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From the Thinkin' Out Loud series By Greg Allan

Who might you say is responsible for high gas prices? It's a safe bet to say most fingers are pointing toward Washington, DC.

About a week back I came across an Associated Press story titled “Four Dollars A Gallon Gas Is Damn Cheap.” I didn’t bother reading the piece because I was much too busy laughing and being angry at the same time. For I just spent $118.50 to fill my vehicle, the highest I've ever paid!

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Your business doesn’t really care how you make money. Your email and Twitter and Facebook and some of your employees don’t care either.

The thing is you have to care or you’ll never move beyond the daily grind of answering to the loudest call.

Here’s a very big secret – if you get this it will change your life – there’s a very, very small amount of everything you do each day that matters. Figure that out, focus on that and you’ll never go to work the same way again.

Only a handful of your clients matter when it comes to making money. Figure out who they are and how to amplify what they mean. Make your products, services, processes and value propositions all about them.

Only a handful of your subscribers can help you get to the next level. Segment them and talk to them every chance you get. Ask them to share the single most important thing you can do to help them.

Only a handful of available actions presented to you each day can make you the kind of money that makes all of this worth doing. Think about what they are and guard your day, your week, your month, from every other distraction.

Start looking at your business as a vehicle for solving the greatest challenges of your most profitable customers and then figure out how to do that better. That’s not cynical, that’s not greedy, that’s where you help the world, that’s where you provide the most value – and that’s what will make you the most money.

Today, pick out your three best customers and identify three ways you can do more for them.

Reprinted with permission from the Duct Tape Marketing Blog

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We are having a very nice run in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The DJIA has finally closed above the 13,000 level. It was last at that point in 2008. Has the market gotten too frothy?

THE SHORT ANSWER

No. The market is still fairly valued and even under-valued.

THE LONG ANSWER

You are probably familiar with the P/E ratio. It is a gauge of value for stocks and stock markets based on share price and earnings. The lower the P/E the cheaper the market is. The higher the pricier.

According to The Wall Street Journal, both the DJIA and the S&P 500 are at about a twelve to thirteen P/E ratio. This rough number is taking into account the past 12 month’s earnings and the next 12 months’ earnings estimates.

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From the Easy Street Marketing blog

I was talking with a customer about business cards the other day and she happened to mention an arrangement she had with a local restaurant. I thought it was a great way for both her and the restaurant to address their needs very effectively without any big cash outlays by either party and asked if I could share it here. This exact model may not work for everyone, but it’s a great example of how cooperative thinking, outside the box can lead to greater efficiencies and help everyone involved leverage their marketing budgets. (Did I work enough buzz words in there?)

Becky Hume is a certified colorist by Color Me A Season and has a background in TV makeup for live talent for PBS in Tucson, Showtime Comedy Network as well as for national commercials. She’s also designed and created costuming and makeup for local productions while living in Tucson during the late 1980's and early 1990's.

These days, Colorado Springs is her home and she’s still in the business of helping woman look and feel good through her business, Spa By Candlelight, which features products from BeautiControl and PartyLite. Her business relies heavily on direct sales and word of mouth. Building a customer base in these types of businesses often means exhibiting at events and expos and going to one on one or group appointments. While these can be effective forms of marketing, they can also be costly and don’t always reach the right demographic. What if there were another tool in the arsenal?

Meanwhile, at a nearby Applebees, a manager wants to offer some kind of customer appreciation perk. Giveaways and contests can also break a budget and don’t always have the desired, long lasting effect. What if there were another way?

Well, Becky and the folks at the Southside Applebees, 4001 W. Northern Ave in Pueblo, came up with an arrangement that suits both their needs, as well as the women who show up for Ladies’ Night on Wednesdays.

Applebees invited Becky to greet the ladies and offer them a free “mini spa” treatment/demo. The luxurious pampering includes a demonstration of Becky’s mobile day spa products from BeautiControl® with “instant manicure” hand treatments and sweet chocolate candy. An assortment of the beauty treatments and products are also on display and offered at a special price throughout the event. Ladies can also book free personalized spas and win door prizes during the evening.

There are no fees on either end of the agreement. It’s just one hand washing the other. It’s a good example of what a little imagination and cooperation can do to promote efficiency, effective marketing and customer retention.

To contact Becky call 719-632-4410 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. you can also visit spabycandlelight.com. To experience the demo, show up at the W. Northern Ave Applebees in Pueblo on a Wednesday night.

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From CaptainCapitalist.com

It seems the more government funding we apply to education, the worse it gets. Government tries to regulate and inform the public on nutrition and the population keeps getting less healthy. Recently we've spent more tax dollars on "green energy" companies that go bankrupt. There are those who believe that our elected officials and government bureaucrats actually conspire to destroy the things they claim to support. In some cases, maybe that's true. But for the most part, the system itself creates failure by its very nature.