three years. This is in conjunction with Macy’s expansion of Macy’s Backstage, which offers more affordable options.

Gennette also stated that while those original plans are still in place, Macy’s has been closely monitoring the competition in the event that they need to adjust the store closure timeline. At the end of the second quarter, Macy’s had 771 stores, including Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury.

Last week, Macy’s shares climbed 3 percent, after the retailer reported a more narrow loss than originally expected, along with stronger sales due to an uptick in their online business. So they’re already doing well in that regard. But will smaller stores be the change they need to survive?

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Business Marketing

Why you must nix MLM experience from your resume

(BUSINESS MARKETING) MLMs prey on people without much choice, but once you try to switch to something more stable, don’t use the MLM as experience.

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Discussing including MLM experience on a resume.

MLM experience… Is it worth keeping on your resume?

Are you or someone you know looking for a job after a stint in an MLM? Well, first off, congratulations for pursuing a real job that will provide a steady salary! But I also know that transition can be hard. The job market is already tight and if you don’t have much other work experience on your resume, is it worth trying to leverage your MLM experience?

The short answer? Heck no.

As Ask the Manager puts it, there’s a “strong stigma against [MLMs],” meaning your work experience might very well put a bad taste in the mouth of anyone looking through resumes. And looking past the sketchy products many offer, when nearly half of people in MLMs lose money and another quarter barely break even, it sure doesn’t paint you in a good light to be involved.

(Not to mention, many who do turn a profit only do so by recruiting more people, not actually by selling many products.)

“But I wouldn’t say I worked for an MLM,” you or your friend might say, “I was a small business owner!”

It’s a common selling point for MLMs, that often throw around pseudo-feminist feel good slang like “Boss Babe” or a “Momtrepreneur,” to tell women joining that they’re now business women! Except, as you might have guessed, that’s not actually the case, unless by “Boss Babe” you mean “Babe Who Goes Bankrupt or Tries to Bankrupt Her Friends.”

A more accurate title for the job you did at an MLM would be Sales Rep, because you have no stake in the creation of the product, or setting the prices, or any of the myriad of tasks that a real entrepreneur has to face.

Okay, that doesn’t sound nearly as impressive as “small business owner.” And I know it’s tempting to talk up your experience on a resume, but that can fall apart pretty quickly if you can’t actually speak to actual entrepreneur experience. It makes you look like you don’t know what you’re talking about…which is also not a good look for the job hunt.

That said… Depending on your situation, it might be difficult to leave any potential work experience off your resume. I get it. MLMs often target people who don’t have options for other work opportunities – and it’s possible you’re one of the unlucky ones who doesn’t have much else to put on paper.

In this case, you’ll want to do it carefully. Use the sales representative title (or something similar) and, if you’re like the roughly 50% of people who lose money from MLMs, highlight your soft skills. Did you do cold calls? Tailor events to the people who would be attending? Get creative, just make sure to do it within reason.

It’s not ideal to use your MLM experience on a resume, but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. Still, congratulations to you, or anyone you know, who has decided to pursue something that will actually help pay the bills.

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Business Marketing

This smart card manages employee spending with ease

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Clever credit cards make it easier for companies to set spending policies and help alleviate expense problems for both them and their employees.

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Spendesk showing off its company credit cards.

Company credit cards are a wonderful solution to managing business expenses. They work almost exactly like debit cards, which we all know how to use, am I right? It is the twenty-first century after all. Simply swipe, dip, or tap, and a transaction is complete.

However, keeping up with invoices and receipts is a nightmare. I know I’ve had my fair share of hunting down wrinkled pieces of paper after organizing work events. Filling out endless expense reports is tedious. Plus, the back and forth communication with the finance team to justify purchases can cause a headache on both ends.

Company credit cards make it easier for companies to keep track of who’s spending money and how much. However, they aren’t able to see final numbers until expense reports are submitted. This makes monitoring spending a challenge. Also, reviewing all the paperwork to reimburse employees is time-consuming.

But Spendesk is here to combat those downsides! This all-in-one corporate expense and spend management service provides a promising alternative to internal management. The French startup “combines spend approvals, company cards, and automated accounting into one refreshingly easy spend management solution.”

Their clever company cards are what companies and employees have all been waiting for! With increasing remote workforces, this new form of payment comes at just the right moment to help companies simplify their expenditures.

These smart cards remove limitations regular company cards have today. Spendesk’s employee debit cards offer companies options to monitor budgets, customize settings, and set specific authorizations. For instance, companies can set predefined budgets and spending category limitations on flights, hotels, restaurants, etc. Then they don’t have to worry about an employee taking advantage of their card by booking a first-class flight or eating at a high-end steakhouse.

All transactions are tracked in real time so finance and accounting can see purchases right as they happen. Increasing visibility is important, especially when your employee is working remotely.

And for employees, this new form of payment is more convenient and easier on the pocket. “These are smart employee company cards with built-in spending policies. Employees can pay for business expenses when they need to without ever having to spend their own money,” the company demonstrated in a company video.

Not having to dip into your checking account is a plus in my book! And for remote employees who just need to make a single purchase, Spendesk has single-use virtual debit cards, too.

Now, that’s a smart card!

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