Brian Hill reports:
"A business plan should be created before making the decision to open a driving range. The proposal can be used to generate interest from prospective investors or lenders. It also serves as a feasibility study that helps you gauge the likelihood your business will succeed...First, describe the layout of your driving range and the number of practice bays and any additional facilities...Include a drawing of the facility with precise dimensions. A key decision to make early on is whether the practice bays will have artificial turf or grass, which is more expensive to maintain. Still, golfers tend to prefer grass as a practice surface as it more closely resembles on-course conditions...Data about overall growth in golf participation and changes in demographics can help you make the case that your business will succeed. The National Golf Foundation collects information about the current performance of the golf industry. Some of the reports are free. The [U.S.] Census Bureau website has information sources for you to use in estimating your potential market, including data compiled by state, county and city. Additional sources are just an Internet search away...The components of a business model include the revenue streams your driving range is expected to generate. Think of the business as an amusement park for golfers. The major revenue stream comes from selling buckets of practice balls. Offering food and beverages can generate additional income. Consider providing lessons through a revenue-sharing arrangement with a professional instructor. Offering a selection of golf equipment...can also contribute to your bottom line. For each revenue stream, list what you will charge your customers and why you chose that price point...Talk about the competitors in your area -- perhaps within 15 miles -- and their strengths and weaknesses. Include nearby public golf courses in your competitive analysis because many have practice facilities. Describe what you will do differently and the advantages you can exploit to make your driving range successful. Perhaps the location you have chosen has great visibility from a major highway. Maybe you have prior experience operating a profitable recreation or retail facility. You may have the advantage of limited competition in the area...Describe your target customer groups, those golfers who will be your major customers, and the marketing methods you will use to attract them. Facility signage is an important tool to get attention, so finding a good sign shop is vital. Plan a catered grand opening event with promotions like free sodas and hamburgers. Word-of-mouth promotion is a very cost-effective marketing technique. Hand out discount coupons and offer frequent visitors a free bucket of balls for every 10 they buy...Build a monthly revenue model. For each revenue stream, forecast the number of golfers expected to make a purchase and multiply that by the price you intend to charge. Build an expenses model with all the categories of operational expenses you will incur, including salaries, maintenance and utilities. Don't forget categories such as insurance and office supplies. Combine the revenue and expense model to arrive at a month-by-month profit estimate. Facilities in more temperate climates usually have shorter operating seasons unless they offer heated tees, so take the local weather into account as well."
Kori Morgan reports:
"While the past can be easily forgotten, it is through the memoir genre of literature that writers preserve it. A memoir is a personal essay about a significant memory in the author's life that uses narrative devices like setting, character and dialogue. Molding your chosen memory to an appropriate structure, using vivid detail and examining the memory's significance can help you write a strong memoir...You can write about your first job, a favorite family activity, a childhood toy you enjoyed or a special relationship with a friend or relative. For example, poet and author Naomi Shihab Nye wrote her essay 'Mint Snowball' about a favorite homemade ice cream treat from her childhood. Choose a memory that has special significance or meaning to develop into an essay...A memoir offers the freedom to portray your experience with a creative structure. You might choose to begin with the present day, then tell the story as a flashback, write the story out of sequence or write it in different, related sections. Thinking about what structure best fits your memory will help you come up with ideas...Vivid, specific detail transforms a memory into a memoir. One way to include detail in your essay is to think about how the five senses figure into your story -- what colors, smells, sounds and textures are most associated with the events. Then, you can use those details as you begin to create the story...Making the details as specific as possible will make them come alive for the reader...All stories should include dynamic, memorable characters dealing with conflict. Describing the key players in your story and creating their voices in dialogue will make them easier to visualize. In memoirs, conflict is typically the emotions the author is attempting to sort out or make sense of. In the memoir about holiday traditions, the conflict could be the sense of nostalgia you feel because your whole family is rarely together anymore, perhaps because siblings have gone off to college. Telling the story can be your way of returning to a happy moment in the past...By the end, readers should have a clear idea of why this memory is so important to you. Memoir is a creative form that lets you conclude your essay in a way that fits the piece. You don't have to explicitly state that holiday baking taught you the importance of family time; instead, you could contrast the feeling of togetherness in the past with the loneliness of making cookies by yourself. Whether you state it directly or use literary devices like imagery, make sure your audience knows why the event was significant."
