Keeping Your Business Running When The Power Isn’t

Power cuts happen all of the time. Our internet goes out when the weather is poor. The lights flicker in high winds, and we face the occasional complete power cut, where we are left without lights, heat, hot water and electricity. We can’t get online, and we’re literally in the dark.

When you’re at home, this can be a little scary. We’re so used to be online all of the time, switching our lights on when we move room to room, using the phone, watching TV and grabbing a snack from the fridge. Suddenly not being able to do these things can be more than a little unnerving. But, it’s also an opportunity. There’s nothing to stop you using a power cut as an excuse to get an early night, or to light some candles, fetch a takeout and read a good book wrapped in blankets. Sometimes, we need an excuse to relax and this could be a great one.

But, when you are at work, especially when it’s your own small business, a power cut can be much worse. Most small businesses are either completely online based, or they at least do most of their work online. If you’ve never looked into Generators for Sale and you suddenly find yourself completely without power, you might not know what to do. You might be tempted to just close your doors and go home for the day. But, this can lead to a loss of money and customers, and become an even bigger problem if the power outage lasts for longer. Here are some things that you can do to keep your business running when the power isn’t.

Work Remotely

Whether your whole business is online or not, you probably use the internet a lot. Social media, digital marketing, email campaigns and online sales are a big part of business today. Just because you can’t work from your office computer doesn’t mean that you can’t work. Can you use the data on your mobile phone to tackle some simple tasks? Is your power on at home? Or, could you send some of your staff out to work remotely from other unaffected areas? In the modern world, we are rarely tied to an office.

Get Stuck in

There are jobs that most of us put off. Things like stock taking, cleaning, staff appraisals and organizing our shelving. These might seem like small jobs, and you might not have time from them in a normal week. But, they need doing. If you have no power, try to find other things that you can do that you might not always have the time for.

Move Some Meetings

If you’ve got any meetings planned in the next week, see if you could bring any forward, and if you could meet somewhere with power. Chances are, if you are meeting people in the same area, and they are also experiencing a loss of power, they’ll be happy to find something to do.

Find a Pen

You might not be able to send emails, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t draft some out with a pen and paper. Don’t underestimate the power of old-school tools. If you’ve got a candle and a pen, there’s still plenty that you can do.

Opening a Bed and Breakfast? 4 Tips for Helping Your Guests Feel Right at Home

A bed and breakfast is one of the coziest lodging places a person can experience. As the proprietor of a bed and breakfast, you are responsible for giving your guests a place to stay that makes them feel as if they are not just a customer, but also something like a family member. These four tips will help your guests to feel right at home at your bed and breakfast. 

Cater to Requests 

When someone books a room at your bed and breakfast, you should ask them about any preferences they have. While most people will be fine with whatever default conditions you have, there will be some with special requests that need to be addressed. For instance, if you have a dog and someone is allergic to dog fur, you need to make sure they can keep their distance. Similarly, there are many who can’t or choose not to consume gluten. Ensuring you serve them gluten-free food will increase the odds they will write a positive review online and return to your establishment.

Parking 

Depending on where your bed and breakfast is located, there might be limited parking around. Make sure there is parking available in your garage or driveway. It should be cleared and roomy enough for vehicles or different sizes. When a guest books a room, make sure to ask them if they’ll need to park a vehicle and get things ready as necessary. 

Internet 

There’s likely to be people coming through on business trips. To give them the best experience possible, there should be customer Wi-Fi access. You can make this your own home network or a special one for guests. It should be password protected and from a reliable internet service provider. The last thing relaxing guests want to deal with is spotty internet service.

Cleanliness 

Few things can harm your reputation as an innkeeper more than a lack of upkeep in your bed and breakfast. You want to keep everything organized and free of dust and dirt. Don’t just do this after your guests leave for good. If your guests go out for the day, they should come home to made beds and dishes washed and put away. Your guests will greatly appreciate how much thought you’re putting into helping them feel comfortable. 

