Monitoring Employees’ Productivity

In these tough economic times, a company must do all it can to watch its bottom line.  There are no shortcuts, no easy answers, and no guaranteed revenue streams.  Keeping an eye on every expenditure and every employee’s production is the key.  Knowing that a company’s employees are making the most of every moment they are on the clock can keep a company’s staff costs under control.    With most employees having a computer on their desk with internet access easily available, the temptation to take some time away from work and do a little surfing is strong.  Especially for employees who use the internet legitimately at work, it is very easy to take too much personal time on the internet.  Monitoring employees’ at-work behavior is a way to ensure that time is not wasted and their productivity is where it should be.image_458297368

After being installed on the computers in an office, Activtrak will produce many different reports  and information.  There are ways to monitor the activities of the employees in real-time as well as getting a historical report on each computer.  Activtrak can be configured with alarms that can be activated when certain websites or types of websites are accessed.  And it is also possible to block access to websites or classes of websites.  For example, it may be necessary for an employee to have access to the internet to do their job, but with Activtrak you find that an employee is accessing Facebook throughout the day.  It is possible to block this website and others like it so that the employee is still able to perform his or her duties by using the internet, but they are not allowed to waste time on social networking sites.  Activtrak can be installed on employees’ computers without their knowledge.  There will be no way for the employee to know that their computer is being tracked or to be able to tell in real time that they are leaving a trail of their surfing history.  The system can be set up so that only certain network administrators have the ability to look at the data that is produced.  It is also possible for Activtrak to track the amount of time that is being spent on a file or group of files being worked on by an employee.  This is valuable for ascertaining how much time a project is actually taking.  This information is critical for planning and budgeting staff and resources.


One of the most important benefits of using the Activetrak system is holding employees accountable for the time they spend on their computers.  This is vital for any company that is watching its bottom line and tracking its resources.  It is also a good tool when employees know that they can be tracked at any time.  Simply knowing there is a possibility of them being watched can keep an employee doing the right thing.  All employees need a little help doing the right thing occasionally and Activtrak provides the perfect avenue for encouraging good behavior.

Proximity Marketing: A Huge Opportunity for Local Businesses …

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7 Free Android Apps for Small Business

Small business rarely have the luxury of paying lots of money to be productive. There are more important bills that need paying. Thankfully, free apps can be as effective as paid ones, meaning you can get more work done on a budget. These hand-picked apps are perfect for any modern small business owner.




Producteev is an app designed to help you manage team projects. It may look like an online checklist, but there is more to the software. Users can collaborate with as many people as they want. It’s easy to find projects and keep people on track using seamless updates. If you need full Windows integration, fast-tracked customer support, and colour customization, you can purchase a premium version for $99 a month. Otherwise, the app is free forever.


Google My Business


Google has many services can be used by small businesses. Google My Business is a hub for all small business activities. A combination of Google Places for Business and Google+ Pages Dashboard, Google My Business gives owners access to information, conversations, and feedback, all in one place. The consolidated resource makes keeping on top of your businesses online reputation easy.


Microsoft Office Mobile


Microsoft Office is a keystone of many small businesses. With Microsoft Office Mobile, the basic Office suite is at your fingertips. You can put the finishing touches on a PowerPoint project while you’re on the way to the office or continue working on a spreadsheet while you’re home sick. It is available for phones and tablets running Windows, iOS, and Android.


QuickBooks Online


QuickBooks Online is an accounting software designed for personal and business uses. It allows users to track invoices, see profits and losses, and connect to the bank. The interface is simple to understand, making adding new items easy. At tax time, the app can even file taxes. There is a 30-day free trial. The service costs $10 to $40 per month, depending on the features you want.


Business Plan in 5 Minutes


HyperQuestions has created a simple guide to make a business plan in the time it takes to make a microwave dinner. It goes through all of the questions a small business owner must ask when creating a new plan. Professional advice from hundreds of experienced professionals gives plenty of suggestions. The app can predict words, making writing faster, and send the finished plan to the cloud.


