Is It Really A Good Idea For Your Business To Go Cashless?

Cash use has steadily been declining in recent years as new technology like contactless and mobile payments make it easier than ever to get by without physical money. The COVID-19 pandemic saw a lot of businesses move to a completely cash-free model and it looks likely that many will stick to the new way of doing things in the future. But is this really a good idea? 

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People always talk about the benefits of going cashless, like faster payments and saving time on cash handling. However, there are a lot of downsides you should consider before deciding to do away with cash altogether. These are some of the reasons why businesses shouldn’t go cashless. 

You Alienate Certain Customers

The younger generation are good with technology and have no problem using contactless cards and mobile payments. They manage their budget by tracking their spending on a mobile banking app, but that’s not the way that the older generation do things. Many older people don’t like using new technology and they prefer to take out cash so they can monitor their spending. Some people might not have a bank account at all or they may be paid in cash. If you switch to a completely cash-free model at your business, you alienate these customers and you could lose a lot of sales. 

You’re Reliant On Credit Card Systems 

Technology is great when it works, but what happens when it goes down? If you only accept card payments and your system breaks, you can’t make any sales until it’s back online again, which is a serious problem. But if you take cash, you can continue operating while things get fixed. If you install a cash machine and use a good ATM service and repair support company, you can ensure that your customers always have access to cash to spend at your business. This means you can avoid expensive downtime and prevent any frustration from customers. 

You Pay More Credit Card Fees

The fees on credit card transactions can be as much as 3 or 4 percent and, over time, this cost quickly adds up. A lot of businesses struggle with this, which is why many small companies only accept cash and some places will charge you an added fee for credit card payments. However, charging a fee to the customer can annoy a lot of people and it doesn’t usually cover the full cost anyway. So, your business is still losing a lot of money through credit card fees. If you decide to go cashless and force everybody to make card payments instead, that loss will only increase. If you are looking for ways to save your business money, encouraging more cash payments is one of the best things you can do. 

There are a lot of benefits to offering a wide range of payment options and taking card payments does make things easier for a lot of customers. However, there are still a lot of people out there that like using cash and it does have its benefits. So, now may not be the right time to go completely cashless. 

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Machine Learning Is Getting Smarter

In the 1950s, the definition of artificial intelligence (AI) was simply the training of computers to do specific tasks. Today, Google AI researcher Francois Chollet states that AI is a machine’s capability to adapt to a new environment, improvising by using its stored knowledge. It is also a machine’s efficiency in learning new skills as it performs tasks in unfamiliar scenarios. Technology executive Boris Kontsevoi wrote in Forbes that machine learning (ML) identifies patterns in data and draws conclusions from these. ML develops AI and both need specific datasets to apply to specific tasks.

Any industry can use AI to increase efficiency, production quality, volume of output, and revenue in the modern world. Companies that leverage AI are outperforming their competitors.

AI in Medicine

AI was instrumental in the quick development of vaccines against the Covid-19 virus. Usually, it takes years to develop a vaccine against a specific disease. This time, it took only a few months after the start of the pandemic for several vaccines to be presented.

In February 2020, Baidu’s LinearFold AI algorithm predicted in just 27 seconds the secondary structure of the SARS-CoV-2 RNA sequence. This is 120 times faster than other methods and was used in developing messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. Later, Baidu’s LinearDesign AI algorithm was used to eliminate unstable and unproductive mRNA sequences in vaccines. In June, AI technology completed within 10 hours the genome sequencing of the coronavirus strain. In December, Baidu released PaddleHelix, an AI bio-computing framework for drug discovery, vaccine development, and precision medicine.

Likewise, the USC Viterbi School of Engineering released in February 2021 an AI vaccine design framework that can pinpoint the best vaccine options among many possibilities within seconds. In less than a minute, it can create a new vaccine for a new virus. In less than an hour, it can validate the quality of the vaccine.

USC Viterbi used raw data from the Immune Epitope Database (IEDB) that has more than 600,000 known epitopes from about 3,600 species. Scientists worldwide have been gathering data about Covid-19 and other diseases into this database. The study also included data from the Virus Pathogen Resource.

With AI technology, more pharmaceutical firms will hopefully develop new Covid-19 vaccines that are effective against mutations. To be able to meet the demand for vaccines worldwide, companies must also maximize the use of AI to hasten production and delivery.

