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June 30, 2017

Saving for a Small Business Emergency Fund

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emergency savings

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 

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. 

Minimize Debt

debt

Minimizing debt, either by refinancing it by taking out a lower interest loan from Swift Financial Partners, or paying much more than the minimum each month, will put you in a better financial situation, and you will be able to redirect your debt repayments to your emergency fund, making it less likely you’ll need more small loans in the future. 

Make it Part of Your Plan 

If you make saving in your emergency fund part of your actual business plan, then it will encourage you to actually redirect some of your funds to your emergency account. Doing this is also smart from a purely business perspective because businesses who have extra funds available as and when needed are much less likely to get into trouble in the future. 

Review Your Expenses 

calculator


Reviewing your outgoings at least once every quarter is a smart move because it will enable you to see where you could be making savings by switching to another supplier or using a freelancer instead of a standard contractor, and it will also help you to see where cash can be diverted into your emergency fund. 

Only Spend It on Emergencies! 

The clue is in the name! If you want to build a strong emergency fund to support your small business, you absolutely must only spend your savings on bona fide emergencies like paying suppliers and settling a debt before the collectors move in. 

As you can see, if you’re determined to create an emergency fund for your small business, it is pretty easy to do so, you just have to set your resolve and keep at it!
June 30, 2017

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

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social media icons, social media

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. 

Why?

smart phone

Different demographics use different forms of social media. While it’s not wise to ignore entirely the ones that don’t appeal to the demographic you are targeting, you should absolutely be focusing on the platform that’s going to work best for your user base. In those two examples, if you were to flip the options - the geofilters and Twitter for the 18-21 year old women; Facebook and Pinterest for the near-retirees - then you’d have a great strategy. 

There are plenty of charts you can consult which make clear the demographics for each social media platform. 

It therefore makes sense that you find the platforms that are most likely to appeal to your target demo and focus your efforts on those. That doesn’t mean your work up to this point should be ignored, even if you have been focusing in the wrong area. It never hurts to be good at social media! There’s always the people that will buck the trend, too; the grandmas playing with Snapchat filters and the teenagers looking through Pinterest. So you still have a chance of catching those errant, outside-the-stats users. 

However, by doubling down your efforts where it’s most likely to make an impact, your business is going to be in good shape.
June 27, 2017

Treat Your Car Better and Reap the Rewards

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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. 

June 16, 2017

5 Things Couples Should Do Before Tying The Knot

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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.

June 14, 2017

How To Live Comfortably On A Tight Budget

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piggy bank

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. 

Educate Yourself on Finance

woman using laptop

Even people who have an extensive background in banking or economics will need to keep on learning about finance to ensure the most comfortable life possible. If you’re having a hard time making heads or tails of your personal finances, then educating yourself is even more important. Yes, learning the ins and outs of equity loans, or the benefits of multifamily homes for rent, isn’t the most thrilling thing in the world. However, if you’re not making a point to constantly broaden your financial knowledge, you’re going to have a very hard time ensuring the comfortable life you want to achieve. While there are certain things that you’ll need to learn from trial and error, don’t underestimate the power of reading! One good habit to get into is setting aside a brief period of your day – five or ten minutes is usually fine, for sitting down and reading up on something you’re a bit shaky about. The web’s bursting with knowledge – start using it! 

Learn to Prioritize 

For better or worse, modern society is characterized by potent consumerism. This has become such a large staple of our culture, in fact, that some people find it tough to separate their needs from their wants! These days, it’s easier than ever to get sucked into all that marketing, and spend money on thing that we really shouldn’t. If you’re trying to provide a comfortable life for your family on a tight budget, effectively prioritizing your budget is absolutely essential. Food, utilities, and other necessities, should all come at the top of the list, closely followed by any long-term savings goals that you have. Ideally, luxuries, big and small, should come as close to the bottom as possible.
June 14, 2017

Small Companies' Secret To Success: Outsourcing Where It Matters

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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. 


June 10, 2017

3 Ways To Improve Camaraderie In The Workplace

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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. 

June 08, 2017

The True Costs Of A Car Accident, Revealed

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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. 

Repairs 

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. 

June 08, 2017

New to Driving? Here Are Some Friends You Should Make

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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. 

June 07, 2017

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

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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 

dogs, puppy

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. 

Commit to Canine Training for Discipline and Socialization

child playing with dog

While some dogs can be averse to training and discipline, most of them are literally born and bred to be trained - that’s what domesticated means. The dogs that you see now, especially the puppies, are the latest products of generations upon generations of dogs that have been tamed and trained for human companionship. 

Being in a pack led by humans has literally been in their DNA ever since the first wolves allowed themselves to be tamed by humans. But as you already know, this doesn’t mean that all dogs are automatically childproof. It just means that they can be highly receptive to the proper training, whatever domestic breed they may be. 

So if your new dog is not a puppy that can be easily molded and safely socialized, don’t worry. You can teach an old dog new tricks. Even those who are well past the first formative weeks can still be socialized and trained. And the best way to start training both pups and adult dogs are through basic commands and child-friendly habits. 

