Market research for small business

Simple Market Research For Small Business Owners

As I participate in the MRIA (Market Research Association) in Kelowna which is held between May 29 and June 1st 2011…I thought it would be ideal to blog about the Market Research as a topic so here it is my small contribution to the subject:

Today I would like to share with you something that most small business owners, especially newer small business owners, fail to do or even think about doing for that matter.

This very simple (and often over-looked) strategy will not only change how you look at and perceive your business, but will literally help you turn your small business around and get it heading in a profitable direction almost overnight… really.

It is extremely powerful and it requires just a little extra effort on your part, but if you take action on it, your eyes will be opened and you will uncover marketing opportunities and rewards that you never knew existed. You will say to yourself: “Why didn’t I think of doing that before now?”

1. Take a few of your best clients to coffee or lunch and ask them what they like and dislike about your business. Make sure they know that you want the honest truth because you value their opinion, you want to keep them as a client, and you want more clients just like them.

After the meeting send a thank you letter. Make sure it’s personal. Anything less will weaken your sincerity.

2. Call up some of the clients that have not been to your business in a while and take them to coffee or lunch. If they don’t want to do lunch, get information from them on the phone. Ask them why they haven’t been to your business, what you can do better, and what you do well. Then ask them if it’s OK for you to send them a “special thank you for your help gift”. Send a special offer, just for them. And make sure it has real value.

If you talk with ten current and former clients and take good notes, you can use this information to improve your business, and create marketing messages that target your potential clients more effectively.

You’ll uncover many strengths and weaknesses. Some of them may shock you. Improve on your strengths, and fix your weaknesses.

I guarantee you will get very valuable and useful information from this tip, and you will get a lot of satisfaction from the smart work you will accomplish. You might even get a few unexpected referrals, or win over a disgruntled client.

Like I mentioned earlier, the strategy is simple, but powerful. Put it into use and prepare to be amazed.

Like this strategy?  Call me/ follow me on Twitter to find out more

Top Translation Blunders

International Marketing and Advertising Translation – The Top 20 Blunders, Mistakes and Failures

Coming up with brand names for international markets is a tricky business. It’s essential that a native speaker checks any translated copy before it’s let loose on the public. Sometimes, though, even the biggest of brands can get it wrong. Here are the top 20 translation errors I’ve come across:

1. Pepsi’s “Come alive with the Pepsi Generation” translated into Chinese became “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave”.

2. An American T-shirt maker in Miami printed shirts for the Spanish market which promoted the Pope’s visit. Instead of “I saw the Pope” (el Papa), the shirts read “I saw the potato” (la papa).

3. The Big Mac was originally sold in France under the name Gros Mec. In French, that translates as ‘big pimp’.

4. Schweppes Tonic Water was translated into Italian as “Schweppes Toilet Water.” Oh Scchh*t!

5. The Coors slogan “Turn it loose,” in Spanish became “Suffer from diarrhoea.”

6. Cars seem to offer a particular blind spot for advertisers. My favourite is the Chevrolet Nova. In the UK, it’s the Vauxhall Nova. No problem there, but in Spain the Nova wasn’t quite so popular. ‘No va’ means ‘doesn’t go’.

7. GM cars: Originally sold in Belgium using the slogan, “Body by Fisher,” which translated as “Corpse by Fisher.”

8. Not to be outdone, Ford marketed the Ford Caliente in Mexico, until they found out “caliente” is slang for ‘streetwalker’ and changed its name to S-22.

9. Even as grand a brand as Rolls Royce can make mistakes. The Rolls-Royce Silver Mist never sold well in Germany. Perhaps because In German, mist means “human waste.”

10. Clairol fell…erm foul of the same problem when they introduced the “Mist Stick,” a curling iron, into Germany.

11. Sometimes you can still get it wrong even when words aren’t involved. When Gerber started selling baby food in Africa, they used the same packaging as in the US, with the beautiful baby on the label. Later they learned that in Africa, companies routinely put pictures on the label of what’s inside, since most people can’t read English.

