KOI ZEN CELLARS CRUSHES IT THIS SEASON WITH 45 TONS OF GRAPES Recent Mega Expansion of Winery Includes 300-Gallon Live Koi Pond

(SAN DIEGO)(OCTOBER 2017) — It’s crushing season at Koi Zen Cellars and that means 45 tons of varietal grapes will be selected for crushing from the best vineyards in California  taking place now through the middle of November.  The craft winery sources their grapes from California’s central coast and northern areas including Santa Barbara, Paso Robles, Sonoma, Napa, Lake County, and inland areas such as Sierra Foothills and Lodi.

“Our philosophy is to select the best grapes from the best vineyards in the best regions for each varietal and allow the fruit to express its individual character,” explains Lisa Miller, co-owner of Koi Zen Cellars.  “All of our wines are approachable, enjoyable and ready to drink when we release them.  They can easily be paired with food or enjoyed by themselves with good friends and great times.”

Koi Zen Cellars recently more than doubled its tasting room and production area to also include a 300-gallon live Koi pond.  The expansion includes updated equipment, more barrels and large fermentation tanks to help the winery stay ahead of consumer demand.  This season the winery will triple its wine production to about 3,200 cases. The wines produced today will be on the shelves in about 2 years.  Their red wines are aged in French Oak barrels for a minimum of 10 months although they typically spend 2 years in barrel before they are bottled.

Koi Zen Cellars performs a variety of tasks to secure the grapes which includes sending their  macro bins to the fields for each vineyard team to pick the grapes, followed by de-stemming, fermenting, pressing, aging, fining, racking, bottling, cellaring and serving in the tasting room.  “Due to our small hand-crafted philosophy, we care for the grapes and wine every step of the way continually trying our best to improve our quality,” says Miller.

This season, the winery has contracted for seven batches of grapes to include: Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles along with Syrah and Petite Sirah; Merlot and Cabernet Franc from Happy Canyon in Santa Barbara; Malbec grapes from Ballard Canyon; and, Chardonnay sourced from Santa Maria. Each batch is between 5 and 6 tons each — equivalent to the weight of a full grown elephant.

According to Miller, Mother Nature dictates when the grapes are ready for picking.  When they are ready, the Koi Zen Cellars crew springs into action by arriving at the vineyards early in the morning when it is dark and cool. As soon as the fruit is picked, they race back to the winery to begin processing.  Often this means that they awake and processing for 36 to 48 hours for each batch.

For a peak at this year’s crush activities, visit Koi Zen Cellars on YouTube at (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuFKTLimniY95z5tC3it7PA/featured).

ABOUT KOI ZEN CELLARS

Koi Zen Cellars is San Diego’s unique uncork, sip back and relax craft winery and was just named Best Local Winery by the San Diego Union-Tribunes’ Readers Poll. Producing more than 3,000 bottles of specialty wines each year, the winery is also available as a distinctive space to generate creativity, team bonding, goal setting, and client appreciation events. Koi Zen regularly hosts wine fundraisers (they give back part of the tasting fee and % of sales), private events such as birthday and anniversary parties. They also offer creative classes such as wine and paint, wine and succulents while their most popular activities are their curated tastings.  Wine enthusiasts are encouraged to check the Koi Zen Cellars’ website calendar for currents events such as live music concerts and open mike nights.

 

Koi Zen’s hours of operation are:  Tues: 4-8pm (starting in September), Wed – Thurs 2-8pm, Fri-Sat 12-9pm, and Sun 12-6pm.  The tasting room is open for tastings of wine with no reservations required.   To learn more about Koi Zen Cellars, visit www.KoiZenCellars.com or call 858-381-CORK (2675). ###

“San Diego Dreaming” THEME WEDDING PARTY EXPO ON SUNDAY, July 30, 2017

Couture Fashion Shows, Live Performances, Designer Fashion Shows Jana Ann Couture,  Designer Appearance, Multi Designer Fashion show with Badgley Mischka, Israeli Designer Limor Rosen, and Demetrios plus a Men’s Fashion Show by Friar Tux.

