Running A Successful Online Store

Being a business owner comes with a lot of responsibilities, including the upkeep of your store. If you’re an online trader, then it can be a little more difficult to manage your ‘store’ because it’s virtual. If you’re not tech savvy and something goes wrong, you could risk losing out on days, possibly weeks of all important business. Here’s how you can run a successful online store.

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Man the decks

In every sense of the phrase, you should be manning the decks of your business. This means having someone on the phones during business hours to deal with enquiries and complaints. You should also hire someone that can sort out any technical issues for you if something were to go wrong and you don’t know how to resolve the issue. Finally, making sure that you have members of staff ready to pack and distribute the items that you’re selling is also very important to business.

Sort out your delivery service

One thing that many online stores fail with, is their delivery services. Often, companies will go with the cheapest option for them so that they can offer free delivery to their customers. It’s a well known fact that customers would rather pay for the delivery because it means that their package is in safe hands and often means that it will get to them much faster. Shiply offers courier services and offer very competitive prices. Choose a courier and stick with them.

Ditch automation

If you’re using a service like eBay to sell your products, then make sure that you don’t have any automatic messaging services turned on for your customers. This often comes across as spammy which turns customers away from using your service again, if at all. As mentioned earlier, make sure that you have someone on hand to answer any queries or complaints rather than sending back an automated message.

Give customers as much information as possible

Buying items online is risky because until the item arrives to you, you never know if the picture is anything like the item you’re going to be receiving. Make sure that you give your customers as much information as possible so that when they are viewing your items, they can better make a decision on whether to buy it or not.

There’s nothing worse than looking at clothing online and the sizing chart being vague with a chart that says xxs-xxl. Nobody wants to risk getting the wrong size, so make sure that you have measurements to each of your sizes so that your customers can pre measure before buying. The same goes for other items too. Make sure all sizes and weights are displayed so that your customers don’t have a shock and are disappointed when they receive their delivery. This also protects you as a company too, because you’re not lying or hiding information from your customers.

Take these things into consideration and enjoy running a successful online store!

What To Look For In a Home Health Care Provider

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The challenge with homecare health is finding a suitable caring professional that is also affordable. When all is well, it’s easy to overlook and underestimate the value of a good healthcare insurance policy but whatever your financial situation with regard to accessing this care, here are some principles on how to approach finding a caregiver.

These principles are universal, in that they are applicable to finding caregivers for younger adults just as much as they are for older adults.

You’ll need to establish the prospective carer suitability on a number of levels. This can be broken down into the following areas:

1. Safety and Security
2. Reliability
3. Care and Compassion
4. Specialist Medical Expertise
5. A Good Fit

SAFETY & SECURITY

Whilst the majority of caring professionals are trustworthy, there are a number of horror stories where carers take advantage of vulnerable patients, particularly the elderly, in the context of financial gain and manipulation. Safety and Security is understandably one of the main priorities that will first need to be established.

Are the prospective carers trustworthy? Have they been fully vetted? Do they have contactable references from previous patients (or the family of previous patients)? Have they undertaken a criminal records check? What is the recruitment procedure?

RELIABILITY

Reliability and consistency are both critical when it comes to home healthcare. Not just whether the patient will receive care on a regular and reliable basis, but will there be consistency, in terms of having one regular carer who is emotionally consistent too. The relationship between carer and patient is reasonably intimate and it’s important the emotional side of the relationship is considered in terms of reliability and consistency.

Will the careworker be reliable? Will they come on a regular and uninterrupted basis? How many different carers are likely to visit each week, or month? What happens if the primary carer is off sick? What happens if there are adverse weather conditions?

CARE AND COMPASSION

This would appear to be a no-brainer, but think about the motivation the carer had to get into the caring profession. Does it come from a place of care and compassion or is it simply a job that pays their bills? Do they have personal experience where their lives were touched by an amazing carer who inspired them to get into this profession, or is it a career choice they were forced into by necessity?

