4 Arts and Crafts Projects That Can Be Made With Non-Toxic Supplies

Making arts and crafts is one hobby that almost anyone can enjoy. It is a great way to release energy and create something beautiful at the same time. While making arts and crafts is an enjoyable experience, it is important to consider the materials that you are using to create. When making arts and crafts, it is as important to stay safe as it is to create something beautiful, so consider the following four activities with non-toxic supplies that will help you release your creative juices in a positive and safe way.The first art that most people enjoy is drawing and painting. It is important, however, to realize that a lot of art supplies have toxic materials that are not good for the body, especially when used on a daily basis. One solution to this is to create colored pencil drawings and use pencil crayons. This is a great way to create a color drawing with great tools. You can also practice larger projects by using pencil crayons for your sketches. Pencil crayon sketches are a great way to release creative energy in a non-toxic way.Another craft that almost anyone can enjoy and that is made with non-toxic materials is making beaded jewelry. With beaded jewelry, all you need is the right selection of beads, wire and something to clamp the jewelry together. You can select any number of beads, and any color of beads to design something casual and fun, or something elegant and fancy. Either way you go, most all of these materials are non-toxic, so you can bead away all day and create something beautiful to wear or to give away.One of the most common crafts that people enjoy is toll painting. These toll paintings are especially popular around holidays such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter and Halloween. In order to stay safe while participating in this type of craft, all you have to do is make sure you select a paint that says it is “non-toxic.” If you pay attention to the label, you can enjoy painting a Santa Claus, a witch, or perhaps the Easter Bunny to display in your home to decorate for the holidays. This is yet another great way to enjoy your creative side and to make sure your house is presentable and beautiful for the holidays.A lot of people like to be involved in art projects as well. There are a lot of ways to express creativity digitally. For example, you can take pictures digitally and adjust them on the computer. You can paint and draw on the computer. There are many non-toxic ways of creating beautiful art projects simply by using a computer and computer programs.

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Shipping Services Ease Transport Workloads for Promotional Events

Shipping companies may be utilized to meet specific needs such as trade show exhibit transportation. Services designed around promotional events help professionals shift necessary items between trade show itinerary locations. The event is a gathering of individuals from a certain industry or common goal to display what they have to offer and gain interest through those attending the show. It can lead to the acquisition of new clients or advantageous business deals geared toward increased success. Those participating in the event must pay a small fee for space utilization. A booth or display is then set up in this space to showcase an entire company or product.The exhibit must arrive on time and in good condition because it is the centerpiece of the promotion. Booths are in essence a prop used to generate sales or contribution leads. Most companies design these exhibits upfront to be utilized for every trade show they attend. This means they need a reliable method for moving the display between locations. It must arrive early to ensure sufficient set up time and be in the appropriate condition. These events are typically displaced throughout long distance locations where the exhibit must be transferred via some mode of transportation. Shipping services organize each show transport using tools such as logistics to ensure timely arrival and dependable load care.Trade Show Freight Services: Sufficient Information Increases Shipment SuccessThe type of exhibit, products being displayed, and unique requirements determine the arrangements made by trade show freight services. A few more details will need to be covered once a dependable carrier has been selected. An experienced service company should be able to easily determine what shipment solution best suits trade show delivery needs. The ability to provide specific information about the exhibit can reduce delays and ensure reliable pricing. An individual hiring these services should be able to provide dimensions, weights, box or crate counts, location information, and time frames. Additional information may be required if special needs are to be accommodated. Forms need to be provided promptly and contact information should be accurate. A precise load description makes it easier for a carrier to accommodate trade show freight services requirements.A little organization also goes a long way with these important business transports. Color coding or labels make it easy to count crates or boxes for verification, and mishandling is avoidable by removing old shipping information from the container. While a company may have a dedicated carrier for this service, the exhibit shipper is not bound to this particular transport company. Another carrier may offer lower rates for the same quality and dependability. It is always best to ask a shipping services provider for all possible options before making a final transport decision. Trade show transport provides increased cost efficiency when multiple events will be attended but is beneficial for single promotional gatherings as well. It reduces the time needed to properly coordinate people with visual aids. By using these services, a company can ensure the exhibit will be in good condition, arrives on time, and is available for setup.

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Document Software For Logistics and Distribution Companies – Integrated Management of Delivery Notes

