Benefits of Cloud Computing

Many Business’s find it beneficial when they take their business “to the cloud” for improved functionality. It is not just large companies that are benefiting. Businesses from dance studio accounting software to gym billing software and everything in-between can benefit. Here are some of the more compelling and common reasons for an accounting firm.

Saving on Costs Cost Savings

Many companies don’t realize exactly how much they spend in IT each year. Cloud computing can help reduce operating costs with traditional IT. Common savings can occur but are not limited to network setup, maintenance, updates and services to equipment, software, licenses for the operating system, the backups, anti-virus protection, and security protocols, etc.

Your security On-Line

It is very common to believe that a traditional client-server setup is more secure then the Cloud, however this is simply not true. In reality, the Cloud service providers have created a secure environment with enterprise solutions and physical security that no company could replicate without spending thousands of dollars.

More Convenient

The Cloud provides anytime, anywhere access. One only needs to have internet connectivity to access their applications and they no longer have the necessity to store it as data files on the PC. This can be beneficial for so many reasons and with a VPN, you can access this information anywhere in the world completely securely.

More Scalability

With the scalability of Cloud Computing you only pay for what you use. No need to purchase and maintain a huge server. This process has created a new environment that is more economical than a formally managed infrastructure.

Focus shift

Companies want to spend their time doing what they do best, not managing a server or updating software. Moving to the Cloud allows more productivity on what they do best and shift their focus from IT to billable work hours.

More Collaboration

The Clouds multi-user environment lets you work well with others. This allows real-time numbers and financial data to collaborate on in making important decisions for their business.

More Services

Cloud services offer some businesses new revenue streams by creating new service offerings for their clients. They can charge their clients for “e-services” like an online portal, document management and storage, disaster recovery plan and much more.

Final Word

Some cloud companies offer better rates than others. The difficulty lies within relating to your customers’ requirements and providing them with a specialized product that brands their company and gives them the virtual office solutions they want. It is important to research your options when selecting a vendor and choose one that is secure, adaptable, and has exactly what you are looking for. Although the benefits of the Cloud are easy to see, the timing and selection of who to provide those services may take a little research.

Most businesses buy a Cloud to replace an in-house server or to provide an online edition of a product which is available at all times and in all places. The cloud hosts the users, data, and the applications. Once established on the Cloud any problems are reduced and more easily fixed. If one is unsure, look for a free demonstration of how simple the Cloud is to use, as well as its performance, speed, security and overall feel to it.

 

Sharing And Creating Files In PDF Format Has Never Been Easier

Portable Document Format files, commonly referred to as PDF are one of the easiest way to share and store information. Every person has used a PDF file at least once in their lives and can vouch for their convenience and usability.

The PDF format is widely used and accepts a lot of formats despite not being that ideal for scanned images as they can prove to be fairly large in size thus making it harder for downloading as well as sharing.  In order to open a PDF file, one must have Adobe Reader installed on their devices.

PDF files can contain a lot of pages smartly stored into a single file and are extremely popular for documents which include the likes of articles, brochures or flyers as the quality of images and texts remains the same by not being altered in any way.

No matter how convenient they might sound, they are also very hard to work it as editing a PDF file can prove to be extremely difficult even for those who have some knowledge in this field. The process can however be simplified with software like Soda PDF Anywhere. Not only can PDF files be created from over 300 file formats but they also prove to be a hardship when it comes to editing.

Modifying content and tinkering around with the file’s structure in order to offer it more readability or make it look sharper is a necessary knowledge to have in order to be efficient. Before you embark on the editing process make sure that the PDF file is not secured by its respective creator.

When it comes to security levels they can come with fluctuating levels of difficulty, ranging from restrictive reading all the way to password protection. A lot can be done to bypass security and the easiest one is to take a snap of a PDF file and further edit it in other software.

