Caring for your real Christmas tree

There is much pleasure to be had in choosing the right real Christmas tree for your home. Once you’ve done that, you’ll want to take care of it to the best of your ability, making sure it stays fresh and gorgeous-looking until the end of the festive season. Here are some pointers for maintaining your tree this Christmas:

Equipment you’ll need:

A stunning real Christmas tree from a Leicester Real Christmas Trees supplier. Find out more about real Christmas Trees here.

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A saw for trimming the trunk

A bucket and watering can

A tree stand or pot to put your tree in

  1. Remove the tree from its protective netting immediately you get it home to avoid any build-up of fungus or mould from beginning to grow on the damp branches.
  2. Prior to setting up the tree, spray it with a bit of water to keep it well hydrated.
  3. Trim the trunk at the base by about 25mm with a panel saw. Exactly as you would trim the stems of flowers to keep them fresh, trimming the trunk allows it to absorb more water.
  4. If you’re not ready to put the tree up, store it somewhere secure in a pot of water until you’re ready to move it into its pot or stand. Store it somewhere out of the wind and direct sun.
  5. Once you’re ready to set up the tree, give it a good shake outdoors to release any loose needles, branches or insects before bringing it inside.
  6. Place your tree in the desired pot or stand. You might need a further trim of the trunk to make it fit perfectly. Try not to place your tree in soil or sand, as it won’t receive enough hydration.
  7. Try to position your tree away from radiators or other sources of heat otherwise the needles will fall out faster as the tree dries out.

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  1. Keep your tree watered every day to keep it looking its fullest and freshest.
  2. If a tree becomes dehydrated, it will droop, and the needles will fall out much faster. Enough moisture is essential to your tree’s health. You’ll need to add at least 500ml of water to the tree’s pot each day.
  3. A real tree can consume up to 2 litres of water a day depending on its size and how warm your home is.

How Important Is Search Engine Optimization?

With the advent of the Internet as an effective social and business enhancement tool, the rise of search engines has enabled social organizations, interest groups and businesses to increase their visibility, as well as their profits.

Search engine optimization (SEO) refers to the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via “natural”, which would mean either organic or algorithmic, search results. Generally, the earlier a site is presented in the search results, or the higher it ranks, the more searchers or web users will be enticed to visit that site. An SEO can also aim for different kinds of search types, including image search, local search, and industry-specific vertical search engines.

For most small businesses, a search engine company may guarantee top rankings for keywords with a short or low monthly search volume or get rankings for higher volume keywords in smaller search engine sites that are not relevant and probably create a very minimal amount of search engine through traffic.

According to observers, currently there are really considered the main three search engines for businesses’ or firms’ to focus on their lead generation and keyword rankings through, and these are MSN, Google and Yahoo. With these three search engines combined, analysts say a firm could cover approximately 70% of all web traffic that could potentially come through their site.

The history of search engine optimization began when webmasters and content providers began optimizing sites for search engines in the mid-1990s, as the first search engines were cataloguing the early web environment. At the beginning, all a webmaster needed to do was submit a page, or URL, to the various engines which would send a “spider” to “crawl” that page, extract links to other pages from it, and return information found on the page to be indexed.

The process involves a search engine spider downloading a page and storing it on the search engine’s private server, where a secondary program, also called an indexer, would extract an array of information about the page, such as the words it contains and where these are located, as well as any weight for specific words, which are then placed into a scheduler for crawling probably at a later date. Currently, SEO’s like and perform accurate searches or website visibility enhancement modes that are attuned to a company or organization’s preferred objectives or desired reach.

The owners of most websites recognize that obtaining top search engine rankings for their top keywords is fundamentally important for their firm’s continued success. However, the large majority of does not yet fully understand the process of a small business SEO company’s process of achieving these keyword rankings through targeted search engine marketing and most are not aware of free SEO site appraisal. It is very important to not only invest in search engine optimization specialist techniques, but also pay-per-click management techniques also.