–Every bride wants to be chic on her special day and what better way is there to make “chic” happen than to attend the elegant Wedding Party EXPO? Themed “San Diego Dream Wedding” the next Wedding Party EXPO is set for Sunday, July 30, 2017 at the vintage setting Venues at Liberty Station, 2875 Dewey Road, San Diego, California 92106 from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

This Show will be featured in three beautiful areas that will include:
• Beautiful wedding fashion shows on the runway will showcase the latest in bridal gown fashions in a multi designer fashion show with multiple designers looks from Elle Bridal Boutique and Brides by Demetrios from 2:00 to 3:00 pm
• Attendees will not want to miss an exclusive designer runway fashion show featuring Designer Jana Ann Couture’s exquisite bridal gown creations at 4:00 p.m.
• For the boys we have a multi-designer show of the latest in men’s fashion by Friar Tux on the runway from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm.
• Bella Beverage Catering is sponsoring a cocktail lounge area with delicious drinks to taste and demonstrations on “Signature Cocktails to Match your Event”.

• The show has numerous custom lounges by Rustic Events where attendees can relax and take in all the ideas for their special day, play games, enjoy a cocktail or the fashion show VIP area.

A dynamic and fashionable event, The Wedding Party EXPO brings engaged couples, coordinators, and professionals together to one beautiful location for an amazing EXPO experience totally unlike large, impersonal bridal expos. Creative, stylish and fun, each show is held at one of San Diego’s most beautiful wedding locations. It allows engaged couples and event planners to enjoy wine tasting, tasty hors d’ouevres, pies and cakes, a couture fashion show, mini-make overs by top beauty salons, wedding design tips by local experts and resources like Elle Bridal Boutique, Tim Otto Photography, Jana Ann Couture, California Cuisine, Verbena Catering, Friar Tux, Cravory Cookies, RSVP Weddings, San Diego Style Weddings Magazine, Bella Beverage Catering, Something Bleu Bridal Boutique, Elite British DJ, Flour Power Cakery, Kirstin Burrow Photography, Williams Sonoma, Eccentric Bakers.

Designer Jana Ann Couture will be personally showcasing her dresses in an exclusive premiere fashion show and meet-and-greet at San Diego Wedding Party Expo!

Jana Ann is a favorite on TLC’s popular bridal gown show Curvy Brides, and whether it’s a shapely gown, a gown from her popular destination collection or her timely modesty collection, Jana Ann makes every bride look and feel special.

Featured in the multi-designer fashion show at 2:00 to 3:00 pm is Elle Bridal Boutique who carries a hand-curated collection of la crème de la crème in bridal gown designers. Founded by Krystel Tien, this French inspired salon carries lightweight silks, lace, chiffon, and hand-embroidered detailing, all of which will be shown on the runway. Showing the ever fabulous Badgley Mischka and hot new Israeli designer Limor Rosen you won’t want to miss this show.

This Show will also feature an amazing hand-picked selection of the area’s finest wedding services and products including: top designer gowns, tuxedos, gift registry, fashion accessories, photographers, videographers, honeymoon destinations, musicians, florists, officiants, caterers, coordinators, jewelers, makeup and hair stylists, a great selection of the absolute finest local ceremony and reception venues and more.

The Wedding Party EXPO’s behind-the-scenes show production continues its proud tradition of going green with an online show program, emailing event tickets, offering brides reusable bags and encouraging attendees to carpool. To purchase discounted advance tickets, visit www.SanDiegoWeddingParty.com. Tickets are $20 each at the door but advance tickets are for sale for half price on the website.
All tickets include hors d’oeuvres, wine tasting, fashion shows, design contests and more. Children under 5 are free, 5-12 are half price day-of only.
Upgraded VIP tickets are available for $50 and include reserved VIP front row fashion show seating, fabric swag bag with lots of goodies and gifts valued at over $150 [one swag bag per VIP package for bride only].

