Dentist – Week 1

Okay, so I inform the 800 number receptionist that I’m pregnant and she says I should go to my appointment. When I get there they will give me a paper to fax to my doctor, which he faxes back saying I can take x-rays and get treatment, and I get moving on my dental work. Sweet, so I get to my appointment and inform the local receptionist of what 800 number lady told me. “Oh,you have to have your doctor fax us a letter,” she says. “I know, they said I get the letter from you and you fax it to them, the doctor signs it and I’m good to go.” She informs me that it has to come from the doctor first, so I give up and just spend time filling out their new patient information including a health questionnaire with about 100 questions on it, which I specifically mark YES to “Are you pregnant?” So I call my doctor and have them fax the letter.

Lesson:
Make sure the local office is on the same page as the national or regional office, and that both are aware of the company’s policies.

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Poor Customer Service and My General Frustrations with Going to the Dentist

I don’t think many people really enjoy going to the dentist, but I had come to believe that with the right dentist and their assistants it would be bearable. The worst part of going to the dentist should be the sound of the drill, or whatever else may be unpleasant about the procedure. There is a problem when scheduling an appointment, waiting at the office, and talking to the dental assistants, x-ray technicians and dentist are the parts you dread.

My school’s insurance policy requires me to go to Western Dental. Don’t get me wrong, the people you talk to after dialing their 800 number are great. They promptly set appointments, give you reminder calls, and call your local office to confirm the appointment with them. Although, they did also send reminder post cards that arrived the day of the appointment. Considering that my mail arrives at noon and that was when the appointment was, the system is somewhat ineffective.

Now, it’s the people at the local office that worry me. My first question is, if you are a dentist why would you not open your own practice rather than working for Western Dental? It seems that if you have to work for Western Dental, you are not a very good dentist. Though Kaiser Permanente health care runs on the same system – namely that the same company runs both the insurance and actually employs dentists or doctors to take care of you- and I don’t have a negative bias towards Kaiser. Maybe someone working for Western Dental could inform me. Maybe you just don’t want to deal with the trouble of running your own practice…I could see that I guess. Or maybe you just can’t keep customers around long enough because of your junky customer service, so you get a continuous supply through Western Dental.

Besides the quality of care, which so far hasn’t actually been bad, let me tell you my story and you see where someone was not concerned with customer service. Number one issue: I am pregnant. Everyone knows you’re not supposed to get x-rays when you are pregnant, right? Well here is what the American Pregnancy Association has to say. Besides that, I’m an engineer and I’ve studied my share of physics and can understand statistical data when given to me. I know that x-rays are actually just high-energy light…light’s pretty scary and all, but really that’s why you where a lead shield. Other sources I’ve read said also that if a woman has a medical problem, even if she’s pregnant you should just aim the x-ray right at the abdomen and take the x-ray. There is not much evidence that it will hurt the baby and it’s a small dose. So really, I’m not worried about the x-ray thing. And I tend to get frustrated when people repeat things they have no idea about just because it’s what everyone says.

I’ll keep you posted on this ongoing saga. Here’s a week-by-week playback of the terrible customer service I have received so far.

Week 1Week 2Week 3

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Priorities

As part of getting ready for a new quarter of school, I generally take a look at what I was doing the previous quarter in all aspects of my life and how each of those activities made me feel. I recommend this procedure to everyone. I generally have a tendency to take on about one too many things at a time. Sometimes I try to take one more class than I have time for; other times I try to be involved in too many organizations or sports. Recently, upon executing my quarterly evaluation, I decided that I had once again tried to do one too many things. I began feeling really nervous about this quarter whenever I thought about it during Christmas break, so I knew I needed to change something about my plan. Trying to keep up with this blog this quarter was unfortunately what needed to be removed from the list.