‘Sit’ and ‘down’ are easy enough for first-time trainees to follow. Reward them with treats as well as love and affection whenever they properly follow commands; this is what’s known as positive reinforcement. 

On the other hand, you can also use negative reinforcement, which, contrary to popular belief, doesn’t need to involve hitting or any other painful punishment. Simply distancing yourself from or ignoring the dog can be a highly effective form of negative reinforcement. 

For instance, when training your dog to stop jumping up on you when it’s excited or when you’ve just come home after work, you can firmly say ‘stop’, and when it insists on jumping, simply walk back out the door. Repeat this until it learns to keep all four legs on the ground when greeting you or any other new person. 

While an excited and jumpy dog is undoubtedly adorable, this type of behavior can be problematic when it comes to children who could be accidentally injured and traumatized by an overly-friendly dog. So train your dog and commit to teaching it some discipline; it’s the only way to ensure that it’s safe to be with children. 

Pick a Dog with a Good Personality Instead of a ‘Good Breed’ 

dog, puppy

If you have no choice but to get an adult dog, it could be easier for you if you pick one from a breed that’s considered by trainers to be child-friendly. This includes dog breeds like the boxer, labrador, golden retriever, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. While training is more important than lineage, dog breeds can often determine how affectionate and non-violent a particular dog can be. 

At the same time, don’t forget that all dogs are basically domesticated wolves. All of them, from the smallest to the biggest breeds, have strong jaws and predatory instincts. And while some domestic breeds are known to be child-friendly, it’s still better to observe their actual training and personality. 

Think of a dog’s breed as a template of its potential. It’s predisposed to certain behaviors, but ultimately, experience, training, and the dog’s personality itself will determine how it follows and strays from that template. Just as a big, muscled pit bull can be extremely gentle with infants, so can a toy spaniel be aggressively mean towards humans closer to its size - it’s all about training, experience, and personality. 

BONUS TIP: Be Ready to Clean Up After the Dog 

Your behavior towards the new dog will greatly influence how well it socializes with your family. In short, you need to be as patient and as friendly with the new dog as you can. This means being ready for any messes that your furry new baby is bound to make. 

Toilet training and basic household discipline is not that easy to instill, especially in curious and excited puppies. Be ready to clean up the carpet, remove new stains, fix tooth marks on wooden furniture, and scoop up some poop. It all comes with the territory.
June 06, 2017

The Building Blocks to Start Your Credit Score

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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. 

credit cards

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. 

Get a Credit-builder Loan

You can also find loans that are designed to help you build your credit. However, they aren't exactly like the kind of loan you would normally take out. In fact, it's a bit more like a savings plan. The money you borrow is usually held in an account until you have repaid it. This might seem strange and perhaps even sound pointless. But unlike when you save money on your own, the payments you make are reported to credit bureaus. This makes these loans ideal for building your credit, even if they're not really loans. 

applying for a loan

Have Someone to Back You Up 

Another thing you can do is have a reliable person who can vouch for you. By getting someone to cosign for a credit card or loan, you basically have someone who is saying "I will pay if you don't." This is reassuring to lenders who will be able to approach your cosigner if you don't make your payments. However, if you want to stay on their good side, it's best that you try your best to repay your debts. 

piggy bank

Use Your Credit Responsibly 

Once you've secured some credit, making the right choices is the next step to building your credit score. Simply having the credit doesn't say much if you can't show that you can use it sensibly. Try not to spend too much using your credit, and make your repayments as soon as possible. Try to use your accounts for as long as you can and avoid opening too many new ones too. 

Having no credit history doesn't mean you'll never be able to get any credit. With the right choices, you can soon build a good score.
June 05, 2017

Keep 'Em Sweet: The Secrets of Successful Supplier Relationships

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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

June 05, 2017

Everything You Need For A Fantastic Home Office

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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. 

office set-up, home office set-up

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. 

Comfort

If you’re sticking to normal office hours, you’re going to spend around eight hours a day sitting at your new desk. In which case, you need to take precautions against back pain, fatigue, and eye strain. You can do this by getting an ergonomic office chair from Crossford as these provide the necessary lumbar and pelvic support to promote healthy posture. Good spinal alignment leads to reduced headaches, back pain, and it can significantly improve breathing, concentration, and endurance through long hours of seated task work. You should also reduce eye strain by taking a break every twenty minutes. This will go a long way to reducing headaches and fatigue. 

Clear space 

No matter where you work, paperwork has a nasty habit of following you everywhere. Since you’re likely to be working in a tight space, it’s best to stay on top of your paperwork and have an effective filing system in place. If you have the tendency to leave things lying around, a pile of clutter will form before you even realize it, and it will make your office feel cramped, overwhelming, and it will reduce your willingness to work. Remember, keeping your space tidy for work also allows you to have space to think. 

