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If you want people to become aware of your product or service, you have to take time to market it to your target consumer. One way to do this is to create YouTube videos. YouTube videos may be effective because you can demonstrate how your product or service can help change a consumer's life. It can also be effective because the content can be shared and potentially go viral without any effort on your part.

 

More Views May Translate to More Sales

Ideally, your target consumer will be the one who is watching your video. For instance, if you sell knives, your goal is to have your video seen by professional chefs or those who like to cook at home. However, there are some products or services that may appeal to a wide range of people. For instance, if you are selling car parts, those parts may be in demand from car enthusiasts, those looking to change their own battery or other auto parts stores in need of consistent inventory. In such a scenario, an increase in views may lead to an increase in sales.

 

Viewers May Share Videos With Potential Buyers

A 50-year-old mother of two may not be interested in buying the latest video game console or be particularly interested in the latest smartphone upgrade. However, she may have a son who loves video games or a daughter who loves to use her phone. Therefore, she may share your content with her children who may then decide to buy your video game console or newest smartphone or smartphone accessory.

 

Expand Your Viewership Overseas

If you are a startup or a small business, it may not be practical to advertise beyond your local market. However, a YouTube video could potentially be seen by anyone in the world. In a matter of hours, you could become a hit in Spain or in Australia just because of a single video or a series of videos someone discovered or were sent to by other viewers. As the possibility exists that you could be found in other countries, it may be worthwhile to use captioning service to make it easier for speakers of other languages to follow along.

 

Everyone Loves Gag or Novelty Items

A gag or novelty gift can appeal to almost anyone no matter who he or she is or where he or she lives. They can make great birthday gifts for colleagues or distant relatives or become humorous gifts that you put in a Christmas stocking. In some cases, seemingly random or mundane products can develop a cult following such as the pet rock did back in the 1980s. Therefore, you may have a unique opportunity to help your product outperform expectations through the use of YouTube videos.

 

More Views Equals Credibility

Social proof is strong when it comes to any sort of online content. In other words, the fact that a video has been viewed 100,000 times means that it was worth watching and was most likely shared by viewers. In contrast, a video that has only been viewed 100 times may be seen as too niche, not interesting or most likely not deemed worthy of sharing by viewers. This means that you need to make an effort to increase views even if you have to pay for them at first because it could impact the perception of your product or your brand as a whole.

You won't garner many sales if people don't know that your brand exists. Regardless of your current marketing budget, a YouTube video can help you get your company and its products or services in front of a global audience. When done properly, this could result in thousands or even millions of views and a related increase in sales.

 

Lee Flynn is from the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City, UT. After Lee spent years preparing himself, his home and his family, he decided he had to do more. In his free time, Lee helps educate those who want to do the same. Through small local workshops and articles, Lee trains and teaches others on home preparation, food storage techniques, wilderness survival and self reliance. After obtaining a bachelors degree from the University of Utah, Lee moved to the Salt Lake Valley where he now lives with his wife and daughter.

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Photo: YouTube.com



Motivation, or the lack thereof, is what makes a business successful or not. Motivation is what causes people to act in a certain way to achieve a goal. It's easier to motivate ourselves than to motivate others, because it is easier to discover our reasons for achieving a goal.Cameron Johnson

Psychology tells us that there are three components of motivation: activation, persistence and intensity. Obstacles can be common in daily life, and removing some of these obstacles can help with achieving goals, but there must be an action, some persistence to see the goal through despite the obstacles and concentration on achieving the goal.

Businesses may initiate the action of a goal by deciding what the goal is, but it largely depends on each employee to be persistent and intensify their efforts. Beyond removing obstacles, there are promising ways to encourage persistence and intensity.

Employee Recognition

People want to know that they're doing a good job. When it comes to motivation, letting someone know that they're doing a good job is an awesome way to get them to establish inner motivation. People who are happy with their jobs are more than likely to go the extra mile. However, if only some of the workers are recognized, unrecognized workers will not strive as hard, and they will lose all interest in work.  It's essential to be genuine with each employee and to celebrate their hard work in individual ways.