Last quarter I had many of my posts written from my free time over the summer. I had saved them up while we got the website up and running, and so last quarter I simply had to worry about writing less. I would still like to keep this going, but it’ll have to be on a more spur of the moment basis. For example, right now, I have a few minutes before my next class, but its not enough time to get any homework done, so I decided to write. Anyway, more about priorities:

I try to keep my priorities in line as follows:

  1. Family: Make sure my husband and I have everything we need and are doing what we need to be sure that we will be able to raise a happy, healthy family.
  2. Church/Religion: This ties in closely with family, but I think that a person needs to spend a good deal of time reflecting on their own spirituality, how they act towards others and how their behavior reflects the person they want to be.
  3. Education/Occupation: Here I have to make some choices on what is most important in the long run, but I look at what I need to be doing to make sure that I can be employed in the future in a job that I enjoy doing. This also includes helping my husband do the same thing, so that when we have children, I can stay home and make sure they are raised correctly.

Beyond that there’s not much more. Most of my life currently fits into those three categories, and as long as I keep them in that order, I am happy. If I take on too many responsibilities from a lower category which effect the higher categories, my life seems much more stressful and chaotic. Once, I get it back in order, things seem to smooth out. Also, I think I accomplish more by keeping my priorities in order. I seem to have more time for more things, than when my priorities are out of order.

Well, I have to run to class now. I’ll come back and spell-check this later!

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Guerrilla Marketing for the Home-Based Business – Jay Conrad Levinson

I know I’ve been slacking off lately. You’re going to have to cut me some slack, because it’s finals week. Next week will be the start of Christmas break, and then I’ll really get to writing. I have to write a lot during my breaks, so I have a stockpile of articles to post. Otherwise I won’t ever post anything during the time I’m in school. Anyway, this book review is from one of my favorite books so far. There is so much great, practical, usable information for marketing a home-based business. I can’t wait until we get some of our ideas rolling, so I can play around with the techniques in this book. I tried to take really good notes so I could look back and remember exactly what was in the book anytime I needed (since I had gotten it from the library). So, in my opinion they are definitely worth reading.

Guerrilla Marketing for the Home-Based Business
Jay Conrad Levinson

So far this is one of my favorite books. The connection made between marketing for small businesses and guerrilla warfare is brilliant. You my friends are the guerrillas. The giant corporations are your competitors, and you can hit them by being quick, responsive and inventive. Your strength is in being small.

I took copious notes while reading this book, and I would recommend that everyone read them. You can find hundreds of specific techniques that can help you market your startup such as by word of mouth, via newsletter, utilizing networking and developing your niche in the business.

The idea of finding your niche in the marketplace is an amazing one. How many stories have you read on other people’s blogs or in entrepreneurial magazines about people who made a few million selling upscale clothes for little boys, lotions and shampoos for babies made with all natural products or jars of different, fancy types of peanut butter. Those are just a few of the stories I’ve heard lately.

I’ve started thinking that I really enjoy the marketing side of business. This blog is essentially a marketing tool. It lets people know who I am and what I’m doing. It gets my name into places I couldn’t reach without it. I can’t wait until our business is further in its development. Then, I can use everything I’ve learned in this book, about how to use my time and money wisely, to ensure that those most likely to be my clients know about my business.

Anyone that owns a startup business should get this book. Buy it or borrow it from the library. It has so many great ideas, you can really customize your marketing strategy to your business.

Read my notes to get started on some ideas. Check out Guerrilla Marketing’s website. It also seems to have some good articles and information that was contained in the book.

