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Great Online Tools Every Business Should Be Using Today

What are online tools? In today’s environment, if you want your business to expand, you must keep up with all of the current trends and continue to evolve.

Enterprises nowadays are growing at a quick rate, and with the advent of the internet and technological improvements, more and more businesses aren’t tied to a single location, which makes efficient communication more difficult. Not only will you have to deal with distance and remote work, but you’ll also have to deal with projects that are due, team management, customer support, and a social media presence in order to grow and become more prominent.

Fortunately, a slew of new internet solutions has been developed to combat these particular demons and ensure that organisations function as smoothly as possible. Here are some of the most essential ones you should have or acquire in order to stay afloat and be competitive, and also make your business run better without mistakes.

Platforms for keeping track of activities

These platforms have become more popular over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic as remote work has increased and people had to stay in their homes during the lockdown. The platforms saved hundreds of small and large businesses from falling apart and going bankrupt, as they enabled effective communication between the employees and made sure everyone was 100% involved with the ongoing projects and tasks. The platforms simply make sure you have a complete overview of your workforce, you can easily schedule conference calls and meetings, you can make sure the projects aren’t meeting deadlines, you’ll better organise the tasks. You can set alarms to remind you of important assignments, you can look at the progress your company made so far, and much more. These tools are perfect if you are running a small team and have a low-key company, but it also functions with larger corporations divided into smaller units.

Data analysis and social media presence

Another essential tool is those that assist you in gaining a better grasp of the company’s current activity. Statistical analysis can show you an increase or decrease in certain areas, where you are strong and holding up, or where you should pay more attention and make sure to fix the bug. Also, a similar tool worth mentioning in the context of data analysis is accountant platforms helping you to handle your finances more effectively.

When it comes to marketing, the most important aspect is keeping your image and social media presence. When it comes to the latter, you can easily go for service providers offering to help you out and do the job for you. For example, the guys at Start-up Checker are doing high-quality work. You can visit their website and you’ll find they manage everything from keeping your social media presence and social media data analysis, which essentially helps you to know the public opinion on your company, to advertisement-based emails and sales prospects. All these are essential in keeping the business going and growing. Think of these as they are fundamental parts of good marketing.

Quality sound and voice platforms

Make sure to have such platforms pre-installed as they are a must. Not only for remote working but for keeping in touch with other customer companies. With such platforms, you can establish a good conference call or a meeting with high-quality sound and voice resolution and a perfect HD image. We all witnessed the downsides of the lack of preparation as universities and enterprises had to rely on phone apps to establish any sort of communication, often resulting in misunderstandings due to the weak connection and other problems. With platforms specifically made to meet this particular demand, you won’t have such issues.

Protection

Another important aspect and online tools are making sure you are protected. If your company is online, that means it can easily become a victim of cyberattacks. Therefore, there are several tools you can use in order to stop this from happening.

Certain programs and platforms offer a firewall and protection from viruses which essentially ensures no one can harm you from the inside. Other software is securing your network by establishing a secure and safe connection you employees can join. One important aspect is making sure you are well protected during business online money transactions and payments; not only you but all your potential customers who are using the service. Therefore, you can always install software that is acting as third-party insurance and keep every transaction in order and safe.

You can also cut down on the bills and make sure your voice calls are of high quality and inexpensive, not only between the different facilities of your own company but abroad calls as well, by using SIP trunking. It can easily be linked to the already existing PBX of the company and also serve as a secure network to exchange other data as well.

All of these tools will make operating your business much easier; they are lifesavers, and in the past, all of this was done by a large crew, so you’ll make money while saving it.

5 Clever Reasons Small Brands Should Consider Custom Packaging

Why should you consider custom packaging? Over the years, consumers have become smarter and more conscious of their purchase decisions.

Having easy access to search engines isn’t the only reason. They’re also more inclined to do their research first with the myriad of options that are currently available.

In fact, 72 percent of consumers in the United States say that a brand’s packaging impacts their decision to buy a specific product.

With smarter buyers and an overly saturated market, brands need to find new strategies to capture the audience and stand out from the crowd. How?

A simple yet effective way is through custom product packaging.

But being a small business with a tight budget easily raises one question: is investing in custom packaging worth it? Read on to learn why the benefits outweigh its minimal cost.

