Beware Of These Biggest Mistakes That Can Be Fatal For Small Businesses

People have taken the most out of the pandemic. The majority of people had the time to introspect and start their own passion project which is a small business. While certain small businesses became viral and rose to fame while some just couldn’t blow up much. There are many reasons as to why despite having unique products and services certain small businesses just couldn’t make it. Most business owners are not aware of these problems and later these prove to be the biggest small business mistakes ever made. Even if you happen to have a good plan that would make your small business blow up with time and effort, you have to be aware of these few mistakes which could take your small business right to the bottom.

Using Spreadsheet or Word document for invoicing instead of Invoice Software

For those who believe that invoicing is just another piece of paper with irrelevant information, think again because you might be making one of the biggest small business mistakes right there. Invoice is supposedly the most crucial piece of document your small business has because it has the information about the sales and purchases of your brand’s products and businesses. 

Not only is it unprofessional but it makes your business look way too desperate to make sales instead of creating a loyalty program among your customers.  There are high chances that you miss the crucial details when creating invoices through Word or Spreadsheets.

Your small business would look more professional if you just invest in invoice software. They are cheap and user-friendly.

Not realizing the power of SEO or an SEO specialist

One of the biggest small business mistakes is not to invest in the optimization of the website through SEO. Search engine optimization has the power to make your website search engine friendly which would attract potential customers with intent.  Every time a user searches for a keyword on the search engine that shares the same niche as your business, then chances are your website would spear on the top of the search engine results online if you have worked on the organic search visibility through SEO. 

In simpler terms, organic search visibility or SEO visibility determines the degree of visibility your website has when people look up for certain keywords organically. It mainly fins the scope to improve the optimization of your small business’s website. 

You could hire an SEO specialist to look after the SEO of your website because your website is the only platform that allows users to see your products and services.

Register your business

One cannot emphasize more the importance of legalizing your business. Protect your business by registering and legalizing it. Business registration will allow you to have a brand name. The brand name is your small business’s identity; it is how people would come to know of your business. You also get entitled to tax benefits when you decide to register your business.

These are the biggest small business mistakes that most small business owners overlook which results in the downfall of their business in the future.

Is it Worth Starting a Business if you are Still a Student?

Stories about young entrepreneurs do not impress the public anymore. Even quite the opposite. The digital adaptation of the business environment has increased young people’s chances of success. After all, they feel much more confident in this space. The story of the founding of Facebook, which turned the main character into a twenty-year-old billionaire, is the most famous, but not the only example of it. Many people want to make money, rather than sit for hours writing boring term papers. And that’s understandable. Young people have more reasons to get economics homework help, and instead spend their time making money – as if it were their own business or an ordinary job. In addition, many students need work due to a lack of money. The latter case sometimes leads to the ironic story of how need turns a person into a millionaire.

However, despite the lyricism of some success stories, not all students dream of following the same path. The combination “work + study” often seems unrealistic, because it is impossible to manage everything at once. That is why many still want to get a quality education without being distracted by external factors not related to their studies. To some extent, both are right. Business isn’t just about hard work. It’s also a fortunate occasion. And so if such an opportunity happens to be during your college years, you shouldn’t give it up. It is better to think about how not to lose the chance.

Why do I need to go to university if I can do business now?

University (institute, college) is the next element of the standard chain of adulthood after high school. And even though higher education is being criticized more and more every year, no one is going to give it up globally. Anyway, nowadays the value of higher education remains unchanged. What is changing is how it is interpreted. The technological world has a demand for narrow-profile professions. No one cares what is written on the diploma – it is much more important what a person can do. Higher education has lost its nominal value. If an institution does not offer practical knowledge, it is useless.

This trend has also transformed the educational program. Many universities offer business courses. The list of disciplines is replenished with subjects relevant to the current agenda: Internet marketing, project management, entrepreneurship. So even if you think that staying at university is a waste of time, you should not deny the accompanying fact of benefit. Business practice is valued most of all. But the value of theory has not been canceled. Your business is not going to suffer if you listen to a series of lectures about accounting, marketing, or management. At least this knowledge will allow you to understand what kind of environment you are going to be diving into.

Should I combine business and work?

Before making this important decision, be sure to consider the pros and cons.

 Pros:

  • Extra finances that will help cover living expenses, meals, and out-of-pocket expenses;
  • Experience that is sure to be useful, even if something doesn’t go according to plan.  
  • New skills, knowledge, and abilities that are sure to be useful in the future.

Cons:

  • If you work immediately after your studies, you will have limited time to do your homework and rest.

Of course, the idea of making money is always a great one. But don’t forget about your primary mission: learning. If you do decide to combine, then try to pay enough attention to your studies, and also do not forget that everyone needs a rest.

Where to start if you have no experience?

The first step in starting your own business is to create a business plan. This advice is clichéd and obvious. Nevertheless, many people reject it. It does not matter whether you are making a business plan for yourself or for investors you want to attract – it must include basic information about the company. What is the service or product? How much money do you need in the first phase? What is the payback period? In addition, you need to analyze the market, make a marketing plan and define the goals you want to achieve in a given period.