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Using Your Resources

I mentioned before about how much I have gained in just a few months from utilizing the public library system (just look how many of my posts are book reviews). I think that concept should be expanded to include utilizing all your resources. There are so many organizations that just give away knowledge on a plethora of subjects for free or nearly free. You can learn anything you want about any subject, and use it to help you in business. I have read many great articles on the need for people to take the initiative to learn and do new things. (Check out a few at I Will Teach You to Be Rich) Really, you have to make the time you need to do extra things. Trust me, I know this can be hard (I’m finishing a MS in Engineering in a year), but it’s the only real way to design your life to please you. Here are a few great examples of opportunities you can take advantage of:

Library: You’ve got the entire stock of books in the nearest library to you, but public libraries are generally run on a county level, so you can have any book shipped to you for nearly free and you turn it back in to your local library. How can your access to information get any better? Additionally, many libraries have a “Friends of the Library” bookstore. They generally sell books there for a couple of dollars, which is a way better deal than almost anywhere else. If you want to find information that is not at public libraries, such as scientific journal articles, just walk into any university library. They won’t question you at the door, you can look up all the information you want and you can even legally photocopy some things.

Community Centers, Classes and Activities:
A few weeks ago I played my first game of Frisbee golf (or disc golf) for free. A local community center had a course. They even had Frisbees to borrow for free and instructions. I also get a quarterly schedule of classes that are offered for adults and children. There are the more artsy classes like cake decorating and jewelry making, and even those can be turned into business opportunities if it’s something you enjoy, but there are also classes on computers, business skills and etiquette, etc. These classes are not always almost free, but they can be a good investment in your future.

Seminars: Many employers offer training and seminars. Take advantage of them to learn all you possibly can. You will learn skills to help you in your current job and your new job when you get promoted.

Open Houses and Tours:
Companies want to have a positive public image, and one way they achieve that is to hold open houses and tours. Open houses tend to be on an annual or biannual basis, so you might have to do some research to find out when they are. I attended an open house at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California. It was amazing to see the technology and expertise that go into the space program. I took a tour of Johns Manville fiberglass insulation factory in Willows, California which showed me what processes chemical engineers designed to make everyday objects. Tours and open houses are free, and you don’t have to go with a Boy Scout group or something. Just go online or call to find out the schedule.

College:
If you’re in college like me, there are thousands of opportunities for you. You can take any class you want in any subject. Don’t want to study for an extra class? Just audit it; go to the lectures and take notes as if you were being graded, then take the day off when the rest of the class has a midterm. (Added bonus: you get to sit at the beach while your classmates study for and take an exam!) Besides classes, when else are you going to get to use a gym for free and take inexpensive sports, dance, and martial arts classes. Also, there are thousands of experts you can talk to. Just email a professor with whom you’d like to speak (then email them again, because they’re busy and might lose your email, but almost all are genuinely delighted to talk to you). If there’s one resource you use in college, it should be the career center. Career centers seem to be the most under-used resource, but they have so many workshops, counselors, and connections to potential employers, that you can use to effectively plan your career and life.

If you’re not in college, find the nearest community college. They have excellent classes, and from experience I know they charge something like $10 a unit (about $40 to take the class).

Those are just of a few of the examples of ways to get out of your house, get off the internet, stop watching TV, go on a date with your girlfriend, boyfriend or spouse (who wouldn’t want to be taken on a romantic tour of a nuclear power plant in San Onofre or something…or is that just me haha), and become a better, more intelligent person. But seriously folks, find something about yourself you would like to improve, or choose an entirely new subject and find a way to learn about it. You’ll be a better person for it. Now I’m off to schedule that nuclear power plant tour!

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The Millionaire Next Door – Thomas J. Stanley & William D. Danko

The Millionaire Next Door
Thomas J. Stanley & William D. Danko

This book is and should be considered required reading for…well, really for everyone, but at the very least for entrepreneurs and anyone interested in personal finance. The point is not just that there are average-looking people who live near you and just happen to be millionaires. The point is that you almost have to be average-looking to ever become a millionaire in the first place.
Stanley and Danko back up all their claims with statistics, and provide a lot of information about who the affluent of America really are. It becomes incredibly obvious how one should build wealth in this country. There is no trick to becoming affluent. You simply have to spend less than you earn. I don’t mean a little bit less. If you live well below your means, you can save millions before you retire easily on even a modest yearly income.

I personally like the equation given to measure your expected net worth.

