Category: Insights

Insights

Top Tips to Consider When Relocating Your IT Department’s Equipment

When preparing to relocate your office space, to say there is a lot to consider, organize, pack, and be on top of is an understatement. Rather than packing up your clothing, furniture, and personal items as you would when moving houses, in an office move, you are dealing with items that can be expensive, breakable or easily damaged, and contain sensitive customer and company data that can’t get lost, stolen, or ruined.

The IT department can be a very tricky area to just pick up and move and it does require some consideration and a plan. With that in mind, we’ve gone ahead and put together the top tips to consider as you work to relocate your IT department.

Don’t Even Mess with It Yourself

Possibly the best tip to offer is not to mess with relocating the IT department at all. Instead, leave it to an IT relocation specialist, which is a company that does it all for you. They will have the knowledge and skills necessary to move all the equipment in a safe and efficient manner, they can pack it in the right storage containers or vessels, they can provide full documentation of all the items being moved and track information on the assets, they can provide custom flight cases to keep equipment safe, and they may even offer transportation in a GPS tracked moving vehicle.

A professional service is ideal for companies that have a lot of IT equipment that is expensive and contains sensitive data.

Make a List of All Your Equipment

If you plan on tackling it yourself, or even if you are hiring a professional, it’s a good idea to also make a list of all your IT equipment. This should be a comprehensive list that includes all items both big and small. What this list does is help you track items as they arrive at the destination.

Are You Getting Rid of Anything

Now is also the time to look closely at your equipment and decide if it’s time to get rid of and retire anything. There is no point bringing it along with you if you don’t plan on using it in the new place. There’s a good chance you may have some out-of-date pieces that really aren’t necessary any longer.

Create a Plan for the New Space

Before the move actually takes place, you will also want to create a floor plan for the new space as far as the IT equipment goes. This will provide you with a guideline so you can place items in their proper spot. What this means is that you can get organized and set-up a whole lot faster in the new space.

As you draw up the plan, you’ll need to think about things such as where the power ports are, the phone lines, the internet lines, where people will be sitting, where the copy machine and printer will be, and so on. If you are using a professional moving service, you can then share this floorplan with them.

These tips will help to ensure that moving the IT department goes as smoothly as possible.

Insights

You still have the power to excite customers and claim the profits: try experiential marketing

Customers have always wanted to spend money and buy new things. There have been no exceptions to that. However, the current retail landscape is different from what it was five years ago. Modern customers are not ready to spend their hard-earned money on just about anything. They want to invest in experiences and make memories. They are no longer satisfied with the look-and-shop experience most e-commerce companies are offering. They want something more tangible. That is why the old brands are reinventing themselves in new ways that appeal to the customer groups, old and new. Several new companies are starting out with event-based activations and experiential marketing campaigns

How is the market going through a massive change?

A fresh study from the Harris Group shows that over 72% of the millennials would rather spend money on experiences than on material buys. It has managed to jolt the traditional retailers, who were relying on the conventional show-and-tell marketing format until about now. That trend shows how much the expectations of the potential customer is changing with time. At the same time, top experiential marketing agencies have created new opportunities for the emergence of new market leaders. It is the beginning of a massive shift in the market, and that is precisely what maximum marketers of tomorrow were awaiting.

Retailers are finally ready to take advantage of the changing preferences and trends of the market. In fact, there is a record shift towards experiential marketing and event-based brand activation ideas in the last couple of months. Brands want to make more connections, boost sales and engage their customers in building a loyal consumer base. Research shows that positive emotions are the glue that holds a customer base together.

What is so special about engagement marketing?

Experiential marketing can be a campaign, strategy or event that engages the customers with the promise of a unique experience. Whether you’re top experiential marketing agency suggests a live band performance, an exclusive talk show with a celebrity or a brand activation campaign with the presence of social media influencers, it is the exceptional experience that will help your brand stand out. It can include anything and everything from free classes to free food! One thing is common between old-school marketing and new-age experiential marketing – the customers love free stuff. So, when organizing an experiential marketing event, do not skimp on the goodies for your customers even when you are providing stellar experiences.

Who should be investing in experiential marketing?

Experiential marketing is not just for those businesses that involve customer interactions on a daily basis for generating revenues. Cafes, restaurants, fast food chains, and health food outlets do benefit tremendously from event-based activation and marketing stunts, but product-based retail services including cosmetics, skincare, hair care, clothing, fitness accessories, and travel accessories also enjoy a positive boost from event-based strategizing of marketing and promotions. As a result, almost all brands are making plans to incorporate experiential marketing in their strategy in the oncoming days. In short, all businesses have the potential to benefit from a well-crafted on-ground marketing strategy. 

