A Brand New Recipe For Branding

In a recent article, I told the story of when I was a young whippersnapper, attaining classes at what was then and still is called "one of the more famous hotel schools in North America", the marketing professor gave us an interesting, but quite challenging assignment.

We were to find a hospitality business that marketed itself by using the participation of the owner as part of the "distinctiveness" of the business. At the time, this seemed like a most difficult assignment, because in those days, it seemed that not too many people really stood out in this field. At least that what it seemed like to me in my youth. Or maybe it was just that they did not want to either make a fool of themselves. There seemed little need to drive the world to their door. I chose a very different restaurant enclosed within an old 19th century Mansion in this very cosmopolitan city. It was called Julie's Mansion and was owned and operated by a very eccentric, but wonderful showman who knew that he had to differentiate his restaurant from all the rest. He knew that the best way to do that – after the assumption of great food, entertainment and service – was to turn himself into the "brand."

My job, as a young hospitality student, was to watch him carefully and learn as much as I could. One Saturday night I showed up and Julie was trying to 'insert' himself into the home team's pro hockey uniform. It was immediately obvious that Julie had never played hockey. To see a middle-aged man struggling to get into and then have to have me extricate him from the jersey, equipment, elbow pads et al, was hilarious for a young guy like me, who had been on skates and playing the game since age four. He certainly was not afraid to make a fool of himself. When I showed up that night, he had less than no idea what piece of equipment went where, and was struggling with the shin guards. He had got himself all tangled up with what he thought were hip guards, when in fact they were shoulder pads, worn over the shoulders. It was indeed the first time I had ever seen a 'player' wearing shoulder pads, stretched around his butt.

I helped him get 'dressed'. Next came the taping of the hockey stick. This was really hilarious, watching this fellow trying to figure out the right way to tape a hockey stick without making a mess of it and looking foolish to his customers. He had a special plan for that stick.

I taped his stick and now he was ready. He had on his uniform, equipment and helmet, borrowed from one of the local NHL players who were a frequent guest at the mansion. Now, he actually looked like a real NHL hockey player … in black and white running shoes, sans skates!

Then Julie 'flew through' the different alcoves and floors of the restaurant with a big ball of foodservice aluminum foil as his 'puck'. He stick-handled in and out and between tables, took shots with the aluminum ball off the walls, cross-checked his own waiters trying to serve tables, all the while yelling cheers and the phrase made famous' round the world, by Foster Hewitt : "he shoots …. he scores!" All this, at the top of his lungs. Then he had planned for a horn to sound loudly indicating that the 'period of play' in his imaginary 'game' was over. It was now time to go to the dressing room. In a flash, just like an on-stage magician, he quickly disappeared into thin air, hidden in his office.

My face was covered in tears. I could not stop laughing! The restaurant was in an uproar. Guests were laughing so hard … one guy literally fell off his chair. The waiters were laughing, the guests were laughing, I was laughing and all the while Julie was having a ball too. Here was a restaurateur who made his work fun.

I had not met one of these types before. I really liked and respected this fellow. But I figured then, and still today, that anyone who had that much fun … and made that much money … must know something the others did not. And he did. He became his own brand. 'Distinctive. 'Differentiated. 'There is attractive to people who are sick of seeing the same old, same old every day. People are attracted to differences not similarities. Take a look at what you can do with yours. It's right under your own nose.

© Copyright, Roy W. MacNaughton, 2006

Web Hosting Options for Small Business

It seems that so many times it is hard for the little guy to get a leg up in the business world. Every supplier or service that you talk to is only interested in catching the larger fish and is totally disinterested in you. When it comes to finding a web host for your website it can often times be no different sometimes. Sure they have service plans that you can cut costs with but how do you know just what you need to get by.

There are a few simple rules to follow if you are in the market for a budget web hosting plan that at the same time does not leave you empty handed on the essential services that you will be needing from time to time. If your website is less than one-hundred pages and does not have any data intensive components such as streaming videos than you can get by with the bare minimum amount of bandwidth and gigabytes of memory and that means a basic plan for about $ 5.

If you have more than one-hundred pages and or your pages are heavy laden with text and photos then you may want to take the option of shared web hosting for about $ 10 which is going to give you more bandwidth and memory. That is what you will need for the bare bones basic web hosting service if that is all that you need. You have to bear in mind though that what you are going to be doing with your website also has to be considered.

For instance; if your site is just for reference purposes that is supporting a non Internet business in your community then you can still get by with the low cost basic web hosting service. If however your business is an Internet business that changes the picture considerably. This is because, unless you are marketing a product that only you have and no one can live without, you will be in competition of untold numbers of other people on the Internet.

This then means that you are going to have to engage in some level of website promotion or SEO which stands for search engine optimization. If you do not, then every time that someone types in the keywords to look for what ever it is that your website is selling you will be the last in line with regards to prospective sellers.