Expected Net Worth = Age * Pretax Annual Income ÷ 10

If you are over this amount, you are a “prodigious accumulator of wealth” (someone who saves more than the average for their income and age); if you are under this amount you are an “under accumulator of wealth” (someone who saves less than average for their income and age). Where do you fall? Simply multiply your age by your pretax annual income and divide by ten. That is your expected net worth. Oh, and don’t forget to subtract from your net worth any inheritances that you have received. Money that you did not actually earn does not count.

Prodigious accumulators of wealth are those who are or will become your millionaire next door. What may surprise you is that many of those who live in fancy houses, drive expensive cars and wear trendy clothes and accessories are really not very wealthy at all. In fact most of them are under accumulators of wealth. Despite their six or seven figure incomes, they couldn’t live off their savings for more than a few months.

The mindset you have to have is that you want to become wealthy in order to be financially independent, to protect your family and to manage your own future. You will then budget, save and plan your personal finances. If you just want to have fancy toys, go ahead, but don’t fool yourself into thinking you are or ever will become financially independent without working to become so.

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One Phone Call Away – Meshel

One Phone Call Away – Secrets of a Master Networker
Jeffrey W. Meshel

Let me tell you more about what I did while I lived in Argentina. I was a missionary so I tried to find people who had interest in religion and try to convince others that it was a worthy subject. I spent everyday all day talking to as many people as possible, walking up to people in the street or going door to door, and meeting new people through charity events. This experience helped me to conquer the fear I had of just starting a conversation with someone, especially because I was doing it all in Spanish, which is not my native language. Not only did I learn not to be shy, but I also gained a great love for helping others.

Jeff Meshel emphasizes exactly those two things in his book on networking, One Phone Call Away. He has become a master networker, because he does it to help others. He tries to go out of his way to connect two people that can help one another, and the great thing is that it brings business in to his company as well.

One Phone Call Away gives great tips for novices on how to overcome shyness and how to control the perception others have of you. This part was very helpful to me as someone just starting to enter the business world. He also has tips for expert networkers about organizations they can join, and how they can expand their networks. I assume those tips are great also. They sounded good for CEOs and other executives.

I found myself with two opinions throughout this book. The first was very positive and appreciative of the advice to ask “How can I help others?” and not “What’s in it for me?” It shows that networking is not a selfish thing to, but rather a very productive business practice.

The second opinion stems from my own desire to not change my behavior because of money or my status position. Because Meshel networks with executives and other high status people, he finds it profitable to adopt habits of the rich and famous. One example he gives is paying twice as much for a yearly health club membership to be an “executive member”, which ended up giving him business opportunities with other executive members he met at the gym. This is probably simply a sound business practice. I just don’t like the thought of putting myself above the regular members of the gym.

Anyway, that’s my two cents. Here’s the list of networking rules Meshel gives. It’s basically in order from novice to grand master black belt level networking.

As Meshel also mentioned, I would advise anyone to get a job as a retail or door-to-door salesman (or be a missionary like I was). It really gets the fear out of you, and makes you comfortable initiating a conversation.

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Jim Wilkie – At The Docks, Marine Electrical

Happy Halloween everyone! Sorry I didn’t have time to post anything last week. I’ve been really busy with my engineering classes. Soon I’ll write a post on time management, so you can learn how to do 80 things at once like I do! Anyway, I have a real treat for you for Halloween! This interview was really instructive for Scott and I. Jim and his wife Lori are a really great example of what it’s like for normal people to catch the entrepreneurial spirit and start up a business. Their uses of marketing, networking and customer service are worthy of emulation by anyone in business. Jim’s customer service is so extraordinary and his services so desired, he was making a profit within a month and now spends next to nothing on advertising. The interview turned into more of a group discussion, so Scott’s and my questions are in bold, Jim’s and Lori’s comments are not. Without further ado…

Cat: Describe yourself and your business.

Jim: My name is Jim Wilkie. My business is called At the Docks, Marine Electrical.

Cat: What kind of work do you do?