In an increasingly globalized world where enterprises have ceased from being just local enterprises to serving customers anywhere in the world, competitiveness has become one of the most discussed and sought after goals of business enterprises. Offering solutions that not only meet customers’ expectations but that exceed them, and providing quality service to their consumers are two fundamental factors to consider when starting any type of business. “Document Software” or “Document Management Software”, a term that represents a wide range of applications, solutions or systems used for improving the management of business processes related to all kinds of documents, has taken an increasingly important role over the last years.Today’s Information Technologies and their application to business ends can make a company standout and clearly distinguish itself from the competition. Thanks to the many technological options that the market offers today, organizations can know more about their target audience, speed up their business processes, reduce their costs and turn their employees into a more productive and cost effective team.Using technology can improve any enterprise. However, there are business sectors in which companies could not even compete in a globalized world if they didn’t have an intelligent IT infrastructure. This is the case of the Logistics and Distribution sector. In fact, it’s been demonstrated that companies with large logistic departments are the most technologically advanced. For Logistic and Distribution companies it would be unthinkable to run their business smoothly without being backed up by a sophisticated document software solution.Why is this? Because only a fraction of the costs of a distribution company is for transporting goods from point A to point B. Actual costs where there is potential for savings rest in other areas. It is in these areas where implementing technology, especially document software, can help to reduce costs and simplify processes.The most common document problem: management of delivery notesOne of the most critical areas for logistic companies has to do with the entire process of managing delivery notes. Until recently, design of delivery notes an related documents was performed with pre-printed paper or static documents with the consequent waste of paper and time involved in the production of each delivery note. In fact, many companies continue to use these outdated procedures, which have a direct influence on a company’s corporate image and the quality of service that it offers its clients.Distribution of delivery notes is another critical area for logistic companies, since in many cases they are printed by several delegations which greatly impacts consumption of communication lines. If an application could support centralized and distributed environments (depending on what’s needed) and it could manage the whole document management and delivery process, the problem would be solved, and the time spent managing delivery notes would also be considerably optimized.When goods are delivered or services are performed, clients sign receipts for the transactions and return them to the company to be archived and possibly retrieved at a later date if required. To facilitate these transactions, it is fundamental to have document software solution that is can be easily integrated with the existing business processes and is able to digitalize and automatically store each of these documents in databases dedicated for this purpose.The importance of a single and comprehensive document software solutionBy implementing document software solutions, logistic companies will simplify and optimize their administrative processes, without having to limit themselves to single parts, like printing delivery notes, but also integrate and streamline related business processes and therefore respond more quickly and efficiently to their clients. With this in mind, a company should first have a closer look at the involved business areas in order to determine its exact needs regarding document technology.Once the document management requirements have been determined, it’s important to evaluate the different document software options present in the market that best meet the needs of the Logistic and Distribution sectors, and match every single requirement found, like generation, distribution and storage of delivery notes and related documents, and make sure that the document software of choice, not only fulfills some specific tasks very well but also integrates seamlessly with other existing processes. The ultimate choice should be a complete solution that enables logistical and distribution companies to cover all of their specific documentation needs, where the management of delivery notes is one of their core business processes, but not the only one where flexibility, integrability with the company’s business applications and scalability, is key to to being able to grow with the company’s expansion and growth needs.Additionally, logistics companies could improve the impact of their marketing campaigns with targeted Transpromo advertising, a process in which personalized advertising messages are embedded directly into transactional documents (delivery notes, receipts, contracts, etc.) based of specific customer data.You may find divers software programs or complete solutions that cover the needs or logistic and distribution enterprises, but this is not an easy choice, as implementation of document software may affect existing business processes. Therefore the best choice for most logistic and distribution enterprises will be a specific, single logistic and distribution software solution, composed of fully integrated, standard applications, that cover the entire cycle of delivery note processing, from design, generation, archiving and distribution of printed documents via email fax, and covers also real-time document creation in Web environments, electronically signed documents, indexed storage and instant on-line retrieval.

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Employers and Health Care Reform

How are the mass employers going to handle the adoption of this new health care reform into the everyday life of their business and with their employees? Today, many employers across the American landscape are holding on to what they currently have and are performing their daily activities with a no growth attitude. This does not help the economy on the grand scale, but adding thousands of dollars into the health care rolls is no easy task.Some employers and small business entrepreneurs are refusing to hire new employees because they are terrified like the rest of America with the new pending health care, laws, rules, regulations, and additional taxes that are hanging over their heads for the coming years. Where does this leave all those individuals who are currently searching for employment?Put yourself in the place of any one of your local shopkeepers and think about how you would be willing to handle this situation. Individuals and families throughout the country are terrified at the looming health care reform bill that is slowly beginning to take hold of the country. This alone will cripple the entire country and drag it down even further.The health care industry is gearing up for the initial onslaught of new subscribers trying to find the cheapest medical insurance policy there is just so they can report to the Internal Revenue Services that they have a legitimate medical policy.The irritating factor in all of this is on the part of the Internal Revenue Service. They now have the right to request all of your medical care information and they will decide if the health insurance policy you have chosen meets the daily requirements of your personal needs. Should there be a discrepancy, they will order you to purchase the affordable health insurance policy that they believe is beneficial to your needs.What will you do when this happens and you are unable to afford the medical carepolicy they told you to acquire? Remember, the Internal Revenue Services does not care what you will have to do to come up with the money to pay the average monthly cost for health insurance under their mandate.Will you be mandated to take on a second employment position, told to achieve the level of a better paying position? Will you find it necessary to try to put your home on the market in order to make the necessary payments for your new mandated health insurance policy that is basically worthless to you?

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Commercial Mortgage Loans, Conventional Vs Hard Money

Property owners, investors and developers have choices when it comes to commercial mortgage loans. National and regional banks, Wall Street firms and all major insurance companies offer, fully underwritten, full documentation conventional mortgage loans.
Wealthy individual investors and privately owned lenders offer a wide variety of private, often called hard money, commercial mortgage platforms.Both private and institutional loans have their place; each offers separate benefits and each have their own drawbacks.TransparencyFederally chartered banks, public Wall Street investment houses, finance arms of public corporations and insurance companies are all highly regulated and have strict disclosure and reporting standards. It’s easy to know when you’re dealing with a legitimate firm. All the companies’ financials and business information is public and easily accessed by borrowers wishing to check them out.Private mortgage lenders, on-the-other-hand, are, by definition, private; it’s often difficult to check them out and confirm their claims. It is imperative that borrowers make sure they are dealing with a bonafide lender with a reputation for funding deals. This can be accomplished by using the services of a professional commercial mortgage broker or intermediary. A good loan agent knows who’s for real and who’s not. They don’t get paid on loans that don’t fund so they won’t waste time submitting files to questionable lenders.SpeedConventional loans are made by regulated institutions and will require full documentation and adherence to strict underwriting parameters. The process takes time, especially if a borrower is trying to take advantage of a Government loan guarantee, such as those offered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) or the Veterans Administration (VA). Institutionally funded conventional loans typically take 30-60 days to close. Loans affiliated with Government Agencies (SBA) have more requirements and take between 60-180 days to complete.Private commercial loans can close at lightning speed. There are no restrictions or special regulations on hard money commercial lending (residential hard money lenders must adhere to all state and federal mortgage lending rules). Loans can close in as-little as 3 days, but 14-21 days is normal.Rates and TermsConventional lenders compete with each other on rates and terms and the banks and financial firms that issue them are extremely well capitalized. The interest rates, points and the variety of mortgage platforms offered can’t be beat by private funding sources, which, by their nature have limited funding capacity. When banks loan out money they have many methods of recapitalizing. They can sell the loans to one of many outlets and they can, of course borrow against the loans. Banks offer low rates and attractive terms because they can originate a seemingly unlimited amount of mortgages. They make a little money on a-lot of loans. It’s the sheer volume and the continuous movement of funds that keeps them swimming in profits.Private lenders often “portfolio” or hold their loans. Their source of profit is the interest and points they charge borrowers. They have target yields they strive to achieve and would rather not make a deal than make a deal that puts their capital at risk without the corresponding yield benefit they desire. Rates and origination points will be significantly higher and product offerings significantly limited when dealing with a private funding source.Conventional vs. PrivateIf you have the time and if you can qualify, it makes economic sense to use a bank or large financial firm. You will have more choices as-to the structure of your financing and you will secure superior rates and terms.If time is of the essence or you can’t provide full documentation or have poor credit. You may have to go with a private lender. It will cost more in absolute terms but will be cheap when compared to not getting a loan at all.

