Fearless ZippyDogs leaders Kelli Henderson and Elise Lindborg take growing their business seriously. Earlier this spring Kelli and Elise attended a six week business certificate program at the University Of Washington Foster School Of Business. Not only did they learn new nuggets of business building wisdom but they rocked their official graduation photo! Kelli Henderson claims they were trying to do the Zoolander “Blue Steel” pose but it looks like Elise is making monkey faces at the instructor! Way to class it up ladies!
USB Flash Drives standard memory capacity can range from 128MB, all the way up to 64GB. The most common memory size sold for the promotional industry is 1, 2 and 4 gigabyte. Flash drives, also known as thumb drives come in a variety of shapes and sizes. But how Big is a Gig? What does that mean? How much do I need?
We think this graphic will help!
Last November, our fearless Top Dog Elise Lindborg attended the highly regarded Tuck Executive Education Minority Business Program at Dartmouth College to learn how to take ZippyDogs to a new level of performance and success. What she learned can be applied to your small business, too.
All dogs must learn new tricks to stay competitive. It’s a given that a commitment to continuous improvement is key to growing success. Seems like a no-brainer—but living up to the commitment can be a real challenge. It takes regular monitoring of all aspects of your business, including strategy and implementation, analysis of financial statements, building strategic alliances and leadership skills. Not to mention delivering on the No. 1 strategy for all businesses: focus on the customer.
The week-long program presented the ideal opportunity to check the vital signs of our business, look for ways to improve and acknowledge the things we’re really good at. Our first “assessment” taught us we were all in the same boat:
The 8 most common small business weaknesses
1. Lack of customer focus
2. Lack of strategic direction
3. Employees not effectively empowered
4. Poor cash flow management
5. Underutilized control systems (budgets, goals, surveys)
6. Inefficient processes
7. Organizational structures that are “silos of inefficiency”
8. Putting all eggs in one basket (e.g., 30% revenues from one customer—not good)
More nuggets from Tuck:
Business strategy—serve your customers
Evaluate your overall business strategy. Exploit your strengths, and strengthen weaknesses. Above all, be customer-focused. Surprise and delight them! Be prepared to adapt to sudden changes in the market so you can maintain your customer focus throughout. Remember that customer satisfaction is the perception of your service minus their expectations.
Operations—avoid organizational charts that are ‘silos of inefficiency’
Make sure your systems are built to achieve your strategy, that is, to benefit your customers. Identify the tasks that others can do better or more cost-effectively and outsource; moving part of a project off your desk frees you to do what you do best.
Money—cash is king!
Know what your cash flow is up to at all times. Analyze your balance sheets and income statements. Just do it.
Marketing—finding and keeping customers
Conduct customer surveys to learn how you are doing and what customers expect from your company. On the flip side, audit your customer list to develop a profile of customers you like and who fit well with your company. That will give you a clearer picture of where to focus your marketing efforts.
Communications—inspire your customers and your team
Empower employees to deliver on your strategy; make sure they are trained to address customer priorities. Likewise, work toward getting customers to do more or communicate clearly. It can be a matter of asking the right questions, as well as telling them what you need to serve them best. Call it client school, but only to yourselves. WOOF!
A great, big WOOF! goes out to the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) for providing Elise with a full scholarship to the Tuck Executive Education Minority Business Program at Dartmouth College. Learn more about NGLCC.
By Daniel Holzer, Demand Media
Being eco-friendly includes recycling, but there are other ways to guard the planet’s health.
In recent years, terms like “going green” and “eco-friendly” have become buzz words on talk shows, commercials and product packaging. The term “eco-friendly” has been used for so many different products and practices, its meaning is in danger of being lost. By understanding the true meaning of eco-friendly, you can implement the practices that will lead to healthier living for the planet and its inhabitants, big and small.
Eco-friendly literally means earth-friendly or not harmful to the environment (see References 1). This term most commonly refers to products that contribute to green living or practices that help conserve resources like water and energy. Eco-friendly products also prevent contributions to air, water and land pollution. You can engage in eco-friendly habits or practices by being more conscious of how you use resources.
