31 Jul

Canadians Need Stronger Competitive Attitude

Posted in News on 31.07.12 by John Meloche

With only one medal in the Summer Olympics so far, Canada has already bettered their performance from four years ago at this time. As mentioned in yesterday’s blog, synchronized divers, Emilie Heymans and Jennifer Abel are bronze medal winners. The first of Canada’s medals at these games, this bronze comes three days into the Olympics – four days earlier than Canada’s first medal at the last Summer Olympics in Beijing.

And while Synergy Headquarters is proudly cheering our countrymen and women in the red and white, the nation’s relatively low medal count sparked quite the debate yesterday. For some, Canadian pride is all about supporting the nation’s efforts and providing encouragement to those who represent them. For some others, a supposed lack of competitive drive is unacceptable.

“There is no fun in losing,” said one of our team members during the debate, “It’s great to cheer for Canadian athletes but I don’t think it’s cool to celebrate when they come in ninth or 24th or something. I notice that a lot of the Canadian media will report these results with a sense of pride. Why? We should be devastated when we don’t win.”

“I agree,” chimed in a co-worker, “Living in Canada means we get the benefit of seeing both the Canadian and American Olympic broadcasts. In the United States, the attitude of the media just seems to be a lot different. They expect the best and seem genuinely disappointed when their athletes don’t win medals. They shoot for the top. So should we.”

No one is exactly saying that Canadians don’t shoot for gold. But there is also a feeling that Canadian athletes are simply not financially supported in the ways that their American counterparts are. Does this have something to do with the country’s generally low medal counts during the Summer Games?

“I know some Olympians,” remarked another member of our team, “They often have to pay for their own training in lieu of sponsorship. This means they have less time to devote to training than some other athletes. They have to work to fend for themselves. It doesn’t exactly provide an even playing field.”

Nevertheless, it is expected that Canada will better their 18 medal total from four years ago. The Games, of course, are only four days old and there are many more events to come. Let’s hope the competitive nature of our Synergy staff is shared among the Canadian athletes who are still yet to compete. No matter what, we’ll be cheering for them!

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30 Jul

Canada Earns First And Only Medal So Far

Posted in News on 30.07.12 by John Meloche

It’s Day 3 of the 2012 Summer Olympics, and thankfully, we are able to say that Canada is already on the medal board! Perhaps, winning one medal in the three days since the Olympics started shouldn’t be seen as that much of a big deal. After all, China and the United States are currently tied for the lead with 17 medals a piece.

As The National Post pointed out this past weekend, it took Canada an entire week to get its first medal four years ago when the Summer Olympics were held in Beijing. In 2012, we have synchronized divers, Emilie Heymans and Jennifer Abel to thank for getting Canada a bronze medal in the women’s three-metre synchronized event that took place yesterday.

Canadian Olympic Committee president, Marcel Aubut is especially happy about the bronze medal capture and the early end to a Canadian medal drought. “It’s great, absolutely great,” he said, “Inside of all of us, as soon as something would be done, (we knew) we’d be happy about it — people could continue to really focus on the performance without that additional pressure.”

Not everyone is all that excited about Canada’s lone medal in these Summer Games, however. “It’s kind of sad that we are celebrating this way,” commented a friend of Synergy’s this morning, “When you think about it, we’re really celebrating mediocrity. Canada is a much better nation than that. One medal? We should be pushing for many more.”

According to The National Post, we are. Canada, apparently, is aiming to finish in the top 12 on the medal table when the Olympics are all said and done. In Beijing, we ended up with 18 medals, which was good for a tie for 14th overall. For some people, achieving this feat will require a different attitude.

“I will always cheer for Canada,” said our friend, “but the truth is, too many Canadian athletes have this ‘happy to be here’ attitude over a ‘here to win’ attitude. Yesterday Clara Hughes came 32nd in her bike race and happily called the experience ‘phenomenal’ in her post-race interview. She’s won many medals in the past, I expect her to be more competitive.”

Hurdler Angela Whyte would likely contend that Canadian athletes are as competitive as anyone else. “We don’t need any extra negativity around us,” she told a reporter in London, “Because the honest truth is a lot of the athletes are so dedicated to their sports. They are the hardest people on themselves. We don’t need anybody else to do it for us.”

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27 Jul

Let The Games Begin!

