8 Tips for Starting An Event Planning Business

Whatever you've been planning events for family and friends or just for fun. If you are ready to start planning events and get paid for it, these strategies will get you started the right way. Turn your passion into profit with the most important steps you'll need to be successful. 1. Research your market You…

Whatever you've been planning events for family and friends or just for fun. If you are ready to start planning events and get paid for it, these strategies will get you started the right way. Turn your passion into profit with the most important steps you'll need to be successful.

1. Research your market

You will need to do some research before taking the big plunge into business. Conducting your market research is an orderly way of learning about the people who will be buying from you. Essentially will need to forget if there's demand for your service, how much and for what areas. Market research will actually cost you nothing with access to the internet and a computer.

2. Create a Business Plan

A business plan is a written description of your business future. It summarizes what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. A business plan should never be skipped as it will provide you with the most detailed guide for setting out your future business goals and being able to track if they are being achieved.

3. Register your business

It is important to register your business and secure your business name legally to make your business operations official. This is an important step for setting yourself up as a serious, trustworthy and professional service provider. This is also the time to think about what type of business structure you would like to have. Will this be a sole proprietorship or will you be working with a partner? These are just some questions to think about as you go about registering your business.

4. Setup your business structures

It is highly recommended that you put essential business structures in place before taking on any event planning clients. These include naming your business, obtaining event insurance, setting up a business bank account and speaking with a lawyer to ensure that your contracts and other business documents are suitable for your business.

5. Establish your event planning fee structure

Pricing is a struggle for most new event planners, so if you do not have this figured out you are not alone. Determining your pricing structure, particularly when you are new can be a rather difficult task. When I first started planning events it was mainly for family and friends and I charged $ 0, not even for supplies !. When I started planning events for paying clients I was even more clueless as to what my pricing structure should be, and I would seriously undercharge for my services in an effort to not lose out on potential clients. You can avoid this by tracking your cost, the amount of time it takes you to plan an event and your desired hourly wage to determine the sweet spot for your prices.

6. Enrol in an event planning course / program

The field of Event Planning has become more established as a professional career, it has also become more competitive for event planners as a result. In the past, it was never required that event planners have both event planning education and design skills. This has changed. Event planners are now expected to possess a basic level of skill, experience, and education to be competitive in the industry. This means that you will need to have an impressive portfolio as well as professional development courses to prove your skills and expertise. Search for courses that can improve your skills and enroll in them. Even better if they offer a certificate of completion to prove your newly accepted knowledge.

7. Volunteer to gain experience

Knowing what to do is the first step, but knowing how to do it is the second. Volunteering provides you with the skills and experience you need to impress your clients and build trust. This is a great way to improve your portfolio when you are new to the industry without experience. Check out your local non-profit organizations and offer your services for free to get started.

8. Promote your event planning business

Once you've written your business plan and know what to charge for your services, the next step is to develop your business branding materials and begin marketing your services. A brand identity such as a logo, website, and business card will leave an impression in the minds of potential customers!

5 Contemporary Trends to Contemplate for Every eCommerce Business

With every business realizing the worth of digital presence to outperform their competitors, eCommerce sites have come forth as an indispensable part of their marketing strategy. Well embellished online stores are in fact helping businesses to grab more customers than that of their physical storefronts and earn affluently. However, to remain on the top of…

With every business realizing the worth of digital presence to outperform their competitors, eCommerce sites have come forth as an indispensable part of their marketing strategy. Well embellished online stores are in fact helping businesses to grab more customers than that of their physical storefronts and earn affluently. However, to remain on the top of the search rankings, it is imperative for every online business to keep their shopping sites updated by grasping the latest trends surrounding the eCommerce area. By deploying Magento, one of the most advanced and unrivaled eCart solutions trending now, one can easily embrace the following trends ushering in eCommerce at recent times.

Mobile responsiveness

Mobile devices including smartphones and tablets have preoccupied today's generation with advanced elements like location-tracking, larger screens, enhanced searches, etc. Subsequently, people are seeking options for buying things through their mobile phones with just a tap of their fingers. Thus, realizing the dominance of mobile devices in internet browsing over desks, most eCommerce sites are making mobile responsive websites and apps that are equally functional as their desktop versions.

Chatbots

Chatbots, primarily available in social networking platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, has now become prevalent in eCommerce sites too. It is an automated messenger system facilitating the interaction between the two ends, customers and the brand. With these chatbots, eCommerce companies are instantly helping their visitors or customers in many ways, from ordering an order or answering product related queries, to customer support services.

Digitalization of payments

While many new entries of payment gateway services are witnessed in the area of ​​digital payments, swift and cashless mobile payment will be simplifying the shopping experiences further. With merchant services from authorized providers like PayPal, Amazon Pay, Braintree, Authorize.Net, eCommerce retailers are integrating online payments system in their sites and empowering the shoppers to pay and check out in just a minute. Thus, relieving the buyers from the hassles of paying in cash money, digital payments will get a major boost by almost every eCommerce store now.

Personalization of shopping experiences

While mass personalization was prioritized in eCommerce earlier, now it's the time to offer fully personalized experience to the customers. There's no more hovering over the concept of “one-size-fits-all ', but there is a need for implementing serious tools for targeting customers individually. charges based on locations, are some instances of the modern-day approach of personalization in eCommerce.

Voice search gaining prominence gradually

The prime concern behind fostering voice search in eCommerce is eliminating all the confusion from the shoppers' minds and providing them with the easiest way to buy things. While there's a long way to go for the eCommerce sites to integrate voice search feature, but once implemented it will evidently lead to enhanced customer interaction, more traffic and assured conversions.

Needless to say, online services of the retail businesses are working as great catalysts by spurring up their sales overnight with the targeting of more segments among the audiences. These discussed trends are predominately shaping up the future of eCommerce which calls for retailers to adopt them in their anticipating business strategies to stay ahead in the race.

The Benefits of Services to Coat Pipes

The process of pipe coating makes them strong, durable, and able to hold the various product that flows through them safely. Problems with pipes is not uncommon, but that does not mean it has to be expensive or difficult to get them taken care of. You may be dragging your feet as you assume the…

The process of pipe coating makes them strong, durable, and able to hold the various product that flows through them safely. Problems with pipes is not uncommon, but that does not mean it has to be expensive or difficult to get them taken care of. You may be dragging your feet as you assume the only option you have is to fully replace them.

