Archive | March, 2011

The Green Initiative: How going Green can help your business

How the Green Initiative can Help Your Business!

In today’s post-recession economy, it’s important for small businesses to take advantage of every opportunity to embrace innovation. This was a central theme in President Obama’s 2011 State of the Union address, in which he discussed how the emerging green economy will provide the path to success for small businesses in the 21st century.

But how can you leverage the green energy economy to help your small businesses? There are several important options to consider.

A good first step for a small business would be to investigate how you can make green improvements to your existing infrastructure. Green energy, including solar, wind, geothermal, is not only safer and cleaner to produce — it’s often cheaper, saving money for businesses as well as consumers. It is a short-term investment that will likely pay for itself in the long run.

To create incentive for small businesses to retrofit their buildings with environmentally friendly doors and windows — or install solar panels for their own independent energy production, for example — the federal government and state governments have provided incentives, usually taking the form of tax credits, to ease the cost of making green updates.

The incentives vary based on the type and extent of green infrastructure improvements made, so check with your local chamber of commerce or other local government organizations to find out more about government benefits. With the passage of Assembly Bill 32 in 2006, California is on the forefront of nurturing a green energy economy. In fact, nearly 500,000 people in the state are already employed in green energy, the state’s fastest-growing economic sector. This is a direct result of its green-friendly public policy advancements.

Secondly, there may be ways for small businesses to strategically position themselves to benefit from the emerging green economy. There are obvious advantages for companies that are in the energy production and management industry. But the benefits often trickle down beyond energy companies to small businesses that offer a supporting green-friendly service.

For example, a human resources company that specializes in training skilled laborers may introduce solar panel installation to their training curriculum, making their personnel more enticing to small businesses and the population at large.

Third, going green may help your small business by fostering good will as a result of your company’s green-friendly practices. Conscientious consumers spend their money (and more of it!) at businesses that not only offer good products and services, but also those that do so in an environmentally respectful way. For companies large enough to benefit from institutional investors and hedge fund contributions, going green will win kudos from stockholders and investors, eager to support businesses that are embracing technology, innovation and social responsibility.

One of such companies is the Virgin Group, based in the UK. Despite the environmental damage caused by their air travel company, they have invested a significant amount of resources on fighting climate change and ensuring that their operations remain “carbon neutral.” Consumer confidence in the company is nearing an all-time high in 2011.

By investing in the transition into the green energy economy, you will help ensure your small business retains its competitive edge and continues to grow for years and decades to come.

For more information, visit these sites:

The business benefits of going green.

Why businesses are going green.

While being green can help your business, Our next article is on whether “Social Media in the Workplace, Beneficial or Productivity Killer?”

Managing Business tasks with MindNode for the iPad

Taking control of business taske with MindNode.

mindnodeIf you’re in business development, technology oversight or sales, MindNode (available for iPad and iPhone) is your essential tool for staying organized while attending trade shows or events. A visual mind mapping application, MindNode allows users to create a map of all the companies, people and products on their agenda, then strategize their day and constantly update the app to reflect new objectives as they occur. If you’re new to mind mapping, or you’ve seen other mind mapping apps with complicated user interfaces, have no fear. MindNode’s learning curve takes no time to get over, yet it’s packed with features that increase your productivity like it’s had a bit too much caffeine.

Getting started is as simple as entering objectives you’d like to accomplish as nodes in the application. Under each node, you can add subnodes that list the people or products you need to see to complete that objective. Then just color code the most important nodes to maximize your productivity. As you complete each goal, tap the node to re-color and mark it as completed. If you’ve found something new to add to your map during the day, that’s no problem for MindNode. Simply add nodes for each new product, company or person and the map will fluidly include all the new tasks you’d like to accomplish. You can even drag and drop nodes if associations change or you put something in the wrong place.

As a checklist, MindNode is a dream; but the app offers much more than that. If you need to take notes as you speak with prospects, potential partners or customers, you can easily add that information to their node on the mind map. To avoid speaking to anyone twice (or worse, missing someone), just change the node color of contacts to whom you’ve already spoken. It’s even possible to map these relationships by business or product groupings, meaning you’ll always associate contacts with the right company. Additionally, you can map your business development plans and associate people or products with each stage. The portability (and export ability for PDF and other formats) inherent in MindNode means you’ll always have those plans at hand when you need them. Plus, the no frills interface means you won’t easily be confused or waste time tracking down information on the go.

But, as you’ll see from the list below, those are just a few of MindNode’s offerings.

MindNode Pro

  • iPhone, iPad and Mac OS X support
  • Features full keyboard support
  • Supports improved printing dialog
  • Canvas automatically expands
  • Allows users to:
  • Create multiple new nodes and node wells
  • Create multiple mind maps all on one canvas
  • Customize node widths
  • Export maps to PNG, PDF, HTML, RTF, OPML, and FreeMind formats
  • Import FreeMind and OPML files
  • Import MindNode (touch) files
  • Drag and drop to reconnect nodes
  • Image nodes
  • Create visual file links
  • Create cross connections
  • Enable WiFi sharing with MindNode (touch)
  • Enter full screen mode
  • Fold and unfold nodes
  • Embed hyperlinks
  • Customize node creation shortcuts
  • Customize default node color, stroke, font and more
  • Change a node’s title alignment
  • Reorganize nodes
  • Fill any node
  • Copy mind maps to the clipboard as a TIFF or PDF

The simple user interface combined with so many useful features makes MindNode essential in terms of productivity. Plus, the portability means the app is both flexible and practical for attending trade shows and events. So if you’re new to the mind mapping concept, you’ll be an old pro in no time with MindNode. And if you’re an old pro, you just might pick up some new productivity tricks.

Using MindNode for productivity isn’t the only thing that can help your business. The Green Initiative and How it can Help Your Business.

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