About The Wedding Party EXPO:
Founded by Pamela Ann Noxon, a local wedding professional since 1996, SanDiegoWedding.com and The Wedding Party EXPO were created in 1998 as a fresh new resource for helping brides and grooms plan their San Diego wedding event. From her experience in helping behind-the-scenes with more than 500 weddings, Ms. Noxon saw firsthand how vastly different wedding services and products were in terms of their integrity, style and professionalism. SanDiegoWedding.com and The Wedding Party EXPO introduce couples to the right wedding services, products and vendors for their wedding.

For more information on SanDiegoWeddingParty.com and The Wedding Party EXPO, consult the website at: www.sandiegoweddingparty.com or call 760-635-1120. ## ###

42nd Wedding Party Expo on Sunday, April 23, 2017 at Hyatt Mission Bay Resort

Couture Fashion Shows, Live Performances, Ultimate Cake Taste Test Challenge, Bridal Gown Designer Appearances, Wedding Experts Galore

(San Diego) – Style is important to every bride and groom. At the 42nd Wedding Party Expo, engaged couples, brides, grooms and their bridal party will get in-tune with the latest wedding styles and ideas by mingling with wedding experts, stylists, caterers, venues, planners, florists, top photographers, DJ’s, catered food and wedding cake tastings and more on Sunday, April 23, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Resort, spanning 3 areas and 25,000 square feet overlooking the bay 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.

This Show will be featured in three beautiful areas that will include:
• Taste cakes and vote for your favorite in the Ultimate Cake Taste Test Challenge contest
• Deluxe Williams Sonoma Registry with the latest in registry and gift ideas.
• Exclusive bridal gown fashion show by Designer Michelle Hebert in the pavilion tent at 3:00 pm with special treatment for show VIP’s.
• Enjoy delicious tastings of appetizers, entrées and desserts at the various catering booths.
• Bella Beverage Catering will sponsor a cocktail lounge area with delicious drinks to taste and demonstrations on “Signature Cocktails to Match your Event”.
• Gentlemen’s Lounge with men’s fashions, grooming and craft beer and mead tasting.
• Enjoy a delicious grand tasting by the Hyatt Regency and Red Marlin Restaurant.
• Get into the Groove at the Republic of Music live performance stage.
• Get your beauty on in the Beauty Lounge with hair, makeup and healthcare pros taking good care of you right at the show.
• Meet over 65 local wedding experts from planners to photographers and DJ’s and videographers and florists and stylists and rental companies and photo booths and more!
• VIP options for couples who want the royal treatment with champagne greeting, front row seating on the fashion show runway and a swag bag of VIP goodies.

A dynamic and fashionable event, The Wedding Party EXPO brings engaged couples, coordinators, and professionals together to one beautiful location for an amazing EXPO experience totally unlike large, impersonal bridal expos. Creative, stylish and fun, each show is held at one of San Diego’s most beautiful wedding locations. This show really allows engaged couples and event planners to enjoy wine tasting, tasty hors d’ouevres, pies and cakes, couture fashion shows, mini-make overs by top beauty salons, wedding design tips by local experts and resources like M Bride Bridal Boutique, Bloomingdales, Williams Sonoma, Stockham Media, Bella Beverage, Tim Otto Photography, Avant Garde Travel, Spitfire Catering & Events, Eccentric International Chefs, Elite British DJ, RSVP Weddings, Designer Kendra Scott, San Diego Style Weddings Magazine, Flour Power Cakery, One Fabulous Event and many more.

This Show will also feature an amazing hand-picked selection of the area’s finest wedding services and products including: top designer gowns, tuxedos, gift registry, fashion accessories, photographers, videographers, honeymoon destinations, musicians, florists, officiants, caterers, coordinators, jewelers, makeup and hair stylists, the absolute finest local ceremony and reception venues and more.

