Why You Should Provide Your Employees With Business Cards

2 08 2013

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Image via Flickr creative commons from matthew solle 

If you’re the proud owner of your own business then it’s likely you’ll constantly be looking for new ways to expand your customer base and advertise the services offered by your company. One such way to do this quickly and effectively is to ensure that all of your employees have business cards. Now you may be a little sceptical about the notion of providing your employees with a set of business cards each what with the ever-increasing usage of digital technology and the rise of online businesses. To help convince you further, I’ve compiled a list of the reasons why you should provide your employees with business cards. Read on to find out more.

Business cards are essential because…

–          They help your employees to network

One of the top priorities for all business owners of new start-ups is to make the company widely known. After all, knowledge makes profit. If only a handful of people know about the services you offer then you’re unlikely to meet your expected annual profit budgets, unless of course those customers are insanely loyal.

Despite this, it can be hard to do all of the networking by yourself. By providing business cards for all of your employees, you will cast a much wider networking web, drawing in customers from all sorts of places. Think of it as a social media profile. You have your ‘friends’ who can see your profile but then the site suggests others that you may know, based on the friend list of your network, and so on. So by issuing a set of business cards to each employee, that network of friends suddenly multiples in size.

–          They don’t require the use of technology

How many times have you encountered a problem with your smartphone or your tablet or your pc? I’m willing to bet it’s quite a lot. The reason for this is that technology can malfunction, particularly when it’s brand new. Now imagine your entire workforce losing all-important electronic data – it’s a set-back for the company.

Business cards however do not require the use of a smartphone or any other electronic device. You can keep a business card in your wallet or on your desk at work and it will always be there as a referral tool. This little function gives the business card staying power because it’s accessible to just about everyone. You don’t have to be technology-savvy to create them either as there are many pre-made templates on the internet. Visit 123 Print for online business cards that are created quickly and affordably.

–          They are eye-catching

Put your photo on your business card, along with that all-important information detailing the services your company offers, and contact information and you’ll be left with an eye-catching, easy-to-remember business card.

When your employees are sent out to drum up new business, it’s likely that the clients they talk to will receive many a business card from competing companies. But the people they will remember will be the ones who hand them a business card complete with photo and catch tag line.

–          They provide emotional appeal

Forget your need to expand your business for a moment and consider the welfare of your employees. It’s widely known that a happy workforce will be more productive and thus contribute to the success of your business. By issuing business cards to each of your employees, you can appeal to their emotional sides. That’s right, business cards count as an employee benefit, making employees feel worthy. Your staff will take more pride in their work if it is given more of a professional business edge.





Unexpected Garden Safety Hazards to Watch Out For

5 07 2013

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Image via Flickr creative commons from Molecular Audio

Whether you are a full time gardening enthusiast or just like to sit out every now and then when the sun finally decides to shine, there are things you should look out for.

Even if you’re just kicking back surrounded by your finest garden furniture with a glass of something ice cold, there are things that can catch you unaware. If you’re planning to spend a weekend up to your elbows in mud and plants, the amount of things waiting to trip you up increases tenfold.

Here are some things you should look out for when spending time in the garden:

Don’t take shortcuts

Often people see a job and think they have the adequate training and skills, when in reality they don’t. Ignoring risks, not planning properly and trying to get a job done in the shortest possible time are sure fire ways to get yourself hurt. Keep an eye out for hazards you might trip over, this can include loose paving slabs, hoses left out and divots in the grass.

Keep it clean, keep it safe

Similarly, make sure you do not leave tools lying about in the garden – this is especially important when there are children around. When you are using electrical goods, fit a residual current device to prevent being the victim of an electric shock – they will cut out the electrical current should you happen to accidentally cut through a cable. Also, avoid using electrical items completely during wet weather.

Remember, a child does not need a sharp item to injure themselves – don’t let them run about on the grass when it is wet. They could trip and fall on the patio.

Soil safety

If you happen to be the owner of an older house, you have a higher chance of coming across dangerous items – such as broken glass – when digging in soil. If you come across some, make sure you get shut of it as quickly and as safely as possible.

Again, should you be in the garden with children, remind them of the dangers of soil. Although many of the microorganisms there are harmless, soil can contain tetanus. Teach your kids about the importance of washing their hands after spending time outside – especially before eating meals. Any child with a cut should wear a plaster. If helping with gardening, it is safest to make sure they wear protective gloves at all times.

Don’t overdo it

Overdoing it can apply in many scenarios. Even if you are just sitting out in the sun, make sure you cover up with sun cream. Too long in the heat could lead to sunstroke. The danger of the sun is especially prevalent when you’re working under it. Do not over-exert yourself and make sure you are taking on enough water.

