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Modernizing Your Business

Are you up-to-date on the latest tech? Or are you resting on the status quo?

Global modernization is changing business. Businesses constantly try to keep up, but changing and updating your operations can be a daunting task. For more than half of small businesses, the biggest challenge is figuring out how technology will help them.

However, businesses owners no longer have the luxury of choosing whether or not they will adapt to new technology, in today’s high-tech world, it’s adapt or die.
The good news is that the benefits of improving your company’s financial system — even
incrementally — can save you time, money and, ultimately, increase your bottom line.

Three Small Changes Can Help You Update Your Business
1. Automate Tasks
2. Update Software
3. Modernize Expense System


1. Automate Tasks.
You hired your staff members for their brains, not their abilities to complete repetitive tasks. Basic accounting software can help you automate some of your regular payments, reporting, and accounting processes.
Repetitive tasks hold back business.

Here’s how:
A. Wasted Time
Nearly 65 percent of small businesses report having unpaid invoices for more than 60 days. Consider how much time it takes for your staff to chase down those payments, in addition to other repetitive tasks. A business that sends 300 invoices per month, requires about 173 hours of labor. 90% of the cost of invoicing is labor. With automation your staff can put the time they spent on manual tasks toward more meaningful efforts.
B. Long Payment Cycles
Small businesses typically receive payment slowly, mostly because they’re slow to invoice due to the monotony of the process.


2. Upgrade Your Software
Most smaller companies manage their financial systems in excel or with basic accounting software . However, as your business grows, so do its financial needs.
Using an outdated financial management system comes with costly risks, including:
1. Competitive disadvantage:  Your competitors are benefitting from more efficient modern software.
2. Security: You’re more prone to security breaches and expensive recovery costs if you’re using outdated software.
3. Time Loss: Software automation reduces labor costs by about 50%. That’s time that could otherwise drive business forward.
4. Errors: According to several studies, nearly 90% of spreadsheets contain mistakes.

3. Modernize Expense Management
The traditional process for filing expenses involves far too many people and too many moving parts. Employees use petty cash doled out by the company or spend their own money; then they turn in receipts and reports; then a supervisor has to approve the report, and the finance department then processes the request. Finally the employee is reimbursed, taking an average of one to three weeks.
Across the board, employees loose receipts, miss submission deadlines, carry debt on personal credit cards until reimbursement, and unintentionally exceed spending limits. As your company expands, the traditional process reduces your control and visibility of real-time cash flow and creates many inefficiencies.

Hidden costs include:
Wasting money: According to the Aberdeen Group, an average expense report costs $29 to process. If your company processes between 10-15 expense reports a month, that’s nearly $3,500-$5,250 annually in paid staff time.
Employees Penalized: Lost receipts, forgetfulness or lack of time, lead approximately 50% of employees eating an expense rather than filing a report.

Tied Up Credit and High Interest Rates: If you provide company credit cards to your employees, you’re likely paying between 14%-18% interest rate on balances, and tying up the total credit afforded to your business.


Conclusion
When modernizing your business, consider Divvy’s free spend management platform to help save time, increase cash flow, provide real-time data, improve expense-related decisions, reduce costs, and decrease risk of fraud.
Divvy is the first free and fully automated spend management platform dedicated to helping your company spend smarter. To learn how you can save time, money, and frustration managing your spend and expenses, contact Divvy at 877.77.DIVVY, visit www.divvypay.com, or email us at info@divvypay.com.

How To Find The Best Hosting For Startups

Running a new startup business is an exciting time, but it can also be very frustrating. Not only do you have to start from scratch when it comes to getting customers, but you also have to get accustomed to the learning curve of starting a new business. While it might seem like a bit of a burden at first since starting a brick and mortar business can be so hard, you should also consider building your business on the Internet. Here are a few reasons why, and what type of hosting you should consider.

Reach Everyone

A physical business can only reach so many people. Only residents in your local area will be interested in buying from. No one from the next state over (or people in a different country) will want to buy from you because you’ll be too far away. That all changes with an online business. People can browse your product catalog, order items and you will ship their orders. This means that you can effectively reach anyone in the world that has an Internet connection. You might even receive the bulk of your orders from this Internet.