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How Accounting Software Can Ensure Small Business Owners Have a Happy Christmas!

For many people the Christmas period is fun filled and relaxing with good food, drink and most of all great company. But unfortunately for some it can be one of the toughest times of the year. The festive season is a period of celebration and for many it acts as the perfect time of year to reflect on the year gone by. Over the backdrop of endless annual top 100 countdowns on TV we reflect on personal and professional achievements and regrets whilst planning our infamous New Year resolutions. This period of reflection is a source of happy memories for most but it can also be a real source of sadness for some people. Suicide rates are believed to increase throughout the holiday season and with the harshness of the current economic climate there are genuine concerns about the mental welfare of small business owners as we head into this years this festive season.The combination of pressures derived from the accountability of owning business in today’s tough trading condition and people’s natural inclination to reflect over the Christmas period makes the festive season prime for an increase in anxiety across the SME community. Research has suggested that the SME community has experienced a 47% increase in suicide rates since the economic downturn of 2008. There are 2 intrinsically linked contributing factors to mental anxiety within the small business community over Christmas. Investing in good accounting software and practising disciplined financial management can help keep both factors at bay.1) Money and the financial health of the businessThe main cause of distress and anxiety for a small business owner over the festive season is money. Unfortunately there are still too many small business owners that are not into the detail of their company financials. For many Christmas time represents the time of year for the annual review of the company financials. The combination of compulsory requirements to prepare yearend accounts and the natural desire to reflect over the Christmas period makes it completely understandable why many owners get their head in the books over the festive season.Practicing financial discipline once a year rarely results in a sound set of company financials. It is all too common for owners to find financial problems in their business just at the time when everyone else is relaxing and celebrating. The lack of detailed financial understanding often results in longstanding disparities between expenditure and income left unchecked throughout the year. It is also common for business owners that haven’t maintained a detailed view of the financials to find missing payments from customers. These findings ultimately leave business owners learning about nasty cash flow problems in their business that have accumulated over time which can be devastating for the short term future of the business. The emotional extreme between the relaxed PAYE employees enjoying their pre-booked off time and the anxious self-employed small business owner that can’t leave their business is already vast over this period. Finding out about a stark cash flow problem in addition to the existing frustrations of running a small business over the Christmas period can be enough to tip existing anxiety into full blown depression.The key to a happy and relaxing Christmas period is sound financial discipline throughout the year and a good accounting software package can be central to achieving this. Accounting software allows small business owners to stay close to their business financials in a quick and easy to understand way. A simple, cost effective accounting software package means that company financials are done and managed consistently throughout the year. This ensures that if any problems occur with expenditure management or if a client hasn’t paid an invoice on time it can be rectified quickly and easily. Small business owners that are close to their financials do not have the emotional drain of a big annual review of their company accounts. Most importantly of all they don’t have the shock and subsequent unhappiness of finding nasty surprises in the books over the festive season!2) RelationshipsOne of the main reasons that make Christmas so special is having the chance to spend time with your loved ones. The problem for the small business owner is that they don’t feel like they can simply leave the business for a couple of weeks. “The business doesn’t run itself!” This is in stark contrast to PAYE friends who have no responsibilities in their booked off time other than enjoying time with their loved ones. This contrast in fortunes puts an almighty strain on the relationships of small business owners as their loved ones have to cope without them for long periods over Christmas. This can be especially difficult for the loved ones of small business owners when it seems that everyone else is surrounded by their family and friends.It can be incredibly challenging to take time off when you’re running a small business but time off is essential to keep and enjoy important relationships healthy. Time off during this year’s festive season will be even more strained for many small business owners as they not only need to complete the usual year end admin but they are also operating in some of the toughest economic conditions known for many years. BBC news have recently stated that the total number of divorces have increased 4.9% in England and Wales in the past year as a result of the tough economic conditions.Whilst these pressures are very real they do not exist for every small business. There are SME’s that do not worry about year end accounting because it happens to be a 5 min exercise due to their on-going management of the company financials throughout the year. Small businesses that have sound financial discipline are also more likely to have enough working capital to see out the current economic pressures. These businesses have impressive working capital due to their complete detailed focus on expenditure and income and well managed time allocation reducing non-value adding administration tasks in favour of business optimisation planning. Small business owners of these types of companies are more likely to be able to relax over the Christmas period and spend time with loved ones as their businesses are sustainably healthy.The secret to these healthy businesses is their sound financial discipline and well-structured time management. Accounting software is a critical tool that makes sure that small business owners reallocate time away from doing lengthy manual quarterly and annual accounts to free up more time to be spent on value adding business planning. This additional planning gives the business a greater chance of directing themselves successfully through hard times. In addition but equally as important accounting software makes sure that a small business has a tight grip on their cash flow position. By having a clear vision on the direction of the business and a healthy cash flow position a business owner can ultimately be more relaxed over the Christmas period focussing on what’s important – their relationships.Small business owners that face the prospect of finding out about money problems and living through the happy festive season working all hours to keep the business afloat are in real danger of unsustainable anxiety and depression this Christmas time. The answer is to work on embedding financial discipline and well-structured time management throughout the business. The only way a small business owner will be able to relax with their loved ones this Christmas is if their business is financially sound. Having a well embedded accounting software solution is a key step towards achieving this.

