Business

5 Golden Rules For Taking Payments Online

If you are selling anything – products or services – online, you are more than likely aware of how challenging it can be. There are hundreds and thousands of different services to choose from before you even get started – and plenty of pitfalls on the way that can stop you in your tracks.

However, the good news is that as long as you follow the basic rules of selling online, there is no reason why you can’t be a successful online business. Here are those five golden rules – let’s take a closer look.

Security first

Always think about safety when you are selling anything on the web. Not only will it help you avoid attack from hackers, but online consumers will trust your website. The chances are that the vast majority of customers will have no idea who you are – and without great security in place, they will prefer to buy from another source. You put a lot of work into attracting customers to your website – don’t blow it by failing to invest in security for payments.

Multiple choice

Consumers all have their preferred method of making payments. So, it makes sense for online retailers to offer as many solutions as possible. You will, of course, already have the necessary credit and debit card payment options. But also think about PayPal and adding Amex to your offer. Even things like Bitcoin payments are becoming more popular. If you study your target demographic, you should find some interesting options – it is vital that you give your customers that all-important choice.

Avoid signups

Getting sign ups should be a priority for your online venture, as it’s an excellent way to market directly to your customers. However, the payment stage is not the right time to do this. For the average customer, all they want to do is pay for the product, and get back to their day. Securing that sale has to take priority over everything else. So, consider other tactics for building your email list and ensure you get those sales.

Use the right merchant account

There are many merchant providers, and each of them has their pros and cons. But – needless to say – all of them cost money. It is worth spending a lot of time researching with a calculator to ensure you are getting the best deal for your business. Even a slightly higher percentage point on each transaction can have a massive impact on your annual profits, so think carefully before making your choice. Bear in mind that you will need to shop around even more if you run a business in a ‘risky’ industry. High risk credit card processing tends to cost more than standard retail merchant accounts, so, again, scour around for the best deal.

Be clear and concise

Finally, whatever you sell online, make sure your customers can buy it easily. Everything – from browsing products to the ordering process – should be smooth, easy, and obvious. Make sure there are clear calls to action in place, telling your customers what they need to do next. You should see your sales start to increase almost immediately.

Any more tips to add? Let us know about them in the comments section below!

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Business

Is It Possible To Double Your Cashflow In A Month? You Bet It Is!

When you first start out in business, you soon learn about the importance of cash flow. While you may have thought, in your naivety, before you started your business that what mattered in business was profit, you soon discovered that this wasn’t always the case. Sure, you might have been in the black for the year as a whole. But there were times during that first year when you dipped precariously close to the red and ran out of cash. As a result, you risked not being able to pay your suppliers, your colleagues and even yourself.

Cash flow, therefore, became your new focus. It was the thing that you realized that you had to focus on if you were going to avoid another disaster. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to improve the rate at which money flows into your business. Let’s take a look.

Reduce Your “Days Sales Outstanding”

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Days sales outstanding” or DSO is a technical piece of jargon used all the time in the business world. It’s just shorthand for the amount of time you’re waiting for your customers to pay you. For many small businesses, DSO is large, meaning that at points during the month, they start running out of cash.

Small businesses often feel intimidated by their larger clients and are sometimes hesitant to demand payment quickly. But when a service has been delivered as specified, it’s time for the client to pay up. Take a look at your current payment arrangements with your customers. How long do they have to pay right now? If you currently offer a three-week window for payment to be made, try reducing this to two weeks for all new clients. Even if customers don’t stick to the two-week payment schedule, cutting down the window often still means that businesses get paid faster.

Make Immediate Payment Possible

When clients don’t pay on time, it’s not because they’re trying to torture you or that they don’t have any money. It’s usually because they are lazy and can’t be bothered to go through the hassle of setting up a payment. After all, it takes a long time. This is why it’s so important for small businesses to make use of merchant services. Merchant services allow them to accept credit card payments in person, online or through their digital invoices. Some companies, like Wave Accounting, have found that including an immediate payment option speeds up client payments by an average of three days.

