How to Select a Home-Based Business

Everyone is aware that the United States is in a recession. The word recession conjures up images of people standing in unemployment lines, food pantry lines, and Salvation Army lines. Unemployment rates typically skyrocket during a recession. More people are out of work during a recession than any other time. Other signs of a recession are increasing numbers of bankruptcies and foreclosures. Stock market Declines are also prevalent during a recession. These have made headlines along with the financial crisis facing us today.

Many people are concerned about their jobs. Major corporations have announced reductions and some have cut as much as 20% of their workforce. Recessions are temporary but, by the very definition of negative economic growth for two consecutive quarters, it takes time for the economy to return to normal. Many people will be adversely affected by this recession because of the predicted effect it will have on the economy. More people are expected to be without employment longer than in previous recessions. Remember the movie with George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg, The Perfect Storm. Remember how the weather conditions combined to cause a hurricane of epic proportions? Well, we are dead center in the middle of The Perfect "Financial" Storm.

Foreclosures and bankruptcies are at record levels. The top corporations in the country have gone out of business or are at risk of going out of business. The two largest industries, the housing industry and the auto industry, are on the roads. Hundreds of mortgage companies are no longer around. The government seized control of Fannie May and Freddie Mac on September 7, 2008. General Motors has stated that it may not have enough money to survive another year and is pleading with Congress to bail them out similar to the financial institutions the government is bailing out With the largest bailout plain in US history.

If there was ever a time to protect your income by starting a business, now is that time. A home business provides tax benefits that are not available to you as an employee. Not only will you save money on taxes, if you are in the right business, you will have more control over your income, your time, your life. However, with so many business opportunities available, how do you find the right one? This article is intended to help you understand what makes a business opportunity a great opportunity. Have you ever heard of being at the right place at the right time? Many opportunities boast of being the best opportunity because of conditions and timing. Some are, many are not. When you look at the current economic situation you see increasing rates of unemployment, high home foreclosure rates, devastating stock market Declines, and losses in 401 (k) 's. We are bombarded with these conditions when we open the newspaper or turn on the television. Now let's delve into these conditions. What do you think about when you hear that unemployment rate is at 6.5% which is a five-year high and the company layoff announcements? You begin to think about your job security, right? Many employers hint at the news in order to motivate employees with fear. They say things like "I know things look really bad out there but if we all do our jobs, we should be fine".

When you start thinking about your job security, what are you really thinking about? You're thinking about how your world will be affected if you lose your income. Your rent or mortgage, your car payment, your children's college fund, your standard of living are all at risk if you lose your income. You find yourself worried about how you will make ends meet. How your relationships with family members and others will be impacted. You become disappointed with thoughts of postponing your much needed vacation or the inability to buy things you want for yourself and for your family. When you think about the high rate of home foreclosures, you wonder if you are safe from foreclosures. You begin asking yourself what you would do if you lost your home. How losing your home would affect your life.

When you consider the steep drop in the stock market and your retirement account, you feel helpless knowing that you have lost a sizeable amount of money by trusting others to invest it for you. You begin calculating how much longer you will need to work in order to make up for your financial losses. You look for answers but there does not seem to be a quick remedy.

You are not alone and millions of Americans are in the same situation. We are all in this mess together. Does that make you feel better? We can blame the president, the Congress, the giant corporations, or anyone else we feel is responsible. The fact remains that we are in one of the worst economic and financial situations in history. The question is … what are you going to do about it? How are you going to make positive changes for yourself and your family? Are you finally going to start a home business which will give you an opportunity to protect your income, your home, your automobile, and your standard of living? Are you going to start a home-based business which will provide you with significant tax savings. Are you going to start a home-based business that will give you more control over your life? When you are looking for a business opportunity, you need to determine if it solves a problem and meets a demand. Will you offer a product or service that truly benefits people? Understanding the current economic and financial conditions will help you decide if the business will be successful or not.