AchievementPhoto: blog.readytomanage.com

Workers who feel a sense of achievement naturally work harder at what they do. Their achievement can be seen as a goal within a goal. When anyone starts out with a goal, there are many smaller goals in between. This is true within a business. After all, it is the workers who accomplish many smaller goals to achieve the main business goal. Setting up this framework within a business allows workers to strive in their achievement, which naturally fuels the company's achievement. Even if a certain position cannot change, workers can learn new skills within their positions that help them with their sense of achievement.

Resources

Workers need efficient tools to do their jobs. These tools can make an employee feel excited about work, and each task has the potential to allow the employee to see how their task enforces the common goal. For instance, a business process management suite is a specific tool that helps employees design, implement and improve an activity. BPMS providers are available to offer this tool to businesses to help motivate workers. There are other tools that can help assist workers, and it's vital to every business to discover which are most efficient for workers to use in their chosen field.

Involvement

Persuasion occurs by showing others how an act benefits them. When people see how a goal benefits themselves, they are automatically motivated to carry out the goal because it benefits them in some way. The timeframe a worker is involved in a project greatly impacts how well they perform on a project. Those who are brought in early on for a project are likely to strive harder on their work to see it through. Also, workers who are involved in making decisions are naturally inclined to work harder as well. So, get workers involved early on a project, and take suggestions from them on how to carry out the project. This allows each employee to take ownership of the project, and they will see that it gets done without further direction.

Workers who are berated, not given the proper tools, not appreciated and micromanaged will not focus on the main goal. It's essential to a business to employ the tips above. Telling someone what to do has a different impact on a person than allowing them to decide for themselves to act in the same way. Persistence and intensity work best when workers have recognition, achievement, proper tools and involvement.   

Cameron Johnson is a business consultant and social media expert. Over the course of his career he has conducted case studies on both social media optimization and non-profit marketing. Cameron has also had the opportunity to speak at international marketing conferences and was recently recognized as one of the world’s top 100 advertising experts to follow on social media.

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Photo: blog.readytomanage.com



 

3D Printing

 

3D printing in medicine is taking off due to a recent decision by The FDA on August 8, 2016 to close comments on newer devices that were put under review in May, according to The Hill. Now, there are almost 90 types of 3D printed medical-related devices being used by doctors or pending approval, and five will likely become prominent in every medical office in the country. Written below, these five 3D printing medical devices are detailed, and specialty offices or all-purpose clinics in rural areas may find that they are using all of this technology in the next two years.

 

Printing skin instead of giving stitches

 

One of the routine procedures that doctors are known for involves giving a patient stitches when they have an accident. However, instead of numbing the area and using traditional stitches or skin glue, doctors will now have the option of 3D printing the skin. This is particularly helpful for doctors treating an area of the body that will later require plastic surgery, such as the face. This is also a helpful device for treating areas of the body that are thin-skinned such as ears, lips and other parts of the face.

 

Making everyday lab equipment

 

Instead of heavily relying on an office manager to do all of the ordering of everyday plastic medical equipment for a doctor's office, 3D printing could be used instead. Along with plastic applicators that are used one time and thrown away, there are other types of equipment needed for the office itself that can be 3D printed. This will mean a savings in shipping for the supplies, and not needing to reschedule patients for testing because the office ran out of the proper tools. Most of the 3D printed tools can be made the day before or within minutes.

 

Saving patients with prosthetics worry and money

 

Enterprise Imaging companies and other technologies have worked with 3D printing in medicine to help patients with prosthetics. Many older patients are able to keep their prosthetics in good working order, but children have two main problems with prosthetics that 3D printers solve. First of all, children outgrow their prosthetics rapidly. Secondly, children are known for breaking their prosthetics. A third advantage for prosthetics users of any age is getting a better fit with the 3D printing because unusable prosthetics are cheap enough to throw away for a better, customized model made on the printer.

