How to remove grease stains out of your uniform

If you work as a chef, then you know that one of the worst things that can happen to your uniform, especially your chef coat or cook shirt, is getting grease stains on it. Although it can be a hassle, don’t worry!

One of the easiest ways to prevent grease stains from getting on your chef coat or shirt, is to wear a full-length chef apron over your uniform. This will not only protect your uniform, but also protect you from flames and heat as well as sharp objects while running around a busy kitchen.

If you do get any stains on your clothing however, the first thing to do is grab a piece of paper towel and some water. Make sure it’s lukewarm if possible. Start blotting your uniform with the wet paper towel in order to get rid of any excess oil or grease that may be on it. You can also use laundry detergent for this step, but make sure you don’t rub too hard when using soap because that will just ruin your clothes even more. After doing this step, take another dry part of the same piece of cloth and dry out what was left from the dampened one so no moisture remains behind.

If there are still greasy spots remaining after these steps have been taken, try mixing up baking soda with vinegar until you form a paste which you can apply to the stained area. You can either do this with a brush or your bare hands, but make sure you don’t use an old rag because it might get hard and greasy after drying out which will ruin whatever cloth you used for blotting before. After applying the paste, leave it on until air dries up completely (which could take around ten minutes). If there’s still grease stains left on your chef coat or shirt at that point in time, try using hydrogen peroxide instead of vinegar since it has more degreasing abilities than vinegar does.

It is important to wash any stains off immediately because they can become permanent if left alone for a long time. You need to use an enzyme cleaner before washing your uniform in order to get rid of any dirt that might have been transferred onto it during the cooking process, especially when dealing with meat stains.

Direct Mail – A Numbers Game

Six seconds, one percent, 3000 addresses, thousands of dollars. Direct mail. It’s a numbers game.

Yes, it’s a numbers game, but there is no other marketing approach that allows a regular business to reach so many prospects, in such a powerful way, at so low a cost. Not advertising, not telemarketing, not personal sales calls, not the Internet.

Clients often ask, “What should go into a direct mail campaign?” Everything. Actually, no. Everything needs to be in a Direct Response Campaign; other direct mail campaigns require fewer things.

First, a definition: Direct Mail means addressed to an individual, not to the “occupant”, “general manager” etc. Neither is it un-addressed admail. There are two general kinds of direct mail, based on the target audience: business to business, and consumer. And there is a difference between regular direct mail, and “direct response mail”. Direct response is a subset of direct mail: in it, the goal of the campaign is to have the target respond to it, before it can be considered successful.

As consumer mail has the most statistics behind it, I’m going to refer to it most often. Where business to business (B2B) differs from consumer, I’ll put the B2B information in an “aside”.

Once they’ve come across your envelope in the post, your prospect will take less than three seconds to decide to open it or trash it. By opening it, they’re identifying themselves as real prospects.

B2B is often sent in plain business envelopes, which tend to be opened as a matter of routine.

Next your prospect takes about nine seconds to scan the contents: the response device, the letter, your brochure and the response device again. (People look at the response device twice, as it has their name on it, and, it turns out, people like to see their names in print.) If you fail to hook them in that time, you’re in the trash.

As you can see, you don’t have much time.

Your task is to get your audience emotionally involved with your mailing. They’re either emotionally involved or it’s into the trash.

One method, used in consumer mailings to build emotional involvement is creating visual clutter. Visual clutter roughly drags the viewer around the page, and through the various inclusions. By “exploring” the mailing, they become “involved” with it.

While this should work with B2B mailings, your business prospects are less tolerant of clutter.

Some direct mail approaches:

  • Postcards. The implication is: good news, an easy decision, quick to deal with. However, they can be seen as representing low value, if they are not done right. Production values and creativity are extremely important with postcards.
  • Self mailers. These are often used in B2B. They tend to have very high pass along value. They’re a quick read, and often used to sell seminars, conferences, single books, for lead generation or traffic building. Statistically, seminar mailings pull 0.3% or less.
  • Catalogues. These have a fairly high response rate, and are kept for a comparatively long time. However, they are hugely expensive to print and distribute. These are being replaced by postcard invitations to view an online catalogue.
  • Standard direct mail package. At the minimum, these consist of an outer envelope, sales letter, brochure and business card. They can get very much more complicated than this. These can pull from lower than 0.5% to as high as 5%, or even 10% for outstanding campaigns.
  • Standard direct response package. At the minimum, these consist of an outer envelope, sales letter, response device, brochure and return envelope. They also can get very much more complicated than this. Again, these can pull from lower than 0.5% to as high as 5%, or even 10% for outstanding campaigns.

