Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Tips for Starting a Landscaping Business

To start a landscaping business, you will need to figure out the needs of your clients in the area that you will be servicing. If you are starting a landscaping business in an area with cold winters, you will need to come up with a plan for the off season. Many landscapers in colder regions typically provide snow plowing services in the winter months, and winterizing and leave raking in the fall. If you decide to focus your efforts on the spring and summer, you will need to be sure that your funds will last, and at the very least be performing research or working to improve your business for the upcoming season.
landscaping business

Landscaping Business Basics

Most Landscaping businesses focus on three areas: mowing, fertilizing, and chemical application. When first starting your business, it’s typically best to start with basic lawn maintenance, unless you are an expert at other services as well. Basic lawn maintenance includes mowing, trimming, and edging, with 2 to 3 people servicing one lawn at a time.  Once you are confident in the way your business is running and have system in order, you can add other services to your arsenal.
A big mistake of many landscaping businesses is not keeping the equipment in tip top shape. When using lawn equipment every day, you will need to frequently check the oil, drain the gasoline, inspect the air filters, sharpen the blades, and replace the spark plug. Here are some tips to keep your lawn mower running smoothly. https://www.angieslist.com/articles/8-maintenance-tips-keep-your-lawn-mower-running.htm

Quoting a Job

One of the biggest issues landscaping business owners have is accurately pricing their jobs. It can be incredibly difficult to quote a lawn when there are slopes, and strange landscaping configurations. Coming up with an accurate price is time consuming, so its recommended to use a landscaping estimating software to help you save time and money during the busy spring and summer months.

Obtaining Clients

Obtaining profitable clients for your business can be difficult when starting out. You will need to figure out the target market you want to go after, whether it be high income residents, low income residents, or somewhere in-between. You will need to understand their needs, fears, budgets, and values that they hold. One of the best ways to obtain clients is to develop strategic relationships with suppliers that may come in contact with the type of people you would service. For example, a swimming pool builder, fencing installer, anything relating to outdoor home improvement. Once you establish these relationships, you could set up an agreement with them that your business and their business with refer clients to each other. 

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Future Is Now For Corporate Event Marketing

Event marketing companies have a lot of means at their disposal for improving how their clients market themselves at events. Savvy event marketing companies are innovating new ways to use social media as well as video technology like green screens to get maximum exposure and brand recognition for their customers. They are creating Facebook events, using Twitter, connecting with the news media, and making use of streaming video.

The first way event marketing companies are creating excitement about their client's brands and products is through preshow buzz. Smart event marketing companies are also part PR firm and are skilled at reaching out to online media companies to make them aware that their client has something new and exciting to reveal at the event. This will ensure that bloggers and journalists stop by to see what all the hype is about. Another way event marketers create pre-show buzz is with teaser videos. Teaser videos are easy to disseminate online and are great for creating a feeling of excitement and suspense that will make people want to know more and this will lead them to seek more information at the event.

At the event itself event marketing companies can follow through by taking unique pictures with a green screen and instantly uploading them to both Facebook and Instagram. A unique experience like a green screen photo will have guests talking about the client's products or at the very least sharing their experience to their friends online. 

Video courtesy of event marketing company Aventus

Event marketing companies are also making good use of streaming video and testimonials. People are way more interested in events that are happening live so if the client has an existing social media following they will be far more likely to tune into what your company is doing when they see that you have video going live on the event floor. Furthermore, you can get testimonials from guests who are attending the event. These testimonials are great because they will instantly build credibility for the client. The live aspect of the testimonial from people in a real setting will bypass prospective customers natural suspicion of testimonials that come from having seen too many infomercials.

These are just a few of the new and exciting ways that event marketing companies are increasing exposure for their clients and if you connect with a forward thinking company you'll find that there are even more interesting social media and video marketing strategies they can use.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

6 Ways to Motivate Your Workers

Congratulations! You’ve been recently promoted to a leadership position within your company! But now you’re wondering what it takes to get your employees motivated to do great things. How can you create a workspace that everyone enjoys? How do you keep your workers happy? Read on for some tips on creating a positive, enjoyable workplace – the first step to motivating your employees to produce high-quality work and to do great things.

