January 31, 2017

Budgeting Basics: 3 Things Many Business Owners Overlook

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Most business owners will spend time planning their next budget in the months leading up to April. That is because they’ll know how much profit they made last year after paying their tax bill. However, lots of young entrepreneurs overlook important costs and get things wrong. With that in mind, I wanted to release an article today that points you in the right direction. While I don’t know all the ins and outs of your operation, I do know about some issues you might forget. So, take a moment to read through this post and see if my tips can assist you in getting things right this year. 

IT support costs 

Unless you employ a team of IT professionals, you will have to outsource when it comes to computer support. You might think your system runs well now, and that’s good. However, there is no way to predict when you might run into trouble. For instance, maybe a bug halts your ordering process and stops you from making a profit? Perhaps you fall victim to a virus attack? Either way, you must understand the benefits of IT support and the costs involved. If you don’t, you might discover you don’t have enough cash in your accounts to resolve any issues. That could have drastic consequences for your operation. 
January 31, 2017

Wow, These Tech Careers Are Awesome!

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Have you ever thought about getting started down the path of a career involving technology? It’s actually not a bad idea. Researcher have suggested that the IT industry will grow phenomenally in the next few years. You might think that tech careers are boring and involve staring at a computer screen all day. But we’re not sure that’s true, and actually, there are plenty of different avenues to explore here. Some of these possibilities will lead to fantastic career options where the payout could be huge. Have we caught your attention? Then read on to find out what could be waiting for you with a career in technology. 

Develop The Next Ace App 

Fun fact, Pokemon Go was making hundreds of millions just hours after it had been released. In fact, it was so popular that it actually crashed servers and that’s why it had to be rolled out at a slower pace than expected. If you’re thinking Pokemon Go was always going to be a success because of the brand name...well, that’s not exactly true. While Pokemon Go was still popular before the release, it had lost much of its momentum. Only hardcore gamers were still interested so to get everyone playing was an impressive feat. You also have to remember that neither Nintendo nor Gamefreak developed the app. It was a once little-known company called Niantic that were behind it. They are the reason why it became so popular. The sky really is the limit in the world of app development. Many app developers make millions, and even the modest success stories are still quite impressive. Certainly, this makes the possibility worth exploring. 
January 29, 2017

Reduce Costs: Making Your Home Office Eco Friendly

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Setting up an office at home can be beneficial for tax relief and keeping your business overheads down. However it can also have an impact on your household bills such as energy for heating and electricity. How can you lower the financial strain on your home whilst helping reduce your carbon footprint? It is possible. 

Eco and sustainability are the order of the day and taking the opportunity to pass some of the costs through your business not just from your personal savings, means you can increase your businesses eco rating and improve your home environment.

Seventy percent of the average household costs are put into heating your home. It stands to reason that if you are working from the house you will be using your heating even more and the impact will be seen on your annual bills. So looking at ways of reducing this hit is the best place to start. 

A massive 25% of your heat will be lost through the roof of your building. So get up there and insulate. Try and turn the heat down a bit. The minimum temperature advised for human households is 18 degrees. Lowering your thermostats could reduce your annual bill by as much as 40% over the year. 

The sun is a free source of heat, so setting your office up in a room with plenty of natural light and in the south of your home is the best way to maximise this free resource, however you could take this a step further by installing solar panels to your home. This generates energy from the sun and can help reduce your living costs. To learn how solar energy works do some research and see if you can apply this to your living space. 

January 29, 2017

Delegating Your Way To Success

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If you’re running a business, you’re probably already aware that it takes a lot of time, and as such it can often feel like you’re spread pretty thin. While you’re going to be busy in whatever you do, there are ways to better optimise the time you spend on your business, and that is: delegate. Every successful person you’ve heard of has delegated responsibilities to others on their way to glory, and so should you.

Source: Pexels.com

What Can Others Do? 

Ask yourself: what are your weaknesses? What do you think others would be able to do better than you? You might think the answers to most issues, but take a step back from your ego for one second and somebody below has greater experience in a field you know only a little bit about. Remember: it’s not a competition. You need to do what’s best for your business, not what’s best you as an individual. 

Bringing in the Right People 

Unless they’re everyday, simple tasks, you can’t delegate the things you know little about it to just anybody: you need to have the right people around you. This might mean hiring new staff or outsourcing some work to freelance and contract workers. It could also mean letting the experts take over entirely: for example, by having a managed cloud vps or having an outside marketing team control your content. This is the only real way that delegating makes sense: if they’re not able to offer you something that you don’t currently possess, it might be more hassle than it’s worth. 

