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When you’re looking to expand your business and increase the efficiency of your operations, investing in equipment is a crucial step you can’t get around. If you put off upgrading your resources for too long, you’ll quickly fall behind the competition. On the other hand, if you go about sourcing your equipment the wrong way, you can wind up with a big, unnecessary hole in your cash flow. Here are a few tips for sourcing equipment the right way…
Secure Financing First
One thing that holds a lot of business owners back from upgrading their specialised equipment is concerns over financing. This is pretty understandable. After all, sourcing a new unit of diesel generators isn’t quite the same as ordering a bulk shipment of highlighters for the office! There’s a wide range of financing options which you can leverage; you just need to find one that suits your situation before you actually start browsing the market. When you’ve got the necessary capital at your disposal, it gives you the flexibility to find the right equipment, and the ability to negotiate with suppliers from a much stronger position. When you’re looking at financing options, don’t get too caught up in interest rates. You should also be considering just how much of a purchase different bodies will finance, including shipping, employee training and installation.
Consider your Needs
Image source: Pexels
It can really come back to bite you if you make isolated, ad-hoc purchases when you’re looking to equip your business. You should always start by reviewing your entire production process, set specific goals, and then analyse how easy it will be for your business to reach them. Before you even contact a single bank or investor, spend some time answering some fundamental uncertainties, such as how the equipment you plan on buying will bring you closer to your long-term targets in terms of growth and production. It’s also very important to think about your closest competitors, the industry as a whole, and the direction it’s going to take in the future. If you pump all your resources into equipment that’s going to be obsolete next year, you’re obviously going to have some trouble staying ahead of your competitors!
Don’t Rush the Purchase
Leave yourself or your acquisition team plenty of time for shopping around before making a purchase. Go the extra mile to understand the quality of the equipment you’re purchasing, and most importantly how easy it will be to upgrade the equipment in order to meet the changing demands of your niche. Check out supplier websites, read impartial reviews, and reach out to other business owners who you know have been clients of a given company in the past. It may also be worth looking around some trade shows for a more up-close, hands-on experience with the equipment you’re thinking of purchasing. Your resources might be stretched, but it’s a big mistake to let the price of equipment guide your decision too much. When it comes to B2B equipment, supposed bargains can often turn out to be a massive waste of money!
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As a normal person, the idea of investment can often seem very far off. Of course, you always have the option to store your money in a high-interest savings account. But, this isn't the sort of investment that most people find interesting. And, therefore, won’t appeal to a lot of folks. Instead, people want their investments to be exciting and to come with great reward. In the past, these sorts of investments weren’t possible for everyday folks. But, now, they are. And, this post is here to help you to start using them.
The dawn of the Internet has brought with it a new wave of different financial models being brought to the table. This trend can be seen across the globe; with companies and individuals looking for funding outside of normal banks. The platform that the web provides to investors is very powerful. It gives you access to options across the globe. And, it gives you the chance to research different types of investment to understand how they work. Below, you’ll find a couple of examples of investment opportunities that have come with the net.
It’s becoming more and more common for businesses to look to the public for funding. Of course, you’ve always been able to invest in shares of a business. But, in the past, this market was incredibly inaccessible to normal people. You’d have to find a broker that you’d contact either by post or by phone. And, they would do the rest. But, now, if you want to buy company shares; you just have to look around. There are loads of companies offering affordable investments into businesses that could grow in the future. And, when they do grow; you’ll have a nice slice of the pie.
Next, it’s time to look into peer lending. This option is a little different. But, it’s much more secure that investing in shares. This sort of system will guarantee you a set return; as long as the loan is paid back. Thankfully, companies brokering them will have procedures in place to protect their customers. So, in reality, these sorts of investments are incredibly secure.
There are loads of benefits to making an investment. For example, you will have something to support you in later life, when you might not be able to work. But, these particular types of investment hold more benefits that the others. They give you a chance to invest a small amount in several areas. And, they let you do it from your own home. This sort of resource is being used by thousands of new investors. Banks and experts are recommending them to people who are willing to take a higher risk. And, these sorts of investments are exactly the sort that banks use to make their money. So, it’s easy to see that they can have a lot of success.
Hopefully, this will inspire you to start looking into some of the bigger investments out there. These are often much faster and easier to get a return on than other investments. And, they will almost always be handled completely online.
Co-founder at zenruption
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If you pay any attention to the developments of digital systems in the workplace, then you’ve heard about how important data is becoming. It offers a solution to all sorts of problems, from customer engagement and conversion rates to productivity and common employee problems. Big data is, however, a big responsibility. You have to be ready to deal with some of the factors that we’re going to be exploring now.
