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Michael Johnson

How to Boost Profits for the Second Half of 2018

We’re hitting the mid-mark of this year and if your profit margins aren’t what you had hoped and predicted, it could be time to make some changes. You might automatically think cuts in personnel and the like will be the first thing we’d recommend and, although some cuts will likely have to be made, there are plenty of areas in your business that you could tweak ever so slightly and see bigger dividends.

In the end, it really is all about the bottom line if you want to stay in business. Wondering how to boost your company’s profits for the second half of 2018? Read on for some suggestions.

Take Advantage of Customer Referrals

If you don’t have a referral system in place, now is the time to start. If people are happy with your company and/or products, they’ll likely want to tell others anyway. Reward them for it, see their motivation to do so increase, and watch more money roll in.

Cut the Fluff

If you’re offering costly services and products that are losing you money, what are you waiting for? Go leaner on your offerings and streamline what you do sell. You should also do an audit of your workflows and systems and cut out any processes that aren’t working well.

As this Inc.com article notes, “Every dollar you save by eliminating the cost of things that don’t add value to your company or to your customer drops directly to your bottom line.”

And, as painful as it may be, employee cuts could be necessary, too. You might have to run a bit leaner until profits pick back up. It’s also crucial to hire the right people in the first place. Transunion’s new employment background check service, ShareAble for Hires, is an easy online screening solution that takes just minutes to complete. It might seem like an oxymoron to invest in a service like this when you’re trying to cut costs, but placing a great employee in an open position now could save you thousands in turnover costs down the line-and improve productivity (and therefore profitability) at the same time.

Up Your Marketing Game

While cutting might be the name of the game in most areas, marketing efforts are the ones you want to increase. Boost your presence on social media, as that is the biggest way to reach customers these days. Using a social media marketing company like Metric Theory to streamline your social media efforts.

And people always like to get something for free, so offer tutorials, webinars, and podcasts whenever possible. Make sure to use a CRM tool like Zoho to measure which marketing techniques are working, and which ones aren’t.

Put a Sales Hat on All Team Members

Even if you have a sales department, spreading the word about your company and its happenings shouldn’t lie solely on their shoulders. Give all your employees a reason to want to brag about where they work. Whether you have some folks head up roundtable discussions or you offer incentives to anyone who regularly posts pertinent items on social media, everyone in the whole company can and should become walking spokespeople. In fact, you should hire Millennials, as they are known for sharing a lot about their work and work lives on social media.

Negotiate With Suppliers

Suppliers will often offer discounts for paying in cash and/or paying in full, etc. Don’t be afraid to ask about perks that you should be getting for vendor loyalty. Also, be diligent about checking your supplier bills. While it might not be on purpose, there are many times suppliers overcharge for goods or services. Catching these errors could save you thousands of dollars.

Up Those Prices and/or Drop Those Discounts

This can be a last resort but you can’t count it out entirely, as this will help your profitability. Customers know that overhead increases and, although you might lose the odd customer, the boost in profit margin more than makes up for this.

As an alternative, you might think about ditching your discounts. As Guest Writer Brad Sugars notes on Entrepreneur.com, “I once coached a men’s clothing store that regularly ran a 20 percent off promotion on men’s suits. If someone bought a $500 suit, the store lost $100 in profit. I counseled instead to give away a $100 shirt that cost $50. Customers perceived it as the same dollar value, but the store retained more money (and margin).” This same kind of logic can really be applied to any business.

Looking to end the second half of 2018 on a profitable high note? Follow these tips and you’ll be amazed at how quickly your bottom line changes.

All Images by Raw Pixel

How to Create an Ideal Logo for Your Business?

You know you need a logo for your business today. After all, how else are you going to set yourself apart from the competition, and there is always competition no matter which industry yours belongs to. The question is- how do you create an ideal logo that looks professional and appealing but at the same time communicates your company’s vision and mission statements effortlessly?

