Development Outsourcing Metrics

Outsourcing is no longer a new concept. Lots of companies are electing to use service providers to supply certain tasks as opposed to handling them in-house. When done correctly, outsourcing can be extremely efficient and profitable. Yet, one thing that needs to be considered prior to the process of outsourcing is the development of metrics. These are essentially guidelines that are developed in order to make certain that the service provider’s deliverables meet the expectations of the customers or end users. Keeping that in mind, in this post we will take a look at the main considerations in development outsourcing metrics, so keep on reading to discover what they are…

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First and foremost we have people metrics. This relates to the individuals who work at the company you are considering outsourcing a portion of your work to. You should develop a set list of skills and qualifications you expect from the employees of the service provider. This will help to ensure that they possess the necessary skills and experience you require. Measuring performance is another metric that should be considered when it comes to developing the necessary guidelines for the employees.

Aside from this, two other important metric areas are cost and responsiveness. Let’s deal with the former first. Cost metrics are imperative to ensure you do not receive any nasty surprises when the company invoices you for the work they have provided. It’s vital to establish a cost per function point for both maintenance, like outsourced IT support, and enhancements. Aside from this, responsiveness is another critical metric. Businesses that do not establish this metric prior to outsourcing often live to regret it, as communication proves to be inefficient. You should establish commitment timeframes for project estimates, enhancements, call backs, ad hoc requests and the closing of production application defects.

We have already discussed the people metrics that are needed to ensure a quality service, yet you should also consider technology and process metrics in order to achieve this as well. After all, no matter how skilled the workforce may be, if they do not have the right tools and systems for the service you require they are not going to be able to complete it effectively. Putting in place guidelines in regards to processes and technology will help to ensure that you are happy with the service you receive. You may also wish to implement a customer satisfaction survey as part of a customer satisfaction metric at a certain phase of the outsourcing process to ensure that the service provider is actually meeting the goals of your end users.

All in all, this post has presented some of the fundamental development outsourcing metrics you definitely need to consider when you begin the process of looking for the best service provider for your needs specifically. This should give you a basic guideline regarding the approach you should take to measuring providers and ensuring they supply the standard of service you require. You may need to add additional metrics in regards to your company and/or the part of your business you are outsourcing.

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Online Marketing Strategies For Those On A Budget

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When it comes to growing your business online, marketing is right at the heart of everything you do, but it can be extremely overwhelming when you go online and see the big gurus and entrepreneurs with the flashy marketing and telling you that you need to have this strategy or this system otherwise you’ll definitely fail.

Not only is it untrue that there’s just one marketing strategy, tool or system that will work for you, but it’s also not necessary for your marketing to be flashy or cost a lot of money. Although it’s always great to be able to invest at higher levels and make your marketing look more professional and polished, but this is not necessary for success, and is only something you should do if it makes practical and financial sense for your business.

In this post, we’re going to share with you some of the top online marketing strategies that you can try out to see which ones are best suited to you, and the great thing about these strategies is that they’re simple enough that anyone can use them, and they really work well no matter what your marketing or start up budget is.

Blogging:

If you have any kind of online business – even if you have an offline business, you should be using the power of blogging to share great content with your audience. If you’ve never blogged before, you may feel a bit overwhelmed with the process, but really the best thing to do is come up with a list of topics that you think your audience would be interested in learning about and then creating some posts in advance around that, once you’ve created some posts in advance so you can schedule them out and remain consistent, since consistency is what contributes to growth.

Podcasting:

Creating a podcast show is another great way to reach an audience of people who may be interested in your products and services, and the great thing is you don’t need to come up with new and separate content each time. You can repurpose the blog content or take snippets of each post and then expand on it. Don’t worry about repeating yourself because not everyone consumes content in the same format – some people prefer blogs or videos, whilst others prefer podcasts.

Webinars:

Webinars are a fantastic marketing strategy when done right. They have gotten a bit of a bad rap in recent years because some people have been using them in a very sleazy way and only looking to make sales without delivering any real value. However, if you have a high value product or service such as coaching, copywriting, or even IT Support Services, then you could create a webinar that provides great value around one of these and then pitch your services at the end.

Social Media:

Social media is not about making sales, but building connections and relationships. If you’re able to do this with your audience, then the sales will come, so make sure you’re utilizing the power of social media for marketing your business online.