Weeding, over a long period of time, can become a strenuous task and can lead to repetitive strain injury. Similarly, be careful about heavy lifting and know what your body is capable of. If you have inkling it might be a little too heavy, leave it until someone is around who can help. It is not worth putting your back out or tearing a muscle.





Five things that you need to protect your carpets from

1 05 2013

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Image via Flickr creative commons from Stephani Spitzer

When you’ve just moved into a new house and forked out hundreds of pounds on a plush new carpet, you are always on full alert for little accidents. Perhaps you are hosting a moving in party and the scene is set with candles and red wine at the ready. To the average eye it may seem innocuous enough – but to the carpet owner it is a potential minefield of disaster, waiting to ruin your beautiful deep-pile piece of luxury.

It is probably a good idea to look into some form of carpet protection before hosting the big event – lest you ruin the ambiance, scouting around your living room all evening, carpet cleaners at the ready. Here are some of the main culprits you need to protect your carpet from.

Red Wine

The arch nemesis of the cream carpet, a splurge of red hidden by a tactically-placed piece of furniture is common in many a home. These stains are acidic and deeply coloured, which will stain carpet terribly. It is important to clean up a red wine spill immediately. Leaving it a long time will mean strong detergents are imperative. Begin by blotting with a clean cloth to remove as much of the wine as possible – do not scrub! You then may need to dab the stain with white wine.

Blood

Nobody wants injuries in the home and if someone does start bleeding the carpet should probably be the last thing on your mind. That said, it does stain very badly. As blood is thick and protein based removing it is not easy. Spoon up as much of the blood off the carpet as possible before blotting the stain with a mixture of cold water and enzyme laundry detergent

Urine

If your pet has had an accident, you’ll need to act quickly to avoid permanent discolouration. Perhaps the best way of avoiding these is to train your dog to go outside, if not white vinegar is good as it helps get rid of any nasty odours. Hydrogen Peroxide and a little bit of baking soda can work well to remove remnants of urine from the carpet.

Vomit

It might not be nice to clean up, but vomit on carpet needs immediate attention.

Ammonia works well to clean up sick but it is important you mix it with a little bit of water. Once your solution is made up, be careful not to soak the carpet. Use a spray if possible. Afterwards, you’ll need to get the ammonia out of the carpet very quickly – it is also a pretty tricky stain. A tablespoon of detergent dabbed on the carpet with a cloth can work wonders.

Candle Wax

Perhaps the worst of all carpet stains. When dry, candle wax can be a nightmare to get out. You should let the wax harden before scraping out the bulk with a non-sharp knife. Then place part of a paper bag, a sheet of newspaper, paper towels or a clean cloth over the wax and gently place a hot iron over the top. Do not leave it there for too long or you may burn the carpet, but the paper should soak up what is left of the wax.

If it’s coloured wax, try dabbing the stain with a rag dampened with rubbing alcohol. If this does not work, dry cleaning solvent might.





Six Useful Tips for Getting Around in Snowy Weather

10 02 2013

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Image from Flickr creative commons via DCSL

Snow is a weather condition which, above all others, tends to ensure that everyone, and everything, grinds to a halt. Here in the UK in particular, many of us become very frustrated by the way in which a few centimetres of snowfall seem to cause disproportionate disruption to transport and other services.

On the other hand, the sight of several centimetres of lying snow is very attractive to many people, and is irresistible for them, luring them outdoors to enjoy playing in it and to enjoy the changes to the landscape which it can help create.

Nevertheless, snow is always associated with a range of other winter conditions, and it is the many combinations of these which can really make it difficult to get around, and to find a place of safety.

Many people, though, still face the challenge of having to get around as normal when snow begins to fall, and do not have the option of being able to stay put and try to keep warm and sheltered once it hits.

For these people, the following tips can help them ensure that, as far as possible, their progress is not inhibited:

1. Keep your head covered – as this is the part of the body through which more body heat is lost than any other, it is a good idea to keep it covered. Wool is considered the best fabric for doing this, but seasoned outdoor venturers say that almost anything is better than no covering at all. Keeping your ears covered is also highly desirable, as they are highly susceptible to frostbite.

2. Dress yourself in layers of synthetic fabrics – wearing inner layers of synthetic material will help to effectively carry sweat away from your body. Failing this, wool is the best substance to use, as it helps retain the body’s heat inside your shell of clothing.

3. Keep your hands covered – Mittens are a better option than gloves, as they are better at retaining heat in your entire hand than gloves, which are not as good at preserving heat which can be lost through your fingers.

4. Cover your feet in the right material – cotton socks soak up moisture and wearing these chill the feet more rapidly than using main-made equivalents, such as polyester or polypropylene.

