Creating Graphics for Business Growth by J.R. Atkins MBA

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Creating Graphics for Business Growth by J.R. Atkins MBA

As someone delivering Social Media, Websites and Online Marketing, I find myself in need of creative graphics on a regular basis and I have found some resources you might what to check out.

1. JRA Visme ProjectVisme: Think of Visme as a perfect marriage between Microsoft PowerPoint and Adobe InDesign; ease of use meets professional design. Their clean graphic website will walk you through the three easy steps to create your first graphic image and includes a nice short video to help you get started. Use the Visme tool set to create:

  • Infographics
  • Presentations
  • Charts & Graphs
  • Web Banners
  • Animations
  • And more

The free version allows you to create 3 projects and is a great way to check it out. If you like it and want to upgrade, the Standard Plan is $4.50 per month and the Complete Plan is $14.25 per month, no too much when you consider the competition.  I’m hoping they will preformatted projects for cover images for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ as I am tasked to create these often. Below is a sample project I created in less than five minutes. Let me know how Visme works for you.

2. Fivver: If you are more into outsources than “DYI” then check out Fivver. You hire someone to do you graphic for you at very low prices, like $5.00. The prices goes up as you add requirements but you still can get graphics delivered in a few days for less than $50.00. Again, not to bad when you consider other alternatives. Here is a recent example from Fivver that ran me $5.00 and took 4 days to complete.

Social Mead posting by J.R. Atkins 

 

3. Design Class: Most class work in design requires the student to create projects for real companies. Most will have a digital portfolio to show you how their skills and talents are developing. Why not let your brand benefit from the bright minds of tomorrow’s professional designers. Just Google “InDesign Classes” in your area then contact the instructor about student projects with your organization.

This example Portfolio is from Ashley Denton at Texas State, San Marcos, TX

 Ashley Denton recommended by J.R. Atkins

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Travel with J.R. Atkins to Holy sites

 


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What Makes a Great Event for Marketing Your Business?

As I work with small and medium businesses, many are using events to help drive business. The events vary in type, size and purpose. Some events are designed to introduce new products or staff, while others are designed to increase awareness of the company’s capabilities. Once you know your desired outcome, follow the recommendations below and you can host a results producing event for your organization.Event Marketing by J.R. Atkins

For the event to be successful at producing results, use the three C’s: Content, Cocktails & Connections

Content, as in Social Media, is the primary driver of results. What will your guests hear, see or do at your event? The more your guests are involved, the greater likelihood that your event will create a lasting impression. Some examples of content: a noteworthy speaker, not necessarily the CEO, such as a customer or a professional presenter who can talk about you and your company so you don’t hype yourself. Have entertainment such as a musical combo playing quietly, or a comedian warming up the crowd before your speaker. Remember you want to inform and entertain the audience.

Cocktails or unique beverages such as flavored tea will help ease people into conversation. When your audience is freely talking they are usually enjoying themselves. Warning – Make sure you have a good sound system for your presentation as people often continue their discussion during your presentation. No one enjoys or learns from a presentation they cannot hear.

Connections are the second driver of results. The people we meet impacts our business and personal lives. Think of inviting “noteworthy” people for your guests to meet or connect people who should meet one another. Then tell them in advance you would like to introduce them at the event.J.R. Atkins recomend Events to grow your business

Once you have planned your event, the next task is to fill the room and to do this use the letters “ALV” or Awareness, Location and Value.

Awareness can best be understood by asking yourself “How many people know about my event.” How will you make others aware? A few suggestions to consider: Mail an invitation. Yes, “snail mail” still works. Email, 2 to 3 times leading up to the event. Send the first one at least 3 weeks out so people can “save the date.” Online tools such as Websites, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Google Plus and MeetUp are good tools to get the word out. If your event is on a larger scale you may consider advertising in local journals or trade publications that your target audience reads.

Location in itself can be a deciding factor in your audience choosing to attend your event. A new venue such as a hotel, restaurant or bar can be a big draw. Many business people don’t get to the hot clubs unless there is a special event. Plus, clubs and bars often have very light or no traffic in the hours at the end of the workday.

