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Do you have content you would like to share with an interested audience of existing and potential customers? It’s never been so easy to package your content in a stylish way, and distribute it in a cost-effective way. Enter the age of home publishing.

Technology, the great leveller

It used to be that if you wanted to publish a book, magazine, newspaper or show series, you could only do so if you had access to large (and expensive) capital equipment and a workforce of hundreds. Not any more. Web-based applications are freeing up the imagination and putting home business owners in control of how content is distributed. Here are some to get you started.

  • Books – always wanted to write the authoritative guide for your industry/sector? Want to show off your portfolio of photographs or handmade goods in a coffee table style book? Now you can with self-publishing sites Blurb and Lulu.
  • Newspapers – move over, Rupert Murdoch, the home business owners are coming to media town! Become a newspaper publisher with Newspaper Club – the service is currently in beta but you can sign up and see what this tool could do for your business.
  • Magazines – digital magazines are becoming increasingly sophisticated with embedded links to buy products alongside video clips and interactive forums. Take a look at Yudu and Zmags. According to digital publishing service, nxtbook media, advertising in digital magazines is more trusted than online ad banners so for your sponsors and advertisers offering a presence in a digital magazine and on your site offers a good rate of return for them.
  • Audio – speak to your audience by producing a podcast and inviting in guests who can be interviewed using Skype. Click here to read a round-up of features on how to produce a podcast.
  • Video – publish content of you making your product/service or customers saying nice things about your product/service, by using a Flip camera that can be bought for around £90 and comes with only one button so is hyper-easy to use!
  • Online – share content and your expertise in the form of an online slide show using Slideshare.

This list does not even cover publishing content for people to consume whilst on the move ie mobile applications and publishing for devices such as the iPad and Kindle.

Make the most of earning revenue from charging individual subscriptions or secure a sponsor who would like to be associated with your content and the viral way through which you’ll distribute it. Before you know it you’ll be publishing online, in print, and in audio/video, to an audience of interested readers/watchers/listeners. What a business to run from the comfort of your own home!

Emma Jones is Founder of Enterprise Nation the home business website and author of ‘Spare Room Start Up – how to start a business from home’ Her next book ‘Working 5 to 9 – how to start a business in your spare time’ will be published in May 2010.

This blog post was originally published on the Enterprise Nation website.

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Businesses and individuals across the globe are becoming more aware of their carbon footprint than ever before. We have all learnt to switch off lights in empty rooms and turn off the tap while brushing our teeth but the expectancy on us to do more to stop global climate change is increasing.

It can be hard to see what more you can do if you are already very conscious about your carbon footprint but perhaps your work or business life has not had as much scrutiny as your home life.

With all the great advancements in technology surely there are alternatives that many businesses may have overlooked. Here are a few of our suggestions:

Cut your travel with VoIP
How often do you travel across town for a ten to thirty minute meeting? Cut the cost of travel and the price to the environment by exploring the benefits of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). Call conferencing features enable you to hold meetings over several sites on one phone system – saving time, money and emissions.

If you would like to enhance your meeting then you can use services like GoToMeeting where you can share your screen, and therefore PDFs, spreadsheets, presentations, video etc with all the meeting participants. It will add extra interaction to your meeting and help add the visual element conference calls lack.

By holding meetings online you can easily work from home meaning you don’t have to drive to work or drive around all day to get to meetings. Cutting transport emissions is key to the Government’s ‘Low Carbon Transition Plan’. It’s not just great for your company’s green image, but also your budget.

Why run two offices?
Think about all the things that are needed to run an office. Electricity for your computers, phone system, servers, lighting, air-conditioning etc. And then there’s the gas for your heating systems and your staff facilities. Why not seriously cut costs and do your bit for the environment by encouraging your staff to work from home.

Not only will you cut emissions from reducing travel to an office but you’ll also be using almost the same amount of energy that is used to heat and light your home anyway.

If you are concerned about accessing your files and you still have an ‘office machine’ then you can remotely log into your work computer by installing free programme LogMeIn or ask your IT consultant about remotely accessing your server.

Accessing files wherever you need them also reduces the amount of hard copies you have to make, saving paper, ink and energy on printing those long documents – which are usually only read over once or twice before being discarded.

There are also other hidden benefits to working from home such as reduced stress, increased productivity and no train delays or traffic jams.

Gradwell is keen to assist their customers to reduce their carbon footprint. One such client ‘Sustain IT’ has already adopted this as part of their corporate culture and reducing their carbon footprint is seen as a vital part of their company policy, with VoIP being the centre and catalyst for this.

“Initially we had not thought of our carbon footprint. However we now consider it to be a vital part of our Company Policy. Internet Telephony helps us to reduce our employee travel and therefore reduce the impact on the environment that commuting is having. So anything we can do as an employer to encourage our staff to use home working or increase the use of the public transport network and cycling has to be good for the future of our children and the planet.”

Everyone making a small change will make a big difference to the planet – and it can benefit your business too.

Peter Gradwell, Gradwell

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The amount of free resources available to entrepreneurs is truly remarkable when compared to the business world of the 90s. The growing popularity of web apps – and in particular free web apps – is allowing small business owners to benefit from tools and technology which used to come with a hefty price tag.

Some of the most useful web apps available today are those concerning search and networking. Regardless of your industry, finding quality leads or prospects is one of the most important elements in growing your business.

In this video, we’ve searched the internet for the top web apps around. These six businesses tell us how they’ve used web applications and online networking to get in touch with the right type of prospect for their business.

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In the recession, entrepreneurs and businesspeople are in search of business ideas to help them boost sales revenue and reduce overheads.  If you are thinking of starting a business, then you should be even MORE focussed on technology which can give you a competitive advantage.

Find out what some of the UK’s leading entrepreneurs have to say about technology, and how it can help you be successful with your existing or new business …

The business experts in this series include: Tim Smit (Chief Executive and Co-founder, Eden Project), Doug Richard (BBC2’s Dragons’ Den), Luke Johnson (Chairman, Channel 4 Television Corporation), Chey Garland (Chief Executive, Garlands Call Centres), and Miles Templeman (Director General, Institute of Directors).

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