Editing wise, PDF files are often modified by downloading third party desktop software, be it with costs or not. Professionals usually work with Adobe Acrobat which will set you back about $450 if a one-time purchase is opted for or via a subscription system of $50 per month. Acrobat is beginner friendly as it comes with a lot of instructions and if you are not convinced, a free 30 day trial is also offered for those who want to take a sneak peak before downloading the software.

Another popular method of editing is done via Microsoft Word 2013 by clicking the File option. Afterwards, one needs to locate the PDF file they wish to edit and open it. Original formatting might be lost if the conversion is made but it should cause no problems as it can be quickly rearranged back to shape.

5 Reasons Your Online Shop is Failing

If your sales aren’t where they should be, there’s probably a reason for your lack of success. The good news is that most online business mistakes are easy to fix once you’ve identified the problem. If you’re looking to turn your brand around, here are just five reasons why your ecommerce site might be failing.
1. Your graphics are low-quality.

Seeing is believing, and if your product images are grainy, blurry or pixellated, your customers are going to assume that your products are low-quality as well. Make sure that all of your graphics are sharp and clear. Offer multiple lights, angles and zooms for customers who want to digitally examine the product. Let them feel confident about their purchase before they finalize it.
2. Your site navigation is confusing.

There are many ways to design a website, and if you aren’t receiving positive feedback about your current layout, it might be time to make a change. For example, if customers aren’t liking your vertical sidebars, you might switch to horizontal drop-down menus instead. You might also be making common design mistakes like “walls of text” or badly-contrasting colors that are hurting your site’s aesthetic. Talk to professional web developers and see what they have to say about your design.
3. You make your customers sign up, log in or complete surveys.

No one likes being forced, and making your customers sign up for your website is the digital equivalent of twisting their arms behind their backs. While it’s expected and even encouraged that you’ll advertise your rewards card or loyalty program, there’s a big difference between “Sign up for exclusive offers!” and “We need all of your personal information before you can continue shopping.” Your brand should be welcoming, comforting and familiar. It shouldn’t be annoying or intrusive.
4. Your checkout process is long and complicated.

Speaking of annoying, there’s a reason why “one-click checkouts” have become a hot commodity in the ecommerce world. Customers don’t want to jump through a thousand hoops to complete their orders, and with extra time on their hands, impulse shoppers might decide that they don’t need their basket at all. If you want better sales, your online shopping cart software needs to be streamlined for speed and convenience. Aim for a checkout process that takes three minutes or less.
5. You haven’t integrated social media with your site.

Gone are the days when social media was a passing fancy. With millions of users, platforms and features, it’s proven itself to be a driving force that’s here to stay, so you’ll need to hop on the bandwagon if you’re serious about your digital marketing campaign. Create your own social media accounts; put social media buttons on the bottom of your site; start re-tweeting and re-blogging your customers.
These are just a few of the most common mistakes of ecommerce shops. If you’re serious about improving your sales, attracting more customers and establishing yourself as a brand, use these tips to create an online shop that thrives.

Reserving Your Domain Name Is The First Step To Branding Your Business

If you have recently become the proud owner of a new small business, your first priority will be to brand it. This means making sure that your business is as visible to the public as possible. There is no point in going through all of the trouble to build a new business if no one will ever know it’s there. Not only will visibility be a major issue in your first quarter of operation, but you will also need to ensure that your business garners an excellent reputation. First class customer service will play a huge part in establishing your credibility in the industry.

Your Domain Name Is An Issue Of Major Priority That Needs Consideration

Before you reserve domain name services for your new website, you’ll need to consider a few key issues. What kind of business are you attempting to establish? What image do you want to project to your customers? The name you choose for your domain will need to reflect not only the business you’re in, but the personal aspirations you have for your new career. After all, you’re not in this game merely to survive, but to gain as close to a totally dominating position in the industry as you can manage. This needs to be done in the shortest possible amount of time, for the lowest possible amount of money.