Technologically Advanced

Perception is key to gaining new customers. If your store seems behind the times, then you can lose a lot of customers. While you don’t need to have all the latest technology, you should at least have a website. Almost every successful business has a website. Not only does this give customers an open storefront that they can buy from at any time (even on holidays or when you’re closed), but it allows them to find you online if they are just browsing around for nearby stores. While a website isn’t going to be the end all be all of sales, it will help increase public perception of your business. Just be sure to maintain your store and don’t let it fall into disuse.

More Exposure

You need exposure to get customers. If your business is hard to find or people aren’t thinking about it, then you need to market yourself to get some sales. While TV commercials, radio advertisements and ads in the newspaper are fine, having a newspaper will also help you gain exposure. This is because many people just browse the internet for nearby stores, as stated in the above section. If you position your website correctly, then you can easily capture all of this traffic to make many more sales.

Ecommerce Hosting

One of the most types of hosting for startups is ecommerce hosting. These hosts give you many features like a shopping cart, the ability to easily manage hundreds of thousands of items and payment gateways so that you can accept payments. These hosts are somewhat more expensive than general hosts, but they can be worth it. If you have an expansive product library and you want the best responsiveness, then this host is fine. If you just have a handful of products, then you can probably use general or blog hosting.

Business Hosting

There are many business hosts out there that are similar to ecommerce hosts, but they help more with back-end employees. You will usually get essential business features like an SSL certificate and a 1-800 number. Larger business hosts will also give you a system so that you can easily manage employees. This type of hosting is great when you are expanding, but it may not be required at first unless your startup is primarily online or you have employees that you are managing through the Internet. Blog Hosting Blog hosting is really any host that allows you to easily install a CMS. A business needs a blog because this allows you to easily build new pages and increase your SEO potential. Most blogs can also have shopping cart programs placed on top of them. This is fine if you have a handful of products. You may also want to attach a CMS to your business website anyway just for the SEO increase, which will help you get more customers.

Conclusion

Making the most of your startup is going to be difficult at first, but having a digital storefront is really going to help you make more money. Not only will this give you more exposure and the ability to target the entire world, but you can easily make sales online to improve your bottom line. Just give it a try, you’ll be sure to love it.

Constant Reminders of your Brand

A great way to get a customer to purchase products with your business is to ensure that you are constantly in their mind. If they are always aware of your company and know what you do, next time they need a product or service that you provide they are likely to come straight to you purchase. Having little reminders that subtly tells them about your brand may also entice them to inquire further and look at your products and service. Keeping in the mind of your clients can be accomplished in many different ways. It’s just up to you what processes you put in place.

Email

A great way to always be in your customer’s attention, due to its ease of scheduling and customisation, is to set up various email chains to add customers into. You can set up various emails that go to your customers when you want that will remind them of your brand, notify about recent company news and suggest products to them. You can also have the emails customised to each client so it feels personal by changing the name it is addressed to, talk about specific aspects of their order and recommend related products to items they bought. Furthermore, once you have set up the email chain you don’t need to edit it again. Therefore you can reach a large amount of people with personal messages with a relatively low amount of effort.

Social Media

Customers like to see charm of a corporation. That’s why it’s important that customers don’t only see you just as a business and that they see other facets of your brand that will make them like you and respect you more. Social media is a great way to do this as you can show of the faces and the people behind the business, interact with clients in a friendly casual way as well as ensure that your customers are seeing your company and you are fresh in their mind. It is important in social media that not everything is about business as the more casual aspects are more likely to capture your customer’s attention and grow their appreciation of you. Moreover having them like your brand will lead to getting more likes and shares, growing your audience even further.

Google Ads

Using Google services like AdWords allows you to remind customers who have visited your site about your products and try to get them to come back. Create some compelling ads, customise them to what page and products they have looked at on your site, to remind them of your brand and service. The great thing about this is that it can be quite subtle as they will see your company logo and branding while doing other things, seeing various products that they could be of interest, which will eventually lead them to browse your site or entice them to purchase more.