Yet the days are gone of trenches being dug and the process of replacing pipe being both time consuming and dangerous. The products available today are safe, durable, and easy to apply. With pipe coating, your pipes in place can last years or even decades longer than they otherwise would have. It all depends on their current age and what they are made out of.

What it Includes

The process of pipe coating will vary depending on who you hire, your types of pipes, and what they need in order to thrive as they should. However, the basics of the process are all the same across the board. The ends of the pipes are capped and then the cleaning process is conducted. Do not hire any provider that skips such necessary steps to get the pipes ready.

Any expert will tell you successfully preparing them is a big part of the success with pipe coating. The methods used to clean them and the type of grit will depend on the goal they wish to achieve. All of this will be determined once they assess your needs and then discussed with you. The final say on what gets done though is in your hands. Being well informed is important.

The most common type of process involves a variety of epoxy products. They should be selected in order to stand up to the elements of the environment where the pipes are located and what flows through them. Some have to be able to stand up to extreme hot or extreme cold temperatures. A professional will know what to use in a given environment so do not worry.

Experience

Take the time to find out about the experience of the provider. How long have they offered pipe coating? What is the most challenging element about their job and how do they safeguard against problems? What types of methods and equipment do they incorporate? How do they ensure safety is always a top priority?

It is important to evaluate such details before you agree to hire them. You need to feel confident the money you invest in this project will pay off in the end. Not worrying about your pipes means you can feel good about what you have in place. You will be able to adhere to safety standards, be responsible with the environment, and keep your business moving forward.

Testing and Final Inspection

Included in the price and the process of pipe coating should be testing and final inspection before the job is considered to be completed. Make sure the provider you hire is willing to do this and it is in writing. You do not want to hire any business that will cut corners and leave that window of despair wide open. You need to know they will follow through and stand by what they offer.

The entire package of what is offered, how it will be handled, pricing, and other information should be fully disclosed and approved before the work begins. Take your time to find a great provider with a proven reputation. This is too important to trust to just any entity out there. Learn the basics of the process and how it can work for your specific business environment.

Selecting the Right Method for Trenchless Lining

A professional service provider of CIPP lining is able to assess your needs, evaluate the best options, and help you to find an affordable choice for your desired outcome. They should be ethical and give you the pros and cons of each option. They should answer your questions and help you to feel good about…

A professional service provider of CIPP lining is able to assess your needs, evaluate the best options, and help you to find an affordable choice for your desired outcome. They should be ethical and give you the pros and cons of each option. They should answer your questions and help you to feel good about the decisions before they are put into motion.

You need to trust the provider of CIPP lining services, and that will not happen if you feel rushed or pressured. Look for a business with a solid reputation, excellent work ethic, the best technology and methods, and safety as a top priority. You need to feel confident they can guide you through this experience with an arrival you will be very happy with long into the future.

If you are not familiar with the trenchless process of cured in place pipe, you may have lots of questions about it. You may have doubts that it can be effective and a long lasting option, but it has been in use successfully for more than 35 years. Most of the materials used have a lifespan of at least 50 years. This means you will not have to replace it any time soon!

Where does the Strength come From?

Technology has created CIPP lining with strength coming from each of the liners. They are independent of each other, offering overall strength. Yet there is not going to be any weak link within them as an overall unit. The host pipe is not relied upon to provide core strength for the overall structure.

Small Diameter

One of the concerns consumers have is the smaller diameter with the CIPP lining in place and how that flows flow in the pipes. It may seem like it would slow it down, but the opposite is true. What occurs is the design enables the flow to increase due to the design of the materials used. It is efficient and cutting edge, not your old-fashioned set up with bottleneck areas.

Such work can be connected on pipes ranging from 3 “to 96”. There is a very good chance what you need fits within that spectrum of options. Finding a provider in your area able to provide such benefits should be encouraging to you. It can mean one less hassle you have to worry about. Pipe problems can be expensive for you to take care of.

Maintenance and taking steps to move forward with upgrades before a problem happens is a good idea. Do not wait until you have a serious problem on your hands to realize you had a way to get results that were also cost effective. Do not settle for just any provider though, you need to verify the have the right skills and the right experience to get the job done well for you.

Variety of Uses

The use of CIPP lining is very popular because it can solve so many concerns with pipes. Roots from trees and plants can cause havoc for pipes, but that is almost completely eliminated with this type of design. They can also help with flow problems due to older pipes so they do not have to be completely replaced and a new layout created.

Elbows, joints, and gaps can all be problems from older designs before better technology was available. This does not mean you can not upgrade though and reap the rewards of CIPP lining. Doing so can save you a great deal of havoc and money in the long run. It can be done in a fraction of the time as installing new pipes, and for far less money.

Help Your Customers Keep Their Carpets in Top Condition

The role of carpet cleaning professionals is to help their customers keep their floors in good condition. Some carpet cleaning companies capitalize on their customers' lack of knowledge to earn more money. But if you want to build strong relationships with your customers and turn them into a loyal fan base, you need to go…

The role of carpet cleaning professionals is to help their customers keep their floors in good condition. Some carpet cleaning companies capitalize on their customers' lack of knowledge to earn more money. But if you want to build strong relationships with your customers and turn them into a loyal fan base, you need to go over and beyond to help them. This includes using the proper portable tile and carpet cleaning machines. You can find restoration equipment for sale online at great rates.

Educating Your Customers

Your top priority should be helping your clients keep their floors clean, and in order to do this you have to educate them. Few people really know what it takes to properly care for a carpet. This includes how to clean up messes quickly, how often to vacuum and when it's time to call a professional. The more they know, the easier they make your job. It's better to think of it this way than as money loss. You want your customers to trust you, not only to call you back when they need your services, but also to spread word to people they know about your company.

Here are some pointers you can extend to your customer base.

Ensuring Vacuums Are at the Right Height

There's a reason why vacuums have different height settings. Homeowners automatically think that the closer it is to the floor, the better it will pick up dirt, so they set it to the lowest setting. Little do they know, when it's set too low, it can damage the carpet. And if it's set too high, it will not be effective at picking up dirt. The best way to determine how low to set it is to first start out with the highest setting, then turning it on and lowering it until you can feel it gently tugging itself forward.