 

Making certain types of medications

 

Certain types of medications are easily made on a 3D printer because the machine can create the pills on a chemical-structure level. Along with having common medications readily available for patients, 3D-printed pills allow for interesting new pill shapes that completely alter the drugs’ release rates, according to Sculpteo. Access to 3D printing medications is especially helpful for rural clinics that serve a financially unstable population.

 

Customized medical tools

 

Doctors that have always wished that they could find medical tools that are customized in size have an array of size options thanks to 3D printing. In addition to making medical tools that will allow the user to grasp them firmly and precisely, the patient can also be the reason for the customization with 3D printed medical tools. For example, tools that need to accommodate a smaller person for surgery will produce a better rate of post-surgery success because cutting depth can be limited with customized tools.

 

Creating low-cost casts that expedite healing

In rural areas, it is common to have an all-purpose doctor that has a few specializations such as setting broken bones. One of the main issues in these cases is having the time to set the cast and aiding the patient in the recovery process. Interestingly, there are reports that state the customized casts created with 3D printing improve recovery rates up to 80-percent, according to Harvard Business Review.

 

Lee Flynn is from the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City, UT. After Lee spent years preparing himself, his home and his family, he decided he had to do more. In his free time, Lee helps educate those who want to do the same. Through small local workshops and articles, Lee trains and teaches others on home preparation, food storage techniques, wilderness survival and self reliance. After obtaining a bachelors degree from the University of Utah, Lee moved to the Salt Lake Valley where he now lives with his wife and daughter.

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In a world where videos have become one of the most effective ways to advertise a product, many business owners are looking for strategies that can help them create a great video to share on social channels like Facebook. If this is the case for you, note that there are numerous techniques you can employ to make it happen. Here are six of them: 

 

1. Keep It Short

As noted in Entrepreneur, you should strive to keep the videos you produce as short and succinct as possible. Ideally, your video should be less than three minutes long. This strategy is effective for many reasons, including the fact that it means you'll be providing the viewer with a lot of valuable information in a short period of time. Creating short videos also decreases the likelihood of you losing the viewer's interest. To really optimize the video, make sure that you share what it is about within the first few seconds.

photo: Lee Flynn

2. Develop A Compelling Call To Action

Videos are a form of advertising designed to compel the viewer to do something. This could involve making a purchase, signing up for your e-newsletter, sharing your brand with other individuals, etc.

To ensure that your viewer does what you want them to do, you need to create a compelling call to action. Be sure that the call to action provides the viewer with an incentive for following through. An example would be "By making a purchase today, you can save 50% on this cutting edge lawn mower!" Ideally, this call to action should appear at or near the beginning of the video. It should also be repeated numerous times within the video, including the end.

 

3. Include Your Contact Information.

Your video should make it easy for the viewer to get in contact with you. There are several ways that you can include your company's contact information, including titles and captions, links, annotations, and voice-overs.

 

4. Utilize Titles And Subtitles

Creating a catchy, descriptive title for your video is immensely important. Doing so will enable your viewers to understand what your video is about immediately. Also be sure to include subtitles so your viewer can follow along as major themes change throughout the video. Video production companies will typically offer title and subtitling services to help you with this endeavor.

 

5. Be Upbeat

In the Forbes article "6 Qualities To Make Your Videos Go Viral," Ilya Pozin notes that there are several strategies individuals can use to increase the likelihood that their videos will be seen by a ton of people. One of those strategies is ensuring that the video has a positive overtone. In defending this claim, Pozin noted a study which found that the content which was shared the most tended to incorporate an upbeat note that engendered happy emotions.

 

6. Engage Your Audience

This strategy is applicable and advantageous for any aspect of your marketing campaign, including video production. Engagement is all about getting your viewer actively involved with your brand, and optimized engagement tends to entail higher conversion rates and brand loyalty. There are numerous techniques you can implement to get your viewers involved, such as including a questionnaire at the end of your video. You can also answer questions posed by your audience in the video. Even sharing a bit of personal information about yourself promotes engagement because it enables the viewer to develop a sense of relationship with you rather than simply considering whether to buy your product.