Business Model Canvas Startup


This app provides the tools to create a new business model in a safe environment. Using advice from a bestselling book, users are guided through creating a business plan. They are able to test their plans and get visual feedback. The simulation can be broken down into demographics and price ranges. After using this app’s simple instructions, who would ever want to turn to anything else?




MindTools houses hundreds of articles, videos, and resources to hone your skills in the business world. It has advice on everything from leadership to risk analysis. All of these concepts are discussed in a clean, simple way. The MindTools database is searchable, so you can find exactly what you need. The organization of information is easy to understand. By the time someone is done reading these articles, they are a professional.


In the modern day, free apps are perfect for business owners on a budget. This list of apps can help the owners pay the bills, learn new skills, and add a few frills to the Q1 financial report. There is no more reason to fuss over how things will get done. Everything is settled in a quick and easy manner.

3 Software Programs for Your Business Finances | Company News

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Google My Business – Android Apps on Google Play

5 Tactics for Higher Conversions and Sales Online

If you are looking to get more sales and conversions online, you need the right set of strategies. Learn how to get more prospects into your funnel and avoid missing deals. The following tricks will help you crush the competition and dominate the market:


  1. Attract


You must attract your target market first. If you fail to do this, none of the subsequent steps will matter because your prospect will never make it that far in your funnel. To grab their attention and pull them in, you need powerful headlines and copywriting that specifically propose a solution to their problem. For example, don’t say “Best Cars in New York” in your banner ad. Rather, say something like “Get the Best Value on Your Trade In, Without Talking to the Bank!”


  1. Intrigue


Of course, once you’ve attracted your core market, you must demonstrate your ability to help them. Start serving them with quality information on their needs. Remember to ask provocative questions and make bold statements to create intrigue. If you seem like every other service provider in your market, you won’t get the sale and your conversions will plummet. Tell them how you benefit them more than the competition. Do this in the form of a landing page or sales letter and go in depth.


  1. Create Desire


It is not enough to capture their attention and present a few features of your offer. You must create images and thoughts in your prospect’s mind. Use emotional language that helps paint a picture of their dream life in the future (as a result of owning your product). This will help you convert more customers every time.


  1. Test


Don’t rely on your intuition when running ads online. Use software to split test different messages. This way, you can see if a particular headline, color, or placement is responsible for higher click through rates.


  1. Follow Up


If you neglect to follow up with your customers, your competition could swoop in and steal them. Always attempt to solve problems and stay in your customer’s life after the sale. Consider creating an automated email sequence or phone call campaign to touch base every few weeks.


When it comes to better conversions and sales, you must know more than your competitors. With your newfound knowledge, you are ready to implement the techniques it takes to win more online business. Don’t procrastinate, rather start executing on the advice today for maximum leverage.

Advertising for Dummies: How to Promote Your Small Business

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How to Improve your Website Speed

Website speed is a critical part of your business – whether you realize it or not. Sure, people hate waiting, but there is more to it than that. For example, Google has added page speed as an important metric for ranking sites; slow means no organic traffic. Mobile performance is closely tied to this issue as well since data connections are often slower than what an ISP would provide. This can further harm search engine rankings since mobile compatibility is now a factor for Google. By putting the following tips to use, you’ll ensure people can find and easily access your content.


Ditch Shared Hosting

This sentence is the closest you’ll ever find shared hosting to speed. They simply aren’t compatible.

The problem is in the name: shared. Your website – along with the websites of too many others – is hosted on a single virtual or physical server. This is fine if each person receives a low volume of traffic, but the alternative isn’t pretty. Each website must fight for CPU time on top of tackling optimization issues. Add the fact that providers’ profits are related to the number of websites on each server, and the problem is now worse.


Virtual private servers solve this problem. Your website is allocated a virtualized machine which runs only what you require. These servers are often billed according to hourly use and performance tiers, so they can be more expensive. However, fast always comes at a cost.