It's important to explain to customers that dirt is not soft. In fact, it's like little blades, which can cut and damage the carpet fibers. Each time you walk across the floor, the dirt grinds against the fibers, creating nicks. This causes the carpet to become dull, because why high-traffic areas look run down compared to other areas. The dirt grinding into the fibers also causes it to become matted down. This makes the area more susceptible to stains.

Vacuuming Frequently

The best way to protect the carpet fibers is to vacuum high-traffic areas twice weekly, such as entrances and hallways. The other areas of the carpet only need to be vacuumed once weekly. It's important to start with a clean bag or filter to ensure the vacuum works properly. A dirty filter needs to either be washed or replaced every three months. Vacuums that use bags should be changed once they're f full.

Hiring a Professional Carpet Cleaner

Your customers should also know when it's time to contact a professional carpet cleaner. Many homeowners attempt to do the job themselves using a lower-end portable carpet cleaning machine . But the methods and solutions used just do not offer the same results.

Let them know they should have their carpets cleaned before the floors become really dirty. When they notice the carpet color becoming dull, this is a good time to contact you. Waiting until it's filthy will make it more difficult to clean, which will take longer and cost them more. As a professional, it's better to use truck mounted carpet cleaning machines over a portable one, since they are not as strong. Truck mounted options will remove dirt more efficiently and keep carpet moisture levels lower.

Storm Water Pumping Stations and Their Uses

Surface water can be caused by rain events and storms, and can cause water to pool in inconvenient and dangerous locations. To combat this, solutions and technical advances have been developed, such as sump pump systems; storm water bypass interceptors; gross pollutant traps and stormwater pumping stations among others. With the wide range of products…

Surface water can be caused by rain events and storms, and can cause water to pool in inconvenient and dangerous locations. To combat this, solutions and technical advances have been developed, such as sump pump systems; storm water bypass interceptors; gross pollutant traps and stormwater pumping stations among others. With the wide range of products available, an understanding of each product's purpose and effect on storm water management and treatment systems is useful for proper stormwater planning. This article will focus on a brief overview of stormwater pumping stations, their benefit and their uses.

A storm water pumping station collects and moves rainwater from a rainy area, which could range in size from a single residential property, through to commercial carparks, an entire subdivision or industrial facility. Although the size and complexity of a pump station varies as much as its uses, the purpose is always to offer protection to a rainy area that is unable to adequately sustain fall for any existing or planned stormwater system.

Water always flow downhill right? But what should I do when I can not make stormwater flow downwards anymore?

Stormwater pump stations work together with gravity drainage systems to clear rainfall areas of stormwater. A typical stormwater system regardless of size has a collection drainage system made up of grown pits, or sumps, that collect surface water and feed this to a discharge point such as a stream, waterway or detention pond. For the system to flow effectively each sump or discharge point must be lower than the previous otherwise the stormwater would not flow. When the system is getting too deep to be commercially viable, or site issues such as groundwater prevent further excavation, a stormwater pump station is used to collect, and then boost the water to a discharge point without the need for gravity. It does this through engaging submersible drainage pumps inside a pump chamber that pressurize the water allowing it to overcome gravity.

When combined with water quality treatment systems, pump stations can offer safe and effective drainage or collection areas which results in protected property and infrastructure, as well as safer ecosystems and waterways. Treatment devices can include:

• Gross pollutant traps
• Stormwater bypass interceptors
• Grease arrestors
• Oil Plate Separators

Poly versus Concrete – What's the Difference?
Poly Storm water pumping stations are designed to be lightweight and easy to install, whereas concrete pump stations are engineered to offer high-strength. The flawless single-piece construction of poly storm water pump stations prevails leaking or ingress of groundwater, and a proper installation of concrete ballast makes sure that the pit will not float in a shallow water table area. Poly chambers can also be fitted with pipework and pumps prior to being shipped to site, saving time at installation.

Precast pump chambers are often used where larger capacities are required, larger than typical poly chambers can provide, such as subdivisions or industrial lots. They are also preferred where heavy vehicles frequent as they are designed to withstand class D traffic load conditions and will not collapse or crumble. A precast chamber is assembled on site, and is often made up of several increments to form the entire chamber. Being manufactured from concrete they are still very heavy and are assembled using a site crane to assist with lowering into the excavation. Once complete the chamber is then outfitted with pipework and pumps on site – then tested for water integrity and to ensure the pump system is working effectively.

Key Applications:
• Industry processing – commercial use
• Shopping centers
• Basement car parks
• School & Universities
• Docks & Shipyards
• Prisons
• Golf Clubs
• Service Stations
• Hospitals and Nursing homes
• Mining Camps

To sum up, it is always a good idea to contact a stormwater specialist company because they can assist with expertise at planning, and will deliver effective and robust products and advice at installation.

PEO Companies Work for Small Business

Human resources tasks such as workers' compensation paperwork, payroll, and benefits administration are critical for large and small businesses alike. But while large companies have dedicated HR departments to give these tasks the attention they require, in small businesses, HR management often falls to the owner. This means hours of extra work and time taken…

Human resources tasks such as workers' compensation paperwork, payroll, and benefits administration are critical for large and small businesses alike. But while large companies have dedicated HR departments to give these tasks the attention they require, in small businesses, HR management often falls to the owner. This means hours of extra work and time taken away from growing the business.

If you're a small business owner who'd like to get that valuable time back, partnering a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) is a smart option. PEO providers help small businesses thrive by enabling them to enjoy the same benefits and expert human resources support as big businesses.

How does a PEO work? You can think of your provider as your combined human resources and payroll department. It not only handles payroll, but takes care of everything an HR department does, from new employee take to employee benefits processing and ensuring legal compliance.

It's an especially smart and cost-effective choice for businesses too small for a dedicated human resources officer. Some PEO providers happily work with businesses with just one or two employees.

How do PEO companies help small businesses? Partnering with a PEO benefits small businesses by providing the HR services that they need to operate more effectively while saving time and money. Among the benefits your business can enjoy are these:

  • Affordable workers 'compensation insurance: Workers' comp can be pricey for small businesses. Luckily, PEO companies have the buying power to get you a great policy for a lower price than you can get on your own. This means you get better protection for your team while saving money-a win for everyone.

