Wednesday, December 19th 2012 | Short URL
Unfortunately there's another domain scam doing the rounds via e-mail. We've been bombarded by them here.
I'm sure you would be able to tell that these renewal notices are fake but we just wanted to let you know about them to make sure. Here's what they look like:
If we have purchased domains on your behalf we will always contact you directly to let you know that your renewal is due, at least 30 days beforehand.
Monday, November 26th 2012 | Short URL
As we hurtle towards Christmas and the festive season here's a round up of what our clients have been up to this autumn...
The National Parent Partnership Network supports Parent Partnership Services and parents and carers of children with special educational needs accross England and Wales - We launched their brand new website last month.
Fifi Bijoux owner Vivien is named 'Trailblazer' in the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2012. Congratulations Vivien!
Ethical Weddings launch their 'Follow That Dress' campaign, tracking weddings dresses from bride to bride which have been donated and bought through charity shops and schemes.
Binky is born! The new online portfolio of DMA award winner 2012, designer, art director and illustrator Lydia Lapinski.
Whave works with communities and governments to develop and demonstrate solutions to poverty and conservation issues - We created their first professional logo and website which is powered by our Green Hosting, of course!
Wheels for Wellbeing, owners of Cycling for All have made it to the National Lottery 2012 Awards finals! Good luck guys!
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust celebrate the success of 'Cow Appeal'. Their new herd of cows will graze and preserve wildflower meadow habitats in Nottinghamshire.
Social Enterprise Support Centre announce the 10,000 Small Business Programme - fully funded support for small businesses and social enterprises.
Foxglove Covert Nature Reserve mark the 20 year anniversary of CES, the bird ringing and bird species recording scheme.
The Curious Machine exhibit their wonderful HeliOscillator1 installation at the Unversity of Sheffield's Festival of the Mind.
Factory Design see their cool aircraft interior concepts and visuals published in international magazine.
Sustainability Centre new course gift vouchers now on sale, just in time for Christmas!
Colbha Consulting joins the 'Story of Energy', helping to people understand their relationship with energy use and play their part in tackling the global energy crisis.
Wildlife in the City shortlist for their 'BIG Photography Competition'. Winners will be chosen by Mr Bill Oddie himself at the end of this month!
The Social Business' Rob Greenland shares his experience of life without a car, one year on.
Sustainable Saltaire joins forces with Leeds Metropolitan Univserity to promote food growing in Saltaire.
Images above © Ethical Weddings and Factory Design.
Tuesday, November 22nd 2011 | Short URL
Switched-on businesses and organisations like our clients are well aware of their social responsibilities and that they have an important role to play in reducing their impact on the environment.
Many other businesses are also reviewing their energy consumption, the waste they produce, the activities they support and the suppliers they choose. Consider your suppliers for a moment. Have you thought about the company that creates, maintains and hosts your website and how they address the environmental issues of their industry? Using an environmentally responsible web design company means that your online presence, a significant and growing aspect of your business, has positive eco-credentials too.
Green & Ethical Web Design
Since Make Hay was founded in 2004 we have employed both ethical and environmental policies in our everyday work. It’s the only way we wanted to do business but it is also a means of supporting our clients to be greener and think about the impact of their website too. Our ethical policy demonstrates that there are some activities that we just won't support through our services, we don;t want to make money from businesses who deal in the exploitation of people, animals or the planet, simple as that.
Our websites and our office are powered renewable, wind generated electricity which we use efficiently, switching off idle equipment and lighting. Waste from our office is minimal and when we need to dispose of equipment we recycle as much as we can, including stationery, furniture and computer components. Most of our communication is digital but stationery we do use is made from recycled or FSC paper as are printed publicity materials, which also use vegetable-based ink. We seek out ethical suppliers and eco products when possible, use The Cooperative for our business banking and a motor insurance company which offsets all of our car’s carbon emissions. We are Wildlife Guardians at Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, members of Gedling Fairtrade Group and sponsors of Creative Nottingham and All Ours for people experiencing mental ill health.
100% Wind Powered Website Hosting
As well as web design we supply green website hosting powered 100% by renewable electricity. Using Green Hosting means that our clients’ websites are powered by the wind, not fossil fuels which contribute to the rising carbon emissions of non-green data centres, reported to have an equivalent carbon footprint of the aviation industry!
Excellent Web Design and Hosting Service
Providing an excellent service and beautiful, standards compliant web design is equally important to us as running a green and ethical business. We genuinely care about the work we produce, using modern techniques and careful processes in our craft. We handle all of our web development projects personally and foster long-term business relationships. This is why we continue to attract clients who care about quality as well as social responsibility. Take a look at a our portfolio to see some of the great organisations we're fortunate enough to work with and please do get in touch if you would like to know more.
Wednesday, October 5th 2011 | Short URL
Welcome to my guest blog! Let me introduce myself, I’m Dr Isobel O’Neil a lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Nottingham University Business School. You might be wondering what I’m doing hijacking Make Hay’s blog? Well, Vicky was kind enough to take part as a case study for my research and invited me to share this with you all. I happily accepted as too often PhDs just sit on shelves getting dusty! So in this, the first of two blog entries, I’ll be outlining the background to my research. In a few weeks time, I’ll be sharing some of the key findings and the implications of these findings with you.
