You've done it! Your company is taking off after mounds hard work, sweat, and probably some tears (both of joy and major stress). But don't let your efforts fall to pieces due to lack of awareness and interest from potential clients and customers. Advertisement and promotion of your company is a must, no matter its size, strength, or status.

If you're not in the market for shelling out thousands (or more) for advertising, that's no problem. There are many ways to put your company's name on the map and into the hearts and minds of those you want in the know. A lean budget always has some wiggle room to plug your business with pride and personality! Try any or all of these ideas and you'll see consumers knocking down your door in no time.

Get with Google

Be sure to show the world that your business has arrived with a Google My Business account. Display your address, hours, phone number, and what you're all about. And talk about lean… this is a free service! Clients and potential customers will be able to see positive reviews of your company and you can post photos to give an inside account of your unique qualities. Locals will see your company pop up with their search, but you will be searchable far and wide as well. Let the world get their goggles on your Google page! Log in and follow the clear-cut instructions. You'll be visible in no time.

Bring on the Blog

A great way to stir up interest is with an informative content section on your company's website. This is a useful way for readers to learn more about the industry you're in and know they can educate themselves thanks to the content your company provides without being sale-sy or pushy. The more the reader comes to trust your information, the more they'll be inclined to purchase from or use your services when the time is right. You can set up a blog relatively easily and cheaply, (with WordPress, for example) and as long as you hire dedicated and in-the-know writers, you're set. Plus, the 'comments' section will help you gain more readers and followers who will learn about your offerings. Your company can get started with WordPress for as low as $3.95/month. As you grow, you can expand to get more features and services, but a basic setup will get you moving in the right direction. Start with short posts to garner attention and see what resonates with readers to help you plan your future content. Then tie in with what you can offer.

Business Cards Mean Business

Be a live advertisement every time you walk into a room. When you meet someone and tell them about your business, leave them with a standout card so they can reach you if and when they need your company's goods or services. Make yours special with a unique design that coordinates with what your company does or stands for. Be sure all your employees have a nice stack of cards and to never leave home without some to shell out in pocket. Vistaprint can whip you up 500 cards for less than $10 bucks. Pretty good business!

Shine on Social Media

If your company doesn't have a page on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., then you are putting yourself at a serious disadvantage. Nowadays, if you're not on social media, you may as well not exist. Folks of all ages tend to turn to social media to see if a company's up-to-date and relevant. You can hire a fresh-out-of-school social media-savvy employee or even an intelligent intern to manage your social media messaging. The more you post with relevancy and regularity, the more followers and fans you'll amass. Watch your presence peak and more and more people will become aware of and purchase your goods and services. Offer special social media-only deals and promos too for extra attention on your pages daily. Starting up a social media page is free and you can get more intricate as your company flourishes. Start small and let your fans help you grow.

The Need to Network

Get out there and talk the talk. Attend seminars, speeches, conventions, and the like related to your industry. Keep it local or travel – whatever your business is best suited for. You'll get your name out there and learn from those already in the field. Come prepared with information, handouts, and samples (when applicable) from your company and put a friendly face to your company's name. Eventually, you can request or be invited to speak on panels and lead discussions about your field. Be sure to post your experiences on your website and on your social media pages for added interest and input. Networking events have a range of fees, setup costs, and registration packages, so find the ones you can afford, then expand your reach as you get more customers and reach new heights.

PR Possibilities

There are a variety of platforms, such as Outmarket, where your company can send out your own press releases when there're something new or noteworthy to announce. Alternatively, you can invest in a PR pro to guide you through the experience of spreading positive messages about your company to the masses or those of importance to your business. With proper presence of press and publicity, your company will become recognized and well-regarded. Your PR rep will have your back and make sure your company is handled with class and character. PR pros and programs are available at all price points, so there's an option for any budget. Outmarket packages start at around $300 a month, which is a pretty good deal for what you'll get in return. When it comes to a personal PR pro, shop around, ask for references, and work with the person. The right fit will respect your budget and help you grow.

Engage with Email

Develop a strong database of customers via past purchasers, social media opt-ins, site sign-ups, and other inquiring minds in order to email company updates, new products or services, sales, promos, and even benevolent content to keep them interested, engaged, and eager for more. There are a variety of email management services that you can use on a trial or low-cost basis, such as MailChimp or Bronto, that guide you with every step of the email process – from design to messaging to frequency of send. Emailing will keep your customers informed and in-the-know and your name will be top-of-mind when they are ready to make a move – unless your excellent email inspired them to do it there and then! Start an account with a mail service provider and find the package that works within your budget. A customer service rep can tailor a program to suit your individual needs and keep things clean and lean.

It's time to advertise with knowledge and energy. Money may be tight, but your advertising is going to be all right! Get started now and see the customers and clients roll in and ready to purchase.

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Over the past month, both Haiti and Afghanistan have been pummeled by tragic disasters that left devastation in their wake.

In Haiti, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake erupted, leading over to 2,189 deaths and counting. A few hours later, in Afghanistan, Kabul fell to the Taliban just after U.S. troops had pulled out after 20 years of war.

In many ways, these disasters are both chillingly connected to US interference. The United States invaded Haiti in 1915, ostensibly promising to restore order after a presidential assassination but really intending to preserve the route to the Panama Canal and to defend US creditors, among other reasons.