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Get it Right the First Time – A Small Business Guide to Software Selection

IntroductionWhat to Buy – That is the QuestionBuying decisions are the essence of life in the commerce-driven 21st century. From everyday decisions like selecting lunch from a restaurant menu, to getting a new car, to major company acquisitions, much of our time is spent “buying”.And these choices are anything but simple. Each marketer professes to be the sole champion of our consumer rights and pummels us with enticing advertising messages, about how their wares are “the best”. Seductive as these messages are, no product or service is quite the same. The difference may be glaring – that of “better vs. worse”, or a subtle tradeoff between price, quality, feature set, customer service, or durability.It is therefore important to keep our wits about & develop a systematic approach to the buying decision. Our view should be broad & farsighted, rather than buying based only on what immediately meets the eye. Hasty decisions leave us with flashy features never used, or hefty repair bills of products that came cheap.A good example of a systematic approach is when you buy a car. A myriad of factors are considered & weighed, which impact the owner for the next decade. This includes brand, performance vs. style, price, safety, terms of finance, mileage, maintenance, resale value & so many other factors.Selecting SoftwareIn our new “wired” modern reality, software is no less important than products & services in our everyday lives. Whether it’s a personal email program, chat software for instant connection, collaboration software to organize scattered employees, or an ERP implementation to manage company processes – there’s no surviving without them!But we’re somewhat more used to buying products & services than software, which is a relatively recent phenomenon. In many ways, selecting software is no different from selecting a product or service. Although intangible, software, also address a very real need, on which personal & professional success often depends. Naturally, some of the same purchase factors apply – brand, service, & maintenance costs.In spite of the patronizing obviousness of the above, software selection is a grey zone; an underdeveloped arena. This accounts for the high incidence of “shelfware” – software that are bought with grand intentions, but end up on dusty shelves. This is because unlike products & services, it is not so intuitively evident that software have “life cycles” & need to be “maintained”, “updated”, & “repaired”.Therefore, purchases are made based on what immediately meets the eye – technical features. This mistake is understandable, because technical features are well documented & advertised, & easy for the buyer to use as decision criteria. But with this approach, factors that are just as pertinent, but not so immediately obvious, get left out. Some research & serious thinking is needed to gauge these “hidden” factors.Key Factors To Consider1) Company History & ExperienceThe vendor needs to be sized up before we even go on to consider the software itself. Company background is essential because, unlike traditional companies, software companies are often small, & often beyond national boundaries. Since these companies would likely be handling our sensitive data, we need to do a background check. Some related questions are:How Long Have They Been Around?As in most cases, we can reasonably assume that past record is a good indicator of future performance. Important questions are – How long have they been around? How long have they been in the field? If they’re offering business collaboration software, have they been in this industry long enough? Even if the software is new, do they have experience developing related software?What is Their Niche?Does the company know your niche well enough to know your needs? If you are a small/mid sized business, a company mainly serving the Fortune 500 is not for you. If you work from home, it is unlikely a solution serving large offices will meet your needs.The Ultimate Testament – The CustomerThe ultimate judge of software is its users. To get a true picture, it is important to look at how customers are using the software & what their comments are. Does their site include a client’s list or page? Check out what customers say under testimonials, or you could even get in touch with the customers yourself for comments.DangersThere are certain things about the software industry that a buyer should be wary of. Software startups have shorter life spans than traditional companies & ride high on a success wave, but go “pop” when the industry bubble bursts. This was exemplified by the “dot com burst” of 2000. Whether the current spate of “Web 2.0″ companies constitutes another expanding bubble which will inevitably burst is debatable, but it makes sense to be wary & bet your money on dependable companies with proven track records.2) CostThere’s no denying the importance of cost effectiveness in buying decisions across the board. Yet costs should be seen in a broad perspective, because low entry costs may well result in higher total costs along the product’s life.Features vs. PriceA cost-benefit analysis makes sense, & costs need to be compared with the software’s range of features & functionalities. A document management system may not be the cheapest, but it may allow you to also set up a virtual office. Going for loads of features also constitutes a trap, because users never get around to using half of them.Needs vs. PriceAnother question is whether there is an overlap between features & needs at all. Many features may not relate to needs sought to be addressed. You should clearly define your needs, & classify features as “needed features” & “features not needed”. Another possible scheme of classifying features could be “must have”, “nice to have”, & “future requirements”.3) Ease of Use/AdoptionAn adoption & learning curve is involved with every new software purchase. It needs to be integrated with current systems & software, & the end users have to be brought up to speed using it. If the software is chunky & too complex, adoption resistance can occur.Ease of UseThe software should have an intuitive interface, & use of features should be pretty much self evident. The shorter the learning curve training a new user, the better. The software should also have the ability to easily fit into the existing systems with which it will have to communicate. For example, a collaboration software might allow you to use some features from your Outlook itself or even share Outlook data.AdoptionTo get a measure of “shelfware”, i.e., software that is purchased but never used, some studies peg the number of shelved content management solutions at 20-25%. At a million dollars per implementation, that’s pretty expensive shelfware! According to another study in the US, 22% of purchased enterprise portal (ERP) licenses are never used.No doubt, “Shelfware” is a result of ill thought out purchase decisions. These studies clearly underline the importance of making an educated purchase. One possible way to protect against shelfware is the new concept of software as a service (SAAS) hosted software. The software is hosted by its developer, & buyers have to pay a monthly subscription, which they can opt out of anytime.SupportNo matter how good a software is, there are bound to be times when one can’t find out