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RETAILERSedge October 2012

Volume 19, Issue 3

Inside this issue: Essential Body Language Gestures


RetailPlus+ Featured Partner Minuteman Press—St. Paul


Twitter vs. Facebook


RetailPlus+ Featured Partner North Star Resources Group


RetailPlus+ Partner Advertisement SharePoint Credit Union


7 Barriers to Employee Productivity 4

First Impressions

Connecting you to the Capitol By Rochelle Westlund, Director of Government Relations The 2012 election is just around the corner, and every seat in the Minnesota Legislature is up for grabs. 2013 will bring plenty of new faces, and an agenda packed with big reform ideas. The Minnesota Retailers Association is closely monitoring this year’s elections. We will be providing support and campaign funding through our IMPACT political advocacy fund to candidates on both sides of the political aisle who are with us on key retail issues.

The past 60 years have taught us that access to Minnesota legislators is critical to shaping the retail industry's legislative agenda now and in the years to come. We must ensure that lawmakers know us, hear us, and respond to us. If you have not already done so, we hope you are willing to partner with us to strengthen the voice of the retail industry at the capitol. We are asking you to participate in three ways: 1) If you have not already completed your 2013 Legislative Priorities Survey, please go to YourIssues and fill out the survey. Each business is an important part of our association; we want to hear from you! Let us know how we can best represent you at the capitol. 2) Make plans to attend our annual Legislative Committee Meeting on November 8, 2012, from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. at the MnRA office in St. Paul. This is a great opportunity to discuss issues that are important to your business! 3) Donate to IMPACT. MnRA’s IMPACT is a voluntary, non-profit fund (Continued on page 3)


By Bruce Nustad, President One thing I know about retailers is they understand the importance of the first impression. With that in mind and within the context of my first four weeks at the Minnesota Retailers Association (MnRA), I want to share with you a few of my first impressions relating to our association and members. The years behind and the years ahead I am pleased to join MnRA at a time when the association is celebrating 60 years of representing the retail marketplace and providing service to member organizations. I have had the opportunity to talk with members that have been with MnRA for as little as a few months to as many as 35 years. My first impression: We have a great history worth celebrating and drawing from, but also a lot of good work to do in the future. That future starts today. A look back over MnRA shows strong member and staff leadership, and programs and services that have given retailers an edge. A look forward (Continued on page 3)

Essential Body Language Gestures Whether you’re giving a presentation, collaborating in a business meeting, or talking with a potential customer, you choose your words carefully. You want to make sure your message is conveyed clearly and accurately. But you may be disregarding one aspect of communication that is just as important as your words — your body language. Even though you’re saying one thing, your body language could be communicating something completely different. When giving a presenta-

tion, you not only want to sound confident, you want your body to show it as well. When meeting with a potential client, the last thing you want to tell the person through body language is that you’re bored or uninterested. Your body language can help you communicate your message better, or it could send the wrong messages. So it’s important to know how to communicate through movement to get the best results from any interaction or communication.

What body certain language says about you:

You are aggressive:  Finger pointing  Palms facing down

You are defiant:  Hands on hips  Frowning

You are lying:  Rubbing your eyes  Touching or rubbing the nose  Scratching back of neck  Darting eyes  Looking right (looking left suggests truth)

You are confident:  Upright posture with weight evenly balanced on each foot  Make eye contact  Smile

You are bored:  Slumped posture  Staring into space  Thumb twiddling You are listening:  Head tilt  Eye contact  Nodding

You are interested:  Leaning forward  Open arms  Open hands  Open body position Article by a Star12 Trainer. Reprinted with permission from

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Twitter vs. Facebook: Who Has Better Self-Serve Ads for SMBs? while Twitter added them more recently. Twitter and Facebook advertising options both offer unique positives and negatives; depending on your specific goals, either or both could be beneficial in different situations.

As the owner of a small or medium-sized business, it is your job to allocate your advertising budget as efficiently as possible to boost your business’s profitability. With many traditional advertising outlets increasing their rates month after month, many businesses have turned to social media advertising to diversify their efforts. Facebook has offered business advertising options for some time, 2

Twitter offers two different primary advertising choices for business owners: sponsored accounts and sponsored tweets. The two options fulfill quite different purposes. Sponsored accounts are designed to help build your brand and your customer’s awareness of it on Twitter. Sponsored Tweets, on the other hand, will help ensure that potential customers see specific Tweets; ideally, they will then click through to your website and actually make a purchase. The

main difference is that one will help you get more followers for your Twitter page, which can pay off in the long run; the other pushes traffic straight to your website for a short-term sales boost. Know Your Target Of course, Twitter advertising is not necessarily ideal for all business. However, depending on your demographic your target market might follow Tweets more than they concentrate on Facebook ads. As a general rule, people who are selfemployed or that are between the ages of 18 and 35 tend to be Twitter users. A benefit that Facebook has over Twitter, though, is that its network includes more (Continued on page 4)