It gets the customers talking among themselves

Another important aspect of experiential is word-of-mouth marketing. Consumers talk to each other through various web forums, e-commerce discussion forums and they follow the reviews and ratings on e-commerce sites. About 73% of the consumers share pictures of their new products while writing reviews and 49% are likely to share the videos of the events during the activation. It is easy to become the talk of the town when you have celebrities and influencers endorsing your products during the launch. It is imperative to craft a memorable experience, so your target audience has good content to share. Without enough content generation, even the best social media marketing strategies and SEO agencies will not be able to take you far.

It facilitates communication between brands and customers

Real-life, offline events help these companies establish real relationships with their potential buyers. With experiential marketing, it is not always about pushing sales or driving the customers to the POS. It is about providing something tangible to the consumers. Your consumers are right now yearning for something more than product quality and at-home delivery. You need to conduct extensive market research to find out exactly what your customers want. It can be an exclusive behind-the-scenes experience of your kitchen, a free sample of your new coffee drink, a photo shoot with their favorite influencers or an Instagrammable event! The possibilities of experiential or event-based marketing are endless, and it is time you tapped into this infinite potential.

Experiential marketing creates an engagement loop for the customer community, where the online customers interact with the offline ones. There is a thorough blending of the review channels, and the reach of a brand multiplies from breaking the silos of digital, land-based and online marketing down.

DevelopmentInsightsMartech

Update Your Dealership Website For Holiday Sales

The holiday season is upon us once again and that means a huge boost to sales in every industry. Of course, the auto industry is no different. Whether it’s for a gift, due to sales promotions, or because of a big yearly bonus, people seem to welcome any excuse to purchase a new vehicle at the end of the year.

Every dealership manager knows that this is the time of year to ready their location for what could be their busiest selling season – usually that week between Christmas and the New Year. It takes weeks of planning to deliver successful holiday promotions aimed at driving up foot traffic to gain an advantage over the competition, but one massive part of today’s market that’s easily overlooked is a dealership’s website.

Passive Versus Interactive Online Presence

A website can be much more than an advertisement meant to lure customers to the door. If all you’re offering is a selection of photos or digital flyers meant to entice customers to keep on clicking – or leave home and physically travel to your dealership – then your strategy may be holding you back. Why should your website just sit there waiting for clicks when you could employ a technology that allows your sales team to interact with new customers?

24-hour Live Chat Services

The simple addition of new dealer chat software can open up a satisfying range of experiences for anyone browsing your website. Within seconds of finding your site, a small window will appear in the lower corner of the screen, immediately connecting that potential customer with a live operator.

Better Customer Service

In today’s world of automated customer service, it’s nearly impossible to avoid annoying chatbots and connect with an actual person in real conversation. Live operators on dealer chat software can give your customers the rare satisfaction of feeling respected and assisted online. They’ll also have access to your dealership’s local inventory while allowing your sales team to jump into chats to provide enticing incentives and further information about individual vehicles.
The major benefit of this personal interaction is that it allows operators to help customers find exactly what they’re looking for, at a price range that’s tailored to suit their budget. This may not result in instant sales online, but it will allow you to generate excellent leads for your in-house sales team.

Customer Information

With the ability to track analytics on your website, operators can keep a personal profile on any customer that registers. You’ll get well-informed documentation on every potential buyer based on information gathered by live operators and data collected from their browsing habits. This dual strategy allows you to make informed suggestions for your clients and increase the potential of leads.
If you’re holding out on updating your dealership’s website with more interactive technology, you’re giving the competition an enormous advantage on the online market. All it takes are a few clicks for online customers to find a competitor with more attractive online services and you’ve lost them for good. Instead, update your website with the latest features to increase your holiday sales and jump to the top of online automotive sales.

DevelopmentInsightsSaaS

Top 5 Amazing IDEs for .NET Developers

Great variety of wide-known companies works with .NET. Among them are Dell, Accenture, HCL, Epic Systems. What is .NET and why is it so beneficial to create a product on this platform? Efficient and successful software development framework .NET is a platform for easy desktop and web application engineering. This free platform used for many various types of application providing environment for programming connected to most software development phases.

.NET goes well with business, as it involves a great range of tools like web-based services, desktop software, and cloud infrastructure support. The .NET can be divided into three branches: .NET Framework, .NET Core, and Xamarin. The whole group of these implementations is called .NET development platform. The .NET can work with C#, VB.NET, C++, F# programming languages and ASP.NET tool, which is among of the best web development tools for building web pages and websites with HTML, CSS, JavaScript and server scripting. 20 years have gone from the time the very first .NET was launched and this platform keeps gaining its popularity with companies’ to hire .NET developers for in-house or outsource work – find more information.

.NET Implementation

Fast forward and we’ve got three types of .NET implementation. Each of them has its features and kinds of products that can be created on these platforms.

The .NET Framework is the origin embodiment of the platform with three main app models – Windows Forms, WPF and ASP.NET Forms.

.NET Core was presented in 2016. This cross-platform is a rebuild of .NET Framework. Products from this platform can be used on both Linux and OS X, so they are not tied only to the Windows family. ASP.NET Core and Universal Windows Platform are also included in .NET Core.