By 1997, the majority of search engines recognized that some webmasters were working double time in producing efforts to rank well in their search engines, and even manipulating the page rankings in search results. Early search engine startups, such as Infoseek, fine-tuned their algorithms to prevent webmasters from manipulating rankings by stuffing pages with excessive or irrelevant keywords.

However, due to the high marketing value of targeted search results, there is a potential for an antagonistic relationship between search engines and SEOs. In 2005, an annual conference of the AIRWeb, or the Adversarial Information Retrieval on the Web, was formed to confer and minimize the harmful effects of aggressive web content providers.

How Much Money Does Your Business Need?

As much as I can get! This would be the answer readily shouted out by most entrepreneurs. The fact is though, both over and underestimating the amount of capital needed to fund a business can have serious negative consequences.

Underestimating what you need can cause problems ranging from having to go through the whole time consuming fund raising process again, to having to shut down the company because funds have run dry. Having to go back to the original investors and ask for more money often undermines the entrepreneur’s credibility with the investors and can cause a significant dilution in the founder’s ownership.

Obtaining more than enough capital may seem like a blessing at first, but it can breed a lax attitude toward expense control. “If you have it, spend it,” is not an advisable motto for a new company. If the investment takes the form of equity, raising too much money means that the founder’s share of the business was reduced more than was necessary–and this violates one of the maxims of entrepreneurship: hold on to those equity points!

Typical advice given to entrepreneurs is to do a cash flow projection, or cash budget, and then add 10%, 20% or even 50% to this amount, for “contingencies.” These contingencies are all the things that can go wrong in a start-up venture, all the unfavorable events that can negatively affect results.

Contingency planning is a skill that does not come easily to all entrepreneurs–even those with a finance background. How do you get the cockeyed optimist (what you absolutely must be to even conceive of the idea of the starting a company), who expects the best, to plan for the worst?

To stimulate contingency planning, it helps to look at the reasons why entrepreneurs so consistently run out of money; among these are:

Not realizing how expensive it is to introduce a new product, especially consumer products, on a national basis.

Not realizing how long it takes to introduce a new product, or for the market to truly accept the product.

Delays in regulatory approval, municipal zoning, or patent approval.

Assuming that a small start-up company will get the same forbearance on payments and favorable terms that a large one will.

An entrepreneur with an early stage company must be prepared for one or more of these situations to occur. Contingency planning doesn’t mean simply adding a percentage or dollar “cushion’ to the amount of capital being sought from investor or lenders. It is a way of thinking–a recognition that the entrepreneurial road is always rocky. Envisioning what might go wrong does not equate to entrepreneurs losing faith in their product or their company; it means they accept these difficulties as steps on the path to prosperity.

A Smart Internet Marketing Strategy: Targeting Niche Markets

The World Wide Web has captivated my attention ever since I was introduced to it by my mother (another WWW freak!). That was about 10 years ago and ever since that time, my interest about all the different things that can be done through the internet has continued to grow.

For the last couple of years, I have been grappling with the idea of making money online. Although I searched and found a lot of information, but most of it was vague and did not give me any concrete answer to the most important question: what to actually DO to make some money on the internet.

During my quest of getting answers, I came across a very informative video on the internet which gave me a lot of information about internet marketing and gave me some pretty good food for thought. The video talked about; Niche Markets what they are and why they are important to any person who would like to make money on the internet by selling a product or service. In fact, the concept of Niche Markets is applicable to any business or service provider, whether they operate on the internet or otherwise.

If you look it up in the dictionary, the word Niche means;A situation or activity specially suited to a person’s interests, abilities, or nature.

A Niche Market; is a group of people with a common interest or ability or nature, who would all be interested in a common product or service. The common interest of these people can be any thing ranging from a common hobby, a common problem, a common cultural background, to any common desire they might have. Let me explain this to you with a few examples:

1) A niche market of people who have a hobby of scrapbooking

2) A niche market of people who have common problem of lower backache

3) A niche market of people who are all Hispanics

4) A niche market of people who have a common desire of learning plumbing

People with common interests tend to cluster and you can easily find pockets of such people online; in forums and groups or visiting websites of their interest.

