Starting a business in e-commerce may seem like an easy thing these days – however, hundreds of other people think the same and are more than likely to try their luck at something very similar to what you have in mind – or have already tried. No less than two-thirds of all e-commerce startups fail within a few months of starting out – so no, it is a much less straightforward enterprise than just open a website and start selling stuff. So how to avoid joining the losers? How to thrive in this industry? Let’s find out.
1. Choose a CMS That Is Right for You
You cannot have a temporary decision and move on to something else later on – it is much easier to plan ahead. For example, if you are planning for a relatively small e-Commerce project and don’t intend it to grow very much, WordPress is likely to be your best bet – it is easy to use, doesn’t require a lot of time to learn, and you can start almost immediately. However, it doesn’t scale good, and big projects are likely to encounter considerable problems in the course of time, and a more scalable CMS, like Magento, will be a better fit.
2. Design an Experience
Modern users and clients are a capricious lot suffering from sensory overload and extremely short attention span. If you want to get to them, your project should have not just a design that works but a design that adds to the overall experience. As developers from Avex Designs believe, the times when it was enough to have a website that accepts orders without much fuss are long gone. Today the entire process of placing an order, navigating the website, looking through the catalog should all be parts of an overarching experience encompassing visual, audial and narrative elements, all working towards a single goal.
3. Build Your Project with Marketing in Mind
Don’t expect your potential customers to discover your website on their own, by accident. Don’t believe the maxim according to which all you have to do is to have good content and merchandise and wait for the people to come on their own. Your entire project should be built on lead and sales generation in mind, which means that you should start marketing it using Google Adwords or something similar from day one.
4. Don’t Neglect Analytics
Again, analytics isn’t something you can stick to your website later on after you get things going. If you don’t know how to use them right now, it would be better to hire somebody who will do it for you or teach you how to do it on your own. Don’t start out before you understand the inner workings of analytics, for running an e-commerce project without the benefit of the information provided by them is something akin to sailing in a storm while blindfolded.
5. Outsource All Non-Core Activities
How large and how professional is your team? Do you have all the necessary specialists to cover the development needs of your project? Is it realistic to train them in the foreseeable future? Quite often outsourcing some or many areas of development to professionals is much more time- and cost-effective than learning how to do everything on your own or having your team do it.
Starting and running an e-commerce project is a much trickier thing than you may have been led to believe, but it is quite doable – at least if in future you follow the tips of those who have already done it and don’t make any obvious mistakes.
With today’s small businesses growth in on-line activities, there come increased threats from hackers trying to cause them harm. Companies are pressed to respond, which means reinforcing their cyber security processes and tools and protecting their IT infrastructure against all possible attacks. This, however, is a complicated situation; there are many ways to attack an organization from direct attacks on the company’s website and other online access points and indirect attacks which may involve attacks against employees, customers, and even vendors.
Cyber criminals launch these attacks to get at the lifeblood of a small company; their financial data and access to their financial accounts. With the growth of hacker groups who take a volume approach meaning they will get anything they can from each of the thousands of businesses they target, any size business is in their cross-hairs.
So how do these criminals get to a company’s valuable data and how can they be thwarted?
Malware: Always a Problem for Small Businesses
This old cyber security threat has been around for such a long time because, in spite of its simplicity, it is still effective. Hackers get employees, vendors, and customers to open an email or other communication and then click on a link, then bad things happen. This process allows malware to be loaded onto the targeted computer. Malware is the umbrella term that describes many different types of malevolent software. Computer viruses, computer worms, Trojan horses, rootkits, spyware, and adware are all different varieties of malware, each of which interacts with your computer in a different fashion. Certain malware applications disguise themselves as legitimate applications, or even fake antivirus applications, in order to gain access to the computer. Many use keystroke logging to track every keystroke a user makes on his computer’s keyboard. Based on the keystrokes, hackers are able to pick out login IDs and passwords to bank accounts, and whatever other websites the user visits.
Even with the best of intentions, employees and customers can let in malware, which is why securing networks is so important. Today’s advanced malware is extraordinarily difficult to detect and most antivirus programs can miss them. This means small businesses must be diligent about employees awareness of the new forms of malware attacks and how to avoid them. One sure way is to prohibit employees from opening any unsecured links when on business computers or devices connected to the network.
