Displaying articles for: 06-10-2012 - 06-16-2012
Everybody likes winning prizes, but when it comes to your business, entering awards can be surprisingly profitable.
Consider the benefits if you win:
- You might get a prize. For example, an office makeover.
- Good for staff morale. Including the owner’s!
- Good for PR. Definitely a reason to send out a press release.
- Good for SEO. Get back links from the award site.
- Good for sales. You can put an award on your website and stationery. It’s objective proof that you’re a good business.
- A moment to reflect. Writing an award submission is surprisingly thought-provoking.
- Lifelong hype. Now you’re an “award-winning” business. Forever.
And if you lose? You lose the time you put into completing the application form and perhaps a small application fee. Nothing.
I definitely found this in my own experience. I entered Turbine in the Internet Business Awards last year in a relatively uncontested category and won. Not only did it make me and the team feel pretty chuffed but it gave us some external validation right at the launch of the business and so we put it front and centre on the website.
So, how do you go about applying for awards? Easy:
- Research potential awards. For starters, consider The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, regional awards, Startups Awards, Nectar Small Business Awards, Growing Business Awards, Smart 100 Awards and this list of different awards.
- Write some standard copy that you can reuse in your applications, for example to describe your business and your back story. This will make it quicker and easier to fill out application forms.
- Look at the website and previous winners to get a better idea of what the judges are looking for and to understand the entry criteria
- Get a friendly critic to review the entries for typos and so on.
- Apply early and often. Be organised and disciplined about your schedule so you have enough time to complete the forms on time.
- I’m a writer by choice and vocation so I don’t find the thought of writing an award application daunting in any way; but if you do, consider getting outside help. For example there are specialists in the field and a PR company could also help.
HP today announced the first HP Smart Business Awards as part of its commitment to support small and mid sized business innovation and growth in the UK.
The annual awards will celebrate the best achievements of the UK's small and medium sized businesses. Each of the seven award categories will recognise a different area of business, with winners picking up HP kit, winners rights and a package of business support services. One business will also be awarded the overall title of HP Smart Business of the Year 2012.
HP is continually supporting emerging companies through its SMEngage program announced in early 2012 and the LinkedIn Business Answers community where HP is committed to developing and maintaining a small business community that can learn from one another and collaborate to further grow their businesses.
“We are delighted to announce the opening of these awards, HP is keen to promote all the fantastic work SME’s have been doing in the UK, especially during these tough economic times,” said Susan Bowen, HP UK&I Director of Strategy. “SME’s are the engine of growth and innovation for UK economy and we will be rewarding the best in the sector every year and we will be there to support them every step of the way.”
Businesses winning the category awards will receive an individual award trophy and logo, an HP product bundle (laptop, printer and relevant software) and a LinkedIn Pro account. The winner of the HP Smart Business Award of the Year will receive business mentoring from HP advisors and a branding consultant where the winner will receive expert advice on how to develop and grow their business. The overall winner will also be rewarded with a place on a Santander Breakthrough Trade Mission – activity which will help the winning business to develop a strategy for international trade. More information on the programme can be found at www.SantanderBreakthrough.co.uk.
The award categories are:
- Social Media - For the small business that has demonstrated an innovative use of social media to promote a brand, product or service
- Global Reach - This award will honour the business which demonstrates an understanding of what it means to be a global player
- Next Generation - This award will celebrate successful business owners aged 25 or below who have driven innovation forward against the odds
- Community Support - This award will honour the business making a measurable difference to their local economy or community
- Manufacturing Innovation - This award looks to celebrate the business, whether small-scale start-up or long-standing company, that has displayed innovation in UK manufacturing
- Green Award, sponsored by AMD - This award will commend the business that has operated with a positive environmental attitude over the last 12 months
- Use of Mobile - This award will honour the business that displays the ability to think differently and can demonstrate the most innovative use of mobile devices to promote or sell a product or service.
- The HP Smart Business Award.- The award for the HP Smart Business of the year 2012 will reward the business that has excelled across the board, delivering exceptional performance and results
The Judging Panel includes:
- Susan Bowen, HP UK&I Director of Strategy
- Rebecca Shears, HP Marketing Director
- Emma Jones, Owner, Enterprise Nation
- John Williams, Head of Breakthrough, Santander
- Iain Bristow, Country Marketing & PR Manager - UK&I, AMD
- Other names to be confirmed.
Entries are now open! Closing date is 29th June 2012 so please make sure you don’t miss the deadline.
It’s easy to enter, just go to http://www.hpsmartbusinessawards.com/, select a category and explain in 250 words why your business should win and visit our LinkedIn Business Answers page where you can get guidance on putting the best award entry together. Good luck!
See the attached PDF file for the full terms and conditions.
The award ceremony is being held on 10th July 2012. Details coming soon.
Everybody’s an environmentalist now. The choices we make as individuals and small businesses can reduce our environmental impact. When it comes to IT, you can help by choosing a green-minded manufacturer, recycling packaging and old computers, reducing energy consumption and choosing PCs with the least environmental impact.