Connecting you to the Capitol - Continued (Continued from page 1)

whose contributors consist of retailers, affiliates, and others interested in the success of retail in Minnesota. IMPACT’s role is to provide its donors with the means for concerted political action. We cannot accept corporate dollars to support IMPACT, and ask that you consider making a personal donation today! Thank you for your participation as we work to grow the voice of retail at the capitol. If you have any questions you can contact MnRA Director of Government Relations, Rochelle Westlund at

Send donations to: MN Retailers IMPACT Attn: Rochelle Westlund 400 Robert Street North, Suite 1540 St. Paul, MN 55101

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Volume 19, Issue 3

First Impressions - Continued (Continued from page 1)

reminds us that today's association needs to prove a relevant relationship with members more than just once a year when a membership investment statement arrives in the mail. I look forward to working with members, the Board, and staff to strengthen our model of relevance, starting today. A driven organization with committed leaders Having worked in membership organizations for nearly 15 years, I have learned to recognize the difference between associations going through the motions and those that truly seek to make a difference for members, the industry, and our economy. My first impression: MnRA has members and staff that are committed to making our association a leader among its peers. MnRA has strong Board of Director leadership, this year under the direction of Hopkins-based retailer Hillary Feder. In my short time working with Hillary, I have been excited to see her bring the entrepreneurial skills she practices every day at Hillary's LLC to our association. My experience tells me that an effective Board chair brings their business expertise directly to their volunteer service opportunities, and Hillary does just that. Also, Steve Rush's volunteer service as 3

MnRA's interim president during our staff leadership transition was tremendous. This organization owes Steve and his employer Holiday Companies a heartfelt thank you for his countless hours devoted to MnRA since June. At the August Annual Meeting, we celebrated MnRA staff member Shana Vazquez-Hernandez's five year anniversary with the organization. Shana's commitment to MnRA's members shows each day. Shana and I have the fortune to work with Rochelle Westlund, who joined MnRA this past December. Spend a few minutes talking with Rochelle and it’s easy to see why representing retailers before government officials is a good fit with her background and passion. The Retailers Edge While it is a bit unoriginal to borrow MnRA's tagline for a first impression, it is fitting. One of MnRA's most important opportunities surrounds drawing from our history, our relationships, and our vision to provide continued value to the retail community. My first impression: MnRA and its members have a tremendous opportunity to leverage what we have today for the betterment of retailers and our economy. From member services to our policy positions, MnRA is uniquely positioned to

improve opportunities for Minnesota's vibrant and economically important retail community. From one-location retailers to operations with many locations, MnRA has the responsibility to leverage organizational connections and member relationships to better our industry, and just like over the past 60 years, there are many opportunities in front of us. We have opportunities today that simply did not exist when this organization was founded, and those opportunities stand to benefit all of Minnesota's retailers regardless of size or location. I am excited to contribute to a team of members and staff that believe we can have an edge when we work together, provide relevant member benefits, and tell the story of retail across this great state. Thank you for a warm welcome to MnRA, now let's get to work building off of tomorrow and our strong culture of leadership to lead on issues that grow retail businesses and our economy.

Twitter vs. Facebook: Who Has Better Self-Serve Ads for SMBs? - Continued (Continued from page 2)

than 750 million users, many of whom are frequently active. Additionally, Facebook offers very targeted advertising. For example, if you own a pet store in Phoenix, Arizona and are currently running a sale on dog supplies, Facebook allows you to target your ads to only individuals who live in the Phoenix area and who have expressed an interest in dogs in the past. The benefit of this type of narrowly targeted advertising is that it helps lower your advertising costs by not showing your ads to people who would necessarily be uninterested in

your product, which is a huge waste of your advertising dollars. If your business caters to people worldwide, Facebook can still be an effective advertising platform. In fact, the decreased competition for customers outside of the United States means that you may be able to improve your return on ads targeted to overseas customers. Of course, Twitter also offers international exposure, but its far smaller user base limits this advertising’s effectiveness somewhat. About 600 million users are regularly active on Facebook, compared to about 56 million users on Twitter.

7 Barriers to Employee Productivity work environments, employees are discouraged from thinking for themselves. If they don’t think for themselves, they never really take ownership of their jobs. They just follow the rules being dictated from above. Individuality and creativity are ruined in the process.