Making a truly eco-friendly product keeps both environmental and human safety in mind. At a minimum, the product is non-toxic. Other eco-friendly attributes include the use of sustainably grown or raised ingredients, produced in ways that do not deplete the ecosystem. Organic ingredients or materials are grown without toxic pesticides or herbicides. Products with “made from recycled materials” contain glass, wood, metal or plastic reclaimed from waste products and made into something new. Biodegradable products break down through natural decomposition, which is less taxing on landfills and the ecosystem as a whole. (See References 3)
You can develop eco-friendly habits to help you use less and make the most of what you have. Turn off lights in empty rooms and use a programmable thermostat so you’re only heating or cooling your home when it’s occupied (see References 2). Businesses can also institute such practices, in addition to bigger initiatives, such as company-wide recycling programs to conserve natural resources and telecommuting for employees, which decreases air pollution and fuel consumption by eliminating daily travel to work.
Companies sometimes label their products “eco-friendly” or “environmentally friendly” without them truly being so. Called “greenwashing,” marketing campaigns perpetuate this practice, aimed at helping companies increase their product sales by appealing to ecologically conscious buyers. To avoid purchasing “greenwashed” products, look for products approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Energy Star program or an ecologically conscious consumer-advocacy group such as the Green Good Housekeeping Seal (see References 4, 5).
Source: Becky Gaylord of Gaylord LLC a consulting practice.
The time-tested adage that “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” has never been more true than today. In this age of instant communication and social media, business moves fast and having the right resource accessible in a jiffy can make the difference between taking the lead or working from behind. Although technology is making networking a 24/7 activity, it’s still the in-person networking that forges the deepest connections. In order to help keep your networking skills sharp, Promotional Consultant Today offers five select tips offered by Becky Gaylord in her post titled “12 Most Nifty Tips for Networking.”
1. Set a modest goal ahead of time. Rather than going into the event as a blank slate, Gaylord suggests you set a few specific goals for the kind of information you will be looking get from your interactions.
2. Listen more than you talk. Often easier said than done, really listening will allow you to extend the conversation and start building the relationship by finding additional questions to ask. As Gaylord puts it, the people you interact with are “opening the door and letting you in by telling you about something then matters to them.”
3. Present yourself as someone you would like to meet. We’re not all cheery at all times and extended networking can be exhausting, but people like to be around others who are warm and cheery. It’s only a few hours of your life, so make the effort to be the kind of person with whom you would enjoy chatting.
4. Ask questions that require more than a “yes” or “no” answer. It may take some practice, but by asking questions that probe a little deeper than a “yes” or “no” answer, you will increase the likelihood that you will hit on a shared topic that can naturally extend the conversation and build a deep bond.
5. Pursue possibilities promptly. Whether the person you spoke with appears to be an immediate lead or not, follow up promptly with an e-mail or note to make an impression that sets you apart from all the others that person met during the event.
Source: Becky Gaylord worked as a reporter for major publications—the New York Times, Salon.com, Business Week and the Wall Street Journal—for more than 15 years in Washington, D.C.; Sydney, Australia; and Cleveland, Ohio. She was associate editor for the editorial page at the Cleveland Plain Dealer before she launched her consulting practice, Gaylord LLC. The company helps clients improve their external relations and communication, and increase their influence and impact. Gaylord blogs about that (and a few other things) at Framing What Works.
The Summer of Cheap Labor!
16 year old niece Emily took her first plane ride (all the way from Indiana!) to sunny Seattle for a week in July.
18 year old nephew Torgeir escaped the brutal heat of Sacramento to explore Seattle in August.
ZippyDogs put them both to work in a continuation of the Internationally Recognized ZippyDogs Summer Internship Program that began last year with nephew Taylor. When contacted to speak about his experiences and recovery from his week at ZippyDogs, Taylor could not be reached for comment. Perhaps he was nursing a paper cut.
