All posts by Miley Dowling

Insights

Tips for Keeping More of Your Money

To say you work hard for your money is an understatement. So, why do you just toss it away? By reducing frivolous spending, extended credit, and taking preventative measures you can keep more of your money. 

The Art of Shopping

There are those who spend money and then there are those who know how to spend money. The latter group of people has an art when it comes to shopping. They use only reliable sources that give them the best prices and the most for their money. Using online sites people can receive things like Amazon Rebate, wherein savvy shoppers get rewards for the purchases they spend. If you’re going to spend money, get something back for doing it. Retail superstores aren’t the only ones that offer perks to their customers who remain loyal. Gas companies, grocery stores, airlines, and many credit cards do the same. 

Abolish Bad Habits

Smoking and consuming alcohol aren’t just bad for you, they are expensive habits. A pack of cigarettes can range from $6.00 up to $15.00 depending on where you live. With the average smoker going through at least one pack a day, you’re talking about over $2,000.00 dollars a year. Just think of what you can buy with that amount of money. Make an effort to quit today.

Dining Out

Dining out with family and friends a few times a month is fine. You share a few laughs and enjoy a good meal. However, dining out multiple times a week will cause your bank account to take a downward spiral with not much to show for it. Instead, if you want to enjoy time with extended family and good friends, take turns hosting at your home. The atmosphere is better and you can relax like you’re at home, because, well, you are. 

Second-Hand Items

There’s too much focus on buying brand new. While it’s nice to be the first person to use it, in the end, the cost takes away from the excitement. Taking on monthly payments for many years after the purchase isn’t fun. In fact, it ends up costing you more due to the added interest fees. Instead, search out estate and yard sales. You’d be surprised at the things people are willing to part with for just a few dollars. A dresser in a furniture store can cost several hundred dollars. At a yard sale, you can pick one up sometimes for $20.00 or $30.00. If it needs a refinish or a coat of paint, your investment can be up to four times less than buying new. 

Waiting for the Off-Season

As each season comes to an end, retailers discount their remaining merchandise to sell as much as they can to make room for new merchandise. This is where you can seize the moment and buy quality goods for a fraction of the original price. Clothing, outdoor furniture, and holiday decorations are just a few of the items you can find. 

Shopping for a Vehicle

It’s time to invest in a new vehicle. After making many repairs in a single month, you decide to start shopping around. If you put your sights on a used vehicle recently off a two-year lease or a new car still on the lot when the new year models arrive, you can save thousands. Not only will your monthly payments be affordable, but if you live in a state that charges excise tax, that will be less as well. If you’re worried about a warranty, most dealers extend the warranty on these types of vehicles. 
You work hard each day to make your money. With a focus on getting more for each dollar you spend, you’ll learn to spend it wisely.

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Different Approaches for Test Automation for Microservices

Most companies that use DevOps are turning to Microservices for their code development. Microservices are small-sized parts of an application that are focused on completing one task. They are a subpart of a module. These services are independent of each other. Hence they can be tested separately by QA testing companies without worrying about dependencies. Microservices can also be deployed independently. 

All of those are neat benefits. But not everything is great when it comes to microservices. In fact, one of the downsides is that they are hard to test since each has its own codebase, dependencies management, and database schema. Even for local testing, you have to make sure that you’re using the latest code stack., all data migrations are up to date, and that you’re using the correct code branch. 

Since this can be pretty challenging, here are a few ways through which microservices testing can be automated.

1. Full-stack inbox testing

In this, you create the testing environment on a local system. Then you carry out the quality testing on that local system, by testing each instance one by one. The machine is called a vagrant box, as Vagrant is used to creating that environment. 

Benefits

  • Building your virtual machine will take minutes  
  • Pre-built Vagrant provisioners
  • Anyone can test over the internet by downloading the same machine on their laptop. 
  • QA becomes easier. 

Problems:

  • Spinning the machine locally can have unexpected errors. 
  • This system doesn’t scale. 
  • Trying to replicate a cloud infrastructure environment on a local system doesn’t test the same way. 

2. End to end testing 

End-to-end testing is the Quality Assurance for all the parts of the system i,e, services, integration, interface, and network. This type of testing tests the whole user journey, from start to finish. You can also use the 80/20 rule – that is, not simulating all the parts of a real test, just pieces of it.

Benefits

  • It validates all layers of the service, such as the data layer, integration layer, presentation layer, and business layer.
  • It reduces time and costs by decreasing errors. 