Mobile Devices are High Risk
Often cyber-attacks are directed at employees and a hacker’s way in is through an employee’s mobile devices. With the proliferation of employees using their own unsecured devices for work business, and the explosion of visits to sites that contain media files, there is an increased threat that employees may simultaneously be downloading malware onto their devices as they are viewing these files. With confirmed cases of Android malware being transferred from Android devices to Windows computers once connected, cross-contamination is a full-blown threat for companies. Employees must be trained to understand that behavior they have at home is incompatible with what they do at work. At work everything must be secure and methodical and if there is the potential risk of creating an opportunity for a cyber-attack, the behavior must be discontinued.
Free Wi-Fi is Dangerous
Free Wi-Fi has become a great way to show customers that you care for their patronage, and their comfort. But it also opens up the potential for cyber-attacks by these same customers. Businesses that offer Wi-Fi will often run their own business processes on the same network and if someone hacks their free Wi-Fi set up they also gain access to the company’s most treasured data. The secure approach is to split any Wi-Fi networks in two and install firewalls to control the guest side. The company side of the network remains completely separate and off-limit to customers.
Take Commonsense Precautions
Be proactive about these potential threats: Keep all security software up to date and enlist the services of a professional cyber security consultant to review your current processes and cyber security equipment and have them make recommendations for how you can ensure you don’t get hacked.
Prioritize sensitive company information: Make sure that valuable information is only exposed to those who need to have access to that information, and it is housed separately and on different servers from general information.
Institute and enforce cyber security governance policies: Every employee needs to understand the company’s policies for securing its data against hackers. There needs to be clear guidelines and an emphasis on its use being non-negotiable.
Use offsite data backups: If you are hacked and they try and hold sensitive data hostage ensure that you have a back-up copy that is outside of your current business, so your business does not go down.
Small companies must stop assuming that they're flying under the radar of hackers, and institute aggressive cyber security policies, procedures and precautions. Their very livelihood could depend on it.
Over 90% of car accidents involve human error and so the rush is on for car companies to create and implement technologies that lessen the need for human input in driving. The software can be programmed to make faster and better decisions while avoiding human pitfalls such as driving while drunk or texting and new car tech can make up for shortcomings in weather and roads. The benefits of this new auto tech are valuable whether you are a New York student, a Michigan nurse or an Oregon attorney and whether you drive, are a frequent automobile passenger or even if you walk.
The ultimate goal is a fully autonomous vehicle that operates and makes decisions about driving totally independent of the driver. Although we are not quite there yet from both a technology and an ethical point of view, there are several technologies that make up parts of autonomous driving that are in use today and are saving lives and lowering insurance rates. With support from as disparate sources as governments, insurance companies, and student groups, there is no doubt that we are heading quickly to driverless cars. Here is an explanation of the currently implemented tech and what we can expect when we finally go driverless.
Advanced Driver Assistance Systems
Advanced driver assistance systems are vehicle safety systems developed to automate and enhance safety and better driving. They avoid collisions and accidents by using technologies that alert the driver to potential problems or to avoid collisions by implementing safeguards and even taking over control of the vehicle. Adaptive features may automate lighting, provide adaptive cruise control, braking, incorporate GPS/ traffic warnings, alert the driver to other cars or dangers, keep the driver in the correct lane, and show what is in blind spots. There are many forms of this tech available from auto manufacturers and after-market. Advanced driver assistance systems are one of the fastest-growing segments in automotive electronics, with steadily increasing rates of adoption of industry-wide quality standards. Their use is being supported by auto and insurance companies.
Collision Avoidance Systems
A collision avoidance system is car tech software designed to avoid or reduce the severity of a collision. It uses radar, laser, GPS and cameras to detect situations while accessing a database of stationary objects in order to determine whether the vehicle’s path will likely lead to an imminent crash. Once a crash appears imminent, these systems either provide a warning to the driver or takes action autonomously to avoid the collision, by braking or steering or both. Their current use is already having a great impact on car accidents. These systems have reduced property damage claims on some Mercedes and Acura models by 14% while lowering bodily injury claims by 15%, while Volvo has seen accident claims fall by 33% in some of its models.
Fully Autonomous Cars
Fully autonomous cars are capable of sensing their environment and navigating without human input. They use a variety of techniques including advance driver assist systems and collision avoidance systems to detect their surroundings. These also include radar, laser light, GPS, odometry, and computer vision. Advanced control systems interpret sensory information to identify appropriate navigation paths, as well as obstacles and relevant signage. Autonomous cars have control systems that are capable of analyzing sensory data to even distinguish between different cars on the road.
Today, several car manufacturers and companies like Google are testing cars that drive themselves. And more and more autos are employing systems designed to propel and operate the car within legal parameters while protecting passengers and pedestrians and preventing or limiting accident damage. There are aggressive goals in the auto industry to bring affordable autonomous cars to the public by 2020.