You may be a great sales person and have incredible depths of desire and confidence but if you're selling the wrong things to the wrong people, there will be little chance of success. If you offer solutions to the 77 million baby boomers who are stressing out over retirement, if you offer solutions to the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs or are concerned about losing their jobs, if you offer solutions to investors looking for places to grow Their money you are likely to be successful. Imagine providing people wishing to retire with an opportunity to recover money they've lost in the stock market crash. Think about the gratitude they would have known they could retire on schedule without lowering their standard of living. Consider the families you will help by providing them with an opportunity to have more money than they have now. Picture the children growing up without fear of being displaced from their homes in a foreclosure. Envision the investors who have lost confidence in the stock market learning from you how they can grow their money from 8% to 50% annually guaranteed guaranteed. How many business opportunities do you know about that provide these solutions?

How many business opportunities do you know about that allow you to provide these much needed solutions in an automated fashion? Can you envision how much money you can make when you combine those solutions with the power of the Internet? You can start a business from the ground up or buy an existing business such as a franchise, Multi-level Marketing (MLM) business, or an Internet business. Since timing is everything, you can tap into the market place instantly when you buy an exiting business which is one of the major advantages over starting a business from the ground up. Look for a business that not only solves a problem but either is or can be automated. Because time is money, an automated business allows you to work more efficiently which, in turn, allows you to make more money in less time. Look for provided business training, commission rates, payout frequency, marketing support, startup costs, ease of startup, as well as automation when exploring existing business opportunities.

Products and services are created based on a demand and, since the marketplace is dynamic and constantly evolving, many new products, services, and even companies will come into existence "overnight". Most large corporations lack the ability to act quickly to market changes due to their business structure and processes. You may not see these companies offering products and services that solve our current financial problems for months or years to come. Small businesses can react quicker to the changing market and then have incredible advantages over corporate giants. The window of opportunity is open. Now is the time. To quote from the movie Dead Poet's Society, "Carpe diem".

Superdry Clothing – Sizes Explained

The problem is that Superdry sizes ‘appear to be different’ from other brands in the market (I’ve put that in inverted commas for a reason). That and the internet is plagued of misleading information on this topic. I’ve decided to sort this out once and for all. Or at least until Superdry change things up again. Superdry is actually very accurately sized. I know you weren’t expecting to hear that so I will explain why.

The Problem with Standards

There is an international standard for clothing sizes. The International Standards Organization, also known as ISO. They are the governing body for all sorts of standards, including a standard measure for the sizing of clothes. This should, in theory, give us a reference to be able to accurately choose clothes and convert between US, UK, European and other sizes. But it doesn’t. There are problems with the international standards.

Getting too deep into these standards is beyond the scope of this article so I’m going to cut to the chase. There problem comes in two parts; Using letter codes like Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large and clothing manufacturers taking liberties with the established standards. They aren’t obliged to conform to the standard so there isn’t likely to be any change in the future. When compared to other clothing brands, a good rule of thumb is that Superdry clothing is approximately one size smaller. They are sized to fit properly but as most other clothing manufacturers are getting more and more generous with their sizing, it’s better to go for one size bigger in Superdry clothes. For example, if you are usually a medium then you buy a large in Superdry.

Superdry Size Chart

Superdry clothing complies with the international standards; the problem is that other clothing companies don’t. Superdry also use letter codes, so there must be a look up table to convert a size from Small, to chest size or women’s dress size. If you’ve looked on their website you would have noticed that there isn’t such a helpful table anywhere to be found. I’ve developed a Superdry size chart.

Men’s Superdry Clothing Size Chart

Sizes are chest sizes, measured in inches.

Extra Small = 36″

Small = 38″

Medium = 40″

Large = 42″

Extra Large = 44″

Extra Extra Large = 46″

Men’s waist sizes are pretty straight forward. They are all in inches, the standard measure so you shouldn’t have any problems selecting your size.