Create a positive environment. Make sure your employees have enough personal space for getting work done. Check the temperature of the office: colder temperatures may keep people awake, but it can also be very distracting to be freezing cold (or steaming hot). Take advantage of any windows in the office and create comfortable spaces near them, so employees can work or eat lunch there. Creative d├ęcor and artwork go a long way towards creating an enjoyable work space, so encourage employees to decorate their cubicles and shared workspaces! You could even designate a bulletin board in a common area for positive postings (birth or wedding announcements, birthday cards, pictures, etc.) that will keep people smiling throughout the day.

Keep food around. Providing hot and cold beverages for your employees will keep them in the office instead of wasting paid hours at Starbucks or 7-11. Even if it’s just coffee, tea, and filtered water for their water bottles, that goes a long way among employees. Allow workers to bring in treats on their birthday – or better yet, bring the birthday treats yourself! If it’s nice outside, plan a potluck picnic day and ask everyone to bring different foods from home.

Plan “casual days” for the office. Everyone loves those days where they don’t have to put too much thought into what they wear to work. And we all get tired of wearing slacks and button-downs every day! Scheduling denim Fridays, theme dress days (wear your favorite sports team shirt, etc.), and other casual-wear days is a great way to boost employees’ spirits and productivity.

Recognize and reward employees for outstanding work. If one of your workers went above and beyond on a project, or continuously goes out of their way to exceed your expectations, make sure to let them know that you appreciate their efforts. The best way to get people to continue a positive behavior is to reward them for it. Because some people shy away from the spotlight, it is appropriate to privately recognize and reward those individuals. Write them an email or just leave a note at their desk before they get to work in the morning. In the same way, make sure to recognize your workers as a group if they are doing a spectacular job. Show them how their efforts are contributing to the success of the company as a whole!

Get to know your employees. Although it’s important to respect the divide between a person’s professional and personal lives, getting to know your employees is essential when trying to build a positive workspace. Many people feel good when acquaintances remember things about them, such as their spouse’s and children’s names, their birthday, or their hobbies and interests.
Have a positive social culture within the office. Organize group outings to sporting events, raffle off small prizes like movie passes or restaurant gift certificates, or start fun office traditions like an annual company softball game. These are things that will attract new employees to your company, as well as keep current employees engaged and interested.

This post was written by a guest contributor for MSU Executive Development Program. MSU EDP is proudly presented by the Broad College of Business at Michigan State University.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

How to Decorate Your Office for Halloween This Fall

Fall brings with it some of the funnest holidays, starting with Halloween, and with Halloween comes decorating. Many business owners like to decorate for Halloween, because it brings an air of fun and enthusiasm to the fall months. The best decorations for the office this fall bring together the colors and tastes of this spooky holiday season. Here are some ideas to get your office mates in the spirit!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

3 Easy Part Time Jobs

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Everyone could use some extra cash, but not everyone has time for demanding part-time jobs in addition to their full-time schedule. Looking for a part-time job with some flexibility? Here are some ideas to get you started:

Become a Tutor. Everyone has something to teach, and plenty of organizations need help with it. Tutoring has multiple benefits to it, you can set your own hours, work as little or as much as you need to, and you can even work from home. Many times tutoring can also double count as volunteer hours or community service. The average tutor can make about 16.56 per hour and the subjects that are most in demand are Physics, Algebra, and Health sciences. Tutors typically work after school hours or on the weekends so it’s a great part-time option. If you’re looking for a job with flexibility, consider tutoring.

Become a Notary. A notary public is a person who is authorized by state law to perform official services such as administering oaths, formal document signing, and certifying affidavits. The requirements vary by state, but typically you just need to be 18 to serve as one. A perk to this job is the flexibility, and someone always needs something notarized. Performing the duties of a notary is a useful addition to a person’s list of credentials as well since the position is formally recognized as a trusted service of the state. The average wage varies depending on if you’re individually contracted, self-employed, or what industry you serve, and you can only charge a maximum of 10 dollars for a notarization so it depends on how many documents you want to take on. But that’s another perk of the flexibility; you can do as much or as little as you want. To become a notary, you need to file a surety bond and take the oath of office at the county clerk’s office within the county of residence. From there, your state secretary of state will help you with the rest of the application process since each state has different requirements.

