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12 posts from July 2009

July 07, 2009

Michael Jackson interrupts the work day

     I loved watching the Micheal Jackson memorial service. So did millions of other Americans. Today, Michael Jackson's memorial service took priority over almost everything else in many workplaces. I was in a hospital gift shop and workers were out from behind the register and clustered around a small TV set in the back. In a nearby restaurant, the waitress alternated between taking orders and sneaking a peek at the TV set behind the counter.

   Mj When a celebrity passing is celebrated,  it unites people in conversation and makes many bosses nuts. It interrupts the flow of getting work done, while forcing us to think about how certain people effect the world with their work. If you were surprised when your boss let you watch the service, you might be interested in knowing that some jerky bosses are going into hiding.  

   The Business of Management blogger writes that good fallout from the recession is that workplace jerks are lying low. "Jerks are annoying, but they aren’t stupid. They know that first-class nitwits make mouth-watering targets for human resource officers with layoff quotas. The office jerk has not disappeared. He is merely hiding in the hills. One day, he will come down from the mountains and wreak havoc again.”

   So if you were able to get your work done and watch the service, if you were able to keep the office jerk at bay, more power to you. The service was a great tribute to the King of Pop. Indeed, it was a thriller.

July 02, 2009

Can Social Media sites Save the Tortillas?

      For years, as a journalist I was awed at the power of the pen. What we would write in the newspaper carried such weight it could ruin a reputation, get someone fired or land them in jail. But these days, the power of the pen doesn't even come close to the power of the Internet.

   Taco-tammy-young_thumb                                                                               Tammy Young is testing the limits of that power. Young is harnessing the word-of-mouth power of online social media sites to boost support nationwide for her Tampa tortilla company, La Bonita Ole, which is in the midst of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.

     The Save the Tortillas campaign tells the story of "Taco Tammy" and urges visitors to sign a petition to buy the company's's tortillas and to e-mail stores and ask them to stock her products. The website, SavetheTortillas.com also begs SunTrust bank, to which La Bonita Ole owes $1.9 million in loans, to be a hero by allowing Young to remain as CEOand extend the length of payments instead of selling the company, the Tampa Tribune reports. (The photo is from her website)

     The problem: SunTrust is ticked off and says SaveTheTortillas.com contains misinformation. The bank's attorneys want the judge to shut down the website and stop the company from using Twitter and other social media to sway creditors' opinions. A federal judge ordered a rewrite of the website's text but declined to close the site or force Tammy to stop her campaign. 

     I think it's great that Tammy has turned to the Internet for help saving her company and staying on as CEO. But I have to wonder if Tammy is social media savvy, why didn't she use it sooner? Why wait until bankruptcy looms to figure out a way to get retailers and customers to buy her products?

    I love to see entrepreneurs succeed and I hope Tammy stay on to manage her company and make a profit. But I think this story sends a message to all: Don't wait until the 11th hour to invest in marketing! If you're a busy entrepreneur with competing demands on your time and money, you need to take the time and energy to develop a marketing strategy before you go bankrupt. Look at the marketing power Tammy has unleashed with a little creativity at very little cost. We are beginning to see that social media can make or break a business these days.

   Will Tammy Save the Tortillas? The bigger question: Will social media Save theTortillas?

   Are you savvy enough to use social media to market your small business?