Promotional Products

A great way to constantly remind a customer about your brand is to have your branding on an item within their possession that they will see on a regular basis. This is one of the main functions of promotional merchandise as you brand an item with your artwork or logo and give them to your customer so that whenever they use it they see you’re branding. Your company branding and logo will be constantly fresh in their mind. In addition, if they receive a useful and functional item from you they will have a greater opinion of your brand. Some very good products for this are promotional mugs as they will see your branding whenever used for a cup of tea or coffee.

Direct mail

Sending letters and mail to customers can create intrigue because direct mail is used less often in the digital world of today. Receiving a letter would create interest as to why they have been sent it so and will read some if not all of the message. It works as a reminder of your brand and service and can tempt them to enquire further with your company. Plus you can combine it with other additions like offers, news and even promotional products to make it stand out more and be more effective.

Customers forgetting about your brand, product and service can be very detrimental to repeat sales because they may not think about what you provide again or you won’t be the first port of call if they need it in the future, losing business to other companies. Ensuring that customers always remember you can be a great boost to your sales so it is highly recommended that you spend a good amount of time focused on them and drawing them back in.

How To Keep Your Organization Going And Growing In 2017

There’s nothing quite as rewarding and remarkable as watching your organization become increasingly productive and profitable with each passing year. If this is your objective, know that you can realize the goal. Three business-building strategies that can keep your organization on the road to growth in 2017 include:

1. Optimize Your Company’s Level Of Organization.

The more organized you are, the more productive and profitable your company will become. As such, it’s important to implement tips and techniques that will help you and your staff members operate in a more organized fashion. Luckily, there are hundreds and hundreds of strategies you can deploy to make this happen. One of them is the use of online checklist software. This software will empower you to create a detailed list outlining all of the things you need to do during the course of the day in order to keep your organization going and growing. Another strategy you can implement to keep your organization going and growing is systematically replacing old office products and equipment with new ones. If your company makes use of metal clipboard clips, the professionals of Curlson Sericur Industries can assist you.

2. Utilize Social Media Optimization (SMO) Services.

In addition to becoming a more organized business owner, make sure that you focus in on offering excellent social media optimization (SMO) services. These services will help you engage in organic, relationship-building conversations with prospects through popular online platforms such as:

• Twitter
• Pinterest
• LinkedIn
• Facebook
• Google+

By regularly interfacing with prospects through these channels, you can accelerate the brand recognition process that makes conversion more likely. Also note that you can use several other digital advertising services to build strong relationships with your clients. Some of them include:

• content marketing
• responsive web design
• web design and development
• search engine optimization
• online reputation management

3. Implement Health Optimization Strategies.

One final technique that can help you optimize company success in 2017 is implementing health optimization strategies. These strategies will help you maintain the mood stability and physical stamina necessary to complete your work-related projects with excellence and expedience. Some of the wellness techniques you may want to implement to start boosting your health now include:

• massage
• meditation
• green juice
• yoga

Summing It All Up

As 2017 progresses, you’ll likely want to know that your organization is becoming increasingly successful. Three strategies you can implement to make it happen include becoming more competitive, utilizing SMO services, and implementing health optimization techniques. Start using these techniques now to keep your organization on the road to optimized productivity and profitability this year!

How to Easily and Properly Budget for Your Small Business

Talk to any entrepreneur or manager of a business (regardless of the size of the business – small, medium, or large) and they will invariable state that the key to success is a well-managed cashflow. It’s a simple statement, but it has many consequences. Knowing – and understanding – your cashflow allows you to make decisions that are crucial to the growth and success of your enterprise.

Budgeting, therefore, is an essential part of the day-to-day activity of the manager. This may involve the budgeting of a simple luncheon, a three-month project, or a five-year expansion plan. How the budget is managed often breaks or makes a business. If you’re having trouble, this one’s for you: here’s how to easily and properly budget for your small business.

