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How do You Handle Competition in Your Small Biz?

20 Nov

This is a subject that has been running around in my head for a few months now. I’ve been working with a few little businesses who have been dogged by various competition based issues and it’s always interesting to see how differently people handle these things.

I have always been very pro-competition. It is something I have embraced throughout my business life. Some of you may find this crazy, but some of my ‘competitors’ have actually become good friends. I have been a mentor to small business owners who are running businesses that will operate in ‘competition’ with me … yes, I really have!

Over the last couple of months there has been what appears to be a national shortage of candle making supplies in Australia. It has been a very frustrating time for many of us as we approach one of the busiest periods of the year. I am fortunate enough to belong to a great Facebook group of candle and soap makers and it has been a joy to see them help each other out with information during this difficult time. I have also been able to directly help some of my more local ‘competitors’ when they have run out of supplies that they need urgently and I have excess of those supplies. I’m sure that now many of my readers will be shaking their heads and denouncing me as a complete nutter: ‘Why on earth would she want to give her competitors supplies?’ Continue reading

“Aaaagh Facebook!” How to make it work a bit better for you …

1 Dec
As we all know Facebook have been making a lot of changes recently – and I actually like most of them. However, I have noticed a lot of posts from the small businesses I follow asking people to ‘Like’ their post so that they start showing up in people’s feeds again.

The problem with running a small business and relying on Facebook for the bulk of your sales is that when FB makes changes – even if you are keeping up with them as a business – many of your fans have no idea what has changed. They are still seeing all their friends posts, so what’s all the fuss about?

 Well, let’s try and educate you and your fans shall we?

So this picture is my FB personal profile page a few weeks back and I’ve strategically placed large pink arrows to direct you to the two crucial things (in my opinion!) – Lists and Sort. Continue reading

Sourcing graphics

14 May

I felt it was probably a wise move to mention the sourcing of graphics for projects here.  For me this area has always been a bit of a mine field. 

Throughout most of my working life I have been an avid user of Microsoft clip art and other media files.  I know that these are safe and free from royalties, etc for the uses I’ve put them to.  However, now that I’ve started with Invites I’ve become aware of a number of pitfalls with regard to copyright, royalties and licencing of images, clip art and other digital graphics.  All the sites I have visited during my various searches for original graphics have their licencing and terms of use posted somewhere, however not all are easy to find.

I don’t want to go into the depths of the various copyright and terms of use contracts here but generally the graphics (even if you purchase them) may only be used for personal use.  Some may be used commercially, but often that means on finished products only – i.e. you may not resell the graphics in their raw form – and to me that is only fair.  Some state that you must change the graphic in some way.  There are all sorts of pitfalls and if you are about to embark on a similar journey to me then I would strongly recommend that you check out the origin of your graphics, clip art and images before posting them to a web site.  It is often possible to purchase a licence from the designer which allows you use the graphic in the way you wish – all it takes is a quick e-mail.

So, for the sake of the designers I would ask that you take a bit of time to consider the use of the image you are about to download and out of courtesy make sure you have permission to use it as you want.  If you are unsure contact the designer and ask – you may find that a simple  acknowledgement is all that is required.

That said, I try very hard to acknowledge the designer of any media I use where required.  If you are a designer and have found one of your graphics illegally used on my site please do get in touch with me and I will arrange to correct any error as soon as possible.  It will have been a genuine mistake on my part.

Have fun looking for new graphics!

Jane

Extending Web Advertising

14 Apr

Just wanted to let you know that I am now working on listing Invites by Just Jane on as many free web directories as possible!  You’ll notice that my front page has a Start Local image on it and this is one of the directories I have listed with. 

Listing your business in this fashion is a good way to find alternative markets on the web that you perhaps have not considered or tapped into in the past.  It is also another way to encourage your clients to recommend you on an unbiased website.  I’m a big fan of testimonials but I am also a little sceptical when I see them on websites where the business owner has control – so recommendations in other places can serve to smooth that scepticism in some cases.

At the risk of boring those of you who are here for stationery only I will close this post with a little plug for my virtual PA business!  If you would like to have your business listed on over 50 Australian web directories then contact me for a quote – this is a service I introduced in February 2010.   Visit Just Jane for more details of my personal assistant services or visit the Just Jane Blog for up-to-date information on new services. 

I look forward to being able to help you with either your social stationery or in your professional life.

Happy planning!

Jane