Stories | Small Business


Sustainability is Good for Business

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Sustainability and conservation go hand in hand.  They have received a lot of media attention in recent years and they will not be many people that have not heard about climate change and how the earth’s natural resources are depleting.

Some businesses have embraced the principles of sustainability as part of their efforts to be more eco-friendly. Many of them have found that as an added bonus, they are making more profits from extra sales, as consumers are starting to reject the businesses that do not get involved in trying to reduce the amount of damage that is being done to our world.

Replacing Outdated Items

Old computers use more energy, as do fluorescent and incandescent light bulbs. Exchanging your lights for more energy efficient LED ones will reduce your electricity bills and they will need fewer replacements. Each bulb can last more than 10 years, and when they do have to be disposed of they are much more environmentally friendly than traditional lighting methods.

Computers have advanced an amazing amount in just the last few years. Apart from all the latest innovations they have, they are more energy efficient than ever before. Just remember to turn them all off totally every evening. You may be surprised to learn that each one you leave in standby overnight uses about £1 worth of energy.

These two things alone will mean your business uses less energy and if this was replicated across all business, the amount of raw material needed to produce it would be dramatically reduced.

Let People Know

Studies have shown that you can increase your sales by 20% if you let your customers know that your products are made in an eco-friendly way. Consumers want to buy from businesses such as the  E Leather Group who they believe are trying to help the environment.  Even down to the wrapping your products are in, can make a difference and bring you new customers. In fact, there are whole groups of people who will now only buy from eco-friendly firms. They have forums where they let the others know each time they find a new one, and if they have found out that a company has not been telling the truth.

Make sure your adverts, social media posts and website all mention the ways in which you are using sustainability and conservation in your products, and you will soon see the extra sales start.

It’s All In The Mindset

Businesses can reap the benefits of sustainability quite easily if they really believe in what they are doing. If their own personal mindset is for conservation and helping the planet, their business is far more likely to be successful in its efforts. Someone who does not believe they should have to do anything will go about it in a half-hearted way, and not be so effective with their measures.

Most countries around the globe are trying to encourage businesses to be more eco-friendly and some of the governments give tax incentives to ones that can show they are.

Posted in Business & Finance, Small Business2 Comments

Making Money from Your Garage

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Do you keep your car in your garage? If you do, you might be in the minority. Your car would be safer in your garage, and you might find that your car insurance is much cheaper if you can say that it’s in the garage every night (in fact, an awful lot of us tick that box whether it’s true or not). But, the truth is, most of us leave our cars on the drive or even in the street, instead of parking them in the garage. Sometimes, this is because it’s just too much trouble to drive it in and out of the garage all of the time. Some people even find that their cars don’t actually fit in their garages, either because there’s that much stuff in there already or because modern vehicles are significantly wider than those from the past.

The sad truth is that while many of us paid more for a house with a garage, most of us don’t use them as they were intended. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make money from them. Here are some ways that you could earn cash with your unused garage.

Get Selling

The very first thing that you should do if you want to make money from your garage is clear it out and find things to sell. Old tools can be sold at western sales management auctions, often for a good profit if they are in good condition. This is especially beneficial if the tools weren’t even yours in the first place or you never use them.

Other than tools, you might find other collectables in amongst your old junk, and even broken appliances can often be sold for parts. Remember, your junk might be someone else’s treasure.

Turn it into a Guest Room

If you live in a relatively modern house, and your garage is attached to your main home, it might be wired, insulated and even plumbed in. If it is, this can make it quite easy to turn your garage into another bedroom. You could make money from this by renting it out permanently, or by using Airbnb to make a regular profit. This is especially useful if you live in a desirable area.

Hire it Out as Storage

Many people nowadays spend some time living in small flats or houses. They are often on the lookout for cheap storage spaces for long-term use. Clean your garage out and rent it to someone as a storage space. Just make sure that you are clear about any access rules.

Hire it Out as a Parking Space

If you live near a busy town or city, parking is possibly in high demand. Many people walk or take the bus to work to avoid extortionate parking costs. Your garage could be the answer. Hire it to someone as a space to keep their car while they are at work. This can be a good idea even if you do use your garage for your own car, just hire it out around your own needs.

Posted in Money, Small Business0 Comments

Bucket List Ideas That Aren’t Just About Elaborate Vacations

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Image Source: https://bit.ly/25iNT2xWhen people here the words bucket list, they automatically think about travel destinations that people may want to visit. It might be backpacking in Europe or taking a road trip in the USA. But a bucket list can be for all sorts of things, and it shouldn’t just be specific to travel, it can be for a number of things. I thought I would share with you four of the things that you could add to a bucket list, and some of them could enhance your life in many different ways.

