Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More Freebies

Last month I blogged about the many free online resources that are available. is another website to check out -- a directly of free online resources!!!

image even has a section dedicated just to business-related freebies. Some of these include free press releases, a free online storefront, and free template for business cards.

Some of the other, interesting freebies pertain to Internet access, web space, and webmaster tools.

Like anything that is offered for free, do make sure you read the fine print!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Creative Marketing?

I am expecting our third child in early January and we are waiting to find out if the baby is a he or a she. While I was shopping the other day in a shoe store, a vibrant lady came up to me and told me that she was 100% confident that I was going to have a boy. She went on to chat about how she is always right about these things and that I should call her after I have the baby to confirm that she is right. Miss Sherrie (as she likes to be called) then went on to tell me that she is a professional psychic.

Afterwards, I got to thinking -- wasn't that a creative marketing ploy on her behalf? Miss Sherrie has a 50-50 chance on getting the gender of the baby correct (although perhaps her psychic abilities increase that chance....haha). For those that she does guess correctly, they then have her phone number and are probably more likely to call her up to find out what else she knows!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Setting Yourself Apart

Some industries are more competitive than others and to the average consumer, it is hard to tell some of the business within those industries apart. Think about the dry cleaners, book store, coffee shop, gas station or even hotels. They all pretty much offer the same product/service as their competitor.

This weekend, I was traveling and had to select a hotel. I went online and in the mid-price level, the hotels all looked pretty much the same -- the rates were within $10 of each other, they all offered a complimentary breakfast, pool, high-speed Internet, etc. I ended up settling on the Country Inn & Suites, just because I hadn't been there in a while.

When I arrived, something really stood out to me that I hadn't seen before at a hotel - imagetheir Lending Library program. In the bookshelves surrounding the fireplace in the lobby, they had books available that were geared towards all ages. A simple sign explained that you were welcome to pick a book to read, and if you didn't finish it during your stay, go ahead and take it with you and just return it the next time you visit a Country Inn & Suites. What a nice idea!

This program probably doesn't cost a fortune, but it was a nice surprise that I will remember - and for me, will separate this particular hotel from the mass of other hotels in the mid-level price range.

As an entrepreneur, this is exactly how you need to think. Your mainstream product/service has to be competitive, but then try and look to see how you can offer a unique perk or something unexpected that the customer will take away from their experience.