6 Original Marketing Techniques For Your Startup

So you have a great idea, one that you just know will change the world. The problem? Getting the word out to all the people that it can help with little to no budget. Don’t worry these six original marketing techniques will get your startup off and running in no time.

Be Your Own Publicist 

While marketing techniques change at a rapid pace, one thing that has remained the same is the need for good public relations. And it is something that you can do on your own for almost nothing. First, write your press release, make sure that it stands out. With so much content out there, you don’t want it to get lost in the noise. Then pick some news sites to submit to. Voila, instant SEO.

Speaking of SEO 
There is no doubt you have seen those three little (or big) letters everywhere. And for good reason, SEO or search engine optimization is how you get found on the web. Without you are just another site collecting dust. The good news is improving your SEO is cheap; the bad news is that it is labor intensive. But there are loads of resources out there that can teach you the basics.

Social Media 

Okay, while social media can be an ugly place, it also has its purpose. Lots of people like to engage with their favorite brands on their favorite social media platforms. The critical thing to remember is that this a place for them to get to know you and your startup. Invite your followers along on the journey.

Co-host an Event 

Get in with your local business community and co-host an event. It’s an excellent way to get your name and message out there. You co-host a mixer, a marathon, the possibilities are endless. Even if you are low on funds, you can think outside of the box. On a tight budget partner with a cookie bakery to make cookies with your logo in exchange for getting the word out for their bakery.

Email, Email, Email 

Start an email list. Remember that event you co-hosted, ask people to sign up for updates on your progress. Put a sign-up tab on your Facebook page or Tweet out the link to your followers. Then send out your email blasts.

You are Your Best Weapon 

Get out there and promote your product or service. No matter where you, if the moment presents itself, talk about that app you just launched or the service you are providing. Just be natural and know your audience.

While it may seem like a daunting task to market after all the work spent on product development is done, but you can do it. Your hard work will pay off before you know it and you will be mentoring the next round of up and comers.

7 Ways the Construction Industry is Going Green

New Zealand has some of the highest environmental points in the world. With the help of the building industry, the United States can get there too. Thanks to many earth-conscious people in the construction industry, the business of building is beginning thinking green. Here are 7 fantastic ways the construction industry is going green.

Recycling Building Waste

Copper, steel, aluminum, plastics and other materials are recyclable. These materials are now more than ever recycled from construction sites. Instead of paying to haul these materials off to the dump, now construction companies can actually get money in exchange for the materials.

Using Sustainable Energy Sources

Wind turbines, rainwater harvesting, solar panels and more include the many amazing sustainable energy sources that can be used. The construction business has worked hard with smart individuals to come up with the best inventions for creating sustainable energy. Businesses and houses use up a lot of energy, sustainable energy sources saves money and the environment.

Resilient Design Plans

A couple of places in the United States suffer from major natural disasters. Places on the East Coast of the US suffer from Hurricanes. The west coast suffers from earthquakes, fires, mudslides and flooding. There are two ways the construction company’s help in these situations. First, the resilient design plans build with disasters in mind so the buildings can withstand these types of catastrophic events. The other help in this area is by building in any one of the many states in the US that have less activity in the ways of major natural disasters.

Sustainable Building Materials

Instead of buying brand new materials, construction companies are buying recycled materials. Reclaimed wood is a big trend right now. Reclaimed wood also looks absolutely beautiful. Reclaimed wood is simply wood that comes from old buildings or any source of wood that had been used before. Many businesses are saving money and helping by using recycled materials in their buildings.

ZNE Bildings

A Zero Net Energy building produces just as much energy as it uses. This way it is not taking from the environment but running alongside of it. In some cases, buildings end up producing more energy than they use.

Smaller is More Energy Efficient

The smaller the building built, the less energy used to light it, cool it, heat it and take care of it. By builders minimizing size and maximizing space, they save materials and overall energy.

Energy Saving Landscaping

Working with landscapers, builders can landscape homes, offices, and buildings to save the most amount of water and air condition and heat use.

The safety of our future is greatly improved thanks to the sustainable practices of some construction businesses.

6 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Car Shipping Company

You need to do your homework right before entrusting your vehicle to a shipping company regardless of whether you need it transported within your locality or across the country. Similarly, you don’t want to purchase a car outside the country and pay for a vague shipping company that will not deliver the car or a company that doesn’t handle cars in transit properly. Therefore, you want to carry out a background check on the shipping company before hiring it. These questions will help you settle for the right shipping company.

 

How do you calculate your rates?