AI in Industry

There are many uses of AI in manufacturing, from product development to delivery. AI can design prototypes, test these virtually, and reengineer these, if necessary, without production cost. Customized versions of the design can also be quickly created virtually.

In the production line, robots do tasks that humans cannot do or are dangerous for humans. They are also used for tasks requiring absolute precision, eliminating the possibility of human error, and repetitive tasks. Robots can learn to do rigorous quality control on products. Adding AI to robots gives them the ability to continue learning as they perform tasks. In other words, experience enhances their initial programming, and they progressively get better at what they are doing.

There are also collaborative robots or cobots that work beside humans in factories. These AI-equipped cobots can do various tasks and their spatial awareness enables them to detect and avoid obstacles.

Adding AI to equipment enables the prediction of breakdowns through sensors that continually monitor all parts of the machine. This, in turn, enables preventive maintenance that saves time and cost. A fully AI-automated factory is also cost-effective because it can function without lights and work continuously around the clock with no breaks, weekends, or holidays off.

Applying AI to inventory and logistics enables a company to accurately predict needs and avoid shortages in raw materials. It can automate its supply chain based on predictive analytics. Similarly, a company can automate its delivery system to avoid delays.

AI Everywhere

You may not have realized it, but AI is almost everywhere in the modern world. With the Internet of things (IoT), AI connects many gadgets and devices. There are currently smart versions of almost any home appliance that you can control even when you are away from home.

If you are using the Internet, your online behavior is being tracked by websites. AI learns your habits and provides the ads that are related to your interests in various platforms you visit.

Any business, big or small, can benefit from the use of AI. Through data gathered from customers, AI can provide targeted and customized marketing campaigns that are more effective in triggering purchases. As it learns more about each customer, it becomes even more accurate in predicting needs and wants. Indeed, artificial intelligence is getting smarter and smarter.

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Three Commercial Services That Every Public Park Needs

The public spaces in communities are important because these are the avenues where people can bond with each other, meet new people, and discuss what can benefit their community. Parks and playgrounds also serve as recreational spaces where people can exercise or breathe in the fresh air.

Fortunately, most communities have their own public parks that can be accessible to everyone in the neighborhood. These places are perfect for children who want to play with others their age, for adolescents to spend time with their friends, or for adults with a strong urge to be in the presence of nature.

That’s why public spaces should be well-maintained to assure the members of the community that they won’t be harmed by using the facilities inside the parks. However, since such spaces are always open to the public, the maintenance, cleanliness, and safety of the utilities are questionable.

It’s a good thing that there are services created specifically to cater to this need. These businesses offer their products and services for a reasonable price, which can then be taken out of the community budget. To give you an idea, here are three commercial services that every public park needs:

Public Restroom Providers

It can be impossible to ignore the calls of nature when they come, especially when you’re out in the public. Unfortunately, clean and maintained restrooms aren’t always available when you need them. In addition to that, it’s even more difficult to find functional restrooms in parks or playgrounds.

This leaves people to struggle to answernature’s call in secluded areas in the park or rush to the nearest establishment to relieve themselves. However, if there were public restrooms in the area that people can use when they need to, then they wouldn’t have to cut their engagements short.

There are plenty of public toilet manufacturers that sell prefabricated structures for a reasonable price. These toilets are durable, functional, and easy to use, which means that they can be beneficial to all the members of the community who frequently spend time in the parks.

Outdoor Furniture Suppliers

A park is not a park just because it has a lot of open space. People in the community go to the park to relieve their stress, soak in the sun, breathe in the fresh air, and bond with their neighbors. These activities can be difficult to do when there are no dedicated areas for them to relax.

Good parks or playgrounds will at least have benches and tables where people can sit. Relaxing in the park can be uncomfortable if there are no functional chairs or benches, just like it would be impossible to play in a playground that has no equipment like swings, slides, or monkey bars.

For public spaces to cater to the needs of the community, they would have to be equipped to carry out their purpose. This means that the leaders of the community must work with outdoor furniture suppliers who can provide durable structures that people can use in their parks.

Park Maintenance Services

Grasses, trees, and bushes can quickly become messy when left untended. Moreover, weeds tend to grow anywhere the opportunity presents itself, and if no one stops them, these weeds can take over the entire expanse of the parks. An unruly park will be no place for children to be left unattended while playing.

