7 THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE STARTING A SMALL BUSINESS

Entrepreneurs continue to be the driving force behind the economy of British Columbia. Small business represents a remarkable 98 percent of all business in the province, employing over one million people in the process. With incubator programs, grants, and support from services like Small Business BC, there’s never been a better time to start a small business. Whether your idea is fully formed, or you’ve yet to move past the “idea on a napkin” phase, you can give yourself the best chance of success by considering these seven tips for starting a small business.

Starting a Small Business

Pursue Your Passion

Steve Thorp, Co-Founder of Postmark Brewing and Vancouver Urban Winery believes business works best when it aligns with your passions in life: “For young entrepreneurs, I would advise that whatever you do, make sure your business aligns with your life and your passions because that passion will drive you on when times are tough. Don’t get pushed into an industry based on greed or money.”

Craft A Business Plan

A business plan will help you communicate to others how you’re going to bring your idea to fruition. The business plan should include answers to questions like – what is the purpose of the business? Who will you sell your product to? How will you finance the startup phase? And finally, what is your contingency plan? Unsure of how to put a business plan together? Small Business BC offers seminars and advisory services to get the ball rolling.

Contingency Plans

No matter how well prepared you think you are, certain aspects of your business are going to take longer and cost more than you think. Having a strong contingency plan when starting a business is a must because every business has obligations, and how are you going to meet them if the money hasn’t started to come in yet?

Have You Got Time?

Trying to lessen the risk, a lot of entrepreneurs start their company on the side while also working a full-time job. Are you willing to sacrifice your free time to pursue your business? It helps to think of this time as an investment, one that will pay off when your company becomes successful and you’re free to pick and choose your own hours.

The Benefits of Mentorship

When you feel like your progress has plateaued, an expert or mentor could provide an outside viewpoint to help surmount the problem. Entrepreneurs love to think they’ve got all the answers, but sometimes admitting you need help is the push needed to make tangible progress. Small Business BC’s Talk to the Expert program is one avenue to pursue, connecting entrepreneurs with industry experts for guidance in a one-on-one consultation.

Spread the Word

When starting a small business, your success is predicated on your number of customers. Getting the word out about your product/service is key, and don’t dismiss the potential of networking. Consider attending local meetups, conferences, or connecting with people over social media. Casting a wide net lets you put you and your product in front of as many people as possible.

Stepping out of the Comfort Zone

It’s all too easy to put up a mental barrier and convince yourself you can’t do something. The universal trait found in entrepreneurs is the ability to push past that nagging voice and step out of their comfort zone. Tara Bosch, the 23-year-old founder and CEO of Smart Sweets takes an interesting view on this: “Every stumbling block is an opportunity. When things don’t go to plan, and it will (fast and often in my experience), ask yourself, what can I learn to improve? Apply this thinking to your business and it will save you learning that lesson in a much more painful (and expensive) way later.

Make Life Easier With Small Business

Small businesses enrich their communities by giving back to local nonprofits and charities, creating jobs, and keeping their money local. It’s all thanks to small business owners, some of the busiest, hardest-working people around. 

Attract and keep a great team with employee benefits

Your team is the frontline of your business. When someone makes a purchase or books a service, it’s your team that determines the experience they’ll have and the impression you’ll make.

Attracting — and keeping — the best team is a key part of success for small businesses in every industry, but that’s often easier said than done when you’re competing with big businesses that have resources you don’t.

Protect your business with affordable legal support

Your small business isn’t just where you spend the majority of your time or what you do from 9am – 5pm. It’s your biggest asset, and protecting it is one of the most important things you can do as a small business owner.

From identity theft to threats to intellectual property, there are a number of legal issues small business owners may face. The right legal protection keeps your business safe.

Save time and money with small business accounting

Most entrepreneurs don’t start businesses because they have a passion for bookkeeping or business taxes. They do it because they’re passionate about the work and want to serve their community.

Professional accounting services can help you spend more of your time serving your customers and running your business, and less time filing taxes and doing the bookkeeping. It will also help you avoid an audit, stay in compliance and take advantage of relevant deductions.

Grow your business with small business marketing

Trying to grow a small business without marketing is like trying to win a marathon without doing any training — it just doesn’t work. To get new leads, you need to get in front of them. Small business marketing helps you do just that.

Smart marketing is about having a strong, visible presence wherever your prospective customers are looking and spending their time. These days, that can include many channels, from Google to Facebook.

