Google has ruled the search engine market for quite some time and it still holds 65 percent of the search engine share. The emergence of Bing has created another search engine option but it only accounts for a little over 11 percent of searches in the United States. Although Google is firmly in control of the market, Bing has been accepted as a legitimate competitor, pushing Google to evaluate and update its product.
Google recently unveiled an edited version of its logo, new color scheme, the inclusion of images mixed with its search results, and most dramatically, a column appearing on the left side of search results. This column allows users to refine their searches, resembling Bing.
By continuing to evaluate itself, Google is positioning itself to keep a hold on the market. Google’s renovations may be necessary because BingHoo, a combination of Bing and Yahoo is expected to be unveiled later this year. The merger would combine Bing and Yahoo’s market share, giving it around 30 percent, putting it closer to Google.
Every business must recognize the need to continuously improve. There will always be improvements to be made and if you don’t make them, someone else will beat you out of the market.
CoolHeadS wins the Most Innovative Award at the 2010 Exposure Show at Eastern Michigan University.
Winning the Most Innovative Award was a good start, but it’s only a start,” Tommy Green, CEO said. “Now the mission is getting the product on peoples’ heads.”
Start-up companies are becoming popular among entrepreneurs and experienced business people who have been “outed” from their jobs because of the economy and the implosion of the domestic auto businesses. This is true across Michigan and especially in the Ann Arbor region.
There are many organizations that provide pro bono counsel and services like business planning, investment, manufacturing, distribution, marketing, design, packaging.
CooLHeadS, which has developed its business to the extent it will show its creative new product, which covers heads and neck areas to prevent sunburn on hot summer and fall days, at the 12th annual EMU Exposure and Runway Show at Quirk Hall April 16.
CEO of CooLHeadS Tommy Green explains the firm has engaged the following groups, all pro bono, in his quest to organize and get the firm up and running:
The Sesi Business Plan Competition Committee (Paul Nucci, Richard King, Phil Rufe).
The B Side of Youth (Jack Bidlack).
University of Michigan Business Engagement Center (Nick Miller).
Michigan Manufacturing Association (Michelle Cordano).
“Having discussions helped mold my ideas into well-thought plans for execution,” says Green. “Each individual provided their own vision and insight on the project. “I listened, considered and put into practice. Each perspective gave me a truly different view of how CooLHeadS can become a solid business.”
Other infrastructure groups have developed in the past 10 years around the state are also available to help entrepreneurs — the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Southwest Michigan First. SPARK, The Right Place in Grand Rapids, Tech Town, Automation Alley and its Entrepreneurial Initiative.
Investment wise, the Michigan Venture Capital Association and the five angel investor groups across the state also fulfill key roles for emerging companies as they grow. There are Ann Arbor Angels, Blue Water Angels, First Angels, Grand Angels and Great Lakes Angels.
The Small Business Technology and Development Center guides new businesses through professionals in its 12 regions covering the state with 60 offices and affiliates.
In academia, we have Michigan State’s Eli Broad College of Business, Michigan Ross School of Business’s Zell-Lurie Institute and Wayne State’s Tech Town.
The Great Lakes Entrepreneur’s Quest, a business plan competition since 2000, provides a great source of guidance through its mentors for new companies.
We have the infrastructure strengths that did not exist 10 years back. Let’s use the groups established to bolster new businesses as we march toward a better Michigan.
Now is the perfect time to become an entrepreneur. That’s right, I said now.
With many older, established organizations running low on capital and funds, failed business models are being washed away. There’s room for fresh, new ideas. Obviously, it takes more than an idea to make it in this economy, and Ann Arbor is lucky enough to have three economic developers poised to incubate your burgeoning idea.
