More than 12 places to get valuable exposure for your business

By Rhonda Campbell

business website

picture of business website URL

It’s not surprising that social media outlets (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) are top of mind when business owners and marketing managers think about steps that they will take to introduce their products or services to new customers. Even during the recession, online retail saw a sales increase of 11%, according to Buzzle.

Tap into growing online business sales

Future expectations for online businesses are good. Consider this. Online sales in the United States alone were at $225.5 billion in 2012. By 2017, those sales numbers are expected to increase to $434.2 billion.

Technologically savvy Millennials, ease-of-use, improved online customer service systems and shipping discounts are factors that are attracting more shoppers to virtual storefronts. Yet, not all businesses are online. Depending on how you look at it, that could be welcomed news.

However, if less than 10% of all United States based businesses are online, you’d still have to find a way to set your organization apart from over three million other firms (Manta reports that there are 34,725,120 companies in the United States across a broad range of industries).

How do you set your business apart in this crowded field, in perspective customers’ minds (not just in your mind as the business owner)? Fortunately, there are several options open to you, many which we will cover in this article.

Get more for your business online

To start, if you haven’t done so already, build an online storefront or company presence. Simply put, if over 2.8 billion people are online globally, having an online business is an early key step that gives you the chance to connect and communicate with those prospects. More ways to get exposure for your business online are:

• Build a customized Facebook page (tie the design in with your company’s branding elements, including colors, themes and imagery).
• Mirror your Facebook top of page design on your Twitter pages (stay consistently active on social media accounts).
• Post pictures of company events (i.e. speaking engagements conferences) at Pinterest.
• Send one to two press releases per month. Even if the press releases aren’t picked up by major media outlets, press releases can pull up in search engines when prospects search for products or services that your business produces. Be sure to include one to two links to your company website in the press releases.
• Set up a customized company page on LinkedIn and post job openings, news about upcoming company events, business blog posts, etc.
• Build a company blog. Link to at least one other article at your company website in several blog posts each week. Promote blog posts internally and externally (For example, you could send an email to employees inviting them to “Like” blog posts and post links to your blog posts at their social media accounts.)
• Produce professional videos. Make sure that the videos are informative and entertaining. Publish links to the videos at your company website.
• Create a YouTube channel for your company and post weekly videos at your company YouTube channel.
• Create online tip sheets and white papers that are specifically related to your business field. Offer these informative documents to prospects for free, only requiring prospects to provide you their name, email address, business name (if applicable) and regional or city and state location.
• Develop weekly podcasts (make sure that you list your podcast at iTunes and other podcast directories).
• Design a weekly or monthly digital newsletter (spice your company newsletter up with coupons, feature interviews, contests, holiday greetings, relevant statistics, etc.).
• Conduct feature interviews with local, regional and/or national media outlets that post the interviews online (even better if the media outlets also give the feature interviews print exposure).
• Post pictures of attractions that you visit in between business trips on Instagram

Each of the above steps could positively influence your Alexa ranking. The higher your Alexa ranking, the better.

Easy ways to get more offline business customers

To get more exposure for your business offline, consider incorporating one or more of the following steps into your daily marketing and advertising initiatives:

• Design postcards that have loads of personality and send to targeted prospects
• Direct mail catalogs (again to targeted prospects and to current customers
• Offer customer rewards to customers who refer two or more new customers to your business
• Write and publish a training manual (include your business contact information, about us information and website URL at the front and back of the manual)
• Sponsor and attend community events
• Build a company foundation and get media exposure for large donations that your company makes to charitable and community organizations
• Use customized folders, letterhead, presentation templates, carry out bags, etc. that complement your company brand and logo
• Offer giveaways and freebies (always include your company branding and website URL in giveaways). Ask people who take the giveaways to tell their friends about your business and to “Like” your social media pages

As you can see, there’s a bounty of action steps that you could take to get more exposure for your business, online and offline. A key is to be consistent. Measure and monitor the results of your efforts. Some steps may produce stronger results for you than others.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

More than 10 practical steps to help you land your next high paying job

By Ericka Simpson

woman at work pictureUnemployment in the United States was at 5.9 percent as of September 2014. Hiring has increased, so too have salaries. National job salary index averages have also increased, exceeding $44,000. Organizations like the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) share that salaries are expected to increase by approximately 3 percent during the 2014 annual salary increase cycle.