 

Car shipping companies calculate their rates by considering certain factors, such as the car size, type of vehicle, and the shipping distance. Also, the shipping option, such as open and enclosed trailer you choose will determine the auto shipping costs. It is good to understand how the rates are calculated.

 

Does the shipping company ask for a deposit fee?

 

Some auto shipping companies require clients to pay an up-front deposit before their cars get loaded into the trailer. Unfortunately, this is not a good sign because the company might be facing financial troubles, which they are trying to solve using your hard-earned cash. However, a reliable auto shipping company will not require deposits because they charge clients once their cars have been loaded.

 

When will the vehicle be delivered?

 

You need to inquire from the auto shipping company about the length of time they take to deliver your vehicle. The delivery time depends on the distance and where you want the car delivered. Regardless of these factors, ensure that your auto shipping company gives you the exact time they will take to deliver the care so that you plan.

 

How will the company ship the car?

 

Shopping car companies use an array of transport options, such as transport trucks, single-vehicle and multi-vehicle. Therefore, you need to find out from the shipping company the option they will use to ship your car. After all, you want to be sure that the transport option is safe and favorable for your vehicle. In fact, some car shipping providers ship via planes, train or boat. Besides, the shipping option determines the cost of the service.

 

Is the company licensed and registered?

 

Car shipping companies that operate internationally are required to register with the relevant authorities to get a number that acknowledges that they meet the set standards. Additionally, international companies should also receive a license from a foreign licensing body. You need to be sure that the company you choose has the relevant licenses.

 

What is the insurance policy?

 

The question of insurance is one you should never assume when shopping for a car shipping company. Notably, your regular car insurance might not cover your car when it is in transit. Hence, ensure that you inquire about the company’s shipping insurance options as well as the charges of buying extra insurance to cover your car.

5 Points To Remember When Operating A Franchise Restaurant

Investing in a franchise can alleviate much of the risk of starting a new business, but success may be far from certain for many franchise operations. Proper planning, careful decision making and understanding the efforts involved in restaurant operation can all be essential for ensuring success as a franchise owner. Business owners who know what to expect and those who remember the following points when operating their franchise may be able to avoid or even eliminate many of the most serious obstacles and missteps which can threaten their business.

1. Choosing the Right Franchise 

Owners who fail to choose a franchise that fits their interests and individual strengths could be making a disastrous mistake. Management styles, available resources and long-term business goals are all concerns that need to be taken into account before selecting a franchise to invest in. Prospective owners who fail to make this decision with due care and consideration may be placing themselves in a very tricky situation.

2. Consulting with an Attorney 

Franchise agreements that are overly strict can bind the hands of business owners who may require a little flexibility in order to better manage their operation or situation. Speaking with a lawyer before agreeing to a franchise agreement is always a smart move. Owners may be able to find more gray area and room to operate within a franchise contract than they might have expected.

3. Always Consider the Needs of the Customers 

While regional and even national franchises offer the benefit of being a known commodity, even minor differences among customer populations can make a difference. The needs, tastes and habits of their customers and how they may differ from the expected norm are something that all franchise owners need to take into account. Even the most established franchise may be unable to succeed should restaurant owners loose sight of their customer’s needs.

4. Selecting the Right Location 

The wrong location can doom a restaurant to failure before it ever opens its doors. A little research and additional planning can go a long way towards ensuring that future owners are able to identify and select the sites that will be most suitable for their franchise operation. Basing a business in the wrong area or part of town could result in far more significant problems than many owners might imagine.

5. Addressing Future Issues as They Arise 

No contract agreement, standing policies or operational guidelines can account for every eventuality. Being able to adapt to changing circumstances or to better utilize evolving customer trends are points that should never be overlooked when operating a franchise restaurant. Ensuring that any long-term concerns or ongoing issues are able to be effectively addressed or managed can be a critical step in ensuring the future success of a franchise restaurant.

5 Tips for Dealing with Angry Employees

Angry employees can quickly sink the work ship, filtering negativity, hostility, bad attitudes, unproductive behaviors, and unfair workloads to other employees and possibly taking out their anger directly on customers, coworkers, and supervisors. As disastrous as having an angry employee is all around, work environments are often inevitably Petri dishes for growing anger and frustration due to the high demand and stresses of most jobs today. From nurses and sandwich artisans to cosmetologists and salespeople, no one seems to be immune from becoming an angry employee.

The demands and stresses may not necessarily be amendable, but employers can take measures to deescalate and diffuse angry employee situations so that the work ship can be righted. Let’s look at five tips to productively handle angry employees.

