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Monthly Archives: January 2013

What Happens When We Give Writers Two Weeks Before a Superbowl? HOMOPHOBIA!

being-gay-in-the-nfl-the-secrets-the-culture-the-pressure-the-fear-of-coming-out-and-the-changing-attitudes-feature1Oh for God’s sake. “We can’t have gay’s running around in our locker rooms?” Well, you have female journalists in them.

What in the hell are you talking about? You really think an NFL player is going to fear for his genitals because another professional in the next locker happens to have another sexual proclivity? You think he’s going to be so turned on by your steroid infused bulk that he cant control himself and is going to violate you while your on the bench press?

The rest of humanity seems to get along pretty well with communal weight rooms, and showers. Are you so daft as to think that in SF bay area we don’t run into (some openly) gay people at the gym every day?

Frankly, the gay men I know have far too much taste to embarrass themselves by lowering their standards to meet the common football player. Certainly not in a locker room.

 

 

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Enhancing Workplace Wellbeing: Ways To Maximize Employee Health

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Towards a healthier workplace

Look around most offices these days, and it’s fairly obvious just how healthy we already are. With our water coolers, air conditioning, and bright, comfortable surroundings, those of us who work in a modern office environment are really very lucky in many respects. Health and safety legislation plus advanced technology has meant that the contemporary workplace is somewhere that allows us to give our best in an environment that’s geared towards safety and comfort.

But although we’ve come a long way over the years, there are still things we can do to continuously improve workplace wellbeing and employee satisfaction levels.

Workplace wellbeing strategies and productivity

Studies have often indicated that happy and healthy staff are more productive, and in looking to minimise sickness absence, many organisations are also helping to increase employee satisfaction along the way. Benefits that are offered as part of an employment package can include the following:

  • Providing private medical insurance for staff
  • Offering an employee assistance programme
  • Health & wellbeing benefits such as subsidised gym membership

Having staff health cover means that in the event they fall ill, they will be treated promptly and in good quality surroundings. It also means that waiting lists, which can be lengthy, are avoided.

One useful way of helping staff is through the provision of an employee assistance programme. These provide (among other things) counselling for staff who may be going through difficulties in their life outside of work, such as bereavement or divorce.

Measuring employee satisfaction

While employee benefits such as health cover are popular – and also a useful tool in helping to attract and retain the best staff – it’s also useful to get some feedback on how you’re doing. This is where employee satisfaction surveys come in. There are some good guides on the bigger HR and personnel sites showing how to build an employee satisfaction survey.

In some cases, staff may have concerns about the confidentiality of their survey response. However, one way to guarantee the anonymity of survey returns is to use the services of a third party company.

Employee satisfaction surveys can also be a useful way to engage employees – this can be done by involving them in the survey by consulting them on the scope of the survey, and the kind of things it should ask.

Going foward with a wellbeing strategy

Once your wellbeing strategy is in place, it can be reviewed periodically and any changes that need to be made can be implemented. It’s worth keeping up with all the up-to-date news on employee engagement and wellbeing by looking at the major HR and personnel news websites, as there are often quite in-depth articles on the subject discussing all the latest developments.

About the author: Jen Jones writes on small business health insurance and wellbeing topics for various UK and international health and business websites.

 

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Are You a Woman Launching a Business or Book?

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Your Competitive Advantage May Surprise You!
By: Marsha Friedman

What’s your best advice for women in business?

 

It’s a question I hear frequently as more and more women strike out on their own, whether it’s to start their own company, write a book, turn their great idea into a product, or otherwise monetize their talents. The number of women-owned businesses in this country is growing 1.5 times faster than the national average. From 1997 to 2011, they increased by 50 percent.

I love seeing this surge of confidence! Putting yourself out there is risky, but it’s better to try and fail then to spend a lifetime wondering, “What if?”

Yes, I do have a favorite piece of advice for women in business but first, a word about self-employed women.

Did you know that our businesses added 500,000 jobs over 10 years while other privately held firms lost jobs?

