Friday, June 30, 2017

Saving for a Small Business Emergency Fund

It makes smart business sense to start up and add to a small business emergency fund that you can tap into when times are tough. Companies that have no safety net in place can find themselves in a very tough spot when these unexpected expenses crop up as they do from time to time. Luckily, all it takes is a little knowledge and a lot of shrewdness on your part to build a small business emergency fund. Here’s what you need to do: 

Save When Times are Good 

The easiest way to start building up a small business emergency fund is by saving the excess when you turn over a bigger profit than expected. Sure, you might want to use some of it to invest in a new website or marketing campaign, but be sure to set aside a decent percentage for your rainy-day fund too. 

Use Teleconferencing Software 

Instead of spending money on American Airlines flights and accommodation for those long-distance meetings, why not invest in teleconferencing software instead? That way, you’ll save a bundle on the cost of traveling, and you can squirrel more away to use on a rainy day. 

Set Up a Separate Account 

If you keep your emergency fund money in your general business account, chances are you’ll end up dipping into it when you don’t really need to. Cut this temptation by opening a separate emergency fund account, and it’ll be easier to build up a tidy sum over time. 

The Social Media Age Gap (And Why It Matters To Your Business)

When it comes to making the most of social media for your business, you’d think it would be largely the same strategy. You’d think you could do X, Y, and Z thing - and then everything would clip along and be dealt with. 

Of course, the more you learn about how you use social media for business purposes, the more you realize that’s not the case at all. You soon learn that while we might group all the different services together under the banner of “social media”, they actually have very little in common with one another. 

You soon realize that you need a separate strategy for each one. The way that you run your business Twitter is very different to how you run your business Facebook. Your Instagram usage is incomparable to the methods you need to use for Snapchat. There’s no tried-and-tested strategy that will work across all platforms. 

Still, when you’ve figured that out… you’re sorted, right? You’re going to be able to use social media to promote and bolster your business, you’ve got all your different strategies set out, and then… 

Sorry: There’s Something You Forgot 

Apologies for being the bearer of bad news, but, yes, there’s still something you have forgotten. Social media doesn’t just break down into what “works” for each one, you also have to think about what type of customer you’re going to be able to target. 

Social Media Age Splits 

Let’s take an example. If you’ve got a small business premises that sells recliners and comfy sofas to a target demographic of 50+, then Snapchat geofilters for your store and a hilarious Twitter account isn’t going to be much use to you. 

On the flip side, if you’re trying to sell clothing to 18-21 year old women, then Facebook and Pinterest boards aren’t going to be efficient. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Treat Your Car Better and Reap the Rewards

Do you really give your car the love and attention that it needs? If you don’t, now is the time to change all that. You don’t need to accept second best from your car. Sure, you might never drive a Ferrari, but that doesn’t mean you can’t experience the benefits of treating your car right, even if it is a cheap motor with plenty of miles on the clock. 

Keep Checking Your Oil Levels 

The oils levels in your car make a big difference to how your vehicle performs. If you want your car to remain smooth and efficient, you should check the oil levels regularly. As soon as you notice that they’re starting to run a little low, top them up right away. You can get all kinds of oil, so find the one that suits your vehicle best. 5w30 synthetic oil is a popular choice at the moment, so you might want to consider that. You should pay the same amount of attention to the other liquids that your car relies on to stay functional. 

Follow the Maintenance Schedule Outlined in Your Manual 

Every car has a maintenance schedule that should be stuck to. This is outlined clearly in your car’s manual. You should do what you can to stick to this schedule because it will help you to make sure that your car is always looked after. There are so many things that can go wrong with your car if you don’t take it to be serviced and maintained by a professional. You will be rewarded with fewer breakdowns and headaches if you do manage to follow the maintenance schedule, so don’t skip over this. It’s not worth it. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

5 Things Couples Should Do Before Tying The Knot

If you ask anyone that’s married what it is like to have tied the knot with The One they will tell you that it is the most amazing thing in the world. They will tell you they are married to their best friend and that is more than anyone could ask. However, they will also tell you that marriage is hard. If you’ve ever been in a relationship, then you’ll know it isn’t always easy, but marriage is a step up; in the best way possible. You are more responsible for them than you have ever been to anyone else, ever. 