1. Managers Can’t Get Sucked Into The Vortex Of Negativity 

Mangers, supervisors, and HR are the first responders when it comes to angry employees. As such they must approach the situation with a healing mindset and skill set. An article by Forbes offers some key manger skills to keep in mind:

• Listen & Understand – an employee may have a legitimate or misunderstood reason for their anger that can be solved if it’s heard and understood by supervisors. In any case, the situation will never be solved by ignoring or dismissing a problem.

• Give Feedback – frustration often arises when an employee doesn’t know what they’re doing wrong. From their perspective, they’re doing what’s been asked and not getting satisfactory results. Constructive criticism and clear feedback can eliminate such miscommunications.

• Document – whether it be as a record of a problem employee for termination purposes or to examine patterns that may be causing employee discontent, document incidences.

• Be Consistent- say what you mean and mean what you say, and don’t selectively apply rules.

• Set Concrete Consequences – outline what’s expected, in what timeframe, and what the results will be if the goal isn’t met. Employees must believe and understand that negative behavior begets negative results.

• Go By Company Policy – ensure every action, whether that be issuing a certain number of warnings or pulling the trigger on immediate termination, is inline with company policy.

• Remain Professional – don’t escalate the situation by talking about the employee with other employees, engaging in screaming matches, or otherwise stepping out of a professional role.

• Don’t Contaminate Your Mindset – mentally degrading the employee skews neutrality in giving the employee a place to be heard and receive objective feedback.

2. Hit The Pause Button To Gather Facts

To gain perspective on the employee’s behavior, it’s helpful to just observe. Look at how they interact with others, performance, attitude, and so forth throughout each work application. Some tips:

• Remember to focus on the behaviors, not the person.

• Keep the observations professional and supportive, not judgmental.

• Don’t assume malicious intent. Sometimes, employee anger can come from confusion, fear, or personal problems infiltrating work hours.

3. Make A Plan 

Develop a plan based on the facts observed. What behaviors merit guidance, redirection, training, discipline, or termination for the employee? Are there any policies and procedures that really are flawed and creating a merited employee grievance?

4. Implement The Plan With A Meeting 

LinkedIn suggests immediately scheduling an employee meeting to prevent angry employee problems from escalating and infecting other employees. Here are some key points to keep in mind when calling a meeting with a disgruntled employee:

• Collect facts and immediately set up an employee meeting.

• Do it privately, preferably a one-on-one environment.

• Open by asking the employee to explain what has them upset.

• Stick to the facts and don’t get distracted by irrelevant data.

• Encourage other employees to continue their own tasks as management works to find a solution.

5. Follow Through & Follow Up 

It’s crucial to follow through with any objectives or promises made during the initial meeting with an angry employee. If, for example, the employee had a valid complaint about a work process and supervisors said they’d look into it, then they should and schedule a follow-up meeting to explain their findings to the employee and what will be expected from that point forward. Likewise, follow up meetings should involve following through with any consequences for behaviors not rectified.

6 Things Every Truck Driver Should Know About DOT Violations

The DOT-Department of transportation carries out inspections on trucks weighing 10,001 pounds. This is to ensure that the truck parts and the vehicles are in excellent condition. Truck drivers also undergo an examination.

Truck drivers with a tendency to perform pre-trip inspections regularly avoid many DOT violations due to compliance with the investigation.

Also, use of electronic logging devices makes investigations efficient to DOT inspectors as well as the truck driver.

1. Preparation

Perform a pre-inspection on your own. Note of the things that might cause a violation on your inspection report. Organize yourself by keeping all needed documents in an accessible place.

Listen to what the inspector tells you and follow the instructions. Ask for clarification if you can’t understand politely. Be orderly too.

2. The DOT inspection

Contrary to the popular opinion that the DOT is in charge of determining the inspection stages, the government partners with the trucking industry to set inspection standards.

Stage 1: inspection involves truck inspection, documentation and the driver at the station.

Stage 2: involves checking of the paperwork and ensuring that they concur with the reflection on the truck.

Stage 3: inspectors check on your electronic log as well as onboard credentials.

Stage 4: the inspectors seek to collect information supporting the latter study. It’s often done mechanically for the violations indicated during the inspection.

Stage 5: inspection is done as a review of compliance. However, it can be done depending on a request from a company.

Stage 6: inspection is only performed for truck drivers that handle radioactive substances. A special permit is required.

3. Paperwork

As a truck driver, various documents will be required depending on the goods you transport. They include Truck and trailer registration, driver’s license, electronic log, IFTA card, permits, US DOT hazard permit, special permit, written route plan, MSDS, oversize load permit, FMCSR regulations copy, landing bills.

