Tag: 5

How to write a perfect professional email in English in 5 steps – Global

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How to write a perfect professional email in English in 5 steps

For most of us, email is the most common form of business communication so it s important to get it right. Although emails usually aren t as formal as letters, they still need to be professional to present a good image of you and your company.

How to write a formal email

Follow these five simple steps to make sure your English emails are perfectly professional.

  1. Begin with a greeting
  2. Thank the recipient
  3. State your purpose
  4. Add your closing remarks
  5. End with a closing

Download our free ebook: Everyday English Vocabulary 38 pages which points useful words and English phrases to help you have a better understanding of what’s going on around you.

Begin with a greeting

Always open your email with a greeting, such as Dear Lillian . If your relationship with the reader is formal, use their family name (eg. Dear Mrs. Price ). If the relationship is more casual, you can simply say, Hi Kelly . If you don t know the name of the person you are writing to, use: To whom it may concern or Dear Sir/Madam .

  • Thank the recipient

    If you are replying to a client s inquiry, you should begin with a line of thanks. For example, if someone has a question about your company, you can say, Thank you for contacting ABC Company . If someone has replied to one of your emails, be sure to say, Thank you for your prompt reply or Thanks for getting back to me . Thanking the reader puts him or her at ease, and it will make you appear more polite.

  • State your purpose

    If you are starting the email communication, it may be impossible to include a line of thanks. Instead, begin by stating your purpose. For example, I am writing to enquire about … or I am writing in reference to … .

    Make your purpose clear early on in the email, and then move into the main text of your email. Remember, people want to read emails quickly, so keep your sentences short and clear. You ll also need to pay careful attention to grammar, spelling and punctuation so that you present a professional image of yourself and your company.

  • Add your closing remarks

    Before you end your email, it s polite to thank your reader one more time and add some polite closing remarks. You might start with Thank you for your patience and cooperation or Thank you for your consideration and then follow up with, If you have any questions or concerns, don t hesitate to let me know and I look forward to hearing from you .

  • End with a closing

    The last step is to include an appropriate closing with your name. Best regards . Sincerely . and Thank you are all professional. Avoid closings such as Best wishes or Cheers unless you are good friends with the reader. Finally, before you hit the send button, review and spell check your email one more time to make sure it s truly perfect!

  • Aren t you an EF English Live student yet? See the general and business English course in action by requesting a one month for only one dollar* trial. Find more information about essential professional English tips here .

    Wil is a writer, teacher, learning technologist and keen language learner. He’s taught English in classrooms and online for nearly 10 years, trained teachers in using classroom and web technology, and written e-learning materials for several major websites. He speaks four languages and is currently looking for another one to start learning.

    Wil


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    Business Etiquette: 5 Rules That Matter Now #business #start #up


    #business etiquette

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    The word “etiquette” gets a bad rap. For one thing, it sounds stodgy and pretentious. And rules that are socially or morally prescribed seem intrusive to our sense of individuality and freedom.

    But the concept of etiquette is still essential, especially now and particularly in business. New communication platforms, like Facebook and Linked In, have blurred the lines of appropriateness and we’re all left wondering how to navigate unchartered social territory.

    At Crane Co. we have been advising people on etiquette for two centuries. We have even published books on the subject covering social occasions, wedding etiquette and more.

    Boil it down and etiquette is really all about making people feel good. It’s not about rules or telling people what to do, or not to do, it’s about ensuring some basic social comforts.

    So here are a few business etiquette rules that matter now whatever you want to call them.

    1. Send a Thank You Note

    I work at a paper company that manufactures stationery and I’m shocked at how infrequently people send thank you notes after interviewing with me. If you’re not sending a follow-up thank you note to Crane, you’re not sending it anywhere.

    But the art of the thank you note should never die. If you have a job interview, or if you’re visiting clients or meeting new business partners especially if you want the job, or the contract or deal take the time to write a note. You’ll differentiate yourself by doing so and it will reflect well on your company too.

    2. Know the Names

    It’s just as important to know your peers or employees as it is to develop relationships with clients, vendors or management. Reach out to people in your company, regardless of their roles, and acknowledge what they do.

    My great-grandfather ran a large manufacturing plant. He would take his daughter (my grandmother) through the plant; she recalled that he knew everyone’s name his deputy, his workers, and the man who took out the trash.

    We spend too much of our time these days looking up impressing senior management. But it’s worth stepping back and acknowledging and getting to know all of the integral people who work hard to make your business run.

    3. Observe the ‘Elevator Rule’

    When meeting with clients or potential business partners off-site, don’t discuss your impressions of the meeting with your colleagues until the elevator has reached the bottom floor and you’re walking out of the building. That’s true even if you’re the only ones in the elevator.

    Call it superstitious or call it polite but either way, don’t risk damaging your reputation by rehashing the conversation as soon as you walk away.

    4. Focus on the Face, Not the Screen

    It’s hard not to be distracted these days. We have a plethora of devices to keep us occupied; emails and phone calls come through at all hours; and we all think we have to multitask to feel efficient and productive.

    But that’s not true: When you’re in a meeting or listening to someone speak, turn off the phone. Don’t check your email. Pay attention and be present.

    When I worked in news, everyone was attached to a BlackBerry, constantly checking the influx of alerts. But my executive producer rarely used hers and for this reason, she stood out. She was present and was never distracted in editorial meetings or discussions with the staff. And it didn’t make her any less of a success.

    5. Don’t Judge

    We all have our vices and we all have room for improvement. One of the most important parts of modern-day etiquette is not to criticize others.

    You may disagree with how another person handles a specific situation, but rise above and recognize that everyone is trying their best. It’s not your duty to judge others based on what you feel is right. You are only responsible for yourself.

    We live in a world where both people and businesses are concerned about brand awareness. Individuals want to stand out and be liked and accepted by their peers–both socially and professionally.

    The digital landscape has made it even more difficult to know whether or not you’re crossing a line, but I think it’s simple. Etiquette is positive. It’s a way of being not a set of rules or dos and don’ts.