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 27.07.12 by John Meloche

It’s official. The 2012 Summer Olympic Games get underway today! And that means people from all over the world will be glued to their television sets over the next couple of weeks, cheering on their countrymen and women. The Olympics are a fun time for many a sports fan and casual fan alike. They help to stimulate national pride, if nothing else.

“I love the Olympics,” mentioned one of our team members yesterday, “There’s a little something for everyone. Team sports, individual competitions – there’s always something to watch. Especially since the Olympics help to boost national pride, you can’t help but cheer for people you’ve never met, just because they represent your country. It’s exciting”

Yesterday, we discussed making the enthusiasm surrounding the Olympics work for you in your office. Have you thought about how you can create your own “Office Olympics”? We suggested it as a way to boost employee morale in addition to keeping your workers focused on their jobs while the Games are on television.

On eHow.com, Shae Hazelton writes of a few ideas for games that can be played at the workplace. As we suggested yesterday, if you put your own Olympic-spin on these games and offer incentives to your employees, chances are you will be creating a fun environment for all of your staff and increasing productivity at the same time.

Office Tag. Writes Hazelton, “playing a game of tag around the office can help employees associate the office with an enjoyable experience. This works best in office buildings with plenty of spare room and no delicate equipment. Remove or store away office supplies that may break if the game gets rough.”

The key to playing is to designate a chaser. However – and this is important – the tag should NOT take place during regular business hours so as to not disrupt the work day. You may also choose to use a flag of some sort that can be attached to a person to eliminate any discomfort that may come with touching. Be sure that all employees are in agreement that it’s a fun way to challenge each other and build team relationships.

Frisbee. A competition best suited for the lunch hour? This will help employees get some sunlight, fresh air and exercise. Don’t be afraid to extend the lunch hour a little bit to allow for teams to get a good game in. This will help for team bonding, not to mention drive up their competitive edges.

Besides, as Hazelton points out, “since tossing the Frisbee is a simple task that requires little focus, your employees are free to talk among themselves about many subjects. This builds a bond between employees and allows them to discuss ideas about work outside the stifling office environment. This can greatly improve an employee’s outlook on work, their coworkers and their supervisor who allowed it all to happen.”

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26 Jul

Create Your Own Office Olympics

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 26.07.12 by John Meloche

In yesterday’s blog, we mentioned that the 2012 Olympic Summer Games will be beginning this week. And, as a result, many sports fans may be a bit more distracted from work than usual. Should business owners be worried? We don’t think so. In fact, we ended our last blog by suggesting that you come up with an Olympics of your own.

“I think that’s a fantastic idea,” mentioned one of our Synergy team members yesterday, “Competition in the office is always fun. Especially if there is an incentive. It may not be a gold medal, but who doesn’t like being acknowledged for a job well done? I think having an ‘Office Olympics’ would be a great way to boost employee morale for any business.”

So, as to not leave you hanging with this idea, we thought that today’s blog could be dedicated to a few ideas for your own Office Olympics. On eHow.com, Shae Hazelton provides some suggestions for games that can be played in the workplace to help boost the morale of all of the workers in your office.

As Hazelton writes, “Group games build camaraderie among employees, which can make work more enjoyable. Pitting groups of employees against each another can build healthy competition as well.” Perhaps, this is why we have so many enthusiastic people on our team, here at Synergy. They just love competition!

Remember, these games can be work-related. And, in fact, the majority of them should be. If you already have an office that is made up of a number of “teams”, then you are already ahead of the game. Create an incentive-laden challenge for these teams to outperform each other. It’s bound to increase productivity, and hopefully be a lot of fun. But what else can you do?

Brainstorm Groups. Hazelton suggests that you “separate employees into groups and give them a work-related task like thinking up methods to increase workplace efficiency. Give your employees time to think of an idea and create an imaginative presentation for their ideas. The group with the best idea gets to see the idea implemented as a reward.”

Okay, I know what you may be thinking. How is that any different from any other day of work? That’s up to you! Perhaps, while the Olympics are taking place, you can award “points” to teams that win certain tasks given out daily. The medals can be handed out to the teams that earn the most points by the end of the Olympic Games on August 12th. Just an idea.

Be sure to check out tomorrow’s blog for a few more ideas that will incorporate a bit more physical activity for your Office Olympics.

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25 Jul

Summer Games May Distract Business

Posted in News on 25.07.12 by John Meloche

This Friday, the 2012 Olympic Summer Games finally kick off in London, England. Whether you are a sports fan or not, the Olympic Games are generally known to unify people in a show of national pride. There is no doubt going to be a new wave of Canadian flags, well…waving all over the country.

