Calling Sacramento Start-Ups

The “Start-up Hustle Incubator” is coming to the Sacramento region from Oct. 1 to Nov. 12, 2015.

Apply now if you have a concept for a business and want to hustle for six weeks to turn your dream into a going concern.

Hacker Lab in partnership with Sierra College in Rocklin will help teams join a community of entrepreneurs and get incredible support to accelerate their success.

Winners will receive prizes to support the business launch.

Go to and apply by the Sept. 24, 2015 deadline.

Participants will ‘hack’ their start-up by hustling to test ideas and build a business model in six weeks. Teams can have one to five members, all of whom should plan on committing 15 hours per week to the new venture during the competition. It can be any kind of business but applicants should be ready to demonstrate how their ideas benefit society.

Teams will benefit from start-up resources to guide them, including mentorship, community connections, education and a proven start-up process. The winner will pitch the start-up to investors and win legal, financial, accounting and marketing services.

The group is seeking mentors to provide advice during the six week hustle. The City of Rocklin and Golden Sierra Job Training Agency are also sponsors of the event.

To learn how you can apply, or be a sponsor and mentor, go to or email: Find out more:

What should you include in your brochure?

Although websites are now the most common way to describe what your company does for your customers, there is still a place for brochures in your bouquet of marketing tactics.

Produce an attractive brochure for your business and you can use it in the following ways:

  • Hand them out at tradeshows
  • Leave it behind after a sales call
  • Send the brochure as an introduction
  • Include it with follow-up materials

Working in the Sacramento region, people frequently ask me what information should be included in a brochure. It is much more than just a pretty blossom that shows off what your company does. An effective brochure may plant the seed of a long term business relationship that will generate profits for many years to come.

An effective brochure should make it easy for a prospective customer to learn what you do best to help your clients. In addition to giving your organization credibility, it should spur the reader to action, confident that your company is ideally suited to meet their needs. Just a beautiful flower begs you to lean over to sample the scent, your brochure should entice people to learn more about the benefits of doing business with you.

Some of the key components of a brochure include:

  1. An attention grabbing headline, enticing the reader to open the brochure and learn more
  2. Your logo on the front and back
  3. Your website and contact information, usually on the back
  4. An introductory statement that summarizes your primary way of serving your customers
  5. At least three benefits that your clients enjoy as a result of working with your firm
  6. Testimonials from satisfied customers demonstrating the results your company achieved for them
  7. More detailed summary of your main services
  8. Subheads that give the reader an idea what the detailed section will include
  9. Photos or graphics that help the reader understand what you do
  10. Data, facts or other results to support your marketing claims and to induce readers to take action
  11. White space makes it easier for prospects to digest your message because it provides a visual break and prevents you from putting in so much text in that reader becomes fatigued

At Marketing Action, Inc. we are often asked to write a brochure as a first project. It is a great way to get started working with a marketing consultant. The exercise of thinking from a customer’s perspective, identifying unique benefits and explaining what the company does often becomes the cornerstone of future marketing tactics.

Additionally, when you are busy running a business, you have so much knowledge, that it is difficult to boil it down to a few key points in a brochure. That is where the marketing consultant can help hone down masses of content into a few key benefit statements.

Use a professional designer to create the graphics and layout for your brochure. The visual appeal is just as important as the words you use to describe your business.

Quality paper and printing are the last steps in creating a brochure that represents your business. A professional graphic designer is essential to providing high resolution artwork that meets the printers’ specifications. Ensure that the final product is a brochure that you can be proud to hand out by working with professionals who are experienced in producing exceptional brochures.

In nature, beautiful flowers attract bees so that the species can be propagated. In marketing, an attractive brochure can be a credible introduction that may bloom into a long-term profitable business partnership. (The flower photo was taken in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Northern California.)

Photos Step up Marketing Impact

Now more than ever before it is important to take photos to enhance your promotion efforts. As a consultant, I am frequently asked, “What are some of the low cost ways to improve a company’s marketing efforts?” Both snap shots taken from your phone and professional photographs have a role in increasing the impact of your communication efforts.

Your Twitter and Facebook posts will be more interesting if you include a photo. Approximately 65% of your viewers are visual learners so photos enhance their experience when looking at your materials. Adding an image makes your efforts a lot more eye-catching than text alone. When you are limited to a few words, the picture can also help tell your story.

For social media and blog posts, a photo taken with your phone is a fast and easy way to capture what is happening. After taking a few photos while attending an event, you can send them on-the-spot to your social media accounts. The photo not only captures attention, it may persuade people go a step further and click on a link to read more.

You should invest in hiring a professional photographer to collect visually appealing, high resolution photos that you can use as the main banners on your website and in your brochures. Quality photography is a must when images are enlarged on tradeshow displays and billboards. If you arrange to have photos taken, your images will be unique and reflect your branding.