Get funding with quick and easy small business lending

Whether you’re looking to expand your business, upgrade your equipment, stock up your inventory, or move to a new location, there are many reasons you may need small business funding.

Getting a small business off the ground isn’t cheap, nor is growing a small business. There are a number of funding options to choose from, and finding the right one for your needs is critical.

Why Digital Marketing Is Important For Small Business

Marketing requires skills to be able to write content that is unique and appealing. Having a quality marketing strategy is very rewarding. If you are able to make your name famous and your brand a household commodity, then your strategy will be rewarding. Any business and company that wants to have an impact and be profitable must take advantage of marketing to have a market share.

There are many ways of marketing your brand or product. However, the marketing strategy employed must be in line with the business goals. The marketing section should be able to gather the relevant information and come up with the right B2B marketing strategy. One of the marketing ways that have been doing incredibly well is digital marketing. This article will have a close look at how to start a digital marketing agency and its advantages.

Digital Marketing

This is a marketing area that investors should be thinking about because with the advancement in technology, the world is becoming a global village. Some of the necessary steps in starting digital marketing are here.

1. Gathering Of Information

Gather informative information about the field of digital marketing and equip yourself. For you, to be successful in any area you must have the right information. Therefore, you should invest your time and money learning about digital marketing, and it will reward you. Resources are available online, you can access through the internet, good and useful resources from all over the world.

2. Identify Competitors

It is critical in every business to know who your competitor is. Research on the methods they use in their marketing strategies. Read their posts, blogs, and social media platforms. You can learn their ways and be able to surpass them.

3. Launch A Website

It is crucial to have a way your clients will reach in a safe way. That is why having a website that is reliable is important. It should be safe so that it doesn’t scare your clients away. More so, you should keep it active such that whenever your customers visit it, they have something to learn about your product. Ensure that your presence is felt on other social media platforms too.

4. Have A Business Model And A Niche

Niche is essential; it makes it possible for clients to easily identify you. It also helps you to stand out even though the competition is stiff. Additionally, if you want to win the trust of your customers, you can offer free services for a while. This strategy will attract potential customers. By this, you also stand a chance of getting reviews from clients. After winning the trust of the customers, have a reasonable method of payment that is simple and safe for your customers.

Advantages Of Quality Digital Marketing

Consistency in brand marketing is one of the secrets that are used by big companies. It determines the growth rate and business success. Some of the benefits are;

A. Creating Awareness

Digital marketing creates brand awareness for people who may not be aware of the existence of such a product. They can attract customers that otherwise, they would not have come.

B. Image Creation

Marketing makes business visible to the world. The image of its product sticks in people’s minds when they keep on seeing it. Your brand starts to have authority and in the end, you have a market share.

C. You Win Customers Loyalty And Trust

When you have the trust and the loyalty of customers they stick longer. Your customer relationship improves and by these, you are likely to get referrals from loyal customers. And with the right information that you feed to the customers, your brand reputation improves.

D. Profit

When you are able to operate in that way with a good customer relationship, making a profit will be automatic. Your income will increase because you will have loyal customers and referrals that you receive from your customers.

Final Thoughts

Quality and consistently improving marketing content are pivotal for your business growth and success. However, this must come from your clear understanding of your customers’ needs. Implement CRM for digital marketing agencies to check on the inquiries from your customers, and visitors who visit your site. Remember to be consistent in keeping your presence felt in the social media platforms and your success is grated.

You must read: Hong Kong company registry

How To Get Your Small Business To Stand Out In An Oversaturated Market

For anyone, starting up a business can be pretty overwhelming. You have a lot of factors you need to think about such as avoiding going into debt, providing a good product or service, and even trying to get your product known to the public.

Small business owners tend to have to wear multiple hats the first few years of starting up their business. This can get exhausting extremely quickly, but in the end, it’ll be worth it to have a thriving business. Something else that business owners need to consider is whether or not their product or idea is going to be in an oversaturated market.

Now more than ever, it seems as if the barrier to entry for most industries is fairly low. You don’t necessarily need much capital anymore to start a business, you don’t necessarily need a team, a physical location, or even a physical product or service for that matter.

The world is changing, and the market changes with it. So with such low barriers to entry, it’s entirely understandable that you’re going to feel drowned out in such a large crowd. It feels as if you’re one small pebble in the ocean right? Fortunately, even in the most oversaturated of markets, you’re going to be able to stand out.

