What to Do When You Experience a Power Outage

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You don’t realise just how much we come to rely on the energy that powers our homes until it cuts out. Once the power goes, we cannot light our properties, cook our food, shower or complete our beauty regime, or entertain ourselves with television, games, and laptops. An extended outage can cause stores to close, disrupt communications and transportation, cause food spoilage, and even prevent use of medical devices. It’s not all too surprising that this can cause serious disruption to our lives and is a relatively daunting situation to face. But not to worry. Here are some steps that you can take in order to tide yourself through a power shortage as effectively as possible.

Preparation

Seeing as you can never be entirely sure when a power outage will occur, it can prove to be a relatively difficult situation to deal with. However, there are a few preparatory steps that you can take which will help to see you through the situation seamlessly if you do experience it down the line.

Invest in a Generator

The first, and perhaps most effective, step that you can take is to have a power generator installed in your home. This works as a great back up supply of energy that can simply be switched on and used as and when needed. This will quite literally allow you to carry on about your day to day tasks and business without having to wait for power to return. Make sure to have your generator installed by reliable professionals, such as Assurance Power Systems. This will give you the best chances of your generator working properly and always being something to fall back on in times of need.

Stock Up on Candles

If you do not intend to invest in a generator, there are other steps that you can take. Consider stocking up on a bag of tealights and a few lighters or boxes of matches. While these will not power your standard electrics, they can be used to light up your property when your electric lights shut out if it starts to get dark. This way, at least you will be able to find your way around your home! Just make sure that candles aren’t left lit unsupervised, as this poses a safety hazard.

Purchase a Portable Charger

You may need to get in touch with various different people when you experience a power outage. The first number that you should call is 105. This is a nationwide number that will connect you to your local electric network operator. They will be able to inform you what is happening and when power will be restored. Next, you may want to call for family or friends to let them know what’s happening. This won’t be possible without any charge on your phone. So, purchase a portable charger and ensure it is full at all times. This can then be used to boost your phone’s battery levels.

As you can see, preparation is key when it comes to dealing with a power outage. So, start taking steps to secure yourself today!

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Has Your Business Yet To Reach Its Full Potential?

The answer to that question is probably “yes”. Every successful business should be growing and evolving on a continuous basis if it wants to remain important in a fast-moving industry. How often do you return to the drawing board when it comes to your business plan? Are you making the necessary changes to take your company to the next level? These are the questions you need to answer if you want your business to stay ahead of the curve and beat other companies in the marketplace. The following suggestions could help your business to realize its full potential.

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Push your employees in the right direction.

A good brand, quality services, and a strong marketing campaign are all examples of things that create a successful business. We’ll talk about some of them throughout the rest of this article, but the very first thing that demands your attention is your workforce. Your employees are the ones who keep your company running; they deliver the products and communicate with your clients. A shiny brand is nothing without substance behind it. If you want your business to reach its full potential then your employees need to reach their full potential.

Of course, we’re talking about more than increasing productivity levels here; we’re talking about improving the skills of your workers as individuals. You might even want to check out this library of engaging IT training courses so as to help your employees improve their technological skills. It’s very important for your employees to have current and relevant knowledge if they’re going to compete with the professionals at competing companies. That’s how your business will maximize its potential.

Exceed customer expectations.

The best way to increase your business’ potential is to exceed customer expectations. Retaining a client base (and growing it) can be tricky in a competitive landscape. There’s always the risk that customers will be swayed by rival businesses offering better deals and offers. That’s why you need to go above and beyond to win over clients and build a loyal relationship with them. There’s nothing like surprising them with a great deal, for example. You could offer your customers a discount on their next purchase or surprise them with an email out of the blue with a freebie as a way of showing your gratitude. If you exceed customer expectations with unexpected deals and offers then you’ll make a long-lasting impression on them. That’s the way to ensure customers stick around and increase sales. You might have the potential for a larger client base than you think if you just work on your customer relations. You just need to show that you care about what the customer wants.