What’s In A Name? How Does Naming Your Domain Affect Your Brand?

You may be wondering just what naming your domain has to do with establishing your brand. The answer is this: The name you give your domain will be the first thing that a brand new customer notices about your business. The name you choose should be short, snappy, memorable, and easy to pronounce. Too many syllables, and it’s too long and unwieldy. On the other hand, you don’t want to choose a word that’s too short and childish sounding.

The key is to always rely on what the audience is accepting from your competitors in the industry. Have a quick look around the Internet and see what kind of domain names are being currently favored by them. Chances are, you can come up with a similar – but not too similar – name that fits right into the general concept. By doing so, you’ll achieve a level of customer recognition before you even open up your website.

Make Sure Your Domain Name Is Original, Unique, And Memorable

The final consideration you need to keep in mind is uniqueness. It helps to come up with an original domain name, but it doesn’t have to be the world’s most clever one. What does matter is that your name is absolutely unique and not being used by anyone else. Use the domain name registry to ensure that you aren’t infringing on someone else’s copyright. Once you have made sure of this, it’s time to launch your site with the best name you can muster.

Budgeting ideas for small business owners

canstockphoto18632526Running a small business can be rewarding in many ways. It can provide a sense of independence, flexibility, personal fulfillment and income. Without properly managing finances all those benefits can easily fade and be replaced by headaches and debt.
Headway Capital, a small business credit provider, recently stated that almost 20 percent of small business owners are concerned about unexpected expenses and the impact they can have.

Creating a solid budget that accounts for both fixed and unplanned cost can help a small business operate in a functional profit generating manner. Taking advantage of discounts that Staples, Office Depot and Amazon provide for expected cost can help, yet understanding non-direct variables, overestimating expenses, knowing the sales cycle, and adjusting the budget accordingly is key for a small business to stay ahead and successfully predict when operating money may fall short. To see available coupons for stores like Staples visit: http://mamma.com/all-shops/

 

Non-Direct Variables

Variables that occur outside of the actual functions of a small business can unexpectedly increase operating cost. New government regulations, such as increases in minimum wage, changes in healthcare and environmental policies, can affect even small businesses. Economic changes that create unpredictable consumer habits can affect the cost of production materials and lower the amount of sales a small business has. Other than government and economic anomalies, natural disasters and social unrest can also create unexpected expenses. Change is constant in the world and being prepared for change can allow for a small business to weather through the storm.

 

Overestimating Expenses

In almost every type of business project something always seems to cost more than expected, or maybe something was missing in the original plan. Overestimating expenses allows for small business owners to maintain control when issues arise. Preparing for these occurrences makes handling the situations when they come to light less burdensome and keeps projects on time by prevents delays in production.

 

The Sales Cycle

Ever type of business has slow periods. Restaurant and retail business owners know that after New Years business slows down By recognizing when these periods occur small business owners can adjust the day to day operations to accommodate and keep cost low. Maybe less labor hours are needed. Keeping less product on hand can also lessen the amount of money going out the door.

Slow periods are also a great time for planning for the next boom in business. Knowing the sales cycle allows for an owner to make adjustments and plan marketing strategies that can better identify and attract customers in a new way.

 

Review the Budget

Believing that a budget is set in stone can cause businesses to miss out on revenue and not to be prepared for changes in the market. The budget should be able to flow and move with market trends. What may have been the perfect budget in the past may not meet the needs currently or in the future. Reviewing the budget frequently gives the ability to adjust month to month and year to year.

There is not a magic formula for dealing with unexpected cost that small business may face. Owners must be resilient and flexible to be able to adjust with political, economic and consumer trends. Planning ahead, knowing the market’s climate and being able to adjust will increase the chances for small business to succeed when unexpected occurrences and cost show up at the door.

