Thursday, October 30

Did you know about Lyoness?

A year or so ago I joined Lyoness as a shopper and benefit from the Cashback I receive when I shop.  I've been mildly interested in the business side of things.

I do benefit (because I shop!) - but know that I could benefit more - if only I tell someone about it.  Mmmm.  You can see I would never make a successful network marketer - though this isn't the same as the many other network marketing businesses.  With Lyoness you shop like you usually do - but use your Cashback Card when shopping at a Lyoness merchant - and it is easy to see the local Lyoness businesses with the App on your Smart Phone.  And the best part is, that to get your loyalty card it is FREE.

The new developments are great - which I will explain to anyone who is interested.  It will be easier to save money and even earn a little or a lot.  A lot of you want to get involved in the business side of things - which I am happy to explain.

You can watch video.  If you want to know more - or how you can benefit, leave me a message in the comments section, with your email address.  I moderate the comments, so your comment with your email address will not show.  I will contact you via email.

Monday, October 27

Rockhampton Trip - October 2014 Part One

I had wanted to travel on the Queensland Rail Tilt Train for some time.  I see it pass the Caboolture Historical Village each day I work there and promise myself I will go on it. And so it was that a couple of weeks ago I found time in buy busy schedule for a short visit to Rockhampton via the Tilt Train.  The Rocky train leaves Brisbane daily and there are many stops along the way, but it gives one a great view of the countryside up the east coast of Queensland.  There are of course many other trains on this route and further north - but I chose the Tilt Train.

(These images are from Queensland Rail)

Tilt Train passes the Glasshouse Mountains
The train left Caboolture at 11.45 am - and was due to arrive in Rockhampton at around 6.30 pm.  It was a little late, but it was no problem.  I chose to spend most of my time watching the scenery pass by, which is what I love to do.  Many of the towns we passed I had travelled through on many occasions previously, but I just loved it.  As a camera addict I wanted the train to stop more often, and was irritated by having to take shots through the window - especially as the window by my seat was damaged which made it difficult to see through.

I was in Economy - which was more than adequate for me - but if I had wanted to lie back and snooze it may have presented a problem for my long legs, especially if there was someone sitting next to me - which was not the case on the trip north, but for half of the trip south.

There is catering on the train - with a Galley and a Trolley service. I used the latter.  There are toilets and drinking water on board and plenty of room for small hand luggage.  I had booked my small purple suitcase through and it was waiting for me at the end of each journey.

As a Concession Card holder - the journey cost was only $25 each way - which is a great bargain.

I stayed with my son-in-law's parents in Rockhampton - and for the two days and three nights I was there we packed in quite a lot of activity.

I have been to Rocky on many occasions as I daughter lived there for many years, as the Manager of the McDonalds store/s there.  Which is how she met the butcher from Rocky!

It is a city famous for its cattle - and through the city are statues of various breeds of cattle.  There is plenty to see and of course it is not far from Yeppoon, and Rosslyn Bay which is the boat access to Great Keppel Island.

The Gracemere Cattle Sales story is here.

Thursday, October 23

A Wonderful Garden

Yesterday I visited a family home on the western side of Caboolture - and just had to get out my camera and take some photos.

Here they are.

A cactus flower

Bee Good.

North Queensland Waratah

Tuesday, October 21

Who Killed Cock Robin?

This is a song that will forever haunt me.  Many years ago when I was about ten years old I sang this on state at the Warradale Institute for a concert for my ballet school.

Why I was picked to sing I don't know - I doubt it was my good singing voice, so maybe it was my poor ballet skills.  I don't know, but our little troupe played out the song as I sang each part from the front of the stage.  The song has haunted me ever since. I never know whether to laugh or cry.  Is it why I have never been able to sing?

On the rare occsions I have heard the song on radio (I don't recall hearing anywhere else!) I mouth the words, just as I did this morning on the ABC (Classic Radio).  I laughed when I then found this version of the Wiggles - complete with junior dancers.  Oh, the memories.

