Category Archives: Business

Save Costs on Construction Without Compromising Quality

Two workers at a construction siteBuilding a house takes years of wishful thinking, mental saving before you finally decide to take the bold step of seeking finance. Costing is often a challenge to most people because they do not know which areas what to sacrifice without reducing the final quality of the house. If you are one of those people, then you are in the right place because we will give you tips that will sort out your problem.

Select a contractor

The quality of your house and the amount of money you will save in construction has a lot to do with the contractor you employ. Let’s say you are planning a new home construction in Salt Lake City. The first thing you need is to look for a contractor. By welcoming bids, you will probably get more than five interested parties who will offer different solutions.

To make the right choice you need to explain to the contractor about your plan and your estimated budget. A great contractor will advise you on the best materials to use while also considering the issue of cost. The contractor who is willing to stick to your plan without altering your budget is the best since he will not point a blaming finger in case you encounter challenges along the way.

Take a supervisory role

Your contractor will give you a time estimate on when your house should ready. Supervising the work is very important because it is the only thing that will push the contractor to meet the work schedule. In most constructions, exceeding the initial budget comes about because of unnecessary delays that sore up the labor cost.

Take advice

Having your plan and preferences is very important, however, if your contractor advises you to change one or two things it would wise to do so even if it interferes with your budget. Remember the emphasis is on ensuring you get the house while working on a minimal budget. Thus, make every use of the professional advice that you get as it might make a big difference.

There are many ways that you can save cost during construction. However, the primary factor to consider as emphasized above is working with professionals who understand your dream and are willing to make it a reality.

Woman examining business graphs

Fintechs Team Up with Industry Giants

A report carried out by the WEF (World Economic Forum) has suggested that the burgeoning world of financial technology very rarely challenges incumbent market infrastructure. Many people have speculated in the past that fintechs could pose a big threat to the industry’s giants.

The report showed that the key to survival and growth in both parts is partnerships between financial technology and well-established institutions. Fintechs benefit from large cash injections and the financial institutions that invest usually have products developed by their fintechs. A great example of a successful partnership has been Algomi. News is that Euronext, the pan-Euro exchange has teamed up with fintech start-up Algomi to develop software that could change their company for the better.

Fintechs drag banking into the 21st century

Financial technology companies began to have a big impact on consumers’ everyday lives years ago, but companies like Thomson Reuters and PayPal weren’t embraced for years. Well established businesses and institutions were reluctant to work with the new technologies, fearing the impact they could have on their monopoly of the financial world.

Fintech’s most important asset is that it can evolve and change direction at the drop of a hat. When things like challenger banks and online payment services started to threaten big banking, market incumbents began to take notice of the technological advances financial technology could bring to their customers.

The co-author of the WEF report, Rob Galaski said: “Fintechs have changed the basis of competition in financial services, but not the competitive landscape. Fintechs now define the tempo and direction of innovation in financial services, but high customer switching costs and the rapid response of incumbents has challenged their ability to scale.”

News: Algomi partnership’s success story

Euronext’s plan with Algomi involves a $10 million initial investment to get Algomi’s support developing an automated trading system to roll out in North America.

This deal gave Euronext a minority stake in Algomi and a seat at the board of directors. Algomi has secure three more partnerships with different companies in the last six months.

As Algomi continues to grow and expand, stay tuned for all the latest Algomi news.

Making Your Property Investment Work for You

Property InvestmentSome people buy real estate to own property, but some do it to expand their investments. There are many options open to you: resell the property for a profit, build a residential unit for lease, or even create a commercial area for rent.

If you want to enjoy extra income, then renting out your investment property would be the way forward. However, there are a few guidelines that you must remember. This will protect you and your investment in the long run. Many Australian property investment groups could offer valuable advice to property owners.

The Process of Renting Out Property

Renting out your property is not as simple as offering it to the first person that says they want it. You will need to screen your potential tenants. Some of the things you should check for credit history and employment references. You should also check for a criminal background check.