There are many factors to consider when you want the perfect logo. These are:

1. Brand Fundamentals

Before you actually get to the design part, you must have a clear mission statement and the values you want to build your brand upon. This is because just creating a top-notch and beautiful logo won’t do much for your business unless there is a strong message backing it up.
The following are some of the most important questions you must ask yourself:

  • What problem is my company solving?
  • What is my target demographic (age range, gender, location, educational background, etc.)
  • What makes my company different than the others in the same industry?
  • What are my brand’s USPs?

2. The Perfect Logo Tool

Now that you know exactly what kind of brand you want to build, it’s time to pick a good logo designer software/platform.
There is a slew of logo designing software on the Internet. However, only a few are worthy of your time and investment. You must remember what is a logo used for and its significance in the success of your business. So, you may find many cheap or even free logo design software but if you want a professional design with some class, then you should choose a program like Tailor Brands which is powered by AI i.e. one of the most popular new-age technologies with a serious impact in the everyday lives of consumers.

Unlike other basic logo creators in the market which offer sub-par designs, Tailor Brands uses a proprietary algorithm that creates a unique logo design just for you. Since it’s based on several factors such as your brand’s name, industry, business description, etc. not only it’s apt for your needs, it’s different than every other logo out there. If that doesn’t convince you, it’s quite easy on the pockets too!

3. Simplicity

A company logo should be unique, there are no two ways to it. However, it doesn’t mean that you need to make it unnecessarily complicated just so it stands out. In fact, a professional logo is always simple yet effective.

The reason why simplicity is important in every logo is that only when there is less distraction in the design, the impact can be maximum. A simple logo can be identified by your target demographic quickly and it’s easy to put on your marketing entities (presentation slides, corporate gift items, business cards, pens, notepads, etc.)

4. Typography and Colors

When it comes to company logos, then typography alone can make a huge difference. There are many examples that you can check to understand why.
The thing is that typography represents the name of the brand so it’s often the highlight of the logo itself. In fact, you can greatly change the emotion of a logo by choosing a particular typography. Yep, you read it right- typography connote emotions!

The following are different emotions along with fonts that portray them best:

  • Feminine: Gigi, Kristen
  • Rude: Agency FB, Impact
  • Sad: Courier New, Impact
  • Happy: Comic Sans, Kristen

Similarly, the colors play a big role in logo designs too. Each color has a different impact. So, it’s important that you pick the fonts and colors wisely.

5. Timelessness

An ideal logo is “timeless”. So, your logo should look good today but then also after 10 years, and then 20 years, and so on. In other words, it should have that “classic” quality that makes it appealing irrespective of time and age. Popular examples to refer to for this include Coca-Cola, Google, Nike, etc.

Conclusion

If you want to take your company to the next level, then you must create a brand first. You can start by creating a professional logo for which the points above should help. Good luck!

Featured image by Raw Pixel

Can the World Function without the Internet?

There are now limited places in the world where a person can be without the internet. A bar, at the hospital, at church, at school. The internet is basically everywhere. It makes the world go round. And the world literally depends on the internet to function. Let’s try to think, can the world function without the internet?

For the younger generations, that’s so hard to imagine. For 21st century teens, the internet is life. Everything that they want is found on the internet. Look at the time that they spend on their cell phones. Their social life is now on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, and the Gram. So, can they function without the internet…that’s most probably not likely.

Then again, the teens are not the only ones in the world. We also have the grandmothers and grandfathers. These people managed to survive way before the internet was here. So the question would be if they could do it, why can’t the teens of today do it too? Why can’t the youth remove the “media” and just be social? Have you notice that casinos depend on social media to advertise their table games and other exciting games.

Never Going to be the Same Again

The internet did make life a lot easier though. Its use brought with it internet banking, which means no more bank queues. Communicating with people around the world has been made easier because of the internet.

The internet came with easier shopping. Real money online casino games are a direct product of the internet.

The internet just made life easier, so easy that it makes it hard for the world to go round without the internet.