Good technology 

If you’re working from home it’s easy to feel like you have no co-workers picking up the slack when you’re overwhelmed, but you would be mistaken. Technology is the best colleague all remote workers can have, because it can significantly reduce the amount of paperwork you need to organize, and it can make make everything run more efficiently; that is, if it works. We’ve all felt the frustration and panic when your computer experiences a technical fault with an upcoming deadline. If your technology is breaking down one too many times, it’s time for an upgrade.
June 03, 2017

What Will You Invest In Next?

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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. 


June 03, 2017

When SEO Goes Wrong

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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. 

SEO

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. 


laptop, coffee, smart phone, notebook

Go meta 

Content is what matters, but it’s not the only thing that matters. Good content should be supported by good metadata. This is the information in the ‘back cover’ of the website, not usually accessible to visitors. Write fitting and informative descriptions in your metadata that hits the main keywords of the content as well. Note, this doesn’t mean that the metadata is the place where you can stuff as many keywords as you like. That gets noticed by search engines as well. WordPress sites and similar platforms allow easy access to forms for metadata, which can make it much easier for the less savvy site owner to add. 

Be careful who you partner with 

Search engine optimization isn’t just an important part of digital marketing. It’s become an industry in its own right with multiple teams helping businesses to fill up on ‘SEO juice’. This might mean optimizing a website, it might mean building internal and external links. But amongst the less reputable teams is the potential for fraud. Teams misusing metadata and keywords, teams who don’t qualify their leads, teams who produce low-quality content that can genuinely harm your rankings. A poor choice of partners can even lead to fraudulent buyers and sellers coming to the business, committing account abuse, referral fraud and more. There’s a seedy underbelly to the internet and you must be careful about avoiding it. 

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Build links 

The site itself isn’t the only thing that will help you build a quality site in the eyes of the SEO gods. Just as important can be the link-building that connects your site to other reputable sources on the internet. This is just another reason why putting effort into PR is going to help your business. Not only can coverage from reputable online sources such as Forbes, Entrepreneur and online versions of print media press help the brand. If they bring with them links that lead to existing, stable pages on your website, it also builds the ‘validity’ of the site in the eyes of search engines. Meaning that it becomes even easier to find. 

Stabilize the site 

Of course, link-building can also present a problem. Many sites evolve over time and some pages that were once valid may no longer be so. But these non-existent pages may still have many links leading to them. For external links, this is an annoyance and means you miss the benefit they have to your SEO efforts. But if you have internal links leading to broken pages, it can actively harm said efforts. Similarly, you need to check your site for dead links that lead to external pages, as well. Any sign of instability or dead ends in the site is going to harm your SEO ranking. Which means you need to diagnose it on a regular basis.

laptop, analytics

Check your results 

Of course, none of the points above matter unless you’re getting an idea of how well, exactly, your efforts are going. Analytics tools provide some very in-depth methods of checking how your site receives visitors and how it competes in SEO. It should be used constantly to track your progress and see which keywords, which content, and which strategies are working best for the site. Keep a log of what changes you make when and compare it to the data. This is the most effective way of identifying correlations that can help you correct your step. Otherwise, you’re just going to keep changing things blindly without any real idea of what’s helping and what’s hindering you. That’s how you get into misinformed habits that have you spending more time and money on things that might not actually work. 

A knowledge of the basics of SEO, an eye for reputable services, and a focus on quality above all else is what’s going to help you rule the rankings. Shortcuts aren’t going to get you anywhere.
June 03, 2017

Sourcing The Capital For Your Startup

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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. 

June 03, 2017

How To Stop Being Rash With Your Cash

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money, 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 money.allwomenstalk.com, 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.


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Put your family first. 

This isn’t a suggestion that you don’t care for and protect your family but rather a financial suggestion that you should always prioritize your family when it comes to money; if you’re responsible for their welfare as the financial provider then it’s your duty to be extra careful with your spending. This continues even when you’re gone, even if that’s an unpleasant thought; you might want to put together a prepaid funeral plan in order to safeguard your family’s finances, and you could check out sites such as AboutTheFuneral.com for options. Even in the present day, however, you should be cautious with your spending. Setting aside an emergency fund will ensure that any problem which faces your family can be quickly resolved.

credit card

Just pay off your debts. 

It’s all too easy to find yourself in an impossible, out-of-control spiral once debt starts to build up. To avoid this happening, as suggested over at onlinediaryofalritch.com, you should simply make your payments on time. Don’t borrow more money and rack up more debt to pay off your existing debt because this is a fruitless cycle. Just cut out the unnecessary luxuries from your life, as mentioned earlier, and pay only for your necessities until you’ve sorted out your debt; put all your monthly disposable income towards paying off what you owe.
June 02, 2017

A Day to Remember: Giving the Gift of Experience

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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). 

June 01, 2017

How Software Developers Give A Helping Hand To Business Owners

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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. 

June 01, 2017

Simplify To Quantify! Tactics To Increase Your Productivity

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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 Stackify.com 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. 

June 01, 2017

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

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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: http://bit.ly/2rzXYgl)

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. 

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