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Protected: Heidi’s Business Minute: ERP – WHO’S in CHARGE?

May 30th, 2012

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“Trend On” Justice Snow’s Restaurant + Bar in Aspen, Colorado

May 3rd, 2012

A year ago, I drove stick-shift through the Alps of Switzerland &
Austria, across Italy from Venice, Milano & down to the Mediterranean,
and in circles around every round-a-bout between Normandy and
Strasbourg, France. It was an incredible journey, albeit sometimes
stressful, given the lack of a GPS and
navigating road signs in a foreign language, but well worth it.

Back in the U.S. of A., this Spring Break’s road trip started in
Chicago and ended in crossing the Continental Divide in Colorado to
arrive in Breckenridge. I was THAT driver. As soon as it started
snowing and sleeting, I was scared I might slide off the edge of a
Rocky Mountain curve to our death. I hugged the inside lane & took my
sweet John Denver “Country Roads Take Me Home” Time.
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1X0ZVH2iy4)

The grandeur of the “American Alps” gave me renewed appreciation for 2
things. 1.) What a vast and gorgeous country we’re fortunate to live
in here in the U.S., and 2) Truckers.

As an aside (since this blog post really is about “Justice Snow’s Bar
+ Restaurant” in Aspen, Colorado & not Truckers), I must say: Truckers
are deserving of every kudos given in country songs lamenting and
praising their long hours and endless logged miles delivery everything
from fed-ex to fuel across America day in and day out. I don’t know
how they drive the Continental Divide in dangerous weather conditions,
but they do. Cowboy hats off to them.

Now back to “the rest of the story”
(http://www.paulharveyarchives.com/trots/). While in Colorado, we
played tourists in Aspen — known as one of the “IT” destination for
skiing for decades, the mountain mining town is beautifully cradled in
the snow-capped Rockies. This year, however, with one of the warmest
winters on record, snow conditions were not great for skiing, so we
explored the shops and restaurants and came across the recently opened
“Justice Snow’s Bar + Restaurant”. It was the Rocky Mountain
High-light of our visit (but not that kind of high… do people still
say “high” or is that a John Denver throw-back?)!
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRlwNIswn3U)

A new JUSTICE prevails in the SNOW’S town of Aspen, where Michele
Kiley (who goes by Kiley), Proprietress of the Restaurant + Bar,
serves locals and tourists alike in the historic Wheeler Opera House.
Kiley, an expert in gourmet cheeses and the food and beverage
industry, enthusiastically shared the narrative of making Justice
Snow’s happen with us as we felt like welcome regulars during our
visit. Not one to turn down the opportunity to talk-up the
collaborative efforts of a local community of artisans in Aspen even
more, Kiley joined myself and my co-host Heidi Feemster on “Trend On”*
blogtalkradio on the Linked Local Broadcast Network.

According to Kiley, it was no small fete to win the permit from the
local governing body in Aspen entrusted with the Historic Wheeler
Opera House Lease. But perseverance paid off and Kiley and her posse,
including partner Marco Cingolani in Fiercely Local, LLC, were given
the go-ahead to establish the Bar + Restaurant in the coveted
location.

In keeping with the iconic significance of the 1800s building,
Brooklyn-based designer Matt Duncan recreated a bar and parlor
incorporating authentic elements. Copper, wood, antique pieces,
plaster, deer-skin leather-covered cushions, and even an original bank
vault door blend the ambiance of vintage turn of the century with
upscale contemporary, like a perfectly shaken & served cocktail.

The establishment’s best feature, bar-none, however, was it’s people:
Kiley, Joshua-Peter Smith–Lead Libations Liaison & Cocktail Mechanic
(more from Joshua-Peter & his “Shake, Rattle, & Snow” expertise in
part 2), and the rest of the staff. We were engaged, entertained, &
educated in the art of brews, wines, spirits, and pre-prohibition
cocktail-ing in addition to dining on the intentionally crafted
dishes.

