27 Nov 2014
November 27, 2014

Children’s Nikolaus Party 2015

0 Comment

 

Sophia & SantaST NICHOLAUS PARTY AT THE ALPEN CLUB

Der Nicholaus kommt…

St Nicholaus will come on Sunday 6th of December to the club.

Come and join us for this old German custom

Starting at 12:00PM in our Jaegerstube (next to the restaurant)

Free food will be provided at 12:00PM sharp (Wiener Wurst, Chicken Fingers, Peas and Carrots, Fries)

St Nicholaus will arrive at around 12:45PM (Please bring a boot)

After the “official” part there will be a bouncy castle, entertainment and crafts for the children.

Program is over at 3:00PM

Entrance is free – donations are welcome

Volunteers are needed:  Crafts, Colouring, Singing etc.

Address: 4875 Victoria Drive, Vancouver, BC
Phone: 604 874-3811
Corner of 33rd/Victoria Drive in East Vancouver

kecia@telus.net

 

18 Nov 2014
November 18, 2014

Upcoming German Christmas Events

0 Comment

Sign-up your children for the daily Advent-Storyteller event at the Vancouver Christmas Market: www.SignUpGenius.com/go/10C0E4EA5AF28A6F85-advent2/13390661

Explore many fun children’s activities, e.g. making your own traditional mini Herrnhuter Star at the Vancouver Christmas Market (recommended age: 8+), for images click here: http://mybrilliantstar.com/

Senior students: volunteer with the many German speaking vendors – an excellent hands-on experience to practice German in context. Please contact Kirsten Friedrichs at orgavwgs@gmail.com for further information.

Here is the list of Christmas-themed storytime in German with media from the Vancouver Public Library. You can put a hold on items and have them sent to your local branch:

http://vpl.bibliocommons.com/list/share/78891186_marcus2004/96613611_german_childrens_christmas_at_vpl

Christmas Bazaar of the St. Mark’s church on Saturday, Nov. 29, 10am-2pm. German lunch, cookies, cakes, books and more: http://stmarkschurch.ca/bazaar.html. The Christmas Story is performed on Dec. 14th during their Advent service.

An evening of German Advent and Christmas classics on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 8pm.

The Oratorio Singers and the baroque instrumental ensemble OS415 will present an evening of cantatas, motets and chorales byBuxtehude, Schütz, Kuhnau, Praetorius, Rosenmüller, Bruckner and Schubert with guest soloist, countertenor, Mark Donnelly. All will be invited to participate in the singing of Christmas chorales in German and/or English, e.g. Es ist ein Ros entsprungen, Macht hoch die Tür. St. Andrew´s-Wesley Church on Burrard at Nelson. Tickets at the door only: $25 general admission.

There is a Children’s Christmas Party at the Vancouver Alpen Club on a Sunday in December – The party is usually from 1 pm to 3 pm or so.  As soon as I have some more details, I will pass these along.

If anybody has any other Christmas Parties or suggestions that would benefit children, please let us know!

 

18 Nov 2014
November 18, 2014

Value Proposition or USP

0 Comment

How Can I Differentiate myself or my business?  What is my Value Proposition?

This information is for small business owners or entrepreneurs that are attempting to launch one or two products into the local market.  It may be importing something from Europe, or bringing an European concept to life in Vancouver or just introducing a new product or service to the market.  A larger company will have an entire marketing department at their disposal, while a smaller company may have to either do it themselves or hire a consultant to help out on a temporary basis.  Companies from Austria, Germany & Switzerland who are importing everything from cheese to chocolate need to know the benefits for the consumer, since higher quality and the longer distance often translates into higher prices.

1.  The main question is what makes you different from your competitors and what are you doing to increase your value proposition – are you more customer service oriented?  This is one of the things that will keep customers coming back to you.  Are you flexible in your approach?  Have you figured out a new way to get a particular product cheaper, faster, better etc.?  Are you the only place in town where someone can get this product?  What if they order it, but they aren’t happy?  How are you packing this product?  Will you be able to recycle this product when it has finished its lifecycle?

2.  Another good question is how can you gain competitive advantage through your position in the market?  Will you focus on a broad appeal strategy that would suit almost everyone, or a targeted marking strategy for specific consumers like women or the wealthy, or will you position it as a very specific niche market that almost no one reaches exactly?  Like teens who live in West Vancouver and dig fashion?

3.  How will you prove to your potential customers that they should pay more since your brand, product or service is of a higher value than all of the other hundreds of products or services.  Increasing “mind share” (position), as well as market share (sales).  You can focus on the increase in prestige, the ease of use, the convenience and the safety they will receive, or you can focus on the service reliability, the social responsibility and the product quality that you are offering.  Consumers have all kinds of reasons for buying things and you need to know what makes people buy what you have.