  • Payroll services: Doing payroll and getting it right are essential for your business-but the time you spend doing it yourself is time you're not making money. Your new payroll partner frees you to focus on what makes your business great by handling everything for you, including discounts, expenses, and tracking paid time off.

  • Complete HR support: You did not start your business so you could spend your days managing HR paperwork or wondering about employment regulations and compliance issues. A PEO service takes all this off your hands by handling all your employment paperwork, benefits administration, and even conflict resolution. You also get the support and advice you need to ensure you're always in compliance with the latest OSHA and other regulations.

  • Group health insurance and other benefits for less: Another big advantage is your small business can get the same comprehensive benefits as a large business at a price that fits your budget. Your service's buying power and industry knowledge ensure you get a policy that's right for both your team and your pocketbook. To make your business even more attractive to great workers, you can also get other attractive benefits at affordable rates, including dental and vision care insurance.

In summary, PEO companies work for small businesses like yours by saving you money and giving you the freedom to focus on what you do best.

3 Useful Things to Consider When Starting Up a Commercial Cleaning Business

Starting a commercial cleaning business involves completing several important steps. With the low start-up costs and high demand for this type of service, there is every opportunity to build rewarding and profitable business. Here are a few things to consider in the process of getting set up: Business plan A major first step is to…

Starting a commercial cleaning business involves completing several important steps. With the low start-up costs and high demand for this type of service, there is every opportunity to build rewarding and profitable business. Here are a few things to consider in the process of getting set up:

Business plan

A major first step is to create a solid business plan. A good plan should include a detailed look at your company, the services you intend to offer, financial data like income statements and cash flow and strategies to obtain customers. Plus, it can help to provide an action plan on how you aim to achieve your profitability goals.

A well written business plan should be seen as an outline for your business success, and can be referred to in times of earning finance or getting things accomplished. This type of plan needs the most care if hiring to use it in an effort to obtain a business loan from a bank or other lender.

Target Market

It is certain to make it easier to apply the proper strategies to get customers if you know your exact target market. Even though you intend to work in the commercial sector, you still want to break this down into something like smaller retail locations or large office complexes. By being really focused it is a lot easier to put in place the right advertising and marketing strategies.

Independent vs. Franchise

It is essential to fully research the options of running an independent or a franchise business. A major benefit of the franchise business is the ability to work with an established brand name while also having full operational and marketing support in the background. Plus, when buying into a franchise, the investment includes in-depth training to make sure you have the knowledge to be successful from the start.

A downside of this type of arrangement is higher up-front fees and ongoing monthly fees payable to the franchise owner. Also, there may be business restrictions in place, such as not offering certain services and imposing advertising restrictions.

On the other hand, the independent run operation is certain to appeal to the business owner that prefers to have complete control and is more flexibility. Plus, it is possible to offer the services you want and get to keep 100% of the profits. But, it will be necessary to have a sufficient budget in place to market your commercial cleaning business to an already established market.

Support Your Small Business With These 7 Tips for Success

How interesting to read that 19 million days of annual leave remain untaken in the UK every year, one in five people work an extra 7 hours a week of unpaid overtime, one in four of us suffer from Sunday night insomnia and some 90% of adults say they do not get enough sleep! Those…

How interesting to read that 19 million days of annual leave remain untaken in the UK every year, one in five people work an extra 7 hours a week of unpaid overtime, one in four of us suffer from Sunday night insomnia and some 90% of adults say they do not get enough sleep!

Those statistics do not specify the figures that relate to small business owners, sole traders or start-ups, none of which would dare to record their lack of holidays, unpaid overtime or hours of missed sleep!

But in order for a small business to survive there's a need to take care of its most important asset and that most definitely is you, especially in the early years! The business owners who continue to work incessantly, without a break, risk suffering the consequences of stress and burn out.

Certainly there are times in business when one is conflicted; urgent work situations may require input and attention while domestic or personal matters may be shouting for your time. If this is an occasional or emergency situation you may be able to accomodate being rolled in different directions for a while.

However, if this goes on for too long or becomes your way of life you may need to look at ways to provide a healthier work / life balance. It's important to have regular time for you so you can bring peace and harmony into your life and be better able to support your business's success.

Let's look at 7 tips for success to support your small business growth and success:

– Appreciate the importance of looking after yourself. Take responsibility for your nutrition, water intake, exercise, fresh air and fun. When we're over-stressed it can affect the quality of our sleep, libido, sense of humor, positive perspective and ability to cope. Evaluate what's important to you, what you need to do to take care of both yourself and your business and then start to prioritize those various demands on your time so that you can look after yourself more effectively.

– Accept help at home. Allow your children to take on duties, even if their efforts do not match your standards. Consider hiring help with cleaning, laundry, gardening so that you can use your personal time in better ways. Treat the money spent as a valuable investment and enjoy some free time having fun with family and friends.

– Delegate tasks at work , especially when they're basic or routine. Accept too that you may not always be the best person for a particular job, so let others do what they're good at and encourage them to come up with new ideas and better ways of working. You can then use your time more constructively elsewhere.

– Learn to say 'no' sometimes . Weigh up the liability of the different requests that come your way, either at home or at work. Saying 'no' can help you to maximize the best use of your time and energy. In business it's important to respect your existing customers, plan your long-term goals and prioritize effectively so that each opportunity receives your full attention.

– Do what feels right for you. It can be easy to over-commit yourself when you want to accommodate others or be seen as popular, busy or indispensable. Taking time for you provides space in which to weigh-up those differenting effects. Doing too much or agreeing to things that do not really suit you may take you out of your comfort zone and provide valuable opportunities for challenge and growth, but quite the motivation to work well comes from feeling excited, enthusiastically and fully invested, not over -tired, resentful or jaded.

– Schedule regular time for yourself and allow for a more even work / life balance. Put yourself in your diary on a regular basis, plan some quiet time to read a book or go for a pleasant walk, arrange a spa day where you leave your phone behind, stressing no contact unless there's an emergency. Make time for your hobbies and interests. It's a fact that people who take breaks return to work with a positive mindset and support their businesses with more enthusiasm.

Aim to regularly finish work at a reasonable time , and that includes turning off distractions like work phones and social media. Treat yourself and your personal relationships as important, respected and valuable so that they thrive and reward you with loyalty, support and a genuine interest in your wellbeing.