Offering patrons “Colorado-inspired” and “ridiculously affordable”
food and libations, the establishment boasts their local sources for
ingredients and caters to an eclectic clientele from ski bums and
locals to elite businessmen and celebrities.

Named “JUSTICE SNOW’S” by serendipity and a historic character, Kiley
says the namesake of the restaurant was an Aspen Justice of the Peace
back in the 1880s named Snow. The irony of the Justice named Snow in
the town known for Snow was not lost on Kiley and her entrepreneurial
backers.

Although Aspen is most known for skiing and winter vacays, it’s a
vibrant destination year round. With the summer season upon us, and
the likelihood of more sleet on the Continental Divide slightly less,
a drive to Aspen and dinner at Justice Snow’s Restaurant + Bar is as
worth it as any Euro-tour. Maybe bring John Denver along on the ipod.

For more info contact:
Kiley@Justicesnows.com ~ Justice Snow’s Restaurant + Bar
328 E Hyman Ave, Aspen, CO 81611, Aspen, CO 81611 ~ (970) 429-8192
(http://www.justicesnows.com/)

*As heard on “TREND ON with Heidi Feemster & Tamara Leigh:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/linkedlocalnetwork/2012/04/25/trend-on

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EMBRACING ERP

April 30th, 2012

EMBRACING ERP to GROW YOUR BUSINESS:
WHY ERP (Enterprising Resource Planning)?

ANYWHERE. ANYTIME. ANY PLACE.
In this age of mobility, business is conducted everywhere, every
minute. Your customers are collaborating this second on their
Smartphones, Tablets, and the plethora of other Social Media outlets.
But if you continue to run your business on antiquated accounting
systems or old ERP software, then you’re already falling behind social
savvy competitors embracing technology to improve their business and
customer intelligence.

ABW: Always Be Working-it!
ERP implementation grows your business. ERP increases the Return on
Investment in your company’s overall success. GROW your Business &
Succeed as a Company??? Who wants to do that? At last check– just
about every business out there.

ERP SIGNS:
“Signs, Signs, Everyhttp://mandatek.com/wp-admin/post.php?action=edit&post=419where Signs
Blocking up the scenery
Breaking up my mind
Do this, don’t do that
Can’t you read the sign?”
(Lyrics by Tesla: originally by The Five Man Electrical Band)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gklM1AiZX0s

Now that the song is playing in your head, let it remind you that
there are SIGNS that your company would benefit from implementing or
updating your ERP.

CHANGE SIGN:
Is your business model changing? Were you once a small company but
now growing and have many customers that you need to manage?
An ERP system could help you.

DEFINITE SIGN:
Does your present system have a 30 year old mainframe system and a
bunch of people who haven’t retired because you need them to run the
system?
Definitely a Sign you need a new ERP system and your deserving
employees need a retirement vacation.

DANGEROUSLY CLOSE TO ACCOUNTING “3 SHEETS TO THE WIND”* SIGN:
How many spreadsheets are you using in your business? Do you rely on outside tracking via spreadsheets?
Large quantities of spreadsheets is a SIGN you need an ERP system.
Be “sheet responsible”.
If you only have one person who knows all this information then that knowledge will leave with the person who is entitled.
*3 sheets to the wind:
http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/three-sheets-to-the-wind.html

Why ERP? Simple. It’s a solution for success.

HEIDI FEEMSTER’S BUSINESS MINUTE (as heard on “TREND ON with Heidi Feemster & Tamara Leigh):

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/linkedlocalnetwork/2012/04/25/trend-on

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ERP is What? And How Will It Help My Business?