The story begins back in late 2006, when I was in the early stages of designing my PhD research. Being a bit of a greenie, I wanted to bring this into my scholarly endeavours so I enrolled on the PhD with the International Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility (ICCSR) at Nottingham University and drew up my plan to explore environmental sustainability and start-up business.
Subsequently I found myself scanning the internet for recently established, UK-based ethical and environmentally sustainable businesses to take part in the research. Make Hay caught my attention, not least as they seemed pretty much the only such start-up in my near vicinity! Without delving into too much academic jargon, I began to interviews founders with the joint aim of (1) understanding what motivates such business founders to embark upon setting up this kind of business, and (2) determining the key sources of tension they encountered as they introduced new ethical and sustainable practices to their respective sectors.
Due to time and space restraints, I’ll focus on talking about the first aim - motivations. This seems even more relevant for these pages as it was during my first interview with Vicky from Make Hay that a concept which ended up anchoring my research – authenticity – first captured my interest. Vicky had spoken with passion about the decision to cement their own values and principles firmly in the very essence of Make Hay; she hoped it would be a route towards more authentic careers/lives. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept of authenticity, it can be understood as the pursuit of one’s inner voice to live one’s life in a way true to oneself (Taylor, 1991 ). In terms of careers, authenticity is about working in a way is consistent with your inner values. However, it is not simply about satisfying yourself alone but authenticity demands consideration of our external responsibilities to other people and our surrounding natural/ social environment.
With other interviewees apparently also searching for greater authenticity, I sought insights into whether other academics had explored the role of pursuing one’s authenticity as a driver for entrepreneurship. Surprising, there was very little that explicitly linked the pursuit of authenticity with entrepreneurship. Passion, determination, self-efficacy, creativity - these all offered insights into the drive to launch one’s own business. But the role of authenticity? I found had not been adequately discussed.
Whilst not being directly applicable, existing work did turn up some interesting insights that I’d like to share with you. Firstly an inspiring piece tracing the career of the Spanish film director Pedro Almodóvar, demonstrated that a sense of being authentic had characterised his career path: “Experience has taught me that the more honest and personal my work is, the more successful I am” . So authenticity has been recognised as a motivation for those with untraditional careers, such as those in the creative industries. However, even here restrictions on bringing one’s authenticity to life through one’s work exist. For example, this research showed that in the creative industries the journey to being able to truly portray oneself in one’s work has to be understood as an enduring struggle. A struggle which is gradually overcome as someone, such as Almodóvar, becomes more established and is hence freer to express their own ‘voice’ as they see fit.
Secondly, a body of research on authenticity has focused on the experiences of individuals employed in constraining workplaces such as call centres and in well-established professional roles such as management consultants. The focus of this research has been on an emerging trend for organizations to encourage displays of an authentic self in the workplace as a means to alleviate the mundane nature of the work. However, the ability to portray oneself by dressing as one likes or by a blurring of the boundaries between one’s social life and the workplace only allows for a superficial portrayal of authenticity. In this work there have been discussions on the sense of self-alienation experienced by some employees, such as junior management consultants . Where a ‘corporate culture’ penetrates all aspects of these consultants’ lives, it was found not only that some experienced an inability to ‘be themselves’ but also that they were out of touch with their inner voice almost entirely. The demands of work had led the loss of a sense of authenticity. I believe this is worrying as it sends a signal that those within certain job roles would be less able and indeed willing, to challenges the superficial nature of some corporations’ values. Such a scenario seems gloomy if we are to rely on values-driven and inspired employees to initiate and deliver progressive social and/ or environmental activities through, for example, genuine CSR programmes.
To summarise the background to my research it can be said that our understanding of authenticity as a career driver (1) had been concerned with the constraints that working life places on being able to portray a sense of your true self, and (2) had given little consideration to the activities of individuals to remove some of these constraints by leaving a prior role/ workplace. Vicky at Make Hay and my other research participants had set me on a path to try to better understand authenticity’s role in driving people’s careers transitions to self-employment and to running their own businesses. I will share some of my insights with you in part two of this blog.
1) Taylor, C. (1991). The Ethics of Authenticity. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
2) Pedro Almodóvar in Mata, 2003, p. 38, see Svejenova, S. (2005). ‘The path with the heart: Creating the authentic career’. Journal of Management Studies, 42, 947-974.
3) See Costas, J. and Fleming, P. (2009). ‘Beyond dis-identification: A discursive approach to self-alienation in contemporary organizations’. Human Relations , 62, 353-378.
Thursday, August 25th 2011 | Short URL
This morning I had a very interesting meeting in the beautiful Newton Building at Nottingham Trent University. This is the home of Future Factory, an impressive project set up to support sustainable product and process design in the East Midlands. As Debra Easter, Project Manager, explained this project aims to help SME businesses to become more environmentally and economically sustainable.
For very little or no cost Future Factory puts businesses in touch with the professional input and resources they need to plan sustainability into their design project. The type of support available covers a range of business needs such as marketing strategy, sourcing materials, supply considerations and developing sustainable packaging. The support comes in the form of access to expertise and consultancy from professionals and students, funding, graduate placements, events, use of meeting space, the library and much more, too much to list here. For a full list of services and support download the FF brochure at their website.
This is a great opportunity for all businesses to tap into specialist industries which they may not otherwise be able to afford and take steps towards a more sustainable future.