Women’s Superdry Size Chart

The UK and US dress sizes are matched to the ISO standards and might not necessarily match up to the size you would normally buy in other clothing brands. It is intended that you go by the actual measurements (in inches).

Extra Small = UK Size 8/ US Size 4 = Bust 34″, Waist 25.5″, Hip 36.5″

Small = UK Size 10/ US Size 6 = Bust 34″, Waist 26.5″, Hip 37.5″

Medium = UK Size 12/ US Size 8 = Bust 35″, Waist 27.5″, Hip 38.5″

Large = UK Size 14/ US Size 10 = Bust 36″, Waist 28.5″, Hip 39.5″

Buying Superdry Clothing

Probably the best advice I can give you is try before you buy but what if you don’t have a store near you? Is this case you are left with the only option, to shop online where you can’t try the item on before you buy it. There are exceptions however. Some stores, like Nucleus, offer free return postage on internet orders so in effect you can try the stuff on and send it back if it doesn’t fit. It’s a slight hassle getting to the post office but at least it won’t cost you anything.

9 Tips on Software Testing

Nowhere is the saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” more true than in the area of software. Perhaps because software is not a tangible product, each beholder is likely to have a different eye for what constitutes a quality system. This can prove to be a challenge for projects that deliver software systems, however there are some measures that the project manager can take to improve the chances of delivering a working system to the organization that everyone can agree measures up to the organization’s need for quality. This is not intended to be a comprehensive article on the art of software testing, or a “how to” on the subject. The business of testing software is best left to the professionals in your Quality Assurance group. However there are some tips that I can offer the project manager that, when combined with the QA group’s expertise, will improve the chances of meeting your organization’s need for quality.

  1. Make sure that quality targets are set for the system. The question is “What does a quality system look like”. You need to have your stakeholders describe this to you so you can communicate these goals and objectives to the team. Targets should be measurable and the project should have access to measurement tools. An example of a measurable target: the system cannot pass QA testing with any severity 1 defect. The project should have access to a problem reporting tool capable of recording and tracking defects.
  2. Targets should be set for all aspects of quality. The obvious targets are those that have to do with functionality: does the system do what it is supposed to do? But there are other facets of quality such as performance: does the system perform the task as quickly as it should, or load: does the system accommodate as many simultaneous tasks as it should. If the system is expected to serve a user community of 1,000 users, can all 1,000 log on at once? 500? Can the users perform their tasks once they’re logged on to the system and experience the desired level of performance? Finally, does the system fail as it should? A system that is designed to accommodate 500 users at one time should provide the 501st user with an appropriate error message telling them of the system limitation.
  3. Quality goals and objectives are an important deliverable and should be part of the project plans that get approved by the stakeholders in the gate meeting that marks the transition from planning to implementation. Approval by the recognized stakeholders will show the organization that your team has a clear idea what quality looks like and is capable of demonstrating achievement.
  4. Quality activities should be governed by a plan and it’s your responsibility to author the plan. The plan should identify all the different types of tests and all the activities required to perform them. Activities should include setting up writing the test plans, writing test scripts, setting up the test environments, developing test data, populating databases with test data, and initiating the project in the issue reporting tool. Don’t forget to include any activities necessary to implement automated test tools, license purchases and etcetera. The plan shouldn’t include the individual test plans. These are usually developed in parallel with the software by the QA group. The quality plan is component of the project plans and should be approved with the rest of the plans at the gate review meeting marking the transition from planning to implementation. The identification of quality goals and objectives shows the organization that your team knows what quality looks like and the approval of the quality plan shows it that your team knows how to achieve the quality goals and objectives.
  5. Plan to eliminate as many defects from the software as early in the development cycle as possible. Remember that the cost of fixing defects increases from development, to system testing, to QA testing, to Beta testing, to production. This increase in cost is not linear, in some cases it can be exponential so planning to eliminate as many defects as early as possible will deliver your quality targets at the lowest price possible. Some of the cheapest testing comes from reviews: design document and code. These reviews or walkthroughs use the experience on your team to identify mistakes before time and effort is expended on testing. The second cheapest form of testing is unit testing. Make sure that your programmers have the tools they need to unit test. There are many excellent automated test tools out there that save considerable time building the envelopes, stubs, and drivers that are otherwise necessary for unit testing.
  6. Most software systems will have a lifecycle that includes upgrades or new releases. New functionality and features in a new release are the primary focus of attention but some form of regression testing should be done to ensure that no existing features or functionality has been broken in the new release. The best source of these regression tests are the tests produced for your project so don’t discard or lose track of them; store them in a location easily accessible by the next project – you could be the project manager so the time you save here may directly benefit you! Regression testing can be labour intensive and time consuming which is why software vendors such as Hewlett Packard offer automated testing tools. The time and cost invested in the initial project to introduce an automated testing tool can be a powerful weapon for reducing maintenance costs of the system. Your project’s sponsor may be unwilling to spend the money on automated tools at this point, but at least make the business case so they can make an informed decision.
  7. Review the test cases to ensure that each one has a set of pre-conditions for running the test and criteria for passing. Anyone capable of using the system should be able to take the test case and execute it without having to resort to consultation with the author.
  8. Ensure that everyone is trained on the use of the issue tracking tool your organization uses. It’s up to each member of the QA test team to create a report when a test case fails and it’s up to the development team to resolve the issue. The process usually works fairly smoothly right up to the point of closing the ticket. Closing the ticket tends to be viewed as a lower priority than resolving the ticket so metrics can become skewed as the number of resolved but unclosed tickets builds.
  9. Include testing metrics in your project progress or status reports and make certain that the metrics include the quality goals and objectives described in your charter, SOW, or scope statement. Your progress reports should also form the base for your Gate Review meeting materials; the metrics are the means by which you will prove you’ve met the gating criteria for quality.