But the main thing that should be in your business plan is specialization. What is the uniqueness of the offering? What kind of consumer problem do you want to solve? You can understand this by carefully studying the market: whether its demographics match your target audience and how similar services are represented in it.

You shouldn’t forget about your exit strategy. Planning a negative outcome for your business may seem illogical and pessimistic. But at least this way you’ll prepare yourself for a difficult situation and avoid making random and irrational decisions.

Where do I get my start-up capital?

Start-up capital is the main problem with almost any business idea. It determines to what limits your imagination can develop. And its absence is often perceived as an obstacle to starting something at all. And how true this depends on your ability to balance opportunities with expectations. Start a business with nothing is possible, but at the same time, it is necessary to understand that the big income will not come right away. This factor is the very argument that encourages early entrepreneurship. The student has two resources necessary at the initial stage of building a business: time and lack of financial commitment. The second is what makes up for the lack of start-up capital. Yes, the student has no money, but he or she also has no debts, loans, or other significant expenditures. This allows you not to focus on the desire for quick profits, but to develop the business slowly and in stages.

At the moment, many activities do not require start-up capital. Or at least allowing a small amount of it. The business has migrated to the Internet, where any expenses are quite small. Even such an important tool of online entrepreneurship as a website has become a cheaper (and sometimes free) alternative in the form of social networks. 

This has made more accessible platforms for distributing services, making it easier to find a target audience and, most importantly, made marketing cheaper. In addition, a huge layer of profile information became available. It is possible to find the advice you need, listen to a training course, or study a successful case for free on the Internet. 

Internet globalization has unified experience, generalizing not only business trends but also the market itself.

Are there any other options? 

Of course, an enterprise with an initial investment has a much better chance of success than without it. But you should not give up on your idea just because there is no money for it. What’s even worse is not taking advantage of the opportunity to get it. There are plenty of venture capitalists willing to consider new ideas. Obtaining their favor, of course, is a daunting task. Every day, hundreds of people from all over the world apply for venture capital. But if you consider that on the other hand there is a pass to the world of big business, the attempt looks quite justified. In addition, there are government subsidies and preferential lending programs for banks, which together form a policy to stimulate entrepreneurial activity.

What type of business is suitable for beginners?

There are no specific industries that are right for beginners. The choice comes, as mentioned above, from the resources you have. These can include your knowledge, interests, and contacts. But not just them. Knowing what your target audience wants is an important success factor that will allow you to leave your competitors far behind. You can determine this by carefully examining your surroundings. If you are studying, your environment is students. Understand what they want, what their needs are – that’s the key to creating a unique offer. From there, choosing your niche will be much easier.

How to USB Sync Outlook to iPhone now that iTunes has Dropped it

Did you panic when you saw this message?

"Support for the synching calendars and contacts has been deprecated and will be removed in a future version of itunes".

Do not worry! There is a 3rd Party product that has supported secure USB sync from Outlook to iPhone and iPad for more than a decade.

USB Sync is Secure and Safe

Face it, the reason people use iPhones is because Apple Devices are more secure than the competition. The most secure way to move your valuable customer information and schedule is to use USB Sync. Information on the Cloud is subject to hackers and man-in-the-middle attacks. While iCloud itself has not had a massive breach, individual iCloud accounts are commonly hacked and the data distributed by rogue players. Once your account is known, everything you store on iCloud is visible to the cybercriminal.

For years, iTunes has had good support for Outlook Contact and Calendar sync to iPhone. You simply connect your phone, let iTunes Sync run, and your phone list and calendar are populated with your Outlook data.

It is worth remembering that Apple, masted in Cupertino, California, is still frienemies with Microsoft based in Redmond, Washington. While they publicly support each other, they continue to be competitive in many markets including Gaming, Streaming TV, Streaming Music, and at one time Smartphone Operating systems. Apple has also had a longstanding war with cables, seeking to free their phone from any sort of connection that may carry viruses or breach the security of the phone. By focusing on iCloud and internet-based connections, Apple feels they can better serve people who desire security.

CompanionLink to the Rescue!

CompanionLink shares the value of ensuring that your Contact and Calendar data is secure. A company strongly rooted in the Palm Pilot days, CompanionLink has supported Outlook Sync from the first-month Outlook was released. Their strength is that they work with any type of Outlook Folder, POP3, IMAP, Exchange and Office 365 folders, and with all versions of Outlook.

The CompanionLink for Outlook supports USB Sync to Apple iPhone and iPad. It can easily synchronize your Contacts and Calendar to the native iOS Contacts and Calendar. It can do this securely and easily. CompanionLink is easy to set up, with only a few settings screens needed to establish the sync system. After that, you just hit a button whenever you need your data updated.

Dedicated App for your Outlook Data

The CompanionLink system features DejaOffice, which provides Tasks and Notes support. Apple iTunes has never fully incorporated Tasks or Notepad. CompanionLink also can preserve Outlook Calendar colors on appointments, something that not even Microsoft’s Outlook App can do. You can download DejaOffice from the Apple App Store today. This is a free app.

The task of switching from iTunes to CompanionLink is simple, and takes about 15 minutes. Follow this handy guide.