Green IT checklist
- Buy from green-minded manufacturers. Most PC manufacturers have information on their website about corporate social responsibility. Check it out and buy from a company that shares your values.
- Recycle packaging and old computers. Reputable manufacturers make nearly all of their packaging out of recycled materials. HP does. You can do your bit by recycling the packaging after you have unpacked your PC. It’s good to find ways to reuse or recycle old computers. There are charities who will find good homes for old, working PCs, for example.
- Reduce energy consumption. Use system settings and energy management software to help your PC use as little power as possible. For example, HP Power Manager (available on select HP Business Desktop PCs) can cut energy consumption and CO2 emissions. Check your own carbon footprint using HP’s free web-based Carbon Footprint Calculator.
- Compare different systems. PCs may look alike but there is a big difference when it comes to their environmental credentials. Reputable manufacturers publish detailed environmental assessments for their products. For example, HP has published 1,200 IT Eco Declarations about its products.
- Use objective standards. Look for systems that meet the latest, highest standards, such as EPEAT™ Gold and ENERGY STAR®. This will tell you which machines have the least environmental impact and the lowest energy consumption.
- Choose PCs that are easy to recycle. It is more environmentally friendly to buy PCs that are designed to be recycled easily. This means steps such as labeling different plastic components and making systems easy to disassemble. For example, HP PCs are more than 90 percent recyclable, by weight.
- HP Eco Solutions. HP Eco Solutions is the technology industry’s leading environmental program. For example, HP is listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and FTSE4Good, recognizing its commitment in this area.
- HP Business Notebooksmeet the rigorous standards set by The Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) rating system and are ENERGY STAR ® qualified for superior energy efficiency.
- Recycling program. When your HP and non-HP computer hardware or printing supplies reach the end of their life, take advantage of HP’s Planet Partners return and recycling program, available in more than 45 countries, regions and territories.
- HP Disk Sanitizersoftware, built into the computer, means that you can completely and securely erases the hard disk before recycling it.
- HP’s power management features, such HP Power Assistant, can help you cut power consumption and CO2 emissions. Features like this have helped us cut the energy consumption of our PCs by 41 percent since 2005.
- HP Smart AC Adaptersfor HP Notebooks only draw around half a watt when they are not actually charging a laptop.
- HP Long Life Batteries. Using new technology, HP offers a new laptop battery that lasts up to three times longer than traditional batteries, retaining 80 percent of its original capacity after 1,000 charge cycles. They are compatible with select models of HP notebook computers. The result is less landfill and lower long-term cost of ownership and replacement. It also contains no dangerous heavy metals or PVC, further reducing its environmental footprint.
For more information
Your physical workspace has a huge effect on your productivity. It’s worth the time and effort to assess and transform the space in which you spend the bulk of your waking life. Give your space a makeover to gain more control, flexibility, and flow in your work.
Here are 5 simple things you can do today:
1. Do some “Spring” cleaning.
No matter what the season is, get rid of your clutter. Throw away all the junk, the dusty knick-knacks, and cords for who-knows-what. Recycle that paper you’re never going to read.
What remains should be only what you need to be productive and happy on a regular basis.
2. Maintain clear spaces and go green
Use a small vertical file storage system for your desktop and replace your computer keyboard, mouse, and speakers with wireless options.
Streamline your computers and devices. Try all-in-one solutions like multifunction printers and combined computing systems such as the HP Z1 Workstation or the HP Compaq 8200 Elite to increase the efficiency of your computing experience.
Go green by going digital. Convert necessary physical files to a digital archive, and replace paper storage with cloud storage.
3. Get comfortable.
Invest in that ergonomic chair with back support. Plus, remember the comfort and health of your eyes! Get a second or larger monitor to lessen the strain of staring at a computer screen.
4. Set up your mise-en-place
Cooks prepare and arrange ingredients and equipment so that their cooking flow isn’t broken.
Set up your own workspace mise-en-place to ensure your own quick and efficient workflow. Arrange related tools together and keep items you use daily within arm’s reach.
Rearrange furniture so you don’t keep tripping over that side table. Designate zones for different types of work such as a paper-free or paper-only area to boost focus.
5. Mask Some Noise
It’s more difficult to block external factors such as office chatter or noise from the street. Get some earplugs to clear out the sonic clutter or some quality headphones like HP’s H1000 In-Ear Headphones or Monster Beats Studio Headphones.
Take time to reflect after your workspace makeover. You may want to make adjustments like adding extra desk space for your “paper-only” zone or going back to a traditional planner. A streamlined workspace doesn’t mean getting rid of your personal preferences. What is one person’s favourite red stapler is another person’s out-dated office product.
A bad working environment can be very expensive for businesses and painful for individuals. Among office workers, repetitive strain injuries are common, not to mention headaches, sore eyes, and aching backs and shoulders. Adjustable monitors and keyboards and good seating arrangements can reduce the risk of injuries. Getting the right temperature and keeping noise down can maximize productivity.