Being headquartered in the multicultural metropolis of Toronto, Ontario, we at Synergy Marketing are also likely to see an array of flags from around the world. The Olympics provide a lot of excitement. But as Morgan Campbell of The Toronto Star pointed out in an article published yesterday, a lot of the action will be taking place during working hours.

You see, there is a five hour time difference between Toronto and London. This means that for many events being broadcast live, hardcore sports fans may have to book time off work to watch. Then again, with so many live streaming options available online, there may be a concern about employees watching the Games on the job.

Should business owners be worried? Campbell writes that John Challenger of the Chicago-based executive placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas reports that employers will be paying for a lot of their employees to be watching the Olympics. Not that that’s what they are supposed to be pay for, of course.

Says Challenger, “There are 142 million people working in the U.S. right now, and if just half of those people spend 10 minutes a day watching the Olympics (during work)… that comes out to an enormous amount of lost time. That means wages.” Considering that the Summer Olympics will last until the 12th of August, that’s going to be quite a lot of wages!

Reports Campbell, “Canada’s Olympic Broadcast consortium has scheduled 1,114 hours of television programming, along with 2,000 hours of events streamed live online. And the most dedicated Olympic addicts plan to consume as much of that content as possible.” This creates quite the dilemma for business owners who expect business as usual from even their most sports-enthusiastic employees.

So what to do? “Don’t fight back,” suggests Campbell. Instead, agrees Challenger, bosses should accept that the Olympics will be on for a few weeks. Perhaps, the Games can be used to boost employee morale. Taking it one step further, we suggest you even create an Olympics of your own in your office!

Come up with some form of friendly competition within the office. Even if it is job-based and performance-related, the incentives that come with a “job well done” will be that much more appreciated by your staff. Not to mention, it may even increase the level of productivity at your place of business! Enjoy the Olympics!

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24 Jul

Enjoy Your Entrepreneurial Excursions

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 24.07.12 by John Meloche

In yesterday’s blog, we discussed the subject of owning your own business and avoiding some of the pitfalls that come with being an entrepreneur. No one ever said it would be easy to run your own business. But that doesn’t mean the experience won’t be incredibly rewarding! In order to make the most out of your small business venture, it’s important to avoid certain pitfalls.

In his special to The Toronto Star, Paul Brent lists a few of these pitfalls in an attempt to steer would-be entrepreneurs in the right direction. At Synergy Marketing, we speak to business owners on a daily basis and know how important it is to them to make smart decisions when it comes to advertising. We’d like to complete Brent’s list today in order to highlight other ways to make your business successful.

Making yourself irreplaceable. According to Brent, you shouldn’t be the ONLY one who knows how to run your business. Believe it or not, it will help your business out a great deal if you are able to put someone else in charge when you can’t be around. Don’t make your business rely solely on you. Bring trusted and talented individuals in under your wing and create a strong team.

Lack of money. “Small businesses often run into trouble because they run out of capital to grow the business or survive a slowdown,” writes Brent. Avoiding this particular pitfall may be the most obvious piece of advice on his list. Your business will always require working capital to not only stay afloat but to get ahead. Make sure a strong financial plan is part of your overall business plan. That should go without saying.

Losing touch with your customer. This is also a very important pitfall to avoid. It’s practically a mantra around the Synergy offices. Making sure that you always consider the concerns and needs of your customers is a surefire way to grow your customer base. This is why promo gifts work so well. They thank customers in ways that build brand loyalty and encourage referrals. Make your customers a priority, plain and simple.

Undercutting the market, and your business. Be careful not to undercharge for your products and services. Sure, you want to be competitive. But you also don’t want to lose out by not having a profit margin that can sustain your company. In addition, you want to present your business as one that is of high-quality and integrity. This will also encourage return visits and recommendations.

Going it alone. Doing it yourself can be very beneficial. But that doesn’t mean it is always the best way to go. We all know the saying “two heads are better than one”. This definitely works in the world of small business. If you can get the help, accept it. Independence is positive. But missing out on opportunities simply because you don’t have the manpower shouldn’t be the reason your business doesn’t take off.

No marketing or sales focus. As you can imagine, we feel that this is also one of the most important pitfalls to avoid. No matter what product or service you sell, you can’t assume that it will sell itself. You will always need to get the word out. We highly recommend you contact one of our experienced sales reps at 1-877-748-9884 to discuss how Synergy can help you do just that!