5. When walking in snow, always wear a good pair of sturdy shoes or, preferably snow boots, with a good grip. Ice grips, which simply slip on over your footwear to offer extra traction when walking on snow or ice are a very useful item.

Otherwise, tips for walking in snow include keeping your pace slow yet steady, and always watching where you are treading; always trying to plant your feet in fresh snow, or on snow which covers grass or a similar soft surface, as this will help absorb the impact should you slip and fall.

Finally, always try to keep your hands free when walking on snow, and avoid carrying items such as wallets or purses. In this way, you can use your hands to help brace yourself if you do fall, and absorb some of the impact, keeping it away from more exposed body areas such as your knees, hips, elbows, chin and head.

And of course, there is a wide range of protective wear on the market to help make you more confident when forced to negotiate thick snow. A good, warm pair of snow boots, for example, will help ensure that not only do you keep your footing when you cannot properly see the conditions underfoot, but that you can keep moving at a steady pace so that you can get to a warm place as quickly as possible.

 

SOURCES:

http://weather.about.com/od/winterweather/a/winter

http://stealthsurvival.blogspot.co.uk/2008/10/simple-survival-tips-dressing-properly.html





Five Ways to Take Advantage of Duty Free

8 02 2013

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Image from Flickr creative commons via nechbi

Taking a holiday and going abroad is all about relaxing, getting away from the daily grind, enjoying some sunshine, eating well and having fun. Of course, all holidays have to end, but by taking advantage of the available duty free offers at the airport, you can make sure you’ve got something to smile about when you arrive back home. Before you start filling up the trolley though, there are a few things to take into account:

Make sure the price is right

Buying duty free is all about finding cheap perfume and great deals on everything from spirits to chocolates, but it is vital to have an accurate idea of how much the products cost on the high street. The one thing you don’t want to do is walk away with a bag-full of products from an airport duty-free shop only to discover later that you could have saved money by buying the same items down at your local supermarket. Most airports offer WiFi access these days, so use a price comparison site to ensure you’re getting the best possible deal.

Go in with a plan!

Wandering aimlessly around a duty-free shop is one of the best ways of ending up with lots of products that you don’t actually want. When you’ve got limited time before a flight there’s a good chance you’ll feel a certain amount of pressure, but by having a list or at least a good idea of the items you’d like to buy, you won’t end up making impulse purchases that represent poor value for money.

Don’t get caught out by the legal limits

When you are travelling within the EU there is no longer a limit on the volume of goods you’re able to bring with you. However, items must be for personal consumption or have been bought as a gift, and if you try to walk through customs carrying 20,000 cigarettes then there is a good chance officials will ask you to prove that you’re not going to attempt to sell them on. Limits remain in place for goods purchased outside of the EU, so the message is simple – don’t get caught out.

Think about how you’ll get your items home

When there are great deals and fantastic value goods available left, right and centre it can be hard to say no. However, it is important to think about how you’ll carry them and whether they’ll fit into your carry-on or hold luggage. No one wants to turn up at the check-in desk only to discover that it will be necessary to pay an additional charge to take an extra bag on board. Without doubt it will wipe out any savings you’ve already made.

Think ahead!

Planning ahead and thinking a bit more long-term is always a good idea when you are shopping for duty free. Remember that you might not be going on holiday again for a while and so it could well pay to stock up on goods that will last you. For example, if you’re a fan of the latest Paul Smith fragrance and tend to go through a bottle fairly quickly then why not buy in bulk and take advantage of any special offers. Sure, it might take you a year or more to go through it all, but you are going to save cash in the long-run.





How to Marinate Foods for Extra Flavour?

2 02 2013

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Image from Flickr creative commons via Dplanet:

Chicken, steak, shrimps, peppers and aubergine – just some of the foods that are delicious on their own, and fantastic when marinated. So what is marinating? Essentially it is the act of soaking food in a liquid during the cooking process to help infuse it with various flavours and colour that would otherwise have been absent. Put simply, a marinade can help to turn it from a standard dish into a taste sensation and can ensure that people are talking about your incredible prawns or amazing steak a long time after the meal has finished.

Think about a boneless, skinless chicken breast. On its own it’s a perfectly good meal that can be cooked in a number of ways and added to anything from pasta to a salad. However, with a bit of preparation you can quickly and simply turn a chicken breast into a juicy and mouth-watering dish that is perfect for barbeques or preparing inside on range cookers. What’s more, the taste will ensure that marinating becomes your new favourite hobby in the kitchen! Balsamic vinegar, thyme, oregano, rosemary, onion powder and mustard can be combined to make a great little marinade for instance. Something a little more adventurous such as an orange, ginger and sesame marinade can produce a fantastic dish too.

