Monthly Archives: May 2012

How To Keep Your Business Moving

This article looks at how business continuity planning is an increasingly crucial tool for businesses of all sizes.

What Is Business Continuity?

Business continuity management planning is a critical aspect for businesses of all sizes in the modern day. Having a business continuity plan can ensure that in the face of unexpected circumstances, businesses can continue to operate to their maximum potential. The real aim of business continuity management planning is not to merely ensure a business continues to operate, but to provide a strong path to restoring normal operations at the earliest possible opportunity.

The business continuity plan can account for a whole range of events, from physical happenings such as a terrorist atrocity or a huge fire to financial events such as recessions and market troughs.

Building Business Continuity

Currently, the standard which measures a business’ continuity planning is BS 25999. BS 25999 looks at how well equipped a business is to deal with a wide range of occurrences, as well as the planning processes and logistics required to implement these. BS 25999 puts accountability on various individuals throughout an organisation to act in a certain set of circumstances.

Business continuity management planning can be the difference between a business continuing to thrive or going to the wall in the face of uncertain conditions. In times of uncertainty, it will be a great comfort to customers to know that in your business, they have an organisation and team who they can rely upon to remain consistent in their service and product delivery. A business continuity plan could even bring you new business in this manner, so it is definitely something worth having.

Why Business Continuity?

In addition to the benefits to customers there are various reasons why a business continuity management plan is a good idea. Getting certified with BS 25999 can open many doors for your business.

  • Investors will be far more likely to invest in your business if you have a continuity plan, and have been BS 25999 certified. Parting with their money is a risk, giving it to a safe bet will feel immeasurably safer.
  • Many insurance companies and other groups will only deal with you if you have an aspect of business continuity management planning in place. Growing numbers of large corporations are adopting a strict policy of only dealing with other businesses who have such contingencies in place.
  • As this becomes a greater focus, business continuity will become a mandatory requirement for all businesses. At the moment, only those agencies related to financial markets, utilities and public transport are legally obliged to have such plans in place.

Adopt business continuity planning throughout your business, get BS 25999 certified and put your business on the map starting today.

Iso27001standard provide resources to help with understanding BS25999.


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Safety in the Office: Preventing Work Related Injuries

Small business owners are often not aware of the liabilities that come with business ownership. Often, their business becomes victim to an unsuspecting expense that will take a large chunk out of the budget and threaten to shut the venture down. When starting your own business, pay special attention to the safety measures that you have for your staff, as you can be held responsible for work related injuries.

Approximately 6 percent of all workers in the United States suffer from a work related injury very year. While large corporations are able to handle the compensation claims, a small business owner cannot. Take the following steps to reduce work related injuries in your new business:

In the Office

It is possible to injure yourself in the office, and employees can seek compensation for anything from repetitive strain injury or a fracture caused from a slippery floor.

During Computer Use

Computers are one of the leading causes of injury in an office setting, mainly due to incorrect posture or long periods of usage. If your business requires use of a computer, make sure you get chairs with lower back supports and encourage proper posture. Make employees take short breaks every hour.

Floors and Lighting

Ensure that the office is well lit, and that floors are not wet at any time. Slipping can cause fractures, while poor lighting can increase strain while working. Make sure your office is hygienic, so that disease does not spread in your workers.

Electrical Equipment

Shorting or defective machines in your office present a hazard to your building and personnel. In case of a fire, you may have to compensate all the employees. If an employee injures himself, for example, due to a defective coffee maker, you may find yourself paying the medical bills.

In the Manufacturing Department

Whether you have a bakery or a wood working shop, the place where your goods are made has a higher chance of work related injury.

Machinery and Maintenance

All machinery should be regularly maintained. The wiring and functioning should be checked by a professional, so that parts do not fail while in use. Doing so will ensure that the machine is reliable and performs as expected. Enforce a strict guideline about machine use, and provide safety equipment.

Exposure to Chemicals or Dust

If you expect that the air will have dust particles or chemicals in it, provide adequate masks for your staff. Fumes can damage the lungs, and lead to long term disease. Injury claims may demand compensation for the entire duration of treatment, mounting up to a hefty amount.

Heavy Loads

Lifting heavy loads can cause back injury, and may injure feet if a load collapses onto them. Provide safety shoes and helmets to use with lifting equipment.

Safety Equipment and Procedures

Having written guidelines and a contract with your employee will provide much of the security you need to protect yourself. Enforce a safety culture by providing all safety equipment and having a zero tolerance policy for non compliance.

Francis Hart has been a valuable consultant for the Fannin Litigation Group, P.S. and has dealt with many occupational injury cases. She has helped many small business owners to protect themselves against such claims and increase their safety procedures. She blogs for Fannin Law in her free time.