1. Equipment, tools, software, or on-thejob support is out of date/broken/ inadequate for the job required. Your employees cannot be productive if they don’t have the tools to get the job done. Think about it this way: If you need to tighten a screw and you don’t have a screwdriver, you’ll use whatever is at hand. Have you ever used a knife to tighten a screw? You got the job done, but it took a lot longer, and you probably broke the tip of the knife in the process. Not exactly an efficient or effective way to get the job done, is it? 2. Decision making is centralized and autonomy/personal accountability is not emphasized. In highly autocratic 4

It is understandable that you would want to determine which advertising option works better for your business; however, in many cases your best option is simply to incorporate a blend of both networks on a limited basis. As with any type of advertising, you should regularly test your ad copy, photos, targeting and other options. As you determine which setups provide the best return, you can expand your ad spend in those categories. Reprinted with permission from


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Every leader wants to get the best out of his or her employees. When trying to help your employees reach peak levels of productivity, you must first find out what is hindering their progress — and then fix it! Let’s take a deeper look at seven potential roadblocks to employee productivity:

Best Of Both Worlds

3. Business politics pulls teams/ departments in different directions. Office politics will never go away. It’s a fact of company life. However, destructive office politics can demoralize an organization, hamper productivity, and increase turnover. Deceit, gossip, rivalry, and power plays are fine for movies and TV, but they are potential disasters in the workplace. 4. Incentive plans are insufficient and reward both poor and good performance. Nothing can be more discouraging than seeing someone who barely contributes get the same incentive bonus as those who give it their all. Incentive plans that do not take into account the exact, measurable contributions of each individual are not only ineffective, they’re counterproductive. 5. Employees don’t take risks necessary to keep the organization competitive and forward-thinking. Many employees can recall attending meetings where managers saluted the month’s top per-

formers. Very few, if any, have attended meetings where an executive praised a daring effort that failed. In a recent survey of 690 employed Americans, Blessing White, a Princeton-based consultancy, asked employees whether they are encouraged to take risks. Only 26 percent of employees said they are often encouraged to take risks. A startling 41 percent said they are never asked to do so. Never. How can organizations adapt to

“Your employees cannot be productive if they don’t have the tools to get the job done.” changing conditions if their employees never try anything new? 6. Employees are no longer asked for their input and involvement. Like centralized decision making, keeping employees out of the loop when it comes to what works and what doesn’t work is another sign that your productivity will decrease. Who knows better how to do the job than the person actually doing it? 7. No one is measuring productivity to support awareness and accountability. Sometimes it’s not that no one is measuring productivity, it’s that no one is communicating those measurements to the employees who are expected to meet the job requirements. Article by a Star12 Trainer. Reprinted with permission from

RetailPlus+ Report The Minnesota Retailers Association (MnRA) has brought together the collective clout of our members to offer increased savings on the products and services that retailers need to do business. These affordable products and services help Minnesota retailers navigate the often complicated terrain of operating as a retailer.

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Featured RetailPlus+ Partner: North Star Resources Group As one of the largest privately owned financial service firms in the mid-west, North Star Resource Group can provide discounts on employee group benefit plans and offers a 10% discount on personal planning fees to MnRA members. Through this program, MnRA members can receive a free employee benefit plan audit, structured to evaluate how well your current 5

benefit plan is performing. Your representative will summarize your current programs and highlight both what is working and what could be improved or made more cost effective. For more information, please contact Steve Jedlund at (800) 536-2183,

The Minnesota Retailers Association works diligently to provide members with a wide variety of profit-boosting services. The following businesses offer MnRA members special discounted services - just tell them you are a MnRA member! Benefits Administration Services: Freedom Services

Certified Public Accountants: Boulay, Heutmaker, Zibell & Co. PLLP Commercial Real Estate & Business Law: Vlodaver Law Offices Computer Services: CHIPS Courier: Dynamex Credit Card Processing Heartland Payment Systems Environmental Sustainability Consulting: Minnesota Waste Wise Employment Testing: Employment Technologies Financial Services: Share Point Credit Union, North Star Resource Group

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Business Litigation: Lind, Jensen, Sullivan & Peterson

Fraud Detection: Uveritech Loss Prevention: Retail Loss Solutions, LLC Maintenance: Twin City Maintenance Team Office Supplies: Office Depot Business Solutions Division Payroll Processing: ADP Payroll Services Printing: Minuteman Press Store Fixtures & Supplies: Specialty Store Services Shipping: PartnerShip Telecommunication: KamRock Telecom For more information on our vendors click here and log in.

Minnesota Retailers Association Staff: President: Bruce Nustad - Director of Government Relations: Rochelle Westlund- Director of Operations and Events: Shana Vazquez-Hernandez -

Minnesota Retailers Association Board Officers: Chair of the Board: Hillary Feder, Hillary’s First Vice Chair: Lisa McCalpine-Wittenmyer, Walgreen’s Investment Chair: Glen Thompson, JC Penney Treasurer: Chuck Armstrong, Pawn America Legislative Affairs Committee, Mike Hiltner, Best Buy

Minnesota Retailers Association • • 400 Robert Street N, Suite 1540, St. Paul, MN 55101 • 651-227-6631• 800-227-6762


Retailers Edge October 2012  

Minnesota Retailers Association quartery newsletter.