Small Business Marketing for Solo-Professionals

Based on my experience, the best small business marketing is relationship focused. In other words, instead of focusing on building a media presence where people recognize your logo like Nike or the golden arches, with small business marketing for private practitioners and other solo entrepreneurs, it’s you and the way you connect with people that matters.This is tried and true advice…Many large companies also rely on individual sales people to market their products by building a relationship with their potential clients. They know the value of relationship focused marketing.To do relationship focused small business marketing you have to first identify who your potential client is and where you can find them. One of the biggest mistakes many helping professionals and small business owners make is thinking everyone is their potential client.If you’re having difficulty narrowing down your target market, think about the types of people who definitely would not be interested in your service or product… and then who’s left? Out of those people…

Who has the money to pay?
Who has the most need?
Who can you most easily get your message to?
Who would you most like to work with?Once you’ve identified who your best possible clients might be, make a plan to build a relationship with them. You could go where they hang out or meet and get to know them. You could write articles in a publication they read and invite them to join your e-newsletter list. You could create a Facebook page about a topic that is of interest to them and post daily.As you and your potential clients get to know each other, let them know what you can do for them. If these people actually have a need and they know you and like you, the likelihood of them buying from you or using your service is much greater than if they don’t know you.

Ways To Effectively Work From Home

In this day and age, there are several people who work from home on a regular or on an on-and-off basis. The reasons could be numerous, starting from health issues, long commute, maternity, and so on. The belief that an employee needs to be in the office to be efficient is now gradually changing, with benefits of working from home arising aplenty. However, for some people, especially if you have just begun to work from home, things can get a bit overwhelming. Here are a few things you can do to organize your ‘home office’.

A Constant Office Space

Setting up one room (or a portion of a room) as your office can go a long way in creating a sense of mood and motivation that might otherwise be lacking when you are not in office. Fix a table, an ergonomic chair (yes, it is an investment you will not regret if you work from home regularly), and other essentials you might need for work, for example, a charging station for your computer or mobile phone around that area. Stick to that place the best you can while working and move away when you are not. You can still visit that area when you are not working, but make sure it is not close to the bed that you sleep in. In smaller houses this might be difficult to arrange but try to set up your workplace in a different room than your bedroom. This is not because you might accidentally climb onto your bed, and sleep during working hours, but because your quality of sleep at night might be affected by the presence of your work things.

Air Quality

While you are indoors through the major portion of the day, it is important to ensure you get sufficient ventilation, and good quality air to breathe. If you live in an area where the pollution level is low, keep your windows open at all times for the fresh air to stimulate your brain, and improve your efficiency. If, unfortunately, you live in an area where the outside air is horrid, an air purifier is recommended. Remember, your health is of utmost importance no matter from where you work.

Exercise

Although exercising is a mandate for everybody, it is even more crucial for people who work from home. When you are in office, you might take frequent breaks down to the cafeteria or a roadside tea/coffee shop, but when you are home, these breaks are eliminated from your routine. Hence, it is of utmost importance to exercise regularly. Choose whatever works for you – yoga, aerobics, weights, cardio, but be regular and diligent about it.

Venture Out

Make it a point to get out of the house at least for ten or fifteen minutes every working day. You could either run a quick errand such as going to the ATM, picking up dry-cleaning, buying dinner, and so on, or you could take a simple walk in your neighbourhood at the very least. Going outside once in a day and seeing other people on the road helps your brain relax, because, after all, we are all social beings.

Do Not Overwork

Many people, especially in the beginning, tend to feel guilty about not working from the office. They feel that they are not working enough, or something is missing. Some people have it even worse because others who go to office regularly have a tendency to point fingers and condemn those who work from home. Snide remarks such as “Oh, what do you know about the hectic traffic we go through”, or “You work from home, that must mean you have plenty of time”, to “I don’t think people who work from home actually get any work done”, are very commonly heard. Do not get bogged down by such things. Just because you work from home does not mean you should work longer hours. Fix your work hours as you would if you were in office, and stick to it.

EPA Regualtions Raise the Bar for Industial Air Quality Testing

Far-reaching environmental legislation continues to change the way Americans live, work, and run their businesses. For the past decade and a half, companies have worked toward meeting the latest air quality standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

In 2005, regulations introduced by the Clean Air Act of 1990 came into full effect with the goal of reducing harmful emissions by 57-billion pounds per year. The act continues to have a huge impact both economically and environmentally as it targets the sources of urban air pollution, acid rain, and stratospheric ozone depletion.

Air pollution is not a new problem in the United States. During the 1940s, a series of pollution-related disasters forced Americans to acknowledge the need for clean air standards. The worst of those incidents took place during a five day period in 1948, when smog caused by industrial emissions and coal-burning furnaces killed 20 people and sickened nearly 7,000 others in the small town of Donora, Pennsylvania.

