Category Archives: Friday Commentary

Making Sense of the County’s Sign Code

We had two clients who own businesses in Kona express frustration with the sign code yesterday. One remarked, “Apparently the county doesn’t want me to be in business” after he was told he had to remove his small A-Frame sign from a place that was clearly not a safety issue. When a business owner says that we should listen, as he pays tons of taxes and runs a business that employs several people. It’s also a business that decided to rent space that has historically been vacant most of the time, so he has taken a bit of Kona blight and made it more vital.

First, a few things on which we can all agree: 1) nobody wants to see billboards on the side of highways or Las Vegas-like lighted signs, 2) nobody wants signs that have electrical or structural issues to not be properly installed and permitted, and  3) behind every sign there is a person trying to make a living.
las vegas signs

My problem with the County of Hawaii sign code is that it is not at all connected to the reality of what Hawaii Island is and what businesses need to do to survive. It’s also about 35 years old and doesn’t fit today’s reality.

Sure, on one hand you have a very small group of people who claim to protect the scenery of Hawaii by actively reporting sign code violations, no matter how big or small. No problem with that; we live in a democracy and they have a right to lobby, complain and have a vision of what they want Hawaii to be. They do not, however, represent all people, and they certainly do not represent the small business community, which in Kona provides way more jobs, services and economic vitality than all the big companies combined. At last count, we have over 2,000 small businesses from Hawi to South Point!

Here’s my problem with the sign code:

  1. It’s way too restrictive. Here’s one from the Prohibited Signs (Section 3-61) for any sign in Kailua Village: “Any sign for product advertising when visible to the general public. A sign containing only the name of a business is not a sign for product advertising.” So every sign you see that includes a product logo that is visible to the general public is technically in violation of the code. Also in that section of the code, temporary event signs can only be eight square feet. Anyone who has been on Alii Drive for the annual Ironman event knows that almost all the temporary signs on the buildings are nonconforming. Some of those temporary signs are 100+ sq ft! The code needs to be more flexible.
  2. It’s selectively enforced. Some districts have many nonconforming signs and some districts have less. That said, even in the areas where the sign code is enforced, almost all signs you see still do not meet code. Realtors put many Open House and other signs up that are nonconforming, but they seem to have a blanket pass from enforcement.
  3. It’s anti-business. Kailua-Kona is not a very well-planned community. Many of the buildings date back fifty years or more, and, truth be told, many are in varying states of disrepair. Retail shop space is often in hard to see locations and down dark and narrow passages between buildings or on the 2nd floor. The street front businesses have good visibility, but a lot of the affordable and open spaces are very hard to find. Signs are how these businesses direct people to their locations. One masseuse we know has a 2nd floor oceanfront location, but it is impossible to find without signs. When the county, through the property manager, made her remove her small street-level sign, her business dropped dramatically. She is now considering stopping her lease, which will not only affect her livelihood, but also add to the inventory of disused space.
  4. Signs are not what makes Hawaii Island beautiful (or not). Sure, if you hate signs and don’t care about the business and people’s lives they support, any sign is an eyesore. I find the numerous big box stores with huge buildings, lighted signs, large parking lots and Mainland goods as much more of an eyesore than the small businesses with a banner out front. The dilapidated buildings on Alii Drive are much more of an eyesore than the signs on them.The point is that the beauty of Hawaii Island is the skies, mountains and ocean. If the naysayers spent their efforts beatifying the medians of roads, the airport, our beaches and areas like the Old Airport, they would have a much bigger impact on making Hawaii a place that fits their image of what Hawaii should be
  • county-sign-code

Maybe it’s time to re-write the code in a ways that supports businesses and jobs, while at the same time protecting us from the things that can really affect our quality of life. If you own and business and are frustrated, contact your county council member and lobby for a reasonable sign code that helps instead of hinders business.