Despite nature’s ability to take care of itself, letting nature take its course is simply not practical in a public park because people of all ages go there, and therefore, can be exposed to the dangers of an unmaintained space. Public parks need to be properly maintained to remain functional.

It’s the job of the community leaders to make sure that their parks are maintained by professionals. This can include hiring landscapers to mow the grass, plant flowers, and trim the bushes. Another important personnel is a janitor that can ensure the cleanliness and safety of the public restrooms or other structures.

In some cases, these employees are overseen by a maintenance supervisor that assigns tasks and manages the schedules regarding the needs of the park. They are also in charge of hiring and training park maintenance employees while keeping the community leaders updated.

Public spaces like parks and playgrounds are vital to the growth of the community. Even if these places aren’t profitable, they can be very beneficial to the health and development of the members of the community. As such, the parks need to well-maintained and prepared to cater to the needs of kids, teenagers, adults, and the elderly at any given time.

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Commercial Landscaping: Make It Work for You

A successful business will have a well-maintained lawn. A scruffy lawn or poorly maintained shrubs and trees makes it seem as though your business does not make enough money to afford to landscape. Landscaping can help set the tone for the kind of interactions you want people to have with your staff when entering your building.

Flawless and attractive landscaping can put people at ease and allow them to feel confident in your services before they even reach the lobby. It also allows people to focus on what your business can do for them rather than distract them with why you allow your commercial building to look run down and unkempt.

Commercial landscaping can be aesthetic and serve many purposes. A vertical wall garden can help show that your business is serious about its Eco-conscious ideals in an aesthetically stunning manner. A water feature is a great way to create calmness and relaxation in people as they pass by on the way to the front doors. Clear signage surrounded by colorful shrubs and bushes can catch passersby’s eye and help draw them into your premises.

Create a Welcoming Entrance

Ensure that no matter how many bushes or plants are on the lawn, that the entrance to the building is clearly visible. Consider leaving that side as clear as possible and framing the entrance in moderately sized plants in pots.

This will help draw attention to it and give customers an easier time identifying it and making their way towards it. Line the walkways with small shrubbery and recessed lighting for the evening.

Showcase Your Signage

Your signage is a draw and can help to attract people’s attention to your building. If someone is specifically looking for your premises, the signage will ease this matter for them and earn their gratitude.

Many businesses use roadside signs, but few arrange for it to be aesthetically pleasing. Arrange for attractive landscaping features to help it be highlighted in an eye-catching way. Glaring lights contribute to visibility but will not hold the gaze the same way as a pretty flower border or an attractive rock garden.

Match the Lawn to Your Brand Color

Every brand has a color scheme for its logo, which can help create a unique and attractive effect on your lawn. Match your brand logo colors with your flower beds and shrubbery to make an aesthetically interesting appearance.

If the colors are simple enough, you could even recreate the company logo on the lawn with shrubbery and flowering bushes. Soil and light conditions will affect this, and the season is a big factor as well. So regular maintenance will be important to ensure that this attractive lawn feature looks good at all times.

Restful or Decorative

You need to decide early on if you want your lawn to be simply decorative or if you will allow clients to enjoy them from within. Providing benches and a delightful sandy walkway can be an attractive feature which makes the premises look inviting.

But if your business does not require walk-in customers, it is best to plan for a purely decorative lawn that serves only as an aesthetically eye-catching background for your signage.

Pay Attention to the Architecture

The architecture of the building can help to narrow down the landscaping choices. The style and contours of your building can go a long way towards helping to send the right message when in combination with your landscaping choices.

A wide entranceway with pillars calls for a sweeping lawn with well-kept bushes on the borders and a trailing vine on the pillars. Cacti and rock gardens would complement Bungalow-style red-brick buildings.

Matching the landscaping to your building’s architecture helps it stand out positively and combines to show it off in its best light. Mismatching lawns to the building can create a sense of discord in the viewer and make people too uncomfortable to approach the building.

Find ways to add attractive covered walkways from the parking lot to your building entrance. Provide a wide driveway into the building and clear signage directing people to the lobby or the parking lots. Heavy shrubbery can obscure important signage, so make sure that the plants are cut back in areas that need high visibility.

Walkways with rows of plants are delightful, but they must not go above shoulder height as this is a safety feature. Plants can also cause shadows, especially with a covered walkway, so provide adequate outdoor lighting.

