Archive for January, 2009

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Posted in Marketing, sales, Small Business Advice, Uncategorized on January 29th, 2009 by Tracie Gilbert – Comments Off on Work Smarter, Not Harder

You start the day with a positive attitude, but by the end of the day, you find yourself frustrated and that little distractions have kept you from accomplishing your goals. Often we are own worst enemies, interrupting ourselves by jumping from one half-finished task to another as they come in. See below for a couple of tips to help organize your days:

  • Create a productive atmosphere. Spend a lot of time at your desk? Improve your productivity by creating a work space that is inviting and inspires you. Art, plants and music as well as organizational tools such as file sorters, letter trays, etc. can all help to keep you alert, organized and focused.
  • Be adaptive. The work place is changing and employees are being asked to do more and more. Take a hard look periodically at how you spend your time and purge tasks that are no longer necessary in order to stay on top of the things that are.
  • Be decisive. Stop doing “the desktop shuffle” – try to take the next action that’s required each time you handle a piece of paper. Use your letter tray to help clear your desk. Don’t save paper that you’re not willing to spend time to file. If you avoid filing things because you’re afraid you’ll forget to follow up, write a reminder in your planner or computer. Then file or trash. You’ll save a lot of time looking for the document in your ‘piles’ later if you take a few seconds to file it now.
  • You have a scheduler, use it. Schedule in time so that you can work on that important project. During that time, focus. Don’t answer email, don’t answer your phone. Then schedule 2-3 times throughout the day where you can answer emails as well as return calls. This should help you stay intent on your project minimizing time costing errors as well as maximizing the amount you get done. Not to mention the potential for good ideas that your full attention gives.
  • Create a ‘To Do’ list at COB. Write down all the items that you want to achieve the next day. Then prioritize them. Don’t set yourself up for failure by putting too much on your list. This will also help to motivate you to get done those items that you repeatedly put off day after day or to recognize them as a task to purge.
  • Beware burnout. Schedule in personal time and vacation. If you get burnt out or frazzled from working too much, you won’t be of much benefit to your company, your family or your customers. It is better for you to leave at 6 on Wed and to be productive on Thurs/Fri, rather than to stay late and get nothing done the next 2 days as you are too worn out to concentrate on anything, or worse, to do things wrong and have to spend even more time fixing them.

People cannot work 24/7 and still be effective and companies are beginning to realize this. If you find ways to work smarter and not harder, you will be able to figure out how to balance your work and personal life so that neither suffers and you remain a valuable employee in these challenging times.

“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” Albert Einstein

Wet N Wild Beauty Benefits Beyond Nourishing Mascara

Posted in Product Reviews on January 29th, 2009 by Kristen Jason – 3 Comments

When we saw that the Wet N Wild Beauty Benefits Beyond Nourishing mascara was named one of America’s Healthiest Mascaras by Health Magazine we had to try it. Traditionally a discount cosmetic brand, Wet N Wild introduced Beauty Benefits as a separate line. All the Beauty Benefit cosmetics are formulated with lotus flower extract and marine and earth derived minerals which have anti aging properties with antioxidants.

The Beauty Benefits Beyond Nourishing mascara is formulated with soy protein and pathenol (found in quality hair conditioners) and is hypoallergenic and safe for contact lens wearers.  New mascaras come out all the time, but this formula is revolutionary. Unlike many mascaras that give the illusion of healthy lashes but cause brittleness, BBB Nourishing mascara made our lashes feel softer and washed off at the end of the day without causing eyelash loss. This mascara is so light weight, you’ll forget you have it on. The surprise is that it is advertised as giving ‘soft, full lashes’ but it actually has a considerable lengthening effect as well.

If you are looking for a faux eyelash look then this mascara is not for you. We recommend this for everyday wear. The bonus? Wet N Wild is a cruelty free company; they have pledged to never test on animals. For retail availability, check out their website:

Small Business Owner Shares Tips

Posted in Small Business Advice on January 29th, 2009 by Joann Tyson – 1 Comment

According to a study by the U.S. Small Business Association, only 2/3 of all small business start-ups survive the first two years and less than half make it to four years.  As the founder and CEO of a company that has just enjoyed its 20th anniversary, I would like to share some tips to people out there thinking of starting their own business and hope other small business owners will add some of their thoughts.