Jim: The customer will call me and tell me basically the problems he or she is having with their boat. Normally it’s, “The boat will not start.” That’s the first step. What I do is make an arrangement to meet up with the customer, and I take my equipment down to his boat, at his boat. Most companies will have the boat come to the technician or the engineer. I go out to the boat, which is a niche market that I’ve developed. I go out with my equipment, and I troubleshoot his problem, figure out what the customer’s problem is and get that solved. At the same time, I’m surveying the boat, looking for the electrical problems in the boat. The three things that are most important to me are to make sure that the boat is safe, that the boat is reliable and that the customer understands their own boat, because no customer has ever taken me out on their boat on a two-week vacation out in the ocean. So I want them to be able to troubleshoot their own problems. I have a very good rapport with my customers, with my suppliers, with other technicians, and when I started the business, I told myself that I would treat everybody like they were my most important customer. When I show up to work on their boat, I concentrate totally on their boat, and I try to get the boat fixed as efficiently as possible and with the least amount of money coming out of the customer’s pocket. Everybody seems to appreciate that.

Cat: You mentioned to me before that you had obtained your scuba license. Do you actually scuba dive to work on the boats?

Jim: No, I have my scuba certification and I’m qualified. I originally was going to go that route, where I’d take care of everything on the boat. My business is so busy, that I can only handle electrical and electronics on the boats. I’m not a scuba diver per se, that’s not my full training. My training is 30 years of electronics and electrical technical work for Lockheed Martin, and before that it was four years of electronics equipment aboard the A6A bombers, the aircraft that fly off the air craft carriers. I had four years of that, 30 years of electronics troubleshooting, and then, I figured I might be ready to start my own business working on people’s boats.

Cat: (Laughing) How did you realize that there was this niche, to actually go down to the docks to work on the boats?

Jim: My wife Lori and I bought a boat, and every time I was down on the boat working on something, every time other boaters saw that I had a multimeter, they would say, “Oh, do you do electrical?” And, I would go down and help them out with their little problems that they would have, and it turned out that I couldn’t get enough time to work on my own boat, because I was working on other people’s boats. We’ve only had our boat out twice this season.

Cat: What specific skills that you gained from your past experience apply to working on boats?

Jim: At one point I got myself transferred to a different part of the calibration lab for Lockheed working on submarines surface craft, and tugboats. At that point I started thinking, “I want my own business.” I transferred my information of how to troubleshoot a circuit or a system to what I’m doing now.

Scott: What’s the biggest boat you’ve gotten to work on?

Jim: Fifty-eight foot power boat. I also worked on the Bremerton Foot Ferry that goes from Port Orchard to Bremerton and from Bremerton to one of the islands.

Lori: You also just worked on the University of Washington research vessel.

Jim: I did! That was interesting. They put about $10,000 worth of electronics gear on a $3,000 boat! The boat is small, 16 foot tide runner. Little dinky boat with all this electronics gear.

Cat: How long has your business been in operation?

Jim: Three years next April.

Cat: You mentioned that you didn’t start earlier, because you were still gaining the skills you now have. Was that the only reason you didn’t you start earlier?

Jim: I didn’t start earlier, because of the risk of it. Most people are worried about getting a paycheck every week, getting the benefits (medical, dental and eye care are real expensive) and putting your kids through college. So you stick with a job until you get certain things done in your life, and the things you want to get done in your life are to make sure your kids are okay, they’re through college, they have a life of their own and they can stand on their own two feet financially. I think that’s what everybody is concerned about.

Cat: How do you market your business?

Jim: I started marketing my business by going to all the marinas in my area, and my suppliers. That would be West Marine. I have several suppliers in Seattle, Tacoma…that’s about it. I let them know what I was doing, gave them my background, kind of like a little resume, and I did a tri-fold brochure and business cards. It went from there. I started April 1st, April Fool’s Day, the day after I left from Lockheed, early retirement at 55 years old. By April 30th, I was making money. In most businesses you lose money for the first two years, and I think it’s 60% of small businesses that fail. And I think it’s because people don’t plan ahead. They hit upon a good idea, and they jump on it without getting a good base.