Find out more at www.ntu.ac.uk/future_factory and spread the word if you think this would be useful to a business you know in the East Midlands.
Monday, July 25th 2011 | Short URL
For folks in Nottingham, here's some great green news:
First of all, the fledgling Nottingham Green Network has just taken flight, newly launched a couple of months ago and looking for members and supporters to join them. I only found out about them a couple of weeks ago and have recently joined the team as the green business editor for their blog. I'll be writing an eco business related article there at least once a month.
The website, nottsgreennetwork.com, is new and there are plans in place to develop something more permanent in the near future but in the meantime you can find out about green events, local projects and 'everything you need to know about' guides.
If you live in Nottingham or Nottinghamshire and would like to get involved please contact me and I will put you in touch with the lovely chap who runs the group.
This is the first eco show to take place in Nottingham and will be held on Friday 7th & Saturday 8th October at The Edge, Curzon Street, Nottingham.
Aimed at business owners, public sector organisations and house holders the show will hold a wealth of information on how to green up your home and workplace.
If you run a business in Nottingham and are looking to take your first eco steps then go along and find out how other businesses have incorporated green practices into their work.
Book your free ticket or find out more about exhibiting at nottingham-eco-show.co.uk
Monday, July 11th 2011 | Short URL
Business isn't usually associated with kindness, in fact, it's often associated with quite the opposite. The idea that bosses are mean and companies are greedy are almost accepted as the status quo. But isn't that sad? The virtue of kindness doesn't need to be linked only to charities and non-profits, business has a great capacity for helping improve quality of life for people on a local and global scale, it just sometimes chooses not to. In choosing not to though, it may well be missing out on a fantastic opportunity.
Kindness is infectious, if someone is kind to you it opens you up to doing a good turn of your own, ultimately rewarding you with that lovely warm feeling you get when you've just made someone smile. The idea that kindness also helps you and others around you to be more productive and creative may not seem surprising. However, for commercial organisations these wellbeing and happiness 'side effects' that empathy and compassion bring can lead to added bonuses in the workplace which are definitely worth considering further. Studies have shown that employee happiness and wellbeing leads to to improved health, loyalty, performance and decision making, and in turn the business's bottom line.
InKind Notts are looking to "inspire people in schools, homes and communities as well as workplaces, to recognise that actions motivated by empathy, self awareness and kindness not only make others flourish but they are also are incredibly strong mechanisms to help us feel engaged, well and happy."
InKind Notts will be committing Random Acts of Kindness in Nottingham city centre for 12 hours on Saturday the 16th July from 9am to 9pm. Go along to chat with them, find out more or share your thoughts. Listen to an interview with co-founders Kaye Brennan & Jeff Buck about the event.
So, inspired by the InKind Notts folk, here's my 12 acts of kindness for business ideas:
Interesting reading: Science News - Happy Employees Are Critical For An Organization's Success.
I'd love to hear your ideas on how a business can spread kindness so please share them in the comments below.
Friday, June 24th 2011 | Short URL
Well, strictly speaking this is a week in the life of one half of Make Hay. I should add that during this busy week and every week, the other half of Make Hay, Jez, is even more busy managing projects, designing, developing, building and providing support to our Green Hosting clients as well as a whole range of other tasks.
I thought I would write about one of my weeks at work because sometimes it’s interesting to find out what goes on behind the scenes of a business. The idea of web design might conjure up pictures of us sitting at a computer for many long hours creating lines and lines of code. Well it does involve that, a lot of it, but it involves many other things too. So, here’s a little insight into one of my weeks at Make Hay back in May...
Monday is always a ‘kick off’ day, setting things in place and making plans for the coming week and beyond. This Monday is the start of Green Office Week and to celebrate we’re offering a special prize of free Green Hosting for a year for one lucky business. I’m publicizing the offer as much as I can with the help of fellow greeny business people all over the country. I’ve been really heartened by my colleagues in the green business world who have helped us spread the word.
Over the weekend we have received a new sign-up to our Make Mail e-newsletter service. We handle each sign-up individually so I contact the client to welcome them, set up their account and send them their details and guide to get started.
One of our new web design projects is just moving into the design phase, so after I’ve dealt with e-mails I block a large amount of time out of the day to begin the design. To set design plans in place I’m referring back to our previous conversations with the client about their business objectives and their website content as well as their existing brand.
Throughout the day (as with all days), e-mails are coming in from clients with updates and questions about ongoing website projects or web hosting work. One of the non-client e-mails included an invitation to hold a stall at a green film festival so I get in touch with them discuss the details and then I’ll be thinking about what publicity materials and equipment I’ll need to take along.
Right at the end of the afternoon I receive a message from one of our clients whose new website went live last summer. A lady had called her up because she loved her website and wants to get one too. Our client contacted me to say she had recommended us highly to her. A great way to end the day!
This morning we receive confirmation from one of our long-term clients, Climate East Midlands, that they would like to go ahead with some large developments to their existing website. I check our schedule and book the work in, alongside providing the client with details of information we need from them and some timescales. Just as with new web design projects we use a careful process for ongoing development work to make sure everything stays on time and on budget.
My next job is to switch over to the focus of another project. This is a new website build and is in the content gathering phase. Because this is usually quite a long period of time when the client is working alone to write their content I like to check in to make sure everything is on track and those involved are clear about what they need to do. I have a chat with one of our client’s staff team responsible for providing content. She updates me on their progress and we arrange to get in touch again the following week, ready for moving on to the next stage.
