Top 7 Holiday Gifts Ideas for Coffee Lovers

Having a hard time shopping for that perfect holiday gift? If you know someone who loves coffee you will appreciate the gifting ideas presented to you in this article.

1. Coffee Maker – A safe holiday gift is a new coffee maker with a variety of choices for to shop from. You can go with a traditional drip coffee machine, single serve coffee brewer or an espresso machine.

Depending on your budget and desire to impress your co-worker, friend or family member a coffee maker is a surefire gift they will love for months and years to come. A drip coffee maker can be had for around $30, while a single serve coffee brewer ranges around $70 to $160, and an espresso machine typically will cost $100 to $300.

2. Coffee Grinder – Morning times are special for coffee drinkers, especially the one who grind their own coffee fresh everyday. A coffee grinder is a great gift that will make their life easier.

You can choose a ceramic coffee grinder for around $70 or go with an electric grinder for as low as $20. Either way this is an amazing gift idea.

3. Coffee Mug – The staple of every coffee drinker is their mug. It not only keeps their hot coffee hot, it is also an expression of their personality.

A safe gift play is to select a thermal insulated coffee mug. An auto-seal stainless steel vacuum insulated coffee mug is a great gift idea for under $20.

Or, if you know the person really well you can get a themed mug (i.e. comedy-Shakespeare insults, complaint department, recycling bin, etc. ). Themed coffee mugs are usually on the low-end of the price scale (around $10).

4. Coffee Gift Card – Everyone who loves coffee appreciates free cups of java. It’s a guaranteed crowed pleaser. Find out where their favorite coffee-house is and go down there and pick up a gift card.

A gift card is a great gift idea for under $10. Keep in mind this is a surefire way to ensure you get the right gift – every time.

5. Brew Pods – The latest craze in coffee right now is single serve coffee brewers. These magical little coffee machines will brew a perfect hot ‘cup of joe’ in less than 60 seconds. Coffee pods are the thing that makes all of the magic happen.

You can choose pods by roast (light, medium and dark), caffeinated or not, and by brands (i.e. Dunkin Donuts, Crazy Cups, Wolfgang Puck, etc.).

Price points vary greatly, but you can usually get a box for under $20.

6. Coffee Pod Racks – Coffee brewers that use pods are great little inventions. A great gift idea is to purchase a pod rack to put the little pods, sugar and creamer packs, and stir sticks into. It helps keeps things organized in the morning and life simple.

A pod rack will range between $10 to $90 depending on the number pods it will hold and other features.

7. Coffee accessories and tools – For the coffee and espresso lover there are no better gifts than espresso tampers, frothing pitchers, frothing dial thermometers, espresso shot glasses and cups.

These are the neat little finishing touches for those who love to make their own coffee, espresso or latte. Plus the nice thing for you is that any of these accessories and tools can be purchased for under $20.

Educational TV Can Be Entertaining

Television doesn’t have to be only about thirty minute sitcoms or sixty minute dramas or hard-to-stomach reality shows… or even news and sports. There is an entire segment of the national TV audience that enjoys programming that instructs and teaches.

I fit into that segment and, when I think about Educational TV, it is definitely not about classroom instruction. I completed my schooling and don’t want – or need – to return to a classroom. But, I still like Educational TV. It teaches while it entertains.

Want proof? Consider a network like Create TV. Its programming is 100% instructional… and 200% entertaining. I don’t watch all the shows (there are programs on knitting), but I do tune in to the ones I enjoy. There are several shows that feature truly talented chefs and shows that revolve around the skills of a landscape artist. He always completes a painting in less than thirty minutes.

Other shows “take me on trips” to places I’ve never visited in person. And when I arrive with my TV host, I get to learn a lot about the destinations – their culture… the people… the area’s history… their food and much, much more. That’s educational, but if you watch the programs they are also extremely entertaining.

Talk shows that cover political or financial topics are educational and entertaining, as well. It’s not necessary to agree with any guest on these shows (you can have your own political point of view), but when you take time you listen, you will learn – about how our government really works… about legislation… the Constitution and much, much more.

Of course, if you have youngsters at home, there are many shows available for them that are fun to watch and instructional, too. Remember Big Bird and Kermit the Frog? There is, of course, documentary programming that covers specific topics and areas of interest, often about historical events, sometimes about things that matter in today’s world.

