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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.

Property

Five Tips for Selling Your House Fast

Five Tips for Selling Your House Fast
Photo by Alexandr Podvalny from Pexels

Selling your house can be a lengthy process. From deciding you want to sell, to putting it on the market and waiting for all of those potential buyers to show up, it can somestimes take a matter of years before your sale is final. With this in mind, I thought I’d share some tips with you today which can speed your house selling process up exponentially:

Sell to a Company

Probably the fastest way to sell your house is to sell it to a company which buys property. There are a few of them out there and some can help you to sell your home in as little as 7 days. The beauty of this is that it’s usually a cash sale and there’s no chain on their side so they won’t have to wait for mortgage approvals or payments from other buyers.

Put it on Facebook

Believe it or not, Facebook Marketplace has become a really popular way to sell houses. You’ll get far more eyes on your property than you would by selling through a bricks-and-mortar Estate Agent, and you can often save yourself a whole lot of fees by managing the viewings and sale by yourself. You’ll need someone to write up the proper contracts and surveys, etc. but it’s still a good option for getting things moving.

Go to Auction

Auction sales are especially good if your house isn’t in the greatest condition, and auction sales are usually contracted to finalise just 28 days after the hammer falls, so you could be out of your property in just four weeks if you choose to go this route. There’s obviously a risk that you won’t make your full asking price, but that’s often the chance you take in getting a quick sale.

Part Exchange

Believe it or not, some new house builders will accept your old property as a part exchange on a new house, just like car dealerships do! Obviously, this is only helpful if you plan to buy a new house, but it’s still a really good way to make the whole process of buying and selling property faster and simpler. You’ll only have to deal with one set of agents, there’s no ongoing chain and you’ll have a shiny new property at the end of it!

Reduce Your Asking Price

Everyone who puts a property on the market usually puts it up for the maximum price they could feasibly get. However, if there are a lot of other properties on the market like yours, it’s unlikely you’ll sell for the top price. Take a really pragmatic look at your property and what you’re asking and think about whether you could stand to drop the price, JUST A BIT, to make it a more competitive option and usually the buyers come flooding in.

Beauty

6 Winter Makeup Tips

Winter is upon us, and that means different things for many of us depending on where we live. However, overall it typically equates to cooler outdoor temperatures and indoor heat so it’s best to be ready for the changes this will bring. And while we need to moisturize and hydrate more to combat the evils of dry skin, our makeup will need to change as well.

Don’t worry if you’re watching your pennies, as these aren’t huge changes by any means … but changes nonetheless. Need some cold weather inspiration? Read on for six winter makeup tips that will keep you glowing during these colder months without opting for permanent make-up.

46805218 – happy candid girl with white teeth and perfect smile warmly clothed in winter
  1. Go Lighter with Your Foundation

Even if you were diligent with your sunscreen over the summer, you likely had at least a hint of a tan. In fact, you probably had to go darker with your foundation because of it. Unless you plan on vacationing to tropical areas all winter long (lucky you!), it’s time to go back to a shade that’s a better match to your natural skin tone.

  1. Fixing Fun with Correctors

No one’s skin is flawless (even you, Kate Beckinsale) but our flaws tend to become more apparent during the winter. This is probably because we don’t have the benefit of hiding behind the aforementioned tan. Don’t fret, though, as a good corrector can do the trick. Hiding dark spots, blemishes, and other imperfections, a palette with various shades of correctors is a makeup artist’s favorite tool. Not only will this corrector conceal your flaws but it will also brighten the skin during the winter months.

  1. Bring on the Bronzer and/or Self-Tanner

If you’ve got Nicole Kidman-esque porcelain skin, go ahead and rock that all winter long. The rest of us often need a bit of help to look as though we haven’t actually died without anyone knowing. Most everyone looks good with color, so work with a makeup artist at your favorite cosmetics store to find a bronzer or self-tanner that will give you a sun-kissed look without getting orange in the process.

  1. Get Festive with Blush and Highlighter

Many women assume they can’t pull off highlighter, but everyone can and should! Again, if you’re not confident in your ability to apply this fun kind of cosmetic to your face, ask a makeup artist for help. Combined with just the right amount of blush, this can be a magical look. While a powder highlighter would be fine, a liquid one would be even better for winter. And if you’re going to a holiday or New Year’s Eve party, you might even consider choosing one with a bit of shimmer. Have some fun!

  1. Beware of Pores

We want to avoid doing our makeup in such a way that our pores becoming visibly obvious. What will help with that is a good primer, as this helps makeup to avoid going into the cracks and pores. This will also help to avoid highlighting wrinkles, so it’s a win/win. You also want to stay away from anything too powdery during the winter and stick to dewy products due to dry skin.

As celebrity makeup artist Nick Barose says via Allure magazine, “Powder can make fair skin look duller.” Instead, he says to go with a moisturizing cream that’s one shade warmer than your own skin tone.

  1. Keep Those Lips Luscious

We all have friends who are lipstick addicts but the harsh truth is that, if your lips are prone to cracking during the winter, lipstick is only going to highlight this. You can opt for a moisturizing lipstick or stick with a tinted lip balm. The latter is handy for that time under the mistletoe during the holiday season.

58600123 – female putting applying lip balm moisturizing balsam. girl taking care of lips. skincare.

The winter months can be harsh on our skin so we need to give it a good base by getting plenty of rest, keeping up with our cleansing routine, and perhaps even giving a bit more TLC with hydrating masks. But beyond that—if you follow these makeup tips during these colder months—you will have that glowing, dewy skin many assume you can only get during the summer months.