Problems:

  • Many companies don’t believe End-to-End testing is useful for microservices as they are not full applications. Hence there won’t be a workflow that tests all aspects of service. 
  • Testing gets complex every time you introduce a new microservice into the architecture. 

3. Unit testing 

Unit testing is done by writing test cases for a particular unit/part of the code. A unit can be one method or a whole module. The basic idea is to divide the repository into smaller components and to test them individually. 

Ideally, unit testing should be done by minimizing external dependencies. Doing so will ensure quality even if the external environment around the unit changes.

Benefits

  • You can use different development languages or frameworks for unit testing.

Problems:

  • Testers may write wrong tests
  • Debugging unit tests often wastes time instead of saving it.

 4. Documentation first testing

Also called the API First approach. In it, you create the API along with its documentation before anything else. The API documentation is made open-source.

Developers APIs are considered “High-level citizens.” Doing so creates a contract for how to make changes to them.  If anyone wants to change API or create their own based on them, they’ll have to review the document to make sure that the new API upholds the standards mentioned in the Original API. 

Benefits

  • Increases Speed to market 
  • It reduces costs. Well suited for cloud development.
  • Many teams can work parallelly based on API definitions in the documentation. 

Problems

  • Setting up the initial API can be challenging.
  • Testing all parameters in API Request combinations can take long
  • Schema updating of the API may cause downtime because of new parameters. 

5. Stubbed Testing

Used for top-down integrating quality testing. In it, you use small codes called stubs for testing. They behave and handle data like microservices but they are just dummies – small, isolated parts of your application.

Software testing companies use stub tests when they need to do QA after taking input from the user. The system can just mimic user behavior.

Benefits:

  • Can test the primary module without the smaller modules (top-down approach)
  • Reproduce complex modules easily
  • Can test without the required response. 
  • Saves time

Problems:

  • Shallower than other methods. 
  • Static methods cannot be stubbed
  • Pointer method signatures not supported.

You can use different tools software testing companies use to test microservices, such as: 

  1. Goreplay: Open-source, a networking tool that monitors live traffic. 
  2. VCR: a unit testing tool that records HTTP interactions for your test suite. 
  3. Apiary: a documentation tool. It can write, mock, and spin an API in 30 minutes. 
  4. Wilma: Service virtualization tool. Combines Service stubs and HTTPS proxy
  5. Wiremock: HTTP based API simulator. Creates an actual HTTP server and mimics web service. 

Conclusion

Microservices testing can be difficult but is an unavoidable part of development. You can change your strategy as per requirement and situation. There is uncertainty in this type of testing, but if you apply tried and tested theories like Stubbed testing, documentation testing, etc., you won’t face any problems. 

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The 7 Best Careers for Digital Nomads

Jetting off to a different country — or maybe several — for a long time, maybe even permanently, is a dream for many. Unfortunately, it’s not always the most practical of aspirations. After all, you need to earn a living, one that will fund your desired lifestyle.

But today, many people have found a way to earn a living while still making their way around the globe. These so-called digital nomads rely on their business savvy and WIFI connections to perform their work. And you can, too! While not every job is conducive to this lifestyle — after all, it’s hard to perform surgery on the go — there are still many that are, from software development for a company like BairesDev to writing for a variety of publications.

Here are some of the best ones that a lot of people are already working on while traveling around the world.

1. Software or web developer

Programming is an occupation that you can easily carry with you wherever you go, whether you’re building apps, websites, games, or other products. Given that it’s a skill that’s in high demand, many businesses will be eager to accommodate your desire to work remotely, as long as you demonstrate that you’re a skilled coder who will benefit their organization. Often, you don’t even need an internet connection, which makes the profession even more adaptable.

2. Writer/editor

While there are many writers and editors who work in full-time roles at publications and organizations, there’s also an increasingly large subset who freelance. This makes it easy to travel while you write — and you may even find that some employers will let their full-time staff work remotely as well. You have many options if you pursue writing as a career, from blogging to copywriting to journalism.

3. Digital marketer

Not all types of marketing are conducive to the digital nomadic lifestyle, but those that deal exclusively in the online realm tend to be more so than, say, print advertising. For example, an SEO specialist is often able to develop strategies for boosting rankings and analyze businesses’ materials from anywhere in the world. Likewise, a social media manager often needs little more than an internet connection to post content and evaluate analytics.