The Wedding Party EXPO is proud to be an every couple friendly show’ welcoming LGBTQ engaged couples since its inception. The show’s behind-the-scenes show production continues its tradition of going green with an online show program, emailing event tickets, offering brides reusable bags and encouraging attendees to carpool or Uber to the show with Uber offers. To register for discounted advance tickets, visit www.SanDiegoWeddingParty.com. Tickets are $20 each at the door but advance tickets are for sale for half price on the website.
All tickets include hors d’oeuvres, wine tasting, fashion shows, design contests and more. Children under 5 are free, 5-12 are half price day-of only.
Upgraded VIP tickets are available for $50 and include reserved VIP front row fashion show seating, fabric swag bag with lots of goodies and gifts value $200 [one swag bag per VIP package for bride only].
About The Wedding Party EXPO:
Founded by Pamela Ann Noxon, a local wedding professional since 1996, SanDiegoWedding.com and The Wedding Party EXPO were created in 1998 as a fresh new resource for helping brides and grooms plan their San Diego wedding event. From her experience in helping behind-the-scenes with more than 500 weddings, Ms. Noxon saw firsthand how vastly different wedding services and products were in terms of their integrity, style and professionalism. SanDiegoWedding.com and The Wedding Party EXPO introduce couples to the right wedding services, products and vendors for their wedding.

For more information on SanDiegoWeddingParty.com and The Wedding Party EXPO, consult the website at: www.sandiegoweddingparty.com or call 760-635-1120. ## ###

Special Edition Wedding Planning Fair Celebrates Weddings for All Couples by Re-Inventing the Wedding Fair with Love, Respect & Style 41st Wedding Party Expo on Sunday, February 19, 2017 at US GRANT HOTEL

(San Diego) – Style is important to every bride and groom. At the 41st Wedding Party Expo, engaged couples, brides, grooms and their bridal party will get in-tune with the latest wedding styles and ideas by mingling with wedding experts, stylists, caterers, venues, planners, florists, top photographers, DJ’s, catered food and wedding cake tastings and more on Sunday, February 19, 2017 at the newly restyled THE US GRANT, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Diego spanning 3 floors and 35,000 square feet in the Historic Lower Level, the glamorous lobby and Palm Court and the dramatic Presidential Ballroom and Foyer from 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.

This Show will be featured in four beautiful areas that will include:
• A multi designer, couture bridal fashion show on the Presidential stage by local favorite salon M Bride of La Jolla featuring the world’s top designer fashions by Ines di Santo, Reem Acra, Monique Lhuillier, Elli Saab and more, takes place at 3:00 pm
• Taste cakes and vote for your favorite in the Ultimate Cake Taste Test Challenge contest
• Bloomingdale Registry Spot with the latest in registry and gift ideas.
• Exclusive tea style fashion show by Designer Michelle Hebert in the lobby at 1:30 pm with special treatment for show VIP’s.
• Enjoy delicious tastings of appetizers, entrées and desserts at the various vendor booths.
• Bella Beverage Catering will sponsor a cocktail lounge area with delicious drinks to taste and demonstrations on “Signature Cocktails to Match your Event”.
• A Wedding Gown ‘Designer Row’ with special Designer appearances by Michelle Hebert, Jana Ann and Adolfo Sanchez in the Presidential Foyer offers brides an assortment of wedding gown styles to inspire any fashionista bride while you meet the Designers face to face!
• Gentlemen’s Lounge with men’s fashions, grooming and craft beer and mead tasting.
• Enjoy a delicious grand tasting by the US GRANT HOTEL in the exclusive Chairman’s Court.
• Get your beauty on in the Beauty Lounge with hair, makeup and healthcare pros taking good care of you right at the show.
• Meet over 100 local wedding experts from planners to photographers and DJ’s and videographers and florists and stylists and rental companies and photo booths and more!
• VIP options for couples who want the royal treatment with champagne greeting, front row seating on the fashion show runway and a swag bag of VIP goodies.

