Our non-profit give-a-way in June was a huge success! We had over 3,700 entries and 1,000′s of charities were nominated to win part of the $5,000 prize. Entries came in from across the country. Many people posted the contest on their Facebook page and really helped support the give-way.
Here are the winners:
Blind Cat Rescue in St. Pauls, NC – 1st Place $2,000 in merchandise
Al Maun Fund in Atlantic City, NJ – 2nd Place $1,000 in merchandise
For A Better Tomorrow in Highland Ranch, CO – 3rd Place – $500 in merchandise
Molly’s Adopt a Sailor nationwide – 4th Place $100 in merchandise
Project Sweetpeas in Belle Vernon, PA – 4th Place $100 in merchandise
Soldiers Angels nationwide – 4th Place $100 in merchandise
The Little Light House in Tulsa, OK -4th Place $100 in merchandise
Backpack of Blessings – Holy Spirit Ministries, Inc – 4th Place $100 in merchandise
Landstuhl Hospital Care Project - Stafford, VA – 4th Place $100 in merchandise
Trails For Hope - Cleveland, OH – 4th Place $100 in merchandise
Adopt-A-Bull Reuse - Coral Springs, FL – 4th Place $100 in merchandise
We are in the process of contacting eight additional 4th place winners. Please understand many of the winning non-profits are small so it often takes a while to contact them. We will update this post with the other winners as we contact them.
We wish to thank everyone that nominated a non-profit in our $5,000 give-a-way. Tell you what, if everyone keeps nominating we will keep having these monthly charitable give-a-ways. Sound like a deal?
|For a Better Tomorrow|
July 13, 2012 No Comments
Many businesses are always on the lookout for ways to bring in new customers. While there are plenty of traditional mediums available such as TV, radio, and print, there are sometimes more effective ways to get targeted leads. Instead of sending out a mass marketing message to a large group of people, and hoping to find a few, it is sometimes better to tailor a message to a select group of people. This exact strategy can be used by utilizing pay per click marketing. What exactly is pay per click marketing, and why would a business want to use it?
Pay Per Click Marketing Basics
With pay per click marketing, businesses can create marketing messages that go out to people who are looking for what they have offer. These programs are typically offered by search engine companies like Google. Companies can sign up for the program, and then create ads that are designed to get customers to their websites. They choose a specific list of keywords that will trigger the ad.
Once the ad is running, when someone types one of the keywords into the search engine, the ad can then be shown on the side of the page. If the user clicks on the ad, he is then taken to the advertiser’s website and the advertiser is charged a fee. The amount that the advertiser has to pay is based on the popularity of the keyword and one other advertisers are bidding for it.
One big advantage of using this method of marketing is that it can provide highly targeted traffic to a company’s website. With this method of marketing, ads are only shown people who are actively searching for something related to the ad. Then the advertiser only has to pay when someone actually visits the site. This means that the advertiser is only paying when people who are really interested come to the site.
Another advantage of this method of marketing is that it is appropriate for any size business. Companies that have million dollar marketing budgets can use it just as effectively as companies that only want to spend $5 per day. This makes it an ideal solution for any business who wants more customers.
Tips on Success
Although this is a very powerful marketing medium, not every business succeeds with it. It has to be used properly in order to really work. One of the most important things to keep in mind when using this method of marketing is to use attention-grabbing headlines. It’s critical to get people’s attention when they are searching online. It is also important to have a consistent message always from the headline to the website. People like to see what they are looking for when they visit a website.
Overall, pay per click marketing is a method that can really work for a business. If the business is willing to test out a few different ads and keywords, the perfect ad can be developed which brings in customers every day.
July 12, 2012 No Comments
Web hosting problems can result from doing inadequate research during the host selection process, but you’ll need these services if you hope to successfully market your business online. Some useful tips in choosing a web host can set you on the right track in your choice of provider. If you don’t do the appropriate research, however, you can end up wasting months of time and thousands of dollars and you may even damage the reputation of your business. Before starting on a search for the best web hosting available, analyze your business requirements.