4. Virtual assistant

The job of virtual assistant is steadily gaining popularity as many business leaders are realizing that much of the help they need can be provided remotely. In this role, you’ll perform many of the jobs a regular assistant would — scheduling appointments, entering data, responding to requests, and performing other administrative tasks — all from the comfort of your own home or wherever you’re currently residing. 

In many cases, you’ll be expected to make phone calls, so you should discuss whether it’s possible to use Skype or a similar platform with your employer.

5. Graphic designer

As long as you have the artistic flair and essential design tools like Adobe Suite, it’s not too difficult to imagine life as a graphic designer on the road. There are plenty of times when you won’t even need a WIFI connection, like when you’re sketching out ideas or even creating them on your laptop, whether you’re working on a logo or an advertisement. 

6. Online language teacher

If you have a passion for travel, envisioning life as a language teacher isn’t a huge stretch. Fortunately, you don’t even need to teach languages in person anymore. The demand for English teachers around the world is high, as is that for instructors of other languages. You can teach through an established company like Teach Away or market your services as an independent tutor.

Keep in mind that the requirements vary for different platforms, so it’s important to look into them before you decide to go this route. At the very least, you’ll likely need a bachelor’s degree.

7. Consultant

If you’re well-established and have a great deal of experience and plenty of skills in your industry, consider becoming a consultant. This career path has a lot of advantages over traditional, 9-to-5 positions, including more flexibility and often higher earning potential. Businesses in many industries need consultants to advise them on their strategies, from marketing to finance. 

Because you’re not a salaried employee, you won’t be expected to go into an office, and the meetings you do need to attend can often be conducted over Skype or another video or phone platform.

There are plenty of options when it comes to living life as a digital nomad, no matter what your strengths. While it’s not suited to every career, increasingly, many organizations are allowing their employees to work remotely — even when they’re traveling the globe. If you believe your job is adaptable to this lifestyle, discuss it with your employer. It’s a good idea to support your case by explaining how it will benefit both of you. 

Or, consider whether freelancing or consulting might be a good fit for you. Not only are there plenty of jobs for the digital nomad, but there are so many different ways of working!

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The Biggest Mistakes You Can Make When Outsourcing Software Development

When a business needs to create, customize, or manage software solutions for their business, they simply don’t have the time, know-how, or manpower to do so in most cases. Thus, many organizations have made the smart decision to partner with a third-party outsourcing provider for all of their software development needs.

Outsourcing software development has a number of significant advantages for companies of all sizes and specialties. The practice reduces costs by not keeping team members as in-house, full-time employees. As they are part of an external team, the hiring company must only pay a flat monthly or hourly rate or pay for the entire project (depending on the contract). Companies are able to scale the number of people on their teams up or down as well, helping to ensure maximum efficiency and use of resources. 

Outsourcing companies, such as BairesDev, give organizations access to niche skill sets and a wide variety of talent that they may not have been able to access otherwise. (Learn more about BairesDev here: https://www.bairesdev.com/software-development-services/software-outsourcing/) These teams keep costs down while operating at maximum efficiency to help companies stay focused on their core business tasks and still accomplishing their software goals. 

The Most Common Software Development Outsourcing Mistakes

Working with an outsourcing company for software development projects is very beneficial for all kinds of businesses. However, the partnership can go awry when the hiring company makes mistakes. This doesn’t just lead to failed projects, but to loss of time, loss of money, and an indefinitely postponed launch of the final product.

It’s very important that companies understand what it takes to have a good partnership with a third-party outsourcing provider. Not only that, but they should be aware of the common pitfalls and how they can prevent them from happening.

Here are just a few examples of the most common outsourcing problems and how to prevent them:

  1. Choosing an outsourcing company based on the lowest cost. – Most outsourcing companies do exist to help cut down on the cost of developing software. The price of hiring talented developers at an offshore or nearshore development company can be a fraction of what it would cost to hire a developer to work in-house.
    However, saving a few extra dollars overall to hire a more inexperienced development team at the lowest cost could have dire consequences. Obviously cost is a deciding factor in making any business decision, but it should not be the only one. Take experience levels, technology offerings, project examples, communication abilities, and the company as a whole into account in all decision making.
  2. Not making communication a top priority. – Communication makes or breaks an outsourcing project. When working with an outsourced team, communication becomes more important than ever. Before a project begins and an outside team is even hired, companies must take the time to fully establish the project goals, the intended functionality, the necessary requirements, and any other important information that the development team should know. After selecting an outsourcing provider, leaders need to decide on the required communication methods and frequency of communication. Thanks to programs such as Slack and Skype, instant communication between teams all over the world is possible. Regular meetings (via phone or video chat) should occur to help ensure that all team members are on the same page and kept updated on progress throughout the duration of the project. 
  3. Setting unreasonable timelines. – While outsourcing companies are able to expedite timelines thanks to the experience and skill sets of their talent, they aren’t magicians. Timelines must still account for any bugs, issues, or additional development requirements that may not have initially come up. If the hiring company sets a due date that is simply unattainable, the project will fail, not be up to necessary standards, or important items could be overlooked. Instead, companies should work with the development team to decide on a fair time frame that works for both the devs and the end-users.
  4. Not having any kind of in-house tech know-how. – Some companies enter outsourcing contracts without having any kind of in-house technology understanding on their end. While outsourcing companies offer their team leaders, it doesn’t mean that they will be able to fully align their work without being able to discuss the logistics with the in-house team. These in-house employees don’t have to be experts, but just having a tech resource available is helpful and will prevent possible communication issues.
  5. Underestimating the importance of quality assurance and testing. – Again, developers are not magicians. While they are experts in their respective field(s), outsourced development projects are bound to have bugs and errors. This is why quality assurance processes and testing are so important throughout the entire Software Development Life Cycle. Some hiring companies believe that they are hiring experts so they should not have to also hire testers and QA professionals. This is simply not the case. 

Software development outsourcing companies are great resources for companies who need to complete development projects but simply don’t have the time, money, or know-how to do it in house. As long as best practices are put into place from the very beginning of the relationship with an outsourcing company, these costly mistakes are avoidable for joint success.

DevelopmentInsightsMartech

How 2020 Became a Landmark Year for Online Learning

In recent years, technology has begun playing a large role in everyday life. Everything from communication to fitness classes to shopping has moved online. Up until now, education has been an exception to this technological shift. However, the climate of 2020 is leading to a big change in the way we look at educational technology and online learning.

Granted, some technology has already made it into the educational sphere, especially with the incorporation of iPads and laptops into many public schools. A small subset of higher education institutions has also offered online options in recent years. In 2020, however, options have increased significantly for those wanting—or needing—to make the shift from traditional educational settings to the online world. For example, it’s possible to earn an AACSB online MBA no GMAT required. Without the need for hours spent in a physical classroom and time spent on rigorous entrance exams, higher education is becoming much more accessible to those who can’t take in-person classes due to circumstances such as work and childcare.

Online degrees are becoming more normalized. With the general technological shift and the increasing need to work while in school, it was a long time coming, but educational institutions had little incentive to change their models. COVID-19, however, has changed the landscape. With everything closing due to safety regulations, colleges and universities have no choice but to shift online or close their doors. As many students abandon their dorms and settle in at home for online lectures, 2020 has proven that online learning is effective. It’s an increasingly viable option that is becoming the new norm.

Tools Making Online Learning Possible

Since most class structures are geared towards in-person lectures and discussions, the way professors teach must change a lot to be compatible with online learning. Luckily, many software companies have developed or promoted cost-effective tools to make the shift possible. Many schools already used tools such as Google Classroom, Moodle, and Schoology to keep their students organized, but these class management tools have become much more integrated into the learning experience. While they might previously have been a useful way to remind students of their assignments and provide a place to turn things in, classroom management tools in 2020 are vital for scheduling, assignments, and asynchronous lectures and forums. They have become the central hub in place of traditional classroom learning.

With the shift to online classes, asynchronous lectures are more important. Students living at home need more flexibility to work and contribute to their families, and their internet access might be less dependable. Recorded PowerPoints and Zoom lectures posted to classroom management sites make this more flexible schedule possible.

Despite the need for asynchronous options, most professors still opt for at least some synchronous lectures and discussions to preserve the classroom community. Platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams have increased in popularity and become a new staple on students’ laptops.

With the help of new technological tools, most 2020 education has moved online. While it may have already been possible to get a degree from the comfort of your home, now it’s the new normal. As schools and companies continue to normalize and optimize online learning, schools may find that it’s more convenient and cost-effective. 2020 has changed the way we view education—and likely changed its future. Online learning may well be here to stay.

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How Can I Use Videos For Lead Scoring?