Childcare/PetCare/Housesitting. Whether it’s babysitting, helping at an after-school program, carpool services, and camp counselor, children always need to be taken care of. Asking your neighbors is a good place to start, even if they don’t need the help directly, they might know someone who does. People are also always looking for a dog walker, pet groomer, or pet sitter for when they’re away or even just at work. Housesitting additionally brings in some extra cash. This gig is especially helpful if you’re not going anywhere for holiday, that’s your chance to make your offer. Depending on how many duties are involved in watching the house and the area where you live or are house sitting, the typical range is anywhere between $20-$75 a day.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tips for Starting Your Own Business

You saw a need in the community, you came up with an idea and you are now determined to start your own business. With a firm idea in your mind of your new business, you need to keep in mind a few tips along the way to make sure your dream can become a reality. It is easy to get overwhelmed on this journey to owning a new start up company, but the reward is unparalleled in both accomplishment and potentially financial security. With some additional attention to basic tips, you can help reduce some of the uncertainty you’ll have as you begin on your journey and get off on the right foot. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

How To Stand Out At Trade Shows

Guest Post By: ModernLitho
Let's start with an all too familiar situation, you're setting up your company table at a trade show, you tape the generic company banner to the front of the table,  pull up a couple of chairs, put out a bowl of candy out and a trifold poster board with some basic company data on it. Then, the trade show  begins and all day you're sitting their wondering "We have such a great product, why isn't anyone stopping by our booth?". The answer? You're booth is boring! Trade shows are a chance to stretch your creativity muscles and put together a great booth that draws people in and makes them want to get to know you and your company. Check out my Top 5 Ways to Stand Out at Your Next Trade Show using wide format printing below.

        Pump Up Your Signage 
The first thing that you need to do at a trade show is to get patrons to notice your booth, the best way to do that? Wide Format Printing, which is signage on steroids. With wide format printing you can make your booth truly stand apart from the rest. Put your self in the shoes of those walking around, the show, which booth are you most likely to stop at? The basic booth with the trifold boards and stress balls or the booth with high quality vinyl signs and displays? I think we all know the answer to that one. Whether your limited to a table cover, or want to go all out with 3D displays and custom lighting, wide format printing gives you plenty of options that basic poster boards don't. Pro Tip: Include all your social media sites on your signage to encourage connection, make it easy with a simple QR Code.

                                                                                        Make Eye Popping Displays

Even the most basic and mundane data can be spruced up to make passerby's stop and take a look. Whether that's having a fully back-lit  display of your latest company doings,  or showcasing fully customized menus and product catalogs that don't put potential leads to sleep. How about those patrons who seem glued to their phone? Why not advertise with signage on the floor of the show room directed right at them! Now that's something your competitors won't have thought of.

         Go 3D With Displays

I mentioned this briefly above but it's worth noting again. With wide format printing you can create awesome 3D Displays that are sure to stand out. Hang 3D Displays from the ceiling showcasing a company logo, fast fact or hash-tag for the show, or even just use them to display your products in a brand new way. 3D Displays create a better and more long lasting impact that shows you think outside the box.

                                                                           Ride in Style

You can even make an impression on attendees before they even walk in the door! Use wide format printing to wrap a company vehicle and have it parked right near the entrance, in general the K.I.S.S. rule applies to your design so keep it simple and to the point, list some services, showcase your logo, use a QR code that people can scan with company info, a potential discount, or chance to be entered in a giveaway if they stop by your booth. Using wide format printing for vehicle wrapping gives you great brand recognition right off the bat, and if you use it in tandem with some of my other tactics you'll see a much better conversion rate at your next trade show.

The main idea behind using all of this signage in all these different ways  is to excel in every area, even the small ones that your competitors are not  that will make trade show patrons and potential leads remember you over anyone else.

What do you do to make your company or business stand out at trade shows? Let me know!

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