Meet the rushBLOGGERS!

We’ve made many changes and what better place to make another change than our blog! We want our readers to feel a part of the rushIMPRINT community and so we’ve pulled in our talent – and by talent, we mean our team members! Meet our fantastic new blog authors here to share their stories, thoughts, and experiences. They will write about everything and anything from office culture (including an intense office fantasy football competition), movie reviews, to industry news!

We’re your one-stop-shop during your morning prep, lunch surfing, or mid-afternoon coffee break … stop by the blog @rushIMPRINT to see what is happening and join in on the conversation. Now, without further delay, meet our bloggers!

DanDan - Author Picture
aka: “The Chairman”

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

Favorite movie: Goodfellas

Last book I read: Delivering Happiness

Favorite Quote: “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to success is more important than any one thing.” – Abraham Lincoln

Kathy - Author PhotoKathy

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

My dream job: Personal Trainer

Something Unique About Me: “I have a heart of gold! …. well that’s what Robin said when I asked her.” (we all agree with Robin!)

Favorite Time of Year: Summer

What you can expect to read from Kathy: Holiday topics, running & fitness, Shopping, Office tales.

BrianBrian - Author Photo

Hometown: White Oak, PA

Favorite Movie: The Hangover

Last book I read: Too Fat To Fish

What annoys you most: “Filling out these silly surveys.” (Too bad Brian. Too bad….)

Ashleigh - Author PhotoAshleigh

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

Favorite Time of Year: Fall / Halloween

What annoys you most: “My dogs.”
What makes you happiest: “My dogs.”

Last book I read: “….”

ChrisChris - Author Photo

Hometown: San Diego, CA

What did you want to be when you “grew up”? “I wanted to be a Jedi, when I found out that was a fictional occupation, I wanted to be a computer programmer.”

Favorite Quote: “There are 6.9×10^9 kinds of people in this world.” – Anon.

Last move I saw: Avatar in IMAX 3D

Chrissy - Author PhotoChrissy

Hometown: Latrobe, PA

Favorite Movie: Hoosiers

What annoys you most?: “People that drive slow in the fast lane.”

What makes you happiest?” “Spending time with my family and friends.”

PerryPerry - Author Photo
Nickname: “Warlock”

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

My dream job: Artist or Musician … mission accomplished?

Favorite Holiday: Christmas

Favorite Quote: “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” – Albert Einstein

Brandi - Author PhotoBrandi

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

Favorite time of year: “I love the 4th of July, my favorite thing about it are the cook-outs.”

Something unique about me: “I’ve played softball for 4 years … you may find some of my writings deal with softball/baseball because it’s a fun subject for me!”

What you can expect to read from Brandi: Memories, experiences, general interests.

ZachZach - Author Photo

Hometown: Latrobe, PA

my dream job: Talk show host

Favorite Movie: Big Fish

Currently reading: Pink Ribbons, Inc. and American Conspiracies

Favorite Quote: “The meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not intend to sit.” – Anon.

Todd - Author PhotoTodd

Hometown: Vandergrift, PA

Favorite Holiday: Thanksgiving

My dream job: Actor

Something unique about me: “I am the youngest of 6 children.”

What you can expect to read from Todd: All about the customer experience, from beginning to end, and what we learn as a company and individuals from each purchase.

LoranLoran - Author Photo

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

Last book I read: The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

Lost movie I saw: Knocked Up

What you can expect to read from Loran: Observations of daily life.

Linda - Author PhotoLinda

Hometown: PIttsburgh, PA

My dream job: Professional Dancer

Last book I read: Dear John

Something unique about me: “I make stain glass windows.”

ThomasThomas - Author Photo

Hometown: Pittsburgh PA

My dream job: Actor, Comedian or Football player

What annoys me most: “When there is no explanation for why something stops working.”

Something unique about me: “I’ve seen more movies than you.”

Last book I read: Me of Little Faith by Lewis Black

Mike - Autor PhotoMike

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

Nickname: Daddy (says twin girls)

Favorite Quote: “Not all days are created equal.” – Anon.

