Peripheral Visions

a blog from SuppliesGuys™ -- Good Guys. Great Buys.

Archive for the ‘Business Tips’ Category

10 Ways to get Exercise During the Work Day

One of the biggest challenges of working a 9 to 5 job is finding a way to get up from your desk and getting exercise during the day. Whether it is because you are too busy, you lose track of time, or you can’t think of creative ways, here’s 10 ways that will help. Remember, exercising doesn’t mean you have to break a sweat, and come back to your desk dripping wet! Exercise should involve getting your mind, and body in motion to relieve yourself of the constant doldrums of your workday.

1. Park your car farther away: Before you step foot inside your office you can get more exercise. Park farther away from the front door, and leave the front parking spots for visitors to your office building. Pack your lunch, and personal items in easy to carry bags to make the walk easier on your shoulders.

2. Consider alternate modes of transportation: If you live close to work; consider biking, or walking on nice days. Sure, everyday may not be conducive for outdoor modes of transportation, but you may be able to skip the gym on days that you walk or bike in to work!

3. Take the stairs or the long way to your desk: If your office is in a multi-story office building consider taking the stairs or an alternate longer route to your desk.  Elevators often take more time than walking, and the time you are standing on an elevator can be spent burning a few more calories before you get to your desk.

4. Get a walking pedometer: Pedometers are a great way to measure how many steps you have taken in a day. Many devices will convert steps into miles, and you will feel motivated to walk more during the day when you see your distance traveled increase! Attach a pedometer to your waist pants or skirt, and see the difference in your motivation.

5. Get up from your desk hourly: If you have a job that keeps you trapped at your desk for hours at a time, make an excuse to get up hourly, if not more. Take walks to the printers, restroom, or the water cooler to get added exercise, without added time. This will also help you stay alert at your desk and may help you be more productive in your tasks.

6. Walk to lunch: Many people gain weight during their lunch hour due to eating out at lunch, and then sitting for hours afterwards. If your office building is located near restaurants and eateries, opt to meet your coworkers there, or ask them to take the walk with you! You will feel less lethargic once you get back to your office for the second half of the day.

7. Run in place: It may sound silly, but boosting your heart rate up for even a few minutes can oxygenate your blood and keep you alert and your body burning calories more efficiently during the day. Go into a bathroom stall and run in place for a minute or two, or take a walk down to the mailroom where no one will see you walking briskly.

8. Meet-up with coworkers for an exercise regimen: Many professionals find it easier to exercise with a friend or coworker. Ask some of your close coworkers to start working out with you after work, or even taking a walk with you during the lunch hour.

9. Join an at-work exercise/wellness program: Many offices are partnering with health insurance providers to offer on-site gyms, exercise regimens and incentives for professionals to get fit and healthy. Ask your Human Resources department if your company is participating in a wellness program.

10. Pack healthy snacks and skip the vending machine: All the exercise in the world will not help, if you are visiting the vending machine and eating potato chips and candy all day. Bring your own snacks, such as nuts, fruit, and high protein/low carbohydrate snacks to keep your energy up, and your exercise not in vain.

Exercising at work can be fun if you instill the right mindset and you tell yourself that you will benefit in multiple ways. From increased energy, better feeling body, and increased productivity, exercising has more benefits than just staying healthy. Use these 10 tips to help you stay healthy and happy at throughout your workday.

Categories: Business Tips

Engaging Loyal Customers on Facebook

Your small business has finally made the jump to Facebook by creating a Page, adding some initial content and finding some ways to attract likes (previously known as Fans). What comes next in your plan to add value to your company through Facebook? Once you have your customers connected, this social media outlet really provides the greatest opportunities to deepen and maintain relationships with loyal customers.

Facebook is not the place to simply throw up some basic operating hours and product information and then expect that your business page is complete. Interaction is the key to a successful Facebook presence. Your Facebook page allows you to add genuine value to your brand and engage with customers like never before! Customers do not want a one-sided, passive experience – they want to see new content, to have a place to give their opinions and to receive personal attention for their valuable feedback.