12. The US Dairy Association’s huge success with the campaign “Got Milk?” prompted them to expand advertising to Mexico. It was soon brought to their attention that the Spanish translation read “Are you lactating?”

13. The slogan for Frank Perdue chicken products “it takes a strong man to make a tender chicken” was translated into Spanish as “it takes an aroused man to make a chicken affectionate.”

14. Cue toothpaste was sold in France by Colgate-Palmolive… until they learned that Cue was also the name of a well-known porn magazine.

15. When Parker Pens marketed a ballpoint pen in Mexico, its ads were supposed to have read: “it won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you”. Unfortunately, the company thought that the word “embarazar” (to impregnate) meant to embarrass, so the ads read: “It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant.”

16. Still on pens, Parker had a model called The Jotter. This rather bemused consumers in some South American countries, where jotter is slang for ‘jockstrap’.

17. When American Airlines wanted to advertise its new leather first class seats in the Mexican market, it translated its “Fly In Leather” campaign literally. Unfortunately, ‘vuela en cuero’ translated as ‘fly naked’.

18. For some reason, Puffs Tissues failed to clean up in Germany. Then someone realized that Puff is German slang for ‘brothel’.

19. The American slogan for Salem cigarettes, ‘Salem – Feeling Free’, was translated for the Japanese market as: “When smoking Salem, you will feel so refreshed that your mind seems to be free and empty.”

20. Finally, here’s one just to show how marketers can get it wrong even when dealing with the (supposedly) same language. Following great success with a tagline in the UK, Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux decided to use it in America, not realizing the alternative meaning there of a key word: ‘Nothing sucks like an Electrolux.’ Well, the sales certainly did….

Article written by: Peter Wise is a freelance writer

Translation demands on the rise

Global Demands For Translation On The Rise

Translators enjoy growing demand

Setting qualified apart is struggle.

Columbia Daily Tribune Wednesday, May 18, 2011

PHILADELPHIA — Dale Eggett, who will finish a master’s degree in less than three weeks, will go to work the week after, having had no problem landing a job.

“I did have multiple, multiple job offers,” said Eggett, whose Spanish and computer skills put him in the forefront of a burgeoning field. The global marketplace for interpreting, translating and other language services was estimated at $26.3 billion in 2010 and is projected to reach $38.1 billion by 2013.

Most people are familiar with translators, who deal with the written word. Interpreters handle oral communication in government agencies, courtrooms, doctors’ offices and businesses.

But Eggett, 28, of California, who will graduate from the Monterey Institute of International Studies, will be paid $50,000 a year to work in a relatively new discipline: localization management, which provides one of the best chances for steady employment in language services.

Localization combines language expertise with computer savvy. “I’m kind of behind the scenes making the job easier for translators,” Eggett said. When a website needs to be translated, it’s Eggett’s job to strip out the coding and send the translator only what needs to be translated.

The work is painstaking. Imagine a complex website with multiple drop-down boxes, leading to more drop-down boxes. Each element on each box needs to be translated.

Like many other sectors, language services face unique challenges, said Jiri Stejskal, president of Cetra Language Solutions, an Elkins Park, Pa., company that supplies translators, interpreters and localization experts to a range of clients.

Stejskal is in a better position to know than most. He recently was president of the American Translators Association and is in line to become president of the International Federation of Translators in Basel, Switzerland.

One issue is machine translation. “It’s not quite there yet,” Stejskal said. He pulled out a screen grab of a Philadelphia government website that used the familiar journalism term “lead story” on its home page. Somehow in Spanish it morphed into a “story about metal,” featuring a photograph of former Philadelphia Mayor Juan F. Calle, or John Street.

But a more fundamental and ongoing struggle is to educate employers about the difference between being simply bilingual and truly qualified.

Top interpreters need to hear what is said and speak it in another language simultaneously. That’s the gold standard used at the United Nations and international conferences, and high proficiency can merit a six-figure income.

That level of ability isn’t the same as language skills gained by growing up in a bilingual household. “Knowing how to cook doesn’t make you a chef,” Stejskal said.

That cook-or-chef question is exactly what the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging’s human resources director, Raymond Polak, is trying to resolve. The social-services agency has a staff of interpreters but wants to hire bilingual case managers to work with the city’s aging immigrant community.