That is why it is so important you experience the following things together, as a couple, before deciding to commit to each other from now until death decides otherwise. Whatever happens, it will be the most amazing fun you’ve ever had. 

Travel As A Couple 

When you travel with your partner you learn so much more about them, about you and about how you are together when you step outside your comfort zones. Traveling has a way of showing one another a more complete you because you’ll get to see how one another reacts in totally new environments; when you are stressed, lost, stranded somewhere or suddenly without money because the bank stopped your card. You get to know each other on an entirely new level.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

How To Live Comfortably On A Tight Budget

Being responsible with your personal finances is tough. When you’re constantly under pressure and worrying about how you’re going to make ends meet, you need to tighten your belt and approach the cost of living with a proactive attitude. You may think that a comfortable life and a tight budget can’t co-exist, but this is completely false. Here’s some of the best advice for living well when money’s tight.

Have a Realistic, Practical Budget 

All too often, people come up with a loose budget in their heads, and then tend to forget about it when it comes to actually putting it into practice. A good budget, even an exceedingly tight one, has to be both realistic and executable. When you’re really struggling to make ends meet, the most important part of your budget has to be areas you can cut down on. If you’ve been coasting along with no real budget in mind, you’ll probably be amazed at the amount of money you’ve been wasting in the past! This should start with you effectively carving up your income and allocating it to meet your expenses, with a long-term view to your overarching goals. Whether you’re looking to pay down debt, pay off a mortgage, or start investing, having an endgame in mind is another important aspect to having a budget that works. 

Small Companies' Secret To Success: Outsourcing Where It Matters

Small companies need to be smart with their resources. Indeed, while they need to address every business need in the organization, it doesn’t mean that each requirement has to become an internal job. There is one important thing about small businesses: They are designed around a streamlined hierarchy, where no position in wasted. Consequently, if a specific skill is necessary for the business process to run smoothly, it will have to guarantee full-time or part-time activity for the company to hire new talent. For any business process that doesn’t offer the possibility of an internal job, then the company needs to find an alternative: Outsourcing. 

Outsourcing is extremely common in large organizations where external teams, suppliers, and agencies join for the duration of a project or as recurring service suppliers. However, it is commonly accepted that small companies don’t outsource their work for fear of high cost. This is a myth of the business world. All companies can have access to the outsourcing market. Where there is a need, there is a suitable supplier. 

Outsourcing Like A Pro 

Small companies need to obey the same rules than large organizations when they decide to embrace the potential of outsourcing suppliers and skills. Indeed, the secret of a successful relationship with your suppliers lies in mutual respect. From a company perspective, it is about respecting the contract and paying on time. This establishes your company as a reliable client. It doesn’t mean that the path to outsourcing will be smooth: You need to lay out a clear and structured plan about what you need. It isn’t always an easy task; it’s not uncommon for companies to be only able to define exactly what they need after they’ve already agreed on a different service package with the supplier. Keeping an open and honest communication will help to sort things out, as, after all, your supplier can’t know what you fail to communicate. The more you talk to them, the better they will support your company growth and understand your needs. 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

3 Ways To Improve Camaraderie In The Workplace

The most satisfied people in the workplace will not rave about how conducive the working environment is for working or how good their salary and overtime pay are. The happiest people in the office will not go on and on about the shorter periods of time they need work so they can come home early to their families. 

Factors like good pay or a posh office room can very well determine how long a person can stay in his current job, but if you will ask most people from the workforce, it is the good relationship that they keep with fellow workers that almost always determines their length of stay whichever company they may be. Even business owners will attest that a good relationship between their people makes a good team which in turn can determine the success of their companies and businesses. 

It is, therefore, of utmost importance for any business owner to ensure that his people work as a team instead of as individuals. It is also essential to improve camaraderie in the workplace to ensure that employees work together toward a common goal and ultimately a collective success, instead of working independently. 

Here are a few ways you can improve the camaraderie of people in your workplace: 

Exciting Team-building Activities. 