Know why you want it
Big data can answer a lot of different questions about the business. But it’s a good idea to know why you want it and what the questions you want to ask are. It can help you better organize your resources and identify potential problems as well as making you a competitive force in the marketplace. There are a lot of reasons to use big data, but they all need a certain focus to accomplish.
Data doesn’t just appear, of course. It’s built from the integration of already existing data sets. When separated, the data from your customer relationship management systems, your web analytics, and your reputation management efforts only give a piece of the picture. Gathering all that data, real and digital, and putting it in one place is what gives you the layered answers that can give you as close to the whole picture as you can get. It’s not always easy to make that happen.
Know how to read it
Nor is it always easy to see the picture through all that data. It’s a lot to look through, like trying to see the wood for the trees. Which is why you need to think about hiring or outsourcing a great data analyst. An important part of that is knowing that it’s not just about technical skill. You need to focus on the problem solvers and scientific method thinkers. Data doesn’t always lead to expected results. They have to know how to sift through all the data on hand to create truly relevant results for your decision-making purposes.
Take care of it
Beyond the technical side, there are some serious practical considerations for your data gathering means. If you’re hosting a physical server, can you afford the power supply and support like data centre cooling? If you’re going for a Cloud interface, are you prepared for some of the potential downtime and lack of access?
Big data doesn’t just give you a bigger picture of the truth of your business. It puts it all in one spot for anyone with access to see. Beyond coming up with clear definitions between levels of access and authorising only the right people, you need to look into security methods for your centre like secure zones in your network and physical reinforcement and locks on entry to data centre rooms.
Using data well means having some aims, knowing what you want from it, getting the right people to find it, and taking care of it. It can even be a vulnerability to the business more than an asset if you don’t protect it. The tips above should hopefully prepare you for all those responsibilities.
By Jerry Mooney
One of the weirdest things about the modern cultural attitude towards drones is that we’ve taken this incredibly powerful, interesting technology, and the main association that the vast majority of people have towards it is “oh that’s the thing that Amazon are going to use to deliver my packages now!” It might sound dramatic, but that’s like saying, “oh, a truck! That’s the thing that sells ice-cream!” without ever thinking about all of the thousand other uses for it. But in reality, drones are being used in interesting, creative, and useful ways every single day. Here are just a few examples of the ways that drones are for more than just dumping a package on your doorstep.
Drones can reach geographical locations that would otherwise be close to inaccessible, like coastlines and mountaintops. They’re able to achieve some incredibly high-resolution data which can be turned into detailed 3D maps. The data that’s collected is often shared on open source mapping platforms so that everyone can benefit from this technology, not just specialists and professionals. 3D maps created from drone imagery were used, for example, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy by farmers and miners.
From something scientific to something a little more high energy. Yes, drone racing is a thing, and it’s awesome! There’s even a full-blown drone racing league. It’s certainly not something that’s perfect for anyone picking up a drone’s control for the very first time, but the races can be seriously adrenaline pumping affairs. Racing drones are very different from the kind of things that you’d expect from standard drones so check out Andrew Nixon’s racing drone guide to see what to look for it this sort of thing seems like your cup of tea. There are various skill levels so, with a bit of practice, it shouldn’t take long before you’re ready to start racing too.
One of the tricky things about trying to track and monitor a storm is that you often have to get pretty close to it in order to do that. That, unsurprisingly, presents a certain amount of risk. Thankfully drones can do just that without issue. Drones are able to go right into the very heart of a storm without any risk to human life so that they can monitor and track it’s progress, allowing for a much greater understanding of what it’s going to do next.
There are those who assume that tech like drones is yet another sign of technology invading and pushing the natural world aside but the truth couldn’t be more different. Drones are often used to carefully monitor wildlife population in areas that humans wouldn’t be able to go without spooking the animals. Not only that but drones are often used to deter poachers as they can capture high-resolution images which can lead to poachers being identified and caught. The only thing that’s more effective than the use of drones is getting people out there in those areas every day which is both inconvenient and expensive. The drones allow authorities to monitor the condition of various wildlife populations more easily and effectively than ever before.
Search and rescue
And it’s not just the lives of animals that drones are out there saving. Drones are being used by search and rescue to teams to access areas that would be close to impossible to reach by any normal means. The first person to have their life saved by a drone was a man in Saskatchewan, Canada who had been in a car accident. The man wandered off, and emergency services were unable to find him, so a drone was sent out and located the man using thermal sensing technology. If the drone had not found him, he likely would have died in the freezing cold after the sun went down. This was the first time this happened, but it won’t be the last. As drone technology becomes more and more advanced, it’s going to start making some changing the way that authorities search for people since they can cover large amounts of difficult terrain very quickly without any issue.
