Pets – Safety Tips at Holiday Time

The holiday season has arrived. Thanksgiving has just passed and before you know it … or usually we are ready for it … you'll be waking up to Christmas morning. Boy, does not the year fly by? Along with all the joy the holidays bring, they can also present some particular hazards to the health of your pet – and consequently, to your peace of mind. Here are some ideas that can help prevent problems so that your holiday is a happy one for all.

First, it's a good idea of ​​know your vet's holiday hours. Keep emergency phone numbers and any special holiday requirements where they will be easily accessible.

Give some thought about how you'll use plants to decorate. Birds, cats and dogs will all nibble on household plants – and many of them are toxic or poisonous, including mistletoe and poinsettias. They can make your pet very ill so be sure to keep them out of your pet's reach.

If your celebration includes having a Christmas tree you should use some caution in placing the decorations on it. Only use unbreakable decorations at the bottom of your tree so there is not any danger of your cat batting a glass ball and breaking it, or the pup chewing your grandmother's antique bubble lights. As for birds – they should not have any access to the tree, decorations, plants and such. For those of us who live with pet birds, we know what mischief they can get into very quickly … not to mention how destructive they can be. So keep your birds confined, or watch them like a hawk (so to speak) when they are out of their cage. Better to be safe than sorry.

As far as the less exotic pets go … that is, cats and dogs … how about putting some kitty baubles or doggie toys on the lower branches of the tree instead of your fragile and valuable decorations. That way, if those pets are attracted to the tree they'll find something appropriate for them. Or, here is another suggestion that has proved successful for protecting both pets and little ones. Put the Christmas tree and gifts into a playpen. That may not stop kitty, but at least the tree can not fall down as easily as she decides to climb it. Granted, it might be a little strange to see the holiday tree and gifts in a playpen, but it might just be the ticket for your situation.

Since we are on the subject of the Christmas tree, here is another safety hint. If you have a live tree placed in water wrap the base so your pets can not drink the water. Many modern live trees have been sprayed with chemicals that may be toxic to your little friends.

Be very, very careful with candles. Your bird or cat may be enticed by the flicker of the flame. Singed whiskers or feathers would certainly put a damper on holiday cheer, not to mention the horror your pet would suffer from a serious burn. Place glass "hurricane lanterns" or other attractive covers over candles to protect your home and your pets.

Give some thought to New Years Eve. Pets are typically fried by the traditional firecrackers and other noisy merriment and it's best to have a plan to keep them from becoming afraid by the noise. Some dogs may be severely traumatized by fireworks so be sure to leave them inside if you go out to celebrate.

Pets, especially birds and cats, may be stressed by the changes in household routine during the holidays, especially if you are stressed yourself. Some cats and dogs respond to stress by becoming hyper or hysterical, and some simply retreat. Plan to spend some special time with your pets to calm yourself and reassure them during this period. If your pet is especially upset with strangers visiting, prepare a refugee where he can go to escape the "maddening crowd."

And last of all, we wish you and your family a wonderful and safe holiday.

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What Is Digital Marketing? A Guide to Marketing in Today’s Digital World

In the world of business development and branding, going digital is all the buzz. So just what is digital marketing and how can we use it to grow our businesses?

Digital Marketing Defined

Digital marketing is the advertising and promotion of businesses and their brands through digital media channels. Digital media, at the moment, includes websites, social media, radio, television, mobile and even forms of traditionally non-digital media such as billboards and transit signs. Essentially any marketing media that is delivered electronically is considered digital marketing.

This leaves only various forms of person-to-person (P2P) marketing, print advertising and direct marketing outside of the digital marketing umbrella. Even then, print ads, direct mail, print directories, billboards and posters are all starting to connect to their digital counterparts. With items like URL landing pages, QR codes, web banner advertising, online directories and text codes, traditional marketing and advertising almost always has a digital marketing connection.

Why the Focus on Digital Media?

The shift to digital media is being driven by marketing agencies, business owners and consumers alike. The ever-increasing demand to show quantifiable results makes going digital a dream for the digital marketing agency. Most digital media, including websites, social media and mobile advertising is much easier to track than traditional marketing media such as print advertising.

For business owners, many forms of digital advertising are very low cost. Having a web presence, engaging customers in conversations through social media and e-mail marketing are low cost alternatives to print advertising and direct mail. These digital channels are available to businesses of any size, and help to even the playing field for start-ups, small businesses and independent consultants seeking new business.

For consumers, the fast pace of life makes digital advertising a must. When consumers are in need of goods and services, gone are the days of thumbing through a phonebook to find them. Now, we whip out our mobile devices or head to our computers for answers – and we find them fast.

Using Digital Media to Build Your Business and Brand

No matter what size your business is – large or small to medium sized business / enterprise (SMB or SME) – you can effectively market your business through low-cost digital channels. The foundation of your marketing efforts will be your website. Invest wisely in your website, and be sure that it does the following:

  • Adequately represents your business and brand (look and feel, messaging)
  • Adequately speaks to your target audience
  • Can be found by searchers on top search engines
  • Is up-to-date and easily navigable
  • Provides multiple channels for customer communication
  • Connects to other marketing efforts

It is recommended that you work with a professional web design firm that is skilled in web development and search engine optimization. Because your website is the foundation to and from which all other digital channels will lead, it should be considered one of your top business investments.

Once you have your website complete, the next steps would be to launch regular monthly or bi-monthly e-mail campaigns, and connect with customers via social media. If you are truly on a shoestring budget, these are efforts that can be done in-house (by someone with the proper knowledge) or for a low cost by an outside digital marketing agency. Be sure that all of your efforts lead customers back to your website where they can fully engage with your business, products and services, and choose the channels through which they contact you.