This summer our Interns were instrumental in many important tasks. Both were instructed on the finer points of making coffee for Top Dog, for example. Service with a smile required – Top Dog has spoken!
Emily stuffed promo boxes to win new customers, filed, wrote thank you notes, and completed a electronic file compression project.
Torgeir wrote thank you notes, sorted our customer file drawers, and completed a comprehensive report comparing cloud-based business solutions.
When not at the ZippyDogs World Headquarters honing their administrative skills, they enjoyed exploring Seattle!
For their newly acquired barista skills and more, they are both awarded Employee of the Month!
Meet Oscar the Cat, our Dog of the Month
Meet Oscar: the black and white cat-who-thinks-he’s-the-bottom-of-the-pack-beta-dog!
Oscar’s pal is Cleo, the cat-who-knows-she’s-a-cat, and according to their owner, together they’re a lovely pair!
Oscar tried to guard his humans and the house (until he gets scared and runs away), and sticks his head in the closest human armpit when he needs to be reminded of the pack order.
How did this beta dog symdrome happen to Oscar? He was in a house with 4 dogs until his adoption at a year and a half old, so he really does think he’s a dog! Cleo is all cat and tries to run the show until she gets put in her place by her humans.
Oscar’s favorite food: “chicken!”
Oscar’s favorite drug: “cat nip!”
Cleo: “leave me alone I’m studying for my private pilot’s license, and no Oscar, I will not take you along as a co-pilot or baggage handler.”
Jude was born on January 17, 2011. By March 14th he was attending his first birthday party (and stole Deputy Dog’s thunder at her own party)! His owner is a Seattle Firefighter, and Jude grew up in the firehouse. Jude and his owner are also proud members of the Northwest Disaster Search Dog organization and Jude loves scrambling over rubble to find hidden people during training. Aside from Jude’s excessive drooling, he’s a perfect gentleman! WOOF!
We adopted Ally from a local rescue group called PUPS: People United for Pets. They are based in Issaquah, and we had a few dogs that we were interested in. PUPS had an adoption fair at the Kirkland Petco, and we fell in love with our Ally on Feb. 19th, 2012. She became part of our forever family that day, and has been a wonderful companion to us every since.
Ally is 2-3 years old, and is a funny mix of whippet, terrier, and we think a little bit of beagle. She has super long legs, but is only 20 pounds. That girl can run! She loves to scamper after her ball, and is eager to please us with her commands. We’re working on getting her to stay when someone comes to the door… she’s already queen of the house, so that’s a big one to work on!
We can’t say enough good things about PUPS. They rescue lots of dogs, and especially small dogs, from high-kill shelters. Ally was in a foster home with a loving family (who gave her her name) for about a week before we adopted her. During that time, she was spayed and thoroughly checked out by a vet. The volunteers and foster families treat the dogs with love and care until they can be adopted.
PUP Dog Rescue - check them out!
Red Merle Curran!
Deputy Dog loves the sun…unfortunately her fair skin doesn’t. So what did she do instead?
Kristi is off to sunny California for a wedding. What better way for a fair-skinned Seattle-ite to get a little color than to visit the spray tan booth? Too bad it didn’t go better. Deputy Dog is officially a Red Merle! Congrats Kristi on trying something new and having a good laugh about an experiment gone wrong. WOOF!
Meet Bo and Bea!
Meet Lord Harrington’s Bodacious Beauregard and Beefeaters Buxom Beatrice; also known as Bo and Bea, respectively. They are both English Bulldogs but you’ll never meet a duo more different from each other. Bo is an athletic, carefree surfer boy, always ready for the next adventure. Bea is a neurotic, loving chubby little fuss-budget who’s favorite thing in the world is to ride around, perched on the front of the shopping cart at Home Depot. (Think Leo DiCaprio on the bow of Titanic and you’ll know how she rolls; she’s the “Queeeeen of Home Deeepooot!) Bea’s birthday is St Patrick’s Day so here they are, all dressed up for the occasion.