Like marketing and sales tactics, videos can and should be calculated.  This information can be used to guarantee your work will reach the right people.  Videos require a different approach to metrics with different numbers when building the correct lead scoring process.  We at Inovit will break down how lead scoring works and how different kinds of videos fit into the scheme.

Just What Is Lead Scoring?

Lead scoring is evaluating a prospect or customer readiness to buy your products or services. This is determined by the level of engagement with your service or brand and the customer’s intention in purchasing.  For a long time now, customers are seen as a funnel but you must realize some customers are non-linear with sustenance going beyond the final sale. Lead scoring measures behavior from one customer to another.  The most popular way to achieve this is with marketing automation platforms including Hubspot, Marketo, Pardot, or Act-On.

Every company has different needs and ways to evaluate their customers.  Sales and marketing teams must create a lead scoring system that will work for both parties to deliver the best results.

Your traditional lead scoring assigns values to different interactions with your marketing or sales activities. In some cases, different interactions may be a lot more valuable than others.  This all depends on the level of engagement of the prospect with your company.  Each interaction is weighted or given a number of points based on the level of importance of every interaction of your sales or marketing team.

For instance, a prospect that has signed up for a webinar or watching a sales demo would be considered a more valuable prospect than someone viewing a video in your newsletter, liking a video post on Facebook, or viewing a YouTube pre-roll ad that plays before a featured video.

A lead scoring template will tie a numerical points system to each interaction that connects with the customer’s journey.  In other words, the more points a prospect has, the more qualified the sales or marketing lead will be.  There are different point thresholds that carry the consumer through the journey, prompting sales and marketing teams to perform other actions when engaging with the prospect.

We are huge fans of explainer videos and one from Hubspot breaks it down really well:

Some examples of template, marketing, automation platforms such as Marketo and Hubspot have excellent resources to help you get started.

Why Is Video Lead Scoring Different?

Videos are a unique medium with different metrics than those of sales and marketing tactics. Each metric should be mapped to your lead scoring chart with different levels of engagement connected to different tiers of the customer journey.

Using video lead scoring metrics information along with information from your prospect’s business to create a lead scoring scheme to accurately predict the likelihood that a prospect will become a customer, is risky.

If you look back at past data and see who your current clients are and how they behave, would be ideal.  Many marketing automation platforms are offering increases by sophisticated tools to help you.

About Video Production For Different Stages of A Customer’s Journey

Now that you understand how lead scoring works and what metrics to use to evaluate, it’s time to look at how different types of videos play a role.

Top-Of-Funnel Videos

You should think about top-of-funnel videos as an introductory phase for your viewers.  You need to capture your viewers and get them engaged in your brand.  This is your big opportunity to set a really great impression.

Explainer videos will help educate new viewers and give them an insight into who you are.  Broadcast commercials and social media videos can help reach out to new audiences.

As said before, brand awareness videos must prove value and must answer some very important questions:

• What makes your business different from others?

• What makes you better than your competitors?

• Why should prospective customers listen to you?

• How can you help me?

You need to consider middle-of-the-funnel videos.  Once you have captured prospective customers who are interested in your brand, you need to prove your overall value and then turn these people into positive sales leads.  Once you are at this stage, make sure you are giving them more in-depth information that agrees with your audience’s point of view.  Videos like webinars, case studies, how-to, and customer testimonials can give you an edge for prospective customers looking to learn more about how your product or service will benefit them.

A more in-depth video explainer video that is tailored to certain products, services, or industries can provide your audiences with detailed answers to specific questions.

Sales –  Bottom-Funnel Videos And Renewals

Think about it, bottom-funnel videos are the most important part of your sales team.  These videos are constantly used on demos, with existing customers, and even sales calls.  These videos can be perfect for a product walkthrough, explainer videos, or specific topics for webinars, and so much more.

Retargeting and Creating Loyalty Among Potential Customers

It can be quite beneficial for reactivating leads that have gone cold or to entice repeat purchases using videos. The type of video will depend on the viewer.  You might choose to target a YouTube or social media ad toward visitors to your website that did not convert. You might also send a video email to follow up with a customer who attended your webinar but did not enter the funnel. Videos can excite current customers regarding a new product or a feature with an explainer video that breaks down into detail about your product or feature. You already know these people have invested in your company with a brand, so give them a little shove in that direction.

The Value of Lead Scoring With Videos

You have put a lot of work into creating a video so it’s very important that you make the effort to measure the impact. Lead scoring is very valuable because it will give you the insight to create a video that will give your audience the very best experience and entice them to buy your brand.