These are some helpful tips for standing out in the crowd with your small business!

Understand That There Are Various Forms Of Marketing

Marketing is going to be one of the best ways to get your product known. In fact, this is going to be one of the most important aspects as well. You can have the most fabulous product out there, but if you’re not marketing it, how will anyone ever discover it?

Sometimes, it’s marketing that is going to help out in being one of the key roles in getting your business out there and known. It’s just to just be open and look at the different types of options that you have for marketing and really make sure you get guaranteed SEO results as well. Just be open to utilizing multiple aspects of marketing because they can all help.

Don’t Worry About Trends

Trying to do what’s trendy is one of the best ways to not stick out. If you’re wanting to compete in an oversaturated market, then you’re going to need to completely skip out on the standard marketing trends that are going on.

That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t look at consumer trend reports for your industry. All it means is that you’re going to need to be a bit more innovative. Work towards being a trend starter, a trendsetter, not just someone that follows trends. Plus, sometimes following trends just make you become further away from your true authentic self and how you’re wanting your business.

Be Creative With Content Creation

When it comes to creating a strong marketing strategy, it’s best to know that a marketing strategy is something that needs to be formulated. It’s far more than just using automation, or buying some ad space. While marketing may sound easy, there’s a lot that needs to go into it. Content creation comes in a variety of forms, and content creation is one of the biggest ways to set yourself apart from your competitors.

There are plenty of ways you can create compelling content whether it be books, courses, videos, or even go as far as hiring influencers. But in general, your content should not come off as salesy. You want to provide value to your target audience because who likes having something being sold to them?

Niche Down

Being a business owner means knowing that serving a broad audience will get you nowhere. Instead, it’s always best to just niche down. Finding your niche and specializing in a niche is going to get you much further than trying to catch everyone’s attention as much as possible.

Niching down also means getting to find a more close-knit community that you can serve. Why try to serve everyone in an oversaturated market when you can instead niche down in this market to serve the clientele properly? It’s hands-down one of the best things you can do for your business.

Find What’s Missing In The Industry Or With Your Competitors

All of your competitors are going to be missing something, maybe it’s good customer service, maybe it’s the need for a better product. Regardless of what it is, it’s best to find what is missing from their services and benefit from it. Try to be the best option for customers.

Things You Should Know About Lead Generation

Do you know about email marketing? What is the first step? We always start with an empty email list and a task of email lead generation. Building a targeted email list requires a little time and thought. But you have to take your time to generate some leads for your business.

Do you know that conversion rates with email are 40 times higher than social media? With that said, you must have a strategy in place to make it work. If you want long-term led generation for your business, then email lead generation is crucial.

In this article, we will discuss everything about lead generation. It is one of the important techniques for generating more sales for your business. In short words, it is a process of attracting customers that are interested in your products or services.

There are several strategies to choose from depending on your products or services. For example, if you have a digital product, you can work with Social media, websites, email, and newsletters. But if you have a physical product, you can work with websites, influencers, and social media marketing.

What Is A Lead?

Before we go any further, lets’ discuss what a lead is. It refers to a customer that is a potential customer or a prospect. You also need to know that the definition for this term varies from one company to another. According to some companies, a “lead” is a contact that is already a prospective customer. While in some companies, a lead means sales contact. However, one thing is the same that a lead is to become a future paying client.

Specifically, a lead is a person that shows interest in your products or services. If a person is interested, then he would really want to know more about the company. These kinds of interested people are leads that can be turned into customers through the lead generation process.

Social Media Marketing

Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have billions of users around the globe. You can generate some leads from these platforms. You don’t need to use all of them- which platform is better depends on your niche. No matter which platform, you do need to post regular content and engage with the customers.

Setting up a page on Facebook Business is very easy. You can create one in a few minutes and then can share it with your marketing team. You can drive traffic to your page from adverts, emails, and websites. Share some good content that people can relate to. They will start sharing your post, which will help generate more leads.

Webinars

Another great way is to arrange a webinar. Using this strategy, you can bring all of your leads in one place and then can show them your service or product.  Furthermore, you will get the chance to showcase your knowledge to customers. At the end of the webinar, take some time to answer the questions and have a discussion with your customers. They will get the chance to provide you with important feedback and know more about your services.