Snazzy Kristi prepares the office for a WEBENC inspection!
We now have our WEBENC certification – WOOF!
What’s that, you ask? The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), founded in 1997, is the largest third-party certifier of businesses owned, controlled, and operated by women in the United States. WBENC, a national 501(c)(3) non-profit, partners with 14 Regional Partner Organizations to provide its world class standard of certification to women-owned businesses throughout the country. WBENC is also the nation’s leading advocate of women-owned businesses as suppliers to America’s corporations.
For our certification site visit, Deputy Dog chose to forgo her standard shorts and flip-flop office attire in favor of a little black dress! She even wore make-up and only swore once during the entire site visit. And to prove that a dress does not hinder her from being a true Deputy, she vacuumed the entire office and posed for these pictures as proof. WOOF!
Charlie Mooch Glennon was born at Circle M Farms in Colony Oklahoma in November 2007. His Mom and Dad are purebred Australian Shepherds, true working dogs who spend their days herding cows, prize quarter horses and lots of little humans.
Charlie came to Seattle at the end of 2007 to live with his current Mommy. At five months Charlie began herding other dogs at the dog park. He nips and nudges his housemate kitty, into corners, off the bed and away from the holy kitchen.
Charlie loves to play soccer and can destroy a tennis ball in 7 seconds flat. His favorite activity is swimming. He loves to fetch logs, the bigger the better! Charlie is quite intelligent and he and his best friend Buddy Curran are excellent fence security testers. If there’s a hole, they’ll find it.
Charlie is a red merle with beautiful blue eyes and bubble gum tongue. He is often referred to as the “pretty girl dog” and he always accepts the misgendered compliments with grace. He is a cuddly love who is content to just be with his people all the time.
Name – Breia Angelina Pasonno Gabor Gauthier
Age – A true lady never divulges her age
Hobbies – Hobbies are beneath Breia. She does enjoy dominating all the other beings in her world, including her human, Glenn. In addition, she is obsessed with getting the ball.
Breia was born a diva and continues to amaze and delight her owner, who feels he is more handsome with her on the end of a leash. Breia lives the life of luxury, with an eclectic art-filled home and leopard print bed. Although considered the “mean girl dog” on the playground, she is never viscous – she simply lets all the other dogs know she is in charge. Period.
A pure-bred Belgian Tervuren, Briea is incredibly smart, has a wonderful personality, and her smile will stop you in your tracks! Of her many talents, most entertaining is watching her find her human’s cell phone and bringing it to him when it rings. Briea also enjoys evening cookies and cocktails on the patio. WOOF!
Elise Lindborg, Top Dog at ZippyDogs recently learned she was chosen by the National Gay, Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) to receive a full scholarship to the highly regarded executive education course at Dartmouth College. The Tuck Executive Education Minority Business Program runs November 11-16, 2012 at Dartmouth College in Lebanon, New Hampshire.
The curriculum of the Tuck business program covers strategy and implementation, analysis of financial statements, managing the customer asset, building strategic alliances and leadership skills. Students will graduate from the week long program with a well-stocked business development toolkit, as well as a strong network of support and potential partners.
“Over the past twelve years we have built ZippyDogs organically, through word of mouth, excellent service and networking.” Lindborg said “Local networking can only get us so far and I am looking forward to learning from the pros on how to develop and implement strategic growth plans. Business skills have been learned through trial and error and now through the Tuck Executive Education Program I have a fantastic opportunity to take ZippyDogs to the next level. I cannot begin to express my gratitute to the NGLCC’s for this scholarship! WOOF!”
Click here to learn more about the Tuck Executive Education Minority Business Programs at Dartmouth.