Here are four ways you can engage your loyal customers through your business page:

Draw people back to your page from the news feed. Customers are going to be much more apt to visit and spend time on your page if they see new, fresh content pop up on their news feed. Promotions may be one of the quickest ways to send people to your page, as well as posting pictures, upcoming events, links to your blog, and tidbits of information about employees and new products or services. Catchy, short phrases in statuses for many new kinds of content can add value and spur people to click through to your page. For example, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams has an effective way of getting comments- posting a high quality picture of their food product and a fun description: “Pictured: Brambleberry Crisp Ice Cream–a gem of the Bakeshop Collection. Ohio blackberries and black raspberries and oven-toasted streusel (handmade in our kitchen), blended with our divine vanilla ice cream. An outstanding Valentine’s Day option, don’t you think?”

Give something back. You need a strong incentive to bring customers back to your Facebook page. Your customers live a busy life – why should they spend precious minutes of their day looking at your Facebook page? One way to get your loyal customers engaged is by showing your appreciation of them. Homage, a Vintage T-Shirt retailer, wanted to “pay homage” and give back to its loyal customers by announcing that once their Facebook page surpassed the 10,000 “like” mark, they would be giving out “something awesome to celebrate.” When the announcement came in that the t-shirt retailer would be hosting a 24 hour buy one, get one (BOGO) sale – their fans buzzed like crazy using Facebook and Twitter to spread the news. The BOGO sale was announced on a Monday through their HOMAGE Facebook page (the post got 116 likes and 16 comments). That Wednesday, the BOGO sale went live at 12:01 AM EST (that announcement post got another 82 likes and 65 comments).  From the day the sale was announced (Monday) to the day after the sale (Thursday), the Homage Facebook page grew from 10,000 likes to 11,517 – that’s 15% increase in just 4 days! One can only presume that the company generated new business from this sale in addition to the business from loyal customers.

Showcase your knowledge of the field. Posting links to relevant business content in your field demonstrates knowledge of current events and once again, gets your name in the news feed. Sure, the link won’t directly take people to your page, but frequently posting interesting links establishes you as a good source for information in your field and that will have people coming back for news on your page. For instance, COSI Columbus’ Dynamic Hands-On Science Center! posts links to articles with descriptions such as: “Superbowl snacks too tame? Spice them up with some science!”

Ask questions to get conversations going. This is a quick and free way to gather useful information about your products and services. You can ask for feedback on current areas of your business, solicit ideas for the future, or even just ask things for fun. BalletMet Columbus is an example of a non-profit organization that often asks for feedback from its fans, such as with this question that ended up with 40 responses: “We’re thinking about the 2011-2012 season already, can you believe it?! What would you like to see next season?”

These are all great ways to interact with your loyal customers through Facebook.  With some regular effort and time to keep your page up-to-date and the conversations flowing, Facebook can be a helpful tool to build deeper relationships with your most loyal customers.

Categories: Business Tips

Great Customer Service Matters for Small Business and Big Business Alike

At The Supplies Guys we take great care and pride in our customer service, yet there are times when we are reminded by customers of just how important this really is. This week we received an email from a customer who not only appreciates great customer service, but as a small business owner fully understands how treating customers like gold is not just a good business practice, it is the only way to do business. He also provided us with some very inspirational insight that I think our readers will appreciate. So here is the email in full, unedited. Enjoy!

—– Email Insert —–
Hi Melissa!

 I got to thinking about the experience I’ve had with Supplies Guys so far, and wanted to pass along this commendation for your excellent customer service. My dad often said that small businesses were the backbone of America.  Today I hear more and more how in-debt governments (like ours) decide to go further into debt to give billions in bail-outs to big corporations, while taxing the small businesses –the middle class– more and more.  The signs of the times really bring Dad’s words to mind, and I often shake my head in realization of how vital small businesses are to our economy, our country, and -even though it may sound like a stretch- the blessed freedoms we have in the USA.

The ability to borrow your dad’s lawnmower and start a business mowing the neighbors’ yards…  the freedom to build a chicken coop with your own hands and your own sweat and sell eggs to the neighborhood  –and know that you succeed or fail because of how you do business…  that’s the gritty reality that keeps American industry strong, and forces small businesses to actually serve their customers instead of putting such low value on customers that they outsource customer service to India and confuse customers with endless automated voice systems.

