Turning Your Business Dreams Into Reality

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If you have a great idea for a new business, then there is no reason why you should not be pushing yourself to get your idea realized. Starting a business can be exciting and invigorating. There is, of course, a lot of stress and worry that goes hand-in-hand with going into business, and you will want to ensure that you do everything that you can to reduce these stresses.

Forward Planning

Starting up a business takes some strong forward planning. That means that you will need to create a plan that encompasses everything that you are going to do, how you are going to do it, and when you will do it.

You cannot wing it when you are starting up your business or you will never make a true success of it. If you want your business to reach its fullest potential, then you should make sure that you do everything in your power to drive it forward. You can achieve this with the right planning.

Understand That You Cannot Do Everything On Your Own

Your business needs support. That may come in the form of financial investment or it may mean hiring Managed IT Services to look after your technology needs. You need to understand that you do not have to do everything for yourself. There are support companies out there for every aspect of your business management, from recruitment and payroll, through to administration, cleaning and maintenance, as well as security, logistics, and warehousing.

Understanding what there is out there that you can utilize will save you from developing an area of your business infrastructure that you just don’t need.

Make The Best Use Of Your Team

In a great team, the business leader is not the person who hoards all of the jobs to themselves because they don’t trust others to do that task. This shows weakness as a leader and an ability to train and empower those around you. Be sure to allow your team to demonstrate that they know what they are doing and give them opportunities to carry out business-critical tasks.

By empowering your team with the responsibility you are not only going to create a stronger and more productive workplace, but you will also make your life considerably more stress-free.

Effective delegation means knowing where your team’s particular skills lay. You can only find this out by getting to know them and understanding what makes them tick. Hold regular appraisals and use them as an opportunity to learn about your team and how they can be a greater asset to your company.

Communication Is Key

Your business vision needs to be communicated to investors, your team, and importantly your customer. You need to find the most effective way of getting this message across to everyone. Think about what it is important in your message and focus your attention on delivering these points home. Tell people what you need to tell them, and then always check their understanding afterwards to make sure that you have been understood.

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Teaching Children How To Be Safe In Your Neighborhood

Depending on your neighborhood, your children will come into contact or witness some scary things. Some areas are better than others when it comes to crime and violence. Some neighborhoods simply have more welcoming and even more civilized people than others. So you may know how to handle yourself and stay out of harm’s way, but do your children? Essentially, you have to teach your children how to avoid certain things and be safe while they’re at home and or around in the neighborhood. Teaching your children ‘street smarts’ could save them from a lot of trouble in the future. But if you yourself are not really privy to such a way of life, then how do you let your children know what to avoid? That’s why you’re reading…

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Would You Know What To Do If Your Home Was Flooded?

Whether you’re single, married or living with roommates. Whether you own or rent your home. Whether you have kids or not, it’s essential to know what to do when disaster hits your home. While, of course, emergency responders play a huge part in protecting us from the things that can go awry around the home, our reactions in those split second moments when we realize something’s awry can make all the difference.

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Because it’s winter and the weather can be unpredictable, today we’re going to look at household flooding. Floods can not only be caused by torrential rain and nearby rivers bursting their banks, they’re often also caused by damage to our home’s pipes and plumbing. We use so many modern appliances that rely on water it’s easy to assume that they work by magic. Until something stops working. In those vital moments, here are some things that everyone should do to mitigate the damage and ensure that they save as much of their home and their possessions as possible.

Stop the flow of water

Obviously, this can’t be done with rain or river water. But if your flood is caused by a plumbing mishap, the water is just going to keep on coming into your home and damaging everything it touches until you stop the flow. Your first port of call should be to shut off the appliance that’s leaking. If there are any valves near to it which you can get to, shut those off too.

If you’re at all unsure, shut off the water to the whole house. This useful guide will teach you how to find your main water shutoff valve. To be on the safe side it’s also a good idea to shut off your power, too.

Log all the damage

Don’t attempt to drain the water, just yet. First, document the damage by taking pictures on a digital camera or smartphone. These will be absolutely vital in backing up your insurance claim. Contact your insurance company straight away to notify them of the flood and check that it’s okay with them to start removing the water. Might sound silly, but you want to avoid doing anything that might invalidate your policy. You don’t want to wind up short changed after all you’ve been through.

Clear out the water

Time is of the essence, when it comes to getting the water out of your home. The longer you delay, the more damage will be done to your home. If you want to do it yourself, you’ll need to rent a sump pump and wet vac to remove the water and an industrial fan to dry out your carpets and flooring. These are available from most hardware stores. However, if you’d rather leave it to a professional, contact a reliable Disaster Restoration Contractor. Not only can they help you save your home and possessions, they may even be able to identify and fix the source of the flood.

In the days after the water is cleared keep an eye out for mold which can crop up in the aftermath of a flood. While you may face a little disruption in the days that follow, your swift thinking and reactions will have saved as much of your home as possible!