A dynamic and fashionable event, The Wedding Party EXPO brings engaged couples, coordinators, and professionals together to one beautiful location for an amazing EXPO experience totally unlike large, impersonal bridal expos. Creative, stylish and fun, each show is held at one of San Diego’s most beautiful wedding locations. This show really allows engaged couples and event planners to enjoy wine tasting, tasty hors d’ouevres, pies and cakes, couture fashion shows, mini-make overs by top beauty salons, wedding design tips by local experts and resources like M Bride Bridal Boutique, Bloomingdales, Exquisite Weddings Magazine, Bella Beverage, Tim Otto Photography, Avant Garde Travel, Spitfire Catering & Events, Eccentric International Chefs, Elite British DJ, RSVP Weddings, Designer Kendra Scott, San Diego Style Weddings Magazine, Flour Power Cakery and many more.

This Show will also feature an amazing hand-picked selection of the area’s finest wedding services and products including: top designer gowns, tuxedos, gift registry, fashion accessories, photographers, videographers, honeymoon destinations, musicians, florists, officiants, caterers, coordinators, jewelers, makeup and hair stylists, the absolute finest local ceremony and reception venues and more.

The Wedding Party EXPO is proud to be an every couple friendly show’ welcoming LGBTQ engaged couples since its inception. The show’s behind-the-scenes show production continues its tradition of going green with an online show program, emailing event tickets, offering brides reusable bags and encouraging attendees to carpool or Uber to the show with Uber offers. To register for discounted advance tickets, visit www.SanDiegoWeddingParty.com. Tickets are $20 each at the door but advance tickets are for sale for half price on the website.
All tickets include hors d’oeuvres, wine tasting, fashion shows, design contests and more. Children under 5 are free, 5-12 are half price day-of only.
Upgraded VIP tickets are available for $50 and include reserved VIP front row fashion show seating, fabric swag bag with lots of goodies and gifts value $200 [one swag bag per VIP package for bride only].

Finally, a Practical, Easy-to-read Book on Achieving Happiness. It Cuts to the Chase.

Book Cover front (1)A GUIDE TO HAPPINESS aims to reverse America’s 33% happiness index

SAN DIEGO, May 18, 2016 — According to a Harris Poll, only 33% of Americans say they’re very happy. San Diego life coach Alan Shein says that’s not hard to believe. His clients often report that they are stressed and unable to enjoy life to its fullest. “It doesn’t have to be this way,” says Shein. “I have studied the anatomy of happiness and practiced many effective techniques that can increase an individual’s happiness.”

Shein says he has read many good books about happiness, but none that offer an easy-to-use, practical guide to increasing it. “Many of my clients told me they needed a book that cuts to the chase and offers tools and techniques that address their specific issues, instead of theory about problems they may not be currently facing,” he says.

The newly published A GUIDE TO HAPPINESS deals with 58 issues in all. The list includes stress, anxieties, better sleep, mindfulness, conquering overwhelm, confidence and a host of other issues. Each issue is addressed in its own self-contained chapter. Each chapter has tested tips, tools and techniques which have been refined over many years in practice. “I’ve formatted the book in a unique way so readers can access the information quickly without having to wade through text that is not relevant to them at that moment,” he explains. “It is also one of the only self-help books that uses illustrations; this helps to communicate weighty concepts in a light-hearted way.”

Associate Professor of Medicine at University of California at San Diego, David Bortz, M.D., F.A.C.P says A GUIDE TO HAPPINESS is “a sensible, effective, and efficient approach to dealing with life’s stressors,” Dr.Bortz notes, “I have to believe that this book will also contribute to decreasing stress in the workplace, leading to higher productivity and calmer spaces.”

“This is more than a book, it’s a mission,” says Shein. “I have seen so many clients transform their lives using these techniques that it is incumbent upon me to share this approach with a broad audience.” Of our country’s 33% happiness index, Shein says, “When people are happy, they are more collaborative, peaceful, and productive. Happiness isn’t a luxury; it is a necessity for the well-being of society.”

For a good look inside-the-book go to AGuideToHappiness.com.