January 28, 2017

The Socialite Jewelry Etiquette: How To Wear Your Blings Fashionably

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Whether it is a ring, a pair of earrings, or even a necklace, jewelry is more than just a side accessory in every fashionista’s book. There are rules that dictate how best to wear your jewelry and how best to coordinate your outfit to it. Unfortunately, while these rules were still well-known until the first half of the 20th century, they have now gone forgotten. The jewelry etiquette is not something that young girls are taught at school anymore! Don’t panic, here’s a summary of the main things you need to know to let your blings and your wedding rings shine again.

jewelry, jewelries

Do I Have To Buy Expensive Jewelry? 

It depends what you intend to do with it. If you are looking for a quick and fashionable way to accessorize an outfit, you can rely on faux stones to make a strong fashion statement. However, don’t over-play the fake factor. While faux-stones are a do, fake designer bags and clothes are a complete no go. When you buy jewelry, if it often better to invest in one good item than to pick hundreds of low-quality one. However, there’s one thing you can make the most of and it’s clip-on earrings. Not only do cheap ones look very stylish, but you can clip them onto a simple blouse for an instant embellishing touch that will change your outfit for the best. To get more of the good type of jewelry, you could hint that you would like a new ring for Valentine’s day if you wish to bring more diversity to your jewelry box!

wedding ring
Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friends 

A Diamond ring, and specifically a Diamond engagement ring, is as beautiful as it is difficult to wear. Indeed, a diamond does not tolerate commonness. In short, this means that you can’t wear your everyday clothes with a diamond ring. You need to wear something that will highlight the quality and the beauty of the stone, such as an elegant evening dress a la Audrey Hepburn, for example. There are specific rules about how to best wear an engagement ring. You should keep it on your ring finger until the union, then it should be worn on top of the wedding ring. But some women like to keep their engagement ring on the ring finger and to wear the wedding band on any other finger. You are free to pick what suits you best. However, whatever you choose, make sure to care great care of your diamond ring, and specifically to keep it away from any sports activity that could damage it.  


Be Original: Make Your Own 

The DIY trend is rising across the world, and it is now perfectly acceptable for women to make their own jewelry. Handmade jewelry can be playful or sentimental, and will bring a new light to a standard outfit. The only rule with handmade is that there is no rule, so you can let your imagination run free! Most people prefer to start with simple beaded bracelets and then work their way to wire-wrapping and resin pendants. You will find not only plenty of tutorials online, but also an amazing community of creative people ready to help you and answer all your questions. And remember, handmade jewelry can be a great gift too!
January 28, 2017

Smooth Selling: How to Make Things Easier for Customers and Increase Sales

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When you make life easier for your customers, you also give yourself more of a chance to make more sales. That’s why improving how your sales processes function works well for everyone. Your customers will be happy because things won’t be difficult for them in any way. And this leads to more and faster sales for your business, which is always a good thing. Read on to find out more about what you can do to make more sales and make life easier for your customers. 

Always Have Adequate Staff Ready to Assist Customers 

First of all, you should make sure that you always have enough staff members on hand in your store ready to help customers. If you don’t have enough employees, queues will start to build up, and you’ll end up with too many customers waiting around. Many of these will look at the backlog of customers and decide not to bother making a purchase. This demonstrates how having more employees ready to assist customers can not only speed up sales but encourage more of them. We all like to see a short queue when we’re ready to pay.

Don’t Neglect the Mobile Buying Experience 

These days, the mobile buying experience is pretty huge, and you can’t avoid to neglect it. If you do, customers won’t be able to make purchases in the way in which they want to. So, if your online store doesn’t work very well on mobile devices, you need to change that. There are a couple of options to explore. You could redesign the website and make it a bit more responsive. Or you could create an app for the website. This is a good option to consider because apps are widely used these days, and people love people able to use them wherever they are.

January 28, 2017

Surprising Reasons Why Your Next Vehicle Should be a Motorcycle, Not a Car

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If you’re thinking of buying a new car, maybe you should widen your scope a little. There are other vehicles out there that might be worth your time. For example, motorcycles are seen as far better options by many people. If you only ever drive a car and ignore the real benefits of buying yourself a motorcycle, you could really miss out. Here are some surprising reasons why your next vehicle should be a motorcycle and not a car. 

There’s Something About Being Out of a Car 

When you’re in a car, you’re completely closed off from the world around you. You can’t feel the wind hitting up against you and you are not directly exposed to the elements. That’s not the case when you’re driving a motorcycle. You are outside of the shell of your car and you feel more connected to the world around you as you pass through it. This is part of what makes motorcycles so closely associated with freedom. You can feel like you are at one with your environment and you’re free to go anywhere in it.

They’re More Fuel Efficient 

Many people don’t realise this, but motorcycles are actually more fuel efficient than the vast majority of cars. They are certainly the greener choice if that matters to you at all. And you should also end up spending less money on fuel, which is definitely a big bonus for most people. You can also pass through traffic when things are jammed. By winding through the traffic and switching lanes, you can avoid stopping and starting the vehicle. This is another example of how motorcycles use fuel more efficiently than cars. All that stopping and starting wastes a lot of energy.