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23 Jul

Avoid Silly Small Business Pitfalls

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 23.07.12 by John Meloche

At Synergy Marketing, we know a lot about small businesses. After all, a good number of our clients are small business owners. It’s no secret to us that running such companies take a great deal of work and dedication. A person who start ups a small business is not your average everyday type of individual. No, an entrepreneur is cut from a special cloth.

Entrepreneurs are people who don’t want to settle for jobs that don’t suit them. They wish to go over and beyond during a business day to ensure that their businesses flourish. And this can be very taxing, as you can imagine. As Paul Brent writes in his special to The Toronto Star, “there are at least as many ways for small businesses to fail as to succeed.”

So with small businesses being so difficult to run, how does one succeed in doing so? In his article, Brent outlines a number of pitfalls that entrepreneurs need to avoid in order to run successful small businesses. He notes that, by their very nature, such companies have fewer resources to rely on, so it’s extremely important to be very resourceful! The following, however, is what you should avoid.

Getting married to your idea. Nearly all good business ideas have gone through a period of trial and error. Don’t assume that your first idea is the best one. To ensure that your business idea can be profitable, you should go through a process of testing it. Do your research, speak to other business owners and test your idea’s viability.

Not doing enough research. If you don’t do the necessary groundwork to determine if your business idea will fly, how will you know it will work? Don’t make the mistake of trying to implement an idea that hasn’t been proven. Do your due diligence and figure a few things out before investing in your business plan. Know your demographic and consider how to advertise to them, for example.

Not worrying enough about the owner/CEO. Be sure to take care of yourself, reminds Brent. Sometimes, new small business owners get so wrapped up in their business activities, that they forget to maintain the sense of enthusiasm and positive attitude that got the ball rolling to begin with. Working hard doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself. Enjoy the ride and it will be a lot more fun!

Failing to create and stick to a plan. Once you’ve settled on a business plan, it’s important to see it through. Nothing defeats a small business quicker than quitting or changing the course before it has had its chance. If you’ve done the proper research, your plan should be able to see its way through to fruition. Stay the course, and don’t give up!

In tomorrow’s blog, we will revisit this topic and round out Brent’s list of advice. Remember that being an entrepreneur may end up being a “harder” job than working under someone else. All of that extra work falls on your shoulders. But also keep in mind that the payoff is so much more rewarding in the end, because of all that hard work!

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20 Jul

Heat Things Up With Our Summer Sizzlers

Posted in Promotional Products on 20.07.12 by John Meloche

Summer is a great time to promote your business. Perhaps, it’s because summer is simply a great time, in general. If you’re anything like the members of the Synergy Marketing sales staff, then you just relish the idea of being out in the sun and enjoying the warmth. We know, that like us, Canadians are thankful for the hot months of summer. And there is a way for our clients to make those months even hotter!

Our Summer Sizzlers are among the best promo products in the world when it comes to summer enjoyment. Naturally, it makes sense to provide your clients with gifts that are useful. So during the summer months, consider handing out gifts that you know they will be able to use all summer long. Take a look at the Summer Sizzlers section of our website to get a better idea.

For example, the 16oz double-walled Freezer Mug with re-freezable food safe gel is the perfect companion to an afternoon on the porch or the patio. Also known as a “keep it cold” beverage holder, it is safe to keep in your freezer. The freezable gel functions as ice without ice cubes. That way, no matter what drink you put into this mug, it is sure to be icy cold!

The price of the Freezer Mug also includes a classy white gift box and a one location imprint. Each time your favourite clients take sips of their favourite drinks this summer, you can be sure that your company will cross their minds. Of course, one of the biggest benefits of giving out promotional gifts is that it makes sure that your business is never “out of sight, out of mind”.

It should go without saying that keeping hydrated is very important all summer long. We recently blogged about some of our great water bottles and the 24oz Poly-Carbonate & Stainless Steel Water Bottle with Easy Flip Top and Straw is one of our favourites. Also part of the Summer Sizzlers collection, it is as stylish as it is useful.

Sleek and unique, these bottles ensure that your water won’t spill when you go out for a jog or when you’re attending to the rest of your meal at a picnic. No matter how or where you decide to use it, your cool new water bottle should be an essential part of your summer. The price, by the way, also includes a one location imprint.

