Using The Internet To Market Your Window Cleaning Business

You’re tired of struggling financially and you need to create an alternative source of income. After considering the options, you decide to start a window cleaning business. You’ve scoured the internet for information on how to clean windows and you’ve practiced at home until you feel confident enough to offer your services to others. You have the money to invest in some squeegees, a couple of ladders and some business cards. Now what?Time To Advertise!Using the internet to market your window cleaning business offers a lot of advantages over traditional advertising. Advertising on the internet is absolutely the most cost-effective means of marketing available today and it can be very effective. In March of 2010, BIA (bia.com) and The Kelsey Group (kelseygroup.com) reported that, ”nearly all consumers (97 %) now use online media when researching products or services in their local area…”Having an internet presence means that your business information is available to anyone at anytime. As potential customers browse the internet, they can discover your business and the services you offer at a time that’s convenient to them and without any obligation or any of the pressure some people associate with ‘being sold’.If you’re starting your business with a limited budget, the most attractive advantage of internet marketing is probably the cost.Free AdvertisingIn some markets, using the free local listing sites on the internet may be enough to get you going. Potential customers are already searching for the goods or services you provide – they just need to be able to find you.Google PlacesSigning up for Google Places is simple and offers an opportunity to make sure your business can be found on Google and on Google Maps. With a Google Places listing, you can create an online presence even if you don’t have a website. It only takes a couple of minutes and it’s completely free.Start by reading the Google Places quality guidelines to make sure your listing will be approved. Then go to Google Places and sign in with your Google account. If you don’t already have a Google account, sign up for one, they’re free. Google keeps track of the number of times your listing is viewed during a Google search so you can track how effective the listing is. Once your account is verified, you can continue to edit the listing as often as needed to insure the best results.Yahoo Local ListingsYahoo local listings operates much in the same way as Google Places. Again, this is an opportunity to create a web presence that doesn’t require having a website. You can list your business name, address, contact information and the unique selling opportunity that your business offers. Your listing can include your products, services and brands in up to five categories.Start by going to the Yahoo Local signup page. If you don’t already have a Yahoo account, sign up for one. There is no charge for a Yahoo account and it only takes a few minutes to register.Bing Local ListingsMicrosoft also has a free local listing service similar to Google Places and Yahoo Local Listings. Start by going to the Bing Local Listings signup page and enter your information. Again, if you don’t already have a Bing account, you can sign up for one in a couple of minutes and there is no charge.Bing Local Listings lets users look for services in their local area which makes it easy for new customers to find you. Once your listing is verified you can log on to the Bing Local site and edit your listing to match any changes you may want to make as your business grows.Online ReviewsAll of the free local listing sites mentioned here also allow your customers to leave a brief review of their experience with you and your company. This can be a great tool to drive business from the internet to your front door. Most people today already have an email account with one of the ‘big three’, Google, Yahoo or Bing. Be sure to ask your customers if they would mind taking a few minutes and leaving a review of your company’s service on one of the local listing sites. If they’re happy with your service they’ll probably be glad to.After your window cleaning business has generated some income you may want to enlarge your internet presence with a business website. While the free listing sites do a great job of getting you started, a business website designed to target your local market is a definite must if you want to continue to grow your business and increase your income.More about business websites in the next article.

Fashion Trend Alert – Keeping Up With the Latest Styles

Styles change faster than the weather, making it really challenging for the average fashion diva to know which fashion trend to follow. Are the skirts long or short this season? Are we wearing the jeans with a bootcut, or are we going for the pencil style? And what about the tops to pair with the bottoms? It’s enough to drive the fashion conscious mad, but fortunately, there is a solution to this fashion trend dilemma. Whether you like to get your fashion news online or in print, there are plenty of resources to alert you to the latest and greatest so you can look “in” whenever you head out.Magazines Print magazines may seem a little passé in an electronic world, but these publications are still one of the best ways to find out which fashion trend is in and which are most definitely out. Pick up one or two at your supermarket check out the next time you are grocery shopping or browse the newsstand for some glossy selections. Many of the magazines that were popular a decade ago are still in “Vogue”, so you are sure to see some familiar titles out there.The Internet If you spend most of your day staring at a computer screen, there is no reason why you can’t do it wearing the latest fashion trend. There are plenty of fabulous websites that will keep you up to date on what the fashion latest trends look like. Once you find the styles you love, you can even grab your credit card and point and click your way to a fashion spree online! To ensure that you really are looking at a latest fashion trend online, check the website for a current date for the posting.The Television Maybe you don’t want to look like a desperate housewife, but you can certainly learn “What not to Wear” from your own television set. There are plenty of great fashion reviews on the tube that will give you the latest news on the newest fashion trend, including ideas for accessorizing and where to go in all the latest fashions. Hair and makeup trends will also be reflected on this international medium.Keeping up with the latest and greatest fashion trend might seem like more time than you have, but there are plenty of places that you can go to quickly and easily get all of the fashion news you need. Whether you prefer to curl up in front of the television or computer or with a favorite magazine, learning about fashion trends is as easy as an evening at home.