As much as the internet did make life easier, it also resulted in the need for new skills at a lot of jobs. The internet came with modernization and better equipment. Paving way machines. And machines make work faster and better. One machine could do the work of 15 men. Meaning more efficiency.
The internet also brought people closer together. Travelling was made simpler. Communication was made better.

So can the world function without the internet? Who knows…

Featured image by Raw Pixel

The Move to the Cloud is a Good Thing – But Some Caution is Advised

Over the past few years, the creative world has undergone a mass migration to the cloud, which has been spearheaded by companies like Adobe. The Californian computer software giants are now promoting their cloud-based services over desktop-based apps, and there are many benefits to using these online tools. This is a step in the right direction for the industry, as it is important to use the most up-to-date technology available. However, whenever anything is open to the public, there is always a risk. For that reason, some caution is advised for people who use cloud-based services.

The Creative Cloud from Adobe gives users the entire collection of Adobe Desktop and mobile apps all in one place. These can be used for graphic design, photography, web and UX design, animation and film editing, and communication and social. Having everything in the same place is a sign of the times, as the long-standing app craze appears to be fading. Now, with the advent of HTML5 for websites, there is no longer any need for companies to have separate apps for different things. Adobe has taken this idea and provided a platform that has everything creative-minded people need to thrive and develop their ideas.

According to Steven Warner, the vice president of digital video and audio at Adobe, “the demands and pace of video content creation are reaching levels we have never seen before. The time pressure on video professionals means the need for powerful and efficient creative tools has never been greater.” For this reason, Adobe have aimed to provide content creators with all the tools they need to produce high-quality videos and graphics in a shorter space of time.

The benefits of working with this new software are clear but there may also be some shortcomings, such as security concerns. When working on the cloud, users need to be aware that their information could be targeted by cybercriminals. For people and businesses working online, cloud security is imperative. It ensures that there are secure databases in the cloud, it safeguards applications, and it also supports hybrid deployments. The 2018 hack of Tesla’s Amazon Web Services account highlights the need for safeguarding when working on the cloud. In the breach, cybercriminals used the account to mine cryptocurrency and also exposed some of Tesla’s proprietary data.

Adobe is now looking to expand its reach and get budding young creators familiar with their services from a young age. The company now offers schools Creative Cloud licenses for $5 per year, in a move which could revolutionize interactivity within the classroom. This is set to attract even more users to the Adobe product and strengthen its hold on the industry.

In the fast-paced world of design and content creation, those in the industry must keep up-to-date with technological developments and move with the times. There are numerous benefits to using the cloud now, and, in time, it seems that everything will be done using services like the one from Adobe. Those using the cloud must remember to put proper security protocols in place though, as cyber-attacks are becoming more and more prevalent.

Featured image by Joshua Earle

Tron: The Future of Creative Content Sharing and Payments?

If you’re a creative type, making money on the internet has become markedly easier in the last two decades. Thanks to the power of the internet, those with an idea can turn it into an income if it captures the imagination of the masses. For example, if you design a WordPress template, you can sell it to others and earn some cash. If you’re a YouTuber, your content can reach one billion people every month.

However, as easy as it’s become to make money online, many creatives don’t get the compensation they deserve. There are even some internationally renowned recording artists that don’t feel as though they’re being paid in the right way. The most famous example of this is Taylor Swift. After disagreeing with Spotify’s payment scheme, Swift removed her content from the site. Although she’s since resolved her issues with the streaming service, the issue of content control and compensation is still one that looms large online.
Blockchain Code by methodshop.com

Fortunately, as it often does, technology has stepped into the breach to offer a solution. With the emergence of bitcoin changing the game in 2009, developers are now finding clever ways to use blockchains. Essentially the underlying system that makes cryptocurrency transactions possible, blockchains have made it possible to store, process and track data in new ways.

