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Shivering your business timbers

Who dressed YOU?
Creative Commons License photo credit: juhansonin

Today is Talk like a Pirate Day (TLAPD).

In honor of such a fine day, a few thoughts, er I mean… Aye, what would a pirate do t’ strenghen your business today? A pence for an old man o’de sea?

First, how about sliding over to Mashable and look at their tips for celebrating Talk like a Pirate Day… and then come back here for some pirate advice before you get business scurvy, matey.

Great ideas for celebrating the day, but bummer – your business is open on September 19 every year. Now what?

Wasn’t that awesome Mashable post a great example? Mashable is a tech news blog. See how they took TLAPD and turned it into their own – while doing exactly what they do best?

Yes, it’s your turn.

So…what can you do to (here it comes *again*) use the news (calendarrrr, whateverrrr) to make your business stand out on this fine, fun day?

Maybe by the time you see this, it’s too late.

Let me help: Put it in your appointment calendar for August 19. Make it recurring on an annual reminder. Type this: “Plan Sept 19 Talk Like A Pirate Day promotion.

Yarrr, some examples

“But Mark, our business doesn’t have anything to do with pirates…” (Yes, I *can* hear you saying that)


OK, some examples are in order to get your creative juices flowing.

Maybe you make custom coffee mugs for the day that you only use on Talk Like a Pirate Day. Or you order a gross of them for cheap and give them away with today’s purchases. Of course, the mugs will have a silly pirate image, your phone number, URL, etc.

If you own a boat store, raise the pirate flag, silly. Dress everyone up like a pirate, or have some temps come in and dress up like pirates. You of all people should be able to hit this one out of the, uh, dungeon.

Own a lingerie store? If you can’t see some great ideas to get publicity using TLAPD and some temp models, you really need a cuppa joe:)  Hint: Imagine it was Talk like a French Maid Day. Now translate that to pirate.

Run a computer store? What a great time to have a “Bring your computer in and scan it for pirates (ie: spyware etc) Day”. Or to have an event that educates your clients about software piracy (find a smart way, please), or similar.

Develop software? What a GREAT day to offer amnesty to anyone who pirated your software and is ready to come clean. They liked it enough to steal it and keep using it, now they’re convinced that they have right product. Help them buy. Don’t embarrass them.

Do you run blood drives? Put your “I donated” stickers on toy eye patches. You can get half a million of them for $3 at Oriental Trading (well, close) or make them yourselves (a fun event for kids). Dress everyone up. Don’t be so boring. It’s just blood.

No matter what you do, make a fuss…matey.

Promote your event far and wide, have some fun with it, dress up your staff or those temps I mentioned and be that purple cow.

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6 month old raises awareness for CPSIA

CPSIA makes me mad!Over Christmas, my grandpa told me all about the CPSIA. Big people probably know it as the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.

Do you have any idea how long it took me to learn to say that without messing it up? Those are big words for a 6 month old, even a cute one like me.

I learned the big words from my grandpa. He came to see me over Christmas and I overheard him talking to my great-grandpa about this new law.

When they talk while they’re holding me, I look up at them and bat my big blue eyes. It makes them talk funny to me. When they go back to their conversation they think I’m not paying attention, but I am.

I could tell you their checking account numbers, but I wont. We girls know everything about our men – even the grandpas.

The CPSIA is like a poopy diaper that’s leaking around the edges. It irritates my bottom and it gets all over everything. It gives me a world-class case of diaper rash. So bad that not even Gold Bond medicated powder makes it feel better.

Why the poopy diaper?

Well, my grandpa gave me lots of reasons to be cranky by talking to great-grandpa about the CPSIA when I was in the room. He said they forgot to think about the nice mommy who sits at home and takes care of her kids. In her spare time, she made my little homemade baby booties.

He also told my great-grandpa about all the other moms who make nice stuff for babies like me. Pretty dresses, books, booties, furniture, and a whole bunch of things for older kids like my cousin Daniel.