Plan ahead

It’s easier said than done – granted – but it’s important to have a plan in mind, and to direct the actions of the company in order to reach a certain goal. In fact, it’s even better to have several plans in mind (A, B, and C), and to be able to adjust to the circumstances. These plans should not be in the creator’s mind: the manager should actually list them down and consult all departments. The plans should literally be on paper for all to understand.

Allocate according to department

 

Small businesses tend to have few departments – but regardless of the size of the business, there are always various classifications for expenses. Budget according to past experience, to projected expenses, and do so according to expense classification. Separate the transportation from the mortgage, the electricity from the raw materials. Allocate according to department.

 

 

Prioritise

The worst thing that can happen is that there is a large deadline looming – especially a large expense – for which you were not prepared. It’s a signal that you haven’t departmentalised, that you haven’t got the correct plans, or that you haven’t prioritised. Put first things first.

Think of the worst case

We don’t want to think about it, but it’s wiser if you do. Spend some time playing the ‘what if’ game, and prepare for the worst case. Don’t say: it won’t happen. Have a plan ready.

Here’s one last hint – but it’s an incredibly important one: never forget your employees. It’s tempting to think that the staff will be happy with (or are only entitled to) their monthly pay, but a little bit of extra truly goes a long way. You may not be in the financial position to offer annual bonuses, but that is not necessarily required – a small gesture every now and again does wonders. Think about birthdays. Think about a Christmas party. Think about other special occasions. And moreover, think about how that can boost your staff morale and make the enterprise more productive, as the accountants in central London from established firms like GSM & Co. will agree.

Image attributed to Serge Bertasius Photography/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Money_g61-Uk_Sterling_Money_Notes_And_Coins_p137439.html

 

Matthew David Parker 5 Tips for Taking Candid Photos

Matthew David Parker is a Las Vegas-based photographer who graduated from San Diego State University. He draws inspiration from his love of Las Vegas and his mission to find “something exceptional in the ordinary”. He loves taking pictures of his favorite city, including traffic, buildings, skylines, and people. Continue reading as Matthew David Parker explores five tips for taking candid photos.

  1. Equipment

For candid photos, the type of camera that you use is very important. How do you get those real, natural shots, without the subject knowing that you are photographing them?

A telephoto lens allows you to take pictures from a distance without being seen, but lacks an intimate connection or involvement with the subject. A small camera allows you to get closer to the action. You will be able to take pictures without being noticed, or be ignored if you are noticed.

  1. Wide-Angle Lens

Another way to take pictures of someone without their knowledge is by using a wide-angle lens. By placing the subject at the edge of the frame, or one of the thirds, the camera can be pointed away from them and they will not know they are being photographed.

  1. Explore

Need inspiration? Pick a city, explore it, and just observe life! Look for landmarks, prominent buildings, and unique aspects of the city. Where are the most interesting parts of the city? Take your time, relax, explore, and let the creativity and candid shots come organically.

  1. Take a lot of Photos

Waiting for the “perfect” shot is how you miss it. The rule is for every 20 photos, 1 will be a keeper. That means out of 100 shots, only 5 will be any good!

So don’t wait for the moment to be perfect, just take as many photos as you can and you will find you captured some great candid shots.

  1. Focus

Which focus you use is also a crucial factor in taking candid photos. The most common is Single Point AF or One Shot AF, which focuses on wherever you’ve placed your autofocus point on.

A less-used choice would be Al Servo AF or Continuous AF, which constantly autofocuses as the camera detects motion. This is great for high action shots, or if your subject suddenly moves.

Taking candid photos can either be an wonderful or frustrating experience. By using these 5 tips you will be able to capture great candid moments with ease.

 

7 Simple Hacks That Will Supercharge Your Management Skills

Being a manager is a tricky juggling act; you need to motivate your team, ensure all projects are on track, and report the progress to your superiors. If you can’t establish a good relationship with your team or don’t have the right skills, you’ll struggle to perform your job effectively – but even if you’re at the top of your game, it never hurts to evaluate your performance and see where you can make improvements. Management training will help you follow best practices – but whether you’re an experienced manager or just starting out, the following simple hacks will ensure you manage your team efficiently.