What does this have to do with creative content, though? Well, thanks to a new altcoin known as Tron, individuals can cut out the middleman and have more control over their content. In simple terms, a user can join the peer to peer distribution platform known as Exodus. From here, they can share content using personal tokens. These tokens will be based on the Tron 20 system and basically allow people to track where their content is being used. Because the system is decentralized, only the individual creator has the power to earn revenue from their product. In other words, the tokens create a direct link between the creator and their audience, rather than a company like Google or Apple (or even a record company) standing in the middle of the process.

Although Tron is still in its early stages of development, it already has an exchange unit known as Tronix. With a tradeable coin in place, supporters of Tron can purchase credits and trade them like any other commodity. For example, by visiting Coinlist, a user can learn more about Tronix coins and about ways to invest in it using an exchange or a broker.
TRON (TRX) Blockchain by Descryptive

On the one hand, Tronix coins have the ability to increase in value as the underlying technology becomes popular. Therefore, from an investment perspective, these coins can be a way to make some money. On the other hand, buying Tronix coins is a way of supporting the development of the Tron system. Indeed, if you’re a creative type that wants to see this technology proliferate and change the way people get paid, trading Tronix coins is a way to help.

At this stage, the future of Tron is far from certain. Revolutionizing how content is distributed and controlled online is no mean feat. However, if the technology can prove it works and people support it, Tron has the ability to give creative types more power over their creations which can only be a good thing.

Featured image by Able-Archer

4 Ways to Improve Quality Assurance

A lot of people tend to think of quality assurance and quality control to be the same but they are not. They may be used interchangeably but there’s a vast difference between the two.

Quality assurance is more inclined towards looking at how processes are performed and products standards are met, while quality control is about inspecting how the process is going through. For a business to run smoothly, both factors need to be paid attention to.


Fooling around by Jippen Jooste

Quality assurance is necessary to ensure that products and services are made and delivered at their best. It helps in keeping existing customers loyal for a long time. Moreover, it helps improve workflow, eliminate mistakes, and more importantly, ensure that only quality products reach the market. This is very important because a business can take a serious hit if it produces poor quality products as such a move can affect its brand and cause it to fail.

Quality assurance is often done with software to figure out weaknesses in the quality of products. These weaknesses are then eliminated by adapting the preventive measures.

In short, quality assurance is the tool used to assure that the quality of products is highly maintained. Businesses need to do this to be able to stay ahead of the pack.

Moreover, they also need to Protect Your Data, continue to come up with newer and better products at affordable rates to ensure that they grow. Now without much ado, let’s have a look at four ways to improve quality assurance:

1. Inspect Products for Performance

It’s not smart to let teams work on their own without any monitoring. There’s a window for error and people working in the quality assurance departments need to understand that. Regular performance checks on employees and products being manufactured should be conducted. It helps to figure out errors and mistakes if there are any.

Early performance inspections will help give you enough time to correct errors and mistakes before the final stage of manufacturing is completed. Waiting for the last moment will cost more money, more time and will even result in a waste of resources and efforts.

2. Take Customer Input

The best way to improve quality assurance is to take customer complaints seriously. No business can shine and thrive if they keep on disappointing customers with the products they sell or the services they offer. The trick lies in conducting customer surveys and learning about the areas where you can improve. For example, most customers these days want to know how businesses protect data and apps. This is important with data breaches becoming a common occurrence.

If your customers appear to be concerned about this factor, you can educate them about how you ensure the safety of their data to satisfy them. Customer feedback can be taken in a variety of ways such as online surveys, walk-in forms etc.

3. Conduct Tests Right From The Beginning

Many businesses wait until all requirements are met to finally conduct a QA test to ensure everything is right. However, it is recommended to begin taking tests right from the initial stages so that problems can be found and corrected in the beginning.

The best part of conducting tests, in the beginning, is that it will reduce cost on a huge scale because you won’t be dealing with large-scale problems at the end.


Crunching by William Iven

4. Automating Where Possible

There are many ways to improve quality assurance and automating processes where applicable is one of them. This is done by using a quality management software that monitors all processes.