4. Violations

Falsification of logs, out of date electronic records are the commonly detected violations. Others include oil leakages, brake problems, tires and load security, for hazmat substances: expired permits and improper placards.

5. Outcomes

In case of violations, there are out of service and non-out of service warrants by the inspector. The non-out of service may warrant tickets to truck drivers or forgiveness at times.

The out of service is whereby you acquire a card even though you are a truck owner. In most cases, the inspection officers, take you to the nearest town and leave you frustrated.

6. Caution

Be courteous at all times as a driver since you never know what might happen. Hope for the best.

Adhere to rules and regulations to avoid DOT violations that could land you in trouble as a truck driver.

5 Tips for Finding an Accounting Firm for Your Small Business

The right accountant for your small business will go a long way in saving you time and money. Besides, a good accountant will help you grow your small business over the years. Every coin counts; hence, every small business owner needs to understand where their business stands on a monthly basis and at the end of the year too. While you might be considering investing in do-it-yourself accounting software, the benefits of hiring accountants extend beyond balancing accounts and preparing financial reports. However, not everyone who poses as an accountant is the right professional to steer your small business to its growth. Therefore, you need to choose a good accountant by getting referrals or paying attention to specific essential tips to help you get a good accountant.

Find an accountant who understands your needs 
Communication is vital in every relationship, and your relationship with your accountant is not an exemption. It is paramount that your accountant understands your accounting needs or the tasks that they will be required to perform before you sign a contract with them. Also, let the accountant set clear goals based on their responsibilities. You need to choose an accountant who is eager and willing to work with your business and deliver within the stipulated time.

Consider the qualifications 
You need to look beyond the accountant’s resume to ensure that you hire a good accountant. You need to pay attention to other essential traits such as communication and honesty. Besides, the accountant will have to work with other employees in your business, which requires effective communication. Also, ensure that the accountant has the necessary traits for the type of business accounting that your business needs.

Understand what you require 
One of the essential tips you require is to understand your accounting needs before you hire an accountant. You need to distinguish between accounting needs such as filing taxes, payroll preparation, preparing financial statements, and processing invoices and accounts payable. You should create a list of the accounting services required in your business so that you get the right accountant for the tasks.

Certified accountant
Every state has professional bodies that regulate accountants. Therefore, you need to choose a chartered or certified accountant to be sure that they meet the qualifications and that they maintain high professional standards. You can be sure that a certified accountant will add value to your small business, which impacts positively on its growth.

Hire an accountant who does financial analysis 
A qualified accountant will not only complete accounting tasks but also review the financial health of your small business. Ideally, the professional will get essential health indicators such as net profit on a daily basis. It goes a long way in keeping you informed about your financial health, which is critical in making informed business decisions.

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5 Ways to Improve Your Nonprofit

You should always be actively improving your nonprofit organization. Whether you are a charity, I trade association, a church, or any other nonprofit, there are several ways for you to make improvements.

Update Your Logo
Your logo is a part of your brand. The colors, shapes, and designs will impact how people view your organization. It is important to consider what your logo says and how it will make people feel. When you want to increase your membership or increase awareness about what your organization does inside your community, your logo needs to speak for itself.

Expand Your Board of Directors
The Board of Directors for your nonprofit is responsible for making key decisions. If you have the same people on your board you’re after year, there may be a significant amount of stagnancy. You should look at expanding your board to include new members of the community. This new blood may be exactly what your board needs in order to develop new thoughts and create new ideas. It may be what’s needed to take your organization to the next level.

You may also want to consider updating your bylaws to minimize the number of years a person can serve on the board or within a particular position.

Utilize Direct Marketing
There are all sorts of ways for you to fundraiser for your nonprofit. Fundraising is what will often give you the money to build awareness and do good for the community.

Direct marketing allows you to cut out the middleman and go directly to consumers. It is often more affordable. Particularly with a nonprofit, it also allows you to share your message with the people who would be providing you with the funds. You can take a more personal approach, which is more likely to get people to connect with the message so that they will donate.

Get Connected with Social Media
Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms are a great way to get the word out about your nonprofit. People can’t support you if they don’t know about you. Profiles are free to create. You can then share information about what is going on, such as a special event or an upcoming fundraiser.

Build on Your Mission Statement
Your mission statement may be outdated or not cohesive enough for people to know what you are all about. Consider revising it so that people can read it and instantly know what your goals are.