A Short Summary

We have added a great deal of information in this article to draw viewers to your site and purchase your products. We have gone over choosing voice-overs vs animated text while pointing out that voice-overs have become more popular and why. Why mobile devices need to be discussed on a different level as the data connection is now so much faster.  But ask yourself if this an avenue that will work best for your viewers?

We cannot impress upon you enough, if you are using someone else’s work, you must get permission from the creator due to copyright laws. There are so many articles on the subject, read all you can and become familiar with all the dos and don’t s regarding copyright.

We at Inovit have gone out of our way to provide you with valuable information that will take a while to digest while helping you find the best marketing tactics that will work best for your videos and draw your potential and current customers to your site and buy your products!

DevelopmentInsightsMartech

5 Tech Solutions Being Used by Property Management Professionals

Technology has revolutionized the real estate industry in many ways. There are several tech solutions that have been developed by different companies and individuals. All of them are aimed at making the operations of property management professionals easy.

Considering the fact that the real estate industry is one of the most profitable, there is stiff competition in terms of attracting clients. That’s probably why most of the tech solutions available are geared towards improving service delivery.

Property management professionals who previously depended on manual ways of tracking data and the use of  spreadsheets  can now take advantage of cloud-based software to keep their data and facilitate automation of work.

Whether its part-time landlords in Lansing or full-time Austin property management professionals, both will benefit from the following array of tech solutions:

1. Property Matrix

The property matrix software is considered one of the most comprehensive tech solutions available. It is a cloud-based based software that provides a complete suite of management applications such as building maintenance, CRM, tenant and lease tracking, property marketing, and property accounting. All these features are available in a user-friendly interface designed to enhance quick access to various tools. To improve user experience, the software allows one to filter particular units, manage invoices, and track maintenance requests.

2. Buildium

Buildium is another great software used by property management professionals. It is mainly used in streamlining the leasing process. It also has automated features such as rent collection late fee reminders. Besides that, the software assigns duties to respective staff as well as handling management maintenance.

3. Propertyware

Another great tech solution in property management that enables stakeholders to keep track of all activities in their business. Property managers are able to use the software to oversee the leasing life cycle as well as maintenance management. The good thing about this software is that a user can filter rea time data and customize information to fit their business. It can also be used on different devices. It is important to ensure that you get the latest version of the software – for easy operations.

4. TruPlace

Property buyers and renters spend a lot of time online looking for prospective homes to buy. This implies that more information is posted about a certain property, the more views, and interest in purchasing it. This software can give you a competitive advantage through the optimization of virtual home viewing. Besides, a property owner can use the software to prepare and send floor plans to respective houses – hence providing potential clients with detailed information on various houses they would wish to purchase.

5. Mynd

This software solves the problem of rent collection from tenants and home buyers. Customers are able to use the software to contact property managers, make payments, and place service requests. On the other hand, property owners can see real-time reports and transactions. This makes it easy for them to take quick action in case they detect any issue.

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A Few Tips For Starting a Trucking Business

If you like to travel and don’t mind being on the road for hours on end, maybe a trucking career is for you. And if you’ve already gone down that path and you’re looking to take the next step, starting a trucking business of your own might be the answer. Before you can start, though, you have to do thorough research — running a business is a bit different than simply picking up and dropping off loads or vehicles.

You Don’t Always Have to Buy New

As a business, there’s a time and place to purchase new items but when it comes to starting up a trucking business, there’s no harm in buying used. Use the internet to look around and you’ll see that there’s a whole market out there of dependable trucks for you to use in your fleet. For example, there are many used tow trucks for sale in great condition and ready to go. You just have to know what types of vehicles you’re looking for and how much you’re willing to spend. Research is essential, here.

Have The Right Tech in Place

Each and every day, businesses become more in tune with technology and your trucking business should be no different. Managing your fleet with an IoT system will help you track many aspects of the job that companies weren’t able to do 50 years ago. It can help you manage fuel use, traffic conditions, and maintenance requirements. Getting the proper technology in place can help you save money down the line and be more efficient as a company as a whole.

Start Small and Slowly Expand When Necessary

Starting a business can be stressful and time-consuming, but the potential rewards are there for the taking. As for expansion, well that’s a whole new topic and at some point, it may creep into your mind. Depending on your workload, there might be a day when you decide you need to branch out. Do so with caution after you’ve gone over the pros and cons with a fine-tooth comb. As a business owner, you’ll want to make informed decisions that’ll benefit your company and not hinder it. As there’s no need to rush into expansion, take your time with it and truly see if it’s the right move for you.