CompanionLink offers Secure Wi-Fi Sync as an alternative – in case you are ready to ditch the cable connection. They also provide an internet based Cloud sync called DejaCloud which is useful for offices that update your schedule while you are traveling since the data moves from your office to your phone without regard to what state or country your phone is in.

You can download a free 14-day trial of CompanionLink for Outlook. If you need help, the company provides free technical support by calling +1(503)243-3400 or by emailing support@companionlink.com.

CompanionLink for Outlook
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Reasons Why You Need to Hire a Professional SEO Specialist for Your Business

The last place you want to be mysterious these days is on the internet, where you have all the opportunities to put your business out there to consumers. Search engines are such a big deal in today’s world, and hiring a professional SEO specialist is always advised to help you navigate the process.  

Most internet users never go beyond the first page of google, and some don’t even reach the bottom of the first page. This is the So, your potential to reach new customers and increase your profits lies in first-rate SEO tactics. If you have a well-designed website, it is not enough if you are not getting enough traffic. Sure, you have the option of promoting your website with Ads, but nothing beats organic search traffic because it gets you the most benefits, even if your business is not online. 

Check out some of the reasons why you need to hire a professional SEO specialist for your business. 

Hiring an SEO Consultant Gives You a Better Result

The reason we call SEO consultants professionals is that they have knowledge. SEO tactics require someone with years of experience. The SEO specialist at Edge Marketing says drawing organic traffic to your website is no small business, but that’s what the SEO agencies do; they use their expertise to save business owners some troubles. So, you can be confident that they will deliver.

It is likely that your business is not the first of its type that they will work on, so they know quite a lot about how to reach your target audience and how to optimize your website to attract them. 

How do they do this? One of the many things that SEO consultants are versed in is keyboard research. It means they know the right words that are popular and most searched and how they can strategically include them on your website to increase your visibility on search engines. 

Besides this, one of the many things SEO professionals are good at is building links. What’s link building? It is getting standard backlinks from websites. And the more quality they are, the higher and better your website will rank. Building backlinks is not very easy to do; it is the most strenuous part of Search Engine Optimization. If you want to create backlinks and get that organic traffic on your website, hire an SEO expert today!

Increase Sales by Providing Value to Your Customers 

The goal of every business is to make a profit, get more sales and provide value for their consumers. Getting a website that’s well advanced and operating to its full potential as it correlates to search engine performance increases the possibility of the success of your business.

These days, many large and small-scale businesses are using SEO experts to help them enhance online customer conversion and acquisition. If you choose to relinquish hiring an SEO expert, you stand the chance of making irreversible mistakes and losing customers to businesses that employ the service of SEO experts. 

Gives You an Edge Over Your Competitors 

As a business owner, you should have it at the back of your mind that you have competitors that will go the extra mile to put their business out there. Your competitors are using SEO campaigns and techniques to move their business forward. Hence, if you are still doubting investing in SEO experts for your business, you might lose a lot of your customers to your competitors. 

Investing in SEO should be a non-stop process because algorithms are forever changing. It is crucial to employ an experienced SEO expert to keep your business ahead of the game. Never underestimate the importance of an SEO experience, else you get to lose your market shares to your competitors.

It Saves Time

Everyone knows time is precious, especially in business. As much as you can teach yourself these SEO techniques, it will always be better to employ the service of SEO experts as it will save you time and stress. Moreover, if you choose to optimize your website or content SEO for yourself, you can find yourself making some irreversible mistakes.

By outsourcing your SEO tasks to an expert, you have more time to build your business and even have more time to yourself. Use your time for other productive things and sleepless nights by hiring an SEO professional

If you are intentional about it, SEO is a powerful technique for growing your business. It improves the profits you make, and it also allows your website to generate organic traffic and function ideally.

Learn Why Every Company Needs IT Support

Many small businesses will start out with a small IT sector which usually consists of a few people who have some experience in solving IT problems and fixing bugs. While this may be alright in the very early stages of your company, you can soon find out why this isn’t sustainable in the long run. Here are some of the most compelling reasons why every company needs IT support.

To solve complex problems

Finding solutions to any number of problems can prove to be quite difficult to ascertain without expert assistance from those who are professionals in their field no matter the size of your company’s information system. Just how valuable IT support is can be manifested in their ability to find the cause of the problem almost in an instant, and allocate the measures to respond to it. What’s useful is that they go beyond the surface symptoms to identify solutions, as well as to evaluate and incorporate measures to ensure you that these problems never show up again. Another great aspect is that they have a lot of experience and it takes them a few seconds to identify the problem and solve it efficiently. This timelessness and efficiency of how IT support addresses the issues that prevent downtime also translates to saving you from losing great amounts of money during unforeseen downtime. 

Better security

No matter what kind of company you own, your data is of utmost importance. This is why it’s crucial to support your company data with very reliable backup systems. In addition to this, you should also have a more than decent cybersecurity expert on your hands. This is exactly what good IT support can provide you with, should you decide to outsource the IT management and tasks. With their assistance, you will be guaranteed the confidentiality of your customers, employees, as well as company data. Furthermore, your business will be effectively safeguarded against cyber attacks. If any data should still get lost for any reason, IT support should be able to retrieve it without much difficulty. IT support not only guarantees the safety of your business and the confidentiality of your workers and customers, but it also helps maintain the technological integrity of your business above all because who will want to do business with you if you’re not reliable.