When you take time for you it provides an opportunity to detach yourself from the stresses and cares of life. You're giving yourself an interlude in which to recharge your batteries and balance your thinking. After which you can return with renewed energy, to focus on taking your business to the next level of success.

Why Every Small Business Needs to Invest in Case Studies

According to a Cincinnati-based digital marketing agency, 54% of marketers today term case studies, apart from articles, as their principal and most effective form of marketing, and more than 90% of potential customers say that reviews from people outside of a company inevitably influence their buying decision. So, what makes case studies so indicative for…

According to a Cincinnati-based digital marketing agency, 54% of marketers today term case studies, apart from articles, as their principal and most effective form of marketing, and more than 90% of potential customers say that reviews from people outside of a company inevitably influence their buying decision.

So, what makes case studies so indicative for a business, particularly SMEs? Let's find out:

Offer real-life examples of the problem-solving capabilities of your business
Well, let's get one thing straight. How long will you keep hollering about who you are and what you do as an enterprise? You have all your products, services and their benefits laid out and described well. Fine! But this will not take you much far. Your potential customers expect to see real-life examples of your business, how it has solved the problems of various clients before they finally convince themselves to use your product or hire your service.

Highlight positive experiences of clients
Of late, there's been a growing realization among a wide range of industries of the importance of conducting case studies in their respective functional areas. These industries see case studies as a reliable tool to collate and present a narrative involving positive experiences with clients. Such stories create a pathway to build business credibility, bringing traffic and achievers conversions by sharing customer reviews and words of recommendations. Ultimately, case studies assist greatly in building trust in your brand.

Significant tool in the mid of rising competition
Also, with competition in the business world gaining greater momentum with each passing day, small and mid-market enterprises feel the pinch to work doubly harder than bigger players to keep their head above water. Here, things like case studies start to assumance significance. Such personal accounts of challenges overcome and millions arrived with your business as a catalyst, providing a solid reason to customers looking for a trustworthy product or service to zero in on you.

Help showcase success stories on achieving results
Case studies help build credibility by showing your business's ability in providing answers to the problems that your clients bring to the table. Positive and strong testimonials from first-time or repeat customers can be used to demonstrate how successfully you've implemented your product and / or service and completed results on time. In other words, prospective customers are more interested in learning how you actually solve problems rather than merely hearing you talk about it.

An affordable medium for small businesses
What's heartening to know is that case studies are affordable to small businesses and there are more ways than one to benefit from their use. They can be put up on a website in the form of a simple but effective video, blog, PDF, newsletter, or infographic. What you've at your disposal is an inexpensive way to highlight the challenges you help your clients overcome as well as the approach you take in different situations, guided by your clearly defined business goals.

Provides room for learning & improvement
In the process, you get to learn a lot about your business, things you were not aware of previously. This is because case studies help you take a look at your business from the perspective of clients, which in turn is determined by how they see your product or service. From this arises the opportunity to further improve your business by gaining better ideas from customers. This in turn increases your bottom line.

Make Sure Your Business Is Properly Protected

If you are starting or operating a small business, you know the importance of maintaining its financial stability. Everything from managing cash flow to keeping current with tax liabilities is crucial. Another key contributor to the firm's financial strength is ensuring your business is protected against risks. While unexpected situations may occur, you can explore…

If you are starting or operating a small business, you know the importance of maintaining its financial stability. Everything from managing cash flow to keeping current with tax liabilities is crucial. Another key contributor to the firm's financial strength is ensuring your business is protected against risks. While unexpected situations may occur, you can explore insurance options to limit the impact that an unplanned event could have on your most important assets. Start by understanding your current policies, and identify areas where you and your business may be exposed to risk. The following list includes types of insurance you may want to consider:

The basics of business insurance

Among the more fundamental forms of insurance that apply to most businesses are:

· General liability : This type of insurance provides coverage for legal issues ranging from injuries on your property to claims of libel or slander.

· Product or professional liability: If your business manufactures, distributes or sells products at the retail level, this insurance protects against claims relating to product defects. The level of risk you incur depends on the types of products you sell and their potential to do harm. Professional liability coverage pertains to firms that provide services. This coverage, often referred to as “errors and omissions insurance,” protects against mistakes that could occur.

· Commercial property insurance: Just as you need insurance on your home, the same is true for your business property, even if you rent your business space. This insurance protects the valuable assets in your company from risks such as fire, flood damage, vandalism or theft.

Specialized types of insurance

Depending on the focus and state of your business, different types of insurance may be necessary. Be sure you review these options and others in your industry to determine what's right for you:

· Business insurance for the home: If you run your business out of the home, it is likely that standard homeowner's insurance will not cover risks associated with the business. Check your policy to see if separate or additional coverage is needed.

· Worker's compensation: If you have employees, you will likely need to have a worker's compensation policy in place to cover injuries or deaths that could occur while doing business.

· Auto insurance: Vehicles specifically owned by the company require full insurance. Employees using their own cars can be covered by personal insurance policies in most cases, but be sure to check with your insurer. You may need additional insurance to protect the company in case one of your employees has insufficient coverage.

· Business interruption insurance: A natural disaster or other catastrophic event could disrupt your business operation for days, weeks or even months. This form of coverage can compensate businesses for income lost during such periods. Generally, it is most suitable for a business that operates from a specific location, such as a retail store.

· Cyber ​​or data break coverage: If sensitive information about employees, vendors or clients is stored within your computers and other devices, there may be a financial impact if your business is subject to a cyber-attack. This insurance can help cover costs associated with notifying affected parties, public relations and legal action.

· Employment practices coverage: Employers can be subject to legal actions from employees and others, including complaints of discrimination, harassment or wrongful termination. Policies are available to protect against these costs.

· Directors 'and officers' liability: This coverage protects individuals in positions of authority in the company if they are sued over business decisions or actions taken.

· Life insurance : If you share ownership of the business, think about what happens to the firm if one of you passes away unexpectedly. Is another owner in a financial position to purchase an additional share in the company? Life insurance can be a key part of your success plan.

Look for solutions that are suitable

There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution when it comes to business insurance. The types of coverage you need and the size of your business can guide you in finding the best approach. Working closely with financial and insurance professionals can help you sort through your goals and determine an appropriate protection strategy.

