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Budgeting—A Crucial Tool To Keep Your Business on Track

by Admin - on Sep 28th 2017 - Comments Off on Budgeting—A Crucial Tool To Keep Your Business on Track

A Budget SheetPerhaps, you’ve already heard advice that you need to set a budget to keep your small business on track. In like manner, you probably set a budget at the beginning of the year and yet, you don’t seem to hit any of those numbers. It is also likely that you know you must do the budgeting, but perhaps it isn’t clear why it’s important. So, to help make things clearer to you, here are some major reasons for business budgeting:

Getting Everyone on the Same Page

You probably know that budgets serve as a financial roadmap for business operations. But the question is: does your staff know about your budget? If your sales team thinks their goal is to grow the business sales by 10%, but your budget shows a 20% increase in revenue, then that’s probably the reason your company fails to hit the numbers. As experts from Budgeta always say, share your budget with every member of your company who somehow helps make or break the figures. This way, you can make sure that everyone is on board and moving in the same direction.

Having an Opportunity to Make Changes Ahead of Time

When you set your budget in January, the goal isn’t just to follow it – you must also use the budget to determine problems that may arise throughout the year. You can plan how you’ll limit your budget for certain operations so you can make room for possible expenditures that may occur during the last quarter of the year. With an opportunity to make changes ahead of time, you prevent any cash flow shortages.

Keeping Everything on Track

How you set the budget, as well as how you spend it, says a lot about the progress of your business. At the end of the year, you’ll have a better idea of whether your business is doing better, worse, or exactly as you thought it’d do. From there, you can adjust your operations next year to keep the business on track with your overall goal as the owner.

Now that you know the “whys” of budgeting, here comes a crucial “how”: in this digital age, there are now many companies that can automate your budget process and track your business expenses electronically. But, if you need further help to set and analyze your budget, you can always ask professional help from financial coaches.

What to Consider Before Outsourcing Work

by Admin - on Sep 4th 2017 - Comments Off on What to Consider Before Outsourcing Work

Notebook writing Business Outsourcing, Office table with laptop ,coffee cup,glassesIf your business is growing and more functions are added to keep up with the demands, it’s a good sign. Your business is heading towards the right direction. But if you feel like that the additional operational functions are keeping you from focusing on your core functions, websites like cloudxtension.com suggest that maybe it’s time to outsource.

Whether you are looking to outsource IT development for business intelligence or customer service, here are some questions you need to ask yourself.

What’s your budget?

You need to find out if the earnings of the company are high enough that getting an outsourcing company will not hurt your budget. Create a projection that will help you determine how much profit the company will earn if you outsource some of your operation department’s functions.

What’s your monitoring benchmark?

Monitoring the quality of work of the outsourcing company should be at the top of the list. This will make sure that your money is not going to waste. You should create protocols that will make work easier and more efficient for the third party provider. There should also be key performance indicators to determine the quality of work.

Do you have security protocols?

It is important that you set up security protocols to protect your company from any breach. From time to time, the outsourcing company will have access to some of your company’s documents and data. Other than setting up technical protection, such as passwords, you should also have a contract that details the repercussions should the third party provider divulge confidential information to others.

These are only some of the things to keep in mind before getting an outsourcing company. Outsourcing some of your business functions is one of the ways to make sure that you can focus on the prime functions of your business. You can make sure that your outsourced operations run while you focus on making your business grow.

Mobile App Design: Top UI Design Trends For 2017

by Admin - on Aug 31st 2017 - Comments Off on Mobile App Design: Top UI Design Trends For 2017

a mobile app displayed on a smartphoneSuccessful mobile apps are those that provide practical yet beautiful features to users. However, like everything else in this world, the mobile app industry is also vulnerable to the influence of design trends, especially as it relates to the user interface or UI.

That said, Cloud Xtension suggests that you consider the following if you are planning to develop or update your mobile app this year.

Hide the Navigation

While hidden navigation isn’t particularly new, it’s only recently that custom app developers began to hide the navigation to save valuable space for mobile users. Essentially, the menu should only be viewable when needed and remains hidden when it’s not.

Think Wearing, Not Carrying

According to reports, over 200 million wearables would be sold by 2019. Simply put, you have to think smaller and try to adjust your mobile app to smaller screens fit for wearable devices.

Keep the Background Diffused

Because mobile apps can be seen on smaller screens, it’s extremely important to help users focus more on the app features. While having a great background is vital, consider diffusing it so as not to overshadow your app’s features.

