The best gifts – whether you buy them for yourself or someone else buys them for you – are practical gifts that make life more comfortable and help you help others.
There are key products that those who work at a desk really need that can greatly increase productivity.
In this post I’m going to start laying out what they are as the first step into researching the very best products of each type.
The first thing a blogger or other worker at a desk needs in the winter is to stay warm.
Cold fingers are simply not conducive to typing –
and cold feet affect overall well-being.
Staying warm is a greater challenge because many of the heaters being sold today are junk.
We must stop focusing on “cheap”
and go instead for quality and safety!
Saving a few bucks is NEVER going to make up for
burning down your house and losing everything
or losing your loved one’s lives!
- FeatureComfort H0301 This thing is little more than a toy. You’re more likely to burn yourself on it trying to get a little warmth than stay warm. As I type this I have one leg on either side of it and can barely keep just my legs warm. Putting it 3 feet away would be joke. Save your money to buy a heater that actually makes an entire room or at least part of a room warm!
- Pelonis H0221 Ace Hardware doesn’t list the H0301 model on their Website, but they do have this one that is very similar that reviewers have given only 2.5 stars for similar reasons I’m calling this heater almost worthless. They do have a helpful types of heaters page.
- SQH310 This heater is sold under brand names Sunbeam, Jarden Consumer, Jardennsumer, Westpointe, Quartz Tower heater. This heater weighs next to nothing which was the first indication of poor quality. While it put out a lot of heat it lasted less than 30 hours before it croaked. That might actually be a blessing in disguise because this particular model is a heating fire hazard!
YOUR HEATER INPUT WANTED:
We all need to be at least somewhat comfortable to be truly productive so I’m asking for your input:
- What heaters are worth having that won’t endanger your life and surroundings?
- Do you know of any that are more economical to run and better for the environment and your health?
- What favorite INDEPENDENT small businesses sell heaters that we as bloggers can support? Ace Hardware immediately comes to mind because they are a co-op of independent hardware stores. There is an Ace Hardware Affiliate Program which unfortunately is NOT on the most trusted Affiliate Network ShareASale.
There are no doubt others worth promoting so do please leave links to any your use and recommend in my comments so I can link to and support them.
HEATERS WORTH TESTING?
- Floor Mat Heaters ~ Anyone who uses a computer knows we don’t want our electronic equipment to get too warm (or cold), but WE want to stay warm. Heating that radiates upward to keep our feet and bodies warm while not overheating our computers could be a great idea. Is anyone using these kinds of heaters? Can you recommend any that warm you without being too hot for stocking feet?
- Picture Frame Heaters ~ Manufacturers and sellers of this type of heater claim it is extremely economical to run and I suspect they might be ideal for cool weather but I’m not sure they would really do enough when it is really cold outside. It might take a combination of a floor mat heater and a convection infrared heater both close to your desk to stay warm.
- Stoves and Fireplaces that burn alternative fuels including wood, pellets, oil, etc. Suggestions on the best choices are greatly appreciated. Businesses and their agents ARE encouraged to leave information including links to related additional details in the comments of this post.
TIPS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES:
If you’re a small business, RELATIONSHIPS are the key to surviving challenging economic times.
- Treat your customers like friends so they won’t shop elsewhere to save a few bucks!
- Make it easy for your customers to recommend you:
- Have business cards readily available where they can see them without asking.
- USE TWITTER and put your Twitter username on your site, blog, and business cards. Add Twitter sharing buttons like the ones at the top of this post. Influential social media users and bloggers use Twitter as their primary means of first contact. It is easier to remember a well-chosen Twitter username than the name of your business or the URL of your Web site.
- Provide them with tips on how to review your business and products. See my Supporting Small Businesses post for details.
- Reach out to bloggers – especially LOCAL bloggers – and share this information on blog outreach services with them.
- Consider having bloggers whose audiences are the same as yours (same location or write about topics related to what you sell) review your products. Select wisely and provide the products either on loan or outright gifts to the bloggers who are the best fit for your business. If you don’t know how to do that, contact me and I will assist you.
- Be memorable. Interact regularly with key social-media savvy bloggers so you develop a relationship with them. They’ll tip you off to opportunities and recommend you any time the opportunity arises. Remember that they spend A LOT more time online than you do!
- Send key fans of your business practical promotional gifts so they are constantly reminded of some combination of your company name, address, phone number, Web site, or Twitter username. (Whatever you have printed on what you send.) I will do a future post on what types of gifts to send bloggers if you want them to have your business info handy. YES we all have programs but NO we aren’t constantly thinking of EVERYONE we know. That would be impossible. But we do appreciate having something useful handy especially when it comes from a business we know and love as a constant reminder to recommend you!
- Contact me for free advice, introductions, or for additional information on Priorities for Small Business Online Marketing.
IMPORTANT: Please Read for your own safety!
In the U.S. where power is USUALLY pretty stable, many people do not consider what would happen if you had no power for any length of time. Until you go without power in the winter for days or even weeks few give it any thought at all.
A storm in north Texas once left residents without electricity for several weeks during the dead of winter when temperatures were below freezing. Since most homes in that area were newer, all electric, and did not have fireplaces that meant weeks with no source of heat at all and broken water pipes when the power came back on.
Believe me when I tell you there was a boom in sales and
leases of alternate heating solutions including
propane tanks, propane heaters, wood burning stoves,
and stoves that burn pellets and alternative types of fuel!
Something else few think about is the impact of down-sizing on the number of skilled employees available to get the power back on after storms and natural disasters.
Most companies have greatly reduced their workforces
and what that means to you is it will take MUCH LONGER
for power to be restored – and the more widespread the
disaster the longer that will take!
DURING EXTENDED POWER OUTAGES:
The time to prepare for emergencies is BEFORE they happen. Every home and business needs alternative sources of heat and light.
Remember that flashlights are only as useful
as the number of batteries you have on hand
or when they can be recharged!
- Make sure you have essentials like water, food, and toilet paper on hand to last at least several weeks. For food that means STAPLES like beans, rice, pasta, and canned goods. If you have never eaten that kind of thing now would be a good time to experiment and stock up. FOOD PRICES ARE CLIMBING RAPIDLY and will CONTINUE TO CLIMB!
- Oil-filled lamps for lighting or at least candles and plenty of matches.
- Heaters that burn alternative fuels including oil, pellets, or wood.
- Consider wind or solar power if you can afford them. They are not nearly as expensive as they once were.
- A camping shower that warms water using either propane or the sun. Most truck stops and RV parks have showers you pay for per use so find out where the closest showers are BEFORE you need to know.
- Keep phone numbers of friends and neighbors IN HARD COPY. Failing that immediately write down the most important numbers BEFORE your phone, PDA, or other electronic device’s batteries run down!
- Conserve your batteries by using devices sparingly for essential purposes only.
- If roads are clear, find out how widespread the outage is and consider relocating temporarily or at least visiting others for showers and to recharge batteries. If you have a vehicle, invest in 12V power cords so you can charge your cell phone and laptop batteries, but remember you need to run the engine periodically even if you can’t drive anywhere to recharge the vehicle’s battery!