It is best to direct your marketing to select niche audiences for maximum benefit to you and to them. It is always a waste of time, effort and resources to market your product or service to a niche audience which is not interested in what you are selling. For example, if you try to sell scrapbooking materials to a niche audience who wants to learn plumbing, you will not get any customers. Granted that you will find a rare plumber who also likes to maintain his scrapbook, but you will not make a profit! Similarly, marketing a new and effective acne product to a group of people with lower backache will only lead you to lose the money you spent on marketing your innovative acne solution to them.

Niche Marketing is very cost effective and powerful; the world’s most successful businesses use this concept to maximize their profits. Therefore, if you have a certain product or service that you want to sell, concentrate your marketing efforts to the Niche Market that it caters too. Conversely, if you do not have a specific product in mind that you want to sell online, it is advisable that you seek out large Niche Markets and then think about what they would be interested in buying and then provide them with that particular solution/product/service.

I wish you great achievements and prosperity in all your endeavors.

Best Small Business Idea — It’s All About You

Getting More Focused — It’s All About You

Jeanna Pool from Catalyst Creative writes a great ezine on marketing each month. In January she shared 5 Great Marketing Tips for 2006. Number 1 was “Stop Focusing on You”. She declares 2006 the year of the client and exhorts you to focus totally on your clients and their needs. I think she’s right on. And I think she’s completely wrong. Why right and wrong?

Because if you’ve been in business for awhile and have great products and great services and aren’t getting the results you want, you may be too focused on your clients and not focused enough on yourself. Last week, I encouraged your to revisit your vision of your business and ask yourself why you started your business in the first place. Now I want you to focus even more on what you want. What exactly do you want out of your business? Do you want more money? If so, how much? Write down a number. Do you want more flexible hours? If so, write out exactly the schedule you’d like. Do you want to change the world? If so, write out specifically how that would look.

Why all this focus on you? Because if you aren’t absolutely clear on what you want, how are you going to know if you are successful? How are you going help your clients if you aren’t taking care of yourself as well. Maybe you need to be making $150,000 a year to provide your family with the life that you wanted. You want to send your kids to college. You want to retire while you are still in active and in good health. Or maybe you want to just make an extra $20,000 a year working part-time while you take care of your children until they are in school. Or perhaps your goal is to make a million dollars a year and live a really incredible life. Defining this is very important. Why?

Because what you want will shape your business. It will determine who your customers are and how you will help them. If you want $5,000,000 in sales, your products and methods are going to be a whole lot different than if you want $50,000 in sales. If you want to work only afternoons, that is going to shape your business as well. If you want to sell your business and retire in five years, that’s going to affect your decisions as well. So right now, get out a paper and pen and get ready to write.

Did you get your pen and paper out? Answer the question, “What do I want out of my business?” Write in as much detail exactly what you want your business to give you. Be as specific as possible. Write as much as you can. Think income, lifestyle, schedule, partners, travel, location, employees. What exactly do you want? Throughout the week, add to this and revise it. Compare where you are right now to what you really want. How large is the gap? Next week, I’ll help you create a plan to narrow the gap with: Why Business Plans Don’t Work — How to Create an Effective Action Plan

The benefits of liquid silicone in injection moulding

Liquid silicone rubber (LSR) is increasingly being used for making moulded parts, often in applications where high-consistency rubber was used previously. One field switching over to LSR is the design and manufacturer of medical parts.

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LSR being increasingly used in medical applications

The idea of using LSR with injection moulding isn’t new; it was described in International Polymer Science and Technology some time ago. The technology has taken some time to be accepted, but product designers now understand that it can create new products with very complex geometry that wouldn’t be possible using the thermoplastics that have been used until now.