Learn a language

Maybe you like the idea of learning a language. A lot of people start in school learning specific languages but as they get older they tend to forget the basics, or just stick with the conversational phrases. Leaning a language through can open up a lot of doors for you. It could help you with your career, perhaps giving you the chance to learn new things or to work within specific areas of your company or even in a different country. On a personal level, it could be just the hobby you need to help you keep your brain working. Something you enjoy and feel confident in when traveling to that country for holidays.

Migrate to a new country

Maybe you like the idea of a big change in your life, and so you may find that migrating to. Anew country to live and to work could be on your bucket list. This could also work hand in hand with learning a language. For some countries, the process can be quite complicated. So you may want to look into using Immigration agents to help you with the paperwork and the legal side of things. This could be a huge opportunity for you. Some countries offer better pay for jobs, or more opportunities for a better quality of life. So this could be just the life change you crave.

Start your own business

Perhaps you like the idea of starting your own business and feel like this is something that you have or would like to add to your bucket list. You may already have the idea. Perhaps nurturing it in your mind until the ideal time arises to strike that opportunity. Or it could be that you are still wondering what you want to do, and hope that you can one day work for yourself. So that you can enjoy a better home and work life balance. Whatever your motive is, many people have this this dream, and it could be the best decision you make.

Have a family

Finally, maybe you like the idea of starting a family one day. This is quite a common one for many people as at some point they expect they may become parents. However, it is worth setting some timer to plan and consider it for the future. Not everyone is blessed with pregnancy the minute they decide they want to start a family. It can be a tough process and journey to embark on. Not only that, but you also need to plan in terms of financials and your career. But, as many say, becoming a parent is life changing and often described as one of the bets journeys you will ever take.

I hope this has given you some inspiration for some of the things you can add to your bucket list.

Posted in Health & Lifestyle, Small Business, Travel0 Comments

Everything Businesses Get Wrong When It Comes To Outsourcing

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Image Source: https://bit.ly/2P2NqlkOutsourcing can be a great resource to many different companies. It makes it possible for a business to increase their workforce for specific projects without increasing their expenses too much and putting a strain on their budget. However, some businesses find that outsourcing doesn’t always go as they had planned. More often than not, this is because the company’s managers who have been left in charge of the outsourcing have made a few very critical errors. To make sure that this never happens with you and your company, this blog details some of the most common outsourcing errors and how you can prevent them from happening.

Not Understanding What Needs To Be Outsourced

One of the most critical mistakes that many companies make is that they don’t fully understand what needs to be outsourced. As a result, they end up outsourcing the wrong kinds of tasks and waste money on paying contractors to do jobs that could be taken care of in-house for very little charge. The basic rule of thumb is that it’s best to outsource technical and jobs that need to be done by a specialist. For example, you would need to outsource custom software development to a specialised company. However, a simple job like content writing could be done by your in-house team.

Not Taking Time To Choose The Right Contractor

Looking for the best contractor to hire for a one-off project is just like looking for a full-time employee to join your company’s team. You need to take the recruitment process seriously and take the time to review portfolios and invite applicants in for interviews. This will give you the chance to figure out which of the applicants is the perfect fit for your company and the project in question. That way, you know the work will be carried out to a high standard.

Forgetting To Put A Contract In Place

Even though the contractor might not be working with you for a very long period, it’s still necessary to put a contract in place between the two of you. This details the scope of the work and what is expected from both parties. It should also outline if and how the partnership can come to an end prematurely. This contract will prevent any disputes come about in the future.

Neglecting Remote Workers

For some freelance projects, the contractors will be able to work remotely. This can help entrepreneurs as it means they don’t have to find the room and pay for overheads in them in the office. However, if you do let your freelancers and contractors work remotely, it’s important that you don’t forget about them. You will still need to liaise with them on a regular basis and check on their progress. If you don’t, it could negatively affect their motivation and productivity.

Hopefully, you will never make any of these very common outsourcing mistakes that other companies make. And that should make it a lot easier to feel all of the benefits and advantages that outsourcing can bring!

Posted in Business & Finance, Small Business3 Comments

The Best Credit Card Loyalty Programs for Your Small Business

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Small business owners need fast access to a credit line when they need to purchase office supplies, inventory or travel. With a credit card that has a loyalty program, you can recoup some of your business expenses, giving you more money to put back into your business. Continue Reading

Posted in Money, Small Business1 Comment

How to triple the number of people who read your Press Release using Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

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This story looks at search engine optimisation and public relations (and generally all creative writing) and how you can achieve significantly better results with what I consider to be minimal input. It can apply to any creative writing that may one day end up online. It most definitely applies to journalists, even speech writers and I bet you that smart newspapers and online agencies around the world are training their staff on exactly this topic.

increase-press-release-traffic

Simple SEO applied to your writing can significantly improve the number of visitors to your article
Think about the lifetime of online articles – potentially years!