Separate, covered walkways with proper lighting and clearly indicated parking lots can help prevent accidents that can leave a company liable for damages. Thus, it becomes important to clearly indicate the level to which you will allow clients to interact with your gardens. Thus, if someone does disobey the many clear signs, you or your business cannot be held responsible.

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4 Ideas to Earn Money Online

The pandemic has required people around the world to stay indoors. This led to businesses losing significant amounts of revenue, which led to many people losing their jobs. With people looking for alternative ways to make ends meet, it comes as no surprise that interest in online businesses is on the rise.

The great thing about the Internet is it is a community hub, sales channel, and marketing network all in one. It offers various opportunities for people to make a living on it. Read on to learn some online money-making ideas you can explore:

Dropshipping

In dropshipping, you don’t keep stock of the products you sell. You purchase products as needed from a third party — usually a manufacturer or a wholesaler — and have each order shipped directly to the customer.

Dropshipping doesn’t demand as much as the traditional retail model because you don’t have to open a physical store, pay overhead, and stock inventory. As a dropshipper, you can reap a huge share of profit by marking up the products you sell. It’s a business model that can be very rewarding.

Startup costs in dropshipping are low, making it an increasingly popular way to earn money online. Among the top-performing categories in dropshipping are women’s clothing and accessories, home and garden, beauty, and jewelry. Products in these categories have a large market and are thus bought relatively frequently.

Shopify is a simple e-commerce platform that you can use for your dropshipping business. Once you are more established, you can explore additional website customization.

A challenge in dropshipping is the heavy competition. In order to succeed, you have to beat your competition with a well-chosen niche and innovative marketing.

Blogging

People blog for various reasons. It could be to share their thoughts and experiences, to educate readers, to sell products and services, or to build one’s personal brand. But how do you make money from blogging?

When starting a money-making blog, you must choose a niche. This allows you to speak to a target audience with your quality content, which can lead to sales and leads.

There are a couple of ways to monetize your blog, including:

  • Sell physical products to your readers. For example, t-shirts or pillows.
  • Sell digital products like digital art, designs, templates, photography, or courses. You can create once and then sell again and again.
  • Sell freelance services like writing, bookkeeping, and consulting
  • Promote brands as an influencer
  • Sell memberships or subscriptions to private content on sites like Patreon

An advantage of blogging is it doesn’t require a big investment. However, it might take a little while before you can earn through this hobby as the blog won’t start at the top of Google search results instantly. But with tenacity and a well-chosen niche, you’ll be on your path to earning money through your blogging hobby.

Some blogging platforms you can use are Blogger and WordPress.

Creating Videos for YouTube

In the past years, YouTube has become the go-to source for all types of video guides and courses. You can make money on YouTube in different ways:

  • Offer video editing services – If you have the expertise, you can earn a lot from video editing because many people are creating videos for the platform. Start by creating your portfolio and showcasing your editing talent. Then you can pitch to your network, local businesses, and freelance marketplaces, such as Upwork.
  • Apply for the YouTube Partner program – You can make money through membership perks, ads, and features, such as Super Chat. Super Chat allows viewers to pay so their messages will be highlighted during live streams.
  • Connect to the Google Adsense program – You must connect your channel to your Google Adsense account to get approved as a partner. Generally, you’ll earn based on the “impressions” that your videos get. An impression is every click or viewing of an ad.
  • Make videos for YouTube Premium – YouTube Premium is the platform’s ad-free subscription service. You can earn a share of the profit from membership fees based on how many times members viewed your videos.
  • Use video sponsorship and product placement – In exchange for a shout-out, companies that are interested in your audience might offer product placement deals or sponsor your videos.

Typing for Cash

If you want a flexible job that requires little to no prior experience, transcription could be the job for you. Transcribing is not complicated: simply listen to an audio file and type it out. If you’re a fast typist, you could earn a pretty penny with this one.

Transcription gives you the freedom to set your own hours. In a lot of cases, it will also allow you to work as little or as much as you want every week.

Transcription jobs are usually categorized into three: general, medical, and legal. The exact amount you can earn from transcribing depends on factors like the company you’re working for, the work available, and your skill level and speed.  Time spent on a transcript is influenced by factors such as audio quality, the accent of the speaker, background noise, and the speed at which people speak.

Companies such as Rev.com hire freelance transcribers.

Now is the time to take advantage of opportunities online. Explore these money-making ideas according to your passions and skills. With hard work, you’ll find yourself making the profit you desire.

