The Advantages of Using Managed IT Services

Regardless of whether you are a business executive or an IT expert, the best IT managed services in Washington DC can make your work easier so that you can focus on other important things. Managed IT benefits can include the industry knowledge, dedication, and expertise of the whole IT department, who can deliver your core business. These benefits allow you to focus on growing your company’s core competencies. 

Remember that a managed IT service provider can assist you with daily tasks that are complex and time-consuming, such as disaster recovery planning, data center solutions, cloud computing, and end-user support. As a result, these providers can improve the company’s efficiency and competitiveness. This article discusses the advantages of using managed IT services. 

Predictable and Scalable Spending

No doubt, it can be quite expensive to invest in IT infrastructure and systems. When  you decide to invest in IT requirements upfront, then it can be hard to predict operating expenses as the business grows. But with managed IT services, these expenses are put together into a single and fixed set of costs. 

Because IT managed service providers usually operate with a fixed monthly rate, it means rates, such as maintenance, hardware breakdowns, and repairs are calculated using your operational budget, meaning it can’t break the bank once the unexpected happens.  

You Can Avoid Sunk and Operational Expenses

Running an in-house IT team means that you have significant sunk costs like monthly salaries, office upkeep, benefits, and insurance. Also, it can take a lot of time and money to train your employees to become familiar with the existing processes and systems. 

So when you use IT managed service providers, you can reduce a lot of capital expenditures that are associated with managing IT systems in-house and even add a bit to no value to your company. Aside from reducing your capital expenditures, you can also lower your IT costs by using managed IT services. 

For example, managed IT services tend to assist you to save on licensing, consulting, training, and emergency repairs. You can also benefit a lot from reduced labor rates once you hire the managed IT services. 

Fast Response Time

Today, employees don’t have to be slowed down by any type of technical problems or downtown. This is especially true when you are experiencing high traffic times. 

This is the reason why you need to have 24/7 support to make sure that your team is always productive. Managed IT service providers offer such types of services and you can expect that they will be available for your users regardless of whether it’s a weekend, day, night, or holidays. 

Expertise and Experience

Another notable benefit you can get by hiring a managed IT service provider is that you can find a team that has the training, qualifications, experience, and certifications required in this industry. 

A managed IT service provider can also offer you access to high-quality IT administrators with a great skill set to negate the need for you to hire such expertise yourself. When you find a managed IT service provider, you can also access the latest technology available on the market.

Ingenious Ways You Can Improve Your Office’s Workflow Without Compromising On Productivity

As an employer, you need to make sure that your business has a smooth workflow. Not only that, but you are also responsible for your office’s productivity levels and how much your employees contribute to the company’s functions and overall workflow. Work can be frustrating for many of us, but there’s always room for office improvements that can help make the daily routine less stressful. This is why the top brands and companies integrate the latest communication methods and offer advanced training for their employees; There are many productive ways office environments can maintain a steady flow of work, including frequent training, establishing an organized workflow, and prioritizing difficult tasks, along with many other innovative techniques and ideas that can help improve your office’s workflow. 

In this article, we highlight the top ways you can increase workflow without overlooking your workspace’s productivity.

Become More Organized 

Whether you’re an employee or an employer, you’ll benefit from being organized in your work and in your life in general. Being organized helps make the business environment less stressful and decreases the amount of time wasted between daily tasks and work processes. If you run your own business, try to communicate the importance of organization with your staff and help them fix their daily schedules according to their specific roles in the company. Make sure they understand that having a daily plan gives them more time to focus at the beginning of their working day rather than wasting time taking care of the mess from the day before. As a worker or businessman, you should spend at least 10 minutes at the end of your working day sorting through the papers and documents that need to be filed. Before making your to-do list for the next day, try to delete all opened emails and get rid of any papers you no longer need. While office organization does not just refer to how clean your office is, it’s important to eliminate any chances of wasting time looking for things in your office or computer.

Communicate Clearly 

Communication is the most important dynamic for the survival and success of any business. Communication in business means making sure that everyone in the office understands the processes and rules of the workplace. This is why most businesses and companies encourage their employees to maintain open lines of communication with each other to confirm the tasks they are working on and report their progress to management. It’s easier to get work done when everyone knows their role and their assigned tasks. On the other hand, lack of proper communication can lead workers to ignore important tasks — especially if they believe someone else is already working on them  Open communication also minimizes time wastage and helps to prevent employee errors. When you and your employees are connected, you’ll be able to track progress, ensure a smooth workflow, and monitor all tasks to make sure they are completed accurately and on time.