If you don’t have the budget for a professional photographer, there are many low cost options to access stock images that you can purchase as you need them or pay a monthly fee to download images regularly for your materials. Be sure that you are getting royalty free images. Avoid the temptation to use images that you find online because you do not have permission to use them.

When you use photos in your blog posts and on your website, remember to rename the photos to better explain what the photo features rather than the number automatically supplied by your camera. You can also add alternative text or Alt Txt to your photo that is a more detailed description. This makes it easier for people with disabilities identify the image and can also help with Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Carry your camera with you or use the camera on your phone to capture interesting images that you may use in the future to boost the effectiveness of your marketing action.

CEO’s Tell All — Transforming with Continuous Improvement

Presidents and top managers will gather on Thursday, Nov. 14 at 6 PM in Lincoln, CA at the Orchard Creek Lodge to share their experiences implementing Continuous Improvement. Go to the Continuous Improvement Network (CIN) web site to learn more about the Executive Forum on Organizational Transformation through Continuous Improvement.

Many of the presenters from the Sacramento region have experience using lean and process improvement methods to transform their companies. Part of their success was due to the support from other executives located in Northern California who are involved in the Continuous Improvement Network. In this interactive format, all participants will be encouraged to tell about their challenges and successes, and gather input from others.

If your business is using or considering embarking on the Continuous Improvement “journey,” membership in the not-for-profit employer group that formed in 2011 may be a a valuable resource for you. The Continuous Improvement Network also offers tours of members’ facilities and share employee training. Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies is a training partner with the CIN.

New Blue Goose Brochure Created

The South Placer Heritage Foundation (SPHF) that owns the Blue Goose Event Center in Loomis recently worked with Marketing Action to create a new brochure.

Lana Greenan, Board Member and Marketing Chair, SPHF said that she appreciated the quality of the new marketing piece and the process of working with Karen Fraser-Middleton at Marketing Action.

“Karen’s ability to understand our needs moved the project along quickly,” said Greenan. “Her communication skills and marketing savvy combined with follow through took us to a new level to broaden our marketing efforts. Karen can keep everyone on target and focused. She motivated me with her professionalism mixed with a great sense of humor.”

Smithtonian Graphic Design and Daryl Stinchfield Photography collaborated with Marketing Action on this project. Learn more about booking an event at

Sierra College trains Vets in CCC for Energy Jobs

Sierra College CACT announced: “Veterans who served as medics, ammunition specialists and security forces are transitioning to civilian employment as the result of a Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT) and California Conservation Corps (CCC) partnership. Nine veterans who are on the CCC crew [were] awarded Energy Technology and Lighting Systems Completion Certificates from Sierra College CACT” on January 20, 2012.

Read More:

Auburn Journal:

Marketing Action is honored to be part of the team working on this collaboration to put veterans to work in skilled jobs.

Increase Capacity without Adding Costs April 5/6

Is your company struggling to meet increased demand with limited staff? If your organization is missing deadlines or has a backlog of unfilled orders, this workshop on how to Increase Capacity without Adding Costs will help you improve capabilities to meet customers’ needs. Learn how to apply Value Stream Mapping tools to use existing assets more effectively.

Discover ways to boost your profits at this Increase Capacity without Adding Costs workshop on applying Lean Value Stream Mapping tools. Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT), offers this training at the Gateway Campus, 333 Sunrise Rm. 123 in Roseville from 8:30 to 4:30 on April 5 & 6. Jes Vargas, DPMG Corp. and CACT Trainer is the presenter. The fee is $50. Learn more at

Using this mapping tool, one company discovered that it took 23 days to do three minutes of work. Another saved $800,000 revamping cell phone contracts and policies. The most common time wasters are redundancy, unnecessary steps, waiting for material and information, and redoing work because information is missing. Value Stream Mapping enables employees to look in depth at current business activities, depict what’s happening visually and make changes that increase capacity to meet demand using existing resources.

At this workshop, learn how to draw a picture of what is happening and identify improvements:

  • Look in detail at each step of a specific business process
  • Diagram what happens and who works on it
  • Show bottlenecks and wait times
  • Gather data on how much time each action takes
  • Distinguish the steps that add value for the customer and those that don’t

A Sacramento firm used Value Stream Mapping to review an accounting process. Employees discovered that they spent time on scanning, printing, creating duplicates and filing documents that contained information that was stored on computers. They used Value Stream Mapping to reduce six steps to three, cut the process time in half and save over 250 hours annually.

Gain a competitive advantage by attending this interactive workshop with industry examples:

  • Learn how Value Stream Mapping works and how to apply it
  • Identify methods for gathering data, timing activities and showing steps on a process map
  • Experience making Value Stream Maps that reflect the current situation and desired state
  • Use maps to engage employees, support initiatives and link waste to cost savings

For information and to sign up, go to the Sierra College Training & Development web site,, call (916) 660-7801 or email