If There Is One Thing to Do in 2013, It’s Doing It Right

As the world turns to face yet another year, its only natural to reflect on the progress made in the last twelve months. Maybe the year started with the best intentions, only to have a eurozone shaped bomb drop on your business aspirations. Or maybe you’re one of the few that have actually squeezed a profit out of an otherwise hostile economy.

Whatever the fate of your business plan, the cold hard truth is that for many, times are hard. Banks won’t lend, customers won’t buy. To make things even more frustrating, everything seems to be going digital, and the pixels just don’t feel as friendly as the pen and paper you’re so familiar with. Its cold, its dark, and the future looks as unlikely as George Osborne handing out fivers in a dole que. You start to notice that your bank manager doesn’t seem to smile at you anymore, you want to go back to 2006 when a bailout was something you did to a boat.

Things look bad, then you realise something. You realise that its a new year, you realise that things can get better, you realise that 2013 is going to be the year that it all changed.

If you are the sort of person to have the ambition and drive to run your own business then you are indeed one of the lucky ones. The romantic ideal of being your own boss is something that many aspire to achieve, yet the truth is that the devil is in the detail. Yes it may be fulfilling, and yes things might be going great thank you very much, but that constant, irritating, niggly reality is that you wish you had more time to do what you do best. Flower arranger, clothes designer, bricklayer, butcher, baker or a self-employed candlestick maker. Whatever your profession, whatever your business plan, you know that you would thrive if you could just put down the abacus, and hand over the tax return to someone else.

The key here is delegation, there is no shame in admitting defeat when it comes to the accounts. Its a skill set, it requires training and techniques and a natural flair for numbers and organisation. This is a characteristic that many do not possess, and that’s fine. What’s more is that it can be destructively time consuming.

For anyone who has let 2012 bog them down in paperwork and number crunching, there should only be one new years resolution, and that should be to get involved again. Get hands on, do what you do best, and what your business depends on. Innovate, interact with your staff or contacts, develop your products. Don’t spend time counting receipts and tax deductible biros, spend your time protecting your business against the turbulent uncertainty of 2013. Growth is timid these days, and its going to be a rough ride.

Small Business Planning Must Include Health Care Costs

Based on what little is known about the new health care bill that was just passed, it will have a huge effect on small to mid-sized businesses. One of the line items, as reported in a summary by the Wall Street Journal, is that in 2013 companies with over 50 employees must provide “affordable” health care or face a fine of $3,000 per employee (excluding the first 30 employees). It doesn’t state what “affordable” means.

In the same paragraph it states that the insurance industry must pay an annual fee of $8 billion starting in 2013 and rising in subsequent years.

I guess it’s lost on me how an industry can pay $8 billion in annual fees and still provide affordable insurance packages to small business.

I don’t know all of the intricacies of the proposed bill. I guess that makes me about as smart as the folks who passed it, they didn’t read it either. What I do know as a mid-sized company CEO for over 15 years affordable health coverage is in the eye of the beholder.

I cannot think of a single year where our health care costs were not increased to one of my companies. Every year we scrambled to try and balance plan benefits against rising costs while trying to keep employee contributions down.

Large corporations have bargaining power and volume, and are able to secure better pricing. The small and mid-sized business owner has no such advantage. While the new plan talks about Insurance exchanges to allow small business the opportunity to shop their coverage I don’t see that as any different than what they do currently. We had to shop our coverage every few years to keep costs in line.

The bottom line of all of this is costs for business will increase, and employers will take a harder look at hiring full time employees. Prudent companies will consider health care costs in their strategic planning process, deciding whether to make investments in automation vs. full time employees with an ever increasing cost base, It will make the playing field even more uneven with countries such as China where benefits and regulation are not a concern.

Health care reform is certainly needed. It’s unacceptable that so many Americans, especially the “working poor” as they are called, are without health care. The United States spends roughly twice as much as other developed countries on health care and millions are uncovered. There simply has to be a better way. But history has shown us that a government mandated and controlled program isn’t it.

One of the chief reasons why we spend so much on health care is the cost the insurance companies and health care companies absorb trying to deal with government bureaucracy. To see government health care effectiveness you don’t have to look any further than the VA and how our veterans are treated.

The full impact of this bill on business is unknown, even by those who passed it.

Advertise Your Product Or Service With Classifieds Sites!

The Internet is the best platform for advertising your products and services today. The domain of the online world is full of many advertising opportunities for promoting your products and services. One such advertising avenue which is gaining huge popularity these days is classified advertising or website advertising.

With the launch of Craigslist, the first ever classified site, this advertising avenue opened the gates for easy advertising. Initially, classified advertising was limited to printed media, but the technological innovations steadily shifted it to the online world and gave way to classifieds sites. Today, classifieds sites are used by many people for making their products and services reach a much wider audience.

Through these classified advertisements, marketers can easily approach an audience comprised of millions of online users. All you need to do is simply post the classified advertisement about your product or services on the leading classified sites like Craigslist, backpage, etc. and your task is done. Millions of users browse through these classified sites every day in search of different products and services and this is how your product is promoted.

