Jaden Printing http://jadenprinting.com Full Service Printing and Design Tue, 08 Apr 2014 20:08:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2 Event Planning Checklist http://jadenprinting.com/event-planning-checklist/ Tue, 08 Apr 2014 20:03:21 +0000 http://jadenprinting.com/?p=143 Whether you are planning a brown bag lunch, a community roundtable or even a health fair, preparation and organization are the keys to success. The size and scope of your event will dictate how many of the activities listed below need to be integrated into your plan.

Download this helpful checklist.

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Source: PAConnect.com

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How To Leave Work At 5 P.M. And Still Get Everything Done http://jadenprinting.com/how-to-get-everything-done/ Tue, 08 Apr 2014 19:46:39 +0000 http://jadenprinting.com/?p=140 It’s a pattern with which most full-time professionals are familiar–you’re spending increasing amounts of time at your desk, but it feels like you’re getting less done. The hours stretch on, the to-do list grows, and you find yourself facing a future where you might let go of your apartment and just start keeping a toothbrush and slippers in your desk. Otherwise you’ll never get it all done—right?

Wrong.

It’s an understandable assumption. Most people feel they have too much to do at work, and the time-space continuum did not change when people started using organizational buzzwords like “multi-tasking.”

But while few of us leave our desks at the understood 5 p.m. day’s end of so many song lyrics, watching the minutes tick by in front of your computer screen is not actually the way to get ahead, and can even hasten falling further behind.

“There are several reasons why our days have swelled,” says productivity consultant and author of Never Check Email In The Morning Julie Morgenstern. “Companies continuously are trying to hire as few people as possible. Our roles are continuously changing, the world is changing, we’re in a time of rapid change—nothing is ‘business as usual.’ Acknowledge that you have more work to do than time to do it, you’re going to do different things.”

 

Does this mean that starting Monday morning you’ll be a fully-optimized task wizard who never sees another 6:30 p.m. in your cubicle? Probably not. But whatever your title, industry, or rank within an organization, a few conscious decisions about how you spend your time can mean not just shorter hours at the office, but better ones.

Why not start by figuring out what you’re actually doing with all of your time? It will probably surprise you.

Maybe you keep trying to write that proposal but can’t help clicking over every few minutes to see the emails pour in. Or your boss keeps strolling over to give you tasks while you try to complete the ones you’ve already got. Or you’re overwhelmed by trying to work while maintaining your superior command of Everything That’s Happening On The Internet.

Whatever the reason, doing too many things at once can diminish the quality of your work and add hours to the end of your day. If you’re looking to optimize the time you spend at work, figuring out how it’s actually allocated–versus what you think you’ve been doing–is a great place to start.

Morgenstern recommends keeping a time diary to start, or using the app Eternity Time Log, which directs users to plug in their major categories of responsibility, then tracks how much time they devote to each.

“It will show you where your time is going, and you can say, ‘Why did I take so long editing? Because I needed a break, or because I got stuck’–you can find where you wasted time and start to tweak it,” says Morgenstern. “Or, if you’re unable to keep track because you’re so scattered, your task is to learn to batch similar kinds of thinking.”

The additional challenge of figuring out what you do all day? Morgenstern warns that time spent on modes of communication–responding to email, listening to voicemails, marathon meetings–doesn’t count. You’re only really productive when you’re engaged in the true content of your job description.

See what tasks make the short list–and eliminate the rest.

One of the biggest mistakes people make at work is putting absolutely everything–big and small, essential and inconsequential–on the to-do list. Approach that potential client! Order wraps for the reception! Label those hanging folders!

There’s no possible way to get it all accomplished–and most people find it hard to leave at the end of the day with straggling tasks still glaring back at them. But the trick, says Laura Vanderkam, author of 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, is to figure out what actually belongs on the list–no more than three to five absolute musts–and ditch the rest.

“Truly think through what your priorities are for the workday,” says Vanderkam. “There are no bonus points for having a long list when you don’t get to everything.”

And forget the new app that promises to help you make the list and accomplish everything on it. Both Morgenstern and Vanderkam say when you really need to buckle down and focus, analog is the way to go.

“For many people, even for tech whizzes, a list that’s on paper–even if it’s created on the computer but printed out–is very helpful,” says Morgenstern. “You can refer to it without the danger of going back into that computer screen,” which, she says, is just a portal to the carnival of distraction that is the internet.

Alarm clocks aren’t just for waking up in the morning.

Don’t underestimate the power of one of the simplest tools on your smartphone–the alarm. Morgenstern says being time conscious can help you target and overcome all manner of personal foibles, from being easily distracted to not knowing when to call a task complete.

“If you’re a perfectionist, you can say, ‘I’m going to spend 90 minutes on this, no more,’ and set that alarm, and it helps you overcome your own perfectionism,” says Morgenstern. “You can say, ‘I’m going to work for two hours before I check my email.’

 

Which brings us to…

Isn’t it time you broke up with email?