Small Business Owners: Eliminating Organizational Waste to Increase Profits

You've heard it said often … Management can be broken down like this; eliminate, automate, delegate. You must always eliminate anything (and everything) that is not working, is wasteful, too costly, has no return on investment (ROI), and is not making the right kind of progress for your business. Automate everything you can. This includes…

You've heard it said often … Management can be broken down like this; eliminate, automate, delegate. You must always eliminate anything (and everything) that is not working, is wasteful, too costly, has no return on investment (ROI), and is not making the right kind of progress for your business.

Automate everything you can. This includes client reminders, billing, marketing, promotions, follow-ups, etc.

Delegation is REALLY important, and most often not done. It's not done enough because we (you, me and most everyone) has a hard time “letting go.” Basically, we're control freaks. You must determine your value per hour and NEVER do work that is below that pay level. Begin by delegating (outsourcing) all the things you loath.

It will instantly free your time for doing “HUBU” – your Highest Use and Best Use of your time to attract the next big client.

No one talks about how to eliminate unproductive routines, corporate bureaucracy and 'administration trivia' that kills ambition and sap energy for far too many employees. Organizational Drag is demoralizing for employees and a waste for companies, which clearly need the full energy and commitment of all their workers to keep or make the business profitable.

No one talks about how to evaluate the true causes of organizational drag — all the procedures, procedures and structures that waste time and limit output — not just the symptoms. The symptoms may seem minor annoyances and inconveniences that could be wiped out without much effort – too many process steps to get orders out, nonproductive meetings, meaningless goals, and time wasted on work that no one will even care about.

But those symptoms stem from fundamental problems. Companies wind up in trouble and squander the time, talent and energy of their workforce when they lose focus, spend money on things that do not make a difference to employees or the future of the business, and use operating models that are out of whack .

Below are some areas that waste can be eliminated from an organization or restructured to help it to become more profitable.

• Board of Directors — being complacent and procrastinating on leadership, governance and compliance issues. Also, delaying or distorting strategic decisions that overlook waste and high costs, hastily conceived and harmful cost reductions, missed new product and business development opportunities and poor long-term investments that destroys shareholder value (profits).

• President – wasted authority, responsibility, ability, talent, technology and knowledge by spending to little time on 'strategic issues / vision' and 'operational improvements strategy' by accepting positions work on multiple boards that are not relevant to the company but provide networking and resume building opportunities for them. Not executing plans that improve shareholder value (profits).

• Administration (wasted efforts) — outdated technology, lack of current policies and procedures, poor tracking of costs, expenses, lost files, inadequate reports, inefficient planning methods, no competitive bidding, facilities inefficient for operations and employees mindset of 'we know what we are doing '. Senior executives having too many meetings that have little or no direct impact on company value (profits).

• Human Resources – Poor Employee Handbook, Ambiguous Employee Responsibilities / Inequate Job Descriptions, Irregular Employee Evaluations, Outdated Employee Benefits, Poor job training, high employee turnover and improper employee tracking, record keeping systems and the 'do not rock the boat' mentality .

• Finance / Accounting (wasted profits) — credit losses, poor refund / returns tracking system, poor budgeting (profit planning system), Excessive Expenses, Slow Collections from current / former customers, delayed invoicing, inefficient record keeping (inventory / order management) and idle money

• Sales (wasted business opportunity) — neglected customers, uncalled prospects, lack of sales, calls on unqualified prospects, unsatisfied customers, high pressure sales tactics, rash promises and out-modified compensation structures

• Marketing Communications (wasted actions) — executing old marketing plan (targeting wrong customer audience), ineffective advertising, no publicity, lacks ROI measurement, poor coordination with other internal departments, outdated marketing material, outdated marketing message, no coordinated social media marketing presence, uninformed about company plans, internal employee communications lacks credibility and the 'they can not handle the truth' mentality by senior management

• Operations (wasted products / services) – unused capacity, waste labor, poor training, absenteeism, slow work pace, idle employees, spoiled work, out-dated methods and equipment.

• Ownership (wasted investment) – no profit on investment and the it's a 'write off' mentality.

No one shows you how to attack the root causes of organizational drag listed above, which allows companies to eliminate unnecessary work, reenergize the work and at the same time, put the business on a better course. Making the necessary improvements allows you to 'raise the bar' in the organization by following the three R's.

• Refocus on strategic priorities

• Resets the budgets

• Redesign the operating model

Refocus on strategic priorities

Refocus the organization on the most important business units, customer segments and geographies in which the company has a repeatable formula for growth and a 'right to win'.

A. Within business units, eliminate any sources of profitless volume and products in no growth markets.

1. Look closely, company may have stretched their brands and used product ports to customers and market in which they are undifferentiated and profits are weak. This contributions to drag as well as costs that rob resources from better and potentialally, more profitable ideas.

Reset the Budgets

How companies allocate money can contribute to organizational drag by keeping nonessential work going on. But it is not easy to make the tough decisions to defund.

I recommend profit planning based on zero-based budgeting and planning to make the choices clear.

This information can be configured and stored in quickbooks.

A zero-based budgeting and planning process using stretch targets challenges conventional planning and partnerships next bolder ideas.

Redesign the Operating Model

After streamlined portfolio and reset budgets, it is important to redesign the operating model —- that is, the way the company is organized to deliver on its strategy. Thinking 'customer-back' or 'frontline-back' provides lens to eliminate work. Just ask: How does this activity help to serve the customer better? Or How does this activity or information serve the internal stakeholders better? —- Companies need to look at inefficiencies cross-functional, cross-geographical or cross-business unit activities, where no executive or team has any account activity.

Assess your current state business operating model. Then identify the waste in your operations top to bottom. By identifying by the seven wastes of lean which provide a lens and a language to identify waste in your own work. Ask yourself these questions:

Transportation: How many handoffs do I have in my work?

Inventory: How big is my queue of work tasks?

Motion: How much time do I spend searching for information?

Waiting: Does my work sit idle waiting for other tasks or information?

Overproduction: Do I perform some tasks long before they are needed, while other tasks are late?

Overprocessing: Do I do more than is necessary, such as three-paragraph emails where one sentence will suffice?

Defects: Do I have tasks I must rework?

Keep a list of what you are looking for, and make notes when you observe those specific instances. Identify the cause of that waste. You are not going to eliminate everything, and certainly not all at once. But if you have multiple observations, you can make choices about the best opportunity to improve that increases profitability.

