Thursday, February 28, 2008

Public Relation Tips for Small Business

Attracting new customers who will buy your products and services is one of the most important goals of a business – more so for a start up business. There are many different methods that you can use to entice customers and attract their attention. But one of the best ways of doing this is to use tried and tested public relations skills. PR can give some excellent results for your online company formation with the added benefit of using very little financial resources.

Public relations (PR) is, quite simply, the relationship your business has with the public. The kind of relationship you will establish with your public is bound to have a significant effect on the future of your business. This is where public relations can help. PR is when you publicise and build interest and enthusiasm for your business among your public. Successfully doing this would create more awareness for your business and its products and services as well as driving sales.
Following are tips that would help you make effective PR efforts

* Before you start planning any PR efforts make sure that your product or service is ready. Ensure that your product is primed for public consumption. Bring it out, make sure it works and that it does something that people will care about. Because PR drives customer demand, you will miss out on important sales or even drive your customers away and to your competitors if they do come to you and your products are not ready.
* You must get to know your market. A successful PR thrust is based on reaching the right audience with a message that is appropriate and meaningful to them. If you are not familiar with your target audience as well as the publications that they read, chances are, implementing the rest of your PR actions will be completely useless. There would be no point of trying to get your story printed in a financial paper when your audience primarily reads the regular dailies.
* You should learn all about the media to more effectively target your efforts. When you define your audience you will also have to know their reading habits (what publications do they read), the radio programmes that they listen to, the TV programmes that they watch as well as the websites that they visit. Take the time to familiarise yourself with the media outlets that you plan to target. You will need to get a good idea of that type of stories that you will need to present to optimise your chance of coverage.
* The most integral part of your PR campaign is your message so make sure that it is clear, concise and brief. If you cannot sum up your message in a few sentences then it is too complicated and editors won’t probably read it.

Ten Step-by-Step Business Startup Guide

I never take this preliminary step lightly. I always start off with thorough planning. As we always say, plan your life, and then plan your business. Once you know where to go, you can then have a pleasant journey.

I have noticed that there are many successful business people who are not happy in many ways even though they have all the money to last them for generations. On the other hand, I also found out that business people who are successful, joyful and happy are entrepreneurs who created a business that’s in perfect synchronization with what they want out of life. They do what they love, the kind of things that fit into their personality, their life purpose and their lifestyle.

Therefore, before I lunge into a new business venture, I would run though a personal checklist to ensure that I am aware of what I am doing and where I want to be ultimately.

Here is what I’ll do:

1. Review my area of importance – I would review thoroughly my current job or business, my physical being, my lifestyle, my relationship, my family, my hobby, my finance, my spiritual aspect and my emotional state. Next, I would grade each area of my life on a scale of 1-100 (1 means not important at all; 100 means utmost important; 50 means in between). When certain areas of life (at different phases of life) do not concern me much, they are usually not important to me. However, aspect of life that I want to elevate desperately or thing that bother me most of the time, are usually aspect that I perceive as utmost important.

For instance, if my life is motivated solely by relationship with my loved ones, I would rate it 100. And if my top priorities in life are making money and being happy (simultaneously), I would rate my business at 90 and my emotional state at 90. Let say currently I am obese, and that doesn’t bother my conscious, so my physical being would get somewhere around 10!

2. Perform goal setting – Then, I would review (or maybe redo) my personal life goals for the short and long term. My goals in life would be referring to the “ideal life” that I want to live in. Factor in things like family time, hobbies, charity work, and early retirement - anything that gets me really excited or motivated.

3. Identify my skills, expertise or interest – Next, I will list down my highest abilities, strengths or area of interest, that I can build on to attain “commercial value”. I would finalize what are my skills, expertise or interest that could be an asset to my business.

4. Identify what kind of business is most ideal – I would list down several kinds of businesses I want to venture into; that meet my life’s purpose, my skills, expertise or area of interest. Ultimately, I need to choose the kind of business that I can be enthusiastic about during the startup and daily management. One pointer, I must be 100% certain that the business I’ve chosen must present a “hungry market” or else I’ll be a sitting duck.

5. Discover my ideal work style – Finally I would discover how I want to run my new venture; full time or part time, mobile office or home office, one-man show or with a team of people, online or brick and mortar business.

Once I have completed the above five steps, all the above elements will get consolidated into a very brief document called “MY ULTIMATE PLAN”

It’s very important for me to have MY ULTIMATE PLAN printed out and kept in plain view. The reason for doing so… to constantly remind me of what I want, what’s important, and what to do next (especially when things get tough).

I would utilize MY ULTIMATE PLAN to provide a context for most strategic decisions I’ll make - including what niche business I choose to venture, what business model to employ, who to employ, where to operate, how much capital to raise, product pricing factor, how to automate my daily operations, home based, or a one-man operation.

