Business

Business

How to Get a Stuttering Startup off the Ground

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Ever dreamed of starting your own business?

To wriggle free of the corporate shackles and wave gleefully at your ex-boss as you pack up your desk and ride off into the sunset.

But whoa there, cowboy, have you really thought this through?!

Is the brainwave that penetrated your mind in the middle of the night a tangible reality? If so, do you know how to turn this concept into a profitable business?

If you’re beginning to regret swearing at your superior on the way out the door, fear not, help is at hand thanks to our step-by-step guide to getting your startup off the ground …

Polish Up Your Idea

Although you and your loved ones think your business idea is the best thing since sliced bread, one good idea does not a business make. Consequently, work on firming up your business model, pricing, how it’s going to be funded and how you’ll market your product or service.

Research Your Market

Once your idea is firmed up, it’s time to research your market to ascertain whether there’s a real demand for your product or service. At this stage, you’ll learn what problems you’re likely to face and put plans in place to sort them out before wasting precious time, money and effort.

Develop and Plan

Once you’ve conducted your market research, it’s time to develop and even change your idea based on what you’ve learned. Done? Go back to your customers and test it again. Why? Because it’ll help you be sure that your customers are willing to pay for the product or service you’re offering.

Set Up Your Business

There’s plenty to think about when opening a business – from overheads like gas bills and finding a meter assets manager to help you keep costs down, to finding the cheapest high speed internet connection – so check out the government’s handy startup guide to keep you on the right path. .

Secure Funding

In the beginning, there’ll be plenty of blood, sweat and tears before you start turning a profit – which is why you should explore the various ways of funding your business to help you meet some of the costs of getting your startup off the ground.

Without doubt, there’s much more to running a successful business than the tips above, but by making sure you’re equipped with the right knowledge, it’ll help you avoid the fate of crashing and burning like so many startups before you …

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Can You Still Obtain an EIN Number Without an SSN?

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If you are a business who meets any of the following conditions below, then you will need to apply and obtain an EIN number. An EIN (employer identification number) is a nine-digit number used by the IRS (internal revenue system) to identify entities for tax purposes.

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If you or your business meets any of the criteria below you will need an EIN number:

  • Has employees
  • Operates as a partnership or firm
  • Files excise, alcohol, tobacco, employment, or firearms tax returns
  • Withhold taxes on revenue, besides pay, paid to a foreign alien
  • Have a Keogh plan
  • Are involved with a trust, IRA, estate, non-profit, real estate mortgage investment conduit, farmers’ cooperative, or plan administrator program

To obtain an EIN number you will need a valid tax ID which is one of the following: a social security number (SSN), an individual taxpayer identification numbers (ITIN), or another EIN belonging to an existing legal entity (which you cannot have unless you have an SSN or an ITIN). You will need one of these to apply for an EIN number. You may apply for your ein online through IRS-EIN-Tax-ID.com with our easy and convenient application available 24 hours a day.

If you do not have a social security number, you will need to first see if you are eligible to obtain one. Once you do so you will need to get one before you can apply for an EIN number. Please note that only noncitizens who have permission to work in the United States from the Department of Homeland Security may obtain a social security number. If you are an immigrant, you are able to apply for an SSN at the same time you apply for your immigrant visa with DHS.

If you discover that you are not eligible there is another option; you may see if you are eligible to complete the ITIN application.

Once you have the proper requirements met, you may apply online at any time!

Benefits of social networks on your business

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With the explosive emergence of social networks today and the rapid expansion they are having (Facebook is prowling a whopping 700 million users and Twitter has reached 145 million users ), it is normal for companies to start being interested in participating in social networks. But as usual, many questions arise like “how do I start?”, “What do I need?” and “What strategy is best?”

The answers to these and other questions are not so simple and requires to have knowledge, time, patience and work, and above all perseverance and creativity. But let’s start knowing a little more of the social network’s importance and how a social media agency benefits your business.

Social media can help your business
Social media can help your business

First, you need to understand that social networks are so successful because they are based on one of the primary needs of human beings: communication. Indeed, social networking is the privilege with which people can communicate with others in different ways, at great distances and re-connect with people. Through social media we can know about what happens to our friends, acquaintances and family, maintain communication with people with whom we share interests. Furthermore, we can contact companies and find out about developments, new releases, ask questions about product campaigns, receive technical support, complain about a service and many other things.

The companies have not yet fully identified all the benefits of entering the social networks and those who have understood it have as a priority in their marketing activities. As mentioned, the benefits are many but we believe the next 6 are the most relevant ones.

