Scouting Report Sept/Oct 2012

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Keeping the Momentum; Yes, We Can Help with That; Boone Paint Profile; FYI; Optimizing Website Content; and News and Views


The loss prevention session will also prove to bevery beneficial. Youll not only be able to learn fromfraud and loss prevention experts but other memberexperiences as well. Improving business climate ornot, theres never a time when we shouldnt takesteps to prevent money or assets from walking outthe door. Its hard enough to get it in the door.Lastly, changing it up a little to keep everything freshis more important than ever. Whether it is throughyour social media (keeping Facebook and Twittercontent current and engaging or expanding intoother social sites) or old fashioned end caps andstack-outs to call attention to new or highly profitableitems to promote, make sure that you pay closeattention to how your company is represented. Walkyour store like a CUSTOMER might. Read yourcommunications as if you were on the RECEIVINGendyou might be surprised and notice what needsto be updated or changed right away.Include and solicit input from your keyemployeesthey are on the firing line and hearimportant feedback from your professional andconsumer customers every day. Be ahead of thecurve on making positive changes. By takingadvantage of buying opportunities, staying HOT onthe topics, and trying some good, new, provenideas obtained from your peers you can keep themomentum and end 2012 on a positive andprofitable note.Keeping the MomentumI am very pleased to report that the overall grouppurchases year to date continue to outpace lastyears purchases. Additionally, industry reports showthe pace of new home construction andhomebuilder confidence are also on the rise. Thisis good to see because it indicates persistentincremental improvement in the market and thattranslates to building momentum. With that in mind,I encourage each and every ALLPRO member tokeep a positive outlook and do what you can to carry that momentum into the last several months of this year. One way to do that is to be sure to take advantageof the ALLPRO Fall buying Specials, which kicked inAugust 15th and run through the end of September.Members can take advantage of these promotions tostock up for the fall season and promote many of theproducts on special. Also, dont forget about the Wild Card promotions,most of which are at members discretion, and runthrough the end of the year. If you havent alreadyused your wild cards of choice, this would give youtwo opportunities to buy on special before the endof the year. Special thanks to our participatingsupplier partners whove worked with the committeesand office staff to provide these opportunities. Secondly, while the fall meeting is oriented towardmember workshops and the Point of Sale Partners tothe group, it is also a great time to network and gainideas from fellow members, ask what they are doingin their stores, what items are HOT for them rightnow, and how they might be going about gettingnew customers via outside sales and anyinternal promotions.In fact, the Stockholder meeting workshop on nicheproducts is a perfect opportunity to learn what othermembers are doing well in their markets. Be sure toask, the answers and guidance could be veryvaluable in the coming months. An ALLPRO Publication VOL. 22, ISSUE 5 SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2012by:Joe PoliseoYes, We Can Help with ThatEvery day, independent dealers watch as the volatileeconomy changes consumer buying behavior, in turn,affecting how each storeowner makes purchasingdecisions for his/her own store. Some dealers arecontent to simply send customers away with thewords we dont carry that ringing in their ears.Innovative dealers on the other hand look for ways togrow and bring in new business, especially in a downeconomy. They know tough times have not causedcustomers to lose their desire for the new and exciting.They understand how to sellspecialty products and that theseproducts will draw customers intothe store, increase sales, and moreimportantly, margins.Silicone Roof Coatings can helpyou think outside the boxSilicone Roof Coatings are a largeindustry that has seen extremegrowth over the last several yearsbecause the Roof Coating Industrydoes not revolve around newconstruction. Many people thatown homes or buildings can foregomany fixes that may need to beaddressed but a roof is somethingthat, if not maintained, can turn into anightmare in costs. Silicone RoofCoatings are a proven product thatrenews the life