Via our blog, newsletter and social networking pages we like to provide helpful web-related information to our clients. That may be a ‘how to’ article or marketing tips or news about directories for green businesses, for example. Because many of our Green Hosting clients use WordPress as their blogging platform, I decide to write a free guide on how to update their WordPress installation. I don’t publish it straight away though, but will wait until a new update is available so that the guide is relevant.
To keep publicising our Green Hosting competition I take a few more minutes to post it on Facebook and Twitter again and announce it on the Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce Website.
Again, a large part of the day and for the rest of the afternoon I continue to work on the new website design and layout I started yesterday. It’s really taking shape and I have the basis of the layout and styling in place.
We receive two new requests for website quotes this morning. Traditionally this time of year sees lots of organisations making plans setting up new projects and so May is usually a busy time for discussing new work. I respond to the quote requests straight away to confirm their receipt but will set some time aside later to go through them in more detail and discuss with Jez in preparation for providing website proposals and estimates to both potential clients
I contact a few green printers to find out about prices for banners and posters which we can use on a stall at events such as the green film festival. Once I get specifications for the poster I start designing the artwork and put the general plan in place. One of the printers I contact is Print Revolution, which I later find to be a gem of a green business right on our doorstep!
Continuing on the website design and layout which I started this week I am to a point where I’m ready to show the client, So I create previews online and send them to him with details about how the design elements address the aims and structure we previously agreed. He responds almost immediately saying he is very pleased with the designs and even uses the word “superb”!
The last piece of work for today is another previously booked update to one of our long-term client’s websites, Winkworth Farm. When this client’s website was first built she was just beginning her new business but since then it has expanded a great deal. So we have some more significant plans in place to develop the website to reflect how her business and range of services have grown.
This morning is all about planning. Planning for upcoming strategic meetings and quotes. We get our heads together for this stuff regularly and decide which of us will tackle what and when.
This afternoon we have a meeting with Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and Attenborough Nature Centre staff about some exciting new developments to their websites. It is always a treat to visit the Attenborough Reserve, especially this time of year in the sunshine. We have worked with NWT for a little while now and they have agreed to do a photoshoot with us for an upcoming news story, so we’re taking the photos whilst we’re here. Erin, the Communications & Marketing Manager, tells me that they have been really pleased with the increase in website traffic and online memberships since we created their new website and puts this in writing for the article. You can read the finished NWT article here on our blog.
When I get back I need to respond to some e-mails that came in whilst we were out. They include a range of messages, such hosting support requests and responses to me chasing up client progress on a few projects. I give one of our clients instructions on how to upload videos to YouTube as she will be adding them to her blog for the first time soon.
I get a call first thing from a marketing expert who is working with the lovely lady who helped us develop our T&Cs. She wants to find out about our experiences and what we gained from the process. I’m more than happy to provide feedback about this as we received an excellent service.
I spend a bit of time dealing with our own marketing by sending photos and client testimonials to Louise at Perfect 10 PR who will be writing the press release about our work with Notts Wildlife Trust.
The rest of today has been set aside as Green Hosting day! It is important that we dedicate time to our own websites’ development and online strategy as well as our clients'. We’re planning a re-design of our Green Hosting website and a few other developments for our hosting service which you will hear about soon.
In between working on our own project, we break to carry out some admin and respond to client e-mails. At the end of Friday I go into the weekend feeling pleased that this busy week has been productive.
Thursday, May 19th 2011 | Short URL
Its a lovely thing when you find a local business that reflects your ethical ethos, provides a great service and is good value to boot!
I was so pleased to find green printers, Print Revolution, the other day. They're just down the road from us here in Nottingham and I couldn't believe we hadn't crossed paths before. After chatting to the director, Adrian Collier, I realised that these guys aren't just about about talking the eco talk, they walk the walk too. Not only do they use recycled paper and card and employ a waterless printing method (which also means less harmful chemicals and much more efficient printing), their work is green throughout and is a big part of how they believe business should be done - just like us! They use a green electricity provider, carbon offset for paper production and distribution and use the brilliant 'We Go' carbon neutral couriers for their deliveries.
I came away from their printing offices yesterday a happy bunny, with a fab new Make Hay poster and having found a great green local printer.
Check them out at www.printrevolution.co.uk
Friday, May 6th 2011 | Short URL
Did you know that next week is Green Office Week? Well, we would advocate making moves for a greener office all year round but this a good time to think about how to save energy, reduce waste and purchase greener products.
The organisers of GOW are encouraging businesses up and down the UK to take action in their offices, tackling a different area each day of the week.
Here at Make Hay & Green Hosting there are various things we do to try to make our office greener. We're always learning and looking to improve but here's a run down of GOWs suggestions and the things we do in those areas:
GOW say 'Act on Energy - Encourage measures to reduce energy consumption in your company'.
What we do - First of all, we use a renewable (wind powered) electricity provider to power our office, we're not using a fossil fuel source. We don't want to waste that wind power though, so we only switch on equipment that we're using. At the end of the working day computers, lights, laptops and printers are switched off and have a well-earned rest. Where we can we try to buy energy efficient IT components, such as 'green' storage hard drives and we always use low-energy light bulbs. Our websites are also powered by the wind because our hosting servers use renewable energy too. We provide this green website hosting service to our clients, as you may already know!