The quality of your bed and breakfast depends on how much you are willing to show your guests that you care. You’re going to meet all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds. You need to make it clear that you see them all as being equally worthy of your respect. These tips will help to make your bed and breakfast one of the top spots to stay in your town.

Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.  @LizzieWeakley

Celebrate Success! How to Throw the Business Party of the Year

A good party can bring everyone in your workplace together.If you’ve never organized one, however, you might be at a loss for how to get started. Here are just five suggestions for throwing an unforgettable company bash. 

Upgrade Your Internet 

If you’ll be teleconferencing with other offices or branches in a company-wide celebration, make sure that your Internet is strong enough for the task. Speed is probably the most important thing to keep your playback from lagging, but you’ll also need robust, reliable servers to prevent downtime. When everyone is toasting to the success of the company, you’ll want your sound and video quality to be crystal clear. 

Create a Flexible Schedule 

Since it’s a business party, you’ll probably need some kind of schedule for things like speeches and end-of-the-year acknowledgements.However, it’s important to have a little wiggle room with times. You don’t want to cut off a happy conga line so that the department manager can talk about stock trends. Mind the atmosphere of the party, and wave in your speakers when your audience is ready to hear them. 

Center Everything Around a Theme

Themes aren’t just fun for your guests. They’re also valuable tools for your party planners. When your drinks, games, activities and decorations all revolve around a specific idea like “casino night” or”winter wonderland,” it’s much easier to make decisions about what to buy. You might not be uncertain about your menu and music selection. However,if there’s a theme, it will all come together. For example, if you decide on a family-friendly theme, it’s only a short jump to buying Kaiser buns for burgers and fun pop songs to set the up-beat mood.

Mind Your Finances 

You don’t have to break the bank to host a great company party. You just need to be thoughtful and deliberate with your budget.One option is to break everything down by dollar amounts, and another possibility is allocating specific percentages of your budget to things like food, entertainment and venue. As long as you’re careful with your checkbook, you should be able to throw a wonderful party with cash to spare. 

Offer Freebies 

Everyone loves a freebie. You can generate a lot of goodwill towards both the company and the company party when you hand out goodie bags.You might also want to host raffles, giveaways or gift exchanges for the holidays. They can be a nice way to bond with your co-workers or raise money for a good cause. 

These are just a few tips for throwing a great business party. Whether you’re launching a new start-up or celebrating the expansion of your Fortune 500 brand, it’s always fun to let your hair down with the rest of your colleagues.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.

Why the Internet of Things is for Your Business not just Your Home

Businesses should be looking to exploit the interconnected world in which we live. Thanks to the Internet of Things, or IoT for sure, many homeowners have thought about an interconnected home where devices talk to one another and can be controlled remotely by those with access to the system. These include turning lights on and off, opening the garage door or preheating the oven en route home. Smart businesses have not only got on the act in terms of creating and selling IoT products, but exploiting this technology for the benefit of their own businesses. In a world of integrated devices, it’s never been easier to grow a dynamic, responsive business.

Integrated Work Spaces

As we’ll explore below, some businesses can work purely online with no physical presence. However, many businesses from retail to manufacturing need a physical bricks and mortar presence. The IoT is perfect for creating smarter workspaces by allowing businesses to better control lighting and heating for example. This includes creating fake nighttime lighting programmes to give the appearance of the offices being used or more focused security lighting.

Integrating Diverse Employees

Many service and some product-based companies can actually work purely online now. The IoT allows for companies to design or access online work platforms such as Slack or Trello as well as communication tools like Skype. The former allows businesses to build a range of chat channels and personal conversations, Trello is a pinboard for tasks and checklists, and Skype is the most famous chat and video conferencing app. Information can also be shared using cloud storage services which allow for a need to know access to particular photos, files or data across a wide range of devices and locations. In doing so, if well organized, the data flows better across verticals and separate work groups and divisions. If you know the term, Big Data, then this is how it was accrued – services and products can send real-time data back while it is easier for separate departments to access and process the said data then share their results across the company.

