Small Business Marketing – Specialize or Generalize?

There have been many great points raised on both sides of this discussion. In order to make a final decision, we must look at how the business world is moving and at the purchasing patterns of the consumers who will be utilizing your services.The Internet has changed the way people look for services (personal and professional). For example:
· If you do a search in Yahoo for a Personal Coach you will get 1.4 million matches.
· If you refine your search to Personal Life Coach you will get 760,000 matches.
· If you refine your search to Personal Career Coach you will get below matches.
· If you refine your search to Weight Loss Coach you will get 80,000 matches.
(search result numbers are subject to change)Once you have selected the area of specialization you are interested in, you can then drill down into the results by location or other qualifying factors. As we are spending more and more time online, our patterns are shifting and adapting to more effectively navigate the over-abundance of information available. Web users know that in order to avoid a list of millions of possible matches, they must be more specific in their requests.Generalizing – The Benefits:
As a generalist you aren’t limited in the type of clients that you can work with. Everyone is pressed for time; having one coach who can handle all aspects of your goals (personally and professionally) as opposed to multiple resources each with a unique area of focus would be of certain benefit.Generalizing – The Challenge:
The trade off is assumed to be that if you are a generalist in all things you are not an expert in any of them or at least in most of them. To state that one individual can work on any aspect of any business and/or in any area of a person’s life and still achieve success is unlikely and may be interpreted as unrealistic or exaggerated on the part of your potential clients.Specializing – The Benefits:
As a specialist you can attract a client based on his unique needs then share the wide range of additional areas you can bring benefit too. Each person wants the best for themselves and they perceive their situation to be completely unique. Specializing places you in front of the right client at the right time.Specializing – The Challenge:
Initial pool from which you can draw clients is potentially smaller (but more refined), your copy must be more targeted, and you may be vulnerable to economic swings in specific market segments.The concept of moving towards a more specific or niche approach to positioning and promoting your practice is becoming the standard in business. Building an environment that allows you receive the benefits of being positioned under Specialist and Generalist is one of the foundations of www.ldurandconsulting.com [http://www.ldurandconsulting.com]Have a successful day!
Leslie Durand, Marketing Coach and Emarketing Specialist

Three Types Of Livestock That Can Be Raised By Beginner Farmers

When people move from the city life to live in the country side they get interested in raising livestock. The reasons may vary as to why people want to raise livestock, some people raise them as pets and some raise them because they want to make some money by selling the livestock produce.What ever reason may be, raising livestock can be done by almost anyone who is dedicated to being a livestock farmer and someone who is willing to put aside a lot of his time in managing and taking care of their livestock. In order to raise healthy livestock you have to give the animals proper care such as feeding them nutritious food plus clean water on daily bases, building them some good shelter and have them checked by a veterinarian for health issues.There are various types of livestock you may want to raise as a beginner livestock farmer. Some of them need more care than others and maybe suitable for new farmers to raise. Three types of livestock that are suitable for beginner livestock farmers are goats, cattle and sheep. Below are more details on how you can go about raising them.Raising Cattle:A lot of farmers start by raising cattle in their farm ranch. Cattle are a stress free livestock to raise when taking good care of. Their produce such as milk and meat is in high demand in the markets for its nutritious benefits. When you own cattle you will be able provide your family with fresh milk on daily bases and save lots of money in buying milk.


When starting out in raising cattle you have to first choose the kind of breed you want to raise. There are over 800 types of breeds which are in 3 different categories known as the zebus, the hybrids and taurine cattle. Some types of breeds are good for the production of milk whilst others are suitable for meat production.When raising different types of cattle a farmer should install stalls that separate those that eat grass and hay to those that eat sophisticated feeds.Since cattle are grazing animals you have to have some large piece of land if you want to raise them. The land in which they graze on has to be well fenced so secure the livestock. For the fence you can either use electrical wiring or use a wood and steel fence. You should also prepare some equipment needed to raise cattle such as pails, water containers and feeding beds.Although cattle don’t require some sort of roofed shelter that doesn’t mean you can’t build one. A roofed shelter will also help you in storing your livestock equipment and can be used to milk your cows.Raising Goats:Goats are another type of livestock that can be raised by a beginner farmer and they are less prone to diseases than cattle. They can also be raised for the production of milk and meat which high in demand and cost more than cattle produce.When starting out raising goats you have to first make up your mind on what type of goat breed you want to raise. The type of breed depends on the end product you want to produce from your goats, you can either raise goats for the production of fiber, tasty meat and milk that is high in nutrients.Once you have made up your mind on the type of goat you want to raise you have to decide on the number of goats you are planning on raising. Knowing the number of goats you are planning on raising will help you estimate how large your land should be. One thing to note is that goats reproduce almost every year so the land should be large enough to accommodate the growth of your herd.Goats also need some shelter to rest at the end of the day. The shelter should be large enough for all your livestock to fit in properly without being over crowded. The shelter should be comfortable so that they can sleep at night and protect them from harsh weather such as too much sunlight, rain and snow. Don’t forget to fence the entire grazing land so that predators don’t attack and kill your herd.Raising Sheep:Raising sheep is very interesting and rewarding as raising cattle and goats. These type of livestock can be raised for various reasons such as producing quality wool, producing cheese from its prolific milk and the obvious tender meat. These produce can also be sold since they are in high demand.Sheep are animals that like grazing the field. If you want to raise healthy sheep then you have to have some large land of green grass for the livestock to graze on. Although feeding your sheep grain supplements plays a big part in their diet, grass fed sheep produce a higher nutritional value produce. Since sheep like grazing in a large group as a livestock farmer it can be daunting to manage them on the field so it would be wise to have a helper dog to assist you.