GOW say 'Act on Transport - Encourage measures to reduce your company's environmental impact through travel'.
What we do - We're very lucky that our business doesn't require lots of travel. Our office is home-based, so there is no daily commute, polluting the city and we can liaise with our clients most of the time via e-mail, telephone and other methods online. Sometimes we do need to meet up with clients face to face and we will use both public and private transport to do this. If we're heading to London for example then we'll use the train but for clients in more remote places we'll drive. To help counter some of the impact of our car use we use a green motor insurance company who offsets 100% of our carbon emissions through forestry projects throughout the UK.
GOW say 'Act on Waste - Encourage the 3Rs: reduce/reuse/recycle and benefit from the cost-reductions'.
What we do - Due to the nature of our work, which is carried out digitally for the most part, we do not need to buy much materials and really have minimum waste moving through the office. However, we try to re-use or recycle office resources as much as we can. Non-confidential paperwork is either re-used to make notepads or recycled. Confidential paperwork is shredded and recycled but sometimes composted. Non usable electrical items are taken to our local e-waste recycling centre and printer ink cartridges are also recycled via charities such as Age UK. Tea bags and coffee grinds from staff drinks are composted too.
GOW say 'Act on Purchasing - Encourage a review of purchasing habits and switching to eco-friendly office products'.
What we do - We use the Green Stationery Company to buy recycled office products such as pens, folders, paper etc. Publicity materials are printed on FSC certified paper with vegetable based inks. The printer we use partners with a carbon offsetting project in the UK to plant a tree for every order we make. For computer equipment we try to purchase low-energy products as much as possible and from companies with positive eco-credentials and we look to accreditation organisations like Gooshing to find out about this. We recognise though that this is probably the trickiest part of the office to green-up as no IT supplier is perfect and we need to make sure we have secure and reliable equipment to provide a good service to our clients.
Consideration of the supply chain goes both ways for us as we also have an ethical policy which outlines the types of organisations we will and won't supply our services to.
GOW say 'Act on Opportunity - Everyone that took part got that Friday feeling by sharing their successes with colleagues, the media and others involved in GOW. It was a celebration of UK officers being greener.'
What we'll do - We'll be running a special competition all week, in which one lucky business can win Green Hosting for their website for a whole year! Watch this space on Monday for more details.
Tuesday, April 5th 2011 | Short URL
Recently a couple of clients have asked me where they can find other types of green services, such as energy providers, banks and printers. When I'm looking for a green service or product I turn to directories that specifically register ethical and eco-friendly businesses and I've built up a little list of them over time. So, I thought I'd share them here with you.
I hope you find these directories useful and if you know of any more which are not listed here, let me know and I'll add them:
Thursday, January 27th 2011 | Short URL
reecovid, the stylish, eco-friendly stationery company, first came to my attention when our friend Katie at Ethical Weddings wrote about them. I'd been looking for exactly this sort of thing for ages.
When I learned that their products are made entirely from post consumer waste, and being a bit of a stationery geek, I had to find out more. You can read full details of their green credentials on their website but I was impressed to hear that no virgin fibre is added to the stationery at all. That’s why they have the slogan ‘Waste, not Chaste’. Clever eh?
The reecovid line which includes refillable notepads, personal organisers and address books (coming soon) is designed especially for women. They have really pretty covers that feel tough and durable enough to withstand getting thrown into my bag and carried around everywhere. I treated myself to the 'Daryl' notepad pictured here. Usually I like to do things digitally but you can’t beat a good notebook can you?
Thursday, October 28th 2010 | Short URL
Good businesses deserve good stuff, right? That’s why we’re sharing a little round-up of new goodies for green & ethical businesses:
Business Guide to Climate Change Adaptation
Produced by Climate East Midlands, this free guide “Weathering the storm: saving and making money in a changing climate” provides practical advice for SMEs on how to prepare for climate change and protect all areas of their business, including premises, supply chain, staff, equipment and data. Check it out at www.climate-em.org.uk
A brand new social network described by the folks at Ethical Community as “Facebook meets eBay, but for green people”. Buy, sell and advertise green products and services whilst networking with like-minded businesses.
Social Investment Speed Dating
Hosted by ClearlySo. This ‘speed dating’ event gives social entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their business directly to a range of social investors. The deadline to apply is 5th November so you need to hurry to get a place!
Changing Climate Weeks
November brings Changing Climate Weeks in the Midlands with a wide range inspiring of events for business, groups and individuals looking for ways to lower their carbon.
Wednesday, October 27th 2010 | Short URL
As we mentioned in our last newsletter, we have been involved in the 10:10 Project to cut our carbon emissions by 10% in a year. Our action year is now over and the results are in and we’re very pleased to say that relative to turnover our carbon emissions were reduced by 22%!
Our actions to cut our carbon emissions this year included installing new insulation and double-glazing and as a result our electricity usage was down. Our mileage was slightly increased on last year which is due to visiting a couple of clients farther afield. However, we also began working with new local clients and continued to keep much of our communication to telephone and e-mails when possible, so as not to travel unnecessarily.
Although our action year with the 10:10 Project is over our aims to reduce our emissions and waste are not. Take a look at our environmental policy to find out more about how we work green.
Remember: If you’re a 10:10 participant too then you’re eligible for a 10% discount on our Green Hosting. See our 10:10 special offer for more details.