April 5th, 2012

Could your business benefit from implementing an ERP?
It might, you think, but what is an ERP and how will it make my business better?
ERP, or Enterprise Resource Planning, is both a system and a software that in essence links or connects the components of a company together for improved integration within the company. (http://mandatek.com/services/erpfinancials/)
Whether you’re a smaller growing company, or an established one with an inefficient interfacing system, an ERP is an important part of the process towards increased profits and productivity.
ERP SYSTEMS: THE THEN & NOW and the WHAT & WHY.
Starting with a broad overview of ERS Systems here, we’ll look at what ERP was, what it is now, and why ERP is important for a prospective user.
Remember when cell phones first came out and they were big and clunky and never would’ve fit in Maxwell Smart’s shoe? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDsURw1rsj8)
If you don’t remember that, then you also probably can’t ever imagine a world where there wasn’t an iphone or a complex cloud of endless applications. But in that land before today’s time, ERP systems were not unlike the original cell phones in that they consisted of heavy computer equipment that required large IT support. The early ERP systems were not integrated with other key systems, were inward facing, and rather then emancipating the workers to be more productive with improved efficiency, initial ERPs made staff more dependent. As is the case with most big new things, the costs were higher, making it harder to justify the investment for the mid-market return.
But Now, when ROI is critical, ERP systems better meet the demand for integration and availability. They improve the speed of business and there’s a much more rapid deployment of the costs. With greatly improved ease of use, ERP systems currently provide such user independence that it’s increased value might only be realized if it were lost, after a business becomes so accustomed to it’s usefulness (much like Maxwell Smart’s Girl Friday, Agent 99).
So that’s the WHAT.
Next post we’ll look at the WHY. Why is ERP important for a prospective user?
We’ll answer that question in terms of ERP’s Process and
Information Integration, Mobility, Business Intelligence,
Collaboration, and Configurability — ability to change
reports for ease of use.
In the meantime, it’s equally important to know that ERPs
implementation facilitates growing your business (& isn’t
that the reason for having opened up your “shop” in the first place?) and provides for an increased return on the
investment in the company’s overall success.
HEIDI FEEMSTER’S BUSINESS MINUTE (as heard on “TREND ON with Heidi Feemster & Tamara Leigh):

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/linkedlocalnetwork/2012/03/14/trend-on-milwaukee-art-mueseum–dont-settle-for-less

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ERP Moves into the Cloud: Hansaworld Introduces New Cloud Services

February 2nd, 2012

ERP Moves into the Cloud Hansaworld Introduces New Cloud Services Mandatek

Cloud computing continues to demonstrate that the advantages it promises are consistently delivered. These advantages of reduced cost, improved efficiency and greater flexibility have always held great appeal for the enterprise technology user, since, in simple terms, it means reduced capital and operational expense.

HansaWorld, established in Sweden in 1988 by founder Karl Bohlin, has introduced a number of Cloud Services to help businesses run more efficiently. The new functions, including Credit Card purchasing, SMS sending, Exchange Rate Lookup, Electronic payments, Credit History and Address Lookup are built into the program and need no additional software.

“The process of ERP moving into the cloud has already started,” says Johani Marais, South Africa country manager for HansaWorld. “Like many other cloud services, it starts with the most common services or modules, which are also the most mature and are somewhat commoditised. That sets the scene and lays the groundwork for further services to migrate into the cloud.”

Where ERP differs from consumer cloud services such as Facebook, Google or YouTube, is that there are serious consequences when there is any interruption to service. “System unavailability means lost income. This, together with security concerns, is perhaps the biggest inhibitor to market acceptance of enterprise cloud services,” notes Marais.

The question of what becomes of the ‘traditional’ enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems is a natural question to be asked as the era of cloud computing unfolds.  The answer is likely to change the ERP landscape, both from a vendor and a user perspective. The larger ERP vendors will continue to purchase smaller vendors to gain their niche expertise, technology and staff. Users will demand easier implementation, better disaster recovery, improved online assistance & training and mobile capabilities. The battle between traditional ERP and Cloud based services has just begun and promises to be an interesting battle. The likely winners will be vendors who are able to deliver both traditional and cloud based offerings.

For more information on Hansaworld ERP or Cloud services, contact Heidi Feemster at Mandatek.



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Why do you use social media for your business?

February 8th, 2011

According to a recent survey by salespider.com, about 75% of small businesses are planning to use social media in 2011. Which begs the question, “Why?”