Xamarin is the third implementation for mobile applications and Mac products development. From the very beginning, this platform was designed independently from Microsoft, but in 2016 the company made it a fully open source branch.

For simple and complex data, the structure of the .NET platform has a huge collection of class libraries. Hundreds of written codes by other developers are there, altogether with specific libraries for security, encryption, and database access.

IDE’s for .NET Development

IDE is an Integrated Development Environment that helps to facilitate the development of an application. There are some very useful and popular tools for .NET developers to advise:

Visual Studio is integrated with .NET including the specifics of language environments, from its earlier versions (VS 6.0). It is one of the most commonly used development environment as it provides single IDE for all .NET applications. Editing, compiling, debugging are available for a multiple-document interface. You can make your design up-to-date by placing the controls in the layout the display of the application. Visual Studio .NET supports Intellisense and code refactoring. Plug-in architecture helps to add tools for domain languages.

Visual Studio (for Mac) is newly created .NET IDE for Mac. It was launched as Xamarin Studio with a lot of additions. It is planned that the IDE will have precisely the same centerpiece code of editor like Windows VS has. Text editors will be easier to work with – for instance HTML, CSS or Razor. Unique Mac user interface and user experience altogether with Mac icons of Visual Studio native app will impress you. You can develop there with Xamarin and cloud development with .NET Core and ASP.NET Core.

SharpDevelop is an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for .NET Framework applications. The IDE supports the creation of applications written in C#, Visual Basic.NET, and IronPython. It is in free access and provides code completion, code generation, project templates, and a form designer. It can be also compatible with Visual Studio Express if to use the same solution file format.

.NET Reflector is the class browser that explores and analyzes bugs through your application to see where the problem is – whether it is your own code, aside libraries, or components used by your application. With the help of this IDE, you can look inside the assemblies of any third-party platform to see the way they working.

Quest Comparison Suite for SQL Server Increases productivity and reduces costs protecting your data. You may simplify performance management and centralize administration. The IDE helps you to manage single/multiple database platforms.

Learning the .NET Framework

Microsoft gains a lot of credits for is how to learn .NET in an easy way for programmers as Microsoft Developer Network site has many resources for developers with documentation in details and sample code on different languages for using. It can be videos on Pluralsight for learning both the language and the web/mobile and Windows application code. Get acquainted with C# Yellow Book. This is a must-read for a solid base in programming. But practice goes at once, so the best way to get started is to take a project and start building.

The typical setup for a .NET application uses Visual Studio as the IDE. Editing, compiling, debugging are open for use in this IDE. Visual Studio for Mac is in process of development, but it’s already available with a variety of peculiar features of the iOS system. SharpDevelop creates applications in C#, Visual Basic.NET, and IronPython languages. It is in free access and provides code completion, code generation, project templates, and a form designer. A web developer can facilitate the process of programming and check on any bugs their application to see where the problem is. The last but not least IDE for .NET developers in this top 5 is Quest Comparison Suite for SQL Server. Controlling productivity and evaluating of data protection is available with this platform. Microsoft provides the variety of useful IDE’s for a developer that mean even bigger possibilities for getting involved in .NET development.

DevelopmentInsightsSaaS

SEO Basics Small Businesses Should Know

The market nowadays is highly competitive and crowded with various businesses. Small businesses that are new to the market will have difficult times competing against other companies that have already built their presence on the market and are favoring good incomes. However, just because something is difficult, it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. There’s always a way for small businesses to outrun even the more-developed competitors. A good example of this is search engine optimization (SEO). SEO allows companies to establish their online presence, visibility, and awareness, among other things.

Simply put, SEO helps your website become more visible and accessible on search engines, such as Google. The main reason SEO is important is that, as mentioned before, the online market is highly competitive and overcrowded, which means that your business needs to find a way to stand out and cut through all that noise. Moreover, aside from being a cost-effective marketing strategy, SEO provides many more benefits to businesses. However, it takes a bit of time before the results kick in. That being said, here are a few SEO basics small businesses should know.

The importance of keywords

Every small business must know how important keywords in SEO are. Keywords are the core of every SEO effort. They are words or phrases that match the content on your website and individual pages to that of user intent on search queries. Ranking for the right keywords will bring you closer to your target audience. For instance, if you own a small business that focuses on dog food, you’d want to rank for keywords that have “dog” or “food” in them.

You must also consider long-tail keywords most commonly used by your audience when searching for dog food online, such as “the best dog food” or “affordable dog snacks”.  A comprehensive and detailed keyword research is simply a must for your SEO strategy. That includes conducting a competitive analysis to determine which keywords your main competitors are ranking for as well. The more you understand which keywords to opt for, the more successful your strategy will be.