of the roof and saves thousands ofdollars compared to the cost of traditional Tear Offroofs. Silicone Roof Coatings are ideal for flat orsloped roofs and adhere to most substrates.By adding a Silicone Roof Coating display, you willcreate an additional profit center in your store. Youcan sell Silicone Roof Coatings to customers such asthe home owner, building owner, handyman, andpainter as well as the professional roofing contractor.Many of these customers may already be purchasingroof coatings from a building supply yard, lumberyard,or box store. Dont lose these sales to the competition. Silicone Roof Coatings are just that, a coating The tools needed to complete the coating project likecaulking, applicators, ladders, and poles are items youalready sell; all that is needed is the five gallon bucketof coating. You do not need to bring in multiple SKUs to handlethe different roof substrates as the versatility of thesecoatings allow for a wider range of applications, andthey do not require all the traditional asphalts, plasticroof cements and other emulsions needed to repairroofs. Jacob Kamps of ALLPRO member JPS PaintCenter in Cottonwood, AZ understands the need tostock silicone roof coatings. As he puts it, In theSouthwest, we have more than an abundance of flatroof homes. A flat surface does not drain well and is anightmare when there are problems. Silicone roofcoatings are not only a permanent solution for problemroofs but they also add to what I can offer mycustomers. I want the best for my customer, so whenmy customer has a problem, I have a problem.Margins on these products are traditionally very good,and I can more than compete with box and chainstores. If you are looking for a way to increase yoursales in a slow market and would like to offer apermanent solution to your customers, silicone roofcoatings are a great way to go. Silicone Roof Coatings are available in a widerange of colors such as blue, red, brown,green, black, gray, and of course whitewhich many people choose to apply tosave energy. The addition of colorsbroadens your customer base as metalroofs have seen increased use in theindustry and you can now sell acoating that not only renews ametal roof but waterproofs it aswell. The benefit is that siliconegoes on easily and smoothly andworks around transition areas sowell it will stay permanentlyflexible.Also, applying a Silicone RoofCoating is considered maintenanceon a building so the buildingowner can write off 100% of thecost that year, whereas a new roofis a capital expenditure only allowing it to be written offbetween 15-20 years.Their success is your success.Another reason why independent dealers staysuccessful is the relationship you have with yourcustomer. Your customers are feeling the same weightand pressure of the current economy as you are, andhelping your customers grow a segment of theirbusiness is helping them be profitable as well. Theyare already bidding on the walls and floors, why not bidon the roof as well? If you can help your customerlearn how to become more successful you are creatinga customer for life. Innovative dealers recognize the need to educatecustomers, reevaluate inventory and embrace the newand exciting. When asked about silicone roofcoatings, the successful dealer is sure to respond, Yes, we carry that.2allowed for room to breathe it also required additionalstaff to help run the business. This brought its own set of challenges, namely finding quality staff. Enter Doug Pratt.Doug had just retired as a Chief Warrant Officer from theNavy after spending the previous 20+ years working inExplosive Ordinance Disposal (the folks who diffuse anddispose of bombs). Upon retirement he and his wifesettled in the community of Boone, where she promptlyfound a job with Appalachian State University (ASU).Doug likewise needed to find something to fill his daysso he talked to a local friend who set him up with a fewinterviews, one of which was with Boone Paint. He wasmore than a little apprehensive at the thought ofworking at a paint store. After all, he knew nothingabout the paint industry, computers, merchandising orany of the dos and donts of customer service.However, after meeting with Tim and Jamey he decidedto give the job a year trial period and go from there.Doug did what any sailor would do and jumped right into the task of managing the store. He picked up onthings quickly and had no problem rolling up his sleevesto get things done. In no time he learned the point ofsale system, how to interact with customers, andbasically how to function in the daily routine of