Blogging

Another great way to build relationships with your existing customers and generate more leads is blogging. If you believe that you have information related to your company that can benefit others, then do create a blog on your website. These blogs should not belong but contain useful information. In short words, you should share your knowledge with others.

For example, if you provide HVAC services, then you can write blogs about HVAC maintenance, reduce cost, etc. A person looking for such information will land on your blog. This way, you can generate lots of leads that may end up in a sale.

Landing Pages

One of the best things about having your own website is that you can track the people who visit. Using an analytics tool, you can get some great information and insights about visitors. You will get to know what they are looking at and which page they are spending more time on.

Hence, it is essential to have a call to action button that can get them to more information. For example, if you are an HVAC company,n a call to action button can take the customers to your online shop or your appointment booking page. Hence, it is important to build some easy-to-use and attractive landing pages.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is a great way to generate leads for your company. The conversion rate with email marketing is 40% greater than social media. You should make a list of subscribers and send them regular emails about company updates, promotions, offer discounts.

Influencers

Every industry has a few people who have lots of followers on social media. They have a great relationship with their audience. They can influence the buying decision of their customer. Find influencers in your niche and ask them to feature your product. You can ask them to review your product on social media. For example, if you have a hotel, then you can ask the influencer to stay and review it.

Competitions

If you want to generate leads faster, you can offer a giveaway or competition. You can use your newsletter or social media to promote it. The competition should end up with a button that can turn people into leads.

Why Your Business Need Leads?

You should work on a lead generation strategy to increase sales and attract the target audience to your website. With the strategy, you can drive traffic to your website, which can convert leads into customers. You should know that Google has made it easy for businesses. Using the search engine, you can target a customer looking for your product or service.

Using different methods, you can attract a ton of potential customers to your business and turn them into leads. Use different marketing methods to attract more people to your business. The leads you will generate will turn into sales. The important thing for you is to find the best way to market your business.

5 Ways to Engage Customers via Email Marketing

Title Alternatives:

  1. How to Engage Customers via Email Marketing (71)
  2. 5 Best Ways to Engage Customers via Emails (68)
  3. 5 Best Tips to Engage Customers Via Emails (68)

Meta Description:

Struggling to get engagement from your customers through email marketing? Here are 5 fail-proof tactics, with examples and tools, to boost your engagement.

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Email marketing is super effective. We all know that.

But did you know that poor engagement is the top challenge of 44% of email marketers? So is email marketing worth the effort and investment when emails aren’t getting clicks and opens?

Absolutely YES, it is!

Email marketing continues to be an effective and reliable way to inform people about your business and nurture them towards the purchase and beyond.

But if you’re still apprehensive about its efficacy, check out this stat:  78% of marketers noticed a surge in their email engagement numbers in 2019 after following some proven tactics.

Such as?

To find that answer, read on. I’m going to elaborate on the top five ways to create engaging and click-worthy emails for your brand. Let’s get started.

Five Insanely Effective Tips to Create Engaging Emails

Before we start talking about engagement strategies, you need to clean your email list and remove inactive contacts.

Why so?

Because contacts that haven’t engaged with your emails in the past 12 months or so are unlikely to change their behaviour, no matter what you try. And since most of the tools mentioned below cap contact volumes, it doesn’t make sense to exhaust your limit on inert contacts.

Once you have a list of high-potential contacts, it’s time to catch their attention and get them clicking on your emails. Here’s how:

1. Personalize Your Emails

The days of ‘email blasts’ are definitely over. With user attention dwindling and email volumes swelling, generic emails don’t cut the mustard anymore. To grab eyeballs, you need to create personalized, tailored messaging.

While I do understand that it’s impossible to create individualized messages for each contact, it’s important to factor in personalization when you first create your email marketing strategy.

Opt for tools that can help you with dynamic content, list segmentation, and A/B testing. Don’t limit yourself to personalized salutations and subject lines. Dig into the historical data of your contacts to find insights into their tastes and needs. Then, incorporate those insights into your email content, calls-to-action (CTA) and targeting.

Need a real-life example?

Amazon’s marketing team is known to use customer complaints to get into the minds of their customers.

There’s one more trick that experts at Amazon practise. They closely watch how their website design visitors interact with their Recommended Products section in order to understand their psyches. Thereafter, they use this knowledge to create more on-target promotional emails. Naturally, such emails are received warmly and acted on promptly.

2. Segment Your Contacts

If you’re still relying on a spray-and-pray approach in email marketing, I’m afraid you are just wasting your marketing budget. You need to segment your contacts into lists and create targeted campaigns for each segment.