Everyone uses social media and so should your business
Everyone uses social media and so should your business

1. Direct communication with customers

This is probably the most important factor  a company that wants to dabble in social media has to take into account. It is possible to hold a conversation on a daily basis with the people most important: your customers.

2. Customer Service

There is no better way to maintain a satisfied clientele than giving your customers the chance to be served and receive all the information and support about the products or services you offer.

3. Competition

It is a good way to know what your competition is doing, by reviewing its activities in social networks.

4. Loyalty

One of the characteristics of business involved in social networks is the gain of a loyal crowd. For example, on Facebook people are clicking the ” Like” button on pages or profiles as they are called, of those people or firms that seem to grab their attention with their products or service. It is like giving the company its “fans”.

5. Promotion of products

You can promote your products by uploading photos and videos. It is also useful to promote traffic to your website where you can specify the acquisition or procurement of products and services.

6. Market Research in real time

Like never before, you get to know many facts about your products or services and even get opinions on new projects or future releases, always in real time.

By +Nikos Kontorigas

Spanish bans and Paris Hilton’s ridiculous commercial

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The world of marketing has always been something of a contentious one – for years government representatives and the general public have been campaigning for and against the banning of advertising on certain products. While some have championed freedom of speech and a free press, others have deemed certain materials too inappropriate to be viewed at certain times, by certain people or even at all.

Of course, this generally encompasses anything “adult” themed – from men’s magazines to cigarettes, but one relatively new issue is the censorship of online gambling advertising. Over in Europe, where, somewhat ironically, online gambling is relatively lenient, it seems that Spain is trying to put a stop to the advertising of online casinos. Reportedly, Senate members are concerned about minors having access to gambling.

On the other end of the spectrum, then, we have the latest hilarity from the crazy world of Paris Hilton, who recently agreed a deal to front a UK-based casino television advertising campaign. While the company is based in the UK, it seems to have something of a penchant for American stars, particularly those who are lampooned by the general media – Verne Troyer, for example, also features regularly in the company’s commercials.

Paris Hilton
Paris Hilton

The billionaire heiress was allegedly ecstatic to be working alongside Troyer, known for his ‘Mini Me’ role in the popular Austin Powers movies, marking a stark contrast from a nationwide ban on online gambling over in Spain.

With all this hysteria surrounding online casino advertising, it can be hard for humble gambling fans to know whether they’re coming or going. If every country were as strict as Spain when it came to advertising, would customers have an accurate representation of exactly what they are to expect from online casino operators?

In South Africa, by comparison, affiliate sites such as Yeboyes Casino exist specifically to inform people about the best deals, bonus codes and more, ensuring that regulated gambling is undertaken safely without bombarding consumers with tasteless advertisements. This could be just the sort of balance that both the UK and Spain should strive to achieve – it is foolish to think that children can be stopped from seeing websites like this altogether, and should instead be down to parents to ensure they access reputable sites and enforce their own stringent controls.

Likewise, we could all do with a little less Paris Hilton in our lives.

Three safety features for your leisure business

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Opening a business in the leisure industry can prove extremely profitable, particularly in the school holidays or summer months.

Parents struggle to think of things to do that the will entertain the kids for long enough, until they return to school. This is where a leisure centre would be a great venture.

The investment is considerable, but the payoff could be massive, if you are ready to take the opportunity, you should consider these three key safety requirements.

We are sure that you have already considered the safety of your customers, it should be the central focus of any business plan.

But if your complex is going to have a pool area then this is one of the areas were a slip, trip or fall is very likely.

As a business owner you want to do everything possible to mitigate the risk of this happening and having to deal with a potentially costly insurance claim.

Ensure that you have the required health and safety features installed, to avoid falls as much as possible we suggest that you purchase anti-slip, anti-bacterial mats from Kleentex.

This will reduce the risk infection and the chance of a nasty fall, poolside.


Lifting and Exercising

Everyone knows that inexperience in the gym can lead to injury, we have all seen the videos of people with no idea what they are doing on gym equipment, it might give you a quick laugh, but as a business owner this can be quite serious.

It goes without saying that every new customer should have an induction when they join, from a trained professional.

Something that you might forget is that one of the biggest causes of injury in a gym is infection caused by the sweat of your customers.

We suggest that you place anti-bacterial wipes around the gym with bins to place them in throughout.

We suggest that you choose high quality anti-bacterial wipes such as the products from Gym Wipes.

 

Squash Court Safety

Lots of leisure complexes offer squash courts and this is another area that can cause injury.

If you are going to offer equipment rental, you need to ensure that your rackets have high quality grips.

With will ensure that  the racket does not slip out of the player’s hand.