Touch ID

Before, this technology was limited for unlocking electronic gadgets. Now, you could use touch ID to verify online accounts and mobile apps. As a bonus, this technology offers a safer and easier verification process.

The Return of the Card Design

Cards simply make navigation easier for users. They help place and divide content properly, and show users that they could select actions, which makes the app design more responsive, useful, and engaging.

Material Design Still Reigns Supreme

Since its introduction in 2014 by Google, more websites and mobile apps have adopted this design aesthetic due to its speed-loading and simplified effects when used with animation, layering, and gradients.

Intelligent Use of Color

Just look at Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other successful mobile apps. You’ll notice that they all stick to a single color palette with just a few hues. This does not mean, however, that you have to change your brand’s colors. You could still use them, but in a more elegant and subtle way to enhance your app and keep the user’s focus on its features.

If your mobile app doesn’t keep up with the latest design trends, it’s not too late to incorporate them in your future updates. After all, your mobile app is meant to help your users and it’s essentially up to you to make sure that your app is beautifully designed, feature-packed, responsive, and practical.

Why Filtering Your Cooling Water System Is Important

by Admin - on Aug 23rd 2017 - Comments Off on Why Filtering Your Cooling Water System Is Important

Filter for drinking waterA functional cooling system is essential for any plant. They prevent your machines from overheating and breaking down. With water cooling, having clean, filtered water can make a huge difference. Untreated water can result in foul water, with traces of organic growth. Both of these could drastically decrease an industrial plant’s productivity and even result in system breakdowns.

What makes up a cooling tower water filtration system?

The system consists of a set of mechanisms that take away harmful impurities that are present in the water. A system’s configuration would largely depend on the feed water’s quality, the kind of cooling tower present, the water quality requirement recommended by the manufacturer, the circulatory water’s chemistry, the kind of heat exchanger, and the concentration cycle.

 What does a filtration system check for?

  • The water’s alkalinity. This indicates the potential presence of calcium carbonate.
  • Chlorides. They are proven to be highly corrosive to metals.
  • Iron levels. The presence of iron mixed with phosphate can damage equipment.
  • Organic matter. Too much of this could lead to the growth of microorganisms that can cause corrosion. Certain organisms can also lead to health hazards for your workers.
  • Sulfates. They can also lead to metal corrosion.
  • Dissolved and suspended solids. Things like dirt particles are also regulated as they cause scaling and corrosion.

All in all, an efficient water treatment system is a must to make sure that your machines’ service life last much longer.

What Does the Future Hold for Your Retail Business with Fintech?

by Admin - on Jun 8th 2017 - Comments Off on What Does the Future Hold for Your Retail Business with Fintech?

Retail Commerce sales chart on a computer monitorFinancial technology is on the cutting-edge of retail business. Whether you run a brick-and-mortar shop or an online store, you’ll recognize the various ways consumers transact with your brand.

Fintech platform Vyze relates that customers expect financing experience in-store to be simple and stress-free. Fortunately, this year’s trends in fintech gives way to improvements in accessibility, speed, and security in every transaction.

Efficiency, Consistency in Buying Cycles

Consumers are buying differently today—online and offline. With unstoppable mobile use for almost every transaction, the fintech industry responds with better systems and tools that improve the shopping experience.

The focus here is on reducing the friction in the customer journey, from shopping to paying. This means personalizing the buying cycle to streamline it from the customer’s perspective. To do this, businesses evaluate the customer journey, look for points of improvement and find new methods on how to further enhance customer transaction.

For every stage in the customer journey, your shoppers can use an app. If they want to add items to their shopping cart, but checkout hours later, there’s an app for that. If your shoppers prefer a highly personalized experience, they can allow access to their social media profile so you can create a customer profile. A step ahead of that is contextual commerce enabling shoppers to purchase direct from their social media accounts.

The Rise of Digital Payments

As technology evolves and investors fund startup fintech companies, businesses and customers gain from innovation. Such innovation allows for shops to offer, for example, flexible financing options (e.g., buy now pay later, installment plans, etc.) to consumers in a quick, simple process. Amazon is one brand that uses this strategy.

Today’s payment systems also work on implementing varying levels of security to ensure the identity of the users. This is done through authentication measures that protect both the business and the customer.