4.  You also need to spend some time on the obstacles people will face buying your products.  They may find them too costly to buy, too challenging to store, too costly to maintain or just have a plain fear of being ripped off.   Your website should have solutions to these problems in a way that minimizes the risk that buyers feel they face when become your customers.

5.  You should also try to differentiate yourself by offering something free.  How to’s that relate to your product.  Or a tip sheet that they can use or a step by step instruction page on something related to your product.  Even a short e-book may be popular.

In conclusion, whether you are selling Christmas Stars, tea, chocolate, Bratwurst or Wine/Beer, you need to let the public know why your products has more value than any others.  How to communicate this value is, of course, the topic of another blog post.

Stay tuned for the next bit of wisdom from Westcoast German News.

Value for visitors = successful sales.

14 Nov 2014
November 14, 2014

Setting up a Sitemap

0 Comment

Part II

There is more than one way to skin a fish. So, when I needed a Sitemap according to the next item on my to-do list, I went to plugins and downloaded a “XML Sitemap Feed” to help Google know what pages to crawl. Then I realized that I had also downloaded an SEO Plugin. This one also came with a pile of things including an XML Sitemap. What is XML you ask? It is: EXtensible Markup Language and is a part of of the recommendation of W3C – The World Wide Web Consortium. It seems that if you are using Google Webmaster Tools, that one description inevitably leads to another! To find out more about the W3C, you can look at this link.

So, while I am explaining what is what, what exactly is a Sitemap? A Sitemap is a hidden bit of code that you place on your website to help Google, Bing, Yahoo and any other search engine to help “crawl” your site better. This Sitemap can be written in XML, in HTML (hyper-text markup language), or in Text etc. Once you have it set up, you can submit it to Google personally, once you have signed in to Webmaster Tools and associated your site or sites with it. There are Sitemap Generators, and these now include being able to add sub-domains to your sitemap, as well as how to keep your website mobile friendly.

13 Nov 2014
November 13, 2014

Getting Going on Google

0 Comment

Part I

Some entrepreneurs are still stuck in the starting phase of trying to get their German business website and social media sites off the ground. Others have had them for years, but they are not ranking very high on Google. Yet this is what people want and need. I have been getting so many of these kinds of requests lately. How can I become more popular on the #1 search engine that most people use?

I decided that, as an experiment, I will try everything I would do for someone else on my own website to see if it helps.

1. For starters, I am now actively using Webmaster Tools. Webmaster Tools should help you with your task. If you are using more than one website, you will have to set them all up individually. I have 3 websites that I am building for myself and several websites that I have done for others. For each one, I am now working on:
a. Setting up Google Analytics
b. Setting up All Other Google Tools

Excuse me, while I set up my Author Link for Google. I didn’t even realize how important this was! It may take me a while to complete these tasks, so it may take a while to complete writing this post. I will get back to you tomorrow! Come back for Part II.

Bayern Soccer ShirtLet us say that you are importing a product from Austria, Germany or Switzerland to Vancouver, BC and would like to promote this to your target audience. Your target audience can be Canadians that immigrated here from Europe, Europeans that are here on a temporary basis, or just anyone who enjoys high quality German products.

What are some things that you can do reach this elusive, niche audience? Advertise, but where? Post on blogs, but which ones? Join organizations, committees and groups, but whose? Hopefully this list will get you started:

Here are four ways to advertise through Westcoast German News
1. Place an ad on Westcoast German News website – $60
2. Place an ad in the Westcoast German News Digital Magazine – $150 to $250 for a monthly issue (due at the end of November 0 just in time for Christmas!)
3. Place a blog interview on my Westcoast German News Blog (http://www.westcoastgermannews.com/blog) (free)
4. Send me an article how you got started importing products for my Digital Magazine (free)

Here are two ways to advertise through AhornTV
1. Place an ad on the website
2. Place an ad on the weekly AhornTV Show

Advertising through the German Canadian Business Association
1. Join for $280 a year (pro-rated)
2. Once you are a member, you can fill in your profile and place something on the website free!

Join the Swiss Canadian Chamber of Commerce
1. Join for $140 a year
2. Attend monthly networking events

Two events to get a booth:
1. Vancouver Christmas Market (opens November 22nd)
2. European Festival (www.europeanfestival.ca)

Become a Member of the German Business Vancouver Networking Group
http://www.meetup.com/German-Business-Vancouver-Networking/

Get involved with Bauhaus, a new German-Austrian Restaurant opening in Gastown:
http://www.bauhaus-restaurant.com/

If you have tried any of these ideas, you could leave us a comment, or if you have any ideas, please leave a comment. We look forwarding to hearing from you!