Boost Brand Awareness

What’s one of the easiest ways for people to remember a brand? Plaster its logo everywhere, especially on the product packaging. It’s no rocket science how everyone recognises the ‘swoosh’ logo or Apple’s. They place their logo conspicuously on their packaging.

This makes a brand not only memorable but also easily recognisable.

For instance, everyone associates Apple products with their sleek, minimalist white boxes and black text. Because of this consistency, people are quick to associate these boxes with Apple gadgets.

In fact, 50 percent of consumers have switched to a competitor after their trusted brand replaced its packaging design. This speaks volumes on how packaging influences buyers’ decisions and how it plays a vital role in creating brand recall.

But having custom packaging isn’t only about printing a business’s logo on its packaging. The package itself also says a lot about the brand.

Serve as an Excellent Marketing Tool

Having customised product packaging is like hitting two birds in one stone: branding and marketing. It doesn’t only boost brand recall but also promotes products in a new light.

For instance, fashion retailers launching their new sustainable clothing line can use all-natural, eco-friendly materials as packaging.

One genius example is Sony placing its Walkman mp3 player inside water bottles to prove it was waterproof in 2014. Now, there’s no denying what that product can do.

Marketers can use packaging as a tool to supplement their seasonal and product launch campaigns. Businesses may not even need to increase their marketing spend and still boost their campaigns.

Protect Your Products—and Customers!

One obvious benefit of investing in good product packaging is to keep the products safe from the warehouse to the customer’s doorstep. But depending on the product, relying on standard corrugated boxes may not give enough protection.

A brand may be selling skincare products that have irregularly shaped containers. Forcing them in the four corners of a box may cause them to move around and spill during shipping. In this case, investing in packaging that’s the right size and shape for the product is the smarter move.

Moreover, it also protects the receiving end of the transaction—the customer.

The last thing a business wants are disappointed customers that got their food orders spilled from poorly secured packaging. Of course, it’s also essential for restaurants to partner with reliable online ordering apps that value safe delivery at all costs.

Reduce Shipping Costs

Aside from the visual aspect of a product’s packaging, it’s also essential to focus on practicality. Businesses can significantly reduce their shipping costs if they choose the right size and type of packaging for their goods.

Some ways to achieve this include the following:

  • Using light packing material, such as bubble wrap, foam inserts, and air pillows
  • Choosing corrugated boxes instead of regular cardboard ones
  • Getting custom product packaging to closely match the size and shape of the items
  • Packing the items as tight as possible using lightweight fillers

Elevate the Customer Experience

YouTube data shows that people watch unboxing videos as much as watching the movie Love Actually more than 20 million times. That’s a lot of time! But also, this should encourage brands to amp their packaging game.

As a brand playing in a competitive field, business owners should ask themselves these questions: when my customer receives their order, are they likely to post it online? Or even better, will they record a video of them opening it and boast it to their friends?

For the customer, posting unboxing videos is not only a way to show off a good product. It’s also a way of sharing their experience with it, whether good or bad, for the benefit of others eyeing the same product.

Packing Matters

A brand may have a fantastic product, but that alone isn’t enough, especially when there are lots of similar products that deliver the same benefits.

Having functional yet personalised product packaging is one way of constantly improving the brand and building excellent customer experience, which is really what every business should strive for.

An Easy Guide To Protecting Your Intellectual Property

Protect your intellectual property! Copyright law is what protects your business’s intellectual property (IP) from being stolen by other people who would sell your product for their benefit. The law applies to anyone whose work is original and creative enough to have ownership over that idea or image. This can be a graphic designer, up-and-coming clothing line, film producer, or writer. Anyone who has created something they can call their own is subject to copyright law.

How To Protect Your Intellectual Property (IP)

IP includes any original work that someone creates. If you produce or distribute any products, including but not limited to clothing, writing, photography, design, art; anything that someone else may use to compete with your business without permission is considered IP.

File For Protection

The first and most crucial step is to file for a copyright certificate. This not only protects your business but can also help you win any legal proceedings brought against you by other people trying to steal your IP. The best thing about registering for a certificate is that it gives you the right to sue anyone who infringes on your intellectual property rights. The good news is that suing isn’t necessary to protect your IP. If another business attempts to sell your work, sending them a cease and desist letter will suffice. If they ignore this, you should consider the protection of an offshore trust by filing a suit against them. Better still, hire a Cook Islands trust attorney to claim damages on your behalf.