However, autonomous cars face big hurdles with perhaps their biggest challenge being convincing the public that autonomous cars are safe and able to reduce accidents, so ceding driving to computers is the best way forward. Also, questions about their handling of ethical and safe decisions when confronted with complex situations that involve pedestrians and other vehicles are common. Many autonomous vehicles are being developed, but as of today, automated cars permitted on public roads are not yet fully autonomous. They all require a human driver at the wheel who is ready at a moment's notice to take control of the vehicle.
An added benefit of autonomous driving is fewer traffic jams and lowered fuel costs. When you add this to savings in human lives, injuries, and insurance, there is no doubt that autonomous driving cars are the future.
Tomorrow’s leaders will be made not born. They will be filled with an extraordinary combination of attributes and skills that make them prepared for the world that is built on constant social and economic change. They will not just live in this environment, they will shape it and harness its qualities to push things forward. So what are the qualities that these leaders will have and how do we get them into them when they are young?
1. Emotional Well-Being – Emotional Intelligence
Emotional wellbeing is at the root of all decision making. It also forms a strong base for your child’s learning motivation and emotions management. Children with well-developed self-esteem tend to have a greater ability to take on new challenges in life. When young people feel good about themselves, they want to treat themselves and the people around them well. When kids are young, a child’s self-esteem is directly related to their interactions with their parents. But, as children grow into tweens and then teens, they are more focused on peer acceptance as they are given more independence and more freedom from their family. So parents need to start building these vital qualities when kids are young because children with high self-esteem naturally grow into teens and adults with high self-esteem. Kids need to be taught emotional intelligence, i.e. how to recognize their feelings, understand where they come from and learn how to deal with them. Research has shown that emotional intelligence “predicts over 54% of the variation in success (relationships, effectiveness, health, quality of life).” Additional data concludes that “young people with high EQ earn higher grades, stay in school, and make healthier choices.” And, they are much more likely to become leaders.
One the most important qualities tomorrow’s leaders must have is self-responsibility. Responsible people do what they’re supposed to do and accept the consequences—both positive and negative—of their choices. Too often important qualities like self-responsibility are not stressed and nurtured and kids become adults who are not prepared for all that life will offer. Parents need to instill self-responsibility in kids when they are young. Right from being a toddler kids can begin to have responsibilities placed on them. As an example: kids go through a period when they lose track of their things constantly. This has caused many parents to use companies like LabelDaddy.com to provide them labels for all of their kid’s belongings. Labeling is a good decision, but parents also need to teach kids to keep track of their things. The results will be that kids feel more responsible and empowered. These types of skills grow and mature over time and become key when kids are placed in positions of greater responsibility.
We live today in a world of short attention spans and constant multitasking. There are devices designed specifically to get kids attention and not give back anything much for the time taken. This has created a situation where one of the most common problems that many children have is in focusing on particular tasks for long periods of time. Developing memory, focus, and attention spans when a child is young is very important and sets him up to be a leader tomorrow. This skill set, however, is one that takes real diligence by the parents to observe and develop. The pay-off that the child will be prepared to deal with large tasks and projects, and he or she will be able to “apply” the mind for longer periods of time and yield greater results. The key is to engage your child in enjoyable activities that require time and focus. Playing an instrument or sports are good examples.
4. Critical Thinking
Critical thinking skills are one of the most important skill sets a child can learn in our information plagued society. The ability to think critically is one skill separating innovators from followers. Critical thinking is the ability to analyze information to establish its veracity or truth. In our rapidly changing technological world, more information is available at the touch of our fingers. The problem is that not all of that information is accurate and it can be very easy to get duped into believing something. Critical thinking arms kids with tools to decipher information as it is received and to filter out what is not real or relevant. Language and critical thinking grow together and nurture each other’s development. As children engage in critical thinking, their language skills expand because they’re encouraged to develop and use more complex language with words like “because”, phrases with “if” and “then” and different verb tenses. Conversely, as children’s language development progresses, their ability to think critically grows as well. This skill is perhaps the most critical today for creating tomorrow’s leaders.
Modified on by CristineFelt
Running a business these days is much more complicated than it used to be. However, growth is always the goal. Growth will be exciting. It measures idea validation and the really hard work by the management team. Businesses should generally want to grow unless they reach a point at which that is not necessary anymore.
The problem is that business growth can easily affect the way in which the business is run. Specific challenges can appear when companies grow too fast.The IT and Tech issues faced by enterprise sized companies are normally unexpected when the smaller firm reaches that point. You need to particularly consider the following as the most common problems that appear when a company grows fast.
