Saturday, November 17, 2012

Take Advantage of Professional Printing

There are so many different ways that printing can help a company promote itself in the community. Every employee needs business cards. Every customer wants a pamphlet or flyer for more information. While the work can probably be pulled of with a computer and a business printer, handing over the entire project to the professionals can ensure that the results come out better then expected. Look around to see which company provides the largest personalized selection with a price that fits your business' budget.
Gather Up the Information
Whether you are needing company letter head, employee business cards, or sales menus decide how what information will needs to be included. Each printing project will vary in some way. For example, your sales sheet will require more information and possibly more graphics then your letterhead. Before you begin to place an order or meet with a sales representative, collect everything from your company logo to all of your business contact information.
Get an Idea of What It Should Look Like
When working with a professional printing company, you have several options when it comes to the final product. You can come in with your own ideas and ask the company to replicate them or you can just turn over your information and let someone else come up with the design. You can chose what your role will be and how much you will have to do with the creative process. Some companies offer customers a template to take advantage of. You just take your information and plug it into the appropriate areas.
Check the Proof and Give Final Approval
Once the work is done, the company will send you a proof. This is an example of what the finished product will look like and it is created to get your final approval. Look over the entire thing and check for accurate information and spelling. While every company works hard to bring clients that best possible, sometimes mistakes are made. Once you sign off on the proof, you become responsible for any issues or problems with the printing.
Reorder When Necessary
Once the proof is approved and the order begins, the professionals will keep a copy of your order. When the time comes, if you need to order extra quantities, you can just call or place an order online. It saves time and you don't have to go through the process of gathering information, creating a template and approving the project. If you are a new business or this is your first order, keep an eye on how long the business cards, pamphlets or letterhead last. You can come up with an idea of when you need to reorder to make sure that you are never out of these critical supplies.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Title Companies and Their Purpose and Responsibilities

Title companies are groups that are often consulted when a person wishes to know more about a particular piece of property. They are a sort of research company that will eventually supply the answers that the buyer wants to know about. Basically, the company can also help with the transaction of buying the piece of property that the buyer has in mind. It is vital that the prospective buyer know if there are any issues regarding the land that he or she wants to purchase. If it is purchased without any research or background study, the problems that come with the piece of land will be transferred to the person who has just purchased it. This is just one of the good reasons why there is a need to hire the services of title companies.
These groups actually have steps which they have to take in order to meet the demands of the person who hired them. One of the very first things that they usually do is to do and abstract of title. This is a term meaning going through records of the pieces of properties in the county or area where it is located. This research will be able to glean who the real owner of the land is as well as any liens, mortgages or other issues that the land may be under. If there are also leases and restrictions that the property may be under, the abstract of title will also be able to show these in detail. These are important aspects of gathering information about the land and presenting them to the prospective purchaser or the lender. When it is completed, a title opinion letter will be issued to the person who is interested in this particular piece of property. This issue will contain information about the land which title companies will deem important aspects which the prospective buyer or lender might be interested to know. It will list down the things that will need to be completed and the problems that may be connected to the land or building.
If things are satisfactory and the buyer or insurance company is willing to close the deal, the group will then do the necessary paperwork to convey the title, deal with collateral issues and secure the lender. The cost of the closing of the deal will also be discussed between parties. This is an important matter because there has to be a mutual understanding and agreement regarding the costs. After the closing, the funds will be collected by the title companies to pay off any existing mortgages of the property, pay off the seller and get the costs that they might have incurred with the deal. All the transactions will be recorded at the local county courthouse to make the deal legal and absolute.
These services can be confusing for ordinary people with no legal or real estate background. They can save the purchaser, seller and lender a lot of time, money and effort with regards to the sales and closing of the deal.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

