The Two Flower Merchants

tale of two merchants


one day, two flower merchants set up shop next to one another. They opened for business on the same day, carried the same lovely selection of aromatic flowers, and maintained similar prices for their marvelous plants. Both merchants took great care with raising their plants and both were kind and courteous to their customers.

In fact, their stores appeared to be equal in every way.

At first, the merchants even received equal traffic through their shops, but–as time went on–the first merchant’s shop became more popular among the people. The second merchant noticed this and became concerned. One particularly slow day, he decided to look into the matter. As he stepped out his door to visit his neighbor, he passed one of his regular customers leaving the first merchant’s shop carrying their weekly purchase of flowers. In disbelief, the second merchant hurried into the next store.

Indeed, the store was teeming with customers. The second merchant noticed his competitor wasn’t taking the money himself, as he always did. The first merchant was out among the aisles, talking with his customers. To his amazement, the second merchant watched as the first would chat at great length with the customers and even would occasionally talk to the flowers themselves! The second merchant prided himself on being a serious store owner and could not understand this leisurely approach to running a shop. Yet this behavior seemed to be working for the first merchant, as his thriving store would attest.

When the second merchant could stand it no longer, he approached the first and politely asked to interrupt the conversation. The first merchant smiled, handed his customers to one of his clerks, and turned his attention to his exasperated neighbor.

The second merchant asked, “Brother, I am your humble student. Our stores are nearly the same in all ways, yet your results are doubling while mine are halving. I do not understand.”

“Brother,” the first merchant said, “We are the same in most ways, this is true. The difference lies in what we see with our hearts. You see your store as a store, your plants as plants, and your customers as customers. I see my store as a beloved home and my cherished friends are my customers, clerks and plants, all present to be adored. In that way, we are very, very different.”

Infographic: Strategic Digital Marketing Guide for SMB

Digital marketing can be a daunting concept for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). After all, it involves a lot of intricacies that may be too overwhelming for a SMB owner to understand right away. Thus, it is set aside to favor a more classic or known traditional marketing process.

However, digital marketing has a lot of benefits for any type of business, especially in today’s technologically-advancing and digital age. It helps businesses connect with their consumers on the internet as opposed to sticking with marketing that targets them in places where they hypothetically would be found in. This makes sure that you hit your target market more accurately and efficiently.

Also, this helps you reduce on cost, as digital marketing can reach far and wide without relying on multiple channels such as TV, radio, magazine, and print ads. Not only that, they give you real-time results as opposed to waiting if your target market would respond to your different advertisements in varying channels. This also helps you determine what is and isn’t working in your strategy far quicker.

For your target, your digital marketing strategy won’t feel as intrusive than traditional marketing. Flyers shoved to their faces or sales calls at the most inconvenient times won’t be a problem to them–and to you–anymore. The chances of you annoying your target market to sell to them would be lessened drastically, and it’ll be a breather for both you and your customers.

Real-time and greater engagement is also something your business can take from digital marketing. You can encourage your target market to take the appropriate action you want them to within a few clicks. If your posts and ads are also attention-worthy, it can be shared to more audiences with little effort as your target market are doing the dissemination for you, and it may even reach viral status.

With these benefits, taking the risk on using digital marketing will be more than worth it. Ready to jump in on digital marketing? This infographic from CJG Digital Marketing will give you a 4-step-by-step process that will guide you through achieving digital success for your business.


Jomer B. Gregorio is a professional and specialist in integrated digital marketing and holistic SEO. He is the founder of Digital Marketing Philippines and CJG Digital Marketing. If you need an effective and high-performing digital campaigns for your business, don’t hesitate to contact him today.

infographic strategic digital marketing guide for SMB

Click here to view an enlarged version of this infographic.

Embed This Image On Your Site (copy code below):

Cloud Backup to Prevent Cyber Criminals From Stealing Your Data

cloud backups

Marketing your products and services online is one of the best ways to gain more customers to your business. People nowadays are interested to buy products online, but aside from our customers buying your products, there are also those who are interested in stealing your data. These hackers are indeed a major threat to your business. Once the damage is done, you can never undo it, but you can take precautions for it not to happen to your business. There are a few steps that you can take to protect your business data from violation or loss. When developing a data protection strategy for your business, below are a few things to keep in mind.