The idea of ​​categorizing seven wastes is credited to Engineer Taiichi Ohno, the father of the Toyota Production System (TPS). Although the classifications were intended to improve manufacturing, they can be adapted for most types of workplaces.

The following are the seven wastes, as categorized by Taiichi Ohno:

• Overproduction – Manufacture of products in advance or in excess of demand wastes money, time and space.

• Waiting – Processes are ineffective and time is wasted when one process waits to begin while another finishes. Instead, the flow of operations should be smooth and continuous. According to some estimates, as much as 99 percent of a product's time in manufacture is actually spent waiting.

• Transportation – Moving a product between manufacturing processes adds no value, is expensive and can cause damage or product deterioration.

• Inappropriate processing – Overly elaborate and expensive equipment is wasteful if simpler machinery would work as well.

• Excessive inventory – This wastes resources through costs of storage and maintenance.

• Unnecessary motion – Resources are wasted when workers have to bend, reach or walk distances to do their jobs. Workplace ergonomics assessment should be connected to design a more efficient environment.

• Defects – Quarantining defective inventory takes time and costs money.

Since the categories of waste were established, others have been proposed for addition, including:

• Underutilization of employee skills – Although employees are typically hired for a specific skill set, they always bring other skills and insights to the workplace that should be acknowledged and utilized.

• Unsafe workplaces and environments – Employee accidents and health issues as a result of unsafe working conditions waste resources.

• Lack of information or sharing of information – Research and communication are essential to keep operations working to capacity.

• Equipment breakdown – Poorly maintained equipment can result in damage and cost resources of both time and money.

After you have identified and categorized wasteful business practices / process areas in business units that need and can be resolved. Develop specific solutions for specific waste events. Do not try to eliminate waste in broad themes.

By identifying, improving and eliminating wasteful areas through the organization that decrease profitability. A business owner can increase their 'profits' on the bottom line in a good or bad economy.

6 Tips for Using Rapid Prototyping

Rapid prototyping helps you build and test ideas for product development. It helps you know if your idea can be turned into a good product in an efficient manner. Given below are a few tips to help you build rapid prototyping models with great success. With these tips, you will be able to go through…

Rapid prototyping helps you build and test ideas for product development. It helps you know if your idea can be turned into a good product in an efficient manner. Given below are a few tips to help you build rapid prototyping models with great success. With these tips, you will be able to go through the process without any problem. Read on to know more.

1. Manage complexity

Actually, the aim of this approach is to test the impact of different models on their performance. If there are lots of variables, you may want to be careful when combing them in the same breadboard. Moreover, if you have some difficult models, you should break them into different builds isolating complex systems. Then you can join them to simulate the actual product.

2. Test parameters

The role of rapid prototyping is not limited to finding out whether an idea can work or not. As a matter of fact, a good breadboard lets you know the variables that allow the process to work. What you need to do is design the system based on the variables that you think can have a great impact on the performance. And do not forget to test.

Go for speed

At first, it's not a good idea to get the perfect parts. Just go for what is good enough. What you need to do is get the maximum number of off-the-shelf parts. Actually, it's faster, cheaper and gives you the freedom to change the parts when required. If possible, you may want to go for items with short lead-times and variety.

4. Critical parts

When using off-the-shelf components, you will find custom pieces as well. Fabricating these pieces yourself is also a good idea. Actually, this is the fastest way. You can also tweak them as you find out that your initial design was not the best one. For these parts, using rapid prototyping methods is not a good idea. At this phase, you do not need to make custom injection parts, especially if rapid prototyping components get you what you want.

5. Robustness

As far as rapid prototyping goes, nothing is worse than ignoring something that is part of your learning process. If you think that you may need a stronger component, you should take steps to make it happen. At this point, you should not worry about cost, design or simplicity. You can take care of that later on.

6. Get Ready to iterate

Following the points given above, it will be possible for you to learn and discover that you need to change or get rid of some of your work. While doing so, you will experience an unexpected scenario. So, what is the solution? The solution will be there if you become iterate and flexible.

If you follow these suggestions, you will be able to get what you want. Learning these things in the beginning will help you save time and money down the road. Also, it will increase your chance of success. Hopefully, this will help you get success.

Consistency – The Model to Increase Your Success

When it comes to business, consistency is absolutely a key to success. Becoming and staying as consistent as you need to be to achieve your goals is not always easy, but it is a behavior that anyone involved in business would do well to learn and apply. The truth is that more businesses fail than…

When it comes to business, consistency is absolutely a key to success. Becoming and staying as consistent as you need to be to achieve your goals is not always easy, but it is a behavior that anyone involved in business would do well to learn and apply.

The truth is that more businesses fail than succeed. Statistically, the odds of any new business actually 'making it' and becoming profitable enough to sustain itself are slim. But how can you welcome the odds? What can you do to propel your business to a place where it can not only be successful, but also grow and prosper? To accomplish success on this level, you need to embody several behaviors and habits, but one of the most critical of these is consistency.

If you can learn to be consistent, then your talent can be fully realized and your ideas can be given a fair chance of working. You would be amazed at how many businesses, started by talented and intelligent people, fail because they neglect to continue in their good habits, day in and day out. A lot of factors come into play, but there is no substitute for being determined, reliable, and consistent.

Becoming the 'Model Of Success'

One of the key concepts to understand, as it relates to consistency, lies in the idea that you need to 'become what you desire to become'. In other words, do not just hope that your business will succeed. Instead, start living it on a day to day basis. Embody your ideas to the point where you make them real. When you believe in you and in your business enough, you can only succeed!

If your company was really busy and successful, then you would most likely need to do things a certain way to generate that result and output. But for a new start up, for a business that has not grown to that point yet, or even for a business that is older but has not grown a whole lot in past years … a lot can be accomplished by, for example , showing up to work and putting in the hours that you would be required to put in if your business were incredibly busy and successful.

Being consistent in a way as simple as showing up to work, day in and day out, is often overlooked. Many people do not realize how much good a consistent presence on their part can do for their business, even if they have employees who can manage things while they are not there. For example, showing up to work and having little in the way of business actually going on might seem like a waste of time, but you can utilize down time to further your ideas in other ways, which in turn can help to expand and increase your success to the next level – and we all have a next level. For example, you could work on networking or marketing to grow your client base. You could also get into social media marketing or do more in this area, and utilize that to reach out to possible new clients who can use your products or services.