Mazarine Treyz reports:
"Tell people the stuff they all think but nobody ever says. So, what is the big thing that people think but never say about your cause? Maybe they’re thinking, 'I don’t really know what you do' or 'I don’t know why I should care about this' or '[T]his problem is hopeless. Why don’t you just give up?' So say, 'Should we give up?' [T]hat’s honesty...Often your first three paragraphs are just a warm-up to the story. Your reader doesn’t need a warm-up. They need to be thrown into that story...There are some benefits to having the biggest indie bookstore in the US in your town...I’ve read three novels, two by Dick Francis, and one by Lee Child. They are masters of suspense. Everything is urgent, and real. They help you write in short sentences, and write like your character’s life depends on it. If you’re a human services nonprofit, this is especially easy to see how it fits. But even if you’re an animal nonprofit, you can make it urgent and real. If you’re an environmental nonprofit like Columbia Riverkeepers, talk about how people are connected to the river. What happens when a river gets polluted? Who gets sick? And what can we do to help them?...Have you seen a good headline in a newspaper or magazine or on a blog post recently? HOW could you apply that to your appeal header?...[P]ut [numbers and facts] in only when absolutely necessary. People don’t talk about statistics as much as they talk about stories. A good story can travel around the block before you get that first statistic out of your mouth...People speak in short sentences. Don’t write like you’re making a grant proposal...Pretend you’re a gunslinger in an old western. They didn’t waste words. They made their sentences as short as possible. Like a gunshot...What will happen if your reader does not give to your nonprofit right now? Do they truly understand the consequences of not giving to you? Can you make that real to them?...How can you put your reader right in the middle of the action? 'She started running through the forest. She could smell the pine boughs crushed under her feet. A wind blew up and threw her hair in her face. She kept running, her breath coming in ragged gasps. She knew she couldn’t go back. But where could she go?' I just made that up. Might be applicable for a domestic violence nonprofit...Throw the reader in the fire with you right from the beginning...Use the boring down technique. It’s not a gun, it’s a revolver. It’s not a revolver, it’s a Smith and Wesson revolver. It’s a pearl[-]handled S&W revolver[.] It’s a loaded, pearl[-]handled S&W revolver...Here’s a free tool for you to determine if your appeal letter is readable at a 6th grade level or below (that’s where most people are)[.] Horrors! I looked at many of my blog posts here and they are on the 7th and 8th grade reading level! I’ve got some work to do!"
Garrett Moon reports:
"The first rule of FAQ pages is to avoid them as much as possible. Ironic, right? Sometimes FAQ pages can become a dumping ground for the things that we can’t put anywhere else. This leads to many problems. For example, it can prevent the FAQ page from having a focused purpose. If you are just pulling a bunch of random questions, the page will be hard to navigate and understand. The other reason to avoid FAQ pages is for consistency of information. Usually, with websites we group pages by related content. Sometimes FAQ sections can feel like a grab bag, which might cause a visitor to miss other vital information...Organization is key. Many great FAQ pages are useful because their questions are well[-]grouped and categorized. Questions should be broken down into common categories so that visitors can easily find what they are looking for...Similar questions should be grouped together, even if i[t] makes the page longer. If your page is [well-]organized, your visitors won’t mind a little scrolling...Sometimes FAQ pages get used as a place to share those questions that we never get to answer, rather than the ones that everyone wants us to answer. It is important to remember that these are your customers['] most common questions, not just the things that you want to tell them. Keep your questions on-topic and customer[-]focused...Customers and business owners talk differently. You should be writing your page in a way that resonates with your customer...This means you need to use their language and their slang...Providing an example image, or screenshot, can be a great way to add more value to your page. Make sure your visual element is applicable and sized reasonably for the page. It is just another way to add some value to your site...Visitors tend to scan the page, rather than reading everything. Making sure your headlines and questions are sized properly can make a big difference in the usability of your page...If your FAQ page starts to exceed a handful of questions, adding a search option can be a very good idea. This will help your customers and visitors find things quickly and easily. I don’t know how many times I have watched a web visitor frantically scan for a search option when the site gets overwhelming. Make it easy on them...If you overload your FAQ page with too many questions, you will overwhelm your readers and prevent the[m] from finding value in the page. Be a careful curator of content. Only give them what they want and need...A simple way to gain some search engine value from your FAQ section is to create dedicated landing pages for important questions. This can especially be important for long-tail searches, such as when a user searches for an entire question...If you create individual landing pages for common questions, Google will link your site to relevant Google searches. Now, that’s good for everyone!...As always, the key to a great website or FAQ page is to keep it customer[-]focused. Just like your products and services, your website needs to be built around your customers and the problems you solve. If you keep customers in the middle, you will always do just fine."