The Flexibility to Expand or Contract

Not all of the staff accessing the above IoT applications need to be full-timers. Access can easily be gained or removed on a needs basis. Furthermore, there are a huge number of gig and freelance websites and services such as UpWork, which allow businesses to quickly sale up with new PAs, new writers, designers, delivery drivers, and sales reps as needed. Each freelancer takes care of their own financial arrangements, and as work is paid on an item by item or hour by hour basis, if there is no work needing to be done, there is no expenditure for the business.

Jenny Holt is a former HR executive turned freelance writer, who now spends more time with her young family and ageing, but ever eager Labrador, Rover.

Are You Taking Advantage of All the Internet Has to Offer?

If you’re not much of an Internet user, how could you truly know what you are missing out on?

That said even those with little or no use for the Internet will oftentimes come around, knowing that finding that information they require ASAP is likely on the worldwide web.

From your professional needs to those in your personal life, there’s a good chance some of what you require in terms of details, data and more can be found with a simple click on the Internet.

Yes, you may have to do some digging for a number of informational items you seek online, but the rewards can prove well worth it.

With that being the case, are you prepared to fully take advantage of all the Internet has to offer you?

Where to Begin Your Search?

When you are turning to the Internet for informational needs and more, where exactly are you best suited to begin?

For starters, most people begin the search by turning to Google.

Although there are other search engines out there (Bing, Yahoo etc.), Google clearly controls the search engine market. As such, it is not uncommon for an individual to type in a keyword or a few keywords on the Google search page to get going.

If your search does not initially lead you to what you want, don’t give up. In some cases, being off by a word or two can throw your search efforts amiss. Try and be as clear as possible in what you are trying to find.

While many businesses use Internet search for myriad of tasks they’re looking to complete, so too does the general public.

 Need to Look Someone Up?

Maybe you’ve come across someone and you’re just not sure about them, something seems odd. You can easily go online and do a public records search. There are services online that allow you to access all sorts of information about people.

These companies out there are specifically geared towards providing consumers with searches for personal use

In using such companies in your search tasks, do your best to find out the following ahead of time whenever possible:

  • History – How long has this particular public records search company you are considering using been around? Do they have a history of getting the job done for consumers? While some people will go out of their way not to be found in such searches, these types of companies are oftentimes quite effective at providing consumers with the details they seek;
  • Customer service – Given some of your public records searches will prove challenging at times, you want to work with a provider who is adept at offering good customer service. Do they have dedicated customer help available, customer service that is more than just a slogan?

Lastly, are their search offerings available on more than just your standard desktop or laptop computers?

In today’s digital age, millions of consumers are busy day after day on their smartphones, and tablets. As a result, having public records search capability across various digital platforms certainly helps both the public records search company and of course the consumer.

When the time comes for you to do a public records search, where will your first turn take you?

By turning to a public records search provider, there is a very good chance that you will find what you are looking for sooner rather than later.

Best of all, many of these types of services are affordable, typically providing you with countless reports, reports that can be searched in a safe and secure manner

So, are you ready to let the Internet begin searching for you?

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers business and technology topics on the web.

 

 

What Do Internet Users Actually Want

In an ideal world, internet users would be as equally passionate about your product or service as you are. They would line up just to click through to your latest post or tweet about your new 10% sale, and every click would lead to a conversion. Alas, that doesn’t happen with anyone, no matter how interesting or hip your company is. So if they’re not looking for content that’s solely about what you offer, then what do they want? Here’s a few ideas to make sure your content gets read.

