3 Tips To Help you Focus Your Business Brain

It’s simple for business owners to lose their focus. Doesn’t mean we do not understand what to accomplish, we just get confused, overloaded and overly frustrated.

It happens.

I believe there are some fundamental actions a business owner must set up to keep focused and help them get focused. And these Focus Insights are called by me. These are insights that you need certainly to bring in to play as soon as your concentration starts to slip, or gets fuzzy, or completely blurs the business horizon – leaving you stranded, undecided, bewildered, disappointed – you name it.

A business owner who has lost their focus is lost, period.Here are what I refer to as Focus Insights.Focus Insight

#1: Vision – believe it or not I have been experiencing business pundits somewhat deposit the Vision matter for business owners. I personally can not think about a single thing more necessary for a business manager than to truly understand, imagine and believe firmly in what they are trying to develop.

I will play this card every time I come across a business owner who is losing money, has a team that’s disengaged or a clientele that’s eroding.A not enough a clear and articulated Vision will just take its toll on a business. And this is particularly true in the start up and ramp up stages of development.

According to Keith McFarland in his book Breakthrough Companies, “When breakthrough organizations are thinking about building a guess, they fanatically come back to the perspective they’ve for the agency and to their technique for attaining it. A strong vision is what fuels a company’s appetite for major bets.”Articulate your Vision. What’s on the earth in 18 months?Focus the effect your organization will have Insight

#2: Values – clearly outlined Values will bring a business owner back to middle even more quickly than the perspective. Your beliefs define you and thus they define your company. The actual operating upon those values is what defines a character.A business owner who is increasing their business beyond their immediate get a handle on, meaning they’re selecting employees and require those employees to ‘do what is right’ when working with coworkers, clients, and companies – that business owner has to articulate those values to simply help drive the actions that business owner requires.

This one is a bit out there even for me personally – I seldom estimate Buddha but I appreciate how it plainly defines how you change the development of strong values in to the development of a company’s identity. In Sayings of Buddha: “The thought manifests as the word; the phrase manifests as the deed; the deed advances into habit; and pattern increases into character”. Ask yourself: if you have described your values are upon them daily?

What’re your core values – what’s driven your personal conduct? These are 5 – 6 words that describe everything you worry about probably the most. If your values have been articulated by you, where those values owned habits you liked – reward and course those behaviors.

#3: Communicate clear expectations – to bring focus back to your organization find occurrences, make clear expectations to be communicated by the time. When you feel your company isn’t in sync, people seem dispersed, conflict is high, assistance is poor and you again begin to see an erosion of earnings, or customer care or a lot of gossip – have one-on-one conversations with your direct reports and make sure everybody else in your organization knows what’s expected of them and equally crucial, what they can expect from you.

Start with what you expect from yourself and then, if you have workers, what do you expect from them? What do you expect from him or her, if you have a business associate? Now head to your partner or your employees and question what they expect from you? If you are a preneur, ask your customers what they expect from you? I actually do not believe anyone of the three Insights must take you weeks to create.In truth, if you do not have your perspective articulated, your values have not been written down by you and clear expectations haven’t been communicated by you, let us go there right now. Write them down again, If you have looked after these three regions.

It is good practice.

Yes, it’s understated but true: Practice does make great!

Accounting Software For Small or Home Businesses

Whether you are managing your own small business at home, a medium-sized enterprise, or a large corporation, accounting is a very important aspect. One of the main difference is the type of accounting software used.

As IDonald Scott from a leading firm of Aberdeen accountants explains, accounting is an essential factor and requires a specialized skill and a lot of businesses take advantage of the availability of the online accounting software solutions combined with specialized services, and these businesses have particularly received benefits through the help of utilizing outsource payroll services.

Even at home, if you are managing your own small business, you also need an accounting system solution. Though the type of software that you need for your home business is not as complex and expensive as what other businesses are using, it is important to carefully choose which kind of system is appropriate for your business. And in order to get the right accounting solution for the appropriate price point, here are some tips that you have to keep in mind.
If there’s not much paperwork being generated from your business at home, then you can opt in for just a simple or a free accounting software. On the other hand, if your business entails full featured accounting, then choose a software package that has features which is appropriate to your requirements, at a reasonable price offer. Also remember that the price you will be spending for obtaining a software that could cater to your bookkeeping needs is very insignificant compare to the real cost of learning how to use it properly.