Improved efficiency

No matter what kind of business you own, and it doesn’t either matter how big it is, the chances are you are probably always thinking about how you can improve its efficiency throughout the whole company. One of the most determining factors of your company’s efficiency is the technology it uses, and the expertise of the personnel behind it. As Houston’s best IT management service suggests that IT support can ensure that the usual efficiency that comes from using technology is maximized, which ultimately decreases your company’s efficiency due to bugs and consistent issues. Furthermore, IT support can offer you wish IT services specially designed to best suit your business, some of which you probably don’t know you need. With a dedicated support team, you can skip the problem-solving part and focus on reaching the company’s targets and on identifying areas for growing more quickly, which is ultimately the end goal of all businesses.

Great customer service

Last but not least, another great advantage of having IT support expertise at your service is that they will be present 24/7. Yes, we mean all the time. There is no real reason why you should spend some of your working hours dealing with software management, unexpected downtime, as well as security patches. On top of that, who has time to maintain hardware and software or train personnel to do it when you can simply hire the professionals for it. They will better understand how to use your IT resources. Moreover, statistics show that over two-thirds of companies use and outside IT support. Even the companies with an IT department found the additional knowledge quite resourcefully, efficient, and it will pave the way to great customer service. If you have constant IT support, your customers will always be welcome to ask questions about your business and make complaints that can be met head-on, thus proving you appreciate their input since you are so fast to respond and during any time of day (or night).

From increased efficiency to better security, IT support can offer a wide array of IT services and can solve complex problems that you would otherwise have problems solving. It can also improve your customer service, and will ultimately give you more time to grow and brand your business.

The Era of Empathy Marketing: A New Tool To Connect With Customers

What are the items that customers check off their list when making a brand their go-to for buying items? Back in the day, a lot of stuff like brand prestige and royalty, pricey goods and services, trends, etc., mattered when it came to making a brand number one. Now, all of that is replaced by a single item; empathy and emotions. The days when royalty mattered are long gone; now is the time for companies to make an attachment with their users on a more personal level in order to sell their items, and that is precisely where empathy marketing and branding come into the picture.

It has become highly crucial for businesses these days to associate with their purchasers and have their company speak for itself when it comes to selling their items in the market. That is why, in order to make their customers feel all the sentiments, they are connecting with them and pushing them towards buying their goods with the lending hand of empathy branding. They convert all the feelings we as humans feel into a campaign (in a good way) and use the same to market their products.

Such campaigns allow marketers to understand their target audiences better and know better about their needs and wants which they can then use by providing them with what they want, thereby marking their way towards customer loyalty.

No amount of data collection through digital means like artificial intelligence (AI) can help you know your buyers better. At last, all that matters is whether or not do you have connections strong enough for them to select your organization over your rivals, and this is where brand empathy will help you. Machines might aid you in understanding their buying behavior, but the human touch is what is required for you to build your relations better with your purchasers.

Let us first understand what empathy branding means.

What Does Empathy Marketing Mean?

Brand empathy can be termed a way of promoting that organizations are using these days to feel attached to their buyers. Brands these days want to know the genuine and actual emotions buyers feel towards purchasing their goods and to understand the same better, they are making extensive use of empathy marketing. It not only helps companies build better relations with their users but also helps them know how customers feel regarding their company.

It is a much-needed step for organizations to take these days because brands need to deeply understand the emotional connection between customers and their commodities. Empathy will help them know it better and improve their buying decision. The main aim of it is to help businesses reach a broader seller base and improve their sales numbers.

Why is Empathy Needed in Marketing?

It doesn’t matter how much time and money you spend perfecting the best marketing strategy to attract your target shoppers; if it doesn’t bring you the returns you expected, it would. That strategy is just of no use to you anymore. It won’t matter how costly or cheap it is; if it doesn’t do its work for you, you know you won’t be able to utilize it again.

With empathy, though, this scene won’t be an issue. It is the most accurate tactic and will surely bring you the most successful results. With its help, you can design something very touchy and sympathetic with very few resources available. By focusing on the best kind of empathy strategy, you can quickly turn your market around and make your promotions beneficial not only to you but also to your buyers. Focusing on your shoppers’ feelings can do wonders for you.

How To Use Empathy As A Marketing Tool Effectively

Given below are a few ways how you can make successful use of empathy as a robust marketing tool-

Customer First, Always

You have to set your priorities right by putting your consumers’ needs first and offer them the solutions they want and require. Your sole focus shouldn’t just be on providing them with the following best answer to their problems but should instead be on giving them precisely what they demand. You should take care of their issues as one of your own and show interest in providing answers to them. They came to you with the hope of finding a solution; it is your duty to give them what they need.

With the help of emotional drivers like empathy, you can know what drives them towards buying your goods, what necessity it is. Once you know that, it will be easy for you to give them just what they require, and they might even become your permanent shoppers. There is no sensible logic to emotions, and by focusing on their feelings, you are achieving the same by attaching with your consumers through your goods and services.