Documentation is Key

You could agree on something verbally, but written ones still carry weight. Ask a solicitor to help you outline the agreement. Ensure that the terms and conditions are outlined clearly in the lease.
State your policy on repairs. It should also include when the lessee is responsible for the repairs, and up to how much you will take care of general wear and tear on the property.

Secure the Property

While your property is still on the market, make sure to secure it and prevent trespassers from entering your property. This includes maintaining the security gates, greenery, and lighting in the yard.
Building insurance is not negotiable. You must cover yourself against vandalism and burglary. Any other possible types of damage to your investment should also be covered. If you think it is too much, you could ask a property investment group to help you manage your property. However the best property investments are the ones that need the least management.
If you choose to hand over administration to a property investment group, ensure you are both on the same page. All decisions must be signed off by you as the property owner. You also need to be clear on what you expect of them. Ensure that your property is always in good hands.

Why Rental Investment Sometimes Makes More Sense

A CondoMore people are shunning the American dream of homeownership, as renters have increased today compared to any time in the last 50 years, according to a Pew Research Center analysis.

There are several reasons why renting properties makes more senses than buying homes. For property owners, the profitability of a section 8 rental investment becomes more achievable due to the stable demand for leasing houses.

Timing is Key

The length of your stay will determine the advantage of renting over buying a house. You may have an attraction to rising prices for homes in certain markets, which leads you to think that home equity will be higher in the near future.

However, a Trulia report showed that you might need to wait until 2025 before unlocking the cash value of your house if you acquire one today.

You would most likely take out a fixed mortgage if you plan to buy a house, which would further require you to keep the property. On the other hand, renters have the option of moving elsewhere at the end of their contract.

Cost Comparison

Renters would be unable to collect tax incentives that exclusive for homeowners, as well as having no home equity. However, they also do not have to pay home insurance, real estate taxes and maintenance costs.

For investors, owning a rental property becomes a better choice if you know the best markets in the country. In Dallas, for instance, property owners could achieve a 5.6% annual return after operating costs, including insurance, taxes and maintenance.

The median investment price in the city costs almost $200,000 with a monthly mortgage of $856, which would likely be covered by rental income.

Housing rentals make more sense only if you have a clear understanding of the benefits and disadvantages. If you think the advantages of renting outweigh the risks, then renting may be the wiser choice for now.

Casual office meeting

Tips to Maximise Your Business Resources

Casual office meetingIn order to grow and be successful, businesses need to be efficient. Being efficient means being able to maximise your available resources and at the same time, find new strategies for using them. If you know how to stretch your resources while finding new solutions that will work for you, your business will be on its way to success.

Here are some tips on how you can maximise your business resources.

Unlock Your Employee’s Full Potential

You have already hired the people whom you believe are perfect for the job. Now, what? Help them grow and unlock their full potential. Make sure you have a human resources division dedicated to giving your employees different training opportunities where they can better hone their skills. Moreover, motivate your staff to give their best at work every time. This way, not only will they grow but your business as well.

Get Only the Best Equipment

Your company’s technical team must do its best to find the best equipment and tools for your business. Not everything in the market, however, matches what you need. This is why you also need to look for specialised equipment providers.

Customise

One example of a company resource that needs to be customised is the body of a utility vehicle or ute. The design of ute bodies differs depending on the services offered by a company. Some companies may need a ute with cold storage capability. Others may require a lot more drawers for service tools. Others may require cages for live animals. You can work with manufacturers of ute bodies to ensure that what they build is what you really need.

In today’s world, a smart business does not just delight customers with great products and services. It also ensures that whom they hire and what they use truly fit the needs of the company so that no money and time is wasted.

3 Signs Your Asphalt Driveway Needs Repair

White Modern House With DrivewayYour property can lose its value in time, which is why you should do what it takes to keep it in good condition. Just like any other parts of your home, your driveway needs routine inspection and repairs to remain attractive, safe and usable.

