5 Ways to Promote Your Small Business This Christmas

Ways to Promote Your Small Business This Chirstmas
Photo by Tim Douglas from Pexels

Some of you may know that aside from blogging and copywriting, I occasionaly do some marketing work too, and back in July I shared some ways that you can market your small business. With over 400,000 new companies launching during lockdown, it seemed like a good time to share some tips and now, with Christmas approaching (SORRY for mentioning the ‘C’ word in October!) I thought I’d give you some more targeted tips for helping your business to have a prosperous Christmas:

Point of Sale

Something that I’d advise many small businesses to invest in is some bespoke Christmas displays. This is especially important if you have a physical shopfront, and although you may be worried about the cost, it’s something that you’ll be able to use year after year. Having a professional display will really elevate your Christmas promotions and will look So much more inviting that just have strands of tinsel strewn about!

Send a Card

If you’re the type of business that holds address information for your clients, there’s nothing quite like a Christmas card to spread some festive cheer (and tell them about your latest offers!). There are many approaches, from online services which will send them automatically to actually handwriting cards, which is time-consuming but gives a truly personal effect. You could even just send an e-card via email, if that’s easier.

Christmas Themed Packaging

We all know how important custom packaging is for your brand. Packaging is the only thing that reaches 100% of your customers and is the first step in creating a memorable unboxing experienceUnique Christmas packaging for your products over Christmas adds a touch of luxury and class and, if coupled with a Christmas edition product, can really help create a sense of ‘exclusivity’ around your product.

Support a Local Cause

By reaching out to those less fortunate than you, you can also create awareness of your own brand at the same time. There are loads of different ways you can support charities, and it should be something you consider doing year-round, rather than just at Christmas. You could inform customers that all proceeds made from a certain range of products goes to charity, or even host a charity event like a coffee morning or brunch and encourage customers to donate with you. Just make sure you send invites beforehand!

Reward Your Loyal Followers

Depending on your audience, you may find that your followers on social media are your most engaged customers and your best brand ambassadors. Why not thank them by having offers exclusive to social media platforms? Although digital coupons and coupon codes work best with online stores, brick-and-mortar businesses can still offer print-at-home coupons that are promoted exclusively on social media. An alternative for online businesses is to create a landing page with unique offers, and again only promote this on social media.

Recover from Your Workouts to Bounce Back Faster

A good workout can leave you aching. This is especially true if you’re trying to get fit after being inactive or you want to step up your usual routine. When you’re sore after a workout, you might be reluctant to get back to it and do your next workout. The thought of just walking up the stairs or carrying your groceries home might be hard to face, never mind doing another workout. But you can take some steps to recover more quickly so that you can get back to your workout routine. If you want to get back into it quickly, try these steps for a fast recovery.

Recover from Your Workouts to Bounce Back FasterImage from Pixabay – CC0 License

Treat Aches and Pains

If you’re feeling sore and achy after a workout, you can do some things to treat those aches and pains. You might find it necessary to take an OTC painkiller, but there are also various other options you can try first. You could try using CBD patches, which offer you a wearable way to use CBD. Or you could take a long bath or shower to help relax your muscles. An ice bath could also be helpful, and you can use hot and cold therapy to treat your pain too.

Keep Moving

Sitting still after a tough workout might be tempting, but it could end up making you feel more sore. Your muscles could get stiff if you stop moving, so the best thing to do is try to stay active. This doesn’t necessarily mean jumping into another intense workout. A gentle form of exercise will help you to keep moving without putting too much pressure on your body. Stretching is a great way to help your muscles to recover, which also makes yoga a good choice. You could also go for a walk or perhaps go swimming if you want some light exercise.

Image from Pixabay – CC0 License

Refuel

Don’t forget to give your body what it needs after you’ve had a good workout. Dehydration is common after exercise, so be sure to have some water or another refreshing drink on hand to replenish your fluids. It’s also helpful to ensure you’re getting the right food to fuel your body. You don’t need to add extra calories after a workout, but you can time a meal or snack so that you can have it after you’ve finished exercising. And if you’re not trying to lose weight, make sure you’re getting enough calories throughout the day.

