Saturday, December 20, 2008

From New Creative

A couple of new items on the horizon from New Creative Enterprises:

This uniquely designed leaf birdbath is made of resin. It makes an exceptional centerpiece in the garden and is still pretty to look at even if there are no birds on it. It will also make a nice decorative platform feeder.

Have a customer who says that bird never use the bird house in their yard? This one is perfect, if no one nests in this house, there are cute birds in the form of a downy woodpecker, black-capped chickadee, and a couple of white-breasted nuthatches on the outside. Look for the resin Birdhouse with Multiple Birds in your next NCE catalog. It is meant to be used as an actual bird house and even has a cleaning hole to clean it out in the fall if it gets used.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Small Business 401K Loan

From Small Business Week comes an article on using your 401K without penalty to get a loan for your small business. Here is a snippet from the article on how the process works:

"Here's how it works. An entrepreneur, aided by the outside adviser, creates a corporation. The newly formed entity starts a 401(k) plan, and an individual rolls over existing retirement funds into the account. Under 401(k) rules, the plan can purchase shares in the corporation—money that can be plowed into a small business that sells a product or service. Those deals are considered investments, which is the key. By investing the money rather than withdrawing it, entrepreneurs avoid triggering a penalty that amounts to 10% of the assets."

Be sure to read the full article here.

Friday, December 5, 2008

MySpace Advertising

From Small Business Week:

Justin Esch and Dave Lefkow, founders of gourmet seasonings maker Bacon Salt, went out on an advertising limb. Typically, the Seattle entrepreneurs used MySpace and Facebook profile pages or small text ads placed next to Google search results to promote their line of seasonings. Then MySpace encouraged them to test a new ad service tailored to businesses like theirs, so Esch and Lefkow shelled out $500 for a trial campaign.

To their surprise, blog buzz about their product picked up, site traffic doubled, and online sales jumped 30% over the past month. "We've seen really good results," Esch says. "This experience taught us there is more that we can do to get word of mouth out there."

MySpace is hoping more small businesses will see the light. On Oct. 13 the social network owned by News Corp. takes the wraps off MyAds, a new approach to advertising that allows small businesses and individuals to create their own banner ads—illustrated messages in fixed places on a Web page. The service, initially available in a test phase, also will let advertisers decide who they want to target on MySpace and then track the results of the campaigns. MySpace is aiming at advertisers who want to spend under $25,000—though marketers can start by laying out as little as $25.

MyAds is an offshoot of Hypertargeting, a service MySpace launched a year ago for Madison Avenue and big advertisers. Hypertargeting sifts through all the information people publish on MySpace, be it age, gender, hometown, or a preference for Coldplay vs. Rhianna. Hypertargeting uses that information to create 1,100 buckets, or target audiences, ranging from basketball fans to people who read Chicken Soup for the Soul books. MyAds puts those and other tools into the hands of individuals. With MyAds, the Bacon Salt founders created a banner ad using their site logo and tagline, "Everything Should Taste Like Bacon." Then they sifted through MySpace's buckets, picking categories such as dining, restaurants, and of course, bacon, and targeting people in cities and states, including Atlanta and Ohio, where Bacon Salt was launching in Kroger (KR) supermarkets.

Read the full article here.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

New Retailers In The Community

New Online Retailer:, an online retailer of outdoor bird watching cameras and other bird watching accessories, has announced the debut of an informational blog, The new venue launched in late October 2008.

Founded by Stephanie Norby, was established in September 2008. The site currently contains color video cameras and backyard birdhouses with built in bird cameras. The site's inventory is suitable for both the bird watching novice and the aficionado.

"Birdfeeders are a great way to watch birds in your backyard, but you never get an up close look at their interesting and unique behavior," said Norby. "With these cameras, you see everything in vivid color and detail from the comfort of your home."

As bird watchers are conscientious about maintaining the health and safety of birds, Norby explained the benefits of using a camera found on

Elaborating on the products found on the site, customers and interested birdwatchers can now find informational posts related to the world of bird watching through the site's associated blog.

"The blog will contain small articles and information on anything and everything related to bird watching," said Norby. "From building birdhouses to different techniques to attract birds, the blog will be a great place for customers to get all the information they need."

Established for her customers, the blog is one of many customer service measures taken by

"I stand behind all my products, and everything is guaranteed," said Norby. "I pride myself on having excellent customer service, and part of that is free shipping. No matter your order, everything on my site ships for free."

In other news, a new Wild Bird Center has opened in Canton, OH:

Canton residents and wild bird enthusiasts now have a new place to migrate for all of their wild bird supplies. Richard Hoffman has just opened a new Wild Bird Center franchise in Canton, Ohio.

The Wild Bird Center of Canton is a unique retail business offering customers a wide range of bird feeders, bird seed as well as other backyard birding products. The newest Wild Bird Center franchise opening reflects the rapid growth of the bird feeding and bird watching hobby in North America.

Hoffman is a nature enthusiast who recognizes the potential of owning a business that encompasses more than a hobby. He understands that backyard bird feeding is a way to connect with the outdoors and help nature right outside our back doors. "Backyard bird feeding and watching is a way to enjoy and to give back to nature," states Richard. "I am excited to open a business where I not only share a hobby, but enhance the wild bird interests of my customers and this exciting hobby."

Welcome to the bird retail community!

For The Birds

Sisters Anne Schmauss, Mary Schmauss and Geni Krolick who own Wild Birds Unlimited franchises combined their birding feeding knowledge and created this book/calendar. It goes through the calendar year and lets you know what birds to expect, what feeds work best for the time of year, kids projects, and personal tips from the authors. The best part? The book isn't just for people who live in the eastern half of the US--it works for westerners too!

They realized they were getting a lot of the same questions about attracting birds and they decided it was time to write a book: For The Birds: A Month-by-Month Guide to Attracting Birds to Your Backyard, published in September by Harry N. Abrams Inc.