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Explore The Costs Of Car Ownership

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Owning a car gives you a sense of freedom like few other things in your life. The ability to jump in your vehicle and hit the road is something that every driver should never take for granted. But, unfortunately there comes a price with having that freedom and these must be considered before taking the plunge into purchasing your car. So here are some of the other costs that come with owning a car.

Gas

There is one expenditure that stands out above all others and that is the price of gas. Your car needs it in order to operate, but whether you’re a petrol or diesel user the cost of fuel is never going to be too far from your mind. If you are concerned about the amount you are spending on your gas, then you might want to look at websites like Fuel Economy that will calculate how much you are spending on miles per gallon. The current national average for gas prices is $2.250 but can be almost a dollar more than that in different parts of the country.

Maintenance

Cars take a lot of work to maintain, it could be a breakdown while driving or just general day to day maintenance that you need to undertake. Unlike in other countries like the UK, there is not a yearly car inspection required for your car so long as it can drive above 55 mph and has working lights. However, depending on your state you might need to pass regular emission tests.

Keeping your car in full working order is important and you can do that by taking good care of it yourself in an attempt to avoid paying the average of over $500 on auto-repairs. Some things that you can do include keep your car clean to avoid damaging the body or allowing dirt to cause erosion, make sure you are replacing the car’s liquids regularly and inspect your tires before any significant journey.

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Car Fees

Just owning a car that sits on the driveway still costs you money. You should make sure you are aware of the costs involved in insuring your vehicle and registering it for road use. These costs are usually annual expenditures so can be worked into your household budget relatively easily. With the insurance aspect, make sure you are shopping around and using comparison websites to get the best deal available to you.

Other Costs

Finally, there are all sorts of other costs that can arise when you own a car. One example is a fine for speeding or other misdemeanors. However, don’t just accept these fines, especially if you are not convinced by the accusation. Websites like TicketBust can help you handle any claims against your driving with regards to a ticket you have received.

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Making Sure Modern Customers Eat Up Your Restaurant Business

In modern business, every industry faces obstacles. Retailers have been struggling since the internet came along. Even real estate agents are feeling the sting of our changing habits. One industry which hasn’t changed all that much, though, is that of hospitality. It seems that we still appreciate a good restaurant. This remains the case, even though many of us have less spare cash to play with.

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As such, you may think a restaurant is a sound choice for a new business venture. And, you wouldn’t be wrong. Of all your options right now, this certainly seems to be experiencing change at the slowest rate. That said, it would be naive to think that you’re guaranteed success. While changes here are minimal, they’re still happening. And, if you want any chance, you need to keep on top. If you are toying with this, then, it’s essential you consider including the following in your business plan.

Take out services

Not all that long ago, a select handful of restaurants offered takeout services. Now, this is a staple if you want to stay ahead of the game. Delivery apps like Deliveroo and Just Eat mean customers expect takeout from any restaurant. By offering a private service for this from day one, you’re sure to impress. Even better, this needn’t cost you a fortune. One or two delivery drivers are all it takes. By asking them to provide their vehicles, you can cut costs here even further. Just like that, you can ensure you’re appealing to modern consumers who have no time to spare. Even better, you could be one of the only restaurants in town who offer this without a middle-company.

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See your food in stores

Since Nandos released their Piri-Piri sauce in supermarkets, restaurants have been expanding their sales horizons. Selling pricey meals of an evening is all well and good, but it may not sustain you. There will be quiet nights, after all, and no guarantee of income. That’s why you should work to sell signature foods to local food stores. By investing in resealable plastic bags, custom-designed with your logo, you can more than double your earnings. This is also a sure way to see you making money during those quiet weeknights. Get this right, and it could even see more customers coming into your restaurant itself.

Take it online

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To some extent, restaurants remain mostly untouched by the online revolution. A computer can’t eat your food for you, after all. But, you may still find that taking some things online helps you. For one, it can pay to accept bookings and take out orders through your website. This ease of use is sure to go down well with customers and could see your popularity soar. It’s also worth making use of visual mediums like Instagram to build an audience. By taking staged photographs of your best dishes, you ensure no one will be able to resist a trip to your restaurant. And, isn’t that what any business owner wants?

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The Unexpected Costs Of Running A Business

The decision to start a business is not a simple one. Although it can seem like it in the moment, there is a lot that needs to be considered, from the workload to the thoughts of your family. You also need to plan for the cost. Despite what some people say, launching and running a company is never cheap. What’s worse, it’s often much more expensive than you first imagine. In addition to the obvious expenses, there are a number of unexpected ones that can sneak up on you and ruin your finances. To prevent this disaster, here are ten costs you may not have considered.