If you're serious about creating a successful video that can be shared on Facebook, now is the time to start implementing techniques that will help you do so. You can use some or all of the techniques outlined above to produce the dynamic, exciting video that will capture and keep your audience's attention!

 

Lee Flynn is from the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City, UT. After Lee spent years preparing himself, his home and his family, he decided he had to do more. In his free time, Lee helps educate those who want to do the same. Through small local workshops and articles, Lee trains and teaches others on home preparation, food storage techniques, wilderness survival and self reliance. After obtaining a bachelors degree from the University of Utah, Lee moved to the Salt Lake Valley where he now lives with his wife and daughter.

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The internet has become a great way for people to promote themselves online. However, if you're going to promote yourself online, you want to do it in the most professional way.  

 

Here are some tips to help you reach more people online.


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Create Videos

You are probably already posting articles. Are you also posting videos? Some people like to read articles, and some people like to watch videos. Some people like both. If you add videos to your website and social media pages, the additional media option can reach more people. At the same time, you don't want to alienate anybody. Therefore, be sure to have subtitling services add closed captions to your videos to prevent excluding deaf people.

 

Create QUALITY Content

 

Did you know that there are roughly 27 million pieces of content uploaded onto the internet every single day? That's a lot of content out there! Every day! So, you need to make sure that yours is as good as it can be. Write articles on trending topics and make the articles visually appealing to your clients. All articles should include graphics, pictures, or both. My best advise is to find one writer that you mesh with and hire them on contract to write for you regularly. Always quality check to make sure that the articles are up to par. Do not be afraid to be funny- no matter what your field is. People read articles that they find interesting, funny, or sexy.

 

 

Analyze the numbers and adjust accordingly

 

You can always analyze the numbers. You can see which articles get the most hits and which ones your clients don't seem to be interested in. You can also follow trends. Try to post at times when you know that the most people are looking at your pages. And if a certain article topic seems to be getting attention, try to write on the same topic in a different way.

 

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Utilize social media

 

If you're not already using social media to promote your business, that's a mistake. Almost everyone is on social media today. In fact, most people get notifications from social media straight to their phone. The main social media sites to use are Facebook and Twitter. If you work in a photogenic field, you may also want to sign your business up for Instagram, too. Google+ is extremely important, because it will help put your business on Google's map when searched.

 

Promotions

 

The best way to get people to like you or be your friend on social media or to visit your website is to give them something. Put a coupon exclusively on your website and make them join your newsletter to get it. You can do similar things with social media. Now that you've got them, be sure to post interesting content and put up some promotions from time to time.

 

Don't over-do it

 

Being overzealous can actually hurt you if you're looking to reach out to people online. Instead of useful content, it could start to come off as spam. Keep social meeting postings to about 2 - 3 a day. A newsletter should be about once a month.

 

 

Hire a professional

 

One of the biggest reasons to hire a professional is that you have better things to do. Sure, you could learn how to resize an image that you want to put on your website, and you can write an article that applies to your field. If you are doing that, who is doing your job, then? Hire a professional. It's best to find someone who can handle as much of the responsibility as possible. Be very clear about your needs and check the work regularly to ensure that you are satisfied.

 

Online marketing can bring a business to a completely different level. If it's used properly. Follow these tips to see what a difference it can make.

 

Lee Flynn is from the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City, UT. After Lee spent years preparing himself, his home and his family, he decided he had to do more. In his free time, Lee helps educate those who want to do the same. Through small local workshops and articles, Lee trains and teaches others on home preparation, food storage techniques, wilderness survival and self reliance. After obtaining a bachelors degree from the University of Utah, Lee moved to the Salt Lake Valley where he now lives with his wife and daughter.

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With the rapidly rising popularity of technology being incorporated into our everyday lives, it comes to no surprise that technology, especially in the form of YouTube videos, are some of the best ways for your company to display its strengths, while further bolstering its reputation in the process.

