Interior design is often at the forefront of every homeowner’s mind; however, the exterior of a property should not be neglected. Not only because it can improve curb appeal, but the exterior also has many functional aspects that need to be kept up.

If you can’t remember the last time you picked up a rake or inspected your roof, then you have some work to do. Now’s the time to get on it and make the exterior of your home look fantastic!

The roof

The roof is perhaps one of the most important parts of a property but also the most neglected. Often, because it’s not something we check or see every day, its maintenance can sometimes slip our minds. However, as it has such an essential role in keeping the property and its contents safe, it’s vital that it gets the attention it needs. Inspect the roof and ensure that everything is intact. There should be no moss or ivy, as these can hold water, causing significant water damage. Also, check that there are no missing shingles or rips in the roof fabric as these can let the elements in as well as pests. If you spot some of these problems, you need to call the best roofing contractor northern va has ever seen right away and resolve these issues! The longer these issues are left, the more likely it is that they will develop into significant damage, such as water damage or a roof that needs replacing. Additionally, a damaged roof can significantly impact the curb appeal of a home as well as the property value.

The gutters

Gutters are an integral part of any home. They stop water from gathering on the roof and allow it to drain safely. This avoids water damage on the roof and down the sides of the property, where the water would run down. Gutter maintenance is pretty simple. Checks just need to be made to ensure that the gutters aren’t blocked or cracked. If they are blocked, water can pool on the roof, and if they are cracked, water can leak down the side of the property and into the foundation. None of this is ideal and can severely damage the integrity of a home. Not only that, but the water damage marks don’t look great and can make a property look weathered. Thankfully, the checking of gutters is simple, and there are even gutter cleaning services that can be used to keep them clear. They only need to be checked annually or after any extreme weather conditions.

The lawn

Curb appeal is a huge factor when maintaining a home. A freshly cut lawn looks excellent, and it’s great for surrounding plants and trees too. If you want your landscape to thrive, maintaining the lawn is essential. This is because when a lawn is left unattended, it can become overgrown, blocking the light to other plants as well as sucking up all the nutrients. Lawns can also produce unsightly weeds that can damage other plants, as well as fungi. Although fungi aren’t always detrimental to the landscape, in some cases they can be. Finally, a maintained lawn means the lawn can’t hold onto water when it rains, preventing soil erosion.

The foundation

Similarly to the roof, the home’s foundation stops elements and pests from getting into the property. Without it, anything could make its way into the house and cause damage. To avoid this, twice a year take a walk around your property and check for any cracks. If you notice any, this could be the start of corrosion and you need to get it fixed right away. If left unattended, the outcomes could be catastrophic. Again, there are professionals that can help with this, so you don’t have to do it alone.

Your home should be a place where you feel comfortable and can relax. You don’t want to have to worry about long term maintenance or future problems. So, if you follow these tips, you can put your mind at ease and ensure everything is looked after!

 

               

It is vital that businesses of all sizes and in all industries find ways to be greener in 2021. Environmental damage is an enormous issue right now, and consumers are becoming increasingly eco-conscious, so becoming greener is important for reducing your impact as well as improving your brand reputation and attracting people to your business. On top of this, you should find that becoming greener could also help to lower your operating costs too. With all of this in mind, read on for a few of the best ways that you can make your business greener in 2021 and beyond.

  • Energy-Efficient Equipment

One of the best ways to reduce your impact as well as lower your costs is to switch to energy-efficient equipment. This will be at a cost upfront, but you can make big savings over the long-term, plus it will not negatively affect your daily operation in any way, so it is a win-win situation.

  • Remote Work

There were clear signs of the environment healing itself when most of the world switched to remote work in 2020, plus this can bring a range of benefits to both staff and the business, so it should certainly be considered moving forward. It has environmental benefits because it means that there are fewer cars on the road as a result of your business, plus employees will not be consuming energy at your company.

  • Cycle To Work Scheme

Following this point, when staff do come into work, you should encourage the cycle to work tax scheme with Cycle Solutions. This is a scheme that helps your business to reduce its NI contributions by 13.8% of the value of the equipment supplied while employees benefit from paying less for a new bike and cycling equipment. When your employees are cycling into work instead of driving, it will make your business much greener, keeps your employees in good shape, and could help to lift morale amongst a range of other benefits.