Do A Credit Check

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Occasionally you’ll get a client who doesn’t want to pay up front in cash. Instead, they want to pay you in a series of installments. When a client asks to do this, it’s a good idea to have a credit check done on them by a third party credit check agency. You want to find out whether the client actually has the means to pay you, in the long run; otherwise, you risk not getting paid for the services rendered. When payments are late, or not paid at all, your cash flow will suffer.

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Business

Online Resources You Should Use For Business Advice And Inspiration

Many people have dreams of becoming an entrepreneur. Buy the world of business can be tough, and you’ll need to do a lot of work before you even think of starting a business. You can’t just rush into it. You’ll need to educate yourself all about business and make sure you know what you’re doing.

A lot of business knowledge comes from running one yourself. But you can still learn a lot before you make your way into the world of business. Luckily, it’s easier than ever to learn thanks to the help of online resources. You can gain all kinds of knowledge and set yourself up for success before you execute your business plan. Here are some of the resources entrepreneurs should be using.

Blogs

The first place to look is business-related blogs. There are a wealth of these all over the internet, and you can learn a lot from them. Blogs are often written by experienced business people with plenty of expertise in the field.

Blogs can help you before you even start your business. For instance, you can read articles on how to write a business plan or how to raise funding for your company. As you continue through your business venture, you can keep using blogs to learn about other aspects. You can get advice on things like marketing, financial management, and hiring.

No matter what kind of expertise you’re looking for, a simple Google search can help you find a useful blog. Read up on plenty of these as they can often help you with tips and guides for your business.

eBooks

Short blog articles are fantastic for learning the basics of business. But eBooks can give you much more in-depth knowledge into different areas. Much like blogs, you can find eBooks for any business question or concern you may have.

Look into the best free eBooks for business. Many of these can help you develop your startup and become a successful business leader. A lot of entrepreneurs also advocate self-help eBooks. They can help you develop the right attitude for creating a successful business venture.

Of course, many of these are also available in regular book form. It’s worth checking out the business section of your local library. But eBooks are beneficial in the sense that you can read them from anywhere, and many are free. You might want to check out a few on your smartphone in your spare time.

Seminars

Experienced entrepreneurs often give talks which can help aspiring entrepreneurs. These often come in the form of public seminars which are open to the public. Check out universities and colleges in your area to see if any talks on business are being held.

You can also turn to the web for these. For instance, you can find recordings of seminars given at conferences and events on YouTube. Alternatively, you could check out TED Talks. They provide recordings of all their talks for free on their website. You can find many business-related talks from experienced entrepreneurs. There are also plenty which can help you with self-motivation.

Interviews

Want to know how to run a successful business? Get inspiration from those with experience! You can use the internet to find interviews with many successful people. You can pick up some wisdom and learn more about how they made it in their field.

There are websites full of business interviews. You could also look around on YouTube for interviews with entrepreneurs. It can help to list names of many successful people in your desired business field. Search for interviews with them on Google and YouTube, and you might be able to get an insight into how they worked their way towards success.

Podcasts

When it comes to audio, podcasts are the best resource to use. Podcasting has become a huge trend, and there are interesting ones available for all fields- including business. These are often hosted by professionals who can give valuable insight into different business topics. Podcasts also feature guests, which are often brought on for extended interviews.

Look into some of the best podcasts for business-savvy listeners and start listening. You can download podcasts or stream them directly. The majority of podcasts are free, making them an excellent source of business information.

The length of podcasts can make them hard to listen to all the way through. But they make for great listening while you’re exercising or commuting. Check out episodes from various podcasts and start soaking up a wealth of valuable entrepreneurial tips.

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Featured

The Consumer Convenience Of Smartphones Has Arrived In The Business World

As a consumer, your smartphone has transformed your world. It condenses gadgets that would once have filled an entire house down to something that’s the size of a deck of cards. Your smartphone is your radio, GPS, phone, computer, gyroscope, TV, torch and on and on. But now that same level of convenience is coming to the business world. Yes, businesses can benefit from all those consumer-facing products too. But there are also some rather specific needs that businesses have that consumers don’t. Now the smartphone is gobbling up these functions too. Check this out.

