Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Small Business Marketing Update - Metro Newspapers Are Becoming A Dying Breed

With the latest round of employee layoffs at the Florida Times Union, there is much speculation as to how long will the metro paper remain in the Northeast Florida market in its current form.

Even with the paper's reduced the size and number of sections, the newspaper is still edging up its subscripion rates in order to help stop the financial bleeding. But if subscribers are unhappy with the changes or questioning the paper's future, how many are resubscribing, at best, for the shortest 13-week rate in anticipation of the paper's end?

The newspaper industry as a whole has been hemorrhaging and no one seems to know how to stop it. At a recent symposium in San Franciso, keynote speaker Jeffrey Cole, director of the Center for the Digital Future at the USC Annenberg School, reported some startlingly revelations about the future of metro papers.

After decades of study, Cole has precedicted that metro papers have about 5 years of existence left. He believes there will be four to five American newspapers left standing, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.

Cole told John Obrecht, the editor of BtoB magazine in a featured article, that "instead of counting down the two-newspaper towns (in 1900 there were 600 U.S cities with two newspapers, there are now six), we're now counting down the no-newspaper towns."

Cole said in the article "30 years ago teenagers didn't read newspapers but started to when they got into their 20"s and 30"s. Today they don't read the newspapers and evidence is clear they never will.

"The sad truth is that everytime a newspaper reader dies, he or she is not being replaced by a new reader."

As one elderly Jacksonville subscriber commented "if the newspaper goes away, where will we go to check the obituaries?"

Monday, October 17, 2011

Small Business Marketing News Update - Snap2 Succeeds Through Recession With A Unique Combination of Services

Utilizing a unique combination of mailing/shipping services with eBay consignment, along with selected business support services, a six-year old Jacksonville, Florida company, known as Snap2, has found a successful formula for retail success in an unstable economy.

The company, owned by Brian Frazier and Dennis Moats, began by offering traditional mailing and shipping services, including fax, copies, mailboxes, notary and passport photos and limited eBay consignment sales. Then the owners spent the past two years expanding their services, first by developing proprietary software that provides a built-in operational method for eBay listings and consignment. At the same time they added additional services that include printing, direct mail capabilities and marketing services geared to small and start-up companies.

“The economy has shown us several things as our strategy is concerned,” Frazier reported. “First, businesses are outsourcing more in order to reduce costs. Secondly, because many businesses have laid off upper management personnel, and with the lack of jobs, there are more people starting up or buying into their own businesses, many being home-based businesses.

“Unlike many of the typical mailing/shipping retailers, we have positioned our business to take advantage of today’s economic issues. We are able to offer services at low rates that can help small businesses or entrepreneurs compete in the marketplace,” Frazier explained.

“With us they can have a business address that is not their home. They can have a shipping department without the costs of personnel or materials. Through our online sales, we can help them move inventory or provide them with a new sales channel. And we can even assist them in their marketing through strategic planning, graphics and direct mail services,” Moats added.

Along with business services, Snap2 provides an array of mailing/shipping services to everyday walk-in customers. “We have many people who use us as their neighborhood post office, plus we provide even more services, whether it’s notarizing documents or selling their valuables on eBay,” Frazier added.

Sales have been consistent over the five years of the business’ existence with either same year’s sales or slight increases during the recession years. “We have had a solid business during the recession because of our service mix,” Frazier said. “And with our added support services, we believe we are building an even stronger business.”

Over the past two years, the company has created a new brand under the Snap2 name with a new store floor layout, new interior look, new signage, new marketing tools and a new web presence.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Small Business Marketing Update - Does Northeast Florida Pay Its Fair Share In Taxes?

When critics speak of people and businesses not paying their fair share, consider the various types of taxes that face Northeast Florida.

Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL License Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Excise Tax
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Tax
Gross Receipts Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges
Liquor Tax
Luxury Tax
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Personal Property Tax
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax
Service Charge Tax
Social Security Tax
Recreational Vehicle Tax
Sales Tax
School Tax
State Unemployment Tax
Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Tax
Telephone Recurring and Nonrecurring Charges Tax
Telephone State and Local Tax
Telephone Usage Charge Tax
Utility Taxes:
- Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA) City of Jacksonville Franchise Fee Tax
- JEA Gross Receipts Tax
- JEA Sewer Public Service Tax
- JEA Sewer Environmental Charge (prorated 17 day) Tax
- JEA Sewer Environmental Charge (prorated 12 day) Tax
- JEA Sewer City of Jacksonville Franchise Fee Tax
- JEA Water Environmental Charge (prorated 17 day) Tax
- JEA Water Environmental Charge (prorated 12 day) Tax
- JEA Water City of Jacksonville Franchise Fee Tax
- JEA Water City of Jacksonville Public Service Tax
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle License Renewal Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax