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marketing merchandising &more

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even small businesses need big ideas! Remember, most big businesses started out being small. But they didn’t start out thinking small. Thinking big is how they got where they are today. And that’s how you can bring your business to the next level. All it takes is some unbiased analysis, a little elbow grease and a lot of creative thinking. That’s where I come in. I can help guide you through the marketing maze and help you reach the pinnacle of your success.

What makes me different? For starters, I listen. To you, to your customers, and to the big dogs in the industry. I also look at your marketing challenges from a completely different perspective. Then I find ways to save you money in other areas so you can afford to do more marketing.

How can I help you? Whether your goal is to increase your sales, enhance your image or improve your bottom line, I can put my marketing skills to work for you and let you focus on what you do best … Running your own business! Now is the best time to get started building your future.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

Call me today for a FREE initial consultation. marketing merchandising brand building graphic design networking promotions print media web traffic &more

813 786 6417

“He can brilliantly tackle any task he is assigned and he will be an invaluable asset to any firm that chooses to hire him.”

Daniel Kiviat President, Daniel Kiviat Direct

“His creativity just blew my mind. He will always get an A+ from me!”

Wanda Shuford-Miguenes President, Sisters Network of Tampa Bay

“Art will be a positive influence in any company.” David Varrieur President, South Tampa Chamber of Commerce

“Art consistently demonstrated thorough product knowledge, flexibility, Artrageous creativity and prompt, reliable service.”

Andrew Hyman President, Mortgage Financial Network

“Art is passionate about his work and thoroughly dedicated to the finest in customer service.”

Steve L. Vernon Owner, Dolphin Travel Group Realtor, Keller Williams of South Tampa

“ … an incredibly talented and creative individual.” Jim Pinckney, CPRP Division Manager, City of Tampa art smith

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A photograph of me (left) with Sir Elton John at his annual Oscar’s Party in Los Angeles, as a result of my fundraising efforts for the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

“Thank you for your generous support.”

Sir Elton John

“… an unexpected present, and much appreciated!”

Tim Rice

“An impressive watch, and a worthy cause. Well done!” Jay Leno “With thanks for the gorgeous watch. Best Regards.” Sharon Stone

“I’m happy to be a part of this project. Thanks for the beautiful watch. Best of luck.” Donny Osmond

“Nice watch. Thanks!” Phil Collins

art smith 813.786.6417

Art & Jay!

Editorial Experience includes Liquid, City Illustrated, Celebrity Golf, Marques of Distinction, Watermark, Guide Atlanta, Ovation! and HotSpots Atlanta.

Interviews include athletes (Rick Markham, Vinnie LeCavalier), and celebrities (Caroline Rhea, Chastity Bono, Paul Lekakis, Joyce Giraud and Desiree Lowry).

Product Reviews Full length feature reviews include automobiles, consumer goods and electronics. Mini-reviews include accessories, apparel, jewelry and sporting goods.

Technology Features On topics ranging from wireless technology and plasma monitors to advancements in medical science and satellite radio, from automotive alarm systems and home security devices to laptop computers.

Marketing Materials for an upscale Swiss watch brand, an artist, several retailers, numerous restaurants and a wide variety of small business owners in Atlanta, GA; Austin, TX; Nashville, TN and Tampa, FL.

Business Reviews Restaurants, gift shops, nightclubs, furniture retailers, clothing stores, hotels, resorts: You name it, I’ve written about it! Art Smith

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In today’s fast-paced world, everyone is struggling to establish their unique identity to stand out from the crowd. Many companies have had to resort to the creation of new and memorable words to get their message out to the masses. Disney invented ‘imagineers’ to represent their creative element; GE uses ‘ecomagination’ to solidify their commitment to innovative ways of preserving the ecology; GNC has branded a fish oil product with ‘phenominoil’; and Snickers bar packaging is emblazoned with words like ‘peanutopolis’ and ‘snickalicious’. Even brand names like Kelvinator, Polaroid, Frigidaire, Microsoft, Kool-Aid, Jeep and Rolex derive from the creative manipulation of language. With the remarkable growth of the internet and limited availability of effective url’s, the need for ‘new’ words has become even greater. I, too, have engineered my own vocabulary. Below is a small sampling of the fourhundred-plus words in my personal dictionary.

What word can I create for you? Absoludicrous Chairiot

(adj) Beyond ridiculous. Insanely absurd. Laughably inadequate.

(n) A light, two-wheeled vehicle for one person, usually seated. A new senior citizen favorite?


(adj) Unconscious as a result of prolonged exposure to excessive color.


(adj) Arranged in a timeline of improbable or unlikely order.


(n) A geek or dork with an affinity for developing risky business concepts.


(n) False or imaginary potential, usually supported by unsubstantiated claims.

Foolanthropy OrnaMints Properazzi

(n) The inclination to increase the well-being of humankind, unwisely executed. (n) Breath fresheners in decorative packaging (lockets, rings, etc.) The next teen craze?

(n) People who insist upon imposing the rules of etiquette, especially in inappropriate situations.

Scampaign Art Smith

(n) A fraudulent scheme or operation planned to achieve a specific (often unethical) goal.

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is a nonprofit association dedicated to educating businesses and organizations, and to fostering their formation, growth and success.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION Where your business is located can be a critical element in the success of your venture. Opening a Rolls Royce dealership in the worst neighborhood in town is obviously a poor choice. But not all locations are so blatantly inappropriate. Ask yourself what you like about the location, what you dislike about it, and how it impacts the customers you want to attract and serve. Be realistic and brutally honest. Your business depends on it.

IDENTITY CRISIS Take a moment to write down a description of your business, including your product or service, your ideal customers and your distinctive or unique features. Use specific terms whenever possible. Ask staff, friends and customers to do the same. If this is a particularly challenging adventure, ask yourself: “Do I have a well-defined concept of what my business is?” Evaluate the interaction between the elements to see if the are conducive to a symbiotic relationship.

COLOR COMMENTARY Few elements are as powerful in today’s economic times as the perception of corporate responsibility … and GREEN can make a huge impact on your commercial success. Embrace everything you do to save the environment and reduce your carbon footprint. Tell the world you ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’. Align yourself with charitable organizations relevant to your business. Encourage your customers to join your efforts.

THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS … The customer. They may be misinformed, misdirected or missing a few marbles. But they are still your customers. Your job is to cater to their needs and reap the financial rewards. This does not mean you should compromise your ethics or vision. It does mean you owe it to yourself [and the customer] to show them how you can meet their needs, even if what they are ordering isn’t on the menu. It might be there … read between the lines.

BE YOUR OWN WORST ENEMY Carefully consider the market you are trying to reach and its relationship with your product or service. Look at your business the way your competition [or a loan officer] might. Find the flaws in your plan and figure out how to overcome them. No matter how well you master the other basic marketing elements, it’s going to be tough to sell ice cubes to Eskimos. Then again, who ever thought we’d be paying a premium for water in a bottle? The devil is in the details.

MOOOO-VE OVER The history of branding is very much tied to the history of using animals as a commodity. The act of marking livestock with fire-heated marks to identify ownership begins in Ancient times, with use dating back to the Ancient Egyptians. These marks were eventually associated with the heritage, quality and value of the property so branded. Over time, this method of identification was extended to craftsman goods and artwork. So begins the history of brandbuilding in the world of modern commerce.

SIZE DOESN’T MATTER Small business owners often realize the basic importance of establishing a brand, at least on an elementary level. Deciding upon a business name and logo are the first steps many entrepreneurs take when launching a new venture. But the big dogs take it all the way. Signature colors, bold graphics, consistent themes, product packaging and community interaction all bolster the image of our favorite major brands. But they can do the same for the local business. At nominal cost. Act like you’re a big dog and watch the profits grow.

COLOR ME CRAZY One of the strongest factors in creating an atmosphere consistent to your business concept is the use of color. It is no coincidence that most fast food franchises use red, blue and/or yellow as the main colors in their logos. The color scheme for your business should reflect the theme and focus of your concept and be appealing to your target market. It should carry through wherever possible: printed materials, signs, price tags, business cards and advertising. Develop your identity and set the stage for success.

SOMETHING SMELLS FISHY Have you ever noticed how the sweet aroma of cinnamon buns or the alluring scent of freshly brewed coffee lures customers from across a busy mall? Or how a fragrant rose can bring back memories of those summer days at grandma’s house? The sense of smell is strongly linked to memory. Put this knowledge to good use. Make your place of business smell like success. Even if that sounds fishy.

SOUNDS LIKE A WINNER Use common sense. Or common senses. We have already covered sight and smell. The third obvious topic is sound. Music makes the magic. We all instinctively choose different types of music for different occasions. Who would choose to play the soundtrack to a tragic opera at a wedding? Would you blare disco music at a funeral? The same holds true for your business. Give some thought to the most appropriate genre of background music and listen to the sweet sound of success.

IMPOTENT DOMAIN Easy-to-remember domain names are a vanishing breed. Most business owners are inclined to use their business name, and settle for awkward spellings and hyphenated alternatives when it isn’t available. You have to ask yourself if ‘www [dot] my [underscore] business [underscore] name [dot] com is really the best URL to drive customers to your website. Undoubtedly, some of them will end up at the real ‘’. Not good.

THE NAME OF THE GAME Even the big dogs have used slogans and catchphrases for their marketing websites. Care to guess who owns ‘’? What about ‘’? ‘’? ‘’? ‘’? You can play the same game … and win. Web addresses that are easy to spell and memorable attract more hits. More hits equals more exposure, which generally means more customers. Isn’t that the point?

PIC AND CHOOSE A picture is worth a thousand words. Just make sure your picture represents the right words. Carefully select the images for your website so they underscore the message you are trying to express. A few well-chosen photos can speak volumes about your business and make a memorable impression on first-time and repeat visitors to your website. Links to pages with additional information and pictures can offer extra details to those who want them.

BULLSEYE Target the specific audience you want to reach with multiple landing pages. By securing domain names with focused demographic appeal, you can customize the introduction to your business the each market segment. Bumper stickers, billboards and t-shirts emblazoned with one of these web addresses are more likely to get a response than a generic [and often difficult to spell] ‘’ or ‘’. Ready? Aim. Fire!

THE BOTTOM LINE One simple web address can add big dollars to your business. Several creative websites can generate even more customers. No matter what you spend on developing your internet presence, the cost is nominal and the potential rewards are huge. The end result is greater awareness of your business, and more money in your pocket. That’s the bottom line.


Small business owners who haven’t familiarized themselves with 21 century technology are quickly moving toward extinction. While they spend all their profits running exorbitantly expensive advertisements in multiple media [print, radio, cable], their more creative competitors are gaining fame and fortune using the much more effective [and fun] tactics espoused by such advertising giants as Coca-Cola, Nike, Yahoo!, Adidas, Subaru, Google, ChupaChups and FritoLay: Guerrilla Marketing. You’re in the midst of a marketing revolution.

NATURAL HABITAT The true guerrilla marketer is found most frequently in urban environments, but can survive in almost any terrain. He can tolerate extreme climates. He lives off the curiosity of the general public and feeds on their propensity to gossip. Unlike the Loch Ness Monster and Sasquatch, he thrives on attention and often goes out of his way to make his presence known. He has been spotted in outlandish costumes as well as standard-issue blue jeans, but he is always memorable for his head-turning PR stunts and jaw-dropping antics. If he’s good, you’ve seen him clowning around on YouTube, The Daily Show, or your favorite news channel.

DEDICATION In order to successfully execute guerrilla marketing campaigns, you must believe in your cause and know your enemy. Your business is your cause; failure your enemy. You must be willing to dedicate your time and devote your energy to make the impact necessary for your message to be heard by its intended audience. Your passion will inspire those around you [associates, colleagues, clients and online ‘friends’] to take up your cause and launch your concept into outer space or – more importantly – into the hearts and minds of your audience.

INSANITY Now comes the fun part. Put on your thinking cap. Or that silly jester’s hat everyone remembers from your last party. Or a foam replica of Lady Liberty’s crown. [Hey, it worked for a well-known tax service.] Pull out all the stops and start planning your next crazy marketing adventure. What can you do to get noticed? Where can you stage an eye-catching event that will get your message out? Think Road Runner versus Wyle E. Coyote. Then make it happen. Now. Before your competitors do it. They might call you weird or crazy, but they won’t call you stupid. You can laugh about it all the way to the bank.

SURVIVAL OF THE SPECIES That Pepsi ad where Michael Jackson’s head was on fire? 1984. The Goodyear Blimp? 1925. Ozzy Osbourne and the bat? 1982. Madonna’s “book” entitled Sex? 1992. Richard Branson as Wonder Woman? 2009. The OJ slow-speed chase? 1994. The Olympic Torch relay? 1936. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? 1924. Tour de France? 1903. Richard Branson in bridal drag? 1998. Blair Witch Project? 1999. Ozzy Osbourne and the dove? 1983. Borat at the White House? 2006. Heidi Klum’s $5M bra by Victoria’s Secret? 2008. Madonna and Britney kissing? 2003. Prince’s name change? 1993. Richard Branson, astronaut? 2005. Just about everything PT Barnum ever did. Even the FBI’s Most Wanted List [1949] started as a publicity stunt. How long will your guerrilla marketing antics live on?

SIGN OF THE TIMES Every business owner knows the importance of a sign proclaiming the name and nature of their business. Local ordinances often restrict the size and placement of this signage based upon building frontage and other considerations. Often, owners resign themselves to the nominal allowances set by these codes. Careful examination of the law can result in improved visibility and higher customer traffic. Larger street numbers are a good start.

FLAG THEM DOWN Many municipalities allow the display of flags in front of businesses. National and state flags are common at automotive dealerships and club headquarters. They draw attention to the location and impart a sense of patriotism. But they do little to distinguish your location from the sea of flag-waving competitors. Consider displaying a corporate flag as well. Generally allowed by local codes, they can add up to one hundred square feet of signage. And they add a sense of professionalism and stability no lighted sign can match.

IN AND OUT In order to visit your place of business, your clients will most likely have to enter and exit the premises via a driveway. Many local governments allow for simple signage to direct them off the main road and into your parking lot. Although often limited to eight or ten square feet each, using two-sided signs at multiple points of entry can add in excess of one hundred square feet of signage ‌ and make your business a safer place to visit.

WINDOWS TO THE WORLD Businesses on main thoroughfares are often designed with large display windows along the highly-trafficked roadway, allowing passing drivers to see the merchandise. To maximize the effectiveness of this display space, the use of large items in a high-contrast setting works best. Adequate lighting allows the window to attract customers even when the business is closed. And most codes permit on-window signage covering twenty-five to fifty percent of the glass.

END RESULT By taking the time to evaluate the options set forth in local ordinances, or hiring an expert to do the work for you, you can really make your business stand apart from the rest. A small investment now can save thousands in advertising over the years and make it much easier for potential customers to find you ‌ and put their hard-earned dollars in your pocket.

NO CASH ON THE BARRELHEAD The concept of bartering is as old as the hills. Although no society has been known to survive solely on the basis of a bartering economy, the practice has been recorded for centuries. Even in our complex economy, “modern trade and barter has developed into a sophisticated tool to help businesses increase their efficiencies by monetizing their unused capacities and excess inventories. It is estimated that over 350,000 businesses in the United States are involved in barter exchange activities,” according to Wikipedia. Low on cash? Trade your assets.

TIT FOR TAT In order to establish a workable barter arrangement, both parties must be fair and honest in the valuation of all property being exchanged. Direct barter is generally conducted on a one-to-one basis, with no middleman or transaction fee. If you are a painter who needs shoes, you might be able to find a shoe retailer who needs painting without expending a lot of time and energy. If you are chimney sweep who needs a custom engagement ring, the effort of finding a jeweler willing to barter could be overwhelming. Perhaps the best place to start is with the services you already use. Ask your print media ad rep if his publication would consider trade in partial payment of your bill. Your printer, dry cleaner and pest control company might consider it, too.

GILT BY ASSOCIATION Another possible venue for swapping inventory for the goods and services you need is through an organized trade exchange. Although there will probably be a cash transaction fee paid to the broker, this rarely exceeds ten percent of the trade value. The benefit is that you don’t have to locate someone who needs your services now and has what you want. The third party broker acts more like a bank, adding credits for the services or goods you exchange and debiting your account when you spend them. Except the coins stay in your pocket. A golden opportunity indeed.


Although barter can stretch your budget, decrease your cash outflow, attract new customers and help you liquidate inventory, it is not the answer for every business. If you’re already inundated with customer demands and severely understaffed, barter is probably not going to help. Carefully evaluate your workload, look at the status of your inventory, and see if it makes sense for you. Check out websites like, talk to local businesses that use a trade exchange, ask yourself what you might want to trade for and carefully consider the pros and cons. If it seems like a good idea, go ahead and test the waters. Geronimo!

TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES According to the IRS Tax Equity & Fair Responsibility Act of 1982, "the fair market value of goods and services exchanged must be included in the income of both parties." However, if you barter for goods and/or services, you are taxed neither more nor less than if it were a cash transaction. In other words, it is handled the same way as a cash transaction regarding taxation. If you bartered for a profit, you pay the appropriate tax, If you generated a loss in the transaction, you have a loss. If you’re using a barter exchange, they will generally provide a Form 1099-B for your tax records. Informal one-on-one bartering is dependant upon the honesty of the individuals or businesses involved. Get the deal in writing so you’re both on the same page [instead of ending up in the same cell.] Your accountant can go over the finer details, but that’s the basic implication. Truthfully.

TWEET, TWEET! No, I’m not referring to Michael Jackson’s 1972 hit song, Rockin’ Robin. It’s the topic on the tip of everyone’s tongue [or fingers, as the case may be]. And there are dozens of well-known sites specializing in it: Twitter, MySpace, FaceBook, SalesHQ, LinkedIn, Wombeat, Naymz, Meetup and more. A little birdie told me it was important to utilize these forums. But what’s all the commotion about social networking? What does this mean to my business? Where can I find a coach who can teach me how to tweet?

THIS LITTLE PIGGY … Went to market his products and services. Before the advent of social networking sites, he had to hire a firm with a fancy name and lots of credentials, pay out tons of money, and wait weeks or months to hear what the target market thought about his concept. If they didn’t like what he spent so much time and money developing, it was back to the drawing board. Interactive internet sites like the ones mentioned above offer every business owner the opportunity to conduct their own research in real time, and have feedback almost spontaneously … with plenty of time to make adjustments before the Big Bad Wolf even knows what’s happening.

THE PRINTS AND THE PAUPER Creating elaborate, full-color marketing materials to get your idea out to the general public can cost a fortune. Having to reprint them due to an error or omission can send you to the poorhouse. With an active presence on social networking outlets, you can reduce this to a minimum while still making a huge impact. Save your printing budget for the important stuff. Upgrade the look of your business cards and presentation materials, while using virtual salesmen to get your message out. That’s an idea worth a king’s ransom.

JACK AND THE [ORGANIC] BEANSTALK An internet search on using almost any keyword will generate thousands of results. You can pay for ‘adwords’ to move up on the list, but social networking can provide a similar benefit. When search engines like Google ‘crawl’ the web, they generate ‘organic’ results which appear in the order of relevance. The more you use social networking outlets to spread your message, the higher you are likely to appear. Just plant the seed and watch what happens.

SLEEPING BEAUTY The real beauty of all these online opportunities is that, if you plan your posts wisely, you can continue to interact 24 hours a day, 7 days a week … even while you’re sleeping. People across the country and around the globe run on different schedules than you do, so you never know when someone might stumble across your post, offer a valuable comment, or perhaps buy your product. Now that’s what I call a happy ending.