Facial Recognition Adoption in Mobile Payments

With most payment transactions occurring online, it’s only natural for customers to demand security and protection for their information. Biometrics scanning could provide that security. The future may eliminate the need to type in a password or pin number to authorize payment for purchases. Samsung is, in fact, releasing a device that combines fingerprint, facial, and iris detection to confirm users.

Fintech continues to emerge as an invaluable partner for stores. Whether it’s personalizing experiences or securing payments, fintech platforms can custom-fit your retail business for success.

How to Keep Your Small Business Safe from Cyberthreats

by Admin - on May 24th 2017 - Comments Off on How to Keep Your Small Business Safe from Cyberthreats

Privacy protection conceptCyberthreats are real, and they are attacking everyone including small businesses. The story does not end there, as they will get worse over time.

As a small enterprise, you do not have the money to pay for a security analyst or buy advanced tech, but you can take these practical tips to increase your online protection:

Focus on your organization

Most of cyber attacks are inside jobs, and they can be deliberate or inadvertent. If you are a growing business, choose your people well and limit their access to servers, data, and computer. Invest in quality training to teach your staff about security.

Create an effective BYOD policy

Many small businesses are open to BYOD (bring your own device) as a way of reducing mobile costs, improve collaboration, and promote practical remote work. The problem with this is it can potentially increase cyberthreat risk, especially if your employees use their devices with unsecured connections.

To mitigate that, make a secure BYOD policy and monitor its implementation and compliance.

Use a secure virtual private network

If you are sending many data and media files online, it is time to spend on a secure virtual private network service, such as the ones provided by privatetunnel.com. VPN allows you to use the Internet more securely as data travels encrypted, making it hard for hackers to steal.

This service is usually subscription based and does not require a contract, so you have more flexibility on costs.

Change your passwords

Even newbie hackers can tap into your system if you have a very weak password protection. The golden rule is to create a password of at least eight characters composed of letters, numbers, and symbols. Do not forget to change it every three months.

As they say, prevention will always be better than cure. Protect your business today to avoid dealing with serious financial losses (and a damaged reputation) later.

How to Keep Your Work Area Clean and Safe

by Admin - on Apr 20th 2017 - Comments Off on How to Keep Your Work Area Clean and Safe

Rear view of a businessman using a computer in a cluttered workspaceKeeping your work area clean should be your priority, especially if you have a workshop type of space. The smaller your work area, the more conscious you should be about keeping it clean.

Avoid clutter

When you leave things lying around, you may waste time looking for them on the next use. What’s more, your work area becomes cluttered. Instead of freely moving to every corner of your work area, you have to step over or push aside clutter to move. The solution? Have a designated space for everything.

Use enclosures

Dust can quickly build up on every surface in your work area especially when you work with wood. It can be hard to keep things clean. To prevent wood filings and sawdust from affecting the entire work area, use an enclosure for specific tools and purposes. Another way to limit the dust is by using a dust collector booth. Not only can this device protect your work area from clutter, but it can also reduce the risk of fire.

Vacuum and wipe down

Having a vacuum cleaner on standby is an easy way to clean certain spots. An industrial grade or professional vacuum cleaner can do the job better than a household counterpart can, especially if you have a large work area. After vacuuming, do a wipe-down of surfaces to catch the dust and dirt that you may have missed. Use a safe chemical for disinfecting, or simply use water mixed with vinegar.

Clean up the mess immediately

Spills can cause accidents. To reduce such risks, wipe or mop away the mess at the soonest. Don’t forget to wash and wring your mop in each use. A wet mop or rag will not absorb spills properly.

Lost or misplaced tools, difficulty of access, accidents, fires, and many other issues can stem from neglecting cleanliness. Follow these tips to prevent them from happening.

Three Common Issues Project Managers Encounter

by Admin - on Mar 10th 2017 - Comments Off on Three Common Issues Project Managers Encounter

Project Management Software Project management is an incredibly complex discipline that requires efficient decision making and execution. Since it is such a complex field, it’s easy to make a mistake and watch your project go over budget.

While the use of project management software and hosting can help streamline the process, human error and external factors may still affect the outcome. Some issues, however, are more common than others.

Here are some of the most common issues you may encounter as a project manager:

1. Not Getting the Right People on the Job

Resource allocation is not just about the physical materials that will go into your project — you need to get the right people on the job too. Ideally, you should be choosing people based on their experience and skill level. Realistically speaking, it is not always implemented, because you also have to select people based on their availability.