how to work a particular feature or a glitch crops up. Some software solutions may require you to hire dedicated support staff of your own, while others may be easy to use, and no specialized staff may be needed, and still others may offer free support. The cost of hiring support staff needs to be factored into the buying decision.Provider support may be in the form of live human support, or automated help engines. In case of human help, the quality of solutions, availability & conduct of support executives matter. Support can also be in the form of an extensively documented help engine, or extensive help information on the company site. This form of support is often more prompt & efficient than human help.TrainingTraining is another form of support which deserves special mention. Free training seminars or their new avatar – webinars (online seminars) – greatly help in getting up to speed with the software at no extra cost. In some cases the company might offer paid training, which may be essential, & hence this cost needs to be factored into the purchase decision.MaintenanceMaintenance costs & efforts have a major impact on the performance & adoptability of software, & hence form important criteria of the buying decision. In case the software is hosted at the company’s end, it is of utmost importance that the software be available online at all times, or the “uptime”. Uptimes are covered under the “service level agreement” & range from 98% to 99.99%. A minimum uptime of 99% is what one must look for.The company’s upkeep is also important. Efforts to constantly improve upon the software underline a commitment to providing quality service. Are bugs fixed promptly & on an ongoing basis? Are they just releasing software & not updating it? One should develop a habit of keeping up with the company newsletter, release notes or the “what’s new” section on their site. Periodic newsletters & a “what’s new” section are indicative of a dynamic company.4) FamiliarityThe “feel” of the software is another important criterion. The software should keep with the basic layout & navigation schemes we are used to. This makes for quicker transition.One good way is to compare with the OS in which we would use the software. Does it have the same basic schema as the OS environment? A software with Mac schema on Windows wouldn’t sit that well. Or we could compare it with other software which we are used to. If you are switching to a low priced solution from an expensive one, choosing software with a similar “feel” would make sense. Does it retain most of the main features you are used to?5) SecuritySecurity is a top consideration because he software company will likely be handling information critical to us – business, financial or personal. We need to be well assured of our data’s security & there are no risks of it being compromised. This needs research, & the extensiveness of which depends on the sensitivity of our data.What safety features does the provider have?Encryption, or coding of information, is used by most companies to protect the integrity of their clients’ information. There are different types of encryption, each of which is associated with a different level of security. DAS is one, once popular but now known to have loopholes. SSL 128-bit encryption is associated with top notch security. Password protection is another important facet. Is the software equipped to withstand manual & automated attempts to hack your password? The ability of the system to detect a hacking attempt & lock up in time is important.Data BackupIn extreme cases of system breakdown caused by a facility fire, natural disaster or technical glitch etc, it is important that your data is frequently & adequately backed up. Data backup should be frequent & adequate.Certain factors are to be considered in backup practices. The first is the frequency of backups. If there is a long gap, there is a possibility of data being lost in intermittent periods. Secondly, what are the security arrangements at the facilities where your data resides? Is it manned & guarded by security personnel? What other safeguards are in place? Is there a good firewall? What is the protection against virus attacks? What procedures are in place for disaster management?Track RecordAs with company background, a little research on the security track record makes sense. Has the company ever been vulnerable to attacks before? What were the losses? How did the company react? How many years has the company had a good record? New companies will have a clean record, but that isn’t necessarily indicative of good security.The Server SystemThe server system where the sensitive data actually lies is very important. Is it state-of-the-art? The server infrastructure could be owned by the software provider themselves or outsourced to a dedicated company providing hosting solutions. Outsourced hosting is a good thing because hosting companies have extensive expertise & infrastructure for security, & this frees up the software provider to concentrate on the software itself. The company might not have an elaborate setup at all, running the software & processing data through computers set up in the garage somewhere acting as servers. This should get your alarm bells ringing!Conclusion – A Systematic Selection ApproachNow that we have discussed all the relevant factors in detail & have a better perspective of the subject, it is important to develop a systematic approach to analyzing these factors.What factors are important to me?Although all of the above factors are relevant, their relative importance may differ from customer to customer. For a company with deep pockets, price comes lower in the list. For a company using collaboration software to process business information, security is high priority. Again if a solution forms an important part of a company’s business, it is important that it integrates well with existing systems. For dynamic industries like real estate, short training times are important.Know Thy SoftwareBy this step you would have selected software. But that is still not the end. For all our theorizing & researching, the software still has to pass its toughest test. Most software allows you a free trial period. It would be a good idea to seriously use this period to analyze the software.It is important to stay focused during this testing period because the impact is going to be long lasting. Follow systematic planning. Identify objectives & needs, develop a testing plan, lay out the timelines and designate people from different departments to try out different features. Set responsibilities & goals so that testers take their job seriously.THE DECISION!Don’t hesitate to put the burden onto the company to prove itself. Let the company prove to you the features that seem important to you. For example, if security is of prime importance, ask the company to display how their solution scores high on security. Don’t hesitate to call them if you have questions.Test their service levels to see if it lives up to their promises. If you submit a ticket, is it promptly responded to? Is a good solution provided? If the problem requires live help, do you get it fast enough? When you call in with a problem, is it a live person or an automated message you converse with?This is as extensively as you can analyze software. You’re educated enough to make a choice which will most likely not fail you. You shall surely not be disappointed in your decision.