SEO can be approached two different ways with regards to a prospective web hosting service. The first way is to just pay them to promote your website and do the SEO for you but it is going to cost you.

The second way is to learn about SEO and then do it yourself. If you are going to do it yourself you will need to learn what basic tools you will be needing your web hosting service to have available. SEO is not overly complex but you do have to know what you are doing or all of your best efforts can be a waste of time.

An Overview – How Important is Telecommunications in E-Commerce and On-Line Business World

Telecommunication is the term use to refer to a vast array of communication technologies that send information over distances. It is one of the enabling technology behind the internet.

Telecom infrastructures and equipment transmit and receive information or voice and data packets over different modes over very long distances.

Telecommunication is a broad term as it also covers not only data communication such as the internet but includes voice telephony as well. Land line, mobile phone, satellite phones and even Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) are forms of voice communication under telephony technologies. Without Telecommunication services all e-commerce and internet business-related activities would come to a grinding halt.

There are now a vast array of telecom services that connects all type of devices including computer networks, public telephone networks, television networks and radio networks.

Telecom companies are like hauling companies. They can haul information from one point to another and vice-versa. It can dedicate one particular communication channel to connect a private computer network of one company say to its branch’s computer network located in another country. The service is called international lease line service. Telecom companies offer a variety of service, voice and internet access services are most in-demand.

To get the best and cheapest telecom service, check-out this page on best voice and internet rates. The importance of finding the best telecom service should be stressed especially for start-up internet business.

As mentioned, the internet is a system that interconnects computer networks across the globe and its telecommunication that makes possible.

The internet is a public network free for use by anyone. Users of the internet however will have to pay telecom companies for the service of bringing internet access to their areas and for providing value-added service. Telecommunication companies have to invest millions of dollars on telecom infrastructures

In rural areas,less-populated or less-dense areas, reliable access to internet is a major problem. Despite widespread advances in communication such as GSM/CDMA, Fiber Optics, Satellite and Wireless Systems, some areas are making do with low-speed dial-up access.

Internet business needs access to reliable telecommunication services (e.g- telephone and broadband internet access is essential). Access to voice and data communication is hard especially in rural, remote and isolated areas. Few telecom companies dare to venture in because of very low potential return on investment. Telcos just won’t expand in areas with low projected return on investment.

Internet access via satellite or VSAT is the easiest but not the most cost-effective way due to high cost of subscribing a VSAT service.

In remote regions, local communities and entrepreneurs bonded together to put up a local communication systems in order to have access to telephone and the internet. You can find telecentre or community technology centers that serve as communication hub for the community in remote places.

Tips When Seeking Your Automobile Extended Warranty

You may have heard that "research is critical" when it comes to purchasing an extended warranty for your automobile. Sometimes auto extended warranties are depicted in a negative light because of a few scam artists looking to capitalize off peoples' concern for their investments.

A recent Consumer Reports study recommended that people buy highly rated models only and that they invest in Money Market accounts to save for repairs, rather than invest in a warranty. However, if you tend to incur a good number of auto repair bills, if you plan on keeping your car more than three years and if you drive your car over the recommended 12,000 miles annually, then you are a good candidate for the extended warranty program .

Dealerships know that consumers trust them, by nature. An establishment that deals with billions of dollars in sales each year could not possibly rip you off over a technicality like the extended warranty, could they? Well, maybe they do not mean to rob you blind, but think of the dealership as a retail operation.

If you've ever worked in retail, whether it's clothing, furniture, consumer gadgets or automobiles, then you know that retailers mark up the cost of their items anywhere from 100% to 1,000% of the cost value! Now imagine how much extra you could be paying for your extended vehicle warranty. Do not be afraid to go directly to the source and purchase your warranty online from a trusted company like Warranty Direct.

Another factor to consider is auto warranty for "wear and tear." This type of warranty can be hard to find, since many only cover mechanical failure. However, you can definitely find extended warranty coverage that includes "wear and tear," thereby covering parts like the idler arm, piston rings, U joints, CV joints, wheel bearings, motor mounts, suspension bushings, tie rod ends, seals, gaskets and other engine parts that typically wear down and may or may not cause a mechanical breakdown.

If you have an anti-lock braking system, then you'll want to make sure your coverage extends to ABS and instances of overheating. The comprehensive website, carbuyingtips.com recommends Warranty Direct and Nation Warranty Corporation, which both include "wear and tear" in their plans.

The most important thing is that you do not feel rushed or hassled into securing the extended warranty for your car immediately. Most auto warranties allow you the option of buying later; yet of course, you should only delay as you research, rather than allowing enough time to elapse so your car is a liability. Like with health insurance, it's much harder to get coverage once problems arise.

As with anything, the extended auto warranty is a "buyer beware" scenario, but if you do some homework and understand your auto habits, then the couple of thousand you pay today can save you a small fortune tomorrow.