  • Paperless Office

Another highly effective way to make your business greener while reducing your costs is to become a paperless office. This will eliminate the need for both paper and printing, plus you also have the benefits of lower costs, more storage space, and documents being much easier to find when you have a digital filing system in place.

  • Use Green Suppliers

It is also important to look at the businesses that you work with and to make sure that the supply chain is also green. It is when this happens that real change can be seen, and your reputation as a green company will shine through, especially if you are also using local suppliers as a way to limit transport and to support the local economy.

As you can see, there are lots of effective ways for a business to become greener, and this can bring a range of benefits. Now is the time for action, and businesses will be able to improve their reputation and lower costs when they take action to reduce their environmental impact.

None of us wishes to fail in the businesses we launch. Our ultimate goal of starting a business is success and prosperity. It does not matter how long we have been in the industry, whether we are beginning a new venture or have been a business owner for decades. We are all brought together by a strong desire to succeed in our businesses and the opportunities available.

For the last decade, I have worked closely with several small business owners. I learned that there are particular principles that they abide by which make great contribution to their success. These principles are the driving forces in business that can make or break our ventures.  Various details vary from one industry to the other, or from one business owner to another. The following seven principle elements will be very significant to all industries.

The Leadership

To attain success, we need to have the right team working with us in our businesses. Everything in the business will always run smoothly and comfortably when everything is right at the leadership level. As business owners, we should strive to have the best leadership skills and styles. This will make us become good leaders in our businesses. If we don't have the leadership skills, the adverse effects will trickle down and be experienced throughout our businesses. This will definitely have a notable impact on the company and our profits as well.

Marketing

In a business, marketing is considered one of the most critical aspects. It is why people look to so many methods, through companies like First Page Digital Hong Kong or through their own marketing departments. Currently, the internet is one of the most incredible resources we have. We should strive to always have well-designed websites that will help us to reach out to our target clients and generate more sales for our business worldwide with ease and inexpensively. We should ensure we have a top search engine rank, which will vastly improve our local deals.

Productivity

We all know that time is money. For our ventures to be successful, we must maximize our time and focus on the right things. I have seen several small business owners striving to embrace new technology, which has often been very rewarding. I would advise any business owners looking to adopt any technology, such as incorporating software that reduces administrative work and starts using better equipment. This will significantly help your business to stay ahead of the game and enable things to run smoothly.

Customer Aspect

In any business, the customer is an essential factor.  The key to a successful business is the ability to have loyal existing customers.  To turn repeat customers into loyal customers, we need to look after their needs and wants. We can resolve this by setting up a 24/7 customer care line to ensure all their queries and complaints are solved promptly. Online, several guides will help us learn how to retain and attract new customers.

Competition

Even if we have the best products in the market, our business may experience a downward spiral if we fail to acknowledge our competitors. This is in terms of pricing and improving our product to avoid customers going for substitute products. We also need to understand the industry and the key players in the market to plan our business strategies effectively. This will make our business stand out from the rest, and we can be assured of success.

Organizational Structure and Design

We need to understand how successful businesses operate and run their businesses. This could be from the departments' primary structure within the business, to the personnel and how to manage various projects. Through interactions with several business owners, I have learned to effectively and efficiently run a business. We need to know everything about the organizational structures and design of the specific industries we are in.

Financing

When starting a business, we need to have an excellent financial base. It is also vital to ensure that our businesses have a positive cash flow as it grows and develops. The business will always need adequate finances to pay the employees, vendors, and bills to ensure its sustainability. When our businesses can sustain themselves, it will be effortless for us to manage the cash flow wisely and, in return, get profits.

Running a consulting business is both very rewarding and very lucrative. However, when you're starting out, finding regular clients can appear difficult. The consulting business is fiercely competitive, and that spirit of competition is only expected to grow in the near future.

That means that you'll need to stand out to get regular clients. But it isn't just your consulting skills that you need to utilize to stand out in the consulting business, but also your marketing skills.

Below are a few tips and insights to help you get more clients for your consulting business.

1. Website and Portfolio

Your clients will inevitably search for your consulting business online, so having a good website is necessary. You want to create a good impression in front of prospective clients, and a well-polished, easily navigable website can help you achieve this.