Enhance Your Email Structure

One important aspect of almost any business email services. Due to the frequent and essential use of email in the processes of all businesses, you need to learn how you can streamline this process and increase its efficiency. Emails – especially those going to customers and clients – represent your business, no matter how simple or repetitive the message is. While it may seem more efficient to send out mass emails of a repetitive nature, taking your time to learn how to connect with those reading your emails can have a significant, positive impact on your success as a business. Emails have special structures and key components that need to be included in order to build your business email message. Think of addressing customers by their name and always respond to emails, even if your reply will be short. Your clients should never feel like they’re wasting your time when reading an email or a reply from you, so it’s important to reply to their emails promptly. Make it a standard for your company emails to inform your customers that their feedback is appreciated and valuable to your business.

Make Use of Collaboration Tools

While email makes up the majority of work and business communications, it can interfere with your workers’ productivity. Emails help in the collaboration process between you and your clients and/or you and your employees, so they are a great source of communication;  they can also interrupt you every now and then and slow down your flow, affecting both productivity and income levels Sometimes, feeling the pressure of responding quickly to an email can prompt poor business decisions. Software specialists at DevOps suggest using cloud-based tools that can help you separate your emails and streamline the entire process. These tools will help you access all the important things in one place while moving the less important things to another place so that you can organize on the basis of your priorities. Using similar cloud-based tools can also help you schedule when to read your email messages rather than having to waste a lot of time going through thousands of accumulated email messages and notifications.

Encourage Breaks

It’s not easy for anyone to stay focused on a particular task for a long time.  Text messages, social interactions, and browsing the internet, along with many other distractions, can slow down the workday. Once attention and focus are lost, it can be very difficult to attain them again. Breaks help reduce distractions by giving employees designated times to think of something else other than work, giving them the chance to clear their minds for a while. As a business or company owner, make sure you encourage your employees to take their breaks. Your workers will be more able to concentrate on work tasks when they have time to rest. They’ll also work at a faster pace when on the clock. More breaks lead to increased productivity and concentration.

Keep Your Network Clean of Viruses and Avoid Breaches

Computer malware and viruses can sabotage your workflow significantly and lead to costly damages. Social engineering has the power to convince many of your workers to click on phishing links or reply to emails from scam cyber entities with malicious intentions.  It’s important to educate your working team on the risks of cybercrime. Give them proper instructions on how to deal with emails that contain phishing links and teach them how they can check the source of their downloads, links, and files before clicking on any suspicious messages or URLs. You can also seek the help of professional IT services and teams who can handle the technological affairs of your company on your behalf. Understand that viruses, phishing attempts, and data breaches of business social networks are very common. If any of your account data is leaked in a security breach that targeted one of the services your business uses, all of your other accounts and data are exposed to risk as well. It’s important for your business to work with an experienced IT staff to prevent such network breaches. Losing any of your company’s data or having one of your systems attacked by cybercrime can lead to disastrous consequences when it comes to your office’s productivity and workflow.

Tackle Difficult Tasks First

To run your business effectively, you have to come to terms with what you’re capable of doing and what you ultimately cannot do. Understand that you can’t attempt to tackle all of your work-related tasks simultaneously. You need to prioritize the important or difficult ones first so that you would have more time and freedom to focus on the other less important ones as the day progresses. When you start with the most important tasks, you’ll not only be able to give them the energy and focus they require, but you’ll also have a sense of accomplishment and the motivation to address less important, less stressful tasks as the day progresses. Aim to start your day with a to-do list ranked by order of importance and urgency. Checking off those initial tasks one-by-one will provide you with peace of mind as you work through the rest of your list. 

Regulate Frequent Training 

Employees’ productivity tends to decrease proportionately with increases in workload; the more overwhelmed they feel with ongoing projects and responsibilities, the poorer their work performance. When you provide your staff with adequate training and educate them about your company’s processes, they feel less intimidated by their pending workload and feel more comfortable and capable as they engage in daily work projects and assignments. Even if your employees are already trained in certain processes, going over the same processes again can answer many of their questions, prevent them from feeling overwhelmed, and encourage them to get involved in tougher work projects. Training provides essential knowledge to your employees regarding your system, company processes, and rules. 

Managing your workflow is very important for the success of your business. However, the toughest part is improving your company’s workflow without interfering with your office’s productivity. To promote productivity and increase workflow efficiency, you need to communicate with your workers and engage them in your business processes so that they feel less intimidated by their ongoing tasks and projects. Make sure you also find ways to streamline basic business processes such as emails and employee communication platforms.

How to Create a Successful Workflow Automation For Your Online Business

If you run an online business, you’ll most likely understand that automating your processes and procedures will help to scale your business faster. This is because there are a lot of moving parts in an online business, and if you don’t have a system in place to automate some of your tasks, then you’ll be struggling to complete them.

In this post, I want to share with you how you can put your online business on autopilot using workflow automation.

What Exactly is Workflow Automation?

Workflow automation, as the name implies, is the process of creating a system that automates all the repetitive tasks, procedures, and processes in your business. 