So You've Been Asked to Photograph a Friends Wedding

It's a common request, more common than you'd imagine. Especially in times of recession couples are trying to stick to tight budgets. They are considering every purchase, working out if every purchase can be done for less or even for nothing.
So they know you. You're a friend or a relative. They know you've got a fairly nice camera and they know you like taking photographs. They have seen some of your pictures and they think they're quite good. So you can do the photography for their wedding can't you, why not?
This article will help you to understand what you are about to undertake and whether you say yes or no!
The first question to ask yourself is "are your technical skills up to it?".
If you have never taken your camera off the P setting then it's time to learn and fast. You will not be able to shoot a wedding in its entirety in all locations using the P setting. Why?
You need the flexibility that shooting with some degree of control will give you. Do you understand the relationship between aperture, shutter speed and ISO? In certain circumstances you will want to control the aperture. For example when taking the group photographs you would select a fairly narrow aperture to ensure a good depth of field. In certain circumstances you will need to ensure that your shutter speed is fast enough. For example for the bride walking down the aisle in the gloomy church. How are you going to ensure that the shutter speed doesn't drop so low that you get motion blur or camera shake?
Not sure how to achieve this or even why it's important then you should consider saying no to their request or taking a course! Otherwise some really important images will simply not be good enough.
So you're comfortable with using aperture or shutter priority or even shouting in manual. You understand how to use ISO to help control exposure. You recognise what settings are appropriate in different situations. That's excellent but that's not all you need to know...
My next question is what are you going to do if it's a really bright and sunny day? How are you going to ensure that there is a nice even balanced amount of light on people, especially their faces?
You really have to use some fill in light. If you're working on your own then it's got to be fill in flash. Do you have a decent Speedlight (aka flash gun)? Your pop up flash (part of the camera) simply won't allow you enough control. A Speedlight works fundamentally by communicating with your camera and by assessing the picture for you and sending out the appropriate amount of flash. If you don't use fill in flash you run the risk of dark faces or shadows across the faces.
Using a Speedlight isn't as straight forward as it seems. Yes you can set it on ETTL (electronic through the lens) and hope for the best but I wouldn't recommend it. You will need to control the amount of flash and so should know how and why! It's also important to think about defusing the flash somehow.
The easiest and cheapest way is to bounce the flash off a wall or ceiling. There are other ways for example by using a diffuser that fits on to the Speedlight. The principle is that the larger the light source the softer the light. That's why overcast light is better to shoot in than a bright sunny day. It's also why bouncing the flash works.
By doing this you increase the light source from your small flash head to the size of the wall or ceiling.
In part 2 I'll explore how you need to be in control and organise the day in order that you get the job done and I'll discuss the hard work that needs to be put in before, during and after the big day and that you will NOT be a guest at your friend's wedding you will be there to work ALL day!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Improve Your Deck With Metal Balusters

As important as it is for you to remember to pick the best railings for your deck, you may want to add some additional depth and uniqueness by adding some metal balusters. You can't build a structurally sound deck without making sure that you have installed hand rails for the safety of your family and friends. That is why it is very important that before you start building your deck, you take some time to learn what the building codes are for your location. If you already have some of your materials, make sure you check to make sure that everything is also in compliance with the manufacturer's recommendations as well. Even if you have many years of construction experience, it is always best for you to follow the manufacturer's guidelines for their products, or else you could end up voiding any warranties and putting everyone's safety at risk.
Keep in mind that when you are choosing your metal balusters, you want to envision what the final picture will be in your head. Sometimes it helps if you look at some other completed decks until you find one or a few that fit your goals.
Remember, if you are using metal balusters you need to pay special attention to the spacing requirements that are set forth in your local building codes. If you space them incorrectly, you are putting any child that comes onto your patio at risk for serious injury. There should be no more than 4 inches between your railings and their attachments. Anything less than 4 inches is perfectly acceptable. There are several ways you can mount your metal balusters to your deck. Some come already assembled to the railings, others come with mount kits. Even if you are not mechanically inclined, installation is often the easiest task when it comes to constructing a deck.
When you choose a particular style of railing, try to go with what is most appealing to you. If you are concerned about whether or not you and your guests will have trouble seeing the landscape; pick railings, and attachments that offer more transparency for you to see past them. Take pictures so you can visualize how well a certain type of design will compliment you home's exterior. If you are not comfortable with adding color or are having a hard time choosing a complimentary color, you can always resort to traditional blacks, whites or some other neutral colors. Experiment and see what kind of interesting and unique combinations you can come up with. You don't have to match your railings and balusters with each other. Sometimes mixing and matching colors can create very impressive combinations that work well with the vision you are trying to create.
Keep in mind that depending on the type of railings and metal balusters you choose, you may need to do some maintenance on them a few times throughout the year to help keep them clean and in good condition.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

5 Reasons Your Small Business Should Have a Website

Statistics by Google indicate that more than half of America's small businesses don't have a business website. In some states, in fact, almost 70 percent of small businesses are not online. These businesses are losing opportunities to market their business as well as to interact and educate consumers on their product or service. If you haven't made the leap to build a website for your business, here are 5 reasons you should get your small business website up and running.
1) A website is a long-term marketing piece. A website has many purposes. One of which is to act as an online brochure that presents the business to consumers. Unlike print pieces such as printed brochures or direct mail pieces which are frequently received and thrown away, a website stays online, drawing traffic for as long as it's up.
2) Building a website is a good investment. Like all things, you can spend as much or as little as you want on getting a website up and running. Unlike print pieces, it can easily be updated and changed. You can announce special offers, sales, and more without having to pay for print and mail costs.
3) Your competition has a website. If about half of small businesses don't have a website, that means that about half of them do. Do some research. Is your competition online? If they are, then they are drawing traffic and customers that you are not getting. Customers are finding them instead of you. That can't be good for your bottom line.
4) Your customers are searching online. If your business isn't online, then these customers can't find you and can't do business with you. If you've been using the excuse that you're a local business so having an online presence isn't important, think again. One study found that ninety-seven percent of consumers search online for local products and services.
5) A website has multiple uses. This makes it an even better investment. There are many things you can do with a website beyond information about your products, services and company. You can collect e-mail addresses and use that list to send newsletters, update customers about changes and special offers. You can also sell your goods through your website. Or, if your business is more about services, you can use your website to book appointments with consumers and to get feedback from them.
If you don't have a website for your small business, what are you waiting for? It's time to build your website and build your future business marketing strategy.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Explaining Hotel Management Courses

