A few notes on the economic outlook as reported by the Senior VP of the Federal Reserve

As I have reported to you over the last several months about the continued price increases over all product lines….the “inflation” issue is simply one of the many signs of our economic problems….and there are many, many more.  At the risk of sounding a little negative …..not intentional as we at Suncoast are coming off an outstanding first quarter of 2011….I wanted to share a few notes provided to me by a good friend Joe who attended an Economic Report” meeting hosted by David Altig, Senior VP of the Federal Reserve in Atlanta……… Brace yourselves….he really didn’t have any “good things” to say about our situation…

Called it the WORST economic situation since the Great Depression…. we are “two years” into a sputtering recovery and he is still very “Nervous” about it! While the consumer market consensus is good…it is not reflective of the overall economy….  2009 we saw a 6% growth due to inventory rebuilding  and first time home buyers  credit program….( not sound sustainable growth )     2010 saw a 3% growth in consumer / private sector spending in core growth areas…however… the 4 th quarter was DOWN 2% as compared to the first quarter of 2011 being up 4% and looking the same for the 2 nd quarter of 2011.  His forecast… 2011 tracking forecast show CONTINUED DECLINE but there is good news…forcasts are just that…and are usually WRONG…could be better…but probably worse !  For 2011 they see a continued consumer spending slowdown due to continued price increases on energy, gas and food…and they anticipate the increases to be substantial!  We have a “perfect storm brewing” with the Middle east turmoil, the Japanese Nuclear plant meltdown, earthquakes, droughts and floods.  despite all this news…return of the recession is not showing and our continued improvement in energy efficiency has reduced the oil crisis impact.  Interesting fact is that we are still importing oil at the same volume levels of the 1970’s !   Spending is down and savings are up…( those two factors are always opposite of each other )

There cannot be much improvement until the housing market improves…and there cannot be sustained growth without the improvement.  2011 will hit new hosing lows in sales and value.  Expect continued price erosion of 5% to 7% over the year.

The labor market in 2010 had 200,000 plus jobs added .  Unemployment rate dropped 1% in March to the 9% range….Not enough of the unemployed are “looking for jobs” and that skews the numbers… Previous long-term unemployment benefits were 18 weeks…that is now 39 weeks and more in some states…and that is proving to be a disincentive for folks to find work.

Growth rates for existing and new business starts have stalled FOR THE FIRST TIME IN OUR HISTORY !  We cannot grow the economy unless this changes !

Manufacturing is not dying as reported…it was up 12% GDP.   Manufacturing is where our productivity is….. Globally production is up primarily due to China and Brazil.  Modest growth for US does not mean global modest growth.

The “takeaway” Joe received from this report was that to continue to succeed he would need to be creative….look at the situation as the glass half FULL…and half full of opportunity ! But we must take action…we have clients that are struggling and we need to HELP THEM succeed …and in turn we will prosper.   Keep working…Keep moving ….KEEP SELLING !   Standing still is the beginning of decline…..   EUBY

Mobile Email Marketing…the new wave….

You have probably started to receive “mobile marketing” recently… It was originally thought to be an effective business to consumer tool only…but now it has become equally effective with creative Business to Business marketing.   A recent report from comScore stated 60.7 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones ( great number for QR Code justifications also )  as of last year…with the number growing rapidly.   So if you are considering mobile marketing services ( and if you are I hope you are talking with your Suncoast Marketing Sales representative about it ) there are a few “best practices” to consider…..  1) Subject and From Lines…these are the FIRST CLUES a reader uses to determine if they will open it  or not… so use a trusted and consistent name in the FROM line….and for your SUBJECT line …keep it short to insure it will be viewable in its entirety on one line….    2) Message  – Keep it Relevent…so that the recipient will read it….it is THEIR inbox…and we need to respect that … make the “call to action” quickly  3)  Formatting…. Send email marketing messages as text instead of html allowing the email to be readable on any mobile email client.  Check your analytics and determine what mobile devises are accessing your site the most and over extended periods of time…and format for THEIR ease of usability.   4) Design…. Do not design BEYOND the screen size or you will lose effectiveness….. and most will simply delete it if you do.    

