A professor’s multi-million-dollar bread enterprise

Mr M. Mahadevan, Hot Breads, World WideBusiness is about risk-taking, unlike as in employment, differentiates Mr M. Mahadevan, Director, Oriental Cuisines Pvt. Ltd, Chennai ( www.orientalgroup.in), when reflecting on how he gave up his college teaching job and become an entrepreneur in the food industry. “What made me an entrepreneur?” he asks rhetorically, and answers: “Some people say greed. I’d say ambition. To reach…”

At the fifth edition of monthly breakfast meetings called ‘Meet Success First Hand’ organised by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, Chennai, Mr Mahadevan highlighted how it was focus that helped his brand ‘Hot Breads’ achieve success in a high-mortality industry like restaurants. “Seventy per cent pack up in the first year, and 12-18 per cent close in the second year. If you survive the third year, you’d go on. Which is why banks consider it suicidal to lend to the industry.”

get a websiteAn advantage in the industry, however, is that sales are on cash while payments are on credit — ‘after 90 days in Dubai, and after 30 days in Chennai’ — he says. His first unit in Chennai was near the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India office on Nungambakkam High Road, started with Rs 60,000 as investment, and four people. Now, the group, with about 100 outlets all over the world, has crossed a turnover of Rs 45 crore in India employing 800 people, and the global numbers are almost three times as much. “I scouted for Chinese cooks,” reminisces Mr Mahadevan. “Because, according to my homework, which I do for all projects, Indians love Chinese food. Every 5-star hotel has an Indian restaurant and then a Chinese one.”

His research and homework continue, even as he keeps adding value to Oriental Cuisines’ portfolio comprising Benjarong, Copper Chimney, Cream Centre, Ente Keralam, China Town, The French Loaf, Maple Leaf, Planet Yumm, The Noodle House, Oriental Inn, Qwikys Coffee, Wang’s Kitchen, Zara Tapas Bar and more…

Brands_Hot-Breads_Cafe-Picasso_Done-Pepe

Hot Breads, India Website: www.hotbreads.in
Hot Breads, USA Website:  www.hotbreadsusa.com
Oriental Cuisines Corporate Website:   www.orientalgroup.in

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Courtesy: Anitha Parthasarathy

Top 10 Ways to Use Twitter for Marketing

professional-twitter-marketingTwitter is a micro-blogging site that asks you a basic question, “What are you doing?” It allows anyone with an account to write up to 140 characters in a text field as a means to update, comment, promote or communicate to others who are “following” you. When people follow you, they see what you’ve recently contributed when they login. They see your “tweets”, which are the messages you leave.

And of course you can follow others who tweet about the things that interest you. As an Internet marketer you may want to follow other Internet marketers, for example.

Like anything, and this is especially true of working with social media, the more you give, the more you get. In other words, the more often you tweet the more activity you’ll generate. Some suggest that you tweet a few times a day, every day. Not every tweet needs to be profound. But they should all be useful.

It’s important that you don’t abuse Twitter for marketing and promoting your products, services or affiliate links. Most of your tweets ought to be about offering your followers useful and valuable information. Only once in a while should you try to use Twitter to promote something. Otherwise you’ll be perceived as a spammer, and no one wants that tag.

twitter-flow-chartImagine if you had a large number of people following your tweets? Some people have tens of thousands following them. If you had something to promote and you had a large following, you could quickly and efficiently alert a lot of people of your promo. It acts sort of like a mass emailíng blast to your house email list, but it’s a heck of a lot easier and faster. This is the power of Twitter.

One thing that I’ve noticed with Twitter is that it can seem overwhelming at times. The sheer information on Twitter, the ‘how-to’s’, tutorials and all the other ubiquitous advice on how to use and take advantage of it can seem hard to understand and implement. So here’s an easy-to-understand list of the top ten ways in which you can use Twitter to market yourself, your business and your website.