When was the last time you thought, “I just wish I had more email in my life?” (Probably back when you had a handle that included the name of your favorite athlete from childhood.)

You may think this title belongs to someone you dated in college, but the most poisonous relationship in your life is the one you are probably carrying on with email. It wants your constant attention. It’s got its mitts all over your work computer, laptop, smartphone, and tablet. It’s that constant, shrill, whine that wants to know WHY YOU AREN’T LOOKING AT IT THIS VERY MOMENT.

“Email delivers lots of to dos and lots of distractions,” says Morgenstern, who recommends eliminating it from the first waking hour and the first working hour of every day. “It’s the world’s most convenient procrastination device. That’s something you have control over: you can turn the dinger off. You can’t get into proactive mode if you start your day reactive.”

It’s not you. It’s email. Shut it down.


Plan your workdays three days in advance–including when you’ll go home.

Banking on having the time to plan your day as it’s starting is a bad idea–at that point you’re already in the trenches with the tasks flying fast.

Instead, save some time towards the end of the day to plan for tomorrow and the two following days. It will not only keep you on track during the day, you’ll have a better understanding of your workload and whether you’re in a position to step up to an additional challenge, or focus on what’s already on the docket.

“When you have a three-day time horizon, as things come flying at you throughout the day, instead of instantly shoving them into the moment, you have context for, ‘Where can I fit this in?’” says Morgenstern. “If you’re only looking at the next hour, you have no context for saying yes or no.

 

And beyond preparing for what you can get done during the day, commit to when it’s going to be over. If your plan is to stay at work until everything last thing is totally finished, you’re not going to be leaving any time soon–or ever, really.

“It’s critical,” says Morgenstern. “There will always be something else to do.”

When all else fails?

“Triage.”

If you’re committed to leaving work at a certain time, and a late-afternoon task arises that requires your attention but isn’t a matter of corporate life or death, you need to assess and attack within the time you have remaining–not simply commit to an evening spent in the office.

Vanderkam recommends asking yourself, “‘If the power to my building were to go off at 5 p.m., necessitating my leaving, what are the things I would do before then?’ And then tackle those things. The problem is many of us don’t ask that question until too late, and then you’re stuck late doing them.”

Everyone wants to be known for going that extra mile–but learning to identify when that’s truly necessary is critical. Especially because…

The best thing you can do for your life at the office is to build a dynamic life outside of it. 

Whatever your work/life preferences, it’s a point on which almost everyone is in agreement: The people who are the most creative and efficient in their careers prioritize time away from the office.

“If you’re not spending your time off in a way that actively refreshes and renews you and fuels you,” says Morgenstern, “there’s no way you’re going to make good choices and be efficient at work.”

She recommends a combination of physical health, mindful escape through interests or hobbies, and spending time with other people as a way to rest from the workday and also keep your energy levels high.

“Work expands to fill the available space,” says Vanderkam, “so treat the end of the workday as something that matters. The most efficient people I’ve seen have a reason they want to leave at 5 p.m.”

Source: Katherine Dill, contributor with Forbes.com

 

 

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10 Ways to Stretch your Marketing Budget http://jadenprinting.com/stretch-your-marketing-budget/ Tue, 08 Apr 2014 19:39:31 +0000 http://jadenprinting.com/?p=137 Most small businesses have modest marketing budgets, which means you have to make every dollar count. Here are 5 ways to get big results from a small budget:

1. First, use your ads for more than just space advertising. Ads are expensive to produce and expensive to run. But there are ways to get your advertising message in your prospect’s hands at a fraction of the cost of space advertising.

The least expensive is to order an ample supply of reprints and distribute them to customers and prospects every chance you get. When you send literature in response to an inquiry, include a copy of the ad in the package. This reminds a prospect of the reason he responded in the first place and reinforces the original message.

Distribute ads internally to other departments–engineering, production, sales, customer service and R&D–to keep them up to date on your latest marketing and promotional efforts. Make sure your salespeople receive an extra supply of reprints and are encouraged to include a reprint when they write to or visit their customers.

Turn the ad into a product data sheet by adding technical specifications and additional product information to the back of the ad reprint. This eliminates the expense of creating a new layout from scratch. And it makes good advertising sense, because the reader gets double exposure to your advertising message.

Ad reprints can be used as inexpensive direct mail pieces. You can mail the reprints along with a reply card and a sales letter. Unlike the ad, which is “cast in concrete,” the letter is easily and inexpensively tailored to specific markets and customer groups.

If you’ve created a series of ads on the same product or product line, publish bound reprints of the ads as a product brochure. This tactic increases prospect exposure to the series and is less expensive than producing a brand new brochure.

If your ads provide valuable information of a general nature, you can offer reprints as free educational material to companies in your industry. Or, if the ad presents a striking visual, you can offer reprints suitable for framing.

Use your ads again and again. You will save money–and increase frequency–in the process.