Quick Response Codes For Customer Outreach

A QR code is essentially a form of advertising for your business. QR codes are usually sent out on flyers or plastered on posters. Customers scan the QR image, and then they’re forwarded to your site or get shown a map of your event. The idea is to get passing customers to see your advert and then take an action themselves to directly get involved in what you’re doing.

Here’s the cool thing. Businesses are leveraging the phone’s ability to do the job of a barcode scanner. This opens up countless opportunities to do business better. Take estate agents for instance. Estate agents can use QR codes on their “For Sale” signs. This mean that people who are just passing by the property can instantly be directed to information about it on the web. All they have to do is point their camera at the sign and then get forwarded to the correct information on the internet.

The Death Of The Till

In the past, if you wanted to take payments, you had to have a till, or at least payment terminal. But now smartphones can double up as a credit card reader too. That’s a big deal for businesses. Up until now, travelling companies have had to lug around bulking payment terminals. They’ve also had to install separate systems and pay for the units themselves. But now simple software in smartphones is causing terminals and tills to “dematerialize.” They’re just not needed anymore. Currently, payments accepted by smartphones are on the rise. According to the data, 11 percent of payments were taken by a smartphone last year.

The End Of Human Personal Assistants

Perhaps the most interesting development of the last few years is the fact that we’re no longer dematerializing gadgets. We’re dematerializing people. Business smartphones already take a significant chunk of legwork away from accountants and secretaries. After all, business users already have software that removes the need for a lot of accountancy work.

But new developments in artificial intelligence look set to change the game yet again. Rather than requiring a team of support staff, many business leaders may opt to use the AI on their phones. Smartphone AI will be able to do far more than it is able to do today. For instance, it’ll be much better at understanding voice command. In fact, according to a recent press release from Google, voice recognition is now almost as good as humans. It’ll also be able to other cool things like fill in your diary, just from monitoring your emails or from voice command.

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Events

Marketing Tricks to Make An Event Successful

Corporate events, such as product launches, conferences or seminars or events like charity functions, fundraising, dance performances or rock concerts, are measured by whether they are a success, a hit with the crowds or not. It can be said that the success of all events is measured by the number of people who attended and their feedback. The buzz created by an event beforehand goes a long way in marking its success.

Ensuring success of an event

The key to a successful event is marketing and publicity for the event. From the moment the event is planned, it should be well marketed, to create a buzz around it, thus making sure to catch people’s attention and feeding their curiosity. For many, the task of planning every aspect of a successful event and then even taking care of the publicity and sales can become too much to handle. For large scale events involving entry of hundreds of people and crowd management, it is best to hire an event ticketing Australia company that oversees the sale of the tickets. 

How can an event ticketing company help you?

Event ticketing companies are the perfect platform to bring to fruition the vision, ideas and rules one has about the particular event. Such event companies help with the management and proper functioning of the crowds at the venue. They take over the reins of managing the event from start to end, right from the moment the ticket is purchased to the time when the guests check in. The advantages of hiring an event ticketing and management company are plenty, including the fact that they are focused on the brand of their client, helping to increase visibility and recall value of the brand.

These companies also provide engaging portals to capture the audience’s attention when they open the ticketing page. Apart from beautiful ticketing pages, they have easy money transfer systems to collect the ticket purchase money and additionally provide support in terms of staff too and are at assistance 24/7. In the age of branding via merchandise, they even club event merchandise up-selling on the site, thus helping further with the sales and revenue. Interestingly, such a company also helps with hotel booking and accommodation assistance on the same page as ticketing, thus making bookings for festivals or conferences simpler. They even provide ownership to the wide database of the audience thus helping create a customer database for the company planning the event. As an added bonus, they even help with scanning and check-in of guests at the event.