Local SEO

Many small businesses are mainly competing on their local market before they grow enough to tackle the global one. That’s where local SEO is crucial. Local SEO strategy slightly differs from a regular one, as its primary focus is on your local market. You must adapt content, keywords, your business information, and other factors to match the needs of local customers. For example, you must update your business information, such as location, phone number, address, work hours, etc. on Google My Business listings feature.

It’s also important to sync that information with other local business listings. For instance, if your small business is in Hong Kong, you must ensure your local SEO strategy is optimized for local customers and that you have your business information on every local business listing. However, Hong Kong is a big and busy place, so you might consider opting for SEO services in Hong Kong to help you with creating a local strategy. Once you’ve established a good presence on the local market, you can aim for expanding your dealings to an international or country-wide scale.

Content is king

Yet another SEO basic every small business must know about is content. Content is king and there’s no doubt about it. The main reason content is considered as the most important factor in SEO is that it delivers value to your customers or target audience through information, entertainment, and education. Content is crucial for SEO both on your website and outside of it. Website content helps you provide relevant information to visitors while helping you include keywords your rank for into it, in order to boost rankings for your pages and your website in general.

Moreover, content is vital for your off-page SEO activities, such as guest posting and link building, as it helps build authority, credibility, and exposure. What’s more, content is the number one ranking factor alongside backlinks, according to Google. In short, there’s no SEO without good-quality content. However, not just any content will do. In fact, when developing content for either your website or off-page activities, you must ensure that it’s top quality and highly relevant to your target audience.

Website performance

Every business these days needs a website, small business included. Without a website, you simply don’t exist in the online world and you certainly won’t need SEO. Most of your SEO efforts are regarding your website. However, all of that is in vain if your website isn’t performing well. In other words, you can simply say that website performance is a ranking factor as far as search engines are concerned. But what is that? Simply put, customer satisfaction on your website is a ranking signal and there are plenty of performance factors that influence customer satisfaction in the first place.

For example, website speed is a factor for both SEO and customer satisfaction. Sluggish websites won’t rank well on search engines because most consumers aren’t patent enough to wait for your pages to load. In addition, mobile friendliness is also an important factor. If your website isn’t responsive or mobile-friendly, you won’t have good rankings. Other factors include navigation, security, user-friendliness and so on. Therefore, if you want your SEO strategy to succeed, you must ensure your website is performing well, to begin with.

Every small business must know about basic rules regarding SEO. If you don’t understand how it works or you don’t understand its purpose, then you won’t be able to utilize the full potential of SEO.

InsightsProducts

Why Should Every Blog Start With a Coming Soon Page?

Should you create a coming soon page before you start your blog? Our answer is a definitive Yes.

Why do I need it?

There are several mammoth reasons to start off with a perfect Coming Soon page. This may sound intimidating right now, as it is an extra step to take before you launch and start earning money that you probably haven’t considered yet. However, once the benefits of having it are there in the back of your mind, we are sure you won’t be able to resist the temptation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saeCtruLgz4&feature=youtu.be Imagine this: you have spent hours and countless nerves figuring out the best possible website for your blog. You have picked the theme, set up all the widgets you would like to have, or you have spent quite a bit on your developer to do that for you. Your initial blog post is perfect, though you wish you had the time to remove those three words from paragraph or two. The launch date is today, and you are thrilled. Yet, you are the only one (or maybe the developer, too) that gets to enjoy the hard work, simply because no one else knows about your blog but you! The perfect website has no initial momentum, and no matter how many times you click “refresh” on your statistics page, the number of views is still one – you. This can get quite depressing, and you may feel as if both you and your website are circling around in the endless black hole of the internet. You sigh, as you realize the tremendous work ahead of actually promoting it and getting visitors to your website. This is where everyone who has used the Coming Soon page gets to say “I told you so”. This tremendous work could have been done beforehand, or even better, it would have happened on its own. Let us prevent the terrible scenario before it happens to you.

Guests are coming – clean it up!

What is worse than a non-existent website? A website that is a total mess. No one wants to see that. However, the ugly truth is, you cannot create something without getting your hands dirty. To get the perfect website, it will be in the ugly duckling phase for quite some time. The bigger of a perfectionist you are, the longer the perfect website is going to take. You don’t want your customers to see the work in progress, because you know no one wants to part with their money. For that reason, the website should look flawless, not scammy. You want to look credible, professional and like someone who knows what they are doing, so that they will put their trust – and money – in your hands. You need a Coming Soon page. While the whole website can take several weeks to set up, with a free Coming Soon plugin for WordPress, you can set up an immaculate Coming Soon page in a matter of minutes. Even though it takes just a couple of minutes, it will not look hastily done – it is a single page after all, with just enough information on it. Hide the work in progress and have your customers wait for your website with an awesome first impression. If you have a Coming Soon page, you don’t have to worry about losing your credibility over a bunch of typos, disproportional images, or a non-working map.