Lori: But your marketing now is different.

Scott: Do you have any active marketing or advertising that you’re doing now?

Jim: None.

Lori: Phone book, you do a one-liner.

Jim: That’s it. It’s all word of mouth. I’m lucky I think, because Kitsap County is surrounded by water, but we have three military bases. A lot of these other guys and women that are working in the same area I was, could do the same thing I’m doing, but they’re a little bit nervous about taking the jump. Getting into your own business, it’s a gamble, but it’s exciting.

Lori: The other marketing is that he drives an ambulance, and it’s the only one in town that says “At the Docks” on it. The rest of them are, well, ambulances. So, he gets probably more marketing through that than advertising.

Jim: It’s an oddball vehicle. In fact the next vehicle I want to buy is one of these ugly little Scions, it’s this odd looking car, people will notice it, and I’ll plaster my name all across it. Because I get eight miles to the gallon in the ambulance!

Everyone: (Laughing)

Jim: Yeah, so it’ll be a little bit cheaper to go to Seattle to get my supplies.

Cat: Do you have any plans for expanding you business?

Jim: I’ve thought about it. Right now I could expand. I’ve set up a network of scuba divers, mechanics, wood workers, and ship rights. We all kind of work together right now, and there is the possibility that if I was a little better organized on my bookkeeping, I would be able to subcontract out to other craftsman. But right now, I’m up to my eyelids with work.

Scott: If you’re working on someone’s boat, and you get down in there and see that there’s dry rot or something, you know a guy that you could recommend to fix their wood problem?

Jim: Absolutely, exactly! In my day planner…you have to have your day planner with you all the time, and a good cell phone with all the numbers in it. I’ll call up my friend or a couple of them that do dry rot or whatever, and I’ll tell them, “I’m going to send a customer your way.” I’ll tell the customer, “Here’s a good person,” and give them the phone number. That way I’ve already pre-warned my friend that it’s one of my customers, so they can try their best to squeeze them in if they can and take care of them. All my friends know that I am very honest and that I want to save my customers money. And that is the main thing, honesty and saving them money.

Cat: Do you have any future plans for your business? Are you just going to work until you drop and that’s it, or are you going to start subcontracting out?

Jim: Haha, this is good, you’re making me think about what I should be doing! Sometimes I feel like I’m going to drop at the end of the week. To expand the business…I haven’t researched it enough yet. I think its 75% of the boat fires that occur are electrical problems. So every boat that I work on, I’m taking a little bit of a chance, and I want to be able to control those risks as much as possible. If I subcontract out to somebody else, that also works under my name, that subcontractor is not going to get sued, it’s going to be me. I just want to get sued for stuff I do. (Laughing)

Cat: What has been the most valuable lesson that you’ve learned starting this business?

Jim: My business isn’t the most important thing in my life. I’ve set aside my family and I’ve set aside my own life to help other people on their boats. When I first started out, I was working Saturdays and Sundays. If anybody gave me a call, I’d feel bad for them, and I’d go to work. I finally decided to change, when my wife said, “Most of the things you work on are toys.” And really, in my line of work, they’re things that people don’t absolutely need. I mean if, your car breaks down, and that’s the only car you have, that affects you, but a boat is a toy.

Cat: What important advice would you give to a young entrepreneur just starting up?

Jim: Try not to jump into a business too quickly. Research, research, research. Then go to your competitors, not on the same block that you’re setting up your business, but go to them and talk to them. They will help you out more than you can imagine. They will tell you, “Business isn’t that great in this last three years,” or they’ll say, “You have a good idea, I’d like to help you out.” And most of the time they will help you out. Get as much information as you can before you jump into something. My wife and I jumped in…we were very lucky…we jumped into an ice cream business. In one week from the time we saw that ice cream truck in Seattle we had ice cream trucks in Kitsap County forty miles away. We didn’t have any ice cream trucks before that. It was one week, and we were on the road. We were lucky, very lucky. We could have gotten hammered. I was lucky with this one [At the Docks] too. I made money within the first month.