And finally, there are quiz shows. If you have ever watched Jeopardy and tried to answer the questions (or, more correctly, tried to come up with questions for the answers) this program is the closest you will ever come to actually returning to school. It is, in fact, like taking a quiz every day… and it is also informative. Watch, listen and learn.

So… if you think TV is only about sitcoms and dramas… think again. There are many networks that are devoted to improving your mind. All you have to do is find them.

Author: Frank Bilotta

Job Costing and New Business

When planning implementations of project management software for creative companies one of the issues that comes up all the time is how to treat new business pitches. There tend to be two main types of those new business pitches: Pitches to existing clients for new jobs and pitches to potential clients for new business. The first type is relatively straight forward as the clients will be on the system, there will be old jobs for them which can be used as templates for pitches and there is a general understanding of the probability of the job to happen. Hence these jobs can just be setup like any other jobs, but maybe with a status or a job type of pitch. Estimates, time and probably costs can be recorded against them.

A totally different case are pitches of the second type. Traditionally the time and costs spent on those pitches have in many agencies been swallowed as overheads and been written off either if they were won or lost. In the latter case as the potential clients have not become actual clients, they have not been setup on any systems. This was in particular the case where an accounting system was used for the project management, as there is no point to setup a debtor if there won’t be a sales invoice.

When discussing the setup of the new job costing software with integrated accounting, managers and the finance department often plan to continue with the same procedure in their new software: Set one big new business job up for an internal new business client, record time at a zero billing value and write off any costs incurred in the pitching process. This approach seems to be both logic and easy to implement. After all you want user acceptance of the new system and don’t want to over challenge them with additional administrative tasks.

There is on the other hand a strong argument against this solution: You have just invested into a new project management software that is going to make your business more effective and hopefully increase your profit. If you now lump all the costs for new pitches into one holding job, you will not get the details out of the system about which clients it is profitable pitching for and which ones it isn’t. You may repeatedly pitch to some potential clients, where you never get the business. Creating a new job for each pitch on the other hand will later make it very easy for the agency to see where it is feasible to pitch or where it isn’t. Clients can be setup being earmarked as warm lead, or hot lead allowing to exclude any clients with no jobs from the standard accounting reports. All pitch jobs are set up with a billable rate card rather than recording time at a zero value. In case the job gets won in the future, the clients earmarking can be changed in the job administration screen.

At the end of the day, you have a project management system that sits on top of a data base. The only purpose of a data base is holding data, therefore anxiety of filling up the data base thus losing crucial management information would completely defeat the object.

Easy Local Business Online Marketing Tips

The most important principle every person should follow when building a business is the shortest: location. You build your business where the money is. Today, this means building your business online. But what if you are already an established local business? How do you integrate the power of the internet with your brick and mortar business? Answer: local business online marketing.

Why is local business online marketing important? “83% of US households use the internet as a shopping source to shop locally.” “97% of consumers use the internet to research products and services in their locality.” These two statistics are enough reasons to persuade you to employ online marketing. The next question is how can you improve your business online? Below are local business online marketing tips you can do:

Local Business Search Listings

Google Places, Yahoo! Local and Bing Local are your business’s online directories. Following simple verification steps will help people find the location of your business and how they can contact you. This should be the very first thing you should do. Also, upload photos of yourself and your business because local business search listings want users to see actual pictures of your location. People who search for your business online also want to see the pictures of your establishment too. It doesn’t have to be professional photos, but good quality ones are a good representation of your business and your attention to detail.

Reviews Are Good

Reviews are good for your business as future customers will be able to know what to expect from you. Encourage your customers to write reviews on local listing sites. Do not worry about bad reviews though. No business is perfect and having excellent, 5-star reviews all the time may send a wrong signal that you are manipulating the reviews. Of course, you don’t want to attract bad reviews as well.

Make Your Phone and Address Known Online

It is good to have a website, but make sure that you include your phone number and physical address so that future customers will be able to contact or visit you right away. Avoid online forms. Spread your number and address on all your website pages to stress that your business does in fact exist.

Always Think Like a Searcher

It is not hard to know what people want; just think of what you want. For example, you are looking for a Mexican restaurant in Houston, Texas. You will certainly search for “Mexican restaurant in Houston.” That’s what your customers will do as well. Focus on specific keywords when optimizing your site so that you drive relevant traffic and targeted customers to your business.