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Do you want to make more money than your friends from the comfort of your home? Does the idea of being the decision maker seem appealing? Then now could be the perfect time to start an online business. The process is a lot simpler than you might imagine, and it doesn’t require too much investment if you go about it in the right way. It’s all about coming up with a lucrative concept that has the potential to yield significant rewards. Don’t worry if you don’t have any expertise in this field as you can simply buy and sell if no other opportunities come to mind. With the use of wholesale websites, you can get almost anything at knockdown prices. All you have to do then is sell the items on for more cash.

Deciding on the nature of your business

You should aim to spend a long time researching different online business ideas before selecting the one most suitable for you. Ideally, you’ll want something that doesn’t require too much initial investment. That is the best way to ensure you make a profit from day one. We all have bills to pay, and very few people can afford to live without earning for long periods. For that reason, you need to be 100% convinced before moving forward.

Building your website

While it’s a good idea to employ a professional web design company eventually, there is nothing wrong with using free or cheap website builders during the early stages. For as little as £1 / $2 per month, you could have a functional website from which sales can occur. Your website is also important for marketing efforts. It’s all well and good letting people know about your company, but you’ll never make lots of money if you don’t have a site to facilitate sales.

Employing staff

Employing people directly is the last thing you want to do when starting a new online business. You should outsource the tasks you need completing or you should use specialist agencies to find workers. Whether you’re after a good Chicago, Florida or Dallas IT consulting specialist, all the details you need are online. Just search Google and make sure you read reviews and testimonials before agreeing to use their services.

Marketing your business

Everyone wants to improve their business. Your marketing strategy is the single most important element to success in the online business world. All company owners must learn how to use social media and advertising platforms like Google Adwords to their advantage. There are lots of guides that tell you everything you need to know. Spend some time reading through and then test your skills by running experiments. Once you identify a method of marketing that produces the results you desire, it will be time to inject some cash into the project.

Presuming you manage to follow those basic steps, you should have a profitable online business within only a few months. Whichever marketplace you decide to enter, we wish you the utmost success over the next couple of years.

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Blanca Stella Mejia

 

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There is no end to the benefits of improving your business. This new year, as you are sipping champagne and singing Auld Lang Syne, spare a thought for your business. The new year is an ideal time to shake things up a bit and make some vitally important improvements to your company. Changing the way you do things might make a huge difference to your profits, and so it is worth a try. If you are ready to make a positive change in your company, here is how you can do it.

Step 1: Use less paper

We should all be striving for a paperless office. Of course, at the moment, it is impossible to avoid using paper in the workplace. What you can do, though, is to start using fewer paper documents. Current advancements in technology mean that there are more ways than ever to do things. You no longer need to write things down in longhand or sign paper documents. Look for alternative ways to function so that your company can save money and help save the planet.

Step 2: Get a new website

Your website tells your clients everything they need to know about your company. If your website is boring, nobody will want to work with you. When new clients are looking for businesses, the first thing they do is Google businesses in their area. That means that they will come across your website. If your site does not wow clients, it might as well not exist at all. Get a creative, responsive website that everybody will adore. Find a design company who you can trust to create a great site. You need someone with a strong portfolio, such as Feline Soft, so that you know they will do the best job.

Step 3: Hire remote workers

A simple way to cut your business costs and make more money than you are is to hire remote workers. These days, you can hire people all over the world to work for you. That means that you can save a load of cash on your staffing costs. Look for workers to take on, who can help you expand your empire. Use messaging systems and cloud storage to communicate and work together online.

Step 4: Rearrange your office

When people work in the same office for a matter of years, they tend to stagnate. Moving your office around is a great way to shake things up in your company. People get used to their position within the workplace, and so they never strive for more when they should. When you rearrange your furniture, you send a psychological message to your workers that things can change. That means that people will work hard to prove their position to you.

Step 5: Make sure you update your office software

How often do you update your office software? Some business owners think that they only need to update software every couple of years or so. The fact of the matter is that new software develops so fast these days. You might struggle to keep up with current trends in tech. Make sure that you reassess your software situation every few months so that you are ahead of the game.