This driver of economic growth relies on collaborative efforts to build workforce and development initiatives. Automation Alley hosts networking events and skill-building exercises. Every level of business leader can find opportunities at Automation Alley. The Alley has created the Entrepreneurial Initiative of Southeast Michigan (EISEM) to highlight regional entrepreneurs. EISEM holds a bi-monthly forum with keynote speakers and local startups in order to extend each business’ message with customers and investors. The next forum will be held at Detroit’s TechTown on August 13. Please visit automationalley.com for more information and events.
This heavily lauded economic development corporation, headquartered in downtown Ann Arbor, strives to realize the tremendous amount of potential pouring forth from surrounding communities (U of M, EMU, tech groups, etc.). Like many economic developers, SPARK hosts networking events throughout the area and looks to educate and refine start-ups to their maximum potential. Entrepreneurs can open an account with SPARK and set up a profile to advance their networking potential on their website: www.annarborusa.org.
The Great Lakes Entrepreneur’s Quest
The GLEQ extends their economic vision throughout Michigan, inspiring venture capitalists and entrepreneurs throughout the state. GLEQ provides a tremendous database of educational resources to member companies. Unique to the GLEQ is the competition they hold for new participants in two categories; New Business Idea and Emerging Company. Cash prizes are awarded to top finishers. Read more about the GLEQ and their competition at www.gleq.org.
Many other economic organizations exist in Michigan with the mission evolving from education purposes to inspirational efforts amidst these economic downturns. While the auto-industry reassembles and reinvigorates, the work of economic developers and venture capitalists cannot be overvalued. Ross Perot said, “Most new jobs won’t come from our biggest employers. They will come from our smallest. We’ve got to do everything we can to make entrepreneurial dreams a reality.” And for that reason, the time to explore your entrepreneurial spirit is now.
Ann Arbor, Michigan PR Firm &Business and Economy &Business of PR &Clean Tech &Corporate Communications &Ecofriendly &Entrepreneurs &Environment &Marketing Communications &Sustainable Transportation &Technology PR Insights &Thinking Green 17 Jun 2009 10:02 am
On June 12, 2009 Main Street played host to the 9th Annual Mayor’s Ann Arbor Green Fair. Underneath the lush green leafy canopy of Ann Arbor’s city center, local eco-friendly vendors and businesses gathered to discuss, exhibit, explain and sell all things Green. Booths lined both sides of downtown Main Street between Huron and William with companies both large and small, profit (Whole Foods) and non-profits (Friends of the Allen Creek Greenway) encouraging visitors to focus on environmental-sustainability for the future. BikeFest, with tutorials and ideas on bicycle transportation was also included in the festivities.
The annual Mayor’s Ann Arbor Green Fair signifies the growth and opportunity the Green Industry represents in our current economic climate. The traditional preservation communities made their appearance at the Fair, but also notably present were industries that do not immediately suggest “environmentalist”. Examples of these include: The Bank of Ann Arbor, Amtrak and Ann Arbor division of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). As a casual onlooker and job seeker, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of activity towards Green initiatives. Also particularly interesting is the governmental support of eco-sustainability. In addition to the Mayor’s continued backing of the Fair (scheduled in the heart of Festival season by the way), Washtenaw County showed off their ecological commitment with exhibitions on weatherization, water resources and environmental health. More on Washtenaw County’ s Green initiatives can be found at their homepage.
“Going Green” is no longer just a fad, but a serious consideration for any business leader or those looking for business or jobs. The sophistication of green-centric organizations was on display at last week’s Fair. A list of companies and businesses that appeared at last week’s Fair can be found here. The city of Ann Arbor listing for the event can be found here. In order to take eco-friendly businesses to the next step in terms of impact and economic stability, I believe it is time for these businesses to enlist traditional marketing and public relations expertise. The audience is ready to listen. Attendance of the Green Fair was bustling and curious. Each booth attracted three to four visitors and musical acts entertained at each corner. The Green Fair even out-paced the turnout of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival’s First Night gathering just 5 blocks north. “Going Green” is no longer simply the way of the future, but as the Green Fair showed, the future.
