So You’ve Started a New Venture? Consider These Green Money-saving Hacks

Anyone who’s recently launched a new business venture will have to find lots of different methods for limiting spending. That is because the startup phase of any company can become rather expensive. Entrepreneurs will often create a business plan and seek investment from the bank. However, it’s easy to overspend before the firm begins to make a profit. The ideas and suggestions on this page should assist everyone to kill two birds with one stone. The concepts will help to reduce expenditure while also having a positive effect on the environment. So, consider the information carefully.

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Use clean solar energy to power the office

Most company bosses will pay an energy company to provide the electricity for their premises. However, that is not the best solutions because bills are often expensive, and burning all that oil has an adverse impact on the environment. So, all entrepreneurs should consider the alternative.

Purchasing and installing solar panels will require an investment. Still, the move should pay for itself in the long run. Also, business owners are likely to produce more electricity than they use. That means the firm will get a check from the power companies at the end of the year. The benefits of solar energy include:

  • Combating greenhouse gas emissions
  • Reducing collective dependence on fossil fuels

Purchase refurbished electrical equipment

There are lots of specialist companies out there that focus their efforts on providing refurbished computer systems to business owners. Buying from those firms is an excellent move because the company will save a small fortune. Many computer recycling experts claim that all entrepreneurs should follow that strategy during the early stages of their operations.

The materials used to create modern computers come from mines in some of the worst countries in the world. So, anything people can do to reduce the number of new components required is going to make an impact. Company bosses should also:

  • Recycle old computers
  • Avoid sending electrical items to the landfill.

Make use of the cloud

Cloud computing has become big business during the last few years for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the concept assists entrepreneurs in keeping all their vital documents and files safe. Secondly, the idea removed the need for anyone to print their paperwork. Nearly four-billion trees or 35% of the total trees cut around the world are used in paper industries. That is something small business owners can change if they work together. Reducing the number of trees cut down every year has many benefits, and so it’s something people should try to achieve.

Those three straightforward hacks could assist business owners in limiting their environmental impact while also saving money. So, everyone’s a winner! Of course, there are many other strategies and methods entrepreneurs should consider.

With that in mind, be sure to continue researching the subject and putting new ideas into action. Collectively, company bosses could save the planet and keep it healthy for future generations. However, that is never going to happen if people don’t start to take their responsibilities seriously.

How to Protect Your Business from Data Loss Using These Strategies

Data is increasingly becoming the lifeblood of companies. They need it to understand their customers, develop products and keep an eye on the competition. But as data becomes more valuable, data loss is becoming a bigger catastrophe. When it happens, companies suffer extreme financial loss and may find it difficult to get back on their feet again. Data loss can result in tax issues, legal judgments and deteriorating relationships between the business and their customers/vendors.

The good news is that there is a lot that businesses can do to protect themselves from data loss. Here’s what you should be doing right now.,

Use Paper Backups

Using paper backups might feel like you’re regressing: after all, your company, like many others, probably made the transition to digital records because it wanted to save money, reduce waste and get more efficient. But sometimes, the cost of losing data can be so high that you have no choice but to keep paper records.

What type of business data would be a good candidate for paper records? Accounting information is one. The IRS is merciless, and so anything to avoid an audit is preferable.

Test Storage Vendors Before Jumping In

Often, data isn’t stored at your business. Sometimes, it’s held in the cloud. The cloud is a cheap and effective solution which provides an unparalleled level of flexibility, but with so many vendors on the market, it can sometimes be difficult to choose a good one.

IT consulting for businesses has improved dramatically over the last decade or so. Most consultants recommend starting out with a small, short contract with a cloud vendor to test the water. You want to make sure that their customer service is up to scratch and that their servers are secure. You may also want to install your own monitoring applications to ensure that their network (and your data) is safe, before migrating your entire data stack over to their platform.

Finally, get them to carry out recovery drills in case of an emergency to make sure that they really are regularly backing up your data. These drills will help you to ensure data integrity and tell you how long it will take, following data loss, to get back up and running again.

Redundancy Should Be Mandatory

Many business leaders extol the virtues of regularly backing up data. But is this something that your business actually does well in practice?

Backing up data sounds like it should be a simple process: just make a copy of everything you have on file. But making a decision about exactly what to back up is rarely a straightforward process. Should you backup all files or just those which are essential? How often should you backup your data? And how many people should you employ to oversee the process?