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Source: Pexels.com

Content They Actually Want

Do people want to read about the latest improvements a hotel has made to its establishment? No. Do they want to read about the top 5 destinations to spot celebrities in your city? Of course they do. Buried somewhere within that article will be a subtle nod to your business; and in any case, by writing an article that gives the people what they want you’ll be naturally bringing visitors to your website. Some of whom might click through and spend money on your site.

Initially, it’s all about getting visitors to your site. Give them something that most people would consider interesting, and you’ll get a response.

Entertainment for the Eyes

When people want to sit down and read a wall of text, they’ll visit the library, check out the latest page turner, and curl up on the couch as they get transported to another world. Very rarely do they scan websites looking just to read content.

That’s why it’s all the more baffling that more companies don’t use visually entertainment ways to communicate their message. The internet has spoken – it’s what they want! If you have something interesting to say, it’s much better to do so through an infographic, poster, or video. Posters are easy to make when you have software like Adobe Spark, and videos don’t have to be overly complicated, either. Mix up your content with stuff that, for lack of better term, is simply pretty to look at and you’ll notice an improvement when it comes to crunching the numbers.

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Source: Pexels.com

To Be Inspired

If you have a business, you know that you’re not really selling whatever it is that you sell; you’re selling an image. If you’re not, then you should be – think about branding, the image you want to project, and then make that flow through everything you do.

For example, if you’re an environmentally conscious fashion retailer, then you’ll be posting blogs about the environment. People look for inspiration in all spaces, they want the internet to reflect their passions. Be that mirror!

…And What They Don’t

To understand what they do want, it’s best to clarify what they don’t want. And what they don’t want are: adverts, overly complicated websites, and content that doesn’t in some way work for them. When you’re moving forward, before posting new material to your website or social media accounts ask yourself: ‘I am posting this for the benefit of me, or the benefit of my audience?’ If it’s the latter, then you’ll have found your mutually beneficial content.

The Future Is Now: Fantastic Ways The Internet Has Revolutionized Business

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Picture: Pexels

Can you remember back to 2000 when the Internet was starting to really take off, and many households were installing it into their homes? Back in the day, it was just a way to retrieve information. However, right now in 2016, it has completely revolutionized our lives. It makes everyday life a whole lot easier, thanks to the various apps and devices we can now use around the home. But there is one area in which is has completely turned everything upside down for the better. And that is in business. Gone are the days of pushing papers and having to navigate various time zones to call clients. The Internet has made things super easy for business owners now. Here’s how.

Communicating Has Never Been Easier

You can now easily send a message to your colleagues across the globe using email. At the click of a mouse, your message can be instantly in their inbox. Thanks to this, you don’t have to pay to carry out an expensive international phone call or wait a few days for your letter to arrive on their desk. This has now made business a lot more efficient than what it once was. This also helps customers as well, as they can content customer service advisors in a matter of seconds thanks to more and more companies welcoming emails and offering live online chats.

Improved Marketing Techniques

Gone are the days of having to walk around your town or city sticking up posters and handing out flyers to get people’s attention. Now all you need to do is sign up for social media to get your name out into the public’s attention. That’s not all, though. As SEO continues to be super important for businesses, it is now also a major marketing player. Get your search engine marketing spot on and you will be reaching an audience of potentially thousands!

Outsourcing Has Never Been Easier

As we are now no more than a mouse click away from each other, outsourcing certain tasks and jobs has never been easier. In fact, the Internet has helped boost the number of contractors and freelancers available, so you don’t have to worry about most of the major talent only looking for full-time positions. You can now easily outsource your accounts, HR, and legal as well as so many other areas of your company. This can help you cut costs as well because you won’t need to employ full-time staff and provide office space for them.

Simple Market Research

Need to know some facts or figures? Easy! Just Google for them! The Internet puts a whole world of information and statistics right at the tips of our fingers. After a few clicks, you could potentially have all of the market research that you need. You will also be able to keep a keen eye on your competitors. Just watch their Internet presence to try and judge their next move. By doing this, you can always try to be one step ahead of them!