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Author: Will Chatham

Will Chatham is the Security Assessment Engineer for Arbor Networks. Since Netscape 2.0, he has worked in a wide array of environments including non-profit, corporate, small business, and government. He started as a web developer, moved into Linux system administration, and ultimately found his place as a security professional. Having most recently conquered the OSCP certification, Will continues to hack his way into various things in an effort to make them more secure.

Keeping Your Business Relevant in a Competitive Market

When your business is operating in a competitive market, staying relevant is a challenge. It’s especially difficult when everything is moving quickly and you’re always at risk of falling behind your competitors. However, you don’t have to get left behind if you’re careful about how you grow your business. Staying up to date with what’s happening can help you to ensure your business remains relevant at all times and isn’t overtaken by both existing competitors and emerging brands. You need to stay on the ball if you want to avoid your business becoming irrelevant, so take a look at the following steps you should be taking.

Grow Your Business Faster

Everything can seem to grow at an extremely fast pace in business, especially in certain industries. Being able to keep your business growing and developing quickly is a must if you want to keep up. One of the things you can do is ensure your operations and development are working together. A DevOps consulting service like Continuum Innovations can help your organization to work quickly and develop faster. If you’re developing digital applications, products and services, you can do so faster with the right support and a clear plan for the future.

Know Your Competition

Understanding your competition is always important if you want to be able to keep your business relevant.

Luke Lee, the CEO of Palaleather, says that Market Research is one of the actions most startups or small business owners usually forgo because they could not readily see its relevance in the short term. In the long run, however, knowing your competition through effective market research allows business owners to compete and determine what makes them stand out among the rest.

How can you compete if you don’t know who you’re up against? You might research your competitors when you first set up your business, but that shouldn’t be the end of it. It’s also important to keep an eye on what your competition is doing so that you can respond in the right way. Are they doing something that you should be doing too? Is there a way you should be differentiating your business from theirs so you stand out?

Be Innovative

Innovation is key to keeping your business relevant. You need to be willing to keep your business moving and to look for new ways to do things. You’re not always going to be at the cutting edge and doing things that no one else is doing. But you can find plenty of ways to keep reaching out to your customers, offering more value from your products or services, and building your brand’s reputation and recognition. You can experiment and test out different things to see what works in different areas, from product development to marketing.

Attract the Best Talent

Having the right people working for your business is a must if you want to keep moving forward. You need the best talent working for you if you want people who are able to think innovatively and keep your business developing. Of course, if you’re looking for the right talent, you have to offer people attractive opportunities. Being a good employer is an essential part of making the right hires, so make sure you’re taking care of your employees if you want to attract the right people.

It’s vital to stay on top of your business development and what’s happening in your industry if you want to remain relevant and continue to compete.

What Small E-commerce Businesses Should Get Right From The Word “Go”

Starting an e-commerce business is no easy task. There are so many things to think about – from the products you’re going to sell, to the design of your website, to how you’re going to market your business. But if you get a few things right from the word go, you’ll be in a much better position to succeed. In this blog post, we’re going to look at some of the most important things small e-commerce businesses should focus on.

A Stable, Well Designed Website

The first and most important thing you need is a stable, well-designed website. Your website is the foundation of your e-commerce business, and it needs to be able to do a few things very well.

It needs to be easy for customers to find what they’re looking for, it needs to load quickly and be secure. If your website is slow, difficult to navigate, or isn’t secure, you will lose customers very quickly.

You can do a few things to make sure your website is up to scratch. First of all, invest in a good web hosting plan and make sure your website is optimized for speed. Secondly, use a responsive design so that your website looks good on all devices. And finally, make sure your website is secure by installing an SSL certificate.

A Viable Product Or Service

Of course, no e-commerce business can succeed without a product or service that people actually want to buy. This might seem like an obvious point, but it’s one that many businesses fail to consider.

Before you start your e-commerce business, make sure you understand your target market and what they’re looking for. Once you have that information, you can develop a product or service that meets their needs.