 Kona Impact  |  329-6077

 

Making Sense of the County's Sign Code

We had two clients who own businesses in Kona express frustration with the sign code yesterday. One remarked, “Apparently the county doesn’t want me to be in business” after he was told he had to remove his small A-Frame sign from a place that was clearly not a safety issue. When a business owner says that we should listen, as he pays tons of taxes and runs a business that employs several people. It’s also a business that decided to rent space that has historically been vacant most of the time, so he has taken a bit of Kona blight and made it more vital.
First, a few things on which we can all agree: 1) nobody wants to see billboards on the side of highways or Las Vegas-like lighted signs, 2) nobody wants signs that have electrical or structural issues to not be properly installed and permitted, and  3) behind every sign there is a person trying to make a living.
las vegas signs
My problem with the County of Hawaii sign code is that it is not at all connected to the reality of what Hawaii Island is and what businesses need to do to survive. It’s also about 35 years old and doesn’t fit today’s reality.
Sure, on one hand you have a very small group of people who claim to protect the scenery of Hawaii by actively reporting sign code violations, no matter how big or small. No problem with that; we live in a democracy and they have a right to lobby, complain and have a vision of what they want Hawaii to be. They do not, however, represent all people, and they certainly do not represent the small business community, which in Kona provides way more jobs, services and economic vitality than all the big companies combined. At last count, we have over 2,000 small businesses from Hawi to South Point!
Here’s my problem with the sign code:

  1. It’s way too restrictive. Here’s one from the Prohibited Signs (Section 3-61) for any sign in Kailua Village: “Any sign for product advertising when visible to the general public. A sign containing only the name of a business is not a sign for product advertising.” So every sign you see that includes a product logo that is visible to the general public is technically in violation of the code. Also in that section of the code, temporary event signs can only be eight square feet. Anyone who has been on Alii Drive for the annual Ironman event knows that almost all the temporary signs on the buildings are nonconforming. Some of those temporary signs are 100+ sq ft! The code needs to be more flexible.
  2. It’s selectively enforced. Some districts have many nonconforming signs and some districts have less. That said, even in the areas where the sign code is enforced, almost all signs you see still do not meet code. Realtors put many Open House and other signs up that are nonconforming, but they seem to have a blanket pass from enforcement.
  3. It’s anti-business. Kailua-Kona is not a very well-planned community. Many of the buildings date back fifty years or more, and, truth be told, many are in varying states of disrepair. Retail shop space is often in hard to see locations and down dark and narrow passages between buildings or on the 2nd floor. The street front businesses have good visibility, but a lot of the affordable and open spaces are very hard to find. Signs are how these businesses direct people to their locations. One masseuse we know has a 2nd floor oceanfront location, but it is impossible to find without signs. When the county, through the property manager, made her remove her small street-level sign, her business dropped dramatically. She is now considering stopping her lease, which will not only affect her livelihood, but also add to the inventory of disused space.
  4. Signs are not what makes Hawaii Island beautiful (or not). Sure, if you hate signs and don’t care about the business and people’s lives they support, any sign is an eyesore. I find the numerous big box stores with huge buildings, lighted signs, large parking lots and Mainland goods as much more of an eyesore than the small businesses with a banner out front. The dilapidated buildings on Alii Drive are much more of an eyesore than the signs on them.The point is that the beauty of Hawaii Island is the skies, mountains and ocean. If the naysayers spent their efforts beatifying the medians of roads, the airport, our beaches and areas like the Old Airport, they would have a much bigger impact on making Hawaii a place that fits their image of what Hawaii should be
  • county-sign-code

Maybe it’s time to re-write the code in a ways that supports businesses and jobs, while at the same time protecting us from the things that can really affect our quality of life. If you own and business and are frustrated, contact your county council member and lobby for a reasonable sign code that helps instead of hinders business.

 Kona Impact  |  329-6077

 

Review Your Website Every Six Months – Here’s How

We had a local business call the other day in a panic. Their website, which was not hosted or managed by Kona Impact, was gone. We quickly determined that the issue was relatively minor, because though they did not pay for their domain registration, and it was still in their registrar’s grace period. All they had to do was to pay for their domain registration and their site became live again.

checklist

Here is what every website owner should do every six months. Do not count on your web site designer to do this for you unless you are paying the company to do these services for you; they are not part of most web designers duties unless you have an agreement.