Emphasize Equal Focus on your Employees

Staff and customer engagement are directly proportional to each other. The latter will only cease to exist if you have the former intact and in place. Disengaged staff members can become the main reason for you losing significant market shares because their loss of productivity will lead to your users not getting what they want, thereby decreasing their satisfaction numbers and losing some of them altogether. Therefore, if you’re going to achieve maximum buyer satisfaction, your initial focus must be on your employees.

By showering them with opportunities to showcase the best of their skills and talents, engaging them in training and development activities by curating programs for them with the lending hand of the best human resource management software, and recognizing their efforts by appreciating them for their work, you will push their productivity levels up to a lot. You will also increase their will to stay engaged in their work. Doing all of this will lead to them feeling more positive towards their work, which will reflect in their performance, resulting from refined user experience and client satisfaction.

Trigger your Shoppers’ Emotions

You should know that while your merchandise is capable enough to cater to the necessities of your clients, it should also trigger their sentiments and touch them on a more personal level. Your product should depict more than just fulfilling their demands and wants since emotions are what will differentiate users’ purchasing behaviors. You can also trigger their feelings by focusing on why they need to buy from you and not just the what and how much of the same. You must not only care about bringing better returns to the business but should instead delve deep and give shoppers a more empathetic reason to stick to your organization. If you sympathize with your users on a personal level, it will make them relate to you and stick with you for a long time.

Listen, Listen, and Listen a little More

You know you have achieved the utmost amount of client satisfaction with the lending hand of the best marketing tactics when you listen intently to the commands and demands of your consumers and offer them exactly what they want. By acting upon the wants of your users, you are showing them that you care not just about earning money but also about giving them what they require and that you are gaining the same through your commodities. You show them that you put their feelings and emotions beyond your profits, leading to naturally upping your sales numbers with minimal attempts.

By lending your ears to your users, you are actually caring about them and are interested in making their life easier with the aid of your business. You understand what they are trying to say by decoding their emotions through actively listening and communicating through your products. These empathetic signs will make them come to you and change their buying patterns.

Focus on Bettering your Customer Relations

You should remember that your focus shouldn’t just be on earning profits but also on bettering your relations with your customers. You have to make sure that the time, money, and efforts you put in to build a strong market don’t go to waste. You can never not need enough consumers to boost your sales. Hence it is important that you focus on delivering prime value through your commodities to your users even after you have started earning big numbers.

You can boost customer relations by giving them discounts, newbie offers, early access to sales and discounts, etc. This will be advantageous not only for them but also for you. Providing deals and other offers will lead to you attracting both new and existing consumers, thereby aiding you in achieving new clients and improving user relations successfully at the same time.

Offer your Target Market Something they cannot Refuse

Putting your users’ commands first, listening to their demands and wants, etc., is of no use if you don’t have what it takes to be the perfect marketer and seller. Markets today are and always have been consumer-centric. So, if you don’t bring them what they actually require and offer them the same items already available in the market, you might not even get the desired amount of interest in the first place.

Consumers not only want a product that fulfills their basic necessity, but they want something that is solely designed keeping their demands in mind. You need to bring forth an item that is unique from the crowd, is sure to catch their attention, and is something your markets won’t easily be able to say no to.

In The End,

There is enough hate in the world already. If you are helping make it a little less hateful and more loveable by understanding your shoppers’ feelings and catering to their sentiments, you are setting an example of yourself. You are standing out among the crowd by offering your purchasers what they need. You yourself are building a pathway towards success by doing the same.

Author Bio

Meet Vara is a passionate content writer and an avid reader, having expertise in creating various ideas for creative writing. He is passionate about researching and exploring blogs, checking out the latest trends, and replicating his expertise in crafting exclusive content. His approach and readiness towards writing quality content are exceptional.

6 Good Reasons Why Every Business Should Have Reliable IT Support All the Time

To make the most of your IT investment, make sure to diligently shop around and get trustworthy recommendations and referrals before committing to any IT service department. Look for an IT company that can provide your business with fast, friendly twenty-four-hour, seven days a week, year-round reliable, secure computer network monitoring that allows you to forget your technology troubles so you can focus on your business. Shown below are six reasons why your business should have an IT Support system you can count on all the time.

Information Technology Can Improve Profit by Lowering Costs

A solid information technology department can improve profit and save company costs over time. Hiring reliable IT support can bring about a higher return on investment and drive growth by eliminating extra fees or unexpected costs for repairs and software updates. With tech support, you won’t have to worry about sketchy software investments, and paying a flat rate that is flexible with your budget will give you peace of mind. An empowered information technology department can drive growth for your business by providing proactive solutions to issues before they become a problem. This will save your business money, time and improve profit by minimizing costly downtime.  

Information Technology Innovations Keep Companies Competitive

If a company is unable to adapt to cutting-edge technology, it will be left behind and become irrelevant. Information Technology professionals have skills that can transform and streamline your company’s process and bottom line. The professionals at frontlineinc note that having a qualified information technology department available at all times can help a company outpace, out-deliver,  and outsmart its competitors. They can do this by making improvements to interface design, fostering application development,  and innovating analytics for your business. 

Having a reliable information technology department also enables a business to process large amounts of data using extraordinary amounts of processing power, deft human analytical skills and complex computer software that will propel your company forward. 