Step 6: Find ways to motivate your staff

When you motivate your staff, you are making sure that your business will be a success. Successful enterprises consist of teams that truly care about their jobs. If you feel as though your staff have become a little lazy, it is time to change that. Book a motivational day for your staff members to attend. The day will consist of tasks and talks that seek to motivate and inspire your workforce.

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Photo via Paul Inkles

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All business owners should understand the importance of having a good online presence. Failure to build and publish a website could mean you lose out on lots of custom from all over the world. With that in mind, anyone without a company domain should seriously consider investing in one at the earliest possible opportunity. Even so; you’ll need to work hard to get things right. In the modern world, web users have come to expect certain things from the sites they visit. If yours doesn’t encompass those elements, you’re never going to impress people and achieve repeat custom.

Building a successful business can be very hard, and so you need to use all the tools and tech available. While you could design your site in-house, we believe you’ll get better results by employing the services of a specialist company. All you have to do is search online to find thousands that are just waiting to hear from you.

Keep it simple

One of the most successful sales websites in existence at the moment is Amazon. You only have to spend a few minutes on the site to see that simplistic design works well. It might be tempting to fill your pages with lots of information about your company, but most people won’t be interested. So long as you cover the basics, the rest of your site should look as clean and clutter-free as possible. You can discuss that with your chosen designers after making contact.

Include a live chat feature

Customer service is very important for people who make purchases online. If they are unable to get in touch with you instantly with their questions and queries, most will likely take their business elsewhere. Asking people to send emails that don’t get replies until forty-eight hours later simply doesn’t make sense when you can let them message you straight away. All the top sites use live chat these days, so don’t fall behind the competition.

Split-test two or more designs

Split-testing allows you to find out which design your customers like best. You simply run two or more different versions of your site at the same time, and a certain percentage of people are directed to both. You then take a look at your analytics to discover which version created the most sales and attracted the most traffic. Here’s a little interesting fact for you: Google split-tested the shade of blue used for their links more than 7,000 times last year.

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Utilize cutting edge tools and tech

There are lots of different tools and software packages that can aid your website. Firstly, you’ll want to get something that links your stock control program up with the stock numbers on your site. That will save you a lot of work changing the numbers. MatrixCMS and similar tools can make a big difference to the amount of work you have to put in too.

Now you have some great information about effective web design, we hope you will make an investment in the near future. It could be all that is needed to thrust your business into the stratosphere.

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Your employees are like family. But, they can be a troublesome bunch. In fact, they could be compromising your company’s data and not be aware that they are doing this. Cyber security and data breaches are often at the forefront of every CEOs mind. You want to take stringent steps to ensure that you are not suffering at the behest of a PR scandal involving the loss of data. You can implement policies and procedures to prevent this kind of thing from happening. But, if you are not aware of how your employees are compromising your data, you are not tackling the problem head on.

Here are four ways that your employees are compromising your data. Now is the time to take action.

Emails Security Risks

Many employees send personal emails from their workstations. That’s fine. It’s when they start transferring company information to their personal emails that a problem ensues. Many IT support systems cannot prevent this from happening. After all, you cannot monitor everything. One of the best things that you can do, to prevent this is to have anti spam software installed in your office machines. This is one of the best ways to ensure that this problem is avoided. All emails that are sent from a Gmail or Yahoo account can be put into spam. This minimizes the risk from your employees.

Free and Easy Access of the Internet

Browsing the internet is one of the best ways to kill your lunch hour. But, your employees could be accessing a myriad of sites with very little concern of how these sites work. Make sure that your employees have restricted internet access. Ensure that they cannot access harmful sites. This will ensure that your data is not compromised in the long term.

Beware of the Cloud

Did you know that over 50% of employees use cloud software while they work? Your business cloud software may have all the correct security channels. But, personal cloud software like Dropbox is less than stringent when it comes to internet security. When an employee syncs data from Dropbox or iCloud on their business computers, they are syncing all the information within the computer too. This makes the information accessible for all. Personal security needs to be upped, so ban the use of these cloud solutions within your venture.

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Opening Documents in Third Party Apps

More than ever, employees use their phones in the workplace. Their smart devices enable them to be more productive. They can work from home. They are more efficient. But, they are also using apps to download and transfer sensitive information from your company. Of course, they need to do this while they are working on the move. But, this is not great news for those that want to prevent data breaches.  Defining a robust VPN network is one of the best ways to tackle this problem. Request that employees use the correct channels and software when they are working from home. This is one of the best ways to safeguard your information.