Try these simple “best practices” and key elements of mobile email marketing and it will help you deliver the messages that drive your desired results.  Look at the Android and Iphone monthly sales figures….this market is and will continue to be exploding….grab your share…. Talk to your Suncoast rep today…or visit www.suncoastmarketing.com       that is it for today from …….Euby

More Cotton Price increases as well as other raw material increases are on the way

Euby has started receiving the advance warning letters for price increases covering everything from “cotton” for clothing to just about every other raw material in the market place.  I would suggest that you anticipate seeing additional material increases across the board going into the spring and summer.  If fuel continues to increase in costs there will continue to be upward pressure on just about everything.  Hang in there…it will probably get much worse before it gets any better…….EUBY

April 15 th is this week ! Tax Time is HERE !

Euby is getting off the normal “business theme today” to offer a little info on this “ugly” topic….. TAXES ! 

Yes…that dreaded day….April 15 th is this week…so it is time to PAY the tax man !  Most of us will be looking for every legal deduction we can find….and there is always the temptation to be as creative as possible….but we must not take deductions that do not meet the IRS guidelines…or we will create problems for ourselves down the line…and can come with penalties and interest!   With that in mind…here are 10 no-no’s…..DO NOT deduct 1)  Homeowners Insurance  ( but you can, under some circumstances deduct the PMI )     2)  Main HOME Telephone land lines  ( but you can deduct long distance business calls and if only for business purposes a 2 nd line qualifies ! )     3)  You cannot deduct commuting costs…. but work related travel does offer some deductions   4 )  Your Pet….no…no deduction here ( unless they are “Service Dogs” )     5)  Social Security Taxes are NOT deductible …yet many claim them each year…however, if you over paid in…you can claim that amount as a credit !   6)  Plastic Surgery….You cannot deduct it if simply “cosmetic” ..however…if the good Dr will prescribe the “nose job” to unclog your “sniffer” then you have a legitimate medical deduction as long as your total medical expenses  add up to more than 7.5% of your adjusted income    7)  There is NO allowance for “volunteer work hours” …however if you have actual travel expenses etc…they an be !  8)  Over the Counter ( OTC ) medications ARE NOT deductible ( unless you have a prescription from your good Dr )   9 )  children’s overnight Camp Costs….these are NEVER deductible   10)  Dry Cleaning –  the only exception is Work Uniforms….       

Don’t get me wrong…take everything legitimately possible…just stay away from the ones that will certainly get bounced back….as it will cost you more in the end!   EUBY

Final Four Friday !

Let’s face it, March Madness is one of the best times of the year, fitting right in during a pro-sport lull. There’s nothing better than watching the underdogs take it to the big guys (even when you’re a fan of the big guys).

Thinking about this weekend’s upcoming games (really, I am not obsessing at all!), I realized that sales professionals can learn a thing or two from these kids out there battling their way to the big dance.

  1. Don’t dismiss your competition even if everyone else seems to be—VCU barely made it to the table in the first place
  2. Even though everyone tells you that you’re the best, if someone else wants it more, you’ll lose out—just  ask the Blue Devils, Jayhawks, Buckeyes, and Panthers
  3. Don’t be afraid to give your brand a little character, it leaves a lasting impression that stays with the customer at decision time—Kemba Walker, Jimmer Fredette, Matt Howard
  4. You’re never too young to take on the big guys—and win—Brad Stevens, Shaka Smart
  5. Be willing to give your sales team that extra push and it can pay major dividends—see Josh Harrellson
  6.  Never give up—there’s always overtime—VCU, Butler

Have a great weekend and enjoy the games (even if we’re not rooting for the same teams)!  Wishing everyone a safe and

restful weekend!              Euby