We did an informal survey with small business owners and leaders to find out why they are using or planning to use social media this year.  Here are the top reasons they gave:

1. Increase awareness of our company and brand
2. Connect with a wider audience and find new customers
3. Increase traffic to our website
4. Increase our website’s search engine ranking
5. Let people know about a new promotion or a new product
6. Everyone else is doing it, so we need to do it, too.  :)

Based on our own research and scouring of the world wide web, the following are some of the additional reasons cited as goals and objectives for businesses to use social media:

1. Own our brand’s digital presence
2. Show our target market that we are current with the times
3. Want to provide valuable information about our industry
4. Monitor trends
5. Get feedback about our brand, products and services
6. Use social media for customer service

What are some of the reasons that you are using social media for your business?

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Social Media can’t be used by B2B companies?

February 3rd, 2011

I hear it all of the time, “My company deals with other businesses, not consumers, so social media won’t help me”.  If you tell that to Gary Fruchtman of The Kent Group, a Toledo based steel company, he will laugh.  Gary created the Steel Industry Networking group on Linkedin,  and over 1200 steel industry experts have joined since its inception in July 2008.   Gary reports that his business has definitely increased because of the group and that the steel industry in general is starting to embrace social media

Another B2B industry that has embraced social media as a way to increase awareness is the commercial aviation industry. Boeing, one of the giants of the commercial aviation industry, started to utilize social media back in 2005.  Randy Baseler, Vice President, Marketing Commercial Airplanes, created a blog as a way to increase awareness of commercial aviation on the web. By 2007, Randy’s Journal, as the blog was named, saw more than a half million individual visits. Currently, his blog receives over 500,000 hits a year.

Oracle, the software giant that provides integrated business software and hardware systems to more than 370,000 customers, including 100 of the Fortune 100, is a huge believer of social media. Oracle launched their own social media network called Mix in 2007. Justin Kestelyn, editor-in-chief of Oracle’s Technology Network, wrote: “Although members of the Oracle community have long had the ability to directly interact/collaborate with employees as well as each other, it’s always been in a one/off manner: you ask a question, and I answer it….With the wiki, the community can now collaboratively create and share content (as well as rate and comment on it).”

Why did these B2B companies engage in social media? The answer is niche marketing. Each of these companies created a social media strategy based on the interests of their target audiences. Each company has seen a compelling response to their strategy. Niche marketing  is only one of the reasons why B2B companies should be utilizing social media. Over the next several blog posts we will examine other compelling reasons B2B companies engage in social media.

Link Locally, Connect Globally

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Not that many small businesses are using social media…yet.

January 19th, 2011

Who is using social media?  Fewer businesses than you might think, but that number continues to be on the rise.

According to a recent poll by Intuit Inc., 71% of small-business owners believe that social media is an effective way to keep customers engaged.  But, more than 90% of the respondents do not have a blog, and over 60% do not use Twitter, Facebook or other networking sites to promote their businesses.  However, the fact that about 40% DO use some form of social media shows a significant increase from the year before, when a survey by American Express OPEN found that only 10% were in the game.  Still another survey by SaleSpider.com shows that 75% of small businesses plan to make social networking a greater priority this year.

So, the use of social media by small-business owners is on the rise.  Which means that if you are a small business owner, your competitors are likely already using social media. Or, they are planning on using it to promote their businesses… sometime this year. 

As the economy strengthens a bit, now is the time to use all of the available means to promote your business.  Make social media a part of your overall marketing plan today.

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Simplifying Social Media: Getting Focused

November 5th, 2010

You’ve got the Twitter, Facebook, and  LinkedIn accounts.  You’re getting followers, friends, fans, connections.  You’re tweeting, posting, and updating like a crazy person.  It’s taking up more and more of your time, but you’re not sure if it’s helping your business, or… just taking up more time. 

Pause.  Take a deep breath and…simplify.