“We’re trying to develop that capacity in-house,” Polak said.

Geopolitics brings its own demand for language services, and often the supply is not up to the task.

So intense was the need for Pashto, Dari and other languages in Afghanistan that some of those hired were “barely literate,” Stejskal said, “and they were still making six figures.”

Translators typically get paid by the word. Freelance translators can earn $60,000 a year, according to the latest available survey, taken in 2006.

Interpreters can earn considerably less, mainly because their work is paid by the hour and jobs might come infrequently.

Translating your website ROI

Calculating Website Translation ROI

I was asked to post re ROI for translating website, in the interest of time, I gathered the information from here and there and came up with this article, I hope it’s helpful for those who are debating the ROI on translation

Long gone the days where the famous saying “if you don’t speak my language you can’t buy my product” we live in a world where every company/business is chasing every small piece of revenue in local, urban and remote global markets. Why? Because business are driven for growth, you don’t grow you get deleted by the competition. And as a direct results of local markets shrinkage or buying behavior no longer support the current product or service, business and individuals turned this planet into a small trading village with multitude of clients speaking multitude of languages. The decision is not “if” “when” you decide to translate your website, marketing material, user manuals, online help etc… You need to take this step seriously and with focused detailed planning, the ramification of undertaking this project with least resources available would deliver the reverse of the intended results (negative feelings among consumers vs positive). So if you’re not ready to allocate resources to translate your site, you probably shouldn’t make globalization a goal to begin with. It could even be argued that if you’re not invested in the completion and maintenance of your website, why even have one?

ROI Calculation
The first thing you need is a baseline which sets the standard by which your options can be measured against. Without a baseline, ROI is meaningless. Don’t get complicated, a simple measurement within a given time period will suffice.

For example, you could choose:

revenue – what will be the projected revenue for the coming year if we do not translate our site?
new membership – what will be the expected number of new members without translation?
you get the picture, anything that you want to use as one of the deciding factors based on your site/products/services.

Once you have your baseline you can apply your translation expectations to it.

The question you are trying to answer, without the fancy corp speak, is ‘am I going to make money, and how long and how much will it take’?

The following formula is a simplistic method for trying to answer this question. You will notice that a few of the required numbers are pretty subjective. That’s okay. The point of this is to just help with decision making.

Now, the formula:

ROI = (E * M) + (L * M) – T/ T

Your variables:

E = Projected net revenue for the coming year per language.
M = Number of markets you are translating into. This assumes each market is equal. To be more precise simply add each individual ‘E’.
L = Leverage and reuse savings you realize from content reuse. Very hard to calculate but a good starting point is the TM savings from your word count analysis. Take the total cost without repetition and fuzzy, subtract the reps and fuzzy matches, and you get the reuse savings. We can sample calculate this at about 10% of the total cost of translation.
T = Total costs of translation and localization including:
The project management necessary to plan, prep, launch, and monitor the site translation throughout the given year.
The cost of translation (TEP) if you already know it.
The cost of engineering for your site, graphics, data, reprogramming, traffic SEO.
The cost of quality testing.
The cost of launching the site in the target languages, including initial marketing, etc.
The cost of supporting the site for the initial year.

And don’t forget opportunity cost of projects that have to be put on side while this is completed. This one is a little harder to calculate and understandable if you leave it out, but should be considered.

Simple Example Translation ROI
Let’s start with the baseline. For this example, let’s say revenue is $100,000 for our untranslated site. We estimate the following values:

E = A modest $25,000.
M = 4; French, Italian, German, and Spanish
L = A conservative $5,000
T = Total cost for the year is say an overestimated $75,000. (really, think about the true costs, maybe $10,000?)

ROI = (25k *4) + ($5k * 4) – $75K/$75K

Did I do my math right? 60%! are you kidding me? Show me another fairly simple process where you can get more than 20%, let alone 60%. That is for year one, after that your development costs fall off and your ROI should skyrocket.