Go and get the jobs you really love

It would appear that getting hired into a better job would be relatively easy. It would appear. . . However, anyone who has been searching for a better job for several weeks is familiar with how long and frustrating it can be to work your way to receiving an offer letter. Including the recruiter’s or hiring manager’s first and last name in your job cover letter is one way to give yourself a better chance of getting hired into jobs you really want. Other practical steps you could take to possibly land a job you truly want follow.

  1. Add two to three keywords to your resume and cover letter that are listed in the job description. You’re going to have to read through the job description to spot two to three keywords. For example, if you want to get hired as an administrative assistant, you might include keywords such as “administrative assistant,” “office manager” or “administrative associate” to your resume and job cover letter, depending on the words that the hiring manager or recruiter used in the posted job description. Why do this? Companies, particularly large companies, use automated tracking systems (ATS) to search through hundreds of resumes. Keywords are a major part of that automated search process.
  2. Proofread and edit your resume and job cover letter before you finalize the documents. Believe it or not, one typo could put you out of the running for a job.
  3. Read through job descriptions from start to finish. Be honest with yourself. If you don’t have the work experience or skills that match the job description, it might be advantageous to move on to another job. Instances when this may not be the case are when your work experience is close to the experience required for the job. For example, if the job description calls for four years of supervisory experience and you only have three years of supervisory experience, the hiring manager might find that you have sufficient experience, combined with your education, to meet the job requirements.
  4. Draft a cover letter and resume to fit each job you’re applying for. If you have graphic design skills, but you’re applying for a copywriting job, a graphic design resume may hamper your chances of securing the copywriting job.
  5. Set up job alerts with job boards that you regularly visit. This saves time and search effort.
  6. Visit niche and general job boards daily, so you become aware of new jobs quickly.
  7. Apply for jobs you want within one to three days or as early as possible.
  8. Get necessary training, including licenses and certifications, you need to get jobs you want.
  9. Network with former colleagues, relatives and other professionals, alerting them about specific types of jobs you want to work.
  10. Join professional organizations and forums that are geared to people who work in the industries you want to work in.
  11. Follow the directions included in job postings and at job application websites.
  12. Ask someone you know to recommend you for jobs you apply for (if you know someone who already works at the company you’re applying for a job at).
  13. Follow up with recruiters and hiring managers if they reach out to you to schedule interviews.
  14. Study hourly and/or annual wage rates for jobs you want to avoid asking for a salary that’s too low or too high.
  15. Dress professionally and approach telephone interviews (they are becoming more common) similar to how you approach face-to-face job interviews.
  16. Arrive to face-to-face job interviews 10 to 15 minutes early. Arriving to early could cause recruiters and hiring managers to feel as if they are being pressured to start interviews early (even if that’s not your intention).
  17. Ask questions during job interviews.

The more job interviews, both telephone and face-to-face job interviews, you conduct, the better you may get at interviewing. The less nervous you’ll likely get about interviewing. You’ll come to know what to expect from interviews, how to best answer questions and the signs to look for that clearly show that you have a good chance of getting a job.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Great healthy food to eat during winter

By Rhonda Campbell

healthy winter meals

Winter is a great time to stay indoors spending quality time with family and friends. You can cook your favorite dishes, perhaps even barbecuing on an indoor grill, and watching an exciting football game on television while your friends “bad mouth” your favorite team, laughing and kidding you. Some of your best memories may be created then.