The Top 10 Ways To Use Twitter for Marketing:

1. Use it to promote new pieces of content you or your company create to drive traffic to your site. From online articles to blog posts or from videos to webinars, each time you add something to the Web that is of value, tweet about it and include a link. (Most people on Twitter usewww.TinyURL.com to take a long URL and make it short.)


2.
Use it for learning new marketing ideas, strategies and techniques. If you follow the right people, and you have to be picky about who get a websiteyou follow, you’ll get pointed to a good amount of useful tutorials, videos, e-zines and other things that teach you about marketing.

3. Use it to get new customers. Use Twitter’s search to find people who may be interested in your product or service. There are many ingenious ways to search for people on Twitter. For example, if you sell red widgets you could go to http://search.twitter.com and find people who have tweeted specifically looking for red widgets. To do this, type the following into the search box: red widgets?

• You’ll notice a lot of the results will be of others selling red widgets. These ones will all obviously have links in them to direct people to the site they’re selling red widgets on. To weed these people/tweets out, use the negative sign like this: -http red widgets?

• Since every link has ‘http’ in it, using the negative sign in front of it will cause your search results to not include any tweets with links in them.

4. Use it to build your email list. Use Twitter’s search to find people who may be interested in the monthly newsletter you send out to your house email list. Invite these people to join.

5. Utilize Twitter plugins or add-ons such as TweetMyBlog or The Twitter Updater, which both automatically make tweets of every new blog post you publish. Also check out TwitThis. When visitors to your website click on the TwitThis button or link, it takes the URL of the Web page and creates a shorter URL using TinyURL. Then visitors can send this shortened URL and a description of the web page to all of their followers on Twitter. Finally, look at TweetLater, a service that allows you to write lots of tweets at once and then schedule them to go out over time.

Twitter-Product-or-WebSite-Launch6. Use it to build buzz about an upcoming product or website launch.

7. Use it to better brand yourself or your business. Remember, when someone wants to learn more about you or your company, they are increasingly using sites like Twitter for research. You could easily use Twitter to establish yourself as an authority in your field.

8. Use it to update followers on breaking news regarding your company. If your company is mentioned in a new article, tweet about it and include a link to the article. Or if you’re at a conference or trade show, you could tweet what you’re doing and invite people to visit you in person.

9. Use it for business networking, master-mind groups (see Napoleon Hill), and getting yourself seen by high-profile people in your industry.

10. Use it as an instant messaging system to keep you and your team on the same page during projects. This is especially useful for those who work with teams spread out in different cities or countries.

twitter_logoYou should note that this top 10 list is not in order of importance or in any particular order. I suggest that you give Twitter a try if you haven’t already. See if you can apply a few of these techniques and tactics to help you take advantage of Twitter as a marketing tool.

And one more important thing to remember is that there is no silver bullet in marketing. You should always be trying and implementing numerous tactics when marketing your business. Don’t only rely on Twitter or any other one thing. Instead, use Twitter (or any other Web 2.0 site) as simply one more tool in your entire social media and marketing toolbox.

By Anitha

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Email: hello@silex.co.in Web site: www.silex.co.in Phone: +91-44-4314-4790

25 logos that underwent makeovers in 2009

A Redesigned logo has two extreme results…either it adds to the worth of a company or takes away the hard earned reputation. If your redesigned corporate identity is weak, prepare yourself to welcome the downfall of your brand but luckily you get it right, it can open new doors of success for you.

I have put together an exciting collection of 25 logos that have gone through major redesign in the year 2009. Moving from left to right you will notice the transformation and if you think I have missed mentioning any major redesign, I will really appreciate your contribution.

1 ) Carrefour: Since 1966, Carrefour, a French supermarket chain has been consistent with its C-in-a-diamond icon and bold fonts. Well, now you will see it with a new word mark and a slightly modified icon.

2 ) Audi: Audi revealed a simplified logo that gave a new shine to the four connected rings, from a matte finish to a more chromalicious one.

3 ) Firefox Logo: King of browsers “Mozilla’s Firefox” have added minimal changes to its logo – less hairy, more submerged, more defined flames.

