Business Takes Center Stage as LouFest Cancels and Community Support is in the Spotlight

Financial issues and a wet weekend weather forecast are two of the reasons the producers of LouFest gave for leaving music fans and local businesses high and dry with just three days notice.

Just hours after the cancellation announcement, the Saint Louis community began organizing to minimize the impact on music lovers, entrepreneurs and small businesses impacted by the LouFest cancellation.les_paul_guitar

Front Gate Tickets, the festival’s ticketing agent is set to refund music fans for their tickets. A two day pass for the event started at $105.00 and went up to $360.00 plus fees.

The artists and businesses taking part as vendors are not as lucky. Most have paid thousands of dollars in vending fees to be part of the festival and invested even more money in extra inventory to be ready for the fans in what was touted as the biggest festival ever with more than 40 acts.

A lot of extra food was ready to feed hungry fans. Local restaurants are working together with cross promotions and special events this week to minimize the impact.

Saint Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson is urging people to get out and support area restaurants and music venues. She posted lists of the local artists, restaurants, brewers and craftspeople who are a part of the LouFest vending list on social media.

The St. Louis Brewers Guild also went to social media to appeal for support for the local hospitality community: “We are devastated to learn news that LouFest Music Festival has been cancelled just days before the event. We loved supporting this event and were thrilled to be working with their team to help create a local beer-focused footprint for the event this year with “BrewFest”. Our local breweries and restaurants have invested so much in terms of time, planning, sponsorship fees, brewing and packaging tons of beer, food ordering, promotion, and staffing and this is a huge blow. Please take a look at the lineups for both BrewFest and the Nosh Pit and go out of your way to show these folks some extra love if you can. Thank you for supporting our local beer and food scene.”

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Schlafly Beer designed a special commemorative can exclusively for the festival along with a special run of that beer. It is a big investment for the brewery.

Schlafly is also reaching out to LouFest attendees with a special offer; “We’re inviting all Loufest ticket-holders to join us Saturday, September 15 at the Schlafly Tap Room. Doors open at 11 a.m. with the tasting from noon to 4 pm. We will be offering 10% off tasting tickets starting today at 10 a.m. through this weekend for Loufest ticket holders here with the code ‘LOUFEST18’. Loufest ticketholders can also pick up a free commemorative can by showing their ticket stub, wristband, or receipt at either one of our brewpub location starting on Friday at 5 p.m. While supplies last and limit of one per ticket-holding customer.”

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Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters who were supposed to headline at LouFest will perform at The Pageant Sunday night. rock-concert-crowd_925x

Other alternative LouFest performances include two stages at the Grandel Theater in Grand Center from 2-10pm Sunday with more than a dozen bands scheduled to play. The event will be free and local vendors are invited to take part.

Retailers who invested money in LouFest are also a part of a pop up experience all weekend on Cherokee Street.

Arch Apparel, a Saint Louis based clothing manufacturer that created special LouFest branded merchandise is offering an alternative weekend event for fun and to support businesses. The ArchFest is an indoor event scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at Arch Apparel’s showroom and warehouse at Watson Industrial Park in Crestwood. The warehouse block party will feature music and many of the vendors who were planning to be a LouFest. Want more information on #ArchFest? Check out Arch Apparel’s Event Page.

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To read the entire LouFest cancellation statement and view more of the participating vendors visit http://loufest.com/

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Contests and Special Business Initiatives Connect Small Business with Super Bowl XLVIII

The NFL season is just getting underway and the Super Bowl is months away, but the buzz around the big game has been underway for weeks. Super Bowl 2014 is the first game hosted by two NFL franchises: the New York Jets and the New York Giants. From the halftime show to the price of commercials for Super Bowl XLVIII; social media is full of anticipation. Super Bowl advertisers are signing on to spend a record-high average price of $4 million per 30-second spot!