Furthermore, ensure that you have squash shoes in good condition to rent.

Finally ensure that you offer protective eyewear you can purchase these goggles from Rx Sport.

In this article we have identified ways that you can make your new leisure complex safe. We have discussed poolside safety by using anti-slip and anti-bacterial mats. Secondly, we identified equipment hygiene as a major cause of injury and must mitigate the risk of infection. Lastly, we discussed safety on the squash court such as using high quality rackets and squash shoes and the need for protective eyewear. Following these tips will ensure that you have a successful and most importantly safe leisure complex.

 

Sandwich Me In | A green restaurant without trash

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A sandwich restaurant in Chicago won the title of the most green restaurant in the world, since for the past two years it has almost zero waste! Sandwich me in opened its doors, aiming to recycle and compost trash so that it does not end up in the landfill. From May 2012 and the inauguration of the restaurant, all the waste it has produced is equivalent to the trash caused by a similar restaurant in just one hour! In a rough estimation, that would be about 30 liters! That means you can only imagine the amount that has been recycled and composted since day 1.

Sandwich me in
Sandwich me in

Justin Vrany, who is 36 years old and the proud owner of the restaurant, said that he hopes he can motivate other restaurants to reduce the garbage of their business too. He continued by saying that since he did it with a fast food restaurant, there are no excuses and anyone can do it too! In this way, you can work hard to provide your children a better world, he explained. The frying oil is processed and then ends up as fuel to farmers, while the leftovers are converted into food for chickens of a farm that provides the restaurant with eggs.

Justin at work
Justin at work

However, the path to get this record was not an easy one and he faced many problems to achieve zero waste. According to him, the first six months the restaurant struggled to keep the costs low and avoid products such as prepackage broth. Instead, he made his own using bones from the chicken and their crispy skin was used in salads cobb. Furthermore, all materials used are fresh and unprocessed, as they are coming from local farmers.

For me, a company is not just about money. If we do not move forward with ecological awareness, we will never do. Such practices can operate without affecting the products and reasonable prices, explains the 36 year old owner. It is worth mentioning that recently an artist has used the minimum residual waste (eight gallons) of the shop to construct a work of art.
In the following short film you will see how the Sandwich Me In remains sustainable and ecological!

By +Nikos Kontorigas

Addicted to Netflix ? The company has a ‘ magic bullet ‘ to keep you logged in

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An algorithm customization is the key to not let Netflix go to their subscribers.The programming language video service is based on hundreds of ” signals ” or user behavior. There are three particularly important, said Carlos Gomez, vice president of Product Innovation: Personalization algorithms.

Netflix
Netflix

The first determines each row or category page recommendations personal access of each user, which defines the order in which these videos are presented, and the search, all personalized for each user.

Then measurable data such as the time a person put pause a movie, if it came to it through a search and take into account if he returns to finish or leave altogether, among many others, in order to determine a way to get more subscribers use the service.

“When we showed best recommendations, users spend more time watching (movies or programs.) The people who do that is more value in the subscription and tends to cancel less,” said vice president of innovation.

The algorithms that yield information about the tastes of the audience Netflix also serves to define the creation of original content, as the hit series House of Cards , starring Kevin Spacey, or the revival of the comedy series Arrested Developement .

Carlos Gomez, who by personal initiative proposed an algorithm to analyze the 100 films that are more similar to one in particular, ensures that Netflix does not use private data or descriptive information of users. What it does is analyze their behavior and how it helps generate recommendations for people with similar interests.

Once customers arrive at the platform, Gomez’s work is to make them stay.

How millionaires manage their finances

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It is natural to assume that being a millionaire is wonderful and that there are no longer problems or issues with life. While you will not find much sympathy for millionaires, there is a need for people who have this sort of money to take proper care of their finances. Just because a person has a lot of money doesn’t mean they should be wasteful with the management of their wealth and you’ll find that one of the secrets to becoming a millionaire will revolve around the proper management and utilization of income and money.

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With this in mind, you’ll find that having rules or guidelines in place will help you achieve your financial aims. If the rules and guidelines work for you, you can keep following them, but if they aren’t protecting your money, you have a platform to make changes that will hopefully help you to make better decisions in the long run.

Have various income streams or investment plans

When it comes to managing money, taking the risk out of your finances and building towards a stronger financial future, it makes sense to diversify how you make money or how you invest your money. You’ll find that millionaires, even ones who made their dollars in a singular manner or industry, will create a portfolio where they utilize their money to best effect.

That may bring about a smaller return than by committing entirely to something that turns out to be successful but equally, if a sizable investment were made on something that failed, the losses would be considerable. Managing and using money when you are a millionaire is often about pragmatism so it makes sense to spread your investments.