If you are still in the process of choosing which accounting software is right for your home business, always keep it simple and don’t look for features which you may not be using for your bookkeeping requirements. Remember that a lot of accounting systems can be upgraded to include more useful features for your business such as inventory and payroll, so try to select a package that is initially simple to use but can grow in features, along with the growth of your business.
For example, some simple packages do not allow for investment and real estate tracking. This however is not a problem if you don’t have the requirement to track these items in your business.

The right software package is the one that solves all of your accounting issues without additional complexities of features that you don’t require. Start by deciding the exact features and services that your business needs and then examine carefully the features offered by different software packages and try and find the appropriate balance between features and price. Also look for packages that allow for features to be added at a later stage for an additional cost as they will be the best packages to grow alongside your business accounting needs.

These are tips to remember in order to make the correct decision in choosing the right accounting software for your business. Choosing the wrong solution can be disastrous to the success of your business so spend the time at the start to select the correct accounting software package and get on with running your business.

Do You need More Customers? Of Course you Do

Does your business need more customers?

I think I already know your answer… Of course!

Do you realise that is the biggest problem virtually all business owners face, yet they do nothing about month after month and even year after year?


I don’t know. The solution is SIMPLE! Go and get more customers.

How you ask? Good question! Now you’re about to learn something fantastic…

To get more customers than are you getting now, first of all its a good idea to know how many you are getting now! Does that make sense? If you know where your customers are coming from now, you’re part way there to solving the problem of knowing where to get more.

95% of all business owners I meet don’t know how many customers they are getting now… in this last week.

Do you know how many paying customers you had buy from you last week? No? Then I suggest you go find out.

Then you’re ready for step 2. Don’t read on until you have started on step 1 and gone and worked out how many sales you had last week, okay?

Did you go and do it? Well…. This article isn’t going anywhere, so off you go. Go measure and come back.

Okay. Can I assume you went and did it? No? Well how come? I’m trying to help you here.

Step 2. Now that you have measured (!) what did you find?

Over the next week I want you to start asking people how they found out about you. Its simple. That’s all you have to do.

People don’t mind you doing it either. Do it with every sale, preferably with every phone call too.

Over the week collate how many calls and customers come from different ads etc. Tally up each form of paid promotion and see where the customers are coming from. You’ll be amazed at the result, I guarantee it.

So just do this step and you’re ready for step 3. If you haven’t done step 2, or even step 1, because you are too busy… remember its not a busy-ness that gives you more money, its a business.

Step 3. Now that you know where you customers come from, how many come from each paid promotion and how many find you through referrals or other means, its time to simply improve on those strategies and even create some new ones.

Lets break that into two areas…

Step 4. This is where I will touch on how to improve what form of promotion you are using now.

Improving is easy! Yet so few people do anything about this. All you have to do is read one book and you will start to know how to make an improvement.

Have you read the book on advertising, “Scientific Advertising” by Claude Hopkins? If not why not? Its free from many websites, including my own you can see at the bottom of this article.

Again, being busy makes no difference to growing your business or getting more customers. Isn’t that what you need? You’ll always have a need to get new customers while you’re in business, so learning how TODAY is the beginning of solving the problem forever!

Read Scientific Advertising. If you have already read it, well done! Now I suggest you read it again as reading it once won’t get it all to sink in.

Just changing the top 20% of the ad to remove your business name or logo then putting a headline of some sort across the top of your ad beginning with “How to” and finishing it with a benefit relative for your industry will probably triple your responses. People don’t care what your business name is before they have ever bought from you. Do they?

Step 5. This is where we need to look at how to get more customers. I could (and have) written a book on this. This is such a huge subject I won’t go into it too deeply.

But let me suggest that nearly ALL businesses can benefit from simply running an ad in their local newspaper.

Yes you heard right. The newspaper is a super profitable means of getting new customers, mainly because tens of thousands of people read the newspaper every single week and you can tell them about your business just by spending some money on an ad.