1. Check the registration of your website domain. Go to DNS Goodies and check your domain in the WHOIS box. This will tell you where your domain name is registered, in whose name, and most importantly, when the domain registration expires. We recommend registering your domain for blocks of five years or longer.

Once your domain name has expired, anyone can register the name. Getting it back can be nearly impossible in many circumstances.

2. Check the website hosting for your domain. If you have a webmaster taking care of this, make sure you are paying for hosting. If you have arranged website hosting through GoDaddy or another host, log into the account every six months and make sure your contact emails are correct and your credit card hasn’t expired.

If you don’t pay, your website will go offline. If you use a template system for your website, you will lose everything. If you have a professionally designed website, your webmaster might have a backup. Your hosting company will not have a backup in most cases!

3. Go to any contact forms on your website and send yourself a message. Make sure everything is working.

It’s a common mistake to believe that things on website do not break. They do, and you’ll never know until you test them.

4. Check all links on your website to ensure the site to which you are linking still exists. Your website will get penalized in the search engine rankings if it is low-quality, and links are part of this.

5. Read every page carefully. Is all the information correct? Are there any typos?

6. Look at every picture and graphic. Is there anything or anybody that shouldn’t be on your website anymore?

7. If you have an online store, go through the order process–you don’t need to complete the process–several times with different variations of products and shipping options. Make at least one purchase to ensure that the billing system is working correctly and all the confirmation emails are as they should be.

8. Check every page to make sure it displays correctly in the most popular browsers. Check out Browser Shots as a tool that can make this easier. Remember that all browsers show web pages slightly differently and it might not be worth the cost to go for 100% perfection on these.

9. Check your website on your phone and mobile devices. If it does not display correctly, you probably have an old website or you did not make this part of your web design agreement. In some cases, it might make sense to start over; in some cases your webmaster may be able to implement some code changes to make your site more mobile friendly.

10. Review your online marketing strategies and actions with a professional. It is easy to have an imprecise and ineffective online advertising program and waste a lot of opportunities and money. Hire someone to review what you’re doing, and if you’re not doing anything, consider how you can have a more effective online presence.

These are the things we recommend that every business do every six months. From start to finish, it should take about an hour. This hour might save your business from loosing its website or domain name. It can help you find inefficiencies in your messaging, and it can help you avoid giving your customers incorrect or outdated information.

If you have a website and you want some professional help, give us a call!

Kona Impact  | 329-6077

Review Your Website Every Six Months – Here's How

We had a local business call the other day in a panic. Their website, which was not hosted or managed by Kona Impact, was gone. We quickly determined that the issue was relatively minor, because though they did not pay for their domain registration, and it was still in their registrar’s grace period. All they had to do was to pay for their domain registration and their site became live again.
checklist
Here is what every website owner should do every six months. Do not count on your web site designer to do this for you unless you are paying the company to do these services for you; they are not part of most web designers duties unless you have an agreement.
1. Check the registration of your website domain. Go to DNS Goodies and check your domain in the WHOIS box. This will tell you where your domain name is registered, in whose name, and most importantly, when the domain registration expires. We recommend registering your domain for blocks of five years or longer.
Once your domain name has expired, anyone can register the name. Getting it back can be nearly impossible in many circumstances.
2. Check the website hosting for your domain. If you have a webmaster taking care of this, make sure you are paying for hosting. If you have arranged website hosting through GoDaddy or another host, log into the account every six months and make sure your contact emails are correct and your credit card hasn’t expired.
If you don’t pay, your website will go offline. If you use a template system for your website, you will lose everything. If you have a professionally designed website, your webmaster might have a backup. Your hosting company will not have a backup in most cases!
3. Go to any contact forms on your website and send yourself a message. Make sure everything is working.
It’s a common mistake to believe that things on website do not break. They do, and you’ll never know until you test them.
4. Check all links on your website to ensure the site to which you are linking still exists. Your website will get penalized in the search engine rankings if it is low-quality, and links are part of this.
5. Read every page carefully. Is all the information correct? Are there any typos?
6. Look at every picture and graphic. Is there anything or anybody that shouldn’t be on your website anymore?
7. If you have an online store, go through the order process–you don’t need to complete the process–several times with different variations of products and shipping options. Make at least one purchase to ensure that the billing system is working correctly and all the confirmation emails are as they should be.
8. Check every page to make sure it displays correctly in the most popular browsers. Check out Browser Shots as a tool that can make this easier. Remember that all browsers show web pages slightly differently and it might not be worth the cost to go for 100% perfection on these.
9. Check your website on your phone and mobile devices. If it does not display correctly, you probably have an old website or you did not make this part of your web design agreement. In some cases, it might make sense to start over; in some cases your webmaster may be able to implement some code changes to make your site more mobile friendly.
10. Review your online marketing strategies and actions with a professional. It is easy to have an imprecise and ineffective online advertising program and waste a lot of opportunities and money. Hire someone to review what you’re doing, and if you’re not doing anything, consider how you can have a more effective online presence.
These are the things we recommend that every business do every six months. From start to finish, it should take about an hour. This hour might save your business from loosing its website or domain name. It can help you find inefficiencies in your messaging, and it can help you avoid giving your customers incorrect or outdated information.
If you have a website and you want some professional help, give us a call!