January 27, 2017

Setting Up Shop: Essential Tools For Any Online Store

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For business, the Internet opens up the doors for loads of new and fresh ideas. It allows small companies to get customers from all over the world. And, it enables businesses to be set up without any physical presence at all. So, e-commerce is a good idea for a new business. But, you have some work to do. To help you out, this post will go through some of the essential tools required for building an online store. 

When people are spending money with you, they will expect everything to be secure. To start with, you’ll need to invest in an SSL certificate. These aren’t too expensive, and they will usually be available from your domain registrar. Customers can see right away if your site isn’t secure with SSL. And, some browsers even warn users not to visit websites without it. Having people have warnings when they try to visit your site isn’t a good way to make business. So, it’s very important to make sure that your website is secured with SSL.

Along with the visible security on your site, you also need to think about the security of your forms. Most online forms connect to a database. This gives wrong-doers a chance to use backdoor access to your servers. The issues that they can cause with this access are numerous; so, you need to protect the forms! The information that is sent in webforms can be validated and checked before it’s sent to the backend. So, you can make sure that malicious data isn’t being inserted, by using measures to check it. 

January 26, 2017

Thinking About Retirement In College? You Should Be!

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Avid readers of my blog, or anyone who has read the tagline, will know that I started writing it while I was still in college. During this time, I wasn’t blogging for the hope that one day I’d have an online money making profile. It was purely because I loved to write and wanted an outlet for my weird and wonderful passions. Little did I know that I was already taking a step towards a more financially stable future. I recommend that anyone in their twenties or even late teens does the same. You have to consider what happens when you retire and stop making a fixed income. There are two reasons for this. First, it will be here a lot sooner than you think and second, if you’re smart you can save enough to retire earlier. So what are the steps that you should be taking? 

Set Up A Second Income 

If you already have a great income, setting up the second one is a brilliant idea. It means that if anything happens, you’ll have something to fall back on. But it also allows you to put any money you make when things are going well straight into savings. Basically, you can fill a nice cash cushion without even trying. You won’t have to worry about taking money out of your first income each month to put it towards savings. You’ll already have covered that need. What type of second income am I talking about? Well, blogging is as good as any. It does take awhile to reach a point where you’re making a profit, but no one said the effect needed to be instant. As long as you’re building towards something, it’s worth doing. 

You can also think about investing some cash in other areas. If you only have a low amount of savings you might think that there are no options open to you. But that’s not the case at all. Look into penny stocks. These low-risk shares are perfect because they don’t cost a lot at all. But there is the chance that they could massively grow in value if you leave them alone for a few years. 
January 26, 2017

Starting a Home Based Business? Here’s What You’ll Need

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Congratulations, you’ve taken the plunge and can now count yourself as one of the lucky workers who don’t have to commute to a boring, run of the mill job in the morning. You’re now the proud owner of a business which has the comfiest of headquarters - your own home! However, don’t be mistaken into believing that it’s all leisurely breakfasts and afternoon stints by the pool, oh no! There’s work to be done. And before even that can begin, you’ll need to get a whole host of home office equipment that will enable your business to operate smoothly.

The Basics 

First thing’s first, where will you be working? Of course it’ll be in your home, but where specifically? It matters. You’ll want to find a room in your home that is large enough to be comfortable, small enough that other distractions can’t be housed there. You’ll be spending large parts of your day here, so you’ll need to make sure it has a ‘working’ feel to it. That means arranging it with the usual office materials, such as a desk and chair, and also adding a couple of other necessities, such as a plant or personal items that put a personal stamp on the space. The chair in particular is a big one: make sure it’s ergonomic and thoroughly, thoroughly comfortable: you’ll thank us one day.

January 26, 2017

Should I Stay Or Should I Go? Static Or Remote Business?

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More and more as the years go by people are starting new businesses. The advantage now, in the age of the Internet, is the fact that we can pretty much run our business from anywhere regardless of our location in the world. All we need is a trusty Wi-Fi connection. The fact that the more people are opting for this approach shows how much business is booming for those remote workers, but what about those people that are dedicated to running businesses from bases? Are they being run into the ground or is there a case for both of them, remote and static? Let's find out. 