The tragedy spurred the federal government to take control of air quality management. In 1955, the Air Pollution Control Act was introduced to mandate the national investigation of air pollution. More stringent air quality controls were later established with the creation of the Clean Air Act of 1970 and the formation of the EPA. In 1990, the Clean Air Act was revised to include the following amendments:

• Title I – strengthens measures for attaining national air quality standards

• Title II – sets forth provisions relating to mobile sources

• Title III – expands the regulation of hazardous air pollutants

• Title IV – requires substantial reductions in emissions for control of acid rain

• Title V – establishes operating permits for all major sources of air pollution

• Title VI – establishes provisions for stratospheric ozone protection

• Title VII – expands enforcement powers and penalties

The legislation not only provides the EPA with innovative regulatory procedures, but allows for a variety of supportive research and enforcement measures. Individuals may face fines up to $250,000 and imprisonment up to 15 years, with each day of violation counted as a separate offense. Businesses may face fines of up to $500,000 for each negligent violation and up to $1 million per day for knowing endangerment. Many corporations must apply for national operating permits because of the emissions released by their processes.

Current industrial air quality testing is driven by the latest amendments. A major focus for manufacturers under the new provisions can be found in Title III, which identifies and lists 189 HAPs (Hazardous Air Pollutants) to be reduced within a ten-year period. This is a tremendous increase since the EPA had previously established standards for only seven HAPs out of only eight listed. These pollutants can result in serious health effects, such as cancer, birth defects, immediate death, or catastrophic accidents.

Among the air pollutants the act pinpoints for monitoring are VOCs (volatile organic compounds). These chemicals are identified as organic because of the presence of carbon, but many are synthetically created. VOCs include gasoline, industrial chemicals such as benzene, solvents such as toluene and xylene, and tetrachloroethylene (perchloroethylene, the principal dry cleaning solvent). Many VOCs, such as benzene, are present on the HAP list because of the threat they pose to human health. These pollutants may cause death, disease, or birth defects in organisms that ingest or absorb them.

There are a variety of methods for the determination of TO (toxic organic) compounds in ambient air at parts-per-million (ppm) and parts-per-billion (ppb) concentration levels. Following the EPA’s TO-14, TO-14A, or TO-15 Methods, VOCs in air are collected in specially prepared canisters and analyzed by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) instruments.

To test air quality using these methods, a sample of ambient air from a source must be drawn into a pre-evacuated specially prepared canister. After the sample is collected, the canister valve is closed, an identification tag is attached to the canister, a chain-of-custody (COC) form completed, and the canister is transported to a laboratory for analysis.

Upon receipt at the lab, the proper documentation is completed and the canister is attached to the analytical system. Water vapor is reduced in the gas stream by a dryer (if applicable), and the VOCs are then concentrated by collection in a cryogenically cooled trap. The refrigerant, typically liquid nitrogen or liquid argon, is then removed and the temperature of the trap is raised. The VOCs originally collected in the trap are revolatilized, separated on a GC column, and then run through one or more detectors to identify the components and concentrations in each sample. Findings are thoroughly documented in a written report which is presented to the client.

The qualitative and quantitative accuracy of these analyses is of the utmost importance. Difficulty arises in part because of the wide variety of TO substances and the lack of standardized sampling and analysis procedures.

To facilitate the improvement of laboratory air quality testing and analysis, one proactive company, Scott Specialty Gases, offers a cross-reference program for labs. Now laboratories can evaluate their own proficiency by comparing their results against Scott Specialty Gases’ as well as the blind results from other participating labs. By employing the highly accurate and stable gas mixtures manufactured by Scott Specialty Gases, laboratories can also calibrate their GC/MS instruments to achieve more precise readings of samples.

Chemical manufacturing plants, oil refineries, toxic waste sites or land fills, and solid waste incinerators are just a few of the many sources of hazardous air pollutants. The financial cost to install state-of-the-art controls is great.

Thanks to the services offered by companies like Scott Specialty Gases and to the more stringent requirements of the Clean Air Act of 1990, the environment is on the mend. The impact of industry compliance with the Clean Air Act of 1990 has been astounding. Careful testing has already shown a significant improvement in national air quality thanks to anti-pollution efforts. According to studies conducted by the Foundation for Clean Air Progress, exposure levels for ozone and particulates have decreased and four of the six most serious pollutants identified by the Clean Air Act of 1970 are no longer being released into the air at unhealthy levels. These improvements fly in the face of data that shows increased population growth and energy usage in the United States. Regulatory vigilance and technological advances in environmental monitoring have made cleaner air a reality.