An essential part of raising sheep is keeping them within their confines, this helps them in not getting lost in the wild and end of being eaten by wild animals such as bobcats, bears and wild dogs. At the same time it helps in keeping these predators out of the grazing area. Using an electrified fence can help a lot and its easy to install as well.In order to ward off natural elements that can be harmful to your livestock you have to invest some money in building good housing for your sheep. When designing the house make sure you build a chute to manage the sheep when you need to make some checkups on each and everyone of them or when vaccinating them.As you see raising livestock can be done by almost anyone even if you don’t have any past experience or were not raised in a farm ranch. Just like any other type of pet they need to be taken care for and make sure they leave in comfortable conditions.When starting out its best to first start with raising one type of livestock then move on to another type when you have gotten the experience from your first set of livestock.

Video Game Tester Jobs Can Jump Start You on Almost Any Game Development Path

Video game QA testing may be low on the game development totem pole, just above “personal projects” you’d never think about including in your resume. But used correctly, both can carry you a long way towards becoming a game programmer, story line creator, or graphics designer.It’s all about broader experience inventory and growth through progress.It would seem fairly obvious. Look at anyone in college working towards a career in a high paying field like medicine, and what do you see them doing? That’s right, working at any job in a hospital, clinic, or private practice environment (a relevant environment) which they can find. They know even a role only loosely related to the one they aspire towards in their chosen field serves as a stepping stone towards more relevant positions once the opportunity becomes available.As is the case in medicine, software development is a industry made up of many narrow roles. If you’re only focused on “qualifying for your desired role”, you may end up short changing yourself in two ways. First, by not recognizing applicable experience you’ve already obtained through non-professional work and personal hobbies. Second, by overlooking potential resume building opportunities while limiting yourself only to the ones not available to you.Let’s look at the first problem: “not recognizing applicable experience you’ve already obtained”.I don’t see this problem a lot in sales and marketing, regardless if it’s computer entertainment sales, advertisement sales, or used car sales. In fact, newer “greener” aspiring sales reps often need to learn a page from aspiring software developers about “Never put anything in your portfolio that someone wouldn’t pay you for”. Where the aspiring gaming professional falls short is recognizing what actually counts as valuable to those they present their resumes and portfolios to. They’ll often include what they consider “real job experience”, such as “Manager at Macy’s”, or “Audits and Accounting at Wells Fargo” (neither of which has anything to do with game or software development); but avoid including things like “my dorm mate and I wrote “Squares vs Circles” (an iPhone app) for fun while we were in college, it got 500,000 downloads within a month of release” (so what you are saying is, you wrote, developed, tested, and published popular and successful software on your own for fun?)It’s as if those aspiring to game development roles almost seem to have an “inferiority complex” when it comes to the kinds of experiences relevant to the gaming field. While considering any work they think of as “from a real company” with “a real paycheck attached” automatically more important. The thing is: the person looking over your resume doesn’t care about any of that. They’re not your dad who thinks you should get a “real job”, or your mom who worries about you’re “spending too much time on the internet”, they are people looking for someone with experience that has to do with games. Don’t discount experience because it was “just a personal project”. If you want to be hired in the area of game development you need to show how you have already performed successfully in game development. Whether or not you got paid, and regardless whether or not it resembles what you or your peers think of as “a real company”, “real work”, or “real professional”. What matters is that it was developing a game, and you completed the project as defined – or better. That’s what people want to hear about.


