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  • Business & Economy
    Chamber and Jacobs host successful workshop for local businesses PDF Print E-mail
    News Releases - Business & Economy
    Written by Reena Tandon   
    Monday, 22 September 2014 12:12

    STERLING- In partnership with the Sauk Valley Area Chamber of Commerce and Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES), State Senator Mike Jacobs (D-Moline) hosted a workshop for local businesses.

    “We appreciate the Senator's efforts to help bring state officials to the Sauk Valley to meet with employers one-on-one to discuss unemployment insurance issues,” said Executive Director Kim Ewoldsen. “The Illinois Department of Employment Security has been a good partner to the Chamber and we work hard to provide our members with programs like this they can directly benefit from.”

    With instruction from IDES, local business people learned about available tax credits, the Illinois labor market and how best to navigate the unemployment insurance system.  The workshop also included role play activities based on actual cases and unemployment hearings.

    “As we look for economic development opportunities, we need to build and strengthen our partnerships with local businesses,” said Jacobs. “I’m happy we were able to provide local businesses with information on resources to hire new employees and in the process save money.”


    4 Secrets for Breaking the 7-Figure Ceiling PDF Print E-mail
    News Releases - Business & Economy
    Written by Ginny Grimsley   
    Monday, 22 September 2014 08:10
    Million-Dollar Business Coach Shares Tips for Taking It to the Next Level on YOUR Terms

    Can both recent reports on the economic muscle of black women in the United States be correct?

    On the one hand, businesses owned by women of color – 42 percent of them African American – have skyrocketed since 1997, far surpassing even the impressive growth rate of businesses owned by all women. And they’ve grown far faster in terms of revenues and employees than the average for all women.

    On the other hand, compared to other U.S. women, black women are less likely to be employed or insured, to hold college degrees or be represented in elected office – all indicators of prosperity.

    “It appears to be a paradox, unless you understand black women,” says Dr. Venus Opal Reese, CEO of Defy Impossible, Inc. (www.DefyImpossible.com), a coaching business that helps black women -- and men and women of all ethnicities -- break the seven-figure ceiling.

    “The survival strategies our ancestors learned from slavery are passed down to us and become our ‘normal.’ We’re taught that to feel good about ourselves, we have to work hard, sacrifice for others, prove ourselves, overcome; those are survival skills for which we’re socially rewarded. But when we allow society to dictate our inherent value, our self-worth, we will always come up short.”

    That’s why so many smart, successful black women stay in jobs they hate – jobs that pay well but will never allow them to achieve their financial potential. That’s why they sacrifice for their children, their church, their community, but not for themselves. It’s why they can accomplish a great deal but still feel emotionally and financially impoverished.
    “Our self-worth and our mindset around money are our biggest barriers to breaking the million-dollar mark,” Dr. Venus says.

    What do black women millionaires do differently? Dr. Venus shares some of their secrets, which are lessons for men and women of every ethnicity:

    •  Make money from what you “know” instead of from what you “do.”
    As employees, we rent out our behaviors for a certain number of hours each day. We’re paid to use our skills and accomplish tasks that benefit our employer. We all know how to make survival money from what we do.

    Give up the working-class mentality of making money from what you “do” and start making money from what you “know.” Everyone has a skill, but not everyone has your story and your unique perspective on life – what you’ve learned from walking through fire. You have a million-dollar message that can be monetized to launch your entrepreneurial dream or take the dream you’ve launched to impossible new heights. First, you must identify it.

    •  DON’T leave your day job until you have replaced your income.
    Keep the job that’s paying the bills while you work on the side to market your message and build your revenue stream.

    If you’re panicking about keeping the lights on, you’re not going to have the enthusiasm and creativity necessary to give your entrepreneurial dream your full, amazing power. Plus, having the lights on makes it a lot easier to get things done!”

    Once you’re making enough money to replace that salary or hourly wage, give up the day job!

    •  Don’t position yourself as a low-cost leader.
    Imagine being a Kia and then trying to be a Bentley. The market won’t believe you. If you want to go high-end, you have to stop charging low. It takes clarity, trust and confidence to up your rates, but it also forces you to get crystal clear on why people should pay top dollar to work with you. If you start low with the intention of going high, you will attract all the people looking for a deal. These people will never want to pay more. So don’t build your business on low-end items.

