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Go anywhere you want in life as long as it's forward.

{Courtesy of Nancy Roach, CFP®, ChSNc®, The Prudential Insurance Company of America}

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Invention of the Stapler

The first known stapler was made in the 18th century in France for King Louis XV. Each staple was inscribed with the insignia of the royal court, as required. The growing uses of paper in the 19th century created a demand for an efficient paper fastener.McGill_Stapler

 In 1866, George McGill received U.S. patent 56,587 for a small, bendable brass paper fastener that was a precursor to the modern staple. In 1867, he received U.S. patent 67,665 for a press to insert the fastener into paper. He showed his invention at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and continued to work on these and other various paper fasteners throughout the 1880s. In 1868 a patent was also taken out for a stapler in England by C.H.Gould. As well, also in 1868, Albert Kletzker of St. Louis, MO patented a device to staple paper.

In 1877 Henry R. Heyl filed patent number 195,603 for the first machines to both insert and clinch a staple in one step, and for this reason some consider him the inventor of the modern stapler. In 1876 and 1877 Heyl also filed patents for the Novelty Paper Box Manufacturing Co of Philadelphia,PA, However, the N. P. B. Manufacturing Co.’s inventions were to be used to staple boxes and books.

The first machine to hold a magazine of many pre-formed staples came out in 1878.

On February 18, 1879, George McGill received patent 212,316 for the McGill Single-Stroke Staple Press, the first commercially successful stapler. This device weighed over two and a half pounds and loaded a single 1/2 inch wide wire staple, which it could drive through several sheets of paper.

The first published use of the word “stapler” to indicate a machine for fastening papers with a thin metal wire was in an advertisement in the American Munsey’s Magazine in 1901.

In the early 1900s, several devices were developed and patented that punched and folded papers to attach them to each other without a metallic clip. The Clipless Stand Machine (made in North Berwick) sold from 1909 into the 1920s. It cut a tongue in the paper that it folded back and tucked in. Bump’s New Model Paper Fastener used a similar cutting and weaving technology.

Modern staplers continue to evolve and adapt to the changing habits of users. Less-effort, or easy-squeeze / use staplers, for example, make use of different leverage efficiencies to reduce the amount of force the user need apply. As a result, these staplers tend to be used in work environments where repetitive, large stapling jobs are routine.

Some modern desktop staplers make use of Flat Clinch technology. With Flat Clinch staplers, the staple legs first pierce the paper and are then bent over and pressed absolutely flat against the paper – doing away with the two-setting anvil commonly used and making use of a recessed stapling base in which the legs are folded. Accordingly, staples do not have sharper edges exposed and lead to flatter stacking of paper – saving on filing and binder spaceMilton + stapler

In 2012, $80 million worth of staplers were sold in the US. The dominant US manufacturer is Swingline.

In fact, a red Swingline stapler was one of the stars of the 1999 movie Office Space. At a company called Initech, long-suffering Milton constantly has his Swingline “taken back” – a running gag throughout the film, including at the end when the main character Peter (Ron Livingston) finds the charred remains of Milton’s beloved stapler after a fire destroys Initech HQ.

WORKFACT WEDNESDAY: Top 10 Employability Skills

{excerpted from an article at American Job Center Network}

  1. Communication skills — Listening, speaking and writing. Employers want people who can accurately interpret what others are saying and organize and express their thoughts clearly.
  2. Teamwork — In today’s work environment, many jobs involve working in one or more groups. Employers want someone who can bring out the best in others.
  3. Analytical and problem-solving skills — Employers want people who can use creativity, reasoning and past experiences to identify and solve problems effectively.
  4. Personal management skills — The ability to plan and manage multiple assignments and tasks, set priorities and adapt to changing conditions and work assignments.
  5. Interpersonal effectiveness — Employers usually note whether an employee can relate to co-workers and build relationships with others in the organization.
  6. Computer/technical literacy — Although employers expect to provide training on job-specific software, they also expect employees to be proficient with basic computer skills.
  7. Leadership/management skills — The ability to take charge and manage your co-workers, if required, is a welcome trait. Most employers look for signs of leadership qualities.
  8. Learning skills — Jobs are constantly changing and evolving, and employers want people who can grow and learn as changes come.
  9. Academic competence in reading and math — Although most jobs don’t require calculus, almost all jobs require the ability to read and comprehend  instructions and perform basic math.
  10. Strong work values — Dependability, honesty, selfconfidence and a positive attitude are prized qualities in any profession. Employers look for personal integrity.