Is there any software you require to be run on your host server?
What kind of a load do you anticipate for your site?
What are your predictions about growth?
What kind of technical support will be needed?
What if anything will be required to interface your company’s software with your hosted applications?
What kind of security is required to protect your business? There may be legal requirements as well as general security standards that need to be met.
The answers to your questions will guide you to find the right kind of hosting service.
Five Things to Consider in Web Host Selection
All your security, technical, operational and support requirements as well as the reputation of potential providers need to be considered. Here are some resources that will help you decide whether your prospective web hosting service is right for you.
Consumer Rankings has published a recent top 10 report for hosting services. Their reports are based on direct product analysis as well as product reviews. In depth information is provided about each site including awards received, services provided and pricing. Links to each company’s site provide a convenient way to do further investigation.
Security is important for maintaining the confidentiality of company information and the integrity of company assets, and is often a legal responsibility, especially when data is financial or patient related. Many web hosts offer security services and secure email at a reasonable cost. Services like web hosting with Yahoo Small Business will provide you with many of the basics you need to run your company along with business-grade security features. Desirable security features include SSL for secure encryption, Firewalls, Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS), DDos prevention to protect against the ever more common denial of service attacks by hackers, which prevent online services from operating. A secure PoP3 server, antivirus and antispam are important as well.
Scalability and Availability
As a business grows, its information needs and associated bandwidth grow as well. There may very well be an increase in traffic to the site. A good web hosting service will be able to accommodate an increase in resources and should be able to do this in a transparent fashion. In addition, a hosting service should operate 24/7 with excellent response time.
Technical requirements may include specific server side software such as PHP, Perl, MYSQL and Python. Some businesses may need software for eCommerce or rapid website development. Database administration tools such as PhpMyAdmin may be required.
Support Services Adequacy
When there are questions or problems it’s important to know that you can talk to support, because your web host controls the web server infrastructure and you don’t.
Choosing the Provider
Having defined your company’s requirements and examined how selected host services can meet your company’s needs, it should be easy to narrow things down to some excellent candidates. Campanies like Yahoo have impressive track records and should give small business managers peace of mind with regards to their hosted operations. Other hosts may be more appropriate for other websites. Small scale startup businesses with Linux hosting in mind may be able to get excellent low cost or even free hosting services to meet their needs.
July 11, 2012 No Comments
During the course of running a business, there are many expenses that may pop up which entrepreneurs didn’t expect. If a business owner is looking for ways to save money on the expenses that they incur on a regular basis, investing in the right technology might make a difference. There are several new technologies that a company could put its money into in order to save over the long-term. Here are a few examples of technologies to consider.
VoIP or voice over Internet protocol is one technology that businesses may want to look at. With VoIP, businesses can set up a complete phone system that runs over the Internet instead of through phone lines. Businesses can get a complete PBX system just like a regular company has. The big difference with VoIP is that it usually much cheaper than other comparable systems. With VoIP, users typically pay one low monthly fee for all of their inbound and outbound calls across the country. Users can choose their area code or get a toll-free number as well. If users are paying too much for their current phone service, they may want to check out VoIP.
Another technology that could potentially save a business money is an Internet fax service. With Internet fax service, a company can avoid having to print out faxes that come in. Instead of printing them out, the company can simply receive them online through email. If the message is important, it can be printed out. If not, it can be deleted. This also has the potential to save the company quite a bit of money in toner and other expenses. It also eliminates the need to pay for a separate phone line for the fax machine. In fact, it can eliminate the need for a fax machine all together.
One of the biggest expenses that most businesses incur is paying for their electricity costs every month. With the way that electricity costs are rising, many businesses are looking for ways to save money on these expenses. With advancements in technology, there are now several ways that a company could get electricity without paying for it from the grid. Many businesses are switching over to solar power or wind power as a way to save money. While these technologies do come with a large initial cost, they will usually pay for themselves pretty quickly.