The first thing that comes to mind for any business owner is the cost. Every organization has its price. If you are running a remote business, the first thing that you can cut back on, in terms of cost, is the cost of the building. Without the need of a central base, you are side stepping a massive cost in terms of building rent, health and safety, upkeep, and staff. If you're running from a central location, the cost of staff is a sizeable factor, but an essential one depending on your business size. If you are a small business, then it makes logical sense to run the organization from a remote location, but when you need to scale up the business you will need to think about a central location. It is possible to run a business with plenty of staff from a remote location. It does, however, require excessive organization and a lot of sophisticated technology to ensure adequate communication, such as VoIP


If you are running a small company, communicating with your customers is an essential marketing tool with every large company. Implementing email marketing, search engine optimization techniques, and a means to liaise with customers personally, are things for you to take on board when running a small business from a remote location. By running a business yourself, this means that you have to work much harder than an established business in a central location. This does not mean that it is impossible, it just means longer hours for yourself. Even if you have reached the stage where you need to hire an extra person, there are plenty of online tools, like Skype, to enable sufficient communication. 
January 25, 2017

Crash and Burn: 5 Mistakes That Everyone Makes During a Car Accident

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Car accidents are never an enjoyable experience. If the thought of colliding with another vehicle, sustaining injuries or possibly even losing your life wasn’t enough to make you strap your seatbelt on tightly and drive slowly, then perhaps the endless amount of forms to fill and phones to make regarding your insurance and compensation will. 

Whether you have a luxury car or a sturdy truck, there’s plenty of reason to drive safely and watch out for other cars. Not only are you putting yourself in danger, but reckless driving can also put your passengers and other people on the road in danger. Injuring someone due to your own mistake and neglect can have a huge impact on your mental state because you’ll feel an overwhelming sense of guilt after causing pain to someone else.

We’re teaching better driving skills, but it’s not enough 

Fortunately, many advertisements and driving schools are now promoting good driving skills and being careful on the road. There’s everything from road safety tips and tricks to educational videos that teach you how to maintain your car to ensure that it’s working properly and isn’t a hazard to other drivers. Sadly, no matter how much we try to enforce good driving skills, almost anyone can be a victim of a collision. 

Though there are many guides on how to deal with motor collisions, very few guides will point out things that you shouldn’t do. Many tips and tricks articles will tell you things like gathering information, but most people involved in car crashes are unstable, frustrated and are difficult to speak to. Confrontation is usually not a good idea because, in many cases, people that drive recklessly have reckless personalities. 

Here’s a comprehensive guide on five mistakes that almost every driver makes when it comes to car accidents. Whether it’s taking the wrong approach to claiming your insurance or panicking after the crash, you’ll learn about all the mistakes that people make and how to avoid them.

January 25, 2017

The Ultimate Characteristics Of An Ecommerce Website

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If you want your ecommerce business to really shine, then you need to know how to build a website that makes it work. The website is the business itself, in a very real sense, so you need to make sure that it is as good as it can possibly be if you want this business type to succeed. But how can you be sure that your ecommerce website is everything it needs to be? In this post, we are going to look into what the ultimate characteristics of such a website are, as well as how you can hope to achieve them in an effective manner. Without further ado, let’s see what those characteristics are now.

Easy To Navigate 

There is nothing that makes people turn away faster than if they have trouble navigating through your website. This should be an essential consideration for any ecommerce business owner, as this is the quickest way to annoy your customers. As long as you make it easy to navigate, however, you should find that you have as many customers as you could hope for. How can you make sure that your site is easy to use? Above all, make sure the site map is simple and unobstructed. This will result in a website which anyone can use - and that is exactly what you need to go for. If you use the most advanced digital marketplace there is available, then you will know for sure that your website is as easy to use as possible. 

Prominent Reviews

The truth is, customers really do read reviews. Not only do they read them, but they take them into account easily and quickly - even if only unconsciously, it still makes a considerable difference to what they think of your business. It has been shown beyond doubt that if you display reviews prominently on your site, customers are more likely to stay, return and hang around long enough to actually buy something. Of course, this is ultimately what we are going for, so that is hugely important. Display your best testimonials somewhere obvious, and it will make a huge difference to your business’ success rates. 
January 25, 2017

When, Not If: Planning for Disaster in Business and in Life

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It may not make the most uplifting dinner party conversation topic, but planning for disaster is certainly sensible. In order to manage disruption to your work or home life, it pays to have thought about it in advance, because if you leave it too late, there’s often very little that you can do to help your situation. 

The best businesses and, indeed the most financially secure individuals, take the viewpoint that it is only a matter of time before disaster strikes. If you plan for when, rather than if, disruption will occur, you’ll be able to get through it much more smoothly. 

Have a plan 

The first step for dealing with setbacks is to have a clear plan. Companies carry out fire drills regularly, families that live in parts of the world where natural disasters are common know exactly what to do when disaster strikes, but do you have a clear plan of action for your home or business? 

Think about the worst-case scenario, whether it’s to do with your family, job or health, and consider the best ways of managing. In the long run, you’ll be thankful that you came up with a plan. 

Digital disruption 

For businesses, disruption has evolved over the last few years. Whereas the biggest risk to company data used to be in the form of fire or theft, now digital disruption is becoming a major issue. 

Hackers and insider agents pose a major risk to businesses, as do internet blackout and computer malware. Many companies now formulate a business continuity plan that contains disaster recovery as one of its key components. Some cloud computing firms have even been set up with the sole purpose of helping businesses to manage disruption, because even the smallest amount of downtime can have a huge reputational impact.