Medical Alert Systems

Medical alert systems are typically wearable diabetes necklaces, pendants, control keys, watches as well as necklaces that incorporates the patient's illness, blood type, allergy symptoms along with additional vital details. The system signals family members, friends, physicians and healthcare facility emergency personnel respond effectively to a sufferer's ailment should the affected person be unconscious or even incoherent or unaccompanied in the emergency situation.

Even though such alert devices utilizing panic calls had been initially designed for older people, they 've proven to be great for sufferers of every age group who are suffering certain medical conditions such as bronchial asthma, hypersensitivity, cardiovascular system problems, faulting ,, as Well as other various health care disorders which would demand proper treatment when the need arises and no time will be misused diagnosing a individual's affliction.

The medical pendant can be designed from precious metals – gold or silver. At a glance they do not appear to be health care systems but designer accents. The units are etched with the person's home phone number as well as other details together with his or her healthcare needs. On the other hand, they are equipped with alerts that switch on the built in transmitting device that links to phone lines and / or radio frequencies get in touch with family and the individual's doctor.

Wearable medical alert systems need to be picked carefully as these are not affordable. You can not afford to stake your life with questionable and inexpensive systems or go with a system which is not guaranteed. Commonly these products are donned as necklaces, watches, as well as charms. Looks can be significant but it is important to choose one with exceptional alert devices. It should furthermore have a back-up battery power in the event of an electric outage.

Since it actively works to notify the station that is plugged into a telephone of healthcare locations nearby, the necklace needs to fit comfortably and needs to easily be moved without needing to remove it. Picking your medical wristband or watch furthermore requires deciding on the medical system. If there is an urgent situation the patient can get in touch with their health practitioner soon. Therefore, it truly is fully necessary the system has to have extremely receptive microphones as well as audio for sharp quality of sound.

