I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy!Tash

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Work like ours…

How would you react to a website like this?

“we treat the floor and work like ours. We are trying to keep it in cheapest price. If you online quotation we give you 5% discount.”

As key phrases about their benefits on the homepage of a website, the above statements really need some work.

What’s worse is the page title for their homepage includes ‘ploors’ instead of floors.

We came across this site as potential customers, and to be honest we’re reluctant to even get a quote after seeing such errors (trust me, there are many , many more with the site!) They are local and we’d prefer to use a  local small business so it just proved to me again how big an impact bad writing can have on your business.

In this case, I suspect English is not their first language and I understand it isn’t an easy second language. At the end of the day, though, do they want people to accept their limitations in English or do they want more customers via an attractive website?

If you struggle with written English (because it is not your first language or any other reason), it really is worthwhile getting someone else to check your writing and edit it for you.  An English speaking friend may not get it perfect, but will probably do better than the website I mentioned above. Then get some professional help as soon as you can afford it – even if you have to do it in stages.

Oh, the above sentences would be much more effective as “We treat your floors like our own. We keep our prices as cheap as possible. Get an online quotation for a 5% discount!”

So would you try this business based on their website, or would you go elsewhere?

Climate Change is a business concern too

Today is Blog Action Day, with over 6,000 bloggers writing about  climate change and its impact on our world, and on us.

Maybe climate change, and protecting our environment, is something you think of at home or when choosing to buy local or low packaging options. Many people act as if environmental concerns don’t apply at work or in business, but we all need to think and act sustainably all the time and in all sorts of situations.

As a small business owner, here are some of the things I take into account:

  • amongst other reasons, I work from home because it saves any energy or pollution from commuting to an office somewhere else AND I only have one set of base consumption (e.g. I don’t heat an office and somewhere for my baby; I only need one computer for business and personal use)
  • I choose to reuse paper by using the back of documents and envelopes instead of notepads
  • I buy recycled paper products for printing
  • I email invoices and statements to save paper and printing – the computer is already on so sending an email is close to environmentally neutral
  • I read news items and articles online rather than buying paper versions – and rarely print copies of them
  • I use email and phone calls as much as possible for communicating with clients – again, this saves using a car or plane for meeting face to face
  • I turn off my computer, printer, etc when I finish for the day, and turn off my screen whenever I leave my desk for a while
  • I close the curtains as soon as it starts getting dark and cold – keeping the heat inside saves heating
  • I choose practical promotional items rather than gimmicky things that use resources to make but provide no real value. So I would prefer a pen, notepad, water bottle or bookmark to a plastic bracelet, inflatable toy, flag or fan

I’m sure there’s more as I care about my environmental impact, but the list shows how easy it can be to include environmental ideas into everyday business. While we may not be able to reverse climate change, I think we can slow it down considerably by taking individual responsibility in the little things as well as the big things.

In Copenhagen next month, world leaders will be making some decisions and agreements about topics around climate change. I just hope that everyone starts working on those targets straight away rather than waiting until the deadlines.

What have you done/are you doing in your business to help our planet? What suggestions do you have for other businesses?

Importance of words

I have been reading an old newsletter and came across a message I thought I’d share with you – words are important to humans.

Think about the impact of the words you choose and use.

Think about what words have done to/for our world:

  • started wars
  • made people cry (or worse)
  • made people laugh
  • started deep emotional relationships
  • ended people’s lives
  • made people rich
  • given a lot of pleasure (doubt that? Think of your favourite book…)

Think of the impact of words on the careers of

  • ACDC, Midnight Oil, Silver Chair, Michael Jackson and Cold Play – would their music be as popular without their lyrics?
  • Sean Connery, Harrison Ford, Kate Winslet, Cameron Dias and Bud Tingwell – how good would their movies had been without a script or with a mediocre script?
  • Kevin Rudd, Barack Obama, Julia Gillard, John Howard, Winston Churchill and Mahatma Gandhi – a speechless politician wouldn’t get very far
  • your favourite school teacher, sports coach and music teacher all needed words to make a career and help you

So remember the importance of words, and using the right words, when planning your business and your marketing. Don’t be fooled – the words you choose in your promotions and materials will impact on your success – or not.

Words are important so

  • choose appropriate words
  • proof read to be sure your spelling and grammar support your choice of words
  • check how words are perceived, not just what they mean (as a drastic example, the word gay means happy and cheerful but many people perceive it differently now)
  • use as few words as necessary to get the message across – think of words as important and limited

Use your words wisely!