Made in the USA: Online Reality Series Get on The Shelf Invites Consumers to Have a Say

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Made in America an important selling feature.

Made in America an important selling feature.

When shopping  do you check where the product originates or is produced?  I know I do.  It is a global marketplace we live in and consumers know not all nations’ standards are the same.  In China, about 38 percent of Chinese surveyed in a recent Pew Research Center poll reflected food safety is a very big concern in China.  This is a jump from 2008, when only 12 percent of Chinese respondents agreed.

It is little wonder with these concerns, “Made in the USA” is currently one of the hottest labels around!  Seventy-four percent of the Americans in a Consumer Reports National Research survey had tried to buy a U.S.-made product in the past year.

Made in America is not just a marketing slogan!  It is important to your family and your future.  Did you know these facts about manufacturing in America?

The United States is the world’s largest manufacturing economy, producing 18.2 percent of global manufactured products, according to the World Bank. China is second with 17.6 percent.

U.S. manufacturing produces $1.8 trillion of value each year, or 12.2 percent of U.S. GDP. For every $1.00 spent in manufacturing, another $1.48 is added to the economy.

Manufacturing supports an estimated 17.2 million jobs in the U.S.—about one in six private sector jobs. Nearly 12 million Americans (or 9 percent of the workforce) are employed directly in manufacturing.

Walmart is again giving American inventors and manufacturing a boost with the return of the popular original online reality series. The first episode can now be viewed at getontheshelf.walmart.com, and the retailer is asking the public to decide which new products from American entrepreneurs will appear on its shelves this fall.

The five weekly “webisodes,” which go live on Tuesdays beginning at 12:01 a.m. ET from Sept. 24 through Oct. 22, 2013 feature a group of finalists under the same theme, such as Kid Stuff or Great Gadgets. The video shows give viewers a chance to learn more about the entrepreneurs behind the inventions and watch as they pitch their product to a panel of Walmart.com judges.

After each weekly online episode, voters have 72 hours to cast their votes for the winner, who will have their product sold on Walmart.com. A grand prize winner will also be selected based on the number of preorders of the product, and will receive additional support marketing from Walmart.com plus an introduction to the Walmart stores’ merchandising team to potentially be sold in Walmart stores. Last year’s three winning products are sold in select Walmart stores and on Walmart.com.

“Get on the Shelf celebrates the resilient and tenacious spirit of American entrepreneurs, many of whom have been working hard for a big break like this,” explains Kelly Thompson, senior vice president of merchandising for Walmart.com said in a statement. “The web series creates more exposure for finalists to share their inspiring stories, which makes for captivating reality TV that’s also interactive since American consumers can vote for the next great product at Walmart.com.”

Attend a Wonderful Summit without Leaving your Home or Office –And It’s Free!

An exciting online event is coming up focusing on the economy, healthcare, social networking, and a host of other important topics to everyone—but especially for entrepreneurs and small business owners!
The National Federation of Independent Business, NFIB, is holding its first virtual summit coming up on September 15, 2009 and you can be a part of the action.  The online event is free and will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. EDT and is essentially packed with opportunities for online education and networking conveniently your home or office. 

Not sure how a virtual convention or summit would work?  It is really incredible and I invite you to check it out now.  Click here to view a video preview of the upcoming virtual summit.  There will be booths just like you would expect to see at a major business convention and SBTV.com will have a virtual booth, I hope you will stop by!  Take a moment and register to attend by going to www.NFIB.com/virtualsummit.

 

It is not only booths and networking the virtual summit offers.  There are a number of important discussions planned for the virtual summit impacting millions of people.  “Healthcare for Small Business” will include a discussion with Stuart Butler, Ph.D., vice president, domestic & economic policy studies, Heritage Foundation. The presentation includes a federal legislative update as well as a look at what Congress can do to help small businesses afford health insurance. The panelists also will discuss lessons learned from reform efforts in various states.