the paintstore. Thats not to say it was a satisfying first year forDoug, in fact, as he puts it, I absolutely hated it! Histime in the Navy had made Doug a leader and as such,the role of deck hand just didnt suit him. At the end of the first year Doug approached Tim andJamey and informed them he would be leaving. Theirresponse, strangely enough, was to ask him if he wouldbe interested in buying into the business. His response,strangely enough, was yes, he in fact would. It turnsout that after ten years both Tim and Jamey wanted topursue other interests outside of Boone Paint and werelooking to ultimately sell the business. Both felt Doughad the skill set necessary to run the business so theyextended him the offer with the intent that he would betheir successor. For Doug the offer to become partowner completely changed Doing it BetterBy: Scott MorathExcellent customer service is the mantra of everyindependent business today. For some, its what youresupposed to say as an independent but for others itsmore than just a tag line. ALLPRO member Boone Paintis one of those companies that truly walks the walk ofcustomer service. Nestled in the high country ofWestern North Carolina, the company has maintained afocus on its customers by providing unbelievablyexcellent service since day one.Day one began in 1987, when a young Tim Hodges,fresh out of college, founded the company located inthe town of Boone. Interestingly, he had no priorexperience in the paint industry. Tim had come from along line of entrepreneurs dating back to when the townwas little more than a frontier outpost and grown up inand around his dads many business enterprises. Thisexposure and his education provided him a practicalunderstanding of business but he also recognized thatno amount of business acumen would make up for alack of industry experience. For that reason Tim reliedheavily on industry veteran Maurice West, his one andonly employee, to help run the business. For Tim the biggest challenge with running the paintstore wasnt the fact that he was a relatively newbusiness owner in an industry he knew little about. Norwas it business competition, issues with local buildingregulations, supplier problems or even finding qualifiedpeople to help with the business. The biggest challengewas the weather. Boone has the dubious distinction ofsitting at an elevation of over 3,000 feet, which makes itthe town with the highest elevation of any town its sizeeast of the Mississippi. In short, because of itselevation, winters in Boone are brutally cold and no onebuys paint or stain during the winter months.To compensate for the Boone winters Tim very wiselyadopted the Penny Pincher approach. Meaning, hefocused on earning as much money as possible duringthe selling season then stretched every penny as far ashe could to make it through the winter. His budgetingskills were apparently very effective and when youconsider Boone Paint is the only independent paintstore in the local market, it truly illustrates theimportance of effectively managing money. Within a few short years the business had grown to thepoint where Tim brought on his brother Jamey to helpmanage the store. He would also bring in seasonal helpduring the spring and summer when it was busiest. By1997 the 3,200 sq. ft. store had gotten a little cramped,so the company relocated to a larger 6,000 sq. ft. spacein a nearby strip mall. While moving to a larger space3First expansion of Boone Paint, Boone, NCtook the plunge. The reward proved to be worth therisk, as the company more than doubled what theyprojected to make for the Banner Elk location in its firstyear of operation.In spite of the explosive growth in business Tim wasstill focused on pursuing other interests and hisopportunity came in 2008 in the form of Ken Zajick, aformer District Business Manager for Benjamin Moore.Ken had taken an early retirement package from thecompany a few years earlier. However, he had reacheda stage in his career where he was looking for asubstantive change and as Ken puts it, Truth be told Ialways wanted to be on the other side of the counter,and I just thought it was time. He adds, I knew Timand Doug well enough and their business was what Iconsidered a model business. They had always run atight ship and their operation was very impressive, so Ijust approached them with an offer one day. For allinvolved the opportunity was timely and a good fit.Ken purchased Tims shares and became Dougspartner at Boone Paint. Given his years of experienceKen was able to step right in where Tim left off andfocus on outside sales, sales