Planning of the event

Whether an exhibition or a festival spanning days, the event requires thorough planning right from conceptualising a vision to managing, marketing and making that vision a reality. All the aspects of the event need to be thought of well in advance and a contingency plan made too in case of emergencies. As event companies run about to finalise themes, concepts, venues, decor, marketing, funding ticketing companies help manage the initial stage like ticketing to marketing the event. The later also takes part in helping manage both online and offline presence with staff in execution of the event by scanning entries at the door and managing the crowds.

The success of any event lies in planning of details and in distributing tasks to experts in the concerned field, thus making it a united, team effort to bring a vision to reality.

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How To

The Basics of Building a Website

Read below to learn all about the ABCs of building your own website:

Set Goals

Committing yourself to building a website from scratch is just like committing yourself to most other ventures in life. You must have goals, a vision, and a long-term strategy for your site. Without these, your site will most likely go nowhere. Or you could spend all your money redesigning your site over and over again every time you change your mind. Therefore, write down the goals and hopes you have for your site. Make sure that these are realistic first.

Get Your Own Domain Name

Before you start the site design process, you must obtain your own domain name. Having your site hosted on someone else’s will not do, unless your target audience is extremely limited, to your family for example. Therefore, come up with a simple and memorable domain name for your site. Use an online tool to ensure that this name is not too similar to another site’s. Then get a domain extension, usually provided by the server you hire. When you hire a server, check their web reviews first.

Brainstorm

You will first need to brainstorm design ideas for your site. You might come up with a thousand ideas or nothing at all. Get inspiration from acclaimed sites you can find online. Also, you must check out the sites created by the competition. See what they are doing, and make sure not to do something that looks awfully similar.

Open Source Design

You will mostly likely need a content management system (CMS) to design your site. Three are essentially two different kinds of CMSs: proprietary, which charge licensing fees from users, and free, which charge nothing for basic designs. Popular CMSs like WordPress are free. You can use such a service for your site to cut costs. However, if your site needs an advanced design or specific components, a proprietary CMS that has all the features you need will be worth the money.

Make Site Mobile Compatible

Most users browse sites on their handheld mobile devices. Therefore, if your site is not compatible with mobile phones, you are losing out on millions of potential visitors. Therefore, use a design template that is compatible with Androids and iPhones. You should also think about creating an app to complement your site.

Start Creating Content Early

The content on your site will be blog posts, pictures, product descriptions and so on. All this material should be prepared well in advance, so when the design layout is done, content can be uploaded instantly. Do not send your site online with missing content. You will gain a bad reputation even before you have started.

Often Ask “Why”

If you are adding or removing a component from your design layout, always ask ‘why’ first. Why is a good question to ask whenever you have to make a decision regarding your website? Doing so will minimise the risk of you making a mistake.

Hire Professionals Whenever Necessary

If you have no prior experience doing something, or if your skills are subpar, do not hesitate to hire a professional to get the task done appropriately. Spending a little money now on expert input is better than losing visitors in the future because of bad quality.

Before you go on about designing your own site, learn all of the above until you know them like the back of your hand.

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How To

Make Your Photos Incredible With These Handy Tips

Most of us use photos every week. We post them on social media to detail that fantastic weekend away. We print them out to give to family members as gifts. We even use them to evidence bad driving, antisocial behavior and everything that’s weird or wacky. Seeing is believing after all. So how can you make your photos better? Can your humble smartphone really be used to capture an image that could go viral?

There are a few standard rules of image composition that help us to create a great picture. The rule of thirds, where everything in the frame is clearly divided into three, is just one of them. But when it comes to social media and telling a story, it’s more about capturing that incredible moment. See the emotion and hit the button at the right time.

Context and perspective are also really important things to consider. Showing a woman smiling in the street means a lot more when you see the reason why. Perhaps she’s just accepted a marriage proposal? You need to show her partner down on one knee to get the whole story into a single image. Putting objects into context is handy if you’re trying to show something that isn’t normal. A close-up of a dent in your car means very little unless there is a familiar object next to it to show its size. A hand or a ruler gives us context about the scale of the damage.