If you’ve “tried” newspaper advertising and it didn’t work for you I suggest you open your mind to the idea again. Here’s why…

Reason 1. Every business owner I have ever met, before I worked with them, has tried newspaper ads and has failed to get enough sales to pay for it from the profit of sales. That’s because they or the newspaper designed it themselves and neither of them has read a book from any of the top advertising legends in the world… ever!

Reason 2. By reading 1 or more books you can make a poor ad that gets no calls into a super profitable ad, in one week!

Reason 3. You only have to run an ad once to see if it works. No $5,000 commitments like radio, or TV.

Reason 4. If you take the time to study success principles of advertising you can get a fantastic number of customers, in fact more than you can handle! When that happens you just run the ad anytime you’d like more customers. How does that sound?

Reason 5. You can test a new ad design for just $200 or less, so there’s low risk.

With newspaper ads you need to run them on page 3, 5, 7 or 9. No later!

If you dont then you won’t get the best value for money. More people read these pages than any other, that’s why the newspaper charges you extra for it. But wouldnt you like to get 5 – 10 times better response by paying 30% more?

I know I would!

Getting an education about effective advertising and marketing is the best education you will ever get. Yet virtually no one in business bothers doing it.

You will always need to get new customers.

Now here is the most powerful thing I can teach you about marketing.

“The aim of marketing is to generate more customers than you can handle!”

When you have more customers than you can handle, it becomes a supply and demand situation. If there is a scarcity of supply, due to demand, it means you can put your prices up.

And when you put your prices up you make more net profit margin. That means more take home pay for YOU without more hours of work, or extra employees, or stress.

Has that motivated you to want to do more marketing and become a student of it? I hope so. But if you you want to know more, please head over to my website to find out more.

How To Put On The Perfect Conference Event

Planning and delivering a corporate occasion might appear daunting but with a little creativity and coaching, you can be certain of enjoying and running an exceptional company occasion.

When should you Schedule Your Corporate Event?

Make sure it is not on a night which clashes with the regional soccer team playing.  Yes I know we spoke about this soccer lark being pervading but that is exactly how it is.  Whenever we place our day events, we constantly examine the neighborhood group’s fixture list; after all, Kintish are located in Manchester!  As you’re taking a look at the Calendar, determine what additional events are around also. In the case of the ‘large company occasion’, program it for a 5.30 for 6 beginning.
However, if you hold conventions, which are another concept entirely, think about early morning kick-offs and perhaps think about a feature of such events that have become quite popular – the busienss breakfast breakfast.

Where Should You Hold The Corporate Event?

Chose a place that somebody who you know has advocated.  Speak with the place and discuss your needs in detail.  Following the meeting set out (in WRITING) your needs and guarantee that they consent to these.  Something always goes wrong on the night anyway but it’s possible to negotiate down the invoice if that happens!  You need to keep in mind that the site is equally as interested in speaking to your corporate customers as possible.  They’ll want to keep you happy.

What’s your company Event about?

Should’nt you, at least,  understand, why you are holding the event?  This is among one of the most imprtant facets of your event planning.  The subject has to be consistent and the speakers have to be relevant

You are likely to find partners will invite some improper guests and there is not much you can do about it.  Grandma is encouraged (she had been about when I became a spouse”); the next-door neighbour, a customer of a competing company, is not there.  He is the managing spouse’s best partner and goes to all of the family parties.  This is life.

Having approved these get down to acute invitees and picked carefully.  The matter here is, Yes, let us invite her, you simply never know”.

It is dependent upon your budget loose you want to be together with your largesse.  For those who get a little budget then simply invite the customers and partners who bring you company.  For those who have a bigger budget then you may look farther to people who may bring you company.  Do consider your guest list if you conduct yearly events.  I get invited annually to a corporate occasion for that I’m most thankful.  The partners in the industry proved once my company partners so that I guess they encourage me for old times sake.