2. If something works, stick with it. Too many marketers scrap their old promotions and create new ones because they’re bored with their current campaign. That’s a waste. You shouldn’t create new ads or promotions if your existing ones are still accurate and effective. You should run your ads for as long as your customers read and react to them.

How long can ads continue to get results? The Ludlow Corp. ran an ad for its erosion-preventing Soil Saver mesh 41 times in the same journal. After 11 years it pulled more inquiries per issue than when it was first published in 1966.

If a concept still has selling power but the promotion contains dated information, update the existing copy–don’t throw it out and start from scratch. This approach isn’t fun for the ad manager or the agency, but it does save money.

3. Don’t over present yourself. A strange thing happens to some entrepreneurs when they get a little extra money in the ad budget: they see fancy four-color brochures, gold embossed mailers and fat annual reports produced by Fortune 500 firms. Then they say, “This stuff sure looks great–why don’t we do some brochures like this?”

That’s a mistake. The look, tone and image of your promotions should be dictated by your product and your market–not by what other companies in other businesses put out.

Producing literature that’s too fancy for its purpose and its audience is a waste of money. And it can even hurt sales–your prospects will look at your overdone literature and wonder whether you really understand your market and its needs.

4. Use “modular” product literature. One common advertising problem is how to promote a single product to many small, diverse markets. Each market has different needs and will buy the product for different reasons. But on your budget, you can’t afford to create a separate brochure for each of these tiny market segments.

The solution is modular literature. This means creating a basic brochure layout that has sections capable of being tailored to meet specific market needs. After all, most sections of the brochure–technical specifications, service, company background, product operation, product features–will be the same regardless of the audience. Only a few sections, such as benefits of the product to the user and typical applications, need to be tailored to specific readers.

In a modular layout, standard sections remain the same, but new copy can be typeset and stripped in for each market-specific section of the brochure. This way, you can create different marketspecific pieces of literature on the same product using the same basic layout, mechanicals, artwork and plates. Significant savings in time and money will result.

5. Use article reprints as supplementary sales literature. Marketing managers are constantly bombarded by requests for “incidental” pieces of product literature. Engineers want data sheets explaining some minor technical feature in great detail.

Reps selling to small, specialized markets want special literature geared to their particular audience. And each company salesperson wants support literature that fits his or her individual sales pitch. But the ad budget can only handle the major pieces of product literature. Not enough time or money exists to satisfy everybody’s requests for custom literature.

The solution is to use article reprints as supplementary sales literature. Rather than spend a bundle producing highly technical or application-specific pieces, have your sales and technical staff write articles on these special topics. Then, place the articles with the appropriate journals.

Article reprints can be used as inexpensive literature and carry more credibility than self-produced promotional pieces. You don’t pay for layout or printing of the article. Best of all, the article is free advertising for your firm.

6. Explore inexpensive alternatives for lead generation, such as banner advertising, organic search and PR. Many smaller firms judge marketing effectiveness solely by the number of leads generated. They are not concerned with building image or recognition; they simply count bingo-card inquiries.

New-product press releases lead the list as the most economical method of generating leads. Once, for less than $100, I wrote, printed and distributed a new-product release to 100 trade journals. Within six months, the release had been picked up by 35 magazines and generated 2,500 bingo-card inquiries.

Post all your press releases in a media or press section of your website. Optimize your press releases with key word phrases to draw more organic search traffic.

7. Do not overpay for outside creative talent. Hire freelancers and consultants whose credentials–and fees–fit the job and the budget.

Top advertising photographers, for example, get $1,000 a day or more. This may be worth the fee for a corporate ad running in Forbes or Business Week. But it’s overkill for the employee newsletter or a publicity shot. Many competent photographers can shoot a good black-and-white publicity photo for $200 to $250.

When you hire consultants, writers, artists, or photographers, you should look for someone whose level of expertise and cost fits the task at hand.

8. Do it yourself. Tasks such as distributing press releases or creating simple squeeze pages can usually be done cheaper in-house than outside. Save the expensive agency or consultant for tasks that really require their expertise.

If you do not have a marketing manager or assistant, consider hiring a full-time or part-time administrative assistant to handle the detail work involved in managing your company’s marketing. This is a more economical solution than farming administrative work out to the agency or doing it yourself.

9. Get maximum mileage out of existing content (text and images). Photos, illustrations, layouts and even copy created for one promotion can often be lifted and reused in other pieces to significantly reduce creative costs. For example, copy created for a corporate image ad can be used as the introduction to the annual report.

Also, you can save rough layouts, thumbnail sketches, headlines and concepts rejected for one project and use them in future ads, mailings and promotions.

10. Pay your vendors on time. Why? You’ll save money by taking advantage of discounts and avoiding late charges when you pay vendor invoices on time. And, you’ll gain goodwill that can result in better service and fairer prices on future projects.

Source: Entrepreneur.com

This article has been excerpted from The Marketing Plan Handbook by Robert W. Bly, available on Entrepreneurpress.com

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