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Focus on online marketing.

Another way in which your business could increase its potential in terms of sales and long-term customers is to improve its online marketing approach. There are so many consumers that you might not yet be reaching, but a better digital campaign could change that. You should create a captivating homepage, for starters. It should be well-designed so as to make navigation easy for visitors. A responsive layout is important too; your website should look good on mobiles, tablets, or laptops. You don’t want potential clients to be put off by an unappealing website. In addition, search engines algorithms value well-designed websites, so you’ll stand a better chance of ranking highly on sites such as Google or Bing. You could increase traffic and see a better conversion of traffic to sales. It’s time for your business to realize its online potential.

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Is Faxing Still Business Relevant?

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In the last 20 years alone the technology industry has grown exponentially and we have left the days of the VHS far behind us. With the fast advancement in technology it is easy to move on to the latest tech and leave the old stuff behind without a second glance, but there are still certain things we used to use which can be used today.

The prime example of this is a fax machine. If you are young enough not to know what a Fax machine is: it is a way of sending post through a machine which is similar to a printer. Every Fax machine has its own number just like a telephone, and you can send documents and messages to the machine, and it will print off at its destination. So why do we need this machine when we have email?

Many people still use it

The easiest reason to get on that Fax train is that it still has a huge user base around the globe. Back in the day this was state of the art technology, and people who used it back then still love to use it today. You can get fax solutions for small business and you will see what a difference it can make with communication. You will end up with more messages than you think.

It’s quicker

Believe it or not a Fax machine can be quicker than using your computer to send a document across to another office. Let’s say you have a document which needs to be scanned and sent to someone else in another building. You will need to first scan the image, then download it to your computer, make sure it is a good enough copy and then send it. However if you have a Fax machine you simply place the document in the top, type in the recipient’s number and send. Quicker, and much less stress.

Better way to send your signature

Our signature is a private thing which ideally we never want to be available for anyone else to use. However with online apps that offer digital signatures, you have the risk of someone else using your signature on a document you haven’t authorised. However, if you have a Fax machine all you have to do is sign the document and send it. You don’t need to let your signature get anywhere on the network.

Confirmation

One of the things which seems to have been lost in the years of technical advancement is the idea of sending a message and receiving a confirmation that it has been sent and received. This is something which might not sound like a big deal but you want to know that the right person has received your message.
Whereas when you send an email you get nothing back, with Fax you get a confirmation page printed to prove that the message went through successfully. This gives you the peace of mind to know that you have sent the document to the right person and they have received it.

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Selling Online When The Very Site Of Websites Gives You The Fear

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Do computers frighten you? Does the very sight of them send shivers down your spine? For those of us who didn’t grow up with computers, these small plastic boxes can seem like black magic. What kind of madness is this? And, who would risk of using it?

Quite a lot of people, it seems. While you’re stuck in the past, the rest of the world is growing and expanding. And, it’s all thanks to the internet. The computers you were convinced were evil are helping the lives of millions of each day. They’re also helping to expand businesses across the globe. And, if you want to keep up, you need to find a way to do the same.

It may seem daunting, but selling online is now a prerequisite to success. And, to help you get a grip on it, we’re going to look at three ways to get your head around this.

Limit your learning

The first thing you need to do is limit your learning. In case you hadn’t guessed, the world wide web has a pretty broad reach. As such, it’s impossible to get a grip on every little aspect. And, in trying to do so, you’ll only set yourself back. Instead, you should limit your learning to what you need to know. In truth, selling online doesn’t require a wealth of information. You’ll only need to visit and understand a handful of sites to make this work. You may also need to know some basic HTML (don’t worry about what it is for now), but that’s easy enough when you set your mind to it. Take your lessons one step at a time, and make sure not to get bogged down with unnecessary websites.

Find your platform

At some point during your learning, you may find that every e-commerce store needs a platform. This is software from which you build your selling site. Most platforms also promise to make your life easier by streamlining your processes. In short; they’ll keep all your information in one place. To make sure you get this right, it’s worth doing an ecommerce platform comparison which can lead you to the best options in the field. Once you’re working with a company, you can rest easy that they’ll help you with the stuff you don’t understand.