Holidays

Making Holidays Simpler

As you’ll know if you read MTW regularly, we’ve yet to take the girls away on holiday. Having an elderly dog makes it basically impossible, but we’d love to take them away sooner rather than later and are lucky enough to live close to an airport which flies to some really great, family-friendly destinations. I’ve been doing some research on how to make family holidays easier to manage and thought I’d share some of them with you here:

Know the Lingo

I’m not suggesting that you get yourself fluent in the language of the place you’re travelling to, but having SOME knowledge of the language is really important. I find that, here in the UK, language education is woefully lacking and according to a survey conducted by Holiday Autos Car Hire, over a quarter of Brits don’t bother to learn ANY language before they go on holiday, and just under a quarter said that they only holiday in resorts where they know people speak English. It’s all well and goo d until you find yourself lost or in an emergency and completely unable to communicate, when knowing a bare minimum could really help.

Know The Etiquette

When I was 16, I went on holiday to Malta. I stayed in an area which wasn’t really full of holiday makers and I wondered why the locals looked disgusted with me when I left the flat in a bikini top! I was young and naive, failing to realise that this wasn’t really the done thing in a fiercely Catholic country, but had I bothered to read up first I’d have worked out that bikinis should be limited to beaches and touristy areas. This kind of knowledge is absolutely essential in some countries and could be the difference between staying safe and not.

Have Your Papers in Order

When Husband and I went to the Maldives, we didn’t realise until the last minute that we’d need to purchase a visa to stay there once we got to Male airport. All of our money was in travellers cheques and it was only by luck that we managed to change some up to enable us to get our visas. Knowing what paperwork you need to either gain entry, or in case you need healthcare, is vital.

Provisions?

When travelling with young kids, it’s essential to know what you can buy once you get there and what you need to take. Are things like nappies, wipes, formula milk and kid-friendly snacks readily available or do you need to pack these before you go? Getting to a foreign country and realising you can feed your kids or buy them nappies is a huge disaster!

Medications

If you don’t speak the native language, the prospect of finding medications like Calpol or Nurofen to give to your kids can be really daunting. From not knowing what to ask for to the potential of giving the wrong dose, it’s a minefield which can be easily avoided by packing your own. Take a First Aid kid along with paracetamol, antihistamines and anti-inflammatories and you’ll have most of your bases covered.

Do you have a holiday tip you’d like to share? Leave me a comment below!

Slow Cooker

Slow Cooking Do’s and Don’t’s

Slow cookingOver the past few months, I’ve become slightly obsessed with slow cooking. It’s really invigorated my interest in doing things in the kitchen and has made me so much more adventurous with the things that I’ll attempt to make. It also saves time AND money; a slow cooker is cheaper to run even over the course of 6 hours than a conventional oven is to run for one hour, and often the cheaper cuts of meat are the ones which lend themselves best to ‘low and slow’.

With all this in mind, I thought I’d give you a few of the do’s and don’t’s that I’ve picked up over the last few months of reading and researching slow cooking recipes and methods so that you can, as they say, learn from my fails!

Slow Cooking Do’s and Don’t’s:

Do: read the manual! Slow cookers often vary from brand to brand and things that you can do with one slow cooker may not apply to another – for instance, some pots will crack if no liquid is added while others will be fine.

Don’t: put it in the fridge. The ceramic part of your pot can crack if put into a cold fridge and a cracked slow cooker is the saddest thing of all!

Don’t: cook meat from frozen. I know there are a LOT of people who say that it’s fine to slow cook from frozen but I’ve also seen lots of compelling evidence which says that, on a scientific level, the slow cooker just doesn’t heat the meat quickly enough and allows bacteria to grow. People will tell you that it’s fine to do it, but for me it’s not worth the risk.

Don’t: Add milk or cream to a recipe until about half an hour before you want to serve. I’ve seen SO many pictures of potentially lovely meals which have been ruined by split or curdled dairy products.

Don’t: Be afraid of cornflour. People have had disasters when adding it as a powder but mix it into a paste before you add it to the pot and it will really help to thicken meals which have ended up too watery.

Do: Think about fat. Lots of people (me included) adopt a ‘chuck it all in’ attitude and hardly ever brown things off, but this can often leave you with a layer of fat on top of the finished meal. Browning things first allows you to drain fat before you add it to the slow cooker if you don’t want your food to be too fatty.

Don’t: Be afraid to try things! Some of the best things I’ve cooked in my slow cooker have some from chucking things in and giving them a go.

Do: Allow your pot to cool before you wash it. Adding water to a ceramic pot which is cooler than its own temperature can also cause cracks.

Don’t: Use a slow cooker to reheat leftovers. Things which have been cooked and then cooled need to be reheated thoroughly, quickly and evenly, and a slow cooker just doesn’t get things up to temperature quick enough.

Do: Make sure you check that the electrical cable isn’t underneath the pot while you cook as this can be a fire hazard.

Don’t: Add too much liquid. Slow cookers aren’t the same as cooking on a hob and all of the moisture that you add at the beginning will effectively stay in the pot because of the lid. Also, most foods tend to contain liquid which will cook out and add to the overall moisture of the dish.

Don’t: Overfill your pot. I once spend 8 hours waiting for a lamb stew to be ready, only to find the meat half cooked and the root veg hard because I’d put too much in for the heat to be able to distribute through the cooker.

Do: Think about layers. Things like potatoes, swede and carrot are dense and will take longer to cook than meat, so add them to the bottom of the pot as they’ll be closer to the heat and will cook for longer.

Do: Try not to lift the lid too often! The inside of your slow cooker is a little hot-house for your dinner and every time you lift the lid, you let some of that heat out!

Do you have any other amazing slow cooking tips? I’d love to hear them.

(Big thanks to my fellow Fun Slow Cooker Saddos for their input!)