    •  Trade on value instead of volume.
    Another pitfall of charging low ticket is that it is dependent upon a high volume of people buying in order for you to earn a living. When you move into the world of high-end leadership, you don’t make your money from volume. You make your money from the value you bring your clients. The more value you provide, the more you can charge. Value can be tangible, emotional, prestige, exclusivity, or customization. When you build your business around value instead of volume, you naturally charge more -- and get more -- high-end clients.

    About Dr. Venus Opal Reese

    Dr. Venus Opal Reese, CEO of Defy Impossible, Inc. (www.DefyImpossible.com), is an acclaimed international speaker; CEO Mindset, Messaging and Marketing Mentor; and entrepreneur coach. She holds two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. from Stanford University, and worked as a university professor before investing in herself by testing her entrepreneurial skills. Her business, Defy Impossible, grossed $1.2 million less than three years after launching.

    Locals Love Us Is Giving Away $10,000 PDF Print E-mail
    News Releases - Business & Economy
    Written by Ronna Walker-Johnson   
    Friday, 19 September 2014 14:21

    Bettendorf, Iowa/September 15th, 2014 -  Locals Love Us-Quad Cities is adding a big increase in philanthropy to their 2nd annual survey, ending on October 1st.  This group will be giving away up to $10,000 to deserving organizations all around the area.

    Locals Love Us helps you share the love for your favorite businesses while raising money for your favorite school, non-profit or charitable organization.  By simply voting for your favorite business in the QC area, a voter can raise money for a great local cause. Any local charity can receive a financial reward for driving voters to the Locals Love Us survey. Those groups who are interested in signing up can contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

    Locals Love Us is a secure, anonymous online survey that asks the Quad Cities to name the most loved businesses in over two hundred categories. The results are published in a print and online directory.

    According to co-owner, Ryan Bell, “ "We love giving back to our community.  This is a great, easy way to do it using our business model.  We’re pumped about writing some checks to great local causes!”

    Fellow owner, Tim “Chopper” Shea added, "Its as easy as posting on Facebook or emailing your contacts…just promote your own, unique link.  Every voter gets you $$$!”

    Locals Love Us (localsloveus.com) was founded in 2004 and focuses on delivering a comprehensive collection of a city’s most-loved businesses to its residents. The locally-owned Quad Cities franchise started last year and is committed to strengthening the community where it does business.


    Local Rainbow International® Business Receives International Award PDF Print E-mail
    News Releases - Business & Economy
    Written by Kimberly Denman   
    Friday, 19 September 2014 14:05

    WACO, Texas (Sept. 16, 2014) – Kevin and Joy Beirne, owners of Rainbow International of the Quad Cities, received the Top Gun Award and Franchisee of the Year Award from Rainbow International corporate during The Dwyer Group® International Conference held Sept. 7-10 in Orlando, Fla.

    This award goes to franchise owners who achieve top sales and reach operation benchmarks. The Top Gun recipients represent the top 10 percent of Rainbow International franchise owners across North America.

    “The idea of ‘Top Gun’ was established by the Navy in the 1960s as a way to give training and credit to elite fighter pilots,” said Mark Welstead, president of Rainbow International. “Taking a page from the Naval Top Gun Program, each year we recognize our franchise leaders for their accomplishments and dedication to the trade. It takes dedication, hard work, expertise and commitment to reach the Top Gun goal and we are honored to have these winners on our team.”

    The Franchisee of the Year Award is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a franchisee. This award is presented to the franchisee who has consistently grown through proper training and management of their organization and has had a consistently high level of sales through quality, professional service.

    “The Rainbow International team is thrilled Kevin and Joy won the Franchisee of the Year award,” said Welstead. “They have high standards and achieve a level of excellence that sets the standard for Rainbow International franchises.”

    “We are honored to receive these awards,” Beirne said. “We are committed to working hard every day to provide timely, courteous and professional cleaning and restoration services that meet and exceed our customers’ expectations.”

