Quoted – Cheaper ways to get ink help keep businesses in the black

Ink tubes connected to the printer cartridges
Image via Wikipedia

While economists and business analysts have been busy fretting over the rate of the economic recovery, grossly focused on the latest jobs report, GDP figures and the inflation rate, maybe there is a more obvious indicator they should have been paying attention to all along: the ink cartridge business.

It’s something many businesses cannot live without: the ability to print checks, invoices, records and receipts.  And at prices ranging from $25 to $200 apiece, printer, ink and toner purchases can be among the more expensive for a company.

“If business is just down, you’re simply doing less printing,” stressed Scott Testa, professor of business administration at Cabrini College in Philadelphia.

http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=167790

Enhanced by Zemanta

Quoted – A good fit in the market is key for clothes sellers

Closeup of a copper rivet on blue jeans.
Image via Wikipedia

What odds for survival would you have given the men’s store Mortar when it opened in March?

The store sells denim jeans from $189 to $330. Shirts are $100 to $220. The designer boutique is not on Post Oak Boulevard — it is in Montrose. And while the economy is picking up, the apparel retail industry is far from booming.

But for co-owners Iris Siff and Sacha Nelson, it’s a fine time to be in retail. They have already made plans to move their less than 3-month-old store at 1844 Westheimer to a nearby space almost three times the size.

If their initial solid business is an indication, the owners found a winning formula by focusing on upscale contemporary casual attire — they don’t sell suits — for men in their 30s and 40s while offering the same level of service one finds at a high-end store selling business clothes. Most of their lines are exclusives from emerging designers.

For a concept like Mortar to work, it does not have to reach large numbers of men, but it does need to convince its targeted shopper that what it offers is unique and relevant to his lifestyle, said Scott Testa, professor of business at Cabrini College near Philadelphia.

“If you can identify a really specific segment of the market and understand it and gain traction through word of mouth, you can explode,” Testa said. “As the saying goes, ‘There’s riches in niches.’”

For such businesses “there’s less price pressure because they’re looked upon as having things that are unique,” he said.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/7027714.html

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Quoted – Leading indicators drop, experts still expect “sluggish” economic growth

2004 - United States - Manhattan - New York Ci...
Image by Colin Gregory Palmer via Flickr

The Conference Board reported Thursday the Leading Economic Index fell 0.1 percent in April, the first drop in a year, after a 1.3 percent gain in March and a 0.4 rise in February.  Nevertheless, economists still expect slow but steady economic growth in the months to come.

April’s dip is a sharp contrast with the year-earlier month, when the index rose 1 percent following consecutive decreases in the previous six months.

The Conference Board is a business-supported research organization. Its Leading Economic Index, composed of 10 economic indicators, is designed to predict economic activity. Typically, three consecutive LEI changes in the same direction usually reflect a turning point in the economy.

“I think we’re starting to make some headway,” said Scott Testa, an economics professor at Cabrini College in Philadelphia. “It’s going to be a steady slow climb. We’re not going to see anything dramatic, however, until fall, or maybe until 2011.”

The most influential lagging indicator is the unemployment rate, Testa said, which is “probably what the Fed looks at most for the inflation rate.” He continued, “When the Fed sees momentum, it’s going to start looking at raising interest rates again.”

Testa has a hunch that consumers will see inflation occur in oil and energy. “Energy has been kept in check two to three months, but the summer driving season combined with the Gulf situation is going to cause a small blip in prices and have long term affects on the price of food.”
http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=164935

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Quoted – Apple’s Leaky Vietnamese Connection

Apple bling iPhone wallpaper
Image by The Pug Father via Flickr

Why so many Apple leaks from Vietnam? Once again, the Vietnamese blog Tinhte has revealed what could be a real-deal upcoming Apple product. The blog recently showed a new MacBook days before Apple announced it, as well as an iPhone prototype that looks very much like the 4th-gen device Gizmodo obtained last month. This time, Tinthe has shown an iPod touch with a 2MP camera.

Since tight control over new product information is an important part of Apple’s success strategy in its markets, this latest rash of leaks — multiple fourth-generation iPhones, information on MacBooks and now this supposed iPod — must be disturbing to the company. However, it shouldn’t be surprising, according to Scott Testa, a professor of business administration at Cabrini College in Philadelphia.

“If you’re a large company, and you’re outsourcing R&D and manufacturing, you’re going to have leaks,” he told MacNewsWorld. “That stuff is going to happen.”

While the Tinhte leaks may have minimal impact on Apple’s marketing strategy, Cabrini contended, that’s not the case with another lapse in the company’s information control: the obtaining of an iPhone prototype by the gadget website Gizmodo.

“Apple gains a lot marketing firepower from the secrecy of their products,” he asserted. “The loss of the prototype did much more damage than the other [leaks].”

While the Tinhte leaks may have minimal impact on Apple’s marketing strategy, Cabrini contended, that’s not the case with another lapse in the company’s information control: the obtaining of an iPhone prototype by the gadget website Gizmodo.

“Apple gains a lot marketing firepower from the secrecy of their products,” he asserted. “The loss of the prototype did much more damage than the other [leaks].”

http://www.macnewsworld.com/story/Apples-Leaky-Vietnamese-Connection-70042.html

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Quoted – 5 questions to ask before getting a credit card with an annual fee

An example of street markets accepting credit ...
Image via Wikipedia

There’s no doubt about it: More credit card issuers are adding or increasing annual fees. But there are still plenty of no-fee options, so before you sign up for a new card with an annual fee, make sure the benefits are worth the costs.

Spurred by the Credit CARD Act and new Federal Reserve Board regulations that limit the types of fees that credit card issuers can impose, card issuers are looking to increase revenues by adding or raising annual and other fees. In fact, 35 percent of all credit card offers mailed to consumers in the last quarter of 2009 carried an annual fee, the highest percentage in the past decade, according to Synovate Mail Monitor, a direct mail tracker.

5. Have you done your research to get the best deal? If you’re looking for a new card and considering paying an annual fee, your due diligence should include comparing rewards cards that have a fee with those that don’t and calling customer service to get more information if there is something you don’t understand. Many credit cards don’t offer a lot of specific information about redeeming rewards on their websites and in mailings, so make sure you know what you’re getting into before you get a new card.

If you already have a rewards card, check periodically to make sure the benefits you originally got the card for still exist, says Scott Testa, a professor of business administration at Cabrini College in Philadelphia. “Credit card companies generally are not in the business to advertise what they’re taking away from you,” he says.

And make sure to call your card issuer and ask them to waive the fee every year, Testa adds. “You’ve got nothing to lose,” he says. “The worst case, they say no.”

http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/help/5-key-questions-credit-card-annual-fee-6000.php

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]