Value, as perceived by the invited guests, is critical to saying yes to the invitation. Value is often seen as being entertained, being held in esteem to or honored, or a feeling of being special. Another way value is viewed is “how will this help me or my business.” If the invited guests see value in attending your event, then they are more likely to go. Value can be created via the program, other guests and your presence.Professional speaker J,R. Atkins

Lastly, a few comments about “How To” and cost. If you are new to event planning, get help! You can find event planners that cost you nothing and others that charge a substantial fee and deliver startling results. Look online for best practices in event planning, write out the details with a time line, involve your staff and for peace of mind, give yourself plenty of time.

I look forward to hearing and reading your comments on using events to drive business results. You can share them by email, blog, or phone at 214-707-1705.

Events Worth Considering

06-29-30 DFW Rocks Social Media with J.R. Atkins
06-30-30 DFW Rocks Social Media
07-02-13 Fostering a Tech Startup Culture
07-04-13 Concerts at the Arboretum
07-08-13 Rena Pederson, The Burma Chronicles
07-09-13 Social Media & Your Career with J.R. Atkins
07-10-13 Facebook Basics with J.R. Atkins
07-11-13 DFW AMA Meet & Greet
07-11-13 Rolling Stones Cover Band
07-16-13 Learning from Iraq
07-17-13 Digital Dallas ~ Digital DUMBO
07-17-13 Film Screening: Not My Life
07-20-13 5th Annual Little Black Dress Event
07-24-13 LinkedIn Basics with J.R. Atkins
07-30-13 Last Tues Happy Hr @ The Ritz

Every Sunday 8:30 pm Perspective Pulse with Ashley Berges & J.R. Atkins on KLIF 570 AM and the iHeartRadio App.


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Why is everyone Hyping Video?

Because if a picture is worth 1000 words, a video is worth 100,000 or 1,000,000 words. It’s the next best thing to being there. If you are fond of saying “when people meet with me they buy” or when someone understands what we do, they buy, or give, or join us … then video communication is for you.

J.R. Atkins, Author, Speaker, Consultant, Something Different CompaniesThe least expensive and quickest way to share video is to shoot and post from your smart phone. You can do this by using your phone’s camera and mobile apps to share such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus and others.

You can also use specialized apps such as Vine, Social Cam, Tout, DigiSocial, and Viddy to capture and post short video segments. Yet, the stalwarts of video sharing are YouTube, Vimeo, your website, and your blog.

Short videos, about 60 seconds, generate interest and are easy to share if they are entertaining, informative or news worthy. Long videos, about 2 minutes to 20 minutes, are great for “how to” help. This is how my son and I learned how to change the oil on his motorcycle.

To get the word out, I recommend companies use email and social media to provide a link back to their video content. It also helps to explain the video in the email or social media post so the person gets the message even if they do not watch your video.

Good luck using video. I look forward to hearing how you are using video to generate results.

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3 things we can we learn from a 4 year old

Here are 3 things we can we learn from a 4 year old

    1. Touch screens are broke
    2. Planes get small
    3. Anything is possible

 

Although my son is in college, I’m still amazed at what I can learn from observingAutho J.R. Atkins ask what we can lear from a 4 year old children. Their wide eyes are ready to take in whatever the world has to teach them each day. We can apply these small lessons to our own business lives and improve our desired results. Here are three recent incidences I observed.

Lesson 1 – Touch Screens Are Broke. Once a child understands that you can touch a screen and change the appearance, they think all monitors, TV’s, camera screens, and tablets should be touch-enabled. When they touch one that is not so enabled, they think it is broke. You may laugh with your worldly experience but I’m here to tell you (and me) that they envision a world where all screens are touch enabled. Someday they will laugh at you and me. So think of a world where all screens are touch sensitive. What could we do, how might our tactile senses respond, how ill it change communication, data analysis, device operations, driving a car, …. The list could go on. I challenge you to think about this today as you touch any device or screen. What can you envision?