Compress Images

Large images are the downfall of many websites. Imagine what we would think of the Mona Lisa if it loaded random chunks in an untimely manner. Uncompressed images bring a confused user to your content – a deal breaker for portfolios or sales funnels.

Ideally, compressed images should be the smallest that provide good quality. This may differ on mobile and desktop devices, so take screen sizes into account. If your website runs on WordPress, there are plugins available which will do this for you. A good image handling plugin will:

.   Provide the minimum size image needed

.   Differentiate between mobile and desktop devices

.   Differentiate between retina and non-retina displays


Cache Database Requests

While databases are faster than storing data in, say, a text file, each query is expensive. It may also be the case that each query is unnecessary. Resources are wasted on repeat queries that return the same result. Because of this, many have turned to memory caches.


There are several options available. The two most prominent are Redis and Memcached. They essentially store retrieved database objects in memory, so the things you don’t need won’t hog resources, and repeat retrievals are sped up through RAM access.


Use a Content Delivery Network

Everyone should use a CDN – no excuses. These services replicate your site’s content across the globe. Because of this, users can load your pages faster than if the nearest data center to them was a continent away. And, tied with image compression plugins, this may be the easiest performance tweak you make.


Many consider CloudFlare to be a quality CDN service. It has a free tier which offers the essentials. You may, however, want to consider more advanced or paid options if your website relies heavily on serving content such as videos or images.image_385343347



Website speed is both an important search engine metric and a critical component of the user experience. This guide covered the basics: VPSs, image compression, memory caches, and CDNs. However, there are still other factors that may prove to be time-consuming. Try not to become too obsessed with speed. In the end, most would rather wait three seconds for quality than wait one second for disappointment.

Five Tips for Setting Up Your Own Business | Company News

7 Free Android Apps for Small Business | Company News

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3 Software Programs for Your Business Finances

Bookkeeping for businesses can be tricky, but it does not have to be with some basic financial training and the proper software. But what is the best software? When you have dozens of programs competing for your attention, choosing just one may seem overwhelming. Here is a look at the top software programs that help keep your business finances straight.


  1. Intuit QuickBooks Online


This software program is ideal for small businesses; it is jam-packed with all sorts of features that benefit businesses from childcare providers, restaurants,image_475813942 and freelancers. Not only that, Intuit QuickBooks Online is affordable, and accountants and CPAs tend to use it as their default program.


The only drawback that might give you pause about using Intuit QuickBooks Online is if you prefer to do most or all of your bookkeeping for businesses on a tablet or smartphone; its mobile features are limited, particularly compared with what mobile apps from other accounting programs provide.


Now on to the advantages–and they really are tremendous.

.   Suppose your business uses an accountant or retains one later on. Chances are that this person uses Intuit QuickBooks Online. You should have no issues with a transition.

.   The company is great with providing support, whether you prefer online or phone chat. Resources on the QuickBooks website also give you the lowdown on using the software.

.   The ease of use is excellent. You will enjoy third-party integration capabilities with apps covering payment processing, time tracking, marketing and much more. Furthermore, work is done automatically; for example, data syncs to reconcile transactions and expenses, and you can use automation to develop financial reports.

.   The price is affordable; you can pay as little as $9.99 a month for one user (accountants do not count toward this limit).

  1. Xero


Perhaps the main negative of Xero is that some accountants tend not to use it, instead opting for Intuit QuickBooks Online. That said if accountants are not a concern or if you find one who can work with Xero (and many accountants do), this program offers worthwhile advantages over QuickBooks.

.   The ease of use is smooth, and Xero has a marked advantage when it comes to mobile devices.

.   Xero is not as costly as the already affordable QuickBooks, and you get more features for the money. For $9 monthly, you can have as many users as you like, 1099s and more, features that cost extra on QuickBooks. If you are searching for a payroll program, Xero’s costs $30, while it would be more like $75 elsewhere.

  1. Wave Accounting


If your software needs to be free, you might want to look no further than Wave Accounting, but do consider carefully if your business is really better off with it. If growth past 10 employees is likely, it is best to look elsewhere. Meanwhile, you will have to deal with advertisements and paid customer support. Now on to the advantages.