1. Never open a business you are not passionate about and are an expert in – one of my recent tenants who bought a mildly successful auto tinting business is a classic example of what not to do. This man had some money to invest and he decided to buy his own business and went to a broker who showed him the types of businesses he could afford to buy and he choose the auto tinting one.  He ignored the fact that he didn’t know a thing about auto tinting and had never owned his own business before. He ran through the investment money and closed his doors within 6 months.

2. Don’t think being your own boss is easier than having a boss – Be prepared to work harder than you ever have before in your life if you want to make it.  For years, I worked 6-7 days a week because I was (and still am) so passionate about what I do. You have to be twice as smart and three times as dedicated as you were when you were an employee because there is no one above you to check your work. Attention to detail is so important, you need to double and triple check everything that leaves your office so that you make the right impression early on.

3. Be careful about overhead (literally)- do you really need office  or retail space to operate your business? The #1 reason my business was so successful from the start was that I didn’t have to invest a dime to start it and I ran it out of my house (still do even though I own an office/warehouse now).  Obviously some businesses need to have a location but not all do and if you can start a business that doesn’t require large overhead you are more likely to succeed. For example, perhaps start selling your goods on line before opening a mortar and brick store.

4. Start small – if you can keep your day job and begin the business part time, you will have a better chance of seeing if this is the life for you and being successful. I started mine working at night and on weekends.

5. Hire when necessary and not before – hiring good people is probably the hardest part of owning/managing a business. I spent a lot of time reading articles and books on how to interview, what questions to ask and what to look for to find a good employee and you know what? That only worked 1/3 of the time! There is no magic formula on getting good people so be careful and hire only when you absolutely need help. Again, if you are starting your own business to have more personal time, think again. And before you hire anyone, create a very detailed job description for that person. Don’t even place an ad before you have this job description in writing ready to share with the people you interview.

6. Hire the person who meets the job description AND will mesh well with your company – OK, I did learn a bit after all that research and 15 years of hiring (yes, only 15 years because the first 5 I did everything myself). The #1 mistake I made (and I know others do as well) is to compare candidates to each other — their education, their past job history, etc — but instead you should be comparing them to the job description. Ask the candidates about EACH job description and what experience they have doing each one or how they would tackle it.  The #2 mistake I made was to hire people that had great resumes but just didn’t “fit in” with our group. The way to make sure they do is to have your other employees interview them as well. Another thing we do is to have all potential employees take a personality test. This helps us determine if we have a good mix of personalities to get the job done. We also find that certain personality types do certain jobs better. If you have never done one of these tests – try  or You want people to be on YOUR team and all work well together. This doesn’t mean all personalities are the same (in fact that is worse) but that they all play well together.

7. Analyze your productivity and always look for ways to improve on it. We were in such a growth mode for two years that my employees joked they didn’t take a shower for days but worked straight through (luckily they all work out of their home offices). Things were being over looked and we knew we needed to hire someone but before we did, we asked each employee to list what they LOVED about their jobs and what they HATED. We then made a job description with the things they hated and we found the perfect person who loved those exact things.

8. Let your employees share in the profits – employees that share in the profits are vested and work harder than those who are just hourly employees.

9. Learn to delegate – this was the hardest thing for me to do but once I did, my life changed! I now am great at delegating and because I have such an exceptional staff and made sure they were properly trained, I know that the things I delegate will get done correctly.

10. Have meetings regularly but not too much – many large companies move so slowly because of all the meetings their employees have to attend. But make sure you are having meetings — live ones if you can at least once every other month. Make sure you have an agenda and you lead the meeting and leave some time for brainstorming on ANY problem you have. You would be surprised how many times one of my employees came up with a suggestion that worked and was way out of their job description. Looking at things with different eyes opens up a whole new pot of “what ifs”.

11. Time IS money (especially when you are paying the salary) – Email instead of phoning, conference call instead of live meetings – you get the drift. Obviously, you need to do what your clients like best but most are as busy as you are so try the email approach and conference call approach and see how much time you can save to spend on solving their problems for them!

12. The customer is not always right– OK, they are always right at a restaurant or a retail shop but when you are in the marketing/consulting business of any type; you are the expert and your job is to make sure the client gets the best at the best price. This sometimes means not agreeing with them. And if they hired you in the first place, they should understand you are there to help them.

13. Know what your competition is up to – Know who their clients are, what their rates are, etc. Never bash the competition but make sure you know what they are doing. There is nothing worse than a business owner who doesn’t know there is someone doing the same thing they do at a better price or in a better way. Don’t let your client be the one to tell you!