Company Protections

Incorporating a business is the best way to protect yourself from claims of intellectual property theft. In general, regardless of whether you are an individual or a company, any products that you sell belong to your business and not you personally. This means if your product is stolen, they are stealing from your business and not personal. The bad news about this is anyone who sues a corporation for copyright infringement will usually target the actual human being responsible for creating said work. Which would be you in most cases, unless another administrator has control over your original idea. For this reason, it’s essential to have proper legal documentation on hand at all times so that no one can claim ownership over something they had nothing to do with.

Copyright Protection

Copyright protection is the most common intellectual property protection for both individuals and companies. It protects any work you have created or are in the process of creating or distributing. This includes photographs, designs, and paintings. Once you have registered your copyright under U.S. law, it cannot be taken away from you, even if you give up ownership over that specific piece of work, unless someone else can prove that they came up with it first, which would be very unlikely. An example would be if someone sold a painting claiming it was theirs when you were the one who painted it. In this case, it’s pretty easy to claim copyright infringement by simply showing them your original documentation proving that you are the rightful owner.

Patent Protection

Patents protect invention rights for inventions, machines, and new valuable products you have created, which may be sold like physical items or digital downloads. It prevents anyone from copying, reproducing, or distributing your idea, which can be applied to almost any creative endeavour, even if it’s an original recipe. Unlike copyright protection, someone who claims patent infringement must prove that they were indeed the ones to invent the said machine or product. If they cannot do this, your claim will stand, and you will retain ownership over what was initially yours by law.

Trademark Protection

Trademarks protect logos, names, and phrases from being used without permission from the company that owns those trademarks. This is a lot more complicated than other forms of intellectual property protection. It requires proper documentation, including a trademark form filled out correctly and any other applicable trademark symbols. Since trademarks are so specific, it’s usually best to hire a Cook Islands trust attorney when in doubt regarding this form of protection.

Trade Secret Protection

A trade secret is any information that gives your business an advantage over competitors. You have taken reasonable steps to keep undisclosed, including business plans, customer lists, and marketing strategies. Protecting your trade secrets can be done by simply not disclosing said information to anyone other than trusted employees who need to know it for the regular operation of your company. This way, if someone steals or tries to steal these secrets, they will still require close cooperation with you to use the information they stole from your company, making them useless without you anyways. Most businesses deal with trade secrets every day without even knowing it.

Licensing Protection

Licenses are agreements that you sign allowing someone else to use your intellectual property for a period, which you can revoke at any given time if they violate the terms of said agreement. Typically, licenses are used in two different ways, one is by independent artists who create music or art and submit it to publishers to have their work published along with a royalty fee for each piece sold. Most artists make money from their creations since most publishers will not pay an upfront fee when purchasing these types of rights from an artist.

The other is through licensing deals where companies sell items such as logos, phrases, or designs in exchange for a small fee paid regularly. This allows other companies or individuals to include these items in their products and services while giving the original owner a small portion of each sale made using them. With licensing deals, it’s important to note that you should always get down exactly what percentage of sales will be going to you before signing any contracts.

Protecting your business’s intellectual property is one of the most critical steps that can be taken towards future success. For the most part, protecting and registering your intellectual property is pretty easy to do and usually takes little time or effort. While it does require some legwork, knowing what to do when someone attempts to steal from you is easy enough with just a little bit of research and guidance.

6 Reasons Why Your Restaurant Business Needs Retractable Awnings

Running a restaurant involves so many different things. It takes a lot of effort to handle everything from the food, service, and most importantly, business. One of the things you’ll need to take care of is design features and improvements. You want your restaurant to look modern, upscale, and well-maintained even outside the building’s four walls. Retractable awnings can make a huge difference for your business, and there are some of the main reasons why you need them.

1. Customer Experience

During the summer months, some people like to bask in the sunlight, while others prefer to sit in the shade. Having retractable awnings can offer customers the chance to enjoy their meals just the way they prefer to. This is especially true when you’re located near an outdoor park or other open-air venues where customers want to spend time, even when it’s blazing hot outside. Because they’re such a popular feature, all you need to do in order to find one is to type something like retractable awnings or pergolas in New Jersey, Detroit, or wherever else your business is located and find a company that suits you best. A good dining experience means that the establishment took care of all the little details that make a difference, from the menu to comfort and convenience. With retractable awnings, that’s exactly what you offer your customers.

