Let Them Know with a Thank You!

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In a conversation I recently had, one of the other people involved mentioned that they hadn’t received any acknowledgement from someone they’d sent a gift to, and remarked how people don’t write thank you notes any more.

This is a good point. I always acknowledge when someone gives me a gift, and, if it was something sent to me rather than given in person, I also let the other person know. It’s just common courtesy. And it doesn’t take long. But even if it does, as when you’ve had a major event, such as a big birthday, wedding, baby or wedding shower, etc., one should still take the time to send everyone who gave a gift or sent a gift, some kind of acknowledgement of thanks! It let’s the giver know that you appreciate the fact that they honored your milestone by giving a gift.

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When someone sends you a gift, especially if its money, do let them know that you received it. In addition to acknowledging their gift, you also let them know that the gift isn’t lost in the mail or that check they sent isn’t winding up in the wrong hands. You owe them that much, at least!

So, you may be thinking that writing thank you notes is old-fashioned and takes too much time. But remember, those who gave you gifts also took the time to get you that gift. And they had to think of what to get you, as well!

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However, while some people think that only a hand-written note is acceptable, I beg to disagree. It’s the acknowledgement of the gift and the thanking of the giver that’s important. An email, phone call, or even a text message at least lets the giver know that you’re acknowledging their gift.

Having said that, if you know that your closer or elder relatives or close family friends prefer the hand written thank you note, then it’s best to accommodate them. And, if you do leave a message, it’s still best to follow-up and thank them in person or over the phone.

But, in any event, do make the effort to thank those who send you gifts, and do it in a timely manner. Others will take positive note of your efforts and you’ll be glad you did.

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Where Is Technology Tripping Up Your Business?

Many company owners often fail to see the implications or complications of a technological world. It’s not always easy to identify where new technologies might apply to your business. But if you fail to recognise that changes are happening and need to happen for your company to be competitive, you might be in for some trouble ahead. Here are just 3 ways your business might tripping up already:

Not Investing In The Latest Innovations

Investing in technology takes a lot of thought. It often takes a lot of research too. It’s worth doing though so that you can keep up with your competition. After all, your customers will expect it. They want to order online and chat with customer service representatives online. Information is essential!

Investments often take a long time to justify, but technology is different. It may not be a do-or-die scenario, but many companies certainly feel under that level of pressure. If you’re looking for ways to fund the new technologies your company needs, then you might contact Unsecured Capital Australia for some ideas on how to finance it. Does your business have products, customer services, ordering systems, and security? All of them can use the latest innovations in technology.

Not Seeing The Opportunities Technology Offers

Perhaps the biggest barrier to investing in new ideas is to not see the potential of what it might offer your company. Every time something new is developed, it takes time for business leaders to implement it and utilize it to suit their own company needs. The news of this ripples out, and eventually you might hear of it. Want to become the company that is first to realize new opportunities? All it takes is an innovative leader with creative thinking.

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The days of creating technology to solve existing problems are far from over. What might stand you apart is the initiative to use emerging technologies to solve problems you didn’t know you had yet. Can you do business in different ways? Can you reach new customers or reduce overheads. What can emerging opportunities provide for you?

 

Not Using Technology To Improve Ways Of Working

New ways of working can drastically reduce your overheads. Remote or distant working has been the dream of many bosses and their employees for decades! Imagine being able to get the job done without having to leave your bed! What about working around caring duties, or even working from a different timezone? All of these were the stuff of dreams. Today it is rapidly becoming the norm.

Flexible working is just one way that your business and employees could benefit from  your investment in new technologies. Smaller premises or even no formal premises might be possible. You might not even have staff on the payroll. Instead, you engage a team of freelancers, reducing your tax and insurance obligations. There will be no pension pot to protect, and no health and safety laws to uphold.

Technology is offering more and more people the chance to work flexibly, develop their own businesses, and live life they way they want to. If the thought of technological advancement is tripping your company up, consider the changes you could make.