service, and marketing. Like most of the country today, the towns of Boone andBanner Elk arent in the growth mode they once were.Still, that hasnt deterred Boone Paint from focusing ontheir business goals and serving their customers. AsKen puts it, Boone Paints focus has always been onproviding unbelievably excellent customer service.Simply put, we do what the competition wont. Im outthere every day talking with contactors, builders, homeowners, associations, and municipalities. Well write aspec then inspect the job to ensure its being donecorrectly. Many of these homes are second homes, sothe homeowner isnt around when the work is beingdone and we will actually work on behalf of the owner. We also serve on the county board and work with localarea schools like ASU. We recently contributed to theASU Solar Homestead project, which was sponsoredby the U.S. Department of Energy. It was a competition Boone Paints Banner Elk storethe dynamic as well as his perspective and in 1998 hebecame the newest partner in the enterprise. Transitioning from employee to business partnerpresented a completely different learning curve forDoug to master. As he puts it, One lesson I had tolearn was to be more considerate of employees. In theNavy, management is more akin to a dictatorship butthats not the way to go in a retail environment.When asked what other lessons he learned initiallyDoug replies, There were three big lessons: 1. Keepan eye on the cash flow because itll get away fromyou quickly, especially when youre busy; 2. Payattention to detail because if you dont it will cost youmoney; and 3. Dont get excited when things go wrong.With Tim handling the outside sales, Jamey managingthe sundry buying and the books, and Doug handlingfront end operations the business continued to grow.By 2001 the company began looking at ways tobecome more profitable and less dependent on asingle source of supply, which at that point wasprimarily through distribution. Their hunt led them toALLPRO. Tim initially reached out to the group and inshort order Boone Paint was ALLPROs newestmember. They quickly began taking advantage of thedirect buy programs, attending shows and stockholdermeetings, and networking with other member dealers. By 2002 Jamey left the business and the real estatemarket in Boone and the surrounding area began totake off, setting the stage for the companys secondexpansion. For the local area much of the growth washappening in Banner Elk, a small town about 13 milesfrom the Boone store. There were multiple largedevelopments that began to crop up so there was ahuge need in that area. Initially they were able to meetthe demand but by 2006 it had begun to stretch thecompanys resources thin. As more homes werebeing built it required more servicing of the Banner Elkarea, which required multiple daily trips along the 13mile, two-lane mountain road. The solution was toopen a second, smaller store in the town of Banner Elkto service that community. Fortunately, Ben Moorewas looking for a dealer in that area, so Doug and Tim4Boone Paint owners Doug Pratt (left) and Ken Zajick(Continued on page 6)5ALLPROCompany ProfilesBy Angel ChovanecALLPRO has had the good fortune to add the highest qualitycompanies in the industry to the group. We are pleased to profilesome of our newest member partners Founded: 1920 Location: Homewood, AL Telephone: (205) 879-4112 Web site address: Founders: George Pierce and Amos Kirby Current President: Jeffrey (Scott) Decker ALLPRO Contact: Judy McGee 1 Store # Full-Time Employees: 8 Wholesale/Commercial/Contractor: 60%, Retail/DIY: 40% Pierce Taber has built its business on the highest quality service, products and expert knowledge second to none. Paint and Stain custom tints are a big part of our business. Pierce Tabers design department offers from a high end wallpaper fabrics to custom made furniture. Pierce Taber was founded in 1920 by George Pierce and Amos Kirby (originally called Kirby-Pierce). The company was sold to Doug and Mary Lou Taber in 1961. Mary Lou Taber sold the company to Scott Decker in 2005. Scott is still the current owner. He has been with Pierce Taber since 1982. Founded: 1956 Location: Manchester, MO Telephone: (636) 227-5225 Web site address: Founders: Harry Strothkamp and Robert Strothkamp Current President: Harry Strothkamp ALLPRO Contact: Harry Strothkamp 1 Store # Full-Time Employees: 7 Wholesale/Commercial/Contractor: 50%, Retail/DIY: 50% Strothkamp has excellence in recommendations and products at their best. We also treat customers with respect. Strothkamp Brothers been