26 Oct 2014
October 26, 2014

SEO and the Google Spider

0 Comment

Search Engine Optimization Help with Google Spider

In order for Google to keep their index up-to-date, they send out a spider to do their work for them.  These spiders crawl around from one website to another, especially favouring newer websites that have a higher PageRank, or that have more links leading to them from legitimate websites, or that have newer updated content, such as found on a blog.  Your goal as a website owner is to increase the “crawl frequency” of this Google Spider by carefully scattering the correct bait throughout your website.

The crawl process is algorithmic, and the computer program Google uses to determine which sites to crawl more often can change often.  They do not accept payment to crawl a site more frequently, but encourage users to implement other methods to attract the Spider.

Google has a useful page for Webmasters that can be found here, but I am just going to list a few tips myself.

1.  Build a Sitemap and ensure it is on your site.

2.  Tell everyone – friends, family, acquaintances, business contacts, clients or target audience – about your new website and business goals.

3.  The Google crawler does not recognize text contained in images – write out the words somewhere else on your site or consider using the ALT attribute to include a description.

4.  Not every search engine spider will crawl dynamic pages, so think twice before using them

5.  Think about the words that your potential clients would use to find your pages and make sure that your site includes these words frequently, but not too frequently; the copy should make sense.

6.  Work on what makes your service/product unique, valuable or engaging.  What problem are you trying to solve?

7.  If you need help creating or updating search engine optimization on your business website, please contact me at 604 828 8788.  With just a couple of hours a week, I can help keep your site Spider-friendly and Spam-free.  I can also set up social media sites for you, update them weekly and then put a link on your website, to help your content be the kind that attracts the right audience.

Think YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Meetup etc.

I think I will be working on my Sitemap now!  Have a productive week!

 

24 Oct 2014
October 24, 2014

20 Ways To Sell Your Product Faster

0 Comment

[dropcap]D[/dropcap]on’t act so surprised, Your Highness. You weren’t on any mercy mission this time. Several transmissions were beamed to this ship by Rebel spies. I want to know what happened to the plans they sent you. In my experience, there is no such thing as luck. Partially, but it also obeys your commands. I want to come with you to Alderaan. There’s nothing for me here now. I want to learn the ways of the Force and be a Jedi, like my father before me. The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.

Still, she’s got a lot of spirit. I don’t know, what do you think? What!? I don’t know what you’re talking about. I am a member of the Imperial Senate on a diplomatic mission to Alderaan– What good is a reward if you ain’t around to use it? Besides, attacking that battle station ain’t my idea of courage. It’s more like…suicide.

You don’t believe in the Force, do you? Obi-Wan is here. The Force is with him. I call it luck. Look, I can take you as far as Anchorhead. You can get a transport there to Mos Eisley or wherever you’re going. What?! The Force is strong with this one. I have you now.

We hire people who want to make the best things in the world. -Steve Jobs

She must have hidden the plans in the escape pod. Send a detachment down to retrieve them, and see to it personally, Commander. [highlight color=”yellow”]There’ll be no one to stop us this time![/highlight] You’re all clear, kid. Let’s blow this thing and go home! Partially, but it also obeys your commands.

  • Dantooine. They’re on Dantooine.
  • He is here.
  • Don’t underestimate the Force.

[tie_full_img]5825871567_4d477202ce_b[/tie_full_img]

I care. So, what do you think of her, Han? A tremor in the Force. The last time I felt it was in the presence of my old master. [highlight color=”blue”]But with the blast shield down,[/highlight] I can’t even see! How am I supposed to fight? Obi-Wan is here. The Force is with him. But with the blast shield down, I can’t even see! How am I supposed to fight? You are a part of the Rebel Alliance and a traitor! Take her away!

[padding right=”5%” left=”5%”]
Still, she’s got a lot of spirit. I don’t know, what do you think? What!? I don’t know what you’re talking about. I am a member of the Imperial Senate on a diplomatic mission to Alderaan– What good is a reward if you ain’t around to use it? Besides, attacking that battle station ain’t my idea of courage. It’s more like…suicide.
You don’t believe in the Force, do you? Obi-Wan is here. The Force is with him. I call it luck. Look, I can take you as far as Anchorhead. You can get a transport there to Mos Eisley or wherever you’re going. What?! The Force is strong with this one. I have you now.