Oil tends to be used as the basis for marinades and there are plenty to choose from. Think about olive or sesame, peanut or perhaps walnut oil. Alternatively you could use a dairy product such as milk, yogurt or perhaps even coconut milk. If you are concerned about using too much oil because of health reasons then substituting it for something like coconut milk is a great idea.

Keeping an eye on the clock is important when you are marinating as you do not want the process to spoil the food or affect its flavour in anything but a completely fabulous way! While something like beef is fine to marinate for 24 hours, you only really want to be bathing something like seafood for less than an hour. Any more than that and you risk the chance of it becoming mushy as a result of the acid in the marinade.

Safety is important when you are marinating food too. Always marinate in the fridge as doing so at room temperature with raw meat can allow bacteria to multiply quickly. And remember to use a container made from glass or food-safe plastic as metal dishes can react with the food.

Reusing marinade is not recommended, although it is possible to take a marinade that has been in contact with raw meat and then boil it for a few minutes to destroy harmful bacteria. If you plan to use some of the marinade as a sauce on the finished dish then either make an extra portion, or separate out some of the marinade before adding raw meat.

The only limitation when it comes to creating marinades is your imagination. Trying new flavour combinations is all part of the fun and while you might end up with an absolute stinker of a concoction, with a bit of practice you might come up with a recipe that will end up getting passed down through the generations!





Ten things you shouldn’t do in platform heels

31 12 2012

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Image from -Benedikt- from Flickr creative commons

Over the past few years, the popularity of platform heels has skyrocketed thanks to the likes of Victoria Beckham and Kim Kardashian, who seem to spend their entire lives tottering around in six-inch heels. What’s more, they wear them while strutting confidently out of a meeting, carrying a huge designer handbag and – in the case of Mrs Beckham – clutching a very fashionably-dressed one-year-old toddler.

But even though these women seems to have super-human powers when it comes to walking in high heels, the rest of us find ourselves tripping over, stumbling up kerbs and massaging our aching feet at the end of the day.

So, if you’re planning to invest in a pair of platform heels, here’s a list of things you definitely shouldn’t try and do.

Go to the beach

Taking your new heels on holiday is fine, but they’re for bars only. Don’t try and strut along the beach in your fabulous heels because they elongate your legs, you’ll just sink into the sand and fall over – never a good look.

Bake a cake

Those pictures of 1950s housewives baking a cake in their heels are enough to make anyone think “I can do that!” But it’s not as easy as that – trying to balance in six-inch heels with a bag of flour in one hand and a box of eggs in the other won’t work.

Lounge around the house

Why does it seem like divas spend their entire days lying on chaise longs in beautiful satin robes and high-heeled slippers with feathers on the front? They don’t do this and neither should you, give your feet a rest at home and save your heels for partying.

Drop a killer dance routine

Britney Spears, Rihanna and Beyonce might be pros at performing killer dance routines on stage in high heels, but this takes a lot of practice. When you’re out with your friends remember you haven’t suddenly turned into an international pop star. Keep both feet on the ground and hopefully you won’t fall over if you do decide to have a bit of a boogie.

Fight off baddies

Why is it superheroes in films manage to round-kick bad guys and run through burning buildings? Catwoman did it and so did the Black Widow. Please remember these are fictional superheroes with otherworldly powers – you can’t do the same.

Carry your baby

Just because Victoria Beckham carries Harper in her arms while wearing platform heels it doesn’t mean you should to. You never know when you’re going to trip on a bit of uneven pavement or lose your balance. Plus, experiments show it’s not as easy as it looks. Use a pram – this will also give you something to lean on.

Take your dog for a walk

Controlling an excitable and boisterous canine is difficult at the best of times. Add a pair of killer heels into the mix and you’ve got a recipe for disaster, so make sure you wear sensible, flat shoes when you’re taking Fido for a walk.

Trampolining

Does this really need explaining? Sharp high heels and the bed of a trampoline just do not mix.

Change a light bulb

Changing a light bulb is a very simple task and you definitely don’t need your man to swoop in and save the day if a bulb blows in your house. But what you shouldn’t do is attempt DIY when you’re dressed up for a night out. If a bulb blows just as your friends arrive, take off your heels and put on sturdy, flat shoes, especially if you need to climb on something to reach the light fixture.

Model a Santa outfit

This Morning producer Ellie took part in a December episode of the popular ITV show and strutted her stuff on a mini catwalk to model a Santa outfit. She was holding her baby Poppy, who looked cute in a Christmas onesie. However, Ellie stumbled as she stepped off the catwalk – just goes to show even models aren’t perfect.