in business for over 50 years. We are dedicated to excellence in service and recommendations. Both owners started as painters under our father who owned the paint business. Harry and Toni have 7 children, Bob and Fran have 3 children. Company Slogan: Treat customers as you want tobe treatedHERITAGE PAINT & DECORATING CENTER Founded: 1992 Location: Houston, TX Telephone: (713) 461-8995 Web site address: Founders: Bruce Hendricks and Benjamin Moore & Co. Current President: Bruce Hendricks ALLPRO Contact: Bruce Hendricks 2 Stores # Full-Time Employees: 10 Wholesale/Commercial/Contractor: 60%, Retail/DIY: 40% Heritage Paint is a two store operation in Houston Texas. Benjamin Moore is our primary line and we provide a high level of customer service to both small and large contractors as well as retail and DIY. Heritage Paint was opened in 1992 as a Benjamin Moore TCOStore. It was taken over in 1994 by Bruce Hendricks a Benjamin Moore District Sales Manager. Heritage Paint has since left the TCO program and is operated as a totally Independent Retailer.DUVAL PAINT & DECORATING Founded: 1968 Location: Jacksonville, FL Telephone: (904) 641-6664 Web site address: Founders: Dick & Frank Jurney Current President: Sean Thompson ALLPRO Contacts: Frank Jurney and Sean Thompson 2 Stores # Full-Time Employees: 17 Wholesale/Commercial/Contractor: 70%, Retail/DIY: 30% Duval Paint is a family ran company featuring Ben Moore & Devoe products. We also carry a wide range of specialty products for the Industrial & Institutional markets. We have excellent sales force to assist our customers with great products and service. Duval Paint was opened in 1968 by Dick and Frank Jurney under the Ben Moore TCO program. We have had a steady growth with sales in the 5 mile range. Our current owner andpresident is Sean Thompson a nephew. Company Slogan: Serving Floridas First CoastPIERCE TABER DISTRIBUTORSSTROTHKAMP BROTHERS, INC6IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER ALLPRO 2012 Fall Stockholders MeetingWestin Kierland Resort & SpaScottsdale, AZ, Oct 25 Oct 28, 2012ALLPRO 2013 Spring Show & Sales MeetingJW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & SpaTucson, AZ, Mar 20 24, 2013ALLPRO 2013 Fall Stockholders MeetingWestin Hilton Head Island Resort & SpaHilton Head Island, SC, Oct 24 27, 2013ALLPRO 2014 Spring Show & Sales MeetingJW Marriott Desert RidgePhoenix, AZ, Mar 19 23, 2014ALLPRO 2014 Fall Stockholders MeetingWestin Diplomat Resort & SpaMiami, FL, Oct 16 19, 2014ALLPRO 2015 Spring Show & Sales MeetingRosen Shingle CreekOrlando, FL, Mar 18 22, 2015(Boone Paint Continued from page 3)among 20 collegiate teams to use renewable resourceto build a prototype home that is adaptable and selfsufficient. They won first prize and were extremelyproud to have been part of that. We also host thetypical events like pro shows, an annual customerappreciation barbeque, and educational events to helpget our contactors certified. We even do colorconsulting in partnership with contractors to help themgrow their business. When it comes down to it, itsmore than providing unbelievably excellent customerservice; its really a focus on and investment in thefuture of our community. While many retailers treat customer service as anadjustable add-on, Boone Paint treats it a littledifferently. For Boone, everything flows from customerservice. Whether partnering with homeowners,builders or contractors or investing in the communityits this approach that drives their success and hasenabled the company to grow from a single location totwo stores in a three county area of 90,000 people.They are currently on the lookout to expand to a thirdlocation but will wait till economic conditions are lessrisky. Until then Boone Paint will continue toconcentrate on their unique competitive advantage,which is as Ken puts it, Doing it better than anyone else. Member HappeningsKudos to Teknicolors Paint, who recently donated all thepaint and primer to Life Remodeled to help build a housefor a family in need in Farmington Hills, Michigan. TheLife Remodeled is a non-profit organization that buildshomes for struggling families in troubled communities.They recognizes that people in need of shelter also needessential life skills and counsels all families in personalmoney management careers.Congratulations to Spectrum Paint who recentlypurchased Ocean Paint in North Myrtle Beach, SouthCarolina. The store opened as Spectrum Paint on July6th, 2012. This makes Spectrums second location in theGrand Strand, their 11th location in the North and SouthCarolina area