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Diligence is part and parcel of the entrepreneur’s daily life. When it comes to running a slick operation, anything less than savvy will simply not do. But, running a business can be problematic if you don’t have the right tools in place. Without your working tool box, you may find that your business is not the slick machine that you thought it would be.

Now, it’s time to make sure that you have the right business tools in place. You don’t have to spend a fortune, but you need to invest your time.

Social Media

Yes, social media can be a savvy business tool in your working arsenal. You need to amok sure that your business is marketing and reaching out to the right people. This means that you bleed to invest time into your social media. Only follow those that are newsworthy. Don’t befriend everyone. Keep your social circle small when it comes to Twitter, but make sure that you maximise your followers. Facebook business pages are the perfect way to share, like and befriend the general public. Make your business a force to be reckoned with on social media. Sort out disputes and problems publicly. Make your company human. But, also accept praise when your customers give you rave reviews. It’s free, easy and requires an investment of your time. But, it’s a great tool to have.

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Source: Plantoo47

Apps

Apps have revolutionised our works lives, but now, they are evolving into the business world. Make sure that you are on track with the right apps for your business. Timekeeping apps are imperative. A job clocking app is just what the doctor ordered. Make sure that you have other apps for HR and marketing. Hootsuite is great for integrating and managing your social media. Make sure that you have business translation apps and finance apps. There is a wealth of free apps that you can use. This can be the way to transform your business and ensure that you are managing it from your fingertips. You don’t have to be in the office either!

The Cloud

Ah, the cloud. Everyone is aware of the cloud. Some are due to migrating and others don’t even have it within their remit. The importance of the cloud cannot be stressed enough. You can utilise a free tool in the form of Google. But, you can also pay for cloud software that is more tailored to your business. You have unlimited storage, heightened security and the ability to work from anywhere in the world. The internet is yours to utilise as you see fit. One of the best things about the cloud is the ability for multiple users to collaborate at the same time. This can speed up your processes, internally, and ensure that work is done to the highest standard. After all, communication and collaboration are vital.

So, if you consider yourself to be a diligent entrepreneur, you need to get  your hands on some basic tech. After all, the world is changing, and your business needs to keep up.

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Most people have standard 9-5 jobs that they must commute to and from each day. But thanks to the evolution of technology, it’s now possible to do some jobs from the comfort of your home!

Working from home is a dream come true for people. You get to avoid rush hour traffic and the other problems associated with commuting. You also don’t have to bear witness to office politics. Nor do you have to work with people you hate.

For the most part, you can also fit your home life around your work. So taking the kids to school and picking them up in the afternoon can fit around your daily work tasks. And, let’s face it; you get to concentrate a whole lot more in an empty house!

If you have a PC and a broadband or fiber Internet connection, there are plenty of jobs that you can do from home. But which jobs pays well? In today’s blog post, I will share with you some job examples for you to consider.

Translator

Are you fluent in more than one language? If so, you should consider working as a freelance translator! You get to work on all sorts of exciting projects. Examples include website content, legal documents and even historical documents.

You don’t need any technical expertise. In fact, apart from a computer and an Internet connection, all you will need is some office software like Microsoft Word! Some translators also offer verbal telephone translation services for the police, for instance.

Copywriter

Those of you with a natural panache and flair for writing should consider working as a copywriter. These content writers often do well at blogging for other people. But they can also get used for writing offline content such as press releases, brochures and so forth.

Most copywriters work for themselves. Some elect to do work only for marketing agencies and web design companies. The great thing about copywriting is that you always have something different to write about each day. This is perfect for people that get bored easily!

Graphic Designer

Illustration and graphic design firms often hire people that work from home. They might have to go to the office for the occasional meeting.

But, for the most part, they can be creative at home. Some agencies even demand they work from home, as offices can sometimes hamper creativity.

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Credit / trekkyandy

IT support

Most IT problems often get solved using a simple remote connection to the affected user’s desktop. That’s because problems with computers are, for the most part, software-related. These days many Orlando IT support firms hire engineers that work from home.