When you have workflow automation in place for your online business, you’ll achieve your goals faster. That way, you can improve your efficiency and focus on growing your business.

Why You Should Create a Workflow Automation for an Online Business

In case you’re wondering if creating workflow automation is the right thing to do, here are some benefits you stand to gain by implementing an automated system for your online business.

1. It enhances communication within your team

For an online business owner, chances are that your team works remotely. What this means is that you need an effective communication system to get things done.

With workflow automation, you can filter the information that you send to your employees so that they can get only relevant information, and also respond in real time.

2. It increases your team’s productivity

Chances are that there are repetitive tasks in your business. By automating these tasks, you’ll become more productive and achieve more in less time. Take, for instance, if you run an agency, you can automate the process of finding and doing outreach to qualified leads you want to work with.

So instead of spending about four hours a day on this task, you can reduce it to say one hour a day. The remaining three hours can be spent on other productive tasks that move the needle for your business.

3. It makes your team more efficient

If you want your team members to be more efficient, then having workflow automation in place will help you greatly. 

The reason is simple. While humans are prone to errors and risks, machines and software have minimal and negligible risks. That way, you can be sure of getting things done the right way, while your employees focus on things that require human engagement.

How to Create a Successful Workflow Automation for Your Online Business

Now that you know why having workflow automation in place is a good idea, here are the steps you can take to create one for your online business.

1. Outline your goals for creating a workflow

What exactly do you want to achieve for your business when you create workflow automation? This is the first step toward achieving success with this process.

When you have specific goals in mind, it becomes much easier to create an automation that matches and helps you achieve those faster. Take, for instance, if your goal is to enhance communication in your team, then you should outline exactly how you want to achieve that with automation. 

By outlining your goals, you’ll have a long-term strategy in place for your online business.

2. Identify repetitive tasks

Repetitive tasks are usually the culprits when automating your workflow. So you need to identify what these repetitive tasks are, how much of your time it takes to complete them, and the number of work hours you’ll save by automating them.

Take for instance, if you own an affiliate marketing website. One of the things that matters to you is getting more eyeballs to your blog. And to make this happen, you have to engage in some repetitive tasks such as: posting your content on social media, repurposing your content into other formats such as video, republishing your content on syndication platforms such as Medium, and reaching out to other relevant website owners to link to you.

By identifying these repetitive tasks, you can know exactly what to automate and what you shouldn’t.

3. Use technology to execute these tasks

Workflow automation will be impossible without technology. So the next step in the process is to find the tools and software you can use to automate repetitive tasks with little or no human input.

Take the case of a blogger, for example—one of the repetitive tasks you do is to reach out to relevant website owners to link to you. While it’s possible to get the list of websites that might be interested in linking to your content manually, it’s usually time-consuming and always prone to errors.

Instead, you can use SEO tools such as Ahrefs and SEMrush to automate this process. That way, you can find more websites in less time, and focus instead on creating personalized outreach emails.

Show your employees how it works

There’s a limit to the number of tasks you can complete in a day, even with automation. This is why you need to show your employees how everything works, as soon as you’ve figured it out on your own.

One of the ways to show employees how things work is to record your process using screen recording software such as Loom. Once done, you can upload the links to a team collaboration software such as Google spreadsheet, SweetProcess, Clickup, and so on.

Alternatively, if it’s something you can explain with written content, you can easily do so via Google Docs, and share access to your team members. That way, they can execute these tasks, even in your absence.

Conclusion

An effective way to grow your online business and make your team more productive is to automate some of the repetitive tasks. In this post, you’ve learned the steps you can take to make that happen using workflow automation.

Optima Tax Relief provides Important Reminders to Taxpayers before Filing their 2020 Tax Returns

With so many tax changes that happened last year due to the ongoing pandemic, it can be difficult to keep up with all the updates in tax filing laws. Optima Tax Relief looks into tax updates taxpayers should know about and how to prepare to file their 2020 federal tax returns.

Choose Direct Deposit

It is recommended that taxpayers choose direct deposit when filing their taxes because it is the safest, most accurate and fastest way to receive their refund. Choosing to go with direct deposit means that individuals will have any tax refund electronically deposited for free into their financial account.

Eight out of ten taxpayers receive their refund through direct deposit because it is simple and secure. This is also the same electronic transfer system that is used to deposit almost 98% of all Social Security and Veterans Affairs benefits into millions of accounts.

Earned Income Tax Credit

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) allows qualifying workers with lower to moderate income additional financial assistance. EITC reduces the amount of tax someone owes and could possibly give them a tax refund instead even if they don’t owe any taxes or aren’t required to file a tax return.

Individuals will need to first file a federal return as well as meet certain requirements in order to receive this credit. Taxpayers can utilize the EITC assistant on the IRS website to determine if the qualify.