So the next time someone tries to tell you that drones are only good for military use or delivering your mail, you can remind them that there are people out there using them for fun, for education, for conservation, and even to save lives. Not only that but the list of positive ways that people are using drones is only going to grow.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will know that technology is evolving at lightning speed! In fact, things are moving on so quickly that today’s gadgets will often feel “out of date” by tomorrow! Of course, it’s not just gadgets and electronics that are evolving all the time. The way that we connect to the Internet is also changing, and for the better, I’m pleased to report.
These days, you can now have high-speed Internet access on the go thanks to 4G or LTE mobile networks. But, what about at home? Well, there have naturally been some improvements on Internet speeds there too. Nowadays, fiber connections are the ones to go for in the quest for super-fast surfing. If you’re still using old DSL technology, now’s the time to upgrade to the 21st century! Here’s why you need fiber Internet in your life:
Image Source: Pixabay
More reliable and stable than copper
The thing about fiber Internet is that you don’t have to worry about constant drops in speed or even disconnections. You can enjoy always-on Internet using an infrastructure that is light years ahead of copper wire technology! Plus, fiber enables you to have faster Internet speeds than traditional DSL connections.
Affordable high-speed Internet
One of the concerns that many people have is that high-speed Internet access is only available at a high cost! Thankfully, the price of fiber Internet has come down in recent years. It’s now just as affordable as standard DSL broadband. In fact, in some cases, it pays to upgrade as it’s CHEAPER!
Buffering is a thing of the past
Let’s face it; one of the reasons why people go online is to stream multimedia content to their devices. Downloading movies always sucks with DSL connections because there are the buffering blues that you must endure! Good news: you’ll never have to wait for ages for a movie to download thanks to fiber! So, whether you watch opera on demand or listen to music on Spotify, content will get delivered to your devices immediately.
Perfect for multiple users
The chances are high that you’re not the only person in your household that wants to use the Internet. One of the selling points of fiber is that many people can simultaneously use it to download stuff without any lagging problems.
Image Source: Flickr
Great for gaming
Do you enjoy playing multiplayer online games like World of Warcraft or Grand Theft Auto V? If so, you will no doubt want a stable connection with zero lag for co-operative gameplay. Why settle for second-best when you could get a simple upgrade to fiber Internet?
Free Internet voice and video calls
Do you hate paying for your phone calls? Who doesn’t! These days, you can access a variety of online services that allow you to place voice or video calls. For such services to work at their best, it’s vital to have a high-speed and reliable Internet connection such as fiber.
Image Source: Pixabay
We’ve all heard about frugal businesses that strive to make as much profit as possible by cutting down their own expenses. Some of us think that they’re being smart because, let’s face it, with all the technology we have nowadays we probably don’t need all of it and we could work by just using the bare basics. However, others think those businesses are just being cheap and they’re making it harder to be productive.
So to surprise, disgust or intrigue you, here are three obsolete technologies that companies all over the world are still using despite how outdated they are.
Remember those deathly noises that your computer used to make when connecting to the internet? Thanks to cheap and accessible broadband connections we’ve largely let dial-up go. However, roughly 2.1 million people still use dial-up internet—and that’s just from AOL. There are a couple of businesses mixed into those numbers, and there are still dial-up providers which specifically target business. However, most of them don’t use dial-up as their main connection and instead, use it as a backup line in case their broadband service goes down.
Remember those clunky devices people used to carry around for work? Well, they’re still being used but in very specific applications. They make great devices for data collection and note taking. For instance, they’re very useful for managing a warehouse, and some doctors use them to collect information from patients instead of using pen and paper. There are even businesses like Mobile Computer Repair that specialise in fixing PDAs of all makes and models. There’s still a niche market surrounding old technology because of how useful a dedicated device for a task can be.
Many businesses still use fax machines and you might even find fax numbers listed on contact details on major businesses. Despite all the digital advances we’ve made, it’s still easier to send a signature through a fax machine than it is to get a pen display or tablet device, sign a digital document, then send it via email just to have it printed. Instead of jumping through those hoops, people can simply sign a physical document and fax it straight to their recipient.
Old Computers and Laptops
Manufacturers constantly push their computer hardware. Advances are made every year and it gets cheaper and cheaper to obtain a powerful computer. However, for those who only focus on office tasks and such as data entry and writing documents, an old computer is all they need. Whether it’s Windows 98 or an older version of Mac, old computers still work fine and have enough power to enable office workers to do their jobs. Because the technology is so old, you can pick up an old computer for less than the price of a case for your phone, making it a very cheap investment.
While many people are buying smartphones that have access to the internet so they can remain productive on the go, others are still using dumbphones that can’t even access 3G internet connections. These dumbphones cost a fraction of the price for a new Samsung or Apple phone, they send and receive calls without a problem, and business users typically carry a laptop for their productivity uses. Losing or having a business phone stolen is a big deal when it’s an expensive smartphone, but when it’s a cheap dumbphone, those losses are mitigated.