For the most part, direct mail packages are seen as more personal than the other methods. They can also deliver a larger quantity of information. If you want someone to respond to you, you need to give them enough information to justify their actions.

In the briefest terms, any good direct mail package does the following:

  • It frames the offer.
  • It highlights the benefits.
  • It visually reveals the concept.
  • It calls the reader to action.

You don’t know which piece of your mailing a prospect will look at first. So, every element in the package must contain the key benefits and focus on the offer.

COPYWRITING

There are six kinds of copy you need to write for your direct mail piece. Each one plays a different, but important role.

The first is your benefit copy. It builds desire. A benefit shows the improvement that the user will gain through the product or service.

Then the descriptive copy makes up for the fact that your reader can’t “kick the tires”. This is where the product/service is made tangible. Visuals play a big role here.

Support copy validates your story. It can be data, statistics or research. Or it can be examples, case studies, histories, (Which are 3rd person recommendations.), or testimonials (Which are 1st person recommendations.) Of course, it can be all of these together.

Then there are the “sweeteners”. These are incentives and choices: “Free gift”, “Yours to keep”, “Buy now and get blah blah blah, etc.”

Finally, the “facilitators”: guarantees, “toll free numbers”, “pay later”, etc. These make it easier for your reader to say YES.

THE ENVELOPE

To develop a good envelope, you need to answer these questions:

  • What is your prospect thinking?
  • What’s going to get the envelope opened?
  • What’s going to get the response you want?

Consumer oriented direct mail envelopes announce that they’re advertising something. They use teaser copy, bold graphics, even photos to get people to open them. When people open these, they know they are about to be “sold” something.

Direct mail lead generation and other B2B mailings often use a more subdued #10 or plain 5 7/8 x 9 envelope, often without even a company name on the envelope. This has its dangers, as a recipient might feel “tricked” into opening it.

(Fundraising mailings often take the direct sales approach. The trick with them is not to look spendthrift.)

Postal regulations are complex. If you’re doing any large quantity mailings, review your options before you design your mailing. Review the regulations at ups.gov for Americans or canadapost.com for Canadian mailings.

If you intend to do a large mailing, it’s best to hire a lettershop to assemble it for you. They will actually save you money, as they can put your mailing together the best way to suit the postal regs. Make sure your materials will fit their equipment and your envelopes. For ease of insertion, your envelopes should be 1/2 inch longer and 1/4 taller than your material.

I intended to give you the whole story in this article, but I realize I’ve carried on for quite a long while. I’ll finish my story of direct mail in Direct Mail the Numbers Game, Part Two, where I’ll talk about sales letters, response devices and brochures.

A Professional Social Media Road Map for Small Business Marketing

Every Small Business needs to have an online marketing strategy that supports their offline presence. Here’s a simple social media strategy that every small business can utilize to help grow their business.

Social Media Presence – If you haven’t already done so, take some time and properly implement a social media strategy for your company. If your not talking about your company online, via social media, chances are someone else is. Make sure you control the story. There are many tools to help monitor what people are saying about you or your company. You can monitor what people are saying about your company’s brand, services and products by subscribing to free online monitoring services like Hootsuite, Google Alerts and Twilert. These same services are a great way to stay informed about your competition. All these services allow you to target your results by keywords, company names or general terms that help define your query. So once you realize that people are talking about your company or your competition, you’ll want to participate in the conversation so that you can help steer the conversation in the right direction. The following social media platforms are a must for every small business owner to participate in.
Twitter: Twitter just might be the greatest online marketing tool your company can have, and its free! Take a look at this video clip by TechCrunch which interviews UCF’s Dana White. Take a look at this info graphic by KissMetrics. There are over 1 billion tweets posted per week. As a Small Business owner, you have a particular expertise in a certain area. Its important for you to create a twitter account and talk about the things that can help other people. Things you can and should write about are topics related to the services and products your company offers. Always write with a flare for giving advice freely. In addition, ask your customers to follow you on Twitter. Use the platform as a way for communicating special offers and deals relating to your business. Starbucks has a great social media success story that every small business can benefit from. The Next Web did a recent story on their social media strategy here. The great thing about twitter is that people will find and follow you if you have something to say. It also allows you to follow what are people are saying. Go to twitter and sign up for a free account. They recently launched brand pages which is similar to Facebook Pages for business. It allows you to set up a brand page for your business. Don’t worry about “writers block”. The cool thing about Twitter is that you can re tweet other peoples tweets. Make sure you follow people that have similar services and products and don’t be afraid to share or re tweet their stories. Follow these Twitter steps:

Sign up – Reserve your name before someone else does.
Upload your logo: Spend a few dollars and hire a graphic design company to really make your Twitter page pop. I personally recommend Gamby Studios.
Link your Twitter account to your website, business cards and brochures.
Follow Industry Leading people that have similar interests to you.
Tweet: make sure to tweet or re tweet relevant information.
Down load a Twitter Application on your Cell Phone. I suggest Tweetcaster or Hootsuite.
Check out TwitHawk: A great way to send direct tweets to people who are talking about your industry, services or products…. in real time! Its kinda like Google AdWords but for Twitter. Its a great advertising platform that allows you to send direct messages to people that need or talk about your product.
Check out 48ers too. Free service that allows you to send direct messages back to people ( in real time). Set up keywords to track and let the application do the rest. It will show you real time results in both Facebook and Twitter. Great way to market your company in real time but just make sure you have time to manage this properly.
LinkedIn: According to several leading social media sites, LinkedIn is fast becoming the most popular “sharing” button on both business and personal websites. With over 100 million users, I rank LinkedIn as the second best social media marketing tool for small businesses. ( Yes, even better than Facebook ). A properly set profile allows users to opt in for business venture requests from other users. If your company is a b2b service then LinkedIn is the place. This is not a viral marketing strategy. Most people are professional decision makers that can be targeted based on their set profiles. My advise would be to pay for a premium service plan. Check out the ad platform and run a few targeted campaigns.

Facebook: The 10,000 pound gorilla is my 3rd pick for social media marketing. No other site with the exception of maybe StumbleUpon and Reddit gets more page views on a daily basis. By now, if your reading this you already have a Facebook account. Now take the next step and create your Brand Page. Every business is slowly but surely creating a Facebook Page and you should too. Once your page is up and running head over to Wildfire Promotion Builder for contests, coupons, group deals, and sweepstakes. Its a great way for you to have your own personal Groupon. Wildfire also has great tool for Brand Pages Design.

Google+: Google+ pages are just starting to create some buzz. Not fully released to the public but soon every business will be able to create their own page for their business. Here’s what you need to know:

Get Started Early: Don’t wait. Although not as popular as Facebook pages, Google+ pages will be very beneficial to your business in the long run.

Call to Action for customers: make sure you get your visitors to join one of your “circles” Keep them updated on interested products and services and invite them to “hangout”.

Don’t Confuse: Unlike Facebook, Google+ allows you to create multiple pages for your brands and products. Just be careful not to go overboard. Simple is better.

Website+1 button: make sure you have one on your website so people can share your website with other Google+ friends. Google also measures the relevancy of your website by several factors which now include how many people use the Google+ button on your website.

Use a Google+ URL shortener: The URL Google gives you for the brand page is very long and not good for marketing. Several companies offer a service where they can assign your Google+ URL a better and shorter string.

Its not FACEBOOK: Google+ users are a little different than most other social media users. The platform tend to attract a much more tech savvy user. Make sure your comments and content is relevant to your business and don’t deviate into babble diatribe.
Note: Facebook will be releasing a new “Coupon” application, currently in Beta. Should be a great way for businesses to start offering coupon deals similar to Groupon but much more effective and much cheaper.

Company Blog: I personally suggest Tumblr. Its a free service with great templates to choose from. Posting articles in Tumblr can automatically be sent to your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. Blogs have much higher relevance to search engines and can be a huge boost to Search Engine Optimization for your website. make sure your articles are well written and unique in content. Don’t steal or scrape information from other sources. ( Search Engines like Google can quickly figure out that your information has been stolen. They wont index your site if they find this out. ) Take time to write good content or hire a company to do this for you. There are plenty of services out there that provide copy writing as a fee. Feel free to have one blog or many blogs but just make sure you update on a continuous basis and be the expert in your field. make your content so good that people will want to share your information with other friends and people.

YouTube: Create your own YouTube channel. Try creating something unique. If people like your video, they share it with potentially hundreds or thousands of people and pretty soon you have a viral campaign. YouTube now has a video ad platform. Online media marketing is big business. Spend some money and create a company video that explains your business and services. Its a great way for people to learn more about you without reading boring text on a website.