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Maintaining A Fleet Of Vehicles: What You Need To Know

All businesses face differing problems. For all the profit made throughout the year, there are going to be periods of worry and even stress. If you maintain a fleet of vehicles, you’ll know that it comes with a serious investment in terms of cash, time, and management. Every business owner will approach this in a different way, along with how they approach working driver management. Some will have fleets of trucky, while others will focus on cars or even motorbikes. With that said, some things always stay the same.

Keep A Log Of Those Key Dates

There are often key dates when vehicles are concerned and if you have a fleet you need to keep up with them all. Some prefer to have these dates all come at once, while others will stagger then so that there’s less of an impact. MOT’s are a key annual factor if you’re running a fleet which is a few years old. This MOT guide can illustrate the process, but you also have to think about servicing, which can sometimes be bundled into the MOT. Of course, this is expensive, which is why some stagger instead of doing all the vehicles in one. Another key date to remember is tax. You don’t have the discs in the window to remind you anymore. You can log however you see fit. Paper based copy works but use google sheets and you’ll be able to access from anywhere. 

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Try To Save Money On Parts

Parts are expensive. There are some great deals to be had when working directly with part shops and companies, especially if your fleet is especially big. However, if you had the time and inclination you could do this yourself and save some money. Especially if you keep tabs on maintenance and fix as you go. Amazon is a surprisingly good place for car parts. Just make sure that they’re approved sellers and not on the gated brands list because they may not have been properly vetted. You can also save money on parts if you buy in bulk in advance. Think about it. Usually you’ll buy parts as you need them, one by one. If you buy in bulk once or twice in advance you’re saving cash. Just buy the things you know you’ll need. Wiper blades, brake pads, etc.

Ensure Driver Compliance

Your drivers need to be compliant with the laws of the land in which you operate. This is pretty easy to forget or to mess up. Perhaps someone gets banned from driving and doesn’t tell you, then gets pulled up in a company vehicle. You’re going to get trouble from the authorities for employing someone who doesn’t have the right to drive. Same with the people you employ. Vet them. Don’t just vet their driving license. Make sure that you check everything out as best you can. Don’t take anything for granted and double check everything. Also, test their skills. Sure, they may be qualified, but they may not be able to drive to your own personal standards. Worth checking before you have them sign on the dotted line.

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How to Successfully Manage Remote Workers

Remote work became the buzzword when the pandemic hit. As companies were scrambling to ensure that their operations continued even amidst a lockdown that some countries are still experiencing, it became the solution to most of their problems.

But while working remotely was the easiest solution to an unexpected problem, it also posed a new challenge to managers used to working with in-house personnel. All of a sudden, they had to rethink the way they operate, the way they communicate, and the way they evaluate their team’s performance.

If you find yourself in the same boat, read on to find out how you can manage and lead a team of remote workers effectively and efficiently.

  1. Emphasize the importance of communication

While your team was in the office it was easy to see who’s on break, who’s in a meeting, who’s out to lunch, or who’s not in for the day. You don’t have that same visibility on your team’s schedules when you’re working remotely. Thus, it is important to ensure that you’re not just communicating, but you’re “over-communicating.”

Setup a notifications channel on your preferred workplace chat app where team members are required to notify what they are doing if they would be unable to reply to messages. This way, everyone has a way of knowing where each other is and expectations are easily set and managed.

  1. Have shorter meetings

Let’s face it, even when you were in the office you hated long meetings. Imagine having to sit through 3- or 4-hour meetings while working remotely. You would get distracted more easily and not everyone may get a chance to share their thoughts. Instead of these lengthy and often long-winded meetings, have shorter 30-minute virtual huddles with clear agendas, and everyone is encouraged to participate.

  1. Utilize collaborative tools

Similarly, you can operate using shared documents like Google docs or spreadsheets where all team members are able to contribute. It could be a master list of all your clients, an evolving style bible, or a spreadsheet of issues encountered that you could tackle at the next meeting.

In this way, not only are you fostering a collaborative environment but you are also assuring your team members that they are being heard.

  1. Be a good listener

This leads us to the fourth tip. Don’t just tell your remote workers what to do. Instead, you have to take a step back and listen to what they need. The best remote workers are the ones that can work independently, and when you listen to your team members, you can easily identify who would benefit the most from constant monitoring and who would be better off being left to work on their own.