That in 2007, we accounted for $1.2 trillion in sales receipts?

Unfortunately, we’re also less likely than men to borrow money to expand, so our businesses are smaller. They’re also more likely to fail and, despite that huge number of sales receipts, we ring up disproportionately less than our male counterparts.

That information, by the way, comes from an interesting report produced by the U.S. Department of Commerce — “Women-Owned Businesses in the 21st Century.”

It details the progress we’ve made and some of the hurdles we still must overcome. The latter include the legacy of a long history of discrimination; our tendency to be risk-adverse; and even some of the ventures that we choose. The report says we can help ourselves by creating more supportive networks, having access to more information, and finding mentors.

That last point gave me pause. When I launched my first business, there were comparatively few female CEOs, and certainly no internet to foster communication among them. I learned how to run a business mostly through good old trial and error. That’s also how I figured out how to balance that work with my roles as mother, wife and daughter, and how to fit in time volunteering for the community organizations I valued.

But women don’t have to go it alone anymore, and nor should we. Which is why I welcome questions like, “What’s your best advice for women in business?” I’d like to see the new generations of self-employed females blow through the hurdles that still remain before us and create even more opportunities for the generations to come.

So what’s my best advice? That’s impossible to say, but here’s one for starters.

Know your audience.

And guess what? It’s you!

Women account for 73 percent to 85 percent of all consumer decisions (according to Boston Consulting Group, Competitive Edge Magazine, and TrendSight Group founder Marti Barletta),. From the grocery store to the automobile dealership to the tech industry, women drive purchasing.

You need to communicate with that audience in mind. No, you don’t want to exclude men, but you also need to be sure your message appeals to women.

When I’m writing anything, whether it’s an email or a media pitch, I make a point to read over what I’ve written from the perspective of my audience. If I’m writing for industry peers, technical language is probably fine. If my audience is the media, concise and direct is best. If it’s clients, I want to be sure whatever I write also reflects my appreciation of them.

And then there’s the feminine factor.

As a woman, I’m a sucker for honesty and sincerity. I’m turned off by condescension. Unless the writer is somebody I already know and respect, I have little tolerance for preaching, judgment, or demands.

Any message that takes those things into account will work for men, too.

Whether you’re writing marketing copy, posting on social media, or working on an article or newsletter, if your goal is to turn your readers into buyers, you need to write with your audience in mind.

That’s not so hard – if you’re a woman.

About Marsha Friedman

Marsha Friedman is a 22-year veteran of the public relations industry. She is the CEO of EMSI Public Relations (www.emsincorporated.com), a national firm that provides PR strategy and publicity services to corporations, entertainers, authors and professional firms. Marsha is the author of Celebritize Yourself: The 3-Step Method to Increase Your Visibility and Explode Your Business and she can also be heard weekly on her Blog Talk Radio Show, EMSI’s PR Insider every Thursday at 3:00 PM EST.

 

 

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6 Businesses That Thrive In A Recession

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Recessions mean everyone suffers? Well, not necessarily true at all and some businesses thrive during a recession and see the opportunities that it throws up really help them flourish. When most others who did well in the good times stall, these are the businesses that people should invest in.

Sin Industries

Where you would have once purchased a new TV, or taken a holiday to the wine region of France, people will scale down their luxuries in a recession. Fortunately for them most sin is cheap and though they may bypass the new electrical goods, it’s a good time to own an off-licence or sell cigarettes; all of which improve in sales during recession. Chocolate also becomes an alternative to a good night out and does well. The only morally dubious industry to suffer is gambling, which relies on extra cash to do well and takes advantage of the happy go lucky feeling of the good times. All that being said, mobile gambling is currently thriving during the recession.

 

The Constants

There are some businesses that just continue as usual and there is no boom or bust cycle. Pharmaceutical companies, grave diggers, waste disposal companies and healthcare companies are all constants that do well either way. People get sick, are taxed and die whether times are good or bad.