Get them to talk to you

Get the people that are interested in what you do or offer behind and cheering for the website before it is even a website. You might have a number of social media followers, but what do you do with them? They are no good just on Instagram (or Facebook, if they are old school). Give them a link they can work with – the link to your “in progress” website currently in the Coming Soon status. Make sure to add the “Subscribe” button, or some other Call to Action form of your choosing. You need them to give you their email. Once you have the emails of your interested social media followers, it is extremely easy to get them excited about your launch date, blog posts, product or services. At that point, all you need is a great newsletter and you won’t have to install additional plugins for the job. If this is set and done before the launch, your website will not be a part of the black hole, but rather a rabbit hole for your potential customer to get lost in. There is another side to this. You could be getting some traffic on your Coming Soon, but without actual content on it, it seems that these people won’t get back once the content is there? Make sure to use social media icons, and divert your potential clients to places that are less in progress, such as your Facebook page.

Reserve your spot at Google Search results

You don’t want your customer to go to the competition just because you haven’t launched yet? We don’t want that to happen, either. The Coming Soon page can help you get organic traffic, even before you have something concrete to say. You know your keywords and what your customers search for. Even if you don’t, the plugin that you can use to create the page can give you a helping hand with your SEO. So, why don’t you get a stronghold on that and make sure that you are the solution that they will see first? Once they land on your page, you want to keep them there, or at least get their email address. You can do this by making sure that your Coming Soon page is impeccable. Put up a theme that looks beautiful and relates to what you do to get the most out of the first impression. It will help with minimizing the chance of them hitting the “back” button. Use the theme to add the most descriptive and informative elevator pitch you’ve got. You want them to know what you do and why you should be the one to help them. This should be enough for them to take the bait, and leave you with their email address so that you can start the conversation!

Insights

Bring Your Startup Back on Track – Get a Debt Consolidation Loan

One of the most important things in managing a startup is to arrange for funds. You may get brilliant ideas in your mind for starting with the business, but giving the necessary support to the ideas to materialize needs money. Hence you need money to start things, and that is why you would need a startup loan.

What is a startup loan?

A startup loan is a great way to get your business funded. Many banks, organizations, investors, private lenders, online banks and such places offer loans for startups. The loan amount may be small or big. The motto of the loan is to fund the startup at the inception or to fund it at a later stage for development. You can get this kind of a business loan easily by applying to the right place at the right time. For this, your credit score must be healthy to prove your creditworthiness. If you are taking a loan for the first time, then also you can get the business loan at a little higher interest.

How to take a startup loan and how to prepare?

To get a startup loan, you will have to prepare a file that represents your business plans. Your entire plan for the business, detailed case study, market research, projections for the coming years, backup plans for crises management, and all such things with total calculations must be made clear in the file so that you can impress the lender. You can apply to traditional banks, and may also apply to private lenders and online banks through online loan agencies and loan comparison sites.

Things to consider while taking a startup loan

You can take one or more loans as needed for growing your startup from time to time. And this is pretty natural too. Entrepreneurs do take loans and raise funds from the market. And you can do so also. Just you have to be careful that you clear off the loan on due time without lingering on with late payments, and non-payments. To ensure the loan EMIs stay comfortable with the revenue generation of your startup, so that you may comfortably pay the EMIs, you should check that you get the loans at the lowest possible rate and longest possible tenure. A low rate and long tenure combination make a loan comfortable to bear and payback in most cases.

What if you are unable to pay the loan back?

You may discover or realize late that you are unable to pay back the loan. This may happen for a number of reasons. Your business may not do well, the entire business may fall sick or close, or you may mismanage the multiple loan accounts. Anything that results in delayed payments of the installments, or total non-payments, or skipped EMI payments; all results in two things, and that is the charge of penalties for the delays together with impact in the credit score.

The reputation of the business, its credit history all goes down with time, and you lose your creditworthiness in the market due to non-payment of loans. These things can get too worse to bring collection and recovery calls to you, disrupt your mental peace and wellbeing, get you legal notices and make the business even sicker under heavy debt. You may lose your staffs and workers owing to non-payment of salaries and bad reputation, and many more damages may come to the startup. Hence, failing to pay the dues on time can be fatal for the business and its reputation.

How may you get into trouble for multiple business loans?

Getting under the heavy pressure of the multiple debts in business is quite common among entrepreneurs. And may cope up well with the situation while many fail. Failure to manage finances and debts is one big reason for many startups to fail. And that is why if you are suspecting any such scenario in the near future, you must act now, and get help now before it’s too late and your credit score and reputation gets ruined.

Once your credit score is affected, your good healthy resort to take a debt consolidation loan to manage all the dues may not work, and you may never be able to consolidate your dues in a sorted way. Then you may have to look for other solutions like debt settlement or even bankruptcy in severe cases. And naturally, such solutions are not great for your reputation or business health. Hence, a timely analysis of the situation to take the right step for getting out of multiple business debts is the best thing to do.