Through your website, you'll be aiming to promote your consulting business in two ways - through your portfolio, as well as by making it easy for your clients to contact you. Consider setting up a newsletter or mailing list that prospective clients can sign up to through your website.

In exchange for basic information like their name, email idea, and the name of their business, they'll receive helpful generalized consulting tips on a monthly basis through your newsletter. If the prospective client likes your advice, they're more likely to hire you for your services.

Your portfolio also has a role to play in getting your consulting business more clients. Gather samples of previous projects that you've worked with, and showcase your advice helped your client succeed. Ask for your clients permission first, and show proof of your prior success as a consultant.

2. Write a Blog

To make your consulting business stand out within your niche, you'll need to establish authority as well as your reputation. One of the best ways you can do this is by writing a regular blog that provides useful information to your clients.

You can blog about ideas that are relevant to your industry, and provide solutions to real-world problems. Take, for example, a case study where you feel your solutions could provide better results. You can create a blog post about that to show your readers that you can provide unique strategies and solutions.

Ensure that you keep your valuable information for your paid clients. But engaging with your readers through your blog will help expand awareness about your consulting business.

Participating and answering questions in online communities such as Quora and Reddit is another way you can grow your reputation as a consultant.

3. Paid Advertising and Social Media

One of the fastest ways you can increase your clients is through paid advertising on platforms like Facebook and Google. Both these platforms allow you to market to your target audience. You can decide who you're marketing to based on their interests, geographical area, and more.

At the same time, you should also develop your social media accounts. Instead of having an account on multiple social media platforms, select only those that'll actually help you grow your business.

For a consulting business, you can think about LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook as your business social media profiles. Here, post quality content related to your niche in consulting on a regular basis. Provide backlinks to both your website and your blog, and answer any and every question users bring your way.

4. Cold Calls and Perfect Pitches

Cold calls are generally avoided by businesses, but they can be very useful when they're done right. Isolate potential clients that you think could benefit from your services. Then look for a problem that you can solve.

Once you've determined these, you'll need to provide actionable solutions that the prospective client can implement to grow and expand their business. Formulate your ideas into a winning pitch, and then cold call the client. You shouldn't be cold calling every person who can be your client, but those who you genuinely think you can provide your consulting services to.

5. Negotiating, Referrals and Testimonials

Negotiations go hand in hand with securing new clients. A good negotiator knows how to read the client. They know what the client is looking for, as well as how to show the client that only they can help the client find the success they need.

Ask for referrals from your previous clients, as well as the people in your life. Also ask for testimonials as these are proof of your success in working with clients previously. Adding testimonials to your blog and website can help future clients gain more confidence when it comes to hiring you and your consulting business.

Aim to develop trust in all your client relationships, and you can find regular work from your older clients and their referrals. Work with those clients you think you can establish a good rapport with and provide value to, and avoid work that isn't a good match to your expertise.

As a consulting business owner, you can also consider getting a business insurance. A business insurance for consulting business will be able to provide cover for you if you face potential risks while running the business. Professional liability insurance is a popular insurance to consider.

Conclusion

Consulting business owners can make use of strategies like developing an online reputation, handling better negotiations with clients, and even cold calling certain clients to get more clients for their consulting business. Use these tips to ensure that your consulting business never runs out of work. With these tips, your main focus will remain on growing and building a sustainable consulting business.

 

A Shrewsbury based messy play group, Ready Steady Let’s Get Messy which has been unable to operate since March has pivoted to creating activity boxes for toddlers and babies.

For the group owner, Laura White, it was a big change from the sessions she was used to delivering. She made an initial 20 Halloween themed boxes to test the water, they sold within 24 hours. 

She set a more ambitious target of 70 boxes between then and Christmas. They sold out by early December, she spent much of the month hand making play dough, assembling boxes and going back and forth to the post office.

Laura learnt a lot about which activities and products worked well and with some great feedback from customers she were able to refine what she did and how she did it. 

Laura had plenty of ideas for other themed boxes, the initial run of Dinosaur boxes sold within a few days. Her latest creation is the Woodland box, she wanted to get natural elements into a box so that children could experience wood and leaves as well as her home made play dough, cloud dough and coloured rice. 

The boxes are priced £19 with free delivery in the Shrewsbury area. They are available to purchase through her website www.letsgetmessy.co.uk and through her Facebook page.

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