Your nonprofit is there to do good. Now, you have to look at incorporating a few ideas to ensure everyone else knows that it’s there to do good, too. Tell people how they can help and you may be surprised by how many choose to get involved.

4 Safety Issues to Consider When Designing a Laboratory Setup

It is essential for all developing countries to promote a safety culture by all means. The best thing that they should do is to understand the chemical cycle in the laboratory from their manufacture until their disposal. The following are some of the safety issues that should be considered when designing a laboratory setup.

 

Management of hazardous waste

 

All laboratory technicians should fully comprehend and be aware of several things that involve the chemical life cycle within the facility such as how they are delivered after being purchased, stored, converted into waste, used, packaged, treated and disposed of.

 

When the technicians can understand the above things, safety will be promoted inside and outside the laboratory. This way, the lives of the residents nearby will not be put at risk. Also, complying with the measures will aid in cost containment.

 

Regulations and codes

 

The renovation and construction of laboratories are regulated by local and state laws that incorporate acceptable standard practices that are set out unvarying codes. These regulations are administered at a county, municipal or a regional level.

 

Some of these codes requirements affecting many laboratory construction projects include the following

 

• Control of dangerous/hazardous gases

 

• Building heights that are interdependent on the chemical usage

 

• Emergency power supply to maintain crucial life-safety systems, e.g., fire detection

 

• Ventilation and fire prevention

 

Any project that is set up must comply fully with fire, building, plumbing, mechanical and electrical codes.

 

Chemical vapor emission control

 

Large laboratories are bound to emitting immense amounts of gases some of which are known as HAPs (hazardous air pollutants.) Many of these vapors are dangerous and harmful to people’s health and the environment. For this reason, before setting up a laboratory, it is crucial to design an appropriate means of dealing with vapor emissions.

 

During designing of laboratories, developing strategies to treat vapors emitted from fume chambers has become a daunting task. Therefore, this is an issue that should be dealt with at the early stages before even starting the laboratory construction. Designers should ensure that there is a space left that will adequately accommodate emission control technology in future.

 

Liquid effluent control

 

It is easier to deal with fluid effluent compared to gaseous emissions. However, this does not mean that liquid effluent control measures should be taken lightly. During laboratory designing, designers should note that sinks are not used anymore for hazardous laboratory waste disposal. Instead, the liquid effluent should pass inside a system made to neutralize acids to adjust their pH thus controlling environmental pollution.

 

The above safety issues should be adhered to when designing a laboratory setup. By so doing, the technicians will prevent having trouble with the local government, and most importantly, peoples’ safety will be upheld.

5 Things to Understand Before Giving Your First Business Presentation

Presentations are very important in the world of business. If you get your objectives succeed, you can open new doors for a promotion, a new job, or funding for your new business enterprise. On the contrary, you could leave with a lost reputation or a damaged opportunity if you fail. For you to go on stage and wing it, the stakes are often too high.

Most people or professionals, unfortunately, don’t understand how to prepare for a powerful presentation. They often lay much focus on the colorful PowerPoint slides, or memorize some facts to scare the audience rather than looking at the environment you will be carrying out the presentation. Before you commence your presentation outline, ask yourself about the following five questions.

1. Know your Audience
Never assume you have the answer to this fact as it is important. Pretend you are an entrepreneur with a new product, and a fried wants it presented to his company. While you may meet your friend and few company workers, you may end up meeting the company president. Each situation requires a unique approach with different formality levels.

2. Understand how Big the Audience may be

Knowing this will help you prepare effectively even if it is about the actual presentation than the documentation. You will need to be direct and concise with large audiences. Always keep their attention with eye contact and minimal interruptions. You will pace your presentation slowly with a small audience. A range is suitable if you don’t know the number of people you expect to meet.

3. The Presentation Location
This action will assist you to prepare well enough before the presentation day. Imagine you own a small prototype that you want the company to know. If you meet on a table, you can carry it for presentation. You will need a visually accessible medium if you are presenting it to a large audience. Knowing the location will allow you prepare your voice and understand the acoustics of the room.

4. The Materials Available for you
This is the basic part of the presentation process. If you have the presentation in PowerPoint, consider the use of a laptop or a flash disk. Will they have a microphone or will you need to project your voice? These are the questions that you will use to understand what is necessary and how to prepare for the presentation.

5. The Duration of your Speech
This is a problem that many people overlook. Don’t assume how long you need to speak. You could be the audience if you extend the duration of speech longer than expected. You may also look unprepared if you spend less time. Preparation is paramount.

When you are better prepared for your audience, you have high chances of performing better.