Louis Kroeck reports:
"When applying for trademark registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, you will be required to select a classification describing the goods and services that your mark is intended to identify. The USPTO requires you to specifically identify the goods and services your mark identifies in order to prevent an unlimited monopoly for the use of a mark...When drafting your goods and services description in your trademark application you must first select at least one of the international class numbers that best describes your goods and services...It is always permissible to look at a competitor's trademark registration to see what class numbers they've selected. You can do this by using the USPTO's Trademark Electronic Search System...After selecting a class number, or multiple class numbers, you will need to provide a brief description of the specific goods and services you intend to provide. It is important to only claim goods or services that you are actually providing as an overly broad description can result in denial of your application. Your description should be succinct, but it should also include all goods and services currently offered by your company. If you wish to expand the goods and services offered by your company you may alter your goods and services description when you renew your trademark or through an additional USPTO filing following registration...An example of a goods and services statement for a t-shirt company might read, 'clothing and apparel including men's and women's t-shirts, sweaters, pants and [sweatshirts]." In order to obtain an example goods and services statement for your specific mark you may check the registration record for a competitor's mark on the USPTO website. An example of a goods and services statement for a snack company might read, 'processed foods and salty snacks namely potato chips, pretzels, crisps and crackers.'...When completing your trademark application, in addition to a statement as to the goods and services your mark protects, you must provide the USPTO with your name and contact information, the name of your mark, a statement as to when your mark was first used and proof of your mark being used in commerce."
Terri Harel reports:
"Like traditional fundraising, it’s never a good idea to have to ask anyone for something the first time you engage with them. The same is true on Facebook. Before you post anything on Facebook, it’s important to remember that it is a friend network. People are there primarily to socialize. They are not there to register for your fundraising event or to see what’s new with your nonprofit. It just so happens you can create engaging content that will interest them, despite their sole purpose for being on the network...Make sure your appeal focuses on WIFM – 'What’s in it for me?' People are more likely to engage with your appeal if it has a benefit for them. For example, rather than asking for money to help your nonprofit fight cancer, engage them to take a stand for what they believe in...Avoid using the word 'we' in your Facebook updates. Remember, the reason why people support your nonprofit is because they view you as a partner. Use the word 'you' whenever you make an appeal so you can connect the impact you’re making through your programs with your audience’s interest in your cause...Before posting on social media and making an ask – whether to share or to donate – ask yourself, 'How does this post make me feel?' Or, even better, ask someone else unrelated to your organization how the content makes them feel and observe their reaction. This could be a good temperature reading for your own audience’s reaction...It’s better to ask people to share or donate when you’ve pinpointed something that resonates with them. Simply commanding people might come off as abrasive or aggressive. Try to add the condition 'if' to your ask. That small word turns the command or the call to action into an opportunity for people to share something personal about themselves...Use insights to understand what type of content performs best with your fan base. Within your Facebook Insights page, click on the 'posts' report and then the 'post types' report. Pay attention to the post type that has received the most engagement, rather than the post type that has had the most reach...If you’re struggling to find engaging new content, try to recycle the top-performing posts from your page – it’s almost guaranteed to get your fans to like and comment on it. Follow the 7 easy steps in this post to give recycling a whirl...When you reply to comments on your updates, or tag users who have commented, notifications are automatically sent to these users, bringing them back to the update to continue the discussion. This in turn sends out updates in their friends’ newsfeeds. (It’s easy to see the potential for exponential reach here). Therefore, it’s critical to ensure you’re getting notifications for your page. You can get notifications on Facebook or by email by clicking on your settings tab (in the upper right-hand corner of your Facebook page) and updating your notifications...Use targeted, boosted posts to create even more engagement on your top performing posts. Again, visit your Facebook Insights and click on the posts report. Then, rank your updates’ engagement rate. Select the most relevant post as it pertains to your event or fundraiser, and then make sure you target your audience thoughtfully. (For more details on effectively boosting posts check out this step-by-step guide)...After your campaign is over, make sure you set aside time to discuss with your team or other stakeholders how your Facebook content performed. Specifically, discuss why a particular update worked or didn’t work. What makes your fans like, and share, content? This is the ultimate question. When you share insights with your team, you’ll be able to work collaboratively towards posting creative, thoughtful content that really engages your audience."