Dishes you’ll love dining on during winter

Whether you realize it or not, food is a major part of many of you most memorable events. Eat the right foods and you will not only delight your taste buds, you could also keep your energy levels high and sleep better at night. Recipes that are tasty and healthy as well as help keep you warm run the gamut, coming from all cultures.

Minestrone soup that’s sprinkled with pesto croutes is filling, hot and tasty. Ingredients ingreat food for winter minestrone soup are onions, celery, potato, tomatoes, cabbage, sage, beans, pesto and parsley. It takes less than an hour to cook the soup.

Another great winter soup is potato and leek soup. If you love potatoes, you’ll love this soup. In addition to needing plenty of potatoes, you’ll also need butter, parts of leek, an onion and milk to prepare potato leek soup.

A meat lovers delight is a baked chicken dish that uses dried cherry tomatoes, pesto and fresh basil. In place of dried cherry tomatoes, you could add sweet red peppers. Chicken also works well when added with a pot of cooked vegetables.

To get a popping taste out of cook vegetables, start with fresh vegetables. If you toss in several handfuls of green, leafy vegetables, you’ll have plenty of chances to chew your meal, something that could keep you from overeating even as temperatures drop outside.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Great traditional job or flexible freelance job – which is best for you?

By Rhonda Campbell

different types of jobsTechnology is giving people more work options, namely whether to work full-time for an employer or freelance. Gone are the days when workers have no choice except to commute to a job and log seven or more hours a day, often performing work that they hate. More work options are also creating situations that never amounts to more than an illusion of independence for many people. If you’re not careful, you could regret the next decision you make — quitting your employer-funded gig before you’re ready.

Freelance and you get to take control of your work schedule, adjust your salary throughout the year, complete assignments for clients you like and work across industries. You also could end up taking on projects that expand far beyond what you’d initially agreed to. But, secure off-site work and you could fall in love with the idea of getting paid for work you complete (drum roll) while you’re dressed in an old, comfortable pair of sweats or your favorite pajamas.

On the other hand, a traditional job allows you to grow into a regular work schedule. Unless you work for commissions, you’ll be paid for every hour that you work. That means, you won’t have to worry about a pesky client who keeps asking you to take on additional tasks before she considers the deliverables of the contract you signed with her three months ago to be completed.

Are you ready to start freelancing?

If the idea of giving up your traditional job and starting a freelancing job has been popping up in your mind more frequently, read over the below advantages and disadvantages associated with both types of employment.

  • Many traditional jobs are at-will, meaning that you or the employer could sever the working relationship for any reason at any time. Nearly all freelance jobs are at-will. Lose a freelance gig and you won’t get severance pay or unemployment.
  • A daily commute is often a part of a traditional job, some employers requiring you to not only commute 30+ minutes one way Monday through Friday, but also requiring you to travel out-of-state. As a freelancer, unless you work for a client on-site or attend trade events, etc., there’s a good chance that can complete work for a dozen or more clients right from home.
  • Living on a freelancer’s income is similar to riding a rollercoaster, weekly and monthly money you earn going up and down, sometimes significantly (Do not take this one lightly or even with a medium amount of seriousness; this single point could make or break your freelance success). Work a traditional gig and you know what you’re going to be paid week in and week out.
  • Not only can you add your personality to your office design as a freelancer, you also get to pay for office equipment, furniture and designs. Employers handle office design and utility costs associated with office space at traditional jobs.
  • Tax deductions can expand significantly if you freelance. However, you generally won’t have to keep receipts for deductions you take as a traditional worker.
  • You have a good deal of input in when client meetings will be held as a freelancer. Work a traditional job and you best adjust your calendar to meet the client’s demands.
  • Even if you end projects because a client is proving to be difficult, you can keep your career moving forward. End a project early as a traditional worker and you could get dinged in your performance review, salary increase, bonus or worse – be shown the door.
  • Build your client list and you could double or triple your income in a matter of months or one to three years. At a traditional job, you’d generally have to get a huge promotion to push your income up by 50% or more.
  • You’re responsible for your own taxes as a freelancer. This includes Medicare, Social Security and income taxes. Payroll departments handle this for you when you work a traditional job.
  • Cash flows can dwindle so much for a freelancer, that you’d want to keep at the very least eight months of gross income in savings at all times, even when client work is flowing in. Unless you got laid off or had your work hours reduced significantly, three months of savings may be enough as a traditional worker.