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How to Use Google Plus for Your Business

There are a lot of things that businesses can do to boost their online profile and get more traffic to their websites. One of these things is taking advantage of the social media craze. By jumping on the social media bus, companies ensure themselves that they will get in contact with people on the internet who are geographically close to them and who are somewhat interested in the goods and/or services that they provide. Google Plus is a great social media website that can help you and your business take off! If you are thinking about using Google Plus to help advertise your business, then here are a few things that you should keep in mind as you go about creating the online profiles that you will need in order to do so.

Get Your Feet Wet

The first thing you should do is register and explore! Google Plus is a pretty intimate social media site where the things you share are very specifically stored and kept track of in the Google Plus profile that every user has to create. You need to look around the website and see what you like about it. Because there is so much to it, it might be necessary to keep a main focus at the center of your business Google Plus website and feature a link with more information about specific things that some people might want to know about. Google Plus is the perfect place to find people in your area who have already expressed interest in your line of business. You can add these people to your Circle of Friends. Once they are added to your Circle, they can access all the information on your Google Plus page. If it so happens that they hope to get more information about your company, they can just click the link and be taken straight to your website.

The website is the most important part of an online marketing ploy. You have to make sure that your company’s website is both engaging and aesthetically pleasing. If it is too boring or hard to manage, then people will get tired of working with it. If it is ugly or difficult to read because of brash color schemes and too flashy graphics, then the people who are brought to the website from Google Plus will be turned off by the appearance and exit out of it.

Working With a Pro

If you aen’t very up to speed on web design, there are web design companies that will do what they can to create a great website for you. By hiring another company to do web design for your website, you can be sure that the website you end up with will be everything that you need it to be.

Micah Castro is a freelance writer for Skyhook Internet Marketing who specializes in Web Design Phoenix and interactive marketing.


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Gifts You Can Give Your Boss without Looking Like a Kiss-Ass

Whether it’s his birthday, the holidays, or any other occasion, it’s never easy to pick out the perfect gift for your boss. You want to impress him, but you don’t want to do it with scoffs from your colleagues. The gift you give to your boss should show him that you appreciate him without going over the top. He makes more money than you, so don’t spend a lot. If you spend more than $50 on a present, you’ll seem like a kiss-ass for sure. There are plenty of nice gifts you can give that are thoughtful, reasonably-priced, and not screaming for a promotion. Here are some gift ideas for your boss that won’t annoy him or your coworkers.

A Bottle of Spirits

If your boss likes to enjoy the occasional drink, consider getting him a bottle of his favorite liquor or a nice bottle of wine. The bottle you choose will show you’re paying attention to his tastes, but if you’re not sure, you can never go wrong with red wine. A bottle of wine is a great gift because you can almost never have too many, and there will always be a future occasion to drink it.
A Fancy Wine Opener

If you don’t want to go with the traditional bottle of wine, you can take a more practical route and get him a nice wine opener. There are lots of different wine openers on the market, so go for something that’s a little more high-end, such as a sleek-looking electric wine opener that will look good on a countertop and make opening wine a breeze.
A Wine Decanter

Okay, perhaps at this point it might seem like your boss is an alcoholic with all these drinking-related gifts. But drinking-related gifts are good for one reason – the show you have a jovial spirit (no pun intended). Whenever there is a gift-giving occasion, it’s likely a cause for celebration. A wine decanter is another gift that will give a happy, celebratory vibe.
Travel Accessories

If your boss travels a lot in his position, you can give a thoughtful, practical gift with a travel accessory or two. Good travel accessories include neck pillows, travel shoe bags, necktie cases, and toiletry bags. They all serve a useful purpose and can make his travelling easier or more stylish.
Fun Tech Accessories

For the boss with an iPad or iPhone, there are lots of fun accessories you can get that will show you have a sense of humor. For example, there’s an accessory that will turn your iPad into a mini arcade game, or a case that will make it look like an Etch-a-Sketch.
Bluetooth Headset

Bosses are always on their phones. If yours doesn’t have a hands-free Bluetooth headset yet, it will be the perfect gift for you to give him. They are not very expensive at all, and they will make it easier for him to talk while driving and multi-task in general. Just remember if he starts wearing it 24/7 around the office, it’s your fault.

Charlie Adams is a tech guru and internet expert who works and lives in the Las Vegas area as a consultant. If he ever needs to blow off some steam or entertain guests from out of town he simply takes them out to experience the Vegas nightlife.