    So before you create that hashtag, post on someone’s Facebook page or text someone mid-meeting, remember the fundamentals: Will this make someone feel good?

    And remember the elemental act of putting pen to paper and writing a note. You’ll make a lasting impression that a shout-out on Twitter or a Facebook wall mention can’t even touch.

    00:12 Christine Lagorio: So Mark we have been working on this world’s coolest office package for two years now I think it’s time to sit back and reflect. What actually is a cool office?

    00:22 Marc Kushner: A cool office. Well you know I work, I’m an architect, I work in an office, and I run an archaizer, and I think fundamentally a cool office is one that functions really well as an office. And then I think the potential for working with an architect, working with a designer and making it really cool is to kind of pump that up. And find the opportunities to make it a special place; a place that makes people work better together, that makes people excited to come to work. I think that’s what really makes it cool.

    00:51 Lagorio: That’s great. We all work in offices but a lot of startups and small companies don’t necessarily have the budget for an architect or even a designer to consult. What are some little things they can do to keep the space in mind and make the space that they have available to them work well for them?

    01:09 Kushner: Yeah I think. I think there are opportunities in the everyday kind of office experience. So we all need conference rooms, usually need a conference room, and a conference room comes with things like a table, and lights. And these can be really generic obvious solutions or you can take the time and challenge yourself and maybe your staff and actually turn it into a kind of experience to think about how that can become something else. So we saw some tables that were made out of old cast iron bath tubs right with a slab of glass on top which was a cute way to kind of up the ante on what a conference table could be. But then even the way that lighting is hung that it doesn’t have to be a geometric patterns that you can actually start express moments within the room that are maybe more important and find those little ways in to question the status quo of design.

    02:05 Lagorio: Right. And you’re talking about some of the entries that we just saw because we were just judging this year’s entries. What are some of themes that emerged from this year’s entries, anything that you saw different from last year that may be indicative of where office design is going?

    02:20 Kushner: We saw. Well, first of all they were all fantastic, and it was really excellent to see the breath of entries. We saw some interesting things. We saw, a lot of brands were bringing in the products that they make into the actual office design. So like Wilson who makes tennis products have entire walls made of tennis ball material, kind of unraveled tennis balls, so that the actual you know stuff that people are selling everyday on the phone and working with and designing shows up in the, in the everyday office experience, which I think is really, I think that’s really successful. Adidas also did something really cool where, a lot of sports companies make obviously are. Well, they make really cool stuff. But Adidas did this really neat thing where they took inspiration from kind of in the locker room and the idea of how you store things in a office. So instead of it being traditional file cabinets there are sort of lockers for everyone that have a roll up capabilities and can be moved all over the office. So I think, you know bringing in the stuff that motivates the company in the first place into the design is a great cue.

    03:30 Lagorio: That’s great. Was there. I guess was there anything else that you loved about this year’s entries? Anything else that really stood out or anything that you think is kind of showing a changing pace in or face of office design?

    03:44 Kushner: Yeah we saw, we saw a lot of use of, I’ll just say the natural in the most general way. But I think it’s obviously part of a general trend worldwide, and what’s nice is that what’s been happening in Europe is now moving to the United States. The realization that natural lighting is not just a good ecologically move but it’s also you know a happy factor. And people are, are more productive and have a better experience when there closer to a window. So bringing nature in, sometimes it’s not efficient or effective to move everyone in the office to the window, but finding ways to bring nature into the office, as far as you know cutting holes in buildings or approximating nature; we saw some artificial landscapes which were pretty, pretty fun. And I think that’s a really nice trend that’s going on in the office space.

    04:34 Lagorio: That’s great. Thanks so much Mark.

    04:36 Kushner: Thank you and thanks to Inc.


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    5 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting a Candle Making Business #business #phone #service


    #candle making business

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    wahm articles

    5 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting a Candle Making Business

    When you decide to start your own work-at-home business, a candle making business is one option of many. Beginning a candle making business can be fun and exciting and a way to utilize some creativity. However, there are many things to think about before beginning that can help ensure your success. Avoid mistakes that can cost your business to go under before it even starts.

    Mistake 1 – Starting with No Experience

    As with any home business, you should have at least some experience before you begin. If you have made candles or soaps as a hobby or for personal gift giving you have a head start on growing a business. Starting any type of business with no experience will take more time and presents more risk. Even taking a class at a local community center or reading a candle making book will give you some background to start with.

    Mistake 2 – No Research and Business Plan

    A solid business plan is a must and that goes hand-in-hand with lots of research. Making candles as a hobby or for fun is a base start; taking that to a business level requires some planning. You will need to research where to get bulk supplies, including molds, candle base (whether that is beeswax, paraffin, gel or soy), wicks, dyes and scented oils.

    On the practical side, you will need to prepare for your business by choosing a business name and registering your business with your local city or county. In most places you will also need a business license even if you are operating a business from your home.

    Mistake 3 – Having No Work Space

    When you decide to start a business from home you have to be sure you have the appropriate space available to accommodate your business. With a candle making business you need space to melt your candle material, whatever it is that you choose. You need space to store your candle making essentials; molds, melting pot, wicks and oils, etc.

    You also need to be able to store what you produce as well as office space to do bookkeeping and sales work. An organized work space will help you be more efficient and productive.

    Mistake 4 – Having No Niche

    Deciding on candle making as a business venture will mean deciding on a niche. If you enjoy making a certain type of candle and are efficient in making them, that should be your focus. For instance, if you have been making soy candles, stick with making soy candles until you are ready for your business to expand or until there is a solid financial reason to make other types of candles. The possibilities are varied and wide and include votives, floating, special occasion, and mixed colored, as well as various scented.

    Mistake 5 – Having No Market

    It’s important to decide where and how you will sell your candle once you make your business official. Having a website is the best way to market your products but there are other ways as well.