Keep in mind that the job you choose — whether it’s traditional, freelancing or a blend of the two — has to generate enough income to pay your expenses. There’s nothing worse than busting your rump at a job that leaves you exposed to creditors and bill collectors, even if you can work that job in your favorite pair of sweats or pajamas.

Check back to Write Money Incorporated to read about steps you could take to start preparing for a successful freelance career.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Why all is not lost if your kid hates preschool

why kids hate preschoolIt’s a challenge, but you’ve found a way to juggle working a rewarding job or running your own business and raising a healthy family. Now you’ve hit a snag. Your child loved daycare, playing and interacting with other children and daycare workers. But, something has changed. Simply mention school to your preschooler and she starts crying, that or she grows sullen and nearly refuses to talk. It’s no wonder that you’re concerned.

The good news is that your child isn’t the only kid in town who would rather stay home (or nearly anywhere else, for that matter) than go to preschool. Children don’t like preschool for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Poor relationship with preschool teacher
  • Bullying from another child at the school
  • Change in your child’s mood or personality
  • Stressful relationships or situations at home
  • Strict classroom rules that your child is struggling to deal with
  • Reminder of a previous stressful or unwanted experience
  • Health reasons

To get to the bottom of what’s disturbing your child about preschool, sit down and talk with your child. Ask your child about her day, activities that she participates in at preschool, other children that she plays with and how comfortable she feels in the new classroom setting. Don’t pressure your child. Give her time to build trust, open up and be transparent with you.

If you discover that your child hates preschool because one or more children are being aggressive with her, speak with your child’s preschool teacher. Follow up with the teacher and your child about the situation until it is resolved.

You could resolve other preschool issues by sitting in on a class and/or speaking with your child’s preschool teacher about her teaching style and lesson plans that are covered in class. Should studies be too advanced for your child, it could cause your child frustration. This applies to preschoolers as well as to older children.

As educational therapist, Susan Newman, shares in Parenting, “I work with one boy who was forced to write in kindergarten despite his academic immaturity and poor fine motor skills.” She continues, “He developed extreme writing anxiety, which has continued. Now he is a bright child in fourth grade, but he still hates to write, he gets depressed about his school performance.”

It’s also been shown that children learn better when learning is fun. For this reason, if your child struggles with a subject or lesson, you may want to consider reviewing the lessons with your child at home.

Other steps that you can take to reduce or eliminate your child’s displeasure with preschool include:

  • Making fun out of personal learning that you engage in (i.e. reading a book, studying a work related project)
  • Remaining calm when you are faced with a task that you find challenging or difficult (this gives your child the chance to mirror positive behavior while feeling pressure)
  • Reduce stress that your child is exposed to at home. This includes not arguing with your child’s other parent in the presence of your child, focusing on your child’s positive traits and offering positive feedback rather than negative criticism when discussing shortcomings that your child is exhibiting.
  • Speak with your child’s teacher and find out if other students are struggling with strict classroom rules. If the preschool allows parents to volunteer with classroom activities (i.e. reading stories to children), consider volunteering. This could give you a firsthand look at the rules the teacher uses. Should the classroom rules seem too strict, speak with the teacher. If this doesn’t produce positive results, speak with the preschool director.
  • Visiting the pediatrician and getting your child a thorough checkup to ensure that your child isn’t experiencing physical discomfort. Should medical tests reveal that your child is challenged with issues like anxiety, depression, sleeplessness or headaches, seek solutions from your child’s doctor.

