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September 2007 Business Newsletter

Conscious CT For Business

Welcome to the first issue of Conscious CT's newsletter for area businesses. The purpose of this newsletter is to explore ways for our website to support your business, to let you know of news of business interest and to help create community among our region's businesses.

Hope you've had a chance to explore Conscious CT and see what we're up to. If not you might want to check it out before reading further. The response has been very encouraging.

We've also received a number of questions about the website and we'll try to answer them for you.

» Go to Conscious CT


For Event Listers

The most frequently asked question we've received from businesses is how you can post your event in our calendar. Our Business FAQ's page should answer most of your questions related to doing business with us, but I'd like to review our guidelines on listings. There are two considerations: our relationship with The Door Opener and establishing boundaries to the region Conscious CT covers.

Affiliation With The Door Opener

As most of you know I was the publisher/editor of The Door Opener for 18 years before passing it on to Dory Dzinski nearly two years ago. I also developed its website over 10 years ago. And although I'm no longer involved with the magazine it will forever hold a special place in my heart. Not surprisingly then, many of the features and concepts we found effective at the state level are being carried to the regional level with Conscious CT; but working with just the Internet there are additional possibilities to explore.

Where The Door Opener was a necessary source of income for me after retirement from Pratt & Whitney, Conscious CT is strictly a labor of love. Being semi-retired I want to minimize my labor and the business headaches of producing the website. To do this Conscious CT and The Door Opener have affiliated, so that we may use their published listings. This saves us the gathering, editing and billing effort. In exchange we are supporting the magazine by bringing it into reader's awareness, and encouraging those of you who might benefit from our website to also publish in The Door Opener. It will hopefully be a win-win-win relationship that will benefit everyone, including you. That's how conscious businesses try to operate.

Thus, to be included in our Activities, Shopping or Health sections you must also be in The Door Opener. There is no additional cost to be on our website, so think of it as a free bonus. And keep in mind that you can add listings to The Door Opener's website at any time. No need to wait for the next issue should something come up. That's the beauty of websites.

» Information on advertising in The Door Opener

Choosing Towns

Choosing which towns to include and exclude from our coverage was a tough and somewhat arbitrary choice. The purpose of a regional website is to keep the area small enough to get to know all the businesses and cover a geographic area where people are comfortable traveling from one end to the other for an event, to see a practitioner or visit a store. We considered what might make a logical breakdown should there be additional regional websites like Conscious CT, a real possibility if we are successful. The Connecticut River and Massachusetts state line made clear, convenient borders. The eastern and southern boundaries were more difficult, but the northeast area and Windham county has its own personality and character so we stopped there. We have had a number of requests to add towns to the region we cover, but for now we'll work with this area and see if there is a logical reason to include other towns.

The 15 towns we include are: Andover, Bolton, Coventry, East Hartford, East Windsor, Ellington, Enfield, Glastonbury, Manchester, Somers, South Windsor, Stafford, Tolland, Vernon, Willington.

Guidelines

So to finally answer the question of how to have your event included on our website:
1- The event must be held in one of the towns of our region.
2- The event must be listed on The Door Opener's website in one way or another.

To be included on the website if you are a practitioner or a reader:
1- You must have an office the region.
2- If you work only by phone from home you must live in the region.

For those in retail:
1- Your shop must be in the region.
2- If you sell only from a website you must live in the region.

Nothing is perfect so there will likely be some exceptions for events we feel are of special interest, and there may be modalities or groups that aren't adequately represented in our region.

Other Things

A few other thoughts on events.

Don't forget to include your community college and adult ed listings. This is one way that those living outside our region can be included on the website. Hopefully once we're well established these institutions will submit listings for you, but for now you will have to do it yourself. Both Manchester and Asnuntuck are in our region and include a number of classes of interest to holistic people. So too does the Vernon Regional Adult Ed program. If there are other area adult ed schools that include holistic programs please let us know so we can include and encourage them.

Are there other good places to hold events in the area that are reasonably priced? We list most of the primary area sites on our Centers page.

We feel Conscious CT can attract the interest of newbies; those who made "The Secret" #1 on the bestseller list since February. This group is interested, but many are uncertain about who we are and tentative about getting more involved. How do we draw them in and make them feel safe and comfortable? Fairs are one good approach. Another is introductory level classes given at ‘safe' locations such as the community colleges and high schools. I've seen intro to holistic health courses be very successful in other areas of the state with one or two different speakers each week. We'll work with anyone interested in coordinating in this area.