Discount Retailers

Those who can sell goods at a lower price will obviously do well when people are watching their pockets. Discount retailers benefit greatly during a recession as they allow people to save, something they may not care for significantly in the good times. People will purchase more expensive items when things are good, but may lower their quality when looking for goods in bad times.

These companies also benefit from economies of scale and so can offer cheap goods at great prices to consumers. Though people don’t shop there as an ideal, they still do so during recessions.

Freelancers and Freelance Service Providers

Instead of bringing someone in during a storm and paying them a full wage, business providers and freelancers are taken on as they cost less. These freelance providers don’t require health insurance, a roof, canteen facilities and all the extras that add up in business and so thrive during bad times.

Property Management

Letting agents and others in the property management game do well in recessions as people find it harder to get mortgages to purchase a house. These businesses do well from the increased rental market and so make plenty during recessions.

Debt Settlement

Anyone involved in the area of money collection does well during the bad times. As businesses close, people lose money and need to employ professional services to get their investment back. This means that they will employ people in this area including debt collection companies, legal representatives and others, who all do well when things are down.

These examples of companies, who do well during the bad times, show that there is opportunity in the bad times as well as the good ones.

Cormac Reynolds writes for http://snap-edition.co.uk/ and has written numerous articles on how businesses can succeed during recessions.

 

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Juggling Work, Family And Your Education

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Many people attend college directly after graduating high school. For others, they wait until later in their lives to attend college, or attend graduate school later in life. Attending school at this time in life can be challenging as their lives have many different responsibilities. Some of these professional students also have families at home including children, work and hobbies that they are involved with. This results in professional students facing the challenge of balancing work and family while finding time to complete their education.

Scheduling is Key

Creating a schedule is critical to be able to balance these items in your life. If you think that you can do things “on the fly”, you will find that one or several areas of your life will not get the time they deserve. Work with your family, employer and others when crating your calendar. Let them know what your schedule is. That way they can work around your schedule instead of you having to adjust to theirs. Over time you may find you can make slight adjustments, but during the first few months, stick to your schedule. If you don’t respect your schedule, nobody else will. For that schedule, include time for class, studying and school projects.

If you are completing your schooling to improve your performance in the office, work with your employer for accommodations. Your office might be willing to let you set aside a half hour or hour a day of your workday to complete school assignments if they can see the benefits of your classes for them. If they won’t set aside time at work to let you complete your school work, they might be willing to allow you to work a more flexible schedule.

Set Aside a Location

Set aside a specific area to complete your school work. Isolate yourself from distractions when you are completing your school work. This is important for you to establish a time when others will not approach you with potential distractions. A small office in your home or even a bedroom are appropriate locations to use for your school work completion.

Celebrate Your Successes

Celebrate your accomplishments with your family. Your family may feel that they are losing time with you, and they are probably correct. Make them feel that their flexibility is appreciated. When you complete your courses for the semester, plan a special night out with your family. This might include a nice expensive dinner at one of their favourite restaurants.

This article was written by the team at the Engineering Institute of Technology, specialists in online engineering courses including hazardous area training certification and more.

 

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Prevent Larger Rivals From Poaching Your Staff

employees_workingThe past Olympics has created more jobs and opportunities not only in the UK but all over the world. If your industry is experiencing a sudden growth or demand for manpower, you better keep watch. Chances are the bigger companies are also on the lookout for new people. With the increase in job availability and the diversity it offers, you are in danger of losing your senior or most valuable employees. You should not let that happen because it will affect your business negatively in so many ways. How do you keep your staff and prevent them from being hired by your bigger competitors? Here are some suggestions.