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Research Expenses

Before you can even start your business, you need to decide exactly what it is that you want to sell. Although some people already have an idea at this point, others may not. To give yourself some inspiration, you will need to conduct research, identifying gaps in the market. If you have a business idea already, you will still need this research to validate it and find customers. Whether you do this research yourself or hire an agency, you should prepare to pay hundreds to do it well.

Business Insurance

Considering most businesses begin at home, many entrepreneurs assume that they don’t need insurance. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to be the case. Even without any customers or employees yet, you’ll still need to protect any equipment or products for your company. Unbeknownst to many, this won’t be covered by your home insurance. As your company starts to take off, you’ll need other additional policies, like general liability and worker’s compensation.

Association Fees

In the very beginning of your business, it helps to be connected. This is why so many entrepreneurs spend time at networking events and engaging with other business people online. Another great way to put yourself out there is by linking up with a trade association. Unfortunately, this method isn’t free. The memberships for these industry associations can easily cost hundreds, so it’s important that you choose the right one for you and your company.

Employee Recruitment

There comes a time for every business owner when they can no longer do everything themselves. It’s at this point when you’ll need to start looking into bringing on additional help. However, with job promoting, interviews, tests, training, and more, the hiring process is far from free. Even if you don’t spend money on certain stages, you’ll still need to consider the cost of your time. This is why so many entrepreneurs outsource work before they build a team.

Legal Fees

No one goes into business planning or expecting to face a lawsuit, but there’s no use in ignoring the possibility. Even if you’re not to blame for anything, bogus lawsuits can still waste your time, as well as increase insurance rates and lead to settlement costs. To limit the negative impact of these issues, you should hire professional legal advice from the moment you begin your business. In addition to assistance with legal troubles, they can also help you to avoid them.

High Turnover

After spending so much time and money recruiting new talent, the last thing that you want this for them to move on to another company. This means you’ll have to face the costs of the hiring process all over again, as well as pay for someone to cover their workload in the meantime. High employee turnover is a problem for companies far and wide, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be for you. If you create a positive and rewarding work environment, new hires won’t want to leave.

Staff Rewards

Keeping your employees happy doesn’t always have to cost money, but no one can deny that it sometimes does. To show your appreciation for their work and keep turnover down, you’re going to need to find ways to reward your team. While a simple “thank you” will suffice in some circumstances, in others you may choose to offer a cash bonus, paid days off, or a small gift. You will also need to provide a competitive and comprehensive benefits package.

Product Shrinkage

When a business handles products, regardless of its size, there’s going to be a risk of product shrinkage. This occurs when products are stolen, damaged, or otherwise lost before they can be sold to customers. This is a major issue in the retail industry, costing millions every single year. While there are ways to reduce shrinkage, such as by installing better security equipment and improving product management, there is no way to eliminate this issue as a whole.

Equipment Maintenance

All businesses need some sort of equipment to keep them up and running. Computers, tablets, and other office technology are fairly common, but there are also more expensive tools required in different industries. Everyone starting any type of business understands that they’ll have to pay for this equipment, but very few entrepreneurs consider the cost of maintaining it. While this is cheaper than replacing your gear, it’s still an expense that will need to be budgeted for.

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Company Time

As one of your most valuable resources, no one can deny that, in the world of business, time truly is money. This means that when you waste the few hours and minutes you have each day, you essentially take money out of the wallet of your company. With that in mind, many businesses invest in finding ways to make processes and the company as a whole more efficient. This might mean investing in better equipment, bringing on more staff, or even moving.

Launching a new business is an exciting prospect, but you should not allow that to overshadow the finer details. Companies need money to survive, which means that, if you manage yours poorly, your business may not be long for this world. You simply can’t afford to ignore or forget about the small and unexpected costs. Hopefully, with the information above, you can plan for your surprise expenses, protecting your company finances and business as a whole.

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Stop Wasting Money On Making Your Home Cozy

Home buyers fall in love with their property.

Homeowners, on the other hand, need to work hard to continue to love and cherish their home. Making it cozy and appealing is an effort of every day. From the choice of decor to the addition of new units and appliances, it’s crucial to let your home evolve with you.