Regardless of the level of management they would need, however, it would still be a good idea to introduce an employee net promoter score. This will allow you to have a pulse on what your employees are truly feeling and how you can address any concerns they might have.

  1. Allow for substantial break periods

When you’re working remotely, it’s sometimes difficult to differentiate the line between work and personal life. Employees tend to work overtime, get easily distracted, or would need to schedule personal errands during work hours. As their manager, you need to rethink the way you value their work. Reconsider your bodies-in-seat mentality and welcome the productivity hacks that each worker comes up with uniquely.

This way you ensure the jobs still get done, but your work-from-home employees are happy and satisfied with the new arrangement.

  1. Set expectations

But just because you’re being flexible in your way of thinking, doesn’t mean you have to forget about deadlines and expected output. Make these expectations clear and remind them often that regardless of how they do it, there are certain expectations that they need to meet.

For example, if you’re managing a team of content writers, set a number of words they have to meet in a day and find a sweet spot of time when it can get done in a timely manner and still have enough time to meet high-quality demands.

  1. Celebrate your wins

Finally, be sure to acknowledge the successes and wins that your team has achieved. These can be small victories like no late submissions for the week or month or something as big as launching a new product.

Make it a fun and engaging activity. Shoutouts are great, but how about considering doing a video presentation recognizing your team’s efforts? This makes the win more personal and their individual contributions are supported.

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CBD Is A Massive Opportunity For Today’s Crop Of Entrepreneurs. Here’s Why

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You might know about CBD for its apparent benefits for wellbeing, anxiety reduction and chronic pain. But it is also a massive business opportunity for entrepreneurs. That’s because of how the market is going to evolve over the coming years. 

A Little Background

Just a little background first. CBD and cannabis are not the same thing. CBD is a specific compound from hemp plants that appears to interact favorably with the body. When people consume it, they feel like they are moving back to “balance.” Their brain chemistry normalises and they stop feeling so much pain. At least, that’s the claim. 

CBD is legal in most countries, even if cannabis is not. So you’re perfectly within your rights to slap your brand on it and sell it to the market. But it’s also a growing industry, and that’s what makes it such an exciting prospect for anyone getting into the field. It feels a little bit like software in the 1980s. It’s exploding. 

Why CBD Is Going To Become A Major Industry

CBD is a fascinating molecule for its ability to change a person’s internal chemistry and states of consciousness. 

At the moment, we have a serious problem in the West. Most people are miserable and hate their lives. They feel anxious or depressed most of the time, and they’re looking for ways to escape this. 

Traditionally, people had two options. They could either go to their doctor and get them to put them on dangerous brain-altering pharmaceuticals, or they could go to their local drug deal. Neither of those solutions was ideal. 

But now there might be a third way: CBD. CBD alters the internal state of the body, but only in a way that brings it back into balance. People who take it regularly swear by it, claiming that it improves their wellbeing in unimaginable ways. CBD is also perfectly legal, so people aren’t risking a criminal record for using it. It seems to offer all of the benefits, and none of the downsides. 

Depression and anxiety look like they are going to continue their upward trend over the next couple of decades. So entrepreneurs need to be ready with safe and effective products to counteract the problem. And nothing is more potent in this regard than CBD. The industry is going to explode. 

There are all sorts of angles you could take as well. You don’t just have to slap your branding on CBD oil and sell it over the internet. Other opportunities exist in edibles, topicals and even cannabis debt collection (a kind of B2B service for the industry). 

Wrapping Up

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CBD has all of the properties of an industry set for primetime. It is gaining legal backing (a trend that is unlikely to reverse). It is something that people need and that requirement is only going to go up in the future. And it is also a product that people feel that they have to have continuously. All those factors mean that the market is going to grow tremendously, and a lot of people will get rich off the back of it.

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How to Choose the Right Tech for Your Business

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The majority of businesses, big or small, need to rely on technology to gain a competitive edge. State-of-the-art tools and devices allow you to provide a more efficient service to your clients and improve communication and collaboration among your team. It’s important to know you’re investing in the right tech, however. It should directly help you reach your business goals and ensure you achieve the maximum ROI. It also depends on your industry, if you’re a photographer, a high-end camera is essential, but for marketing purposes for a catering company, perhaps not. Here’s how to choose the right tech for your business.

