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Rich Millennial, Poor Millennial

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A new study shows that nearly half of millennials in the USA have $0 in savings.

 

The same report shows that the number of millennials who have significant savings put away has increased. What’s going on? Who is to blame? Grab your pitchforks, people. Let’s do this.

 

 

If you’re active on LinkedIn or other financially-focused websites, you’ve probably seen this Bank of America report released today.

In short, almost 50% of the “millennial generation” have nothing in a savings account. While a growing number of the same demographic have large amounts of savings. The group in the middle is disappearing. So if you’re a millennial, statistically you either have a lot put put away, or nothing at all.

What does this mean?

It means that the generalization that millennials are bad at saving is more true than before, but also more false. Sorry to say, but stereotypes exist for a reason. The generalization of twitch-streamers, YouTube millionaires, adults living in mom’s basement, and avocado toast with a Starbucks latte seems to have some basis in fact.

A few charts to highlight the study:

 

© GOBankingRates

Graph about millenials

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, the discussion regarding causation and correlation is one we don’t have time (or the word count limit) to address here. But the fact that two different banks found the same data in reputable studies shows that something is happening.

Granted this study doesn’t compare the numbers with other generations. Or even other generations at the same point in their timeline. That data is easy to find, and I assume that it would be very different than these data.

So, the question:

Who do we blame for this growing disparity?

The answer:

Nobody. Sometimes life just sucks, that’s guaranteed. Are some millennials just terrible at cash management, putting away savings, or self control? Definitely. Are some the victims of some financial disasters? Of course. Maybe it’s just a reflection of the changing lifestyles of the generation. The fact that the number of those who have significant savings is also increasing shows that nobody is out to “get” the millennials. That there is no grand conspiracy to keep them poor forever.

I attended a devotional at which Mitt Romney spoke in 2014, at one point he mentioned: “The self-help guides that I read said I was doomed, because they claimed that in order to have a successful life, you had to have a clear goal in mind and then work relentlessly toward that goal. But that isn’t how life worked out for me. As a matter of fact, almost nothing I have done in my career was planned in advance.”

(Cue the comments about “taking advice from a millionaire on how poor millenials should save money is stupid. 1% this and 99% that.” That’s not the point of the quote and you know it. Stay focused, people!)

Maybe we should stop looking for people to blame, and instead focus on ourselves and how to make our lives, and the lives of those around us, happier, better, and more prepared for the hard times in life. Life is unpredictable and we’re all in this together.

(First appears on The Latest)

Cheap Social Media for Restaurants

Restaurant Marketing And Branding

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Calling all Restaurants!

 

Restaurants have an uphill battle at acquiring customers; it is harder today than ever before. Rarely customers will come into your restaurant without checking your online presence and later telling their friends about their experience.

 

What can your restaurant do to increase customer traffic?

 

Upgrade Your Social Media

  • People love photos of food, and their first stop for them is social media. From customer favorites to daily specials, show off your chefs’ creations. No need for a professional camera; you can use the one on your phone. Make sure to focus straight on the food and find indirect natural lighting for the best results (Serious Eats, 2015). Don’t forget to encourage customers to tag your restaurant in their own foodie photos!

 

  • Have a special event or promotion? Social media is the easiest and cheapest way to communicate this information to potential and current customers. Online-only promotions can help increase your customer following.

 

  • Viewers welcome and expect creativity on these platforms. Your account must have a variety of post types; without it viewers will lose interest and unfollow you. Whether you introduce one of your staff members or show a chef making a recipe, any ideas can improve your following and customer base (Thompson, 2017)

 

Restaurant Photography

Loyalty, Loyalty, Loyalty

  • Once you gain a customer, keep them! Retaining customers saves money as they are cheaper than acquiring new ones (Gallo, 2014). Also, these loyal customers often spread good words about your restaurant and bring in new customers without any cost to you.

 

  • Make a loyalty program. Not only can customers receive rewards from visiting your restaurant or purchasing food or drinks, you can include social media tasks in that programs. For example, have them check in at your restaurant, tag the restaurant in their photos, or like/comment on the restaurant’s posts.

 

  • A customer loved your restaurant? Ask if they will write an online review. Not only will this add to your positive reviews, the reviewing customer is more likely to hold their opinions of you for longer and spread them on to others (Cialdini, 2001).

 

  • A customer didn’t love your restaurant? Offer them ways to express their negative opinions before they take them online. Whether you distribute review request cards or speak with them in person, reducing their negative opinions before they leave the restaurant will also reduce their negative online reviews (Wenzi, 2016). Any press is not necessarily good press for restaurants.

