How Does Gardening Relieve Stress?

One of my favorite activities is working in my garden; it is also a vibrant place to meditate, often visited by various winged and four-legged creatures. Being in nature, touching the soil and creating a living landscape is healing in a way that is like nothing else. The very fragrance of the soil, the textures of the barks and foliage of green plants, the aromatic flowers, all are a work of art that is soothing to the spirit.Gardening is a creative work, all in magnificent 3-D. The pallette you have to work with includes textures, colors, shapes, sounds and scents. You can plant for wildlife, or for butterflies. Rain gardens are a beautiful way to deal with runoff from the roof, while recharging the local water table instead of sending rainwater down the city sewer system.Granted, all this may not work for you if you don’t like gardening. Even if you love the idea of gardening, and perhaps have some experience or helped your mother or grandmother in the garden when you were a child, it is important that it not be a chore. The easiest first mistake is to take on too much, and find that instead of being a stress relief you are stressed because the goals you set are unrealistic.Rather than end up with a stressful responsibility that has become overwhelming, it is far better to enjoy a potted plant or a single container garden on the patio, or a hanging planter or two by the walkway to greet you with their cheerful color, than to stress out over a large garden that has run to weeds due to lack of available time.Keep it simple, start small… Or even, start tiny, even indoors with a little terrarium, or a potted group of cactus. One plant that I consider important to keep in the house is an aloe plant. It is hardy, doesn’t mind indoors as long as the humidity doesn’t get too low, and is a wonderful medicinal herb for minor burns, scratches and bruises. Another fun idea, especially if you love to cook, is to keep a small window herb garden. For more information on growing your own kitchen herbs, check out the Organic Gardening website with a great web page on growing herbs indoors.A garden is a way to connect with nature, to slow down and be in the moment, and restore a sense of self in the noise and haste of the modern urban environment. Leave the phone and other noisemakers and distractions inside. Get a break from computer screens, TV screens, hand-held device screens and relax your gaze to take in a wider view. If you’ve ever suffered chastisement in school from indulging in the simple pleasure of looking out the window at beautiful clouds, you know what I mean.My avocation is natural areas restoration; I am a member of a not-for-profit group that is working to set aside natural areas for wildlife habitat. We restore these areas as close as possible to their pre-settlement condition, with native plants and clean waterways. Of course, once the native plant community returns, the wildlife shows up in abundance. You may enjoy creating an ecosystem in your yard that not only features native plants, but will attract wildlife such as endangered butterflies, dragonflies, and birds. The National Wildlife Federation website has great information on how to create wildlife habitat in your yard or community. Again, be realistic and take things in small bites; this is a process. If nothing else, nature encourages us to slow down, take our time to enjoy. Take on too much and we soon fall into stress and anxiety over arbitrary, ultimately unsatisfying goals that we have set for ourselves. You know what Pogo said, “We have met the enemy and he is us”.If you live in an apartment and don’t have garden space, you may want to consider joining in with the local community garden – or start one. The local community or neighborhood garden can also provide, if you wish, an opportunity to enjoy the benefit of social interaction.Gardening provides a sense of accomplishment – that is, if we’ve not overwhelmed ourselves with too much to take care of. Not only that, but there is great satisfaction in growing our own vegetables, fruits and fresh herbs. There is no fruit or vegetable in the supermarket, however much money is paid out, that will compare with your home-grown, lovingly cared for vegetable. No matter that it may be a simple container-grown cherry tomato. For a great article on the best tomatoes for container growing, check out what Colleen Vanderlinden has to say, based on her personal experience.There is even a movement called “geo-sense” gardening coming out of Europe. The idea is to design home gardens to provide stress relief. The tradition has deep roots, according to an article by Dr. Leonard P. Perry, Extension Professor at the University of Vermont. The ancient gardens of great civilizations of Egypt, Persia and China were designed to bring nature into their urban environments. Dr. Perry’s article contains ideas to incorporate into your garden to make it an environment – a mini ecosystem – that is designed for serenity.In traditional Japan, the garden was an expression of Zen philosophy. In an article on the Japanese Garden website, Dr. Koichi Kawana explains the philosophy behind traditional Japanese garden design. The Helpful Gardener website is another great website describes the traditional Japanese Garden, and its underlying Zen philosophy.The garden, whether it is a large plot or a simple miniature ecosystem in a container, embodies many things; spiritual philosophy, connectedness with nature, a living artistic creation, being grounded with our hands literally in the dirt, growing and providing ourselves and loved ones with our own superb food. All these things are the bounty that nature provides – freely given, asking for just a little touch of loving hands.If you enjoy gardening, tell us about your experiences, and whether or not you find gardening to be relaxing. Do you find it a challenge to find the time you want to work in the garden? Have you been challenged by trying to do too much? How do you balance the enjoyment with the work needed to keep your garden in good shape? Are you an “au natural” gardener, or do you prefer a neat and orderly design? Does it seem to bring you closer to nature, or even to a meditative, spiritual experience?If you have found this article to be helpful, please do share it with your friends using the social media buttons below.