Kona Impact  | 329-6077

What is the best material for signs?

Most of our signs are printed and mounted on some material. Banners and posters are the exception: they are printed on the material on which they will be displayed: banner material and some sort of paper.

Other signs, however, are printed on vinyl or adhesive-backed paper and mounted to a substrate. Use will determine your substrate.

Here are some of the sign substrate options.

Foam Core

Foam core is a 3/16” material that is ideally suited to temporary indoor displays. Many academics and companies use foam core displays for conventions, trade shows and conferences. We typically print on an adhesive-backed paper and mount that to foam core.

The benefits of foam core include:

  • Lightweight
  • Inexpensive
  • Rigid, making it ideal for displays on easels, and, flat surfaces

The downside of foam core include:

  • Easy to dent and ding – Doesn’t travel well
  • Low resistance to water and humidity

Gator Board (sometimes Gator Foam)

Gator board comes in many widths, but the most commonly used is 3/16”. Like foam core it is used a lot for indoor displays and wall graphics. Like foam core, we usually print on adhesive-backed paper or vinyl, and then mount that to the Gator board. It is an excellent alternative to foam core, especially when a more durable material is desired.

The benefits of Gator board include:

  1. Relatively lightweight
  2. Rigid and resistant to environmental factors like humidity
  3. Does not dent or ding easily

Gator board does have a few minuses:

  • Relatively more expensive than foam core
  • It can break in extreme circumstances

PVC

Extruded PVC, a solid, yet flexible material makes for an excellent substrate because of its ability to last a long time outdoors. It comes in 1/8”, 3/16”, ½” and 1”. It’s an ideal material for outdoor signs and indoor signs that need to last a long time.

The benefits of using extruded PVC include:

  • Long outdoor life
  • Will not rot or separate
  • Easy to drill through and mount

In a high-heat and high-sun environment, PVC can warp if not mounted solidly to a building or sign frame.

Aluminum

Aluminum is the most costly common sign substrate. It can be difficult to work with, requiring a dedicated workshop. At Kona Impact, we do have a workshop facility to cut and prepare aluminum substrates.

Aluminum comes in many gages: we typically use 040, a flexible, yet hard aluminum material. We also work with thicker aluminum substrates and do have aluminum with an enamel finish. These are ideal for relatively small building signs.

Aluminum’s down side is cost, but it is a great material cut vinyl signs and long-term building signs.

What about wood?

Wood is generally a horrible substrate for signs. It’s not smooth and requires a lot of sanding and special paints to make suitable for any kind of vinyl material. Latex paint is usually made to be cleaned, which means it is not made for things to stick to it. Wood is also porous and will absorb moisture, which will cause it to warp. If you need another reason: termites.