From previous experiences this is the place I watched that the largest wastagesHowever they come annually” they’d say
Yes but have we delivered us any warnings in the previous 8 decades?”  I’d reply
No, however they may and it might be such a pity blah blah blah”
And so Forth
I only mention all this to prevent you wasting cash as we often did.
One thing to think about: Is it worth spending an event organiser or if people ‘in advertising’ take action?  If it takes chargeable individuals away from their core business activities, then an events organiser is an alternative.
Invitations must be outside 5 weeks prior to the occasion.  It gives people an opportunity to organise their diaries but maybe not overlook the occasion.  You have sorted out the ideal guest list for your 75th parties.125 invitees say they are coming so I would budget for 90, any more and you are going to be taking the leftovers home for your children and dogs.  If you have neither, then warmed up quiches are not too bad the following day.
Who will sponsor?
I think this to be an integral issue in if the occasion is a success.  This section of the preparation is often left until quite late.  A variety of important men and women find a ‘motive’ not be on there.  An excellent reason, naturally.  And at 3.30 on the afternoon of this Corporate Event, the primary organisers realise that there are just 5 people offered and the fear begins.  ‘Ben in accounts may be there, just discovered he has a new suit on.’  ‘I will ask Karen the secretary she knows everybody.  Maybe we can convince her to not visit her salsa dance class tonight’
You have been there I do not need to underline the matter farther.  Just make certain that you receive complete commitment from individuals who behave as hosts.
Pre Corporate Event briefing
The company is spending 10,000 money and many untold lost chargeable hours with this function.  Fine, but what exactly do you need from it?
As soon as you’ve decided on who’s likely to sponsor, sometime within 36 hours of the beginning, receive all of the staff together.  This ought to be run as a military effort.  Exactly how many hosts if there be?  A great ratio is 7:1.  You’ll find these hosts to consent to devote little if any time huddled together just like a rugby scrum any moment throughout the function.  Their roster is as follows:
Introductions of guest and involving hosts, a fast comprehension nod and interaction at a bunch of guests ought to be the only real time communication happens.  In the end, there are seven guests apiece to take care of!
Everyone should agree on particular problems.
 What’s required in the Function?
 What’s known about the guests?
 Who’s going to meet and greet?
 Who will be the VIP’s and the ‘must talk to’ guests?
 Who knows that?
 What signs and gestures will be utilized for ‘parking’ guests?
 Who’s going to present who to whom?
 What are the numerous members of the group likely to be there?
 What time can we anticipate the previous guest will go home?  6 to 9 does not imply anything to guests with a superb time!
Corporate Event Food
There’s friendly and unfriendly media food.  Favorable food is in little bite sized pieces sometimes with wooden sticks throughout the center.  You are able to manage it easily and it will not destroy your guests’ garments.  Vanilla pieces, chocolate cream gateaux or even massive buns full of egg whites are unfriendly foods.  Strategy to offer you the former.
Guests’ lists
If you would like a greater positive response than ordinary consider sending a list of invitees together with the invitations.  Something as easy as, ‘We’re very happy to announce delegates in these companies are invited.’  Those seeking to meet certain businesses will more likely take.  You really do want the place to be complete, do not you?
When we sponsor events, be they social or conferences and workshops we consistently supply a listing of attendees.  We acquire permission from the guests of course.  Only once did somebody request to be left but as he had been a part of an anti-crime agency I knew his reticence.  This is an additional bonus for everybody and people having the media savvy will utilize this information to best advantage.  You will deem it more suitable at the huge events to hand from the guest list at the close of the evening.  This may be included with the moving home pack.
Badges and moving home packs
Just how many times would you attend an event along with the emblem of this server is 4 times the size of your title on the badge?  This event is advertising and promotion is all about the customer, the potential and the expert connection.  Make the badges, such as the meals, user friendly.  For our events and conventions we publish a BIG Christian title a more compact surname, a lineup, after which the firm name.  It makes it much simpler for you and your guests and prevents particular people from leering!
Should you send people off with a memento or possibly a marketing pack contemplate personalising the letter from the envelope.  If you place the guest list in, add in the letter into the effect of ‘When there was somebody here this day you did not get an opportunity to meet, please provide us a call to produce the essential introduction.  In the letter do not neglect to include thanking guests for spending their precious time with you.
Once we hold conventions we feel obliged to compose on peak of the delegate list, ‘That is for information purposes only to utilize for potential contact with people that you have met now.  Please don’t blanket email or email.  Networking is all about building relationships; calling everybody regardless will have the contrary impact’

What Free Anti Virus Protection should you Use?