    About Rainbow International®:

    Established in 1981, Rainbow International is a global franchise organization providing residential and commercial restoration and cleaning services. Recognized by Entrepreneur magazine among its “Franchise 500,” Rainbow International franchisees offer a broad range of damage restoration services (ranging from water, smoke and fire damage to carpet and upholstery cleaning and deodorization) to more than 400 locations worldwide. The new Rapid Structural Drying Network of Rainbow International has established a network of elite water loss mitigation franchises across the United States. Rainbow International is a subsidiary of The Dwyer Group, Inc., family of service franchises. For further information or to find the location nearest you, visit RainbowIntl.com.


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    5 Ways to Ensure Your Marketing Video Will Suck PDF Print E-mail
    News Releases - Business & Economy
    Written by Ginny Grimsley   
    Friday, 19 September 2014 14:01
    Tips from an Online Video Marketing Specialist

    Online video marketing has become a staple, with 81 percent of companies producing video content for their websites and 69 percent producing it for social media, according to the 2014 Online Video Production Trends Report.

    “There are loads of marketing videos on the web now, and some extremely effective,” says Jennifer Santoro, integrative marketing specialist and Chief Happiness Officer for InVidz Smart Video Technology, (http://InVidz.com). “But there are plenty that just don’t work.”

    Santoro says she’s noticed common themes among the latter group. Based on those, here are her five ways to ensure your marketing video will suck.

    1.  The Video Takes Too Long to Get to the Point
    In the age of the “tweet,” marketers have only a few seconds to capture a viewer’s attention. In order to get the viewer to engage, a marketer must put serious thought into what the main point of the video is, and then clearly communicate that message as quickly as possible. The attention span for video watching seems to be about 60 seconds, so viewers don’t want to hear a marketing message that goes on and on. Every word counts! Don’t use five words when three will do. This is where the practice of writing, rewriting and then rewriting a script helps.

    2.  The Video Content is Inauthentic
    Today’s consumers value authenticity and they can smell B.S. a mile away. Never try to portray yourself or your company as something you’re not. Embrace who you are and what you actually offer; people will relate to and engage with that content. As soon as viewers suspect pretense, their trust will be gone. In today’s market, the truth shall set you free. Take some time for self-reflection about what you offer potential customers and authentically communicate that message.

    3.  Distracting Noises on the Audio
    Rule of thumb: The visual can suck but the audio can’t! Visually you don’t have to do anything fancy. A simple shot of you speaking in front of a nice background will never be distracting. However, distracting noises in the audio will kill your video every time. If you’re on a budget, put your money towards a decent microphone as opposed to a fancy camera. It’s amazing what you can do visually with an iPhone! However, without a proper microphone, the recording will pick up too many distracting noises. Try the Audio-Technica ATR-3350 Lavalier Omnidirectional Condenser Microphone to get started. It’s affordable and compatible with an iPhone; you just need the adapter.

    4.  The Intention of the Video is not Clear
    This goes back to No. 1 and the importance of putting serious thought into the point of the video. Too often we get distracted by special effects and features, or telling elaborate stories, and forget that the video needs to have a clear and concise message. Never shoot a video simply because you think you’re supposed to have a video. If that’s the only reason you’re shooting one, you’re pretty much guaranteeing it won’t be strong because it will lack intention for the viewer. BEFORE you ever pick up your audio equipment and camera, spend significant time clarifying the intention of the video and composing your script around that intention.

    5.  Viewers Can’t Take Immediate Action
    The whole point of a marketing video is to get your viewer to take some sort of  action. Internet video marketing technology has advanced significantly with the dawn of the smart video, which allows viewers to take immediate action directly from the video itself. We all know the power of the impulse buy! Consumers are much more likely to follow through on a decision if they can act upon it instantly. Therefore, smart videos are a marketing video’s best friend. If you haven’t already started using a smart video marketing platform for your videos, it’s time to start. InVidz.com has made the process extremely easy and affordable. It even offers a free membership to get you started.

    “Remember the rule of quality over quantity,” Santoro says. “One extremely effective video is better than 10 ineffective videos.

    “When considering your next marketing video, check down this list to ensure it doesn’t suck. You’ll see the difference in your conversion rates!”

    About Jennifer Santoro

    Jennifer Santoro holds a master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communication and Management from the Florida State University and is a specialist in online video marketing. She’s the Chief Happiness Officer for InVidz Smart Video Technology, (http://InVidz.com). A Certified Professional Coach through the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching, she has more than 10 years of professional communication experience in the non-profit and private sectors.

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