Moreover, LSR can be used with injection moulding to make custom parts. These include components for medical devices ranging from surgical instruments to machines that analyse blood. The silicone rubber doesn’t stick to the patients’ skin or hair, which is a great advantage.

Additions to the silicone

Silicone rubber can have a variety of materials added to it during its manufacturing process, and depending on the way it is made, it can result in a fluid, a compound or a polymer. The LSR used today is of high purity and can come in many different grades and types. This means that different textures are available for the end product, and different properties can also be achieved.

When LSR is used in injection moulding, it produces items that are resistant to sunlight, ozone, bacteria and radiation. In the medical environment, this is particularly useful. The finished products are hypoallergenic and will not cause allergic reactions in patients or medical users. In addition, the material has high tensile strength and is difficult to tear. At the same time, it remains flexible in temperatures from as low as -55 degrees C to as high as 300 degrees C.

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Silicone moulding can also be used to create items that are impermeable to oils and petroleum, have high optical clarity, and are self-lubricating. In addition, the silicone can even be infused with fragrances or pharmaceutical substances and will resist chemicals and moulds.

These are a few of the many advantages of using silicone to make injection moulded medical products and components. It offers designers more freedom in the injection moulding process and the ability to use a material that is more adaptable and flexible.

Signs that you are ready to take out a business loan

Whether you are starting out in business, short of day-to-day expenses or looking to develop the enterprise you have set out on, a business loan could be the answer.

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A good place to start your search for a loan, or for advice on its suitability, is the government website. This offers some helpful advice, including alternatives to banks or traditional lenders.

There are any number of reasons you might need to bolster your finances, with most of these involving the position of your business in terms of development.

Peace of mind

You may find that you are growing out of the space from which you operate. The options are to rent a larger space or look at the possibility of buying new premises. Owning the building you work from not only provides peace of mind but also gives the company an asset, which can always be useful in the future to guarantee further finance.

Whether you are looking for New Business Loans Northern Ireland or somewhere else in the UK, you will find options such as Be prepared to look outside the traditional market of banks and building societies and you may find that a better deal is available via a loan that suits your needs.

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You may have an issue with meeting demand, especially in terms of the stock you carry and have available. Invoice financing may be the answer, depending on the turnover you are anticipating. Alternatively, it could be an equipment issue and again specific loans could be available.

In the case of any of the above, it is vital that you have your paperwork in order. Being able to explain the need with reference to expense forecasts and cash flow information will stand you in good stead with a lender. Always plan ahead, as it is easier to discuss a loan before any potential issues hit your finances and whilst your credit rating is positive.

The impact borrowing has on your credit rating is often misunderstood. By using credit – in all its forms – and meeting repayments on time, you will make the company more attractive to lenders and improve the chance of obtaining credit at good rates, with lower or no fees and on terms that are beneficial to you.

2018’s Top Conservatory Trends

Conservatories have been back in vogue for some time but with their design brought bang up to date with modern twists. They are no longer just a garden room to use in the summer. More and more homeowners are choosing to add extra space and value to their properties with a brand spanking new conservatory.

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So, what are the latest design trends for these previously white UPVC lean-tos?

Quality over Quantity

Modern conservatories are manufactured from a range of much higher-quality materials than their older counterparts. The technology for producing glass has come on in leaps and bounds, and popular options include energy-efficient and self-cleaning panels. Alongside improvements in the construction itself, internal fittings like heating have also advanced, with underfloor being a popular option.

Bring the Outside In

2018 saw a rise in the number of people choosing floor-to-ceiling windows and folding or sliding doors. This trend creates an uninterrupted view of the garden and almost allows you to feel like you’re sitting outside.

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If you’re thinking of looking at new conservatories Worcester based provide a good range as well as summerhouses if you prefer to actually be outside.

Not sure how much you should pay for a conservatory or what pitfalls you should watch out for? Which? provides some independent expert guidance.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Mirrors have long been used by interior designers and homeowners alike to create stunning visual effects and the illusion of space. In 2018 the humble mirror made its way into the conservatory, although its purpose was exactly the same: to create the illusion of space and light.