At Kona Impact, we want our signs to look great and last as long as our clients want to use them. There is always a balance between cost, quality and durability. Want the highest quality and durability, and you’ll pay the most. Signs are no different from most goods in that regard.

We encourage businesses to give us a call and discuss their sign needs. We can usually present a range of materials and for a range of budgets. Give us a call at 808-329-6077 to get started.

Local Marketing 2014: Reaching the "Unreachables"

Local Marketing 2014: Reaching the “unreachable”
I was having a chat the other day with a few friends about how much some us have become “unreachable” by traditional local advertising.
We went through a list:
Phone book? None of us would admit to open a phone book in years.
Radio? We all listen to streaming radio like Pandora or Amazon Prime, public radio or audiobooks. None of us listen to commercial radio stations.
Newspaper? Only one out of five of us subscribe to the local newspaper, and the one that does reads it in a matter minutes, just skimming for the sports scores and reading the comics.
Television? All five have unplugged from cable TV. That doesn’t mean that we are not watching TV; we all use some form streaming TV: Netflix, Hulu and others.
This is a pretty resounding rejection of the main sources of media of our fathers. We all grew up with TV, radio, newspapers and yellow pages, but none of them have any impact on us now.
So, if you’re a looking to sell your services or products to people in your community, how can you reach them?
Here are ten ways that we use in Kona, Hawaii with varying degrees of cost-effectiveness:

  1. Locally-optimized websites. If you don’t have a website optimized for local search, you’re missing a huge opportunity.
  2. Lots of positive local reviews. Encourage your satisfied clients to review you on TripAdvisor, Yelp! or Angie’s List. Solve the complaints of your unsatisfied customers. If you get a back review, learn from it!
  3. Postcard marketing. Everyone still reads their mail!
  4. Storefront and business front signage. If you have traffic going by your business’ window, you have a marketing opportunity.
  5. Vehicle advertising. Whether its magnet or cut/printed vinyl, your vehicle will be seen hundreds of times a day; make it work for you.
  6. Community involvement. Rotary, Lions, paddling clubs, etc. are how people meet and make connections. Get involved and people will notice!
  7. Farmers markets, Village Stroll, community events. Do what you can to get your name and products in front of buyers. If you sell coffee, your sales will increase if people can taste it!
  8. Hit the pavement! Get out and drop off flyers or samples to potential customers.
  9. Local advertising on Google, Facebook and Bing/Yahoo. You can limit your ad displays to your local market. Many businesses overlook the power of local online advertising.
  10. Hire a blimp. (OK, this is not a serious suggestion; just want to see if you were still reading!)

If you’re business is still stuck in the 1990s for marketing, it’s time to take a look at some new ways of reaching new customers. For certain, the number of people unreachable by traditional marketing tools is going to grow considerably in the future. Savvy business owners know this and have begun to change their marketing mix.
If you need help with your marketing mix, give us a call at 329-6077. We’ve helped hundreds of local businesses get found and grow.
local marketing

Local Marketing 2014: Reaching the “Unreachables”

Local Marketing 2014: Reaching the “unreachable”

I was having a chat the other day with a few friends about how much some us have become “unreachable” by traditional local advertising.

We went through a list:

Phone book? None of us would admit to open a phone book in years.

Radio? We all listen to streaming radio like Pandora or Amazon Prime, public radio or audiobooks. None of us listen to commercial radio stations.

Newspaper? Only one out of five of us subscribe to the local newspaper, and the one that does reads it in a matter minutes, just skimming for the sports scores and reading the comics.

Television? All five have unplugged from cable TV. That doesn’t mean that we are not watching TV; we all use some form streaming TV: Netflix, Hulu and others.

This is a pretty resounding rejection of the main sources of media of our fathers. We all grew up with TV, radio, newspapers and yellow pages, but none of them have any impact on us now.

So, if you’re a looking to sell your services or products to people in your community, how can you reach them?