Taxable Unemployment Compensation

Due to COVID, millions of Americans received unemployment compensation in 2020 for the first time. Taxpayers need to be aware that this compensation is taxable and needs to be included in their gross income on their tax return.

Individuals have the option to elect to have their federal taxes withheld from their unemployment benefits or make estimated tax payments. For those who don’t pay taxes on their unemployment throughout the year, they can expect to pay up after filing their 2020 tax return.

Interest is Considered Taxable Income

Taxpayers who received a refund on their 2019 tax returns may have also received interest from the IRS. The interest payments were a result of the postponed filing deadline of July 15 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2019 refund interest payments are taxable and taxpayers must report this interest when they file their 2020 federal income tax return. The IRS should send a Form 1099-INT to anyone who received interest totaling at least $10.

How Managed Print Services Can Be Beneficial to Your Startup Business

Managed Print Services (MPS) are programs provided by print providers to help you manage printing gadgets such as faxes, copiers, and scammers. The main objective of MPS is to improve productivity, efficiency, and information security.

As a startup business, one of your concerns should be how to minimize expenses and maximize profits. You will also want the business to operate smoothly without running into issues that affect the normal operations of the business. One way of achieving that is through managed print services (MPS).

Here are some of the ways through which Managed Print Services can be of great help to a startup business:

1. It Improves Efficiency and Saves Time

Have you ever thought of the amount of time used by your employees on printer-related tasks? The whole process of scanning, printing, faxing or copying documents using old hardware is tedious and time-consuming. This is without mentioning the time spend replacing ink cartridges as well as fixing malfunctioning devices.

But with a managed print service, most of those challenges are eliminated. Your employees can instead spend more time on other important tasks. All you have to do is to identify a reliable print company such as Konica Minolta photocopiers.

2. It Improves Productivity for your Business

As you get started with your business, you will realize that various departments will have their own distinct printing needs. After conducting an assessment of your business’ current and future needs, the printing company (through its MPS program) should be able to suggest a bespoke program for each department. This may include printing from off-site or mobile devices or printing of special documents.

Additionally, some departments such as IT will have more time to work on critical issues affecting your business rather than spending a lot of time monitoring and replacing printing machines.

3. It Reduces the Cost of Operation

Having an automated or cloud-based system is much cheaper compared to operating separate devices at a time. The good thing about Managed Prints Services is that they connect several devices to a single monitoring system. This ensures that there is speedy delivery and replacement of toners.

A proper print audit and assessment can help create ways of consolidating your hardware. After all, you will need a lot of space to keep devices all over the place. In a nutshell, MPS can help your business save a lot of money by preventing wastage.

4. Up-to-Date Security

Although technology has greatly transformed the printing industry, it has also brought a number of challenges. One of those challenges is cybercrime. Most traditional printing devices are vulnerable to security threats. Never assume that printing equipment are immune to online hackers.

That’s why it is important to conduct a print assessment to help detect any IP risks for your business. Most MPS providers have tailored print security plans designed to keep away online hackers. It is up to you to identify the needs of your business and choose an appropriate plan.

5. Environmentally Friendly

Every business has a duty to conserve the environment and reduce pollution to manageable levels. By going paperless and minimizing the amount of electricity being used, your business plays a big role in protecting the environment. An MPS package makes it easy for you to identify and determine print levels.

Bottom Line

There’s no doubt that Managed Print Services play a big role in the daily operation of most businesses.

As a startup business, some of the things you would want to attain include reduced operational costs, efficiency, and improved productivity among others. With an MPS program, your business is guaranteed of achieving some all the above goals.

How To Make Money From Your Website

Making money from a website is one of the oldest ways you can make money online. Even though this method has existed for many years, it is still one of the most profitable business strategies for making money online.

There are many different methods you can make money from your website depending on your niche.

You can either start a business website providing some kind of product or service to your customers like opening a subscription box website, or start a blog business that you publish content and run ads.

Since the blog business is most popular among entrepreneurs, in this article we will focus on all the different ways you can make money with your website.

Affiliate Marketing

Most people are surprised to hear that the biggest source of income when it comes to running a blog is earning a commission through promoting third-party products or services (affiliate marketing). The best thing about affiliate marketing is that you can earn by promoting any type of product that goes along with your niche.

You should start by finding a company that offers products or services that your target audience would love. After that, you should check if they offer affiliate marketing and sign up.

All you need to do is add an affiliate link in your content mentioning their products or services and earn money whenever someone purchases something on their website through your link.

Ads

This is an old-fashioned way of earning money using your blog that still works pretty well. There are many companies that offer monetizing services like Media.net, but the most popular one that people go for is Google AdSense.