Emily Johnson reports:
"Why do award submissions matter? Because a well-written award submission can earn third-party industry recognition for your company, resulting in enhanced credibility, shortened sales cycles and stronger relationships with existing clients. Award submission writing is part art and part science, and it’s different than the other kinds of writing we do as content marketers...[I]t’s surprising how many people fail to follow simple instructions on an award submission, such as word counts, revenue ranges or required information. In many cases, your ability to follow the strict guidelines of award submissions can make or break your ranking...If you want your award to stand out from the competition, be sure to incorporate lessons learned from previous award winners. You can usually find a list of winners from the previous year on the award website. Dig a little deeper by exploring the winners’ websites and award press releases to find out what information or projects made their submissions stand out to the judges...In an award submission, the judges are your audience. But judges’ backgrounds and expertise vary greatly from one award to the next...As with any writing piece, it’s critical to tailor your writing to appeal to your target audience...The most important component of an award submission is the real-world results generated from your company or project. You should be sure to use very specific metrics and growth numbers achieved as a result of your campaign. This will set your award submission apart from other, more vague entries...If your company doesn’t have any well-known clients, it’s not a deal breaker. Just be sure to focus on the real-world business results generated. When writing award submissions, keep in mind that quality is more important than the quantity of information. Double[-]check for typos and make sure your writing is clear and concise. Obviously, there are no guarantees when it comes to award submissions. But with a handful of common sense writing tips, you can improve the likelihood that your entry will rise to the top of the heap."
Malik Sharrieff reports:
"A constitution for a nonprofit organization is very similar to the bylaws that govern the actions of its board of directors. Like bylaws, the constitution depicts the rules by which the entity will operate and the restrictions, powers, and duties of its officers and board members. In contrast, constitutions often describe the belief system, founding or guiding principles[,] and moral direction of the organization. It is because of this characteristic that constitutions are rarely found in for[-]profit corporations, but instead have become a staple of religious, service[,] and charity-oriented nonprofits. Select several nonprofits within your local area (city, county[,] or state, if possible) that have the same or similar purpose or focus as your organization. Introduce yourself as a representative of a developing nonprofit in their field of interest, then request a copy of their constitution to study and/or benchmark against...Organize the information you will need for the required sections of the constitution. Remember that the constitution of a nonprofit is a legal document so there are segments that you must include. These sections are: 1) the name and location of the entity, 2) the purpose, 3) stipulations, duties, and restrictions of membership, 4) [a] statement of binding authority, 5) explanation of how the entity and any assets it owns may be dissolved at the end of its operational life, and 6) how the constitution can be amended. Compose the additional sections you might want to include within the constitution that might be relevant or critical to your particular institution...Compose the [constitution's] preamble that will clearly and concisely describe the purpose(s) of the document. It is usually a good idea to save this part of the draft until last so the most important aspects of the document can be listed more easily. Submit the completed draft to the [organization's] board of directors for review and a vote to sanction the document...Remember that organizational constitutions are legal documents that are meant to last relatively unchanged throughout the life of the organization. While there should be mechanisms to change the constitution, the process should be more difficult than amending bylaws because the constitution serves as the foundational document of the nonprofit."