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Geeky Gifts for History Buffs

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The holidays are coming, and that means that it’s time to start thinking about Christmas gifts. We all want to give our loved ones something that they’ll truly appreciate on Christmas morning, but as I’m sure you’re aware, that can be much more easily said than done. However, if you have a friend or family member who happens to be a history buff, your task to pick the perfect gift just got a little easier!

Here are some fantastically geeky gift ideas for the history buff in your life:

A History Buff T-Shirt

If your history buff is out and proud about his antiquarian interests, then he’s sure to love a history buff t-shirt, that lets the whole world know what he’s about, and which will surely help him to attract others of his kind!

Fossils

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If you know a history buff who’s really interested in the prehistoric period, then you simply can’t go wrong with wrapping up a few prehistoric fossils for her to open on Christmas Morn’. Specimens like this otodus obliquus teeth are old, unique and extremely interesting, guaranteeing a full-on geek-out when they’re unwrapped. They’ll look great when they’re put on display amongst all those old books and artefacts she has too!

A History-Based Board Game

Board games are pretty essential during the holiday period, so why not present your history buff with a brand new one to add to their collection? 7 Wonders is a thrilling historically based game in which you take on the role as one of the leaders of the ancient world’s seven great cities. You are tasked with building not only your city, but also your army, and your power – they’ll love it!

A History Subscription Box

If you want to give the history lover your life the gift that keeps on giving, then investing in a subscription to one of the offerings from History in a Box, which will see them treated to a new box packed with historical information each month, is ideal. You can currently choose from American History, Ancient History or The Middle Ages, and since you can choose subscriptions by age range, you can always ensure that the recipient will get something out of the gift.

Antique Books

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History buffs tend to love antique books, and there are lots of them to be had, so pick up a couple of their favorites or a tome that deals with a period in history they’re particularly concerned with and they will be happy as Larry when they open it.

Museum Subscriptions

An interest in history and a love of museums obviously go hand in hand, so scope out the best history museums in your area and buy your history buff a subscription if you want to get in her good books, Even better, buy a subscription for you both and commit accompanying her on some of her many outings. Do this and you’ll make her day!

These gifts might be a little geeky, but they are sure to delight any history lover, and you’re sure to be crowned greatest gifter, by your history buff at least, this Christmas.

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Why Life Will Steer You Toward Electric Cars

No matter what your style or passion, electric cars are coming. At the moment there are only a few models available. Perhaps you’re not stirred inside by any of the recent launches. However, there are so many valid reasons for making the switch to electric, that even the leaders of the world are jumping on it. So what is holding you back? There may be nothing you can do about it!

Financial Cost

At the moment electric cars cost more money than their petrol or diesel counterparts. But next year will see a fundamental shift toward balancing out the on the road price. You’ll find vehicles that look very much like the ones you’re already driving. They’ll have one very significant cost advantage over traditional vehicles though. The cost of the electric is just 10% of what you might be paying at the pumps. In the not so distant future, a trickle charge might be solar-powered, meaning that your journey is free.

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Environmental Cost

With next to no emissions, you might think the electric car is environmentally friendly. Before you get too excited, there is still a lot of work to be done. Not all of the materials used to build the vehicles are recyclable. And many of the pollutants in our atmosphere come from tyre particles, not just exhaust fumes. Still, with so many of us now quite excited about the prospect of owning an electric car, pollution levels have the potential to drop significantly. Many world leaders are talking about a complete swap to electric-powered vehicles within just a decade.

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Design Cost

So are electric cars doomed to be small, square, and slow? No. Tesla has already proven that good-looking cars can also be fast and have a record-breaking range. Would you be willing to give up your luxury car for an electric model? It might break your heart to sell, but you might not have much choice. When you’re pricing a luxury vehicle for sale, it’s worth checking the online prices. You might be able to knock a significant chunk off your new vehicle price!

