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Business/Investment

Virtual Offices – How Virtual Offices Are Changing US Businesses For The Better

The drive from Long Beach to your office in West Hollywood on a good day is roughly an hour. The drive from your home in Homestead to downtown Miami is roughly an hour and a half, on a good day. The drive from your home in New Jersey to Manhattan, on a good day, is roughly two hours.

The drive from your home in any city in the United States to your virtual office lasts as long as it takes to turn on your device and access the internet. Just in terms of transforming the daily commute, the virtual office has done wonders for the modern business landscape. In many ways, these office setups have made the work of doing work more efficient and effective.

Continue reading to discover how the virtual office is transforming modern industry.

The Logistics Of Work

The way many virtual offices work professionals can access their business information at any time of the day or night. Furthermore, these offices typically provide businesses with on-site accommodations in the form of conference and meeting rooms. Check out Servcorp America’s coworking space at www.servcorp.com/en/virtual-offices/ to see the types of amenities that might be included in your plan.

The virtual office has made it possible to work with people all across the world and in a timely manner. Businesses no longer have to incur travel costs associated with meeting international clients because video-conferencing capabilities make it possible to hold meetings anywhere. In essence, the virtual office has transformed where work is completed making it especially convenient for modern business.

Hiring Top Talent

Another major impact of the virtual office is that it has made it possible for businesses to recruit and hire top talent from around the world. Gone are the days when businesses had to traverse the often-complicated process of hiring qualified candidates from a limited pool of applicants. After selecting and interviewing candidates, weeks might have passed before someone is actually hired. The various professional social media sites, in addition to the various employment sites, provide employers and applicants with the option of submitting online applications, uploading material and advertising information in the effort of finding talent and getting hired.

More significantly, the virtual office has transformed the types of positions available to the workforce. Years ago, the full-time position was an entry into workplace heaven. Alternatively, today’s American business landscape has grown to include a large number of people who get hired on contract. For business, this has saved them millions of dollars, but for the workforce, it has transformed how people work, turning some into digital nomads.

Work Efficiency

The speed at which work gets done is a major result of the virtual office. With the various online apps available to business, professionals can communicate with each other in real time, can send and receive documents quickly through cloud-sharing programs, can electronically sign documents, and can complete a number of applications related to the managing of a business within a short amount of time. In essence, the amount of time for business transactions to happen has been drastically reduced by virtual office applications.

File Storage

Just in terms of the amount of physical space that is saved, the virtual office has all but removed the need for storage closets. In past incarnations, offices ended up devoting at least a few rooms to storing files. Virtual office capabilities have allowed businesses to move files to an electronic format, thereby saving a lot of physical space.

The Quiet Revolution

Almost overnight, technology has overtaken many of the functions that made work inefficient. Today, a business could function in virtual reality without running to snags, as the various apps and human resource technologies make managing an office easy. For your business, the virtual office can connect you to an online community and promote your venture to a wider audience.

Business/Investment

Must Read: 7 ways to break away from the paycheck to paycheck cycle

Many of us have become accustomed to living from pay check to pay check; however, there are millions of people who have broken free from the rut and you can too. Living pay check to pay check means you’re one pay check from living without electricity, gas, a home and a car. It’s a worst-case scenario that could happen if you don’t improve your financial situation. Here are 10 ways to break free and increase your income stream.

Recognising you have a problem and dealing with it: The first step to getting out of the rut is recognising you’re stuck in a cycle of your own creation. Go online and read through the experiences of individuals who were in a similar situation but turned their life around. It offers insight on what you’re doing wrong and a few ways to change.

Live below your means: Review your credit card statements, bank statements and receipts. What are you spending every month? Can you cut back on miscellaneous expenses such as eating out and partying with friends? Compare your expenses with your income; if your outgoings are more than your income then it’s time to cut back.