Available at: Amazon– http://amzn.to/1OysJ6c

ingramcontent.com; baker-taylor.com; bookmasters.com/atlasbooks/;
newleaf-dist.com

ISBN: 978-0-9980017-0-8
Price: $15.95
About Alan Shein:

Alan Shein has always had an interest in people and their well-being. In his life coaching practice, he works with a broad spectrum of clients, some of whom are referred by medical doctors. He helps his clients with a variety of issues including anxieties, stress, phobias, and sleeping difficulties. He assists clients with their limiting thoughts, emotions, and behaviors and in doing so helps them go from stuck to unstuck.

A key feature of Alan’s practice is providing his clients with simple yet effective tools to take away with them. He has experience in and teaches people how to use the power of their minds.

In addition to helping and motivating business professionals, athletes, artists, and students to increase their performance levels, Alan also helps people with their current relationship issues and those whose relationships have ended.

Alan customizes the sessions for each client according to the client’s needs and personality, this results in the sessions being extremely solution focused and positive outcome directed.

Alan resides in San Diego, California.
###

Pay it Forward’s “Every Swipe Benefits Charity” Gives $100,000+ To Carefully Vetted Charities

(SAN DIEGO) (MAY 3, 2016) – Since the “Every Swipe Benefits Charity” (ESBC) give-back program’s inception two years ago, it has generated more than $100,000 in donations to a carefully vetted group of more than 25 local and national charities.

The ESBC is an innovative give-back program that allows business owners an opportunity to benefit their business, customers and community. Through Pay it Forward Processing (PFProcessing), a national credit card processing company, a portion of every swipe from each business account is donated to a carefully vetted charitable organization, at no cost to the business.

“We are so excited to have raised so much money for our very worthy charities in such a short period of time,” said Renee VanHeel, founder and president of PFProcessing.

PFProcessing offers businesses a dedicated account manager with no contracts; they match and in most cases, save a company money on its fees. Funding and deposits are made within 24 hours, including American Express. PFProcessing sends each business a comprehensive monthly report that includes a breakdown of fees and costs for services.

“With all of the demands of life, running your business, taking care of your families, there isn’t a lot of time to give back,” explains VanHeel. “That is where we come in.”

When a business starts to use PFProcessing for their everyday credit card processing needs, a portion of every swipe that is processed is donated to ESBCharity. It doesn’t impact the business owner in any way. Once it has been donated, ESBCharity then donates it to any number of the charities that have been through their vetting process.

If the business owner wants their portion to impact a specific cause, they can nominate that charity to be vetted with the possibility to become a direct benefactor. If a non-profit is looking for sustainable income, PFProcessing has a fundraising business plan in place that can help raise some much needed funds through business referrals. This unique giveback program allows merchants and customers to feel good about every swipe, every day.

Auto repair, hotel/motel, retail, veterinary, on-line stores and banking are just some of the business entities PFProcessing works with. PFProcessing provides merchant services, e-commerce and equipment for businesses across the United States. The “Every Swipe Benefits Charity” program supports more than 25 local, regional and national non-profit organizations including Boys and Girls Clubs, American Institute for Cancer Research, Shelter to Solider, and the Arthritis Foundation.

ESBC came to be from the ashes of Witch Creek Fires in San Diego in 2007 during which VanHeel’s home was destroyed. Renee formed Fired Up Sisters, along with a number of other fire survivors, raised $5 million in goods, services and money to help fellow fire survivors. “We raised so much money in the face of tragedy, I thought we could do much more in good times and we have,” said VanHeel. “We believe there is no better definition of success than truly loving what you do, serving a purpose and filling a need in the world. If this resonates with a business owner, we invite them to join the PFProcessing family.”

PFProcessing also helps each of its business partners stay connected to their customers by using their own social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to promote their business. For more information on PFProcessing visit www.pfprocessing.com or call 858-771-0076 x0. For more information on ESBC visit www.esbcharity.org.