Different companies will have different answers. But for most, the 3-2-1 policy works best. This is where you have your data in three copies on two different mediums with at least one stored away from your main facility.

Why Business Owners Have the Wrong Idea About Software and How to Change It

When someone mentions software to you, what do you think of? Most business owners (unless they’re tech savvy) have absolutely no idea about software and what it actually does, or what could even be classified as software. They usually understand that hardware is their computer, the parts inside of it and also their monitors and peripherals, but the software still mystifies them. Either that or they think they know what software is but they fail to understand how it actually impacts the business.

A good understanding of software, how it works and what it’s for is crucial to business operation. Most of this is typically handled by a competent member of staff that understand computers and how they work, but it’s never a bad idea to learn more about software.

Many managers and business owners don’t have the right knowledge or they misunderstand what software can be used for, so here’s a comprehensive guide on what software is, how exactly it impacts the business and how you can change your understanding for the better.

What Exactly Is Software and Why Is It Important to Understand?

If you want to fully understand what software is, how it impacts your business and why it’s actually important to know these things, then we need to start from the beginning.

Computers are dumb, this should come as no surprise. Without user input, computers can’t actually do anything. You might spend thousands on a complicated computer system, but if you don’t have any software on it then it won’t actually know what to do. Computers are, however, very fast machines.

They can process things faster than any human which is why they’re so useful. Their memories are infinitely better than a human’s as well, meaning they can store vast amounts of data on their hard drives. In addition, they can access this data at blazing fast speeds.

If you’ve ever had trouble recalling a memory then you’ll understand what it’s like. However, computers don’t have this trouble and they can access the data stored in their memory with no issue.

However, despite all of these advantages, computers can’t do any of this without someone telling them what to do. That’s why software is required; it allows the powerful hardware to actually be useful and do something instead of sitting there dormant.

Everything on your computer, be it your operating system or the little boot-up logo that shows when you turn on your computer, is part of the software. It doesn’t matter what operating system you use, it’s all software and every single program you run is software.

With this in mind, you should have a better understanding of how computers work and why some software is as expensive as it is. If there’s a limitation that your business suffers from, then it could be remedied by investing in a new type of software.

Anything that you want to do on your computer, be it mass-organising files, storing vast amounts of data and later looking through it or even generating random messages to add to your products, it can be done with a computer. Your hardware is powerful, but without the right software, it’s almost useless.

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The Types of Software that Can Help Your Business

Everyone knows about simple software such as word processing programs, image editing and perhaps even industry-specific programs such as audio production or video editing. All of these programs come with a cost, which means they need to be accounted for in your expenses.

Certain industry-specific programs such as Adobe Photoshop or Sony Vegas are incredibly expensive, especially when bought as a business. These are, however, incredibly important to certain companies because they serve as the backbone of their workflow.

If you don’t have an image editing program as a design studio, then you’re not going to get very far using pens and pencils exclusively.

In addition to industry-specific software, there are also pieces of software that can be used as a general business assistance tool. For example, Wizper services allow you to track data that is useful for improving customer experiences. It can analyse the traffic on your website, it can judge how well-exposed your business is and it’s accessible on a number of different devices, giving it amazing portability.

These are the types of software that every business can use to improve their business, but analysing your data is just one such example. There are smaller programs that can allow you to connect with office members, there’s software aimed at workflow collaboration and there’s even software that allows you to use a single mouse and keyboard on multiple devices.

With so much software, it really begs the question: what’s good for my business? This is something that is hard to answer because there are just so many different types of software available on the market that it would be hard to recommend a specific program for a specific situation.

The reason there’s so much software on the market is that they all serve different purposes. Even Google Docs and Office 365, both productivity software packages, serve different purposes despite both having similar features. Google Docs is targeted towards startups and businesses that put a heavy emphasis on remote working, and Office 365 is a powerhouse that is targeted towards professional businesses that need a host of extra features that a new startup couldn’t comprehend.

In short, think of software as a solution. Solutions are created in response to problems, so if you have a problem you need to look for a piece of software to remedy the problem. Do you think that your workflow is clunky? Then perhaps you need to find a piece of software that allows you to manage your workflow better such as a scheduling program.

Do you find it hard to deal with your finances? A cloud-based accounting package will help you. It’s important to remember that software won’t fix every issue, but it’s good to look for software solutions if you have a problem.