The best way to gauge the carers level of compassion and empathy is to interview them and request references from previous patients, or the families of patients.

SPECIALIST EXPERTISE

There are different types of carers each with specialist skills in specific areas. You want to make sure you work with a carer that is experienced with the particular issue they will be working with. Questions to ask are what sort of training do the care workers receive? What qualifications and experience do they have in this specific area?

The further question to consider is how often is their training updated? Within medicine and healthcare best practice is constantly evolving. You want to make sure the carer has an up-to-date knowledge and actively engages in continual learning.

A GOOD FIT

Having been through the above aspects, the most important thing to look for in a home health care provider is a good fit with the patient. They should meet and see if they get on – this is going to become a very important relationship and a “good fit” is critical.

Is Your Business Secure?

Running a business isn’t an easy thing to do, I think many of us can agree on that. There is always so much to think about when it comes to the day to day management of your business and staff that sometimes things that matter can become less of a priority to you, and one of those is business security. But yet, in any office, you have technology that has a value. Many businesses have stock that has a huge value and not to mention some of the damage that can be done digitally, so why wouldn’t it be a focus of yours?

That being said it can be easy to be distracted by other aspects of your company, and with that in mind, I thought it would be an ideal time to share with you some of the ways you can ensure your business is fully secure moving forward.

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Are you covered from digital theft?

Much of what is important to a business is stored digitally these days through hard drives and smart devices, and so this means that all businesses are at risk of theft digitally. In a nutshell, this means that someone hacking into your servers and gaining all aspects of your business. From personal information and records to bank details of your business and even personal information of customers. Being hacked is not something you want to happen, so it’s always a good idea to ensure that all hard drives and technology aspects of your business have some form of protection placed on them. It’s also a good idea to only keep the information that you need and regularly audit to ensure that other sensitive information won’t be put at risk.

Is your premises secure?

Not only do you need to think about your business security digitally, but you also need to think about the offices and business premises that you have. A good security alarm these days can now be linked to local police departments so that if something were to happen the authorities would be notified straight away. Other aspects of physical security could be surveillance cameras, or even hiring someone to keep watch during out of hours.

What about sensitive information?

Most businesses have some form of sensitive data, that could be customer information and payment details, or that of members of staff when it comes to HR records, payroll and employment details. It is vital to keep this information safe and secure, and so it might be worth having some form of extra security placed on those records. Sometimes people can use services to verify your customer’s identity through visual and verified documents, and the same could be done for members of staff. For example, there could be visual checks placed on sensitive information of customers or staff, and only verified people can access it at any time. This could also protect you from rogue staff members trying to sabotage your business.

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The use of strong passwords

It may sound very basic, but when was the last time you changed your password? Some people can be guilty of using the same password for a multitude of things or worse still not changing them for a number of years. This puts your business at risk so it is always advisable to regularly change passwords and encourage staff to do the same.

Create a social media policy for your business

Social media is a great tool for business, but it could also put your business in jeopardy. This is when it is advisable to have a social media policy for your staff members, for example, not mentioning company practices or sensitive information that only certain people are privy to. You may also want to put in a clause in regards to slander from disgruntled ex-staff members.

Have some form of signing in and out book

Many businesses have a lot of people coming and going, but do you really know who is entering your business on a day to day basis. This is when a signing in book could be a real simple feature to add to your business and could help in regards to security. Knowing who has been in your business and subsequently left can help you keep track.

Is there anything else your employees could do?

Finally, your employees can also be responsible for the security of your business but ensuring their desks are tidy and that records and sensitive information are locked away. If you have people locking up on your behalf then ensure that they follow certain procedures.

I hope that some of these tips help you to increase the security of your business.

Christmas Fragrance Ideas

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There’s so much to love about the Christmas season. Although it’s only just November — and there’s still Thanksgiving to navigate — it’s inevitable that around this time, thoughts begin to turn to the most wonderful time of the year.