But the US forces soon realized that they were not able to control the country alone, and so formed an army of Haitian enlistees, powered by US air power and intended to quell Haitian insurrection against US controls. Then, in 1934, the US pulled out on its own, disappointed with how slow progress was going. Haiti's institutions were never really able to rebuild themselves, leaving them immensely vulnerable to natural disasters.

Something similar happened in Afghanistan, where the US sent troops and supported an insurgent Afghan army – only to pull out, abandoning the country they left in ruins, with many Afghans supporting the Taliban.

In both cases, defense contractors benefited by far the most from the conflict, making billions in profits while civilians faced fallout and devastation. While the conflicts and circumstances are extremely different and while the US is obviously not solely to blame for either crisis, it's hard not to see the US-based roots of these disasters.

Today, in Haiti and Afghanistan, civilians are facing unimaginable tragedy.

Here are charities offering support in Afghanistan:

1. The International Rescue Committee is looking to raise $10 million to deliver aid directly to Afghanistan

2. CARE is matching donations for an Afghanistan relief fund. They are providing food, shelter, and water to families in need; a donation of $89.50 covers 1 family's emergency needs for a month.

3. Women for Women International is matching donations up to 500,000 for Afghan women, who will be facing unimaginable horrors under Taliban control.


4. AfghanAid offers support for people living in remote regions of Afghanistan.

5. VitalVoices supports female leaders and changemakers and survivors of gender-based violence around the world.

Here are charities offering support in Haiti:

1. Partners in Health has been working with Haiti for a long time, and they work with the Department of Health rather than around them, which is extremely important in a charity.

2. Health Equity International helps run Saint Boniface Hospital, a hospital in Haiti close to the earthquake's epicenter.

3. SOIL is an organization based Haiti, "a local organization with a track record of supporting after natural disasters." They are distributing hygiene kits and provisions on the ground to hospitals and to victims of the earthquake.

4. Hope for Haiti has been working in emergency response in Haiti for three decades, and their team is comprised of people who live and work in Haiti. They focus on supporting children and people in need across Haiti.

via Tiffany & Co.

When the new Tiffany's campaign was unveiled, reactions were mixed.

Tiffany's, the iconic jewelry brand which does not (despite what some might be misled to believe) in fact serve breakfast, featured Jay Z, Beyoncé, and a rare Basquiat painting in their recent campaign.

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Road trips can be a lot of fun — but they can also drain your wallet quickly if you aren't careful.

From high gas costs and park admission fares to lodging and the price of eating out every night, the expenses can add up quickly. But at the same time, it's very possible to do road trips cheaply and efficiently. Without the headache of worrying about how much money you're leaking, you can enjoy the open road a whole lot more. Here's how to save money on a road trip.

1. Prepare Your Budget, Route, and Packing List in Advance

If you want to save money on a road trip, be sure you're ready to go. Try to count up all your expenses before you hit the road and create a budget. It's also a good idea to plan your route in advance so you don't end up taking unnecessary, gas-guzzling detours. And finally, be sure to pack in advance so you don't find yourself having to buy tons of things you forgot along the way.

2. Book Cheap Accommodations — Or Try Camping

All those motel rooms can add up surprisingly quick, but camping is often cheap or free, and it's a great way to get intimate with the place you're visiting. You can check the Bureau of Land Management's website for free campsites. Freecampsite.com also provides great information on If you don't have a tent or don't want to camp every night, try booking cheap Airbnbs or booking hotels in advance, making sure to compare prices.

Camping camping road tripConde Nast Traveler

If you're planning on sleeping in your car, a few tips: WalMart allows all-night parking, as do many 24-hour gyms. (Buying a membership to Planet Fitness or something like it also gives you a great place to stop, shower, and recharge while on the road).

3. Bring Food From Home

Don't go on a road trip expecting to subsist on fast food alone. You'll wind up feeling like shit, and it'll drain your pocketbook stunningly quickly. Instead, be sure to bring food from home. Consider buying a gas stove and a coffee pot for easy on-the-go meals, and make sure you bring substantial snacks to satiate midday or late night cravings so you can avoid getting those late night Mickey D's expeditions.

Try bringing your own cooler, filling it with easy stuff for breakfast and lunch — some bread and peanut butter and jelly will go a long way. Bring your own utensils, plates, and napkins, and avoid buying bottled water by packing some big water jugs and a reusable water bottle. Alternatively, try staying at hotels or Airbnbs with kitchens so you can cook there.

4. Avoid Tolls

Apps like Google Maps and Waze point out toll locations, so be sure to avoid those to save those pennies. (If it takes you too far off route, you might have to bite the bullet and drive across that expensive bridge).

You can also save on parking fees by using sites like Parkopedia.

Road Trip Road TripThe Orange Backpack


5. Save on Gas

Gas can get pricy incredibly fast, so be sure that you're stopping at cheap gas stations. Free apps like GasBuddy help you find the most affordable gas prices in the area. Also, try going the speed limit on the highways — anything faster will burn through your tank. Be sure that you don't wait till you arrive at touristy locations or big cities to fill up.

6. Get a National Park Pass

All those parks can get really expensive really fast. If you're planning on visiting three or more parks, it's a great idea to get an America the Beautiful National Parks Pass. For $80 you can get into every National Park for one year.