Study social media

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you may have heard of a little thing called social media. Well, this is also essential for your success. That said, for those who have never used them, sites like Twitter can seem like a whole other world. While studying social media may sound strange, it’ll go a considerable way towards helping you here. You can learn to use sites like these in the same way you learn anything. All you need to do is research and read up on how they work. A quick search in an engine like Google is sure to lead to you to a wealth of information in this field.

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Intermediate Computer Skills Every Millennial Needs on Their CV

Millennials have grown up with the internet and technology. With the oldest of them probably getting online no later than their early to mid-teens, and the youngest not remembering a time without the internet, they tend to be all over anything to do with technology. However, despite this, many millennials don’t have the computer skills that employers are looking for. In the US, 32% of people aged 16 to 29 don’t have any work-related computer experience, and older generations have years of experience using computers at work. If millennials want to stand out, they should demonstrate some of the following intermediate skills.

Basic Coding

The ability to do basic coding is becoming a huge asset in the workplace. It can help to complement a range of skills, from web and graphic design to copywriting. It can be pretty easy to pick up on your own, but there are also some great courses you can take. Even kids can pick it up, so there’s no excuse!

The Nitty-gritty of Computer Tech

You might be able to make a PowerPoint or even mess around in Photoshop, but being able to use a program is different to really understanding it. Having some in-depth knowledge about operating systems, databases and other things that form of the background of the applications you use will definitely help you.

Microsoft Office Usage

Employers will ask for skills in different software applications, but Microsoft Office is often the standard. Most people know the basics of how to create a Word document or input a formula in an Excel spreadsheet, but being able to do more will get you far.


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10 Mistakes That Cause Kickstarter Projects To Be Delayed

Crowdfunding can be incredibly thrilling, right?

You’ve been dreaming about something for months, maybe even years, and now you finally have a chance to bring it fruition. And so you carefully put together your Kickstarter campaign, estimating how much it will cost and when you’ll be able to ship it.

Hold on. Don’t take it live yet. There is something you need to know.

A huge number of Kickstarter projects are delayed:

study in 2012 found that a whopping 84% of Kickstarter’s top 50 projects shipped late.

Before you launch your project, you need to know why so many projects ship late so you can know how to avoid those mistakes.

Here are 10 common problems that cause Kickstarter projects to ship late.

 

#1 – You’re Way Too Confident

 

Why so many crowdfunding projects get delayed

 

When you’re in the initial stages of creating a product and preparing for your Kickstarter launch, it’s hard not to be excited. Confident. Thrilled. You’ve seen the early results and know that you’re onto something big. You can already see that this is going to change things.

When you’re in this state of mind, you usually feel incredibly confident. Confident that you can make everything work. Confident that you can get the product to market in time. Confident that you can navigate all the challenges.

But when you actually get into the process of turning your initial idea into a mass-produced reality, you suddenly realize how complex everything is. You have to deal with supply chains and backorders and power outages.

You have to figure out how to ship everything to your backers as well as stay on top of any issues that arise. A single break in any of these links can cause your Kickstarter project to go off the rails. Before you know it, you’re delayed weeks, maybe even months.

 

#2 – You Didn’t Price Your Rewards Correctly

 

You might think that pricing is easy.

You simply add up the cost of the materials, assembly fees, and any other obvious fees.

But when productions actually begins, you may find that you didn’t leave enough room for yield losses (example: damaged products that didn’t make it the whole way through the assembly line) or design changes.

When complications arise, you usually only have two options:

  1. Eat the losses
  2. Delay shipment

It’s hard to stomach these types of losses, which is why many creators choose, or more often are forced by their circumstances, to delay their shipments.

 

#3 – You Sold Way Too Many

 

Sounds like every creator’s dream, right?

You hoped to sell 1,000 and end up selling 10,000. And while this certainly can be exciting, it almost always leads to significant delays.