If you’re interested in getting aggressive with search marketing, you can set aside some digital marketing dollars for search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising. Many businesses today rely heavily on being found online to gain new customers. A common misconception among business owners is that simply having a website means that customers will find it. Not so. Your site must be built with specific key words and phrases, meta data, page content and linking strategies that will help it reach top search rankings.

Because many key words and phrases have stiff competition for top search rankings, you will need to supplement your organic search engine optimization efforts with pay-per-click advertising. Getting established with pay-per-click advertising campaigns can be a little daunting, but with a little time, effort and instruction, that too can be accomplished in-house, or for a reasonable cost through an outside digital marketing agency.

Beyond e-mail, social media marketing and search engine marketing, you can venture into a host of other digital marketing efforts. Mobile advertising, radio, television, electronic billboards and much more are available as marketing outlets. Whatever digital efforts you choose, they should all connect and tie into your foundation – your company website.

If you have the means, a wise investment would be to engage the services of a digital marketing agency to assist in your marketing efforts. Today, many digital agencies offer multiple levels of service to accommodate businesses large and small.

Top 10 Tips For Starting a Successful Multi-Restaurant Delivery Service

When planning to start a restaurant delivery business, here are 10 tips to help you plan, start and succeed in starting up your own food delivery service.

1. Do a research first.

Before starting any business, be sure to find time to dig up resources and valuable information about the business. This also applies when you have decided to start a multi-restaurant delivery business.

Reading informative articles would actually be helpful but you should also find time to talk to people who you think would give you additional information about the business. If you find a website that offers information about food delivery service business, try to contact them through email or call them if the number to reach them is available on their contact page.

2. Find an experienced guidance.

When starting up your own multi restaurant delivery, consider sharing your plans with a close family relative, a trusted friend or a business person who is close to you. Get their suggestions, thoughts and find time to consider all these. It is better to have support from your family or spouse than doing this alone. Starting up can be a bit daunting phase of the business.

It is best to have an experienced business person to support you and guide you as you start your own restaurant delivery service. If you can not find any immediate person to talk to, you can try to search for forums or business communities online, try to mingle with like minded people who are seriously considering starting their own food delivery business.

3. Be sure that you are really serious on this.

As what most business experts tell us oftentimes, "Start up a business that you are really interested about." One reason why most business fails is because the person behind it lacks sufficient motivation to continue after a stroke of problems arises.

Before starting up a multi restaurant meal delivery service, be sure that you are interested with the business and that you are really sold with the idea before you'll be able to effectively do it as a business.

If you still have doubts about it, do not tolerate these doubts and find answers.

4. Get ready with a business plan.

Having a business plan will show you firsthand if the business itself is feasible. It would allow you to see if the business is scalable. If you plan to start a food delivery service business as a franchisee or investor be sure to study the food delivery service business plan and analyze the business' potential before putting your time and effort.

5. Test the waters first.

Do not jump into the business immediately. What's good about restaurant delivery service is that you can do it part time or full-time. This only means that you can start doing part time meal deliveries first.

If you have a day job, do not quit your job right away. Having a day job while you're still starting up a new venture will definitely help you financially while your food delivery service is still on its early stages.

6. Prepare the investment needed.

It would be hard to decide about what business to start if you do not have enough financial fuel to run the business. Save up or consider taking a business loan or approach lenders if possible. Every business requires initial investment to start with.

Food delivery service business does not require a huge amount of investment and preparation for the investment may not be that difficult acquire.

7. Prepare for the legalities.

When doing a research on food delivery service, also consider the legal and tax obligations or obligations required. It is better to have this all looked at and fixed beforehand rather than fix a legal mess afterwards.

8. Market your business to your customers early on.

You do not have to wait for your restaurant delivery service to basically start before you start promoting it to your customers. Start distributing brochures, printed menus or stickers to homes, offices near your business location and start making contact. Supply your customers with enough information early on.

9. Hire professional assistance if needed.

When starting up a food delivery service business, it does not mean that you will have to do all the work. In a typical scenario, you may need a person to answer calls and a person or two to deliver the orders.

As for the legalities, you may also want to get assistance from professional lawyers on legal matters relating the business.

10. Be professional.

This only means that you need to establish your business in a professional manner. To do this you need to create professional business cards, put up your own multi-restaurant delivery service website, a business phone number and a business email address.

What are the Key Features of a Database Management System?

Every day the demand for a good database management system is increasing. The fact is that information is growing and expanding faster than ever. And this makes sense — all old records still need to be stored and saved, while new records are being added and updated daily. Even companies that five years ago had no use for a database management system are now struggling to even get a handle on the simplest information, as it relates to their customers.

All database management systems have one goal in mind — to take the information you enter into it, and store it effectively. Then, when you need to get that information back, you can access it quickly, without any problem or headaches.

Additionally, you want the feature of being able to access all of your information in one singular central location. What good is all your information going to be if it is scattered about on various disparate systems? If the accounting is on one computer, your inventory on another computer, and your sales information on a third computer, you will not be able to make the necessary snap decisions that are required in the business world.

Another feature many database management systems have is to give you the ability to make complex statistical and data analysis, so you can make the most accurate decision as quickly as possible, since time is money in business.

In addition to those features, another good feature of a database management system is its ability to stay secure. This is especially true, as it relates to hospitals. Most hospitals have very sensitive information about their patients, which could put them in legal problems if that information was accessed.

You want to make sure that you have proper security on your database management system, otherwise your information may be compromised. Nobody wants their competitors to get a get hold of their client list, and hospitals and psychiatrists, among others, have a duty to keep their information about their clients confidential.

Security can be enforced on each individual application that exists within a database management system, or it can be set up on the system itself. This will depend upon how many users are accessing the system, and how many applications are running on that system.

In conclusion, I’ve given you some of the basic features that make up a good database management system.