2. Aesthetic Value

The way your restaurant looks inside and out is crucial to deciding whether or not people will stay. If your design features look faded, unkempt in any way, or if they don’t fit in with the style you’re going for, you could lose business. Just like the type of packaging one might use for a product they’re selling is a big factor in how successful it is, the way your restaurant looks will play a big role in how many customers keep coming back. With retractable awnings, you can find endless styles, colours, and designs to fit your theme or atmosphere. They come in many different materials, colours, and sizes. This means that you can choose one that goes with your overall design perfectly, and compliments the rest of your restaurant. The extra flare adds to the entire dining experience and makes customers more likely to come back.

3. Weather Protection

Awnings are an easy way to protect your restaurant from the rain and other weather conditions that might hurt business. By providing your restaurant with some extra protection, you can rest assured that your business will remain open, even if it’s raining cats and dogs outside. It’s important to have an outdoor space your customers can use even when it’s not exactly sunny out – especially when it’s still relatively warm outside. Many people find the sound of rain soothing, and it can add to their overall experience – but only if they can enjoy it while remaining dry. Installing a well-designed outdoor heating system, that not only serves its function but adds an extra flare, is also a good idea. That way you can use your restaurant’s outdoor space, even when it’s a bit colder out. Because you’ll be providing your customers with comfortable dining conditions, even when the weather is less than ideal, you’ll gain more revenue from those that might have skipped a meal if they had to stay inside.

4. Easy Maintenance

While it’s important for the additions you choose for your restaurant to look nice and inviting, they should also make the job easier for your employees. The last thing you want is to have your servers occupied by having to bring in the outdoor furniture inside during a lunch rush because of a sudden rain shower. You want your staff to be able to focus on their job of providing great service, not avoiding puddles along the way. This is why it’s important for you to invest in retractable awnings. Not only are they convenient because they provide some leeway for your employees to better focus on your customers, but they’re also easy to clean and maintain. All you have to do is wipe them down every so often, or if they’re made from a different material, hose them down. This makes it easy for your employees to keep the awnings clean without too much extra effort.

5. More Advertisement Options

Something that might have once been a luxury, is now a must-have for most businesses. There are countless advertisements out there that go past the traditional billboard or print ads and into more modern media – outdoor video screens being one of them. With retractable awnings, you can find many different options in terms of what type of advertisement is most effective for your business. You can go with a traditional roll-down shade that displays the advertisement you prefer, or there are retractable video screens that play your promo video on loop for passing pedestrians and drivers alike to see. This is a great way to draw more attention to your business and give it an edge over similar brands nearby. On the other hand, they can be a great place to display your restaurant’s name and logo to make it easier for customers to find you.

6. Catch Attention Of Passers-By

Having a reputation of a restaurant with great cuisine and excellent customer service is a great thing. However, even if you are truly impeccable with your service, it can take years for word of mouth to spread. Being able to catch attention to random passers-by with the way your restaurant looks from the outside is a great advantage to have. Regulars are important for any business – but so is continuously getting new customers in the door. Retractable awnings can help your business considerably with reaching out to possible new customers who may not have known you existed if it wasn’t for the advertisement on your retractable awning. This is especially true if your restaurant is located in a busy area where there’s a lot of foot traffic. People might pass your establishment by without even realising it’s there. However, a great-looking awning can help catch their attention, which might lead to an increase in business.

With the ways that retractable awnings can better your restaurant, it’s obvious why they’re so important to have. Not only do they help you attract attention and increase your signage options, but they also provide many other beneficial features for you and your staff to enjoy at their convenience. If you take the time and effort to find a quality manufacturer for your retractable awnings, you can rest assured knowing that they’ll be built to last and provide all the benefits mentioned above, and then some.

How Can A VPN Help Businesspeople

Historically, using a virtual private network (VPN) has been a time-consuming and complicated process, making it effectively inaccessible to most internet users. However, as technology has advanced, new methods of protecting privacy have become available.

VPNs are a great way to secure all internet traffic by encrypting all data going in and out of the device. They do this by creating a VPN through which all data is sent. This data is encrypted and wrapped up in an encrypted tunnel, then sent through the internet to its destination.