 

Overall, restaurants need strong and creative social media accounts to bring in customers. To retain them, rewarding loyalty and feedback goes a long way. To learn more about specific restaurant branding and marketing tactics, learn more here!

 

What breeds creativity?

Creativity: Learned or Innate?

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Do you need to hire a creative mind or can you and your current employees learn to be creative?

 

 

The days of a good product or service succeeding by itself have passed. Businesses need creativity in every aspect from start to sell. Sparking the question: How can you improve your business’ creativity?

 

 

Do you need to hire a creative mind or can you and your current employees learn to be creative? This question is highly debated. However, no matter the answer, you will improve your own and employees’ creativity more if you BELIEVE you can.

Growth and Fixed Mindsets

Carol Dweck’s “growth mindset” is exactly that. An individual who believes they can develop their talents, including those in creativity: “I’ll try it, my creativity can improve.” Unlike someone with a predominately fixed mindset, who assumes their DNA determines their abilities: “I can’t do that, I’m not creative.”

However, these two mindsets are not mutually exclusive. As Dweck states, “Everyone is actually a mixture of fixed and growth mindsets… A ‘pure’ growth mindset doesn’t exist,” (Dweck, 2016). No matter how prevalent you perceive your growth mindset to be, certain situations trigger you to shut down (The Atlantic). When this happens, awareness of the situation can prevent you from falling into your fixed mindset and allowing your growth mindset to reemerge.

The Growth Mindset and Your Employees

Not only can the growth mindset help improve your own talents, research shows it can boost your company’s atmosphere as well. The Harvard Business Review reports that “growth-mindset firms have happier employees and more innovative, risk taking culture.” When companies embody a growth mindset, employees collaborate more, a crucial element in creativity.

The Growth Mindset and Your Business

Why are most businesses failing to promote growth mindsets? The process to adopt one is slightly difficult; mission statements won’t cover it. Your company must fully commit to the growth mindset and the specific ways of rewarding effort.

Effort alone does not produce a successful business (Dweck, 2016). You need to reward the learning process, collaboration, innovation, risk-taking, and individual development (The Atlantic). However, many companies have retained their talent-oriented structures, which encourage more cheating and deception, and less collaboration among employees (Dweck, 2016). Creativity sprouts when no one fears they will lose their job over wrong or inferior ideas.

Whether or not creativity is a learned or innate ability, believing that your people can grow is the first step in achieving your goals. A growth mindset won’t directly cause creativity; however, the mindset builds a foundation that encourages abilities to develop. The next step? Learn from creative people (like us at Big Red Jelly) who can guide you on your business’ journey to creativity!

The downfall of bitcoin

Why Bitcoin is Attractive, and Why Millennials Will Run it Into the Ground

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I don’t know about you, but the majority of people I work with are millennials, and every single one of them have jumped on the crypto currency party train.

 

After speaking with a handful of them, I discovered a few things they all have in common.

 

1.     They have all bought Bitcoin, and some have invested in other digital currencies

2.     None have long-term savings, or retirement accounts

3.     All have invested a large percentage of their savings into crypto currencies

4.     They do not understand much about digital currencies, besides their activity on the trading markets.

5.     They all wholeheartedly support government regulation on bitcoin, or bitcoin markets.

In my work in the financial sector, one issue I have heard that investment companies and banks all have in common is how to attract the millennial generation into investments and long-term banking.

We can all throw out a hundred reasons why this specific demographic has been slow to adopt these services, but the result is the same: investment and savings as a percentage of income has dropped significantly across generations.

But now, suddenly, millennials have jumped on crypto currencies like it’s an orange mocha frappuccino.

Full disclosure: I purchased about $100 of Bitcoin and Etherium early last month, mostly just to see what happens. Maybe I’ll buy myself a hotdog once I sell.

But what does this look like to you? Thousands of brand new inexperienced investors pouring unsafe amounts of money into a new, volatile, and unregulated market that promises unlimited and unprecedented gains?

Someone call the Fresh Prince, it sounds like a ’90s dotcom crash waiting to happen.

But why is crypto currency so popular? (I mean the currency itself. Most of the buzz surrounds price, which people buy as investment, and not to use.)

Take everything you know about libertarians and turn that into a physical object, and you get crypto currencies. Essentially, digital currencies are just like any other forms of currency except they are guaranteed by no government, they are untraceable, unregulated, and free to use.

A lot of the companies you hear about that now accept bitcoin are only doing so because of the hype around the coin, and not because of the coin’s untraceability or anonymity.

Essentially, the popularity of bitcoin rests on the assumption that its uncontrolled and unmonitored. That’s the foundation.