- Position your keyboard and mouse. Experts recommend that you place your keyboard and mouse so that you can use them with your body in a relaxed, comfortable position. If you have to reach for them or hunch your shoulders to use them, they’re in the wrong place. Try alternating between your left and right hand when using the mouse to get a break.
- Get comfortable with your notebook. Consider buying a docking station and external keyboard (with number pad) and mouse for your notebook when you use it for extended periods. Alternatively, a notebook stand can make using a notebook in the office more comfortable and convenient.
- Choose ergonomic keyboards. Look for a keyboard that has different levels of tilt, including the ability to lie completely flat.
- Reduce eyestrain with an adjustable monitor. Put the monitor directly in front of you at arm’s length. Adjust the height so that you can see it with your back straight and your eyes tilted slightly downwards. Try to avoid reflections or glare on the screen. A monitor that can swivel and adjust in height will be more comfortable because you can adjust it as you change your posture during the day. Consider using an adjustable second monitor for your notebook when it’s in the office – it’ll be more comfortable for extended use.
- Reduce noise to increase productivity. Ringing phones, music and loud noises increase stress, interrupt concentration and reduce productivity. Try to minimize unwanted noise.
- Set the right temperature. Productivity falls if the temperature varies far from around 25oC. Getting too hot or too cold can slow you down.
- HP keyboardshave three options to make them as comfortable as possible. Using the keyboards’ tilt legs, you can set them at a zero-degree (flat), six-degree or 12-degree angle.
- For notebook users: an HP Adjustable Notebook Stand and docking station, when combined with an external monitor, keyboard and mouse, lets users use their notebook more ergonomically when it’s in the office.
- HP external mice, including the HP USB Optical Travel Mouse and the credit card sized HP Bluetooth PC Card Mouse.
- HP LCD flat-panel monitorsare easily adjusted so that users can get comfortable, however tall they are or whatever their working conditions, including some models that can be positioned very low for people wearing bifocal, trifocal or progressive lenses.
- Energy efficient, quiet, cool PCs. As desktop PCs get more energy-efficient they generate less waste heat and, besides saving energy, this makes offices cooler and more comfortable.
For more information
Small and medium-sized enterprises are usually more innovative than their larger peers – especially when it comes to saving money.
So it came as a surprise to discover that SMEs lag behind bigger businesses when it comes to sustainability. According to a 2011 survey by MIT’s Sloan Management Review and the Boston Consulting Group, only nine percent of the SMEs they polled “fully embrace sustainability”.
There are some 23 million small companies in the EU, responsible for nearly two-thirds of industrial emissions. Yet environmental policy tends to focus on bigger businesses, according to a Guardian interview with Antonio Tajani, EC vice-president.
They are losing out on potential business opportunities for producing green products and services. But they are also losing out on savings: one research paper suggests more efficient water and energy consumption could save UK businesses some £23bn a year.
But the same research notes how disproportionately smaller companies can be hindered by hidden costs. Financial barriers, hidden management costs and a dearth of information make sustainability more of a challenge for the SME.
This podcast with Matt Gardner, co-founder of Zurich and Boston-based SusainServ consultancy, offers some useful insights into the whys and how’s of SME sustainability.
First, he defines sustainability: it’s where economic, environmental and social factors intersect. Companies that are operating more sustainably are taking those three factors into consideration – in strategic planning, investment decisions – with the aim of being in business for a long time.
Several factors are motivating businesses:
- Market opportunities for new products or services;
- Business processes and infrastructure efficiency – less waste or space means less cost;
- People factors – sometimes it’s a CEO-driven decision. In other businesses, employees want to work for a company that shares their personal values.
- Regulatory factors – from specific environmental regulations to broader corporate governance recommendations, rules on sustainable reporting and practice will continue to develop.
- It’s coming down your supply chain – Wal-Mart, bidding to cut its carbon footprint by 20m tonnes over five years, is just one company to send out a sustainability questionnaire to suppliers. “If you’re a tier two or three supplier, eventually you’ll run into this,” says Gardner. “Anyone who is completely refusing to weigh in environmental and social concerns [is] unlikely to survive.”
This SmallBizTrends post suggests some easy starting points for cash-strapped companies – seeking out free resources from local universities or via Business Links.
Here are four more ways to kick off a sustainability drive:
- If lack of information is holding you back, look for sustainable networks to share best practices;
- Find out what your peers and competitors are doing – you’ll be competing with them for customers;
- Get an energy audit – these are often free and will give you some data to help you prioritise where sustainability measures will be most effective.
- Identify the ‘change agents’ in your company: if some employees espouse a particular cause, put them in charge of it. You’ll engage them, do good and add value to the business. What’s not to like?
Remember, change won’t happen overnight. “You have to go into this with your lens wide open – and make decisions based on what’s best for your business,” says Gardner.
Be transparent – even if your sustainability record isn’t perfect -- and commit to continuous improvement.