Segmentation starts with sign-up forms in which you ask your contacts and customers about their locations, ages, professions, interests, and more. You can also ask them about the kind of emails they would enjoy getting from brands like you. By soliciting permission from your customers, you gain their trust and perhaps engagement.

If you missed the sign-up form stage, worry not. You can also segment contacts by their buyer journey stages and user actions.

Sometimes, people start browsing your product pages and blog posts before they convert into customers. That’s why it’s wise to segment lists by user actions rather than customer journeys.

For older contacts, the best segmentation parameter is past email interactions. You can use tools to track your emails and divide contacts into warm, cool, and cold segments based on their click behaviours.

Once your segmented lists are ready, create dedicated campaigns for each segment. Such campaigns are high on relevancy, which is why they garner more engagement.

3. Write Compelling Subject Lines

You have just a few seconds to make a positive first impression on your email recipients and stand out in overcrowded inboxes. Strong, personalized, and catchy subject lines can do the task for you.

There are many ways to draw attention to your subject lines.

Like what?

You can include emojis, power words, and personalized offers in them. Stay away from clickbait words and phrases like ‘free,’ ‘cheap,’ and ‘discount.’ Like blog posts, listicles and how-tos have a good click-through rate in subject lines as well.

Since user fatigue is high in digital marketing, copywriting trends evolve very fast. So, stay abreast of the latest email marketing trends while crafting your subject lines.

4. Make Your Emails Visually Appealing

Text-heavy emails don’t engage readers.

If your emails have short blocks of text peppered with videos and visuals, there are better chances that readers will read through till the end. In fact, including videos in your emails can improve the CTR by 300%.

If you don’t have the resources or skills to create custom videos, you can always opt for free stock footage. These videos are slick, royalty-free, and available for a nominal one-time fee.

You can also add GIFs, sliders, and collapsible menus to make your emails more interactive.

What else?

Ensure that your emails have a responsive design since more and more people are opening their emails on mobile devices. If your emails don’t adapt to different screen sizes, you can end up frustrating mobile users who will not hesitate to unsubscribe.

So, use white space liberally and don’t stack too many links close together if you want all your email elements to render well on small screens.

5. Use Email Automation

All of the above efforts will be in vain if your marketing lacks consistency and timeliness. If you don’t hustle around the clock, you can lose the equity you’ve taken years to build.

But you can’t possibly churn out campaigns at scale by hand. That’s where you need marketing automation. You can use email automation software to create marketing funnels for your segmented contacts.

The tools maintain contact profiles, A/B test your emails, and track their engagement rates. They help you create, schedule, send, and track emails while adhering to compliance regulations.

The best part about these tools is their robust analytics. They generate detailed reports about campaign performance that can be used as a compass for the future.

Are You Ready to Run Engaging Email Marketing Campaigns?

Customer engagement should be a priority for brands. It boosts customer retention and extends customer lifetime value. Acquiring new customers is relatively more challenging and costly than keeping old customers.

Among other things, email marketing can be critical to your customer engagement efforts. But, as said before, generic, bland emails can be more of a turn-off for your customers than anything else.

So, personalise and beautify your emails, segment your contacts, write powerful subject lines, and use automation tools. That way, your customers will look forward to hearing from you again and again.

Do you need more email marketing tips or tools? Let me know in the comments below. I’m always happy to help.

How To Create And Maintain A Family-Friendly Backyard

Creating a family-friendly backyard is all about finding a perfect balance between a fun playground for kids and a relaxing area for parents. To make this perfect blend of both worlds, check out these useful tips and tricks.

Family-Friendly Backyard Space for the Kids

If you have children, you can create a space that is safe for them to play in. The goal should be to create a fun, yet safe backyard. This space should encourage your kids to get out and soak some sunlight. There are many ways to do so, and these are some of them.

Create a Soft Spot

To make a soft spot in the backyard, start with a huge swath of lawn. Your backyard space needs a simple patch of grass. This will help create a safe play space as well as visual relief. You can also create a natural barrier at the ends of the lawn. Simply use landscaping techniques to create a soft edge.

Inspire Play

Kids will more likely go outside to play if you implement a few play features. Avoid using a pre-built playground and try to come up with something unique. Get a tire swing, a bridge, a nice hammock, and a sand area. Try to arrange them in a unique way. Make a playground that will be versatile and fun for your kids. These are just some of the basics that you can rearrange however you want.