I think the ROI on translating a website is pretty obvious. I encourage businesses that are doing business abroad or currently contemplating expanding into other markets to give this idea a serious consideration

International websites

How can translating your website help your business?

As you check the statistics generated by your website’s analytics provider, you have probably noticed you have visitors from countries that do not speak the same primary language as that of your website. If you find that nearly 30 percent of your traffic is from foreign countries, you might want to consider the benefits that website translation has to offer your business.

Utilizing a translation service provider means hiring a native bilingual speaker to convert all of the available content on your website to the target language. There are many reasons for offering your website in other languages, such as business expansion, offering services to international customers, and providing the bulk of your website audience with an easier to read website. For example, if 30 percent of your traffic is generated from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, you could see a higher conversion rate by providing a German translation of your website.

While machine translation is a possibility, it is nowhere near as accurate as hiring a professional translator to custom translate your website for you. Machine translations are unable to pick up on subtle uses of words and phrases that may not be considered official but are still acceptable in everyday language use. Professional translators can not only pick up on these small nuances, but translate them with the appropriate meaning into the target language so that any information available on your website does not lose its intended meaning through translation.

Cost of Translation
Because human translation is a better option for a more professionally designed site, deciding what companies or individuals to use can be a hard task. Before you begin looking at translation services, you should understand exactly what you need. If you are selling multiple products, then product descriptions, prices, and graphics depicting the products may need to be translated. With a good understanding of what you need and a small debriefing with your chosen translator, the translator should be able to lay out a plan for translating your website and how to incorporate it into your current business plan.

Most professionals who work independently and translation agencies often have a portfolio, so having a look through it will give you a good idea as to the quality of their translations. Hiring a translation service agency although typically slightly more expensive than hiring a freelance translator, but with a service you will have the guarantee that the translations provided by the service are accurate, and easy to understand for native speakers of the target language.

Overall, the decision to hire a website translation service should be one you make if you feel the cost of translating your business into another language would broaden your reach and provide you with even more customers.

Are you looking for someone to translate English to French? Be sure to visit our website for quality English to any language translation or email us here

International websites

Global website needs to be translated to at least 16 languages to be competitive

A recent report by the Common Sense Advisory states that global companies need to have multilingual websites in order to compete on an international scale.

According to the report, an English-only site can be read by 23.2% of the global online population. Making it readable in simplified Chinese adds 22.3% and Spanish 9.0%.

Online consumers speaking the top ten languages collectively control 85% of the economic buying potential of the world’s online audience, the report says. “Language is an essential consideration for companies that seek to drive behavior of potential customers on foreign-language web sites, whether they’re targeting consumers or business buyers,” the report says.

Common Sense Advisory found that of the 1,000 web site properties it studied, the top 100 made site content available in at least 16 languages. In rank order, the top five sites are Google, Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia and Mozilla

HP, Canon, Apple, Dell, Starbucks and Lancome also appear in the top 100 websites.

Text Message Marketing: Things to know

Text Message Marketing: Things To Know

Text message marketing has been around for a couple of years now but it seems that only the top businesses are using it. I have been conducting some research on text message marketing to see why more businesses are not using it and have come to the conclusion that businesses think that it is too expensive or they think that it is too hard to utilize.

Here are some statistics that every business needs to know when it comes to using mobile marketing. In the United States alone there are more than 219 million cell phone users. Out of all these users 80% of them keep their cell phone with them all the time and 97% of all text messages being sent are read. Imagine being able to reach your customers at anytime during the day, week, month, or year.

There are many platforms that are available for companies and individuals to use when it comes to using mobile marketing. You should do your research to see which platform is right for your needs. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing what your business will potentially need.

1. Budget: Set aside how much you are willing to spend each month on advertising costs.

2. Campaigns: Some providers will allow you to use more than one key word for your customers to sign up with. Some providers will also allow you to change your key word as well. Keep in mind you might want more than one campaign because some of your customers will only be interested in specific needs. It is better to target your customers to their individual needs because you will have a much higher conversion rate.