All of the networks that provide monetizing services will pay you every time someone visits your website or click on their ad. Usually, they will pay you commission per click or per 1,000 impressions. The amount of money you earn depends heavily on the competition and popularity of your niche, as well as the type of audience that visits your website.

On average, such networks will pay you anywhere from $0.2 to $15 per click depending on the preferences we mentioned before.

In Content Advertising (Text links)

There are many websites that make a lot of money by promoting other people’s content using backlinks. This is a strategy that you add a specific anchor text to your post and link that will lead to a third-party website.

You can charge a fixed amount per link or month for example $40. The only issue with this method of making money is that you must find clients on your own.

So, if you want to build up your SEO you should find companies that sell backlinks, or if you want to make money you should find blogs or companies that want to buy backlinks. After your blog becomes popular, you’d get a lot of offers for promoting other people’s content using text links.

Subscription Model

The subscription model is getting more and more popular. This is a strategy where you limit the number of content people can browse on your blog. For example, you can add a premium subscription that will give your visitors access to all the content you publish.

In order to convince people to subscribe to your content, you should provide useful information that people need. In other words, providing high-quality unique content is crucial for making money through subscriptions.

Publish Sponsored Posts

Sponsored posts can generate a lot of revenue. Such posts are a way of promoting third-party products or services in exchange for a fixed amount (usually $40 – $250 per post) depending on the popularity of your website.

Final Words

Starting a website business isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. In fact, it’ll take you years until you reach good search engine positioning, a lot of organic traffic, and a steady income out of affiliate links or traffic revenue. The most important thing when it comes to running a successful blog business is quality.

All of the content you publish must be high-quality and unique. Every business takes time, so make sure you do this right just so you don’t regret your actions later. If you take your time and do it properly, soon your website will grow faster than a winning horse in TwinSpires results list.

How to Create Business Strategy for Small to Medium Businesses

Many SME leaders don’t hаve a business strategy. In the early stages of business development, evеrything depеnds on prоduct and sales. We try things many times, succeed, fail, learn, test, and adapt. Rеpeat. It usually works, but sometimes it doesn’t.

As business extеnds and becomes more complex, the ability to rely on absolute determination diminishes prоportiоnately, mаking effеctive strategy and essеntial part of a businеss DNA. Howеver, the problem is that this strategy can be a rather abstract concept thаt is difficult tо put into practice, and many business leaders do not understand its value. For many, the design is the exclusive business area of the company.

Create your Design Principles

These are almost the core values of your business. Scalability, ability to enter new markets, speed to market new products, lean operations, agility, cheap base, investment in technology, investment in people, low working capital, high-quality products. Here are a few examples from essay helper an endless list, but they should reflect what you want your business to be.

Understand your own Culture

There are simple culture mapping frameworks that can be broken down in about ten minutes. This is an impоrtant and often overlooked step in strategy development. A company usually develops a strategy that articulates what it should be and not what it is, either out of ignorance or hoping that the plan will change its culture. This can only lead to failure.

Develop your Strategic Goals

When you understand your culture, you can develop a set of goals that will bring your culture to life. The individual organizational culture will ultimately determine the plans, so there is no simple formula for setting them. However, one important goal is a financial goal that should be both quantitative and temporal – it does not have to be expressed as profit or EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) – for a newly formed company, it may be time to make its first profit or just revenue. The key is that it provides something tangible against which to set goals and measure success.

Understand your Customer

This is not just a requirement to get a good marketing strategy. It is crucial to creating the right business strategy. Everything you usually do in your business should be aimed at getting the customer exactly what they want, in the right place, at the right time. Robust customer journey mapping is an essential tool for achieving this goal. This should take into account not only the customer’s journeys to the place of purchase but all elements of your business, as well as how customers perceive your products or services, what they experience after fulfilling their order, etc. This will drive your internal business processes.

Mapping your Processes

Without effective processes, it isn’t easy to provide a consistent customer experience or to work effectively.

In the end, while it may seem a bit reductive, if your business can achieve these two things, it should ultimately surpass them.

Design Management

Again, this may seem like one of those tedious things that is easy to get bogged down in, but without effective management in place, your strategy can easily get lost in the wilderness without you even realizing it. Effective leadership’s key elements are providing the right level of oversight and accountability that regularly reviews your strategy’s progress and manages risks and problems.

Design Delivery Model

The delivery model is how your business will provide excellent customer service, and therefore should not be confused with the distribution model.

Your delivery model is the interaction between your business elements necessary to provide that excellent customer service.

Marketing, finance, information technology, purchasing, operations, and supply chain elements must be considered and how they will interact and integrate. This will trigger the need to develop subordinate strategies for each. This is an important step that can be a little tricky depending on your business’s nature, so do some research before creating a service delivery model.