Many businesses spend a lot of money making sure that every employee has a phone with an intercom system installed on their desks. While this is a common way to communicate with other people in the building, it is expensive. A cheaper alternative is typically to just use instant messaging software. Everyone already need a computer on their desk to do most jobs. If they will simply install instant messaging software on the computer, employees can communicate with each other for free. Not everyone needs a phone in order to do their jobs effectively in today’s business landscape.
How are you saving with technology?
July 9, 2012 No Comments
Marketing could improve your company’s local identity. Using several low-cost marketing ideas, you might increase your company’s revenue too. Small business owners who realize a higher sales volume may notice greater profitability as well. You can take a methodical approach toward growing your small business.
Identifying your prospective customer base could enable you to spend your marketing dollars in the proper places. Using data from your existing client base, you may be able to determine demographics such as whether most of your customers are consumers or business owners. Target marketing can position you to concentrate your resources toward growth opportunities.
Studying information about customers who buys your products or services could enable you to perform some market research. An analysis of your client base within certain zip codes may enhance your ability to distribute a sufficient amount of marketing pieces. Your research might suggest the need for greater circulations in some areas such as direct mail or printed advertisements.
A marketing budget can limit the amount of money that you spend on advertising campaigns or promotional activities. Staying within your allotted marketing budget could enable you to keep your small business finances in order. You might be able to implement a strategy that utilizes a portion of your sales revenue toward marketing initiatives.
Using a well-written plan, you can focus on the advertising objectives for your company. Your plan might include activities for building your company’s brand recognition or corporate identity. Planning to grow a small business could entail online or retail strategies.
An Internet presence frequently provides ideal options for most small businesses. Typically, you can advertise more cost efficiently, showcase your products for less money and you can create items such as an online newsletter or customer surveys. Using an inexpensive website, you can market your products and your services on the Internet.
Printed Advertising Materials
Whether you advertise in local newspapers or with specialty promotional items, you may be able to grow your small business with printed materials. Using newspaper ads, postcards and flyers, you may be able to create compelling buying incentives. Small retail business can design banner ads and other types of display advertisements to attract more customers into local stores. You can locate an assortment of printed promotional items for your small business.
Discounted Promotional Items
Low-cost promotional materials could enable you to buy items in larger quantities or you might realize a greater profit potential. Local office supply stores or local printing companies may provide discounted promotional items. Shopping for promotional items online could help you save more money.
Incremental steps may be taken toward building your small business. Some governmental agencies provide financial assistance and small business marketing ideas for newly formed businesses. You can obtain help toward growing an existing business too.
June 20, 2012 No Comments
College students are a completely different breed of people when it comes to receiving gifts. One of the problems that parents have is understanding the transition their children go through from high school student to college student. The things that interested a child who is in high school may not hold the same appeal when that child reaches college. With a whole world of opportunity in front of them, college students start to appreciate gifts that their parents will often not understand.
1) Laundry Materials
That transition from high school to college becomes much more intense when the child decides to either go out of state for college or live in the college dorms for his first couple of years of school. The priorities of a child shift dramatically when they are suddenly faced with the responsibility of doing their own laundry.
College students will often turn doing laundry into a social event designed to either catch up with current friends or meet new people. As effective as doing the laundry can be for a college student’s social life, it is still not something that the college student wants to pay for. That is why gifts such as laundry detergent, laundry baskets, dryer sheets and quarters for the washers and dryers actually make very good college student gifts.
College students are always low on money and always appreciate the gift of money. You can give money as a gift in several different ways. You can give cash by itself, give a gift card for a specific department store or restaurant or you can give prepaid credit cards that will work in the on-campus bookstore or restaurant. Money, in any form, is always appreciated by college students.
Giving the gift of blankets is something that college students do not start to appreciate until the weather gets colder. But once the winter starts to arrive, your college student will call home every week complaining that someone has taken his best blanket. Parents who give new blankets are giving gifts that their college students will appreciate without even realizing it.
4) College Themed Gear
It can take a little while, but a college student will start to feel the loyalty to his school growing constantly. Gifts of t-shirts, hooded sweatshirts, sweatpants, jackets and hats with the college logo and name on it start to become gifts that are in demand. The longer the student is at the school, the stronger the desire for college themed gear will become.