Bridging the Gap Between Search Engine Spiders and Humans

Search engine spiders are – in a way – the lifeblood of the internet. Without them, we wouldn’t have search engines. Without search engines, nobody could find your website, nor could you locate 99%+ of the internet either.

And yet, these little spiders – however necessary they are – don’t by any means paint the full picture of the business behind the website it’s spidering. All a spider can do is read the content of your site via the HTML you provide it. Therefore, we’re told to develop “search engine friendly” websites – ones with a good structure of headline tags, and using keywords that explicitly state what our website is about.

Of course, links play a part too. Authoritative links pointing to your site act as “votes” that search engines count in your favor. This helps them build a reasonable picture of the quality of your content. However, it’s often the case that there’s a massive gap between how search engines see your website, and the quality of service or product you provide. Let’s look at this gap a little closer, and see how it can be filled.

The Gap
Let’s imagine a business that established itself 25 years ago, and has provided a consistently high quality of drainage services in all of that time. They have repeat customers who don’t think twice about booking their services every year. To all intents and purposes, they are highly trusted, successful business. And yet, they are ranked very low in Google for all their main keywords. What’s gone wrong here? This “gap” in perception is because the website this business owns has very few (or even zero) authoritative links, poor on-page optimization, and poor content. Search engine spiders can’t see past these metrics. No business has a “right” to ranking well just because they provide an excellent “in real life” product or service.

How to Bridge This Gap?
There is a symbiotic relationship between website owners and search engines. Both need each other. This is why Google Search Console exists. It’s a means to allow the website owner to help Google better understand their website, and help bridge this gap.

That’s only the first step though. Having your site audited by an on-page optimization expert can help you fine-tune your website page structure, your URLs, your navigation, your titles, your content.

Where search engine spiders fail to see signals of trust like how well established your business is (even if the website is 6 months old), a human reviewer CAN. Third party services like human-review directories and customer review services can REALLY help close the gap.

Human-review directories
A high-quality human-review niche directory will look for signals of trust found on your website. These are often too subtle for a search engine spider to “join the dots” – but a discerning human can. For example, if a website claims to be a member of a particular association, it’s possible to search for the company name on the association’s website. The same can be done for company registration numbers too. If a company has been established for many years, and they show this on a company history page, a human reviewer can build up a picture of the company’s progress through the years. Moreover, it’s the aggregation of all of these things that help a human reviewer build a solid picture of the business. A search engine spider will not be able to see the nuances a human can.

Suggested article: Human-reviewed, Established Niche Directories

Review services
Your customer base is your ultimate cheerleaders (or perhaps, whistle-blowers!). They trusted your product or service, and they can write about their experiences via review services like Trustpilot. These help people get some idea of the quality of product or service you provide.

Suggested article: The Purpose of b2blistings.org

Online Reputation
Both human-review directories and review services can be used to give some proof as to the reputation you deserve online. When someone does a search for your brand name, and you’re listed in human-review directories and under review services, these signals of trust can be found in the search – helping prospective new customers gain some trust in your business. Search engines will also be visiting these directories and review services too, so it helps them get a better picture of your business as well.

Suggested article: Other Website Review Services We Run

Conclusion
It doesn’t matter how good your product or service is in “the real world”. Online, you start from zero and work your way up. It doesn’t mean that having a great product or service doesn’t help you. It does – very much. It’s just you have to jump through the same hoops as every other website owner to get yourself established. Once you are established and easily found, you’ll find your old friend (word-of-mouth marketing) was online this whole time. You’ll discover that your online presence will take on a life of its own as people start recommending you on social media and their own websites. It just takes time and effort to get to that point.

