Traveling Tips for Severe Weather

There is a lot of forethought that goes into a trip. You think about packing, plane tickets, travel time, what to do when you arrive. However, sometimes Mother Nature can spoil even the best travel plans. Thankfully, you can take steps to prevent her spoiling the vacation you worked so hard for. Weather can impact you on every level. From what you bring, to what you buy, to what you do after you arrive, to even arriving or leaving on time. It can also affect the vehicle you rent or take around. The following are a few helpful tips you can utilize to help ensure that the elements have very little negative affect on your trip.

First and foremost, try going during the most temperate time of the year. If you plan on traveling north, try to go in the summer, or spring. If you are traveling south, fall or even winter are pretty safe bets. You can also familiarize yourself with the weather patterns of the area you are going to. If you are going to Arizona or New Mexico, check to see if its monsoon season or if there is a drought currently taking place. If you are going to a place like New York or Chicago during the winter, check the snow patterns. Some places have consistent snowfall throughout the entire winter, starting either before you expect or ending long after.

You can also pack to prepare, just in case the weather takes a turn for the worse. Normally you can buy whatever you need at your destination but a little forethought will help you avoid those unnecessary costs. Packing a heavy coat for winter states or a couple umbrellas for rainy states will go a long way in making sure you stay happy and you can spend your money on something you want rather than something you’ll end up needing.

Something else to consider is where you are staying. Make sure the hotel you are staying at is up to date and centrally located to the places you’d like to go. There are few things worse on a trip than having to spend it cooped up in four walls because a hurricane or blizzard suddenly hit. You can also rent a certain type of vehicle to help with your destination and needs. An SUV will come in handy if you are going somewhere that might have conditions that affect the road.

Finally, try and reach out to any local people in the area. They can sometimes be much more helpful than any website or television forecast. Your rental car company or hotel concierge should be able to provide you with a first-hand account of what you can expect weather-wise for your vacation. So, remember: research the area you are traveling to. Pack a light jacket, sensible shoes or a couple of ponchos. Look into your hotel location and accommodations and make sure your mode of transportation can handle most inclement weather. If you follow these simple tips, you should be ready for anything!

Container Gardening Basics For Success

Container Gardening is becoming more and more popular as the population of cities and suburbs increases. Your "garden" is movable and so it is easier to manage pests and garden environments. It also brings the time that you need to tend to your plants because you can place them where they are easier for you to reach. This is especially good for people who are handicapped but still want a garden.

There are some things that are necessary in order to have a successful container garden.

First, you must have a container. You can find them in almost every size, shape and they can be made of many different materials. And, they can be very inexpensive, especially when you create them from "found" objects. You must make sure that the container that you choose has adequate drainage.

Make sure that your container is appropriate for your plant's full-grown size. You do not want to have to keep changing pots as your garden grows.

Soil is the next thing you have to have for your garden. I'm sorry, but you can not go outside and dig up some dirt. It will be much too heavy and will probably contain lots of bugs and pests that you do not need. The soil must be of good quality to keep your plants healthy and growing well. Buy potting mix that drains well but still is able to retain adequate moisture. The mix should not be so light that it will not hold the plant and root system in the container without propping the plant up.

You can mix your own potting soil by using one part compost; one part perlite and one part garden loam. Be sure that you inspect the loam for pests before using it.

Choose plants that do not have very large root systems. Those plants will soon get too large for the pot that you have planted them in, even to the point of breaking it. As I mentioned before, not sizing the plant to the pot (or the pot to the plant), can cause plants to be spindly and root-bound.

Tomatoes are a good choice for a new gardener because they are easy to grow and have a strong, but small, root system. Other vegetables that are appropriate are peppers, lettuce, spinach, radishes and eggplant.

Herbs are also an excellent choice for container gardens. Herb gardens do not require much space and they are extremely easy to grow, even for the novice gardener. Like most plants, they do require adequate drain to grow them successfully.

Some people use container gardens as decorating accents as well as growing vegetables for the dinner table. Choosing containers that fit with the style of the area you want them in terms of its ambiance. You might even want to use them in a specific area inside your home. Sunrooms come to mind as a great place to grow plants. Do make sure there is adequate sun and shade for your plants.

Top 11 Reasons to Use Social Media in Business

Over the past few years, to say social media has exploded would be an understatement. Members of social media sites have discovered it's the easiest way to find, learn about, and share information that directly influences their purchasing decisions. It is this reason alone that every business should be on multiple social media sites in an effort to reach as many people as possible.