Remember, your product or service doesn’t have to be perfect – it just needs to be good enough to get people interested. You can always make improvements and additions down the line.

Seamless Delivery And Returns

Another important thing to focus on is delivery and returns. If you want to succeed in e-commerce, you need to make sure your customers are happy with the way their orders are being processed, confirmed, and delivered. This could include how well you accept payments, whether you use a virtual POS system or a payment gateway. All important factors to consider are how your system communicates with your customers, what kind of customer service you offer, and how you manage deliveries and returns.

Effective Marketing

Last but not least, you need to make sure your e-commerce business is being marketed effectively. There are a lot of different marketing channels you can use to reach your target market, and it’s important to find the ones that work best for you. There is no use in having a great product or service on a well-designed website with top-notch delivery if no one knows about your business. Marketing helps you to find the customers and scale your business.

There are a lot of different things to think about when starting an e-commerce business, but if you focus on the four points we’ve covered in this blog post, you’ll be off to a great start. Remember, a stable, well-designed website is the foundation of your business. You need a viable product or service; seamless delivery and returns are essential, and effective marketing will help you to find the customers you need to scale your business.

18 Services You Can Outsource As An Entrepreneur

As an entrepreneur, your to-do list is always growing. You’re constantly thinking of new ideas to pursue and ways to grow your business. But there’s only so much you can do in a day. That’s where outsourcing comes in.

Outsourcing is the process of delegating tasks or projects to another person or company. It can be a great way to save time and focus on your core competencies.

There are many different services you can outsource as an entrepreneur. 

Here are 18 of the most popular:

1. Social media marketing

Social media marketing is a vital part of any modern marketing strategy. But it can be time-consuming to create and post regular content, monitor engagement, and track results.

Fortunately, there are plenty of social media marketing agencies and freelancers who can help take this burden off your hands.

2. SEO

If you want your website to rank high in search engine results, you need to invest in SEO (search engine optimization). But SEO is a complex and ever-changing field, so it’s not something you can do yourself unless you’re an expert.

There are many agencies and consultants who specialize in SEO and can help get your site to the top of the search results.

3. Web design and development

Creating a professional-looking website is essential for any business today. But if you don’t have experience with web design or development, it can be challenging to do it yourself.

There are many web design agencies and freelance developers who can create a custom website for your business.

4. Graphic design

Graphic design is another important element of any business’s marketing strategy. From creating logos and social media visuals to designing promotional materials, a professional graphic designer can help you make a great impression on your customers.

5. Content marketing

Creating high-quality content is essential for driving traffic to your website and engaging potential customers. But if you’re not a skilled writer or don’t have time to produce regular content, it’s worth outsourcing this task to a professional content marketer.

6. Email marketing

Email marketing is a powerful tool for staying in touch with your customers and promoting your products or services. But crafting effective email campaigns requires time and effort.

If you don’t have the bandwidth to handle your email marketing yourself, consider hiring a specialist.

7. Lead generation

Generating leads is essential for any business that wants to grow its customer base. There are many different strategies for generating leads, from online advertising to attending trade shows.

If you’re not sure how to generate leads effectively, consider outsourcing this task to a specialist.

8. Customer service

Providing excellent customer service is crucial for any business. But it can be time-consuming and expensive to do it yourself.

There are many companies that specialize in providing customer service support. They can handle everything from answering customer questions to resolving complaints.

9. Accounting and bookkeeping

Keeping track of your finances is essential for any business, but it’s not something you should do yourself if you’re not an expert.

There are many accounting and bookkeeping firms that can help you stay on top of your finances. They can also provide valuable insights into your financial situation.

10. IT support

If you have a computer or website, you need IT support. But dealing with technical issues can be time-consuming and frustrating. Fortunately, there are many IT support companies that can help resolve your technical problems quickly and efficiently. Having experts on hand to help with your IT needs can save you a lot of time and hassle.

11. Human resources

Managing employees is a complex and time-consuming task. If you’re not an expert in human resources, it’s worth outsourcing this function to a specialist. There are many companies that provide human resources support, from payroll to benefits administration.