Design Organization

You understand what the organization you need to implement your strategy looks like is another critical step, not only for obvious reasons. First of all, it helps you define your talent acquisition strategy (growth vs. acquisition, etc.) based on your current organization’s skills and the skills needed to execute the plan. Second, it helps to prioritize your growth program. Few companies have the financial luxury of embarking on a wholesale workforce expansion, so identify those positions that will have the most impact, most comfortable acquiring, or representing a critical path.

Design Technology Stack

In today’s era, it’s essential to have a concrete plan around your technology stack. Consider bаsics such as productivity software (word processing and email), more аdvаnced aspects of cloud computing, CRM and marketing tools, and more complicated requirements such as ERP, end-user computing, centralized computing, networking, telecommunications, and managed print, development, and integration. You have a plаn in place before you stаrt can pay a lot of time and cost dividends down the track.

Design Information Requirements

First and foremost, technology, data, and information are all completely separate. Data doesn’t say anything until it’s turned into knowledge. However, identify the strategic KPIs that will help you measure your strategy’s achievement and the type of data you need as inputs to inform your business’s internal processes. Second, determine where the data will come from and where it will be stored. Third, determine how the data will be connected and processed to provide the information you need to make management dеcisions. In other wоrds, link your data to your stratеgic KPIs.

Dеvelop an Implementation Roadmap and Implementation

This is where the rubbеr hits the road. Develop and categorize all the initiatives needed to implement your strategy and identify the critical path (any sequence that can’t be rearranged without compromising the plan’s value). Prioritize your initiatives based on how much effort it will take to implement them and their strategic impact on your business. Identify quick wins based on things that require relatively little effort, and then prioritize implementation based on the most comfortable and most effective initiatives. Determine resource needs for performance and start executing the plan. Remember to provide stable governance to keep the implementation process on track.

So there you have it. Here’s how to develop and implement a business strategy.

Why Cybersecurity Is Essential for Your Small Business

Cybersecurity attacks can cause irreversible, long-term damage to your business, and no business is entirely safe from them. Even big companies such as Nintendo and Twitter have fallen victim to cyber-attacks. However, small businesses are uniquely at risk and will very rarely make it to the media outlets. Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report found that a whopping 43% of breaches happened to small businesses. Cybersecurity is essential for any business, however, it is especially important for small businesses, and here’s why. 

1. Small Business Cyber Attacks Are Common

It is easy to fall into the mindset of thinking, ‘Oh, it will never happen to me’ or ‘What are the chances it would actually happen to my business?’. Thinking like this is very dangerous because the chances of a cyberattack on your small business are actually very high. In 2019 the Keeper Security and the Ponemon Institute conducted a study that found that the number of small and medium businesses enduring data breaches had increased to 63%. This is a significant increase, as the percentage was 58% in 2018. 

By the look of these statistics, cyberattacks are on the rise, and their interest is becoming more and more focused on the smaller to medium-sized businesses. 

2. Small Businesses Are Vulnerable 

Small businesses are very vulnerable to cyberattacks, and the risk of an attack is increasing significantly. Ultimately, small businesses are more vulnerable to cyberattacks for several reasons. Partly because there’s less training on cybersecurity and partly because they have less money to invest in IT support and services that can help to protect them; having good IT support and services available to your small business are so important in preventing a cybersecurity attack. They can provide consultation, information and implement software to make your business more secure. 

3. Damage Is Harder To Undo

A cyberattack has the potential to cause fatal damages to small businesses. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency found that 60% of companies that experienced a cyberattack had to close down within six months following the attack. These statistics are extremely alarming for small business owners. Cyberattacks will not only cost your money, but they can cost you your reputation and the trust of your customers. 

A high percentage of cyberattacks take the form of a phishing scam, which makes the hacker send legitimate-looking emails and texts directly to their victims, a link that allows the hacker to steal vital information such as company passwords. Once the hacker is in, it is very difficult to secure your system without having to spend extortionate amounts. 

4. Cyberattacks Can Be Very Costly

Cyberattacks can be extremely costly for a small business, and a Hiscox survey has confirmed this in a survey that found cyberattacks on small businesses cost up to $188,000. A lot of small businesses simply do not have this kind of money, and so it is quite common for small businesses to go bankrupt after an attack. Even if you do not go bankrupt and manage to survive your attack, you will have a long road ahead of you trying to revive your business. If you look to investors for funding to help you, you are going to have a hard time convincing the investors that your company is secure and not a data-breaching risk. 

What You Can Do

Cyberattacks are very daunting to any business owner, but there are several things you can do to try and protect yourself from malicious hackers. Firstly, you should provide cybersecurity training for all your employees. This way, they know what to look for, and if an employee detects any kind of suspicious behavior, your business will be able to act fast and be able to stamp it out before the hacker gets in. Secondly, make sure you implement strong firewalls as a firewall can stop hackers from accessing important data on a network. 