Splish Splash

You can bring it to a whole new level and make the playground even more unique. Simply place a water feature in the middle of the playground. It can be a mini pool, a splash pad, or a hot tub. This can be a great hangout spot in your backyard. That’s for sure.

Hangout Space for the Adults

You can also create a space for you and your friends. Make something nice and quiet for adults where you will be able to relax after a long day at work. You can make a grilling area, a Zen space for yoga, or a simple seating area for drinking coffee. Whatever you choose, just make sure to separate it from the kids’ playing area.

Furnish It

If you want to have a multi-purpose family-friendly backyard, you need to take good care of the adult area too. You can implement a furniture patio. Create a social area where people can hang out and enjoy warm summer nights together. Purchase a long outdoor table that will be the center of the patio. This is where you can have family dinners together. Place it somewhere where you have a clear view of your kids as they’re playing in the backyard. Also, make sure to place the patio near the kitchen and bar.

A Quick Getaway

Your family-friendly backyard should be a quick getaway for all family members. Everyone should be able to enjoy some outdoor time in nature. That’s why you should consider getting a reading nook, a hammock, or a pergola. You should place it in some far-away, quiet corner where you can be alone when you need some me-time. You can also use a comfy bench and decorate the area with a small pond, colorful flowers, and some yard art.

Family-friendly backyard and its safety

To make your family-friendly backyard even more relaxing and enjoyable, you can make a few modifications to your garden as well.

Safe Landscaping

It might seem unnecessary to mention it, but it’s still very important. All the landscaping that you plan on doing in your backyard should be safe. This includes all family members and pets. While some plants may be harmless to humans, they can be quite dangerous for cats and dogs. You also never know what kids might find in the backyard and decide to put in their mouths. So be careful and make sure to put away potential choking hazards.

Family Gardening

This is a great chance for you to teach your kids something new while taking care of your backyard. You and your kids can work together to create a beautiful garden for your backyard. All you need are some proper gardening tools and the plants of your choice. Make sure to teach your kids how to take care of the plants. It’s also helpful to invest in the best gardening hose reels that will help keep your plants watered at all times.

Light it up

Lastly, to really spice things up, use lights to create a special atmosphere. Once the sun sets down and your friends gather for a lovely evening gathering, use the dimmed lights around the backyard to create a cozy and comfy atmosphere that you can all enjoy together.

Conclusion

In conclusion, making a family-friendly backyard is all about creating a safe space for children and a relaxing area for you and your friends to enjoy when you want to hang out. Follow these tips and you’ll soon have your own Zen garden.

The Beginner’s Guide To Start Bike Touring: How To Travel With A Bicycle

I get asked a lot how to start a bike?

A few years ago, if you asked me about travelling around the world on a bicycle, I would laugh at you.

I was at the end of the travel spectrum having exhausted all options and had no inkling at that time about the wonders of taking a bicycle halfway around the world.

I’ll be honest, I did not even know how to ride a bike — it was a very sad and unfortunate discovery the day I realised I was missing out on years of pedalling fun!

Growing up is part of life but missing out on a vehicle that is more than just any ride in the park, but an experience on its own that can give you an enormous sense of freedom is not to be taken lightly or to be missed for anything else in the world.

I tinkered with trying to learn how to ride a motorbike before deciding that a bicycle may be a better option because it saves me money and I am able to use my strength to visit different parts of the world which is an achievement on its own.

The simplicity of all of it, that’s what makes bicycle touring a sport that is addictive, fun and a big boost on your life experience!

Why You Should Travel By Bike?

Bottom of Form

Other than friends and family asking me the long-dreaded question of why I travel by bike, I’ll explain how I did to the rest.

For me taking trips is about finding that sweet spot of challenging myself, seeing beautiful landscapes and eating awesome meals and meeting new people.

Sure, you can do all of that via walking or backpacking but the bicycle is often a great conversation starter — the stickers, mud, bags are all little things that may make other people want to come forward and interact with you.

Other than the pure exhilaration of seeing new landscapes, the natural environment has changed drastically due to the ravages of global warming.

I have seen what climate change looks like upfront and it makes you think about your choices, the more you explore on a two-wheeler!

The places that we want to see or have been written about are often packed to the brim with tourists.