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Software as a Service

A popular trend that many startups make ample use of is “software as a service”. Instead of purchasing software to be used on your computer, software as a service means that you’re using software by paying a subscription fee.

Most of these involve cloud tools, and they’re usually incredibly useful for anyone looking to lower their operating and startup costs. A good example of software as a service is cloud accounting software and cloud-based website design tools.

Instead of using offline tools that don’t require an internet connection, these types of programs utilise the internet. Most of your data is stored on their servers, meaning you don’t need a hard drive or a powerful computer to use their services.

The advantage of using software as a service is clear; it allows you to lower running costs and increases the possibility of working remotely thanks to the online nature of cloud tools. For instance, your intern is writing a technical report on an upcoming product, hire an editor to read the document outside office hours by using cloud-based tools such as Google Docs.

If you need to quickly look at your business finances but you’re out of the office, then a cloud-based accounting package that has a mobile app will allow you to do that.

Remote working is an efficient way to run your business due to how much flexibility it offers you. Many companies are using the internet exclusively to run their business and they don’t even need an office due to how comprehensive software as a service is. You can use online messaging and web conferencing apps to communicate with team members, documents to collaborate, and cloud-based tools to get marketing and promotional work done.

Software creates solutions for issues that you never even thought about in the past, which is why it’s incredibly useful to think of software as a helpful tool and not as a rigid thing in your business that can’t change. Your business could grow exponentially thanks to software and by changing your understanding of it to fit your workflow.

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Final Words and a Summary

Hopefully, this article has shed some light on what software actually is, how it helps your business and has given you a deeper understanding of how it works. Instead, it’s important to think of software as a solution.

As with all solutions, there needs to be a problem for it to solve anything, but there are times when you can create a solution for something that has yet to become a problem. This foresight is what will give you the upper hand no matter what industry you’re in. Ultimately planning ahead by using technology will give you brand awareness and grow your business.

Remember that software is there to help you achieve your goals, meet targets and ultimately smooth out your workflow.

The 6 Small Business Blunders to Avoid

Many new entrepreneurs build successful companies and achieve their dreams. However, there are increasing numbers of people who make the same mistakes over and over again. You’d almost want to believe some of those individuals haven’t bothered to research before launching their companies.

The sensible approach would be to search online for articles that explain the most common errors in an effort to avoid them. With that in mind, this post will go over some of the things you want to watch out for to avoid any missteps. Nothing is wrong with jogging memories and ensuring everyone understands the risks they face.

Making mistakes when your operation is creating profit isn’t the worst thing in the world. You will have enough money to put them right. However, the same isn’t true during the early stages when you have a tight budget.

Publishing An Amateur Website

The last thing any entrepreneur wants to do is opt for a cheap and cheerful website. Sure, there are lots of ways you can get online without breaking the bank. However, you need to create consumer confidence in your brand. That’s never going to happen if you use a free site builder.

It’s vital that anyone launching a small business in the modern world pays professional designers. That’s the only way to guarantee your site will reach the same standards as your competitors. At the end of the day, most consumers won’t place an order if they think you’re running an amateur operation.

They expect to see certain things when shopping online and expert developers will help you to get everything right. Now is the time to search and read reviews.

Not Making An Investment in Security

Online security is big business these days and that should tell you something important. It should make you see that other entrepreneurs spend a fortune every year on the process. Experts from tierpoint.com say you must implement the latest tools and strategies to protect your operation. That could mean firewalls, antivirus programs, and more.

You also need to design an IT disaster recovery plan (free template) in case the worst occurs. If hackers managed to get into your system, they could cause problems and shut it down. When that happens, you will cease to make a profit until the issue is resolved.

An IT disaster plan should ensure your company is back to normal in the fastest time possible. With that in mind, make sure you take the endeavor seriously as you move forwards with your new business.

Failing to Automate Simple Processes

Automation is everything in today’s business world. Indeed, that is why we see factory owners using robots and computers rather than human employees. Regardless of the nature of your venture, all entrepreneurs need to focus on automation.

Specialists from inc.com have said that for years. It could mean using specialist accounting packages to record your financial information. It could also mean making use of inventory and ordering software. There are programs out there that could remove all the manual work from the job.

When the system knows your stock is low, it will place orders to replenish it without any input from your team. You get the idea, right? The technology of that nature could assist you in saving a lot of time and money. It could also leave you free to concentrate on more important issues like growth.