The increase in popularity of the BPO industry also paved the way for establishments and businesses to offer exciting and creative ways to do team-building activities. If you are planning to host one for your company over the summer and you are located anywhere near, you might want to consider zombie escape Atlanta. There is nothing more exciting than having your team figure out a way to come out of the zombie apocalypse escape room together. It will have all their creative juices flowing as they work together to survive the heart-stopping and thrill-seeking adventure. And, you can bet that even the most hostile of your employees will be best of buddies after going out of the zombie escape room together. 

Thursday, June 08, 2017

The True Costs Of A Car Accident, Revealed

Whether you are in a major pileup or just have a minor accident, the costs of being involved in such an incident are a lot more than you might think. In today’s brief guide, we’re going to take a look at all the associated expenses of being involved in an auto accident - let’s get the magnifying glass out and see what you can expect. 


In theory, when you have auto insurance the company who runs your plan should cover the costs of your car if you have an accident, and if it is someone else’s fault, it is their insurer that will pay. But it’s not always the case. Unless you have comprehensive insurance cover, there is a high likelihood that you will need to pay for any repairs yourself. And don’t forget, if you write off your car, you will only receive the amount it is valued at right now - not when you bought the car. 

New to Driving? Here Are Some Friends You Should Make

When you’re new to anything, it’s good to have friends to help you out and assist you in understanding things that you’re unclear about. Most driving tests are fairly comprehensive, but they don’t teach you everything you need to know about car ownership and it’s a lifelong journey that comes with a lot of mistakes, successes and even accidents. However, you could get a fantastic head start on that journey by making some friends along the way. 

Local mechanics 

If you want to learn more about your vehicle, then there’s no better place to visit than your local auto repair garage. Befriend the mechanics there whenever you visit to inspect your car or repair something and you’ll pick up plenty of tidbits of information. The more interest you show in your vehicle, the less likely the mechanics will rip you off by charging exorbitant prices and the better your relationship will be. 

A more experienced driver 

Everyone needs a mentor in life no matter what they do, and the ultimate mentor for a new driver is a more experienced one. It could be a parent, a friend, uncle or even your driving instructor that you made friends with. Whoever it is, make sure you keep in touch with them and ask them for advice whenever you’re unsure. Perhaps you experienced a frustrating situation where you were sandwiched by two vehicles, or maybe you saw behaviour on the road that you didn’t learn during your lessons and want to know more ways to avoid accidents. Whatever the situation, remember to keep asking them questions when they have time. 

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

3 Ways to Ensure that Your New Dog is Safe for the Kids

Dogs are much more than just household pets. Having a dog is a commitment. You can’t just introduce some random dog to the family and expect everything to fall into place, especially if you have children. If the new dog doesn’t get along with the kids, your furry new family member could very easily turn into a safety risk. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to prevent this from happening. 

Adopt a Pup Instead of an Adult Dog for Easier Training 

Welcoming a puppy into your home instead of an adult dog in its peak is easily the best way to ensure your children’s safety. Apart from the fact that they’re small and relatively harmless, domestic puppies less than 16 weeks old are in a crucial stage of mental and emotional development. This is when they’re just beginning to get accustomed to the world around them, including the adults and children in the family or pack that they now belong to. 

Who or what the puppy meets during this formative period is likely to stick with it throughout adulthood. That’s why it’s extremely important to introduce them to the children as well as to the rest of the family while they’re young. The more your kids socialize with the puppy during this early period in its life, the more it will treat the kids as part of its pack. 

Canine experts and trainers swear by the effectivity of this early socialization period in ensuring the safety of children as well as the healthy development of the pup. If a puppy is raised and socialized around children correctly, it will instinctively know how to be gentle with small, young humans, even ones outside its family. 

Some even say that socializing a puppy is more important than picking breeds that are known to be ‘kid-friendly’. As experts will tell you, canine safety and childproofing is more about training than the actual breed of the dog. Even feared breeds like the doberman or the pit bull can learn to be sweethearts when it comes to kids and other family members, you just have to start ‘em young and train ‘em right. 