and their 34th location in total. Congratulations to ALLPRO member Canpro, whorecently announced the addition of Goudey Manufacturingof Toronto, Ontario to their roster of member retailers.CANPRO is a buying group in its own right and one ofseveral ALLPRO members located in Canada.Supplier HappeningsPDRA recently introduced its own app available at theiTunes Store or at http://gettag.mob. The app allowsusers to read PDR Magazine on the go, any time, anyplace. Other features of the app include: Color Guidefor Consumers, Profit Margin Calculator, SquareFootage Estimator, PDRA Blog and much more. Welcome to ALLPROWe'd like to officially introduce and welcome the newest member of the ALLPROteam, Katrena Rudd. Katrena came aboard as our newest account representative inAugust 2012. Prior to joining the ALLPRO team she worked for Verizon Wireless asa Marketing Manager. She likes to spend her off hours with her family and as ahobby restores vintage furniture and other items (by her own admission she isobsessed with Audrey Hepburn and memorabilia from the 40s and 50s). Aboutworking at ALLPRO Katrena says, "I enjoy talking to and helping the members outwith their accounts." Please join us in welcoming Katrena to the ALLPRO team!By: Al KinnearIn part one of this article wediscussed optimizing yourwebsite for iPads and otherTablets in 5 easy steps. Insummary, we discussedremoving all flash from yourwebsite, splitting content intomore bite size pieces,utilizing pdf technology,examining your website inboth portrait and landscape mode on the tablet andfinally reviewing your website on several tabletsto ensure your website presentation meets your expectations.Since publishing the last article, ALLPRO memberSouthern Paint & Supply has successfully launchedtheir new website which looks absolutely fabulous on atablet. Joe Tuttolomondo was very careful in theexamination and planning stage to look for a designthat was appealing not only for PC users but for theiPad. Check out ContentA website that is optimized for a smart phone willactually sense that the browser is a Smartphoneversion and then display content that is actuallyintended ONLY for the Smartphone user. The bigchallenge here is that you find yourself dealing with avery small amount of video real estate so to speak withwhich to program your content.Screen Resolutions: The screen resolution forSmartphones continues to evolve, however you willsee that a resolution of 240 x 320 for older iPhones andAndroid devices is one sweet spot, and newer iPhonesand other larger format Smartphones are movingtoward 640 x 960. A complete list of resolutions bydevice is available at: reviewing common recommendations forSmartphone content, most expert opinion revolvesaround programming is to work with optimizing for the240 x 320 resolution thus ensuring that your contentwill display properly on whatever Smartphone is beingused to view your website. This is not a lot of screenspace, so you must plan your site correctly toensure you maximize the website experience forSmartphone users.Planning Content: Once the decision to program in240 x 320 is made, you must look at how this works ona Smartphone and then begin to plan your site content.You will not want ANY horizontal scrolling to occur inyour mobile site, so most designers will have a landingpage that lays out some simple navigation to importantareas of your website. Keep in mind that many of themobile device visits to your website will often be forphone numbers and location information, more on this later.Using McDonalds as an example, you can see in theexample, that the mobile version of this website has 3main topics, presented vertically. Notice that Locationsis priority #1 for McDonalds. For ALLPRO members Imight suggest that on the mobile version of theirwebsite that you focus on a vertical presentation of thenavigation and include Locations, Contact Information,Offer a Single Promotional Offer on a Product, and alsoinclude some company history and service informationfor users who wish to learn about your company. Ineffect you are prioritizing your website content for themobile phone user to these 4 items.Integrate with Smartphone function: After prioritizingyour content for the Smartphone version, it's importantthat you integrate the Smartphone features andfunctionality to make the website experience efficientfor your users. The device is a phone after all! Makesure that you offer direct dial-able links to all of yourlocation phone numbers and also include links togoogle maps to make it simple to locate and contactyour stores. An