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What is a Business Postcard and Does Your Business Need One?

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Every business owner knows that marketing is crucial to the success of your business. However, like most business owners in today’s tight economy, marketing budgets are smaller than desired, and what you do purchase must have a real impact on the potential client. Selecting marketing material that will set your business, service or product apart is what will give you an advantage over your competitors. It must be something memorable, it must be something colorful, and it must be something affordable.

The 4×6 Inch Card

One of the most effective and affordable marketing tools available are 4×6-sized cards. These postcards, created in full color and printed on a very high quality stock, can be used to pass out to potential clients in place of a business card, mailed out to potential clients, or used as a insert in local newsletters and publications.

The larger format cards can be designed to include pictures of your business, your product or the effects of your service. Offering so much more space and creative potential than a business card, they have multiple uses.

The Possibilities Are Endless

Every kind of business can benefit from these marketing tools. Photographers and art galleries can create beautiful postal sized cards to showcase works of art that are available or important gallery openings. Real estate companies can use them to promote their office or their sales reps. Retail centers can create beautiful 4×6 cards to distribute to promote special sales or new inventory.

The Results Are Fabulous

Standard business cards are a great reminder for people that want to use you for business in the future. However, postal-sized cards give the potential client a visual of what to expect from your company and it stimulates all of their senses. When their senses are stimulated, as any good marketing professional knows, people are more likely to react positively with a purchase because they want to fill the desire they have created within themselves for the product or service.

Better Marketing Budgets

From the financial aspect of marketing, mailing cards create a way for businesses to reach a large amount of people with a very limited cost. All businesses need to watch their advertising budgets, and using 4×6 cards can help these businesses meet these goals.

Postal cards can be printed in any quantity, with large amounts receiving better prices. Because they are easy to design and simple to produce, they can also be changed often to continue to meet the needs of the business. Once you have created a card, you are not “stuck” with that design. You are free to change it as often as necessary so that you always have the highest results from your efforts.

All businesses from every industry can and will benefit from using 4×6 cards to market their business. In fact, once you see the incredible results you receive from this marketing tool, you may wonder how you were ever successful without them.

Using postcards to help advertise her own art business, Ann Bailey relays these marketing tips for other small business owners. The online ordering company, Signazon(dot)com, offers easy set-up and design templates for quick card design, and takes care of all production so your company’s professional 4×6 advertising cards come ready to mail.

 

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/familymwr/5548053540/

 

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Go Greener With A Garden Office

IMG_1362The time has long since passed that sheds and summer houses were used only as storage facilities or home extensions. A whole wave of garden offices and studios are combining the outdoors with the indoors to create eco-buildings that are green in more ways than one.
Saving expenses
Many business owners are choosing to skip the commute nowadays and run their business virtually or from home. Not only are they avoiding the rocket-high rentals on a city office building, but the maintenance too   on everything from heating bills to paying for internet and electronic equipment. Add in daily travel and food costs and it starts to become clear why this so-called ‘shedworking’ craze has taken off.
If this is something you’re considering, it pays to do some research. Find out how much a second line for phone and internet might cost and if you already have an existing shed or outhouse, research the steps you would have to take to insulate and light it effectively. Initial costs may seem high, so weigh up potential savings over time compared to leasing a serviced office and work out how the books will balance.
Built-in green features
There are all sorts of extra ways you can promote the environment from your own backyard. Building the shed yourself is much more cost-effective and satisfying, with a range of recycled materials available: used doors and windows, reclaimed laminate and even slates made from rainpipe guttering can help make the project a worthy one.
If you want to go all out for the environment, solar panels can be installed on the roof, again reducing your company outgoings over time. Then there’s the decoration. Use cladding or roll mat plants for your shed roof and you have an instant flood defence, insulation and the bonus of an attractive, natural look.
An alternative to a new shed one that has been used already. It’s worth visiting the local garden centres and asking if they have any ex-display sheds they want to get rid of – these will normally be heavily reduced in price, you’ll just need to do a little dismantling and rebuilding.
An eco-friendly business can still be achieved in the home at reduced cost but it may be the case that your home life and work life are not so easily separated, with kids in the next room or noise from the kitchen down the hall. A private space of your own is a precious thing and coupled with green savings, the garden office is a useful feature indeed.