5) Cellular Phone
If your college student does not already have a cellular phone, then giving one as a gift is a great idea. There are enough cellular phone plans out there that will allow you to get your college student a phone with unlimited talk time, texting and data access that you can easily afford it. It will help your college student to stay in touch with friends and also give you a reliable way to stay in touch with him as well.
June 18, 2012 No Comments
Thanks to the Internet, it’s never been easier for a small business to engage in efficient marketing on a shoestring budget. In many cases, you can even compete with much larger businesses by being smart and utilizing cost effective advertising. With that being said, let’s talk about some marketing methods that are either free or inexpensive for small business owners.
Starting a blog is something that has become commonplace and is great for staying connected with existing customers and acquiring new customers. The process is pretty straightforward and involves routinely posting promotions, new products or services, special offers and general industry information. Blogging tends to be effective because it’s a great way to interact with your demographic on a personal level and helps establish trust. It’s also extremely convenient and allows you to reach numerous people with ease.
If you already have a website for you business, you can simply incorporate a blog into it. Otherwise, you can purchase a domain and a start a blog with your own dot com. If you aren’t concerned with having a domain, you can create a blog completely for free on websites like WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr and Typepad.
Another technique that’s free to use is social media. By creating pages on some top visited websites like Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook, you can interact with relevant people within your industry all around the world. After creating a page and filling out the profile with your business information, you can update your page with helpful content that makes people want to follow you. You can also streamline the process by following other people within your niche and networking with them.
You can also sync up your different social media accounts so that followers on one website will follow you on another. In time, you can expect to build a significant following of people all over the world who are interested in your business. After you achieve a following, you will have a loyal group of individuals who will make purchases as well as recommend your business to their followers, friend and family. For this reason, other people sometimes end up doing your marketing for you with social media. If you have products or services that are truly great, they may end up going viral in some cases where they reach a massive audience overnight.
If you have a website, setting up an email campaign with a company like Aweber can also be effective. While this service costs around $20 per month, it’s a great way to leverage your website to increase sales. It works by creating an opt in form for your website where people can sign up to receive your newsletter in their email. Once you create a list of people, you can simply send out bulk emails that features things like new products or special promotions. This technique tends to work well because of the genuine interest that most people will have when receiving emails. As a result, you can often expect a high conversion rate.
June 13, 2012 No Comments
There is a pretty good chance that if a house has a garage attached to it, then there is a workshop in that garage. The workshop is that mystical place where a man goes to fix an old chair or build his own bookcases. It is a place that winds up being the gathering point for generations of hand tools that seem to get handed down from father to son, but never used. It is a family museum as much as it is a place where he can get things done.
If you know a man that has a workshop in his garage, or anywhere else in his home, then there are some essential things he needs that he may not own. There are gifts you can buy for the man with a workshop that he would never admit to needing, but he will use constantly once he has them.
1) First Aid Kit
A man with a garage workshop will love his own first aid kit because it will allow him to treat his many wounds properly without having to walk through the house to the bathroom. He can hack and drill at his own flesh, intentionally or unintentionally, and have the means necessary to make his own repairs. The only difficult part will be convincing him that medical gauze is not necessarily the best way to re-attach a severed finger.
2) Workshop Vacuum
A workshop becomes a dusty and dirty place after a while. A man may leave it in that condition out of pride in the work he does, or just because he does not feel like cleaning his workshop with the house vacuum cleaner. To solve that problem, you can get him a workshop vacuum. No man feels emasculated while using a workshop vacuum, and it may even inspire him to keep his workshop cleaner and safer. A workshop vacuum is also good to have around for those times when his plumbing projects go wrong and you need to get water out of places it should not be.
3) Pegboard and Hooks
This is yet another workshop gift that a man would never admit he needs, but he will make good use of it when he gets it. A pegboard with a tool hanging hook kit will allow a man to organize his workshop and keep the tools he uses on a regular basis at arm’s length. It will allow him to be more productive and waste less time looking for his favorite hammer that he continually misplaces at various spots throughout the house.