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There will, undoubtedly, be a huge market for high-design and stylish vehicles. Many of the electric vehicles already on the market far exceed their diesel or petrol counterparts. They have more gizmos and gadgets on board, and reviews suggest they’re finished to a higher standard. As we ‘devolve’ to electric, you can be certain there will be a model in every possible category. Best of all, that means there should be an option to suit every budget.

If all of these cost benefits still haven’t convinced you to go all-electric, then perhaps the world-changing around you will. It simply won’t be profitable for standard fuel to be sold anymore. Houses will be built with electric car charging points already built-in. And many countries are raising taxes already to put those old polluters off the road for good. Public transport and services are already converting to hybrid and electric. Why wouldn’t you?

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Family Cars That Take The Stress Out Of Long Journeys

Hitting the open road with the roof down and the wind in your hair, listening to your favorite tunes is a wonderful way to waste an afternoon. For you, driving is more than just getting from A to B, until you have kids that is. As soon as you start a family, driving goes from being a fun way to spend an afternoon to a nightmare of epic proportions. Keeping the kids entertained in the house is difficult enough but when you’ve got them all crammed into a small space it’s going to be arguments and whining all the way.

Looking Man People Woman Car Family Children

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Unless you’re some kind of super parent, you aren’t going to manage a car journey that’s completely peaceful but you can make things a little easier on yourself if you choose the right car. There’s no complete formula for the perfect family car because every family has their own needs. Some need more space so the kids don’t get on each other’s nerves, others are more focused on safety, and some need a way to keep the kids entertained so they stop pestering you for the whole journey.

Whatever your priorities, there should be a car that fits your criteria somewhere on this list of the best all round family cars.

Chevrolet Bolt

Any families that have a keen interest in environmental concerns should look into the Chevrolet Bolt. It’s one of the best value for money electric cars on the market at the moment, coming in at around $30,000. There’s no need to worry about running out of juice on the road because it can do over 200 miles on a single charge and it has a great display that shows you exactly how long you’ve got left before you need to charge again. It looks a bit small from the outside but it’s actually surprisingly roomy once you get inside so you shouldn’t have any fights over who’s got the most room on the backseat. The entertainment facilities are also great for families because for a small monthly fee you can turn the car into a wifi hotspot that supports up to seven devices, so the kids can keep themselves busy in the back while you concentrate on the driving.

Subaru Xv

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Subaru has a bit of a reputation as a boy racer’s car so families don’t always consider it, but the Xv model is the perfect car for people that have young children. Click here for Subaru Xv details to find out more. It’s particularly good for young kids because it has the latest in child seat anchor technology. Making child seats stable can be a bit of a pain in some cars but in the Subaru Xv, it’s simple. That makes getting everybody strapped in and ready to go far easier. The automatic key fob unlocks the car as you get close, without having to reach into your pocket. That doesn’t sound like it would be that useful but when you’re trying to juggle a few kids at the same time, it can come in really handy.

Stop-Start tech cuts the engine when you stop at traffic lights which saves a huge amount of fuel. Cutting the running costs of your car comes in very handy when you’re trying to run a family on a tight budget.

Kia Soul

If budget is the number one priority for you then the Kia Soul is a brilliant choice. It’s the perfect balance of affordable and practical. It’s only around $16,000 to buy which would usually get you a fairly small car but the Kia Soul doesn’t have that problem. The entertainment facilities are great, even on the cheaper model. There’s a six speaker stereo system with simple controls that anybody can master and if you upgrade to the more expensive model, you can even get a voice activation system put in. The amount of trunk space is massive so it’s perfect for long road trips that need a lot of luggage.