Cloud backup

An affordable and secure way to protect your data is to make use of existing cloud technologies. This simply means a platform that backs up your data online instead of storing it to a physical storage. Owners can access their data remotely through a secured login from the storage with encrypted connection. There are companies that offer cloud storage which you can purchase or subscribe to at a very reasonable fee. This is a great solution for small businesses.

Advantages of cloud backup

Saving your business data in the cloud comes with numerous advantages. For a start, it is an effective and affordable way to protect data since you never have to secure a physical location for this purpose. Secondly, you can access data through devices connected to the internet from any location. In the event of loss, the data can be quickly restored to your servers and computers. Data backup is done behind the scenes and it’s automatic so you never have to spend any time doing it manually. Most importantly, your business data will be safe from cyber criminals and other unauthorized access.

Factors to consider when choosing a cloud service

With numerous cloud backup service providers (such as Mozy, Carbonite and others,) you need to choose wisely the one that will offer the best solution for your business. For a start, you need to know the total data that you need to backup. Get the details of the specific type of files that need to be backed up so you can find a suitable solution. Other companies access their data through mobile phones, some cloud storage providers also offers security when accessing through mobile. If for some cases you need to access your data on mobile devices, you may want to consider choosing the provider that covers security for mobile devices. The most important factor to consider when finding the right cloud service provider is to research on their background.  Your data is the jewel of your business and you don’t want it to be on the hands of those you didn’t know. Find a provider that offers 24/7 customer support to take care of your needs.

Understand data vulnerabilities

Before you even take a step to protect your data, it is important to make changes that will protect your data internally from loss or unauthorized access. First, you need to understand that data is connected to revenue. All kinds of data in your business is at risk. With cloud backup, you get an affordable and simple form of data protection and recovery. Lastly, understand that you will only get peace of mind when the cloud service provider you choose is trustworthy and uses the latest technology to protect your data.

It’s never too late to implement a data protection strategy. Whether you are running a small business that experiences numerous power outages or a huge organization with a fully fledged IT department, cloud backup can help you mitigate risks and minimize any downtime.


Heidi Kim is a professional business consultant and legal researcher focusing on business laws. She is passionate in helping those who have any queries regarding business laws and how these may affect their respective businesses. Follow her on Twitter @gehreslawatty

The Birds and the Dragon

fable of the birds and the dragon

Once, there were three birds who shared the tallest tree in the forest; a sparrow, a jay and a cardinal. Though they lived in the same tree, these birds lived very different lives.

Among the lowest branches, the sparrow struggled, seldom having enough to eat, and often settling for the leanest worms or for any bug it could find. The sparrow neglected its nest, leaving threads unraveled and only patching the sides when the nest threatened to come undone entirely.

Up in the middle of the tree, lived the jay. The jay had perfected a technique for capturing the fattest grubs and—though it lived fairly well—like the sparrow, the jay had to hunt daily for its food. Though the jay would sometimes dream of something larger and more luxurious, its nest was a comfortable size, well-kept and nicely decorated.

Finally, above the jay and sparrow, in a large, spacious nest, lived the cardinal. The cardinal seldom hunted for its own food like the other birds. Instead, the cardinal had built a number of bug traps around the forest. The cardinal simply offered a small percentage to the sparrow, and in return, the sparrow occasionally harvested and delivered the bugs.

One morning, an old dragon came to stand at the bottom of their great tree and called to them. As the birds assembled, the dragon said, “Neighbors, I have a small token of my appreciation for the beautiful music you bring to our forest. My only condition is that you must allow me to return tomorrow to hear how you’ve used my gift.”

Curious, the birds agreed. The dragon gave each bird a silver coin and told them to do with it what they would.

Snatching up its coin, the sparrow flew straight to the town market and purchased a brightly-colored silk ribbon with which to play and decorate its nest.