Information Technology Support Keeps Companies Safe

A good information technology department should maintain a healthy blend of hardware and software-based knowledge. Doing so allows IT professionals to properly deploy and configure software applications that will run efficiently on the best hardware that a company can afford. Outdated software and hardware can threaten the security of a company because they are unable to deliver optimal performance and prevent malware.

Improve Customer Service

The more companies innovate, the higher the bar is raised for improved customer service. The era of Digital Transformation, with constantly growing technological advances, has fueled and increased exponentially the needs and expectations of customers and consumers. Having a reliable information technology department is important because if a company is not quick to adapt to cutting-edge technology, they will be left behind and become irrelevant in their industry. Therefore, a good Information Technology Department should always recommend the best cloud service that will provide customers with the best experience. They should also recommend the best network bandwidth needed to support video hosting for video conferencing, as well as the best hardware and software to drive company growth and make customers happy.

Implement Technology to Advance Company Goals

An information technology department that is sharply aligned with an institution’s goals will empower members in all other departments to understand and provide valuable input that is aimed at achieving the company’s strategic objectives. A good IT support team can introduce cutting-edge technologies that can maximize your business potential. In turn, these technologies can then be used to advance your company’s goals. You can also use these technological advances to research other areas for expansion and growth.

Maximize Business Efficiency

A good information technology department can help businesses achieve strategic objectives by applying technology to solve business and organizational difficulties on a broad scale as well. Today, most IT departments are designed to maximize productivity. 

When you invest wisely in IT support, you are making sure to invest in a highly efficient service that strives to give you the best return on investment possible. A professional information technology department will provide your institution with customized service, tailored to what your company needs and how your business operates.

To maintain a standard level of service, security and online connectivity, most successful businesses today rely heavily on computers and networks that connect them quickly to customers and suppliers. Therefore, without a competent information technology department  any business will fail to grow. To drive strong company growth and cutting-edge innovation a strong information technology department should always be encouraged to recommend the best hardware and software available. Finally, make sure to hire an IT partner invested in your company’s success as well as their own.

Prevent Legal Mistakes with Employee Time-Tracking Apps

The tax season increases IRS scrutiny on your payroll and timesheets to curtail fraud. Mistakes in compiling employee wages and work time can result in serious legal consequences such as tax audits and lawsuits. This post focuses on federal regulations for non-exempt workers as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). You’ll also gain tips on how your business can comply by using time tracking systems. Although states have varying requirements on employee records, the FLSA provides a reasonable starting point.

Practical Time Tracking Tips That Improve Business Compliance

The following ideas will help you reduce the hassle of keeping timesheets and ensure your company payroll is legal:

1. Pick a suitable time tracking system

The FLSA isn’t specific about how businesses record wages paid and hours worked. However, its main requirement is accurate record keeping. Small organizations may prefer physical timesheets, but they’ll require additional effort for calculation and storage. Accuracy is crucial for peace of mind and legal compliance. Online time tracking tools offer comprehensive ways of achieving these objectives.

2. It’s permissible to round off time

You may round hours to the closest 15 minutes. However, the Department of Labor recommends rounding down employee hours as much as you round them up. This precaution ensures compliance with its Wage and Hour Division. Although a meticulous HR manager can perform manual computation, digital tracking apps are more precise.

3. Make timesheet submission easy

State and federal laws require employers to pay employees by the stipulated time on payday, even if they haven’t availed a timesheet. The HR department should estimate compensation for those who don’t submit these details on time. This option can result in payroll complications such as over or underpayment.

Digital time tracking systems allow your business to streamline and simplify operations by making automatic updates. Your workers clock in and out electronically, which means they don’t have to make manual submissions for payroll purposes.

4. Only pay for productive hours

The law doesn’t require a business to offer rest or meal breaks to its workforce. However, most companies provide them, so they must comply with regulations regarding break time compensation. According to federal law, you must pay workers for non-meal breaks of up to 20 minutes. Most states recommend one break every four hours.

If your meal breaks are more than 30 minutes long and your employees are free to utilize their time as they wish, you don’t have to pay them. However, federal regulations might require wage payment and overtime if they work during lunch break for longer than 40 hours per week. It’s advisable to contact your employment lawyers for a clear interpretation of these laws.

You can eliminate the risk of excessive payments for breaks if your employees utilize time tracking software. These systems can also determine whether remuneration is necessary for particular intervals. Another benefit is allowing the HR department to monitor hourly workers to prevent them from doing overtime.

5. Keep detailed employee records

According to FLSA rules, you must maintain payroll, timesheet, and other employee records for up to three years after retirement, resignation, or termination. However, it’s advisable to do so for up to five years as protection against potential lawsuits. These details include the beginning of the workweek, daily pay rate and hours worked, total weekly output, and overtime compensation.

Others are the employee’s address, social security number, wage additions and deductions, a birth date if under 19, sex, and occupation. Although you can compile this information manually, online time tracking apps are significantly more convenient. They save time and energy by automatically capturing, sorting, and updating this data. They also store it in the cloud, where it’s easily accessible for years.

Time Tracking Mistakes to Avoid

Your timekeeping system will be more efficient if you avoid three vital mistakes. The first is failing to collect enough employee details. Apart from punching in and out, track their breaks and work hours. This coherence not only guarantees overtime pay for workers but also reduces your overtime expenses.