 

Music to my Ears

It's official: the average human's attention span is now scientifically proven to be shorter than that of a goldfish's. On average, most companies have about 8 seconds to gain the viewer's interest. In order to be successful, most companies tend to mix in a little bit of music towards the beginning of their YouTube videos. The sheer diversity of music allows it to be incorporated into a variety of other methods, which will be covered later.

Photo: YouTube.com

 

A Laughing Success

Humans seek instant gratification, it's just in our nature. With the breakneck speed of today's technology, people have evolved to want things NOW. This drive has evolved in us being attracted to what we view as the most entertaining.

 

Every business YouTube video is recommended to have at least a couple seconds of humor. This is to not only gain attention, but also lighten the mood and prevent the viewer from automatically zoning out, as the video begins to talk about your company's more important aspects and strengths. GEICO, a car insurance company, became one of the most well known car insurance companies due to the incorporation of crackpot comedy into their commercials.

 

 

Caption Please!

We all make mistakes, and it's perfectly fine. But what happens if your video completely forgot to mention one of your company's best qualities, or some other vital information? Instead of going through the breakneck process of making an entirely different video, just at captions. Fortunately, various

 captioning services are at your disposal to broadcast that important company message. With many of these services being paid by the minute, it might explain why most company commercials cram in a profusion of information in only a few seconds.

 

Quality Control Leads to More Clients

In the world of YouTube business videos, quality equals quantity. If the quality of your business videos aren't up to standards for the typical viewer, then this effectively slices out a wide margin or potential customers. When making a video, don't just take it on the fly, prepare the script, scenery, and everything else in advance. Furthermore, shelling out a few extra dollars for quality gear, such as a high tech video camera, is definitely an investment that will pay off in the long run. To put a perspective on how traumatic a sloppy video can be for a company, take a look at this poorly made video game trailer. Yikes! As a further insult, it was rated by numerous critic websites as one of the worst video game trailers ever created, with the company now nearly out of business.

 

Put It Where It Matters

While it's a nearly flawless idea to add humor or music to quickly attract the viewer's attention, on fatal flaw of many companies is to put their company name and contact information at the very end of their videos. Going back to our rapidly diminishing attention spans, It make more sense to put the the company name or logo towards the beginning of the video, then adding the logo or name at the end as well, followed by the contact information. Since humans are attracted to new and memorable events, companies can utilize this to their advantage while making a YouTube video. Seeing a new logo might spark further curiosity and a longer attention span, while companies, such as GEICO, have their commercials watched for the sheer comedy.

 

Conclusion

Precise, polished equipment, humor, music, company information placement; There certainly are quite a few components to making the perfect YouTube Business video. While there is no formula for the "perfect" video, these are some of the main ingredients to make your company succeed.

 

 

Greg Dastrup is a world traveler and professional writer with a passion for learning new languages. He’s spent most of his career consulting for businesses in North America.

 

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Photo: YouTube.com

 



 

 

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Websites and Web apps throughout the years have become more complex as technology advances. Production has therefore also become more complicated and evolved, and therefore a site's success hinges on how users perceive and how well they can interact with the site.

 

Questions asked might include: "Do I value this website or does it add to my life value? Is it usable and efficient? Can I understand it?" Questions like these are what people going to sites ask unconsciously as they interact with the content. The answers to these questions help users decide if they will become regular visitors to the site.

 

Auditing site design should be centered around website visitors answering these questions positively. Here is a guide to help you understand what is left out many times during site auditing, and what you can do to make sure a site or application carries what it needs to better user's experience and increase traffic to the sites.


Usability

Is the site user-friendly? Many audits on sites leave out this part. When looking at the site, from the user's point of view, can someone easily find what products are available for example. And if they want to navigate the site to get something, is there more than one avenue to find it? For example, on a charity website you might want to put a donation link there so that inspired people can give. However if you only have a link on one of the pages in the site, 3 or 4 clicks into it, it might get less traffic and therefore less donations. Try to put a link on 3-4 different pages of the site. Also make sure one click takes them to a giving page.