Chrysler Pacifica

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid plug-in hybrid

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When you were in your twenties you probably vowed that you would never be one of those parents that bought a clunky old minivan but now you’ve got kids, you’re probably starting to realize why so many parents drive minivans. If you have a large family then they simply won’t fit in your car. You’re going to have to bite the bullet and do what you said you never would; get a minivan. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get one that looks stylish. Nobody’s saying that the Chrysler Pacifica is the most fashionable car in the world but as minivans go, it’s pretty cool. One of the major benefits of the Pacifica is that the front cabin is separated and there’s a noise cancelling feature that you can use if you need a bit of peace and quiet during the drive. Just make sure not to keep it on all the time, otherwise, you won’t know what they’re up to back there. For an extra $2,000 you can make sure that you don’t hear a peep out of them by installing the impressive entertainment package. It boasts a blu-ray player, 10 inch screens in the back of the seats, wireless headphones, games, and even a min vacuum cleaner to clean up any mess they make on the back seat with their snacks.

Toyota Highlander

The Highlander is another great one if it’s just sheer space that you’re looking for. There’s enough room for all of the kids, buggies, and whatever else you need to bring along. It’s got a huge center storage facility so you can access everything that you’ll need during the journey without having to keep stopping and getting things out of the back. It’s got great safety features and plenty of charging ports to keep everybody’s tablets and phones charged for the whole journey.

This list caters to every families needs, and if you can’t find a car on here that will make journeys with the family a whole lot easier, you must be asking too much.   

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Rise Of The Machines: Top Tech For Your Forward-Thinking Business

Take a look around you. What can you see? In this day and age, it’s virtually impossible to escape technology. When you go to a store, you’ll see people pressing their card on a reader to make an instant payment or finding items for their cart off a recipe website. When you’re on the train or bus, you’ll notice the majority of people listening to music or surfing the net on their phones. Wherever you go, you’re likely to come into contact with technology of some sort. Technology has revolutionized the way we communicate and the way we work. If you run a forward-thinking company, you may be wondering what’s next and considering whether you’re taking full advantage of the gadgets, programs, and machinery available to you.

Improving communication

It’s amazing to think that not that long ago we were talking to each other through tin cans. The field of communications has evolved at lightning speed, and we’re almost spoiled for choice when it comes to getting in touch with people. In a matter of seconds, we can make a call, we can video chat, send an email or an SMS or leave a voice note. In business, developments in communication technology have had widespread success, and it’s easier than ever to collaborate with colleagues, maintain contact with existing clients and engage with new customers. Investing in technology such as smartphones, systems that facilitate video calling and conferencing and programs that give you the option to communicate via instant messages and group emails are worthwhile. Consider the cost of organizing a meeting overseas compared to offering employees the chance to get involved in a video conference. You’ll save hundreds, even thousands of dollars on flights and accommodation, as well as a huge amount of time. If you don’t already use state of art communications technology and you’re spending a fortune on client meetings, business events, travel and expenses, now is the time to consider modifying your approach.

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Promoting development

Training is incredibly worthwhile for business owners and employees, but the way we learn is changing. Gone are the days of sitting down with a notebook and jotting down text from a board. Online courses offer employees greater control and flexibility, and they can also be a cheaper option for employers. There’s also the fascinating world of virtual reality to consider. VR is taking the world by storm, and if you offer training programs or the opportunity to learn on the job, this could be a form of technology worth embracing. Virtual reality gives people a real sense of what it’s like to be in specific scenarios, and it helps them to hone their skills in a safe environment. Consider a medical student learning how to conduct a procedure as an example. With virtual reality programs, that student can practice over and over again without any risk to their professional reputation or the patient’s health or safety. In a business context, you could invest in trying to improve your sales team’s performance in pitches. If a person who lacks confidence in their public speaking abilities is able to practice and rehearse in a realistic setting, this will enable them to build confidence so that they do a better job when they stand in front of a panel.

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Boosting efficiency

Improved efficiency is one of the best and most influential advantages of technology in business. If you take a peek inside a factory, you’ll see a dazzling array of components, machines and parts all doing jobs that would either be impossible or incredibly time-consuming if they were left to a human workforce. If you work in manufacturing or construction, it’s so beneficial to invest in modern systems and machinery that will increase productivity and efficiency and reduce costs in the long-run. It’s worth getting in touch with companies like Dynatect Manufacturing to learn more and get tailored advice that could benefit your company. Away from the factories and warehouses, technology also makes a massive difference to efficiency levels in offices all over the world. Many of us use online systems and software to manage everything from rotas and accounts to collaborative projects.