Lesson 2 – Planes Get Small. Have you ever watched a plan take off? It starts off full Author J.R. Atkins references planes getting smallsize and then gets smaller and smaller, or that is the way a 4 year old sees it. So don’t be surprised if they think the people inside get small too. This is what a girl on a recent flight asked as the plane took off: “When do we get small?” As an adult, how do I let misinformation, old ideas and ignorance get in my way of understanding my world? When do I assume my culture is the best and miss what I can learn from someone very different from me? When my son chooses to text me rather than call, do I assume he is wrong and not communicating “correctly” or, do I see it as just another way to communicate, and accept his “new” method?

Lesson 3 – Anything is Possible. To a 4 year old child, anything and everything isAuthor J.R. Atkins suggest anything is possible possible. If you tell them a man landed on the moon and show them the video on YouTube, then they will believe you. Yet, as adults, we have our experiences to compare to new ideas. Our mind ask “What have I seen that looked like this before and how did it turn out?” Sometimes these experiences are based on bad data and this keeps us from accepting new data. I’m not suggesting we throw out our experiences, but I am suggesting we “run a check” on our fast acting mind and occasionally say to ourselves “Maybe this time it will be different because circumstances are different.”

So the next time you have a moment to observe a 4 year old or any child, ask yourself what you can learn and apply to your life today. I hope that I have stirred your thinking some and you have ideas and stores of your own to share with me and your fellow readers in the comments section of this blog.

 

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Have you Downloaded your Facebook data?

Some people do not care about having their data incase Facebook “goes south” tomorrow but some do and may not know how to download a copy. I suggest my clients do this at least monthly. Here is how.

  • Go to Facebook settings in the uper right hand corner of your page.
  • Click on “Account Settings”
  • Under the work “Language” click on “Download a copy” of your Facebook data
  • Click on green “Start Archive” button
  • It will turn grey and say “pending” while your data is compiled.

When the archive is complete, Facebook will send an email to you.

Good Luck!

J.R. Atkins tells you hhow to download your FB data

 

 

 


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Are You Getting Your Share of the $25B in Mobile App Sales

The Wall Street Journal today summed it up well stating that the Mobile App business is booming 5 years after Apple launched the App Store. Read the some of the details below or see the full article at the Wall Steet Journal.

Apps Rocket Toward $25 Billion in Sales

Players in Quickly Growing Business Scramble to Figure Out Best Ways to Attract Users and Turn a Profit

By JESSICA E. LESSIN and SPENCER E. ANTE

The mobile apps industry is booming, with Google and Apple now offering more than 700,000 applications each in their respective stores. But for every Instagram, there are thousands of duds. The WSJ’s Jessica Lessin tells us what makes an app successful in today’s competitive market.

Nearly five years after Apple Inc. AAPL -2.42% kicked off the mobile-apps craze, the industry is booming.

App stores run by Apple and Google Inc. GOOG +1.90% now offer more than 700,000 apps each. With so many apps to choose from, consumers are estimated to spend on average about two hours a day with apps. Global revenue from app stores is expected to rise 62% this year to $25 billion, according to Gartner Inc. IT +2.27%

The apps industry has matured in some respects. Some of the Wild West tactics of five years ago—like scams to accrue more downloads—have given way to more order as Apple and others tighten their rules. App developers are more methodical about marketing their apps and focusing on the few apps that work best.

What’s Your App?

Business leaders, athletes and entertainers share their favorite smartphone and tablet apps.

WSJ’s Spencer Ante takes a look at the explosive growth of smartphone, tablet and smart TV apps and how Google’s Android apps have given Apple a run for its money. Photo: Google, Inc.

How big of a money maker are apps? What country’s GDP is the size of the global app economy? How does app use compare to TV in terms of time spent per day? WSJ’s Jason Bellini has answers.

For every Instagram, the wildly popular photo sharing app that Facebook Inc. FB -0.22% bought for $1 billion last year, there are hundreds of thousands of apps that don’t catch on.