On some occasions, they might have to go out on site. Still, it beats working out of the office every day! These workers will also use headsets to talk with their clients. And the best part? They can do this whilst sitting in the garden on a nice summer’s day!

Hopefully, this blog post will have given you some ideas on the types of jobs you can do from home.

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Nowadays the use of mobile devices to surf the web have overtaken the more traditional usage of PC’s, however most of the web is not optimizes for those mobile devices. Mobile devices are often limited by size display and require a different way to deal on how content is laid out on screen. It is important that a site can adapt to the ever changing screen size of a multitude to devices such as smartphones, phablets, tablets and desktops and TVs.

In the field of web design and development, most developers are not being able to keep up with the endless new resolutions and devices that are emerging in the current technological device market. Web developers are finding it difficult and inefficient to create a website version for each screen resolution of new devices, and this is highly impractical. To tackle this issue we will look at the main approach to have a website respond efficiently on all devices through the concept of Responsive Web Design.

Responsive Web Design is the stratagem that suggests that design and development should respond to the user’s behaviour and environment based on the screen size, platform and orientation. This approach has been originally defined by Ethan Marcotte in A List Apart article as being “a web design that respond to the need of the users and the devices they are using”. The concept allows an advanced 4 column layout 1292 pixels wide, on a 1025 pixel width screen that auto-simplifies into 2 columns whereby it suitably fixes on all mobile devices.

Images in responsive web designs are called context-aware whereby this specific technique provide responsive designing in factual sense as the images serve at different resolutions, ranging from larger screens to smaller ones. With the help of updated developer tools and coding languages, the scaled images appear to change fluidly, thus allowing designs to look sharp in every context. You can experience this marvel of design with the careful use of responsive web designing which is exceptionally different from traditional designing in terms of technical and creative issues.

A few mobile websites that have been optimized for mobile browsing have implemented the responsive web design approach, and one such website is the newly launched online casino called Magical Vegas. We have tested Magical Vegas with a range of devices having various screen resolutions and have seen that the responsive behaviour of the site is highly elaborated. It touches every detail of the website neatly, creating a visually appealing appearance that does not take away its allure of originality and individuality even on small screens. Magical Vegas easily blends into different screen resolutions, nicely displaying all its information such as games and promos, and providing its players with a proper way of exploring the games provided and other possibilities.

Magical Vegas is one of the pioneering websites to be fully responsive on all devices and has a same set of URLs irrespective of the device, and this has greatly increased the online visibility of Magical Vegas which is search engine friendly. Online technology is progressing at an ever increasing rate and Magical Vegas looks ready and set to tackle the future of the online universe.

TAPE

Losing data can be catastrophic for a company, regardless of how big or small it is. Recovering from such a devastating blow can set the evolution and growth of your company back too and so avoiding this is synonymous with running a company in today’s modern world.

Tape drives are just one option for saving, storing and archiving important data but, avoiding tape drive failure is important too. Here we have collated some of the best hints and tips for preventing this from happening… and saving your invaluable data in the process!

Tape drives are robust and reliable in the main but…

Don’t overwork your tape drive

These drives have a specified ‘duty cycle’ and this will be an indication of the workload the drive can endure on a day and, in some cases, nightly basis. For this reason, it is essential you invest in a tape drive with the correct capacity for your business.

For example, investing in tape drives that have a duty cycle of 50% will mean that they soon become overwhelmed in a situation where they are operated 24 hours a day, as opposed to 12 hours. Getting the right advice to get the right product for you and your business (or home) is essential!

Data transfer speed

pic1Not many people realise that there needs to be compatibility between the transfer speed of data from the computer system to the tape drive. Wear and tear on the tape tends to happen in cases where the transfer of date from the computer system to the tape drive is significantly lower than the speed of operation of the tape drive.

When this occurs, the tape drive will effectively go into a ‘start/stop’ mode which places an inordinate amount of stress of the tape. As the drive waits for information, it will stop but as the data starts to arrive again, it kicks back in to action.

The tape may be able to tolerate this every now and then, but a continual ‘start/stop’ motion will cause it to quickly malfunction. In other words, the quality of the date recorded on the tape is severely degraded, almost unusable in some cases.