About the NGLCC:
The NGLCC is the business advocate and direct link between LGBT business owners, corporations and government. The NGLCC represents the interests of more than 1.4 million LGBT-owned businesses in the United States and is the umbrella organization for 61 state, local and international LGBT chambers of commerce and business organizations. www.nglcc.org
For the 3rd year in a row, Kelli Henderson, Chili Dog dominated the sales competition at ZippyDogs. “At one point during the year, another sales person was within $591.32 of taking over my lead” said Ms. Henderson. “It was touch and go throughout the year however, I rallied and sold $20K worth of T-shirts in late December, therefore crushing the competition”. Ms. Henderson has won the coveted antique Barbie Doll trophy that spins and plays Moon River at sporadic times – especially late at night when a person is alone in the office. Ms. Henderson won Sales Person of the Year in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Top Dog, Elise Lindborg declined to be interviewed for this announcement but did say as she walked away “Whatever”.
Congratulations Kelli. ZippyDogs salesperson of the year 2011! WOOF!
Elise Lindborg, Top Dog at ZippyDogs is often speaking about the importance of supporting your local small business. Did you know for every $1 you spend at a local Seattle business, .70 cents stays in Seattle – whereas only .30 cents stays in Seattle if you purchase from an out of state or online promotional products company? Supporting local businesses is great for our economy”.
Well, here is another good reason to work with small business – check out this article by the Counselor PromoGram.
Small Businesses Power February Job Gains
A new report shows small businesses drove better-than-expected hiring gains in the private sector of the U.S. economy in February, continuing the positive labor trends of recent months. The study from Automatic Data Processing Inc. and the consultancy Macroeconomic Advisors revealed that private industry added 216,000 jobs last month. The tally bested the estimates of economists, who had variously predicted an employment rise of 208,000 to 215,000.
Businesses that employ fewer than 50 people spurred the increase, adding 108,000 new workers. Meanwhile, businesses with more than 500 people took on 20,000 employees, and medium-size companies swelled their ranks by 88,000. Last month, the service sector added 170,000 jobs, and factories bolstered staffs by 21,000. “This does suggest we are moving in the right direction,” Beth Ann Bovino, senior U.S. economist at Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services in New York, told CNBC. “The jobs numbers are looking healthier.”
In more positive employment news, ADP revised its January figures to show that payrolls increased by 173,000 positions, better than the 170,000 initially reported. On Friday, the federal government will release a more comprehensive employment report that covers private and public sector job creation in February. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires expect the government’s report to show that total non-farm payrolls rose by 213,000 last month.
ZippyDogs found this story to be quite interesting and wanted to share with our readers.
Counterfeit apparel and footwear was at the center of what federal authorities say was one of the largest smuggling busts in United States history. More than 29 people were charged with trying to sneak $325 million worth of bogus UGG boots, Nike sneakers and Louis Vuitton handbags through a New Jersey Port.
The alleged smugglers are accused of using the stolen identities of legitimate importers and false documents to usher shipping containers packed with knockoffs through the Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal in Elizabeth, NJ. Operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the port annually handles more than 2.5 million containers containing more than $100 billion in goods and is the largest container port on the East Coast.
“The cost of counterfeit goods is not limited to massive financial harm to American businesses and consumers,” said U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman. “Criminals can exploit the same channels to import other material that threatens our health and safety. We remain dedicated, through global, inter-agency cooperation and long-term investigations like this one, to ensuring that criminals who see the ports as a gateway to America’s black market instead face American justice.”
The 23 people arrested during the Friday sting included individuals from China, Taiwan, New York, New Jersey and Texas. The investigations, started in 2008 and 2009, revealed there were two overlapping smuggling rings moving the fake goods into the U.S., authorities said.
This article is from the Counselor Promogram.
Milo was a found stray in a field in southern California at about 8 weeks old and taken to a high kill shelter. He was rescued by the wonderful people at Saving Paws of Washington where we found him and he found us. We fell in love with his little face online and it was all over. He’s now adjusting to his new forever home wonderfully. He loves people and other dogs and is such a sweet boy. We’re all looking forward to many years of playing together!
Age- 3.5 months
Hobbies – Learning everything about being in a new home
Visit Milo’s Face book page at:
Prepare to be addicted to this furkid!