Give one of our experienced Synergy sales reps a call to learn more about our Summer Sizzlers and the many other promotional gifts that we have available. They are standing by to speak with you at 1-877-748-9884. We know the summer is hot already. But our amazing line of summer-based promo gifts will help for it to be even hotter for your business!

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19 Jul

Tweet To Make It Sweet

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 19.07.12 by John Meloche

Have you tweeted today? Chances are that most people you know already have! Tweeting has become a daily function in the lives of millions of people all throughout the world. At Synergy Marketing, we make sure that, at the very least, we tweet a link to each and every one of our blogs. Keeping in mind that communication is key, we have utilized Twitter to grow our customer base.

On SocialMediaToday.com, Alex Hisaka lists a number of suggestions that can help business owners properly use Twitter to their advantage. We have been examining this list all week to better serve our own readers with ideas on how they may elevate their own companies. Let’s conclude our look at Hisaka’s tips in today’s blog, shall we?

Optimize for Search. Just a like a good blog on a good website, Twitter helps you to increase search engine hits. This is where using keywords come into play. Be sure to use industry keywords to attract people who would be interested in what your business has to offer. “You can start,” advises Hisaka, “by including keywords in your bio.”

Remember that just like the tweets themselves, your Twitter bio only gives you so many characters to work with. So be sure to be concise and to the point when writing your bio so that your followers know exactly what you are all about. It is also a good idea to include a link to your company website in your bio so that followers may connect directly to it when they are online.

Measure Your Influence. Twitter also helps you to “measure your value”, says Hisaka. She writes that “the best way to understand your online influence is by selecting the right tools. Social media tools like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite or helpdesk software can save you time and resources with research, engagement and marketing.”

Twitter helps you to get your ideas out to the public quickly and easily. As Hisaka points out, it gives you the opportunity to engage in conversations with your customers. This is important as you usually only have the chances to do so when they visit your store. Now, with Twitter, you can create a welcoming persona that will encourage more people to visit you in person.

Keep in mind that using Twitter is a big part of setting yourself apart from your competitors. Use it to open yourself up to opportunities that you may otherwise not have received. Remember that it takes time to build a sizeable following as well. But regular tweeting, done the right way, will gain you greater recognition, new customers and increased sales.

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18 Jul

Build A Broader Customer Base With Twitter

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 18.07.12 by John Meloche

All week, the Synergy Marketing Blog has been analyzing the approach of using Twitter to promote your business. As we have found for ourselves, it works! And why? Twitter is not just a venue for shameless self-promotion. It’s a social networking tool that allows us to communicate with others. That means that we don’t just talk “at” our customers, but we talk “with” them.

Twitter allows us to follow other companies to see what they are up to. It allows us to answer questions, increasing our quickness in dealing with customer service queries. It also helps us to share our expertise with others through links to blogs such as the one you’re reading now! All in all, Twitter is a great way to build a broader customer base.

We have been taking a close look at an Alex Hisaka article on SocialMediaToday.com this week to get a better idea of how Twitter can be used to promote our business. We have been sharing her tips with our readers in an effort to help entrepreneurs utilize this amazing and FREE source of communication that has proven to boost businesses. Let’s pick up where we left off yesterday.

Engage with Customers. Hisaka notes that social media is all about having a dialogue. Therefore, it’s important to respond to tweets that talk about you and your brand. Don’t ignore your audience. They are very likely to use Twitter to get in touch with you directly. “Start and join conversations,” she writes, “Be authentic, genuine and real. When you have a dialogue with a customer or prospect, it you can convert conversations into actions.”

Build Brand Loyalty. It’s important to have a strong online presence. We’ve always believed that, here at Synergy Marketing, which is why we commonly spruce up our website and make sure that our social media pages are regularly updated. Doing so on Twitter will help you to attract more followers. As Hisaka points out, Twitter also helps you to solve problems quickly.

She writes, “Many businesses use Twitter as a customer retention tool so that they spot unhappy customers and solve their problems. Also, keeping your fans up to date on what’s happening with your business will keep your brand top-of-mind.” You know the saying “out of sight, out of mind” right? Twitter helps to ensure that is never the case.

Twitter is literally a daily reminder that you exist. And although it seems as if just about everyone has a Twitter account these days, don’t think that you will get lost in the sauce. Stand out by being different. Post comments that are interesting and thought-provoking and you will get “retweeted” and responded to. In tomorrow’s blog, we will conclude our in-depth look at this topic.

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