Diane Melville reports:
"Before you decide to write a financial aid appeal letter, you should definitely set some time aside to have a talk with your college’s financial aid office. You’ll want to do this to understand better the reasons for their decision and to talk through some of the facts you’ll present in your financial aid appeal letter. The counselor may give you tips on what to write or how to structure your argument. They may also let you know if you do not have a strong enough case to appeal...In the case where you are writing an appeal letter because your financial aid was suspended, don’t blame others for your predicament. Bad grades?...Explain why your grades were poor and what you plan to do to bring your grades up. Took too few credits? Don’t point fingers at the registration options—instead, explain how you plan to stay above the required credit threshold...For those of you appealing a suspended financial aid package due to poor academic performance, here are some examples of potential solutions to provide in your letter:
Cindy Ratzlaff reports:
"When an author submits his or her manuscript to a publisher, there are several things to go into their decision on whether or not to publish the author’s work. First, of course, is 'Is this a well-written book that people will want to read?' The very next question is '[W]hat is this author’s platform?'...An author platform is a suite of sites, tools or outlets through which an author can assist the publisher in creating sales for his or her book. The publisher wants a partner in the author...[B]uilding a loyal, engaged fan base takes time and commitment. Ideally authors would begin building that fan base during the writing process so they could share their journey with the growing fan base, and they’d be able to present the potential publisher with some impressive social statistics from their platform. Besides writing the book, building a platform is the author’s second most important job. For most authors, a large speaking tour, a national television show or [a series of] regular radio interviews is something that may come in the future but might not be in their platform as they pitch their book to publishers. But a large social media following and a good-sized e-mail list is something most authors can accomplish with some strategy, consistency and focus...The elements of a good social media platform will vary based on the book, the author and the time available to build a following...[T]here are ways to live your digital life in public and keep some things private. One caveat, however. Because you’re building a public facing personae, please be cautious about what you post. Don’t post things you wouldn’t want the public to see, even if you think they’re private. We’ve all seen how vulnerable anyone can be if there is some sort of leak. That said, unless you’re an author who wants to foster controversy and gossip, think of Facebook profiles as a garden party, at your home. You’ve invited the public to view your gardens and talk to you about your books, but at the end of the day, you’ll say [goodbye], shut the garden gate and talk to your nearest and dearest in private...People who hear about you and your books will be searching for you by name. Don’t let a potential book buyer sit outside your garden gate. Invite them in and eventually you’ll invite them to also join you on your business page. Also, building a following on Facebook starts with your inner circle and grows. Only a personal profile account can invite other people to 'Like' a business page. The more connects you have on your personal profile, the more people you can invite to engage with you on your business page. Inviting those closest to you, the author, is the ideal place to start spreading the word about your book. Finally, unless you have a personal profile, you won’t be able to use all of the customization strategies available to a business page, such as custom apps to sell your book. Allow people to find you in a search and connect with you on your Facebook profile as you begin to build an author brand...A Facebook fan page is indexed by Google and is, therefore, a powerful opportunity to increase the author’s ability to be found in a search...Live links to the author’s website...on the About page can direct fans toward the home base. Custom designed apps or tabs can be used to create a rich experience, including selling the book directly from Facebook, offering live author chats, showcasing rave reviews, and featuring an author’s Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest feeds. Think of a Facebook business page as a mini[-]website that increases an author’s visibility on the largest social network around...Twitter is a broadcasting and engagement platform that helps introduce an author to a large audience and invite them back to the author’s home base for a deeper conversation and for links to buy the book...YouTube is owned by Google, reason enough to start a YouTube Channel for increased author brand awareness...[G]etting comfortable using video apps like [Vine and Instagram], and live streaming options such as Periscope, Blab and Meerkat, authors can become video savvy easily. They can even make their digital photos into short, professional videos using a free and easy[-]to[-]use service called Animoto. Note: Upload your short video messages directly to Facebook for better reach and then upload the same video to YouTube for the added search benefits of that platform...Using hashtags as a way to help followers connect, Instagram has a language all [its] own and a passionate, massive following, all of whom want to connect with authors who share their passions visually...With a user base focused on enthusiasts, it’s no surprise Pinterest attracts readers who like to 'pin' their favorite books and direct people back to websites where they can learn more and buy books...The blog or website is the home base and all of an author’s interactions on other social sites should eventually invite the author back to that home base to take an action. That action can be [to] purchase the book, sign up for the newsletter, check out the live events calendar or leave a comment with a question. Here authors can run [contests or giveaways] and increase interactions with fans to build a strong subscriber base. Using multimedia...will increase fan engagement and help create a desire to revisit the site often...Authors, keep writing, and add some social posts to your daily activities to create a vibrant fan base of readers eagerly waiting for your book."
Writing and editing can be pretty rigorous processes if you want to do them well, but that's what this page is here for. Check out the latest tips here.