4 ) Inter bank
With many name changes to make heads or tails of, it first became Interbanc with a “c” in 1980 and in 1996 it was changed to Interbank with a “k,”

5 ) MasterCard Logo: The old symmetry logos have been replaced with a trio of spheres, with the centre sphere being blurred and brown.

7 ) Kraft foods: With the beginning of this year Kraft foods introduced a completely new corporate identity but few months back it further modified its redesigned logo.

8 ) Discovery Kids
With changing the letter “I” into exclamation mark and changes to“S”, it is delivering a fun loving impact

6 ) Vista prints: Many people balme VistPrint.com for providing cheap, fast and mediocre quality. So they think their redesign well-explain their services

9 ) Jack in the box: Duffy & Partners has added a new funky and lively appeal to the famous fast food chain “Jack in the box” logo.

10 ) Videocon: India-based Videocon, one of the largest consumer products in its country, has released its new” V” icon which has become instantly become a recognizable shape. However, the typography, looks out of date and clashes doesn’t compliments the icon.

11 ) Good Humor:

12 ) Hertz Logo: The shadow and the sloopy look of the logo has been replaced with stiff typeface, adding curve to letter “r”

13 ) Union bank of California: The famous California bank logo has emerged with a dominating letter “U” with its swooping feel adding strength and personality to the services of the bank.

14 ) SGI Logo: The typeface of Silicon Graphics, Inc was always considered weird with their hybrid rounded and flat edges. In contrast, the new logo is, simply flat without any exciting feel.

15 ) Playstation3: This September, PlayStation officially unveiled the latest update featuring a slimmer hardware design along with a sleek new logo.

16 ) Nickelodeon Logo: The Nick team thought it was high time to change their 30 year old identity. So here is their new logo a plain display of Bazooka rounded letterforms in orange and white.

17 ) City of Melbourne:
With their new identity that will represent the City of Melbourne, and provided plenty of rationale behind the new identity replacing a logo designed in the early 1990s.

18 ) Network Solutions: The pioneer of domain registration world, network solutions has come up with a prominent and loopy redesign, with the folds adding motion to the redesign.

19 ) My little pony: The brand has kept experimenting with its design and packaging for more than 25 years but the long swaying “Y” in the latest version is irritating.

20 ) Doctor Who: Lately, BBC unveiled the new logo for the longest-running science fiction program, showcasing a massive DW monogram in a tightly spaced slab serif.

21 ) Lays: I know this should be called a package redesign rather than a logo redesign. However, it is giving a complete new look to the product so I thought it should be on the list too.

22 ) Chicken Now:
With their recent Popeyes work, has helped them to rename and rebrand their popular (in the Southwest, at least) retail offering. And now for some Chickenow.

23 ) Blimpie Logo: Famous for its sub sandwiches, Blimpie has always used component of fun and liveliness in its logo but the new emblem is very boring and generic.

24 ) Sony Ericson: Well, don’t be shocked with Sony Ericson on the list because it has not changed the logo but has released its logo in some electrifying colors.

25 ) Mtv: Avoiding a drastic change, that it becomes hard to recognize, MTV has come up with a refreshing rebranding. The logo remains black on a white ground – no color, pattern or texture to decorate it.

we build websites that make you happy.
get to know us.

Email: hello@silex.co.in Web site: www.silex.co.in
Phone: +91.44.4314.4790

Clean your computer

Preserve the condition of your system with regular maintenance

clean your computerI have a dirty secret. I’ve never cleaned my computer. Sure, I’ve dusted my monitor, but I haven’t taken off the cover or tried to reach the crumbs lurking inside my keyboard.

“Your computer could fry if you don’t keep it clean,” says Jonathon Millman, chief technology officer for Hooplah Interactive.

Dust clogs the vents behind your computer, which causes your CPU to heat up—and heat is the biggest cause of component failure in computers. Regular cleaning could save you costly maintenance fees down the road.