Daniel Parkinson is a finance and business blogger who gets out his green fingers at the weekend. He’s currently writing a book about eco-business. He has used www.enviromat.co.uk on a number of occasions.

 

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Ordering Office Supplies For Your Small Business

AdobeCreativeCloud_promo122412In these tough times for the economy as a whole you certainly won’t want reminding of the need to remain afloat while other firms falter around you. This has not just affected small online companies but big names on the high street too. So it is now more important than ever to keep track of your spending on essentials such as office equipment and stationery.
Whether you run the enterprise from the comfort of your own home office, rent out premises in the city centre, or have rental space in a building on the outskirts of town, it is necessary to fit the place out with all you need to ensure the smooth running of the business.
No matter if you sell products direct to the customer, or supply other firms with the parts they require in keeping their operations going, you will be expected to maintain a tight ship with regards to your paperwork.
This means that you should take stock of all you own and the equipment pertinent to your organisation. Printing is a requirement for nearly all firms, in all industries (even if the majority of business is conducted online), so your printers need to have spare cartridges ready and the mail ready to send out, without any delay.
Office furniture and hardware is another consideration for any SME, irrespective of its sector. Staff will have to sit somewhere and if your company ever invites customers or prospective clients to your offices it certainly pays to devote time and effort on the right décor, in fitting with your brand image.
Personalised stationery may not be a must, but in some cases it can really help to get your message across to your audience. These are the kinds of decisions you will have to make as you contemplate what will be beneficial to your firm in the long run.
Even if you conduct your business at home, it is recommended you differentiate this room to the rest of your house as this can have a psychological effect on your work and how you go about it.
So when ordering the supplies you need from a dedicated office products and services company, make a definitive list of the things which are essential in maintaining the smooth flow of your operations. You don’t have to spend a fortune, but you will be expected to invest in all the right areas, including the physical office space.

Article written by Shane Peters who recommends http://www.mgmofficesupplies.ie for office supplies.

 

 

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Points To Consider When Organizing A Team Building Day

Business team building a puzzleTeam building days have become a tool that large and small companies use to build trust, cooperation and respect between employees and departments. New managers also use the events as a way to get to know the skills of different workers. Planning an entire team-building day takes a large amount of effort. Every detail from scheduling and reservations to catering and games must be meticulously planned. There are several points to keep in mind when attempting to organize a day of team-building activities.

Be Aware Of Employee Limitations

Every person is different. It is essential to take into account the physical, medical and practical limitations of each employee taking part in the event. This means planning activities that everyone can perform and excluding activities that might be difficult for workers with limited mobility. It also means choosing a location that is accessible to everyone with or without a vehicle. Catering needs to be considerate of any dietary restrictions or allergies. Designing the event with the limitations of the employees in mind will allow the day to flow smoothly and without incident.

Catering

Every team-building day includes one or more breaks that allow participants to think or talk about what has just occurred. Everyone taking part in the event will need to eat at least once. The best way to feed all participants is to plan for a professional catering service. The food could be simple sandwiches or a large buffet. Eating will help to reset each person and will provide the energy needed to get through the second half of the retreat. Including a catered lunch or breakfast also makes employees feel appreciated.

Maintain Focus

It is important to maintain focus at all times during the planning stages and when hosting the event. It can become easy for a group of co-workers or even strangers from different offices to become distracted by personal conversations, the decor of the location or minor unimportant details. Event organizers and hosts should develop ways to keep groups focused around the core topic or activity. This will make the entire day much more effective and will encourage participation from everyone at the event.