Annoys me most: Negativity.

Makes me happiest: Family.

CrystalAuthor Photo - Crystal

Hometown: Loveland, CO

Favorite Quote: “If you worry about what might be, and wonder what might have been, you will ignore what is.” -Author Unknown

Last Movie I Watched: Inception

Last Book I Read: The Twilight Series!

Now That You Got The Job: Tip #1

Linda says…. “Smile Over The Phone”

Photo of woman on phone smiling

Many people already do not enjoy talking on the phone, so make their experience delightful by following a few simple practices. A customer, client or business partner always want to speak with someone that is happy, energetic, enthusiastic and knowledgeable, if you keep a smile in your voice the customer will get that professional curiosity they deserve.

Happy Talking!

Back to School & Back to Basics: 5 Ideas for Marketing to Students

Summer is almost over and it’s time for the kids to start gearing up to go back to school!  For business owners in college towns this can be a magical time of year for promoting your business and raising brand awareness.  With so many young people mobilizing in preparation for fall classes, now is your perfect opportunity; the only real problem can be finding the right way to spread the good word of your business.  Here are 5 great ideas for reaching out to the campus community.

Sponsor a club

Whether it’s a Greek Letter Organization, a sports team, a campus ministry club, or the AV club, they all need places to meet, t-shirts purchased, or donations to host events!  A simple call to the campus life department should render you with some kind of organization that could use any amount of donation or sponsorship.

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Beach Vacations Make Great Promotional Opportunities!

Summer is by far my favorite time of year. There’s nothing better than taking a beach vacation during the summer months. One of my favorite beaches to visit is St. Petersburg, Florida. There’s so much to do on those white sandy beaches surrounded by crystal clear water.

Beach Photo

Image Courtesy from About.com

Vacation time for me is not just lounging around and relaxing; as I am always on the go. Because I enjoy staying active I spend a lot of time outdoors. Some of my favorite outdoor beach activities include taking long walks along the shore, swimming, bike riding, volleyball and bocce ball.

 Because so many of us travel to the beach (or pools) every year, there are many products that you can give out for your prospective customers, event attendees, or employees that are not only promotional, but functional for them to enjoy!

To shop our full selection of beach products, click here!

Business Strategies Made Simple

Businesses that thrive need to have a powerful strategy in order to help growth everyday. Check out these  5 straightforward ways to getting your company on board for business.

Positioning

This is the bridge that connects everything together. It is one of the most important components in any business strategy as it creates brand equity which is crucial for the growth and success of almost any business in this world.

Publicity

Items such as press releases, contacting local editors, writing articles and getting in front of media professionals is a fantastic way to get your companies name out there. This way, you will be able to drive customers to your locations, call centers and website, and also encourage your customers to purchase your products or services.

Be memorable

You want to stand out in the minds of your customers, so put yourself out there to stand apart from your competition. Your marketing strategy should include all forms of marketing including direct marketing, online marketing, email marketing, article and event marketing and non-traditional as well as traditional methods of marketing.

Promotions

Not only should you hold special events and coupons to drive sales and customers up, but by creating promotional products to get your name out there is one of the most important and passive ways of making money.

Business Strategies Made Simple

Strategic Partnerships

Many successful business owners have developed partnerships that either increase their client list or add extra products or services to their product line.

Beyond Customer Service

Bringing customers back and keeping your current customers happy is one of the most important and at times, most difficult things to accomplish in the life of your business. The steps go beyond simple customer service. The items below are ones that will lead you to distinguishing yourself from the competition. Stick to these steps to pave your road to success.

Answer the phone.

This sounds simple, maybe even stupid because of its obvious nature. But as simple and straightforward as it is, it’s truer than most other things in business. If you aren’t the phone answering type, get someone to do it for you. Hire an answering service, forward your calls, hire an assistant or a team to answer the calls. Don’t have a recording; people want to talk to a live real person. This is the first step to good business is answering the call that’s going to bring in revenue.