.   The automation is excellent and includes data syncing and billing.

.   The ease of use is there.

.   A free webinar helps you get started.

So, there you have three programs for three possible situations. Go with Xero if you plan to do much of your accounting from mobile devices. Ditto if you can find an accountant who works with Xero. Otherwise, Intuit QuickBooks Online is excellent.

7 Free Android Apps for Small Business

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Guest Bloggers: Fresh Content Source or Search Rankings Killer?

By Ed Ackley


In the world of Web 2.0 there’s no denying the captivating power of blogs. A well-constructed blog with solid content is a fantastic venue for information sharing and connecting people around the world. Blog evolution includes many blogs serving as effective business platforms for more and more individuals. Blog proliferation across the Internet is nothing shy of pervasive, but the biggest challenge most bloggers still face is keeping a blog updated with fresh, unique content over long periods of time. The continual flow of unique content over time is still one of the biggest factors determining a high search ranking. Fresh, unique content is so important that many bloggers turn to guest blogging and hosting guest bloggers as a means of ensuring content flow. Unfortunately, for many blogs, the new content produced through guest blogging activities can often lead to harm rather than help. image_409468156


King Content


The growth of the Internet into the flourishing and dynamic electronic world of Web 2.0 has empowered bloggers and elevated the role blogs play in the everyday lives of Internet users. Blogs have become powerful platforms of connection with content serving as their lifeblood. This content lifeblood, as far as search engines are concerned, is not all created equal. Emphasis on updated content with originality and uniqueness is what search engine algorithms grade. There’s no denying the fact that updated blogs with fresh and unique content outclass stale and neglected blogs. Search ranking results and success is often primarily tied to unique content delivered over a long enough time that an accurate history can be established.


Without unique content a blog stands no chance of gaining any traction in critical search engine rankings. Without a solid search ranking, there’s no chance in gaining the critical eyeballs necessary to build an audience and ensure blogging success. And when the need for unique content is coupled with the reality that the content stream must be continuous, many bloggers quickly find themselves in a content drought. Bloggers stranded in content droughts often turn to fellow bloggers for a quick content hit and thus enter the world of guest blogging.


Blog Voice


Developing a blog and continually producing content is a tough business. Too many bloggers become seduced by the idea of inviting guest bloggers to do a quick post or provide a content article. There’s nothing sweeter than the idea of taking a week off while still being able to produce and post viable content. That’s a proposition most bloggers find hard to pass on. It sounds so great that many bloggers end up doing it over and over.


The current blogosphere is littered with blogs utilizing guest blogger posts and articles as a primary means of content creation that many blog’s have lost their voice. The major consequence of using guest blogger provided content in a compacted time span is a loss of a blog’s originality. If an established blog with a solid audience starts to wander from its base content, losses in audience are just about guaranteed. Sacrificing a blog’s originality and losing audience is just one of the fatal blows guest blogging content can deliver.


Trust but Verify


Many bloggers accessing help from other bloggers would probably say that losing their blog’s originality isn’t in jeopardy since they utilize guest blogging sparingly. Is hosting the occasional guest blogger a bad idea? As with most things—it depends. Revisit the original reason for using a guest blogger. New, unique content is usually the root for inviting guest blogging activities. The primary responsibility of all bloggers that want to host and maintain quality blogs must be to ensure that all content being posted is unique. Problems start when a guest blogger is simply trusted and never vetted. All guest bloggers’ content must be evaluated with an eye to detail and attention to content originality and uniqueness. These days lots of bloggers make rounds as guest bloggers. Duplicate or poorly spun content is often what’s left in their wake. Nothing helps torpedo search rankings like duplicated content.


Poorly spun content is just as deadly. Google’s latest major search algorithm update, Panda and the subsequent tweak, Penguin now hold correct grammar usage and spelling in higher regard. Editing all blog posts with a critical eye on readability and clarity is essential. If Google’s Panda update wasn’t frustrating enough, Penguin is guaranteed to deliver.