Solution to get out of multiple debts

The best solution to get out of multiple debts while you still have a sound credit score is to get a debt consolidation loan. A debt consolidation loan helps you get a loan amount as much big, which will help you pay off all existing dues in the market with the full and final settlement. This helps you get sorted and get rid of all dues which you were unable to manage. You get in return one single loan for a big lump sum amount which is still manageable to pay, because it’s tenure to pay back, and rate of interest are both favorable. Paying back a debt consolidation loan is easy for the lower rate of interest than what you earlier paid. Also, the long-term helps divide the loan amount into smaller manageable EMIs. Hence you can manage such a loan much better without taking any burden. More ideas about debt consolidation can debt relief programs can be obtained from important resources like nationaldebtreliefprograms.com.

Finally

Debt consolidation is a smart step in multiple bad credit management in an early situation when things are not gone too wrong that you are denied a consolidation loan. If your credit score goes too bad, then you may be denied the approval. Otherwise, you can get the loan and sort out things much easily, and bring back your business on track.

Insights

Best And Proven Ways To Save Money Designed For Single Parents Only

It is true that raising a kid is not an easy feat, especially if you are taking up this task as a single parent. So, if you have to due to unwanted circumstances, then kudos to you! It is no doubt to state that handling finances as a single parent is a major challenge. But, there is one major point of handling finances alone. It is perfectly alright as you are making all the financial decisions on your own without anyone poking you. So, you are free from the tasks of comparing or bickering budgets for sure.

Even after this point, it can finally be stated that maintaining a family’s complete budget as a single parent is no joke. As per one recent report by the US Department of Agriculture, the primary cost of just raising a child right from the birth to age of 18 will be around $233,610. With such a hefty expense for you to deal with, single parents might find it hard to just get by. Apart from that, the idea of saving money is also quite impossible it seems, at some point or time. Saving always stays right at the back due to other pressures of financial priorities. During such crucial economic conditions, going through debt settlement reviews can be a helpful solution for all the single parents out there for sure. Yes, it is true that saving money is not easy but single parents can often put money in a bank with some help. Some tips in this regard will work magically.

A plan creation for working your way out with bills

In case, you are struggling to find enough money for paying bills, this might be the first business order for you. For that, you have to head start by creating a schedule of each form of the regular monthly bill which is due. Then you have to compare that with the paycheck you get at the end of every month. Do you have enough money for making the payments?

  • It is really impossible to schedule bills due-dates to match with the paydays. So, it is always up to you for creatinga plan for ensuring that you have enough cash for bills.
  • One simple way to work on that is by creating separate bills pay savings account. You will have money automatically withdrawn from a regular savings account and then put into bill payment account.
  • By following this way, you can actually settle money aside for ensuring that the bills are paid always and right on time. Always be sure to update information and automatic drafts that you have for a setup.
  • Always remember that bills are going to be the first priority for not just you but for your kids as well. In case you are lacking money continuously and cannot pay bills, then you have to cut right back on some unwanted expenses for sure to avoid falling into some mishappenings in near future.

Have to adopt that minimal lifestyle

Minimalism helps in improving financial health quite easily. Living with less or minimalism means considering every purchase seriously before investing in it. Do you really need to add that item in your shopping cart list? Will it be of any use later or is it worth the money? You have to be sure of these points first before you can actually invest money in any product. If you can cut short your expenses that will be great for you.

Well, minimalism does not mean that you have to reside in a nearly empty place just to give you this title of a minimalist. By just adopting this minimalistic lifestyle, you can always reduce expenses greatly. You can always cut down anything in life that no longer serves the purpose that well or cannot bring the joy in your life. You can always find joy in living a rather simple life.

Have to prioritize emergency fund

Everyone is in need of emergency fund. And that calls for the single parents out there as well. These funds are perfect and quite necessary for just protecting the financial wellbeing of every individual.

  • Tragic things can happen anytime and even without any prior knowledge. For example, your car might break down or you may forget to pay a bill or might get laid off.
  • Avoid these events from ruining the finances you have right now. You have to prepare by just starting emergency fund right now and that will help you big time for sure.

If you can then sell items

Hosting a garage sale once in a while of the items that you actually don’t need it always a clever idea to earn some bucks and add those in your financial budget. In case you are unsure of how you can find some extra money for paying bills or adding into the emergency fund, then you can sell some household items, which you don’t use anymore. However, the items must be in good condition.

  • This step will definitely help in jumpstarting finances really well. Most of the people can easily have at least couple of dollars’ worth of the sellable items, which are just sitting around. You can easily host garage sales or just sell these items on Craigslist, FB or OfferUp.
  • You can use this money for saving some goals for sure. On the other hand, as an added bonus, by just cleaning out your space, you are already starting off with the idea of minimalism in full force!

Plan some special low cost celebrations

Just because you are cutting down expenses that does not mean you won’t have fun like you used to previously.  Whether it is your birthday party or any special occasion, you can celebrate it with the same zeal and energy, but by just lowering the expenses for it. Contact only very close friends and family members for the party and cook food for them at home. It will help you to have fun and save bucks too. Following these steps are really amazing for single parents out there in saving money.