Commit what you can do, no more, no less.

When you think of commitment, don’t only think of a relationship with a loved one. Think of committing to your customers individually. This will bring value and a certain level of distinctness from other companies. However it is worse when you can’t deliver what you have committed. Make sure what you say is what you do. Simple as that!

Be a listener.

Every business owner is also someone else’s customer. Then they also know like the rest of the world how frustrating it is when someone is not listening to you. This is your customer’s money, make them feel comfortable with the money that they are spending with you and your venture. This way they are more likely to pass on the good news that your company is of good value and that you are good listeners.

Deal with complaints.
Walking away from a complaint helps no one. It frustrates your customer and may lead to the badmouthing of your business for the future. Assume that every customer is the most important and even if you are just listening (as many customers want, only) it is important to let them know you want to resolve it.

Be helpful, even when you don’t profit.
Not only does this concept help the world go round, it also helps business make names for them. When you go out of your way to help a client and not charge them for every bit and bop available, they feel special, valued and are likely to remember your kindness in many ways, for many moons.

Walk them there.

That extra step is what keeps people going to their favorite stores and companies. When someone asks for the best fertilizer in the store walk them there, don’t just let them know what aisle it resides. If you are on the phone and someone has a computer question, take them there, let them have the comfort of your knowledge on the other end.

A bit extra for you.

Give away things for those loyal or even tough customers. Keeping and saving face is important in business. Obviously you won’t be giving away the farm. But if you are selling a couch for $3000, why not throw in a couple of throw pillows? When we extend ourselves, people’s brain cells tend to grow memory in accordance to your act of kindness.

Independence is Bliss

In a recession many people need to get creative with work. With layoffs abounding the nation it is up to you to get yourself a paycheck. In order to do this, make sure that you flow in the direction of the water if you want to stay afloat. Check out some independent/entrepreneur positions that you could begin all by yourself.

Consultant

If you are better at something than most people and don’t mind teaching it, this is the job for you. Take your special skills and share them with the world. Spend the $20 on: $14 on a box of clean-edge laser or inkjet business cards and $6 buying your first prospect a cup of coffee one morning.

Webpreneur

To do it right, start by picking a subject matter you know a lot about. Then get a domain and create a web site. It doesn’t even matter what technology you use just as long as you have original and interesting content. Set aside time every week to put new content on the site, delete dead links, and other maintenance. After you are getting the hits coming to your site from your interesting regularly updated website, you can sell primo advertising room.

Spend the $20 on: $8 or less for a domain (see our Online Business Guide’s list of cheap domain name registrars) and $12 for a year of hosting (search for “$1 hosting”).

House sitter / Pet sitter

People need security. Give it to them. Whether its pets or just home visits you can really rake in the money making people’s lives more comfortable. You don’t necessarily need to have any skills or requirements other than being trustworthy and organized.  Be sure to have personal references available, and you’ll also need reliable transportation. If you want to get serious, you can get bonded and insured as well. Spend the $20 on: $2 on flyers to put up on bulletin boards, and the rest on classified ads in your local neighborhood paper (not a big city-wide one).

Professional Organizer

People these days are simply overwhelmed by their “stuff”. Help them figure it out! There are plenty of people that feel quite overwhelmed by their own things and what to do with them.  There’s a prime opportunity for people to come in at a reasonable rate and get houses organized. And while there is a National Association of Professional Organizers that you can join when you’re ready, mostly it takes common sense and organizational skills.

Spend the $20 on: Classified ads.

Go Green to Save Green

Green is good for so many reasons as many businesses have discovered. Save the planet, save the rain forest, reduce carbon emissions, etc. We all have now (hopefully) been exposed to the vital importance of doing what we can in business to give back to the ever and always giving planet. If you weren’t already sold on green business just for the basic “it’s the right thing to do” mentality, here are a couple of great money saving and productivity boosting reasons to give it a shot if you haven’t already.