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South University – Your Online School For Better Career Opportunities

Securing an employment really matters today since there is great competition in the job market. It is very important that you are making yourself marketable in the field of your career so that you can have the better job position you are aiming. Finishing a college degree can help you find a job, but it does not stop there for most professionals today. They still desire to further their education while they are working full-time. The system of education that works well to working professionals is the online education or distance learning. It has worked for many people in all ages and continuous to get better and popular. Many graduate schools takes advantage of this mode of learning. An one of those is South University, a well-established and reputable online institution that offers quality education and is focused on the excellence in education. Just like with other accredited online schools, South University can provide students the convenience and flexibility in their working schedule. This online university is well known and a good help in uplifting your job qualifications in a career field you want to be in.This form of education is the new trend of learning where many people are realizing its great help in improving their lifestyle and career. Online learning is done through the use of the high-tech telecommunications. Student and instructor meet virtually. Using a computer and Internet, they can booth see and communicate with each other. The course content are distributed in form of a video, image, text or animation. Test and assignments are also done and passed via Internet. Since online schools are available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, students can choose their own schedule of classes. They also have the convenience of choosing where to study every time they attend online classes. Online schools like South University can reach there online students wherever they may be. The remote location that hinders you in attending classes is not anymore a problem. As long as you have the service of an Internet, all you need is to sit in front of your computer and log on in completing a degree you want. No more waste of money and time for your transportation. No worries about school uniforms or being late in going to physical campus. Your own home or office can be your convenient learning environment with online education.Taking an online education in South University is not only for working individuals. It is also beneficial to high school students who are not able to attend physical campuses with traditional way of instruction. There are also many college-age and degree seeking students who are interested in earning higher education virtually. Self motivated individuals who desires for an advanced learning and enhanced skills can go through online education in South University. It is a great option for those who attend school and those who want to be home schooled because of the many circumstances that hinders them from going to traditional universities or colleges. Participate now and find out how South University helps you in career opportunities with correspondence education.

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How To Start A Service Business