What is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Public Relations (PR) doing in the same sentence?

If we take the extreme view that Journalists simply copy and paste press releases as stories then it figures that the text being published (online) should be optimised for a search engine (ie Search Engine Optimisation). The logic is that an optimised piece of text will rank much higher on a search engine, and will allow your target audience to find that particular piece of text through a search engine such as Google.

In the example above it assumes press releases are simply copied or pasted, but in general this isn’t how the system works. Usually PR firms send their press releases and journalists look for newsworthy content that they can either add to, or change to fit their publication or angle. This example is much closer to the truth, so in this next example let’s assume that an optimised press release receives editorial changes of +/-30% to the original. This means that 70% of your optimised release is still being published, again you’re probably still sitting on a search engine optimised winner.

Following the rules of SEO while writing a press release in this example is a sure fired way to ensure you maximise the number of eyeballs on your carefully crafted message. This translates to more of whatever your object was when you wrote the press release, be it more enquiries, sales, awareness etc.

search-engine-optimisation

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattsearles/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Isn’t SEO just for IT geeks?

This is where I think the topic gets really interesting. SEO has primarily been the domain of IT professionals who optimise websites to improve your ranking in Google, and also a bunch of dodgy email spammers who promise the world for only $12.95 a month.

However with standardisation of websites through things like templates much of the html (the framework for a website) has been optimised for you straight out of the box. In our example we are focusing on the content on sites that you have no direct power, so SEO for the frame work of HTML is pointless. So the only thing left for PR firms, Journalists and creative writers to focus on is what is actually being written. If you could look at all the information written on SEO in one sitting (which is impossible) you’d find that well over 40% of the suggestions made can be directly or indirectly applied to your creative writing, the hardest part is trying to find the information to apply directly to your own work. I look at SEO as a simple process, you spend a few minutes thinking about what you’re about to do, what you think will work and you begin the creative writing with this in mind. During the editing phase you spend a few minutes thinking over the guiding principles and again with the bigger picture/end result in full view you review your content and apply any finishing SEO touches to it.

How important is SEO to PR?

Very! The difference could be over 100,000 visitors(1)

This is a question of measurement, better put, what is the measurable performance benefit for the additional effort required? For the most part this has been unmeasurable, you generally do not  get a chance at writing two pieces of text, one optimised the other not and being able to measure the pairs of eyes that have read the article. Compounding the problem is that you don’t have the website statistics for your particular article on the newspaper website, and lastly what elements of SEO apply to writing a press release (this definitely isn’t taught in Universities that I know of – and if you can find a University that is willing, I’ll give a two hour lecture on how to optimise your writing for an online universe!).

Technology and measurement have come a long way in the last five years, for instance with a few clicks and a bit of cut and paste code you can measure the online performance of any text on your website. I am sure that Google Analytics has made a great many of people richer, and has helped an even greater many more deliver information to an audience that requires it.

What specifically do I need to understand about SEO and how I can apply it to PR?

You can optimise optimisation! Use the 80/20 rule to focus on the 20% of SEO that will deliver you 80% of the gain. The hardcore IT professionals spend their life refining their SEO techniques, but at the top end of SEO a 5% improvement can win them more business and a reputation. At the creative writing level if you have the beginners tricks under your hat then you’re 80% ahead of the pack.

Writing an optimised press release requires a slight change in how you think about crafting your message, although the actual change to the press release or text is generally so subtle that to the general reader there is no difference at all.

Here are some really basic points on SEO that most creative writers do not consider, and at their own peril!

Step 1. Complete before you begin writing. In defining your message and target audience, have you defined what they’ll be searching for to find this information? Create a list of five or so keywords/phrases that you think sum up your press release, think about what people will be searching for both sets of keywords/phrases should be the same/similar (if you need to decide which ones to use go with your gut about what people will be searching for – if you don’t know, simply sit down at Google and try and find the information yourself, look at what your searching and how you refine your search – get creative!). Rank them in order of importance.

Step 2. When reviewing your title of the press release, does it contain the top two keywords/phrases you selected from step 1?

Step 3. Does the first paragraph contain the top five keywords, with at least one of them repeated once.

Step 4. Your keywords and phrases can be reworded – imagine a keyword was ‘search engine optimisation’ repeat it throughout the first few paragraphs but reword it like ‘search engine optimise’

Step 5. You should be bolding a few of the keywords, not all of them, but at least one or two in the first two paragraphs.

Step 6. You should always always include an image. Again using the SEO example, make sure you have an image with a name like ‘search-engine-optimisation.jpg’, give it a caption with similar wording.

Step 7. Include (where relevant) a few relevant links to websites that Google ranks higly – this is simple, Google search the keyword, and look at the first page of results, these are obviously what Google considers search engine optimised for your selected keyword/phrase. If Google sees you’re linking out to those sites then the chances are they’ll think you’re more of an authority as well.