Thirdly, make sure you use strong passwords! This is such an easy preventative method, yet people fall victim to using easy passwords time and time again. A shocking 83% of people use the same password for multiple platforms, and this is a hacker’s dream. 

If small businesses wish to succeed and stand out among their competition, then they should allocate some investment to cybersecurity. This doesn’t mean forking out tonnes of money, but more taking the time to implement easy measures that can have a big impact. As previously mentioned, a simple task such as using strong passwords can go a long way! Making sure your business is using cybersecurity best practices will make you far less vulnerable to what could be a fatal attack.

5 Business Expansion Strategies for Small Businesses

Running a business is undoubtedly a rewarding yet challenging experience that involves special considerations. Especially start-ups and small businesses find survival challenging in the competitive market. For that instance, the company’s consistent and concrete growth is essential for survival in the competitive market. Bankruptcy is something no entrepreneur wants to experience for their venture. As 2021 unfolds, devising the perfect business proliferation strategy has never been more crucial. Last year distorted the financial projections and changed the ways businesses used to operate in the recent decade. The COVID-19 pandemic brought new challenges for both small and large companies and increased the importance of business expansion. Be it the digital transition or better customer relationships, the COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down for small businesses.

With the government authorities easing up the restrictions, there are still various business expansion options for small businesses. Business expansion might seem like a difficult task, but it is not impossible for small businesses. Only lucrative business practices and strategies can push the company to expand and generate sales and profits. However, this expansion depends on the business’s financial stability and the competition in the market. With that said, let’s discuss business expansion strategies for small businesses.

Market Penetration

Market penetration is the first and most basic approach to expand your small business for good in the market. This strategy functions with your small business right where it operates. This strategy works best for scenarios when there are no other markets to enter. It means your business will focus on the single market with current products. The strategy will involve advertisement, price competition, product improvement, and promotions to pitch to the competitors’ customers.

Since this strategy will take head-on with your competitors, implementing multiple strategies can deliver better results. You will need to focus on increasing your share price. One approach to do this is by reducing the selling price of the products. This process is tricky, but it will help you penetrate the competitive market and widen your reach. Moreover, advertisements can also boost your small business with a sound sales pitch. The latest pandemic has forced both small and large companies to shift their operations online and maintain an online presence. Small companies must benefit from the online tools to reach their audience and engage them with your business.

Undoubtedly, they must utilize social media and various content tools to deliver value to the audience. Small business owners can publish webinars for the products and services of the business to attract potential customers. They can also employ tools like the eBook maker or YouTube transcription tool to convert these webinars into engaging content.

Market Development

Apart from market penetration, small businesses can also create their market by promoting their existing products to new customers. The strategy entails promoting the products and services among a new audience or a geographical area. It is because most of the time, small businesses struggle to expand in the saturated market. Generating good sales and profits in a saturated market is extremely difficult, thus providing limited business growth. The key is to create content for the inbound marketing flywheel and leverage it to expand in the market.

However, pushing your business for market development can bring desirable results. One of the prominent examples is Nike, which expanded to the international market in the recent decades with its unique marketing strategies. Small businesses must find newer markets to promote their products and services to develop their market.

Product Development

Another lucrative strategy for small business proliferation is product development. As the name implies, a small business can create new products or lineup to attract potential customers and gain a fair market share. This scenario works if your company has no new market, but you can launch a new product. Moreover, this strategy works best for small businesses with industries that compete with other manufacturing companies introducing new products. They can also add new features to the existing products to grab the attention of the potential market.

However, small businesses must respond to changing customer behavior and market fluctuations. Failing to acknowledge these changes can risk your business falling out of the competition. All you need to do is to perform the audience research and understand their needs and expectations from your company. You can also conduct surveys to gather the data. Only this way can you devise the perfect strategy and avoid failures.

Market Segmentation

Market segmentation is also a prime strategy to benefit your small business for expansion into a large market. This strategy involves running your business into smaller groups or segments. The market must base on the customer interests, location characteristics, and demands from your small businesses. Dividing the market will allow you to run the targeted campaigns to generate more leads, sales, and profits. As per the professional’s recommendations, this segmentation will occur on the market’s geographic, demographic, psychographic, and behavioral factors.

This strategy is the best for those markets which are surrounded by big businesses. Moreover, the process of segmentation makes it easier to design marketing campaigns that meet customer demands. To get the most from the strategy, you will need to do your research for customer data to develop better customer relationships with your business.

Using Alternative Channels

Expanding the business products or market are some default strategies for surviving in the competitive market. However, going for multiple marketing channels as in this well-researched article can give your small business a competitive edge for sales and profits. You do not necessarily have to limit your business to brick-and-mortar style. Maintaining an online presence with the use of digital tools is essential to stay ahead in the competition. Professionals advise the use of social media to attract potential leads and convert them into prospective customers.