  1. Establish a Rapport with Your Team

The modern workplace is constantly evolving and these days, the line between management and employees isn’t as clearly defined as it used to be. There are pros and cons to this, but you need to establish a solid rapport with your team in order to improve your own management skills, without compromising on respect. When you communicate with your team openly and regularly, you become more aware of their personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. You can use this knowledge to delegate tasks wisely and ensure everyone in your team performs to their full potential.

  1. Set a Good Example

As a manager, it’s vital that you lead by example. Team members and employees can’t help but draw inspiration from their leaders and managers. Excellent managers motivate team members to work hard and bring their best to the table – but if you’re sloppy or lazy, your team won’t think they need to be any better. On the other hand, if you’re hardworking, positive, open to advice and recommendations, friendly, and communicative, your team will follow your example and strive to be the same.

  1. Active Listening

Employees respond well to managers who actually listen to them and keep the lines of communication open. Managers should practice active listening and ensure they welcome all kinds of feedback. Be open to ideas suggested by your team members and encourage discussion over it. For example, if one person suggests a new way for handling a particular project, listen to their reasons and explanations carefully and encourage your other team members to listen as well.

This helps build trust and ensures team members are more confident in sharing their opinions and suggestions. Active learning will lead to active participation and communication from your employees. Active listening will also help you detect problems early and resolve them.

  1. Acknowledge Contributions and Successes

Research suggests that employees are more concerned about job satisfaction than very high salaries. They want to know they have contributed positively to the company’s success and that their hard work has paid off – and it’s important that managers recognise this and make a point of acknowledging it. For example, if a problem during a project was resolved because of an out-of-the-box solution from your employees, make it a point to acknowledge and explain how it helped. This won’t just make your employees happy, but will encourage them to work harder.

  1. Discipline With Dignity

Far too many managers point out mistakes publically and reprimand or “dress-down” employees in plain view. This can have a demoralizing effect on employees in general and make them more hesitant to approach you or suggest ideas.

Instead of addressing mistakes in public, make all your reprimands and disciplinary actions private. Ask the employees that make mistakes to come to your office, explain the problem to them, and encourage them to open the discussion. Mistakes and drops in performance can happen but public disciplining won’t help anyone.

  1. Deal with Conflicts Calmly

When different people come together and work on the same goals every day, arguments and differences in opinion are inevitable. Most employees will resolve these differences without your input or assistance, but if their arguments turn hostile and cause conflict, you need to intervene and settle the matter yourself.

The best way to do that is to discuss the matter with all parties involved separately before you schedule a three-way meeting. During this meeting, you should focus on conflict resolution. You should also try to help the two hostile parties develop a healthier relationship. If you’re still struggling to diffuse the situation, you’ll find more useful advice here.

  1. Motivate Your Team

Motivating the team is one of the most challenging tasks managers face. If the team isn’t motivated and enthusiastic about their job, the company progress will slow down and the team morale will drop. You can motivate your team in a number of ways, including:

  • Sharing company success stories with them.
  • Setting clear and achievable short-term goals.
  • Providing rewards and incentives after reaching big milestones.
  • Openly sharing your enthusiasm for different projects and challenges.

As a manager, your main job is to keep the workplace environment positive and relatively stress-free. With a little effort and commitment, you can improve your management skills, establish a good rapport with your team, and improve overall company performance. These tips can help you reach your potential as a manager.

Author bio: Jordan James is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Activia Training, a UK-based classroom and e-learning training provider specialising in improving delegates’ workplace performance in business skills, management development and IT applications. Jordan is passionate about social media and customer service issues, and regularly blogs about these – and many other – topics on the Activia blog.

LinkedIn and Its Benefits

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past decade or so you probably have heard about LinkedIn. What is more, you might even have an account and the website might have helped you to find the job of your dreams. If this is the case then you are like many other people in the world for whom their career is very very important.

If you are serious about your job you will want to know the LinkedIn Premium cost. This is something that is rather easy to find out and something you might want to consider. There are here several options available to you depending on your position: looking for a job, trying to grow your business, unlocking your sales opportunities, or looking for that perfect candidate for your company.