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13 Common Problems for Small Businesses and How to Fix Them

If you are looking to start a new business, then now is the best time. There is so much possibility in today’s world for new ideas to become a hit and with advancement in technology, it has never been easier to start a new enterprise. Setting up a new business requires many things like an idea you trust in, the right opportunity, resources, meticulous research and understanding of the field you are entering in and a detailed and exhaustive study of the market. These are a few things that you will require while venturing in the business world.

But it’s not a smooth sail after you enter the ocean of opportunities. Starting a business comes with a fair share of challenges which will require skillful tackling. Your company’s growth depends on how well you handle these opportunities disguised as challenges.  But to be able to turn any challenge into an opportunity for growth, you must be prepared for it. 

Mentioned below are a few challenges that you might face while running a business. Understanding them will give you an advantage over them and will help you in your company’s growth by neutralizing them at an early stage.

1. Creating a Plan for Your Business

It all starts with a plan. You have to make sure that you have pre-planned how you are going to run your business even before you have any resources. Build an early plan for how much space you need for your business, the number of employees needed, the rent you might be paying, what amount you should be spending on your furniture etc. An early plan will help you in getting an idea about how much money you might be spending monthly. This will assist you in collecting money for your business and in taking a loan.

2. Time Management

Managing time can be a hard task for some people. But when you enter in business, it becomes essential that you manage your time efficiently.

While doing business, you have to pay attention to many things like finances, supplies, delivery, employees, etc. Failing at them can be a disaster for your business. Having a schedule will let you perform every task efficiently and will improve productivity over a period of time.

3. Customer Services

Providing excellent service to your customer is what should be your primary objective. Every business is customer dependent, and its success and failure depend on the kind of services it provides to its customers. If you lack behind in delivering your customer with a great experience, then it may work against your business. An unsatisfied customer can always leave a bad review. Avoid this by understanding your customer. Always promise what you can deliver and always deliver more than what they expect.

4. Choosing a Location

Having a suitable location for your business is very important. You can select a location based on the kind of services you are going to provide. If you are planning to be a restaurant owner or a florist, you should be looking for a location that is accessible and crowded; a market that will suit you well.

And if you are looking for a place to set up a warehouse or factory, then a discrete location out of a city which is connected to a road is what you should be looking for. You can easily select a location based on your business and the type of services you would be providing.

5. Targeting the Right Customer

Your customer base depends upon your product and the kind of services you would be providing, and after you have decided the services you would be offering, you should focus on reaching the targeted customer. Let us say if have decided your product and you know your preferred consumer base; your next move should be to contact them. If you have decided to own an ice cream shop, then your preferred customer should be kids, and if you have decided to run a sports equipment shop, then your targeted customer should be young and athletic people.

6. Keeping in Touch with the Latest Trends

Keeping a close eye on the market and the ongoing trends will help you in enhancing your business and making a profit. Staying in touch with the trends will reduce the chances of making any decision that can be against the market. This will save you a lot of money.

7. Being Innovative and Creative

Creativity and innovation will always keep you ahead from your competitors. Being creative will help you in standing out from the rest and in gaining new customers. You should always try new and bold ideas that are distinct from the league.

8. Keeping Your Competition Close

Watch every move of your competitors. Keep a track on what they are doing. You should not always try to follow them and do what they do, but watching their move can teach you something. Sometimes they may know something that might work fine for you.

9. Improving Your Sales through Marketing and Advertising

You can always improve your sales through proper advertising. In fact, seeking the services of a good marketing agency will give a boost to your business by increasing your visibility and helping you attract more customers.

10. Keeping Your Employees Satisfied

By keeping your employees content, you will ensure the smooth functioning of your business. Understand your employee and pay them well. This will improve their efficiency and will create a better work environment.

11. Managing Your Investment and Finances

While starting a business, you might need financial support. You can always take a loan, but make sure that all of your investment should not come from loan alone. It would be a bad idea to depend upon the loan solely. Whether it’s small business accounting, mid-sized or large-scale, it is essential to keep track of your finances at all time.

12. Choosing the Right People

Be it, employee or customer; make sure you work with the right people. The people you work with should share the same work ethics and principles. And the people you work for should value your product and the services you provide. Working with like-minded people will take your take company to new heights.

13. Keeping Track of Your Performance

Always track your performance. Whether you perform good or bad, always keep a record of your performance. There is always something to learn from your past, and there is always a room for improvement.

These are a few key points you should remember before you start a new business. They are guaranteed to help you in making your business a hit.

Author Bio

Tracy Watson is a business development manager at Accounting To Taxes- a well-known company offering complete finance and accounting services. She has always been a great contributor to the accounting industry and also responsible for branding and lead generation. And being a passionate writer as well she helps businesses with her informative articles.