Image Source: Pixabay
January 24, 2017

The Danger Of Underestimating Your Business's Need For Tech

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For a business owner, it’s easy to equate growth with success. Just as it’s easy to assume that more technology is the perfect tool towards reaching that success. These aren’t untrue, but they are dangerous assumptions if you believe that it’s a straight, easy road. Just as improving the tech in the workplace can be a great asset, it can also be a danger if you underestimate it.

It can be a vulnerability 

Let’s start with a lesson that no business can afford to ignore. More devices, more reliance on digital data, and increased usage of tech across the business is a vulnerability. The more people have access to important data, the more you have to store, and the more devices you use opens up more potential for intrusion. Make sure that your devices are thoroughly protected and that your team learns all the essentials of digital security. From password protocol to being a lot more discerning with personal accounts and websites. 

It is going to take resources 

When you look to implement new tech into the business, you can’t just think of the one-time cost of them. You need to think about the resources that the tech will require to keep running the business. If you’re buying a new line of devices, you need to think about added software costs and potential maintenance costs down the line. If you want to install a data centre, then you should get in touch with data centre designers to find out more about the amount of power and just how much space they’ll take. Fail to account for the needs of your tech and you will end up unable to keep using it. 
January 23, 2017

Protecting Your Business: Insure Against All Odds

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In today’s world, it’s often easier to drop your problems or mistakes onto someone else, so that they have to pay the price. That is very sad, but unfortunately, it’s just a fact. So, as a business, you need to have ways to protect yourself against claims against you. But, of course, it can be hard to know what sort of cover you need. To help you out, this post will go through some of the areas that business insurance covers, to help you decide if it’s right for you. 

If you advise or consult with other businesses, you could be at risk. For example, if you suggest that company should invest a large amount of money in their IT systems. But, if it runs that company out of business, you could be liable. Professional liability is an idea that’s designed to protect businesses from bad advice. But, it means that you could be left to deal with issues that aren’t really your fault. Quite often, this will result in massive fines or compensation payouts. Thankfully, if you have the right insurance, you can avoid this issue altogether. When someone makes a claim like this, it may still result in their favour. But, instead of you paying for the damages, the insurance company will. This gives you a great deal of protection, especially if you work with other businesses.

January 22, 2017

"What's The Worst That Could Happen?" PR Disasters And What To Do About Them

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James Brady is the head of marketing at the small business finance firm, Hiscox. Recently, he’s been asking “what’s the worst that could happen?” in the world of business, especially when it comes to PR. 

Being in a business that lends money to small businesses and agencies, he knows a thing or two about companies who put their foot in it. Here are some of his top reasons why companies experience PR disasters. 

Over-Promising And Under-Delivering 

Small businesses tend to be an anxious bunch. They’re often dependent on a small group of people to provide them with the money that they need to survive. According to Brady, this means that they are desperate to stand out from the crowd. When pitching to clients, companies will be very aggressive with pricing and deadlines to make sure that they have an advantage over the competition.

Brady says that this is a bad idea for a couple of reasons. The first is that failing to deliver work that clients are satisfied with can destroy the reputation of your business overnight. Sure, you might have a lot of orders coming in now, but word can quickly get around that your business isn’t able to carry out a high-quality service. The other problem, Brady says, occurs when agencies make a generic PR pitch to their clients. Not only is this not ideal from a business point of view, but it can also backfire spectacularly if the client gets angry. Brady’s advice? Be honest with the customer about what you can deliver and by when. 

January 21, 2017

Shock To The System: How To Give Your Startup The Jolt It Needs!

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When you first start a business, one of the biggest challenges can be getting over that initial hurdle between starting up and drawing in customers. It might sound like a small thing, but this first hurdle can often be enough to discourage plenty of business owner who otherwise might have had a real chance. It's incredibly important to be aware of this first step and to be willing to put in as much effort as possible to get over it. Of course, that doesn't mean that there aren't things that you can do to make that process just a little bit easier. There are actually plenty of things that you can do to give your business that jolt of energy that it needs to take the first, important, steps out into the wider world. 

Get some support 

Support is one of the most important things for a small business that far too many business owners forget. It's sort of understandable, plenty of people start their own business because they want to strike out on their own. But every business needs support, and there's no chance that you'd be able to handle every single aspect of it by yourself. For example, if your business is heavily based online then a service like ProviDyn is going to be invaluable. They offer IT services including cloud computing, security and more. By having a strong foundation like that, you're far better equipped to start pushing your business forward. 