What happens when you take away the foundation of something? It comes crashing down.

If any of the fundamental principles of crypto currencies change (governments passing laws requiring the disclosure of purchases) true users of the product will sell and move elsewhere, and the prices of these currencies will begin to tumble to match the new value of these coins. (Hint: that value is zero).

Following that, news corporations will broadcast the “downfall of bitcoin.” And enter the age-old enemy of stock markets everywhere: panic.

Once panic sets its jaws around any market, brace yourself for a wild ride.

My prediction is that millennials, who have invested a higher proportion of their savings into the currency, will be the first to panic and pull out, starting the landslide to rock bottom.

And those who called for the regulation in the first place will be the harbingers of its destruction.

(First appears on The Latest)

Branding for small Utah Businesses is important

Utah Small Businesses: “Simplify Your Marketing”

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Investors now welcome Utah-based companies to the investing table since many technology/software businesses like Qualtrics, Pluralsight, and Domo had risen over $1 billion (New York Times).

 

So, how does this affect your small business? Customers and investors compare your digital marketing to Utah technology powerhouses and see that you’re lagging.

 

Small businesses need to step up and refresh their digital marketing games to match big businesses’ credibility and online presences. Owners need to simplify their marketing: rediscover and specify their brands, implement modern tactics, and track and improve the customization of those tactics.

  1. Rediscover and Specify Your Brand

Branding: one of the most important aspects of your small business. Without a specific brand, buyers can’t distinguish your company from competitors. A good brand builds credibility, loyalty, and an emotional connection to customers. Ultimately, well-developed brands push customers to “see you as the sole provider to their solution or need,” (The Balance) and motivate them to buy.

As Lake stated, “A brand should require very little thought and contemplation.” Example: Utah’s new brand, the “Silicon Slopes,” relates Utah’s tech prowess to Silicon Valley’s while highlighting its unique qualities.

 

      2. Implement Modern Tactics

Modern marketing tactics for small businesses

Today, your small business needs to have a powerful online presence to reach potential customers. Also, matching big businesses’ modern tactics, such as captivating content, social media marketing, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and intriguing web design, while employing cost-effective strategies, is essential for any small business. However, owners rarely succeed in implementing, continuing, and updating their tactics and strategies; often, they cut digital marketing first to save money and stress.

Attention: effective digital marketing does not entail breaking the banking and stressing you out! Big Red Jelly helps you determine specific tactics and strategies for your business and fulfills all your digital marketing needs, from captivating content and social media marketing to web design and SEO.

 

   3.  Track and Improve Customization of Tactics

Remember, all businesses and industries differ from one another. Therefore, your business needs to customize digital marketing tactics and strategies to match your needs and customer base. Then, you should track tactics’ progress to prevent funds from going to waste. Once you have gathered tracking information, you can tweak or change tactics, depending on success, to make each dollar count.

Small businesses, hit the reset button! Simplify your marketing: rediscover and specify your brand, implement modern tactics, and track and improve customization of tactics. You’ll save money and increase revenue without increasing your stress level (with Big Red Jelly’s help)!

Was William Wallace Good At Photoshop?

Was William Wallace Good At Photoshop?

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Could Ragnar Lothbrok hold his own in a rap battle? Was Cleopatra a talented billiards player?

 

While these questions sound fantastic, or childish, the implications could teach us more about ourselves, and about our lives, than we first believe.

 

Well, was he?

 

It’s a serious question. And I’m going out on a limb here, but I’m guessing most of you answered “no.” Why?

What data do you have? Your supporting facts, your evidence for your position? Could you test your hypothesis? How did you arrive at your conclusion? Surely you performed repeatable tests, maybe sent out a survey.

The thing is: scientifically, you can’t prove either way whether William Wallace was good at Photoshop. It’s an untestable and unrepeatable hypothesis, so by definition our answer must be “we don’t know.”

Therefore, we can’t prove if Napoleon Bonaparte had skateboarding talent. Or if Julius Caesar had unrealized “sick rap skills” that were “fire.”

What does this mean? Why is this question important?

 

Let’s ignore the implication this question might have on scientific theory, technology or the human brain.

I want to focus on what this question implies regarding our fundamental perception of what “talent” is.

Across dictionaries, the definition of talent is some form of “natural aptitude or skill.” It was also an ancient form of currency (and by extension has religious symbolism); we’ll ignore that too.

Let’s look at the word “natural.”

How can you have a “natural” talent for something that is “unnatural”? Is it natural for us to curl our fingers over a keyboard and type? No, that’s why it hurts if you do it too long. But people have a talent for that, apparently.