 

Perceived Value of the system

If the site looks terrible or like it's from 2001, people are going to lose interest quickly. It is odd that website look alone promotes value of a product, but audits sometimes miss the importance of making a site modern and up-to-date with current trends. Users will see an old-looking site and immediately think that your product or selling point is also old and out-of-date, and if the same material is available on a nicer, newer looking layout, the user's perceived value of the other site will be noted and your site will lose their traffic.

 

Languages

Some sites miss the fact that languages other than English are helpful. It is possible to add in other languages to your site to increase your marketability to the world through good subtitling services. If you also have a video on your website you may want to translate and localize it for other global users that will visit the site. Here is a possible helpful link:

 

Efficiency in Performing Tasks

Is the checkout process on the site easy and quickly done, or is it cumbersome with many steps? Don't forget to audit these things. Are the input fields easy to fill out or do they take a long time? Is the completion process easy or will the user have to go through the entire process three times to actually finish a purchase? Sometimes a user will stop using a sight mid-purchase simply because they can't be bothered to fill it out, or they need to leave and have no more time to fill out the form. Then they never revisit the site because they remember the negative result the first time they visited.

 

Many people seeking to audit a site miss key things a user might identify as making the site worthwhile and pleasant to use. Also a negative experience might take away traffic from a site. "Do I value this website or does it add to my life value? Is it usable and efficient? Can I understand it?" are all questions to ask so as to not miss anything when checking a website or application. These steps will help the audit and also the user's experience, and the better experience will lead to more customers coming to the site.

 

 

Greg Dastrup is a world traveler and professional writer with a passion for learning new languages. He’s spent most of his career consulting for businesses in North America.

 

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Philadelphia, the fifth most popular city in the United States, is transforming in a very high rate.Cameron Johnson

 

There are many factors that are contributing to this transformation, with one of them being mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Several mergers were announced in 2015 and were effected either in the same year or earlier 2016. The M&As are expected to have many effects on the business activities of Philadelphia. The economy of Philadelphia as a whole will be affected too, since the M&As are happening in almost all industries. 

 

Four of the mergers are expected to greatly impact economic activities of Philadelphia, the home to over 1.5 million people.

 

Below are the mergers:

 

Blue Coat and Elastica:

 

As part of a larger effort to expand its product offerings, Blue Coat Systems acquired Elastica for $280 million. It gives organizations the power to choose applications and other data sources in a secure manner. It also sells hardware that enables organizations to view encrypted data in their data centers. Elastica, on the other hand, shows the cloud services being used by the employees of a company. The acquisition has led to the creation of a reliable and efficient company, able to provide cloud service security. Photo: cloudnewsdaily.com

 

The impact of this acquisition will mostly be felt in the IT industry for any organization that stores confidential business data on Salesforce, Google drive or Dropbox will be affected. A merit that comes with Blue Coat’s acquisition is added information security, since organizations are now in a position to secure their cloud services using their cyber security providers. It can be predicted that in the next one year, current approaches to information security to both companies and government agencies will have changed drastically.

 

Jefferson and Kennedy Health:

 

Another popular merger that has taken place in Philadelphia is between Jefferson and Kennedy Health. This merger will result in the creation of one of the largest healthcare systems in Philadelphia, as the system is expected to make as much as $4 billion in revenues on an annual basis. This merger will affect any organization in the region which has commercialized medical services. Since this merge is literally big, the trust of clients in the resultant health system is expected to rise. In the next one year, the way healthcare is offered in Philadelphia area will have changed. This can be concluded as the merger aims to create a model where healthcare is taken to patients, rather than patients looking for healthcare.

 

Blank Rome and Dickstein Shapiro:

 

Blank Rome, a company founded in 1966, has acquired Dickstein Shapiro. This acquisition will be advantageous to the people of Philadelphia, given that an average of one hundred attorneys will be recruited. This acquisition will affect any firm that represents clients in various litigation matters. Blank Rome terms this as a strategic move to offer comprehensive services. The effect of this acquisition in the next one year shall be reduced competition in the legal industry. The image created by this acquisition is that of an efficient, trustworthy service provider.