Setting Up A Service Based Business For BeginnersAlthough there are exceptions where both entities are entwined into one, most basics of the business is built around one unifying category so that the intentions and goals are clearly and visibly set.This distinction allows the individual to then decide of the accompanying tools that should be chosen for the purpose of enhancing the business experience and also to contribute positively to the ease of running the business entity.Most service based forays are labor intensive which the business entity revolves around. This is either packaged as the selling of expertise in a particular field or the selling of the actual “engines” that produce the desired outcome that bring in the revenue.Either way the quality, efficiency, attention and detail that is exercised within the business are the eventual elements that are going to make or break the business foray into the revenue churning mechanism.Basically offering the time frame required to create a particular service or to provide the content of the project itself is how the cost factor is calculated and the profits are gained in the service based business.Therefore, the individual would have to factor in the cost of business entity by the labor intensive tool it provides, in order to provide a suitable base line for the eventual calculation of the profits and the pricing suitable to be demanded.Alternatively the value of the service based business can be calculated on the value of the service being provided in a consultancy capacity which is evaluated against the insights the said service will bring to the company with the intention of creating a system thereby the said company is able to save or be more cost effective.Being able to identify a suitable and good service based company is very important if the new business or existing business owner intends to hire its services to help enhance the site’s potential.Identifying the characteristics of a particular service based company and matching them to the needs of the site in question will allow the business owner is make an informed decision of the merits of the chosen service.Do Your Research First-Customer perception of a company is very important to the progress and eventual success of any business endeavor, therefore it is very important to be able to identify the appropriate service based one to best suit the individual’s needs.Being able to provide good service should always be the prime concern of any business entity especially if its revenue earning power depends on this one factor.Market research is often the best way to identify the companies that have good track records and are capable of delivering what they promise.This information can easily be sourced over the internet as these companies will be active in presenting their achievements for all interested parties to view.It is also an excellent platform for potential clients and competitors alike to note the merits of the presenting service based company.Being well-placed on the search engine rankings will allow the service based company to be more visible and thus make it easier to garner the intended customer base to ensure its consistent success.The features of a good service based company would have to include the value added by the business entity from the input stage to the output stage where the results are then measured by its success rates.These input stages are often regarded as the commodity phase and the processes that it is designed around have to ensure the successful output stage which is where the end desired results are more than adequately met.Making a sale or pushing a business proposition is never an easy task to accomplish for some, therefore having the relevant assisting tools at hand should provide the individual with some encouragement to see the process to success.Marketing Skills-The following are some tools that can prove to be of great assistance to any individual intending to beef up their marketing skills:Making use of as many online tools as possible to promote the business or product intended is one way to start the enhancement of the marketing skills venture.Using blogs to create the interest and visibility for the item is something that should be considered as this is one way to get the attention of the target audience without much cost incurred.Working together with others is another way to beef up an individual’s marketing skills. Being part of a team effort where the individual’s talents and contributions are noticed and acknowledged is definitely an encouraging factor and helps the individual to be more adventurous and keen on honing his or her skills further.Availing one’s self to be listed on freelance job sites is also another way of beefing up the marketing skill of an individual. The fact that the visibility factor the site can bring to the individual will help the person focus more on ensuring the eventual connections made are optimized and locked in at the earliest opportunity.Social websites are also a good platform to introduce one’s marketing skills to the masses.Because of the competitiveness of all the participants in this particular platform the individual will subconsciously be forced to step out and ensure his or her participation leaves a positive impact on the interactions.Showcasing all the positive skill of the marketing process will eventually earn the respect and attention of others looking for such services.Create Your Website-Creating a website can be a challenging feat for those not very internet savvy, however it is not altogether a task that is formidable in nature. With a little startup knowledge and tips anyone can successfully attempt to put together their own website.The following are some guidelines that will help ease the process:Registering the suitable domain name is the first step to take when designing a website.The choice of this domain name should ideally take into consideration the relevance the name has to the intended site, an easy to remember reference, one that is short yet descriptive and whether it has the right extensions tagged to it such as.net,.com,.org.The next step would be to set up a web host account and this would entail the picking one that can provide the services the individual would need for the website.Although cost is always a factor for every business endeavor, it would be advisable to avoid using the cheaper and inexperienced ones available as this might end up costing the individual in the future.The follow up step would be to point the domain to the web host in place.This is a fairly simple exercise, however if the individual faces any potential problems along the way there are always assisting platforms to tap into to get the relevant help or explanations.Getting a word press linked to the site is another important step to incorporate into the setup. This word press is a free platform that is used by bloggers and allows the individual to build the website with the minimum of effort while making it user-friendly always.Last but by no means the least, would be for the individual to organize the website.This process would involve the backtracking exercise to ensure there are no defaults that would cause the viewer to be put off when visiting the site.Learning to build websites isn’t the complex technical process a lot of people think it is. All you really need to do is come to our website and get access to 300+ Tutorials that show you step by step how to build a website, and so much more, and start playing around with building your own websites.Advertising Ideas-In order to stay competitive it is necessary to always be able to have fresh views and ideas to present to potential customers and target audiences. Without such innovations the website will become stagnant and outdated thus eventually causing the original high volume of traffic flow to thin out. Brainstorming is one way of gathering and creating new ideas that would benefit any endeavor.Some of the ways that can be adopted to bring forth interesting and innovative ideas at the brainstorming sessions are facilitated by encouraging the participants to simulate the mindset of the customer or the intended target audience.By doing this the participant are more likely to anticipate the needs and wants of the customers and target audience and design any changes to fit into this discovery.Bringing people together to discuss ideas at the same time and in the same place is also another good advantage the brainstorming sessions can facilitate.Advertising ideas and campaigns can be discussed in “real time” as opposed to having emails flying about which is less effective and time-consuming and even confusing at times.Brainstorming for advertising purposes, should ideally take into account the following points:Problem definition and identification should be done at the very onset of the exercise. With this clearly outlined, other factors can then be worked on in line with the initial problem discovery information.Custom designing can also be worked on within the brainstorming session, as the collaboration of views can contribute to finding the one idea that is going to eventually used to build the campaign around.Customer Service-Making a sale is only the first step is the relationship building exercise, which will eventually contribute to either the success or failure of any business endeavor. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to the customer service offered to cement the success rate desired.The following are some tips as to how to stay on top of the customer service exercise:Taking the customer for granted is the first and most common mistake most businesses make. This is especially evident when the business has expanded to now successful and comfortable levels. Often forgotten is the customers that brought the business to such heights in the first place.Therefore, it is very important to keep in touch with the customers so that vital information can be obtained about the current needs and wants of the customer.In the quest to stay informed and provide optimum customer service another point to consider and exercise is the importance of being fresh and innovative with ideas that are going to keep the customer coming back for more.When boredom sets in the customer will usually simply look elsewhere for the next new exciting thing that attracts their attention.Therefore, in order to induce customer loyalty innovative ideas should be a constant feature within the business.Happy Customers Are Loyal Customers-Training staff to treat each customer with respect and individuality is well worth the effort. Sometimes this positive treatment is the defining factor that keeps the customer coming back, even if the products are not exactly the best in the market.Having the protocols in place for quick and efficient responses to a customer’s queries or grievances, is one way of ensuring the individual stays a loyal customer and does not spread negativity about the business or product. Happy customers are loyal customers.In most cases it is rather difficult to specifically categorize businesses into specific service based styles. This is mainly because a lot of businesses tend to incorporate different platforms and strategies into the actual blueprint of the business format.However, there are some that can be clearly defined as service based business companies and the following are some of these examples:Types Of Service Based Business-Such service companies may include the likes of services provided by doctors, accounts, architects, actuaries, lawyers and other related fields.On a more creative side one may include the likes of services provided for by fabric designers, fashion designers, color scheme artists and many more as the list of such endeavors can be quite overwhelming.Most service type companies rarely have appreciable inventory as the purchases for usually made with the objective of facilitating a job thus the need to carry any inventory would not be necessary.Merchandising companies can also be considered service style enterprises as they to provide a service of sort to the customer base.However, this service is based solely on providing tangible elements rather than just the action of extending physical service. The generation of revenue is from the actual sale of the inventory rather than from the service extended.Manufacturing companies also come under the category of providing a service to the industry and the customer needs. In this scenario the products or items are made and sold within the company’s business entity thus ensuring monetary gains are derived both from the product and the service offered by manufacturing the product.All these different types of basic service providing entities are all in place with one goal in mind and that is to create the platform for revenue earning potential. Therefore, in order to understand and identify which would be best suited for the individual business owner, more research should be done to find the style that best suits the individual’s needs.OK, so I hope this article gives those looking to start their own online service based business a better understanding on what it takes to set up and grow a successful online serviced based business.To your great success on your online business journey, Bob

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10 Alternatives To Getting Rid Of Your Pet