Let’s get rid of it.

 

So, we can boil it down, and hopefully agree, on a definition similar to: “an aptitude or skill inherent in an individual.”

Talent, teamwork, finding what you're good atWhat does this mean? Assuming we all have interest, or skill, in at least one medium of artistic expression. In my mind, this means that a talent isn’t necessarily being extremely proficient in one program or sport. Rather, it means that all of us have thousands of different skills, habits, ticks or thought processes, and the combinations of those skills make us more or less talented with certain things.

Think about it like you’re building a car. With a budget of $10,000, what kind of car could you build? What parts would you focus on, what aspects would you sacrifice in favor of others? If you’re building a drag racer, you’re going to focus on different things than if you’re building a rally car.

The same is with your body and mind. When you were born, and during childhood, your body had a “budget” to keep in investing those precious developmental resources. As a result, you are a unique combination of billions of possibilities that make you more talented, more attracted and better with certain tasks than others.

The rest of your life, then, is a giant scavenger hunt. The “search for happiness” others talk about is simply the act of looking at your set of combinations, and matching them with jobs, hobbies or activities which match them, because those are the ones in which we’ll enjoy most.

How’s your scavenger hunt going?

(First shared on The Latest: https://thelatest.com/tlt/6178)

The birth of capitalism 2.0 could change the world forever

The Birth Of Capitalism 2.0

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The principles of capitalism created the world we live in today. True capitalism requires the free movement of capital and voluntary transactions to survive. But to survive, everything must adapt. And capitalism has most certainly survived.

 

Love it or hate it, capitalism is the dominant system in the world and shows no signs of slowing down. However, unlike mercantilism before it, and feudalism before that, capitalism has had unprecedented success in creating an unmatched middle class.

 

But, alas poor capitalism “where be your gibes now? Your gambols? Your songs? Your flashes of merriment that were wont to set the table on a roar?” As Hamlet bemoaned the decay of Yorick, so do we repent the bastardization of the free and bewitching promise of capitalism that made the American Dream possible. Today, the world is ruled not by elective transactions, and free movement of capital, but instead by a handful of corporations and mega-conglomerates that operate as a quasi-oligarchy, even a plutocracy.

Think about your daily tasks: surf websites, talk to friends, cook food, eat food, take pictures of food; all are only possible with the permission of the one or two companies who own them.

This is not capitalism, this is corporate monarchy. Capitalism is the court jester these companies bring out in chains to please the masses.

So how has capitalism adapted?

Enter the sharing economy: Uber, Facebook, Lyft, Alibaba, Airbnb, Netflix, and other similar companies. To quote Hamish McRae at Independent:

“The world’s largest taxi firm, Uber, owns no cars. The world’s most popular media company, Facebook, creates no content. The world’s most valuable retailer, Alibaba, carries no stock. And the world’s largest accommodation provider, Airbnb, owns no property. Something big is going on.”

Something big, indeed: we are witnessing the world-wide backlash against the oligarchy, and the return to true, pure capitalism.

Argue all you want, but free transactions between one person wanting a service, and another willing to provide it is the bare-bones definition of capitalism. This is capitalism 2.0, and we are in the beta test.

Sick of paying $100 for thousands of channels full of ads? Pay $15 to Netflix for content you want. Tired of paying $50 for a taxi to the airport? Pay $12 for the actual value of that trip with Uber. Upset that hotels and cities charge more fees than the room is worth? Instead, pay what a homeowner downtown thinks one night on his couch is worth.

The invasion of government into capitalism has only exacerbated the problem; all the hearings and class-action lawsuits are the attempts of the powers-that-be to retain their death-grip on the throne. These are the death throes of a dying world.

Don’t believe me? Ever paid a checked-bag fee on a flight? Those didn’t exist until a few years ago. Did you know you could arrive at the airport, and walk directly to the gate in fifteen minutes?

With only a handful of airlines, which essentially operate at the whim of governments, the problem will only get worse.

Imagine if this industry were upset akin to the taxi or hotel industries. Imagine an entire world re-designed with capitalism 2.0.

(Originally shared on The Latest: https://thelatest.com/tlt/6078)

How to be a better writer. What is the difference between good and bad writing?

What Separates The Good Writing From The Bad?

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What makes good writing “good”? What drives us to finish a thousand-page novel?

 

Is there a common ingredient in good online articles that separate them from the trash? How can we judge between effective writing, and make educated recommendations?

 

I’ve read articles and stories and opinions posted online from both sides of the aisle that really grab me and almost force me to read to the end. Not because I necessarily care about the issue, but because the flow and feel of the piece really makes me want to continue.