3. Quantity: How many text messages will you need to send out on a monthly basis? This will greatly affect the price of your monthly plan. You should try to map out how you are going to send out messages. Think how you can promote your products or services and come up with an average number per month. This can be anything from weekly deals, upcoming events, to a spontaneous text, to reminders, or anything else you can think of.

4. Customer/ Quality of Service: Quality of service is vital you want to make sure that you have a provider that will not be interrupted for any long periods of time. This goes hand in hand with customer service. You should be to reach someone that can answer your questions when they will arise.

5. Carriers: Last and certainly not least you will want to make sure the company you choose for your text message marketing needs will be able to support all major carriers. Be sure to verify what carrier they do provide for.

It is crucial that you use text message marketing for your business or personal needs. It will keep you one step above the competition. I hope this article has helped you realize the potential of mobile marketing strategies.

Author: Christopher Jagodka

Monitoring Brand Reputation

Monitoring brand reputation

Eight Tips for Monitoring Brand Reputation across Languages

With native English speakers comprising only 22% of all internet users, and evidence showing that 85% of online consumers require information in their native tongue to make an important purchase, there’s a strong case for expanding your online reach across multiple languages.

The return on investment for every dollar spent on localization is estimated at $25 USD, according to a 2007 study by the Localization Industry Standards Association, which confirms that translating your website and online activities can prove a profitable business move. But how do you maintain your brand’s online reputation and monitor what people are saying about you if you don’t speak the language yourself (without hiring a multilingual PR and media monitoring agency)?

This can be one of the more daunting challenges when considering a multilingual roll-out, so below we’ve gathered a list of tools and tips that will help you feel confident and at ease with maintaining your online reputation across foreign languages.

1. Set up Google Alerts for your brand name in all your languages.Step one in monitoring your online reputation in foreign languages is to keep track of all the mentions online of your brand across all your languages. With Google Alerts you get regular email updates of the latest Google results based on your selected topic or word (other locally dominant search engines, such as Baidu and Yahoo, offer a similar service).

2. Use Google Translate to get the gist of foreign language content mentioning your brand.
Once you’ve located foreign language posts, comments or articles mentioning your brand or company, you’ll run into the issue of how to understand them. As most of the time you’ll only need to get the gist of the message, you can run it through machine translation tools such as Google Translate or Babel Fish. But if you want to respond to anything, it’s recommended to use a professional translator to avoid mix-ups.

3. RepVine: Reference and reputation management combined.
RepVine is an online platform that allows companies to actively collect and display their references. Once you have an account with RepVine, you can see what people have to say about you, manage your online references and contribute references to others.

4. Reputation management and removal of negative content.ReputationDefender helps you to promote a truthful and positive online image by monitoring your online footprint and actively combating false, misleading or irrelevant search results. They also help you remove personal data from sites that sell it.

5. Message board tracking services.There’s a whole host of online message board tracking services that allow you to monitor the use of your brand name across different message boards. Keep a regular look-out on the following sites to stay on top of what people have said about you:,,,, iVillage, Yahoo Message Boards, and MSN Money.

6. Other places to monitor.
In some countries, such as China and Russia, Google isn’t the biggest search engine. With monitorThis you can search for mentions of your brand in 25 different search engines, keeping you abreast of your brand’s reputation across the world.

Similarly, Keotag allows you to search for tagged blog posts across multiple blog search engines, ensuring that you can follow relevant and trending topics in the increasingly influential blogging world.

And if you still don’t feel 100% confident that you’ve found and managed all the online mentions of your company in every possible language, track groups at: Yahoo Groups, AOL Groups, MSN Groups and Google Groups.

7. Consolidate your social media profiles.Once you’ve decide to launch a series of translated websites, establishing a social media presence in each language is a great way to increase your exposure to your foreign language customers, especially in markets with high social media use (such as the US, UK, Australia, Brazil and China).

There are a number of tools to help you consolidate your multilingual social media presence, making it easier for you to keep track of your profiles and for visitors to link between them. Check out to get started linking all your online identities.

8. Conclusion
Finally, always take care with your content and responses to be open, friendly and culturally sensitive, and that will help more than anything else you can do to ensure people say good things about you!