Photo Credit: Cindy’s Epic Cakes


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It’s All Geek to Me

Many people earn degrees based on their interests, it only makes sense, right? However, let’s face it, not everyone has same interest and maybe your run slightly (or highly) more to the nerd side. Sure you would love to be musician or draw concept art for car makers, but that just isn’t your thing. You are far more into Dungeons and Dragons than designing buildings. If so, here are some degrees you might like.

Astronomy – If you wish you could boldly go where no man has gone before, well now you can, at least in your mind. If long night and large telescopes intrigue you then why not study astronomy?  Granted, this can be pretty intense and mind boggling at times but deep down inside, you know you would love every minute of it. You might even get lucky and discover a planet or an asteroid about to hit the earth.

Physics – Physics and any other type of physics have a lot of overlap. If you like colliding invisible particles in multi-billion dollar pieces of equipment then you should love this field.  If you know what a mass spectrometer is, or how to use one then you definitely need to major in this.  Once again, this is no casual stroll through academic America, it is pretty tough stuff to wrap your head around, but you can do it. Just don’t look too closely too quantum physics, that stuffs insane.

Math – If you are math addict then you have little choice but to major in math. For some reason, geeks everywhere seem to love this subject and somehow they actually understand it.  Teaching would be your most likely option, but if you learn your advanced stuff you could get into programming, code breaking or the exciting world of accounting. If this isn’t for you, do what I did and go for…

History – On the entirely different end of the nerd mass spectrometer you can delve into the depths of history and the liberal arts. Learn about the battles epic battles with knights and maybe reenact some of them yourself.  Antiquities, artifacts and folklore are yours to master. You can even specialize in a military masters degree. If worst-comes-to-worst, you could at least get a job at Medieval Times.

Which bring us to literature, the cute, shy sister of history. Everyone has seen a bookworm or two in their lives. You know, they are always reading. They read in the car, they read while working out, they read while they eat and they fall asleep while reading. Are all books nerdy? No, but most are. For those who love to explore the vast plains of the unbridled imagination then literature is for you.

Which leaves us to the more important and eternal question, what will you do with these degrees? Well, it is true that many people end up doing something not related to their degree at all, teaching is the most obvious choice. You can go and be an inspiring influence and younger nerds who were once just like yours and let them see just where they will end up.

Jeff Jordan lives, breathes and writes in sunny Southern California. He mainly writes about education. automobiles, navy education, real estate and pop culture.  He would write about romance and dating but sadly knows nothing about it.


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Find New Customers with Case Studies from Old Customers

Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool.  If customers love a company, their praise and recommendations can drive business through the roof. If not, the company will often crash and burn.  But word of mouth isn’t completely out of a company’s hands.

You might have seen websites with case studies or glowing testimonials.  These are great examples of a business leveraging customer feedback to drive even more interest among new customers.  It can work for you, too, if you know how to do it.  Here are some helpful tips for using customer feedback to bring more business.

Ask for it.

If you’re not asking your customers to rate their experiences with you, you’re missing two great opportunities.  One is to serve them better, but the other is to collect positive feedback for your marketing strategy.

Send a customer survey after each project or transaction is complete.  Make the questions open-ended so you can get more detailed comments and maybe a few blurbs.  Call random customers from time to time to talk about how they feel about your business.  Or ask for testimonials from happy customers.  You know your customers will talk about you, so make sure they talk to you, as well.

Follow your customers’ paths.

Case studies start with a problem, work through the solution, and end with the effects of the solution.  If you want to use case studies in your marketing efforts, keep track of customers you’ve served in the past.

You already know the problem and solution, but you need your customer to tell you what happened afterward.  For instance, if you run a rodent control service, you can talk about the customer’s level of infestation, the tools and techniques you used to fix the problem, and how their homes or businesses fared as a result.  Case studies are a great way to show your customers how you can solve their problems, so use them to make your pitch.

Use the feedback generously.

Testimonials and case studies have long been used in marketing strategies, so continue the tradition by using them on every channel your business uses to promote itself.

Print ads and direct mail are much more powerful when they include customer feedback, so you can bet your online efforts will do just as well.  Add testimonials throughout your website, including your home page and key landing pages.  Devote entire pages to case studies.

Whenever you serve a new customer, write a short white paper and advertise it using email and social media.  Your customers’ praises can do more for your business than the best copy in the world, so use it every chance you can.

Get Your Customers Talking!

Your customers are your business’s best salespeople, so use their words wisely.  Include customer feedback in your marketing mix and turn word of mouth to your best advantage!

This guest post was written by Mary. Maryis an expert on the use of case studies and testimonials and likes blogging about how businesses like rodent control services can use them to find new customers.

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