Social media 

It's not an exaggeration to say that social media has revolutionized how we think about marketing in the modern era. Which is odd because, at its heart, social media marketing is just a heavily updated form of word-of-mouth. A lot of business build up a customer base by being shared on sites like Facebook and Twitter. The mistake that a lot of businesses make is that they assume the best way to ensure that this happens is to use traditional marketing techniques and post them on social media. This is a surefire way to get customers to click away from your pages immediately. Customers don't want the hard sell; they want interesting, engaging and entertaining content. If you can provide them with that then, a lot of the time, they'll do the work for you, sharing and posting your content to everyone on their profiles. 

Web design 

Everyone knows that a business needs a website, but there are still plenty of business owners out there who don't realise how important the design of that website actually is. If your website is ugly, dated, hard to navigate or otherwise unpleasant, you're going to lose out on customers who might have been interested in your product. Look at the most successful modern businesses and look at their websites. You'll find that they are all fairly sleek, simple and elegant. Not only that but, most importantly, they're incredibly simple to navigate. The best thing to do if you're struggling to get the most out of your website is to hire a professional designer to help you.
January 20, 2017

Think You've Got Hidden Talents? Here's Everything Else Your Snazzy Smartphone Can Do

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We all agree that smartphones are incredible pieces of technology, offering us convenience and giving us the ability to order our groceries at a touch of a button. Fun, because who hasn't spent an entire day trying to beat a flappy bird high score or moving up a level on candy crush? Smartphones are also very useful pieces of kit so much so most mobile users never realise just how amazing they really are!

Flickr Image from Ms. Phoenix

Improve Your Health 

These days most smartphones come with a range of pre-loaded Apps. Often these will be steered towards the manufacturer's systems, apps from partner companies and those that are designed to help a new user such as quick start guide. Amongst these Apps you tend to find health and fitness tips, calorie counters and daily meal planners. However, that's just the tip of the health iceberg. A Kardia mobile heart monitor and touch sensitive finger pads will let you monitor your own heart rate, seeing the results displayed on your phone screen which then enables you to send health related data to your doctor!

Flickr Image from  Dovydas Čiomėnas

Keeps You Hydrated 

When we're busy it can be hard to keep track of how much we're drinking, official advice recommends six, to eight glasses of water per day, but it isn't always possible to remember how much fluid we've had. The Hidrate Spark smart water bottle, paired with either an iPhone or Android device, will show you exactly how much you've drunk, displaying data in a clear, easy to read format and even lights up when you've achieved a fluid intake goal. Bottles can also be customized for a user's individual requirements.

January 19, 2017

Time-consuming Tasks That Your Business Could Be Outsourcing

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Running a successful business is hard. There are so many roles to juggle that in most cases it’s practically impossible to keep on top of them all (or at least practically impossible to do them all well). The solution to this problem – don’t do these tasks. Pay another company to do them instead. 

This is known as outsourcing and is something that all successful businesses do. Outsourcing has many benefits. Most businesses use it as a way of handling the tasks they don’t want to do – either roles that are boring or time-consuming, or roles that require added expertise. All in all, outsourcing allows you and your staff to focus on your strengths, whilst allowing other professionals to handle your weaknesses. 

Almost any task can be outsourced. If you really wanted you could outsource every aspect of your business, providing that you can pay for it all. Here are some examples to consider. 


Keeping your office clean is important for presentation and for the health of your employees. Cleaning is menial and time-consuming however, and whilst some businesses encourage their staff to tidy up after themselves and follow cleaning rotas, many would rather leave it in the hands of a professional company. 

You can hire a cleaner full time or pay for regular deep cleans. Note that there are certain specialised cleaners for different tasks including carpet cleaning companies, tile cleaners, window cleaners, industrial cleaners, vehicle cleaners and pest control services.

January 19, 2017

Financially Prepare Yourself for Starting a Business

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So, you’ve decided you want to start a business? Well, this is a brave and bold undertaking, and you need to be sure you’ve made the right decision. The first thing to be sure of is that you protect the future of the company. And the main way of doing that is by making sure you are financially sound and comfortable. Running a business costs money, and this is something you have to make sure you get used to. 

If you want to launch and run your own startup, you have to be financially prepared for the process. And that means working out what it’s going to cost you, as well as making sure you are in a strong financial position before getting started. Here are some of the things you can do to accomplish that as a wannabe business owner. 

Clear Any Debts

The first thing you want to do is make sure you clear any debts first. We all have debts that we have to deal with in our lives. And it’s important to make sure you get yourself debt-free. Running a business can be very expensive, and you need to make sure you're going into the process with as much financial clout as possible. That means keeping out of the red and staying in the black. Becoming debt-free can be a challenge in and of itself. You might check out personal loans for poor credit so that you can use them to consolidate. Clearing any debt you have is hugely important anyway, but even more so when it comes to launching a business. Get this sorted before you start shelling out on business essentials!