Written By: Christian Arno


Outsource your life away

Outsourcing is the latest buzz word for busy entrepreneurs, but individuals and companies have been outsourcing for decades. While most of us would love a few more hours in the day to get more done or joke about wanting to clone ourselves, outsourcing can become extreme. It has almost gotten to the point where if you are not outsourcing something, people wonder if you are really doing anything.

Scenario #1:

A two-parent family with two kids. The dad works outside the home. The mom is an entrepreneur with a home business. The kids are over-scheduled in every activity possible. They have one dog. The kids also want a cat but the parents say they don’t really have time for another pet.

There just aren’t enough hours in a day to get everything done. The first task they outsource is a gardener. Since the husband freed up some of his time, the wife now wants domestic help. The person they find is great with the house but doesn’t help with the kids so a nanny is hired because the mom is trying to build her business. The nanny takes them to and from school and to their activities. She also puts them to bed on many occasions. Now the parents have outsourced their job of parenting. The dog also needs some attention. Since the kids are at their activities so much of the time, they hire the boy down the street to walk the dog every day. Each person in the family has all the electronic gadgets possible in an attempt to get more done and stay connected. However, many times when they are home together, they end up in different rooms, each on their own electronic device and sometimes even communicating through social networking.

The mom wants to spend more time with the kids so decides to outsource some of her daily tasks. Enter the virtual assistant. This person is amazing. She takes care of the paperwork, emails, calendar, writes articles, does her social networking, and pretty much every other behind-the-scenes aspect of the business. In effect, the entrepreneur mom has just outsourced herself.

The kids see all the extra help that the parents are outsourcing and ask if they can outsource some of their work too. Even though the boy is an excellent student, he doesn’t really like doing homework so would like to pay his friend to do it for him. The girl is in band, cheerleading, and theatre and is expected to fundraise but just doesn’t have the time, so offers to pay her brother to sell raffle tickets for her. Of course, the parents put the kibosh on those ideas because it wouldn’t be right to outsource the normal parts of childhood.

Scenario #2:

Single executive. Lots of friends but working too much to have time to socialize. Lives alone so has a housekeeper, a personal assistant who takes care of things like buying his mom birthday gifts and keeping his calendar, and a personal shopper because he does not have time nor does he like shopping for clothes but needs to keep up a corporate appearance.

He is a member of an online dating service but doesn’t even have time to sift through the long list of prospective women he might want to contact. Since he is interested in dating and would like to eventually get married, he outsources to a dating concierge who will narrow down the search. The virtual dating assistant will not only screen potential dates but will also make contact with the person, arrange the date, make dinner reservations, and even pick out his clothes. (Yes, there really are services like this.) Of course, all this comes with a hefty price but he feels it’s worth it in order to have a life.

Have a life? Is that what outsourcing is all about? Do you really have a life if someone else is doing your life for you?

Scenario #3:

Single entrepreneur. Always creating. Always learning. Always enjoying life. But also too busy to do all the things she wants and needs to do. She realizes that it’s time to outsource some of the repetitive tasks to free up time for more creative things and to find new clients. She is so busy that she doesn’t even have time to find people to help. Her solution: Outsource the outsourcing. Companies have been doing this for years where they hire an outside HR firm or person to screen prospective employees, conduct interviews, hire, and if necessary, fire them. She decides this is the answer.

Everyone needs a little help now and then but if you find yourself outsourcing your life away, maybe it’s time for a dose of PSR (Prioritize, Simplify, and Reorganize). Outsourcing some things may be necessary to free up time but outsourcing everything may not be the answer. Having every electronic device doesn’t always make life easier either. Sometimes we need to just stop and breathe!

Nancy O’Neill is the Common Sense Consultant. Combining her education and experience, she offers a common sense approach on a variety of topics for entrepreneurs of all ages, authors, speakers, parents, and kids. Life or business does not have to be complicated but many times, people make it that way. Nancy believes the most effective way to help people is by giving them the tools to think for themselves. Through practical, common sense education and coaching, a person can gain the knowledge to become confident in their own abilities and not rely on someone else to spoon-feed them information.

Article written by Nancy O’Neill, Visit for any of her services.