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

The Building Blocks to Start Your Credit Score

To be approved for many things in life, from renting an apartment to buying a car, you often need to have a good credit score. Unfortunately, having no credit history isn't the same as having a good score. You might think that never having borrowed money using a credit card or loan makes you look good. However, what most people who check your credit score want to see is that you have proof that you are able to pay back a debt. If you've never borrowed any money, you can't do that. But, you might be thinking, how do you build your credit if no one will give you any without a good credit score? Here's how you can improve your credit history. 

Apply for a Credit Card 

One of the first things many people do if they want to build their credit is apply for a credit card. Some cards will be difficult to be approved for if you don't have any credit history. However, some are designed to be a first credit card. These cards might come with high interest rates, although some will have a special offer of a low or even non-existent interest for the first few months. Secured cards ask you to put some money up front to make you less of a risk. GoBear allows you to compare a range of cards so you can find the right one. It's important to compare the different benefits and drawbacks of what's available. 

Monday, June 05, 2017

Keep 'Em Sweet: The Secrets of Successful Supplier Relationships

Great suppliers and vendors that give your business what it needs to succeed are like gold dust. And if you find a great partner, you need to do everything within your power to keep hold of them. At the end of the day, developing first class relationships with your suppliers is as important as it is to your customers. The big question is - what can your business do to cultivate meaningful and profitable relationships with your vendors? Let’s take a closer look and find out. 

Pay up on time 

It won’t be a surprise to anyone to hear that paying on time - every time - is the single most important thing you can do to start off on the right foot with your vendors. Just like you, your suppliers are likely to be operating on thin margins and need cash flow to keep their company running smoothly. Also, you will often find that over time, as long as you pay up on time, some vendors might reward your good payment history with better terms and deals

Everything You Need For A Fantastic Home Office

When you make the decision to work from home, it’s very tempting to work in bed or on the sofa and stay in your pyjamas all day, but this can hurt your productivity and put you behind on your paperwork. Whether you’re self-employed or just telecommuting, to be successful you need to act as though you’re still getting up to go to an office. The best way to achieve this is to create a home office to promote productivity. Here are a few suggestions to get you started. 

A quiet room 

To maintain your work/life balance, you need to keep your work separate from the rest of the house. Set yourself up in a quiet room, and keep the door closed during office hours for privacy. Most people work best if they eliminate any background noise, so setting up a space in the living room with the TV on might be too distracting. Make sure your office has enough natural light coming through, as well as a well-lit lamp in case you work into the night. You could even make the office your own by painting it a color that you like. 

Saturday, June 03, 2017

What Will You Invest In Next?

Everyone on this Planet wants their money to go further. While some will want more money, other's won't - but everyone wants to see themselves get more bang for their buck and value for each bill folded up in their wallet or purse. It's only natural, we are creatures of value and we appreciate getting more for our money - whether it's a better mobile phone plan that gives us more for less, or whether it's finding a cheaper holiday deal that gets you out and about for more than you thought that you'd be paying. 

One way that we can guarantee that our money works harder for us, is by investing that cash into a cause. The cause might be a home or a company, but by putting your money into a cause via investing, you're almost guaranteeing that your money will be going further. Simply because it's working for you - you put money in, and you get a return. That's how it works! The size of the return? It all depends on the opportunity of course, and how much money you are prepared to put into an investment opportunity. 

When SEO Goes Wrong

In case you haven’t been keeping up with the developments of digital marketing over the past few years, now’s as good a time as any to learn that search engine optimization is one of the most effective ways to add visibility to a site. It improves your ranking on search engines, making it more likely that your site will appear to exactly the people that you want it to. However, it’s an ever-evolving art and the techniques that worked in the past won’t work anymore. There are also plenty of ways you can damage your ranking. Here, we’re going to look at when SEO goes wrong and what you can do about it. 

Back it up 

One of the most crucial aspects of succeeding at SEO is that your attempts to build yourself a position in the rankings is backed up by content. Content rules the web nowadays and it’s why so many small businesses are getting into blogging. However, empty, unoriginal and pointless content isn’t going to get you the kind of results that you’re hoping for. The more you try playing with topics and keywords that are near duplicates of one another, the more that the systems ruling search engine rankings will take notice. Similarly, loading your blog with pages less than 400 words can be taken as another indicator of low-quality content. 