If your computer connects to another computer in any way at all – through shared storage media of any kind, through the Internet or through a common network, you can be somewhat sure that your computer is exposed to malware of some kind. In this post – kindly written by Bruce at Pisys.Net, a leading supplier of IT support services to the Aberdeen area, we look at whether free anti-virus software is up to the task of keeping you safe.

A few years back, when the StuxNet worm swept through the world’s computers, it was noted how it seemed to be attacking lots of computers that didn’t even connect to the Internet. Thumb drives and all manner of other things make it possible. The thing is, there’s just no need for this. There’s so much free anti virus protection available that’s exactly as good as the paid stuff (not that the paid stuff costs anything much).

Search on Google for free anti virus protection, and you will fairly be overwhelmed by the sheer range of choice. Just about every paid antivirus company out there from Avast to AVG, from Avira to Ad-Aware, has a free product out there (is it just me, or do antivirus makers prefer names that start with the letter A more than anything).

Of course, as much as is available, you can have a bit of trouble making the correct choice. Which way do you go?

Your antivirus needs two kinds of ability. It needs the ability to detect viruses on a computer already present when it is installed, and it needs to be able to detect new threats that appear after the installation occurs. Most people don’t think of it this way. They think that if antivirus has one kind of ability, it’s a given that it will perform well the other way too. Well, we’re going to rate popular free anti virus protection for their effectiveness on each count.

Let’s start with the ability to fight existing viruses and other nasties. When it comes to this ability, Ad-Aware is hands-down the favorite everywhere. If you are looking for free antivirus to help clean up a system that appears to be infected already, Ad-Aware is your best bet. The runner-up in this category is Panda Cloud antivirus.

The great thing about Ad-Aware is that it’s great at protecting you against new threats as well. While Panda does great at detecting infections already present, it struggles very much completely cleaning your computer up once it’s detected stuff.

When it comes to blocking new threats, Ad-Aware manages to shine again. But there are other brands that do a good job too – like, Avast and AVG, for instance. The great thing is though that you have a winner in Ad-Aware – one solution for both fronts of the fight.

How To Design Training That Works For You

Recently, I spoke to Cheryl from Appetite For Business, an IT training consultancy in Aberdeen, Scotland who insppired me to write a small piece on the different types of learners. Determining some basic things about that learning can help. Let me recap briefly.

Memory Types

A way of describing how we retain memories, visually, aurally or otherwise.

Learning Preference

The types of activities we are comfortable with, and whether we prefer a teacher or are comfortable with some other type of learning methods.

Personal Motivation

How we are motivated to learn something, whether it comes from inside us or from outside influences.

Purpose of Learning

Quite simply, why are you doing this?

So here you are, armed with all this knowledge of yourself and ready to do some training. Well before you start you need to know what training you want to do. So what is training? On a previous page I described it as …the provision of information to allow someone to carry out an old task better or to learn to perform a new task…………. At the core of this statement is the simple idea of a purpose. Without a purpose there is no goal and therefore no result. Training can cover everything from installing complex software to answering the phone.So let’s look at designing a plan.

In the context of this article we are looking at career-related training.

Step 1: Consider all the work activities you do in any given day. This should include how you interact with people as well, in writing, on the phone, in person and not just what your boss expects you to do.

Step 2: What things are you good at?You can lie here if you want or you can hand it to someone else who knows you to confirm it. All you are trying to do is evaluate yourself a little.

Step 3: Is there something you don’t do well but want to get better at?

Step 4: What do you actually want to learn?Are these things work related or personal?

Step 5: Where do you think you can find out about these activities?

Learner Designed Study

This means sitting down to work out what you want to learn about. It can be quite a basic plan. By having a plan means that people have more of a focus and potentially can learn more.

Online Courses

This is a more costly approach.  Access to online courses involves the purchasing of time to complete a course. This can range from a number of weeks to 6 months depending on the nature of the course. Usually there will be a demo of some type to whelp you decide whether a range of courses might be useful. It may also be possible to negotiate a better deal for a business.