Here are ten ways that we use in Kona, Hawaii with varying degrees of cost-effectiveness:

  1. Locally-optimized websites. If you don’t have a website optimized for local search, you’re missing a huge opportunity.
  2. Lots of positive local reviews. Encourage your satisfied clients to review you on TripAdvisor, Yelp! or Angie’s List. Solve the complaints of your unsatisfied customers. If you get a back review, learn from it!
  3. Postcard marketing. Everyone still reads their mail!
  4. Storefront and business front signage. If you have traffic going by your business’ window, you have a marketing opportunity.
  5. Vehicle advertising. Whether its magnet or cut/printed vinyl, your vehicle will be seen hundreds of times a day; make it work for you.
  6. Community involvement. Rotary, Lions, paddling clubs, etc. are how people meet and make connections. Get involved and people will notice!
  7. Farmers markets, Village Stroll, community events. Do what you can to get your name and products in front of buyers. If you sell coffee, your sales will increase if people can taste it!
  8. Hit the pavement! Get out and drop off flyers or samples to potential customers.
  9. Local advertising on Google, Facebook and Bing/Yahoo. You can limit your ad displays to your local market. Many businesses overlook the power of local online advertising.
  10. Hire a blimp. (OK, this is not a serious suggestion; just want to see if you were still reading!)

If you’re business is still stuck in the 1990s for marketing, it’s time to take a look at some new ways of reaching new customers. For certain, the number of people unreachable by traditional marketing tools is going to grow considerably in the future. Savvy business owners know this and have begun to change their marketing mix.

If you need help with your marketing mix, give us a call at 329-6077. We’ve helped hundreds of local businesses get found and grow.

local marketing

Support Good

Support Good

Kona Impact is as busy as it has ever been, with multiple marketing and design projects going on all the time. We’re busy, which, of course, is a good thing. That said, it sometimes makes us too busy to take a step back and see the bigger picture of life.

Life goes on around us: we see homeless people milling around the area near our office; we witness an occasional fit of rage at the intersection where cars and pedestrians nearly collide on a daily basis; sometimes we see children smoking cigarettes and other stuff out back.

The world is full of things that do (or should) make us feel a bit of dissonance between our mostly comfortable lives and the plight of others who struggle to establish or maintain a good path in life.

The other day, I was thinking of a very simple bumper sticker for my truck: Support Good. It’s a simple statement, but it makes sense: focus on what is good in life and support it however you can. It might be with time, treasure (money) or talent. It doesn’t have to consume your life, but just the act of making a few positive steps can make a difference.

Kona Impact as a business has been fortunate, because we have a lot of tools and talent that can support good. In the past month or so, we have supported the following groups through donations of resources and time:

Aloha Performing Arts Center (APAC) with a new, donated, website

Kona Parade Association with parade signage far below cost

Deep and Beyond with no cost printing

Habitat for Humanity with no cost printing

Kona Historical Society with signage

Hawaii Island HIV/AIDs Foundation with free signage for their Taste of Life benefit

Hospice of Kona with sign donations for Camp Erin

Truth be told, Kona Impact is asked almost daily for donations of time, materials or money. We can’t support every group, nor do we want to. Our giving is very strategic in that we support organizations that meet these four criteria:

  1. Extremely well run. We want our resources to go to groups that are efficient and run very well. We know the leadership of each of these groups and know them to be stellar in the execution of their goals.
  2. Local. We never give money to off-island causes as a matter of policy. We want our donations to make the lives of people in Kona better.
  3. “Needy” groups. By this, we mean we tend to support groups run on a shoestring budget. Habitat and Hospice are the exceptions to this rule.
  4. Impact. We know that donated marketing services and products are multipliers for these groups. They help them raise more resources, improve their awareness in the community and recruit volunteers.

As we move into the second half of 2014, we look forward to keeping busy with paid accounts, while at the same time continuing to support good in our community. We are always optimistic about what the future brings for business in Kona and our community. Kona Impact has always been a business that had dual goals: helping businesses grow, while at the same time strengthening what is good in our community to ensure that it is a vibrant and comfortable place to live.

Support good.