On the other hand, I have read my fair share of articles that compel me to zone out or leave, and sometimes persuade me to side with their opposition. Is it because their positions, facts, data or ideas are wrong? No. But rather, it’s the way the writing makes me feel as I read.

Anybody can write “Orphanage Burned” and make you feel sad. We look at the headline, then move on.

But what will actually get you to read the rest of the article? What will inspire you to action? It’s good writing that will do that.

We have graduated from self-help books to self-help Youtube tutorials. And nowhere have I seen this behavior more prevalent than in online writing.

Finding your voice as a writer is key to writing content that others will want to read.One reason this is true, I believe, is because online writing is so accessible. You can’t just decide one afternoon to bake a six-layer cake. But finding a how-to guide on how to write effectively and throwing up a “how to solve world hunger” article takes all of five minutes. I don’t know about you, but it is obvious to me when someone has just left the “how to write good and how to do other things good too” school.

It all comes down to our voice, which is something online writers miss when they think they’ve ‘made it’. It doesn’t have to do with grammar or the size of your vocabulary. What most “bad” writers all have in common is that they’ve all abandoned their own voice and instead try to imitate the self-help guide. Good writers pour their heart into their work, and as a result, we can connect with them. Bad writers fret over the best word choice, sentence composition, the balance of compound and simple sentences, even how the article “looks” online. Do all these things help? Of course, but I’ve noticed they are more often used to compensate for the fact the author has no voice of their own.

I think we check out of so many articles online because we can tell that they are copy-pasted from somewhere else; it doesn’t engage our mind or our heart. On the other hand, others will draw us in and refuse to let us go because the author toiled over how to make the piece theirs.

Don’t feel bad when someone criticizes books you like to read or the articles you find entertaining or engaging. They are good for a reason, and that reason is not something you can quantify or measure. You relate to it, you invest in it. Don’t judge the quality of an article, or a book, based solely on the skill of the author’s writing.

(Originally shared on The Latest: https://thelatest.com/tlt/5988)

Thumbs up for all the "millionaires" out there currently traveling the world.

So You Retired By Twenty-Five?

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You’ve read these articles. Maybe you were envious of the amazing life of the geniuses who retire early and travel the world. This is my response to every single one.

 

So what?

 

Am I supposed to be impressed you quit working a regular job in your mid-twenties?

 

Is that the cool thing to do now? Is retirement suddenly a goal the rest of us can’t reach? I really don’t understand the point of these articles, when they really just boil down to some nobody stroking their ego for six pages.

If the authors of these articles were as smart as they claim, you’d think they’d be able to find a job they would want to work at until 65. You’d think they’d be smart enough to figure out what they actually enjoy and make that a career they enjoy.

But they’re not (surprise!). Probably because actual smart people realized a long time ago that real happiness is found elsewhere. And you can’t raise a family on your conflict-free açaí berries.

Social media can be very misleading, learn to succeed through other means

So why do they do this? Here a few of my guesses:

1. They don’t want to knuckle down to actually being a productive member of society and are finding some way to make themselves happy and validate that decision to their “followers.”

2. They’re expressing age-old frustration with Western values by traveling the world and bringing back enlightenment for the rest of us cavemen. It’s the typical journey of young people trying to “discover themselves” and do so by being as controversial, and counter-culture, as possible.

3. They’re lazy, and writing an article like this makes it look like they’re not.

 

So, if in the end, your life’s goal is to laze around on a beach every day for the next sixty years, then you’re not the kind of person I want to be following.

But all of this is ignoring the simple truth that we all ignore, or seem to forget when we see or read these articles:

If something looks too good to be true, it probably is.

To quote something I read recently (I apologize I don’t know who the original author is):

“Social media has created jealous behavior over illusions. Sadly, some are envious of things, relationships and lifestyles that don’t even exist.” —Unknown

If the author you follow on these blogs only makes you feel bad about your life; if they make you jealous, or depressed about what you have; if you look up at the end of the article and wish you weren’t who you are now; then these articles are doing you no good. They are selfish musings for whoever wrote them, and were never intended to help you at all. Want some proof?

The keys to success are found by working hard and following your own passion

Where are all the articles from these people ten or thirty years later? Where are all the amazing benefits of their early retirement? Could it be this lifestyle of laziness and greed has only seeded the fruits of divorce, poverty and depression?

Color me shocked.

Smart people find value in what they have. And if there is no value, they create it. Only cowards and fools seek happiness on the other side of the world.

 

(Originally shared on The Latest: https://thelatest.com/tlt/6026)