Time

Time is always a concern when organizing a corporate team-building day. The day should be divided into large blocks of time that are strictly enforced. These blocks should be general such as introductions, morning activities or lunch. The large general blocks can then be subdivided into smaller segments of activity that are more fluid as long as they do not extend beyond the total time allocated for the general period. This will allow flexibility while also ensuring that every important part of the team-building plan is covered.

Consider Professional Planning Services

Large corporations might want to consider using a professional event planning service for a large portion of the retreat. These services will have access to and knowledge of locations and suppliers that will make the day much easier. They also have the time to plan the event properly. Professional planners are an economical solution for large corporations because they often have access to discounts and larger venues that are not available to the general public.

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This post was written by Jen McAllister, an event planner in Toronto. She has worked with ibowl.ca Family Fun Center for a few years. For other types of events, visit http://ibowl.ca/.

 

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Yelp’s In Trouble Again: The Scandal Behind The Review Site

MW-AY957_yelp_2_20130205133121_MEYelp is a popular online review site that allows customers to leave their own personal reviews on restaurants. Many customers have turned to Yelp to not only write their own reviews but to read the reviews of other users in order to decide where to eat.

But while Yelp seems like it could be a big help to your next dining decision, the popular review site is currently under fire.

Back in January 2013, over 700 complaints filed with the FTC about Yelp were made public, and here’s what some of those complaints discuss.

Yelp blocks positive reviews.

Many business owners have claimed that Yelp removes positive reviews on their business and only allows the negative ones to come through. These negative reviews have a negative effect on the company’s overall rating, and business owners are upset. Some owners don’t know why Yelp could benefit from keeping these positive reviews from showing, and others feel as if Yelp uses it as a way to blackmail their users.

Yelp blackmails businesses.

Many businesses have come forward and said that they received emails or phone calls from Yelp claiming that they would remove negative reviews on the company’s page in exchange for the company buying advertising on the site. On Yelp’s website, they claim that they do not remove reviews for any reason other than if it can be proven they were fake, but many companies are saying otherwise.

Yelp harasses businesses.

Yelp has sales people that contact businesses to see if they want to purchase advertising on the site. Many businesses have claimed that these sales people harass them on a regular basis, even after the company has told them they were not interested in buying ad space or asking the sales rep to stop calling. Some of these sales reps have also been accused of promising to remove negative reviews in exchange for their ad space purchase.

Yelp leaves libelous material on their site.

There are companies and individuals out there that write fake reviews on businesses, and sometimes this information is completely wrong and libelous. Unfortunately, the only thing that a business owner can do is to contact Yelp and ask for the review to be removed, but Yelp has a strict policy, and unless it can be proven that the review was fake, they will keep it up there. Many restaurant owners are upset because severe damage has been done to their business, and Yelp will not do anything to remove them.

Yelp encourages fake reviews.

As a reviewer, you have the ability to join Yelp’s VIP club. As long as you write a certain number of reviews every month, you can become a member of their VIP, and this will provide you with special private parties and other perks. Since most people don’t eat out all day every day, many individuals are writing fake reviews on businesses just to become a Yelp VIP member and enjoy these perks.

All of these complaints against Yelp are currently being investigated. Maybe they’re true, maybe they’re not, but the public will certainly know soon once the investigation is over.

Joshua Reynolds is a reviews tracker and reputation manager.  He enjoys sharing information pertaining to business reviews and blogging.

 

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How To Find A Reliable Air Freight Company?

images (3)If you are exporting freight from the UK to it may be necessary to employ an air freight company to move your goods. You will want to choose an air freight company that handle all aspects of the export process and will ensure that the goods get to their destination, quickly, safely and securely.

Search Air Freight Companies

Finding a good air freight company is not a straight forward process. It would be worth considering several different companies and perhaps taking a look at their websites as a first step. Look for companies that have a depth of experience and that really understand international markets.