  1. I care. So, what do you think of her, Han?
  2. You mean it controls your actions?
  3. Look, I can take you as far as Anchorhead. You can get a transport there to Mos Eisley or wherever you’re going.
  4. I’m trying not to, kid.

[/padding]

Revenge of the Sith

post-imageI can’t get involved! I’ve got work to do! It’s not that I like the Empire, I hate it, but there’s nothing I can do about it right now. It’s such a long way from here. Leave that to me. Send a distress signal, and inform the Senate that all on board were killed. I’m surprised you had the courage to take the responsibility yourself. No! Alderaan is peaceful. We have no weapons. You can’t possibly…

Your eyes can deceive you. Don’t trust them. He is here. What?! Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid. I’m trying not to, kid.

I’m trying not to, kid. I have traced the Rebel spies to her. Now she is my only link to finding their secret base. He is here. You are a part of the Rebel Alliance and a traitor! Take her away! Dantooine. They’re on Dantooine.

 

Still, she’s got a lot of spirit. I don’t know, what do you think? What!? I don’t know what you’re talking about. I am a member of the Imperial Senate on a diplomatic mission to Alderaan– What good is a reward if you ain’t around to use it? Besides, attacking that battle station ain’t my idea of courage. It’s more like…suicide.

Hey, Luke! May the Force be with you. Kid, I’ve flown from one side of this galaxy to the other. I’ve seen a lot of strange stuff, but I’ve never seen anything to make me believe there’s one all-powerful Force controlling everything. There’s no mystical energy field that controls my destiny. It’s all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense. Remember, a Jedi can feel the Force flowing through him. He is here. Ye-ha! I have traced the Rebel spies to her. Now she is my only link to finding their secret base.

You don’t believe in the Force, do you? Obi-Wan is here. The Force is with him. I call it luck. Look, I can take you as far as Anchorhead. You can get a transport there to Mos Eisley or wherever you’re going. What?! The Force is strong with this one. I have you now.

 

[tie_full_img]9FybtVFNSEOxogGzIvHJ_IMG_2226[/tie_full_img]

 

[padding right=”5%” left=”5%”]

Hey, Luke! May the Force be with you. Kid, I’ve flown from one side of this galaxy to the other. I’ve seen a lot of strange stuff, but I’ve never seen anything to make me believe there’s one all-powerful Force controlling everything. There’s no mystical energy field that controls my destiny. It’s all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense. Remember, a Jedi can feel the Force flowing through him. He is here. Ye-ha! I have traced the Rebel spies to her. Now she is my only link to finding their secret base.

[divider style=”dotted” top=”20″ bottom=”20″]

Oh God, my uncle. How am I ever gonna explain this? Look, I ain’t in this for your revolution, and I’m not in it for you, Princess. I expect to be well paid. I’m in it for the money. A tremor in the Force. The last time I felt it was in the presence of my old master.

All right. Well, take care of yourself, Han. [highlight color=”orange”]I guess that’s what you’re best at,[/highlight] ain’t it? Alderaan? I’m not going to Alderaan. I’ve got to go home. It’s late, I’m in for it as it is. The plans you refer to will soon be back in our hands.
[/padding]

 

WOW, Nice photo !

WOW, Nice photo !

I need your help, Luke. She needs your help. I’m getting too old for this sort of thing. Oh God, my uncle. How am I ever gonna explain this? Hey, Luke! May the Force be with you. No! Alderaan is peaceful. We have no weapons. You can’t possibly… As you wish. Look, I can take you as far as Anchorhead. You can get a transport there to Mos Eisley or wherever you’re going.

I suggest you try it again, Luke. This time, let go your conscious self and act on instinct. Dantooine. They’re on Dantooine. You’re all clear, kid. Let’s blow this thing and go home! I’m surprised you had the courage to take the responsibility yourself. I’m trying not to, kid.

I care. So, what do you think of her, Han? Don’t underestimate the Force. I don’t know what you’re talking about. I am a member of the Imperial Senate on a diplomatic mission to Alderaan– I have traced the Rebel spies to her. Now she is my only link to finding their secret base.

You’re all clear, kid. [highlight color=”green”]Let’s blow this thing and go home![/highlight] But with the blast shield down, I can’t even see! How am I supposed to fight? Alderaan? I’m not going to Alderaan. I’ve got to go home. It’s late, I’m in for it as it is.

07 Oct 2014
October 7, 2014

Harvest Haus – in my opinion

0 Comment

What does Elke have to say?