Poor handling and storage

On one hand, technology is robust and yet, it can be sensitive and liable to ‘break’ or be compromised in the event that it is not handled or stored well.

Dropping tapes and storing them in places where temperatures fluctuate wildly can mean that the quality of the tape, along with the data that is stored on them soon becomes compromised.

Many companies also operate policies where tapes are stored off site and whilst this is an excellent idea, the storage facilities need to be conducive to the tapes retaining the data and integrity. Not many people how easily the tape itself can be contaminated; fibres form carpets are attracted to the magnetism of the tape and these small, almost invisible to the naked eye fibres, can cause problems with the tape itself.

Clean environment

And it is these contaminants that are worthy of closer examination when it comes to malfunctions of recording data and information on the magnetic tapes. Dust, fibres and the like can float in the atmosphere undetected and so operating the tape drives in a clean, hygienic, almost sterile place can significantly lengthen the life of both the tape, and the drive itself.

Keeping the tape drive clean

On one hand, tape drives need cleaning but, did you know that being too fastidious in keeping it clean can actually decrease its lifespan. And so, many experts suggest a request-based approach to cleaning rather than a firm rota that is adhered to without deviation. There are cleaning tapes that can perform this function and these should be used once, and then discarded.

Check humidity and temperature

Tape drives and the tapes are sensitive to humidity and temperature; just as rough handling, dropping tapes etc. can compromise their ability to record information, so can fluctuations in humidity and temperature levels.

Normal ‘safe’ operating temperatures are between 10° and 45°, with storage being smaller tolerance range of 16° to 35°. Humidity should be between 20 and 80%, although this drops to below 50% for when tapes are archived.

Retire tapes that are old or error-prone

In many case, corrupted data or inefficient recordings are on tapes that have seen far better days in terms of their age and the number of times they have been used! But, it is surprising the number of times companies carry on using tapes that have recorded significant errors in the past.

Tapes are relatively inexpensive, and commonly used by various companies across the globe but it is sheer folly to carry on using tapes that have shown themselves to be defective!

And finally, if failure does occur then it is important out find out why – and correct it immediately.

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It can be very pricey to market your small business effectively. However, small companies need to fund a robust marketing strategy if they intend to rival their competitors and increase exposure of their enterprise. The good news is that there are a number of affordable online and offline marketing techniques that small businesses can use.

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  • Website

It may be stating the obvious, but it is important that your small business has a website. If you don’t have one, prospective customers may think your business is backward or out of touch. When you start out, you may wish to create a website using one of the free website builder services. However, once you are up and running it will only cost you a small amount per year for the host and domain name costs for a professional website.

  • Blog

A blog is an excellent way to share news about your organisation and provide updates on industry developments. There are a number of websites available that allow blogs to be created for free.

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  • Videos

Another marketing technique that will increase exposure of your company is to post videos online. If you make these videos yourself then, you won’t need to spend much. However, if you want to enlist professionals to help you with your videos, you can find reasonably priced services for $500 or less. Videos are effective at getting your business noticed and at promoting products to customers. They also give you the opportunity to be creative and to give your business some personality.

  • Business cards

Even with the increase in online marketing tools, business cards remain an effective method to spread the word about your enterprise. Because they are small and portable, they are easy to distribute and can be referred to effortlessly by the recipient. Business cards are also very affordable. To ensure you are being cost-effective it is a good idea to work with printing companies that offer a whole range of printing services. This will save you money as you will not have to pay separate fees for the design, layout and printing of your cards. The most simple designs are often the most effective, so you don’t need to spend a lot of money making your business cards too complicated.

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  • Contribute expert articles to industry publications

This won’t cost you anything and will get you noticed as being an expert business within your industry. Contact the commissioning editor for some relevant industry publications and ask them what the process is for contributing work. You will most likely be requested to send a couple of samples of your work so they can assess your writing style and knowledge.

  • Give out information and advice

Another affordable marketing technique is to provide information and guidance to customers related to your area of business. For example, if you run a cafe, you could provide leaflets with recipes and advice on healthy eating. Leaflets, posters and pamphlets are easy and cheap to produce and are a good way of marketing your business without being too focussed on sales.

Good luck!

