Take Your Business Back to School

It’s August and that means parents everywhere are beginning the annual back-to-school rituals. Every parent knows (and sometimes dreads) the process. If you have school or college aged children, you’re probably dealing with it right now. Or maybe, yours are “grown and gone”, but you still remember the drill.

For business owners this adds more chores to your regular list. But have you considered that your business may need a back-to-school brush up as well? Once everyone is settled back into the classroom routine, it might be a good idea to have a chat with your VA (virtual assistant) or business advisor, while the issues are fresh in your mind.

While customs vary from family to family, and from region to region, there are certain necessities that are universal back-to-school activities.

New Clothes: Your students look forward to a new fall wardrobe when the school year begins. Everyone wants to start off right by looking their best. The same may apply to your business. Is it time for a fresh look for your website or updated info on your brochures?

School Supplies: Many children – and not just in the younger grades – really enjoy getting new pencils, notebooks, crayons, backpacks, etc. This might be a good time to evaluate and/or plan for business supplies. Do you often find yourself with too many or too few of needed items? Or maybe there is a big-ticket item that you would like to have. Now is a good time to plan for how to get these things to improve your business.

Health Check-Ups: With sports physicals, required vaccinations and developmental testing, a visit to the doctor’s office is often a part of the back-to-school routine. It’s important for educational progress and safety to make sure students are healthy and ready to learn. It’s also important to periodically assess the health of your business. Do you have adequate cash flow? What type of marketing will you use to ensure the health and progress of your business? Are you prepared for growth?

New Friends and Contacts: One of the exciting parts of a new school year is the opportunity to meet new friends and re-connect with past ones. And of course there are new teachers with policies to sign and contact forms to fill out. Your business can also benefit from new friends and contacts. What’s the current state of your social networking site pages? Do they need updating? Or perhaps you could benefit from a more regular schedule for these activities.

Enjoy August as a time of new beginnings for students and businesses.

Our Mothers Recycling Business Back in Iran

Back in Iran and in our childhood there were special men who visited our home town most days of the week.

In those old good days these visits in our quarters had particular purposes. These men had special business offers for our mothers. Women mostly housewives were the customers of these very unique trades. I guess our mothers have many stories of these men who would also enjoy having business with ladies in our quarters. Our fathers did not appreciate these visits mainly because this business offers would mean a financial loss instead of gain for the regular households. Women were enjoying that little unique trade which was an exchange of goods right at the door. Somehow these trades were helping the society in large, it was about recycling goods. If today there are recycling places you take your unwanted clothes or furniture, back then our mothers had the comfort to have things removed by these men.

Namaki or Satlman was one of those men. We used to have various salesmen coming to our neighbourhoods. How can we forget jacket and pants salesman (kasse-boshgabi), vegetable salesman (sabizi forosh), Pond Cleaner (abhouzi), Snow Shower workers (barfparokoni), and blanket sewers (lahafdoz)? How could we forget our garbage men (Asghali)?

These names are only familiar to most of us Iranian whether we have lived in Iran or not. Indeed depending on the neighbourhood and status of the citizens in that area, these services would be more or less appreciated. You could tell that these mobile workers enjoyed their walks in between neighbourhoods. As a child I always wondered whether these types of trades would really pay enough for a living. Would these men be able to buy their children school clothes or school items? The mystery was and still remains, how could these men support their families with this type of jobs? I guess job security was not a concern back then. Other days we would have other mobile salesmen in our quarters.

These salesmen used to come on certain days, mostly on an unwritten and informal schedule. They came one after another in each week day. Our mothers would always be happy to see these men who were willing to take our old clothes and unfit shoes, not mentioning our father’s shirts and suits. These men would instead give our mothers some plates, plastic baskets, or some household items that did not have any material value anyway. The good thing was that a natural recycling business was happening. No one wasted bread, food, and clothes. Indeed no household items used to go to waste, if our mothers did not engage in this exchange many bread would have gone to waste.

SEO For Businesses – Back to Basics

People who are starting a business on the internet for the first time hear terms like search engine optimization (SEO) and feel they might be getting involved with something that’s highly technical and best left to the professionals. They think that SEO might be the domain of experts like web programmers.

Whilst there are lots of different aspects of website promotion and search engine marketing that the average Joe will not even begin to think about or be aware of, there are a number of basics that any company doing business on the internet should make it a priority to understand.

The truth is the basics of SEO are nothing more than making sure that your website is being seen as more favorable than your competitors. Assessing your sites optimization using an algorithm is a way big search engines like Google use to categorize your website and place it in a ranking system so that people can find it more easily. Of course there’s a little more to it than that, but that’s the nuts and bolts of what some people feel is a complicated term.

Once you dig a little deeper, it’s even easier to understand what SEO is all about. Following are a few of the things you can look at on your own websites to make sure you’re presenting your selves to the search engines in the best possible way.

=> Content Is King: Although you might have heard that phrase before it’s one of the axioms on the internet you need to be aware of. It’s important to have a steady supply of original content on your website that also has keywords in it so the search engines like Google will take notice. The keywords you have on your page need to be the ones you customers are looking for so make sure you research this thoroughly.

=> Internal Linking: Internally you also need to take a good look at the kind of the links you to have on your website. These are the keyword phrases that light up when you point your mouse at them and take you to another page when you click. Terms like click here and more info will not help you, use anchor text that is relevant to the page you are pointing to.

=> Backlinks: It’s important here that you get as many relevant back links as possible to your website because that creates the kind of online spider web important to SEO. It’s important to have quality anchor links as well that represent the services or goods you offer for example, if you offer construction services a link that says Joe Blogs and Son is weak where as a link that says Joe Bloggs and son Construction Services is much more powerful. Make sure you site is reasonably optimized though before embarking on large link building campaigns.

=> Company Blogs: Try using blog marketing. If you have a website where the content is quite static and you don’t want to change it to a content management system (CMS), you might want to try using a blog on you site as a way of increasing your SEO potential as these tend to draw the attention of the search engines. They are also an excellent way of keeping your site up to date and also to provide news or business wins and case studies to increase customer confidence.

When you’re focusing on keywords and links, as a business owner you should be able to work SEO to your advantage as you understand your business better than most, but the reality is any small business owners who run Internet based businesses don’t have the time to look after the SEO themselves so they find a search engine marketing company that can do the work for them. If this is you then try ensuring that any SEO company you employ has at the very least an understanding of your particular market sector.