Don’t shop for the sake of it: When you go out with friends, it’s tempting to buy a dress or an item you didn’t plan for during an impromptu shopping trip. Shopping for fun is a costly action. The best option is to stay away if you know your friends always end up in a store when you hang out.

Stop using credit cards and get out of debt: You won’t get your finances in order until you’re out of debt. Debt eats into your monthly pay check, leaving you with little for anything else. You also need to stop using your credit card while you’re paying off your debt. Avoid taking out any loans while you’re at it.

Spend Wisely: When making purchases, try to find the best deals, keep track of all your spending with virtual financial assistants as well as using cashback sites.

Make savings automatic: Planning to save after your expenses mean you will never save. Whether you’re saving for retirement or emergency funds, the money should come first before your spending. Savings should be automatically deducted from your checking account or ask your bank to deduct the funds to your 401 (k) plan automatically.

Increase your income: Another way to cut back on expenses is to increase your income. Get a part-time job or a freelance work online. Sell off household items you don’t need. All the extra income should go towards paying off your debt and you could quit your second job when you’ve finished paying off your debt.

Conclusion

Don’t rely on regular bonuses to cover your living expenses. Instead use it to speed up your debt payment or increase your emergency fund. The emergency fund is how to get out of the cycle of living from pay check to pay check in the long-term. Set a budget that caters to your expenses, insurance premiums, loan and car payments.

Business/Investment

Delivering Top notch customer service to energise Your Business

You can’t have dissatisfied customers and yet expect to have a successful business. The two don’t mix. If you want to have a successful business with longevity, keeping your customers happy and satisfied at all times is key. And the key to this is top notch customer service.

Asides from keeping your business profitable, satisfied customers also equals a highly competitive business. If your business is currently lagging, here’s how you can energise it by switching to a more customer oriented business plan:

  1. Hiring the right people

You can’t care for your customers the right way if you don’t have the right people on your staff. No amount of training and retraining can change an individual’s personality so you need to make sure you hire personnel who share your company goals and enthusiasm for customer satisfaction. For instance, hiring someone with a friendly personality and placing him/her at the front desk or as a sales rep will put customers more at ease and make them feel welcome. So when hiring, keep an eye out for potential, enthusiasm, and an understanding of your company’s philosophy.

  1. Make customer service everyone’s focus

It’s not just the receptionist, marketers, customer service reps, and sales reps that should operate in a customer focused manner. Everyone in the company from the doorman to the guys in IT should operate with a customer first mentality. This is important because with no customers, there would be no business. So everyone in your company should be pitching in to keep the customers happy.

  1. Training happens every day

There’s no such thing as too much training, especially in light of the fact that customer needs are always changing. Recently, Starbucks had to retrain all their staff in the US after two customers were poorly treated at a branch. So don’t shy away from investing in training your personnel in order to ensure they actually have the tools and knowledge to serve and relate with your customers the right way

  1. Happy employees are a big asset

It’s easier for a satisfied and happy employee to provide great customer service, compared to a bitter and dissatisfied employee with poor working conditions. Since happy employees are in a better position to create happy customers, make the effort to provide optimal working conditions for your staff and ensure they are well cared for. One easy way to accomplish this is through fostering a rewarding work environment for employees.

  1. Offer flexible solutions

Be it payment terms, hassle-free returns policies, prices, delivery options, or otherwise, offer your customers options so they can pick the one that’s most convenient and satisfies their needs. If a customer can get all he/she needs from your business, there’ll be no reason to check out the competition. Having that degree of flexibility is particularly valuable in the early stages of your business’s life as you’ll be likely to face a number of ups and downs in those vital first few years.

  1. Reward loyalty and retain customers

Retaining customers can be difficult, but it’s much easier if you provide your customers a reason to stay. You can accomplish this through loyalty schemes, listening and responding to customer feedback, and more. A customer that feels appreciated is more likely to keep coming back. Just make sure your loyalty scheme is straight forward and doesn’t seem like a ploy.