Create a budget

If you were a millionaire, you might think you would have complete financial freedom and that you didn’t have to worry about any bills. While a millionaire may be confident of having enough money in his or her bank account to ensure their card won’t be declined when buying groceries, you’ll find that most millionaires who are intent on remaining millionaires know their budget.

Live within your means

This is good advice for everyone, regardless of how much money you have, and it is perhaps useful to know that being a millionaire shouldn’t change how you view and use your money. You should know your budget, what money you have available and then live within these means. If you do this, you will remain well off, but if you outlive your means, your money will diminish and eventually, you may find yourself in a challenging financial position again.

Understand what you invest in

As a millionaire, you should have more time to study or learn new things. That is good but if you are investing, make sure you invest in markets or products you understand or have a passion in. An informed decision is usually always better than a guess or deciding on a whim.

Get smart financial advice

It is, of course, one thing to become a millionaire after years of hard work and determination with a plan or structure in place. That can be a challenge but people who find themselves becoming a millionaire in an instant, with a lottery winner being the prime example, find themselves in a life-changing situation. Therefore, there is a need for such winners to receive as much support as possible, both in respect of managing their money and in dealing with the psychological impact of having this amount of cash suddenly available.

Getting the right sort of advice in life is essential, and that is why the best standard of financial advice for lottery winners is crucial. Many people daydream about having access to the funds associated with a lottery win, but there is a need to understand the pressures of this money and some of the problems it can bring. Being a lottery winner is a life-changing experience and with the right guidance and support, it can be a wholly positive one.

You may think being a millionaire is an unlikely ambition, but it is worth considering how millionaires made their money and how they protect their finances. Following the guidance of millionaires on how they control their investments, income and expenditure can help you improve your financial outlook.

How To Best Market Your Business On A Limited Budget

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Promoting your business on a shoestring budget can be somewhat daunting as it requires careful planning and a proactive approach where you need to make the right choices and opt for the best marketing tools & techniques. Constrained budget brings challenges for enterprises, especially startups and S&MEs (Small & Medium-sized Enterprises).

You need to look for cost-effective marketing strategies to help you reach out to a wider audience. Below are a few handy tips for effective, yet inexpensive ways of marketing.

Guerilla Marketing

Guerilla Marketing is a productive strategy which helps firms unleash their creative potential and imagination to showcase their merchandise and connect with potential leads. If you’re a small business looking to promote your key offerings, make use of this strategy. It provides impactful ways of presenting ideas and products on a small budget. For example, if you want to set up a nice trade show, look for a rented booth and cool display accessories. Most reputable exhibitors like ExpoMarketing offer a wide array of display tools which you can use to promote your merchandise in a more creative way. If you have a small office building, hire an artist to do nice artwork or simply use chalk or markers. You can also use undercover sales people who can create brand awareness on the streets by practically interacting with prospective clients.

Use Digital Marketing

One of the most affordable and cost-effective ways to linkup with potential customers and generate awareness regarding your brand is to use the social media platform. Sites like Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin including Pinterest and Reddit are nice examples where you can talk to your clients, provide updates about your upcoming and existing products and develop a strong online presence. Customers like to be kept updated about important services and offerings including discounts, offers, and giveaways. As long as you maintain a consistent and solid presence on social media, customers are bound to follow your brand.

Focus on Creating Impactful Content

Marketing thrives on the content that has the ability to draw attention. The internet offers a number of productive mediums to concoct brilliant promotional content. You can create blogs, videos, colorful infographics, articles for authority sites and multimedia demos and podcasts. These help you get noticed by a large number of people and get your business site more traffic, especially through Google. Make sure you add meaningful promotional content with the potential to get you top Google rankings.

Customer Engagement

Engaging customers through giveaways and the use of accessible technology like smartphones, touchscreens, SMS apps and gaming apps, is vital for effective marketing. Have product demos like videos displayed on your FB page or on Youtube including contests that you can host online. That won’t cost you anything online. Customers love bargains, so make sure you have discount coupons, and special offers including free items like e-books, stationary, notepads, smartphones, or any of your product to give away to clients to build brand loyalty and gain goodwill.

Get Referrals

With Affiliate Marketing, you can benefit from the services of specialized marketers who will promote your products for a small fee. The affiliate marketers usually have a huge number of connections online, so they can help create brand awareness through a proper outreach program. Another good idea is to get the services of a social media influencer who has a good presence online with the power to change paradigms and build perspectives. They can help in promotions through reviews, feedback, and discussions on popular social media sites.