example of this can be seen can see at this site that you can quickly and easilyfind and dial any of the stores listed, and once you keyin on the store you are looking for, you can easily bringup a google map to help navigate your car to the store.It's simple, clean looking and highly effective from ausers perspective.Conclusion: If you are looking to improve the userexperience on your website for those who visit on aSmartphone, you must create a simple and easy mobilesite that senses the Smartphone browser and reacts bydisplaying content designed for that platform. Adopt adesign resolution of 240 x 320, and then prioritize thecontent for the mobile user in a VERTICAL manner.Incorporate the dialling and mapping functionalities of aSmartphone, and ensure that your design works acrossseveral platforms.7Optimizing Website Content on A Smartphone - Part 2Editor/ProductionScott MorathProofersAnn SpireJulia ThomasAngel ChovanecChris GingellPat BrulferMatt SpireContributing WritersScott Morath, Joe Poliseo - ALLPROAl Kinnear - Big Eye Productions GACOALLPRO PresidentTravis DetterExec. Vice PresidentJoe PoliseoSUGGESTIONS WELCOMEYour suggestions, ideas, articles and comments are encouraged.The Scouting Report is an important communications media for ALLPRO.Mail all correspondence to:The Scouting Reportc /o ALLPRO Corporation4946 Joanne Kearney Blvd.Tampa, FL 33619 (813) 628-4800Website: www.allprocorp.comThe Scouting Report is a bimonthly publicationof the ALLPRO Corporation.Printed on recycled paperFannie Mae and Freddie Mac post 2nd Qtr ProfitsAccording to the August issue of LA Times the housing market continues toshow positive signs of growth as evidenced by both housing finance companies,Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, reporting second quarter profits of $5.1B and $3Brespectively. The $5.1B is the highest profit Fannie Mae has reported since 04and marks the second straight quarter where it has indicated it did not needfederal bailout money for that period. Fannies chief executive TimothyMayopoulos went so far as to say, we expect our financial results in 2012 tobe substantially better than the past few years. The profits are reportedly beingdriven by rising home prices and improvements in the real estate market. Bothcompanies are in government conservatorship and have received a combined$188B in federal money. For every quarter that neither company needsadditional funds, the dividend payments further reduce the amount owed totaxpayers. Combined, the two companies own or back approximately 60% of allU.S. mortgages. Still, Fannies CFO indicated that the company could notguarantee it would not have to seek federal help again to cover the $2.9Bquarterly dividend payment owed to the Treasury. There is a decent likelihoodthat every once in a while, we wont earn enough to cover the full dividendpayment, said CFO Susan McFarland. Letting a 23-Year-Old Run Your Social Media the Why NotI cant tell you how many times Ive heard someone suggestion, just have yourniece or nephew or get an intern to do it in response to a business owner whowants to get into social media but doesnt get social media. Its bad adviceand a recent Time Business article offered 11 reasons why. The most notablereason was, they may not understand your business. Specifically, they mayunderstand social media but they may not understand your particular business,how you differentiate yourself in your market, what your customersexpectations are, how to troubleshoot issues and so on. As with any marketingtool, social media still requires direct involvement and monitoring to ensureyour company is being presented the way you want it to be. For a link to thecomplete article visit our Facebook page at, Skip ItA recent study of the Interbrand Top 100 Brands on Google+, basically Googlesversion of Facebook, show the social media website is continuing to grow. 22%of the brands on Google+ now have circler (fan) counts above 100,000 and as ofFebruary the site has approximately 19 million users. What does this mean? Ifyoure a small business owner it means you can cross Google+ off your list ofsocial media outlets to consider going forward. While more users are adoptingGoogle+ the reality is site usage is still anemic in comparison to Facebook,which boasts 167 million users. Whats more Google+ users only spend anaverage of 5 minutes per month on the site whereas Facebook users spend anaverage of 7 hours per month on its site. In short, your resources would be betterfocused where youre going to have a greater opportunity to reach more people.