Although there is a range of benefits for the average internet user, what advantages do VPNs provide businesses?

Cost-effective

A VPN is often a cost-effective security measure that most businesses can operate. However, many large corporations will set up private VPNs. Multiple layers of security can be prohibitive for smaller companies. Nevertheless, there are lots of options they can choose from, the better-known brands offering competitive deals. You can see some NordVPN coupons here, which can save you even more if you are in the process of choosing a VPN. Nord VPN is among the most popular options due to the range of features they provide, making it straightforward for business people to protect themselves. Furthermore, they have a vast array of servers worldwide, which you want to see in a VPN.

Increased Security

Businesses find themselves in a never-ending battle against cybercriminals. With the emergence of new technologies, like VPNs, business owners have more ways to protect their systems and data sources. As the lines between business, personal, and public life continue to blur, it’s more important than ever for companies to get the most from their network infrastructure. The best way to gain this is by investing in a VPN service, which provides an encrypted tunnel between your internal network and the public internet. These services are constantly evolving to meet the changing needs of users.

Protect Your Important Data By Encrypting It

These tools are a proxy network that uses encryption to secure your internet connection. Most VPNs use a client-side solution to encrypt traffic and provide an IP address to the client. Using a VPN, you do not have to install any software on the client end since the VPN does it for you. This is great if you are an average consumer looking to protect your banking information, but it is vital for businesses. If you regularly deal with sensitive information pertaining to business operations, this encryption adds an extra layer of safety.

Public Wi-Fi Protection

Most busy businessmen and women will usually find themselves conducting business on the go. This invariably means that they will be connecting to public Wi-Fi networks wherever possible. However, these can pose unacceptable security risks. Public Wi-Fi security is getting more attention these days because of the increasing number of incidents that involve people being attacked and the use of public wifi hotspots and other devices being hijacked by hackers. The reasons are numerous. The routers themselves are poorly secured and have default credentials. In addition, hackers are taking advantage of this by exploiting the weak security to steal sensitive data or infect devices with malware or ransomware. This leaves two options: stop working or use a VPN.

Multi-device Protection

Nowadays, smartphones are the most commonly used devices to access the internet, especially on the go, which is why it is crucial to have a VPN on your phone in addition to your computer or laptop. Many VPN providers allow you to connect multiple devices simultaneously, so you can protect your computer, smartphone, and tablet from being compromised. It is ideal if you regularly use multiple devices or ensure that all the devices on your network are protected to use a VPN that provides this multi-device capability.

What Should A Business VPN Include?

While you might not be as concerned with online privacy as you are with online security, you still want to make sure you’re getting what you pay for when it comes to VPN services. It can be challenging to decide which VPN is right for you, but here are a few things to keep in mind.

Speed

You all know that VPNs are a great way to bypass internet restrictions and increase safety. However, we may not be aware of the impact VPNs can have on download speeds. Since your data is being routed via encrypted networks, there will be some slow down in speed. However, the better-quality vendors offer different options that allow you to improve this if needed, such as choosing other servers worldwide.

Number Of Servers

One thing to look out for is the number of servers under the control of the VPN provider you choose. The more they have, the better it will be for you. More servers mean more choice, so if something goes wrong, like your speed slowing down, you can change over to another.

Security

Security levels can vary from one provider to the next. Tunnelling Protocols, such as Point-to-Point, are faster. Despite these advantages, though, it is still considerably less secure than OpenVPN, which utilises SSL/TLS.

Data Logging

Data kept by VPN providers about the usage of their service is called VPN logs. It is imperative to remember that your internet service provider has access to everything you do online. Your VPN provider now has access to everything that is ordinarily visible to your ISP. Therefore, you must find a provider that doesn’t keep any form of log data.

Cost

Smaller businesses will often be on a budget, so checking costs is vital. Luckily, most VPN providers offer affordable, multi-year deals. However, don’t only choose on price, other features are just as important.

Support

As a businessperson, you need to focus on the job at hand. So if anything happens to your VPN, you want a dedicated helpline or email to contact. They should at least have a comprehensive help section on their website.

A VPN is a vital tool for busy people always on the move. They can protect data using encryption and provide security in public locations. Numerous options are available, and you must consider them all carefully to make the right decision.