Category Archives: Small Business Support

Why F7 is your best ever friend

Even Google isn't perfect.We’ve all done it, made a spelling mistake and regretted it.  One sharp-eyed reader noticed mine in our inaugural newsletter!  While F7 couldn’t have prevented that particular mistake, it can prevent 99% of the spelling and grammar mistakes you make.

F7 is the function key (Mac and PC) that directs your computer to check your spelling.  If you’re like me, you probably have your favourite email programme and word processing programme set to automatically check spelling and grammar.

Yes, that does mean you have to put up with Microsoft (for example) wanting to change ‘staff’ to ‘staffs’ (a personal bugbear of mine) but you can change the kinds of items it checks in your settings or options.

Even if you hate all those mis-corrections that are offered and so don’t automatically check, pressing F7 on your keyboard will start your spell checking programme for when you need to get it right.

Competition: the first person to email me, correctly identifying the typo in my last email will get a bottle of wine!  Email me with the typo and let me know whether you prefer Red or White?

And if you want to know more about adjusting your grammar settings, let me know below.

Your one stop shop for NZ business resources

Online Resources for NZ BusinessesThis month, I want to introduce you to the Small Business Hub (NZ) if you haven’t already met. It’s a definite go to site, for all kinds of business information and can save you hours of searching online.

Topics which the Small Business Hub (NZ) covers run from Management, Marketing, Social Media, Technology, Forms & Templates, Tools and even Video Libraries (useful if you have a few minutes to kill and want a little education).

The site includes a number of free e-books and downloads and links to popular online tools and resources.  My recommendation?  Take a look.  If you like it, bookmark it and sign up to their newsletter (just so you get a friendly reminder every so often, that it’s there).

Sign up to “the 5th C’

Following on from the 4 Cs which have been our marketing touchstones for years (Clarity, Colour, Cut and Carats) we’ve introduced ‘the 5th C’… educ-C-ation.

‘The 5th C’ is your monthly guide to business writing. There’s something for everyone; DIY tips, market knowledge; and the latest and best online resources for business marketing.

I know that as a business owner, you don’t always have the budget to outsource. ‘The 5th C’ is designed to help you achieve more on your own. And if writing is not in your DNA, don’t worry – we’re happy to step in when you do need professionals.

Each monthly newsletter includes:

  • ‘the writer’s corner’ – how to write better for your business
  • ‘across the desk’ – business marketing insights from local and global marketing leaders
  • ‘working it’ – how to manage your writer, designer and project
  • ‘finding inspiration’ – great tips for where and how to find inspiration for fresh content
  • ‘the naughty step’ – useful (and occasionally hilarious) tips on what not to do
  • ‘at the water cooler’ – the latest and best online resources for business owners

Sign up here for:

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Understanding the copywriting process

Thanks to Allan Kent of Zeald I came across a brilliant theory that explains a lot about why some marketing doesn’t work. I’ve borrowed his theory to explain the copywriting process and the pitfalls to avoid.

It’s a quick look at what commonly goes wrong, and an overview on how to get it right, from the very beginning.

Here’s the link to my free download about The Copywriting Process and how to get more out of your marketing investment… yes, it’s about marketing for results!  Enjoy!

Overloaded by newsletters? Ditch the drama now!

busy

Here at Copy Carats we get far too may newsletters a month.  Some are unsolicited and unwanted (instant delete); some are initially unsolicited but a pleasant surprise; and then there’s our regulars, the ones I can’t wait to read… but even those don’t usually arrive at a convenient time.

I’m as guilty as the next person for not wanting to miss out.  But I’m also as time poor as the next person and on a busy day I used to hit unsubscribe (often dancing through the three stage process, and losing more time)… only to have someone in the business ask me if I’d seen that tip from XYZ or news from ABC!

Honestly for the longest time I thought newsletters were fools’ gold but after being caught out a few too many times… genius struck.

Thanks to modern email programmes there’s a really simple solution. You create one folder for newsletters, and command all newsletters to go automatically to it (commanding is one of the many guilt free things you can do with machines. They never ask if it’s fair, they just do it).

With a few simple keystrokes, my problem was solved. My inbox was as clear as my conscience – guilt free indulgence in news when I want it, and no irritating interruptions when I can’t afford the time.

And here’s the best bit.  All those previously wasted minutes in my day (when I had a scheduled call in a few minutes, or arrived a little too early for an appointment) are finally useful instead. I just pop into my newsletters folder and catch up with the world; and I’ve never been better informed.

So to start the process, create a new folder in your email programme (mine’s called newsletters but call it what you want).  Then once a day (and later once a week, then once a month) create a rule for all those newsletters to go straight to your folder.

In most email programmes it’s as easy as a right mouse click… just tell your email that all content from that sender’s address should go straight to your “folder” and sit back and relax.  Yes, there’s a reason why most newsletters have their own email address.

Let me assure you, those few minutes you spend now will save you hours every week!  Hours you can spend on writing… or golf… your call!  Or call us.

four letter words

Yes, I made you look but I’m not talking about the obscene kind. The words I’m referring to are “goal”, “plan” and “track”.

Ok, that last one has five letters but you’d think it was a four letter word (and that word would be “rack”, as in “on the rack”), judging by the way some businesses react to it.

Running a business isn’t easy; you’re always up against competing priorities. In NZ we’re famous for our number eight fencing wire mentality – we can fix anything and we do. Of course we’re also famous for our rugby. So the way I see it, if John Kirwan can talk about “the plan”, so can we.

Planning is often referenced as the place we go back to when the (proverbial) hits the fan and it is really good for that. But planning is largely ignored when everything’s working ok – and it shouldn’t be!

Setting goals, planning and tracking are essential to avoid wasting precious business resources on poor outcomes. And it doesn’t have to be hard (another four letter word), or complicated.

At Copy Carats we like goals, plans and tracking because it gives us a chance to show off. Equally importantly, we like them because it gives us a chance to use our number eight fencing wire skills (tweaking, fixing, innovating) because we can see if it’s going wrong.

If you haven’t got a goal, a plan to get there and a way of tracking your success – you’re relying on luck and she’s a fickle mistress. We can still help, but we’ll put you in touch with the right expert.

If you have a goal, a plan and the means to measure it – talk to us. We’re champions of copy and we’re a dab hand at numbers too.