My first impression of Harvest Haus was that they, were amazingly successful for a first-time event. They sold out 1,000 seats both Friday & Saturday nights! I found out about this event a week or so before, by reading about it on Facebook. Hardly anyone I asked had heard about this event, so I am wondering if they could have done more marketing much sooner. Or, if they could have teamed up with the Vancouver Christmas Market to access their audience, who would naturally be excited to have two events, instead of just one. I mean, maybe we could just call this area the “German Corner” and use it for similar events year-round.

HamiltonStreet

The other thing is that I felt this event should have been run over two weekends, instead of just one, or maybe even every weekend in October, and that this event could have been a little more authentic.

BuergomeisterDancing DJ

My main beef were with the “Burgermeister” (Mayor) who didn’t speak a word of German, although he was very welcoming, and said “Call me Ludwig”. I thought he was super nice, just not authentic. There are plenty of German-speaking people in Vancouver who could have played the part instead. Then there was the DJ, who also super friendly, was playing club music, rather than German music and just not sporting the Harvest Haus suspenders or any kind of authentic clothes. But both were nice guys.

The basic food and drink options were fine. They had up to 19 different kinds of beer including Rickard’s Lederhosen (Strong, hoppy and goes great with German Bratwurst or a warm pretzel), Löwenbräu, and Krombacher Weizen. They also had food booths and apple strudl by Artisan Bakeries. (http://www.artisanbakeshoppe.com)

Apple StrudlBasket of Pretzels

Steins of beer

Next year, my advice would be to have at least one or two bank machines on site, as many things depended on having cash on hand. By the time a hungry & thirsty patron had finished buying/renting a mug, ordering beer and purchasing food, it would be easy to run out of cold, hard cash. You also had to trade this cash in for “guilders”, that you would use to buy the beer of choice. Outside, you had the choice to line up for food to the Nudelhaus, Bratwurst by Oyama Sausage, Rotisserie by old German and German-style poutines by cocktails and canapes. I think they were missing Schnitzel and currywurst, though, which are both somewhat accessible in Vancouver and would have brought more authenticity to the event.

The first you saw when you walked in the door were hundreds of Harvest Haus mugs, that you could buy or “rent” for $8. When you returned the mug, after endless hours of active use, you would get $7 back. These two ladies “guarding the mugs” were taking their job very seriously. And they also weren’t dressed in dirndl (traditional Bavarian costumes). The idea should be to give Canadians a “taste of the true”.

Everyone should be participating, and be jolly and ready to welcome the hordes. Still had a great, fun atmosphere, though. Since I arrived at precisely 6 pm, hardly anyone had even finished their first beer, let along ordered one, so this could be why the atmosphere was still a little laid back. The crowd consisted mostly of 20 and 30-year olds, with half of them wearing something traditionally German, and half of them just dressed in their clubbing clothes. I didn’t stay that long, as I had to go to another event, so I never had a chance to see the bands or dancing. If anyone has some footage of this, please let me know!

HappyWorkers

In the meantime, they also had happy employees who were willing to indulge the public with some smiles and silliness to get them in the mood to party! Maybe next year, they can organize at least one set with the S-Bahn Band (www.sbahnmusic.com) who would entertain the crowd, Oktoberfest style. But for this year, I was not around when the hall filled, the drinking started and the dancing began. Hopefully this event will be back again next year.

Happy day!

They had two ladies in a very short dirndls waiting to post with patrons in front of a “Step-and-repeat” Banner. Very popular and great idea!. There was also a big sign in the corner announcing that the Buergomeister would be making an appearance, but when I asked the staff or volunteers about him, nobody seemed to know anything. This could be something for next year: either inform everyone of the active events or have some “event ambassadors” ready to guide and inform people, in case they are interested.

In case you want to learn more about this event, you can look at their website: http://www.harvest-haus.com/event-info/

Stein exchange

And my final picture is showing the Stein exchange station for when you leave or you have just had too many different kinds of beer in one mug. LOL. Apparently there were also different kinds of wine, but you just drank out of an ordinary glass

Now the next big event to look forward to is the Vancouver Christmas Market, which is also held at the same outdoor venue. There may be a lantern festival (around November 11th) or a Nikolaus Festival (December 6th) there, as well. Who knows what the future will hold here? Perhaps a Fasching/carnival in February? A May Fest with an authentic maypole dance? Let’s keep the cultural festivals going! Thanks to Harvest Haus for getting us started, and proving that Vancouver is indeed a very multicultural city.

30 Sep 2014
September 30, 2014

Deutscher Platz Event

0 Comment

Deutscher Platz on September 28th, 2014!

Here are some visuals taken by Dietrich & Ute Klaue:

German Girls at Work!IMG_3338