Many people wonder is LinkedIn Premium worth it? If you are unsure about it you might want to choose to pay for one month only (as opposed to paying for one full year) and then you can see for yourself. If you wonder how much is linkedin premium feel free to click on one of the links in this post and you will be taken directly to a place that contains all the information you need to have in order to make a well-informed decision.

4 Ways to Remodel Your Home on a Tight Budget

Your home is your haven, so remodel accordingly. Tight budgets are welcome, as the following advice assists with remodeling your home for half the price as an entire for-hire renovation. You will be surprised at how much you can accomplish without breaking the bank or busting your wallet.

Shop Chain Stores & Secondhand Shops for Deals

Chain stores and secondhand shops boast hidden gems in the form of awesome deals. It’s called retail interior design. You can shop everyday retail and find things you never thought you needed, but have to have. For example, you might find a new ottoman for your living room for half the price of an interior design store. Or, you may find that lamp that would make the perfect accessory in your bedroom. You never know.

Paint with Bright Colors for a Spacious Look

Colors make a ginormous difference in how much space you seem to have in your home. You could have a gigantic room, but paint it black and it will look half the size. But use soothing colors, like light blue or mellow green, and it opens up a room, giving you the illusion of more space. Avoid stark white though, because that is such a boring and blinding color.

Search for DIY Décor

Perform a web search for some DIY décor ideas. There are lots of arts, crafts, and home improvement stores in your community, so put them to use. You can make a big difference in your home with some simple DIY designs, such as a gemstone-accented vase of faux flowers, or a homemade seashell lamp.

Repurpose and Reuse Your Old Furnishings

Sometimes people throw out their old furnishings too soon. They see a lumpy couch cushion or a notch in the portable pantry, and they assume that they need a replacement. Here’s an idea: Replace or re-stuff a couch cushion. Use plaster to fill in notches and scratches, then paint over them with a shade that matches the original. Instead of tossing perfectly good furniture, spend the small amount of money to repair and re-purpose your furnishings.

Remodeling your home should be a fun experience with positives galore. When you feel the need for a little renovation, consider following some of the aforementioned advice. You might be surprised by what you can find or make when you put your mind to it.

How Can I Optimize Company Growth In 2017?

Business owners who want to optimize company growth in 2017 should know that there are many strategies they can use to make it happen. Here are three of them:

1. Invest In New Commercial Equipment.

One of the best ways to optimize company growth in 2017 is by investing in new commercial equipment. This technique is helpful because it can improve the aesthetic appeal of the office setting. New equipment can also help employees complete their daily tasks faster. A third benefit of investing in new machines and devices is that doing so can cut down on work-related injuries. In the event that your company makes use of equipment like grill grates, you can obtain new items at www.o-reps.net.

2. Optimize Your Marketing Plan.

Another strategy you can implement to facilitate company growth in 2017 is optimizing your marketing plan. This strategy is valuable because it ensures that you’ll be continually sharing information about your products and services with more and more members of your target audience. This work will facilitate brand recognition while also contributing to the relationship-building process that leads to conversion. One great way to take your marketing efforts to a new level is by focusing on your ecommerce platform. Digital marketers can use strategies like social media optimization and web design to ensure that your online presence gets people interested in your brand.

3. Network, Network, Network.

As many business owners know, meeting new people is one big key to broadening the base of loyal clients. Also note that some of the individuals you meet may eventually become business partners who help facilitate your company’s growth. With all of this in mind, it’s important that you master the art of networking. Doing so will help ensure that you are constantly meeting new contacts. Remember that there are at least two types of networking: informal and formal. Informal networking transpires at an event such as a wedding or high school reunion. In this setting, you could casually share information about your brand with old friends and relatives. A more formal type of networking would transpire at an industry-related conference. In either event, you’ll want your networking skills to be sharp to ensure that your efforts are fruitful. One great way to maximize your networking abilities is by taking an impromptu speaking class.

Make Growth Happen Now!

Three business-building strategies that can make growth happen for your organization include investing in new commercial equipment, optimizing your marketing plan, and networking. Implement these techniques now to begin seeing substantive results!