Technology is an inescapable part of our world today, especially when it comes to running a successful business. Gone are the days when paper and pencil did your accounting and manila folders held your filing — software has made these activities easier, more efficient, and more organized.
As a small-business owner, you may think that the price tag on some of the best new tools puts these things out of your budget, but the fact of the matter is: If you don’t invest some money on technology now, it will be to your detriment in the long run. In other words, the capital spent now is worth the operational savings in the long term. Read on for some ideas from RealOnlineCareer.com.
Computer-based training software is one of those things that can be extremely effective at improving customer service, saving money on training (as opposed to in-person lessons, since you don’t have to pay instructor fees or travel expenses), and improving employee engagement since they have full control over the learning process.
Certain training companies offer innovative ways for you to train your employees in a virtual, low-stakes setting so you can get them acclimated to your business practices without actually putting them in front of customers. As a result, businesses can improve customer satisfaction and increase revenue — because happy customers are repeat customers, and they tell their friends.
Website security tools
More than two-thirds of businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees have experienced a cyberattack, and small companies simply can’t afford to leave themselves vulnerable to these kinds of incidents. Companies need to protect themselves against malware attacks, phishing attempts, and ransomware incidents — and that means investing in tools that allow you to improve network security, as well as antivirus software that constantly monitors and protects your systems. Additionally, you should only purchase modems and routers that can help keep your information secure (read reviews and do research prior to buying one).
Online payroll services
Another thing you should consider investing in would be online software tools for payroll services. Having everything you need at your fingertips can make processes associated with payroll easier, more efficient, and more accurate, especially if you use a platform with automated activities — you won’t forget important parts of the payroll process like accurate tax filing and timely direct deposit. These tools may seem expensive but, in fact, payroll systems are some of the most affordable since they present a keen return on investment. You’re getting back time, energy, and productivity.
Payment methods that integrate with eCommerce solutions
Whether or not you intend to sell goods or services online, having a payment method that allows your customers to take advantage of digital funds is critical for staying up with the times. Using online payment methods like Google Checkout, 2Checkout, PayPal and more allow you to integrate with eCommerce platforms and give you the opportunity to improve your standing with customers by showing that you are willing to accommodate however they want to pay.
Bonus: Inventory management software
This tool allows you to track your product (and its material parts) throughout its lifecycle — from creation to sale and everything in between. Good inventory management tools also offer a way to forecast sales and help you get a hold of your supply chain without the hassle of a thousand spreadsheets — it’s all there in one single pane of visibility.
These are only a few of the solutions available to small-business owners looking to improve their relationship with technology and (most importantly) get the best ROI for their dollar.
RealOnlineCareer.com provides information and resources to help you start your own business, from freelancing to affiliate marketing. Visit the site to learn more!
Written by Guest Blogger: http://economymom.com
Photo via Unsplash
If you’re finding yourself at home more often these days, whether it’s practicing social distancing or you’ve picked up a remote job, it may have forced you to temporarily give up some of your favorite hobbies. But it’s also the perfect opportunity to start up a new hobby. Maybe you’re interested in learning how to knit, or you want to let your artistic side shine by painting or drawing. You may even be considering taking coursework to round out your education. No matter which hobby or new direction has piqued your interest, these tips will help you make the most of your time at home.
Set Up a Space
Having a designated space to focus on your hobby can help you focus without distractions. For example, if your chosen hobby is fitness related, you might want to invest in home gym equipment. If you want to pick up any new creative pursuits, establishing a cozy “studio corner” or workshop space is a great idea. Bob Vila recommends using your attic or basement for a workshop. If you want to learn how to knit or crochet, you can designate a quiet space with a comfortable chair. Once you've set up your space, you can then acquire the necessary materials.
Learn with a Friend
Even if you’re social distancing, you don’t have to give up on enjoying your hobbies with your friends. If you’re feeling low on motivation, Success recommends reaching out to one of your friends to see if they would be interested in learning all about a new hobby with you. You could set up regular video chat sessions to work on your skills together.