Though the process of classified ad posting is easy, it can turn out to be cumbersome if carried out manually. A large number of complex frames, windows, forms, etc. are involved in the process of classified ad creation and posting. Hence; carrying out the process manually is not only time-consuming, but also difficult.

Hence, it is always advisable to incorporate some technological help in the entire process and this is where advertising software tools come to the advertiser’s rescue. Such an advertising tool helps in automatic classified ad creation without demanding meddling from the advertiser’s end. There is no need to handle the complexities of the ad creation. Such tools create and post the advertisements automatically and endow you with numerous benefits like automatic text generation, automatic readings of the emails, semiautomatic mode operation, free business card supply, and much more.

There are many classifieds websites available today offering classified ad posting facilities. In fact, you can also find a number of free classifieds websites, which offer these advertising services free of charge. However, there are some which might charge a minimal subscription fee for the same thing. It is always good to invest in the ad posting software tools while using classified advertising as the marketing medium because it turns out to be an extremely cost-effective investment in the long run.

List of Hotels in Bangalore

Bangalore is a city located in the southeastern part of the Indian state of Karnataka. This city is just the perfect place to visit if you are looking for fun along with enjoying all the modern amenities of today’s life. Bangalore is located on top of the Deccan Plateau which is one of the biggest plateaus in the country. This is considered to be the reason behind the extremely pleasant weather of the city. The city is known by the epithet ‘Silicon Valley of India’ and alternatively as the ‘IT Capital’ of the country.

The city is known by these names because of the many IT sector related companies that are located in the region. Bangalore is also known as the party city of India and has a reputation as the country’s ‘Pub City’. Because of the exclusive beauty of the region, the city is also known as ‘Garden City of India’. Bangalore has slowly found a place in the map of the world over the years. Nowadays, when people plan to visit the country they invariably include visiting this this city as a part of their agenda. Bangalore is a metropolitan city and because of the many private companies in the region, people from different parts of the country and even other parts of the world come to the city for work or sometimes for conferences or meetings.

This is when people need a place to stay for a couple of days or in some cases a couple of weeks. Bangalore hotels are many in number and belong to different ranges starting from low to medium to high. The best thing about Bangalore hotels is that you can find one in any part of the city and if a tourist has business in a particular part of Bangalore city, he or she can choose to stay in hotels in that locality. Bangalore is known also for its numerous shopping malls which are distributed throughout the city. There are certain localities in the city that are also dedicated to street shoppers. In these shops, clothes, accessories and electronic items can be bought at a really reasonable rate.

Fortune Park JP Celestial is a hotel on the Race Course Road which is around 35 kilometers away from the Bangalore International Airport. Brunton Aster hotel in Bangalore is located off MG Road, one of the poshest places in the city. Golden Palms Hotel & Spa is located on Tumkur Road in Bangalore. The Infantry Hotel, as the name says is located on infantry Road. The Bangalore International hotel is located 8 kilometers away from the city’s international airport. These are only a few of a list of uncountable number of hotels in the cosmopolitan city.

US Parcel Forwarding – What It Is, Who Its Customers Are and Why It’s Used

What is US Parcel Forwarding?

US parcel forwarding is a personal or specialty service offered by parcel forwarding companies and mail forwarding companies. This service acts as a central receiving agent for incoming parcels from requesting customers. Once the packages are received, they are registered and placed in storage. The customer is provided an invoice to make payment. Once the customer makes payment, the parcel is then shipped immediately.

Who are Its Customers?

US parcel forwarding customers are primarily global shoppers — those living in countries outside the United who enjoy buying American products. Other customers are US travelers — those traveling stateside (i.e. RV campers) or abroad (i.e. Expatriots).

Why is It Used?

Many American companies do business on the world-wide web, however most of them do not offer international shipping to their global shoppers. This may come as a big surprise, but it is true.

So, why do American companies not offer international shipping? Long distance parcels require extra reinforcement and come with additional liability, and there are those pesky, time-consuming customs forms. Not to mention, customs packages require manual handling by many of the postal area offices. And lest we not forget the issue of getting an exporter’s permit and compliance with exporting laws. For the companies, this equates to hiring more staff to oversee and provide the additional work, additional cost and liability.

Besides acting to fill in the international shipping gap for American companies, forwarding services act for travelers as a medium between getting their parcels from one location to another one.

What Does It Cost?

Each forwarding service has its own costs associated with what it offers. Some charge a monthly membership, some charge a registration fee, while others charge just a fee for the service and an additional percentage of the value over a certain amount.

Do Customers Need a US Address?

Most all forwarding agencies will provide their customers with their own addresses at the receiving office, so they may easily get their packages delivered. These are made available free of cost in most cases by the agencies.

How Do Customers Order US Parcel Forwarding?

This service is easy to get. The requesting customer simply emails or completes an online inquiry or request for service form. Upon receiving the request, the parcel agent should call soon thereafter to touch base with the customer and verify the details of the order, such as the customer’s name, the items or number of packages to be received, where the parcel is to be shipped and any additional instructions relative to a successful shipment and delivery.