Which is why I’m writing this review.  From my long-distance experience with SuppliesGuys, you guys (gals) have a strong business backbone.  You actually have real customer service for their business, and that shows that you value us as customers.  Your professional website may look like you’re a big corporation, but after talking with customer service a few times, it’s clear that regardless of your size, you’ve got small-business customer service at heart. So, you get my praise for your customer service, and in my book, you’re not a big corporation; you’re just a really successful small business.  :-D

I hope God blesses American men and women with the gumption to start more small businesses, and do their work with honesty, integrity and respect for customers.  That’s what makes good customer service. Thanks for watching out for your customers.  It may not seem so at times, but if you watch out for us, we’ll keep coming back. God bless.

Sincerely,
John Dehnart
CrossTimber (yep, a small business.)
—– End Email —–

CrossTimber has served its community and out-of-state customers with business printing since 1994, and is now offering website design services. John and his wife, Katie operate their printing company from their home in Ohio, and use SuppliesGuys toner to make personalized bookmarks, name plaques and name meaning coffee mugs!  SuppliesGuys toners paint the vibrant color designs that are unique to CrossTimber’s name meaning gifts.  Order a bookmark at  www.meaning.name and you’ll see why CrossTimber chooses SuppliesGuys compatible toners for crisp vibrant personalized gifts.

Categories: Business Tips

To Pay or Not Pay for Web Hosting

Whether or not to pay for web hosting depends upon your online goals, resources, skills and abilities and required functionality.

It is not hard to find low or no cost options for hosting a web presence on the Internet today. Simply perform a query at your favorite search engine for “free web hosting” and watch the results pour in. In fact, a recent search garnered 134,000,000. Yes, that’s 134 MILLION search results for the keyword phrase free web hosting!

With all that attention and energy out there, using a no cost website hosting company must be an alright option, yes? Well, perhaps. But not always. It simply depends upon some factors that should be considered prior to committing ones online presence to a company that finds revenue streams from options other than charging the website owner.

Some important questions to ask when considering a web hosting company might include (but certainly not be limited to) the following:

  • Price: Clearly, free means at no cost. For some with extremely limited budgets to spend for online promotion, low or no cost may well be the best option, at least for a limited amount of time.
  • Speed: How fast will those free web servers be able to load up your website for all the visitors who find their way to your home page? What happens if sudden awareness and popularity blesses (or curses, depending upon how you look at it) your website. Will those shared, free servers be able to handle the loads?
  • Space: For many, the limited amount of disk storage space associated with the average free web host is fine. But what happens should your site need to store and serve massive amounts of images, video files, documents, etc.?
  • Functionality: Unless your website is offering advanced interactive functions, this may not be much of an issue when considering whether to pay for your website hosting. Down the road, however, when you need that advanced functionality how will your free web hosting provider react? Will you be able to upgrade to get what you need?

In Support of Paid Web Hosting

Starting a business costs money. Perhaps not a massive amount, but companies today understand they must have some budget to move their ideas forward. When it comes to pinching pennies, probably the last place you want to scrimp is with your online presence. You need powerful and secure hosting. To ensure that your website is safe, and protected, the company providing you with services needs to have a sound business model. Giving away free hosting on the strength of placing obtrusive advertisements on your company website is not likely to provide them with the financial strength required.

By the sheer nature of free web hosting, transfer speeds must be limited and doled out to a large number of websites residing on their servers. This means that in order for your website to perform well, i.e., have fast page loads, limited to no waiting for images, videos, downloads, etc., your site must be a near perfectly optimized operation. If you are an expert at the sort of optimizations necessary, you may have a chance at success. Even then, regardless of how well coded a site may be, your site speed is still at the control of the free host.

Many free services do provide for the eventuality that some of their users may need to upgrade storage requirements. The challenge with these offerings tends to be the price points they are offered at. With a quality paid hosting provider, if you actually need to go beyond the massive amounts of disc space offered, the prices per MB are usually very reasonable and easy to acquire.

As your website increases its need for functionality, you’ll find that having a paid hosting provider makes it very easy to add web applications. When popularity and massive spikes in traffic find their way to your site, having the bandwidth, speeds, and functionality you need to convert those visitors to paying customers will more than provide a great return on your choice to invest in a paid website hosting service.

Author Bio: Vern Marker is a writer for a business web hosting company and is always looking for cost-effective solutions for business owners. When Vern is not blogging or writing, he loves to travel the world. Follow him on Twitter@VernMarker.

Categories: Business Tips

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