Once you have captured your images, your work is not yet done. Now you need to edit the images. Crop out the unimportant edge of frame areas. Grade the colors to help convey the mood or occasion a little more. Remove problem areas, or edit them to improve them. Packages like Photoshop are the industry standard for this kind of work. Understanding the Photoshop interface isn’t always easy. Sometimes it’s best to take a short image editing class to help you along.

Altering the brightness and contrast can create incredible effects for your image. It can even alter the whole mood of your photograph. Of course, most of us use it to correct balance problems caused by the technology we used to capture the image. A smartphone held very steady can create incredible quality images. There are also plenty of options within your phone camera settings to alter the focus and look of the picture you create. It’s worth considering whether these are useful or if it’s better to use a pro software package in editing to tidy up what you capture.

Once you’ve finished touching up your image, it’s time to print it or post it online. Sometimes it can be really handy to print an image out at home or at work to distribute as part of a presentation or for someone who needs a hard copy. Posting the image online can give people the opportunity to print it out for themselves, or to enjoy it digitally.

However you use your digital photography, a little bit of editing can go a long way. Manipulating images can help you convey a mood or idea better. How do you take pictures?

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How To

Is A Virus On Your Computer Bugging You? Here’s How To Remove It!

There’s no denying that the World Wide Web is a useful resource. Millions of us go online every day to buy stuff or learn new things. We even use the Web to communicate with other people through social media.

The only downside of going online is the inherent risk of malware and viruses. There is a small community of hackers online dedicated to stealing personal data. There are even criminal gangs that attempt to extort money from unsuspecting web users.

As you can imagine, this is a big problem for anyone that uses their computer to go online. Windows is the operating system with the biggest market share. Because of that fact, it gets affected the most by malware and viruses.

If you’ve got a virus that’s bugging you and making your machine miserable, help is at hand! Keep reading to learn how to remove it:

Reboot your PC into Safe Mode

The first thing you must do is reboot your computer into Safe Mode. Why is this important? The answer is simple. Safe Mode boots up the Windows OS with only essential device drivers loaded. It also doesn’t load up any software you installed on your system.

Safe Mode is a useful way to take control of your computer when it has a virus or malware. Especially if the infection “takes over” your system and doesn’t allow you to do anything on it.

To get into Safe Mode, you need to press the F8 key once your PC has rebooted. You will then have a list of boot options, one of which is Safe Mode. Select that using your down arrow key and press the Enter key. Check out http://www.howtogeek.com for further help.

Delete all temporary files

Once you’ve successfully rebooted into Safe Mode, you need to start the cleanup operation. The first step is to delete any and all temporary files on your system. The areas to target include your Recycle Bin and temporary Internet files.

You might not know it. But, malware and viruses often “load” from those locations on your PC. By deleting all temporary files, you can remove most infections.

Install a malware removal tool

Next, you need to check your system for other malware and viruses lurking beneath the surface. It’s a time-consuming process, and so it makes sense to use a malware removal tool. Its job is to automate the process and remove infections for you.

The most popular tool for the job is Spyhunter 4. You can read more about it at http://www.wehatemalware.com/how-safe-is-spyhunter-4/. Another tool you can use is Malwarebytes.

Install some Internet security software

Once you’ve run the tool and removed the infections, reboot as normal into Windows. When you are sure the malware or virus is gone, I recommend installing some security software. There are scores of titles on the market that you could use. Examples include Norton Security and McAfee Total Protection.

The advantage of doing that is the software will block any future malware or virus infections.

Good luck!

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How To

Top Tips to Select a Tech Project Manager

When you start a tech project of any kind, it essential to have a project manager. A project manager is that person who’s going to be the point person, ensure everything moves smoothly, and serve as a centralized hub of communication in many ways. Project managers facilitate the process that goes into the development of anything related to technology, so how do you choose this person?

The list below represents some key criteria to consider as you select a PM for your next tech project.

Match Skills Appropriately

One of the first mistakes made when selection a technology project manager is the tendency to want to hire the person with the most skills, as opposed to someone with the right skills. Even if a candidate has broad experience and expertise, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to be the right fit. When matching skills, try to find the person that has what reflects most closely your project requirements. Don’t become so blinded by an incredible resume that you forget what’s critical to the core of your project.