There are many benefits of doing so. It does not only help you save time and money, it also improves customer loyalty as the use of such tools improve overall quality. QA can differ for different businesses but the end-goal remains the same.

Featured image by Jefferson Santos

Why it is Fundamental for Businesses to be Creative with Apps in 2018

The business landscape is a rapidly changing one, a fact that rings especially true when it comes to the manner in which people communicate and expect to be able to access the offerings of big companies.

In the past, companies in sectors like retail, gambling, and even travel, had to adapt to ensure their customers were able to make use of visually appealing websites that were also easy to navigate and frustration-free from start to finish. The aim was to ensure that customers felt they were getting a great customer experience online, in precisely the same manner as they would expect solid customer service in physical stores. Nowadays though, especially in the EU following the introduction of GDPR (which has impacted upon apps as well as websites), it is proving difficult to retain loyal customers through a website presence alone.


Circles Photo by Ashley Kirk

Indeed, with sites as huge as MSN having failed in the past before seismic events like GDPR to keep up with the times, we could start to see a similar experience in the near future if businesses fail to realize the importance of having a creative and engaging app, something that has the potential to keep customers loyal to a brand.

Not just a waste of screen space

The buzz surrounding apps is perhaps not quite as noisy as it was at the height of their publicity back in 2016, especially as growth in using them has slowed slightly, but there is no denying the fact that they are still a vital element for many businesses. There may well be millions (perhaps even tens of millions) of apps that are redundant, but companies that push creativity as part of their app design process are keeping apps at the forefront of their marketing efforts.

This importance is particularly telling in crowded marketplaces like the iGaming world, where having the right app can be the difference between success and failure. In such crowded marketplaces, brands that fail to have an engaging app that allows players to game on the go and take advantage of timely offers can prove to be make or break. For companies like Lottoland, who spend time and money on making apps and websites that are geo-location specific, having this extra outlet that can allow consumers to stay up to date with their winnings wherever they are in the world without being near a computer means that they can attract loyal customers who end up wanting to stay with them for longer.

More than just games

The iGaming world may be an example of an industry where apps can prove the difference between success and failure, but it isn’t the only one. In fact, a recent list of the top ten apps used includes none from the world of gaming; not even Pokemon Go or Candy Crush get a look in. What this shows is that the big tech players like Facebook, Snapchat, and even Google are all aware that the way people browse and use the internet has changed, meaning that a more personalized approach through an app is going to be a more positive experience for a consumer than a blanket approach on a mobile site.
Photo by Christian Wiediger
With this in mind, companies looking to get the fundamentals right in 2018 should make sure that they don’t just have an app created as a gesture, but one that really makes their customers want to download and use it every day.

Featured image by Rami Al-zayat

18 Astonishing Examples of Accounting Print Design

Print marketing material can set the tone for your business. For accounting, you want to make sure you give off a professional vibe, but still stand out from the competition. This is the case from business cards to envelopes and everything in between-and managing all of that can be difficult.

Just because you’re an accountant doesn’t mean your design needs to be full of numbers and math symbols. Playing with various colors and imprint methods can do the trick. Still, need more help? Check out these 18 awesome examples to get you started on your design.

Getting Creative with A Secure Crypto-Wallet In The Digital Age

While it’s an incredible feat that the world is deep into a digital age from a technology point of view, it is probably not headline worthy anymore. Unless affected directly, not many however attribute the same importance to the risks involved. Cybersecurity is a hot topic across countless industries, but none more than that of finance and with cryptocurrencies working their way into more mainstream use – or at least recognition – having efficient security is vital. If you own cryptocurrency, then you’ll already know about wallets, but what about those looking to invest? Here, we’re exploring crypto-wallets, and just why it’s important to keep them secure.

What Is A Cryptocurrency Wallet?