But in an era where economists forecast the next financial crisis for 2020, you can’t afford to let your home investments cast a shadow on your financial stability. Keeping the household together doesn’t come for free. But, there’s a significant difference between spending the necessary amount to keep the property functional and pleasant, and wasting your savings in a lost and pointless cause. Indeed, because homeownership doesn’t have to break the bank, you need to keep an eye on your expenses toward coziness.

Replace baths by showers for affordable coziness

#1. Simple is better

You ’ll be surprised to know that on average, 25% of US homeowners spend over $5,000 on their interior style only. As a result, they create an abundant and crowded decor, that can not only feel overwhelming, but that also leads to unnecessary stress at home. Coziness is all about creating a style that can stand the test of time. When it comes to your decor, you need to focus your attention on establishing an elegant but minimalist ensemble that ensures the house is balanced with its surroundings.

#2. You shouldn’t agree to any work without an estimate

Too many homeowners pay more than they should for repair and improvement works. Indeed, while it might be tempting to look for a contractor and stick to their prices, you should always search the market for the best options for you. For instance, most contractors provide a quoting system, from a free estimate AC repair to a ballpark cost overview for plumbing changes. The key is to collect a couple of quotes for comparison and to go with what feels right – which isn’t always the cheapest depending on the services you need.

#3. You don’t need all the gadgets

As a rule of the thumb, everyone owns on average over 10 devices they don’t need. While this might sound impossible, you might want to consider your possession or recent purchases carefully. An iPod, for instance, used to be a popular gadget. However, it’s now an old-fashioned tool that has been entirely replaced by smartphone technology. Similarly, your digital camera is just as useless. When was the last time you used it? Your smartphone can do everything a camera does, and it can share images in a click. In short, think twice before buying your next gadget.

#4. You consume more than you need

Who doesn’t love a nice bath? Everyone loves the sensation of sitting in the warm water. However, running a bath will use up to 80 liters of water, which can become a costly habit in the long term. Ultimately, utilities such as electricity and water come at a cost. But while bills are increasing, households increase waste too, with up to 15% of waste by leaving the water running or appliances plugged in.

The bottom line is that running your household is expensive. However, it doesn’t have to cost as much as you think. You can cut down your costs and still have a cozy and pleasant home.

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5 Reasons to Become a Freelancer

5 Reasons to Become a Freelancer

There’s no arguing that having a freelance job is a lot more flexible than an office desk job. The freedom you acquire when becoming freelance is something a lot of people will admire. So, if you’re thinking about going freelance but something is holding you back, here are five benefits that may just tip the scale.

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Your Workload

When you work for someone else, your workload is dictated to you and isn’t always a practical amount. Whether it’s because you have too much on your plate or you haven’t got a big enough challenge, being a freelancer can fix that problem. When you’re your own boss, you can accept or deny the projects that come your way. Of course, you’ll always have to have a good reason for denying a client, but it means you don’t have to take on anything below your skills or low paying.

Your Health

There are certain times of year where colds and other illnesses will fly around the office. If your colleagues don’t have the good sense to stay home while they’re ill, it usually means others get infected too. As a freelancer, you don’t have to come into contact with clients or colleagues who are ill because most of your work will be done at home. Secondly, if you fall ill yourself, you can take time off knowing you can catch up with work at a later time.

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You’re Not Alone

Many people don’t take the leap into freelancing because they believe they’ll have to do everything alone. That is far from true. From building your website and help from a managed service provider to calendar and finance tools, there’s something out there for every problem you could come across. Just because your sat at home alone, it doesn’t mean you won’t have access to the exact same things you would if you were sat in an office.

You Answer to You

Being a freelancer won’t necessarily mean you have no-one to answer to. Clients will chase you if you’re late delivering work and you will lose clients (and money) if you’re not strict on yourself. But, when push comes to shove, you haven’t got the stress of a boss breathing down your neck or treating your poorly if you make a mistake. In fact, studies have shown that freelancers often deliver a higher quality of work because they don’t have the same pressure as office workers.

Forget About the Commute

No more long drives to work in the morning, no more public transport or getting soaked in the rain during your lunch break. Avoiding the commute means you’re helping the environment by not adding to the pollution and you have some extra time in the morning. Whether you use that time to get in some exercise, a healthy breakfast or a nice lay in bed, is up to you.

Starting your own freelance business is exciting and rewarding, even if it is hard work.

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