Not Understanding Financial Changes
As the business is small, it is really easy to control financial matters. Cash flow can be watched and the manager easily controls the difference between sales and expenses. The problem is that when the company goes over a specific sales range (normally considered to be $5 million), it becomes highly complicated to track finances. Business owners need to always work with experienced accountants in order to control cash flow. The accountant will be able to identify business weaknesses and strength. Such information always helps during the growth stage.
Not Having The Right Technology In Place
When the company is larger it will have different IT needs. The technology necessary to manage all business operations during and after the growth stage is really complicated. As you grow you will need new licenses and to use cloud technology is currently the norm. If you do not control all the IT and technology needs that appear as the business grows, the staff can end up being overburdened, among many other things that can go wrong.
Not Hiring The Right People
As the company grows quickly, a huge issue appears in who you hire. It is vital that you hire the best possible staff. Company culture is always going to be very important. You have to hire those that are going to help the business to keep growing while not losing control. In many cases, you should be sure that you work with human resource professionals that can bring in the best possible talent.
Forgetting About Customers
Quick growth means you will have more customers. In an attempt to get new customers we see many that simply end up losing touch with former customers. That is never a good idea. Sales going up can lead to becoming sloppy with services and products. Customer service departments that do not properly operate will always lead to a company losing profit on the long run, even if everything looks perfect when growth happens. Customer retention issues are very often seen when dealing with business growth.
Receivables Outrunning Sales Growth
The last huge challenge we should highlight is having accounts receivable running much faster than collecting ability or sales generation. Even great businessmen end up failing because of this reason. It is important to always keep control of finances, production and how fast you manage to manufacture products sold.
Things without which life is unthinkable, like cell phones, rechargeable batteries, television broadcasts, or digital cameras, we often take for granted, without even thinking about the origin of these technologies.Except for the mentioned ones, there are about 30 thousands of others that came out from researches conducted by NASA for the space program.
Here are a few technologies that became a part of our everyday lives.
1. Computer items
Project Apollo and later researches related to space shuttle brought us the best-known by-products, and some origins may surprise many people. The first one is the hard drive which in fact did not directly originate from the space program, but there is a protection in the form of ferrofluid protective layer which is a by-product of the space program. Another by-product is the mouse. It is a descendant of the device patented by NASA for easier manipulation of a bunch of data in their computers. Moreover, if you belong to a group of gamers, then you are using another by-product which is a joystick. It came from a device whose primarily purpose was the management of lunar rover in the Apollo mission.
2. Digital image processing
Experts of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have patented technology for improving the quality of the picture of the Moon sent by the spacecraft in preparation for Apollo program. Digital image processing technology is a base for recording the interior of the body, primarily magnetic resonance imaging, and the brain.The same laboratory is responsible for one of the two most popular product in medicine, infrared thermometer and pacemaker. The first one was originally developed for observation of distant planets from the Earth, and measuring their temperature by recording infrared radiations.
3. Memory foam mattress
Memory foam was introduced first time in the early 90s of the last century as the Tempur-Pedic. Believe it or not, the original concept of memory foam was created by NASA scientists. They thought this type of foam is the best material to provide comfort for astronauts. If it was right for them, why it would not be okay for sleeping as well? Memory foam mattress is the best fit for individuals who suffer from back pain because the material itself distributes the weight of the body, and does not create any additional pressure on it. Memory foam is durable. In combination with quality bed and adequate slats, it can last up to ten years. Today you can find mattresses of various memory profiles including cold cast, Viscoelastic, and polyurethane foam.
The by-products of NASA are not the only products of the space program that we use in our everyday life. Some technologies and devices are a byproduct of Starfleet and the legendary Enterprise.The series Star Trek was the inspiration to scientists who were trying to transfer a portion of fiction into reality. Managing the computers by pressing the screen, Star Trek and their network were also inspiring touch screen technology. Furthermore, communication with the network in the series is also done and over Personal access display device.
Analysis of the research of US economist says that for every dollar invested in the space program, it goes back at least seven dollars from taxes on purchased equipment and technology that are a byproduct of the program.Every scientist at NASA opens at least five jobs in industries engaged in the production of by-products. When we look at this, then it is easy to figure out that all of those investments are justified.