Small business owners also are working to make sure their companies get a part of the biggest show on turf. One small business will be part of the Super Bowl commercial lineup along with the big brands courtesy of a software giant.  Intuit, maker of QuickBooks, is sponsoring ‘Small Business Big Game’, a contest in which one small company will receive a 30-second commercial in Super Bowl XLVIII.  In addition to a professionally produced television commercial, there are other smaller business building prizes up for grabs in the online competition.  Entry deadline is September 22, 2013 at http://www.smallbusinessbiggame.com/

The Super Bowl is not a one-day game and business opportunity.  The big game is a series of events attracting hundreds of thousands of people who will not be the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Both New York and New Jersey will be hosting special events and celebrations for the NFL’s biggest event.   For example, Broadway ‘s district, from 34th to 44th,  will be renamed Super Bowl Boulevard, and closed to traffic for four days of concerts, football clinics and free events leading up to the Super Bowl.  New Jersey venues are scheduled many activities including Super Bowl Media Day on and the NFL’s Tailgate party at Meadowlands Racetrack.

All of these events have entrepreneurs and small business owners working to make sure their companies are ready to do business with the National Football League and partner organizations for Super Bowl XLVIII. The league and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses initiative is already reaching out to small business. For more than a decade, the NFL has been building connections between the league and small business in Super Bowl host cities. An initiative known as the NFL’s Business Connect holds training sessions and workshops to educate local businesses about the process of pursuing and winning contracts.  A free participant guidebook to NFL’s Business Connect is online now at http://nynjsuperbowl.com/participant-guidebook.

 The NFL’s Business Connect will present informational workshops featuring local and national speakers, access to potential opportunities for Super Bowl-related business contacts, networking events and an online Business Resource Guide. While much of the business is centered on the big game, the program strives to develop business relationships that will continue long after the nation’s largest sporting spectacle moves on to another city. 

Super Bowl events will make multimillion dollar impact on New York city's economy.

Super Bowl events will make multimillion dollar impact on New York city’s economy.

Small Business Tip: New Free Online Store for Maryland Seafood

Buying and selling Maryland seafood is easier for the state’s entrepreneurs, small business owners and consumers.  There is a new online home for Maryland seafood direct from watermen and aqua-farmers as easy as picking up the phone and placing an order. 

The University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center and the Maryland Department of Agriculture are working together to make a berth for local seafood on the Internet – at the University’s virtual farmer’s market, www.Foodtrader.org

 

 A free service to buyers and sellers, Foodtrader.org provides instantaneous listings of fresh foods available only from Maryland farms. The idea is to offer consumers the freshest food at competitive prices by connecting them directly with local farmers and now the fishing industry.  Maryland Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance, says he is thrilled with this new opportunity for producers to reach consumers; “It’s a perfect example of how technology can help our agricultural and seafood industries sell their products directly to consumers,” Hance says.

 

“I feel like I am doing my part to keep the seafood industry here sustainable,” says Joanne Throwe, director of the University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center and creator of the website. “Buying local should be more than just about fruits and vegetables.”

 

Signing up for Foodtrader.org is free and acts like a Craig’s List for local foods.  Currently, the site is designed for Maryland producers and consumers; as such, anyone outside the state is unable to create an account.  Interested, but don’t live in Maryland?  Anyone can visit the site, click on listings, and view listing details and producer contact information — that is, buy from anyone listing items for sale.

Small Business Tip: Entrepreneurs Lead the Way in Green IT

The second annual Green IT trend survey by CDW Corporation is out and entrepreneurs are not letting the current economic downturn stall green IT initiatives.  In fact, researchers found small businesses are the most likely to invest in Green IT in the coming months, even in light of the recession. Small businesses came out on top for green IT plans over other sectors including government and large corporate initiatives. 

 

Nearly a third (31 percent) of small business IT decision makers say their companies plan to implement Green IT initiatives in the next two years!—more than any other corporate or government sector. More than half (54 percent) still report cost as the greatest barrier to implementing Green IT solutions.
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Small business is also driving green technology on the nation’s highways!  Small business owners and self-employed professionals are taking part in a two year test of hydrogen fuel-cell powered vehiclesClick here to hear from one of the test-drivers and see what the hydrogen fuel test cars look like.