These kinds of alarm products may have a useable distance Four hundred to Six-hundred ft. With the base centrally located, the system can easily grab impulses anywhere the sufferer is. The patient may be in the bathroom or living, away from your sight, however the response center can pick up any signals and warn you of the patient's condition. These devices also have a back up warning. If the system is still un-activated for Twelve hours, a medical staff is routed to check up on the sufferer.

When choosing a medical alarm, go through the patient's ailment. Disabled individuals will need to have products with soft control keys. Furthermore look for the level of transmitting in all sides of the home.

These kinds of devices are excellent life savers but it's simple to wear it and in situations of emergency, doctors know how to proceed while not going through the entire routine of screening for blood-type and allergic reactions.

Things to Know Before Becoming a HVAC Contractor

In order to become a HVAC contractor you will need HVAC certification to work with air conditioners, heaters, etc. HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning. This contractor will specialize in the repair and maintenance of ventilation, heating, and cooling.

Different type of certifications

• Type 1-you would service minority appliances like window air conditioners and refrigerators

• Type 2-you would service appliances that are slightly complicated such as supermarket refrigerators, bigger air conditions, and heat pumps

• Type 3-you would service low pressure refrigerants

• Universal-you will be able to service all kinds of equipment

Types of hazards a HVAC contractor may face

• Before you consider becoming a HVAC contractor it is important that you know some of associated dangers with this field

• In this field you will work with electric circuits, heavy systems, and more

• You may also work with some cooling and ventilation systems that are old and unreliable

• When working with electricity you are vulnerable to burns, shocks, and more

• Installing heating and cooling systems in old repair sites, or some buildings can be very tedious

Tools a HVAC contractor may use

Because the job involves working with different large and small appliances, air conditioners, and heating systems the tools used will vary. Some of the common tools a HVAC contractor might use can include:

• Tap and die sets

• Pressure gauges

• Pipe cutters

• Torches

• Tape measures

You may also have to use complex tools for larger equipment that can include:

• Voltmeter

• Gas detector

• Combustion analyzer for larger heating units

• Soldering tools

Education and training to become a HVAC contractor

• Have a high school diploma or GED

• Work in projects and take classes in math, electronics, physics, and mechanics

• The time it can take to complete your education and receive your certificate can range from six to twenty-four months

• During your education you will get acquainted with and learn about air cooling, machine design, temperature control, blueprint reading, and more

• While getting your education you will need to decide on your specialization such as working with just repair and maintenance, heating, installation, cooling, etc

• When specializing you may have to get an additional certification on the specialization selected.

Once you have completed your education you will be ready for your training programs, also referred to as an apprenticeship. The apprenticeship will help you combine your knowledge with practical demonstrations. Depending on the state, it may be required that you complete an apprenticeship before getting your certification. Certification may be all that is needed but some may require that you also pass an exam to get your license.

How Do Filipinos Celebrate Weddings?

How do Filipinos celebrate weddings may sound strange to foreigners, but if they do get a chance to witness a traditional Filipino wedding, they will certainly love the experience. Weddings in the Philippines are never a one-day event. The wedding preparation takes months. And then comes the wedding day itself which in most cases begins from sun-up to sundown.

Filipino weddings are typically solemnized in the church, officiated by a Catholic priest or a pastor, depending on the religion of the couple. Garden weddings have become quite popular these days, too, but usually they are allowed only when it is not going to be a Catholic wedding.. If it is, the couple must have been married in civil rites first for them to obtain permission to get married in a garden or non-church setting.

Catholic wedding ceremonies, regardless of where thuey are celebrated, usually takes more than an hour to finish. The bride arrives in a bridal car, a carriage, or mode of transportation for that matter just minutes before the wedding. Then the church bells ring, signaling the start of the ceremony. The wedding ceremony begins with the processional of the wedding entourage composed of the groom, the parents of the groom, the principal sponsors (some have as many as 20 pairs of principal sponsors!) who will stand as witnesses, secondary sponsors who will light the candles, and put on the veil and cord, the maid or matron of honor, the best man, the bride’s maids and junior bride’s maids, the coin bearer, the ring bearer, the bible bearer, the flower girls, and finally the bride who may or may not be accompanied by her parents. Sometimes, the processional alone can take 20 minutes already!