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Ways To Really Be There When A Friend Needs You

Chances are, there will come a time in your life when you feel you must be there for a friend. Everybody goes through rough patches and hard times, and one of the best things you can do is make sure you are there for a friend if they need you. You would hope that they’d do the same for you, right?

With that in mind, here are a few ways you can really be there when a friend is in need. Take a look:

Stay Off Your Phone

When you’re spending time with a friend who needs you, and even just a friend in general, one of the best things you can do is stay off your phone. Spending too much time on your phone is rude and it means you have checked out of the conversation/situation. Put your phone away and forget about it. Give your full attention to your friend.

Check In On Them But Know When They Need Space

Check in on your friend often, but don’t suffocate them. If you do, they will likely reject it and start to ignore you. You need to be smart about when to check on them and when you feel they may need space.

Don’t Give Up

If they don’t seem receptive to visits and texts at first, don’t give up. Let them know that you’re there for them even if they don’t feel like talking.

Be Specific In Ways You Can Help Them

If you ask your friend, ‘do you need anything?’ – they’ll probably just say no if you’re not specific.
Tell them you’re batch cooking or heading to the supermarket and ask them if they would like dinner, or like something from the store. They are more likely to say yes to the help you offer if it’s specific. Don’t just say, ‘if you need anything, let me know’ as they will likely not bother asking.

Don’t Force Your Help On Them

If your friend really doesn’t want your help, don’t force them to take it. This could make matters worse. Again, this is a situation in which you’ll need to use your common sense.

Only Offer To Do Things You Can Genuinely Do

You should only offer to do something for a friend if you are confident you can genuinely do it. Breaking promises likely will not go down well with your friend when they are in a fragile state, and you will seem unreliable and untrustworthy.

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Don’t Assume You Know What’s Best For Them

You may think you know what is best for your friend, but you can’t force your opinion onto them. It’s their decision at the end of the day how they live their lives and how they are going to move forward. You simply can’t make their decisions for them. Even if you did, what lessons would they learn from it?

Whether you’re bailing them out of jail with Absolute Bail Bonds, Inc or trying to get them to go to rehab or some kind of support group, you can only truly help them if they want to be helped.

Make Sure They Can Trust You

You need to show your friend that they can trust you. Don’t judge them when they speak to you. Listen in an unbiased way. Listen more than you talk, too. Sharing your own stories that help you relate to what they are saying is ok, but too much and you’ll seem like you’re making this all about you.

You don’t have to give your friend advice – be smart though, as some friends do genuinely want to hear an outsider’s perspective and your opinion. It will likely depend on the friend and what they are going through, so you do need to use common sense here. Just make sure you make it clear to them that whatever is going on, a solution is their decision and theirs alone. Empathize with them and let them know you understand, or at least trying to understand what they are going through. If they are having a particularly rough time, they may think nobody will ever understand anyway.

Talk Positively To Them About Things In The Future

Remind them of all of the positive things they have to come in the future. What do they have to look forward to? What’s coming up for them? See if you can get them involved in a conversation.

Be Thoughtful

Be thoughtful by sending them messages that will make them laugh or smile, and even by buying small gifts. Let them know you are thinking of them.

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How To Run A Business From Your Smartphone

Nowadays you don’t need a PC to run a business. You may not even need a laptop. A smartphone could be all you need to run your business.

Smartphones are the ultimate multipurpose tool – you can communicate with them, do your accounting on them and even take photos to post on company social media. They’re also very portable, making it possible to run your business from any location whether you’re in an office or stood up in a busy train carriage on the way to a meeting.
A smartphone does however have its limits and drawbacks. Here is how you can overcome these limits and drawbacks and run a business successfully using nothing but this device.

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Buy a separate work phone

It’s worth owning a separate phone for personal use and a separate phone for business use. This can help you to separate your personal and work life. Without this separation, you could find yourself getting distracted by personal Facebook and WhatsApp alerts when trying to work, as well as being bothered by work calls when trying to enjoy your free time.

You can log in to your work emails and business social media on one phone, while logging into your personal social media and emails on the other. On top of this, you’ll have two different numbers, so that you don’t have to give out your personal number to clients.

Separating the two can make bookkeeping easier too. You can more easily track work-related phone costs and deduct these as expenses from your taxes. This is much harder to calculate when you’re using the same phone for personal use and business use.

Choose the right contract

When choosing a contract for your work phone, consider looking into business phone contracts. Some of these ‘business’ plans can be cheaper than personal plans, offering free texts and calls to certain people in some cases.

A high-data plan could be useful if you plan to work on the go, allowing you internet access from any location. To maximise your data it could also be worth learning how to decrease your data usage. For instance, using certain apps could be using up unnecessary data as you’re working on the go.

Buy a portable charger

If you’re using your phone for all things business related, you can expect the battery to drain fast. In order to keep your phone charged up on the go, consider buying a portable charger. This could save you having to run into a coffee bar with plug sockets just to charge up your phone.