    No matter how you sell your candles, you will need to make sure the price is right so that you can gain and keep a customer base and so that you can eventually make a profit for yourself. Avoiding mistakes and having fun will take you far in the candle making business.


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    5 Small Business Magazines You Need to Be Reading #online #business #ideas


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    5 Must-Read Magazines for Your Small Business

    You may be asking yourself, why am I soliciting print advice from a digital marketing resource center? Well, we at Get Busy Media find value in content that helps small businesses solve problems and grow; regardless of how and in what format this content is packaged. Today we’re going to take you through our five favorite small business magazines and why you, as a business owner, need to be consulting these resources.

    Here are our top 5 small business magazines (and their tablet companions) :

    1. Inc.

    Inc. is the veritable bible for small business owners. If you were stuck on a desert island selling widgets and had only one magazine to consult from, I would recommend Inc hands down. This magazine is chock-full of amazing statistics, case studies, interviews and reviews about small business owners and startups who have found success and why. Too many young readers today are inundated with stories of successful tech startups. Rest assured that Inc. will provide you with a wide variety of successful small business stories. They will provide you with stories of why learning to tell jokes is good for business to a who’s who of crowdfunding platforms and which ones small businesses should leverage depending on their specific needs.

    • Get Real by Jason Fried – co-founder of 37 Signals (software company that created Basecamp) and author of Rework pens this column that normally appears between pages 35 and 40
    • Crunching the Numbers – I love the charts and graphs that are included in this section. For instance, did you know that the cities that experienced the greatest increase in the number of jobs at companies with fewer than 100 employees from August 10 to August 11 were Orlando, Atlanta and Greensboro, North Carolina (who would have guessed these cities?)
    • Tech Trends­­ – John Brandon does a great job with this column. He reviews all the latest gadgets and new technology that make your life as a small business owner easier.

    iPad app: Appears that as of February, 2012 Inc. does not have an iPad app based on my extensive searches in the App. store that returned no results for this magazine.

    2. Entrepreneur

    Entrepreneur magazine is a must have for anyone looking to start a small business. Entrepreneur’s target is more narrowly focused than Inc’s but that’s what makes it so great. Within this magazine you will find every pain point imaginable to starting and running a profitable business (economy, work/life balance issues, co-founder discord, death of a co-founder, production issues, supply chain problems, to name just a few). You will find articles ranging from how a 14-year old kid started his own candle company based on manly scents (fresh cut grass, steak and wood chips, to name a few) to how two guys pivoted and turned their failing lifestyle website into a flash deals site and made a profit in the first month.

    • Lead Gen ­– Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs.com and Co-Author of Content Rules authors this column that speaks to the power of great content and how to reach your customers through online content.
    • Linked – Chris Brogan. Founder of Human Business Works and co-author of Trust Agents is one of the preeminent experts in relationship and digital marketing. If you have enough time to read only one column in this magazine each month, read his.

    iPad app: This app needs some work. When you zoom in to read on the iPad, the text becomes difficult to read. The abundance of ads on this app is also bothersome and takes away from the overall experience.

    Cost. Free (comes with Entrepreneur print subscription)

    3. Fast Company

    Of the three magazines we have reviewed thus far, Fast Company is certainly the edgiest and hippest. To be honest, there’s a reason why this publication is #3 on the list behind Inc and Entrepreneur. A salient example for those who like sports, is that Fast Company is to ESPN The Magazine what Inc. is to Sports Illustrated. SI is the preeminent resource in sports journalism in the United States, much as Inc. is widely regarded as the benchmark for publications for small businesses and startups. ESPN the Magazine on the other hand is flashy, heavy on images and graphics and appeals to a hipper, younger generation than Sports Illustrated. By no means is this a bad thing, but I felt that I should use this example to illustrate the difference between Fast Company and their approach versus Inc.’s approach.

    One aspect of Fast Company that I enjoy much more than the previous two publications on this list is their long form feature stories. Fast Company’s featured stories tend to be much more content-rich and just plain longer in general than its counterparts. I love that I can sit down and read one of these stories and am captivated for 20 minutes.

    • Tech Edge­ – authored by Farhad Manjoo, this column is very similar to Tech Trends in Inc. just with a little more irreverence.

    iPad app: Appears that as of February, 2012 Fast Company does not have an iPad app based on my extensive searches in the App. store that returned no results for this magazine.

    4. Wired

    Wired is an incredible magazine. I don’t care who you are, this magazine is always, always visually stunning and filled with incredible content about science and technology. There is no doubt in my mind that Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief of Wired. sits down with all departments within the company to ensure that design, content and layout all flow and play nice together. While this magazine tends to be very science and tech heavy, there are amazing pieces of information here that are applicable to small businesses, especially those who are progressive and technology-oriented.

    • Dear Mr. Know-it-all – this is an awesome column where Mr. Know it All fields questions from those looking to navigate their issues in the 21st century. Some questions may surprise you, but you’ll find the answers even more interesting.
    • Test – they test everything from Universal remotes to solar charges to ultrabooks – very neat column.

    iPad app – amazing layout (which is par for the course for Wired) but loading the iPad edition by my count takes between 6 and 8 minutes (depending on the length of the issue), which in my opinion is tired not wired.

    Cost. Free (comes with Wired print subscription)

    5. Bloomberg Businessweek

    Bloomberg Businessweek is obviously a behemoth in the business and financial news sector. While this periodical isn’t tailored specifically for small businesses and startups, there’s a ton of information you can cull from Bloomberg. The great thing about Bloomberg is that it’s laid out in a format that is easy-to-read and digestible. A few sections I particularly enjoy are the Technology and Companies and Industries sections. Both contain information that is pertinent for small businesses.

    iPad app – I haven’t played around much with the app on my iPad but from my limited experience, this seems like another great app for the iPad

    Cost. Free (comes with Bloomberg print subscription)

    What do you think of my list of the top small business magazines? Who did I miss? Do you disagree with any of my choices? We would love to hear your thoughts. Please leave your thoughts in the Comments section below.

    About Jim Armstrong

    Jim Armstrong is the Co-Founder of Get Busy Media and a paid search specialist. Since 2008, Jim has built his knowledge around emerging media and leveraged several experiences to develop a keen understanding of internet marketing. His core competencies include search marketing, SEO, email marketing, social media marketing and online reputation management. Jim currently works for Google, as an account manager. When not diving headfirst into his next project, Jim enjoys spending time with his family, fishing and writing. Jim on Google+

    Comments

    I love Forbes online and have followed some of their contributors in particular.


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    How To Start A Blog And Make Money In 5 Easy Steps #loan #for

    #online business ideas

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    How To Start A Blog And Make Money

    Blogging has opened up a whole new world to online marketing, if you want to know how to start a blog and make money online then follow this step by step guide.

    Starting a blog has never been easier. I have created and managed dozens of blogs over the past few years and I have gathered quite a lot of experience in that time. There are lots of ways to make money blogging but I ll cover what I have found to be the best ones right here, but first I am going to run through how to set up your own blog today. You can actually follow along and do it right now!

    If you want your own online business you are going to need a blog or site! Creating a blog is really easy and there is no need for any complicated coding, HTML. CSS skills or anything technical.

    Step 1 Decide on a blogging platform

    There are lots of different platforms which you can build your blog on. But the most popular by far is WordPress. I have used WordPress for years and it does everything you could possibly want. Some of the leading websites in the world are built on WordPress including this blog!

    The last I heard, WordPress has been downloaded over 72 Million times, so that in itself should be enough to tell you that it is the best platform to use.

    The advantages of WordPress are:

    • There are thousands of free themes and layouts to choose from
    • WordPress uses plugins, there is a plugin for almost everything, so no need for coding
    • Easily add images and multimedia
    • Simple to install (takes 2 minutes)

    With WordPress you can create what is called a self hosted blog , and this is what we are going to be doing. This means that we can use our own hosting and most importantly, our own domain name. If you use the free blogging platform on blogger.com or Tumbler.com you will be given a subdomain, which will look something like this (startablog.tumblr.com). This also restricts you to many of the features of hosting your own blog.

    It also gives your blog more credit if it is self hosted on your own domain, and you have full ownership of it. For this reason I ALWAYS self host my blogs.

    Step 2 Choosing A Domain Name And Host

    You want to put a bit of thought into selecting your domain name. You can choose to use your business name, your own name or a domain that contains keywords related to the type of site you are building. My advice is to choose something that is brand-able and easy to remember, keep it short if possible.

    There are lots of Domain registrar s where you can check and register a domain, here are a few that I have used:

    Where To Host My Blog

    There are hundreds of hosting companies out there, I ve tried many of them and encountered bad experiences with almost all of them at some point. I then came across BlueHost. Since I started using their hosting I have never had any problems. Their support is fantastic, their servers are fast and reliable and best of all, they are cheap.

    I think it s around $4.95 per month. which is great value. Having a reliable host is the foundation for your whole online business, so don t get it wrong.

    You can register a BlueHost account right now. and continue following my step by step guide.

    Almost forgot; you can host as many sites as you want on just 1 BlueHost account.

    Step 3 How To Install WordPress In Less Than 2 Minutes

    This is the part where a lot of people are afraid of. It can seem daunting, the thought of installing WP and setting everything up correctly! Luckily BlueHost have a quick 1 click installation.

    Simply login to your BlueHost account:

    You should have set up a domain when you opened the account

    Scroll to the wordPress Installation Tab

    Now Click The install Button

    Now simply select your domain where you want to install WordPress and fill in the remaining

    The application will install WordPress and all of the files and database in just a few seconds.

    Here is a video to show you the process:

    Step 4 My Installation Is Complete. Now What?

    Congratulations, you now have your very own blog hosted on your own domain. Now if you have never used WordPress before you are going to have to learn how it all works.

    There is far too much to explain in this post, so I have found a few links which will take you through the process of setting up your new blog:

    Step 5 How to make money from your blog

    Making money from your blog can be a difficult task. It took me a long time before I started making any money from blogs, mainly because I was inexperienced and didn t really know what I was doing at the time. Luckily I gained a lot of experience from my failures and now I can pass that experience on to you.

    There are tons of ways to monetize your blog to make money, some of them include things like,

    • Adsense Get paid when people click on ads
    • selling a product
    • Selling other peoples products as affiliates
    • selling a service
    • blog advertising,
    • Drop Shipping Selling physical products that you don t actually own

    These are the main areas to focus on and I have used all of these myself to make money on my blogs.

    The first thing you need to determine is what your blog is all about . If for example you are writing a blog that provides a lot of information, similar to this blog, then you may want to think about using Google Adsense or selling advertising space on your blog.

    Drop Shipping For Success

    If you are thinking of basing your blog around certain products (something like a blog about PC s and Tablets) then you would benefit from selling products. For this you would need to use Drop Shipping.

    Here is the best Drop Shipping Wholesale directory that I have used – SaleHoo

    Ever wondered how people make a fortune on Ebay? Here is the answer They use Drop shipping. I have done it myself with Ebay and Amazon .

    The great thing about Drop shipping is I DONT HAVE TO BUY THE ITEMS until the customer buys them!!

    So you can open an online store with absolutely no stock, and then when a customer purchases an Item, you simply order it from the drop shipper and have it delivered straight to the customer!

    Summary

    I hope this guide has provided you with some good information to get you started. You should now have your WordPress blog set up and you now have the knowledge to know how to start a blog and make money anytime you like. So the next step in the process is to take action. Taking action is the best piece of advise I was given. It s no good reading posts like this if you don t take action. If you haven t already done so, get your Bluehost account and start building your blog!

    I’m an internet Marketer with a love for online business. Get in touch if you need a helping hand with Internet marketing, SEO or Business

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    Top 5 Small Business Tools #business #models


    #small business tools

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    Top 5 Small Business Tools

    Being your own boss can mean being your own marketing department, public relations team or sales squad you name it, small business owners often end up handling it themselves, at least at some point. With so many hats to wear, you need to make every second count.

    Luckily, there are plenty of tools out there that can streamline tasks, boost productivity and, in sum, save lots of time and money. Since I travel frequently, I ve built up a list of favorites that help me prioritize when I m short on time and that get me where I need to go as quickly as possible. Most of these services are free, and all of them do a fantastic job addressing the everyday challenges that small business owners face. What s not to love?

    Buffer — Social media made easy

    This user-friendly social media management tool helps me distribute content across major channels Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc. with minimum hassle. It lets me schedule posts in advance, selecting prime times to optimize my reach, which is especially helpful when I m away from my computer or traveling. And it allows me to leverage analytics to improve my engagement rates, as well as add clean visual elements, perfectly formatted for each different channel, through its intuitive Pablo tool.

    You can use Buffer as a browser extension or handle your social media on the go through the mobile app for iOS and Android. It s free for individuals, but Buffer offers upgraded packages starting at $10 a month to cover multiple profiles, teams and agencies. Sleeker and easier for beginners than tools like Hootsuite, Buffer simplifies the management aspect so you ve got more time to hone your message.

    Outlook — Smarter inbox, smarter email

    I don t spend enough time on email, said no small business owner ever. Managing and organizing an email inbox can be one of the biggest time wasters entrepreneurs face. That s why I use Microsoft Outlook to either delete, respond, drag to, task or process all mail. Never keep email in your inbox. It creates unnecessary stress and leaves you always feeling behind. Most people use folders, but that s highly inefficient. Processing mail immediately helps me prioritize and label every email that comes my way. This eliminates the need for folders (and trying to determine which one an email should be assigned to), by allowing me to label each email with one or many categories of my choosing. This makes them simple to find when the time comes.

    OnStar — Your car as your ally

    Since many newer cars include a free trial of OnStar, people already know about many features it offers: a turn-by-turn navigation system, a mobile hotspot, a diagnostics system, and services such as emergency response, stolen vehicle and roadside assistance. When I m on the road, OnStar is my go-to. I rely on its excellent AtYourService tool, which comes at no extra cost with my Guidance Plan. With a press of OnStar s blue button, I can connect to a live adviser for assistance in looking up destination addresses, finding nearby gas stations, making restaurant reservations and even booking hotel rooms. There s a mobile app as well.

    Waze — Savvy navigation

    There s nothing more frustrating than wasting time in a traffic jam especially here in the Seattle area. Enter Waze . a community-based navigation app that issues turn-by-turn voice directions and provides road alerts before you get stuck in a back-up. When you enter a new destination and leave the app open on your phone, it contributes passively to traffic data, but app users can also actively share information, pointing out cheap prices at gas stations, reporting accidents and editing maps to update local road data. Available free for iOS, Android and Windows Phones, this handy app saves me time, gas money and headaches.

    TripIt — Taming your travel itinerary

    Gone are the days of shuffling through reams of printed travel reservations or even searching through multiple emails, for that matter. TripIt consolidates confirmations for flights, hotels, car rentals and restaurant bookings into an easy-to-digest master itinerary that I synchronize with my calendar or share selectively with colleagues or family. The free app allows me to access all my info on most of my devices, even offline.

    For $49 annually, you can upgrade TripIt to receive real-time travel alerts, alternative flight route information, notifications for potential seat upgrades and frequent-flyer point tracking. TripIt also offers group packages to coordinate itineraries for whole teams, with master calendars and expense tracking.

    Saving time for what really matters

    These tools leverage technology so that you don t lose time that s critical to your business success. You can turn your car into your office, and you can use the spare minutes you spend waiting in line for coffee or to board a plane to knock out key communications. The more effectively you work, and the more time you save, the more you can concentrate on the aspects of your business (and life) that are near and dear to your heart. For me, that s what it all boils down to.


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    5 low cost business ideas to start at university: Starting a business advice and

    #business ideas for college students

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    5 low cost business ideas to start at university

    Some of the world’s most famous entrepreneurs started businesses while at university; Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Sergey Brin, Larry Page – the list goes on – so what’s stopping you from starting up whilst studying?

    According to recent research from Santander. over 80,000 UK university students currently run businesses while studying and collectively generate turnover of over £44m. Impressive to say the least. What’s more, over a quarter of this number plan to turn their businesses into a full-time career upon graduation.

    Action point: Need a loan to start a business of your own? See how we can help here and here

    Dubbed “student start-ups”, budding young entrepreneurs are maximising on being within the university environment to launch a start-up and fund their education, pursue interests, and gain “invaluable work experience as a result of their entrepreneurial ventures”.

    A report from Direct Line for Business also emphasised the fact that entrepreneurialism is alive and kicking in UK universities. It found that more students than ever before are now starting businesses, with popular undergraduate start-ups ranging from creative businesses like clothing design, to hospitality and events promotion and tech-focused firms such as software development.

    And it would seem that there has never been a better time to start a business while at university, if the growing number of initiatives to encourage student entrepreneurs are anything to go by.

    Earlier this year, Europe’s largest student start-up event opened in Liverpool hosted by the National Association of College University Entrepreneurs (NACUE), Mercia Fund Management launched a tax efficient fund for university spin-outs, and a number of universities have been actively doing their bit to promote enterprise. For instance the University of Southampton recently held a student hackathon to find great software concepts.

    With 2015 a golden age for student entrepreneurs, we’ve compiled a guide to five of the top low-cost businesses to start at university, including case study examples from a number of high-profile university entrepreneurs that have scaled their ideas into successful businesses.

    To help you get your university venture off the ground, you’ll also find a handy summary of the funding and support that is available to student and young entrepreneurs in the UK.

    Click the buttons above or below to find out more about the best low cost business ideas to start while at university…

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    Business Etiquette: 5 Rules That Matter Now #best #small #business #to #start


    #business etiquette

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    The word “etiquette” gets a bad rap. For one thing, it sounds stodgy and pretentious. And rules that are socially or morally prescribed seem intrusive to our sense of individuality and freedom.

    But the concept of etiquette is still essential, especially now and particularly in business. New communication platforms, like Facebook and Linked In, have blurred the lines of appropriateness and we’re all left wondering how to navigate unchartered social territory.

    At Crane Co. we have been advising people on etiquette for two centuries. We have even published books on the subject covering social occasions, wedding etiquette and more.

    Boil it down and etiquette is really all about making people feel good. It’s not about rules or telling people what to do, or not to do, it’s about ensuring some basic social comforts.

    So here are a few business etiquette rules that matter now whatever you want to call them.

    1. Send a Thank You Note

    I work at a paper company that manufactures stationery and I’m shocked at how infrequently people send thank you notes after interviewing with me. If you’re not sending a follow-up thank you note to Crane, you’re not sending it anywhere.

    But the art of the thank you note should never die. If you have a job interview, or if you’re visiting clients or meeting new business partners especially if you want the job, or the contract or deal take the time to write a note. You’ll differentiate yourself by doing so and it will reflect well on your company too.

    2. Know the Names

    It’s just as important to know your peers or employees as it is to develop relationships with clients, vendors or management. Reach out to people in your company, regardless of their roles, and acknowledge what they do.

    My great-grandfather ran a large manufacturing plant. He would take his daughter (my grandmother) through the plant; she recalled that he knew everyone’s name his deputy, his workers, and the man who took out the trash.

    We spend too much of our time these days looking up impressing senior management. But it’s worth stepping back and acknowledging and getting to know all of the integral people who work hard to make your business run.

    3. Observe the ‘Elevator Rule’

    When meeting with clients or potential business partners off-site, don’t discuss your impressions of the meeting with your colleagues until the elevator has reached the bottom floor and you’re walking out of the building. That’s true even if you’re the only ones in the elevator.

    Call it superstitious or call it polite but either way, don’t risk damaging your reputation by rehashing the conversation as soon as you walk away.

    4. Focus on the Face, Not the Screen

    It’s hard not to be distracted these days. We have a plethora of devices to keep us occupied; emails and phone calls come through at all hours; and we all think we have to multitask to feel efficient and productive.

    But that’s not true: When you’re in a meeting or listening to someone speak, turn off the phone. Don’t check your email. Pay attention and be present.

    When I worked in news, everyone was attached to a BlackBerry, constantly checking the influx of alerts. But my executive producer rarely used hers and for this reason, she stood out. She was present and was never distracted in editorial meetings or discussions with the staff. And it didn’t make her any less of a success.

    5. Don’t Judge

    We all have our vices and we all have room for improvement. One of the most important parts of modern-day etiquette is not to criticize others.

    You may disagree with how another person handles a specific situation, but rise above and recognize that everyone is trying their best. It’s not your duty to judge others based on what you feel is right. You are only responsible for yourself.

    We live in a world where both people and businesses are concerned about brand awareness. Individuals want to stand out and be liked and accepted by their peers–both socially and professionally.

    The digital landscape has made it even more difficult to know whether or not you’re crossing a line, but I think it’s simple. Etiquette is positive. It’s a way of being not a set of rules or dos and don’ts.

    So before you create that hashtag, post on someone’s Facebook page or text someone mid-meeting, remember the fundamentals: Will this make someone feel good?

    And remember the elemental act of putting pen to paper and writing a note. You’ll make a lasting impression that a shout-out on Twitter or a Facebook wall mention can’t even touch.

    00:12 Christine Lagorio: So Mark we have been working on this world’s coolest office package for two years now I think it’s time to sit back and reflect. What actually is a cool office?

    00:22 Marc Kushner: A cool office. Well you know I work, I’m an architect, I work in an office, and I run an archaizer, and I think fundamentally a cool office is one that functions really well as an office. And then I think the potential for working with an architect, working with a designer and making it really cool is to kind of pump that up. And find the opportunities to make it a special place; a place that makes people work better together, that makes people excited to come to work. I think that’s what really makes it cool.

    00:51 Lagorio: That’s great. We all work in offices but a lot of startups and small companies don’t necessarily have the budget for an architect or even a designer to consult. What are some little things they can do to keep the space in mind and make the space that they have available to them work well for them?

    01:09 Kushner: Yeah I think. I think there are opportunities in the everyday kind of office experience. So we all need conference rooms, usually need a conference room, and a conference room comes with things like a table, and lights. And these can be really generic obvious solutions or you can take the time and challenge yourself and maybe your staff and actually turn it into a kind of experience to think about how that can become something else. So we saw some tables that were made out of old cast iron bath tubs right with a slab of glass on top which was a cute way to kind of up the ante on what a conference table could be. But then even the way that lighting is hung that it doesn’t have to be a geometric patterns that you can actually start express moments within the room that are maybe more important and find those little ways in to question the status quo of design.

    02:05 Lagorio: Right. And you’re talking about some of the entries that we just saw because we were just judging this year’s entries. What are some of themes that emerged from this year’s entries, anything that you saw different from last year that may be indicative of where office design is going?

    02:20 Kushner: We saw. Well, first of all they were all fantastic, and it was really excellent to see the breath of entries. We saw some interesting things. We saw, a lot of brands were bringing in the products that they make into the actual office design. So like Wilson who makes tennis products have entire walls made of tennis ball material, kind of unraveled tennis balls, so that the actual you know stuff that people are selling everyday on the phone and working with and designing shows up in the, in the everyday office experience, which I think is really, I think that’s really successful. Adidas also did something really cool where, a lot of sports companies make obviously are. Well, they make really cool stuff. But Adidas did this really neat thing where they took inspiration from kind of in the locker room and the idea of how you store things in a office. So instead of it being traditional file cabinets there are sort of lockers for everyone that have a roll up capabilities and can be moved all over the office. So I think, you know bringing in the stuff that motivates the company in the first place into the design is a great cue.

    03:30 Lagorio: That’s great. Was there. I guess was there anything else that you loved about this year’s entries? Anything else that really stood out or anything that you think is kind of showing a changing pace in or face of office design?

    03:44 Kushner: Yeah we saw, we saw a lot of use of, I’ll just say the natural in the most general way. But I think it’s obviously part of a general trend worldwide, and what’s nice is that what’s been happening in Europe is now moving to the United States. The realization that natural lighting is not just a good ecologically move but it’s also you know a happy factor. And people are, are more productive and have a better experience when there closer to a window. So bringing nature in, sometimes it’s not efficient or effective to move everyone in the office to the window, but finding ways to bring nature into the office, as far as you know cutting holes in buildings or approximating nature; we saw some artificial landscapes which were pretty, pretty fun. And I think that’s a really nice trend that’s going on in the office space.

    04:34 Lagorio: That’s great. Thanks so much Mark.

    04:36 Kushner: Thank you and thanks to Inc.


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    5 Perfect Online Businesses #business #printers


    #online business

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    5 Perfect ‘Spare-Time’ Online Businesses

    Entrepreneur, author, adventurer founder Maverick1000

    With all the doom and gloom news about the economy, there s never been a better time to make an extra paycheck online with a minimal amount of time and effort.

    If you have an internet connection, you can get started on the road to having the internet pay for your mortgage, car payment, kids college tuition, or even that special vacation you ve wanted. Now, don t worry that you have to be a tech whiz to start a business online–I m a complete techno-dunce.

    A perfect part-time business would have to be very easy to start, require little time and money and no technical expertise, be easy to maintain with just a few hours a week and have a proven track record with a high probability of success.

    There s actually one other important criteria–it has to be perfect for you! Experience has taught me that it s different strokes for different folks, and there is no one size fits all perfect business. You re much more likely to be successful if you do something you find fun and interesting.

    With that in mind, here are five of the best ways to make extra cash moonlighting on the internet:

    1. Information marketing: We re in the information age, and the internet provides you with the ideal medium to exchange know-how for money. Do you know the best fishing holes? How to play guitar? The secrets to a successful marriage? A recipe for moist and delicious brownies? A trick for saving gas?

    Think about your career, your hobbies and your interests. Virtually anything you know can be turned into extra cash. And don t worry if you think you re not an expert–as long as you know more than the average person on the topic, that information is valuable.

    However, if you don t believe you know anything that others would pay for (highly unlikely), you can take someone else s know-how and make money that way! It could be as easy as interviewing a veterinarian to help you create a dog-training product.

    Ninety-two percent of people go online looking for information, and you could be one of the many people cashing in on selling it.

    2. eBay: One of the largest online marketplaces makes it a piece of cake to get your own business going. You can open an account and start making money within hours on eBay!

    While I dislike that whole sell your garbage on eBay thing, there is some validity to it as many people get their start on eBay by selling items from their garage or attic that pre-eBay would have been thrown out. This approach is fine, but where is the business once you run out of those items? If you want to create an eBay business that doesn t require tons of time and effort, you need to leverage products that can be sold over and over again.

    This is one of the reasons I m not a fan of the eBay seller for hire kinds of opportunities, where you sell things on eBay for other people. You get access to stuff people want to sell, but because each item is unique you have to work to list each and every one. There s no leverage there!

    Take a look at some of the largest eBay PowerSellers and notice how they specialize in very specific products (iPods, cell phones, dog grooming kits, etc.). This allows them to leverage their efforts. A listing is created once, and money is collected over and over again.

    Unlike information marketing, this business requires the handling of physical goods, but even that can be automated, so it shouldn t prevent you from considering this idea.

    3. Affiliate marketing: This may possibly be the absolute laziest way to make money because it doesn t require you to have a product, make a sale or ever have any interaction with customers.

    This is essentially a referral business, or as one of my book contributors likes to call it, passionate recommendations. Basically, you can get paid a referral commission just for sending people to sites (or vendors) that are set up to pay affiliate fees once a sale is made. The vendor does all the selling, fulfills the purchase and handles any customer service issues–and you just collect your check..not bad!

    Some people choose affiliates based on who or what is paying the highest commissions, and that certainly is a viable option. Most people opt to choose products or goods they are passionate about so that the process is much more fun and engaging.

    Insurance and credit card companies pay high commissions for referrals that convert to customers ($40 to $150 and up), but the competition is fierce. It may pay well, but is this something you ll enjoy doing for the long haul?

    Alternatively, you could take a look at your hobbies and other things you enjoy and see which affiliate programs are a good match. As always, do your research to verify the viability of your market. A good place to look for ideas (and downloadable products just waiting for an affiliate) is ClickBank.com.

    4. Blogging: This business is best suited for folks who enjoy communicating about a particular subject. Think of blogs as journals of sorts. Although you can have a personal blog, writing about a particular topic will have a higher chance for financial success.

    The range of topics is virtually endless–photography, sports cars, parenting, dieting, star gazing, the latest gadgets, Hollywood gossip–you name it, as there are blogs on just about everything you can imagine. Don t worry about competition. Folks who read one blog are apt to read others on a topic they re passionate about, as long as you have something interesting to say.

    Once your blog starts getting traffic, you can make money passively with things like AdSense (Google s ad revenue sharing plan) or actively by doing a little bit of affiliate marketing. You can see both types of moneymaking strategies at SparkleCat.com, which is a blog about a person s cat. What makes it interesting is that it s written from the cat s perspective and often refers to her human. At the top of the page are Google AdSense ads, and sprinkled throughout are suggestions for things like cat furniture and premium cat food, which are tied to an affiliate program. Pretty cool, no?

    5. Yahoo! Store: This business is very similar to eBay in the sense that it s a monster-sized marketplace but more similar to a store in the true sense of the word. Think having your own retail outlet but without the hassles of rent, employees, utilities and all the other expenses of a traditional brick-and-mortar store.

    The neat thing is that it can be as hands-on or as hands-off as you want it to be because of companies called drop-shippers, which can do most of the work for you. In fact, you don t even pay for the inventory until you make a sale. How cool is that?

    Most people think the hard part of this business is creating your virtual store, but nothing could be further from the truth. Yahoo! has made the templates and wizards so easy that, dare I say, even a caveman can do it!

    The best way to ensure your success is to do your homework and research what products people most want to buy. You need to find a niche. Once again, start with things you enjoy. Let s say you love fishing. What products do fishing folks want to buy most? (Or get even more specific, like, what are bass fishermen looking to buy?)

    Then the task is to find the right source of those products so you can carry them in your Yahoo! Store. In most cases, you ll be able to pull pictures and product descriptions directly from your sources and plug them right into your store.

    As you can see, this business requires a little bit more upfront work, but once it s done it can be maintained with very little regular input on your part.

    There you have it–five perfect part-time businesses. Are you ready to start moonlighting on the internet now?


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    5 Top Picks for Small Business Cloud-Based Accounting #sba #small #business


    #business accounting software

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    5 Top Picks for Small Business Cloud-Based Accounting

    Small business owners don’t need to purchase expensive business accounting software programs or spend hours lost in complicated reports. Any accounting software will provide the basic applications for accounting tasks, but packages designed for small office owners and manager tend to simplify the process and provide essentials that include a general ledger, the capability to create detailed invoices or view business inventory and purchase history.

    Cloud accounting services—software stored and accessed online—is an attractive option for small business owners. When using cloud accounting software, IT tasks such as version upgrades and data backup are managed by the application vendor.

    In looking at small business accounting options, CIO.com specifically looked for applications designed to meet both the budget and the needs of a typical small office or small business. We chose five cloud accounting service options available cost $20 or less per month and are easy to use—even for small business owners with little or no experience with accounting tasks.

    FreshBooks: Guided Help Boxes Make Small Business Accounting Easy

    FreshBooks is a simple cloud accounting application designed to help small business owners to get organized and get paid. Since it’s a hosted accounting service, you can access your business data everywhere—on a mobile device or desktop computer—and your data is secure and backed up for you.

    FreshBooks features options for online payments, expense tracking, time-tracking and accounting reports and taxes. Highlights include customizing invoices, sending late payment reminders, automatic and recurring-expense tracking, managing different rates for multiple projects and profit/loss reports.

    Small business owners will appreciate FreshBooks’ guided step-by-step wizard and help boxes that appear each time you perform a new task, such as create a new invoice or add a new client to your records. As you familiarize yourself with FreshBooks, you can turn these helpful tips off.

    FreshBooks is free for 30 days, with the basic business plan starting at $19.95 per month. There’s also an add-on store where you’ll find third-party applications to add new features and functionality to FreshBooks. Some apps are free—such as the Constant Contact Export and the FreshBooks Connector for Sage Peachtree (now known as Sage 50 )—while others are available on a monthly subscription basis.

    QuickBooks Online Simple Start: A Good Value for Small Businesses

    Today, QuickBooks is synonymous with small business accounting. While a number of standalone and hosted versions are available, QuickBooks Online Simple Start is a good value for small office accounting needs.

    The online version is $12.95 per month and includes a 30-day free trial. This software makes it easy to create invoices, track sales and expenses, download banking transactions and access business data on any mobile device. Other handy features in Online Simple Start include check printing and exporting data to Microsoft Excel.

    If you need a little more functionality than QuickBooks Online provides, there are a few add-ons. These include the “Payroll Bundle” to pay your employees and a merchant service app to accept debit, credit cards and checks in QuickBooks Online.

    Kashoo: Professional Invoices, Simple Dashboards

    Kashoo is another cloud accounting service worth a look. It’s a simple accounting app for small businesses offering anytime access from an iPad or Web browser.

    Features for the small business include connecting to online bank accounts and credit cards, professional invoices, simple dashboards and options to categorize income and expenses specifically for tax reporting. In addition, you can easily share your business data with your accountant online. Finally, Kashoo boasts secure, double-entry accounting for bank reconciliation and financial statements.

    Kashoo is priced at $16 per month. A free version is available; however, users are limited to 20 transactions each month.

    Outright: Online Accounting for Ecommerce Businesses

    Outright is an easy-to-use cloud accounting system that lets small business ecommerce owners organize and keep track of sales and finances in one place. At a glance, you can see where money is going, view profit/loss statements and see who your customers are.

    You can link existing accounts such as banks, credit cards, Paypal, eBay, your own Web store or FreshBooks to Outright, and you can import your existing transaction history. From then on, Outright downloads your new data each day. Another useful feature: Outright organizes all of your data into IRS-approved tax categories, potentially lowering the workload and headache level at tax time.

    Small business owners on the go will appreciate the Outright iPhone app; with the mobile app, you can stay on top of your business and enter travel expenses and mileage from the road.

    Outright offers a free account, but small businesses are more likely to use the Plus version ($9.95 per month), which offers more features than the free version.

    Xero: Share Your Business Numbers Online

    With Xero online accounting, you can share access to the latest numbers and check cash flow in real-time. Once loaded, Xero offers a dashboard to quickly view your bank balances, invoices, bills and expense claims. There’s also an interactive graph to show money going in and out; you can also monitor specific data accounts from the dashboard.

    One standout feature in Xero is the capability to collaborate online so small business employees can work as a team on financials. You can share your data and collaborate with your accountant and bookkeeper to get the advice you need. Xero lets you invite an unlimited number of people for free; you control what each person can see.

    The invoicing system lets you customize invoices and connect with your customers through online invoicing. There are also options to create repeating invoices and schedule bill payments, and all payments, returns and credits are tracked automatically.

    Pricing for Xero starts at $19 per month. Mobile apps for Apple, Android and Blackberry are available. Third-party add-ons can expand Xero functionality by incorporating CRM, inventory management, invoicing, job systems and other specialized business tasks.


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