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Dear Subscribers,

I hope 2005 has been good to all of you so far...

It has been a while since our last edition so I will just remind everyone that you are receiving this newsletter as a subscriber to the www.eBizNext.ca online Canadian business directory. The directory lists manufacturing or distribution companies located in Canada. Most of you subscribed to the site when your company was added to the directory and the rest of you signed-up to receive our newsletter after visiting the site on your own. Either way, we are glad to have you aboard and we hope that you will find the articles in our e-newsletter interesting, useful and sometimes... Fun!

Update Your Listing

In order for you to get the maximum benefit from your company listing in the directory it is important that the listing is accurate and complete. You are urged to find your company listing on the site and review it for accuracy. If changes are required, login to the site with the username (email address) and password provided to you when your listing was originally added. If you need help remembering your password, don't worry... Simply enter the email address associated with your listing into the space provided on the login page.

To login and edit your listing now, click here.



Send in the Writers

By Paul Lima

You’ve been writing all day. You are on your fifth draft of a one-page flyer. You are not sure if the headline will hook your target market. You used “affect” and spellchecker suggested “effect” but when you used “effect” spellchecker suggested “affect.” Email is piling up in your in-basket. The call answer light on your phone is blinking furiously. And weren’t you supposed to set up interviews for the receptionist vacancy?

It’s time to send in the writers.

Many companies outsource certain business functions, and for good reason. Why spend time doing things that you do not specialize in, when you could be closing sales? When it comes to contracting out writing assignments, hundreds of professional freelance writers in Canada can deliver the content you want, on time and on budget.

Just as you do before you contract out any other work, you need to discuss your business requirements and agree on a price for writing work. To help you get the job done right -- on time and on budget -- here are five things you should discuss before contracting out writing assignments.

1. Deliverables: Are you looking for a media release, a one-page flyer, a 20-minute speech, a 10-minute product promotional video, Web site copy, promotional email?

2. Target Market: Who are you targeting? Mass-market consumers? Small business owners? CEOs and presidents?

3. Business Image: Are you a fun and funky company, or are you blue chip? Do you want breezy or solemn copy?

4. Objective: What is the purpose of the work? What exactly are you trying to achieve, and why?

5. Call to Action: What action do you want the reader to take? For instance, do you want the person reading your brochure to visit your Web site, call for an appointment, or buy something? The writer needs to know.
Before the project begins, you should also provide the writer with pertinent background reading material or spend some time on the phone discussing your business. If you don’t have time to bring the writer up to speed, hire a writer who has written the type of material you need and who understands the nature of your business and the sector in which you operate.

How much do you pay a freelance writer? There is no set fee, but there are three ways to price a project.

1. Retainer: If you need a lot of writing, put the writer on retainer. You guarantee the writer a minimum number of hours per week for a set period of time (generally at least three months) and the writer guarantees fast turn-around. The writer keeps a timesheet and bills you once or twice a month. If the writer does not work the minimum number of hours in a week, you pay the full retainer. Remember, the writer has promised to be there for you.

2. Per Project: You and the writer define the scope of the project, and the writer produces a firm quote. The writer bills extra for work outside the defined scope. The scope includes deliverables (media release, brochure copy, speech), file type (Word, PDF, HTML, PowerPoint), number of words, due date, number of meetings and interviews, amount of background reading, anticipated number of revisions and other details that will help the writer issue an accurate quote. Again, the writer bills for any work outside the scope. You said two meetings but held four? Expect to be billed for the additional meetings.

3. Per Hour: Some projects are open-ended. In such cases, you and the writer agree to an approximate number of hours. The writer keeps a timesheet and issues weekly status reports. You discuss the project status and, if need be, agree upon a revised estimate.

Expect to pay the writer an advance of 25 to 50 per cent (or the first month of a retainer). Don’t expect the writer to be a graphic designer. Some writers have strong graphic skills, others partner with graphic designers, but most concentrate on producing the right words.

How do you know you are getting a professional writer? Read samples on the writer’s Web site or review the writer’s portfolio. Ask the writer if he or she is a member of the Periodical Writers Association of Canada (an association of professional freelance writers). You can find over 500 professional writers listed in PWAC’s online member directory: www.writers.ca.

Now, stop writing. Hire a professional writer. And go sell something!

Paul Lima is a professional member of the Periodical Writers Association of Canada. You can read samples of his work online at www.paullima.com



How Does Your Company's Website Rank?

Search engines are playing an increasingly important role in business today. Millions and millions of searches are performed daily by people seeking out products, services, partners, advice, information and more. Without question some of these searches are being performed by your current or potential customers.

Is YOUR website showing up in the search results?

If the answer is yes then you are enjoying one of the most cost effective methods of lead generation and new business development the business world has ever experienced, bar none.

However, if like most businesses, YOUR website is not showing up you get a "double whammy". The first loss is in the fact that the prospective client does not become aware of you and secondly.... He is being introduced to your competitors! OUCH.

So... How well does your company's website rank for the keywords that are most important to your business? For a limited time we are extending a special offer to readers of this newsletter. We will perform a ranking analysis of your company's website on the top search engines at absolutely no cost or obligation whatsoever. Requesting the analysis takes only a minute and is done online.

To get the details and request your search engine ranking analysis simply click here.



VOODOO Ergonomics

It’s time to explode a few myths – because what you don’t know can and will hurt you… and your business!

Every year North American companies lose billions of dollars to preventable workplace injuries. In Ontario, the average case of serious carpal tunnel syndrome will cost an employer $23,000.00. Compensation and time off can be sharply reduced by making ergonomic adjustments that quickly pay for themselves. However, many companies who purchase products that improve workplace health and safety don’t get the information they need to use these products properly.

Ergonomics refers to the relationship between you and the tools you work with, including workstations and seating. Ergonomics (or human factors) is the scientific discipline concerned with interactions among humans and other elements of a system (e.g. the tools, equipment, products, tasks, organization, technology and environment). The profession applies theory, principles, data, methods and analysis, to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance.

The personal computer can be productivity’s most formidable foe. Without proper ergonomic equipment, accessories and training, back, shoulder and arm pain are almost certain to occur.

Next to proper seating, an articulating keyboard support is the most important component of an ergonomic workstation. With the trend of companies investing in flat panel monitors the invention of monitor arms continue to push the boundaries of innovation and technology to create a safer and more comfortable work environment.

If you are interested in learning more about workplace ergonomics, please contact Teresa Kennelly at Frid & Russell Office Products of Oakville.

Visit them online at www.fridandrussell.com or call 905-845-2101 x20




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