The discussion entitled “Focus on the Economy” will be presented by David Walker, president and CEO of Peter G. Peterson Foundation, Denny Dennis, NFIB senior research fellow and William C. Dunkelberg, NFIB chief economist. Their topics will include the effects of the federal deficit and government spending on the economy, credit issues for small business and a small business economic forecast. 

Representatives of Google and Facebook will present “Digital Marketing and Social Networking,” a guide to free resources available online including Google Docs and Google Calendar, how to use YouTube to promote a business, building an online presence and directing people to your website through Google, and creating Facebook business pages to engage customers and build brand loyalty.

Also scheduled for the virtual convention, Jason Miner, eBay University instructor, will discuss “The Keys to Success for Your eBay Sales,” during which small business owners will learn how selling on eBay can attract customers worldwide using e-commerce. He also will teach attendees to open a PayPal account to accept online payments, how to set prices, and easy shipping techniques.

Follow me on Twitter to learn more about small business issues and events to give you a competitive edge.  Just go to http://twitter.com/danitablackwood

Traffic Congestion & Gridlock Challenges Many Small Businesses

Gridlock is a challenge impacting many small businesses and their employees.  It is not only traffic jams during commute time concerning business owners.  Increased traffic congestion is eating into the bottom lines of small firms that rely on transportation to run their businesses.  Congestion on the nation’s roads is estimated to cost the American economy $87.2 billion annually, according to testimony before Congress.

At a recent hearing of the House Small Business Committee’s Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, entrepreneurs discussed traffic congestion challenges, and expressed hope for relief in the upcoming highway bill.

 “As Congress writes the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act, I want to make sure that we are taking small businesses’ needs into account,” Congressman Jason Altmire (D-PA-) said. “Congestion on our nation’s highways reduces productivity and inflates production costs for small businesses everyday. The Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act would both create good paying jobs and provide small businesses with the 21st Century infrastructure they need.”

Congress is in the process of writing the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act. Witnesses stressed the importance of small business participation, citing the fact that small firms comprise the vast majority of the construction and manufacturing sectors.

According to a study by the Associated Equipment Distributors, every dollar of direct spending on heavy construction equipment–the kind used for infrastructure projects–puts $3.19 back into the economy. In 2007, $10.2 billion in direct spending for the purchase of these tools generated $92 billion in direct earnings, and supported over 262,000 jobs.

Human Resource Managers Are Optimistic About Third Quarter

Another report is showing a glimmer of optimism for the economy and small businesses in the third quarter.  The Society for Human Resource Management, made up of personnel and human resource professionals are reporting increased confidence in the third quarter job market according to a new survey.

The Labor Market Outlook survey finds 37 percent of respondents have some level of concern for the U.S. job market in the third quarter: 33 percent are somewhat pessimistic about job growth and anticipate job losses and 4 percent are very pessimistic and anticipate job cuts during the quarter.

These new numbers are big change from the previous survey when a combined 70 percent of respondents expressed some level of pessimism and predicted deeper cuts in the U.S. job market.

A total of 69 percent of respondents said they will either eliminate jobs or keep their payrolls flat in the third quarter: 56 percent will maintain current staffing levels and 13 percent will cut jobs. Among employer categories, 28 percent of large companies (those with 500 or more employees) will conduct layoffs in the third quarter.

During the second quarter, 81 percent of respondents said they either cut jobs or kept payrolls flat: 43 percent maintained their staffing levels while 38 percent conducted layoffs.

The Society for Human Resource Management is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management and represents over 140 countries.  You will find a host of management articles, podcasts and streaming videos about management topics on http://www.sbtv.com

Can Twitter Give You an Edge in this Economy?

Twitter, Facebook…..these social media tools are becoming more of a business basic for promoting and marketing a small business. I am doing more than talking about new media tools to promote and market small business. I’m using several of these free communication tools to stay connected during the business day.