Whether one is speaking of hotels, conference centres, catering businesses or indeed any other enterprise where hospitality is involved, business is undoubtedly tough. Competition may be fierce and ensuring staff undertake hotel management courses might just enable you to improve your service quality and gain competitive advantage as a result.
More than pleasantries
Providing hospitality is more than simply making available a number of exemplary facilities. It is about packaging those facilities into a human presentation and delivery environment that is efficient and friendly at the same time.
Although it is true that there are occasionally cultural differences that might affect your service proposition, there are certain general features that are universally accepted as being mandatory if hospitality is to achieve world-class status. This is not just a question of being cheerful-looking and professional when responding to customers; it is about enhancing their experience of the facilities on offer and dealing with any issues that arise. Just a sample of some of the skills that can be learned on hotel management courses can include:
  • formal welcoming of new arrivals;
  • explaining available facilities and, where appropriate, what is required of visitors/customers;
  • understanding customers' requirements and explaining to them how the facilities on offer may enable them to obtain more benefit overall;
  • helping to manage the relationships between an individual or groups of customers (e.g. dealing with contention for resources etc.);
  • problem resolution;
  • conflict management (e.g. difficult customers or customer complaints);
  • the communication of corporate values;
  • helping to maximize the customer experience and to increase the reputational benefits accrued by the facility providers.
A complicated skill set
As the above brief overview illustrates, simply putting untrained individuals into such a role and somehow hoping that they will "cope" might be, at best, a recipe for average performance and potentially at worst, a recipe for disaster. Whilst it is true that some individuals may be naturally more gifted than others in areas such as communication and empathy, it is also true that many of the above skills are unlikely to be innate. That is why hotel management courses could prove critically important in helping your organisation improve the quality of service it provides.Valuable techniques can be taught and existing skills enhanced or on-developed.
If you believe that your organisation already has first-rate skills in this area that are not capable of being improved, you may wish to put them to the test regularly through approaches such as mystery shoppers. This is hard-end testing and may occasionally show up gaps in your performance management. Remember that in a highly competitive marketplace, it might only take a single demonstration of poor inter-personal skills or a lack of service-orientation to irreparably damage your reputation with an individual client or potentially group of clients. That is something that might prove to be extremely expensive and which would put the cost of putting staff through hotel management courses into context.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Most Out of Hotel Management Courses

Whether you are new to the hospitality industry or are established in your career, hotel management courses can help raise you to the next level in your professional development. They are also an increasingly invaluable option for businesses looking to help staff enhance their skills and maximise their potential. But it's important to choose a well-regarded and course, and to make sure that all participants are getting the most out the experience. A successful management course is not about showing up and going through the motions; it is about engaging creatively, and understanding how the contents of the course can be transferred and applied beyond the seminar room. Here are some of the ways that participants can ensure a lasting positive impact from their courses.
Evaluation at Every Stage
Every situation on a training course is full of learning potential, from seminar discussions to practical exercises, but it isn't enough to take notes and put them away - the experience needs to be reflected on, understood, and shared. The best hotel management courses consider this, and build evaluation procedures into their programmes. The importance of evaluation cannot be understated. Taking stock of what has been learned so far, how it can be applied in future scenarios, and how it can be usefully shared with others, is not only good sense, it's a skill that can be nurtured. At the beginning of a course, you can ask yourself: is the course meeting my expectations? Am I meeting my own expectations? After a training exercise, ask what went well, what new thoughts and ideas it generated, and what you would have done differently. Share these responses with your team, and keep a written record of them for yourself so that you can refer to them in the future as you continue to develop your professional knowledge and practice.
Learning from Interaction
One of the best features of hotel management courses is that they are by nature interactive, bringing participants into a learning environment alongside colleagues or strangers from a variety of backgrounds, as well as highly skilled trainers with diverse expertise. They will face new challenges alongside their peers, and the advantage of this should be clear in such an interaction-based industry as hospitality. As well as the subject matter at hand, course participants will be continually developing their people skills - the ability to work in a team, to know when to compromise and when to make executive decisions, to listen, to present and receive feedback, and to appreciate the different expectations and needs of others.
Keeping Organised
Another set of skills that can be retained beyond the learning environment is that of personal organisation, as well as good task management, which are key to doing well on hotel management courses and beyond. And as future opportunities for professional development present themselves, these skills will only become more finely honed, standing you in good stead for a great management career.