Take Rests

It’s important to get plenty of rest in between workouts. If you push yourself too hard, you could find that you don’t have the energy or drive to keep going. You could also end up injuring yourself if you’re not careful. Having rest days should be a key part of your workout routine if you want to be able to stick to it. You’ll soon run out of steam if you don’t allow yourself to recover.

To bounce back faster from your workouts, take these steps to help your body recover and allow yourself to heal.

How Are Women Supposed to Trust the Police?

How Are Women Supposed to Trust the Police?As a white English woman, I’ve always tried to be aware of my privilege. I don’t get profiled by the police for crimes because of my skin colour or religion, I’ve never had to teach my kids strategies for dealing with overly aggressive law enforcement and I’ve largely felt that the police were on my side and could be trusted. I could be pulled over in my car and not have to worry about it.

Sure, there’s been a long-running culture of police protecting their own, but closing ranks isn’t unique to one profession. I’ve got good friends in the police force, people who I’d trust with my life and I know I’m lucky to have been in this position.

Since hearing about the Sarah Everard case earlier this year, my feelings have started to change. I live in the sticks and I’m the only driver, so I spend a lot of time driving along quiet country lanes by myself. Just this week, I had a police car driving behind me at night and I felt very unsure. If I were to be pulled over, what should I do? I’m the last person who’d engage in a high-speed chase with the police, but at the same time, would I feel safe being pulled over at night on a deserted country lane? Not any more.

Sarah Everard’s killer abused his privilege in every way imaginable. He used his police credentials to stop her, he got her into his car under the pretence of an arrest and he had the chance to destroy evidence ahead of being arrested because he knew there were colleagues of his posted outside his house.

His colleagues also failed. Stories have emerged that not only was he reported for indecent exposure on more than one occasion and was never properly investigated, his fellow officers at the station where he worked branded him “The Rapist”. If you had a colleague about whom you had serious concerns like this, a colleague with powers to allow him to control other people, what would you do? Probably go to the authorities, right?

Oh…oh dear.

So, what do I tell my kids to do now? Husband and I are probably bordering on the psychotic when it comes to the safety of our kids, but that’s how we’ve always done things. When we’re out in public places, the lesson has always been “find a policeman” if we get separated or something bad happens. We’ve brought our kids up to trust the police and go to them in times of trouble.

I legitimately don’t know if I can do that anymore.

I’m aware that one “bad apple” (and I’ll be honest, I hate that phrase and really don’t think it does justice to refer to a murdering rapist in such louche terms) doesn’t mean that every police officer is untrustworthy, but the whole system of ignoring criminal behaviour and turning a blind eye for fear of alienating colleagues really does not do much for my faith. I don’t think I would be so quick to tell my daughters to be totally trusting of the police anymore, that’s for sure.

Since I started writing this, the Metropolitan Police released some guidance on how women should react if they’re stopped by a lone police officer – their solution is for women to try “shouting out to a passerby, running into a house, knocking on a door, waving a bus down or, if you are in the position to do so, calling 999.” – they also said that women should feel able to challenge an officer and ask to see their credentials. I really fail to see how this would help, given the fact that Sarah Everard’s killer HAD police credentials and she trusted his actions in arresting her. This also is completely useless if you’re in a secluded location.

I’m not trying to say that I understand what it’s like to be part of a marginalised group of society like the BAME community does, not by a long shot. However, being a woman can make you feel incredibly vulnerable at times. There are already things I can’t do, places I can’t go and certain times during which I should be safely locked indoors, but without feeling like I can put my faith in the police, that window of opportunity feels EVEN smaller to me.

But, the point I’m making in a very roundabout way is this – if I don’t feel safe telling my daughters to go to the police for help and put 100% of their faith in them, what the hell do I tell them now?