One of them is Twitter. If you aren’t sure what Twitter is think of instant messages from your mobile device or computer to send updates called tweets, which are text posts of up to 140 characters.

Twitter is set to surpass The New York Times in the number of unique visitors this month, according to Compete.com. While the Times has seen a respectable 22.1 percent annual growth in online visitors over the past year, visitors to Twitter’s site have grown a staggering 1,202.2% over the same period.

Twitter offers practical ways for small business marketing and promotion. Twitter is a way for the small business owner to connect with consumers, clients, and other members of the business community. Many successful people have found a way to make the public instant messages work to increase their profile.

Twitter allows you to reach many people in a short time and permits a small business owner to emphasize commitment to customers. Carefully crafted Tweets offer a marketing strategy and opportunity to demonstrate the value you offer that sets your small business apart from the competition! When organizing your Tweets, you will be restricted by the number of characters, but also think about the valuable information you can share to attract people. If you can show your prospects and clients you care about solving their challenges and helping them; it positions you as the expert in your field and the go-to-person for solutions.

The information you share on Twitter also helps spread the word about the services you offer by

incorporating your contact information into your Tweets. But avoid making your message a blatant advertisement for your products and services! The focus of your messages on Twitter should be on the benefits for your target audience.

Twitter also allows me to stay in touch with entrepreneurs and small business owners who are making news and leaders in their fields of expertise. These people are an important resource when I have a question while working on a project or writing an article.

What is Your Idea of a Economic Stimulus? How much of the Bailout Could You Claim?

Work is underway in Washington to rev up the economy.  I recently heard someone ask, if lawmakers just gave all the stimulus and bailout money to taxpayers, just how much would the check be?  I pulled out the calculator and a friend to double-check the numbers.

If you take the $700 billion in the bank bailout and then add the stimulus the House of Representatives approved the total is $1.519 trillion dollars!  If you divide the $1.519 trillion dollars by the number of taxpayers, about 156.3 million who filed last year; it equals a bailout check of $9, 718.49 per each taxpayer.

But government leaders want to do more than pass out money.  Goals for the economic stimulus plan include restoring the nation’s economic competitiveness, creating jobs and developing green technologies. Those green technologies are already creating jobs for some businesses.

Cardinal Fastener is an Ohio company expecting to get a boost from the proposed multibillion-dollar economic recovery plan.  The small manufacturer makes hot forged, large-diameter, high-strength fasteners for construction, heavy machinery, bridges, oil exploration and energy generation. President Obama has made modernizing the nation’s vast power network a key piece of his $819 billion economic stimulus plan, approved by the House of Representatives.

Cardinal’s products are also in demand in the alternative energy industry. The Ohio firm began building bolts and other wind turbine parts just two years ago and is on the way to make half its earnings that way.  Founder John Grabner expects green energy to account for 90% of growth in the future.

Another Ohio firm is poised to expand with the stimulus plan.   The Cleveland Group of Companies as the name implies, is a diverse small business with divisions including construction, consulting, construction supply and real estate services.  The firm plans to compete for a wide variety of public and private projects in 2009.   Founder Eddy Zai, believes his company is ready for the new economic climate; “Americans have done business a certain way for the last 20 years, and it’s time to figure out how to do business for the next 20 years, and adapt to the new world economy.”

What form of economic stimulus do you prefer?  How big would your bailout be?  Let me know what you think!

Harnessing the Wind is Creating Jobs

The U.S. House of Representatives is going to vote on the new economic stimulus package soon, probably later this week.


Wind and solar energy initiatives are part of the legislative package
lawmakers will consider to combat not only the current economic crisis,
but the nation’s dependence on foreign oil. The United States is the
fastest growing wind power market in the world.




Wind power is already proving to be an alternative energy source and is
creating jobs as more businesses and utilities adopt the technology. Click here to see a short video on how harnessing the wind is creating job even in a down economy.