Hone in On Soft Skills

When you’re looking for a technology project manager, there can be a tendency only to look at their skills or their training and education. Unfortunately, this is detrimental because there is a lot more that goes into managing a project than simply have the technical expertise. Think about soft skills. Some of the important characteristics to look for in a project manager include strong communication, empathy, and organization. You also want to look for someone who seems to have a good ability to look at the long-term picture, see where obstacles may exist, and who is willing to be flexible enough to adequately address challenges that arise, even if they’re unexpected.

Approach

When it comes to technology projects, there are a lot of different approaches that can be taken. One of the most popular is the agile methodology, but there are specific distinctions even within this broader category. Consider how potential project management candidates approach their work, and what training or certifications they might have. One of the most valuable certifications when it comes to technology project management is DevOps training, which refers to a framework for integration communication, collaboration, and automation to improve workflow between developers and IT professionals.

Consider Other Team Members

A project manager is going to be inherently intertwined with the members of his or her team throughout a tech project, so when you’re choosing someone, make sure that you’re also considering these people who will be working under the manager. Project managers need to be able not just to work with the people that report to them, but also effectively lead them and inspire them to stay on time and budget with the project.

The person you select to manage your technology project is often going to be the link between your organization and the final product. This person is going to determine how smoothly the project moves along, how well it stays on course time-wise, and whether or not it adheres to budgetary restrictions.

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Featured

The Importance of Power Supply for Your Computer

There are ideas floating through your mind and you are comfortably putting them down on your computer, busy typing them on your keyboard. However you are completely unaware of what is about to happen to you in a matter of seconds. At the brink of the moment, the lights go out you notice your computer dies since your monitor is all black! With this, all your necessary documents go unsaved as you were busy focusing on typing. Nevertheless this untoward occurrence could have been averted if you had interruptible power supply to your system; Right?

The need for power supply to your computer

If the system shuts down in an abrupt sequence, there are chances that you may get a warning about losing your necessary data. Conversely, in case there is an unprepared shutdown, then you will end up losing the data you were working on. This is why the need for continual power supply is must. Not only it is useful for gaming purpose, but for everyday work as well. There are several companies that provide interruptible pc power supply solutions, which is a necessity today.

What more do you need?

In fact, together with high-end power supply services there are companies that provide excellent computer cases, gaming supplies, accessories, which are made in keeping quality in mind. It is essential for you to have a reliable best computer cases as well as unswerving towers for your technological devices. These companies online provide you with state-of-the-art power supply towers and technological accessories which are the need for the day keeping craftsmanship and quality in mind. With the assistance of gaming PC cases, dependable towers and accessories for your computer, your experience will be ensured to be seamless and as comfortable as possible.

How is uninterruptible power supply useful?

Make the most by using a reliable power supply as it will help in providing continuous power to your monitor and computer. When the power shuts down unexpectedly, you will, at least, get adequate time to save and shut down the system the right way. At the same time, the length of time available would also depend on how much power you may require.

With a reliable uninterruptible power supply or UPS, your system will be safeguarded from power fluctuations. You might be aware of those small little flickers of light, occurring from time to time. They may seem to be mere flickers to you however they have the power to create havoc especially on sensitive built-in electronics of your computer or PC. The line voltage will be continuously monitored through the UPS and the moment it senses any kind of voltage fluctuations it will get activated. They are generally measured through milliseconds. A consistent and good UPS would ensure that the changes are made from your direct current and will be directed to its power supply. It would ensure that everything gets done in a jiffy, to avert any sort of data loss.

There are several companies online which sell some high-end UPS and at a cost effective rate. The price of UPS has become cost effective and much reasonable over the past few years as the cost of batteries and technology has much come under control. Always make sure to check and ensure that you are armed with a UPS as we never know when the power goes off and your computer is saved from power fluctuations and your system is kept safe no matter what the circumstance is.

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