Most of us have memories of Christmases of our childhood. If you think about the memories you have, you might be surprised to realize just how many of these memories are sense-based. The taste of cranberry sauce; the fragrance of pine needles and incense; the satisfying feel of a sliding fingers beneath wrapping paper in anticipation. Of these, by far the most pervasive memories tend to be fragrance-based. This is of no surprise, given how inextricably fragrance is linked to memory– for many of us, one inhalation can transport us back in time to another point in our lives, all based on memory alone.

Many of us now find ourselves playing hostess at Christmas, meaning that it’s the fragrances of our home this year that will last in the memories of our children. Even if you don’t have the traditional snowy weather, you can still use scent and fragrance to ensure the most “Christmassy” feel for your home– and a lifetime of memories for your children. Let’s explore some of the best ways to introduce fragrance to your home this year, as well as offer some tips on the most Christmas-appropriate scents that you’ll want as part of your celebration!

The Art Of Controlling Bad Smells

First and foremost, ensuring your house smells divine means you have to have neutral scents on which to work your fragrancing magic. Therefore, your first focus should be on neutralizing bad smells so that your home can become a cornucopia of fragranced delights.

The most obvious source of bad smells is the kitchen, especially if food burns or the trash hasn’t been emptied in the rush of last-minute preparations. If you don’t have a kitchen fan, then there’s still time to put one into place in time for Christmas. This will help ensure that any bad smells that do develop aren’t left to linger.

Another common bad smell that you might find yourself having to deal with is cigarette smoke. No vent is going to be sufficient for cigarette smoke; it’s notoriously stubborn, so your options are more limited. You could insist that smoking only takes place outside, or encourage the smoker in your life to head to Ecigwizard to stock up on vaping supplies. You’ll still need to remove the lingering smell of previous cigarette smoke, however; there’s a few great ideas to try listed here.

With your home now a scent-neutral zone, you can go to town on introducing the fragrances that will play such a huge role in your Christmas.

The Spice of Christmas

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If a single fragrance was to be named the fragrance of Christmas, then without a doubt, it would be cinnamon. Cinnamon is a scent that we all associate with Christmas; it’s the scent of baked Christmas cookies, of incense, of candles burning over the hearth. You’re definitely going to want to make use of cinnamon for your festive fragrance needs.

There are various ways to do this. You can use the classic options, like candles, wax tarts, and incense burners– but there’s nothing quite like the smell of fresh cinnamon. Thankfully, cinnamon sticks are rather pretty, and can be made into lovely decorations that will go well with the rest of your Christmas decor. Tie a few sticks with some festive ribbon and you’ve got a simple ornament that also has a delicious scent when you stand close to it; add a few vanilla sticks in for a really Christmassy fragrance.

If you want to push things further, then these cinnamon ornaments are a fun DIY to do with your kids, so definitely worth considering!

Natural and Herbal Options

Of course, the one downside of using cinnamon as a Christmas fragrance is that it can make the whole household hungry! If this is an issue for you, you might want to use a blend of natural or herbal smells for your scent choices. Here are a few great options:

  • The smell of pine needles is a guaranteed memory-stirrer for Christmas, as we all associate the fragrance with Christmas trees. Many of the major candle suppliers now do pine needle scented options, or you can buy bags of dried pine needles for use in homemade pomanders.
  • Christmas roses don’t have a particularly different smell to standard roses, so you can use anything rose-fragranced you already have for this purpose. Rose fragrance goes well with pine needles and cloves to really enhance the Christmas feel.
  • Berry scents are also popular for winter, especially dark berries such as blackberries. To prevent berry scents from smelling too edible, pair them with pine needles, pinecones, or heavy spices such as peppers– cinnamon or orange may make them smell too sweet.
  • Finally, oranges make for a wonderful Christmassy fragrance, which work well when combined with essential oils such as clary sage, basil, or even lavender. These essential oils help to highlight the botanical, rather than culinary, notes of the oranges. You can also use star anise to decorate oranges for the perfect decoration.