Keep your computer in tip-top shape by following Millman’s guide to a spotless computer system.

***

 

Preparation

You’ll need:

•  screwdriver
can of compressed air (available from computer dealers or office-supply stores)
cotton swabs (do not use a cotton ball)
rubbing alcohol
paper towels or anti-static cloths
water

Always turn your computer off before you begin and unplug all the cords.

Step 1: Inside the case

Using a screwdriver, remove the side of the case that’s opposite your motherboard. Touch as little as possible inside the computer, keeping fingers away from cards and cords.

Blow air around all of the components and along the bottom of the case, keeping the nozzle four inches away from the machine. Blow air into the power supply box and into the fan (from the back of the case). Lastly, blow air into the floppy disk and CD drives. Wipe the inside of the cover with a lightly moistened cloth before replacing it.

Millman recommends doing this every three months if your case sits on the floor, if you have pets that shed, or if you smoke. Otherwise, every six to eight months is fine.

Step 2: Outside the case

Run a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol around all of the openings on the back of your case. Give them one swipe with the damp end of the swab and one swipe with the dry end. Do this as often as you clean the inside of your computer.

Step 3: Keyboard

Turn the keyboard upside down and gently shake it. Most of the crumbs and dust will fall out. Take a can of compressed air and blow into and around the keys. Next, take a cotton swab and dip it in rubbing alcohol. It should be damp, but not wet. Run the cotton swab around the outside of the keys. Rub the tops of the keys. If you have a laptop, follow the same procedure but take extra care with your machine. Do this monthly.

Spills — If you have kids, you’re worried about spills. If it happens, disconnect the keyboard immediately and flip it over. Blot the top with a paper towel, blow compressed air between the keys and leave it to air dry overnight. For laptops, liquid can easily penetrate the hard drive so turn the computer over immediately and leave it in that position until it dries.

Step 4: Mouse

Rub the top and bottom of your mouse with a paper towel dipped in rubbing alcohol. Open the back and remove the ball. Wash the ball with water and let it air dry. To clean inside the mouse, dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and rub all of the components. Scrape hard-to-remove grime with your fingernail. Finally, blow air into the opening. Replace the ball and the cover. Do this monthly.

Step 5: Monitor

Moisten a paper towel or a soft, lint-free cloth with water. (You can also buy monitor cleaning products at computer-supply stores.) Don’t spray liquid directly onto the screen—spray the cloth instead. Wipe the screen gently to remove dust and fingerprints. Never touch the back of the monitor.

For laptop screens, Millman suggests buying a special cleaning solution available at computer stores. Do this weekly.

Finally, make sure that everything is dry before you plug your computer back in.

Choosing the Right Advertising Medium for Your Small Business

Choosing the Right Advertising Medium

For a small business, every dollar is precious. Small businesses do not advertise for the sake of advertising. Instead, they want to get the most return for their investment. Learn the advantages and disadvantages of each advertising medium that you can use to provide your business the winning edge.

If you are ready to get the word out about your business, one of the steps that you need to do is to select the right media where you will advertise and promote your business.

For a small business, every dollar is precious. Small businesses do not advertise for the sake of advertising. Instead, they want to get the most return for their investment. Your advertising campaign should translate to greater sales, more profits and healthier bottom line.

While there are a number of venues where you can promote your business, you need to ask three important questions:

  1. Where are my target buyers?
  2. What is the best medium to reach them?
  3. Can I afford to launch an effective campaign using this medium?

An important step to developing your sales and marketing plan is to select the right media to send out your message. There are no hard-and-fast rules as to which media is better. The right media for one business may be wrong for another.

Based on an excellent small business reference book “How to Start and Operate a Successful Small Business: Winning the Entrepreneurial Game” by David E. Rye, as well as contributions from our staffers, below are the relative advantages and disadvantages of the advertising media most frequently used by small businesses:

Newspapers

Newspapers are one of the traditional mediums used by businesses, both big and small alike, to advertise their businesses.