Also, continue to spend quality time with your child. Pay attention to other changes, if any, that you see in your child when she’s away from preschool. Should your child not begin to calm down about preschool, consider removing her from the school and placing her in another school.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top tips dream chasers need to stay away from heartache

By Eric Bradford

am i dreamingDream chasers need a bit of delusion to keep pressing forward, especially during times when their efforts yield little to no results despite how long they have been burning the midnight oil. Even when dreams are fulfilled, there’s the work of maintaining a dream. In fact, this work has, at times, seemed harder than realizing a dream in the first place.

If dream chasers aren’t careful, they could become overly frustrated and give up. They could also fall into depression or get trapped in the haze of a dream and ignore signs that it’s time to start heading down a different path. Should people who are chasing dreams not heed signs soon enough, they could lose their life savings, deteriorate relationships or convince themselves that all they need to be happy is the fulfillment of their dreams.

Following are top tips that could help dream chasers avoid the above (and more) traps and slip ups. They’re worth paying attention to whether dreamers are just pursuing a goal, in the middle of dream fulfillment or working to maintain a dream that has already been realized.

  • Find four activities that you absolutely love. Make sure that one of these activities brings in enough money to cover all of your bills. The other three activities should be something that works wonders at getting you to relax, something that stirs up your creativity and something that puts you in contact with other people who share passions similar to yours.
  • Spend time nurturing two or more relationships each day.
  • Read books that teach you new things.
  • Watch movies that leave you feeling good.
  • Pursue dreams because you love what you do, not to impress others.
  • Value your health by eating vitamin rich foods, drinking plenty of water and getting regular exercise.
  • Be honest about your finances.
  • Keep a journal to spot your patterns, especially patterns you’d love to hide from yourself.
  • Pay attention to nighttime dreams, but don’t use them as your only guide.
  • Heed your instincts.
  • Stay in touch with friends.
  • Do something fun that has nothing to do with the dream you’re pursuing.
  • Budget how much money you’ll invest in your dream.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Accept support.
  • Go full tilt after dreams before you take on commitments like children, a mortgage, etc.
  • Get the education you need to realize your dreams.
  • Keep learning.
  • Don’t let short term events ruin your long term goals.
  • Remember that change is a part of life in this world.
  • Love yourself – really, really love yourself.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Advantages of taking on a distribution center partnership

By Edward Johnson

top distribution centersMajor retailers like Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Pet Center may not work with your company if you don’t have a partnership with one or more major distribution centers. Reason for this is that major retailers carry thousands, some millions, of different products. If these retailers had to buy 10 or more products from 10,000 different companies, they wouldn’t have time to focus on marketing, public relations, interior design and employee development.

By partnering with major distribution centers, you could tackle two retail challenges. You could get dozens, hundreds or more of your products in dozens of stores in a matter of minutes. The best distribution centers also stock and ship products direct to customers.

To get started with a distribution center, your business needs to have enough products. If your business only develops or manufactures one product, distribution centers might be shy about taking you on. Types of products that your business sells also need to have a shelf life, meaning that the products can endure several days of sitting in storage. Additionally, as someone partnering with distribution centers, you have to keep manufacturing enough volume in product to fulfill customer orders.

The last thing distribution centers want to do is tell retailers they work with that popular products are out of stock. Plainly, telling retailers they can’t have what they want isn’t a good way for distribution centers to build long-term rewarding relationships.

Just as leaders at distribution centers are choosy, you should be too. After all, every distribution center doesn’t provide the right services that you need as a manufacturer or retailer. As a manufacturer, you could be better off partnering with large facilities, centers that cover shipping and handling and that give manufacturers and retailers access to online tracking systems.

You’re also going to want to work with distribution centers that keep costs down. To be cost effective, distribution centers ship products by the truck load. In addition to having shipping and docking areas, the best distribution centers also have export, quality assurance, inventory tracking and management and packing areas. Ask about visiting distribution centers you’re interested in developing a partnership with before you ink a deal. Pay attention to the types of products the centers specialize in. Also, find out which major retailers the centers work with.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment