Friday, July 31, 2015

Improve your business



 -- Improve Your Business --

* Written by: Danica Bridges

Are you carrying on a business which you feel needs much tweaking in order to achieve a profitable future? You are only one among many entrepreneurs who are going through the same ordeal. It makes most entrepreneurs question whether it is worth all the time, effort, and money spent on trying to sustain a business despite the low sales they are experiencing.

Those who have made notable successes in their business ventures advise against nurturing doubts and desperation. In fact, whenever you are feeling any kind of doubt, successful business owners say you should turn those doubts into positive thoughts and ideas on "how to make my business better." In fact, here are some ideas on how to remain optimistic and become like some of the world's most successful entrepreneurs.

1. Find ways on how you can emphasize your products' or services' importance according to society's present needs and demands. More than having an amazing product, it is more important to market the product based on how it can improve people's lives. Some of the ways by which you can show such significance include demo videos, infographics, and other kinds of media. People are most likely just waiting for something placed in action before actually putting their money into a certain product or service.

2. Always aim for improvement on your brand's customer service. There is nothing wrong with using the usual approaches but it won't hurt to add an extra kick. Offering something extra would be a good start. Japanese community convenience stores, for example, have established small but secure library or play area for parents who bring their children to shop so that the kids can have something to occupy themselves with while the parents are busy shopping.

3. Always consider the customer's point of view when creating products and services. Do not zero in on profits right away because profits mostly follow after customer satisfaction. It is always smarter to consider whether a certain product or service "should" be done rather than that it "could" be done. An established product could easily be tainted with one wrong decision.
4. Be as unique as you can. Do not be content on just being good or even better at something but always challenge yourself and your business to create something that no else can create.

5. Be a business that is helpful and friendly. Establish a sense of community among yourself, your employees and your customers. People will patronize a business that they feel connected with or that understands what they need. Inspire your customers to share your products and services on their personal blogs or other social media. Urge your clients to share their experiences with others and with you as well as to give you a feedback in order to help you improve your business. 

By improving your business, you get more clients, and with more clients, you know you have a business that makes more money.



Award-winning authors Dave and Lillian Brummet:

http://www.twitter.com/brummet
http://www.facebook.com/lillian.brummet 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

product review



-- Product Review -- 

I first responded to Tiger Elite’s (marketing company) offer on June 16th to do a review for Press Café’s French Coffee Press. Scottie Rae, Co-Founder Press Cafe of MSG Market Source, was a pleasure to work with; there was really good marketing and customer service involved here. Press Café is a small family run business. In doing some research on the company I learned that they support the Wounded Warrior Project and also Children’s Cancer Research charities. You can find out more about the company at:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/MSG-Market-Source/750130948418757



I absolutely love coffee presses. The only electricity used is in boiling the water and you can put jsut the amount of water you need in the kettle rather than bringing a full kettle to boil. Or if you have a wood stove going in the cooler months you can heat the water in a pot on the wood stove instead. You can easily make one or two cups at a time (most presses only do 2 coffee cups worth). The loose coffee grounds are wet and easy to swish out with a little water, dumping them on an outdoor plant, on the lawn, or in the compost bucket. There is no excess steam staining the underside of kitchen cupboards (like most machines do), no noisy gurgling, and there's no risk of overheated and wasted coffee or stale coffee getting burned on which happens when a machine is left on. Another ecological point for presses is that there are no filters involved, saving money and reducing our impact on the environment. 

We picked the press up on July 4th via postal service a couple miles on the US side of the border (we’re located in Canada), which happened to be when we were crossing the border again, but the shipping order stated it was estimated to arrive on June 24th, and Amazon is pretty good about being accurate about that. 

The coffee press arrived packaged in a white cardboard box wrapped securely in bubble wrap. All the packaging was recyclable… including the cardboard shipping box (5.5” High -by- 7” Wide -by- 10” Long).

It came with an additional screen and a long stainless steel coffee ground scoop with an interesting serrated clip for clipping on the coffee bag (I assume). This also means the scoop not only seals the bag but is always kept with the bag so you don’t have to search in a drawer for it. 

coffee spoon and extra screen


Also came with instructions offering 7 steps to using the coffee press. Although I’ve been a coffee consumer for more than 30 years I actually learned something from the instructions. 

This product has a beautiful design… we’ve had several coffee presses over the years as we are true coffee lovers but never came across one so well designed – this one had the additional benefit of a vented lid, which could be used to screen out any stray coffee bits. It also aided in making the coffee flow better when pouring, it is the only press we’ve used that didn’t spill or dribble in some way. 

Their stainless steel screen is much more fine than our other 2 (one for camping one for the house) and that means less sludge in the coffee cup. Of course if you use course ground coffee there is less of an issue with sludge, but course ground is not easy to find in grocery stores and getting an even grind in a coffee grind machine doesn’t always result in consistency. The screen is also designed so that no grounds will escape into the cup. 


Interestingly, most coffee presses can also be used for loose-leaf tea, enabling a person to really enjoy a wide array of flavors and beverages. This aspect appeals to us as gardeners as we do dry a lot of our own herbs harvested from the garden and landscape beds.



I found the press is easily disassembled, although the glass carafe fit pretty snug, and the whole thing can be cleaned in the dishwasher. The carafe is specially designed for high heat resistance (up to 180˚).  The only possible note I should make here is that in the 3-part screen system there is a bump in the design, literally – a bump. I checked our other 2 presses and neither had this bump. I’m sure it isn’t going to be an issue, though.



Not sold on Amazon.ca yet, but you can find it at Amazon.com – where it has a list price of $39.97 US but is currently on sale for$ 25.97.


I prefer this coffee press of the other two we own – there’s no mess when you pour and the bottom of the coffee cup has less sludge in it.






 


Award-winning authors Dave and Lillian Brummet:

http://www.twitter.com/brummet
http://www.facebook.com/lillian.brummet 



Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Quote of the Day



-- Quote of the Day -- 


 

"Your life is bigger that that one moment; 
you know you are not defined by what somebody says is a failure for you 
because failure is just there to point you in another direction. " 

~ Oprah





Award-winning authors Dave and Lillian Brummet:

http://www.twitter.com/brummet
http://www.facebook.com/lillian.brummet 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

World of Writing, interview


-- World of Writing -- 


* Today we have the pleasure of presenting: Wendy Van Hatten - a published author and international travel writer and blogger. She holds the position of Editor in Chief for Prime Time Living Magazine, as well as being the wine, food, and travel writer for WE Magazine. She is on the board of the Bay Area Travel Writer Organization, a professional travel writer and photographer organization. For more information about Wendy and her books visit: www.wendyvanhatten.com.



Q: Do you belong to a writers’ group? 


A: Yes, I belong to a writers’ group. It is a small but productive group of writers, who offer feedback and critiques.



Q: How long have you belonged to this group? (how you found them, why you joined & the process of becoming a member).


A: Originally, I attended a large group of writers of various genres, who meet weekly. My schedule doesn’t allow for weekly meetings and I felt I was not contributing to the group. Out of this group three of us decided to form a more concentrated group. We meet monthly, take turns with our writing projects or manuscripts, and dig deep into everyone’s writings.



Q: Where do you meet? How often? What do you do there?


A: Each month we focus on one writer. Our manuscript or parts of it are emailed at least one week ahead of the meeting time. This allows time for the others to review, take notes, ask questions, or answer questions the writer has put forth. We may need assistance or confirmation of a plot, or we may need help with our characters, or we may need a big picture view from an uninvolved party.



Q: Where do you see yourself with your writing in five years?


A: Even though writing has always been a part of my life, writing is my second career. My travel writing is one piece and my mystery writing is another piece. The outlets and formats are different, but I incorporate my travels into my mysteries. I see myself continuing with both types as long as possible.



Q: What advice would you give for aspiring authors?


A: It sounds like an overwritten cliché, but you need to write. Really. And, you need to read. If you really like reading historical romances, but you want to write sci-fi…perhaps you should start reading sci-fi.

When you have figured out what you are writing, take some time to do several things. Make a working outline; one that probably will change as you write. Try to get as many general ideas as possible about your manuscript written down. The same applies if you are writing an article as well. Do you have a message you want your reader to hear, are you encouraging your reader to take action, or are you telling a story?

Then, make a list of characters. Give them names, personalities, and descriptions. Make your reader see them. Don’t just tell your reader the main character is tall and thin. Show the reader he has to duck when he enters a doorway. This is a start. It can all change and grow as you write.

I also suggest having a team you work with as you write. These could include a writers’ group, perhaps another writer to bounce ideas off of, a proofreader, a marketing individual or group, and a very important piece…at least one editor. More team members may be necessary depending on your type of writing



Q: Tell us a bit about your passions in life.


A: I have several passions. Travel, writing, cooking, wine, gardening, my husband, my kitty…and combinations of all of these. These surface daily, whether I am writing, traveling, cooking, gardening, or learning about new wines and drinking favorites. My husband and my kitty often make appearances in my mysteries…only they don’t know it.


Award-winning authors Dave and Lillian Brummet:

http://www.twitter.com/brummet
http://www.facebook.com/lillian.brummet 



Monday, July 27, 2015

Product Review



-- Product Review -- 


Michael, customer rep with NanoNutra, worked with me on getting this product review here for you today. The product was ordered on June 11, but didn’t arrive until June 20th. Unfortunately it was shipped from Amazon.com in a cardboard box that was easily 3 times the necessary size with 6 Air-Plus brand bubble balloon things used for packaging. I felt that was a lot of wasted space and packaging – although it was recyclable. 




The body gradually loses its normally efficient ability to process vitamin C from foods as it ages, and this vitamin is essential to support the immune system, prevent and fight diseases and cancer, support collagen production, improves energy levels, protects skin and joints, ease healing, enhance healthy gums and teeth, and support brain and circulatory systems as well. Vitamin C is also a powerful anti-oxidant, fighting free radicals and damage from chemicals, alcohol, exposure to natural elements and aging.



My husband and I have taken vitamin C supplements for probably 15 years now and this is the first time I’ve heard of liposomal vitamin c – and how this particular formula, Liposomal Vitamin C by NanoNutra, blends nanotechnology with naturopathy. The secret lies in the increased absorption of this supplement through natural fatty acids and sunflower lecithin. Other, all natural ingredients include:  glycerin, sunflower lecithin, sunflower oil, oleic acid polyglyceride, ascorbyl palmitate, natural flavors, xanthan gum, ascorbic acid, mixed tocopherols, oil soluble rosmarinic acid, water soluble rosmarinic acid, potassium sorbate, purified water.





You can be confident with this product because it has no GMO’s, corn, soy or BPA and is GMP certified. It is sweetened with natural diabetic friendly stevia leaf extract, is made in the US and comes with a money back guarantee.



It is important to note that care should be used when opening the bottle – the product is in liquid form and could be under pressure if temperatures are too warm.  The shelf life for this is really only about 60 days, it does need to be refrigerated after opening. Shake well before using; you can mix the suggested serving (1 tsp. twice daily) in juice if you prefer.



Through the company website (www.nanonutrausa.com) the product comes in several cost-saving packages: 60 servings; one bottle, at $49.99 (US), 180 servings; 3 bottles, at $134.97, and 240 servings; 4 bottles at 159.99. Each 1 tsp. serving is about 15 calories and can be given to men, women and children. However on Amazon.com I noticed while the list price is $89.99 for a 10.15 fl. oz. bottle, it is currently on sale for $59.99(US). Unfortunately it is not listed on Amazon.ca.



You can also find the company on FaceBook:




Award-winning authors Dave and Lillian Brummet:

http://www.twitter.com/brummet
http://www.facebook.com/lillian.brummet 



Sunday, July 26, 2015

quote of the day



-- Quote of the Day -- 


 
" Discussion is always better than argument

 because argument is to find out who is right 

while discussion is to find out what is right. "


~ unknown


Award-winning authors Dave and Lillian Brummet:

http://www.twitter.com/brummet
http://www.facebook.com/lillian.brummet 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

garage sale advice


5 Tips for a Better Garage Sale

* Written by: Joel Arnold; his articles and writing have appeared in dozens of magazines and websites. Check out his blog at http://authorjoelarnold.blogspot.com


Are you gearing up for a garage sale? A little simple preparation goes a long way to holding a successful sale.
Here are 5 tips to make yours better, easier and more lucrative!

1. Advertise
Place an ad in your local paper a week before your sale. These are often quite cheap, and many newspapers not only carry a special section for garage sales, but also post them online.

Speaking of online, place free ads on websites like Craigslist, GarageSaleFinder and YardSaleTreasureMap. Take advantage of Twitter and Facebook as well.
2. Good Signage

Invest in at least half-a-dozen signs to point potential customers directly to you. Your local hardware or big box store most likely carries these - many with big bold words proclaiming GARAGE SALE above an arrow and a place to write your address in marker. Some also come complete with a metal holder and stake that you can insert into the ground.

Place these at major intersections near your house, making it clear exactly where you're located. You may even want to hang colorful balloons at the end of your driveway, so that your customers know they've found the right place.

3. K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Seller!)
When selling items like clothing or books, there's no need to mark every item. Make it simple for you and your buyers with a few signs placed strategically around the garage. 

For example, put a sign above and next to the clothing marked with items for sale and prices:
Kids pants - $1.00
Kids t-shirts - $.50
Adult pants - $2.00

Same with books. Make one sign with a price for paperbacks and a slightly higher price for hardcovers.

Repeat with other items for which there are multiples of. Make sure to give copies of these price sheets to the person handling the cash as an easy reference guide.

4. Placement
Place large, eye-catching items like furniture out front on the drive way. Many people will drive by looking for that sort of thing, and if they don't see anything from their car that catched their eye, they won't even bother to stop and look inside at the rest of your sale.

5. Timing
Most people hold garage sales on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. These are the days that buyers expect. Thursdays are typically the busiest days, when the serious buyers come looking for a good deal. Open your sale early, no later then 8 or 9am. Opening at 7:00am allows you to catch people on their way to work.
Another thing to consider is competition. If your neighborhood is holding a massive community garage sale, realize that you will probably not make nearly as much money compared to holding your sale a week ahead. Otherwise, you'll be competing with all of the other sales. There's no rule, however, that says you can't have two sales; a solo one, and during the neighborhood-wide sale.
Follow these simple steps, open up that garage door, and wait for all of that traffic to beat a path to your garage!



Award-winning authors Dave and Lillian Brummet:

http://www.twitter.com/brummet
http://www.facebook.com/lillian.brummet 


Friday, July 24, 2015

Product Review


- Product Review -


I was thrilled to hear from Eric Burk, co-founder and CEO of the Keep Tight company (based in Castle Pines, CO – US) with the opportunity to review their fantastic hoodie. Keep Tight specializes in fitness and health clothing for women who are hardcore fitness enthusiasts. They produce high quality, comfortable clothing using cutting edge technologies and fabrics. Eric and his wife Melanie, began this business together based on their own experiences with clothing that had inadequate support, were unflattering, dysfunctional, and clothes that contribute to chafing, rubbing or bouncing.

 

I was sent a confirmation of the product order by the support team on June 18 sent via FedEx and was told it would take about 3 days to arrive - it arrived in 4 business days. KeepTight IronFleece Performance Hoodie I received was “nebula grey and pink” but also comes in black and pink. It has a retail price of  $79.99 (US). Eric was right on top of things and made sure I received the order safe and sound in the time frame that they promised and provided all the links you see here in this review today - making my job a lot easier. 






The grey and pink hoodie fit a little big when I took it out of the bubble envelope, but after the first washing it fit perfectly. I loved the form fitting style, helping me feel more feminine. The holes in the long arms were fantastic addition as they prevent the arms from moving around when working out or doing outdoor activities. The hoodie is a bit longer than most, too, going down over the hips a little, but I liked this as it covers everything nicely – no longer needing to constantly adjust clothing or zippers during activities. The hood itself is perfectly shaped, without blocking vision or sliding around – increasing comfort for the wearer. Rather than pull cords, the hood has elasticized cords looped through a plastic cord lock, like those you’d find on backpacks.



This particular hoodie is made with a fabric they call “IronFleece(95% Polyester, 5% Elastane) because it is ultra strong, lightweight, and super soft. The fabric allows you to stay cool, wicks moisture away, but helps you keep the chill off as well. There are internal headphone grommets from the pockets on the inside of the jacket and a small pocket inside the side pocket to store keys or a small phone, etc. and it is so attractive you’ll wear this hoodie for many other activities including shopping around town.



The stitching and seams appear to be of high quality and I didn’t see any flaws even with a very close examination. However it is sewn in China however, which means more fossil fuels spent in shipping the product. Instructions are to machine was in cold water on a normal cycle, to not use bleach or softener and to tumble dry on low, removing promptly.



My final comment: great quality, superb feel and look – I love this hoodie.


Find the product here:



You can also find this company at these social networking sites:



  


Thursday, July 23, 2015

quote of the day



-- Quote of the Day -- 


 
"We live in an ocean of air like fish in a body of water. By our breathing we are attuned to our atmosphere. If we inhibit our breathing we isolate ourselves from the medium in which we exist. In all Oriental and mystic philosophies, the breath holds the secret to the highest bliss."

~ Alexander Lowen



Award-winning authors Dave and Lillian Brummet:

http://www.twitter.com/brummet
http://www.facebook.com/lillian.brummet 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Water conservation



Water conservation

... I thought it would be interesting to start a discussion on what people are doing to conserve water at home or at work. I posted the following on a local FaceBook group for our valley and had some great responses from people offering tips on what they do... I won't share names for privacy issues nor quote from them, but I will share their tips. I would like to encourage our readers to also share what they are doing here via the comment section and to also share this post online so that more people will be inspired to conserve this precious resource.

So here is what I posted originally:

I've been keeping a bowl handy for when doing everyday sink activities from washing hands to rinsing veggies - taking that water and dumping over the deck or front door on plants & or lawn, depending on where I "watered" last and what needs it most. I do the same thing with a bucket, for when I've washed floors or something... of course I only use eco-friendly all natural products. Over the last 4.5 years in this home we've updated all our appliances, faucets, etc. to water savvy ones. Also changed 2 of our 3 toilets to dual flush. Want to do the other toilet but can't afford it just yet so we use the other toilets as much as we can instead. We've got drip hoses on timers for the plants on the deck, we've got soaker hoses on the landscaped beds with perennials, trees, shrubs (planted just 1 year ago) outside the fence, and soaker hoses in the veggie garden too. We dump rinse water from rinsing dishes or rinsing out recyclables, any liquids left over in cups, jugs or glasses in our compost bucket. Any water left undrunk in glasses are put in the pets' watering dishes, and when those pet dishes get a bit mungy we dump that water on plants or lawn. We've never sprinkled after 9:30 AM no matter what the water levels are at. ...I also save cooking water; once cool, I spread it around the lawn or on a plant or two that needs it. And we used to wash our vehicle by hand, using a bucket and a sprayer on the hose - on the lawn... before the fence went up. Now we go to the local car wash place which reportedly recycles their water. I hope one day to have underground sprinkers put in so the property is automatically watered between 5 and 7 AM - the most efficient time to water... but that is one day in the future.


Here are some of things people from the facebook group shared for either conserving water, using it responsibly or capturing water they then use to water plants, etc.:

- placing buckets under taps while waiting for the water to get hot (kitchen sink, shower, etc.)  
- collect rain water
- mulch the garden/landscaping
- place a jug of water in the fridge so people don't run the tap waiting for the water to get cold
- place a bowl in the sink to capture water from hand washing, rinsing veggies, rinsing dish rags out, etc. 
- collect and save the water dripping out of air conditioners
 - refrain from mowing the lawn unless you see weed heads forming seeds; longer grass shades itself, stays greener longer, and needs less water.
- take shorter showers, or share showers :)
 - save dehumidifier water for watering plants
- re: toilets... if it is yellow let it mellow - if it is brown flush it down 

* ... one more option that I have learned to do recently is to place drip trays under hanging plant pots so that when the water drips out the bottom through the holes in the pot, it is captured by the trays and you can use it to water other plants. I just started doing this the last couple weeks and found that I capture enough water from 3 hanging baskets to serve the watering needs for two outdoor plant pots on the deck.