About Pay it Forward Processing
Headquartered in San Diego, Pay it Forward Processing (PFProcessing) is a nationwide merchant service provider that supplies state-of-the-art payment solutions to businesses by providing a full line of products that are Class A certified on their processing platform. PFProcessing custom tailors its services for each business and offers 24/7 live technical and customer service support. For more information on PFProcessing visit www.pfprocessing.com or call 858-771-0076.###

4 Big Ways Small Businesses can Make a Difference

“Corporate Philanthropy” generally conjures images of large, multinationals making very large donations and starting foundations. But, according to the most recent US census, 99.7% of US employer firms are considered Small Businesses. Small businesses actually play quite a large role in their local communities and many are involved in a variety of social initiative s and charitable giving.

Still , many small businesses feel hesitant to participate because they feel they lack the resources of larger companies. But, besides the obvious “feel good” benefits of giving, recent data shows that giving and community involvement is actually “good for business” A recent survey by The Alternative Board (TAB) showed 26% of socially-driven business owners expected their revenue to sharply increase, while only 14% of entrepreneurs who are strictly profit-driven said the same.

It’s important for Small Business Owners to recognize that philanthropy need not be limited to large corporations, since “giving” isn’t limited to just writing big checks. Here are 4 unique ways that even small business can give back in a very big way.

1: Direct Participation

Team building exercises have long been a part of successful business practices, including small businesses. Whether it’s a high-ropes course, karaoke night or cake in the breakroom, we all know that regularly bringing a team together to connect outside of work is key to a small business’ success. Bringing your team together can help to increase motivation, productivity and personal development. What if your team building did double-duty? Small businesses may not have the funds to write those over-sized checks, but they often have teams of dedicated professionals who might be willing (and excited) to do a little more. Take your team building exercises to the next level by using the opportunity to serve your local community in some way, as a team. We spoke to Tori Loiacono at Jennifer Bett Communications , a small business based in New York.

Each month, as a team, her staff volunteers together at God’s Love We Deliver, an organization that works hard to deliver cooked meals to people who are too sick to shop or cook for themselves. Together, her team regularly cooks, packs, and delivers meals to those in need in their local community. Says Tori, “we wanted to give back to the city that has given us so much”. In exchange, the exercises have brought her staff closer together.

So if your team needs a moral boost or you want to increase team productivity, perhaps skip the paintball this year and instead consider scheduling a day of service at a worthy organization in your own local community. The benefits to your team and business are immeasurable, and you’ll have done a bit of service to your community as well. Everyone wins.

2: Pay it Forward

An increasing number of small businesses are making giving the rule, and not the exception. Many have even built their business model around giving. For some, the model is to give away items for every X number sold, or simply donating a portion of profit or sales to a charity.

Soul Amenities, a St. Petersberg, FL based company that has a similar pay-it-forward approach. The company takes a portion of all sales and uses the money to provide to those living in areas where communicable diseases are present. Recently, they donated products to Operation Christmas Child and an orphanage in Africa. Alia, the company founder, created a charity arm of their company called Soap with S.O.U.L. after several international trips and decided it was time their company helped others.

If you’re interested in charitable giving using the “Pay-It-Forward” approach, but don’t have the resources to build a lot of infrastructure around those efforts, there are some easier ways to get involved. For example, check out the ‘Every Swipe Benefits’ Charity. Run by Pay it Forward Processing, this is a program that allows businesses to give-back. Net proceeds can be donated from a business to a charitable organization at no cost to the business.

Remember: whether you donate profits or items, or both, charities are generally pleased to receive donations of every size, big or small, so don’t worry if you don’t have multi-national sized pockets- every bit helps.

Keep in mind, too, that the ‘Pay It Forward’ approach to giving doesn’t have to be limited to companies that sell goods, or even to monetary donations.