Social media is not only a platform to hang out with friends and family. It has become a platform for small and large businesses to promote their products and sell them to interested customers. Not just that, but your small business must also put email marketing to great use to retain the customers.

Final Words

The whole process of business expansion might sound overwhelming at the start. However, the creative strategies to penetrate the aggressive market are the only way to stake your profits claim. Since small businesses do not have enough resources, it is imperative to research the audience to achieve planned growth.

Top 5 Logistics Management Apps in 2021

The supply chain is a critical component of any economy. Only organized companies and logistics businesses can make it through seasons of high demand. You can achieve convenience and efficiency by using logistics management apps that help in your job. The apps ensure that information flows freely, is where it is needed, and there are no delays or complications with logistics.

Useful logistics management apps possess features that are hard to find in other kinds of apps. For starters, they have to process data on time and have notifications to keep everyone informed. It should also feature backups to avoid loss of data, and cloud storage makes this a possibility.

When shopping for logistics management apps, several features set them apart. It would help if you were keen on the features provided by each app to ensure that you only go for what will enhance your logistics work. Another essential feature to look out for is logistics customer services which should be able to handle high volumes of transactions with ease.

Best Logistics Management Apps

1. Logistics

The app ensures that all your warehousing and logistics needs are taken care of, and it is free. You can easily keep track of shipments, drivers, and clients in this app. Whenever you need assistance with your operations, this is the tool to connect all your supply chain connections.

Stay updated and plan better with this application, which also collects actionable insights and analytic information. Logistics companies can use the information to make improvements and upgrades to your strategy and deliver at scale. Geo-location features in the application ensure that essential tasks are completed on time with less effort. The app ensures that you are on track with everything delivery.

2. Scandit

Scanning barcodes is one of the everyday operations in logistics management. Older scanners tend not to perform as well as you might expect. The Scandit application turns your phone into a barcode scanner and even works in low light. Anyone can access the scanned data as it works across platforms. You can link the app to your information systems for increased efficiency.

While at the warehouse, keeping track of supplies and deliveries is made simpler by using the Scandit application to scan multiple barcodes at once. Its text recognition feature makes it useful for reading text items on ID cards, passports, VIN codes, and other labels.

3. Evernote

Although this app wasn’t designed with logistics in mind, its features suited the function. It is free and straightforward, with features that other apps can’t even come close to. It is a virtual notebook to create lists and take notes on the move.

The Evernote app also lets you save your notes and refer to them later on. This makes logistics management more organized. You will not forget a single thing in your operations. This is an application that companies need to keep everything on track and attend to all their customer’s requirements.

The app is available as a free app though users can pay for the app’s professional version, which comes at a subscription cost. The professional version features better utilities and can even keep backups of your notes in the cloud. Organized logistics management can take advantage of and benefit from this app in its operations.

4. CoPilot Truck

A navigation system for your track drivers is something to be proud of. It will positively improve your logistics operations’ effectiveness. It provides drivers with turn-by-turn navigation and makes use of information to create effective routes. This is the best app to get your supplies from one point to another in the most efficient way in a connected world.

Your drivers get safe and accurate navigation information while planning routes better to maximize your returns. Post-trip analysis of the routes taken also ensure that you improve gradually and achieve better results with your drivers. The CoPilot Truck app makes it possible for you to improve customer service on-time deliveries and precise ETAs depending on road and weather conditions.

The navigation is still operational even while offline and useful for long cargo hauls. Its design doesn’t distract you while driving. It uses real-time traffic data to avoid delays and reroute when the road conditions are not conducive. The app is affordable and can be used for an entire fleet.

5. GasBuddy

When transporting goods for thousands of miles, you will likely burn a lot of fuel. Saving a few cents on the way is essential in reducing your expenditure. The free application makes the experience of refueling easier and more cost-effective. Using it, you can find a gas station with the lowest prices nearby. This application generates data from an extensive user base to analyze prices within the defined area.

The benefit of this app is saving on fuel, and it helps to plan your routes better so that you get the most significant savings in the process. With the app, you never have to pay full price again. You also earn cash backs and other special offers provided with the app. The application gets you the best fuel spots along the way and has very reliable data.

Conclusion

Logistics management keeps the economy on its toes with deliveries determining customer satisfaction and a company’s reputation. With logistics management apps, your company uses the information to plan better, deliver better and keep customers satisfied with your services. The apps ensure that everything goes according to plan. Nothing is ever forgotten when it is the client involved.

The applications are designed to assist with logistics management, such as navigation for trucks and route planning. Others are assigned the task of scanning barcodes and keeping the warehouse organized. Others save you fuel costs by choosing the best stations to refill. Some of the apps keep you organized with notes and voice dictation. These are useful apps that everyone needs for better, more successful logistics management.