Wednesday, April 7th 2010 | Short URL
Our latest newsletter ‘An Interview with an Ethical You‘ is out now and we’re looking for your views on a new client interview idea.
Make Hay has always been about working to raise the profile of environmentally and ethically responsible businesses and organisations. We like to talk about the positive work that our clients do.
We really want to go above and beyond the services of a regular web design and hosting company to spread the word about all of your positive work. So we’re starting a new way of helping our clients get their message out there, through our own regular streams of communication. It won’t cost clients anything extra at all and it will mean that you tell our audience (and like-minded folk), in your own words, what you’re all about. Read our newsletter to find out more.
Wednesday, January 27th 2010 | Short URL
Its always good to hear from fellow businesses and organisations interested in raising the profile of positive and ethical work. Recently we came into contact with Rob Morley from Fountain Partnership, a copywriting business, who do just that. Having similar values when it comes to doing business responsibly we invited Fountain to share the benefits of professional copywriting services here on our blog.
Over to you Rob…
When it comes to writing the text for your website or promotional material, the chances are your natural instinct is to write it yourself. After all, it’s your organisation and you know what you want to say.
The question is, do you know what people want to read?
Copywriting is the art of using proven principles from psychology and marketing to engage with the reader and persuade them to take action.
With a website, on average, you have 5-10 seconds to connect with a reader and keep them engaged. The title you use and the way you write will determine whether the reader stays or goes.
With flyers, you need to get the reader’s attention and make your message relevant to them, before persuading them to take it on board.
Whatever you’re writing, the words you use will determine whether you get your message heard or not.
So, if you’re investing in a new website or promotional material, it’s worth considering a copywriter to ensure you get a great return on your investment. And, perhaps more importantly, to ensure people are aware of your cause.
Want to know more? Here are some of the benefits of using a copywriter:
Get your message heard – talk to a professional copywriter!
Monday, September 28th 2009 | Short URL
Please be aware of any letters or invoices you receive asking you to renew or transfer your domain name. There seems to be yet another round of false reminders from a company called ‘Domain Renewal Group‘. Their paperwork is suspiciously similar to the previous company (Domain Registry of America / Europe / Canada) we warned about in our November ’08 newsletter.
If here at Make Hay we have registered a domain name for you then we will remind you in plenty of time when it is due for renewal. The correspondence will come from us and only us.
Even though their letters look official please do not pay the ‘Domain Renewal Group’ any money as this is a scam.
I shall send the false letters we receive to Trading Standards Institute so they are aware of the scam.
Update 5th Oct 09 – Another new domain scam – look out for e-mails from ‘ISP Renewal’ with the address ‘…@onlinereminder.org’ and don’t fall for it!
Monday, September 21st 2009 | Short URL
This month Make Hay turns 5 years old. The time has flown so fast but at this milestone it makes us very happy to take a look back and a look around, to reflect on how we’ve grown and how responsible business is becoming more mainstream. There’s still a great responsibility for the business world (including us) to increase and improve our green and ethical habits but we should celebrate the achievements too!
Make Hay was officially founded in September 2004. Long before then though it had had been whirring around in our brains. Disillusioned by traditional business models and encouraged by the potential of business driven by purpose, not just profit, we decided it was time to take our combined positive experiences and skills and make our contribution to changing the world. I know that might sound a bit cliché but that was, and still is, the driving force behind our business.
Back in 2004 the world was a different place. It was quite unusual for a new business to say they would turn work away if it meant making money from a particular industry or market or seek out suppliers with positive ethical credentials even though they may be more expensive. As we excitedly told friends and family what we were planning to do we were often met with bemused looks or remarks like “that’s crazy, you’ll never make any money”. Concerned supporters suggested “why don’t you start off without an ethical policy and when you’re established then go down the ethical route?” – There was no question of that. We did have positive encouragement too and to those people we are hugely thankful. Without it the beginnings of our fledgling business would have been difficult and isolating.
It wasn’t long before we found a few other businesses that we could look to for collaborations and support. I remember very well one of the first businesses we discovered was Ethical Junction. In great anticipation of meeting more greeny business types we added our details to what was then a humble directory ran by a handful of folks. Now, I’m happy to say, Ethical Junction are a mighty force, connecting responsible business owners all over the UK and we’re very proud to still be members.
Personal highlights in our Make Hay journey include setting up Make Noise, to help promote the work of our amazing web design clients and adding the Green Hosting arm to our business, which enabled us to provide websites powered on renewable energy. We also co-founded and became host to the Green Girls Global blog and later Green Guys Global and joined the steering group of a local Fairtrade campaign as business representative. More recently we launched our Make Mail service, providing clients with e-mail marketing newsletters so that they could reach out even further and our blog, another useful voice in sharing the work of our clients and news and views on responsible and sustainable business.
More widely we’ve noted some vast changes in the business world as you will have too. Nowadays we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to green stationery, equipment and furniture. We can have our offices powered by the wind and become listed in a wealth of useful directories and networks working hard to get green to the masses. Gone are the days when shop keepers look at you aghast for bringing your own bag and even the big supermarkets are hiding their plastic carriers under the till.
Let’s not be fooled or get complacent, there is a still a long, long way to go and it won’t be easy. But we can be buoyed by the way that green business has begun to seep into the mainstream, even in Make Hay’s short lifetime, and use that to drive us forward. Let’s see what we can achieve in the next 5, 15, 50 years!