A follow up phone call or email will allow you to get a feel for how responsive the company is and whether you feel you could work with them. The air freight business is a people business, and you will need to understand whether the person you are speaking with will be directly responsible for handling your shipments, or is just another sales person.

Packaging

Prior to preparing your goods for export you should contact your air freight company to understand any size or weight restrictions that may apply for the destination you are shipping to. There is little point packing your goods and then finding out they are too big for security measures or too big or heavy for the available aircraft size.

It is essential that you package your goods properly for air export. If you don’t you may find that your cargo may not fly or may arrive damaged. Also bear in mind that insufficient or incorrect packaging can invalidate the insurance that you purchase for your goods to have the right to travel.

If you are unsure how to package your products then your freight company should be able to guide you or suggest a suitable export packing company. The packing company will design the packaging to ensure a safe transit and make sure that packing standards such as ISPM15 are complied with.

Air Freight Options

A good global freight company will be able to offer both economy and express services and will also offer a courier option for smaller shipments. It is also important that your freight company can offer freight insurance (if needed) and a full documentation service. It is essential your goods have the correct documents to travel with or could find that you can have a considerable loss to your company.

James works on behalf of Allenco, The Freight People who are a global freight company. They specialise in a variety of different export services, you can find a list of services at http://www.thefreightpeople.com/

 

 

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Workplace Monitoring With The Use Of Technology

r-NYPD-COMPUTER-GLITCH-large570Employers can monitor your activities at work and in many situations they have the right to do it

Monitoring In The Workplace

There are many ways in which you can be monitored at work and the following are all covered by the Data Protection Law:

  • checking phone logs or recording of phone calls. This is for business calls on a business phone that is connected to a particular computer which runs checks on calls and records them. This is a great tool to help with productivity and customer service
  • computer monitoring software which will record all actives on the computer including incoming and outgoing email content, websites visited and any social network sites visited
  • videoing outside the workplace to check if anyone is taking too many smoking breaks or they are meeting with anyone suspicious. This is also a good tool in case of any accidents on company land
  • recording on CCTV cameras to check if anyone is stealing from the company or if they are doing anything untoward in the office and again this is good for recording any accidents that might become an issue

What Are The Rules?

The Data Protection Law doesn’t prevent monitoring at work, however, there are rules set down about the circumstances and the way in which it should be carried out by the employer.

Before deciding whether to introduce monitoring, your employer should:

  • have a clear idea of the reasons for monitoring staff and what will benefit the company
  • think of anything that might affect the staff in a negative way (impact assessment)
  • is there a less intrusive method or alternatives to monitoring
  • is it justified

Except in extreme situations, employers need to let staff know that monitoring is happening and the reason for it and what they are looking at. Once an employer has carried out an impact assessment

Employers who can justify monitoring once they have carried out a proper impact assessment will not need the consent of staff members.

Monitoring Electronic Equipment At Work

It is legal for your boss to monitor your use of the phone, internet, e-mail or fax at work if the monitoring is related to the business, the equipment is provided by the company for work and the employer has made all reasonable efforts to inform you that you are being monitored. However the employee cannot monitor any personal electronic equipment

If your employer sticks to the following rules, they do not need to get your consent before they monitor you, but only if it is for one of the following:

  • to find out and establish facts relevant to the business, to check processes and procedures are being followed, or to check quality and standards by listening in to phone-calls
  • to prevent or detect crime
  • to check for unauthorised use of the internet or email for personal use
  • to make ensure the electronic systems are operating effectively with no viruses
  • to check communications, such as email or phone-calls are relevant to the business. But the employer cannot record calls

Charlie Hodgson has worked with private detective Cardiff as a private detective for many years. With hours of surveillance and other investigations under his belt he has the knowledge and understanding required to gain success in his field. Spy equipment, software and spy gadgets are of particular interest to him as he has used and relied on it more times than he would like to admit to. For more blogs like this please contact http://www.privateinvestigators-cardiff.co.uk/

 

 

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