Grandpa talks about XRF

Grandpa made me laugh, but I didn’t let him notice. He only thinks I can smile right now. I heard him talking about all the things that small retailers and kids product makers could do to get attention from important people about this CPSIA thing.

A couple of his ideas sounded like good ways to get the local media interested in the CPSIA. He said they really like stories with irony. I’m not sure what irony is, but hey, I’m only 6 months old.

Grandpa said the press likes stories about politicians. I like it when grandpa tells me stories. There’s always nice people and animals in them. Politicians must be nice people if the press likes stories about them.

One idea he talked about was getting someone to use a XRF scanner to test all the kid toys in the gift shops in the Senate office building, House, Smithsonian and other Federal buildings that tourists like to visit.

Another idea I heard him talking about was getting a Senator to pose for a video or photo while giving a flag to a young kid – and then testing the flag with that XRF thing. He sure says “XRF” a lot these days.

It sounded like the thought he wouldn’t be able to take the XRF thing into those fancy buildings, but he said they could just buy some stuff inside, walk out front and test them while on video. He said to be sure and have some local press on the scene.

He didn’t explain what all that XRF stuff meant, so I urped on him just to remind him to explain everything. A girl has to know what her grandpa is up to.

Grandpa’s meeting

After he cleaned up the spitup, grandpa talked about what to do in a meeting of people who weren’t aware of CPSIA. He said something about a chamber of commerce meeting. At the beginning of his meeting, everyone in the room is sitting down having lunch. One at a time, they stand and introduce themselves, then they sit back down.

When he got up to introduce himself, he asked for the group’s patience to go through a quick exercise.

He asked them these questions:

  • If you make or sell toys, shoes or clothing for kids, please stand up.
  • If you write, illustrate, sell or distribute books, please stand up.
  • If you make or sell diapers or diaper covers, please stand up.
  • If you make or sell home furnishings, bean bag chairs, bedding, cribs or anything else for a child’s bedroom, playroom or nursery, please stand up.
  • If you work in a library, please stand up.
  • If you sell used childrens’ books printed before 1985, please stand up.
  • If you have a gift shop in your hotel, campground, resort or bed and breakfast, please stand up.
  • If you create, sell or rent outdoor gear or backpacks for kids under 12, please stand up.
  • If you create or sell jewelry or accessories for kids, please stand up.
  • If you create, illustrate, make music for, sell or rent electronics or video games, please stand up.
  • If you run an antique store that sells anything for kids under 12, like toys and clothes, please stand up.
  • If you write, publish, sell or distribute school supplies, educational materials or science kits, please stand up.

He pointed at the group standing and said, “All these people are affected by the new children’s product safety law”, noting that he had left some brief info on their lunch tables to look at after the meeting.

He told them that as of Feb 10 if they had anything in their stores that didn’t have a CPSIA compliance certificate, they could be fined $100k for selling non-compliant items – even if they were already in inventory before Feb 10th.

I’m not sure what that inventory thing is, but it sounds expensive. I need to ask for one when I learn to talk. Grandpa loves to buy me stuff.

The other shoe drops

Grandpa’s questions got worse. He asked everyone in the room to look around at the people standing.

He said “If you have a client, dealer or a supplier standing, stand up and join them.”  Next he said, “Look at all the people standing. If they or any of their employees spend money at your business, please stand up.”

Then he told them that everyone who wasn’t standing probably wasn’t affected by the CPSIA – except that all the people standing might have a lot less money to spend around town because of the impact of CPSIA testing and compliance.

Finally he said “If you have any questions, see me after the meeting”, thanked the group for their cooperation, and sat down.

That’s how I remember it, but I was kind of distracted by a bottle when he was talking to great-grandpa.

Small business colic

I’m so colic-y about the CPSIA, I just wanna spit up all over the people who voted this in without thinking about all the moms who stay home with their little kids and make pretty dresses and things for girls like me.

PS: No, I’m not 6 months old in that photo, are you kidding? I’m so much bigger now. My grandpa really likes that picture. It’s from back when I was 2 months old, just a baby, not a big girl like I am now.