Most importantly, MY ULTIMATE PLAN will position me to do what I LOVE MOST and that will always bring out the best in me as an entrepreneur - unleashing the untapped potential within me!

*Note: Unproven teories to not be shown to my readers! If you need any small business startup help, feel free to visit my Website :)

Disclaimer - This article may be freely reprinted in its entirety in any e-zine, newsletter, blog or website. The author’s name, bio and website links must remain intact and be included with every reproduction.

Small Business Blog Writing Tips

You launch a new small business blog, and then writer's block kicks in. What to do? Here are some tips to help you with ideas for new posts to your blog. Your blog writing style does not have to be textbook perfect, so informal writing is suitable as long as you check grammar and spelling. It's okay to entertain as you provide information, too. Visitors will not expect literary works suitable for a Nobel prize when you create blog posts, so relax.

Write short paragraphs and cover one aspect of what you present in each. Visitors want information quickly; so long paragraphs should be avoided. Short posts of 1-2 paragraphs are fine, too. Most website content is quickly scanned, so headlines and the first few words of each paragraph may be all that most visitors view before deciding to read details, or exit.

Include key words relative to your subject, and place some near the beginning of sentences for each paragraph, so your visitors get the general feel as they scan your post. Search engines will visit and index your blog content, too, so key words are important for attracting the search engine crawlers.

Google Alerts and blog labels are two techniques to help you generate new blog post ideas. Each will be presented in the report Blog Your Way to Fresh Content from my series of free PDF SEO Reports about do-it-yourself small business website promotion that I began to release during 2007. Some of my clients could not wait, so this article is a preview of how to use these two techniques to come up with post ideas for your blog:

1. Google Alerts is a free service that delivers links to content by email. Once set up, you automatically receive a collection of current news stories or related content by email with summaries and links to the information.

2. Your blog labels are the filing system for your blog that cross references your posts by subject category, so visitors may click a label and view all posts about that subject on one page. Use them to brainstorm ideas for posts.

Google Alerts
Search for Google Alerts to find the main page, and then sign up for a Google account if you don't have one. You don't need an account to use alerts, but managing your choices is more convenient from one page, and creating, editing, or deleting alerts will be easier.

To begin you create individual alerts for search words or phrases relative to your business, and then your options are type and how often. Type means the source, and the selections are from news, the web, blogs, groups, and comprehensive (all). The how often is the frequency of emails you receive from Google and include once a day, as it happens, and once a week.

Once you create the alert, emails arrive automatically with lists of sources for content related to your selected subject, and a summary of each. Follow the links of interest, and perhaps you will decide to write about the same subject with a different slant. Never copy another author's content verbatim or claim it as your original writing. That would be plagiarism. However, quoting other sources is acceptable, and snippets or excerpts are often all you need.

Write an introduction about the piece you will quote, and then give credit to the author including a hyperlink to the source. Next, make sure you are in HTML mode and begin the excerpt with blockquote and italics tags, insert their content using copy and paste, and finally add the closing blockquote and italics tags. View your help files if the [blockquote] or [i] and then [/blockquote] and [/i] are unfamiliar (Note: The [ and ] square brackets must be replaced with < and >, so don't take my example literally). This formatting will indent their snippet in your post and display the text in italics to make everything stand out as content quoted from another source.

Finally, write a closing paragraph with your take or opinion on the subject matter, and you're done. Again, your posts do not have to be lengthy, so the opening introduction and closing comments or opinion can each be one paragraph. Busy visitors are more likely to read your content and bookmark your site for return visits if your style is interesting and brief.

Blog Labels
The labels you assign to your posts allow cross referencing of information, and they are another source for brainstorming new post ideas. After all, your labels provide a snapshot of the overall theme of your blog. A review of your list of labels may uncover subjects that are overdue for a new post while alerts make you aware of topical subjects. Reviewing the labels that define your blog allows you to enhance emphasis by writing about what your small business is really all about.

Bonus Tip: Visit and near the upper right is a "tag cloud" which displays key words and phrases that represent what the majority of people worldwide have written recently. The most popular tags are displayed in very large text, with others decreasing in size based on total posts tagged with that word or phrase. If you find words that relate to your business, click the tag to see what others are writing, or just start your post and run with it.

Compare physical exercise to writing posts for your small business blog, and each requires discipline. Both are easy to avoid without feeling guilty, yet the benefits are certainly important to your health, personal and business. A large percentage near 25% of all new blogs go offline in less than 90 days. One reason is the lack of fresh content. Use these tips for keeping your posts short and to the point, utilize Google Alerts, and do a review of your blog labels to easily come up with new ideas for posting to your blog.

Move away from your poor drainage problem

Poor drainage is the ultimate and leading cause of death for our beautiful garden plants. Adding up organic matter would enhance poor drainage problem. If you have tried that, though, and your land clearing site still remains watery for hours after a short, heavy rain, then further action is now required. Shallow trenching and drainage pipe could solve the problem. Please follow the below given instruction for further drainage solution.