14. Get a mentor if possible – before you even start your business, try to find a person who can mentor you. If you can’t find a personal contact, look to your local university and see if they have small business start up classes or check out SCORE – a website that helps entrepreneurs get FREE & CONFIDENTIAL business advice from SCORE – a group of retired business people who are willing to consult –

To everyone out there thinking about starting their own business,  I hope some of these tips are helpful. For  more information on my company, check out our website at

Cosmetic Promotions NEW Warehouse and Program!

Posted in Cosmetic Promotions News on January 26th, 2009 by admin – Comments Off on Cosmetic Promotions NEW Warehouse and Program!

Cosmetic Promotions, Inc has expanded operations again and has added more warehouse space. The new space is in Orlando and has been renovated to meet the collating and fulfullment needs of the company which have grown due to their new program at Walgreens – the Walgreens Beauty Box.

The Beauty Box program is a collated kit sent monthly to all stores that contains the materials the Beauty Advisors need for that month. Kits include samples, coupons, testers and training from various vendors. Kits created by CPI for the vendors include the opportunity for Beauty Advisors to win prizes by taking one of the continuing education quizzes that are enclosed with the kits. The quizzes are on a prepaid business reply postcard that comes back to CPI where it is graded and winners are randomly chosen.

The program replaces the previous system of vendors having to send their information via the mailroom at a much higher cost and less efficiency for the chain. Vendors who want to participate can choose from the option of creating their own kits and sending them to CPI to be included in the box or allowing CPI to design and print their kits for them. Participation fees are just $3,000 per 8 oz (plus printing costs if CPI is printing their kits).

The new system also relieves Walgreen’s Manager of Cosmetic Marketing and Services, Carrie Pecher, of having to deal individually with each vendor which was very time consuming.

For more information on this program or on Cosmetic Promotions, contact

Rite Aid Grand Opening

Posted in Uncategorized on January 21st, 2009 by Kristen Jason – 1 Comment

Do you love shopping at Rite Aid? Rite Aid Corporation is one of the nation’s leading drugstore chains, and they are continuing to grow.  RiteAid is having grand openings around the country in 2009 and you could participate! Please visit to apply to work at one of these exciting grand openings.

2008 Holiday Sales Are the Weakest on Record

Posted in Industry Trends on January 16th, 2009 by admin – Comments Off on 2008 Holiday Sales Are the Weakest on Record
Maybe Christmas stockings were filled with aspirin this year: drug stores reported a 3.4% comp store sales gain in December, even as the industry posted a 1.7% comp store decline, says the International Council of Shopping Centers Chain Store Sales Index. Excluding Wal-Mart’s slight 1.7% gain, the overall index posted a 4.3% comp decline.

The Truth About Sampling to Minorities

Posted in Top 5 Tips on January 16th, 2009 by admin – Comments Off on The Truth About Sampling to Minorities

Targeting ethnic markets can be very profitable. According to the Census Bureau, over the next 20 years the number of African-Americans will increase 25%, Asian-Americans 68%, and Hispanic-Americans 64% while the mainstream market will increase by only 13%. But the same marketing tactics that you’ve always used might not be the optimal way to promote sales to minorities. Here are 5 truths about marketing to minorities that will ensure a higher return on your investment.

Myth 1: Direct mail and captured credit card data are the most effective way to reach ethnic customers.
Truth: It’s better to make a connection at the establishments ethnic customers frequent. Don’t make the common mistake of marketing on the basis of an offensive stereotype. Research first, then make an authentic message.

Myth 2: We made our product visible to our target market, we’re done!
Truth: Don’t stop halfway. Personalize your efforts by using representatives from the target ethnic group for your campaign. And make sure you have a message for each ethnic market you are trying to appeal to.

Myth 3: Giving away my product for free is profit-limiting.
Truth: Samples can increase retail sales by up to 40% and create a buzz about your product – but it is important to do your sampling in the right places and get that sample in the hands of the right customer.

Myth 4: Our ethnic customers can receive our samples through our existing programs.
Truth: Only 5% of African-American and Hispanic consumers receive samples through mainstream traditional programs. Try something different, such as an ethnic festival or event.

Myth 5: It is too difficult for a company to do different campaigns for each type of ethnic market.
Truth: CosPro Agency can help! We have a variety of ethnic marketing programs that reach your target demographic WHERE they are. For example, our Hispanic Sampling program sends our Hispanic models to events where Hispanic people are – local festivals and conventions. We handle everything from conception to execution and your company reaps the benefits.