The second mistake is failing to make the most of your time tracking software’s features. Examples are: knowing all employees working in real-time and their location. Some apps also allow you to geofence jobs and receive alerts for crucial issues.

Finally, avoid monitoring timesheets, worker’s compensation, and payroll on different platforms. Your business will realize improved efficiency and productivity by tracking all these variables using one system.

Conclusion

Time tracking apps offer several benefits to your business. In addition to ensuring compliance with tax and labor laws, they help you achieve your overall objectives. You can identify the most productive employees and reward them accordingly for the organization’s long-term benefit. Their automatic features also eliminate payment disputes and other problems that could arise if you depend on manual computation. Please consult your employment lawyers for advice on how state and federal laws affect your professional relationship with employees.

Why Backing Up Windows Systems is Essential?

For many, their PC is the beginning and endpoint for important data storage. This creates a treasure trove of information that needs to be protected. Backing up data is an important way that the treasure trove of information can be protected in the event of a cyberattack or disaster. Newer versions of Windows include a backup utility which begs the question, do you need third-party software to facilitate backups?

Windows Backup

Depending on which version of Windows is installed on a particular machine, will determine what backup tools are available to the user. In Windows Vista and 7, the tool is called Backup and Restore. With Windows 8 Backup and Restore was replaced with what became known as File History. Due to a convoluted series of updates, those that upgraded to Windows 8.1 had both features. For a time, Windows 10 had both Backup and Restore and File History. Both are still available, however, in terms of help guides and official documentation Backup and Restore is the favored utility. This is still the case at the time of writing but using Backup and Restore is the preferable option, at least in this writers’ opinion.

Limitations

The utilities offered by Windows, while certainly better than nothing and can still save the day in the event of a data disaster, are limited in terms of functionality when compared to windows backup software options. Some of the limitations include a lack of customizing backups. When dealing with a lot of data this may prove difficult when needing to keep everything organized.

Lack of customization is not the only limitation. Backup and Restore does not allow for single files to be backed up, entire drives need to be selected. Then an image of that drive will be created. Both utilities also lack a native cloud backup option and require a separate service, like OneDrive, to carry out a backup to a cloud. Users are also limited in the types of storage that will be used during the backup process, typically cannot backup hard drives that are FAT formatted.

The Third-Party Software Option

Often the discussion surrounding third-party backup solutions tends to focus on enterprise-level protection and how to ensure the best possible data protection policy. For at-home users, these discussions fail to bring across the need to protect personal data. The modern reality is that home users need to treat their data similarly to the way enterprises should. Backing up data is a fundamental pillar of data protection and the Windows utilities mentioned above will help but as has been seen are limited.

Third-party software offerings help negate those limitations by allowing better scheduling and automation of file types. Further, software packages offer far more customization options while still offering an easy-to-use interface. Lastly, software packages will allow for the backing up of several file formats and media file types Windows utilities do not offer.

While Windows’ backup utilities are better than nothing, users will need to supplement these tools with third-party software packages to truly protect their data from a cyberattack or disaster such as hardware failure. The software option is the most logical choice for users as the next step in securing and protecting their important information and memories.

Increase your Productivity with These Pro Tips

Maintaining productivity is something everyone struggles with. Even if you’re working on a project that you enjoy. You can still become unmotivated and unproductive. But, don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to get you out of that slump.

Productivity can mean different things for different people. And we all work in different ways. So we need different methods of remaining motivated and productive. Here are some of the best top tips for a productive day.

1. Make a Flexible Schedule

When first beginning a piece of work, it can be overwhelming to see all the tasks that you have ahead of you. This can result in some people procrastinating and not getting on with their work. Even if the tasks are small and easy.

One way to overcome this is to make a schedule. Break everything down into small steps. And work on the first one in front of you. Then move on to the next. Chopping and changing between tasks might make you feel productive. But it can cause you to become tired and unmotivated. Then, when you start to feel unproductive, you will have some tasks only half done.

But, this is where flexibility comes in. Even if your schedule is perfectly organized and you know exactly what you’re doing, things can always go wrong. It might seem impossible to plan for something to go wrong. But you always need to be ready for this. And be ready to adapt your schedule. This will stop you from stalling and having to throw everything away and start again.

2. Adapt to Your Own Rhythms

When creating this schedule, you need to acknowledge how you work. If you have flexible working hours, make sure to schedule your time for when you are most productive. If you find that you produce most of your work in the afternoon, then schedule your hours for 12pm to 8pm.

People who are night owls or prefer to sleep later are often considered to be lazy. But this definitely isn’t the case. People have different circadian rhythms. And this can have a huge impact on when you are productive.

This might not be possible if your work regularly involves meetings with people who work a more standard Monday to Friday 9 to 5. But you can still work around this. If you can, organize meetings for later in the day. Or even in the mornings. Then use the afternoon to complete the bulk of your work.

3. To-Do Lists Are Essential

Making a schedule for a big project can help. But planning ahead doesn’t have to mean making a plan for the whole week or month. Just making a to-do list at the start of your day or the night before will help.