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Promoting healthy living

Many employers have taken it upon themselves to try and encourage healthy living. Sick days cost businesses in the US more than $220 billion per year. As a business owner, it makes sense to try and keep the workforce fit and healthy in a bid to cut costs and improve productivity. There are various ways of promoting good habits at work, such as including discounted gym membership in the employment package and stocking vending machines with healthy snacks, but another option you may wish to consider is the provision of wearable technology. We all know how popular wristbands that count the number of steps you’ve taken have become. Mostly, these are used by people who are trying to increase their activity levels in their leisure time, but there’s nothing stopping business owners from trying to promote active lifestyles at work. Office jobs are predominantly sedentary and providing employees with a wearable tracking device could encourage them to move more, reducing the risk of health problems such as type 2 diabetes and obesity.

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Customer engagement

If your business involves selling products or providing a service, it’s essential to engage with customers. You want to encourage existing customers to use your business again and bring new clients in. If you think back to the days before cell phones, the Internet and automated systems, you had to be manning a phone at a desk or be available to speak to somebody in person if you wanted to tell them all about your business or try and persuade them to place an order. Nowadays, you can reach out and interact with customers long after you’ve shut up shop or locked up the office. You can take calls when you’re not there, respond to inquiries on the go and enjoy 24-hour advertising thanks to the Internet and social media sites.

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Technology plays an instrumental role in modern business. If you’re not au fait with the latest innovations or you haven’t updated your systems or invested in new tech in a while, why not have a look around and see how your business could benefit from being more forward-thinking?

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Are You Liable If Your Small Business Gets Hacked?

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At this point in time, it very much looks like one of the most-used words of the 21st century is going to be “hacked”. There seems to be no limit on the number of businesses that have been hacked; some of the most well-known companies in the world have found themselves having to apologize for falling victim to hacking. Most recently, the Equifax leak was thought to have impacted half the US population— it’s clear that the scope for hacking knows no limits.

When you’re a small business owner, seeing these huge companies falling victim to hacks can be extremely disturbing. After all, if the big fish can experience this, then surely your smaller business can too? And if the worst does happen, are you liable for what then happens to that data?

The Good News

Let’s start with the positive news; there’s a reason big companies are hacked. These companies are targeted specifically because they are the big fish; hackers anticipate the largest payoff if they focus their resources on huge, multinational companies.

For small businesses, the potential for return on investment for hackers just isn’t as good, so there’s every chance that your company simply isn’t big enough to be worth hacking. This is one of the few areas where it’s better for your business to be niche and small, rather than huge and dominating the world!

The Bad News

Hacking is a relatively new problem, so it’s fair to say that the legal system hasn’t quite caught up to the liability of companies when they are hacked. There’s no cut-and-dried legal precedent. In some ways, that’s good news– you’re not definitely liable… but you’re also not definitely not liable.

In the current climate, the best thing you can do is be sure that your business is 100 percent compliant with all the rules and regulations surrounding data storage. This is especially true if you hold customer financial data; for example, an ecommerce store that stores credit card information. If you’re not immediately sure about where you stand in regards to security legislation, then make it a priority to contact a SOC auditor to assess your compliance. If you can prove you have taken the necessary steps to comply with legislation, you have a much stronger chance of defending your case in the event of a lawsuit.

The Ugly News

If you are hacked and customer data is leaked, then you might think that avoiding being found financially liable is the only thing you have to worry about. That’s not the case. In the aftermath of a hack, you’re also going to need to take huge steps to restore customer confidence in your business. This is easier said than done; it can take years to get your reputation back to a level field.

For modern businesses, hacking is an ever-present threat that can cause problems for a number of reasons. The best solution is to protect yourself as best as you can, and keep customers informed if you do suffer a data breach. If you can commit to these two things, then your business is in good shape.

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