Now take a look at the second problem: “overlooking potential resume building opportunities while limiting yourself only to the ones not available to you”.This one is a little trickier, because it requires a balancing act. You see, another important thing to remember is “Build your portfolio around a single focus”. I’m not going into detail about that here, as it mostly goes beyond the scope of this article. But, it needs to be mentioned as it’s the other end of the spectrum in so far as: on one level, you don’t want to overlook potential resume building opportunities, but at the same time, you don’t want to build a portfolio of non-relevant experience and garbage either.The best way to look at it is, if you have an opportunity to work in a position which is highly relevant to your desired role in gaming – say for example story line creator – by all means favor that work over work that’s less closely related. But when such positions are scarce or highly competitive, don’t overlook opportunity to work in any game development role – even if it falls outside the scope of the game development area you ultimately aspire towards.The reality is, jobs in game development are places where many come – but few may enter. There simply aren’t enough positions to fill in any one role for everyone who applies at the door. And even experience outside the role you aspire towards can help you as it gives you familiarity, exposure to a variety of technology, and broader experience with the roles of others you might have to later work with.The lowly and relatively low paying Video Game Tester Jobs.Compared to other gaming industry roles, video game QA tester is the lowest paying. According to The Game Developers 12th Annual Salary Survey (conducted in 2013), freelance and temporary assignment video game QA testers, with less than 3 years’ experience, earn an average of $22,000/yr., roughly equivalent to $10/hr. – assuming a 40 hour work week. This is because of the much lower amount of education needed to enter video game QA testing.However, consider those “working towards a career in a high paying field like medicine”, who I described at the beginning of this article; the ones taking “any job in a hospital, clinic, or private practice environment (a relevant environment)”. They’re doing this for a few good reasons. It helps to offset college costs, gives them a chance to gain experience and familiarization within a related work environment, and the jobs they take are often the “lower paying roles” due to lower entry-level education requirements – which equates to ease of entry. High turn-over rates as people in these positions attain the qualifications to move on to their desired careers, make these jobs readily available. And those who later move on to higher positions will have previous industry relevant experience to add to their resumes if needed. If needed being the key. If they don’t need it, or feel it would distract from experience more relevant to a particular job, they can always make less mention of it or leave it out entirely.Which bring us to the real question – why are those seeking software development careers so averse to including video game tester jobs along the way? Think back about the “inferiority complex” among “those aspiring to game development roles” which I spoke of earlier. And the corresponding “superiority complex” among those becoming “material” for higher paying, more respected roles such as graphics designer or programmer. When people think of, for example, becoming an environmental art designer, they often think of highly sophisticated technical skills, and expensive but well-worth-it college degrees – leading to well-earned and well-respected salaries. When people think of a QA tester job, they often think of someone who was lucky enough to get paid to play games.Video game quality assurance testing is seen by many as almost a kind of “red-headed-step-child”. Some treat it the same way one might treat a cheap book promising the secret to unbelievable income sold on a poorly done website alongside thin porn, payday loans, and mesothelioma related attorney services.The reality is – a video game tester job can provide the same things to the soon to be 3D character model designer that a clerical position with a small clinic provides to the soon to be medical technician, nurse, or doctor. Video game tester jobs are readily available, industry related, work with which you can offset other costs while in school or training for your desired role, gain experience and familiarity with the software development process, and which comes with relatively low entry requirements.Video game QA positions require only that you have a high aptitude for basic skills applicable to any job, such as attention to detail, ability to follow instructions, diligence, and being able to write reports. Yet they provide game industry experience, familiarity, and exposure to a wider variety of related technologies. Also, while QA testing may be “low paying” compared to other development roles, it’s actually on par with many part-time jobs that aren’t even career connected which people typically take while working towards their desired career path.


The key is, don’t look at QA tester work as a job you “don’t take seriously”, consider it instead as a useful tool in a strategic plan. Consider those too good to be true offers you see promising “$4,000 a month playing games” for some small monthly fee. These offers are usually made by assignment aggregators. Assignment aggregators are companies in the business of offering a central location for freelance video game QA testers to find temporary video game QA assignments. Whether the promises of easy money come true or not, you could use those to get work (resume experience) handed to you even though you have not yet attained any work history or qualifications, in addition to some extra income. What you really want is for the assignments to serve as documented work history in QA Testing to support obtaining a regular entry-level position with a gaming company. You want to be able to say “I’ve completed projects in the gaming field”… as opposed to the other applicant who hasn’t.From here it depends on the options available to you, and your desired career path. If you’ve already chosen a career path in another game development role, then I’d recommend NOT moving all the way from freelance to full-time QA testing – as you want to focus your efforts on obtaining a job closer to your desired role. Until you do, you may wish to simply remain a freelance tester. Despite the lower hourly pay, this will give you the greatest flexibility and control over your time. Should you decide to become a regular part-time tester with a gaming company, the pay could actually outstrip many other non-career connected part-time jobs.If you’re still deciding when it comes to what role you want to have in game development, you may want to consider that QA testing does become more lucrative with experience – all-be-it not as quickly as in other development roles. It rises to just under $40,000/year as a full-time job with 3 years’ experience, and “maxes out” around $70,000/yr. Not as much as the $85,000/yr. you could be making as a programmer, but still fairly decent compared to other professional roles.Video game QA testing may be the lowest paid type of work in game development. However, those aspiring for such roles as game programmer, story line creator, or graphics designer would be wise to look beyond just work related to their desired role in game development.