Good PR

Publicize your deeds to your planet and let people know what your environmental initiatives are. This will not only boost the image that people may have of you but will also add a new value to your company that could make your worth heavier in the business world. Just make sure you’re actually doing what you’re saying to avoid green washing, be open and honest with your green efforts!

Boost Morale and Productivity

Employees like hearing that the company they work for cares. It has been proven that companies that are dedicated to reducing their carbon footprint and that give back to their planet have higher productivity rates and less absenteeism. It is not only good for your planet, but for the overall health of your company.

Saving the Dough

Not only is going green good business, but it can reduce cost of operating in the long run. It includes but is not limited to reducing paper use, changing the way you make copies, reducing energy used to run an office and of course reducing the amount of water consumption. A typical office disposes of about 350 pounds of wastepaper per employee per year.

Businesses gone green and saving money

Ghirardelli Chocolate Company

Ghirardelli redesigned their packaging to incorporate reusable plastic totes for chocolate shipments, and has as a result, saved the chocolate company $520,000 annually.

Bank of America

By reducing the weight of ATM receipts from 20 pounds to 15 pounds,BOA saved transportation and storage/handling costs just around $500,000 a year.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

The 16th busiest airport in the United States increased its recycling from 100 tons diverted from landfills in 2001 to 900 tons diverted in 2005, resulting in an annual savings of $178,000.

New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. (NUMMI)

GM and Toyotas $2 billion of North American automobile venture decided to incorporate energy conservation, waste reduction, material efficiency and recycling into their company standards. This later helped the company save somewhere around $4.5 million in 1999. They now ask their suppliers to use reusable shipping containers for the shipment of parts, which reduced their consumption of cardboard by 60 percent in 1999, accounting for $2.5 million of the company’s savings that year while also avoiding 11,000 tons of waste.

Oakland Processing and Distribution Center of U.S. Postal Service

This branch of the U.S. Postal Service is saving $500,000 a year by taking steps to remove recyclables from their waste stream and increasing the efficiency of energy and water use.

Traits of a Good Leader

Every company needs an effective, stable and strong leader charging forward to bring new opportunity and know how to calm the storm when the time comes. If you are one of these people or would like to be one, check out the list of effective leadership traits.

Learn and Teach Always

Every leader needs to know how to learn effectively and consistently. Business is always changing as well as the industry. Also, learning is half of the battle–leaders need to know how to translate their knowledge into employee/communal language.

Be Nice

Employment is a different environment than it used to be. It is now a place where you must earn trust and value employees to keep morale high. Simply, be fair, be kind, and be understanding and these values will take you, your team and your overall company far.

Personal Responsibility

Building teams that are about the best for the group and making sure that as a leader you are taking accountability for what is your responsibility and allowing the team to benefit.

Consistently Simplify

If a company is working on too many things, sometimes things can get muddled and unfocused. It is important to always have your top three elements that the company is focusing on. No more.

Global Context

How does your company fit into the world? What does your company mean to business? Where do you sit in the ecological sphere of the business world? This is all effective and vital information to know as you are building and leading your business.

What’s your style?

Appreciate what you bring to the table as a leader and build on that. Make sure that you are always self aware to assure that you are staying on track and on board the effective leader train. It is easy to fall off of this and feel the need for change.

Manage by setting boundaries with freedom in the middle

The boundaries are commitment, passion, trust, and teamwork. Within those guidelines, there’s plenty of freedom. But no one can cross those four boundaries.

Detailed and Disciplined

Know all of the cogs and wheels and how they turn within the company sphere. No job is too unimportant, no facts are useless. Make sure that you have the most important ones written down in your brain and used as a way of doing business.

Time Management, Inc.

What are your priorities as a company? Define these and then set them into your daily tasks and goals that go into your planner so you are consistently aligned with them.

Be Straightforward

A good leader is able to correct assertively and move on. Make your corrections like smells–get them in and get them out. This will keep things open, fresh and leave no questions as to how you feel about something.