Decide on Your Home Base

Running a full-fledged trucking business requires some sort of headquarters or home base to deploy trucks from and to keep them maintained. Look into properties for sale and see if they fit your criteria and if they’re suitable or zoned for trucking. Put out a wide net and see what information you discover. Sometimes, you need to look for a while before finding the perfect property, or sometimes you luck out.

Drivers Needed

Since you’re not able to drive every truck solo on a daily basis, you’ll need reliable employees to help. As it might be difficult finding employees with the right qualifications, you’ll have to take a deep dive and use many avenues to obtain information on potential drivers and legal representatives. Know what type of person you’ll want representing your company while on the road and make the appropriate decision to come hiring time, based on those needs.

In the end, it takes some time to start up any type of company. If you’re willing to dedicate your time and money to your business, having the right tools, software, and personnel with similar goals to help you operate on a daily basis is critical to the success of your company.

DevelopmentInsights

Ultimate Guide to Building a Pitch Deck

When you start a business, it can be nerve-wracking and hard, but when you present your pitch it needs to be eloquent and concise and have a great design. It is important to understand when is the best time to launch your business and don’t forget to explain what your company is trying to do.

Make sure that your pitch is perfect because investors are using it continuously to evaluate your company’s potential so it is important that you make a good impression. If you were to ask any successful entrepreneurs and investors, their advice would be to keep it simple but also include the information that is relevant to whoever it is you are pitching to.

In this article we will discuss:

  1. What is a pitch deck?
  2. How to write a pitch deck
  3. The presentation

What is a pitch deck?

A pitch deck, also known as an investor pitch deck or startup pitch deck, is generally the first communication tool that is a presentation that entrepreneurs and startups put together.

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And here we go!

How to write a pitch deck 

1) Customize your pitch

While some may think that PR pitches are simple and they envision themselves being successful the first time around, most of the time that is not the case. It is more common and effective to form a relationship with investors before making your pitch. You need to ask the investor the key components that they want to see in your deck and what outcomes and numbers are important to them.

2) Prepare multiple documents that tell your company’s story

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Pretty self-explanatory, but try and create a different version of your deck depending on who you are presenting to. You should divide it up into a short intro deck, one for in-person meetings, and another one for follow-up calls.

3) Verify investors before sending them confidential information.

It is important to remember not to include any financial information before you have developed a relationship with any media outlets. As much as you might really need their help, you need to qualify them so that you don’t make a mistake with trusting the wrong people.

4) Make sure to visually represent your brand identity and keep it concise

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Remember that first impression matter so designs your pitch to properly represent your business and create a presentation that catches investor’s eyes. Ride the fine line between professional and having personality. You want investors to be able to see your vision just through a few slides, Try using KISS and use your presentation as an additional way to present your vision so use mainly visuals rather than an explosion of words on the screen because you don’t want them spending so much time reading your proposal rather than listening to you.

The presentation

Keep your pitch deck concise and tell a story.

However you decide to create your pitch deck, it should not be too long in both the visual and verbal presentation. In that short presentation, you need to outline the most important parts of your business. Do not go overboard with the information that you are presenting, you want to tell a story that the investors can understand and where you want and think your business is going.

You may want to include numbers and metrics and while that may be beneficial, you need to know which ones matter most to each individual investor. So, present a good combination of both.

Represent your team.

When a company is first starting out, investors are looking at the people behind the company, not the company itself. They have to know whether you can accomplish what you are saying you will. They want to get to know the person behind the curtain. So, it is important that they get to know the entire team and their backgrounds.

If it is relevant, include personal or professional backgrounds that are relevant to the company.

Don’t forget to say what your company is actually doing.

It is important to not lose sight of the message that your company is trying to put across. It is very easy to get caught up in presentations and investors that people sometimes forget the purpose of their company.

Stay humble and don’t forget that you need their help and you need to portray that you want this company to work and believe in it.

Outline both your grand vision and your concrete execution.

It is important to emphasize the vision you have for the company and where you can see it going because if there is already a clear picture presented, investors are more likely to be interested. Once you have presented your vision, you also need to show the exact way that you will go about executing your business because they will also need to see that you have a course of action.

Address the market landscape and competition.