Keywords aren’t the end-all and be-all 

By far, one of the practices that can hurt your SEO the most is the practice of keyword stuffing. Placing keywords in your content can be helpful, but many have taken it too far and attempted to throw every relevant keyword they can on a single page. Once upon a time, this keyword stuffing might have helped that specific page in the rankings. Nowadays, however, not only is it an unethical way to get a page that can’t be very high quality further up in the rankings. It’s widely caught the attention of search engines and will do more to negate your efforts than it will to help them. If you have keywords you want to hit, creating individual pieces of quality content for each of them will help a lot more. You can’t take any shortcuts to using the keywords you want. 

Sourcing The Capital For Your Startup

The thing about setting up startup is that while the overheads are fairly low, you still need some money in your pocket to begin. That means your dream of becoming a business mogul may just have to be put on hold unless you can source the capital to pay for your startup. Luckily you will find a guide that outlines all of your options for doing this below. 

Personal backing 

One way to fund your startup is to do so with your own personal money. Of course, this is risky because if things don't work out, then you will be out of pocket. It can also be difficult to find enough money in the short term to allow you to launch your startup, but it's not impossible. 

Some people pay a visit to their financial planners for advice, cashing in some of their investments or savings to pay for their business ventures. While others choose to remortgage their home or sell other valuable items to find the cash. 

Business loan 

But for many folks, finding the funding to start up a business from their own money is not just practical. If this is the situation that you find yourself in, then you may want to consider a business loan from your bank. 

Usually to be granted a loan you will need to present a business plan, with projected profits for the first three years. Then if the business consultant sees potential in your idea and in your figures, they will grant you the loan. 

Of course, you need to be careful of the interest rate. As for some loan you can end up paying back a lot more that you borrowed. Also be wary of the payment terms, and you don't want to incur any extra fees if you miss a payment, or want to pay things back earlier that it states in your agreement. 

How To Stop Being Rash With Your Cash

It’s easy to lose control when it comes to money. As soon as you have it, it’s very hard not to spend it. Of course, you don’t have to throw away your disposable income just because it is… well, “disposable”. This might be fine in the short term as long as you’re covering your necessities such as rent, utility bills, and food, but being rash with your cash is a bad habit to hold in the long term. If an emergency should arise and you have no disposable funds then you might find yourself in a tricky situation. A healthy balance between spending and saving is the approach you should take to money, but here’s some more detailed advice to help you reach that point in your life. 

Set a budget. 

Really think about the luxuries you buy. We all like to imagine that we’re sensible with our money, but most of the unnecessary costs in our lives go by unnoticed. Everybody’s allowed the odd treat now and then, and you shouldn’t deny yourself a little entertainment in your life, but the problem is that many of us lose track of just how many luxuries we allow ourselves on a weekly or a monthly basis. Those small costs all stack up; the fancy sandwich you bought in town, the expensive brand of biscuits, and the brand new TV might all be manageable costs individually, but they’re entirely unnecessary when added together. 

You need to conduct a cost-benefit analysis in your life. You need to know when to stop and say that you’ve had enough luxuries for the week. Setting a budget will help with this because you’ll be setting rigid and defined limits on your spending. Put aside a certain amount of disposable income for spending and a certain amount of saving each month. You don’t have to spend all the money you set aside for luxuries, of course (as it’d be smarter not to consume in excess), but you’ll know your limits. As explained over at, things such as that expensive holiday are not necessities when you really think about it. There are always cheaper but equally fun alternatives; a camping holiday in your country, for example.

Friday, June 02, 2017

A Day to Remember: Giving the Gift of Experience

When it comes to special occasions, it can be difficult to purchase a unique and interesting present for your loved ones. Children and teens are usually easy to buy for: they don’t have their own disposable income, so there are bound to be plenty of things that they’ve had their eye on for a while. Independent adults, however, can go out and buy what they like, so have most of the items that they desire. So what to get them for birthdays, anniversaries and holidays? Well, the gift of experience of course! Create lasting memories together by taking them out for a wonderful day or evening of events. Here are a few ideas.