At a basic level, a cryptocurrency wallet is similar to a normal wallet, however, it is only available digitally. Within these wallets, you can store, send and receive different digital currencies including industry leader Bitcoin and any other altcoins on the current market. There are multiple wallets available on the market, however, most coins will have an official option where possible and though these do tend to be the most secure, don’t always assume this is the case. Some coins might not have their own wallet, but instead, a few suggest third-party choices that you can choose from, and it’s always important to do your research before delving into them.

How Does It Work?

Remember how we said that cryptocurrency wallets essentially worked like a normal wallet? Well, this isn’t strictly true. In fact, the coins that you own aren’t actually stored in the wallet at all. Instead, your wallet stores your private key which can only be viewed by you and your wallet and will allow you access to your coins. A public key also comes as part of the wallet, and this is the key that is connected to a certain amount of the cryptocurrency. In other words, your wallet is the storage point for your private key, your public keys works as a ledger for your transactions, and allows you to send and receive your payments as you so wish.

How To Secure Your Wallet

Whether you’re looking to store your bitcoins, or you’re delving into an alternate cryptocurrency, ensuring that your wallet is secure at all times is vital in an increasingly digital world. Of course, most cryptocurrencies are naturally secure regardless, but increasing the wallet security never hurts. Here are just a few tips to get you started:

  • Always Have More Than One Wallet – Have two wallets, if not more, regardless of how many coins you own. This will give you the opportunity to use one to store your savings that will remain untouched, and the other will be for trading or transactions. This will be the most active of your wallets, and is at the highest risk were a hacker to be successful, so make sure you follow our other tips to be safe!
  • Do Your Research – Some wallet providers will have better security options than others and making sure that you do your research into which are the best will help you pick the most secure option. It can be tempting to rush into a decision when you’re focused on creating your wallet, but making sure that the encryption and optimization are at a high-level standard is a must.
  • Don’t Use Public WiFi – This is a bit of a given for any kind of data, but if you can avoid it, never use public WiFi when making your transactions. Risky WiFi networks could be the difference between a secure wallet, and one that is easily hacked, especially during your transactions.
  • Turn Off Auto-Updates – The cryptocurrency world is still fairly new, and as a result, bugs are rife. This is especially true for new updates that haven’t had a chance to have their full run yet. By turning off auto-updates, you can check to see if anything is going wrong through other people’s reviews and complaints, as opposed to having to deal with these bugs and faults yourself.
  • SSL SecuritySSL Security is the most important thing you need to keep an eye on when it comes to cryptocurrency wallets. If your wallet doesn’t have SSL security or the wallet you’re sending or receiving from doesn’t have it, then stop the transaction altogether. It’s simply not worth the risk!

The Most Secure Wallets Available

The right wallet for you will ultimately depend on the cryptocurrency that you are looking to invest in, but for the sake of giving you a few examples, we’re looking into some of the most secure and highly rated on the market.

1. Bitcoin Core

Bitcoin core was the original Bitcoin client, and as a result is still highly popular with Bitcoin users today. Being the first doesn’t necessarily mean the best in most cases, but with Bitcoin Core, it’s safe to say it’s certainly kept the high quality it was initially known for. It’s available for Windows, Mac and Linux, and with its ‘full-node’ properties (meaning it downloads the entire Blockchain), it means that hackers are less likely to find your coins which ultimately makes it more secure. Of course, this means that you’ll likely need a lot of space, so only those with beefy computers or secure external hard drives can use this wallet.

2. Jaxx

This wallet is perfect for those looking to delve into multiple cryptocurrencies. Developed in 2014, this wallet gives you the opportunity to host multiple cryptocurrencies at the same time, while keeping everything secure and safe. The simple interface makes it beginner friendly, however it’s important to remember that while it is a secure wallet, it can still have it’s vulnerabilities, so keeping a backup is a good idea.
Hopefully, this has given you an insight into crypto wallets and just why we need to keep them secure. The potential behind cryptocurrencies in the future is too great to pass up, and now is a great time to invest.

Featured image by David Shares