Several reasons for this:

  • Problems are discovered when producing initial large batches, which then need to be scrapped, which then eats up money.
  • Supply chain issues arise because you didn’t anticipate the volume of parts needed.

Speaking of his own experiences with Kickstarter, Triggertrap creator Haje Jan Kamps writes:

[Some companies can’t handle] the adequate orders of magnitude: A company that is an expert on designing a product that will be manufactured in a quantity of 30 units at a price point of around £1,000 is not necessarily good for a production run of 1,000 units at £30: They are completely different skill sets.

Ideally, you’ll be able to start a bit smaller and then ramp up as all the problems get ironed out. This will allow you to ship on time.

As CNN noted:

Over and over in our interviews, the same pattern emerged. A team of ambitious but inexperienced creators launched a project that they expected would attract a few hundred backers. It took off, raising vastly more money than they anticipated — and obliterating the original production plans and timeline.

The timeframe you estimated for shipping during your campaign was based on a smaller order volume, it normally takes more time–often a lot more time–to process larger orders. In many cases, the factory you talked to during your initial planning won’t be able to handle the larger order and you’ll lose time finding a new manufacturer.

 

#4 – You Over Promised

 

One of the great temptations with crowdfunding is to promise too many features.

You’re excited, and you can’t wait to show people what your product can do. And, you really want to get people on board with your campaign. This often leads to promising way more than you can actually deliver.

It’s far better to start simple and make sure you can deliver.

Start with your core, most powerful features, and then slowly expand over time. With each iteration, you can add in something else. Rather than promising everything at the start, promise one great thing.

Yes it’s cliché, but you can better ensure your Kickstarter success when you underpromise and overdeliver.

 

#5 – It’s Difficult To Scale Your Prototype

 

Challenges of Scale when Crowdfunding Successfully

 

Many prototypes are made in homes. You create your own mold, buy some supplies, and figure out how to do everything yourself. It hardly costs you anything and doesn’t take a crazy amount of time. You then estimate overall costs and delivery time based on your very small efforts.

However, when you start to scale, you realize that there is no way you can mass produce your product using your original process.

Suddenly you need to bring in experts and factories and large suppliers. Costs rise, production time increases, and all your initial estimates go out the window. Your only option becomes delaying shipping.

 

#6 – You Encounter Cultural Barriers

 

When you outsource some or all of your production overseas, you may find yourself encountering unexpected barriers.

Communication challenges can cause confusion, different expectations can create tension, and a lack of knowledge about importing and exporting can seriously delay things.

In order to avoid this, do research about the manufacturing process in the specific country your product is being made.

Know what you’re getting into so that you properly estimate the ship date.

 

#7 – You Underestimate Lead Times For Components

 

The “lead time” is how long it takes for component manufacturers to actually get the components in your hands. It’s incredibly easy to underestimate how it will take to have components delivered.

When it comes to securing the components, you usually have one of two options: go straight to the manufacturer or use a distributor.

If you’ve done your research and know the lead times involved for you product, you can usually use a manufacturer, which will be much cheaper than going with a distributor.

When you use a distributor, you’ll be able to get the components much more quickly but will end up paying more, which can quickly burn up your cash.

 

#8 – Your Scope Keeps Getting Bigger

 

Idea Plotting Crowdfunding Plans and Tips

 

What happens if you are shooting for $10,000 and end up raising $150,000?

Sounds like a dream, right?

You’ll probably start adding on stretch goals and hire more people to speed things up.

But adding stretch goals means you have more to deliver and hiring more people means you have a bigger staff to manage. Both of these things can end up significantly delaying your product.

Even more, with more options available for your backers, the complexity of your shipping compounds:

For example, when you have customized items for each backer–a common stretch goal perk–and/or multiple different sized rewards that will all be shipped in the same package because then your shipping price may increase unexpectedly beyond your estimates due to things like volumetric/dimensional weight rules that most shipping carriers enforce.