Take Out a Business Loan 

Next, you need to think about how you’re going to fund your business. This is one of the things that a lot of people seem to overlook. But it’s important to try to get it right as much as possible. When it comes to taking out a business loan, you have to make sure it’s the right choice, the right loan, and the right amount. This is something you need to make sure you sort out sooner rather than later. There is plenty involved in the process of applying for a business loan, and the likelihood is you’re going to need a strong business plan before you apply. Consider this and make sure you get a loan sorted out at the start of the process as this will help you to finance your business effectively. 

Get Investment 

You might not want to take out a loan, and you may not have the means to fund the business yourself. Luckily, there is a third option, and that is to get investment. This is becoming more of a popular choice these days. More and more business owners are bringing investors on board, and making sure they have clout as a business. You need to make yourself as appealing a prospect as possible. And the way to do that is to think about what investors are looking for from a company. This is how you ensure that your company has plenty of support and financial investment. 

As you can see, there are several things you will need to do to make your company financially sound. You have to ensure that you are prepared for the financial commitment of starting a business. This is something you have to make sure you get right and focus on immediately.
January 19, 2017

Why Going Further Afield Could Provide You With a More Fulfilling Travel Experience

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Are you one of those people who like to take a short plane ride to a nearby destination? Well, that’s all well and good, but what about when you get bored of doing that? There are plenty of places to see and explore in the world, so don’t limit yourself to a small area. By branching out and traveling a little further afield, you can see and experience so much more. Here are some of the main reasons why you should go further and get a more fulfilling travel experience. 

There’s More to Learn 

For a start, there is more to learn when you travel further. There is nothing quite like arriving in a place for the first time and getting to grips with it. Sure, it can be a little daunting and intimidating to start with. But once you find your feet and start to explore, there are so many new things, both big and small, that you’ll gradually discover. There is nothing more valuable than learning, so don’t limit your horizons. You will be much more likely to come back from your trip with new experiences, perspectives and knowledge, which could help to improve you as a person.

view from the top, airplane

You Can Volunteer and Pass on Skills in Asia 

Many people decide to head to Asia so they can volunteer and help out with charity work. You volunteer in Thailand to teach children English. Or you could go to China and help with wildlife conservation efforts. There are all kinds of humanitarian causes that you can assist with in Asia. It will give you an entirely new and unique life experience. And you don’t get the chance to do this kind of thing if you stay close to home. 

There Are Cultures You Probably Know Nothing About in South America

Is South America a continent that is still alien to you? If you’ve never been there, you should change all that. For many people, they don’t even think of heading down there. But there are so many great countries, each with their own unique cultural mix. The sheer variety of cultures on continent makes it somewhere worth exploring at length. You can travel between the countries by train or car, so it’s possible to learn a lot about the different cultures to be found there. For most people, these cultures will be completely unknown to them until they arrive and experience them first-hand.


Go Further and Stay for Longer 

When you do decide to go a little further afield, you can take the chance to stay there for a little longer. Going further means traveling more, and that leads to people taking longer trips to make all that traveling worthwhile. This is something that you should definitely do too. When you stay for longer, you’re able to immerse yourself in the culture of a country and the people’s way of life much more fully than you otherwise would have a chance to. Don’t allow yourself to pass up this chance; it could lead to the best trip you ever take.


January 18, 2017

A Great Business Gets Competitive Over Employees, Not Just Customers

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Get flexible 

What kind of working conditions do you offer your team? Have you thought about expanding their options in how they do their work? As the technology available to businesses grows ever greater in utility, it allows for more flexibility with individual workers. For instance, the remote worker market, those who can just as happily do their job from home, keeps growing with little added cost to employers. Otherwise, companies can offer flexible working schedules to those who have needs outside the business they need to share their job with. Being a flexible employer not only adds a lot of immediate versatility, but it shows potential hires that you are willing to work with the individual’s needs. 

Adding benefits 

Of course, there’s little better than simply adding benefits to the existing proposed pay. Recognising that it’s not all about money and offering some assistance to other parts of the employee’s life creates an image of a business that is thoroughly invested in its team. Even better if you’re able to offer flexible benefit plans. Some of the benefits that potential team members are going to find most attractive include things like increased contributions to their pension, assistance in dealing with childcare provisions and costs. You can even consider helping them deal with unexpected challenges through employee assistance help that could help them solve problems impacting their ability to work. It’s a good idea to keep in mind a range of benefits to specific based on the needs of the individuals you’re talking to. 

Build a place to build a future 

The right benefits are a good way to help people to provide for their future. However, their plans for the future don’t just involve security. They involve working their way up to being able to provide more for themselves and their family. To that end, they are most certainly going to be thinking about building their career. From the onset, make it clear that you take an active approach to developing your employees. Show them you create plans with your team members, finding opportunities for training and additional responsibilities. Highlight practices of tracking their productivity and results and improving them. If you develop a practice of hiring internally when possible, it shows them it’s possible to have more than a job, but a career in your business. 