Get clear about why you’re on social media.  Sure, most of us want to get more business and make more money.  But, why are you really using social media as opposed to more traditional marketing methods?

To use social media effectively, you must become laser-focused about your brand message and your target audience.  You must also understand your unique selling proposition.  Yes, this sounds like marketing blah blah blah.  But being focused about your brand message is even more important in social media than in traditional marketing.  Why?  Because without a clear focus, social media has the potential to become a huge, ineffective time sucker. 

In the overwhelming world of social media, one word describes the feeling most people get when they get clear about their brand, target audience and unique selling proposition.

Simplicity. 

All of the noise fades away and the picture comes into focus. 

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Dominate Your Personal Digital Presence

October 2nd, 2010

Dominate Digital Presence

I was asked to be a guest blogger for Folk Media.  The following is the post that I wrote for them.  Thank you, Folk Media and Eric Alpin! – Michele Rempel

I recently spoke to a group of university business students and asked them, “How many of you believe that your personal presence on all social media accounts is ready for scrutiny by recruiters, potential employers or potential clients, right now?”  Only a few of the 80+ students in the audience raised their hands.  Of course, I wasn’t surprised, given that they had only begun the school year and most of them were not yet seniors. 

 I know that I would get more raised hands if I were to ask a group of business professionals.  However, my experience has been that most business owners or employees are thinking about that question superficially and not in the way that is going to benefit them the most in this age of social media.  If you are looking for clients, customers or a new position, it’s a good idea to own, manage, monitor and even dominate your personal digital presence. 

 Your Personal Digital Presence- Own It:
This may sound crazy, but do you own your own domain name, such as www.danielstoica.com?  One of the best ways to get your personal brand and content out there is to have your own website or blog site on your own name.  Of course, some of you have a really common name, so you may have to find a variation, but consider purchasing your name as a domain if you can.  I heard Nathan Latka, a young social media phenom, tell his audience a couple of months ago that his future children will only be named whatever he can purchase as a domain.  Although that may seem a bit extreme, I understand his point.  With social media, it’s easier to become your own brand than ever before.  See if your name is available at www.godaddy.com or www.1and1.com

 Your Personal Digital Presence- Manage It:
The best way to ensure that your personal digital presence represents the real you is by producing your own content on the web as well as associating yourself with other people’s good content.  Consider writing your own blog posts  and then linking them to your Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts.  You can set up your own blog site at www.wordpress.com, or consider having someone help you start a blog site with your own domain name. If you have a tough time writing, then you can out other people’s content (giving them credit, of course) about subjects that interest you.  Find a blog post that you would like to share and then send the link to that blog post (with your own quick introduction) using an application such as www.ping.fm.  Your name gets associated with the information that you’re sending, even though you didn’t have to write anything.  The idea is to have your name and brand associated with appropriate content, over and over again.  When people search for you on the internet, they’ll see listings of good content associated with your name.  Keep in mind that every Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blog post, etc., gets indexed on the search engines. 

 Another way to manage your digital presence is to check up on your social media accounts regularly.  I don’t mean just send out Facebook or Twitter posts; I mean check and update your personal information wherever you’re being represented.  Is your information current and correct?  Have you changed your tagline, brand message, or job responsibilities?  Do you have a good photo? 

Your Personal Digital Presence- Monitor It:
How do you know what is being said about you or your brand? Do you Google yourself or your brand on a regular basis?  Better yet, do you have your Google alerts set so that you get an email when you’re mentioned on the internet?  Set up a Google alert by going to www.google.com/alerts and you’ll get an email whenever your search term gets mentioned.  Even if you don’t think anyone is talking about you or your brand, you may be in for a surprise.

 Your Personal Digital Presence- Dominate It:

The goal of owning, managing and monitoring your personal digital presence is to ensure that you are being represented the way you want.  Posting content that represents you, your brand, service or product on all of your social media accounts will help you dominate the search engines and ensure that you can be found.  And when you are found, your name or brand will be associated with good content in listing after listing. 


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