The mass proper then begins; incorporated therein are the wedding rituals such as the exchange of vows, the exchange of rings, and the giving of the arrhae. A photo shoot after the mass is customary. This can take another 30 minutes to one hour. If you want this portion to be organized, better get the services of a professional photographer who has vast experience taking wedding photographs.

After the wedding, the guests proceed to the reception. It can be in a hotel or in the bride’s residence. Hotel wedding receptions can be very expensive, but they can be less stressful for the couple and their families as they no longer need to stress themselves out any more than they already have. Wedding receptions held in the house are more comfortable and fun, though. All the neighbors get to be invited which make the affair very memorable. They are also less expensive, but can be more tiring.

During the wedding reception, the usual rituals, such as the slicing of the cake, the throwing and catching of bouquet and garter, and the releasing of doves, are observed, with some variations. There is an abundance of food, lots of table-hopping, greeting friends and guests, picture-taking, dancing, singing, and tears of joy.

So how do Filipinos celebrate weddings? Well, Filipino weddings are joyously celebrated, that’s for sure!

Internet Marketing Business Success – The 5 P’s and 5 C’s That Are Key to Your Success

Everyone wants to make a success of their internet business. But there are millions of web site businesses and very few of them make a healthy profit. Let’s look at the structure of a successful internet business and see how we can use it to make our own business successful.

Products: Every good business needs a group of products. You can find these from three areas:

* Make your own

* Buy in products and resell them

* Sell other people’s products as an affiliate

Potential: There is a very famous saying in advertising “You don’t sell the steak – you sell the sizzle.” What this means is that you sell what your products can do for your customers. In other words you sell the potential for a better life/career/business/income that your product can provide. Please be careful not to over sell your products. Your sales letter and web copy must be accurate and reflect the actual benefits of your products and services. This does not mean you should be unduly modest, by all means make big claims, but make sure you can prove and demonstrate anything you promise.

Promises: What guarantees do you offer? Be they price, return on investment, return of purchase price etc. People are understandably wary of purchasing unknown items from web sites – so provide a secure process with a return guarantee. Similarly when asking people to sign onto your ezine promise them that you will not spam them.

Pricing: Pricing is important – too expensive and you will lose purchasers. Too low and people will think that the product is worthless or too good to be true. People are unlikely to purchase a product at above $100 without knowing you and your business quite well. This is generally believed to be the cut off price for an impulse buy.

Perception: You must take time to ensure that your potential customers see you as both an expert in your field and trustworthy. You can do this with your web site and sales copy and by ensuring that your name is well known around the internet.

Consistency: Ensure that wherever and whenever your potential customer comes across your name, web sites or products that are always consistently the same. Look at how MacDonalds does this worldwide. Build yourself a good brand image by using the same design functions and the same product naming conventions – hence our PowerPacks.

Confidence: Make your customer feel safe to purchase from you by using a secure environment, a well known payment processor and autoresponder service. Don’t spam your list and don’t send to many emails. Ensure that you do not come over as needy or aggressive in your interaction with your customer. Never ever ask for financial or personal information that you do not need.

Credibility: Build your credibility by offering samples of your work, pointing out past and current achievements and printing honest and checkable testimonials.

Communication: In order to show that you are a real living person behind your products and web site it is important to keep up regular communication with your customers and potential customers. You can do this by:

* Using an autoresponder service with regular and relevant messages.

* Having your contact details such as email and telephone number on your site and correspondence.

Competition: Always keep in touch with your competition, what they are doing and what new products are being sold. Ensure that you keep your prices and products up to date and continue to seek out niches and market demands that you can soon fill.

Keep your P’s and C’s in mind and your business should be a success! Good Luck.