How to Create a Luxury Bathroom

How to Create a Luxury Bathroom
Photo by Monstera from Pexels

When you live in a rented property with fairly basic or older ameneties, you really notice the difference when you go into a luxury bathroom which has had some cash splashed on it. It’s not always just the fixtures which make a bathroom feel like a luxurious space; sometimes there are little details that you might not even consider. Here are a few of the things that you can do to elevate the feel of your bathroom:

Fixtures

Okay, so I know I literally JUST said that it’s not all about the fixtures, and in terms of asthetics I do stand by that. There are plenty of budget bathroom suits out there which look pretty decent. However, if you want to give your luxury bathroom that hotel or spa feel, going for some high-end features like an Insignia Steam Shower will definitely give you an edge.

Towels

When it comes to towels, face cloths and even robes, the fluffier the better. If you’re going to splurge anywhere in your bathroom, update your towels and bath rug first. A soft, fluffy, neutral-colored towel goes a long way if you’re trying to turn your basic bathroom into a spa-like oasis. If neutral isn’t your bag, they’re also a good place to add a splash of colour.

Lighting

Basic bathrooms usually come with basic lighting, which is often way too bright and not very relaxing OR flattering. Think about not only your light fixtures but also the actual bulbs too. The fixtures and shades will dictate how the light is directed but opting for bulbs with a warmer glow will give the bathroom a much nicer feel without spending much at all.

Presentation

Consider your counter: are your beauty and hygiene supplies just strewn about randomly? If so, adding a few small trays can mean the difference between a mess and an artful arrangement. And don’t write off apothecary jars just because they’re a cliche! They’re a beautiful way to display the small but necessary items that often come in gaudy packaging (cotton balls, bamboo cotton buds) and can really amplify that luxury bathroom ambience.

Accessories

Bathrooms are often really starkl areas, made up of predominantly white or light coloured fixtures, walls and tiles and adding some personality might seem tricky. However, there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t accessorise your bathroom to the max – in fact, we absolutely insist that you do! Plants are a fantastic addition to any bathroom, especially if you opt for varieties which love tropical, humid environments.

Recycling Considerations For Your Small Business

If you run any small business type or freelance from home, you might already notice some waste products from your process. 

Working strictly on a computer produces very little in the way of recyclable by-products, but there is still a correct way to dispose of old technology. 

Let’s look at some of the ways you can boost your recycling and reduce your carbon footprint. 

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash

Bin and labels

Having several bins that are clearly labelled can help everyone in the company dispose of waste correctly. 

If you only have things like paper, plastic and regular waste – this is even easier to achieve. 

Often a colour coded solution can help ensure that the right waste ends up in the right place. Or a simple well placed, and clear label on the lid of the bins. 

If you run a larger company with a lot of paper waste, it is worth consulting with a recycling specialist with recycling machines. This solution can ensure that you are doing the best job. 

Company Culture 

Make it part of your company culture to ensure that recycling and being more eco-friendly in general is high on the list of company values. 

If recycling and/or reusing becomes part of the company goals and ethos, you will notice a significant increase in recycling. 

Engage often with staff so that they are aware of changes and schemes that you will be taking part in as a company. 

Make all recycling options easy to access and clear to all new hires and those who work within the company. 

World Days

Several globally celebrated days are designed to raise awareness of recycling and the positive impact suitable on the world. 

Get your team – no matter how small – in initiatives and activities for the day. Here are a few that are worth exploring. 

Check out the associated websites, and see if there are local activities you can get involved in. 

Knowledge

Are you aware of everything that can be recycled? Most people think about the basics like paper and plastic, but there is an extensive list of things that can be recycled. 