Advantages

  • Allows you to reach a huge number of people in a given geographic area
  • You have the flexibility in deciding the ad size and placement within the newspaper
  • Your ad can be as large as necessary to communicate as much of a story as you care to tell
  • Exposure to your ad is not limited; readers can go back to your message again and again if so desired.
  • Free help in creating and producing ad copy is usually available
  • Quick turn-around helps your ad reflect the changing market conditions. The ad you decide to run today can be in your customers’ hands in one to two days.

Disadvantages

  • Ad space can be expensive
  • Your ad has to compete against the clutter of other advertisers, including the giants ads run by supermarkets and department stores as well as the ads of your competitors
  • Poor photo reproduction limits creativity
  • Newspapers are a price-oriented medium; most ads are for sales
  • Expect your ad to have a short shelf life, as newspapers are usually read once and then discarded.
  • You may be paying to send your message to a lot of people who will probably never be in the market to buy from you.
  • Newspapers are a highly visible medium, so your competitors can quickly react to your prices
  • With the increasing popularity of the Internet, newspapers face declining readership and market penetration. A growing number of readers now skip the print version of the newspaper (and hence the print ads) and instead read the online version of the publication.

Magazines

Magazines are a more focused, albeit more expensive, alternative to newspaper advertising. This medium allows you to reach highly targeted audiences.

Advantages

  • Allows for better targeting of audience, as you can choose magazine publications that cater to your specific audience or whose editorial content specializes in topics of interest to your audience.
  • High reader involvement means that more attention will be paid to your advertisement
  • Better quality paper permits better color reproduction and full-color ads
  • The smaller page (generally 8 ½ by 11 inches) permits even small ads to stand out

Disadvantages

  • Long lead times mean that you have to make plans weeks or months in advance
  • The slower lead time heightens the risk of your ad getting overtaken by events
  • There is limited flexibility in terms of ad placement and format.
  • Space and ad layout costs are higher

Yellow Pages

There are several forms of Yellow Pages that you can use to promote and advertise your business. Aside from the traditional Yellow Pages supplied by phone companies, you can also check out specialized directories targeted to specific markets (e.g. Hispanic Yellow Pages, Blacks, etc.); interactive or consumer search databases; Audiotex or talking yellow pages; Internet directories containing national, local and regional listings; and other services classified as Yellow Pages.

Advantages

  • Wide availability, as mostly everyone uses the Yellow Pages
  • Non-intrusive
  • Action-oriented, as the audience is actually looking for the ads
  • Ads are reasonably inexpensive
  • Responses are easily tracked and measured
  • Frequency

Disadvantages

  • Pages can look cluttered, and your ad can easily get lost in the clutter
  • Your ad is placed together with all your competitors
  • Limited creativity in the ads, given the need to follow a pre-determined format
  • Ads slow to reflect market changes

Radio

Advantages

  • Radio is a universal medium enjoyed by people at one time or another during the day, at home, at work, and even in the car.
  • The vast array of radio program formats offers to efficiently target your advertising dollars to narrowly defined segments of consumers most likely to respond to your offer.
  • Gives your business personality through the creation of campaigns using sounds and voices
  • Free creative help is often available
  • Rates can generally be negotiated
  • During the past ten years, radio rates have seen less inflation than those for other media

Disadvantages

  • Because radio listeners are spread over many stations, you may have to advertise simultaneously on several stations to reach your target audience
  • Listeners cannot go back to your ads to go over important points
  • Ads are an interruption in the entertainment. Because of this, a radio ad may require multiple exposure to break through the listener’s “tune-out” factor and ensure message retention
  • Radio is a background medium. Most listeners are doing something else while listening, which means that your ad has to work hard to get their attention

Television

Advantages

  • Television permits you to reach large numbers of people on a national or regional level in a short period of time
  • Independent stations and cable offer new opportunities to pinpoint local audiences
  • Television being an image-building and visual medium, it offers the ability to convey your message with sight, sound and motion

