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we see green blog

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We've designed our 'we see green' blog to help keep our community informed of interesting and important environmental and business topics. It's also a way to help our clients stay better informed of all the interesting and value-added services we offer. To get regular updates, subscribe to this blog via email (yep, that box to the right there), or add our feed to your RSS feed reader. Enjoy!

Friday, February 27, 2009

What Tyra Can Teach Us About Marketing

If you watch daytime TV, or The Soup, you're more than familiar with Tyra Banks and her talk show. It's certainly far from Emmy-quality entertainment, to say the least. While it may not be the most likely source for marketing inspiration, there are at least 3 things we can learn about marketing from the successes and mis-steps of the Tyra Banks Show.

1. Aim High

No matter how much this show is mocked by virtually every single person on the planet, they cannot dispute the fact that Tyra landed an interview with the man who would eventually become President of the United States, Barack Obama. What a great "get" for a second or third tier talk show! Somebody must've picked up the phone and made it happen, even though it was highly unlikely they would be successful. As the adage goes, you miss out on 100% of clients you don't pursue.

2. Substance and Depth are Crucial

As a former Supermodel, Tyra Banks is known for her attractiveness. But as her show has demonstrated she's about as deep as the paper-thin magazine pages in which she's appeared. Your company might be in the same position. You may plan to spend a bundle (or you may have already) on cutting-edge marketing material from websites to brochures to peddle your product or service. But, if your company doesn't have the substance clients are looking for, you've wasted your money. Spend more time honing your message, values and offerings before investing in top of the line collateral.

3. It's Not About You!

Banks' ability to make any and every situation all about her is practically a superpower. From dressing up in the fat suit to interviews that devolve into a barrage of personal information, her egotism knowns no boundaries. Even though this seems obvious enough, a majority of businesses act like Tyra every single day. Marketing is not about you, it's about the services you can provide others. Focusing on your potential client's needs will lead to far more success than trumpeting your organization's benefits to a level that would make Spammers uncomfortable.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Next Big Thing

Photo Credit: Bucknell University
"Necessity, who is the mother of invention" - Plato, The Republic

The politicians and talking heads can call it whatever they'd like or spin it in any direction they please, but the reality is that our economy is hurting. Businesses are struggling to hit their bottom line and as a result people are taking pay cuts or losing their jobs with increased regularity. It's extremely tempting to let fear govern our actions and to withdraw from the market or allow our businesses to stagnate. But you must fight the urge because now, as Plato suggests, is the time for innovation!

Start-ups are beginning to pick up in Texas and even nationwide, especially as more professionals get laid off. Without the demands of a 9 to 5, people can finally begin to explore the ideas that have been ruminating in the back of their minds for years. In fact, as you read this, you probably have a few ideas that you're interested in pursuing. Today, you and other potential entreprenuers have a fantastic chance to execute. Don't let this opportunity to pursue your dreams and passions slip away because of the same tired excuses that have deterred you up to this point. The market is craving brilliant ideas. Why not yours?

Friday, February 20, 2009

New Business Ventures Community

We're excited! Today BBA took a significant step forward when our Board of Directors approved the development of a new Business Ventures Community as an extension of our Business Services division. What is a Business Ventures Community, you ask?

The concept is really quite simply this: We'll provide the assets and services a small business start-up needs to be successful in the early days. Access to office space, phone lines, IT, marketing, accounting, finance, legal services, human resources; all the resources available to every well-established company will now be accessable by each and every humble start-up, the very companies that can use these services the most.

The issue in the past is that most small companies could barely afford to pay for office space and phone lines, let alone access to quality marketing, accounting, financial, legal and human resources experts. Well the past is behind us and the future is here: every company can now have access to all of these services for NO UP-FRONT COSTS!

How do we do it? It's just a franchise model. We'll provide these services for a share of your future revenues, usually around 10%, but depending of course on the type and scope of your business. The percentage fees for high-revenue/low-margin companies will naturally be lower than those for low-revenue/high-margin companies, but you get the gist.

The beauty of this model (besides the awesome no up-front cost part) is that the companies who partner with us will be able to focus on the reason they went into business in the first place: doing what they do best and working hard at making money. Most companies are not in the business of doing business; we ARE! Our business is growing your business.