Post-pandemic, you’ll see people being a lot more conscious with their travel choices, slower journeys will take centre stage with the train, cycling, walking being the favoured choice of transportation over tourist packages!

Bicycle touring offers a chance to enjoy the undiscovered discoveries by coincidence, and a natural inclination to pause and see beauty in the ordinary.

It is a different kind of feeling to be able to pedal with some miles to nowhere, seeing flowers bloom at the right time and soaking in beauty in remote corners of the world!

How to travel by bike

Travelling by your bike is not as complicated as some people make it out to be. The annoying part is probably trying to sort bike logistics when making your way to the airport or railway station.

Another consideration is also weight limits — you’d need to check this beforehand and understand which is the best way.

  • By flight

If you’re taking your bicycle by plane, you’d need a bike box or a bike bag to pack your bike beforehand.

The easiest way to sort this is to take it to the bicycle shop for them to wrap it up for you. It should cost approximately 10-12 USD.

You’ll also need to be driven to the airport and get a bigger car where the back seats can be folded for your bike bag or box to fit.

But thankfully, that’s all made easier with dedicated companies like BikeFlights where they literally take care of the nitty-gritty and have been hugely supportive with their advocacy work and grassroots community programs!

  • By bus/train

There’s no real packing method to sort here other than enquiries from your local station if you can carry your bicycle on board.

Most stations do have a separate bike compartment and some have certain hours where bicycles are allowed. Buying a separate ticket for your bicycle is also common.

If you’re using the bus, this is largely dependent on your negotiating skills. You’d need to negotiate with the bus driver and ensure there’s enough space for them to put your bike.

In Laos, my bicycle was on the roof and they tied it properly but in Kygyrzstan I got them to stuff my bike in marshrutka (van) which made it really cramped and not the best way to place your bicycle but I made sure the front wheel was taken out and rest was inserted properly.

How to budget for a bicycle tour

It is quite cheap to cycle on a bicycle tour — at most I spend less than US$29 per day and this was while staying in a hotel. If you’re camping, it’s way cheaper than this.

The most you’ll end up splurging on is on food and occasionally your accommodation.

I know some extreme bicycle tourers who keep it to US$10 a day — I think this is possible if you’re cycling in Asia or camping but the budget varies depending on your comfort and bicycle travelling setup.

Do You Have Proper Training Confined Spaces

Training for new hire employees is a crucial procedure for their professional growth. Whether it is SEO training that can be performed from home or a training or a job that has to be done on-site, It would be a mistake if you hired new people and wouldn´t provide them with proper training. Some of them can learn as they go, but some of them are not. Whether they adapt quickly or not, it is your responsibility to allow them to learn the new job. Another important thing is that some procedures are so important that they are not a matter of your goodwill. They simply must be taught to prevent some future accidents with possible lethal outcomes. Confined spaces training is one of those things. Let’s explain what confined spaces are.

What are confined spaces?

First of all, let’s define the confined spaces and the possible hazards.

The explanation is simple, although surprisingly many people get confused about it. A confined space must be large enough so the employee can fully get in and perform whatever work they have been assigned to. This type of space was not designed for performing continuous work because its conditions are not appropriate and it can be hazardous. The reason for this, among some other things, is that it is limited in terms of entrance and exit, so if something happens in there, it might be difficult to get out. Examples of confined spaces are vaults, tanks, storage bins, pits, diked areas, vessels, silos, and other similar places. A permit-required confined space has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere, materials that could engulf somebody, the internal configuration could entrap or asphyxiate someone or contain any sort of hazardous materials.

Do you need confined space training?

If your company hires people who would work in places like the ones described above, then you need to provide them with proper confined space training. Construction workers are the most common people who work in confined spaces. It would be good if you could pass through all the levels ¡, from basic courses to the advanced ones that deal with rescue operations. A lack of proper training could result in fatal consequences with people injured or even dead, which is why this procedure is mandatory by the law. Hiring a trainer can be the best option for those who are not entirely sure how to perform these training sessions.

The requirements for confined spaces training

One of the critical factors is that employees must receive their training before they ever get assigned a job that requires entering a confined space. If the potential hazards of a space change, employees require retraining. Let’s check some of the main OSHA regulations related to this:

●     The training should be done in such a manner that all the employees acquire the necessary knowledge and skills. No partial understanding is acceptable since it can lead to serious consequences.

●     The employer should evaluate the workplace to see if any spaces are permit-required confined spaces.