The Quick and Easy Way to Accept Online Payment Today

Ecommerce

Online shopping volume continues to grow at a breathless rate; online shoppers spent $30 billion during the holiday season last year, a 30% increase from 2004. The full-featured online payment gateways make this growth possible. A shopper is never more than a few keystrokes away from his purchase – he can act on a whim before his judgment has time to kick in. And there’s no reason for any small business or individual for that matter to miss out.

There is still a common misconception that to do business online you need to apply for a Merchant Account, sign up with a Secure Payment Gateway and integrate the two, with all the accompanying effort and expense.

You don’t.

The Slow Way: Merchant Accounts & Secure Payment Gateways

Most everyone has heard of Paypal, but not everyone understands how Paypal (and other third-party Online Payment Processors), Merchant Accounts and payment gateways relate to or differ from each other. A Merchant Account with your bank or other financial institution allows you to accept credit cards. To get one, you usually have to go through a credit check and pay a setup fee of $100 or more. Your website needs to connect to the Merchant Account, and this is where the Secure Payment Gateway comes in. Your Merchant Account should identify one or more payment gateways that are compatible with their system, and to use one of these you can expect a setup fee of several hundred dollars, monthly fees, and per-transaction fees.

The Quick Way: Third Party Processors

Third party online payment processors greatly simplify the whole process – you simply pay a (usually higher) percentage of sales as a transaction fee. The payment processors available today will allow you to accept online payments within a day or two after a simple verification process, without any hassle of qualifying for merchant accounts. Usually no deposits are required and there are no monthly fees. These are often the best option for small businesses and startups to be able to do business online very quickly.

Accepting credit card payments online is standard for any online payment system since the majority of online shoppers pay with their credit cards. However, some 10% of buyers actually don’t have or prefer not to pay via credit card, so you may also want to consider accepting online checks, debit cards and digital cash. Many of the current online payment services also allow customers to transfer funds directly from their bank account. The more flexibility you give your customers, the more likely they are to make a purchase.

Get Started!

Thousands of small businesses and potential entrepreneurs still hold back from doing business online, mostly due to imaginary technical or logistical obstacles. With third party online payment processors, you can turn a business idea into revenue within a day. Look around and assess your options – don’t just go with the bank’s recommended Merchant Account and the large payment gateways such as Authorize.net and Cybercash. You will save on setup and monthly fees by starting off with a smaller third party processor. The downside is that you will pay higher transaction costs per sale, but this is worth it in the short term. When your business is up and running and bringing in cash, you will have the option and means to consider getting a Merchant Account.

Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 – A Notebook With a 3rd Generation Processor, Discrete Graphics, and More

Even though it can still be used for business purposes, the Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 is more consumer oriented than its ThinkPad counterparts. If you’re looking for a laptop that can be used for a variety of purposes, then the Y580 is an ideal choice. The appearance is certainly an improvement from its predecessor, the dull gray Y570.

The newer model’s exterior looks more like a stationary system than an actual notebook designed for portability. The sleek dark gray outer lid and black palm rests have a lustrous brushed metal appearance. The chassis utilizes polycarbonate and aluminum plastic.

It comes with a wide variety of ports. A 6-in-1 card reader is located at the front. One USB 2.0 port and USB 3.0 ports, along with headphone and microphone jacks are located on the right side of the system. You will also find an HDMI output, an Ethernet port, and a VGI port on the chassis. The built-in Intel Wireless Display (Wi-Di) makes it easy to beam the video and audio to a high definition television. All you’ll need is an aftermarket adapter.

When it comes to wireless connectivity, the Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 comes with a dual-stream (2x) Centrino Wireless-N card with support for Wi-Di and Bluetooth. A second PCIe MiniCard Slot with mSATA support is optional. It offers support for extra end-user expandability.

While you can’t expect it to run games with advanced graphics technology, you can still play some games with standard graphics, thanks to the discrete 2 GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX660M. it can break 30 frames per second, which is good for medium quality settings. This is impressive for a netbook. The graphics support the latest DirectX 11 for gaming and high definition video editing.

The default operating system is Windows Home 7 Premium. The 3rd Generation Intel Core i7 processor allows for multitasking. If that isn’t enough, you can expect 8 GB system memory, which is impressive for a notebook. For the hard drive, you can choose 500 GB, 750 GB, or 1 TB. There is also an option for a 32 GB Solid State Drive.

Not only does the Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 come with great hardware, it also comes pre-loaded with useful applications. While some users don’t like pre-loaded applications, the ones offered by Lenovo can be very helpful:

· Cyberlink YouCam

· Adobe Reader

· Energy Management

· Cyberlink PowerDVD

· OneKey Recovery

· Lenovo EE Boot Optimizer

· Veriface

Last but not least is the display. The options include 15.6 inch LED backlit HD or 15.6 inch LED backlit FHD.

The Lenovo IdeaPad Y580, overall, is a great, affordable notebook. Whether you want to work, play games, or be productive, you will find that the Y580 will offer everything you need.