  • Offer training. You can offer your staff skills training in areas outside their expertise. If you’re hiring foreigners, offer them basic English training or basic IT training. If you have competent staff, train them in advanced levels of their jobs.
  • Then offer a higher paying job. When your staff “graduates”, create a job that they can apply for. This method allows you to hire from within, with qualified workers who have already undergone training. These are people you trust and you are sure that will perform. Lower level jobs are lower risks so there’s not much problem when you need to hire outside the company. This method also prevents your senior, trained staff from leaving your company because you have already given them an opportunity to grow.
  • Quality over quantity. It’s understandable that a small business cannot compete with a large company in terms of salaries but you can compete with quality of life. Being small allows you to be flexible. When a family member gets sick or there’s a soccer game or school play, you can afford to give your staff the day off. Most big companies do not allow that.
  • Be family-friendly. Take the time to know each of your employees and their families especially if you only have 5 full-time employees. Knowing a little bit of their background helps you understand the way they work and can give you a better insight of their strengths and weaknesses. Who knows, you might find a valuable supplier in Lisa’s aunt’s cousin’s friend.
  • Offer small bonuses. You can’t give a large salary but you can give a small performance bonus to deserving employees. Make sure your employees are always motivated.
  • Movie nights? Take your employees out to celebrate the success of a business partnership or closing a deal. It can be a simple movie night, bowling night or drinks at your favourite pub. A happy employee stays with you.
  • Check your tools. A workman is only as good as his tools. Observe if your employees are getting frustrated with their jobs because of faulty equipment. This can cause them to look for another company that can provide with the proper tools to do their jobs.
  • Provide help. Help doesn’t necessarily mean a person. It can be a new printer, a new computer or a new device that can help your employees do their jobs better. Take for example the simple franking machine. A franking machine sorts, weighs, calculates the correct postage and stamps your mail. Oh, and a franked mail also gets discounts from the post office.  If the person in-charge of outgoing mail in your company is swamped with work each day, it’s only a matter of time before he decides to do something else. After all, who wants to be buried in a pile of mail five days a week? A franking machine can process at least 90 pieces of mail per minute so think how fast your employee can finish. You can then assign your employee to do other things. This also keeps your employee from getting bored with his job.
  • Pool resources. Check if your area has a group of business owners that pool resources. For example, one company is in need of a clerk and the other company has an extra clerk that they need to let go because of budget constraints. They then can refer that clerk to the other company in need.
  • Join a group. If you have an association of business owners in your area, you may want to check it out. Talking to like-minded people gives you new insights, new ideas and a new perspective in running your own business. You need to talk to people who understand what you’re going through. Ask them if they have lost an employee to a bigger paying competitor and what they did to prevent that from happening again. These things are better discussed with people who experience the same things that you do instead of your spouse or family.

Finally, the next time you’re hiring for a senior position, you might want to hire “mature” people. They have a wealth of experience and they tend to stay in one place. They’re not impatient like their younger colleagues. You need patience and understanding to grow a company and these people can provide you with that.

This article was written by entrepreneur blogger Dawn Biggs. Please visit my Contractor Money site if you liked this article.

 

 

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How You Can Expand Your Business

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Owning your very own business can be exciting; you will face many different challenges each day and will learn a lot of things along the way. If you feel you have got everything you possibly can out of your business, you may want to look for ways to set yourself new challenges. A perfect way to do this is by expanding your business, not only will it be a great new experience but it can also do wonders for your bank balance. To successfully expand on your current business, read on:

Delivery Services

Your first option to expand your business is by setting up delivery services. If you only have one small shop or office, then you can use the internet to advertise your delivery services. If your business is successful in what it does, then you should only find that you will become bigger with a larger customer base.

Before you finalise your delivery services, you should do your research to decide how far you will be able to delivery your products and for what set price.

New Store/Office

If offering delivery services does not seem like the best business plan, then you also have the option of opening a new store or office. You have two options when it comes to opening a second store/office, you can try and keep your new store/office quite close to where you are originally located or you should open it quite far away.

The positives of opening a store closer to your original business is that it is likely to be heard of or seen, this will make the marketing of your new store much easier. You may find that you won’t get as many new customers compared to opening a store in a faraway location.

Upgrade Your Business

If you are a bit worried about opening a new store, then you may just want to consider upgrading from your current location. By this I mean closing the location of your business to open in a bigger and better area. This can be a complicated process; to make things a little easier I would advise that you use factory clearance services to move all your products from one location to another.