There is also a need to be consistent in the areas of marketing and advertising, especially as they relate to any online ventures. Consistency in these areas has, time and time again, tied itself to successful businesses. In fact, a lot of successful people have said that it is not actually talent or a natural affinity for leadership that sets a profitable businessman apart from one that is not. The only real common denominator amongst those on incredibly successful levels is the fact that those who remained consistent in their endeavors, and stuck it out when things got tough, often ended up creating a more profitable business. Overnight success stories might sound fun, but you would be AMAZED at how much went on behind the scenes that the public will never know about. A lot of 'overnight success stories' were only made possible because the businesses involved remained consistent in their day to day activities, even when things were not going so well.

The Benefits of Consistency

By remaining consistent, you will be ready to jump at any opportunity that might come along. The restaurant owner, for example, who consistently places open on Mondays when he is never very busy, could very well find his restaurant the most popular place to eat on Mondays if he is the only one who will commit to staying consistent by staying open on such a slow day. The entrepreneur, who is trying to market his business online, may be tempted to miss a few blog posts here and there … but if he does, he will cause readers to notice that content is not as 'regular' as it used to be, and this will result in a loss of interest on their part.

Think about the types of businesses that you utilize every day. Where do you buy your groceries? Where do you go out to eat? Where do you buy clothes? Who is your dry cleaner? Have you ever tried to do business with a company that never managed to be reliable? There is nothing more frustrating than needing something, only to realized that the business you planned on using is 'closed' for the day due to 'personal reasons'. This is the kind of inconsistency that will really drag a business down.

In the end, consistency is all about keeping things steady, regular, and reliable. Consistency is going to be one of the most important assets that your business will ever build for itself, and building it will result in increased sales, clients, and success!

If you have been struggling a little bit in the consistency department (as most people do), then I challenge you to put new energy into making your part in your business as reliable and as consistent as you can. Do not misunderstand that consistency because you are set in your ways and that you never look outside the box to try new things that can help your business grow even more. You will no doubt soon realize how many opportunities such an attitude will open up for you!

Starting today, commit to being consistent in at least one area that you have struggled with laately. Try to isolate the most inconsistent parts of your business, and concentrate on making that the most reliable part of your operation. You would be amazed at how much of a difference this will make for your company!

4 Questions to Consider When Making Life Choices

Choices we make, on a day-to-day basis, have a tremendous influence on how our lives are going to turn out … and this is especially true when you start talking about our business life. It is no secret that making the right choices is going to help your business, but how will you know if…

Choices we make, on a day-to-day basis, have a tremendous influence on how our lives are going to turn out … and this is especially true when you start talking about our business life. It is no secret that making the right choices is going to help your business, but how will you know if a particular choice is really right? How will you know if you are making constructive choices, or are actually putting yourself through unnecessary hardship for nothing?

These are great questions, and finding the answers can be a challenge! In this article, you will learn four questions to ask yourself that might just help to make the process a little bit easier. These questions might seem a bit routine, but you would be amazed at how many people never really think about their choices before making up their minds! By asking yourself these questions before deciding on a course of action, you will be able to view the possible consequences from a better, more accurate frame of mind. These questions may not illuminate 'magic' answers that will help you in solving any problem that might arise, but they can assist you by helping you to categorize what you already know into a helpful lineup of information that is easier to follow and identify with in your own mind.

1-How Will This Choice Affect Me Short Term?

What would the immediate effects of your choice be? What ramifications could it have for you today, tomorrow, next week, next month, or even a year from now? If necessary, make a list of the short term positives and negatives. How will it help you now? How would it hurt you now? Are there any possibilities that you have not explored yet? Who else can you ask that may have experience to help you with this choice?

Figuring out how a particular choice will affect you now can actually help you decide whether the choice is even a viable option. In some cases, it may seem like the long term benefits are positive … but if your business or project will not survive the short term negatives, then those long term positives are not going to matter in the end, and vice versa.

2-How Will This Choice Affect Me in the Long Term?

How will this choice affect you down the road? Will you still be experiencing the effects of your decision a year from now, five years from now, or ten years from now? Figuring out what long term positives and negatives a choice might hold for you and your business could make a big impact on whether you decide to go ahead or hold back.

3-Will This Choice Result in Something Professional or Worthwhile?

Are there any immediate or long term benefits that could lead you or your business to a place of enhanced professionalism as a result of making this choice? Will the results be worthwhile? Think about what positives the choice does offer, and try to balance this information by asking yourself how professional or worth it would be. Often, we face choices that seem like they are good ideas, but then end up realizing down the road that those choices did not really lend themselves to the creation of a professional image, additional revenue, or the achievement of any specific goals. In life, as well as in business, you need to make choices that are going to enhance your professionalism, generate revenue, and further your goals.

When you make an investment of your valuable time you want it to produce a desired outcome and result or do not do it. Every time you invest your time in doing anything, you want to have a specific goal in mind that you want to achieve as a result. Because we all only have 168 hours in a week, we have to spend it wisely if we hope to get to where we absolutely want to be in life.

4-Is This Choice Consistent With My Goals?

Keeping your goals in mind as you make choices is exceptionally important. If a particular choice does not line up with your goals, then it is most likely going to set you back somewhere down the line. Consistency is a key component to success, so make sure that your choices line up with what you have planned for your business in the long term. If you do not currently have your goals written down, then I would highly recommend doing so before you start making big choices for yourself or for your business. Keeping your goals in front of you and periodically reviewing them can really help you to make choices that will move you towards your goals in the long run.

Choices are a part of life. Everyone has them. Choices are made every minute of every day. In a way, there is really no right or wrong way to make certain choices. Some choices are difficult to make because, at times, there is no good or bad to either path. In times like these, you need to look at your goals and where you are going in life to determine whether a particular choice will help you or harm you.

The truth is that every choice you make is going to impact you … so making choices that are going to affect your life in a positive way is going to be a key element to both your success and your happiness. Few things can drag a person down sooner than a series of poor choices. However, on the other hand, people can seldom be propelled to a better place than they can by making a series of important, positive choices. In the end, it really boils down to two things … what you want, and how you plan to get there.