4) Personalized Welcome Plaque
Men take pride in their workshops. One of the ways that you can help him to show off his workshop is to get him a plaque welcoming people to his domain. You would be shocked at how much Ted will appreciate a plaque that says “Ted’s Workshop” as it hangs over his workbench.
5) Small Refrigerator
This is just one of those gifts that he would never think of getting, but that he would love to have. A man with a refrigerator in his workshop is a man with an excuse to miss an evening with the in-laws.
June 11, 2012 No Comments
We fell in love in May along with 25 lucky winners in our Wedding Sweepstakes!
Each winner received $200 in DollarDays merchandise to help make a wedding day a little more special. Since we carry everything from wholesale cake toppers, guest books and serving set accessories we can help make any wedding affordable.
We are still in the process of contacting all the winners so if you entered please check your e-mail.
Here are the winners we’re contacted so far:
- Genora C. from Atlanta, GA
- Kim N. from Blue Earth, MN
- Shari W. from Tomball, TX
- Amanda T. from Shelbyville, KY
- Camie F. from Phoenix, OR
- April G. from Little Cedar, IA
- Stacy H. from Rockville Centre, NY
- Christopher M. from Iowa City, IA
- Jessica from West Deptford, NJ
- Belynda F. from Falcon, WA
- Dawn C. from McHenry, IL
- Steve D. from Poway, CA
- Helen G. from Wheeling, WV
- Collene S. from Manchester, CT
- Shari W. from Tomball, TX
- Beverly W. from New Fairfield, CT
We want to thank everyone that entered. We have sweepstakes and give-a-way’s every month.
Like us on Facebook to stay up to date on all of our promotions. We loving giving away free merchandise to help those that need it.
June 7, 2012 No Comments
Small business owners are constantly keeping an eye on the company bottom line and doing everything possible to generate a profit. Developing ways to generate new business is the lifeblood of any organization. But keeping operating costs low is also a method for creating profit for the bottom line.
The difficult part that most business owners run into when it comes to saving money on operations is maintaining product and service quality. There are techniques a small business owner can use that will keep operating costs low while allowing the entrepreneur to retain the quality of his offerings.
As a business grows, it becomes inevitable that the company will need to bring in people to accommodate the increase in activity. The problem is that employees become expensive with the need for payroll services, office space, office equipment and overhead costs such as utilities. Employees also get paid sick days, vacation time and weekends off. Independent contractors eliminate all of those extra costs.
When a company utilizes independent contractors, it does not have to supply any office space, office equipment or do any payroll work. The independent contractor is brought in to do a specific task by a deadline utilizing its own resources. All the company pays for is results.
A small business does not want to skimp on its marketing budget, but the costs of doing large-scale advertising can get expensive. That is where the Internet comes into play. The Internet is a way for a small business to reach millions of potential customers simultaneously and for almost no cost.
Social networking is a small business marketing resource that should be maximized as much as possible. There are marketing companies that specialize in social networking for businesses that would be worth looking into. The return on that investment could be significant.
Videos on the Internet are becoming popular, and that is why a small business should utilize the free video hosting websites to its advantage. A small business owner can create inexpensive product or company videos and then promote them across the social networks. As long as the videos are entertaining, they will gain an audience.
Many small business owners save money by running their businesses from home. But there are other businesses that cannot run their businesses from home and need to rent facilities. One of the ways a company could save money on facilities costs is to share costs with another company. For example, an accounting professional can share an office with an attorney and the two can split all of the costs of running the office.
Another way to save money on facilities costs is to utilize free public resources. For example, rather than renting an office space with a large conference room for presentations, a company could rent a smaller office space that shares a conference room with the other tenants in the building. The company still gets the office space it needs and it also has access to a free conference room.
Running a small business means watching out for expenses. With some creativity, a good entrepreneur can find creative ways to keep operating costs low and profits high.
June 1, 2012 No Comments