If you decide that this is the best option for you then it is important that you plan a new marketing scheme. Whether you are opening a complete new business or just expanding on your current business, it is important that make your potential customers aware of this.

Harry has his own business and likes to share business advice with others. He uses www.fullers-logistics.com for his factory clearance services.

 

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A Guide To Producing Videos For Your Website On A Budget

gallery-img1Videos play a significant role in the online world. People use them to communicate and forge connections with others. However, creating a video can be expensive. If you wish to cut back on costs and make a good video for your website, the information below may help in some fashion.

1. Plan the Video before Filming

It is a poor idea to film a video for your website without any planning. If you do not write out a script or general story, you may waste time and money. Ask a friend to help you write out what the video may contain. You do not have to spend days working on the plan; however, you may wish to avoid writing out a script in a quick and reckless manner. Make sure that you are happy with your plan before you gather together other supplies.

2. Borrow a Camera

Video cameras are not necessarily cheap. If a person wishes to have a camera with the ability to film in high quality, it may not be possible to buy one at a local electronics store. The Internet is vast in its scope, and people must put forth effort and aim for quality if they want to stand out from the competition. If you want to cut back on costs, consider asking a friend or family member for a camera. He or she may lend a camera to you for a set amount of time. Do not take the camera without asking for permission, as this may lead to serious issues.

3. Film Scenes Outside

An excellent website video must have suitable lighting. However, lighting can be high-priced. A person may have to invest in distinctive fixtures that will compliment people and objects on a video. You may save money if you choose to film the video outside. The outside world carries natural lighting, and you may also gain a large amount of filming space. Choose a space where interruptions are unlikely; you may have to do a lot of editing to fix disruptions, and this will delay the release of your video.

4. Use Items around the Home

When a person wishes to film a video without breaking the bank, he or she may wish to use items that are available around their home. For example, decorations from the kitchen may serve as props for cooking scenes. These props may also be dressed up and used as fictional characters for humorous or educational videos. Think about the theme of your website and what would properly convey your message. Do you want your video to be humorous? Do you want your viewers to learn something new? You may also borrow items if you believe that it would be helpful.

If you want to create a video for your website, it does not have to be a difficult endeavor. You do not have to spend more money than what you have available in your banking account. The information above may set you down the right path and help you develop something enjoyable.

Sally writes for TigerX the 3D Animation specialists. For powerful, dynamic & effective Energy Design CGI solutions visit TIGERX.com

 

 

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5 Reasons Narcissists Rule The World

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It’s an unfortunate fact of life that many of the traits we think of as belonging to good people do not always lead to success while a number of unpleasant qualities can spur people into positions of leadership and influence. The term narcissism dates back to the Greek myth of the youth Narcissus who fell madly in love with a reflection of himself in a pool of water, and today it describes people who think particularly highly of themselves.

We find narcissists at all levels of society and in many different places, but narcissists have certain traits that position them very well to succeed.

1. Narcissists think highly of themselves.

They believe they are the best at whatever they do. A certain amount of confidence and self-esteem is needed for success, but narcissists take it to an extreme. Interestingly, some studies have shown that this is not necessarily borne out in reality. Narcissists are generally not smarter and better-looking than everyone else around them. They just believe it to be true, and apparently, that is enough to give them a head start.

2. Narcissists lack empathy.

Of course, many people who are highly empathetic achieve success. It’s certainly easier, though, to forge ahead through obstacles when one isn’t troubled by concerns about hurting others. Most positions of power involve making difficult decisions, and often what makes those decisions so difficult is worrying about the human cost. Narcissists are able to act purely in their own self-interest, and this propels them to greater power.

3. Narcissists are charismatic.

Great leaders generally can’t succeed just through confidence and arrogance, however. They also have to make people want to follow them, and despite their negative traits, narcissists are able to be very charming and charismatic when it suits them.

4. Narcissists are ruthless.

They will eliminate anyone they see as a threat. Non-narcissists might hesitate to step on others in the rise to the top, but a narcissist will take credit where credit is not due and use people in any way they view as necessary.