All that remains to say is a big thank you to our clients, colleagues and friends for your support over the years. As a way of showing our gratitude we have a prize for one lucky client to win. Please see the details in our latest newsletter.
Wednesday, August 5th 2009 | Short URL
This week we received an e-mail which was such a perfect example of how not to ‘get’ green business I had to share it. The e-mail was from a salesperson who suggested we would be interested in buying his products because we are a company who sells “solar promotional products”. We don’t, and never have, sold solar goods.
His amazing products are novelty desktop wind turbines, made from either plastic or metal. They are fitted with a little solar panel or USB ports to plug into your computer and power the rotating blades.
Apparently these merchandise would make great gifts to our clients, they could even be personalised with ours or our clients’ logo.
After we stopped laughing at the sheer preposterousness of this I felt quite irritated. They had got it wrong on so many levels:
1. It’s Still Spam
Just because you perceive your business and our business to have a common green focus doesn’t mean we want to hear from you or buy your product. We get unsolicited e-mails from companies selling ‘green’ or ‘ethical’ products on a regular basis, it’s still spam nonetheless.
2. Show Me Something Relevant
Ok, so you’re green and we’re green but is your product even relevant to us? If you insist on sending us spam, at least take the time to understand our business. This is just good marketing sense at the very least. We don’t sell solar products and putting that in the first line of your e-mail turned us off immediately.
3. You Just Don’t Get It
Why do you think we built our business on values of working efficiently, sustainably and putting careful thought into the things we buy? Why do you think we’ve taken lots of care to implement ethical and environmental policies and seek new ways to become even more efficient, less wasteful and more conscious of our impact on the environment? Do you think we’ve done these things to spend our hard earned cash on novelty plastic wind turbines from the other side of the world? Were you thinking at all????
4. Green by Name doesn’t always mean Green by Nature
Making something look green or sound green doesn’t mean it is green. In this case the product almost certainly isn’t but I wouldn’t know because you haven’t told me about its source or manufacture. We feel that transparency is so important so that customers can make informed choices. Without transparency consumers become justifiably suspicious. What happens then is that suspicion and mistrust spreads to all businesses which call themselves green. It basically gives all green business a ‘bad name’.
Wednesday, July 22nd 2009 | Short URL
The folks at Business Link are providing a free consultation and diagnostic service on resource efficiency for small to medium businesses in the East Midlands. Following this your business may be eligible for a grant of up to £10k to help you improve your environmental performance.
Resource efficiency is about managing energy, water and materials to reduce waste and cost. There’s no excuse for businesses not to implement at least some strategies these days with help like this.
Find out more about the East Midlands Business Link Resource Efficiency Grants.
Business Link provide advice and support nationally on improving your environmental performance.
Friday, May 1st 2009 | Short URL
I recently read a great study on how consumers percieve green products and their decision making behind choosing green, or not. It got me thinking about how we as ethical businesses can reach out more into the mainstream by getting to understand the reasoning behind consumer choices.
Having the support and approval of like-minded folk is fantastic but to bring about real change we have to reach more people, especially people who aren’t yet making green/ethical steps or don’t understand how it will benefit them. I feel like its time to stop preaching to the converted and encourage widespread positive steps.
Understanding how consumers (whether that’s the public or other businesses) make decisions about where they spend their money can help us put responsible business on their radar.
Wednesday, February 25th 2009 | Short URL
After working with the Tate Rachel found that most sustainability information is not tailored to the needs of the cultural sector. So, she set up Greener Museums for the museum professional, to provide the tools and resources needed to get them on the path to sustainability.
Take the Greener Museums survey. The results will be used to inform Rachel when providing information on the website: www.greenermuseums.org
Monday, February 23rd 2009 | Short URL
Make Mail e-mail marketing clients Green Rocket Group have created an ethical business guide which offers practical advice and guidance on how companies can operate more ethically and boost their bottom line.
The business guide is free to download from their website at: www.greenrocketgroup.com
Friday, January 9th 2009 | Short URL
Happy New Year!
This time of year is always buzzing with the excitement of new things, positive change and plans for the future and its no different here at Make Hay HQ.
The first part of this year will see us re-launching our own websites and making the most of online opportunities to promote ourselves and our clients more than ever.
We keep being told that 2009 will be a challenging year and I don’t doubt that for a moment but let’s make our own challenges and take hold of our own economic and environmental futures as far as we can.
Friday, September 26th 2008 | Short URL
I read a really relevant and valid post today on Seth Godin’s blog which relates perfectly to business and other areas of our lives.
Everybody is in the same boat. We all have so much to do and our time is precious. Respect someone by not wasting their time…
Friday, July 25th 2008 | Short URL
An issue which has come onto my radar today (articles I’ve read and conversations I’ve had) is people’s perception of green business. Whether this is positive or negative, I’ve been wondering on the whole what do you think?
In our experience of running Make Hay we’ve worked hard to demonstrate that we are genuine in our goal to provide a service which has a positive impact for people and the environment and that we’re good at what we do.
We know we’re not 100% green but we’re transparent about the practices we employ every day to be a responsible business. Similarly we talk a lot about good quality, standards compliant website design.