Small business owners are also starting from the ground up in going green in business. Government incentives and energy savings are two reasons small business owners are choosing to build green. Click here to learn more about green building initiatives and incentives on the small business level.

Please follow me on Twitter to learn more about small business trends and events to give you a competitive edge in business at http://twitter.com/danitablackwood

Small Business Tip: New Satellite Phone with “Smart Wireless” Features Coming

Businesses, government agencies and international organizations are the initial target markets for a new satellite phone service coming from AT&T.  The TerreStar Genus phone will be able to make calls at sea or from remote locations.  When cellular networks are unavailable, a satellite covering North America will act as a cell site in space to provide coverage to help users stay connected.

The new device expected to hit the market next year will include all the features of a “smart” device, including the ability to access AT&T’s wireless network. There are other satellite phones available, but they currently don’t offer the smart phone capabilities. AT&T has not announced pricing of the phones or service.

The new satellite phone will be introduced later this week at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Annual Conference in Denver.

Looking for the best wireless device for your business now?  Check out this short informational video on cell phones and wireless devices especially for business owners and entrepreneurs.

Please follow me on Twitter to learn more about small business trends and events to give you a competitive edge in business at http://twitter.com/danitablackwood

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Small Business Tip: Consumers Spending More Time on Social Media

Web savvy consumers are spending about three times as much of their time on the Web on social networking and blog sites like Facebook and Twitter as they did a year ago, according to new research from The Nielsen Company.  The research reveals the time spent by Americans on social networking went from 6 percent of all time last August on the Internet to about 17 percent last month!   Small business owners and entrepreneurs are ramping up the time they spend on social media reaching millions of people with their business brand in 140 characters or less: Twitter! 

As more people spend time on social media, more ad dollars are flowing to these sites. Advertising spending on social networking sites and blogs more than doubled despite the recession, going from about $49 million in August 2008 to about $108 million in August 2009 according to the Nielson research.
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Ad spending on entertainment blogs and social networking sites grew the most, up 812 percent, with travel sites showing the second highest rate of growth at 364 percent. Spending on business-to-business sites grew 184 percent to $1.9 billion at a time when such spending fell by 8 percent elsewhere on the Internet.  There are signs the spending on social media will increase.

More than 56% of marketers plan to incorporate social media into their businesses next year, according to the Center for Media Research.  Many savvy business owners and entrepreneurs I’ve met in our SBTV.com community already seeing amazing results and we’ve got their stories! Please follow me on Twitter to learn more about small business trends and events to give you a competitive edge in business at http://twitter.com/danitablackwood

Small Business Tip: New Social Media Tools & Technology Can Pay off in Profits

Small business owners and entrepreneurs are reaching millions of people with their business brand in 140 characters or less: Twitter!  According to recent research from eMarketer, there will soon be about 18 million U.S. adults who access Twitter monthly. Usage is expected to reach 26 million U.S. adults in 2010.   An exclusive interview with one of Twitter’s co-founders provides small business owners with tips in this video.

More than 56% of marketers plan to incorporate social media into their businesses next year, according to the Center for Media Research.  Many savvy business owners and entrepreneurs I’ve met in our SBTV.com community already seeing amazing results and we’ve got their stories!

 

One of the newest features on Google Search has the potential to turn the Web into one huge network!

The new tool allows users to comment on any Web site and then displays comments from other users in a side bar as move around the Internet. Rather than personal connections, the comments displayed will be based on a number of rankings, including the users’ reputation.  This feature could position Google as another type of social network.
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SBTV.com is constantly developing social media resources to help small business owners and self-employed professionals stay ahead of the competition including this video case study of successful small social media entrepreneurs!  

Please follow me on Twitter to learn more about small business trends and events to give you a competitive edge in business at http://twitter.com/danitablackwood.