As the battlefield shifts to new geographies, new categories and new devices, developers are still trying to figure out which business models are the most profitable.

The apps industry “is like cars at the turn of the last century,” said Simon Khalaf, chief executive of mobile analytics firm Flurry Inc. “You see the growth of roads and know they’re going to be big. But it is still early days.”

TinyCo Inc., a San Francisco-based game maker that released its first mobile game in 2010, is experiencing both the promise and the perils of the apps industry. Today it has 13 mobile games and revenue is doubling. But every day is a battle to acquire users, said Michael Sandwick, manager of strategic partnerships.

The cost of acquiring users through advertising continues to rise by double digits year-over-year, he said, sometimes more sharply when bigger companies seek to introduce a new game. That has forced the startup to better tune its spending based on data about how people are discovering their games.

“There’s an incredible amount of saturation,” said Mr. Sandwick.

Just a few years ago, the apps industry was simpler. In early 2010, Apple’s App Store had a commanding lead with around 140,000 apps for phones. The market was heavily focused on the U.S.

Apple and Google Inc.’s Play store are today neck-in-neck in terms of smartphone apps catalogs and usage, said analysts. Apple still dominates in terms of money made by more than three to one, according to App Annie.

And there are others also offering app stores—to different degrees of success—including Microsoft Corp., MSFT +0.72%BlackBerryBB.T -3.60% -maker Research In Motion Ltd., and Amazon.com Inc. AMZN +2.77%

The app boom has spread to markets such as China, Japan and South Korea. That has led to some apps like social-networking service NHN Corp.’s Line leapfrogging U.S. app-makers in revenue by selling virtual items like stickers.

image

And apps are expanding their reach on devices. They’re no longer just for phones, but tablets and televisions too. The apps are taking advantage of hardware improvements like sensors that can tell an app how fast a person is moving.

In the past two years, consumers have doubled the time spent with apps to about two hours a day, according to Flurry. Yet people churn through apps fairly frequently, making it hard for developers to retain users.

About 63% of the apps used daily now differ from those used daily a year ago. Moreover, consumers focus on a handful—roughly eight apps—at a time.

Michael Duda, a New York-based marketing consultant and investor, said he regularly uses about 12 of the 70 or so apps on his Android smartphone that make his life easier, including Twitter, LinkedIn, Sonos, AmericanExpress and J.P. Morgan ChaseJPM +0.39% .

“A bunch of the apps I downloaded sounded cool,” but he said but most don’t add “utility to my day-to-day life.”

App makers can have a difficult time breaking into a business dominated by incumbents.

Only 2% of the top 250 publishers in Apple’s App Store are “newcomers,” versus 3% in Google’s Play store for Android apps, according to research firm Distimo.

“The bar is so high to build something that is special and valuable and easy to use,” said Jake Mintz, co-founder Bump Technologies Inc., a four-year-old app that lets people share media across phones by touching them. To be more useful, the Mountain View, Calif., company has branched out to share media across laptops too, he said.

Others app makers are coping with the shifting landscape by being more selective about what they build and how they promote their apps.

Michael Bayle, senior vice president and general manager of mobile at Walt Disney Co.’s DIS +0.85% ESPN, said the company recently decommissioned 23 of its 30 Apple apps it had been maintaining, and kept alive its most popular ones.

ESPN dropped an app for Los Angeles sports but kept its popular ScoreCenter app that publishes scores, news and standings from sports leagues, teams and players world-wide.

“It’s easy to make an app but the real expense is in maintaining it,” Mr. Bayle said.

Some app companies are scrambling for new revenue streams and expanding beyond the current leading money pots: ads and in-app purchases.

When music-discovery app Shazam Entertainment Ltd, introduced its first cellphone app about seven years ago, its main revenue came from deals with mobile operators and licensing its audio-recognition technology.

Today it has five revenue streams, including selling ads in apps, a paid premium version of its app and charging television advertisers to integrate Shazam campaigns.

“We have seen revenue drivers change over the years,” said chief revenue officer Doug Garland, declining to comment on its results. “We are figuring out where the best opportunities are and doubling down.”