What Are The Greatest Changes In Shopping In Your Lifetime

What are the greatest changes in shopping in your lifetime? So asked my 9 year old grandson.

As I thought of the question the local Green Grocer came to mind. Because that is what the greatest change in shopping in my lifetime is.

That was the first place to start with the question of what are the greatest changes in shopping in your lifetime.

Our local green grocer was the most important change in shopping in my lifetime. Beside him was our butcher, a hairdresser and a chemist.

Looking back, we were well catered for as we had quite a few in our suburb. And yes, the greatest changes in shopping in my lifetime were with the small family owned businesses.

Entertainment While Shopping Has Changed
Buying butter was an entertainment in itself.
My sister and I often had to go to a favourite family grocer close by. We were always polite as we asked for a pound or two of butter and other small items.

Out came a big block of wet butter wrapped in grease-proof paper. Brought from the back of the shop, placed on a huge counter top and included two grooved pates.

That was a big change in our shopping in my lifetime… you don’t come across butter bashing nowadays.

Our old friendly Mr. Mahon with the moustache, would cut a square of butter. Lift it to another piece of greaseproof paper with his pates. On it went to the weighing scales, a bit sliced off or added here and there.

Our old grocer would then bash it with gusto, turning it over and over. Upside down and sideways it went, so that it had grooves from the pates, splashes going everywhere, including our faces.

My sister and I thought this was great fun and it always cracked us up. We loved it, as we loved Mahon’s, on the corner, our very favourite grocery shop.

Grocery Shopping
Further afield, we often had to go to another of my mother’s favourite, not so local, green grocer’s. Mr. McKessie, ( spelt phonetically) would take our list, gather the groceries and put them all in a big cardboard box.

And because we were good customers he always delivered them to our house free of charge. But he wasn’t nearly as much fun as old Mr. Mahon. Even so, he was a nice man.

All Things Fresh
So there were very many common services such as home deliveries like:

• Farm eggs

• Fresh vegetables

• Cow’s milk

• Freshly baked bread

• Coal for our open fires

Delivery Services
A man used to come to our house a couple of times a week with farm fresh eggs.

Another used to come every day with fresh vegetables, although my father loved growing his own.

Our milk, topped with beautiful cream, was delivered to our doorstep every single morning.

Unbelievably, come think of it now, our bread came to us in a huge van driven by our “bread-man” named Jerry who became a family friend.

My parents always invited Jerry and his wife to their parties, and there were many during the summer months. Kids and adults all thoroughly enjoyed these times. Alcohol was never included, my parents were teetotallers. Lemonade was a treat, with home made sandwiches and cakes.

The coal-man was another who delivered bags of coal for our open fires. I can still see his sooty face under his tweed cap but I can’t remember his name. We knew them all by name but most of them escape me now.

Mr. Higgins, a service man from the Hoover Company always came to our house to replace our old vacuum cleaner with an updated model.

Our insurance company even sent a man to collect the weekly premium.

People then only paid for their shopping with cash. This in itself has been a huge change in shopping in my lifetime.

In some department stores there was a system whereby the money from the cash registers was transported in a small cylinder on a moving wire track to the central office.

Some Of The Bigger Changes
Some of the bigger changes in shopping were the opening of supermarkets.

• Supermarkets replaced many individual smaller grocery shops. Cash and bank cheques have given way to credit and key cards.

• Internet shopping… the latest trend, but in many minds, doing more harm, to book shops.

• Not many written shopping lists, because mobile phones have taken over.

On a more optimistic note, I hear that book shops are popular again after a decline.

Personal Service Has Most Definitely Changed
So, no one really has to leave home, to purchase almost anything, technology makes it so easy to do online.
And we have a much bigger range of products now, to choose from, and credit cards have given us the greatest ease of payment.

We have longer shopping hours, and weekend shopping. But we have lost the personal service that we oldies had taken for granted and also appreciated.

Because of their frenetic lifestyles, I have heard people say they find shopping very stressful, that is grocery shopping. I’m sure it is when you have to dash home and cook dinner after a days work. I often think there has to be a better, less stressful way.

My mother had the best of both worlds, in the services she had at her disposal. With a full time job looking after 9 people, 7 children plus her and my dad, she was very lucky. Lucky too that she did not have 2 jobs.