 

Anexinet and ListenLogic:

 

The technology industry has had a number of M&As. One of the noticeable ones is the acquisition of ListenLogic by Anexinet. Anexinet has a created a reputation over the years by providing digital services that enable organizations to evaluate and choose business strategies. On the other hand, ListenLogic provides social intelligence that helps organizations adapt their business strategies to customer requirements. The acquisition can only be termed as natural, and have led to the creation of an efficient service provider. According to Anexinet, ListenLogic is complimentary to it as a company offering digital solutions. This acquisition is expected to have a noticeable effect on any company that offers customer analytic solutions.

 

Philadelphia is expected to transform greatly in the next one year. There are myriad projects being undertaken to affect this. With strategic planning, mergers and acquisitions can create great economic values, and make Philadelphia what it should be.

 

Cameron Johnson is a business consultant and social media expert. Over the course of his career he has conducted case studies on both social media optimization and non-profit marketing. Cameron has also had the opportunity to speak at international marketing conferences and was recently recognized as one of the world’s top 100 advertising experts to follow on social media.

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Photo: cloudnewsdaily.com 



 

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Creating a greener, more sustainable and more cost-effective household is a concern shared by a growing number of homeowners. Last year saw record levels of spending on home improvement and renovation projects. There are numerous home upgrades and installation options that can reduce energy consumption, allow property owners to lower the cost of their utility bills and reduce the environmental impact that homes and their occupants may be having on the natural environment. From upgrading older-model appliances to the installation of home solar-panels and environmentally-sustainable building materials, homeowners have plenty of opportunities to go green.

 

Energy-Efficient Appliances

 

Outdated appliances may be resulting in higher levels of energy consumption and usage than many home and property owners might realize. When it comes to energy-efficiency, heating and cooling costs typically account for the bulk of home electric and utility usage, but even small appliances can make a big difference. Replacing major home appliances with more energy-efficient options and upgrading even smaller appliances that may be wasting energy can play an important role in the effort to reduce consumption and lower bills. High-efficiency appliances can provide households with the opportunity to reduce energy usage without having to make changes to their day to day routine or habits.

 

Heating and Cooling Costs

 

As many as 86 percent of new home buyers interested in sustainability cite heating and cooling costs as their chief concern. Upgrading climate control systems, investing in window-mounted AC units that provide room and area-specific cooling or taking advantage of the potential energy savings that heat-pumps and other sustainable equipment options may be able to provide can significantly reduce monthly costs. Replacing outdated heating and cooling equipment, especially appliances that have been poorly maintained or may be suffering from mechanical issues, is often the single most effective way to curb household electric usage.

 

Sustainable Building Materials

 

Reducing electric consumption directly is not the only way to create an energy-smart home. Utilizing sustainable building and construction materials during a renovation or upgrade project can have numerous ecological benefits that may include reduced carbon footprints to superior home insulation. Even kitchen cabinet refinishing options and counter-top surfaces made using sustainable materials and environmentally-friendly manufacturing techniques can reduce the impact homes may be having on the natural world. Discussing various material and installation options with a professional can turn up several options that may be ideally suited for an upcoming renovation project.


Home-Solar Installations

 

Generating sustainable energy on-site through home-solar installations is an option that continues to grow in popularity. While the initial purchase and installation costs needed to make use of these systems may be considerable, solar-electric installations can actually pay for themselves over time by providing homeowners with the means to reduce or even eliminate their monthly utility bills. Solar installation options may not always be the best solution and output can vary depending on regional climate and equipment choices. For property owners who are serious about creating a more sustainable home, solar power is an option that is always worth considering.

 

Seeking Financial Assistance to Cover the Cost of Home Renovations

Grants, low-interest loans and other forms of financial assistance such as deciding a flat fee mls with a real-estate agent may be available to help cover the costs of an energy upgrade or other sustainable home improvement projects. Property owners who may be interested in remodeling their home but who may be concerned about the total costs of such a project can benefit immensely through low-interest loans and other forms of assistance. Being left with no other choice but to cover installation and other upgrade costs out of pocket can limit the range of options available or place unnecessary strain on household budgets.