Write to Jessica E. Lessin at jessica.lessin@wsj.com and Spencer E. Ante at spencer.ante@wsj.com

A version of this article appeared March 4, 2013, on page B1 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Apps Explode Into Industry Ready to Hit$25 Billion


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Have you Built your own Mobile App yet?

Hey what are you waiting for? Building your own simple Mobile App is easy now with a tool called Yapp App. Granted it may not be as dynamic and complex as Facebook or Angery birds, but you can have an App for your:

  • Events
  • Gatherings
  • Groups
  • Fundraising

Here is a segment from their website:

At Yapp, our mission is to empower people to interact and express themselves. We aim to do this by democratizing the creation of mobile apps so that anyone – even if they lack technology or design skills or resources and time – can create a mobile app for parts of their lives that matter to them.

We believe that app creation is something that anyone should be able to do and everyone will do, but don’t believe one platform can create apps for everyone. The needs of IT departments, brands, SMBs and consumers are very different.

We aspire to make it fun and simple for consumers to create a beautiful, content centric mobile app, or in our case, a Yapp. Yapps are user created, themed, customizable, mobile experiences that can be updated in real time and do not require their own binary.

Yapp Events

Our first product, Yapp Events, aims to help organizations, groups, and individuals quickly and simply create rich and elegant mobile apps to enhance events and gatherings such as weddings, conferences, reunions, classes, book clubs, fundraisers, parties, etc. 


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Why do Time, Money & Relationships matter?

Consultant J.R. Atkins discusses time, money and relationshipsVery simply, these are the only three things that matter. I assert that all other issues, goals, solutions, answers …can be boiled down to one of these three. Let’s go through each one and see.

Time is often considered the most valuable commodity. After all, you can get more money, love, people, cars, books …but you cannot get more time. The closest thing to getting more time is to leverage your time or other people’s time. Time is the first commodity we are given to manage. As a young salesman with E&J Gallo Winery, I was taught to manage my time first, then I could manage others, and this held true.

“Too often, when we have money, we don’t have time and when we have time, we don’t have money.” Jim Rohn

Professional Speaker J.R. Atkins address money, time & relationshipsMoney is held in high regard in most of the world. It represents power, accomplishment, wealth, knowledge, wisdom, and even love is often expressed in the form of money or gifts. With money, you can do almost anything. Without money, there are so many obstacles to overcome that most people cannot do anything without money. When I consider the issues I face in life; most of them would either go away or be less important with the addition of more money. Not all problems can be solved by money which brings us to people or relationships.

Money is not the root of evil; “the love of money is the root of evil.” 1 Tim 6:10

Relationships affect us in both our work and personal lives. I have heard many people joke that their life would be so easy without these darn people messing it up. While comical, it is also true. We are made to be in relationship with each other, some more Author J.R. Atkins points out that Relationships Matterso than others, and relationships create issues. As leaders, we are asked to get people moving, creating results. As workers we are asked to follow our leaders and get things done. It is a two way street. Gone are the days where one person orders and the other person complies. We all have to work together, get along, collaborate, avoid confrontation … to generate results and keep the peace.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” 1 Cor 13:13

With these three “commodities” addressed, let’s look at an example of Starting a Business.  To start a business you need all three: time, money and relationships. For example, I connect with many people wanting to build a mobile application for smart Author, Speaker & Consultant J.R. Atkins is a member of Startup Americaphones. Most have little or no money so they put in time and strive to find others that will contribute their money, in exchange for future earnings. Relationships are key in this environment as the entrepreneur must interact with people in order to get them to support his/her idea. They must attract talent, investors, customers, mentors … and all of these require some level of time, money and relationships. Can you think of an issue an entrepreneur might face that cannot be addressed by these three?

The model below represents a “Balanced Approach” where time, money and relationships are seen as equals. Yet, most of the entrepreneurs I speak with would rather have more money and less time and relationships since they can “buy” time and relationships with money. I call this “A Money Centric Approach.” Without enough money, even with plenty of time and relationships, the road to success is very, very steep.