  • Cardboard
  • Paper – colour paper, confidential paper, envelopes, flyers and leaflets, magazines, newspapers
  • Plastic bottles, lids and some other plastic containers
  • Electrical items, although it is best to contact a recycling specialist for this one
  • For food waste, you can opt to make compost, or a food recycling bin (this will depend on your local authority)
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Batteries
  • Printer cartridges
  • Furniture 

Most often, you will need to rinse the glass and plastic if they have food residue.

Each of these items should make its way to a licensed recycling centre or a professional recycling business. 

Businesses create a lot of waste, often without noticing how much could be recycled. Help your small business do some global good by being recycling aware. 

Is your business still growing? Here are Five Ways to Take Your Small Business to the Next Level.

Managing Chronic Illnesses: 7 Tools To Make Your Life Easier

Life with a chronic illness can be challenging for a multitude of reasons. Not only is your physical health suffering, but your mental and emotional health may take a hit as well. This is why it is so vital that you take as many steps as possible to mitigate the impact your chronic illness has on your life.

This may seem easier said than done, and to a certain extent, it is. Fortunately, there are many simple changes that you can make that could have a big impact on your quality of life. This article will explore some of the key ways to make your life easier while living with a chronic illness.  

Get Support From Friends And Family

The importance of support from those around you cannot be understated. After receiving your diagnosis, consider contacting some trusted loved ones and letting them know what’s going on. If you have to make any dietary or lifestyle changes, consider asking your household if they would be willing to join you. This can make changes easier to stick to and give you moral support when you need it.  

Seek Out Mental Health Support

One to one mental health support can be invaluable. There are a lot of stressors that come from managing a chronic illness and a lot of negative emotions. It is important that you work through your feelings with a qualified professional who can offer insight and equip you with healthy coping mechanisms.  

Find A Support Group

Talking to others in your position can be a great way to come to terms with your illness and get help and advice from people with first-hand experience. Ask your doctor or do some research to find a local support group for chronic illness sufferers. Try not to be discouraged if the first group doesn’t work out; it can often take several attempts before finding the right fit.  

Use Reputable Online Pharmacies

Ordering your prescriptions online rather than having to visit a pharmacy in person can be a lifesaver if your illness limits your mobility some or all of the time. It is crucial to find a reputable online pharmacy such as Chemist Click, who stock the full range of medications you need. Take a look at Chemist Click for an idea of the quality, cost and responsiveness you should be looking for.  

Adapt Your Home

It is a good idea to find ways to adapt your home to any change in mobility. For instance, consider putting in a downstairs bathroom, ramps or grab rails to help you around the house.  

Stay Hydrated

Dehydration will aggravate the symptoms of most illnesses. There are many ways you can up your daily intake of water. You could consider having a glass with each meal, setting a reminder alarm or getting a water bottle that denotes how much you should drink throughout the day.  

Eat Well

It is a good idea to find foods that may help alleviate the symptoms of your condition. For instance, ginger helps calm an upset stomach. Always talk to your doctor before adding anything new to your diet. You should also ensure you get a balanced diet with all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients needed.

Five Reasons to Tour the UK by Train

Five Reasons to Tour the UK by TrainPhoto by Denis Chick on Unsplash

With restrictions on international travel still in place for many countries, there’s never been a better time to spend some time travelling around dear old Blighty! There are lots of places in the UK which rival the rest of the world in terms of beauty and many people never bother to tour our shores, choosing instead to travel abroad for their holidays. With that in mind, we thought we’d look at some of the reasons that travelling the UK by train is a great idea:

Better for the Environment

We all know that visiting new places is exciting, but have you ever thought about your carbon footprint while travelling? Rail transport is actually the most environment-friendly way to travel. The greenhouse effect of gas emissions per kilometer on railway transport is 80% less than cars. In some countries, less than 3% of all transport gas emissions come from trains.

Look at the Views

It’s great being a passenger in a car as you can look out of the window at all of the wonderful views on your journey. However, being a driver means that your view is a lot more limited for reasons of safety, so drivers rarely get to enjoy the scenery. If you travel by train, you can spend the whole journey taking in the view, and you’ll often get to see things that you wouldn’t be able to from a motorway.