Many small business have found they can also donate their services. Joni , founder of Thrive!Resumes, a city-based company based in Myrtle Beach, SC offering professional resume writing services offers a resume scholarship program as part of her regular business model. For every 20 paid-for resumes , a free resume is offered to elevate the job search for victims of domestic violence, wounded warriors, hurricane survivors or others in need. Joni explains her approach is based on a desire to ” help someone who might be at a low point in their life and just needs someone to reach out and give them a helping hand. ”

John Paul Engel donates his time and expertise to the non-profit company Project Be The Change. Together, Jon has participated in projects ranging from building local soccer fields, to event sponsorships John has also experienced an unintended benefit. Namely, his company has employed volunteers fromPBJC after getting to know them through the project. For small businesses that don’t always have access to huge networks or large HR departments, community involvement can also provide some of this networking benefit. proving in yet another way that philanthropy can have surprising and wonderful benefits on all sides of the equation.

3: Keep others top of mind.

Space is a hot commodity for many small businesses. Maybe a vendor sent the wrong colors or size of an item. A few extra keystrokes and you have enough office supplies for several years. You’ve changed office space and have a glut of used furniture. Where to put it all? Many businesses try to re-sell these goods on wholesale or discount markets, at auctions or even Ebay. But, there is a lot of effort involved in those re-sales and it’s probably taking away from your time spent on your core business.

Next stop? For many companies, it’s the trash. Which is quite sad actually, because there are so many charitable and community organizations that could make use of those items, from local schools, to soup kitchens, to major players like the Goodwill or Salvation Army. If you keep the needs of others top of mind, that overwhelming pile of extras, suddenly begins to look like quite the pile of treasure.

Here at FORtheFIT, it’s not uncommon to find ourselves with a little excess inventory . We have certainly considered re-sale , but clothes are such a fundamental thing – a basic necessity that too many just don’t have enough of. Just recently, we donated 1400 pairs of our best-selling short and tall men’s fleece athletic pants to Goodwill Industries Internationals in the Northern Michigan area – the cold climate means the donation of warm fleece would have an immediate, positive impact on the local community (plus help Goodwill raise funds for their many important community initiatives) Again, infrastructure need not slow you down.

Airtex Design Group, a city-based company that designs and manufactures on trend textiles for retailers all over the world, use the National Association for the Exchange of Industrial Resources (NAEIR). To help them clear out any overstocks. NAEIR ‘connect companies looking to donate products with non-profits who can benefit from them’, explained Gary Smith, president and CEO. To find out more, visit the NAEIR website.

4: Provide opportunities for others to give back through Events / Fundraising

Be a leader in service of your local community. Consider using your leverage in your local community to encourage others to give back in a variety of ways. Organising fundraising, events is a great way to get lots of people involved.

There are lots of platforms out there to help you organize an event. fitRaise is a platform to enable companies, of all sizes, to host worldwide events to raise money to support important causes. Or if you’re looking for a more mobile fundraising platform, check out Accelevents. This platform focuses on providing online and text message enhanced silent auctions and raffles. The company itself organises fundraisers each year, donating the proceeds to charity – this year they donated over $100,000 to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Whether you look to organize events on a small or large-scale, there are plenty of platforms and helpful services out there. From sponsorship to donations, you can get everyone involved in giving-back! If you can’t organize an event, you can offer your expertise at an event.

Cookies for Cancer organises events throughout the year, encouraging businesses, and individuals, to get involved and fundraise. The founder of Eleni’s New York a company that raises money to fund child cancer research by holding a lot of bake sales (and other things) gets involved in this event as she sees a great connection between her business and the charity. So why not consider researching events near you which you can offer your own expertise?

Conclusion

As mentioned previously, whether you are able to give your time, your expertise, products, services, or monetary donations large or small, get creative and find ways that your small business can easily make a big impact in your surrounding community or to any number of great causes.

Plus, you might be surprised at the myriad benefits (and increased success) your small business will enjoy enjoy as a result. Small businesses make us such a major part of the American Economy, that their their combined efforts can really make the biggest impacts of all. We hope you’re inspired to find ways to give back to the community. Let us know in the comments how your business is getting involved!

http://blog.forthefit.com/4-ideas-small-business-can-give-back-big-things

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