How Manufacturing at Home Can Boost Company Profits

canstockphoto2706283For many years, businesses have sought ways to cut costs, from outsourcing day-to-day tasks, to reducing transport costs. However, as times change, business methods that were once considered economically advantageous are no longer viable. This is particularly true in terms of manufacturing overseas, where companies are typically able to take advantage of cheaper labour and materials expenditure.

It appears that the combination of a fragile global economies, concerns over quality, and the substantial rise of eco conscious shoppers has seen a growing trend in companies choosing to reshore. Surprisingly, manufacturing at home could raise company profits, too.

Brexit and the Great British Pound

In the UK, the pound has continue to decline. Add to this the fears about how Brexit will continue to affect the country’s economy as well as worries about the single market, and it is understandable that company’s may be fearful about how the referendum will impact business.

While the depreciation of the pound has made the British currency more attractive globally, with overseas purchasers getting more for their money, the price of imports has risen drastically. With import costs rising, it is easy to appreciate why businesses may choose to manufacture domestically. Although production costs are typically higher in the UK, companies are saving on transport and import costs, as well as storage and inventory.

Environmental and Ethically Conscious Customers

Coinciding with Brexit, recent research has shown that consumers are becoming ever more conscious with regards to eco concerns. In addition to brand trust, environmental, social and ethical considerations score highly with millennials, so much so that those in the age bracket of 18-35 would pay more to buy from a brand that shares their values.

As the world is becoming more open and connected, customers are actively seeking eco conscious businesses, profiting those who pay fair wages, reduce their carbon footprint, and produce their products at home.

Concerns Over Quality

Quality is a growing concern for companies and consumers alike. While products produced cheaply overseas are increasingly being made to higher standards, many businesses still fear quality issues. This is perhaps of greatest concern to startups and SMEs, who do not have the same money or resources as multinational corporates, which could lead to catastrophic consequences.

On the other hand, manufacturing domestically in the UK means that goods must comply with British standards, regulation and Quality Assurance, reducing the risk of poor quality products and thus, disappointed customers.

The number of businesses choosing to manufacture at home is on the rise (particularly with engineering and car firms), a trend that is set to continue and could see an increase in company profits.

Could a Used Vehicle Be a Good Alternative Over Leasing for Businesses?

canstockphoto37443143You have two main options when it comes to getting a new business car. You can either buy, or lease. Both have their pros and cons and leasing is often seen as the most affordable option. However, that’s typically because when you think about buying a car for your business, you mainly consider new models. But what about a used car?

Is it ever a good idea to buy a used car for business and would that be a good alternative to leasing?

Why used cars can be ideal for business

The main reason people don’t consider buying a used car for business is because it doesn’t seem to give off the right image. With a business car, you typically want it to ooze style and elegance. That means, you want something that’s new and shiny.

However, what you may not realise is there are plenty of used models out there that are in an “as new” condition, yet they cost just a small portion of the new models. While its true many used cars can be risky to buy, if you go through a reliable company like RobinsandDay, you’ll find excellent quality used models.

So, don’t let the term “used” put you off as a good quality used car can look just as great as a new one! There’s actually quite a few benefits of buying used cars over new models such as high-end features at a lower cost, reduced depreciation value and often lower insurance costs.

Is a used car better than leasing?

Both options have their advantages. Really, it all depends upon your personal preferences. With a leased car, you have the opportunity to get a new model every three years. You’re also more likely to be able to afford a higher-end model.

However, you won’t personally own the car, ever. Why does that matter? Because you’ll find leasing companies have numerous restrictions in place. This includes how many miles you can drive. It’s not uncommon for leasing companies to have a maximum mileage restriction. This means if you drive around a lot for your business, a leased vehicle might not be your best option.

Overall, leasing is often chosen because it appears to be the cheaper option. However, when you compare it to buying a used car, it could work out much more expensive in the long term. Used cars these days come with excellent features and can be found in a “like new” condition. So, if you haven’t considered it yet, it’s worth looking into buying a used car for your business before you sign that lease agreement.