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Practitioner Listings

The Door Opener publishes an annual directory of Connecticut Holistic Health Practitioners in its Winter issue, on the stands in late November. The directory is also on its website for the next year. Conscious CT will include on our site all the listings that The Door Opener carries for our region. These listings will also be the basis for adding optional profiles and enhanced listings in 2008. The deadline to receive listings for The Door Opener's 2008 directory is September 30. The cost to a non-advertiser for a listing begins at about $30. For this you'll be in the print directory, online at The Door Opener and online at Conscious CT. You can be added to the online directories at anytime if you miss the deadline, but the cost is the same.

» Go to The Door Opener Practitioner Directory
» Go to Directory Application Form

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What's Next?

We've received questions about having more of a presence for your business on the website; for example, banner ads or larger listings. We do plan to do this and it will be our main source of income to support the website and allow us to do print advertising. However, our primary focus at this time is to get all the elements of the website in place, make sure they are effective and build the email list. By December we should be ready to work with you on a larger presence.

It is most important at this time to build our email list. Obviously the larger our list the more people that will become aware of what you have to offer. Unlike a conventional business website that must pull people in, we push information to people monthly with our newsletter as a constant reminder of the resources we have available. Since our content is local it should be of interest to readers.

This is where you make all the difference. We started with an email list of just 300, of which 200 of you are businesses and receiving this newsletter. If you make your customers or clients aware of this resource, the list and its impact will grow quickly. You can do this by forwarding the kickoff newsletter to your lists or my making cards introducing the site available in your place of business. These will be available later this month. Please also pass them along to your students.

It will also help if you put a link to Conscious CT on your web site. The more links the higher the rating on search sites like Google. Again it will benefit all of us.

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Business Section of Website

We hope you've found the Business Section of the website. This is not just a place to find out about advertising but is intended to be a resource for you. We can include, share and find links for whatever would be of help to you. For example you'll find suggestions on how to put your best foot forward when marketing at a fair, ideas for where to hold workshops and events in the area, professionals that support holistic businesses and organizations that might benefit you. Please contribute to the section to help other businesses.

If it will benefit you we can add a section for listing space available to practitioners for rent and those looking for space. It's all local and in your market.

A tip for advertisers in The Door Opener and other publications. Be sure to include the town or area where you offer your services. I see too many ads with no location. Readers might assume you are across the state when you could be across town. They aren't going to take the time to chase down ads, it has to be in front of them.

» Go to Business Section

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Other News

This Friday, September 7, will be the fifth anniversary of the Greater Vernon Holistic Practitioner Breakfast. Come join us for this special day and meet other area practitioners. This is one more way we build our community. We meet at Charlie's on Route 30 in Vernon from 9-11 a.m. See our calendar listing for details.

On Saturday, September 22 the Holistic Health Practitioners of Northeastern CT will host a Heal the Healer day at the Pomfret Center Spa in Pomfret from 1-9 p.m.. All practitioners are invited to attend. Cost is only $15 for non members. See calendar.

Conscious CT will have a table at the Unity Church Holistic Health Fair on September 29. It's a community event with over 60 of us involved. Stop by and visit. See calendar.

The North Central Hospice in Vernon is looking for Reiki volunteers to give Reiki to hospice patients. The Reiki program is going very well, hence, the need for more volunteers. You would need to complete a 20 hour hospice training program. If you are interested, please call the Hospice Volunteer Coordinator, Lynn Seiden-Preminger at (860) 872-9163, ext. 2423.

» Go to Calendar

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And Finally

Within the last week I heard of one retail store and one holistic health center closing their doors in our region. Both have been in business for a number of years. One big factor was likely that not enough people knew they were there. Advertising is expensive. If we work together as a community Conscious CT will be a low cost way of helping you reach a much larger audience of people with a known interest in what you have to offer.

We'll post this newsletter in the Business Section so you can access it at any time. Unlike the Conscious CT public monthly newsletter we have no fixed schedule in mind for publishing the business newsletter. When something that might be important to you comes up we'll send another.

And send us digital photos of you at work, your events and at play for the website. People get to know you and it adds to the spirit of community.

Jon Roe

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