Not Investing Enough in Marketing

Many entrepreneurs make mistakes when it comes to creating their marketing budget. They don’t spend enough money, and so they fail to attract enough customers. If that happens to your new company, it will fail miserably.

So, you need to ensure you always put enough money aside to cover your promotional costs. These days, you don’t have to pay for TV or radio ads like you did in the past.

Technology means you can now use the internet for most of your advertising efforts. Social networks are a fantastic place to start.

However, you also need to make use of banner tools like Google Adwords. Your goal is to drive as much relevant traffic to your domain as possible. You then have to work on converting those visitors into customers.

Staying Away from the Cloud

Every person reading this post right now should have a basic understanding of cloud technology. If you don’t, it’s imperative that you increase your education as soon as possible. Cloud storage can benefit small business owners in many different ways.

Firstly, it offers improved security for important documents and files. So, entrepreneurs who store their customer’s details in the cloud shouldn’t have any concerns. However, it also offers another significant advantage that most writers fail to highlight.

Business owners who store information in the cloud can access it from anywhere in the world. All they need is the correct username and password. Let’s presume you’re traveling to a meeting and you’ve forgotten some crucial figures.

Well, that isn’t an issue if you can retrieve them from your cloud account. You just require a WiFi connection and your smartphone or laptop.

Failing to Perform Competitor Research

The last thing you want is to discover you have a competitor offering the same products or services at a lower price. You can’t stop that from happening once your company begins to trade. However, you should need to make sure you perform a lot of research before you reach that stages.

It might turn out that your business model is flawed and you can’t make a profit because someone else has already cornered the market. So, make sure you spend at least a couple of weeks checking out the competition before you launch your brand.

If you discover some issues, it could mean you have to go back to the drawing board. Still, most entrepreneurs would prefer to do that during the early stages before they’ve invested all their time and money.  

If everyone reading this post avoids those mistakes, you will stand a much better chance of success. So, do yourself a favor and make sure you go back over all those points. That should help to ensure your company benefits from a smooth launch.

It should also mean you start making the profit you predicted as quickly as possible. Almost half of all new ventures fail within the first twelve months. So, don’t feel too disheartened if something goes wrong.

You just need to dust yourself down and start again.  

Can the Cloud Help Your Business?

I have no doubt that you’ve heard of the cloud in the context of modern business. Specifically, a lot of business owners are wondering if they should be using it. If so, exactly what should they be using the cloud for? What good can the cloud do for my business?

This is, of course, a very good question to ask yourself. The quick answer to the title question would be “Yes, the cloud can help your business”. But this answer really isn’t as helpful as it may seem, if we take it at face value. The fact is that what “cloud computing” means isn’t very specific. It covers such a wide range of capabilities and technologies. And it’s not accurate to say that any feature of the cloud will help any business.

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It’s certainly true that cloud computing is one of the best things to happen for small businesses in many a year. The first thing people will probably think of is the amount of money it can save. The use of cloud computing, by definition, greatly reduces the need for specific hardware. Instead of achieving many complex tasks locally, we’re doing them over the Internet via external hardware.

The most common use of such a feature is in hosting. Modern businesses create an astonishing amount of documents and other digital content. These things need to be shared with people across the company. They need to be easily accessible and editable by multiple people, often at once. This can usually be achieved by the installation of a private server.

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But having a local server installed on your business property isn’t cheap. It’s not necessarily an easy thing to run, either. This is why cloud services are so often used for document and content management. Look at a company like DOMA Technologies. This is the sort of thing we’re talking about here. By outsourcing and using the right software, the cloud makes all of these things faster and more cost-effective.

The cloud is also very accessible and easy to use. After all “the cloud”, at the end of the day, essentially means “the Internet”. As long as you have a fast and secure Internet connection, there’s no reason for you not to explore cloud options for your business. Of course, I’d like emphasis to be placed on “fast and secure Internet”. A lot of businesses aren’t running with very efficient Internet providers. If you’re going to be using the cloud, then that’s something you would definitely have to fix.

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As I implied earlier, not every business is going to benefit from the cloud. Restaurants and farms, for example, are going to find quite limited use for such a thing. It’s really all about using technology and content collaboratively. This isn’t really something that would be useful to everyone. But if you consider the average modern small business that operates from an office or home? Then it’s very difficult to see how such a business wouldn’t benefit from cloud services.

A lot of these services come with free trials, or are free to begin with. Don’t be afraid to experiment a little with services until you find one that’s right for your company.