5. Narcissists are single-minded in pursuing selfish goals.

It’s necessary for anyone to stay focused on a goal to succeed, but most people temper that focus. They tend to have a mixed set of goals as opposed to purely selfish ones and to consider the impact of their pursuit of goals on loved ones. Narcissists have none of these considerations.

Who are some of the most prominent narcissists of today? Many people have described Donald Trump, Paris Hilton and Lance Armstrong as good examples of successful narcissists.

However, not all successful people are narcissists, and being a narcissist is not a requirement for success. The connection between success and narcissism may be best understood by thinking of the traits as occurring along a continuum in which narcissists exhibit the trait at its most negative and extreme. Still, it cannot be denied that our society rewards narcissism, and because success often does come from a combination of an enormous ego, a lack of empathy and ruthless attitude toward others, charm that can be turned on and off as needed and intense focus, narcissists are likely to continue to have advantages in the world.

Damon Peterson is a career counselor and guest author at Top Counseling Schools, where he has written guides to the Best Masters in Counseling Online.

 

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Ways to Show You Appreciate Your Customers

7650804342_9715bb425fYour business successes are the result of your own hard work, to be sure. But, you could not have built your business without the support of your customers.

Suppose you are already doing your part in your day-to-day business interactions with customers. You give them excellent service by proving that you are willing to make time for them. They feel important, knowing that you value their business. A customer who feels overlooked, rushed or senses that you would rather be doing something other than helping them is not likely to be among your loyal return customers. So, you treat all of your customers with respect, giving them the personal attention they need while they purchase your product or service.

However, your responsibility to your customers does not end with the completion of a business transaction. All individuals enjoy having their contributions acknowledged, and they will favor those who express awareness of their efforts. Recognizing how someone has supported your business and showing them that you appreciate them is crucial to your continued success. With the holidays fast approaching, your company has the opportunity to make a lasting, positive impression on your customers.

Here are a few simple ways to show your customers that you care about them:

  1. Give away materials with your company logo on them. Customers always love receiving free items. Order selections of small promotional materials such as pens, calendars and notepads. These materials are often inexpensive and will help to build your customers’ loyalty to you. You will also benefit from the added visibility to new potential customers.
  2. Send personalized holiday cards to your customers. Several companies offer attractive and professional designs that tell your customers you appreciate them. Sign the cards, or better yet, write a small note expressing your gratitude for their business. Customers will recognize the effort you put into mailing them the card, and they will be pleased that their loyalty is noticed and appreciated.

Do not limit your appreciations to the holidays. You may also want to send a card on other occasions to show your customers that they truly are important to you.

  1.  Offer special discounts to your customers. Sending a coupon or promotion along with a short note telling them you are grateful for their business is a great way to acknowledge your customers while simultaneously giving them an incentive to return.
  2.   Following up with your customers by sending them a personalized letter or e-mail after a transaction is complete is the best time to show your appreciation. Your customer will see no underlying motive for the letter other than you want to show your appreciation to them. A simple note or acknowledgement of their contribution to your business will certainly catch their attention and set you apart from other, more impersonal businesses.
  3. If you have the time or resources and it makes financial sense based on the dollar amount of products or services you offer, a brief “thank-you” phone call to your customers is very effective, especially directly following a transaction. The world of business has become very impersonal in many ways, so a human voice, even if heard merely in a voicemail or answering machine is very effective. In fact, some very successful companies hire customer service reps who have the single task of following up and thanking their customers. They also use this time to briefly survey each customer to find out how the company can improve.

Your customers are the lifeblood of your business. You must first earn their support by providing great initial service. But, do not make the mistake of passing by the chance to tell your customers that you appreciate them. Take the time to communicate with those who have supported you and reward their business with a personal note, phone call or gift. Your efforts to recognize them will be noticed, and they will be much more likely to return and recommend your business to others.

Mikkie Mills is a Chicago native and mother of two.  She occasionally blogs about DIY crafts and business. Show your customers you care through gifts by Vistaprint products.  Connect with her on Google + or on Twitter (@DollarHacks).

 

 

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