ON YOUR MARK … Your logo is the graphic embodiment of your business: a simple design which represents your focus, your reputation and your level of accomplishment. It may or may not have any concrete relevance to your business. What does a golden arch have to do with hamburgers? But your logo is the signature of your enterprise, the mark that sets you apart. It is the face you put on your business. We all know which shoe company uses the ‘swoosh’ or which domestic auto manufacturer displays a ram’s head. What is your brand’s alligator?


. o d r a h s x e tlin u O

Everything you print requires a choice of font. The ones you choose can make your message easier to read [or harder]. Choose wisely. Scripts are hard to read. Serif fonts are hard to read. Fancy letters are hard to read. Bold, sans serif fonts are easy to read. The choice of the best font to represent your image and express your message can make a world of difference to your bottom line. Consider the options. Pick the one that works best for your particular situation. What’s your type?

ONE, TWO, THREE Controlling costs is a key element to maximizing profits, but only when it makes sense to do so. One area where a little bit of practical thinking can save money and have no negative impact on profits is the choice of logo color. Full-color printing can be exorbitantly expensive. A simple graphic in one or two colors is much less expensive to reproduce on business cards, stationery, signs and advertising materials. And it is much easier to recognize in a range of sizes, and translates well via fax. Coke managed to survive its one-color wave. Your business can, too.

SHAPE UP OR SHIP OUT As important as they are, color, font and graphics are not the only issues to consider when creating your logo. Shape plays a big role, too. A design that is very rectangular (either vertically or horizontally) can be difficult to resize to suit the dimensions of ad space, business forms, signs and promotional items. A balanced square or round orientation allows the greatest range without compromising the integrity of the design. Can IBM, hp, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Nissan, Target, Shell, BP, Pepsi and Nationwide all be wrong? Get yours in shape.

WEAR YOUR ART ON YOUR SLEEVE Once you have developed your logo concept, use it everywhere. It should appear on your business cards and your website, your forms and your signs. Everything you give away should have that mark on it. Shopping bags, t-shirts, bumper stickers, employee ID cards and checks should all carry the design. Stop at Wendy’s for lunch and count the number of times you run across that logo: Bags, napkins, straws, cups, wrappers, condiments, etc. Did Dave Thomas just like looking at it? Or does it help build the reputation of his hamburger franchise? Hmmm.

How does your logo compare?


Monograms and stylized letters are often used to create brand identity.

A logotype is a uniquely arranged typeface or font used to identify a commercial entity or organization and is a critical element in the development of the brand image.

teamTHINKtank’s useful links FEDERAL Federal Information Center


Internal Revenue Service - Tax Information

Federal Tax Forms -,,id=97817,00.html

Social Security & Medicare Taxes (FICA)

U S Citizen and Immigration Services (Form I-9)

Dept. of Labor, Wage & Hour Div.

Small Business Administration

STATE OF FLORIDA State of Florida Official Site

Florida Division of Corporations

Small Business Development Center

Dept. of Revenue - State & County Sales Tax

Dept. of Revenue - State Corporate Income Tax

Dept. of Revenue - State Intangible Tax

Dept. of Unemployment Compensation

Dept. of Workers Compensation

Div. of Alcohol & Tobacco

Professional Licenses, Dept. of Business & Professional Regulation

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY Small Business Info Center Hillsborough County Information Center

TaxCollector Business&Occupational Licenses

Building Plans and Permitting

Contractor Licensing

Child Care Licensing Office

Handling, etc.)Health Dept. (Nursing Homes, Elder Care, Food

Minority / Small Business Enterprise Program

Planning & growth Management

Purchasing Dept.

Real Estate Dept.

Department of Planning and Growth Management

CITY OF TAMPA Information Center

Business License Tax Div.

OTHER LOCAL LINKS Tampa Economic Development Corp.

Black Business Investment Corp.

Better Business Bureau





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