This is only a sneak-peak of what we're going to be rolling out, so we obviously haven't included al lthe details here. However, if you're as excited about this concept as we are, give us a call or shoot us an email; we'd love to have the opportunity to chew on anyone's ear about this some more!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

No Money? No Worries!

With the market in a precarious position, most small businesses have been divided into two camps: the shell-shocked and the over-eager. The shell-shocked are those who have watched large chunks of their profits and savings vanish into thin air (or Bernie Madoff's pocket) and are terrified of losing more. The over-eager are enthusiastically, and often blindly, pouring money into the market and even beginning their foray into new ventures. Obviously most businesses could be categorized as the former but there is a valuable lesson for both to learn: effort is better at driving results than cash.

Hustle is always a worthy investment in any economic environment, so here are 3 simple strategies to grow your small business without spending a dime:

1. Networking- You've spent your life building a network whether you realize it or not, so why not utilize your personal and professional contacts? Don't be concerned about imposing, as everyone is probably in a similar position and would benefit from a new opportunity. Unsure of how either party can benefit? Take a chance and allow the conversation to run its course. They may need your assistance with something you never would've considered. Take a few minutes and setup a meeting with someone in your field ASAP.

2. Adapt your message and spread it - Every single business, from a brand-new start up to the top of the Fortune 500, is laser-focused on their margins... now even more so than usual. Refining your pitch is a great way to appeal to a new audience. Make your brain work overtime to focus your pitch on how your product or service will lower their costs and/or increase their profits. Money talks, especially when it's scarce. But getting the word out about your message will require a lot of legwork. Don't let this discourage you from being proactive.

3. Scour the internet- While not a traditional medium that requires sweat equity, it's time to roll your sleeves up and dig deeper. Instead of just checking your email, find out how social networking like Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn can benefit your organization. Research your competitors to find an upper-hand or look for potential partners to share resources. You're already paying for access, be sure to make the most of it!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Save Money by Spending Money?

These are unprecedented times, harkening back to the Great Depression of the early 20th Century. Economists may differ in opinion about how to remedy the economy, but the prevalent idea as we look at the Great Depression in hindsight is that if the government had flooded the economy with money, the "Great Depression" might have just been the "Burdensome Recession". Enter Ben Bernanke and Obama's Stimulus Plan ... $800+ Billion (yes, Billion with a B) in free money to the economy. Well, as free as printing $800+ Billion can be.

What's scary is that this has never been done before. Great Depressions don't come around so often, so no one has yet been able to test the flooding-the-market-with-cash theory. It may not work; it may just put the nation deeper in debt and make only certain people richer.

That's why we at BBA are firm believers that the best way to save money is to, well, spend less. If you can cut costs and maintain revenues, do it. But that's only half the story. Sometimes adding smaller costs will let you cut out bigger costs.

Take for example our Reliability studies services. Yes, our services may be an extra cost, but if our Reliability services can improve the reliability of a 200 kBPD refinery by 0.25% (very achievable), that refinery can realize an increase in revenue by more than $7 Million dollars (yes, Million with an M). And that's just at $40 per barrel oil prices.

So while cutting costs is a sure-fire way to save money, sometimes it is well worth a small investment to capitalize on much bigger cost savings within your reach.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Even Our Blog Gets QA/QC Checking

If you've ever done any web coding, you might understand how annoying it can be to have to ensure that your website displays correctly on multiple browsers. No two web browsers are identical (though some are pretty close) so it can be quite the ordeal to get a website up and running. This blog was no exception!

This blog was designed to be viewed with Internet Explorer, since 80 to 90% of our site's visitors use this browser. If we were content with the site displaying properly for just this segment, we'd be amply serving the vast majority of our visitors. For many companies, 80 to 90% satisfaction would be worth celebrating. Yet for all of us at BBA, 80 to 90% satisfaction isn't up to snuff. Our idea of a quality deliverable is second to none, and we do all that we can to make sure we deliver that ideal.

For all of our clients and in all that we do, you can be assured that quality is paramount.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Barber & Barber Launches Blog

Today we launched our new blog page! To keep updated with all the interesting and value-added services we offer, subscribe to this blog or check back here regularly!