Outline your needs and goals

Before acquiring any tech, you need to learn how to conduct a technology assessment. You can also outsource this service to an agency or MSP that specializes in procurement. They will be able to assess your technology needs and offer professional insights. It’s also important to outline which specific business goals investing in new tech will help you achieve. These should be measurable in numbers to work out a budget.

Do industry-specific research

If you need specialist hardware, software, other equipment for the type of business you run, research industry trends. Find out which brands your competitors are using and whether they’re working for them. For example, if you work in the holistic therapy industry, you’ll need to find the best hyperbaric chamber for sale online. Try networking with similar businesses for tips and advice.

Work out a budget

Once you’ve figured out your needs you can then create a realistic technology budget. It’s worth going over your budget with a financial advisor as there are many new trends in technology budgeting. Businesses are choosing to invest more in tools and tech as they help streamline many processes and make a good impression on clients. There are also plenty of ways to cut costs, however, and a financial advisor with experience in your sector will be able to help you with this. 

Factor in the well-being of your staff

When assessing your needs it’s essential to factor in creating a healthy workplace for your staff. This means that part of your budget should be going on providing ergonomic working equipment and ensuring they have the tech they need to do the best job. You’ll only experience a lull in productivity if not. If your staff is comfortable and in good working conditions they’ll perform better. Also, keep them fully up to speed on how to use the new technology you’re implementing, and invest in onboarding and training sessions.

Consider scalable tech
You also need to consider the scalability of your tech. This refers to its capability to adapt if you grow your business. You need to ensure it can cope with more users, big data, and is compatible with multiple devices. If you’re planning on scaling your business in the future, you’ll need technology and equipment that will grow with you. This will ensure you achieve maximum return on investment for your purchases.

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3 Inexpensive CX Systems that Can Benefit Your Small Business

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Whatever your sector, if you deal with any amount of customers then it becomes more of a necessity than a choice to deliver the best customer service experience possible. While a satisfactory customer experience should be aimed for inside an establishment, your business might extend beyond this and may not even be physical at all.

In many cases and as your company grows from a startup into a small business, the time comes where you will need to implement some kind of customer service initiative or a mixture of some that are available in order to provide the easiest process possible for any consumer.

Some of the best and most used customer interaction experiences include:

  • Live Chat
  • Ticketing
  • Call Center

Live Chat is a relatively new feature that has become popular with larger companies while ticketing is good for handling a large volume of queries and utilizing a call center to handle customer service over the phone is still a widely used method.

Live Chat – Are You Human?

Talking to someone in a chat window is one of the simplest ways to deal with an issue that might arise both from a customer and a company perspective. The quick and synchronous nature of Live Chat means that details of an issue can be conveyed in a timely fashion where urgency might be important. Some Live Chat programs also incorporate the use of AI Bots at the start of interaction before it is passed on to a relevant human associate.

Live Chat can benefit small businesses especially as the customers that engage in live chat systems are less likely to abandon shopping carts and having questions answered by a human during a purchase is likely to increase conversions. Systems like click4assistance provide such features as analytics, real-time monitoring, and video chats as well as chat functionality through reactive and proactive communication channels. 

Ticketing – Take a Number

An older yet very effective form of customer communication, ticketing systems are an excellent method of handling a large volume of queries. By allocating reference numbers, urgency indicators and categories to a particular query, ticketing makes it very easy to understand the severity of any issues and identify any ongoing or urgent problems that require more attention.

Similar to a standard form, a ticketing system makes it very easy for customers to raise or enquire about an issue and has become the communication form of choice for companies that deal with a large volume of queries on a daily basis such as video games developers. In situations such as limited staffing for small businesses then this is an excellent option over standard email queries. 

Call Center – Hold Please

Utilized as a customer service tool since the very beginning of its invention, the telephone has been a standard form of communication between a company and its customers for well over 100 years. But it wasn’t until the 1960s that the call center was created to handle a mass volume of customer queries, in the UK, with the first successful call center being opened in 1973 by the Rockwell Corporation for Continental Airlines.Since then, call centers have boomed and a recent survey found that phone communication is still preferred by 61% of people over newer technologies. While call centers can be used for handling queries, their use as a lead generating and marketing tool for business promotion has become more prolific over the past 20 years and you don’t need to own your own team but can rather hire a call center company for a relatively small monthly fee and the amount directly related to how small or large your business is, with most call center services even offering e-receptionists; an excellent alternative over an expensive full time employee when starting a small business.

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