Step 8. Review your creative writing, look for new opportunities. As you wrote the press release you may have included new ideas, thoughts, products etc that have a whole new set of keywords, maybe this should be in another press release – Search engine optimisation is all about focusing on a few keywords (also known as keyword density)

Step 9. This is the last step – once you get published, send the link to any websites that came up when searching your keywords. If they link to that article then chances are Google will look at you and think that if the current authority on that keyword is linking to your article then you too must also be an authority and worth putting on the front page of Google.

Step 10. Include your list of keywords (also known as tags) at the bottom of your creative writing. This will assist Journalists and any online publication to tag your writing for you, using the intended keywords. If you leave them out then they’ll make them up for you and you’re at their mercy.

If you’re enjoying this article please take a few seconds to Digg this article so more people can find it! It’ll take 5 seconds and it’s part of social karma 😉 Click here

Is there a way to tell if my writing is SEO optimised for online publication?

With websites like www.ReversePR.com.au you can simply add your press releases, let it do the magic, and at the bottom of the press release you can review how many people have read the article, the higher the number of views the more successful it can be considered as being an optimised press release.

Experiment! Write a few different press releases, and release them to online sites and see how they go, does one go better than another?

One of the best examples I can find is this press release – http://www.reversepr.com.au/2009/09/21/1397/alex-fevola-in-temelli-jewellery-for-2009-brownlow-awards/

It was released right before the Brownlow Awards (this means there is going to be lots of search traffic about ‘brownlow awards’, ‘alex fevola’), it’s about a celebrity and I think the title of the press release, along with the image and the first few paragraphs nailed this one home as an SEO winner! What keywords do you think the writer used? The writer of this should receive a pat on the back but I think the sheer number of hits is reward enough!

I (Matt Schmidt) will be writing more on this topic over the coming weeks, however if you want a hand, have a question or need some advice feel free to drop me an email matt@mylifemynews.com.au.

Lastly, did you notice this article has been search engine optimised? If done well you shouldn’t have noticed!


(1) Depending on what site it runs on, how well you’ve optimised it and what you’ve optimised it for (topic, keyword, audience, time of day, event driven, and timeliness). Obviously there are a lot of other contributing factors but the point is you have the power to significantly improve the number of people who read what you want them to read.

Posted in Business & Finance, PR & Marketing, Small Business0 Comments

Cashflow Tips For Small Businesses

Cashflow Tips For Small Businesses

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Without good cashflow, a small business is doomed. Continue Reading

Posted in Featured, Small Business7 Comments

Start blogging today!

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With an increasing number of people reading, writing, and commenting on blogs, the way we use the web is shifting in a fundamental way. Instead of being passive consumers of information, more and more Internet users are becoming active participants.

Blogs allow you to increase the number of readers and followers, increase your profile and show people that you are current. Once you have the followers, a blog can easily help you network between the groups and build relationships that you never had before. Having a link from your website to your blog, simplifies the process for clients and fans to connect with you. Continue Reading

Posted in PR & Marketing, Small Business1 Comment

Is it time you re-thought your savings strategy?

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Just how quickly the economy will recover is not yet clear, but tough times have turned many people’s thoughts to their savings and whether they would have enough to support them through a prolonged downturn or, in the worst case, in the event they’re left without an income.

While we are starting to hear about a more positive economic outlook, the lessons we have learned remain fundamentally important to how we manage our money more effectively to secure our future and realise our goals. Continue Reading

Posted in Money, Small Business0 Comments

Effective, Low-cost ways to Promote your Business

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Business promotion is not always the most exciting part to starting up your own business, but it’s something you just have to do! You should spend at least an hour a day on business promotion or planning how to promote your business – especially if you are just starting up.

You cannot rely on other people to do it for you, no matter how great your product or service is. Business promotion doesn’t have to cost you a fortune either… Here are some low-cost ways to promote your business. Continue Reading

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Twitter on your mobile

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Roy Morgan statistics (March 2009) indicate that the use of social networking sites on mobile has grown 125 per cent over the past six months, amongst Australian consumer mobile users aged 14+.

“The social networking community is not longer satisfied with logging on once a day, from their PC. Twitter and Facebook aficionados are updating their status and getting their fix of information in real-time, on the move,” said Jessica Forrest, PR Manager at VHA. Continue Reading

Posted in Gadgets, Small Business, Social Media2 Comments

55 Twitter update ideas for small business

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Ok so as a small business, you get the need to be on Twitter. But just getting onto Twitter isn’t enough to help you connect with your customers, and build relationships with the wider community.

Providing regular and informative Twitter updates is the key. Remember it is about building relationships and not directly selling your products or services (well most of the time). Continue Reading

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