So, when should you schedule a repair other than paving or resealing? Auckland Asphalt Repairs suggests that you watch out for these signs:

Warping or Buckling

This should be easy to determine; just pay attention to the surface of the asphalt. Does it appear to be even and on the same level, or does it appear wavy and uneven? The warping occurs due to either compromised or uneven base of the asphalt. It can also be a result of heavy vehicle use. This calls for immediate asphalt repair by professionals to prevent further damage.

Alligator Cracks

These are characterised by shallow defects on the surface that occur on a huge part of the pavement. The cracks imitate an alligator’s skin or the web. This will require your contractor to perform full-depth reclamation on the affected area.

Drainage Problems

Lingering water pools are a huge threat to your asphalt driveway. Water can easily seep in between the layers, affecting the binding agent. If you notice water puddles in your driveway, contact your asphalt contractor immediately. Fixing the drainage issue helps avoid possible threats of potholes, cracks and other damages.

If you notice any or a combination of the above signs, then you need immediate asphalt repair service. Early repairs save you the hassle of large holes, vehicle damages, accidents and the major cost of asphalt replacements. Besides repairing your driveway, asphalt contractors can repair your private road and parking lot to enhance safety, aesthetics and comfort.

Missing out on Music Royalties

A portrait of a drummerSupporting yourself through music is tough. It requires an immense amount of hard work, patience, and shrewdness. Otherwise, you’re going to go broke by spending more money to produce and distribute your works instead of earning from selling records and playing live.

One of the main things to focus on is royalty collection. Getting compensated every time someone else uses your music is a great way to earn revenue. However, many artists, especially indie ones, struggle to fall short on collection. If you get most of your royalties, these are the possible reasons:

You Don’t Know What You Can Collect

Many indie artists are not completely aware of the royalties they can claim. In music publishing, you can generate money in the form of mechanical and performance royalties. The former refers to every composition sold or reproduced, while the latter talks about whenever your song gets played in public.

You could also get paid through licenses for synchronization and sampling. If your composition gets duplicated in print form, you should also get paid for print rights for sheet music.

You Don’t Invest in Accounting Enough

Royalty management can be technical and complicated. You must use advanced royalty accounting tools to ease the process, boost your collections, and generate greater revenues. Or else, you might lose a lot of money without realizing it.

You Don’t Have Control of File-Sharing

The ambiguity of fair usage is perhaps the biggest thorn in the side of independent artists. Channels such as YouTube, offer a great platform for distributing music. Unfortunately, they also empower fans to do whatever they want with the content for free. Once published, users could download singles or even whole albums at no cost. The absence of proper licensing regulations hurt indie music artists the most.

In a perfect world, independent artists get adequately paid to the last cent. In the real one, though, living off music isn’t always sustainable. You must have a strong game plan to collect the royalties you could realistically earn. This can help you keep doing what you love while providing for yourself and family.

Reverse Logistics: How to Turn Returns into Profit

a man explaining the logistical process

It is common practice to focus on getting customers to buy more when businesses want to increase their sales. However, one of the most overlooked sales tactics that many companies forget are returns or reverse logistics.

While this is typically an afterthought for some businesses, it is very crucial for all customers. Consider the following guidelines to turn your reverse logistics into sales.

Make Sure you have a Return Merchandise Authorization Process

Industry specialist ReverseLogix notes that your RMA process should allow your customers easy and fuss-free returns. Consider investing in returns management software that will provide you various capabilities to make the entire process easier for your team and your clients.

Make your Return Policies as Clear as Possible

Having a clear and easily understandable return policy is crucial so that your customers know what to expect if they decide to return an item. In general, include the following:

  • Specific items that they cannot and can return
  • The specific time frame allowed for accepting returns
  • Return shipping fees, if any
  • How you can send refunds and in what forms – credit, cash, etc.
  • Specific steps for the return process
  • If you offer your products to international customers, make sure that you have clear policies regarding international returns.

Monitor All Returned Items

A vital part of effective reverse logistics includes regular tracking of commonly returned items and the reason for the return. You should likewise monitor the rate of returns for as a percentage of overall sales for every item.

A Word on Free Returns and Free Shipping Promo

Take note that some customers will only buy products to satisfy the minimum requirement for free shipping and then benefit from it to send back items they do not need or want since they already availed of free shipping.

Consider offering this option for pricier products to deter unscrupulous customers from taking advantage of this incentive.

Put simply, based on the rate of returns, how you manage your reverse logistics could help determine your business’ profitability or lack thereof. Check out your returns management process right now and see if you could incorporate the guidelines as mentioned earlier to help increase your margins and sales.

Show Your Best Look with Your Head shot

Girl smiling and posingA head shot is a photograph of a person’s face, often used to represent someone on social media or promotion materials. Authors, actors, corporate business people, lawyers and even doctors make use of these portraits to promote themselves or their trade. Environmental head shots add life to regular head shots.

Why Environmental Head shots

Getting a good portrait is not just vanity – it’s an investment. Head shots promote an individual in the way he wants others to see him and can make or break first impressions. But what makes an environmental head shot special? Here are three reasons to get that environmental head shot:

1. It Captures More Than Just Your Face

A good photographer will ensure that he captures you at your best in your portrait. Being in your element can make you more comfortable when you take your photograph, making you look more radiant. The environment captured with you in the picture can also clue others in on what you want to represent.

2. It Makes the Photo Vibrant

Standard portraits are commonly set against a solid background to allow the subject to stand out. Unfortunately, this can also cause the picture to look rather bland and boring. With the background incorporated into the photo, environmental portraits are far more vibrant and appealing.

3. It Is Memorable

With the fast paced world of our lives today, we will often find ourselves in different places and situations. With an environmental head shot, you capture the totality of your life at a particular point in time. This preserves the memory better as it captures not just you, but even your circumstances in that time.

Environmental head shots add so much more to a portrait than a regular photograph with a solid background can show. Plan the shoot with your photographer beforehand. Know what you want to show and how you should show it, including what clothes to wear, what kind of makeup to apply, and where to take that shot.

Recycle Cardboard and Save the World

Recycled Card boards

In the US, more than 85% of products are sold packaged in cardboards. Some cities recycle between 1,500 to 2,100 pounds of cardboard every day. In the UK, paper and cardboard recycling is a successful venture. In 2015, it recorded 4.9 million tonnes of recycled paper and cardboard.

Cardboard is made from pulp. Pulp comes from trees. However, trees are a limited resource, and they provide oxygen and stabilise the world’s weather systems. Trees reduce carbon dioxide and preserve oxygen levels.

Recycling Cardboard

Recycling cardboard helps save trees. According to statistics, 544,000 trees could be saved in one year in the US alone. If every household used recycled paper towels, this would make a huge difference. So reusing recycled cardboard is one of the best ways to save the trees.

The manufacturing process releases harmful gases into the atmosphere. When industries adopt cardboard recycling, you can help reduce the number of gases by half. One ton of recycled paper saves at least 17 trees. Oil, energy and water are also saved in the process. Households throw away too much paper and wood each year. The amount thrown out would be enough to heat up 50, 000, 000 homes for 20 years.

Types of Cardboard Suitable for Recycling

You cannot recycle all cardboards. Paper board or flat board cannot be recycled, and these include cereal boxes, milk cartons, and shoe boxes. Shirt boxes and frozen food boxes are also considered flat board.

However, corrugated cardboard is recyclable. This cardboard is used in packaging products. If you need to recycle these boards, you need to break down the boxes before handing it in as this saves space. You could haul more cardboard with each trip if you do so. Do your part and help in recycling paper and cardboard.