The Lilium

They are fantastic flowers - large beautiful flower with long stamens (though this can lead to some staining of furniture etc), which always provide a fantastic show whether in a bunch or an arrangement with other flowers and greenery, or just on their own.  They are so picturesque and dramatic.

Recently I bought a bunch of delightful pink ones (see photos) which lasted nearly two weeks before the petals faded and with the old leaves started to drop.  Sad, but they don't last forever.

I don't know where I found the information, but somewhere about that time I read about them online. The article stated that they were easy to grow, loved living in pots and it was the right time to plant them.  I suspect while the information was correct at the time of publishing, it was a little late by the time I saw it.  Undaunted though I headed for Bunnings on another excursion looking for something else, and decided to see if Bunnings had any Lilium bulbs for sale.  I found some - rather sad, almost neglected on a shelf.  There were a few there, but I chose two and took them home.

After reading the instructions and learning again that I was a bit late in the season, I decided to plant them anyway.

For a few days they looked shocked and near death.  One bulb showed no sign of life!!

However, undaunted I visited them every day, added water when I felt they needed it and waited.  Soon new growth appeared.  The "dead" bulb took a while, but it now is flourishing.  Will I get flowers?  I don't know.

At the moment though it looks promising as all four bulbs look health and the green leaves are pushing onward and upward.

There are instructions here for growing them from Tesselaar in Victoria, Australia.  Tesselaar have a wonderful Tulip Festival each year - which I attended in 2012.  Just awesome. 
The first bulb to produce foliage

Two bulbs in the left pot are pushing upwards, and the other pot has the flourishing bulb, and the near dead one is showing signs of life.  :)

Friday, October 17

Customer Service - is it dead?

Don't you sometimes wonder why people go into business?  There seems to be a perception in the business world that if you have a business - you just have to open the doors and the people will come and you will get rich.  I often shake my head as I leave a business, wondering how the business people think they can survive.

Business is generally a tough gig.  I suspect that there are more businesses that started and failed, than have made a success.

Appealing Shop Front.

Have you ever entered a shop and been dismayed at the lack of appeal - perhaps crappy notices falling off the front window, a display that looks old and miserable, untidy in need of a good vacuum and clean, windows all marked with handprints, and the greatest mistake of all - a grumpy unwelcoming staff member behind the counter?

We'll come to the grumpy staff later on, but a business has to look and feel welcoming.  Fresh, clean, and with products well displayed and with prices easy to read.  How many times do you go into a shop and the price is not visible, or easy to read?

                        Business Open when it says it will be.

You'd think that this would be a given.  I can name two shops around the area I live who don't seem to understand that if a customer goes to you shop in the hours that you advertise you will be open, and the doors are shut, you are doing your business terrible harm.   Strangely the two business I am referring to for this example, are in the food business.  One an Indian Restaurant that advertises on its window that it is open from 8 am for breakfast.  It was once or twice, and maybe business was slow, but it takes time to develop a business and increase your client/customer base.  Despite saying that they will be open for lunch - I seldom see the doors open.  I don't know how many folk I know have said they have gone to dine there, but it was closed.  Strange way of doing business.  

The second business is a supposedly boutique cafe - owned by a couple who are full time workers who set the cafe up to help an unemployed daughter.  The shop is pretty ordinary - nothing appealing about it at all - and they too are seldom open.  The girl is a party animal and often feels seedy and is unprepared to work.  When she does her mood is not conducing to good business.  She looks and dresses badly for a business, and has no personality or welcoming skills.  I have tried to support the business dropping in for coffee with friends but we always leave a little unhappy.  There's nothing special about the cafe, and of course customers drift away.  It is sad because the parents have tried to help their daughter, but it looks to me, and I don't know the full story, that she is somewhat ungrateful.  Sadly the business is doomed to failure.

                                        Useless Marketing.