So you’ve had your dog or cat for a while, and your life is changing, and now you think you need to get rid of your pet. But are you sure this is what you want to do? Getting rid of your pet is a very drastic measure. If you leave your pet at a shelter, you may think he will find a new home soon. But it is unlikely. Many high-kill shelters must euthanize animals each day in order to make room for new ones who have come in. Some animals are only at the shelter for four or five days before they run out of luck. Fifty-six percent of dogs and seventy-six percent of cats in shelters are euthanized… many of them healthy, well-behaved animals whose owners simply didn’t have time for them anymore. Even in a no-kill shelter, your pet may be doomed to live out the rest of his life in a small cage if he is not chosen for adoption.
If you are willing to try keeping your pet, there are many things you can do. Lets look at some of the most common reasons why people get rid of their pets, and how to get around them.Reason 1: I’m moving.
Solution: Bring your pet with! A quick Google search for “pet-friendly housing” will show you many different directories of rental housing that allows pets. Here are just a few that I found: People With Pets, Pets Welcome, My New Place, Pets911, Home With Pets, and Dog House Properties. And pet-friendly housing is not just limited to those sites! Many apartment buildings and complexes will allow pets. You may have to pay an extra security deposit. But in the end, it will be worth it, to keep your pet with you!
Here is something else you should know. If things get really bad and you have no place to live, you still may not have to give up your pet. Pets Of The Homeless is a website that works to help homeless people to keep their pets, or find temporary homes for their pets until they get back on their feet.Reason 2: I can no longer afford my pets.
Solution: Call your local animal shelter, or food pantry, and ask about pet food banks. They do exist, and are becoming more and more common! You can even make your own dog food, which may be cheaper in the long run. (Its not difficult! Dogs can eat much of the same things we eat!) Your local animal shelter, or your veterinarian, may also be able to tell you about free or low cost vet care for your pets.Reason 3: My new boyfriend/girlfriend/fiance/roommate doesn’t like pets.
Solution: Are you really going to sacrifice your pet on someone else’s whim? Are you sure you want to date someone or live with someone who doesn’t like pets? That’s a pretty big lifestyle change to make for someone else. If you’re sure you want to stick with this person, work out a compromise. Maybe your pet can be banned from certain areas of the house, like the bedroom or the kitchen.Reason 4: My new boyfriend/girlfriend/fiance/roommate is allergic to my pet.
Solution: As long as the person’s allergy isn’t life threatening, there are many things you can do to greatly reduce the allergens on your pet. Keeping your house clean is a giant step. Dust and vacuum frequently, and use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter if possible. You can buy an air filter for your home that sucks the allergens out of the air. A company called AllerPet makes a special liquid that you can wipe your pet down with regularly to get rid of the allergens on him. Sprinkling flax seeds in your pet’s food can also reduce the amount of dander he produces. The person may even be willing to take allergy medication! After all, many people have seasonal allergies and take medicine regularly. They don’t just get rid of the seasons!Reason 5: We’re having a baby.
Solution: Pets and children are a great combination! Most pets are perfectly fine around children, although they may be a little confused by the new arrival at first. You should always supervise your pet around young children. When your child is an infant, he probably won’t be unsupervised anyways, right? As your child gets older, you will have to teach the child to be gentle with the pets. Do not allow your child to pull your pet’s tail, poke him, pick him up, etc. Many people feel that a pet should be obligated to put up with whatever your child deals out. But that is not good for anyone involved! Teaching your child, from a young age, to be calm and nurturing around pets, is a great learning experience for the child. If you have a dog, you may want to do some extra training with him before the baby comes, to teach him not to jump up on you when you’re holding the baby, etc. Other measures may include banning the pets from certain areas of the house, hiring someone to come walk your dogs or clean up after your pets when you don’t have time to, etc.Reason 6: I have developed health problems.
Solution: Speak to your veterinarian, neighbors, friends, people at your place of worship, etc. You can probably find some volunteers to help you take care of your pet. Having a pet can be a source of comfort when you are ill. In fact, many studies have shown that people with pets have lower blood pressure, lower heart rates, and are generally more healthy, than those without pets. If your health problems are so severe that you must move into a nursing home, maybe you can find someone willing too foster your pet for you.Reason 7: My pet has developed costly health problems.
Solution: Speak to your veterinarian about this. They may be able to guide you to low cost veterinary clinics, veterinary schools that offer low cost treatment, etc. Many veterinary offices now offer payment plans for treatment. They may be able to help you find creative ways of raising money to pay for your pet’s treatment, too!Reason 8: My pet still isn’t house trained.
Solution: If your pet is suddenly having “accidents” around the house when he used to be house trained, there could be a medical reason. You may want to consult your veterinarian. If the house training has just never completely been accomplished, you may have to start over from scratch. For a dog, take him out more frequently and try to get him on a schedule. If you are not home during the day, and your dog is eliminating on the floor or furniture while you are gone, you may want to consider crating him while you are not home. For a cat, switching to a different kind of litter, getting a bigger litter box, or moving the litter box to a different area of the house, can help. Clean up accidents with a mixture of vinegar and water. This mixture gets rid of the scent of urine or poop, so that the pet doesn’t feel the need to “mark” that area again.Reason 9: I work long hours, and don’t have much time to spend with my pet. Its not fair to him.
Solution: While it may seem unfair that your pet has to spend time alone, it is still better than making him take his chances in a shelter! There are simple measures, such as providing stimulating toys for your pets, or leaving the TV on during the day, that can help your pet to feel less lonely. One nice thing you can do is buy your pet a special blanket. Sleep with it in your bed for a few nights before you give it to your pet. It will smell like you, and offer comfort to your pet when you are away from the house! You may also want to consider pet day care, or hiring someone to stop in during the day to play with your pets. Also, spending as little as fifteen minutes before you leave for work, just playing with your pet and spending quality time with him, can make a real difference. You don’t have to be a perfect owner and spend tons of time hanging out with your pet. He will love you the way you are… and again, it is better to be alone at your home than to die alone in a shelter.Reason 10: My pet has behavior problems. He bites/scratches/jumps on me, barks too much, etc.
You may want to consider a training class for yourself and your pet. Petco and Petsmart offer fairly inexpensive training classes. It can be a good investment! If you can’t afford this, then the library can provide books on dog training, and the Internet can provide websites with tips. Try Googling a specific problem you’re having. For instance, search for “teach dog to stop barking.” Spending ten or fifteen minutes a day working with your dog, and then consistently rewarding your dog for positive behavior, can make a huge difference.These are just a few of the common reasons why people consider giving up their pets. But remember, every problem has a solution. So, before you give up on your pet, please take some time to remedy the problems!

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