Category: Miscellaneous

The Future Is Now: AI to Boost Your Small Business

business setupYou can’t have missed the rumblings in the air. From water-cooler chat to major media focus, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the phrase on every business owner’s lips. A lot of the noise concerns what the shape of society will look like with robots in our midst and whether our skills will become redundant under the slow creep of automation. With estimates from the PEW research centre showing that two-thirds of us in the US expect robots in the workplace to be a common sight within the next 50 years, it’s easy to take a dim view of society’s desire for a walking, talking embodiment of our knowledge. But robots are not exclusively a force of the future – since Victorian times humans have created and refined machines to take on drudge work and liberate them to dream bigger and achieve more. So could the future be brighter for small business owners who embrace AI? And how can you use it now? We take a look…

Customer Care Made Easy

One of the most significant challenges facing a young start-up is manpower. You need staffing to grow, but you need more revenue to employ those people. It’s a chicken and egg situation that’s stifled the development of many promising start-ups. And that’s why AI technology is so promising for entrepreneurs struggling to do it all. The advent of a more transparent, internet-connected customer base means that reputation is a more important sink-or-swim factor than ever in business, and whole sectors are now driven by customer review platforms. This means that excellent customer care is simply a hygiene factor, and customers expect an instant response when something goes wrong. For small businesses without an army of staff, this can be all but impossible – so investing in chatbot technology can be a real breakthrough moment. Thinking through the customer journey and created some scripts is simple and doesn’t require any real programming skill. You will find that a lot of basic enquiries are the usual suspects, so this can be an extremely efficient way of filtering those out to allow you to deal with more complex cases. Chatbots are good at instantly retrieving customer information, which can cut call queuing, and it’s a scalable solution that will grow with your company while helping to reduce barriers to sale with potential customers.

Get Your Accounts on Track

Smart software can make your financial management a smooth process, from solutions that allow you to access business loans and receivables all in one seamless system such as www.octet.com to machine learning that can use big data to predict spending patterns. If the day-to-day functions of finance become fully-automated, the resource can be diverted into strategic, long-term planning rather than the bandwidth-drain of servicing routine processes – returning you to being more of a specialist rather than a jack of all trades.

Your Personal Assistant in the Clouds

Keeping on top of the day-to-day onslaught of a small business involves being on the ball about hundreds of micro-decisions that need attention, but not many entrepreneurs can afford a PA from the get-go. Using a remote virtual assistant to schedule and monitor tasks such as travel arrangements, diary planning and admin support makes perfect sense. Using a virtual assistant can free up time and headspace for more demanding tasks, even if we’re not quite in the era of being followed around by a Jetsons-style sassy robot yet (although those will be on shelves in the very near future).

AI doesn’t have to be scary – in fact, it’s working with us right now, and its influence could future-proof your business.

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Need Some Extra Cash? You Could Get It Without Working Harder

more money in needThere might come a time in your life when you could do with some extra capital. Maybe you want to start a business, or you fancy taking the kids away for the holiday of a lifetime? Either way, most people think they have to work harder than they do at the moment to build their bank balances. However, in many instances, it’s possible to do that without making too many changes to your routine. Believe it or not, the average family wastes thousands of dollars every single year, and so you just need to stop doing that as soon as possible. The advice below should come in handy.

Transfer the balance from your credit cards

Lots of people take out credit cards and then only make the minimum payment every month. That is fine for the first year because most cards come with 0% interest. However, after twelve months, the provider will often begin to charge interest on the balance, and that’s where folks tend to make mistakes. If you continue to send the minimum amount, you will never make a dent in the debt according to sites like thesimpledollar.com. So, search online for a new credit card that offers 0% on balance transfers. You can then move the money you owe to a different creditor and continue reducing the amount you owe.

Look for a debt consolidation deal

Debt consolidation arrangements have many advantages including:

  • Only having to deal with one creditor
  • A single affordable monthly payment
  • Lots of breathing space

The people behind debtconsolidationprograms.co and other industry leaders claim that a significant percentage of individuals could benefit from a deal of that nature. In most instances, you just have to get in touch with a consolidation expert and explain your situation. They will then take a look at your finances and let you know if they can assist or not.

Use comparison sites to find better contracts

You live in the digital age, and so it makes sense that you should use technology to your advantage. There are many different price comparison websites around today for almost everything. That means you could secure some astonishing savings if you visit the right domains and shop around. People who compare deals online could save a fortune on:

  • Home energy
  • Home insurance
  • Cell phone contracts
  • Car insurance
  • And more

If you’re not aware of the top comparison domains at the moment, just search Google, and you should discover lots of sites that will help you to reduce your outgoings.