To-do lists are one of the easiest ways to keep track of your work. And remind yourself of the tasks you have laid out ahead. Just make sure that your to-do lists are in-line with your schedule. The most organized option is to make an overarching schedule for the project. Then a to-do list every morning.

This will help you to organize your day. But make sure that you don’t overload your to-do list. Be realistic about the time you have. And factor in how long each task will likely take. Give yourself a break. And remember that it’s okay to fall off the schedule a little. As with a flexible schedule, you can easily get back on track.

Overloading your to-do list with unachievable tasks will only make you feel as though you’re failing and falling behind. Even if you’re not. This will be detrimental to your productivity. Especially if you’re an “all or nothing” kind of worker.

4. Try the Pomodoro Method

If you struggle to organize your own time, the pomodoro method is an easy way to help. The pomodoro method involves working for a period of 20 or 25 minutes, then taking a 5-minute break. This is repeated three or four times. Then you have a slightly longer break.

This breaks down your day. So you will only need to think about the next 20 minutes of work you have to do. This is especially useful if you need to focus on a big project. Or struggle to maintain focus for long periods of time. Some people can easily focus for hours. But this is impossible for others.

Be sensible and realistic about your attention span. Forcing yourself to work when your brain isn’t engaged is only going to result in you producing poor work.

This is also super useful if you struggle to ignore your phone while working. This can often be a problem for people who work alone or at home. You can use the 5-minute breaks to look at your phone. And then ignore it when you’re working. Timing your breaks will also stop that “quick 2-minute break” accidentally becoming half an hour.

5. Remember to Rest

This is a super important one. It’s a tired saying but it’s true. “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” Resting will help to revive you and allow you to produce better results. There is no point in powering through when you’re tired. As you will only be producing work that will need changing later on.

Working late or working long hours is often seen as an act of dedication. But it won’t help if you are burnt out and can’t produce anything of value. Rest doesn’t always have to mean sleep. It can simply mean taking a break to go for a walk around the block. Or preferably a park.

Giving your mind a break will allow you to come back refreshed and ready to carry on. It’s a bit like turning your computer off and on again when it’s becoming slow.

Taking breaks can also mean spending time doing things outside of work. Even if your job is incredibly important, you need to take time away from it. Remember to always use your holidays and days off. They will help you to give your best to that important work when you return.

6. Learn How to Say No

This might seem counterproductive. But saying no to meetings that you don’t really need to go to is incredibly important. This is an act of prioritization. You need to prioritize your time as well as your tasks.

You will be spending time and energy on something that isn’t necessarily important. Then you will be too tired to work on the tasks that actually require your attention. This also means knowing when to say no to other projects.

This can involve telling your manager when you’re at capacity. Or, if you’re self-employed, acknowledging that other opportunities will come along. Focus on what you’re doing now and do it well. Then move on to the next project.

7. Perfectionism is Pointless

This is another tired but true phrase. “Perfectionism is the enemy of done”. If you continue to reread and redo your work, then it will never be good enough. Especially if you continuously change things. Sometimes you can over-edit a piece of work. And it will become worse than before.

When it comes to work, there is no such thing as perfect. Remember that you are human and can only do your best. You have been hired because your employer knows that you can do your job well. So write the report, send it to your manager, and move on to the next thing.

And if they come back with edits, then that is okay! Your manager isn’t going to be disappointed or want to fire you because you need to change a line in a piece of work. This is how collaborative work environments operate. It’s better to send over something that is good enough, than to spend hours working on something that will only result in a “Thanks” from the recipient.

8. Start Your Day With Exercise

A lot of people perceive exercise as always being exhausting and tiring. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Any kind of exercise, from running to yoga to a walk around the park, will help wake you up in the morning.

Exercising in the morning will almost make you feel as though you have already been productive. Then you can ride that wave of energy and productivity into your work day. You will feel fresher and more alive after even the smallest workout.

9. “Swallow the Frog”

This is a strange phrase, but it essentially means that you need to do the worst task first. If you’re putting off work because you have a task that you don’t want to do, then chances are you won’t do anything. Even if every other task on your to-do list is enjoyable.

Once you start your work day, do the piece of work that you have been putting off. Chances are, it will be much easier and take less time than you expected. Then, you can spend the rest of the day working on nicer tasks. And feel proud and productive that you managed to get the horrible task done straight away.

10. Delegate Properly

If you are in a position to delegate, then you need to learn how to do this properly. This can mean giving someone who is junior to you some of the workload. Or it can mean outsourcing some work if you’re self-employed.

Delegating doesn’t mean that you’re being lazy or not doing your own work. Remember, other people work at your organization for a reason. And other companies exist to provide work and support. If you are self-employed, you can outsource small aspects of your work to other small businesses. This will also help you to create a network. As well as support other small businesses.

If you work in a large organization, giving smaller tasks to junior staff members can help them to learn. You can take on the role of mentor and help them to develop their skills. You can still look over the work and change it if it isn’t completely up to scratch. Just make sure to allow them to do the work themselves first. Then you can help them with any corrections.

This will help you to carry on with other tasks that are a higher priority. And you won’t be overwhelmed with work. Or feel as though you’re ignoring something more important when working on smaller tasks. Remember that you don’t have to do everything yourself! (Even if you think that you could do it better…)