In your pitch, you also need to be aware of the competition that you are up against and how you can stand out from them. Investors want to not only understand why it would be a good idea to invest, but they want to know what already exists in the market so that they can figure out where your company is going to go and whether it is worth it to invest if there are already so many of the same niche.

Explain why now is the best time to launch your business.

Obviously, you want to talk about your company and how you are going to go about it, but you also need to help them understand why it is important to launch it now. It can be helpful to show that you not only have a good idea but show them that it’s the right time to pursue it and what are steps that haven’t been done before. The questions that need to be answered are whether you are ready and capable to execute it at that exact moment.

Specify how you’re going to spend the money you raise.

Presenting your company may be all good and well but investors want to make sure that the money that they are going to invest in you is worth it. You need to be specific of all aspects of business and your company down to the office space, agreements with vendors, and big expenditures.

Highlight your plans for growth.

Try and present a plan that will be beneficial for both you and them in the long run. Try and also tell them how long it will take for you to return their investment back. They want to know how long it will take for them to recover the cost of their investment.

The whole point of them giving your company money is because they know and believe that they will eventually make a profit off of it. Give them a timeline of when it is going to happen.

Tweak the deck based on the feedback you get from each investor.

Finally, it is important that each pitch deck is tweaked for every individual investor because not all points will match each person. You may be asking different people for different things, so try to change it up a bit.

With these tips, pitch decks can be easy enough to create. It is important for both you and the investors to understand all aspects of your company and the vision that you are trying to present. You can use websites like this one and others in order to do things on your own without having to break the bank trying to outsource your skills.

Sometimes it can be stressful to create a pitch deck, which is where we come in. We pride ourselves on providing the materials to create an effective PR campaign. If you are interested in our services, check out our pricing and packages so that you can get a customized press kit.

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5 Current Technologies Bringing Us Closer to True AI

Artificial intelligence is quickly taking shape in different aspects of our lives. Many companies are working on ways to replace human labor with artificial intelligence.

It is believed that a few years from now robots will be performing most of the work being done by human beings. What does that mean for most people who rely on formal employment to earn a living?

Well, some technology experts argue that it is impossible to completely replace human labor with artificial intelligence (AI). Others believe that a time is coming when robots will be doing everything that’s currently being done by humans.

Whatever the case, the truth is that the race towards artificial intelligence is gaining momentum every day.

Below are 5 technologies that are bringing us closer to True AI:

1. Ridesharing apps like Lyft and Uber

This is one of the technologies that is driving us closer and closer to true artificial intelligence. Have you ever asked yourself how Uber or Lyft determine the price of each ride? Or how they minimize time as soon as you board the car? How about matching you with other passengers to reduce detours?

Well, the answer is machine learning (ML) software designed to predict the demand of riders in order to push up the prices. The head of machine learning at Uber admitted that the company uses different forms of artificial intelligence technology to perform various activities. He added that Uber is investing in different other technologies related to AI.

2. Chatbots

Chatbots are another form of modern technology that’s taking us closer to AI. The best chatbot examples include those used by Emirates vacation, World Health Organization COVID-19, National Geographic, Hipmunk, Civilized Caveman Duolingo, Amtrak among others. 

A chatbot feature is software designed to trigger conversations with human beings on the internet. Many companies use chatbots as part of cutting down operation costs such as communications and customer service.

3. Alexa

When Alexa was first introduced to the market by Amazon, many people around the world were taken by surprise. The software has proved to be a revolutionary product considering its usefulness in the voice industry.

Amazon has been improving the technology ever since it was launched. Several features have been added that make it easy for users to customize its use.

4. Cogito

This artificial intelligence software was originally developed by Dr. Sandy Pentland and Joshua Feast. It is one of the most powerful forms of behavioral adaptation to improve the emotional intelligence of customer representatives.

Cogito is a combination of behavioral science and machine learning designed to improve phone interaction of customer representatives in the market today. The software is used for millions of voice calls happening every day.

5. Netflix

This is another revolutionary software service that’s giving the true meaning of artificial intelligence. Netflix software offers accurate predictions with regard to a consumer’s reaction to various films. This feature is part of why the popular streaming service has given traditional telecom services a run for their money.

The software assesses billions of films based on a customer’s previous reactions to film choices. This technology is still undergoing several improvements. No one knows what it will be capable of doing in the coming years.

In general, there are a lot of technologies that are bringing as much closer to AI reality. It will be a matter of time before the world experiences the real power of artificial intelligence.