No Limit on Luggage

While we aren’t suggesting that you should pack everything including the kitchen sink when travelling by train, you’re not limited by a baggage weight limit. This means that you can pack more if you travel by train than you can if you travel by plane, which saves a lot of worrying and weighing suitcases before you leave!

Efficient Routes

When you travel by road, you’re at the mercy of roads, traffic and all sorts of other things that make your journey long and potentially stressful. With trains, you generally go in a pretty straight line from A to B and you don’t have to worry about traffic or other road users. It’s also usually much quicker because of this. Many people who travel by train find it the most relaxing way to travel.

Stay Connected

Charge your phone or camera batteries, watch a movie or get some work done… it’s all possible on board the train. And what’s even better: more and more train companies are installing Wi-Fi so you can even post live updates as you journey by train. Knowing that you won’t affect your car battery by charging your devices is a bonus and taking advantage of free wi-fi also means that you won’t have to be concerned by huge data charges.

Gift Guide for New Parents

Once you get to my age, with two kids of your own, you’re pretty well versed in what is and isn’t useful to give to new parents as a gift. I’ve been through various things like nappy bins (I never really got the hang of our one, to be honest) and wipe warmers to know what I would never buy again, and also remember what was an absolute godsend when my two were little. With that in mind, here are a few suggetions that will definitely be a hit with new parents:

Vests and Sleepsuits

It doesn’t matter how many new vests and sleepsuits new parents buy ahead of their baby being born, once they arrive it will never seem enough. I don’t think there are many parents in the world who have bathed and changed their baby into clean clothes, only for a poo-nami or vomit volcano to erupt! Cute baby sleepsuits are always a winner and the range of neutrals for parets who don’t know the gender of their baby is MUCH greater nowadays.

Takeaway Voucher

In the past, lots of people would turn up with a freshly baked casserole or a stash of frozen meals to make new parents life easier. The modern version of this is buying them a gift card! Either find out their favourite takeaway or go for a delivery service like Just Eat or Deliveroo and have a voucher for a meal delivered. They’ll thank you for making their lives easier AND for making sure they’re getting a decent meal between feeds and nappy changes.

Muslins

As with the baby grows and vests, another thing which new parents can never have enough of is muslins. They’re a fab multi-purpose item which can be used for wiping up spit-up, using as a shoulder guard when you’re burping baby, draping over you if you’re breastfeeding and want some privacy – there are even huge muslins which are made for swaddling baby.

Thermometer

When Sausage was a tiny baby, my Mum and Dad gave us a Braun in-ear thermometer, and we still use it to this day. It’s been an absolute godsend for over a decade and while some people may feel uncomfortable giving a gift which relates to potential illness, it’s genuinely one of the most useful, practical gifts we were given. A few years ago, we were gifted a newer, no-touch model which was fairly new tech at the time and after using it a few times, we actually gave it away and went back to our trusty in-ear model!

A V-Pillow

Although I didn’t breastfeed my two, having a large, v-shaped pillow was a huge help when it came to bottle feeding. I’d sit in an armchair and place the pillow on my lap with baby snuggled safely on top. It meant that my hands were both free for bottle holding and interacting, and we were both comfortable. It’s something that would be one of the first things I’d recommend to new parents, I think.

4 Qualities to Look for In a Moving Company


Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

If you are moving into a new house, you wouldn’t be able to move all your stuff without hiring a moving company. Movers exist so that you can transfer all your belongings from your old place to the new one safely and without any inconvenience. A good moving company wouldn’t let your stress about anything and will take over the moving process so that you can sit back and focus on more important things. However, when it comes to hiring a moving company, the process is a bit tricky. There are plenty of movers out there, and choosing the one that is best suitable for the job can be complicated. That is why it is highly recommended that you do plenty of research before hiring a property clearance expert:

Excellent Reviews

The first thing you should look for in a moving company is good reviews. If the company is rated well by its customers and people have shared their good experiences openly, then you shouldn’t hesitate to give it a try. Luckily, we live in a modern world where you can access reviews for any business online. To read the reviews about companies you have shortlisted, you can simply go to their website or check their social media pages. Also, you must not just check the overall rating; you should also read the detailed reviews to get an idea of the kinds of services they provide. If the majority of the reviews are positive, then you can move on to the next step.