Disadvantages

  • Message is temporary, and may require multiple exposure for the ad to rise above the clutter
  • Ads on network affiliates are concentrated in local news broadcasts and station breaks
  • Preferred ad times are often sold out far in advance
  • Limited length of exposure, as most ads are only thirty seconds long or less, which limits the amount of information you can communicate
  • Relatively expensive in terms of creative, production and airtime costs

Direct Mail

Direct mail, often called direct marketing or direct response marketing, is a marketing technique in which the seller sends marketing messages directly to the buyer. Direct mail include catalogs or other product literature with ordering opportunities; sales letters; and sales letters with brochures.

Advantages

  • Your advertising message is targeted to those most likely to buy your product or service.
  • Marketing message can be personalized, thus helping increase positive response.
  • Your message can be as long as is necessary to fully tell your story.
  • Effectiveness of response to the campaign can be easily measured.
  • You have total control over the presentation of your advertising message.
  • Your ad campaign is hidden from your competitors until it’s too late for them to react
  • Active involvement – the act of opening the mail and reading it — can be elicited from the target market.

Disadvantages

  • Some people do not like receiving offers in their mail, and throw them immediately without even opening the mail.
  • Resources need to be allocated in the maintenance of lists, as the success of this kind of promotional campaign depends on the quality of your mailing list.
  • Long lead times are required for creative printing and mailing
  • Producing direct mail materials entail the expense of using various professionals – copywriter, artists, photographers, printers, etc.
  • Can be expensive, depending on your target market, quality of your list and size of the campaign.

Telemarketing

Telephone sales, or telemarketing, is an effective system for introducing a company to a prospect and setting up appointments.

Advantages

  • Provides a venue where you can easily interact with the prospect, answering any questions or concerns they may have about your product or service.
  • It’s easy to prospect and find the right person to talk to.
  • It’s cost-effective compared to direct sales.
  • Results are highly measurable.
  • You can get a lot of information across if your script is properly structured.
  • If outsourcing, set-up cost is minimal
  • Increased efficiency since you can reach many more prospects by phone than you can with in-person sales calls.
  • Great tool to improve relationship and maintain contact with existing customers, as well as to introduce new products to them
  • Makes it easy to expand sales territory as the phone allows you to call local, national and even global prospects.

Disadvantages

  • An increasing number of people have become averse to telemarketing.
  • More people are using technology to screen out unwanted callers, particularly telemarketers
  • Government is implementing tougher measures to curb unscrupulous telemarketers
  • Lots of businesses use telemarketing.
  • If hiring an outside firm to do telemarketing, there is lesser control in the process given that the people doing the calls are not your employees
  • May need to hire a professional to prepare a well-crafted and effective script
  • It can be extremely expensive, particularly if the telemarketing is outsourced to an outside firm
  • It is most appropriate for high-ticket retail items or professional services.

Specialty Advertising

This kind of advertising entails the use of imprinted, useful, or decorative products called advertising specialties, such as key chains, computer mouse, mugs, etc. These articles are distributed for free; recipients need not purchase or make a contribution to receive these items.

Advantages

  • Flexibility of use
  • High selectivity factor as these items can be distributed only to the target market.
  • If done well, target audience may decide to keep the items, hence promoting long retention and constant exposure
  • Availability of wide range of inexpensive items that can be purchased at a low price.
  • They can create instant awareness.
  • They can generate goodwill in receiver
  • The items can be used to supplement other promotional efforts and media (e.g. distributed during trade shows).

Disadvantages

  • Targeting your market is difficult.
  • This can be an inappropriate medium for some businesses.
  • It is difficult to find items that are appropriate for certain businesses
  • Longer lead time in developing the message and promotional product
  • Possibility of saturation in some items and audiences
  • Wrong choice of product or poor creative may cheapen the image of advertiser

Source: “How to Start and Operate a Successful Small Business: Winning the Entrepreneurial Game” by David. Kind Courtesy: Mr David (C) 2008.

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