* Look for a spot below the level of your garden where the water could drain away safely. A storm drain, dry well or even drainage ditch is an perfect choice.

* Calculate the distance from the lowest point in the trouble site to your drainage area. Then purchase enough perforated 4-inch (10-cm)- diameter drainage pipe to cover that particular distance.

* Dig a trench 18 inches (45 cm) deep and 12 inches (30 cm) wide, sloping below among the two points. Try for a drop of about 1 inch (2.5 cm) for each 10 feet (3 m) of ground.

* Test the slope by driving a glide into the soil at every end of the trench. Run a string among the two glides, and use a spirit level to calculate the drop among them.

* When the slope is at the correct angle, line the trench with about 3 inches (7.5 cm) of gravel or crushed stone.

* Lay the pipe on the stone (see B), and ensure that any joints are completely fastened tightly.

* Cover the pipe with agricultural fabric to defend soil from clogging the perforations (tuck the cloth under the pipe towards the uphill opening).

* Add another 6 more inches (15 cm) of stone over the drainage pipe.

* Finally replace the soil in the trench.

Tips & Warnings

* If your drainage problem is very serious, you might really need expert to help. Before you try any do-it-yourself steps, ask a land clearing contractor.
* On a large residential or commerical site, consider just going with the flow. Many beautiful plants, including cardinal flower, Japanese iris and astilbe, thrive in moist soil.
* Another option to expensive, time consuming drainage correction is to grow your plants in any well defined containers.

Knowledge Is Business

“Knowledge is the business fully as much as customer is the business. Physical goods or services are only the vehicle for the exchange of customer purchasing power against business knowledge”.

Above statement was made by Peter F. Drucker, a prominent Management and marketing guru.

Any economic result is the result of differentiation. What is that niche you posses that make you hot property in any market. It comes from knowledge. Knowledge is held by organization people. One day all labour can be automated by machines. But knowledge specifically is a human asset. If you have knowledgeable people you can target the sky. Books are more collection of information. Internet is one of the best medium for generating information on particular subject. But information is not a business.

Knowledge itself is not a business when used inside. When it do not produce value to the holder of knowledge, it is useless. It becomes business when applied outside of a business, to the customer, market and end-uses.

Mittal steel is king of steel market today. It posses a peculiar knowledge of converting non- performing public business and factory into highly profitable steel producing entity. It has done this numerous times Laxmi Mittal, Chairman and managing director, and his people do not change much in the plants. According to Aditya Mittal, CFO, and son of Laxmi Mittal, they apply their knowledge and past experience to turn thing around, Mittal steel turned their early acquisition around in 18 months. But now they have refined their knowledge and make any plant they capture profit producer within 6 months. That’s where I say business is knowledge and knowledge is business.

Looking at GE, they have an uncanny ability to mark a new opportunity and jump into it in a big way. GE is one of the leader and rare gem in America to dominate the whole 20th century. None have done that. They posses best of best talent in the market. But still there is no example of a business which they have acquired and which is the leader in its market. They messed up with RCA, and their finance acquisition. Yet they are king with GE capital, a blue eye child of GE.

So what make an organization successful in a specific area, while a distant runner in other area? Assets and money could be acquired but it is the knowledge which turns that asset into real business.

That why an old edge say. Give me 10 knowledgeable people and I will conquer the world

Small Business Grants - Tips From The Pros

Every business starts with an idea or a dream. To implement this idea or to turn your dream in to reality you require finance. A grant supports the business ideas and turns the dreams of an entrepreneur in to reality.

There are many types of grants offered by the Governments and other financial institutions that include individual grants for personal necessities, business grants for starting new business, education grants for funding education and many more. Grants are always a feasible option to support existing business or financing new business in all fields. While the United States government does not offer direct grants for supporting small business there are many state development agencies, non-profit organizations, intermediary lending institutions and local government, which offer grants to expand and enhance small businesses.

Small businesses always play a significant role in the economic growth of a country and that is the reason governments are always ready to offer financial resources to facilitate small business. You can receive small business grant to start up any type of business. From carpet cleaning, photocopying, private tutoring services to day care business you name any business and these agencies have the grants for you. All U.S. citizens and residents are eligible to receive U.S. Federal Government, State Government and Private Foundation-funded grants and loans. Apart from this these grant programs do not require credit checks, collateral, security deposits or co-signers. Small business grants are easily available. Anyone who is 18 year old and thinking about going into business for himself or wanting to expand his existing business can apply for the grant. Grants varying between $500.00 to $50,000.00 can be obtained from these agencies. Usually there are larger payments for business start up costs. If you are an entrepreneur than you can use the privileges provided by the government. Small business grants are the ideal way to fulfill your dreams of becoming a business owner.