 

#9 – You Hire The Wrong People

 

Sometimes you hire people who are completely wrong for a job. You contract a manufacturer who makes big promises, only to completely drop the ball. This happened with the Kreyos Smartwatch, which raised $1.5 million out of a $100,000 goal.

Creator Steve Tan wrote of the manufacturer:

What I don’t understand till now is, with the success of Kreyos, and the amount of money we paid him, why didn’t Pro [CEO of Viewcooper Corp] invest in talent or hiring the right people. The total amount of people working on Kreyos from his end was only around 4 people, some of whom we realized are just working part-time. We wouldn’t have minded him pocketing so much money if he at least delivered something that we can fix for our backers and customers and continue selling for a few more months until we conceptualize a new and improved version.

Tan’s mistake ultimately ended up killing the entire project.

 

#10 – You Run Out Of Money

 

Sometimes, despite all your best efforts, you simply run out of money.

You run into massive production problems or encounter cross-cultural assembly issues you never expected. Maybe you discover a design flaw and have to scrap a large batch. You’re only option is to throw money at the problem and try to fix it.

When you have to throw a lot money at problems, there’s a good chance you’ll burn through all your raised funds. In that case, you’ll have to look for outside funding if your project is ever going to ship. The best case scenario is that you get those funds and ship late. The worst case is that you have to scrap your entire project.

 

Conclusion

 

Kickstarter is an amazing platform that allows creators to create amazing projects.

However, it’s also a swamp that is full of potential pitfalls. Successfully taking a project from prototype to being shipped takes skill.

  • Do your research.
  • Ask the right questions.
  • Figure out what some projects are delayed and then plan for those types of delays.

In the end, when you do things correctly up front, you’ll be spared innumerable headaches down the road.

 

Related Crowdfunding Fulfillment Tips

 

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How Your Business is Losing Even More Money Than You Might Expect

It’s essential to be able to budget in business. Having some form of predictability in your finances is essential for those future plans you’re going to make. Yet, besides the regular expenses and income, you will often find you have less money than you thought. And why is that? It’s because there are expenses you’re not thinking to account for. Here’s how your busy is losing money right under your nose.

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Be more resourceful

Every business should expect little one-time costs that come as a result of the passage of time. A piece of furniture might break, a piece of equipment might need a repair. They might be negligible costs in the moment, but they will build up if you’re not taking proper care of your equipment. Extend the life of your furniture by investing in higher quality and protecting it with materials like laminate. Have a proper preventative maintenance schedule for your hardware. Use your resources more wisely.

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Hold onto those employees

Even more expensive than having to replace a table is having to replace an entire person. In fact, some studies say that you could be paying over £30,000 when you replace an employee. From the labour lost while you wait for a replacement, to the hiring process and training involved, it’s not too far-fetched to see how you could get to that number. So do your best to keep your employees. First, focus on those who don’t do too much job hopping and show signs of looking for a reliable long-term career with you. Then make sure you’re going the extra mile to retain them, like making sure their job engages and motivates them.

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Get your money

If you run a business that offers payment options besides immediate transfers and cash, then you’re probably doing a lot of your accounting based on projections. Yet, late payments and unreliable customers can cause you to deviate a little too much from those projections. If you’re invoicing, make sure that you’re firm with setting and following deadlines. If you have any kind of credit options, then it’s a good idea to use services like a credit recruitment agency to get people on your side who can help you see whether or not a potential borrower is reliable enough for the business.

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Get more done

It can be harder to measure, but you need to think about how much work you’re getting done for the amount of time spent in the office. If you’re not getting a return on investment for each of your employees, then you will be losing money without even recognising it. Instead of having to let them go, see if you can’t help them get more productive. For instance, teaching proper time management and improving communication with workflow software can see you get a lot more done in the time you have.

You can never truly predict your finances to a level of 100% accuracy. But what you can do is eliminate the risks of hidden costs by taking the times to identify where they might arise from. Hopefully, this article helps you do that just a little better in future.

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