 

Is Hawaii the Land of Oz for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses?

“Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore” Dorothy, girl lost in the Land of Oz

“The more things changes, the more they stay the same.” Alphonse Karr, French novelist

There is a constant pull, a tug of war, between the sides that argue Hawaii is a unique land, a place like no other, and Hawaii is a fundamentally like any other place to do business.

The truth is somewhere in between; that is, there are some unique aspects to business in Hawaii, and, for certain, most of the normal best practices found elsewhere tend to be apropos.

Here, are three “Land of Oz” business issues in Hawaii

  1. Hawaii receives an “F” for friendliness to small business. in a recent study by Thumbtack and the Kauffman Foundation. Much has been said about burdensome regulations, high taxes and employer obligations in Hawaii. Hawaii receives an “F” for its convoluted tax code and the onerous General Excise Tax. It is one of four states to receive an “F.” It is one of four states to receive an “F” for regulations. This is the reality of business in Hawaii.
  2. Personal networks often trump sound business decisions. These connections might come from shared ancestry–Asian, Hawaiian and Caucasian–or through shared educational connections– Kamehameha, Punahou and Iolani or through geographic ties (i.e., born here vs. “flew here”). These undercurrents are often unspoken, but they are very real and salient. You might not be able to break into certain parts of business or government just because of who you are.
  3. There are strong interest groups who often guide public discourse. Some Native Hawaiian groups are very effective at halting or greatly slowing down developments based on historical and cultural grounds. Environmentalist groups are very adept at using their voice and the court system to block developments, including the now-defunct inter-island ferry. Public unions for teachers and police have been very successful in ensuring a lack of change and strong union protections. No value judgments here, but a business owner needs to understand that there are many interest groups that can affect one’s ability to do business. Understanding these groups and working with them, when possible, can make a huge difference in the success or failure of an idea or project.

What is someone to do if they are thinking about starting a business in Hawaii?

The simple answer is to do a lot of research and know the lay of the land, so to speak. Talk to potential customers or clients, scope out your competitors. See what government permits are necessary and try to figure out what groups might be opposed to what you plan to do.

Make alliances with those who are likely to support you, including potential suppliers or others that might benefit from your business. Join groups of like-minded business leaders, including a Rotary club or your local Chamber of Commerce. Make connections through membership in a church, a sports club, a gym or a networking club.

Above all, set reasonable expectations and don’t be discouraged by things you can’t control. Thousands of thriving businesses exist in Hawaii; if you would like to be one of them, give us a call at Kona Impact 808-329-6077). We offer design and marketing solutions to small and medium-size businesses in Hawaii.

hawaii-receives-an-f

Mistakes are Unavoidable: How to Avoid Them

I used to start each university class by writing, “make misstakes” on the board. The misspelling was intentional. I wanted to encourage my Japanese students to push themselves to the extent that they would make mistakes. I would tell them that making mistakes in writing shows you are expanding your skills, and, when identified by a fellow student or the professor, mistakes are a great way to learn.

Now that I run a business, I still expect mistakes, for making mistakes is how we learn about to innovate and offer new products to our customers.

Careless mistakes, however, are the bane of design and marketing companies. For example, sending a file to a printer with a typo or misspelling is like throwing money out the window.

Over the years, we have developed procedures and policies to avoid the (costly) mistakes. They include:

  • Requiring client approval, even if the last change was just adding a comma, before anything is printed
  • Requiring review of all products by at least two sets of eyes Kona Impact prior to finalizing
  • List of procedures for all equipment use
  • Regular meetings to discuss mistakes we have made and how we can prevent them
  • A culture of accepting mistakes as learning opportunities
  • Keeping equipment is proper working order
  • Replacing cutting blades frequently. This is a big way to reduce cutting mistakes

In the end, mistakes are often made when employees or clients are in a rush, unfocused or simply not attentive to their work. Find ways to help employees overcome these issues, and careless mistakes will decrease.

And, yes, the inspiration for today’s blog came from my lunch today:

no tomato please

No Tomato, Please!