Not opening the shop/store at the times you advertise is one of the silliest marketing strategies there is.  Another is having flyers printed - that are pointless.  The second business asked me to help with their marketing - oh, and they couldn't pay.  Mmm.  I have done nothing other than put limited information on a website, but the same business supplied me with a flyer they had printed.  It was very colourful - and could have been useful - but the name of the business was in such small print in the midst of a colourful splatter of pictures (not of anything in their shop!) and the address was not listed. It was as if they assumed that everyone would know the new business.  What??

They scatter signs throughout the district - but it is pointless.  If you see the sign and head for the cafe, 9/10 times it will be shut anyway.

                             Grumpy People Behind the Counter

Now this really annoys me.  I don't care if the person behind the counter is having a bad day (oh, I sort of do, but in business you have to put on a brave front!), but if you go into a shop and the shopkeeper does not welcome you with (a) a smile (b) bright words of welcome or an offer to assist, you are not likely to inspire your customers to return.

I can recall several businesses that I had either frequented or have known the business person, who have reduced their customers to tears by their rudeness.  Now, I know that some customers can be challenging, but the men I refer to had a habit of doing this.  I guess one of the golden rules is to NEVER EVER forget that in business you need to be friendly to all your customers and having them run from your shop in tears is not a good look.  There were a couple of women two renown for their bad treatment of customers - especially customers that look but don't buy and "waste" their time.

Bright and bubbly, and helpful characters behind the counter will be most appreciated by your customers and those who enter your shop.

                                    Customer Service

There are many great articles about quality Customer Service and I don't intend to add much here, other than to suggest that if you are going into business you (a) study the qualities of good customer service businesses and (b) visit a number of businesses, similar to your own if you can, and focus on what they do in the customer service area which is working for them.

Things like doing what you say you will, deliver on time, friendly, courteous and helpful persons that the public come into contact with etc. Set your own goals and standards and see if you can improve them.

Perhaps even have some (short)  feedback questionnaires for your customers too - if there is a problem YOU need to know about it and fix it quickly. It is better you know than other potential customers.

Study the best businesses

Take a good look at businesses like yours and see what  is working!!!  Business is tough - and you need to be a good competitor to make it through and I guess then, there are no guarantees. The two businesses I mentioned above will probably not be surviving in a few months from now.  Sad, as they have put time and money into it - but they have ignored some of the fundamentals of good business.

Wednesday, October 15

Health and Us.

It is a weird world.  Despite all the progress in all areas over the last few hundred years, we still have terrible issues with health.

Every now and then there is a great epidemic of a disease - I know that when I was little it was polio, and in the 1980's it was HIV Aids. Two very infectious diseases - and now it is Ebola and in Australia there is concern about a new strain of Tuberculosis. One person has died with this drug resistant version of the disease.

Cancer is still not under control and other health issues are increasing - obesity, diabetes to name just another two.

One disease/illness that has touched me on more than one occasion is Multiple Sclerosis - something I first learned about in my nursing days years ago. It is an insidious disease where many folk deteriorate slowly with nothing much that can be done, though I am aware that some folk have found some respite in various alternate and other methods.  It seems that no one "treatment" works for all.

I learned today that my daughter is taking part in a Moonwalk to raise funds for the Multiple Sclerosis - you can visit the page here.  Donations welcome of course.  To donate you can go here - to support my daughter Janet Gough, who is doing it because a very close friend has the disease.

I am unable to attend, and would not survive the long walk with my wobbly legs, but it sounds a lovely walk in the moonlight around the Brisbane River. I hope the weather is fine and the moon shines down brilliantly on these lovely volunteers who are supporting MS Queensland.

I am not sure that the route passes this part of the Brisbane River, but it was the only photo I could find in a hurry - one of my special photos looking across the river to the city.

We all have to play a continual role in helping scientists resolve our health problems - and do what we can to keep ourselves healthy!!