Business/Investment

How can blogging help boost your online presence? 5 Secrets You Should Know

An adage that you’ll commonly come across on the internet, especially when considering content marketing, is “Content is King”. The more content you have, the better the online visibility of your brand will be. And one effective way of generating more content that will lead to an increased interest in your brand is through blogging.

In present day, your business’ online presence is just as important as what type of business insurance coverage you have. If you fail to properly boost and manage your online presence, not only will lose out on the millions of potential customers that surf the internet every day, your brand will also likely be overshadowed by other businesses who aren’t making the same mistake of ignoring the potentials of having a healthy online presence.

Blogging can be an effective strategy for not only increasing your online presence, but for also strengthening it. If you haven’t been using blogging to your advantage, below are some of the biggest benefits you’ve been missing out on.

  1. Significant boost to SEO

SEO stands for search engine optimisation. It refers to the potential of your website to rank highly on a search engine result. The higher your ranking is, the better. Fresh content is a significant factor that search engines take into consideration when trying to determine how highly a website should be ranked. By using blogging to put out relevant content on a frequent basis, your SEO will greatly improve and more of your target audience will be able to find your website on the first page of search engine results.

  1. Grow and maintain relationships with new and old customers

It is important to keep your customers engaged if you want them to keep coming back for more. And one sure way to keep people checking on your website is by adding relevant content to your website on a daily basis by blogging. This will help you attract new customers to your website as well as keep the old ones happy. Blogging can also help build trust with customers especially if your content contains useful information that will turn you into an authority in your field.

  1. Establish your business as a leader in its industry

By sharing valuable content and information through blogging, you can establish your business as a reputable force within its industry. This is possible regardless how big or small your brand is. In fact, depending on how good your blogs are, you can turn your brand into a sought after sensation by putting out consistently engaging, compelling, and insightful content. Before long, you’ll be considered the “go to” resource within your niche

  1. Brand will connect with more people

By blogging sharable content, you create an opportunity to generate more brand awareness and thus reach more people within your target market. Followers of your brand online will likely share your content with friends and family on social media who will in turn share it with their friends and family. Before long, your brand thanks to blogging can become more recognisable which will in turn lead to increased interest in your goods and services.

So stop waiting and get started blogging to expand the reach of your business.

Business/Investment

Here Are 10 Things You Need to Know about Let Property Insurance

It is a good investment to own a buy-to-let property, especially now the demand for rental accommodation is tipped to increase in the foreseeable future. However, it doesn’t end with acquiring the property and collecting rent every month, there are other things to consider.

For one, a landlord property insurance is essential for any buy-to-let property-owner. In fact, some financial institutions or lenders will not approve a loan unless you obtain one. If you purchased your property using a mortgage calculator, the following property insurance tips are essential for a hassle-free tenure.

  1. There are different types of landlord insurance policies

There are many insurance products in the market. Before choosing a policy for your let property, do a proper research about the various types available and choose one that covers your priority needs. Don’t be influenced by rates alone as it may cause regrets.

  1. Not all damage is covered

Some insurance providers offer a bundle coverage for certain types of policies, however, note that not everything is covered to avoid misunderstanding. To be able to make claims on certain damages, they often state that it must be “sudden and accidental”.

  1. Decide the amount of coverage you need

The better coverage you have, the less you will have to pay from your savings if an accident occurs. Some mortgage lenders may decide how much you need. Note that the amount of coverage you buy for the property, its contents and belongings will influence the price you pay.

  1. Replacement cost or full cash value?

There are usually two choices to make when you want to insure your home. Will you want a replacement cost or the full cash value if you have to make a claim? The replacement cost is the amount you need to replace or rebuild your home, while cash value is the amount it would take to rebuild the property after depreciation.

  1. Do your research before you buy

It is never a good idea to go with the first insurance provider you see. Study your options and select the most suitable policy. You will save up to hundreds of pounds if you compare alternatives.

