Stretch Your Small Biz Budget

As a small business owner, there are always things that you need to purchase for your company. Keeping up with what you need and getting the most for your money can help stretch your budget. 

Margot Carmichael Lester with Staples recently wrote 6 Ways to Stretch Your Small Business Budget. She highlighted some great tips that can help with your small business budget. Among them are the following:

Free $Piggy1. Identify priority items:  There are some items that a business must have to operate properly, so those should be on the top of your shopping list.  Other non essential items can be purchased gradually as funds become available.

2. Track inventory: Store all inventory in a single place and keep an up-to-date inventory list.  That way, you won’t waste money purchasing items that are not needed.

3. Stock up on store brands: Often store brands are equal or superior to brand-name products but at a much lower price.  Always look to store brands if they are high quality.

Please be sure to read all of the tips and the entire article here.

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Keeping Your Day Job While Launching a Startup

When starting a new company, it would be great to stop all other commitments in your life and devote 100% of your time and effort to your new startup. Ideally one should have about one years salary saved before quitting and going full force with the new venture. This is not realistic for a lot of people and for various reasons you may need to keep the steady income or benefits of your day job while launching your startup. While this can be tricky, staying organized is key to juggling both.Free Keep Balance

John Rampton of Entrepreneur describes some strategies to balance this equation in 5 Tips for Keeping Your Day Job While Launching Your Own Business.

  1. Consider your job in the right light – Remember that your job is helping you to achieve your goals by providing a steady income while you get on your feet.
  2. Plan your days well – Burning the candle on both ends will not work, You need to get enough sleep and not work excessively.. “It’s the little, consistent daily things you do that add up to make or break a startup” says Rampton.   Stay focused and avoid distractions  on both your startup and job.
  3. Maximize your time Consider the number of hours needed for your job and add time for sleep and exercise.  Then budget your remaining hours for your new venture.

To see all of the five tips, please read the entire article here.

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Personal Safety Apps For Your Security

Ever feel nervous when you’re walking alone?  Want to feel a little extra sense of security? We all do from time to time and there are some great app options available that  provide some piece of mind.  Of course you should always contact 911 in the event of a true emergency, but these apps are for supplemental support.Free theif

Fox Van Allen of Techlicious reviewed some great personal safety apps in his article  5 Free Personal Safety Apps that Can Call For Help.  Some of those apps include the following:

  • bSafe – This is a free download for Apple iOS and Android.  It can alert your friends or family that you’ve arrived at your destination.  Also it can send info about your changing GPS location and can setup fake phone calls to avoid uncomfortable situations.  It also offers an alarm that can be activated manually or by timer.
  • Bugle – Another free app and it’s available on iTunes.  For iPhone users, it is intended mainly for runners, hikers, cyclists or anyone who may be meeting with a stranger. Users set where and how long they’ll be gone.  If they don’t check in within the time limit, their emergency contacts are alerted immediately.
  • SafeTrek – If you feel you are in an unsafe situation and want to be discreet in alerting help, this app can help.  Just place your thumb on the Safe button, if you are not in need of assistance, just input a code, if you do not, then the police will be contacted for assistance.

Please read about all of the safety apps here.

Stay safe!

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Tax Day Is Quickly Approaching

Free Tax ReturnApril 15 is nearly here and if you are like about 25% of Americans, you still have yet to submit your 2014 tax return.  With only a few days remaining before the deadline, MoneyTalksNews offers some tax tips to help you file your taxes accurately.  Some of these include:

  1. Get Organized – Collect all required documents and information before you get started including W-2 forms, 1099 forms, social security numbers and your previous years tax return.  Additionally, you will need form 1098 if you are itemizing your deductions.
  2. Pick a Preparer – You can either prepare your tax return yourself or choose a professional.  Also determine if you are filing with paper forms or e-filing.  There are a number of  e-filing service providers such as TurboTax, TaxACT and H&R Block.  For information or forms, visit IRS.gov.
  3. Don’t Rush – Taking your time can help you avoid mistakes. Some common errors include incorrect social security numbers, address, or filing status.  Also, forgetting dividends or other income can result in costly errors.

Please read the entire article to learn all of the tax tips here.

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Common Misused Idioms

When we speak or write, the proper use of words really does matter.  Incorrect grammar or misused idioms can make someone question the intelligence of another person.   There is a lot of misuse out there and even credible websites and smart individuals can be guilty. Christina DesMarais, a contributor with Inc.com, described in 20 Embarrassing Phrases Even Smart People Misuse some common  idioms that are misused and can be found all over the web.

David Castillo Dominici freedigitalphotos.net

  1. Sneak peak –  “Peak”  refers to the top of a mountain,  “Peek” refers to an early or quick look at something.  “Sneak peek,” is the correct expression.
  2. Piece of mind – “Piece of mind” would indicate a part of the brain. “Peace of mind” however, refers to harmony and calm.
  3. I could care less – This would actually refer to being able to care less.  Rather,  “I couldn’t care less” is what should be said when you wish to express extreme indifference.
  4. Baited breath – “bated” means suspense or anxious.  “to wait with bated breath” really means to hold your breath with anticipation.  “Bait” refers to luring or trapping. Baited is not the correct usage.
  5. Make due – “make due” would mean to “make owed,” however, “make do”  means to manage to get along, or “to make something sufficient.”
  6. Wet your appetite – Wet refers to moistened or soaked with a liquid. “Whet your appetite” is the correct expression.  “Whet” means to sharpen, stimulate or awaken.
  7. One in the Same – “One in the same” would suggest that the one is actually inside itself.  The correct idiom is “one and the same,” meaning the same thing or the same person.