Mirrors, coupled with metallic accessories such as light fittings and accessories, brought the lean-to bang up to date with a contemporary feel.

Soft Furnishings

Rattan has been given a major overhaul of late and brought into the 21st century. It’s now stronger than ever with an extended choice of colours and styles available. This range of styles allows you choose a combination of both practical and casual furniture to suit your style and needs.

Florals made a comeback in 2018 too, and the conservatory was the perfect place to try out bold, bright patterns. Many homeowners took their conservatory back to its Victorian roots with the addition of lush green foliage used as an integral part of their interior design.

A beginner’s guide to CNC punching

CNC punching is a process widely used in the manufacturing sector that allows for the cost-effective, mass production of identical items. What is CNC punching, and how does it work?

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What is CNC punching?

CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control, and CNC punching is a process for punching shapes out of a material that is controlled by a computer.

This allows for a high degree of accuracy and speed, and it is far more cost-effective than a manual process. A variety of different tools can be attached to create different shapes.

In addition to reducing costs, the automation of the punching process can also improve health and safety in the workplace by reducing the incidents of repetitive strains associated with manual processes. According to the Health & Safety Executive, just under four million working days were lost in the year ending 31st March 2018, so any reduction is welcome.

How does CNC punching work?

The design of the finished product is programmed into the computer in either a two- or three-dimensional format. In addition to the product design, the programme needs to know information such as the gaps between each part. This process of laying out the design is called nesting, and it is carried out by a specialist in computer-aided design. Armed with this design, the programme is then able to control the punch machine, telling it where and when to punch.

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Different tools are required depending on the desired shape, and these tools are often designed specifically for a single job. The thickness of the material being punched will also affect they type of tool required.

With the right design and tool in place, the programme sets the punch away, operating across both the X and Y axis to create the individual, identical items.

If you’re looking for new or replacement CNC punching machines for your business, companies such as can help.

There are some limitations to CNC punching, and laser cutting may be preferable in some cases. For example, laser cutting might be more suitable for materials that are thicker than three millimetres. The clearance space required is another consideration. Laser cutting can work with a much smaller clearance tolerance than CNC punching and can sometimes be a better solution to minimise waste, further reducing costs.


Good manners take no real effort but can have a huge impact

My nan used to say “good manners come for free” and she was right. In today’s society where can become preoccupied with the things that we have or don’t have people can sometimes forget the basics in terms of interacting with other people.

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Everyday manners

Going about your everyday life will see you come across many opportunities in which you can display yourself as someone with good manners and who is aware of social niceties. These may include opening the door for some who is walking towards you, giving up your seat on the bus to an elderly or pregnant passenger.

Table Manners

These can include everything from excusing yourself from the table if you have to get up and leave for any reason through to not resting your elbows on the table during a meal.

Other important table manners include placing your knife and fork together on your plate when you have finished your meal and ask for items that are out of our reach to be passed to you rather than reaching across people and over their meals and other items that are on the table. It becomes a bit annoying if your dinner is obscured by the constant reaching over of other people to grab a few more chips, peas or broccoli. The main offender here is the tomato sauce so it’s and idea to remove yourself from its proximity so that you don’t get caught out having to ferry it back and forth to the person or persons asking for it.

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The correct etiquette is to clearly state your intention before actioning it. For example, “I say, do you mind awfully passing the Ketchup please?” is the perfect way to frame the question and ensure that you get what you need. The same is true of vegetables and potatoes the simple act is needed to ensure that a dinner party runs smoothly.

When eating out, these rules still apply, and it is important to know which piece of Restaurant Cutlery you should be using for each course is important. Especially as companies like loving craft their pieces to be used for the specific requirements they were intended to be used for.

Why bother?

It can be difficult to maintain your composure when you go about your daily life watching more and more people almost deliberately forgetting their manners. But without anyone remembering to say please and thank you and helping an elderly lady carry her bags to the car, society would descend into chaos.


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