The jay—after some careful consideration—made a payment toward a debt owed to the cardinal and used the rest to see a show at the local stage.

Lastly—after taking nearly the whole day to ponder—the cardinal flew to the market and purchased as many Baby’s Breath seeds as it could carry. Returning home, the cardinal settled in for the evening.

The next morning, the dragon visited them. Chirping happily, the sparrow and jay told the dragon of their purchases and the dragon listened, delighted.

When the dragon turned to the cardinal, the cardinal said, “Gracious dragon, thank you for your gift. My I ask, isn’t it true you highly prize the sweet berries from the brier patch?”

The dragon smiled. “Why, yes, I do,” he said.

“Dragon, with my coin, I bought Baby’s Breath seeds; a loved treat among birds,” the cardinal said. “I propose to trade the seeds to a few of our flock in exchange for collecting a dragon’s mouthful of sweet berries for you each morning. In return, I only ask you to pay two coins for every mouthful. In this way, I can continue to supply us in seeds and you in berries. Does this sound agreeable?”

“It certainly does!” cheered the dragon. “A marvelous idea!”

And so, the wise cardinal came to serve both the dragon and the birds, to the benefit of all.

Lead Generation in a Mobile World

lead generation in a mobile world

In the world of sales, there are two goals for your marketing plan: positive brand awareness and lead generation. Today’s internet-based society and mobile device usage has blended these two objectives into one overarching business conversation that needs to be navigated wisely to achieve the desired results.

The New Landscape

Online advertising started in earnest in the early 1980s when Prodigy began displaying banner ads to its subscribers. Between the ’80s and the early 2000s, online advertising campaigns paralleled traditional paper marketing, using discount-driven ads and brand awareness pieces to drive sales.

The rise of social media changed this by demanding a two-way conversation over these single-direction marketing statements. Mobile technology made marketing communication instantaneous. Twitter became the carrier of customer service messages, both good and bad. Facebook is now the most relied upon place for reviews and product opinions. Today, leads are no longer the final product of marketing but just part of the overall relationship that you develop with new and existing customers.

Defining a Lead

A lead used to be a linear relationship between a piece of marketing and the interest shown by a potential customer. In short, it was a potential contact. Now, with a billion people on Facebook alone, most of your potential contacts are not actionable contacts.

Interest is difficult to measure in this nonlinear connected environment. Initially, lead generation was part of a reverse marketing approach in which the company wanted the prospect to seek out the business. Now the prospective customer is searching for active conversations about your company and they may or may not include you.

Your job in lead generation is to make sure that you are at the center of these digital dialogues. To do this, you must understand who you are and what you have to offer. You need to analyze your business and its foundational beliefs and then insert yourself into conversations based on these principles.

The Rise in new Technology

Social media lets users separate themselves from their physical person if they want. They can create profiles that portray an image even if it is not real. The use of mobile devices has counteracted this, linking the physical people with their cyber selves.

How? The latest iPhones, like the iPhone 7 Plus, now have technology that allow the devices to interact with their environment through Bluetooth signals. When users are near your business or inside your store, you can take these previously online-only marketing conversations into a physical environment, allowing you to react to location and shopping patterns of real customers. As a lead generation tool, new technology like iBeacon is extremely powerful. You can invite customers into your shop while they are walking by or entice them with a special promotion. For better lead generation, look into some of the newest geofencing advertising opportunities.

Holistic Lead Generation

Ultimately, the best lead generation campaign takes into account where the prospect is, both mentally and physically. You want to be in a positive, relationship-building conversation with potential customers and their support network while seeing their location-based shopping patterns. Trying to sell a house in Houston to a couple looking for a home in Boston is useless, but being an expert in housing is invaluable. To best generate leads, create your online image, become part of the conversation and know your customer base.


With a Bachelors in Physics and a MBA, Paul Reyes-Fournier worked in aerospace and education but his passion to do something good for the world led him to a career in the non-profit sector where he has served as the CFO of a multi-million dollar rehab agency. Paul has lobbied Congress for funds to help homeless individuals and served on the BOD for social service organizations.