With a direct emphasis on using less of earth’s resources and creating sustainable environments, many are focused on making their living spaces as energy efficient as possible and create “smart homes”. This certainly has impacted the design community who must be responsive to the desires of home buyers. They have put energy efficiency at the center of their home design efforts. This must also be carried through to the building of these structures, so designers must work closely with builders to ensure their energy efficient designs are delivered in the build. Smart home design is accomplished by focusing on a few key things:
Make sure the structure is tight: A key component of energy efficiency is to make sure that the design and build maintains a tight core structure. This includes tight fits, minimal penetration of the core structure, and more robust insulations in order to create a scenario where less energy use is possible. Often people purchase energy efficient appliances, but if the building’s structure is not supportive of energy efficiency, then it will not be achieved.
Use the Right Insulation and Use it Right: There should be an aim to exceed the mandated use of insulation in energy efficient structures. And this increased amount should be of the highest quality and used the most effectively. That means no voids or gaps, no compressions of the insulation. Avoid thermal bridging or “short circuits” across insulation at lintels, jambs, and sills of doors and windows and at junctions where floors and ceilings meet external walls.
Position it for maximum Sunlight Benefit: Every house can gain greatly from being properly oriented toward the sun. The focus should be on facing the house to capture the most sun. The right materials can use this sunlight to warm the home and cause homeowners to use much less energy. Concentrate the glazing and living spaces on the southern façade. That way exposure to the low altitude winter sun can allow passive solar heating and daylight. Also, try and choose a sheltered location to build, so that you can reduce heat loss from wind exposure. If that isn’t possible plan to plant trees or shrubs to act as a shelter.
Build the Tight Type of Home for Energy Efficiency: If you are planning to build a house, a compact build form is more energy efficient with a lower surface to volume ratio. Try and avoid dormer and bay windows as they are difficult to insulate effectively. Pitched roofs should have one slope oriented south or at least south east to south west for optimum performance of solar panels.
Use Energy Products in Your Home:
Solar Energy Panels. Placing solar panels on your roof is the best investment you can make toward energy independence. However, many think that if they do not live in Florida or California, there isn’t enough sunlight to justify their cost. This is not true anymore. Nearly climate from snowy New York, to wet Seattle, can realize great cost savings from solar energy panels.
LED Lighting. The newest and best options for lighting in your home is definitely LED lighting. LED bulbs offer the brightest light for the least money and is a good alternative to halogen and compact fluorescent that have issues regarding the materials used in them. LED is a better alternative, and they are safe.
Smart Thermostats. As much as 40 percent of your home’s overall energy bill comes from heating and cooling. Smart thermostats learn how and when your family uses the heating and air conditioning system and follows your patterns for the smartest energy savings. These thermostats cost more than traditional ones but their cost savings make them worth it.
Trends come and go, and digital marketing is no different. However, in today’s world, there are more media choices than ever before and much more possible approaches to online marketing.
With a new year on the horizon, everybody is trying to find out what has not worked and regroup to find a new plan for the next months to come. With the rise of the internet of things and the increased use of customer data and advanced analytics, it’s time to try out new things.
Here are top six digital marketing trends to watch out for in 2017.
According to Sam Ovens, a successful entrepreneur, and consultant out of New Zealand, it is important to sell something that the market wants. What could be more effective than influencer marketing? As people tend to trust a recommendation from those who they consider thought leaders, the right influencers help in establishing a company’s credibility through a variety of media. When influencers prove that they genuinely believe in a brand, others will follow suit. In 2017, many companies have enlisted the help of influencers in marketing their products and services.
The use of Augmented Reality
In 2016, Pokémon Go became one of the biggest social phenomena of the last few years. This not only proved that augmented reality is more than a fluke, but that it can be monetized. As a matter of fact, it is estimated that Pokémon Go was generating 10 million in revenue per month during the height of its popularity. We can expect more companies to try to find ways to exploit the model 2017 and use it for advertising. We can also expect more of these types of games to be introduced, with a variation of in-game purchases and freemium options.
In 2017, digital marketing has proven that you do not only need to read content, you can also interact with it. Interactive content seems to be the wave of the future and can be easily implemented by businesses big and small. For instance, BuzzFeed now allows readers and potential consumers to participate in an interesting quiz, survey or contest instead of being passive consumers.
More Video Marketing
Static images are no longer enough. The fact that video reaches a wider demographic and instantly grabs attention still makes it one of the most powerful marketing methods. And with the advent of 360 videos, we can expect the video to be even more omnipresent in 2017. We should also expect more companies to use explainer and instructional videos to advertise their services in 2017.