  1. Ask agents about concessions

The insurance market is very competitive. Property insurers are always trying to make their policies attractive by offering discounts. Ask your agents about such concessions and take advantage of them.

  1. A policy for every mishap

Whether you own the property or are leasing it, there is always a product available. From furniture damage to fire, break-ins or accident, you can secure a policy of your choice.

  1. Where to buy a policy

The internet is usually the first choice for most insurance buyers because sites like Money Supermarket and Compare the Market allow you to make comparisons. But newspapers, yellow pages and the phone directory are effective for options in your area.

  1. Read your contract carefully

There are cases where people were disappointed by the outcome of their claims. Most of these issues could have been avoided if the property owners studied their contracts carefully. If you are too busy, hire a lawyer to go through it with a fine tooth-comb.

  1. Review the status of your property insurance annually

Contact your insurance agent at least once a year in case you need to review your policy. The property market changes regularly and you will be well covered if your policy suits the current conditions.

Business/Investment

Saving options for retirement-living the American dream in your silver age

When you are in your twenties or even early thirties, retirement seems a world away. You sometimes have a difficult time planning your next holiday, not what you will do 30-40 years from now. Without proper preparation, your bohemian dreams of sipping cocktails on a tropical beach or seeing the world with your partner could quickly turn into spending time around your back-yard.

The options for retirement plans consist of four choices, which you can sometimes combine to get more consistent savings. The first option is a 401(k) plan which is offered by the employer. This can be supplemented with a Roth 401(k). For additional savings or if you are self-employed, you could opt-in for a traditional IRA, to which you can add a Roth IRA.

Understanding the Roth advantages

This name comes from Senator William Roth Jr. who supported the Taxpayer Relief Act in 1997. By this bill, people can choose to supplement their pension savings with a certain amount, currently up to $5500/ (or $6500 for those over 50 years old) from money that has already been taxed once. This means that once you hit the retirement age, you can get money from your Roth account without paying additional taxes on them in the future.

Roth savings are an excellent option for young people since they have no control over the tax levels in the next decades. The upper cap on the income of $118,000 for singles and $184,000 for married couples also suggests that this option is for those with average earnings, but who can plan. Deductibility of the contributions also depends on the marital status and the filing status of the applicant. AAA Credit Guide offers a detailed description of the Roth IRA including tips and tricks.

401(k) or IRA?

The first myth that needs to be debunked is that this is not a choice, you can have both. The 401(k) plan is offered by your employer and comes with the promise that they will match your contribution to the pension fund up to a certain percentage of your salary, no mere than $17,000/year. Not choosing such a plan is like leaving free money on the table.  These funds are deposited into the retirement account before taxes; you will pay those when you use them.

The IRA (Individual Retirement Agreement) is a plan that you can sign up at any broker and contributions are deductible to lower your taxable income. People who are not in a traditional employment situation can only contribute to this kind of plan.

Putting it all together

If this all seems complicated, you could check out this flowchart to help you make a better decision. The key takeaways are: if your employer offers a traditional 401(k) (pre-tax) be sure to contribute to it and eventually ask about the option to get also a Roth 401(k) (after-tax). In the case of self-employed or those who still want more security, there is always the option of an IRA, either traditional (pre-tax) or Roth, depending on the income levels.

Business/Investment

Binary Options Trading for Beginners

Binary options trading is slowly getting popular among people who want to earn more. If you’re thinking about getting in on the game, here are a few things you need to know.

Binary Options

In coding, binary means that a value is either 1 or 0. In trading, the concept isn’t that far off. You either gain or lose money based on a “yes” or “no” proposition. If the proposition is true, i.e. if the answer is “yes”, then you earn money. If it is false, i.e. if the answer is “no”, then you lose money. Based on your earnings and the initial price you pay, you can determine how much you actually gain or lose.

Binary Options Trading

To give you a clearer idea of how binary options trading works, here is an example:

The proposition is this: “Will the price of gold be higher than $1,000 at midnight?” If you believe that the price will increase, you can buy the binary option. Otherwise, you sell it.

