Month: February 2010

Cut Back Expenditures and Save Your Business Budget

Recession has indeed affected both big and small businesses in the industry.  If you are a small biz or a home business owner, you need to be creative in finding ways to cut your costs without compromising your tasks at hand.

Below are some practical suggestions to reduce your expenditures and stretch your business budget.

Conserve energy. Do your share in saving the environment while cutting your bills at the same time.   Make sure that your office is well-ventilated.  Use energy-saving lighting devices in your office or store.  Unplug electrical devices at night.

Share marketing costs with other businesses.  Offer to help out another company in marketing in exchange for a free or a lower cost of service.  For instance, you may promote a printing company as you enjoy discounted price for printing services.

Hire freelancers. You may not need to hire a lot of in-house employees, especially if you are managing a start up the business.   During peak seasons, you may hire freelancers to temporarily lend a hand.

Take advantage of free online tools. Maximize email capability and use it to send messages whenever possible.  Make the most of free internet marketing tools to promote your business such as blogs, social networking sites, forums, press release sites, and many others.

Monitor office supplies. Buying office supplies in bulk is obviously cheaper but you also need to pay attention to how these materials are used.

Lease office equipment. Purchasing new or used equipment could eat up a huge percentage of your budget.  Consider leasing as an alternative.  Leasing allows you to pay in installments as you get to use the devices and you can be entitled to tax benefits.

Switch to VoIP (Voice-Over Internet Protocol). Through VoIP, you can make calls anywhere in the world through the Internet at a much cheaper cost.

Make payments on time.  Pay your business credit cards, business loans, leases, utility bills, suppliers and other creditors before your due date to avoid penalties and debt build-up.

Shop around before making any purchase. Just as wise consumers shop around and compare, business owners need to be diligent in doing comparisons before purchasing a product or service.

For instance, if you need a wireless phone for business use, explore your options first by using cell phone comparison tools online.  Cell phone plans vary depending on the carrier so take the extra time to study your choices.  Also, check out the BBB’s (Better Business Bureau) guide on choosing a cell phone service.

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In Search for the Right Web Hosting Service

In setting up a website, finding a reliable web hosting service is very important, especially if you’re going to put up a business website or an online shop.  There are a couple of web hosting companies that you can choose from and you must spend some time evaluating these choices.
What factors should you consider in your search for the right web host?
Uptime.  In reality, no web host is perfect and can provide 100% uptime.  Investigate the percentage of downtimes and maintenance period of a server before making a choice.  You can ask around or check out forums online to know what other people have to say about a particular server, based upon experience.
Bandwidth and Disk Space.  The data transfer speed and the disk space is another concern, especially if you plan to build a website with large content such as graphics, audio and video files.  Some servers may advertise ‘unlimited’ space but always check the fine print.  If you foresee a large traffic, then you would need a higher bandwidth allowance as well.

Software and hardware requirements. 
Programming functions such as FTP, PHP, MySQL, Perl, Visual Basic script, SSI,.htaccess, etc. are essentials in building a website. Take note that some programming languages are not compatible with certain platforms.  If you are not familiar with these, ask advice from an experienced webmaster.
Technical Support.  Will you be provided with reliable support 24/7?  Are the representatives competent enough to handle problems and provide you with the assistance you need?  Ask opinions from other people who may have subscribed to the server.  Another way to check is to give them a call yourself.

Email Accounts. 
Having your own email account in your domain is a must.  How many email accounts can you create with your domain?  Will that be enough for your needs?

E-commerce features. 
Make sure that your web host will be able to support the programs you need to run your online store such as your Shopping Cart Software.
Web Hosting Security.  It is crucial to find a web host provider that can ensure the security of your website from potential threats of fraud and Identity Theft. Here is an interesting read on website security.
vintage car

3 Best Tips to Improve Your Gas Mileage

Did you know that following these three steps can greatly improve your gas mileage?

vintage carDo regular car maintenance.  Keep your engine properly tuned and increase your gas mileage from 4% to as much as 40%.  Properly inflated tires can boost mileage by about 3% and prolongs the tire’s lifespan.  Use only your manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil and replace clogged air filters and water pump right away.

Watch your driving.  Check the speed limit.  Be more attentive on the road.  Anticipate traffic stops to avoid sudden breaks.  If you are going to be on a stop for a while, turn off the engine.  Use overdrive gears and cruise control when applicable.  Free your trunk from unnecessary load.

Buy an energy-saver car.  If you are going to buy a new car, consider a hybrid electric car or an alternative fuel vehicle.  Check out  www.fueleconomy.gov to see a list of fuel efficient vehicle models.  The website is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  Maintenance and money saving tips are also provided along with other useful tools for car owners.

photo:
vintage car