Google’s Penguin update requires heightened editorial scrutiny particularly in the instances of authors delivering content outside of their native language. English as a second language posts may need revisions by a native English speaker to ensure proper content flow. Content should read smoothly and not appear stilted. Keyword stuffing must be guarded against. Natural speech and writing patterns are best. Content length is also critical under the latest Google algorithm updates. A blog hosting lots of minimum length content (300 words) will find itself in jeopardy of being penalized. Content should convey a coherent and relevant idea and be of appropriate length to do so.


At Least as Good


Backlinking and backlink quality is now more important than ever. Bloggers that have been backlink obsessed over the years and using guest blogging activities primarily for backlink sharing stand a good chance of taking a penalty hit. Guest blogging for backlinks can become punitive if a guest blogger’s content and blog isn’t of at least equal standards to the host’s blog. Verifying any and all backlinks in content is now essential with a critical eye to backlink quality. Backlink quality has been positively identified as a ranking signal of growing importance.


Developing and maintaining a high-quality blog that ranks well in order to garner an audience is more of a challenge today than it ever has been. There are many solid bloggers out there willing to share their perspectives and content. Guest blogging might be a fantastic way to source new content, but do your blog and your audience a favor by taking the time to edit and ensure the quality and uniqueness of your contributors’ content.

Google | Company News

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Business Blogging: How to Grab Your Reader’s Attention

When you create a business blog, it’s important to understand that your blog is not just for gaining new customers. While reaching your clients and selling products or services is important, so is offering valuable information to your readers. There are a number of ways you can grab your reader’s attention right away. Taking the steps you need to excite and interest your readers will ensure that your customers return to your blog again and again.


Don’t skimp on a layout

One of the most important things you can do is to invest in a strong layout. Never opt for a free or ordinary blog template. Instead, take your time finding a good graphic artist who can design or sell you a professional layout. The template you utilize should be clear and easy to navigate. Remember that a sloppy or poorly designed template will make reading difficult for your customers. As a result, they may not return to read your blog a second time.



Post regularly

Some new brands make the mistake of thinking they don’t need to regularly update their blog. Nothing could be further from the truth, especially when you’re first getting new readers. You need to make sure you post several times each week. Posting regularly will help rank your blog in search engines, as well as help you keep new readers coming back for more. If readers know they can expect frequent posts, they’ll be more likely to return to your blog.


Start where the story starts

One mistake many new bloggers make is to create long-winded posts. When you begin writing a blog post, try to remember to start your post where your story starts. This means that instead of giving a lot of back story on a product, you simply start talking about the product. Instead of talking about what you did yesterday, talk about what you did today. The more current, exciting and engaging your post is, the more your readers will pay attention.


Use pictures

Consider including a picture with each blog post. This accomplishes a couple of things. First of all, it gives your readers something visual to look at. Yes, they’ll be reading, but a picture is aesthetically pleasing. Give your readers something to scroll back up to, to think about and to contemplate. Another benefit of using a picture is that your readers will be able to pin your picture on Pinterest. This is one of the best websites you can use to get new readers, so take advantage of it as much as possible.image_352153697


Share on social media

No matter how often you update your blog, always share your posts on your social media sites. Sometimes even sharing an old blog post on your social networking sites can boost traffic to that post. Many new readers may not have enjoyed all of your older posts, so you can reshare these to get new customers.



No matter how long you’ve been blogging, it’s never too late to get new readers and clients. Focusing on creating an engaging, energetic website can work wonders in keeping your readers interested and, more importantly, keeping them coming back for more.

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Networking Dos and Don’ts: How to Use LinkedIn to Gain Connections and Job Opportunities

If you’ve been looking for a new job, chances are that you’ve heard about the importance of networking and making professional connections. In today’s tech-savvy world, who you know is just as important as what your skills are. If you connect with like-minded individuals who are in the same field as you, you’ll drastically improve your chances of finding a great job that you enjoy. Unfortunately, many new college graduates and even veteran job-seekers aren’t sure how to start networking with others. LinkedIn offers a powerful, effective way to meet other professionals in your field. You just have to know how to use it correctly.