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As a new business owner, you will no doubt, have a lot on your mind. You may be trying to decide what software is vital for helping your business grow and develop, and what is less of a necessity. You may have a limited budget and may be trying to save money at every possible opportunity. However, one investment area that should not be sidestepped, is software.

For new businesses, the most important software is made up of programs that are designed to help internal processes run effectively. The most popular software packages for startups, include programs to aid account management. As well as, to track office productivity and keep on top of emails and communication.

Is business software worthwhile?

You may be wondering is business software is as worthwhile as it seems, especially with the financial cost that comes with it. The long and the short of it is, that investing in business software is one of the most important investments any new business can make. It is an essential invest that helps to aid business growth and development. As well as saving you money in the long run.

To help keep the cost as low as possible, choose your software package carefully. Aim to choose a package that does exactly what you need it to do, without the cost of added extras. If you choose a software package that will be beneficial to you company, by increasing productivity. As well as by making your processes more efficient or by saving you time, then the investment is worthwhile. Especially as companies, such as felinesoft, have various packages and price ranges to choose from.

What types of software is available?

There are many different types of software available. Most companies choose to use software that is compatible with Microsoft Office. The type of software you choose will depend on your businesses needs and your budget.

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What works best, desktop or web-based software?

With developments in technology and mobile computing, the choice of business-based software has expanded. With so many options to choose from, many business owners  feel unsure of what type of software would work best for their company. If you find it hard to choose, consider exactly what you need the software to do and choose a package that does just that.

When choosing your software type, the first thing to note is that desktop software tends to offer better functionality than internet-based tools. This is because it can access the computers operating system and storage easier than online software can.

However, desktop based systems tend to be a lot more expensive than web-based ones, this can be the deciding factor for many new business owners. The major benefit of internet-based software is that it is much more accessible, and can be accessed from any device with an internet connection.

Bespoke or off-the-shelf software?

Bespoke software is software that is created specifically to fit your business’s needs, it can be tailored to different areas of the business or to just one specific area – it is up to you. Whereas off-the-shelf packages are designed to work well for various businesses. They provide features that would be most beneficial to the majority of businesses. As every business has its own unique needs, it is often hard to find an off-the-shelf software package that covers all your business’s needs. In this case, investing in a bespoke software package can be the best option. This will allow you to determine the exact functionality required and how you would like the software to run and perform.

Is accounting software necessary?

Few businesses can function without the use of accounting software. Accounting software can be used for various tasks, including for billing purposes, invoice creation and for payroll processes. It can also provides a simple way of recording sales, profits and costs, and can be set to automatic so that it  generates invoices as needed.

If your employees are overworked, trying to keep up with the administrational side of the business, they may lose focus elsewhere. This could affect your business and make your team less efficient. For example, if your bookkeeper struggles to keep up to date with taxes, reductions and paychecks. It might be worth considering investing in some helpful software.

Although initially setting up the software with each employees details, tax code and deductions may take some time. Once the program is set up, your bookkeeper will be able to easily keep on top of your accounts. It is also possible to set up your accounting software to ensure that you tax payments are correct and paid each month as required.

Instead of keeping a hard copy of a list of your clients, you can use accounting software to keep an online copy. This would allow you to enter relevant client details into the database. Such as contact information, credit card details and product prices, in a simplistic format that can be easily accessed when necessary. You can also set up customized sections to help track any extra information required, spending habits, for example.

Stock records are a great way of keeping track of everything you sell, complete with detailed descriptions and product codes. The software can be linked to the stock so that each time the company sells a product, the stock level on the database goes down. This is a great way of allowing all staff members to keep on top of stock levels and have numbers to hand, when dealing with a client. This is a more efficient way to manage your stock levels.

Is free antivirus protection as effective as a business antivirus solution?

Although antivirus and security software is available online for free. It is not as effective at protecting your business as a business-based antivirus solution. This is mainly because free downloads can be removed from individual computers by their users. As well as the fact, that most free antivirus programs are not aimed at business-based computer systems.

A specialised business antivirus solution may seem like an unnecessary cost, but in the long run it will pay off.  Specialised software will have extra functionality and be easier to use over your entire company network. You will also be able to manage the entire program from a central location, such as from your laptop. This allows you to put your preferred choice of settings in place and means that the software is unable to be removed unless you authorize it.