12. Market research

If you want to make informed decisions about your business, you need to understand your market. Conducting market research can be a time-consuming and expensive process, but it’s worth doing if you want to make the best decisions for your business. There are many companies that specialize in market research and can help you understand your target market.

13. Marketing

You could say that marketing is everything that we’ve talked about so far. But if you really want to grow your business, you need a comprehensive marketing strategy.

There are many marketing agencies that can help you develop and implement a successful marketing strategy.

14. Business consulting

If you’re not sure how to grow your business or take it to the next level, consider hiring a business consultant. A good business consultant can provide valuable insights and advice on how to improve your business. For example, click here for more info on the benefits.

15. Social media management

Social media is a powerful marketing tool, but it’s also time-consuming. If you’re not sure how to effectively use social media to promote your business, consider hiring a social media expert. Managing social media accounts can be a full-time job, so it’s worth outsourcing if you don’t have the time or expertise to do it yourself.

16. Event planning

Organizing and hosting events can be a great way to promote your business. But it’s also a lot of work. If you’re not sure how to plan and execute a successful event, consider hiring an event planner.

17. Fundraising

If you’re looking to raise money for your business, you need to know how to solicit donations effectively. There are many fundraising firms that can help you reach your fundraising goals.

18. Public relations

If you want to generate positive publicity for your business, you need to have a good public relations strategy. There are many public relations firms that can help you develop and implement a successful PR campaign.

In Conclusion

Outsourcing is a great way to save time and money. But it’s important to choose the right tasks to outsource. Not all tasks are suitable for outsourcing; you might end up spending more money than you save. And some tasks are more complex than others and require a higher level of expertise.

When in doubt, always consult with a professional before making a decision. Do your research and carefully consider which tasks you can realistically outsource. Then, find a reputable company or freelancer who can do the job well.

Ways to Keep Your Employees Productive and Happy

Creating a positive workplace plays a crucial role in ensuring that your business is productive and efficient. Keeping your employees happy is a crucial part of this equation. Treating your team fairly, with respect, and showing them that they are appreciated is vital to retaining your staff and keeping them working as productively as possible. But, knowing how to keep your employees both productive and happy can be a significant challenge. Read on to find out how you can create a positive workplace with happy staff and reap the benefits of a productive team:

Improve the Work Environment

Improving your work environment can be a beneficial way to improve productivity. Making changes to your workplace so that it is equipped with everything your team members need to work efficiently is a great place to start. This can be achieved by checking that all the equipment is fit for purpose and functioning as it should. Having equipment that is not up to the task can make life frustrating for your team and often means it takes longer for them to complete each task than it should. So, ensuring that everything from the physical equipment to software systems and computers is working effectively will help your employees to perform at their best.

Tidying up your business premises and ensuring that it is clean and in a good state of repair will help your employees feel more positive about their work environment and better equipped to use their time productively.

Schedule Shifts Fairly

If there is one thing guaranteed to get your employees feeling unhappy, it is messing with this work schedule. Scheduling team members to work on days when they are supposed to be on leave or setting them shifts when they have already said they are unavailable for work will leave you with an unhappy workforce. Consistently putting the same employees on the shifts that no one wants to work, such as weekends and holidays, is also likely to create tension. It is essential to learn how to optimize workforce scheduling to prevent oversights in your shift allocation from causing upset and ensure fairness. Using workforce scheduling effectively will ensure that work hours are allocated fairly, oversights are avoided, and every shift runs efficiently.

Show Appreciation

Everyone wants to feel appreciated, and your team is no exception. Ensuring that you provide your employees with positive feedback and thank them for their efforts will help them to feel valued. The more recognition your team receives for a job done well, the more likely they are to keep working productively.

Failing to provide recognition and never saying thank you to employees can have a significant impact on morale in the workplace, and in turn, this affects productivity levels. So, when it comes to keeping your employees happy, a simple thank you to acknowledge their efforts goes a long way. 

Provide Benefits

Following on from saying thank you and showing appreciation to your team members, it is also essential to provide employee benefits for your team. Offering a benefits package is an effective way to once again show your appreciation, but it is also a helpful way to help encourage staff loyalty and to reward team members based on their length of service. Many small businesses shy away from providing staff benefits to their teams as they believe they will be expensive. However, there is no need to create an extravagant benefits package, as most employees prefer simple perks. There are many meaningful benefits that you can provide that your team members will appreciate, and these will not cost you too much money. Simple benefits such as giving every employee the day off on their birthday and increasing annual leave days to reward length of service can be incredibly effective and help your team members to feel valued and rewarded for their hard work. Organizing additional treats, such as ordering breakfast for your team on a Friday morning after a successful week, is also a great way to keep everyone motivated and reward them for working hard.

Conclusion 
Employee morale is crucial and has far-reaching effects throughout your business. Many employers overlook the connection between happy staff and increased levels of productivity, and this can lead to disengaged employees and low output. But, keeping your employees happy and making sure that they are productive does not need to be complicated. Going back to basics and providing your team with a fair working environment and acknowledging their efforts will create the perfect conditions for productivity.

Boost Your Brain Power: Your Ultimate Guide

With how hectic life can be, it’s easy to overlook taking care of yourself. There’s more involved than people might think.

You’ll need to do more than look after yourself physically, but also mentally. Part of that involves boosting and maintaining your brain power. That doesn’t need to be difficult.

Once you know how to boost your brain power, you should see multiple benefits, including:

  • Better memory.
  • Improved concentration.
  • More able to make decisions.
  • Able to perform work tasks to a higher standard.

Figuring out how to achieve this could seem difficult, but it doesn’t need to be. Taking up a few hobbies is recommended.

While you might have already heard about how puzzles can help with your brain power, it’s far from the only way you can do so. You have a few creative options to choose from that could be more enjoyable than you’d expect.

Boosting your brain power doesn’t need to be boring.

How To Boost Your Brain Power: 3 Hobbies To Take Up

1. Get Gaming

Video games mightn’t seem as though they can have a positive impact on your brain. While some won’t, a certain portion of them will.

Going with something that needs a bit of thought and brain power is recommended. These can span various areas, such as a nation building game, strategy, simulation, and more.

These can be similar to how puzzles and jigsaws help with your brain, although they can be more interactive. Don’t overdo this, though; you wouldn’t want to spend all night playing and not have enough sleep before work.

Focusing on the types of games mentioned above is also recommended. While other genres can be useful for relaxing, they mightn’t boost your brain power as much as others.

2. Take Up Gardening

When you’re considering how to boost your brain power, gardening mightn’t be the first thing that comes to mind. It’ll have more of an impact than you’d think.

You’ll have a wealth of tasks to carry out and consider, especially if you’re putting together a complex garden. The more plants, flowers, bushes, and trees you have, the more mental and physical effort you need to put into them.

That lets you flex certain parts of your brain more than you otherwise would have. Then there’s the fact that you’ll be outside more, which has several benefits.

Fresh air and sunlight have been shown to have a positive impact on the body. Combined with the mental advantages this can have, there’s no reason not to take this approach.

Then there’s the fact that you’ll make your garden look amazing; what’s not to love?

3. Pick Up A Language

Studies have shown that people who speak more than one language are less likely to experience the effects of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. While this was shown in people who speak two languages, it’s believed that the effects are enhanced with additional languages.

Combined with that is the brain effort you’ll need to put into learning the language. That could help you expand your IQ more than you’d think.

There are no specific languages that show greater results than others, so you’ll have a wealth of them to choose from. It may be worth going with something that you’ll use regularly, or at least semi-regularly.

Doing so will help you give your brain more of a workout. If you regularly vacation in Spain, for example, learning Spanish could be recommended.

You wouldn’t need to do this by yourself. There could be group learning options near you. That could let you make a few new friends while you’re learning the language.

You also wouldn’t need to worry about embarrassing yourself when you’re doing so; they’ll have as few skills with the language as you would. Since you’ll all be in the same boat, it’ll be more fun.