Provided that you’re able to keep supporting employees after the hire and the business proves to be everything you said it would be, the tactics above will help you hold onto skilled staff for a lot longer. They also make it a lot easier to retain them, keep them engaged, and make it a lot harder for competitors to try and poach them.
January 18, 2017

Here's Why HR Is At The Heart Of Your Small Business

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Just because you start off working for yourself at home on your computer doesn’t mean it is going to be like that forever. What if your business really starts to take off and you get so busy you need to start employing some employees? As soon as you get to that point, it is crucial that you think about your company’s HR. Most entrepreneurs like to hire some dedicated members of staff who can take care of all the HR side of their business. However, there are still some small-business entrepreneurs who continue to ignore HR, even once they become employers. That is a huge mistake to make! Here are a few reasons why HR should be at the heart of your business. 

HR Helps Control Budget 

Once you have looked over your company’s finances and created a budget, you will need to send the budget over to HR. HR employees are usually the people who take care of enforcing budgets in a company. They can also look to see where there is room to save money for the company, for example on employee training or wages. Many small businesses find that input from HR staff is really useful, especially when there are some very tight budget constraints in place. 

Managing Time Off 

No matter how big or small your company is, your employee's’ days off will have a big impact on the business. This refers to both time off for illness or vacation. To make sure that this has little impact on your company, your HR team will need to take care of employee rota management. This way, employees’ vacations can be planned in periods that aren’t so busy for the company. Managing the rota can also help them work out sick leave and any cover that is needed. 

Resolving Conflicts 

Not all of your employees may see eye to eye. Thankfully, your HR department or team can greatly help you solve these kinds of issues. Most HR professionals are specially trained in dealing with such types of conflict. There will be various ways in which the HR worker can help to restore a professional and working relationship between conflicting members of staff. Not only that, though, but most HR employees also have a good knowledge of employee rights and entitlements, so they can help to ensure that all employees are working within their rights and getting everything that they are entitled to. This can help prevent you from facing an employee tribunal

Staff Training 

HR departments and teams are also responsible for organizing training sessions and workshops for employees. All of the best HR workers will be able to see the areas in which certain teams are weak, and can arrange for training in these specific sectors. Many employees improve their job satisfaction after training, so it is a great thing to do to improve staff retention

As you can see, there are loads of reasons why HR is valuable to your company. So start thinking about yours now!
January 18, 2017

5 Smart Ways To Get The Most From Your Employees

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Ensuring you have the best and most efficient workforce can be a real challenge, especially during winter when everyone would probably prefer to be hibernating. Trying to keep people motivated, engaged, and excited to work can take all your power as a manager. But while you can’t change them as people, you can encourage them to work in the ways which you would prefer. 

It’s all about moulding your workforce in your image, setting a great example, but also being approachable. Enabling your staff to feel like an intrinsic link in the system allows them to feel pride. These feelings of positivity only serve to boost productivity and efficiency. Companies of any size need to put time and resources into creating a working space and environment that allows everyone to reach their full potential, ultimately creating a cost-effective workforce to be proud of. 

1. Allow individuality to shine 

When utilised effectively, the best asset of a company is the diversity in its workforce. Staff aren’t potential automatons that just need the training to carry out their work absent-mindedly. Employees are flesh and blood, with their own worries, desires, and goals. They each have different personality nuances and moods. Failure to acknowledge this is a failure to harness the power of a diverse employee base. 

Everyone wants something a little bit different from their offices - some want to be able to chat and collaborate and others prefer silence. Some want bright, open spaces, and others will feel more productive in a cubicle free from distractions. Offer different working environments for people to use with flexibility. This enables them to move freely depending on the nature of their project that day, or even their mood. 

Encourage them to feel empowered to make that decision themselves. When they know you’re looking out for them, their quality of work will reflect that. 

Encourage staff to pursue interests within the field of their work. People will prefer different aspects of their job, and while it’s not always possible to only take part in the bits they enjoy, members of staff become stronger pillars of the team when they’re allowed to specialise. As an employer, it means your employees are able to push themselves to reach their potential with little input from you, but it also strengthens the teams and can bring great new ideas to the table.

2. Don’t show favouritism 

As a result of individuality in the workplace, it becomes usual for managers to have a “teacher’s pet”. Maybe it’s someone who works harder, pushes the teams further, or just someone you get on with the most, but all it succeeds in doing it breeding resentment among the other members of staff. 

Inequality in the workplace is something that, in the not too distant past, was all too common. With the progression of society and the introduction of various employment equality requirements, such as gender pay reporting for large companies, businesses are expected to be more reflective and aware of potential inequalities. This could be unequal treatment of staff based on their gender, sexuality, or even just the number of hours they work. But people who feel as though they’re being treated differently are far less likely to be invested in the success of the company, so their work suffers as a result. It’s always worth being mindful of equality, not just in your hiring, but also in the day to day running of the business.

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