Not getting the right people for the job may have potentially catastrophic consequences on your project.

2. Not Getting Everyone to Commit to the Project

When it comes to managing a project, employee engagement plays a large part in its success. You want everyone to be completely on board with the project and passionate about its success.

Communication and clarity are important — clearly define each person’s role and their responsibilities, to avoid confusion. Explain the payoff of the project itself, as you have to show them that everyone has a stake in it.

3. Having too Many Ongoing Projects

Though it is tempting to work on multiple projects at once, it is counterproductive.  You cannot give each project the focus that it deserves. This only leads to productivity losses.

Instead, try to reduce the number of open tasks to free up some time. Reducing the work may improve completion rates.

Project management requires you to make quick decisions. Minimize these mistakes to improve success rates and to stay in budget.

Is Your Facility Prepared for An Emergency?

by Admin - on Jan 13th 2017 - Comments Off on Is Your Facility Prepared for An Emergency?

secuirty measures in Singapore
Singapore is preparing for an attack. At least, not for an imminent one. But authorities are doing drills in the city as part of the government’s counter-terrorism exercise. While there isn’t a clear and present danger, the training helps troops, volunteers and residents act accordingly, should an attack occur. Can your facility do the same?

A Simple Plan

Your facility may not be the target of an attack, but certain hazards could lead to an accident. The extent of the accident will determine the scale of the emergency response. And the outcome, the damage and injuries or casualties, will then depend on how well your organisation responds to the incident.

A good plan that’s relevant to your operations and resources is a proper start. The next step is to let everyone know that an emergency plan exists, with corresponding procedures for every kind of incident — from a chemical leak to a fire.

One example to follow is the Shell chemical leak and the ExxonMobil chemical plant fire. Both oil companies managed to mitigate the effect of the incidents, with no injuries. Both also continue to improve safety protocols.

Designed for Preparedness

Part of your emergency plan should include facility improvements or upgrades. Mark emergency exits with glow-in-the-dark signs and anti-skid tapes. The same safety precautions your organisation applies to avoid slips, trips or falls could also work in emergencies. Anti-skid floor tapes and visible warning signs can reduce injuries during an evacuation.

To ensure your facility’s emergency preparedness, conduct regular inspections of equipment, structures and vehicles. You should report faulty equipment and structural defects. Make sure relevant personnel know critical valves and switches, for gas or electricity. Also, perform drills and assign emergency responsibilities to employees.

Emergency preparedness helps your organisation secure the safety of employees and the business. Evaluate your facility and existing procedures now. And plan for any disastrous event in the future.

Disabling Your Car Alarm When Your Remote Malfunctions

by Admin - on Oct 22nd 2016 - Comments Off on Disabling Your Car Alarm When Your Remote Malfunctions

Car RemoteIt is a given that any device needing batteries to work is bound to give out at any time sooner or later. One of these devices is your car remote. These remotes serve to lock and unlock the doors of your car from a distance. In doing so, it also disables your car’s anti-theft alarm system. What are you to do, though, when the batteries of your car remote die out and you cannot unlock your car door without setting off the alarm?

Having this happen to you is a noisy and embarrassing situation to be in – one that oftentimes causes panic. In the unfortunate event that this does happen to you, the tendency for you to break the remote out of frustration is more than likely. Pitching your car remote towards the ground and stepping on it will not solve the situation. Your blaring alarm won’t just get tired and stop all of a sudden.

Remote Pro, for example, cites the parts of a remote that you can break and replace. These are the remote’s key, its shell, a screw, the electronics, buttons and the logo or emblem. So, before your car alarm goes haywire, you should know what to do.

Here Are the Things You Can Try Out in Disabling Your Car Alarm:

  1. Use the key in manually unlocking the driver’s side door. The car alarm may turn off when you open the door. In any case, try unlocking and unlocking the door manually, as this may disable the alarm’s blaring since you are opening the door ‘legally’ with a key.
  2. If the alarm refuses to go off even with the driver’s door open, try starting the car with the ignition key. This showcases enough authority that there is no auto theft taking place. Most car alarms should power down with this.
  3. Lastly, if starting the car does not stop the alarm from sounding off, take out your owner’s manual and start reading. Go straight to the Table of Contents to check out which page you have to read up on and do it fast. When all else fails, go work on the fuse box or disconnect the battery.

These suggestions are taxing, but they are effective ways to stop your car alarm from disrupting the entire neighbourhood.