If you have not noticed the popularity of live streaming in digital marketing, then you have not been paying attention. Facebook has introduced live streaming as a marketing technique and other social platforms will soon follow suit. Mobile devices are now ubiquitous, and mobile internet is faster than ever, and viewers are demanding more in the moment content. This is one of the reasons why last year’s Presidential debate was streamed live through a variety of platforms for the first time in history. Consumers are also more open for live streaming advertisements. This marks the beginning of a new trend that will positively impact the way businesses advertise their services.
Digital marketing techniques are definitely getting better and more sophisticated over time. We can expect influencer and video marketing, augmented reality, interactive content and live streaming to have a major influence on digital marketing in 2017. Marketers who wish to stay with the times would be wise to evaluate right now how they can incorporate these methods into their online marketing strategy if they want to reap the benefits.
There is a set of guidelines for developing digital products that when followed, can greatly improve your chances for success in launching them. Here are the key steps.
1. Confirm that your idea is viable
Any good product starts with an understanding of the market it is going into and a confirmation that there is a better than not chance that the market will be receptive towards the product. Without this confirmation, the odds are simply too great that what you plan to create will not meet with success. Many have moved forward on a gut feeling, or based on a friend telling them they think their idea is viable and been completely disappointed when the market rejects the product. So I am sure your friends are well intentioned, but you need to get an assessment from the actual market the product is intended. To be clear, be forceful about asking for opinions as long as you're careful to make sure it comes from unbiased sources. There's simply no point in devoting all of your energy for days, weeks, or months to building a product that nobody wants. So always research your market before you begin to create any digital product.
A good way to start is with Google Trends where you can search for topics of interest. Once you enter a specific keyword phrase, Google Trends will show you the popularity of that phrase over a defined period of time. You want to find a combination of high demand and relatively low competition because this signals that there is a potential opportunity to create and sell products related to what you entered. Finally, do a web search for any products like the one you are proposing. If you find any, take a look at the feedback to them and what people are saying they love, hate and wish was available in them. Can you improve on what is out there? Are you aiming for a market that is not currently being served? These questions are important for you to gain a full understanding of the market and the competition. If you see a real opportunity, then you are in the position to move to the next step.
2. Look for smart strategies to get you to your market
Many products never become successful simply because the inventors cannot get it to the market that may want to purchase it. So you need to find strategies that can get you to your target market. Do you have direct access to your target market? Do you know anyone influential or can you gain access to an influential person in the market you are aiming? Can you find a captured audience who will be the first movers on your product (even if you have to give it to them for free)? Do you have an insider status on getting potential customers to pay some attention to you? If the answer to all of these questions is no, then you need to get to work on lining up one or more of them.
3. Build Your Product
Once you have figured out your access points, building your product is the next step. You need to use everything you have learned from your discussions at this point to help shape and craft your design and operability of the product and you need be mindful of the timeline between the time you submit your product design for creation and the time you actually receive it. If it will take you 9 months to build and test, will it still be impactful then? If not, you need to reconsider building the product. Your goal here should be to build in features that anticipate where the market is going, so you will be timely and even slightly ahead of the marketplace by the time your product is built.
4. Test your product
The best way to go about testing your product is to engage a digital products focused, user experience agency to assist you in determining both your product’s viability and its potential acceptance by your target market. These companies create and implement real-world strategies and processes to get results that you can use to refine and position every key attribute of your product, and by extension, its sales and marketing strategies. In addition, they will leave you with tools that you can use continually to track and anticipate key areas of your product and you’re your business. This approach leaves you positioned with real information that you can apply for success. Working with them will leave you with a market ready product and strategies to win.
After this final step of working with a user experience agency, you are ready to launch your digital product.
Modified on by CristineFelt
Now is the perfect time to go green because there are so many wonderful things you can do with your home to save money and help the planet in the process. And with the money you save, you can make even greener.
No Cost / Small Impact:
Consume less energy. The majority of electrical consumption in homes is from air conditioning and other large electrical appliances. Run these appliances less and when you do, put air conditioners up a few degrees, and heaters down. You may not notice the difference, but your electric bills will be smaller. A sneakily large amount of energy consumption is from sources you might not suspect, like lights and appliances being plugged in unnecessarily. So unplug TVs, Blu-ray players, and even microwaves which often stay in standby mode when turned off, causing them to continually use electricity.
If you have any incandescent lighting, replace it immediately with energy saving LED Lighting whose higher price is offset in a short period of time by the electricity savings. Be conscious about the use of lights during daytime hours. Natural lighting is often enough for you to see clearly during the day. And open curtains and drapes to let more of this natural light in. Replace all of your outdoor lightings with solar lighting. These cheap alternatives work really well at storing enough energy during daylight hours to illuminate areas around your home at night. You can keep adding more if you need more light.