Buy Materials

There are many types of material that can be purchased. Most commonly this can be book materials or CDs, although given the speed that technology moves at they can quickly go out of date. Ebooks or online courses may be better.

Searching For A Good Garage Door Contractor Can Be Challenging

To ensure the best possible results for your home improvement project, always double-check the reputation of a licensed garage door repair contractor that provides a significantly lower bid. The consequence of working with a low-priced contractor might be that you have to hire a new contractor to fix the issues created by the very first one. Use these as hints and tips for finding the best quality contractor for your job.

Never be fooled into thinking it is not hard to find a reliable garage door repair contractor. Check to see if your family or friends can offer good recommendations. You can attend some business networking sessions to find possible contractors that may be appealing to you as well. Schedule interviews with at least three different contracting businesses to increase your success at finding the very best one for your job.

It might be old fashioned, but you can still find an excellent garage door repair contractor by using the local telephone book. You can choose particular contractors to interview and learn more about. The payment schedule should always be part of the financial details included in the written contract. Garage door contractors as well as their crew should keep the job site clean, so do ask to clean up if the site is messy or dangerous.

Be clear about your expectations when speaking with a licensed garage door repair contractor. To make certain the garage door repair service provider understands what you want, ask them to repeat back to you your expectations. Make sure you have deadlines for your contractor to meet for the job so he won’t be in a position to get too far behind. Be sure that you and your contractor are on the same page by going over a list of expectations and responsibilities, as well as signing a legally binding contract that includes the specific start and end dates.

Look at each garage door repair contractor that’s under consideration with great care before you make your final decision. Follow your instincts when working with a contractor; only proceed if you think he could handle your time constraints and work within your budget. To make sure your garage door repair service provider is handling the job properly, ask for regular updates. The portfolios of contractors really are a good way to narrow down the field of candidates; if any of them can’t provide one for examination, you could remove those contractors from the list.

You’ll have very little stress during the construction process if you keep the lines of communication open with your garage door repair service provider. Keep a calm and open mind when discussing problems. Clear and trustworthy communication can forge a solid working relationship between a licensed garage door repair contractor and a client. To save yourself from future legal problems, be sure to document all correspondence with your garage door repair service provider.


Simple Advice For Selling Android Tv Boxes Online

It can be tough for people to afford living off of just one job these days so, by creating your own website, you are opening yourself up to many more opportunities for increasing your income. In order to to find out how to start and run your own profit making website, reasd the article below – which discusses how to sell one of the hottest products today -Android TV boxes. Thanks to Jon @ droidstar.com for the insight .

We have found that it is essential that you maintain a steady price for your streaming TV boxes or services. Your customers will continue to shop with you if you stick with fixed prices. Conversely, if you are constantly changing the prices, customers won't remain loyal to your brand so you must always consider your price changes prior to making them as they can hurt your sales totals.

These days a growing problem is that people do not like shopping online because they think their identities can be stolen. It's essential that customers understand that your payment process is safe and simple. Ecommerce professionals ought to be in a position to offer you suggestions for methods to implement safety measures so your clients' financial information is protected. You could get more sales if you keep your payment process sensible and simple to follow.

You need to use the very best forms of technology to assist you in advertising your website. By choosing the proper key phrases, you will drive targeted traffic to your website from the major search engines. You could use search engine advertising (also called PPC – pay per click) to make yourself visible too. Consult with a search engine marketing firm for the very best results if you are looking for new traffic.

A lot of effort and consideration go into creating an on-line shop, but it's a lot of fun. To create an Internet TV box website that can support you financially and also be rewarding, it's necessary to find some intensity, dedication, and persistence. Research your industry carefully before you begin a new Streaming TV box business online. Spotting and reacting quickly to the latest marketplace trends is essential if you are planning to build your company.

Few customers know whatever they need and want and find it immediately. Customer reviews provide helpful information to customers. They get a much better idea of whatever they can get from your Android box or service. Video reviews and IP TV box demos are a great way to assist with your sales conversions.

Delivery services must always be checked upon to see that you choose a good option. You need to get your Internet TV accessories out to customers in the best possible condition. A reliable delivery service may cost a little more, but it's worth the assurance that your Streaming TV accessories will arrive on time and in good condition. Issues with how a delivery goes can create real issues over time.