Consultant J.R. Atkins comments on the intersection of time, money & relationships 

How do these concepts and ideas fit into your world view? Do you have an idea of your “hourly billable rate?” Claiming an hourly rate that you desire will help you choose what task you will do and what task you will hire others to complete. Your hourly rate will also help you compute the dollar value of your participation in a project or business.

I look forward to reading your comments, please post them at http://somethingdifferentcompanies.com/blog/

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Now that you can work all the time, leave work at 5:30 like Sheryl Sandberg

Professional Speaker J.R. Atkins comments on Facebook COO Sheryl SandbergI’ve been talking about the 24 hour work day for a while and how since we are connected and can work all the time, we MUST set boundaries or go crazy. The article below is a good example of what I’m talking about. Sheryl Sandberg is COO at Facebook and was a Google before that. As mother and wife, she leaves work at 5:30 each day and says “you should too.” Men, listen to the end of her video where suggest you to should be free to be with your family. Original Article

Somewhere along the line, ending one’s workday before 8:00 p.m. became a source of shame and sign of laziness — or at least that’s what many of us have tricked ourselves into believing.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is familiar with the funny, uncertain feeling that comes with checking out soon after 5:00 to be with family, and although she used to worry about what others thought of her departure time (which is a completely reasonable hour to head home, by the way), she has finally reached a point where she can take off at 5:30 p.m. without the lingering concern of how others are perceiving her.

“I walk out of this office every day at 5:30 so I’m home for dinner with my kids at 6:00, and interestingly, I’ve been doing that since I had kids,” Sandberg said in a new video for Makers.com. ”I did that when I was at Google, I did that here, and I would say it’s not until the last year, two years that I’m brave enough to talk about it publicly. Now I certainly wouldn’t lie, but I wasn’t running around giving speeches on it.”

To make up for ducking out at 5:30 p.m., Sandberg said, she would send emails to colleagues late at night and early in the morning as proof that she was still giving her all to work:

“I was showing everyone I worked for that I worked just as hard. I was getting up earlier to make sure they saw my emails at 5:30, staying up later to make sure they saw my emails late. But now I’m much more confident in where I am and so I’m able to say, ‘Hey! I am leaving work at 5:30.’ And I say it very publicly, both internally and externally.”

Many of us know the stigma against going home early all too well, especially in competitive work environments in which many judge work ethic by the number of hours spent in the office. There should never be any shame associated with heading home before 6 p.m. to eat dinner with one’s children and spouse, and Sandberg is sending a much-needed message to parents everywhere that it’s OK to leave work before dark for family time, especially since research has shown that children are healthier, happier and better performing students when they eat with their families.

In high school, my friends used to always say they envied my family for making it a rule to have dinner as a unit at least five nights a week, and I honestly feel I would have become a different person had my parents not prioritized it.

 

[H/T The Grindstone]

Thumbnail image courtesy of World Economic Forum, Flickr

This article originally published at The Jane Dough here.

The Jane Dough is a Mashable publishing partner that is the go-to site for news, insight and commentary on women in the business world. This article is reprinted with the publisher’s permission

Original Article


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If you like Pinterest & Instagram, you will love Pingram

Two of the biggest social media crazes these days are no doubt Instagram and Pinterest. So it’s not surprising to find that there’s a new site, Pingram, which finds a way to combine the two.

Professional speaker J.R.Atkins comments on Pingram

So what does Pingram do exactly? It gives you a way to browse your Instagram feed, and popular photos, as well as see the comments that have been posted on Instagram – using Pinterest’s layout.

 

When you open up a photo on Pingram, it’s displayed as it would normally be seen using Instagram’s native links.

However, as far as any engagement directly on the site goes, you can’t comment on photos, and are limited to ‘pinning’ photos from the feed to your Pinterest profile. The fact that the site makes it very easy to share images directly from Instagram to Pinterest, however, could prove to be unpopular among Instagrammers themselves.


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