Experience

This is something most people don’t even pay attention to when they are hiring a mover, but that is not how it should be. A good moving company also has plenty of experience in the field and are experts at what they do. A mover that has been active for several years would have definitely learned a lot from their mistakes and would have improved their services over time. They know what things to avoid and how to handle tricky situations when they are faced with one. Your belongings are always safer with an experienced mover compared to a moving company that is just getting started.

Licensed and Insured

Another important thing you must keep in mind before hiring a moving company is whether they are licensed or not. A company that is not licensed is not legally allowed to move your possessions from one place to another. They might be cheaper than the other moving companies, but all they will do is cause trouble for you. Make sure that the company you are hiring is licensed but the relevant authorities and has a trained team of staff working for them. Apart from that, a good mover also has excellent insurance coverage, which can pay for the damages in case of an accident. You must never go for a company that doesn’t have insurance coverage because if anything gets damaged during the process, you won’t get any compensation.

No Hidden Rates

Another quality of a great moving company is that they have no hidden rates and will tell you upfront how much they charge. There are plenty of movers out there who only tell you about the hourly rate they charge, and when it comes to billing, they will add all sorts of extra charges in the receipt. So, it is highly recommended that you go for a company who are upfront about their extra charges and are not fooling you in any way.

Five Ways to Take Your Small Business to the Next Level

Five Ways to Take Your Small Business to the Next Level
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

With the pandemic still having an effect on people’s incomes it’s no surprise to learn that many small businesses have popped up in the last couple of years. In fact having a side hustle is now pretty commonplace even for those who are working full time. From baking cakes to doing hair to nail art and much more besides women are starting small businesses in their droves and the results are looking fantastic. But what can you do to increase the likelihood that your small business will flourish?

Improve Your Sales Skills

Even if you are the absolute best at your craft or the services you offer that doesn’t necessarily mean they automatically know how to sell yourself signing up to a short course with Smart Sales Training Consultants can give you the skills that you need to not only create the services or product for your business but to help you to sell them more effectively.

Get Some Marketing Help

just like with sales marketing is an always second nature to every person who runs their own small business. Especially now that social media is such a huge aspect of marketing, it takes some serious expertise to keep costs down while getting your returns to a maximum. Many local small marketing businesses will offer consultations to teach you how to maximise your marketing and you may also find that their services are affordable enough that you can outsource it to an expert altogether.

Set Some Goals

With so many small businesses being born from a small idea of creative spark it’s easy to just go with the flow and see how things turn out. However once your business is established setting yourself some goals can help you to take your small business to the next level. The goals don’t have to be lofty, we’re not talking about £1 million worth of sales, but setting yourself some milestones such as 100 sales in a month or a level of turnover which means you’re making a decent enough profit that you can give up your day job can really help you to focus your efforts to where they will be more profitable.

Team Up With Other Business Owners

Take a look at the niche in which your business falls. If it’s the type of business whereThere are lots of other complimentary businesses within the same name it may be worth reaching out to some of your fellow business owners (as long as they’re not competitors) to see if there is a way that you can team up or collaborate. The advantage here is that you will get access to the other businesses existing customer base as they will with yours and a collaboration could lead to some very profitable business for you both.

Create A Loyalty Program

According to surveys it costs three times more to get a new customer than to sell something to an existing customer. Investing a small amount in a loyalty program can help you to retain existing customers and make them feel more valued in the long run which means they’ll keep coming back to you rather than turning to your competitors.