Live Music 

If a friend or a family member has a special day coming up and you see that their favorite artist or band are playing locally around the time, buy tickets in advance. You can put them aside until the special day and then take them as a surprise. A night of live music will be great fun for both of you. If you want to go all out, consider purchasing festival tickets. You will both get to let your hair down for a long weekend of music, fun, and camping. 
Extreme Sport 

You could use this opportunity to plunge your pal into an experience that they wouldn’t usually consider. Open their eyes to something entirely new and get their adrenaline pumping with a day of extreme sport or a single extreme experience. There are plenty of choices out there. Consider skydiving from a plane, a bungee jump, white water rafting or air tunnels (a form of indoor skydiving). 

Thursday, June 01, 2017

How Software Developers Give A Helping Hand To Business Owners

When operating a business, it is good to know there a range of technologies and online software opportunities available to help you in the day to day running of your company. There will undoubtedly be tasks that you feel under-equipped to manage, so finding out what services will benefit you is important in making your life easier. 

In this useful guide, we will consider what tools you need from the startup of your business, through to its successful operation on a daily basis. 

In the beginning 

Before your business comes to fruition, you need to formulate a plan. Failure to do so will bring you trouble in the long term and could lead to your venture folding before it has barely begun. Ask yourself the necessary questions. What is my vision? What product or service am I offering? Who is my target demographic? When you have an understanding of your initial idea, you should then plan for the first year and consider where you want to be in the next five and ten years. Without a business plan, you will struggle to get a bank loan or raise money from investors, 

There is a lot to think about, but using Palo Alto Software will help you formulate a plan, give you an analysis of the competition and give you a financial outlook for the short and long term running of your business. 

Of course, there will be unforeseen pitfalls along the way, and your business idea may change as you get a sense of the market you are supplying. Business planning software will help you stay ahead of the competition on every step of the journey. 

Simplify To Quantify! Tactics To Increase Your Productivity

Surely there must be a simpler way? No doubt, you’ve asked yourself this at some point. Another late night in the office to clean up somebody’s mistakes or to clean up your own because the process you’ve implemented is too convoluted or it’s just not viable. Simplifying your business is the key to making it a more efficient one, and a cheaper one too. Take a look at these business simplifiers, and if you put all of these in place, you'd be surprised how quick it will make your business so productive without all the complications. 

Look At Your Systems 

Using a system shouldn’t be difficult, and if you are finding that it’s tripling your workload, it’s time to reassess. A system like CRM (customer relationship management) software helps you to control your communications with customers in an efficient manner. It lets you know when you should contact them, and you can tailor the system to identify loyal customers and focus on selling to them, rather than wasting your time focusing on the dead weight. Likewise, you should make the most of the internal processes by moving to a cloud-based service provider. When your structure is moved to the cloud, the benefits present themselves almost immediately. Better security, faster processes, it even helps to reduce your business’ carbon footprint. Check out for more information on the best infrastructure automation tools. Automating basic functions means you’ve just cut out a lot of time and effort on things that don’t really benefit your business, leaving you to focus on the things that matter. 

Bring Your Customers Closer To Your Business (And Reap The Rewards!)

You need to have a good relationship with your customers if you want to achieve greatness. For me, it’s all about making them feel like they’re really part of your company. Bring them closer to your business, and they’ll start to relate to you more, which can help boost customer loyalty, which leads to great sales figures in the future. 

How can you bring your customers closer to your business? It’s simple, here are a few ideas: 

(Image via:

Create A Client Portal 

A client portal allows your customers to create an account and views their orders/interact with your business. It’s a very popular method of bringing them closer to your company, particularly if you offer services. They can keep track of their orders and see when you’ve completed things as well as helping you by collaborating via the portal. There are many ways you can integrate a client portal on your website, you just need a white label solution so you can customize it to suit your site and business. Now, your customers can log in and keep up to date with everything, it makes life so much easier for them as they’re never being forced to chase you around for updates. They’re always in the loop, which brings them so much closer to your business.