●     If the workplace contains permit spaces, the employer has to inform the employees, by posting danger signs, of the existence and location of and the danger in those places.

●     We mentioned that the training must be provided before the assignment of the job or before some important changes to the procedure, but other than that it also should be provided if the employer considers that there are some inadequacies to the employee’s knowledge.

●     If the employer decides that its employees will enter permit spaces, the employer has to implement a written permit space protocol that should be available for inspection by employees and their authorized representatives.

●         Before an employee enters the space, the internal atmosphere must be tested with adequate instruments for oxygen content, flammable gases, and vapors, and for potential toxic air contaminants, in that order. Any employee who enters the space must be provided an opportunity to observe the pre-entry testing.

●     The adequate usage of equipment for gas monitoring or dealing ventilation in spaces like tunnels for example.

●     Supervisors must learn too. They learn how to properly monitor their workers.

●     The certification of knowledge should be issued and approved by the responsible authorities.

Working in confined spaces is a dangerous and responsible job. If you hire employees that will be assigned jobs like that, your legal obligation is to give them proper training. You will do this by hiring the right person or company that will provide them with all the necessary knowledge and a certificate to prove it. The regulations are numerous and we only presented the most important ones in this summary. Remember that human lives are above everything else and that neglecting the protocols and the rules can lead to fatal injuries. Even if the consequences are not that serious, think about the satisfaction of your employees and bear in mind that constantly hiring new employees is more expensive than sticking to the ones you have and investing in preparing them for all the possible hazardous situations. That is the best way to have a well-organized team ready for anything.

3 Free Ways to Create a Custom Event Banner

Marketing is key to attracting people to your events. However, once you’ve used every move in the book to draw attention to your business, how you captivate your audience is all that will matter in the end. You want useful brochures, branded merchandise, and helpful staff that will ensure your visitors are all well-taken care of and aid you in creating a unique brand experience.

Something else that you will need is useful signage that will help guests find your event easily. In addition to directions, you should also think about displaying a custom event banner so that people can recognize your business in no time. What is more, banners can also be used in digital formats for your online events. Adding the banner to all your social media traffic will show that you are consistent and help you stay on your audience’s mind.

For a novice with a small budget, creating a custom banner can appear like a strain on the budget and something that will take away too much precious time that could be spent on planning the event itself. However, you can rest easy as there are free tools that can help you create a unique banner for your event rather quickly. Read on to learn more.

1. Try Adobe Spark

Adobe is known for a wide variety of quality products and Spark is one you can use free of charge. When it comes to making banners, they will provide you with thousands of templates that were designed by professionals. This means that you are never starting from scratch.

If you have any theme in mind, you can simply search for a mood, color, or aesthetic that fits your event. Once you find something you like, you can open it in the editor that will allow you to make changes. You can personalize it by changing the font and the color. Replace the stock images with those of your company’s logo and products or with some that you found in their image database.

For digital banners, you can even add animated stickers and gifs that will really make the design pop. Then, you can choose the sizes you want and save your work. Your custom banner can be shared digitally via email or text, you can post it on your socials straight away, or download it to have it printed later on. The designs you make with Adobe Spark will be saved so that you can always go back and make some adjustments.

2. Give Canva ago

On the other hand, you can also opt for Canva. Start by creating a free account if you want to be able to save your design. After that, the process is pretty much the same as with Adobe Spark. You will get to explore Canva’s range of templates in various styles and themes.

Once you click on one, you can customize it in just a few minutes if you have a clear idea. Everything from the font to the color of the text can be changed until you find the right combination. You can also explore and add images, icons, logos, illustrations, gifs, and so on. Save your design in whichever format best suits you, forward the image to professionals that will have your event banner printed in no time, and use it on your social media profiles as well.

3. Make one with Placeit

Placeit is yet another free tool that you can utilize to create a unique banner for your event. Opt for a design from the vast selection of templates and enter specific details about the event. Once again, everything including fonts, text size, and color can be customized. Plus, while you can upload your own image to serve as the background, you can also use any of the images from the library located at the bottom of the page.

Type in the dimensions that you need and your design will be adapted immediately. Placeit also includes easy sharing to various social media platforms, which will save you a lot of time. When you’re ready, download the image and print it.

Bottom Line

While there are more options than just these three, they are a great starting point if you are completely new to customizing designs for your company. Use any of them to create a custom banner for your event and your guests should be impressed.