THIS WEEK'S MUST READS

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THIS WEEK'S MUST READS

I hope you all had a nice weekend! It’s Spring Break here…the kids are out of school and we bugged out to the lake for the week. 🙂 As always, though, I wanted to share some of what I’ve been sharing lately. So, here goes!

Oil prices lately have jumped a little. Have oil prices found their bottom? IEA thinks they may have: read.bi/1RVby1S
This was an interesting article about a CEO who lost his voice. He discusses how losing his voice provided unexpected benefits: nyti.ms/1TACXcR
GIFs can make a great marketing tool. This article talks about what they are, the benefits of using them, how to develop them: entm.ag/1pj94Bl
Identifying the important details and creating a system to do them is a key to customer loyalty: entm.ag/226KAZW
A customer “touchpoint plan” can provide a great way to logically look at points where you can positively impact customer loyalty: entm.ag/1RTrykS
This is an interesting look at how the purchase continues to move ever-closer to the initial perception of a product and what it means for the future of retail: bit.ly/21lgaAX
If you are looking for ways to improve your business’s profitability, this article shared several practical ways to do that. bit.ly/1Xf0WMM
High-end retailers are trying to look for ways to improve the customer experience. One way is that they are moving or removing registers to make the experience more personal: on.wsj.com/1M7hvo2
A social media plan is something every business should have. But sometimes we don’t don;t where to begin. Here’s an approach to follow: entm.ag/1M4NGV1
Thinking about starting an online business? Here are six question to ask yourself first. entm.ag/1QEryX0
Enterprise software may not be that exciting, but design-thinking is finding its way into this sector: bit.ly/1p5kB6H
Public speaking can be challenging. This article suggested some keys to making it successful – mindset, energy, connection: bit.ly/1W6ime1
A recent report from the Fed suggests that small businesses might have more success getting loans from small banks rather than larger banks: entm.ag/1QAqpyp
Do you want to grow your social media audience? Here are some ideas to consider: entm.ag/21WVJfH
I liked how this startup learned from their failures – and came back strong: onforb.es/1puAfsH
In crowded markets it can seem almost impossible to find a way to stand out. This article provides a good example of how to do that – by tapping into customers’ true interests, building products around them, and clearly communicating them to the market: bbc.in/1OXOZVJ
Facebook’s has a new video tool – and it’s aimed at small business users: for.tn/1WY4BOU
Rapid business growth can be challenging to handle.. This article shared some insights from CEOs who have been there and how they managed it: onforb.es/24M7JmM
Augmented/virtual reality companies are truly in the spotlight this year. They have already seen record early-stage investments this year: bit.ly/1TEAuhN
It’s important not to just create relevant content, but also to build content targeted to your audience: bit.ly/1QPm87l
I’ve really been focused on how our businesses can focus on customers, truly understand their needs, and then build our products and services to provide unique value to them. Here are a few tips I shared last week:

ASK your customers how well you are meeting their most critical needs.
Design your brand around the unique solution your company brings to a key problem your target market faces.
You must be able to outline how your products/services UNIQUELY meet the needs of your target customer.
Picture your target customer clearly when you are writing copy or posting on social media.
When considering your target customer very clearly define their needs/challenges.
And on this blog I posted some thoughts about how you can build a business that is both unique AND valuable to your customers: Value to Your Target Customer.

______ . ______

On a separate note, I shared something more personal. As some of you know I recently became a member of the Board of Directors at the Down Syndrome Association of Houston. We have a big, fun event called the Buddy Run coming up on April 30th. We’re looking for sponsors (and runners of course!). To explore becoming a sponsor, contact me and we can talk about that. You can reach me at BCohen@IDiscoverConsulting.com. If you want to learn more about the run just click here: bit.ly/1Yxs4HU). Thanks for considering a sponsorship!

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