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How to Tell If Things Are Working - Or Not

Posted on May 08, 2015 at 11:31 AM
Tags: small businesses, social media

Social Media Speech Bubbles.jpgSmall business owners endlessly debate whether or not a social media presence provides any real return for all of the time, money and brain power it saps from an organization.

Is it really working? That's all they really want to know. And by working, of course, they mean is it making money?


Right Tool, Right Message, Right-On

Posted on May 07, 2015 at 3:52 PM
Tags: small businesses, social media

Social Media Icons.jpgA luminary of the electronic age named Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase "the medium is the message" to suggest that the tools we use to deliver content are as important - or more important - than the content itself.

Why? Because the tools can greatly affect how we receive and understand the message.


Figuring Out the Social Media Puzzle

Posted on May 06, 2015 at 10:15 AM
Tags: social media, small businesses

Social Media Rubik's Cube.jpgRemember the Rubik's Cube, that migraine headache disguised as a toy? 

The object of that maddening little puzzle is simple enough. Twist, turn, adjust, readjust until you've aligned each of six separate colors on its own side of the cube. How hard could it be, right?


Zeroing in on Your Social Media Audience

Posted on May 05, 2015 at 4:53 PM
Tags: small businesses

Segment and Targeting.jpgYou’re a small business owner on the horns of a very common dilemma. With all of the powerful social-media tools at your disposal, you wonder what you should be telling the world about your company.

That’s your first mistake.


Social Media for Small Businesses: Where Do You Start?

Posted on May 04, 2015 at 1:20 PM

confusion.jpgMarketing your small business was so much simpler and easier before social media showed up and threw a wrench into the whole works.

You bought some TV, radio or print ads. You forked over for a direct mail campaign once in a while. Maybe a billboard, depending on your budget.


There's More to Manufacturing Jobs Than Production & Assembly

Posted on October 28, 2014 at 10:30 AM
Tags: Southwest MN, economy, career planning, jobs, manufacturing, small businesses

Southwest Region MapWhen people think of the jobs in the manufacturing industry, they typically focus on a short list of production occupations, such as assemblers or welders. That makes sense. Nearly 60 percent of all occupations in manufacturing are classified as production in Southwest Minnesota.

But that also means a little more than 40 percent - or 16,320 manufacturing jobs in the region- are not in production. These include a mix of well-paid occupations, ranging from sales and marketing to construction and other trades. 


After Downturns in Southeast MN, Growth Returns

Posted on October 27, 2014 at 10:30 AM
Tags: Southeast MN, economy, manufacturing, workforce, jobs

Southeast RegionIt's been a turbulent few years for manufacturing in southeastern Minnesota, as two recessions in a decade alternately pounded and pummeled the industry and triggered substantial job losses during the economic downturns.

The good news: In the calm that followed the storms job growth in the manufacturing industries is returning, albeit at a slower pace than job growth the region has seen across all other industries.


Paper's Still on a Roll in Northeast Minnesota

Posted on October 24, 2014 at 10:00 AM
Tags: Northeast MN, economy, jobs, manufacturing, small businesses, workforce

Northeast RegionEven though Northeast Minnesota has the smallest number and lightest concentration of manufacturing jobs statewide, it remains a dominant player in a key industry.

And what the region lacks in job quantity is offset by high quality.

Paper manufacturing is a regional strong suit and (despite some significant job losses over the past few years) is still ripping right along in this part of the state.


High-Tech, Precision are Leaders in Metro Manufacturing

Posted on October 23, 2014 at 10:00 AM
Tags: Twin Cities, economy, jobs, small businesses, manufacturing

Twin Cities Regional Map

It's fair to say that the seven-county Twin Cities metropolitan area is the epicenter of manufacturing in Minnesota.

The 4,105 manufacturing companies in the region supply 162,716 jobs. That's about 53 percent of all manufacturing jobs statewide.

In the metro region, the average annual wage in manufacturing was $69,680 in 2013 - 17 percent higher than the industry’s average annual wage for the state as a whole ($59,540).


Rural Renewal Good For Manufacturers

Posted on October 22, 2014 at 10:00 AM
Tags: Northwest MN, economy, small businesses, jobs, manufacturing

Northwest RegionMuch has been made of the “brain drain” that results as young people ages 15 to 29 leave rural communities everywhere to seek out education, careers and lives in cities. 

While the youth exodus is troubling and deserves our attention, what is too often overlooked in all of the hand-wringing is the influx of workers ages 30 to 49 who are coming back to rural communities all over Minnesota - and what a boon that is to manufacturers.


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