Small Cost / Medium Impact:
Switch to green packaging. Minimizing the amount of packaging you use in both weight and volume saves money and the environment. Remember those products have to be packaged and shipped, all of which takes even more, energy sometimes then their being manufactured. So use less plastic and other “disposable” products. If you don’t already, use reusable bags for all of your shopping (not just the supermarket), and if someone tries and give you plastic packaging in a restaurant or store, ask if they have an alternative in paper or a recycled material.
Medium Cost / Big Impact:
Add More Insulation. Often houses are poorly insulated and lose their heat or cool quickly causing their HVAC units to turn on more often and use more electricity. A solution for this is to hire a contractor to install radiant, barrier and extra insulation in attics and walls. This process is not very expensive, and a will make an immediately noticeable difference. This one project could reduce your heating and cooling costs by 30% and help save the planet.
Big Cost / Huge Impact:
Install Solar Energy Panels. Unless you live in a place where the sun rarely shines, putting solar PV panels on your roof is likely to save you tens of thousands of dollars. The average 20-year savings for Americans who went solar in 2011 were projected to be a little over $20,000. In the populous states of New York, California, and Florida, the projected savings were over $30,000. In the sunny but expensive paradise known as Hawaii, the projected savings were nearly $65,000! If you’re not in California or another sunny area, don’t worry. Even areas in cold climates or with many cloudy days, such as New England and the Pacific Northwest can still benefit from solar since systems can capture sunlight scattered by clouds or humidity, not just direct sunlight. Also, solar panels work even more efficiently in colder temperatures.
With the money you save from all of your hard work you can actually make more money by investing it in companies that support going green. The great part is you don’t need a lot to start and you don’t need to be an expert. There are many companies today supporting strategies for Micro-Investing with technology that tracks your investments. Micro-investing allows would-be-investors with small starting capital to bypass the roadblocks that usually keep them out of the game – minimum investment levels, trading costs, market research, and really just not having a ton of money. So now you can win in many ways!
Modified on by CristineFelt
With awareness of our planet’s delicate state and the need to implement sustainability strategies, going green has never been more popular. Taking this road is now paying off for businesses in more ways than just feeling good about helping the planet, they are winning on many levels. Here are some of the benefits for businesses going green:
Go Green and Reap Rewards
More Money in Your Pocket
Tax Breaks: The federal government and many states provide tax credits for businesses going green. For example, if you must drive for business-related purposes, perhaps your next vehicle should be a plug-in electric or hydrogen model. The IRS provides tax incentives for several alternative fuel vehicles. You will not only save money on gas, you’ll recover a good chunk of the money you spent up front to purchase the vehicle. If you own or lease a commercial building and install energy-efficient lighting, heating, cooling, ventilation, hot water system or building envelope materials, you may be entitled to a tax deduction under the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The savings must be certified by software and measurement equipment recognized by the Department of Energy before the IRS will allow the tax deduction. Check out the Database of State Incentives for Renewals and Efficiency (DSIRE) website for programs and resources available in your location.
Cost Savings: One of the smartest green things you can do for your business is to install solar energy panels. This decision will put you in line for huge savings on one of your biggest monthly expenses, your electricity bills.
Solar energy panel technology has grown by leaps and bounds over the last few years. They are now much more efficient and much less expensive. Their newest technologies allow for better energy capture and storage, leading to climates that were once not good candidates, now being ripe for solar. New systems can even collect indirect sunlight. So places like Seattle are now prime locations for solar energy panels. Since the sun always rises, solar power provides energy reliability and a resource that will never be controlled. And you will be able to save money year round by supplying your own power for your business.
Attracting New High –End Customers
There has emerged a segment of the population that has a primary desire to work with businesses that focus on sustainability. The three things to know about this group is that it is large, wealthy and very serious about going green. This consumer bloc represents approximately 16 percent of adults in the United States or approximately 52 million people who are willing to pay a premium for what they want, and what they want coincides with going green.
Focus on Cybersecurity
Today, cyber security is a company’s most complicated challenge. Companies need to have all of their employees involved and make sure that their IT departments are aware of the latest wave of data breaches including malicious programs, unauthorized access into the systems, ransomware, or DoS attacks. Today, there are ways to keep these scourges out, recover any stolen data and even recover files encrypted by a virus. The key is proper employee training and remaining vigilant.