How many of these idioms have you accidentally misused?  Check out the entire list of top 20 idioms here.

 

 

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You Can Be Financially Independent

Most of us dream about not having to worry about money and being able to live our lives comfortably and freely as we choose.  However, often we are held back from achieving this.

“Dollar” by dream designs Freedigitalphotos.net

 

Simon Cave’ with Addicted2Success recently wrote 6 Reasons Why You Will Never Become Financially Free.  He outlines the reasons why people don’t meet their financial goals. He also describes how to change those reasons around including:

 

  1. You must believe that it is possible – Most people fail because they feel like it is impossible to get to financial independence.  With a lack of belief, then the action needed to get where you desire will not be taken.  Actions such as reading books, attending seminars and talking with those who have achieved financial independence, are important steps.
  2. You need a plan –  Just wanting something will not make it happen.  A plan is needed including a 5 year plan and strategies to reach your financial independence.
  3. Save a percentage of your pay before paying for other things – Before you spend any of your pay, be sure to set aside 10% or so to savings.  Then you can pay  your rent,  loans, groceries, etc.  Saving is crucial and should be your #1 priority.
  4. Only take advise from people who have achieved what you want– many of us listen to our friends, family or coworkers when looking for advise.   However, to get the information that you need, you should only take advice from people who already have the result you want to get.

To see the other ways to become financially independent, please read all of Cave’ article here.

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Traits of “Best Places To Work”

All companies would like to be considered one of the “best places to work.”   Local business community recognition as well as  employee recognition go a long way in attracting and retaining talented recruits and current personnel.

Free I love my job

“Businessman Holding Paper” by pakorn FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Typically, businesses that are named as such have three common traits according to Andre Lavoie with Entrepreneur.  He writes in Companies That Are “Best Places to Work” Share These 3 Things:

  1. The company has a strong, positive culture.  Communicating the companies vision helps employees understand and establish their work goals, with the company mission in mind.
  2. Employers invest in their employees – People are the most valuable asset of a company so it makes sense that they be provided opportunities to grow professionally.  Options such as mentorship programs, professional development events, webinars, or other training and development programs could be utilized.
  3. Performance reviews are valued. A good performance review should include regular ongoing feedback, recognition of positive employee performance, and establishment of goal expectations.

Please read the entire article here.

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Identity Tax Refund Fraud

As many of us prepare to file our income tax returns again this year, we can’t help but feel concern about the potential for tax refund fraud.  What began in 2008 has tripled over the past three years.  Millions of American citizens are affected.

“Scam Laptop Shows Scheming Theft Deceit And Fraud Online” by Stuart Miles Freedigitalphotos.net

“Scam Laptop Shows Scheming Theft Deceit And Fraud Online” by Stuart Miles Freedigitalphotos.net

Identity theft has many unfortunate consequences.  One of which is tax refund fraud. With your name, date of birth and social security number, a thief can file a fake tax return and collect your refund. The IRS has not been able to stop it.  In fact, they estimate that it sent out almost three million fraudulent refunds last year. The Government Accountability Office estimate that it cost tax payers $5.2 billion.  And, the Treasury Department estimates the numbers are even much higher.

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Startup Hiring Tips

Launching your startup requires a good team working with you.  This task of hiring can be a challenge especially with competition from large established companies.  Firas Kittaneh with Entrepreneur describes some thoughts on hiring in 5 Effective Hiring Tips for Early-Stage Startups.

Included in some of his tips are:

“Job Interview” by Ambro freedigitalphotos.net

“Job Interview” by Ambro freedigitalphotos.net

  1. Be transparent about your needs (and how they may change). – Startups often experience changes in direction, goals and staffing needs.  Informing candidates of the potential for change not only keeps them aware but brings them onboard with realistic expectations.
  2. Build positive relationships with all candidates – Not all candidates are a good fit initially for a startup, but keeping a good connection can prove valuable on many levels such as referrals or potential employment in another capacity down the road.
  3. Make the benefits awesome – Aside from some expensive benefits, there are some cost-effective options available that are desirable to a candidate.   Offering opportunities for professional development and growth in responsibility within the startup, can be valuable incentives.

Please read all of the tips here.

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iPhone Battery Just Not Lasting ?

Smartphones are great.  iPhone’s in particular are a favorite among many.  However, in spite of all the wonderful things they do for us and how they enhance our lives, their batteries don’t always last as long as we need them to as we conduct our day-to-day business.

FreeDigitalPhoto.net

FreeDigitalPhoto.net

Most of the  battery drainers of our smartphones are the features that we love most about them. GPS, internet streaming, and endless apps all take a toll on your battery.  Natasha Stokes of Techlicous discusses some great tips on how to save power by using features more effectively in her article How to Make Your iPhone Battery Last Longer.

Here are some of Stokes Tips:

  • Check what’s sapping the battery – Go to your settings and scroll down to see a list of which apps are using what proportion of the battery power when the phone isn’t charging.
  • Enable airplane mode in areas of poor reception – When your iPhone detects a low signal, it increases power to the antenna so it can stay connected to the cellular network.  This will drain your battery so if you don’t need to make calls, switch temporarily to airplane mode.
  • Use Wi-Fi instead of cellular internet – When possible, use Wi-Fi to save battery life.
  • Turn your phone off once a week – By turning off your phone at least once a week, it will  help preserve the battery capacity.

Please read all of the tips and smart practices to enhance your battery life here.

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