There are many different types of portable charger on the market. Some are able to hold several full charges. Just make sure that you charge your portable charger up each night.

Invest in portable wi-fi

If you want unlimited internet access on the go without relying on your data, another option could be to use your own portable wi-fi. There are wireless portable wi-fi routers that can fit in your pocket. Some of these can be topped up on a pay-as-you-go basis, while others may be combined into your home/office internet bills.

It’s worth comparing various forms of mobile portable wi-fi.

Download the right apps

With the right apps, you can handle all your business’s admin on your phone.

Accounting apps could be just one useful tool for helping you to do your bookkeeping. You can link up some of these apps with your bank account and automatically calculate tax on earnings. Some of these apps also allow you to handle your payroll, as well as invoicing clients. It means that you have access to all your financial information in one place.

It’s also possible to make use of project management apps that allow you to monitor the progress of employees and tasks. These apps can save you having to gather everyone together for regular catch-up meetings as you can simply track the progress of tasks digitally.

A document signing app could also be worth downloading. These allow clients and suppliers to send digital contracts that you can sign digitally using your touchscreen. It’s much more convenient than physically posting paper contracts.

Finally, it could be worth downloading a video-communication app. This could allow you to communicate with clients by video when needed.

Start using voice command

Voice command can allow you to use your phone hands-free. This could be useful when carrying out physical tasks such as driving or manual labour.

You can use voice command to do everything from writing and sending emails to making and receiving calls. Most smartphones have in-built voice command features – it’s simply a case of setting them up and getting used to them.

Consider buying a Bluetooth keyboard

The big advantage that laptops and PCs have over smartphone is the ability to type out emails, reports and other written content. While some people are fast at texting, it’s still not as convenient as using a keyboard.
Fortunately, it is possible to connect a Bluetooth keyboard to your phone. This could allow you to type normally when you need it.

Secure your phone

Security is a priority when running a business. All your personal information will likely be accessible on your smartphone, so you need to ensure it’s protected against criminals.

Firstly, you should try to set a strong lock screen password. Many modern devices also have biometrics enabled such as fingerprint scanning and even facial recognition in some cases. If your phone falls into the wrong hands, having these protective barriers in place could stop them from being able to access your personal information.

It could also be worth using a VPN when logging onto public wi-fi on your phone. Some public wi-fi connections can be insecure which can make it possible to steal your personal information. When using a VPN, your personal information is concealed.

You should also consider insuring your smartphone. If you lose it or if it is damaged it could have a serious negative impact on your business. Insurance could help to pay for a replacement.

Backing up your phone’s data on the cloud is also recommended. Most modern smartphones already do this automatically, but you may still want to double-check. By backing up your data, you can still access it on another device if your phone is lost or destroyed.

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Could A Pop-Up Store Boost Your Online Retail Business?

If you want to set up a retail business, online is your best choice. There are fewer overheads and you can get things started from home, so you do not have to raise as much startup capital and the risks are reduced. There are also a lot of great, cost-effective ways to market an online retail business using social media and pay-per-click ads. As long as you build a good website, design a good product, and market it well, you will be on the way to running a successful online store. However, there are some limitations to conducting your business in the online space and not venturing offline.

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There are still some people that don’t shop online at all, and that means that you are missing that market segment entirely. That’s why it’s a good idea to market yourself offline as well, and one of the best ways to do this is by setting up a pop-up store. It’s a great way to expose the business to traditional shoppers and boost your brand, and you may find that you pick up a lot of new customers. If you think that a pop-up store could help your online retail business, here are a few tips on setting one up.

Create An Experience

Pop-ups are great because they are not just normal stores, they offer an experience. The limited time scale makes it even more exciting to the consumer, but only if you are giving them that unique experience. For example, if you are an online retailer that sells premium coffee beans, don’t just set up a stall and sell your beans. Instead, create a small pop-up coffee shop where people can try the product, and they can buy a bag if they like it. If you are a clothing retailer, think about the lifestyle of the people that you are trying to market to. For example, if you sell clothes that people would wear on a night out, your pop-up could have a bar or club vibe to it.

Get The Right Payment Platform

If you’re an online retailer, you already know about cart abandonment, but you may not know that it’s a problem for physical stores as well. That’s why you need a quick and efficient payment system. There are some great payment services that offer a simple app, and then you can process credit card payments on the phone in your pop-up store. This saves you having to mess around with card machines and you can easily link it to your online payment system as well.

Build The Hype

Once your pop-up store is all set up, you need to build the hype in time for opening day. Try to start a hashtag and promote your pop-up on social media. Make sure to post regularly in the lead up to the opening to get people excited. This should get your existing customers to come down, and a full store will then grab the attention of people that are passing by.

If you find that sales are slowing down and your business a boost, a pop-up could be the answer that you are looking for.

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