Cat: Is there anything else you’d like to add? That’s all the questions I have for you.

Jim: Good luck to both of you. You guys are going to have a blast!

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Color Smart – Mimi Cooper

Color Smart: How to Use Color to Enhance Your Business and Personal Life
Mimi Cooper with Arlene Matthews

Color Smart is a good little resource for color in marketing. It is a simple and direct guide to keep the business owner or prom queen from making a color faux pas. It teaches you to pay attention to the signals that colors send about you and your business, as well as how to impress others by appealing to their color preferences.

Cooper states that people come in three varieties or color profiles

  • Color-Forward: Those who embrace the newest colors of every season and dare to be the first to use them.
  • Color-Prudent: Those who are more cautious to try new colors, but use them in small amounts to add excitement to their life.
  • Color-Loyal: Those who stick with their colors and almost never try new ones.

To relate to others at their level, you’ve got to utilize colors that are at their same color profile. If you want to make yourself look fun, exciting and creative, use colors that are one profile level higher. To seem down to earth and reliable, use one profile lower.

Besides the color profiles of different people, you should also be aware of the signals that colors send. Red draws attention to itself and stirs strong emotions. Oranges imply spiciness and also that something is inexpensive, though it should be used in small amounts. Yellow is best used as an accent color, conveys happiness, and is the easiest color to spot (hence yellow school zone signs, etc.). Greens have the widest variety of signals, which are mostly influenced by their content of yellow or blue. Blue, the most popular color, is calming and soothing, but can be seen as boring. Purple should be used sparingly, but is great for children’s products. Neutrals, grays, blacks and browns are often used as accents, but can be used alone or in combination with themselves.

There are other features that teach you how to do what the pros do in using color. The professionals use these colors to attract our attention, help us recognize products, and reposition their businesses in the marketplace. Cooper also points out that different countries use color in different ways. When marketing to foreign lands you know ahead of time how to best cater to their styles.

So far I’ve used the advice and information in this book to design this blog and plan on using it to with all of our visual marketing techniques. With this book you can learn how to market your business using color. Which signals do you want to send? And how do you want others to see you?

For a great example of the true power of color in marketing see why Ace is not Tide!

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Using Color – Ace Is Not Tide

Let me tell you a story. I lived in Argentina for a year and a half. Upon arriving, I went to the store to buy some everyday essentials. I noticed that the grocery store I was in had a brand of laundry detergent that was packaged exactly like Tide, except that it was called Ace. (This website has a picture and a description if you read Spanish.) Now, when my sister was young, she was allergic to every detergent except Tide. Naturally, my family always used Tide. So what did I do? I bought Ace.

After a few weeks I started to get a rash, which I first attributed to sweating while walking around all day, every day in the sun. However, the weather grew cooler, and I still had a rash. I then tried switching detergents…turned out that it was the Ace that gave me the rash. Apparently, Ace was not Tide.

To make matters worse I moved to an area where Ace wasn’t sold. A few months later I moved again, but this time into an area where good ol’ Ace was sold. Again, I saw Ace in the store, and somehow I had forgotten all about the rash. I thought it was Tide again and bought it. I then thought to myself, “You Cat are really dumb, don’t you remember, Ace is not Tide!”

So, moral of the story is that color in packaging is a very powerful marketing technique. It’s all about brand recognition. I’m sure you’ve even noticed some stores placing their generic brands next to the real thing with similar labeling. It is there to make sure you equate the generic brand with the more expensive brand name version of the same product, and it works! It makes you more certain that the quality will be just as good as the expensive product.

How can you use color in your marketing? Next week I’ll have a review for you of a book about color in marketing that I read and found pretty useful.

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