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You can use raw herbal and natural products, but they are less likely to fragrance an entire house. Essential oils, candles, and diffusers are the best option if you truly want the fragrance to permeate. You can use real products for decorations, just don’t expect to be able to smell these from more than a few feet away!

Mix and Match

Of course, there’s no reason you have to restrict yourself to just one or two of these options! Christmas fragrance should be indulgent and enjoyable, so play with ideas in different rooms. Berry options are wonderful for living spaces, whereas culinary choices like cinnamon and vanilla are a natural fit for the kitchen. Play around with whatever works for you, and you and your family will soon be enjoying a fragrant Christmas that will live long in your memories.

How NOT to Deal with Stress

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Stress is an issue that affects all of us at one point or another. And you have probably already heard a whole host of advice that people offer about the ways that you can deal with it. Get plenty of exercise. Do some yoga. Spend time alone. While this is often sage advice, we will not be focusing on it in this article. Instead, we will be looking at some of the most self-destructive and damaging ways that you can tackle stress, which often leads to further problems somewhere down the line.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of people only tackle their problems in the short-term. It is like putting a band aid on when what they really need is surgery. There are a whole host of coping mechanisms that provide a quick fix, but they don’t get to the root of the problem. While there is nothing wrong with indulging yourself or some escapism from time to time, these are not things that you should become over-reliant upon. So, let’s delve further into some of the ways NOT to deal with stress which are better off avoided.

Drinking, Smoking and Other Vices

Probably the most common way of dealing with stress is by overindulging in a negative vice. For some people alcohol or coffee, for others, this is nicotine or other drugs. And while any of these things may bring about positive feelings in the short-term, they are never long-term solutions. If you have a high amount of stress in your life at any one time, you could find that these things spiral into a bigger issue and may even lead to addiction. If you feel like this is happening to you, take a look at addiction and abuse treatment at Serenity at Summit. Ignoring these problems is never the answer.

One of the main issues with a lot of these habits is that they only increase the negative effects that stress has on the body such as raising your blood pressure, disrupting your sleep patterns and generally increasing your feelings of anxiety. This then leads to a vicious cycle of feeling more stressed out and going back to the vice over and over again.

Hibernation

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The thought of just curling up under your duvet until the problems go away is certainly a tempting one. But sleeping too much isn’t going to do you much good in the long-run. Some research has actually shown that the more sleep you get, the more tired you feel. And again, we are back into vicious cycle territory where you are not taking steps to deal with the causes of stress head-on. While getting enough sleep is good for your health, getting too much can have a detrimental effect. Human beings naturally tend to avoid problems where they see them, so instead of throwing the covers over your face, you need to face what is causing you stress.

Ignore the Problem

As we already mentioned, there is nothing wrong with a little bit of escapism from time to time. The problems arise when you are actively avoiding the issues that you have to deal with. A common way of doing this is by watching hours and hours of TV. In fact, becoming a sloth is more likely to add to your issues by making you feel depressed because you are not doing anything to tackle your problems.

While it may feel good to avoid your problems, there is always that constant nagging at the back of your mind that there is something that you should be doing. Instead, you should try to break down your problem and tackle it step by step. Start by writing out a plan of action detailing what you are going to do. Set yourself clear timescales otherwise these things could easily drag on indefinitely. Appeal to other people for help if you need it. Things always seem a lot easier when you have someone you trust who is also working on solving your problem. When you are clearly taking steps to deal with the causes of your stress, it will naturally start to diminish and dissipate.

Dwell on the Negative

Negative thinking is toxic, but it is also very easy to engage in. For example, if you have made a mistake at work, you may instantly start thinking that you are going to get disciplined or fired. In reality, the consequences are rarely as serious as you imagine they might be. And you have caused yourself a great deal of stress and anxiety simply by focusing on them too much.