Planning Your Garden Part 1

Soil Conditioning

The soil conditioning is largely dependent on how large your garden will be. So before I go into what’s important, make sure you have an idea of how big your garden will be. If you are doing a relatively small garden (4×4 feet- 10×10 feet) you won’t have to worry about drainage, or turning the soil every season. For example, if you are doing a raised bed garden you won’t have to till up the grass in your yard to do so, you can just build the bed and fill it with dirt & compost. The compost is a great medium for plants to grow in and doesn’t require extra work to get great results, also it will drain just fine on its own.

With larger gardens (10×20 feet- 1 acre or more) the ability to just fill it in with compost becomes very expensive, time consuming, and can still have flooding that will kill your plants. With a larger garden tilling up the grass or dirt is the first step. The ground needs to be broken up, once its broken up it can be planted in. Many people use a tiller or a disc to break up the ground but depending on the size, you can easily rent equipment or invest in buying some equipment to prepare the soil each year. Once you have turned the soil a bit and have it broken down to small chunks smaller than your fist and at least 5 inches deep you should focus on preparing for drainage. Take a step back and look for low spots in the landscape and either make a small ditch or buy drainage pipe to put in the ground before you get all the plants in the ground. This is a CRITICAL step, do not overlook it or ignore it, one hard rain could kill half of your garden in a matter of a day or two and there will be nothing you can do (yes its happened to me). Since the ground is tilled up and loose digging a drainage ditch or putting in plastic piping is very easy. Depending on the size you may need just a shovel and a couple hours or you may need heavy equipment to dig the ditch.

As I said before, planning for all of this can be the difference between success or failure. Taking a few hours to take a step back, look at what you want to do and where, and then seeing it before its there is a powerful way to become successful the first time rather then suffer through trial and error.

Photography Marketing Ideas for Photographers: 10 Low Cost Ideas

Marketing your photography studio does not have to be expensive. I've used hundreds of low cost marketing strategies over the last twenty five years and managed to build my photography studio to the point where I am one of the busiest and most successful studios in my city. Here's a few tips for you:

1. Create a photo display. A photography display can be as simple as displaying a few small portraits at a store and offering some free information about your studio or more elaborate set ups with framed wall samples. You can even create large temporary displays inalls or at events such as trade shows. The important thing is how it looks. You will attract a lot of attention with some great images, especially from woman, who happens to be your target market. Displays will help you create a lot of business if you play your cards right. Have a great selection of images, be presentable yet never pushy, have a system for collecting names and address's from those wanting more information by simply asking or offering a draw prize, and keep in touch with all those prospects. It's the beginning of a potential long term and lucrative relationship.

2. Have a free giveaway. Offer a time limited in studio session and small reprint. Tell them there is no obligation for further purchase, and mean it. You will make some sales anyways and you will acquire many long term clients if you do a good job for them. Some will only grab the freebie, but the odds are very good that you will upsell without being sneaky or pushy. Especially if you are professional and create some great images. Do this at mall displays, banks, schools or offer it to a list of clients from a non-competitive business in your town or city. Freebies are the best way to get your studio busy, start making sales and most of all for getting tons of exposure.

3. Reward referrals. Make a policy to reward anyone who brings you referrals. When a client brings in a relative client, give them a gift of appreciation, such as a coupon worth reprints dollars at your studio, frames, or to a local spa or restaurant. As an added incentive, give a small gift to the new client as well.

4. Create a tie-in with another business. Contact a local business and offer to exchange coupons. For example, your client receives coupons from a local restaurant, hair salon, spa, or where your typical prospect would shop. A great place to start is with clients of yours who already own their own businesses.

5. Make your reception or waiting room "prospect and sales friendly". Whenever you create a family portrait or are shooting a wedding there are often people waiting in your reception area. Offer them snacks or something to drink. Make sure your place looks great and smells nice. Make it comfortable. Use this time to increase your upcoming sales presentation by explaining some of the items such as wall portraits and other packages and services. Answer objections that you know will be coming up later during the sale presentation with a consultative approach and people will not only trust you more but will likely make the sale easier for you and even buy more. This is also a great time to collect names. These people are somehow associated with you and at this point make excellent prospects.