For this example, let’s say that you buy the binary option. Let’s put your initial offer (or the price you pay to buy the binary option) at $40. If the price of gold exceeds $1,000 at midnight, you get $100 and earn $60. If the price of gold doesn’t exceed $1,000 at midnight, you earn $0 and lose $40, which is your initial offer.

Now, let’s consider selling the binary option. If you don’t believe that the price of gold will exceed $1000 at midnight, you can sell the binary option at, say, an initial bid of $37. (The initial bid is typically lower than the initial offer. In other words, you risk more money if you buy than if you sell.) When midnight comes and the price of gold doesn’t exceed $1,000, you get $100 and earn $63. On the contrary, you earn $0 and lose $37, which is your initial bid.

Binary Options Trading Tips

If you want to try your luck at binary trading, here are some binary options trading tips to help you get started:

1. Don’t put all your money in binary trading.

Binary options trading can be exciting, especially for a beginner. But with any type of trading, binary options come with risks that you should take into consideration when putting in money. After all, you don’t want to drain your savings, right? So before you start trading, decide on how much of your money you’re willing to lose just in case the worst happens. Once you start earning, you can make your “trading money pool” bigger.

2. Being wise is better than being quick.

Because binary options trading is time-sensitive, you may feel pressured to bid as soon as you can. However, it is important to stay smart about the bids you enter. Prioritize “wise trading” over “quick trading” so you have a higher chance of earning money.

3. Keep your emotions in check.

Yes, binary options trading is exciting, especially when you start winning. But don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Know when to step out of the game before you start losing big money.

Business/Investment

Solving problems that can occur during construction

There are many problems that can occur during construction

Construction projects are underway, as you are reading this, all over the world and projects can last right through the night. In many cases problems can occur during construction which can come about due to the weather, man power or even poor tools. Take a look at some problems which can occur and how you can prevent them from happening:

Weather problems

Construction projects can last for a great amount of time meaning that due to the changing of the seasons, workers will have to prepare for maybe all four of them. In some cases, torrential rain can occur which can cause the ground of the construction to become wet, soft and can often halt the project depending on the severity of the rain. To prepare and overcome this visit JWA for bog mats which you can place down during and after the rainfall and enable the workers to be able to walk across the boggy ground without any problems whatsoever.

Tool problems

In some cases, workers will be using tools which are old and have seen too many jobs themselves. This can cause a problem, especially with the most commonly used tools, if too many of them break or are not performing the job properly, it can slow down the project to a near stop and cause you to be way behind on the deadline. It´s imperative that if hiring a construction company that you include within the contract that all tools being used will be assessed before the construction project starts and ensure that they will last throughout. In some cases, it will be necessary for new tools due to the wear and tear or length of the project, but ensuring this is outlined within the contract will keep you in budget and won´t halt the construction process

Construction worker problems

In most cases you will be contracting workers from another company and it is the job of this company to keep the workers happy and nothing to do with you. Making sure you hire a reputable company to provide the workers is a sure-fire way that you can avoid any problems during your project. If a poor company is hired, you could have contracted 20 workers per day but they are only sending 10, meaning your deadlines will probably not be kept to and if they are, they will be of poor, rushed quality. Keeping in great contact with the company is also a good way that you can ensure that everything is running smoothly, if you´re the project manager then you will usually be the person that takes the flack if something goes wrong from the bosses upstairs.

As you can see from the above three points, complete risk analysis, preparation and planning are the most important things you can do before you actually go ahead and start the project. Remember that if you don’t prepare, things will most likely occur and it could end the construction project entirely!

Business/Investment

What Are the Key Elements of Creative Teams?

What is the commonality between scientific collaborators, successful Broadway musical production teams, and the Boston Red Sox have in common? This was something that was researched a few years ago by Northwestern University and their results have driven innovation management software for businesses packages ever since. Essentially, the study look at a wealth of teams known to be highly creative and who had exhibited phenomenal performances when they worked together.