Tips To Use When Boosting Your Brain Power

Figuring out how to boost your brain power doesn’t solely involve taking up a few hobbies. While each of the above can be recommended, you might want to do more.

You can use more than a few tips to help when doing so. Focusing on a few particular areas can help with this, including:

  • Drink Some Coffee: Caffeine can help you feel more alert and concentrated, further improving your cognitive function for the short term. While you shouldn’t drink this constantly, having a few cups of coffee during the day can help your brain power.
  • Get Some Sunlight: Everyone knows that vitamin D is good for them, although they often don’t know how. It can help your brain perform better while slowing down the effects of aging on it. Don’t overdo it, however; too much sun can cause skin cancer, so ensure you wear sunscreen.
  • Sleep Well: Your body takes care of itself when you’re asleep; so does your brain. You need enough of it to consolidate your memories and help with learning. By getting enough sleep every night, you’ll help boost your brain power, alongside seeing other health benefits.
  • Eat Well: A balanced diet is needed for your overall health. Getting the right nutrients, such as vitamin E and amino acids, can improve your brain’s functionality. They can also protect your brain from the effects of aging.
  • Exercise: Exercising doesn’t solely affect your body; it also has an impact on your brain. You wouldn’t need to go to the gym a lot to achieve this. Simply taking a walk every day can be enough to see the associated health benefits.

Implementing a few of these into your daily routine can be recommended. Coupled with the above hobbies, you shouldn’t have a problem boosting your brain power.

How To Boost Your Brain Power: Wrapping Up

Figuring out how to boost your brain power doesn’t need to be difficult. It can also have more benefits than you’d think.

Not only can each of the above help your brain, but they can be entertaining; you’ll have fun when you’re doing them. Why shouldn’t you enjoy yourself while you’re getting smarter.

What’s getting in your way?

What to Look for in an SEO Agency

If you have a business website or blog and are looking to improve your brand awareness and online visibility, then a good SEO strategy is necessary. Search engine optimization is absolutely essential to improve your website’s online visibility and ensure that users can find you easily through search engines. A good SEO strategy will help you create more brand awareness and drive more organic traffic to your website. And since trillions of searches are made using Google every year, it’s never been more important for businesses to focus on improving their SEO. To do this, you may want to consider working with an SEO agency. Here are some of the main things to focus on when choosing the right agency for you.

Reputation

An SEO agency will get you higher rankings, but only if you work with a reputable one. The first thing that you will probably want to look out for is an SEO agency that has a good reputation. Not all SEO agencies are created equal, so it’s important to take some time to find out more about the difference agencies that you might be interested in working with before you decide. Consider the results that they have gotten for other clients and if possible, find some reviews to get a better idea of what past and present clients have had to say about them.

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Cost

Another major consideration for many business owners is the cost. While SEO is an investment and you’re likely to get back much more than you put in when you work with the right agency using strategies that work well, it’s also important to make sure that you are not spending more than you can afford. You can expect a good SEO agency to first take a thorough look at your business before coming up with a unique plan to help you reach your goals and a quote for the work. Set your budget first but be realistic about how much it is likely to cost.

Strategies

There is no one-size-fits-all strategy when it comes to good SEO. Be wary of SEO agencies that promise the best results for your company without first learning more about it and getting familiar with your unique requirements and needs. Because of this, you should always first take the time to find out more about the strategies that the agency uses and how they are going to apply them to your business. This should be set out in a consultation or initial meeting where you can have the chance to get to know the agency and they will be able to find out more about your business to determine which strategies are going to be the best way for you to get the results that you need.

Contract

Finally, bear in mind that most SEO agencies work on a contracted basis so make sure that you are happy with the contract before making your final decision. Avoid working with agencies that expect you to sign a lengthy contract that prevents you from working with any other SEO agencies for the duration. Working with an SEO agency can be an ideal way to improve brand awareness and online visibility for your business. Keep these factors in mind when looking for the right agency for you.