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4 Apps that will help you stay away from any and every brain related problem

Studies conducted by various institutes have proven the importance of brain stimulation. It’s no secret that cognitive functioning declines as the brain ages. An active brain has a higher chance of surviving against age-related neurodegeneration than a slouchy one. Keeping your mind busy is vital when it comes to fighting off diseases as damaging as dementia.

Your brain needs the right nutrition and stimulation to keep working at its best. The human brain strives on challenges. It requires complex situations and problems to solve. Research reveals that problem-solving makes the brain healthier and assists in strengthening nerves. It helps generate new brain cells and makes the present cells stronger.

Similarly, people exercise to develop physical strength. Maintain their body, eat healthily and try to stay fit not only to look good but to also satisfy their self-esteem. The food you eat has a direct impact on your brain and the body. Lack of essential vitamins could be the main reason why you don’t feel like yourself. Longterm depression leads to a decline in cognition if left untreated.

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Brain fog, lethargy, and an inactive lifestyle are the problems faced by many adults. Sitting at a desk for long hours or staying immobile for more than 55 hours a week could cause mental problems. Minimal movements lead to a drop in oxytocin, a hormone that generates happy feelings and makes you lose your focus. The several hours spent in front of phones, televisions, and laptops is discouraged not only by ophthalmologists but also therapists. Continuous scrolling on social media apps can leave you isolated and cause feelings of depression. All these factors can eventually lead to brain damage.

Your brain is technically a supercomputer that performs multiple tasks per millisecond. It is the command center, and the tiniest malfunction could lead to a drastic change in your life. So how exactly can you keep your brain functioning properly and block the development of any brain-related problem?

You use the apps that improve your mind instead of those that damage it!

The claim that mental stimulation leads to enhanced neuroplasticity is the basis of the concept of brain training. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to change and adapt according to the stimuli available. Human evolution from the hieroglyphs to algorithms is proof of how vital neuroplasticity is to us. Working on this surreal ability of the brain is precisely what you need. Here is a carefully curated list of 4 apps that will help you stay away from any and every brain related problem and keep your brain functioning at its best!

Lumosity

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Lumosity, a colorful and fun app, is thought of as the original brain trainer. The app has millions of user who can’t stop singing its praises. It focuses on the five, central cognitive functions of memory, speed, flexibility, problem-solving and attention.

The app was developed with the assistance of more than a hundred researchers who helped in the designing of each of the games. According to a citing on their website, 4700 people participated in a study, and their cognitive progress had improved monumentally by the use of this brilliant app.

Dementia statistic state that better cognitive functioning delays the onset of dementia. Crosswords and Sudoku are great games for your brain. But apparently, Lumosity is better for your mind than the said puzzles.

Duolingo

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Duolingo is a creative app that helps you learn different languages. The cute bird themed app helps stimulate language, memory, and attention. A boost in these cognitive functions can help you focus today and prevent brain damage in your later years. Learning multiple languages is closely linked with a higher level of intelligence and quick decision-making.

Being multilingual in the globalized world of today would benefit your image too. You could probably impress that french girl you met online with your stellar command on her language. And, you could get brownie points for being poetic in the language too!

Elevate

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Elevate is the app for everyone. It helps you improve comprehension, makes you solve mathematical problems and helps you speak and write. This app was voted the best iPhone app for 2014. But what makes it stand out is the ability to boost productivity, earning power and self-confidence. It has an overall adult feeling due to the focus being on text instead of captivating visuals. The serious tone and goal-oriented nature of this app have made it a favorite among its millions of users worldwide.

Braintest

Braintest is a scientific app that helps detect early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, Mild Cognitive Impairment, and dementia. It is a cognitive screening app that saves you from the hassle of visiting a doctor’s office when you’re doubtful about your mental health. The SAGE-based app provides an assessment and not a diagnosis. You have the opportunity to test yourself in the privacy of your own home. The results can be printed and used as the starting point of your conversation with doctors.

Wrapping up

People over forty should be vigilant with any changes in their behavior. Subtle signs of behavioral changes are the earliest sign of mental decline. Forgetfulness, irritability, hypersomnia or insomnia count among other signals.

Sharpen your mind with brain training and practices of productivity to have a better life today and also reap the benefits of this mindfulness when age-related neurodegeneration threatens you. Focus on your diet and try to consume foods rich in brain-boosting powers like berries, leafy vegetables, and nuts. Try to move around as much as you can.

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Set reminders on your phone to drink water at regular intervals. This will give you the opportunity to not only stay hydrated but also walk to the restrooms. Waking up at an earlier hour keeps your mind focused for longer. If you manage to limit your use of social media apps, then you are surely on your way to achieving all your health goals!

So, download these awesome apps and start testing the limits of your mind today!

About the Author:

Alma Causey is a Freelance writer by day and sports fan by night. She writes about tech education and health-related issues. Live simply, give generously, watch football and a technology lover.