Below are the top 11 reasons to use social media in business:

  1. Build relationships – personal and professional; connect with all types of people – past and present coworkers, current clients, prospects, vendors, competitors, and marketing professionals to build your network
  2. Share your blog posts; share interesting and useful articles, other blogs, webinars, podcasts, presentations, and poll / survey results with your fan base
  3. Gather valuable information – research similar products / services, competitors, prospects, marketing tips, blog ideas, create your own poll / survey – the amount of information available is endless
  4. Join a social network of like-minded individuals or start a new interest group where you can further brand your product / service, build relationships, and share ideas and information
  5. Stay current with the latest trends – write a blog or join a discussion on a trending topic; become aware of new social media sites that might fit the needs of your business
  6. Land a great new job – using your new connections on various social media sites, you can get the inside scoop on companies that are hiring, as well as resume and interview tips
  7. Discover a new passion in life, become a volunteer, or start a fundraising event
  8. Get found by prospects by using inbound marketing tactics – spread the word about your product / service through social media sites; to form a complete marketing plan, combine this with outbound techniques (interruptive marketing)
  9. Build business reputation and brand – constantly add value to all your posts and become a trustworthy leader in your industry; to quote Bob Burg, "All things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to those people they know, like, and trust."
  10. Build a marketing department inexpensively – for start-ups, employing inbound marketing tactics is a cheap way to start marketing your product / service; most social media sites are free to join, while others have a minimal monthly or annual fee
  11. Help increase conversion rates – use social media and inbound marketing to steer more organic traffic to your website and convert more leads into sales; the average conversion rate is 2.3%, but varies by industries according to ClickZ, Marketing News & Expert Advice, http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/1691779/benchmarking-average-conversion-rate .

I recommend choosing a useful of sites to manage and start getting your feet wet. Not every social media site available will be right for you or your business and it would overwhelming to try them all. For example, consistently maintaining a blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ pages, a YouTube channel, as well as a Twitter account might be a great place to start. Depending on the type of business, a Pinterest, Tumblr, or Flickr account might or may not be worthwhile, but obviously they are great certain brands.

If you need help getting started, there are countless different types of resources. I have used the An Hour a Day book series on Facebook Marketing, Twitter Marketing, and Social Media Marketing. They address each entity in a step-by-step fashion that is very user-friendly. I also find Hubspot to be extremely helpful. They are continuously publishing user guides that contain valuable information, tips, and tricks. Lastly, when creating your profile on the various social media sites that best fit your marketing plan, it's a good idea to connect with other marketers to check out what they are doing to boost business.

Do you have a tip or trick to share with newcomers to social media? Share it with us; you are more than welcome to post questions and / or comments here!

What Are the Top 10 Tips for Small Business Branding?

Managing a business is not an easy job but promoting your business may be as hard as anyone else could ever imagine. And some small business owners thought that they have only limited things in order to manage and promote their business then they are definitely wrong. And some think that branding is for big businesses only then I will prove you wrong. And despite the business size, branding can be as effective as it can be. Here are the top 10 tips for small business branding.

The first one is to focus on the thing that you would like to establish, people won’t be attracted if you promote everything and anything under the sun, being an expert on one thing is what matters the most for the clients, making clients confused can never be a good idea, make them think on one important thing that stands your business.

The second one, is consistency on your performance. No one would love to patronize a company that doesn’t have consistency on its performance or on its quality. If you commit something to some clients, make sure you’ll do it, first impressions really lasts so better make sure to impress them positively and maintain it in order for you to have their loyalty.

The third one is to make an overview of your business at least on a one page document, letting them know how your business is running and what are your goals, mission and vision are very important tools in achieving for their approval, just be sure to make it brief and concise, no one will last if you write on plenty of flowering words, better to put on true informations.

The fourth one is, good treatment between you and your employees and between clients and employees as well, nothing can beat that.

The fifth one is, to remember that branding needs straight direction and longer maintenance and that there should be straight connection between the actual and the desired image.

The sixth one, join locally organized events and be one of the committees, it’s a good way to establish your image and business.

The seventh one is to blog, blogging is one of the great tools in establishing your business, making other people have an idea about it.

The eight one, you don’t have to depend everything to your logo, logo doesn’t make up the whole part of the business, so never spend too much time and effort on it, its just a part of the business.

And having your own company website is on the ninth place because obviously almost all people uses web, and the last one is not to depend too much on blogs, you must explore more over.

That’s the top 10 tips for small business branding Just don’t be afraid to give a try and to plan big for your business. And searching for branding tips can be easily done when you are eager to do it.