Instead of blowing everything out of proportion, you should aim to be more realistic in your thinking. No one is going to be as hard on you as you are yourself. Even if you did make a mistake at work, it is highly likely that people have already moved onto the next thing while it is still keeping you up at night. Instead of berating yourself, try looking at things from a different perspective. Pretend that you are offering advice to one of your close friends. You are much more likely to have some constructive and positive things to say with this approach.

Eat Your Feelings Away

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Like the other harmful coping methods that we have already discussed, eating too much certainly fits into this category as well. If every time you feel stressed, you immediately open a big bag of potato chips or head over to your local drive-thru, your body and mind will begin to naturally link the negative emotions you have been experiencing with eating. And then, this will start to become a habit and you will do the same thing every time you feel sad, angry or stressed. Once again, we have to mention the vicious cycle as overeating can cause weight gain, which in turn, makes you feel worse about yourself.

Take it Out on Other People

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A common way of reacting when people become stressed is by lashing out at the people around them. So, you may become angry over a little thing that your partner or your kids does. Instead of dealing with the problem, you are instead transferring in onto others who are usually not the cause of the stress you are feeling. Over time, this can lead to divisions between your friends and family members. And you will probably add to your negative feeling stockpile by feeling guilty about what you have said or done to them.

Your friends and family should be there to provide you with support, and they are much more able to do this if you speak to them about what you are going through rather than speaking to them in anger.

These are the main harmful coping methods that people use when they are feeling stressed. And while they may all be tempting, they are not going to help you out in the long-run. So, if you have identified yourself when you have read through these things, it is time to learn some new techniques for stress management. There are plenty out there, so you just need to check out a few before discovering what works best for you. That is not to say that it is a big problem if you indulge in your vices from time to time. But you need to be able to differentiate between helpful and harmful stress coping mechanisms so you can increase the former and reduce the latter.

Telemedicine Etiquette Tips for Delivering Exceptional Care

There is no denying that telemedicine is changing the healthcare sector. It is making healthcare more convenient and more accessible, reducing the number of hospital re-admissions and ensuring more profitable practices. Nevertheless, healthcare professionals need to work hard to ensure telemedicine continues to be a success. With that in mind, read on to discover some top telemedicine etiquette tips so that you can deliver an outstanding service to your patients.

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  • Be clear with any post-appointment instructions – If your patient must schedule a follow-up appointment, make sure you tell them this. If your patient needs to pick up a prescription, you should also let them know. Patients can become frustrated when they feel like they don’t know what to do after their telemedicine appointment. Make sure you are direct and clear with any instructions you provide.
  • Keep lag time in mind – Not all Internet connections and telemedicine software are created the same, so you may need to accommodate some lag time. It is a good idea to wait two seconds before speaking so that you can be sure your patient has finished talking too. It will help the conversation to flow better.
  • Have a set approach – There are many uses of telemedicine, from home healthcare and birth control counselling to minor urgent care and prescription renewal. It’s important to have a set approach in place for dealing with each type of appointment you are handling. This will help you to keep things more organised and ensure you don’t forget anything during your call.
  • Communicate when you need to look away – It is likely that you will need to look away from the screen during your web call, as you will have to make some notes. Let your patient know that you are still listening, but you are writing down notes about the appointment as required. This can be obvious when you have a patient in your office, but it’s not so evident over webcam.
  • Dress the part – You may be working from your home office, but this does not mean that you should wear a T-shirt and sweatpants. You should dress exactly as you would if you were working at your practice. This will give off a professional vibe, and you will instil confidence in your patients.
  • Be punctual – One of the main benefits of telemedicine for patients is the fact that it eliminates the waiting times they usually have to go through when visiting their local practice. You need to make sure that this is the case. Your patients won’t be happy if they have to sit at their computer for 30 minutes, waiting for you to come online. It is a good idea to have a notification system in place, which alerts patient via text or email that you are ready to see them.
  • Set up a professional space – Last but not least, you should set up a professional space for your virtual visits. It is important that there are no distractions. Patients want to feel secure that their privacy is protected, which is why a clean and quiet space is a must. Plus, it looks much more professional.
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