Find an Online Tutor
Sometimes, you need to learn from a professional. If you’re trying to get fit, this might mean seeking out a personal trainer. If you want to learn a new language, begin practicing an instrument, or even write a book, you may want to seek out a teacher online. When you’re able to ask an expert some questions, you’ll feel more confident in your journey.
Follow Along with a Course
Want to make sure that you dedicate a few hours of your time to your hobby each week? Signing up for an online course will help you make a strong commitment. When you have a class on your schedule at least one or two nights per week, you won’t skip out your new hobby. Training courses for various potential hobby businesses, like video game testing or photography, are available through websites like Real Online Career, so dive in!
A New Career Direction
If going back to school is of interest, look into the many online college-level programs available today. Pursuing an online degree in information technology not only teaches you all you wanted to know about computer science in general but specifics like cloud computing, cybersecurity and software development. As opposed to a degree from a traditional brick-and-mortar college, studying and learning online allows you complete coursework wherever and whenever you choose, giving you the freedom to continue work -- you earn while you learn.
When going the college route, be sure the program you’re considering is recognized by top employers and the academic community. Some offerings like Western Governors University’s bachelor’s and master’s degrees in IT include sought-after certifications in their programs, certifications that increase your earning potential and make you stand out from the competition.
If you’re feeling antsy while staying home, you might need to change up your routine and pick up a hobby that you can easily practice indoors. Mastering a hobby can be very fulfilling, and the time will pass quickly when you’re engaged with an activity you enjoy! With these tips, you’ll be able to find a way to enjoy staying home.
Ready to take things to the next level? Your hobby can be an important source of income. Be sure to connect with Real Online Career to make it happen! Click here to get started.
Written by Guest Blogger: http://economymom.com
Whether you’re newly out of work or just looking for a change, becoming an entrepreneur could offer just the career challenge you’re seeking. However, starting a business is also a risky endeavor. Small businesses cost $30,000 to start on average, and half will fail within the first five years. That’s a lot of money to put on the line, especially if you’re like a lot of small business owners who tap into personal funds to start a business.
But while entrepreneurship is framed as high-risk, high-reward compared to the relative security of a full-time job, it’s possible to test the waters of small business ownership without gambling your financial security away.
First, Invest in a Good Business Idea
The biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is failing to test a business idea thoroughly before taking it live. That’s why you should never skimp when it comes to business planning. While you might be eager to get your business off the ground, taking time to complete market research and test your business idea will keep you from sinking money into a business plan that’s not viable.
Save Money on Startup Costs
While brick-and-mortar startup costs tend to be well into five digits, a home-based business can cost less than $5,000 to start. That makes it a great choice for entrepreneurs looking to minimize their financial risk. Without high overhead costs, you can launch a business with less money and enjoy higher profit margins.
After physical space, labor tends to be the highest cost that business owners face. But you can save here, too. Hold off on hiring full-time staff and instead, use freelancers to fill your business’s startup needs while saving on payroll taxes. This is especially helpful for highly skilled jobs like branding or accounting that would be too expensive to hire a full-time professional. For example, instead of struggling to learn QuickBooks yourself, you can hire a QuickBooks bookkeeper to balance your books and show you the ropes.
Flirt with Freelancing
Freelancing isn’t just a way to hire help. It could also be a way to build your business reputation when just starting out. If you’re not ready to quit your day job, freelancing can help you build a client list on the side so you have guaranteed customers when you finally take the plunge. Just be sure that starting a side business doesn’t violate the terms of your employment.
Keep Rock-Solid Records
The hard work isn’t over when your business gets off the ground — in fact, it’s just starting. In addition to managing the day-to-day aspects of your operations, running a successful business requires careful record keeping. Record keeping allows you to determine what’s working and what isn’t so you can scale your business the smart way.
Record keeping is also essential for filing business taxes, applying for small business loans, and complying with employment laws. In short, if you want to get ahead in business, you need good records.
While record keeping can be time-consuming and tedious, it doesn’t have to be. Today’s small business owners have more record-keeping tools at their disposal than ever thanks to affordable business apps that help with everything from project management to payroll.