Insight: Five Reasons the Nonwovens Market Shows No Sign of Slowing Down

Today, innovations in nonwovens are growing as quickly as global demand. From housewraps to laundry aids, nonwovens open up a large and ever-increasing number of possibilities for a range of industries.This insight refers to all industrial nonwovens which are sold business to business and are used mostly in commercial operations. Applications are diverse, and include automobile body degreasing, hard surface cleaning and skin preparation. In 2012, the global consumption of industrial non-wovens was 3.30 million tonnes, and this is forecast to reach 4.95 million tonnes by 2017.In this insight, we examine: what are the main drivers behind this impressive growth of industrial nonwovens?1.) Low raw material supply and cost
Industrial nonwovens are less expensive to produce than most alternative products. This low cost is measured not only in currency but in consumption of raw materials. Nonwovens use a significant percentage of European and American wood pulp, which is not petroleum based, and is also renewable and relatively inexpensive. As oil is expected to increase in both demand and price until 2017, use of natural fiber for nonwovens in the place of petroleum based material is favourable.Water is also becoming a scarce resource as industries and populations compete for supplies. Woven cotton textiles require a great deal of freshwater irrigation, as well as chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The replacement of woven cotton textiles with wood pulp and/or rayon-based nonwovens therefore not only saves money, but valuable resources.


2.) Advantageous manufacturing processes
Nonwovens are usually made using relatively new technologies and use less energy, produce minimum effluent and require fewer raw materials than older methods of production. For example, the now common spunbonding process is only around 50-60 years old, whereas textile spinning and paper-making have been around for a few thousand years.There are also fewer resources required during the nonwoven production process. Spunlaid, needlepunch, carded and airlaid nonwovens use little or no water, while spunlace uses almost no chemicals and recycles 99% of the water it uses. Nonwoven processes are typically very flexible. This has meant that many industrial processes can rapidly and inexpensively change to produce multiple different products, allowing a much greater degree of product diversification than is possible with wovens or other materials.3.) Regulation and sustainability concerns
Environmental responsibility influences the manufacturing methods of most industrial products, and nonwovens are no exception. Regulatory pressures and retailer proactivity have meant that movement towards sustainability is now common in this market.Those in the nonwovens industry feel that sustainability is a need driven by both consumers and governments, and the time to act is now rather than later. For example, while packaging has been the main area of emphasis, Walmart has acknowledged that other areas, such as nonwovens, are also important.This impacts both the consumer nonwovens market and the industrial nonwovens sector, and the suggestion that the world’s largest retailer might judge and select nonwovens based on the environmental performance of the suppliers has had an immense effect. A wide variety of products have begun changing for environmental reasons: airlace, with woodpulp replacing rayon in traditional spunlace for wet wipes, airlaid pulp replacing highloft polyester in automotive insulation, and a new ‘repurposed cotton’ fiber for use in spunlace are now marketed.4.) High performance
In some cases, industrial nonwovens materials deliver properties unattainable by other materials, leading to their increased popularity. Exemplary materials include clean-room wipes, which provide a highly entangled web with high strength and abrasion resistance. The large quantity of water used at high pressure tends to remove all loose fibers or particles all at high speed and relatively light basis weights. There are no woven products comparable.


There are dozens of other instances where nonwovens just perform better than equivalent products, from industrial wipes to automotive insulation, from packaging to battery separators. Sometimes the pure performance of a product rather than cost or convenience drives this market.5.) New and competitive materials
The nonwovens market continues to evolve and adapt in order to best serve the needs of various industries, especially in terms of cost and performance. In spunlace, a precursor web containing segmented bicomponent fibers makes it possible to produce both a cost-effective and high performance microfiber substrate, useful in filtration and industrial wipes.Airlaid is already 80-90% wood pulp, one of the most sustainable raw materials in nonwovens. Low-density versions are a suitable replacement for foam plastic packaging, and combined with a dispersible binder, airlaid is perfect for repulpable packaging or flushable wipes. This constant adaptation to keep up with a fast-moving industry has meant that the global market for nonwovens shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.