However, today I became aware that the perception of small ‘green’ businesses may be that they are unnecessarily expensive and may not be as ‘good’ as non-green businesses when it comes to providing a service. I wondered why this may be…
Here are a few questions that came to mind:
I have to say that in my experience dealing with small, genuine, ethical businesses has been positive. Colleagues and suppliers of ours are receptive to our needs because they’re like minded. Additionally, because they’re a small business they do not need to charge more to cover lots of overheads and they’re passionate about their industry because they know they can use it to make positive changes. I think they feel this way about us too.
What do you think? How do you view green or ethical businesses in the market place? How would you answer the questions above?
I would be grateful of any feedback you can give. Either leave a comment below or contact me. Your views will really help us to provide a better service. Thank you.
Monday, July 21st 2008 | Short URL
I was glad to see The Big Green Switch run a feature this week on ‘Going Green in the Workplace‘. They break down the various aspects of an office based workplace and what we can do to make it greener. Check it out at www.biggreenswitch.co.uk/workplace
A few more things that I would have liked to have seen included in their feature are:
Green Electricity: Switch to a green energy provider for your office. There are quite a few alternatives available nowadays and you can find out about them on the Energywatch website
Save Water: Save water in the office as you would at home by using a ‘Save-a-Flush’ bag (or something similar) in the loo. A lot of UK water companies will send them to you if you ask.
Green Website Hosting: Although the company website isn’t strictly ‘housed’ in your office it is a large part of your business. Your website can be hosted on servers which are run on renewable energy. Take a look at our Green Website Hosting service www.green-hosting.co.uk
Write an environmental plan: It might not be easy to implement your new green practices straight away so write an environmental plan or policy along with the key decision makers and those responsible for ordering goods for the office. Using such a plan can help you commit to making green changes as well as setting more targets for the future.
Friday, July 18th 2008 | Short URL
Yesterday I received a message via Facebook from our friend and Greenfinder founder Kate saying:
“Interested in networking with other green/ethical/community or social enterprise groups in the Midlands?”
Are we ever?!
Kate has set up a Facebook group for like minded people in the Midlands to connect online and possibly meet up in the region for social events. There are lots of groups and networking events in London for ethical businesses but not really anything in the Midlands – until now.
So, if you have a Facebook profile look for the group ‘Green & Ethical Networking in the Midlands’ and come and join us.
If you don’t have a Facebook profile watch this space as I will add updates about progress of the group. Please feel free to contact me if you’re interested in being involved or have any queries or suggestions.
Monday, July 7th 2008 | Short URL
Well, actually knowing about the electricals you use for your business is much more than etiquette, it’s about working ethically and being responsible towards the environment.
We all need to use computers for our day to day work, that’s just a fact of life. On top of that there are printers, mobile phones, laptops and the list goes on. So, how do we ensure that what we’re buying has the most electrical efficiency and least environmental impact? Plus what should we do with electricals when we don’t need them any more?
Buying Electrical Equipment
There are online resources available to help you find out about the electricals you’re buying and the companies who manufacture them. Use these kinds of guides when considering new computers, mobile phones and other equipment for your office and show manufacturers that you want only the highest environmental standards:
Need to WEEE? Yes, you do.
Once you’ve finished with an old computer or printer you could donate it to a charity or community group (making sure it is safe to use and confidential and sensitive data has been completely removed first).
However, there will be times when the appliance is broken and of no use and this is where the WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Directive should be observed.
The WEEE Directive exists to reduce the amount of EEE which goes into landfill and ensures that it is treated and recovered instead. The WEEE directive applies to all kinds of businesses including those which simply use electricals for regular office use. The Environment Agency provides clear and useful information on responsibility of disposing of EEE and how it affects businesses and organisations like yours.
Thursday, June 12th 2008 | Short URL
Make Hay has become a Green Achiever!
If you’re not already aware of Green Achiever it is a scheme which supports businesses to communicate to potential suppliers, clients and other interested parties the positive things they’re doing for the environment.
Becoming a Green Achiever involves completing an environmental health check which results in an ‘Environmental Health Report’ showing points for consideration and action. After meeting Green achiever criteria businesses and organisations are listed on the Green Achiever website.
The first level of Green Achiever accreditation is free so why not take a little time to think about how you’re doing your bit for the environment and tell others about it too?
Thursday, June 12th 2008 | Short URL
The network is free to join, all you have to do is register and fill in your details.
Ethical business is growing all the time so let’s collaborate to strengthen it even further. I’m a member of the network so do pop by to say “hello” when you join. You’ll probably see some other familiar faces in there too!
Thursday, June 12th 2008 | Short URL
Check out some of these sites we’ve stumbled across, all very useful for marketing your green and ethical work as well as learning about others.
Greenorbit promotes achievements in eco-friendly design and technology.
Best Green Blogs
Directory of weblogs that focus on green and sustainable people, places, products, ideas and possibilities.
Tuesday, March 11th 2008 | Short URL
Many of our every day practices and aims to become greener can be applied to any office based business and so I decided to share how we go about it.
I have published 5 articles about how a web design company can be green and ethical on Green Girls Global:
We’d love to hear about all the different ways you work to green up your business or organisation. Also, what makes you ethical? Do you have an ethical policy or affiliations with a charity for example?
We at Make Hay strongly believe that ethical businesses and organisations can work together to share good practice and raise the profile of ethical working on a wider scale. So, drop us a line and tell us what you do.