First off, fill out your profile completely. Make sure you choose a professional head shot for your profile image. The picture should clearly show your face without looking like a “selfie.” Also, note any special skills that you have. Potential employers and recruiters will look at your profile, so demonstrating your skills is a “must.” With LinkedIn, you can easily display your achievements, awards, and publications, too. Always include links to your publications so that people can take a look at what you’ve done without having to do a lot of searching. Remember that the easier you make finding information your qualifications, the more likely you are to get a job.

After your profile is complete, you’ll start adding connections. Begin with people that you know. LinkedIn makes it easy to import contacts from your email account. Add everyone you know, even if you haven’t worked with them directly. Friends and family members are fine to add to your contact list. While it may take people a few days to respond to your request, you’ll see that your contact list quickly begins to grow. Once you have a few contacts you know, you’ll be ready to start expanding your network.

LinkedIn offers a number of interest and job-related groups. Join them! Pick a few groups that interest you and that are related to your field. Once you join, you’ll have the chance to take a look at what other people in the group are talking about and what topics are trending. Participate in discussions on a regular basis. Include meaningful links when appropriate. You can also add group members to your contact list. Remember that if someone accepts your request to connect, you should always send a short email to say “thank you.”

Finally, participate in conversations that appear on your news feed. Even if you aren’t actively applying for jobs, responding to links, articles, and comments that your connections share can get you noticed on LinkedIn. Many companies and individuals alike choose to use LinkedIn as a way to meet new people and to explore new ideas, so participating in trending conversations can be an effective way to start promoting yourself as a potential employee. You can also start your own conversations as frequently as you like. Just remember to always post something of value so that your connections don’t view you as a spammer.

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Customer Commitment: How to Boost Sales by Developing Friendship

One of the hardest things to do in business is to get someone to commit to a purchase. The person must take out their wallet and hand over their hard-earned cash, with the expectation that whatever they will receive in return is more valuable than their money. Nowadays, with the proliferation of scam artists and snake-oil salesmen, making a sale has gotten even tougher for the aspiring entrepreneur. Customers are more suspicious and cynical than ever before, which does not bode well for honest business owners.


The steps to forging a commitment


Prospects are people and so are entrepreneurs. Therefore, the ability to form a personal relationship already exists. However, many business owners mistake professionalism for aloofness. They often see themselves in an authoritarian position, detached from general society. This is apparent in the robotic manner that voice-over telephone messages instruct customers, and in the frustrating way that client complaints are often passed around from one department to another without much regard for the time and well-being of the complainant.


Most large corporations can get away with this for a while, but there often comes a day of reckoning when all their prospects abandon ship and swim towards a smaller competitor who treats them better. It’s much more preferable to start things off on the right foot with your clientele.


Grab their attention


In order to establish a connection, you first need to grab a customer’s attention. This is the step that every entrepreneur, whether beginner or expert, should be familiar with. You need a product or service that stands out from the rest. Of course, most business owners already have a product or service that they are confident with, otherwise they wouldn’t have bothered to set up shop in the first place. Grabbing the customer’s attention, therefore, is a relatively common practice. However, what isn’t so common is the ability to form a connection.


Form a connection


Most entrepreneurs just lay their products out on a table, whether online or in the physical world, and ask customers to purchase what they like. This may be appropriate for a garage sale, but once you expand your business outside the vicinity of your neighborhood, you will need something extra to draw people in. A connection is what you need.