Unsurprisingly, one of the key things they found was that each team was made up of a fantastic diversity of people and individuals. Indeed, no two people in any of the teams were even remotely the same. However, this diversity was seen not solely in the age differences, gender differences, or ethnic differences between the participants. While those differences were also present, those weren’t the ones that caused true breakthrough performances. What was far more important, and turned out to be the true key predictor, was that the best performing teams had people in it that had been there a while and that had a lot of experience, but also a few newer members who were very new to the field. Indeed, in the study, teams with nothing but experienced people, so those that didn’t add any newbies, didn’t do as well as those who did add new people. Clearly, therefore, it is the influx of new blood and new ideas, combined with existing experience, that brings about real innovation.

So how does this apply to your team? Is it simply as easy as adding some new members to a team that is feeling a bit staid and old? Well, according to Northwestern University, that is exactly what is needed. Best of all, you don’t need to create a full time position for someone new. Simply bringing them in for a couple of hours to brainstorm is all that is needed!

So What about Facial Hair?

One of the best ways to increase creativity is to expose teams to a range of different forms of information, from a wealth of different sources. Those sources can be really unexpected, in fact. Consider, for example, that research has consistently shown over half of all people believe that men who are clean shaven are more honest than those who have a beard. The reason for this is that a face full of fur is something people subconsciously associate with poor hygiene, concealment, and diabolical intent. Yes, really.

If you have ever looked at the Forbes Top 100 list of the richest people of the world. What you will find is that not one individual on that list has a beard. In fact, very few have so much as a moustache! Similarly, no candidate running for American presidency has had a moustache or a beard since 1910.

To take this back to innovation, if you do want to get your creative juices flowing, particularly if you have brought in an outsider to help with this, then make sure everybody has a shave first!

Business/Investment

Plan Your Trades Wisely

Any new venture requires research and planning. Trading is no exception, but unfortunately, many people jump in unprepared so that their trades are little more than gambles. If you want to become a successful trader, you must have a trading plan. Not only will it help you understand when to place trades, it will tell you know when to exit a trade, manage your risk and help you keep emotion out of your trading. It is important to invest time into researching and developing a plan that will work for you before you begin. Trial the plan, analyze its successes and failures and modify it as necessary and you will be more likely to have success in the future.

Set Your Goals

Before you can create a trading plan, you must set your goals. Take a piece of paper and pen and write them down to make them more concrete. You need to take into account your personality and your trading style in order to be able to set realistic and workable goals. Assess your strengths and weaknesses and how they will impact your trading. Include timeframes when setting your goals so that you have daily, weekly, monthly, bi-annual and annual goals. All of this is the first step to planning your actual trades.

Plan Entry, Stop and Profit Targets

By planning when you will enter a trade and when you will exit a trade, you avoid trading by emotion. Knowing when to exit a trade is just as important as understanding the signals of when to enter the trade. Exiting in time helps you manage your bankroll and will allow you to come back to trade another day. Setting these points forces you to plan a logical strategy and helps you stick to your strategy when you are trading.

Decide on Risk:Reward Ratios

You must plan your risk:reward ratio once you have already set your entry, stop and profit targets. The higher the ratio, the more reward you will have compared to risk and therefore, the more appealing the trade will be. A ratio of around 1:1.5 would look good. As part of this, you need to work out your risk in terms of how much of your capital you can risk on any one trade or in any one day. The amount will depend on your personal risk tolerance, but is typically between 1% and 5% of your total capital.

Keep Records

Keep records of everything. Of your plans, of your analysis, of your risk levels and targets, of your trading records and of your charts. These records allow you to go back and analyze the success or failure of your trade. From this, you can sit and tweak your plan, improving it as you go.

Conclusion

The key to trading successfully is planning your trades wisely. This will be different for each person as goals and personality vary between people. However, planning, recording and modifying your plans are the key to becoming a successful trader.