A weekly look at the latest products and services designed to help you run a better business.
The prospects for moving a business venture forward during a recession are likely to rattle even the most fearless entrepreneur. To help small-business owners manage their companies during difficult economic times, Doylestown, Pa.-based Square 2 Marketing has launched an online resource center called Square 2 University.
Available at http://square2marketing.com/resources.php, the site includes a free database of tip-oriented articles, podcasts, videos and a weekly newsletter. Some of the features currently available include "15 Tips to Voicemail Survival for the Sales Professional," "Should You Cut Marketing Costs in a Tough Economy?" and "7 Practical Ways to Motivate Your Sales Team."
Square 2 will also host several monthly workshops and seminars across Pennsylvania. Next month's events will offer advice on the basics of running a business, internet marketing, and determining the right sales strategies for a small company. Go to http://www.eventbrite.com/org/36591359?s=913016 to see the complete list of free workshops.
Mapping firm Maponics and direct marketing solutions company Melissa Data have joined forces to launch new Web-based services for business owners. Instead of determining their mailing lists by zip code, companies can now target their mailings based on carrier routes.
Lists of carrier routes can be accessed by going to http://www.melissadata.com/lookups/MapCartS.asp?zip=07302 and typing in a zip code. In addition to listing the average household income and property values, as well as the number of apartments along each route, the service includes a Virtual Earth map of the area. Users are required to complete a free registration process to view the maps. Companies can also order prints of high-resolution market territory maps, showing zip codes or carrier routes, for $250.
Parents who hope to encourage entrepreneurial thinking in their offspring can now send their high-school aged kids to johnnymoney.com, an online game created by The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.
The flash-based Johnny Money game offers a simulation of the everyday tasks associated with running and managing a retail business. Players are asked to secure funding for their start-up, manage assets and employees, and market their products. The game lasts for a minimum of 45 minutes and can be played individually or in teams.
Part of NFIB's Entrepreneur-in-the-Classroom programs, the game is designed to serve as a homework assignment or an in-class activity. The site includes a separate manual for teachers. Student and teacher guides, as well as the game itself, can be accessed at http://www.nfib.com/page/YEFJohnnyMoney.html.