Greg Dastrup is a world traveler and professional writer with a passion for learning new languages. He’s spent most of his career consulting for businesses in North America.

  

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Many people with limited funds are getting a start in business with the revolutionary idea of micro-franchising. For a very low investment, entrepreneurs can own their own proven franchise with relatively low risk.

 

What is micro-franchising?

 

This is a concept that applies the traditional franchising model to very small businesses. The idea originated in less developed countries as a means to help lift people out of poverty. Today it is applied around the world. Micro-franchising is a systematic approach to creating limited versions of simple businesses.

 

The franchise model

 

A company (franchisor) with an established service or product contracts with an individual(s) who operates under the franchisor's guidance and name in exchange for a fee,  or the franchise contract spells out the responsibilities and obligations of both parties. The franchisor provides marketing, support, and training while the franchisee manages working operations. The same basic concepts drive micro-franchises. In micro-franchising, the franchisee usually accepts jobs booked by the franchisor, or may rent space for a kiosk or cart to do business from. Usually this is a shopping mall or other public market, but even some large retailers have leased space to micro-franchises.

 

Benefits of franchising

 

Apart from lower starting costs, franchisees have the advantage of not needing to test new business ideas, as the franchisor's supporting resources are already in place, and is able to reap all the benefits of an established business:


  • Product recognition thanks to the name and brand of the parent company

  • Advertising and marketing support run by the franchisor at a national level

  • Area franchises that limit competition

  • Administrative support such as IT services, call centers, or bookkeeping

  • Low cost supplies that are usually purchased by the parent company at large volume discounts

 

Franchising is a successful means of business startup, compared to the fact that only two-thirds of small businesses survive beyond their first two years. But it's also a successful development model when it's scaled back to the idea of micro-franchising, which helps bring success even to those with very limited funds or experience. Low-cost products or services such as coffee kiosks or grout cleaning become a means of income.

 

A working model

 

In countries such as South Africa and Bangladesh, the concept of micro-franchising was implemented to provide income opportunities to the poor and proved highly successful. In Liberia, almost 100% of young micro-franchisees were still in business after seven months.

 

The strength of franchises is that they are a proven system, offering a clear roadmap to success by following a proven system. Franchisees are buying into not just a brand, but established supply chains, marketing, routes, and equipment. Franchise opportunities such as floor refinishing service, for example, will entail access to all the tools, materials, and training required to complete the job satisfactorily.

 

The business skills required are much less demanding of micro-entrepreneurs; rather than having talent for innovation or marketing they need only be able to copy ideas and follow guidelines. Micro-franchising allows people to learn about business in a limited, structured way with strong support systems in place. This learning experience is invaluable should the time come to embrace other business opportunities.

 

Steps to success

 

The key elements of operating a successful micro-franchise are to focus on the core concepts of franchising as a business model:

 

Social-minded entrepreneurs

 

Franchisors are industry experts providing brand awareness and skills training to entrepreneurs. The right approach for the franchisee is simply to deepen their understanding and familiarity with local clientele.

 

Support

 

Micro-franchisees should take every opportunity to exploit provided resources, including training and back-office help with things like bookkeeping and taxes. These ideas involve basic business skills which are much more difficult to acquire in a less structured environment. A franchise can be thought of as a mentoring arrangement. And not to be ignored is the value of emotional support and self esteem from being immersed in a successful business model.

 

Lee Flynn is from the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City, UT. After Lee spent years preparing himself, his home and his family, he decided he had to do more. In his free time, Lee helps educate those who want to do the same. Through small local workshops and articles, Lee trains and teaches others on home preparation, food storage techniques, wilderness survival and self reliance. After obtaining a bachelors degree from the University of Utah, Lee moved to the Salt Lake Valley where he now lives with his wife and daughter.

 

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