Register Your Business
When launching a business, to function legally, you’ll have to register your business. When deciding your business structure, consider whether you want a sole proprietorship or an LLC. The sole proprietorship is the easier of the two to form, and bestows full control to the owner. However, you’ll be liable for any debts or judgments, and this could affect your personal assets. An LLC requires a bit more paperwork, but this structure provides a safety net in that it clears you from being personally responsible for any financial obligations.
Starting a business of your own doesn’t have to mean risking it all. From starting your business while holding down a day job to running a lean, low-cost operation while getting off the ground, there are a number of things new business owners can do to minimize risk. While it may be impossible to guarantee success in business, when you take these steps, you’ll come as close as it gets.
If you’re preparing to launch a business in the near future, or if you plan to dive into the world of remote work, turn to Work From Home Jobs to find a WAH job, learn more about starting a business or even dive into stock trading.
Image via Pexels
Written by Guest Blogger: http://economymom.com
Right now, the position for women in the working world is in serious danger. The pandemic has had a ripple effect through every industry, and women are feeling it harder than their male counterparts. This mainly comes down to childcare - women are more likely than men to take time away to watch children during the day since schools and daycares have closed. But it’s also due to the industries where more women are employed (e.g. travel, hospitality, restaurant).
In a time where it may not exist - and might be dangerous where it does - how do women keep their careers on track? Here’s a look at a few tools you can use to avoid major resume gaps and income loss during this time.
If you’re not already full-time remote, talk to your employer about working from home. Older children may not need much supervision during the day, meaning you can still knock out work while they take their classes. Younger children, however, will need a more hands-on approach, and remote work alone might not be a good solution. And as Upwork points out, it’s always important to avoid multitasking whenever possible.
Flexible scheduling and work routines could be the answer you’re looking for. If you have a proven record of results with your company, negotiate a piecemeal schedule that will work for your needs. Many companies will work with an odd schedule, provided the work still gets done. This can be especially simple for those in salaried positions, as you don’t have to worry about logging odd hours.
Create Your Own Business
Sometimes, your current employer can’t (or won’t) work with you on these things. In that case, you may have to work fewer hours or leave the position altogether. However, this kind of gap can have massive long-term repercussions on your career and income.
You can mitigate this by finding ways to work for yourself. There are a ton of options out there for the woman looking to make money for herself, especially online. You can look into freelance writing, dropshipping, selling handmade items online, and more. Focus on finding an opportunity that uses your skills and keeps your resume current.
If you go this route, you have to take digital security seriously. Business owners are common targets of online attacks and fraud attempts. Educate yourself on social engineering, phishing scams, and digital security protocols to keep your personal and professional information safe.
Focus on Marketing
Starting your own business is an exciting and daunting process. One of the best ways to get it off the ground is to focus on your marketing. Digital marketing is an incredibly effective way to reach out to potential clients and customers. Start by making sure you have a functional, easy-to-use website.
Next, spend some time creating social media accounts for your business. This gives you a chance to connect with people and give your business a digital face. Establish your business’s voice, and tailor it to the market you’re trying to reach. For example, a company focused on young adults getting their first apartments should be casual and optimistic. A B2B content writer should be professional and knowledgeable. Keep these things in mind as you craft your marketing plan.
Avoid Money-Making Schemes
Finally, stay savvy and avoid money-making schemes. Out-of-work mothers are often targeted by predatory companies. Multi-level marketing organizations require expensive buy-ins and they don’t work for the vast majority of people who join them. One survey found that only about 25% of MLM employees make a profit, and of those, the majority only made a few thousand dollars. Half of those surveyed reported they lost money working with these organizations.
Here are the big warning signs of this kind of scheme:
Some people make money this way, but the odds are stacked against you. It’s better to invest in yourself via a new business or freelance career than to fall victim to dishonest and predatory practices. Be your own advocate.
We hope these tips help you to keep your career on track through the pandemic. This is a difficult time for working women, but the right techniques can get you through it. Invest in your own skills and focus on ways to keep your resume current and your career moving forward.
Photo Credit: Pexels
Written by Guest Blogger: http://economymom.com
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