If you’re at all into Social Media you know about Twitter; but do you know how you can use Twitter to effectively market your company?
One company using Twitter to their advantage is Kogi BBQ, they are a Korean-Style taco vendor that sells their food out of a lunch truck, and they are using Twitter to their advantage. Kogi “tweets” the location of their two lunch trucks throughout Los Angeles as well as extra items not mentioned on the menu. Kogi has only been around since November but is already one of the most recognizable names in the country. They have close to 24,000 followers.
Another company out in Los Angeles using Twitter is The Westin Bonaventure, a hotel in the heart of LA’s financial district. Recently they gave away rooms to twenty-five followers. This created such a buzz that media outlets such as USA Today and The Los Angeles Times picked up the story. Obviously, all their followers knew about it and around 100 of them retweeted the news as well. In an interview with the PR firm responsible, an estimated twenty million impressions were generated from this campaign. Twenty million impressions resulting from a single tweet, you can’t ask for anything better.
As you can see, Twitter can be very powerful. If used correctly, it’s a great way to reach the masses in expensively. Find a unique way to grab people’s attention, and the rest will follow. Twitter is free and easy to use, so if you and your company aren’t already using Twitter, it’s about time to start. Happy Tweeting.
We have been covering “The Magic to Brand Yourself.”
Why … reasons to do it … the necessity of having a strong “name” for what you do.
Here are some ideas of how to build your own brand.
1. As noted in the Dec. 24 blog, make a list of 20-25 organizations or people that you want to build ties with to get your name known. Like me, figure creative ways to get with these groups and people.
2. Speak to target groups of people that are important to you, on your target list.
3. Write for periodicals, blogs and other online or traditional media that are read by the groups and people you seek to reach.
4. Do your own web site and blog your ideas.
5. Don’t just join target groups. Be a DOER. Get engaged in a meaningful project that you can engage in. Such groups may be non profits, community forums, educational institutions.
Finding a job in Michigan may be challenging, but it’s not impossible.
Matt Roush, editor of the Great Lakes IT report and technology editor at WWJ News Radio 950, gave a presentation July 17 to Automation Alley and the Entrepreneurial Institute of Southeastern Michigan highlighting some of the positives in the Michigan economy today.
Although large companies and manufacturing industries are consistently losing jobs, small entrepreneurial companies are slowly gaining jobs. The challenge is to know how to encourage more of this kind of growth. Some of the things Michigan has going for it in this area include: engineering talent, great research universities such as the University of Michigan, Wayne State University and Michigan State University and a welcoming environment for business.
There are some steps that can be taken in order to create a healthy environment for these businesses to survive. They include: increasing entrepreneurial K-12 education, increased acceptance and understanding of the risks associated with entrepreneurial businesses and a better understanding of the role of public relations in these ventures.
Many companies in the high-tech, healthcare and problem solving industries are growing and hiring. NSF International, a public health and safety company, is one of those companies. In 2007, NSF hired 117 people in the United States. So far 68 people have been hired in 2008. The company is averaging 31 open positions per month. NSF employees also have opportunities for internal moves – 46 employees were promoted or transferred through the month of June.
High-tech players in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Linux Box and Genetics Squared have also grown and hired this year.
“It’s simply not true that tech jobs are moving to India and China,” Roush said. He went on to say this is what some high school students are hearing from their counselors, despite the inaccuracy of the statement.
The companies who are experiencing growth are often the ones who are able and willing to adapt to the changing economy.
Plexus Systems, a company that provides business software solutions, added 30 jobs in Michigan in 2007. In 2008, the company will create more than 100 more positions.
Want another example? Meditrina Pharmaceuticals Inc., Velcura Therapeutics, NanoBio Corporation and ProNAi Therapeutics have all moved some of their business to Michigan. These pharmaceutical companies have also been adding jobs.
Creativity, high-tech skills and willingness to take an entrepreneurial risk may be one path to success for Michigan.