6. Make copies of news articles about yourself and your studio. Hang them on the walls or pass them out. Past publicity is better than any advertising or promotional literature you can create. Give copies of positive articles to everyone who comes in for information.

7. Raise money for charity. Not only do you help a good cause, you get plenty of free, positive publicity and exposure. Hold a contest, offer some photography classes, give out free booklets- that you can easily write yourself and print for pennies by having them photocopied- think up your own exciting charity event.

8. Submit press releases to the local newspapers about a noteworthy event at your studio or a human interest story. Did you win a photography contest? Is there and article on photography that relates to local sites in your area or has to do with the seasons? Make your release interesting to the readers, never self-serving and you will get press coverage.

9. Give a free photography seminar or presentation at your studio. Invite members of the public and clients family members to be a part. A seminar gives them the chance to see your studio and your work. Offer something timely to do with how to create great photographs with digital cameras or offer a slide show from some of your more exotic travels. You could create an exhibition highlighting your work. Do not forget to invite the local newspaper.

10. Leave your business cards everywhere. Whenever you are at a restaurant, leave a nice tip and your card. Drop a stack off at the local jewellry store. Make sure card is loaded with your best samples and print on both sides to maximize the space for your sales message.

The Importance of Your eCommerce Site for Your Business

It is plain to see why a poorly designed website can be a major problem to online businesses, most especially during the holiday season, which covers 20% to 40% of the yearly sales.

In this regard, those who need data validation can refer to the stats that explain the importance of your brand’s presence on the Internet:

  • Before people shop at a physical store, they often check websites of online stores.
  • Customers search online for the prices and availability of goods so they would know whether to shop online or at physical stores.
  • During an economic crisis, consumers exercise caution when shopping online to stretch their budget, resulting to an increase of website traffic.
  • Shoppers that tend to purchase downloadable gifts like eBooks, music and FB credits, among others, will likely buy more.

Optimize Your Online Site Immediately

Now that you are aware of your site’s importance, what should you do before the holiday season approaches? It is never too late to try some of these strategies:

Prepare for unexpected traffic.Plan ahead of time to make sure that your site can manage all the orders. Anticipate peak loads, observe the responsiveness of your site and assess application performance way before Cyber Monday.

Increase the speed of your site. Use a CDN (content delivery network) for a speedy delivery of relevant content with videos and images to your consumers.

During the holidays, most shoppers use their mobile devices to search online before heading for the stores. Therefore, it would be wise to incorporate an in-store experience with info regarding your well-timed and relevant personalized website and mobile apps.

Find ways to let the customers easily find your products on the web. To improve exposure, submit a feed to the top online shopping comparison engine, Google Product Search. Try the Amazon Marketplace or add pay-per-click ads to Amazon Product Ads’ product and category pages. This way, shoppers will be able to view your ads when they find products that are similar to yours.

Though social media is not the main channel for searching, it has targeted the mainstream and has therefore gained importance, specifically to GenY shoppers. Transform visitors into sales channels by including social sharing in product pages. Display good customer service in public by resolving issues with customers on networking sites like Facebook or Twitter.

People who are low on budget usually search online before buying, so it is a good idea to follow the example of various sites in making it fun, simple and efficient to shop on the web. Provide product filters, rich product details, comparison tools, well-designed navigation and recommendations. Enhance the images of your best-selling products, emphasize your value propositions and make sure that shipping and return policies are clear.

Fix your leaky conversion funnel immediately by adding simple and cost-efficient website usability and feedback tools.

Whenever possible, ask for the visitor’s email address and try to squeeze a lot of value out of each sign-up.

Try to employ remarketing campaigns so you can target consumers who take time to buy.

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