Buyer needs are always changing, so find out what they need by making use of surveys. Solicit information that will enable you to expand and improve your Internet TV box seller. When changes are made, it could be a good idea to follow up with them to keep them informed. Keep your clients in the loop with an email newsletter.


Choosing The Right Paper For a Printing Job

Choosing the right paper for a printing job can be a daunting task. It doesn’t have to be though. When selecting the best paper type for a particular job, you’re often faced with an overwhelming number of options. Asking your printer for “white” is like asking your waiter for “food” — you’ll have to be more specific than that. Heres some great advice from one of our trading partners – www.ashgrovetrading.com

To the educated consumer, the choices don’t seem nearly as intimidating. Before you order though, you’ve got to know the menu.

Paper has ten characteristics that affect its cost and appropriateness for a given job.


The surface of paper affects its look, feel and printability. When paper is pressed at the mill, it passes through a series of rollers in a process called calendaring. Calendaring affects paper in numerous ways. As the extent of this process increases, paper is made smoother, glossier, more capable of retaining ink, thinner, less opaque and less bright. Why does surface matter? Because people do judge books by their cover.


The color of paper is perhaps the most salient of all characteristics. White is by far the most popular color and is generally optimal for conventional usage. Not all white is the same, however — it runs the gamut from ultra-severe hues to softer, more antique shades. Photo white paper is best for accentuating the contrast between light and dark hues.Off-white sheets produce less glare, and are best used for publications such as novels or technical manuals that demand long and uninterrupted attention from readers. When comparing color, always examine paper under standard viewing conditions and with minimal atmospheric distractions.


The brightness of paper measures the percentage of light that it reflects. Most papers reflect approximately 60 to 90% of incoming light. Remember: brightness and color are not the same thing. Unlike the color characteristic (which is highly subjective and imprecise), brightness is a strictly quantitative, or measurable, attribute. Brightness is important because it affects readability — high brightness can cause eye strain, while low brightness can produce a blurring effect.OpacityThe opacity of paper is the degree to which other printing is visible through the page. High opacity, or density, minimizes the visibility of printing on subsequent pages, thus enhancing readability. Opacity increases with the bulk and weight of paper, and is influenced by numerous other factors, including paper color, ink color, coatings, chemicals and coverage.


The grain of paper describes the direction, or alignment, of its component fibers. Paper grain is either grain long or grain short. When fibers are patterned parallel to the length of a sheet, the paper is grain long. When fibers run parallel to the width of a sheet, the paper is grain short. Grain direction is a critical factor for print jobs because it directly affects usage — for example, paper strength, flexibility, tack and versatility are all impacted by grain direction.WeightThe basis weight of paper is calculated as the weight in pounds of one ream, or five hundred sheets. Each main grade of paper has a basic size that is used to determine its basis weight.

Remember that paper of equivalent basis weight is not necessarily of equivalent basic size. Smaller sized paper that is thicker can possess a basis weight identical to that of larger, thinner paper. Since paper is sold by the pound, understanding paper weight is imperative to successful cost control programs.Caliper The caliper of paper is its thickness. Caliper is measured in thousandths of an inch and referred to as point size. In this system, .001 inch equals one point — and eight-point paper would have a thickness of .008 inch. Do not confuse type point with caliper point. Type point describes the height of a particular font; caliper point describes paper thickness.Bulk The bulk of paper denotes its thickness relative to its basis weight. For example, un-calendared paper would have a higher bulk than gloss coated paper

Remember though that paper may be bulkier or thicker than another grade, yet still have the same basis weight.SizeThe size of paper describes its physical dimensions. An 8.5 x 11 sheet is 8.5 inches wide and 11 inches long. Access to specific information concerning the range of paper sizes available for any given printing job is essential to containing costs and ensuring efficient usage.


The quantity of paper refers to the number of sheets bought, sold or used. A ream is a standard unit of numerical paper quantity. Paper that is “ream-wrapped” is packaged in a bundle of 500 sheets. Cartons of paper are not defined by exact numerical specifications, but approximate weight. Cartons typically weigh around 150 pounds and are used in practice as a standard unit of sales.