Business Capital Solutions In Canada: Accessing Proper Cash Flow & Commercial Financing

Business capital requirements in Canada often boil down to some basic truths the business owner/financial mgr/entrepreneur needs to address when it comes to financing for businesses.

One of those truths? Knowing the true state of their financial condition and what financing they do and don’t qualify for when it comes to meeting commercial lending requirements in Canadian business.

Business Loans In Canada

Whether you are smaller or start-up firm looking for information on how to get a business loan or a larger established firm looking for growth financing or acquisition opportunities we’re highlighting 3 mistakes that commercial loan seekers like your company need to avoid making when addressing, sourcing and negotiating your cash flow / working capital and commercial financing needs.

1. Understand the true condition of your company finances – These are almost always successful addressed when you spend time on your financials and understand how your financial statements reflect your access to commercial loans & business credit in general

2. Ensure you have a plan in place for sales growth and financial needs as it relates to commercial financing

3. Understand that actual hard facts about cash flow which is, of course, the lifeblood of your company

Can you honestly answer or feel positive about all those 3 points. If so, pass Go and collect $ 100.00!

A good way to address your company’s finance plans is to ensure you understand growth finance solutions, as well as how to manage in a downturn – i.e. not growing, losing money, etc; It’s never fun to fund yourself in an economic or industry downturn such as the COVID pandemic of 2020!

When we talk to clients of new or established businesses it seems they are almost always talking about sales, so the ability to understand and focus on the differences in their profits and cash fluctuations is key.

How do cash flow and sales plans and projections affect the type of financing you require? For one thing sales growth usually starts out by consuming your cash, not generating it. A poor finance plan will drag your business down and addressing financing simply gets tougher and tougher.

Three basics always emerge when it comes to your search for the right business capital and financing.

1. The amount of financing you need

2. The type of financing (debt/cash flow/asset monetization) The business loan interest rate will be dramatically affected by whether you choose traditional or alternative financing solutions. Private business loans in Canada come from non regulated commercial finance companies most often known as ‘ alternative lenders ‘. These lenders are typically highly specialized in one ‘ niche ‘ of business financing and may be Canadian firms or branches of U.S. banks and non-bank lenders

3. How the financing is structured to be manageable with your day to day operations

What Finance Company In Canada Can Meet Your Borrowing Needs & Why Is Capital Important In Business

Let’s identify and break down key financings your firm should know about and understand if they are applicable and achievable to your business. They include:

A/R Financing / Factoring / Confidential Receivable Finance

Inventory finance / floor planning / retail inventory

Working Capital term loans

Unsecured cash flow loans

Merchant working capital loans/advances – these loans are geared toward short term cash needs and are typically one year in duration. Loan amounts are typically 15-20% of your annual sales revenues.

Royalty finance

Asset based non bank business lines of credit

Tax credit financing (SR&ED bridge loans)

Equipment Leasing / Sale leasebacks – Equipment financing in Canada is used by almost 80% of all companies looking to acquire new, and used, assets.

Govt Guaranteed Small Business Loan program – Government Loans in Canada are sometimes referred to as ‘ SBL’, aka Note: BDC Finance solutions are available from this Canadian non-bricks and morter crown corporation. A small business loan via the government-guaranteed loan program comes with true flexibility around term loan duration, market rates, no pre payment penalties, and of course the low personal guarantee that is required by borrowers. These two ‘ government ‘ loan solutions are often perfect for financing a new business.

If you’re focused on not making mistakes in your business finance needs and want to capitalize on the solutions your competitors are probably already using seek out and speak to a trusted, credible and experienced Canadian business financing advisor who can assist you with your cash flow and commercial financing needs.

Stan has had a successful career with some of the world’s largest and most successful corporations.

His employers over the last 25 years were, ASHLAND OIL, ( 1977-1980) DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORPORATION, ( 1980-1990) ) CABLE & WIRELESS PLC,( 1991 -1993) ) AND HEWLETT PACKARD ( 1994-2004 ) In 2004 Stan founded 7 PARK AVENUE FINANCIAL – He is an expert in Canadian Business Financing.