Modified on by CristineFelt
Image credit: pixabay
The internet has changed the way we live our lives. On a personal level, we use it to work, shop, socialize, and entertain us, but if you run a business, you also need the internet. Mobile connectivity is a major part of this and with people increasingly connecting to the internet via mobile applications this is not something any forward thinking business can ignore.
Apps are huge right now. Whether you are a keen poker player, want to be able to create pixel art on your commute, or just want to be able to find out which movie to watch, you can pretty much guarantee there’s an app for it. If you use apps, your customers will do too, and as a startup, it makes sense to get in on the ground floor and start looking at how apps can drive your business forward. So why are apps so important and why does creating an app for your business make sense?
Increase Customer Interaction
Mobile apps make it even easier for a customer to do business with you. Instead of searching online for your website if they want to buy a product or simply check your opening times, they can use the app to do it. It’s nice and simple and nobody has to wait until they are in front of a computer.
Boost Customer Loyalty
Loyal customers are worth their weight in gold, so you need to hang on to them. Mobile apps provide another way for customers to get in touch with a business quickly and easily, so if your customer has a problem, or just wants to ask a question, they can do this through the app. Mobile apps can also be linked to social media, which means happy customers can interact with the business via the app in the wider social community. The more connected a customer feels, the more likely they are to invest further in your products, services, and business.
Excellent Marketing Opportunities
Most people have their phone with them 24/7, which means they are continually looking at the screen, flicking through apps and using online services. If your business has its own app for customers to download and use, even if they are not using the app, it’s still there on their phone. Each time your customer sees the app, their memory is jogged and they think about the business. And with push notifications built in, you can send subtle advertising messages for a minimal cost.
Now that you recognize the importance of mobile applications, it’s time to think about how they can benefit your business. It is pointless spending time and money paying an app developer to create a bespoke product for your business if you don’t know what you want from it. You need to figure out what data should be made available through the app, but remember, the whole point of an app is that it must provide something customers can’t find anywhere else.
Once you know what type of app you want, start looking for an experienced app developer, or look at what The App Solutions can do for your business. Yes, it’s time to bring your business into the 21st century!
Modified on by CristineFelt
According to this year’s report from Burning Glass, coding skills remain highly wanted on the market. In 2015, there were seven million job openings that required some level of coding. Programming jobs are growing 50% faster than the overall market and it’s not a secret they provide a nice income. However, with the tech industry constantly evolving - it might be challenging to determine what are the languages that will be in demand. Here’s what you should consider perfecting in order to be at the top of your game and ahead of other competition.
If you take a look at the TIOBE index, you’ll see that Java holds the number one ranking as the most popular programming language. It dates back to nineties and it was designed so it could function on any device. Today, it is mostly used for creating apps on computers. From startups to big corporations and government agencies – every business that aims to develop an Android app has to have a good programmer that knows Java. It is a widely used language that can ensure you a salary above $100.000.
Good news for those who are just starting to code: Python is a perfect language for newbies as it relies on syntax more than other programming languages. It implies a small learning curve but it is a powerful language in the world of web development. If you’re wondering what Python can do, just think of Instagram or YouTube. Sure, these have grown rapidly and use other technologies now but they are all based on Python.
C# and C++
Both being variations of the C programming language, C# and C++ stay in high demand. Microsoft is constantly working on perfecting C# and this language stays the primary choice of developers when it comes to building Windows desktop apps. Future predictions include C# leaving PHP and Java behind because of its rising popularity. When talking about the value on the market, C# programmers are desirable as they are considered to be full stack developers. As for the C++, it is widely used in game development as well as a part of big software projects. It can also be used within animation software.
SQL is a special-purpose programming language used for managing data, i.e. for updating databases or retrieving information from them. Businesses usually seek developers that can code but also analyze the gathered data. SQL is widely used in conducting a market research before launching a product or to track how the behavior of the target consumer group is changing. In addition to this, banks, hospitals, and governments rely on SQL systems (e.g. MySQL or Oracle) to keep their businesses organized.
Objective-C is like C# for the iOS and OSx given the fact it has become a default language for software development for Apple products. It is a language that is still in demand but will soon be replaced by a new language called Swift. In order to address customer complaints, Apple rolled out this new language that will surely expand and become more marketable. Given the fact there are 1 billion users of Apple products around the world and that these products are status symbols – learning Swift will certainly come in handy and raise your value on the market.
In addition to this list, in 2017 we’re likely to see the rise of not so widely used languages such as Google Go, the open source language, or Rust – a completely new language that managed to avoid the pitfalls of the traditional ones. Nevertheless, the future for developers is looking bright. Just make sure to follow the trends in order to obtain the best position among other job candidates on the market.