TIP TUESDAY: 7 Marketing & Business Resolutions

By Rieva Lesonsky, Guest Blogger, https://www.sba.gov/blogs/

What can your small business do differently in 2018 to boost the results of your marketing efforts? Here are seven marketing resolutions every entrepreneur should make for the coming year.

1. Resolve to build relationships with customers. Consumers and B2B buyers alike have seemingly endless options for purchasing almost any product or service they could possibly want. With so much “noise” out there, how can your small business hope to stand out? By targeting your most valuable prospects and customers—those who aren’t just hunting for a bargain, but want lasting relationships with the companies they do business with. Find out what customers want and need, then personalize your marketing to help build relationships.

2. Resolve to understand the customer journey better. Customer journey mapping is growing in importance for 2018. Essentially, this means figuring out how your customers get to the point of buying your product. Where do they first learn about your business? How do they research products like yours? Whose opinion influences their purchasing decision? How long does it take them to make up their minds? Your website, tools for managing customer relationships, and social media analytics can help you visualize the customer journey so you can reach out to customers at the times they’re most likely to take action. (See Resolution No. 3 below.)

3. Resolve to take content marketing to the next level. That doesn’t mean churning out more and more content, but instead crafting better content. For example, your understanding of the customer journey will help you come up with content that answers your prospects’ most common questions at each stage of the process. Just 41 percent of marketers create marketing content based on specific stages of the customer journey, according to a recent study; doing so will give you a huge advantage. You should also target content to specific types of customers.

4. Resolve to learn more about micro-influencers. “Influencers” are celebrities, athletes, and other people with huge social media followings. For most of us, it’s not realistic we’ll get our businesses on the radar of Kim Kardashian or Selena Gomez. That’s why the rise of micro-influencers is such good news for small businesses. Micro-influencers are people with small, but devoted, fan bases—for example, a fashion blogger that your target customers love, or a local musician with a big following. MDG Advertising cites micro-influencers as one of 2018’s top marketing trends, and getting micro-influencers to review, mention, or share your product or service online can really boost your sales.

5. Resolve to harness the potential of email marketing. It’s hard to believe, but only 27 percent of small business owners currently use an email marketing service, according to Infusionsoft’s latest Small Business Marketing Trends Report. Email may be old hat, but it’s the best way to speak directly to prospects one-on-one. Plus, with the number of e-mail users in the U.S. projected to grow to 254.7 million by 2020, up from 244.5 million in 2018, email isn’t going away any time soon. If you’re not using email marketing, make 2018 the year you start. If you are, make sure you’re taking advantage of transactional emails, segmenting and personalizing emails, and monitoring your email analytics to continuously improve. Use eye-catching design and fun features like gifs, videos, or surveys to make your emails stand out.

6. Resolve to make time for marketing. According to a survey by Infusionsoft, more than one in five small business owners say their biggest challenge is finding enough time to properly market their business. There are two ways to make time: 1) Block it off on your calendar and treat it as sacred and 2) automate as much of your marketing as you can, using tools like email autoresponders, social media scheduling and CRM software.

7. Resolve to stay up-to-date on marketing technology. Artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality and voice search are just a few of the technology trends that will transform marketing in 2018. More than two-thirds (68 percent) of marketing executives in a recent survey say they will spend more on marketing technology in 2018. If you’re uncertain which tools will work best for your business, connect with industry associations, marketing consultants, other business owners or SBA resource partners like SCORE, Small Business Development Centers or Women’s Business Centers for assistance.

The tools we use to market our businesses change, but the basic principles of marketing don’t. Your prospects still want to know that you care about them, understand their needs, and are ready to solve their problems. If you’ve got those elements in place, you’re well on your way to a successful 2018.

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and President of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow Rieva at Twitter.com/Rieva and visit SmallBizDaily.com to sign up for her free TrendCast reports. She’s been covering small business and entrepreneurial issues for more than 30 years, is the author of several books about entrepreneurship and was the editorial director of Entrepreneur magazine for over two decades.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

MLK 2