A connection is nothing more than a shared lived experience. It is a commonality that unites two or more people. Instead of just displaying your products and services, a savvier marketing strategy would be to attach a personal experience. This makes sure that the customers visiting your shop or website feel as though you are more than just an acquaintance. For example, if you are selling back pain medication, detailing your own or a family member’s suffering with back pain will strike a chord with the potential clients. They will feel as if you are on the same page, rather than at arm’s length. This human component attaches a face to the seller, and it will no longer appear as if you’re living in a different sphere of reality to the buyer.  image_481105555


Make a commitment


The last part of the process is to make a commitment. Once the customer decides to purchase a product, there needs to be a personal follow-up message. This can be an email or a phone call. The operative word is “friend”. If close friends decided to buy one of your items, how would you approach the situation? Naturally, you would contact them and ask whether the product met their standards, whether there is something you can do to make the experience richer, and whether they have any complaints that you can solve. This must be the prevailing attitude when dealing with clients, even if they aren’t really close friends. Once the buyers know that you have decided to pursue a continuing relationship, they will reciprocate in kind.


Commitment leads to profits


At the end of a day, a fully committed customer stays loyal through turbulent times. If your company makes a mistake, your client base is likely to forgive and forget rather than rail and whine. They now treat you as a friend, since you treated them as one, and friends support one another.


Developing customer commitment might seem like a burden at first. It is not easy to handle prospects on an individual basis and set up systems that will facilitate this process, but the end result is worth the extra effort. A working relationship is a worthwhile goal in itself. The money is just an added bonus.

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Five Tips for Setting Up Your Own Business

Every day, people set off to work resentful and reluctant, wishing they were their own boss, making their own decisions, and controlling their own business. Most will do one of two things: either they will be too reckless, setting up a business without adequate preparation, or too cautious, deciding to play it safe and stick it out in a job they loathe.image_481992994


If you are considering setting up a business, bear the following in mind:


  1. Sell what people wish to buy. No matter how complex your business, no matter whether you are dealing in goods or services, you are always selling something. And if you wish to make money, it must be something people wish to buy. Time and again businesses fail because those who set them up wished to turn their hobby into a career. But just because you love making pretty little cakes or elegant furniture, that doesn’t mean people are going to buy them. Where are you going to sell your product or service? Is there a demand for such things? Are there already lots of people selling what you wish to sell?


  1. Find a mentor. The advice of someone who has set up their own business would be invaluable. And someone who has set up a business similar to yours is worth their weight in gold. Ask their advice and listen to every word they have to say. Do not be ashamed to take a notepad and pen along with you. If you do not know anyone, ask around. Perhaps your friends or work colleagues do. If so, ask them to put in a word for you. Don’t be shy. Explain to them that you are considering setting up, let’s say, a shop selling rare, antique books and that you have heard their uncle or cousin once tried this. If necessary, offer to pay them for their advice.


  1. Make sure you are psychologically prepared.Setbacks can be lonely and painful. And when money, possibly even your life savings, are involved, it can place huge pressure on your relationship. Setting up a business isn’t easy. Suppliers don’t always keep their word, or they go bust, customers file unreasonable complaints, gas prices fluctuate, and of course recessions can strike. To begin with, you will have to work very hard, probably for little return. Are you prepared to dedicate yourself? Do you realize what you are undertaking?


4) Identify your weak points. Are you a poor organiser? Do you find it difficult to interact with people? Are you a poor money manager? Many people, especially when they set up a family business, put the wrong people in the wrong positions. If your brother is surly, rude, and short-tempered, do not put him in a sales role, or on the front desk. If your son has no head for figures, do not put him in charge of the accounts. This may seem obvious, but people often allow family loyalty, or friendship, to dictate such decisions. In business, you must be honest with your co-workers. Frankly, you need to be ruthless!


  1. Come up with an original idea.People are not fools, especially not when it comes to money. If there are big bucks to be made selling laptops, or bicycles, or baseball hats, or anything else, the market will soon be flooded. Strive always to be original. Come up with something no one else has thought of. Of course, that does not mean it will sell!


Giving advice is easy. And businesses rise and fall for all sorts of reasons. Many people have grown super rich not because they were hard-working, or smart, or able to run an efficient organisation, but because they were in the right place at the right time. And numerous businesses have folded even though the owners did everything correctly. But follow the advice offered here and you will at least improve your chances of success.

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