The suggestions made in this article are almost guaranteed to provide you with some extra cash. Now you just have to work out the best ways of spending that money to improve your situation even further. Some people might want to use it to start a business or make investments. Others may choose to pay more than the minimum amount each month and get themselves out of debt a little faster. The decision is down to the individual. Just make sure you don’t waste the money or get yourself deeper into financial trouble.

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Investment Ideas (That Aren’t A House!)

investment for purposesEvery standard investment advice consists of making a big purchase in the shape of a house, as it’s generally viewed as one of the best ways to get a good return, or if you ask for another item to invest in, most people will say get another property! But are there other options for investment that don’t involve four walls and a roof? Well, surprisingly enough, there are!

Precious Metals

Precious metals like gold are considered to be quite controversial assets. Some people see them as a no-brainer and are a foolproof investment, and while others may view them as a nightmare, the fact is that the truth is neither here nor there, but they are responsive to certain market conditions. Precious metals appear to gain value when the dollar is weak, and then weaken when the dollar is strong in value. However, this is not an exact science. And of course, we don’t know when this will occur, so it’s best to have some precious metals available at all times. The great thing about items like gold bullion is that you can purchase them and keep them safely at home.

A Boat

A lot of people would consider a boat to be a terrible investment. However, this is largely due to the upkeep and maintenance of the boat. The financing alone can be crippling, but there are sites like boatfinancing.co that can show you the best options for getting a loan to purchase a boat. As time goes on, and the concerns about rising water levels and the threat of natural disaster at every corner, it would be very sensible to own a boat. So not only is it a sensible investment right now, but it’s something that is going to be highly desirable in the coming years.

Peer To Peer Lending

As a way to remove the middleman out of the equation, this is a great way to get a higher rate of return. It benefits both sides, the investor, and the borrower, as the borrower gets a lower rate. Many organizations specialize in peer to peer lending, such as ratesetter.com, but there are plenty of other peer to peer lending platforms that have a decent return on investment, you just need to look for them. But you need to beware that with certain lending platforms, you may be required to invest more than $50!

Wine

Yes, believe it or not, wine is a great product to invest in because it can increase in value as it ages. With the right type of vintages, these can be highly sought after, and you can make a decent amount of money. Of course, to make the most out of this investment, you need to have a good understanding of wine generally, but you also need a room to store them in that is temperature-controlled. To get a substantial profit from your wine, you will also need to buy in bulk. In addition, you need to keep notes of when you bought certain vintages and where from, as these are vital trinkets of information to wine connoisseurs.

You see? There are more investment ideas than a house. So take some of these ideas on board and start investing!

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The Financial Value Of Cultural Heritage

old heritage valueThe heritage and history of a country is a very important thing. It shapes the attitudes and lifestyles of the people that live there, and it is a great source of pride for so many people. Remembering where we came from is the best way to decide where to go next, and respecting the sacrifices of those that went before us helps us to appreciate the things that we normally take for granted. Heritage has an incredible emotional and spiritual value, but have you ever considered its financial value? These are the ways that the heritage of a country brings lots of significant financial benefits to its government and its citizens.

Tourism

The most obvious way that heritage benefits a country financially is tourism. Some countries depend on their natural features like beaches and hot weather to attract tourists, but when you don’t have that to offer, history and heritage can be just as big an attraction. Europe is the perfect example of this. There are still some European countries that are the perfect beach destination but for the most part, the continent doesn’t have that asset. It does, however, have a rich history that you can see in the form of tourist attractions. There are lots of museums dedicated to the continent’s history during the world wars. People come from all over the globe to see these kinds of attractions and it brings huge amounts of money to the countries.

Collectibles

You can use the heritage of your country to make yourself money personally as well. Lots of important historical events have been immortalized in the form of collectibles that will be worth a lot of money a few years down the line. Sites like www.lpm.hk sell special collectible coins dedicated to historical events. These kinds of collectibles will appreciate in value very quickly and can be sold on for a big profit in the future. Collectibles are a great investment that you can start at home fairly easily. As well as coins, you can invest in commemorative plates or even actual relics from historical periods. Items of interest from historical periods are worth lots of money to collectors and the longer you keep them, the rarer they will become as similar items fall into disrepair. The condition is one of the most important things to consider when you’re investing in these items because it hugely affects the value of them.

Trade

Countries hold grudges for a long time. The history and heritage of countries often dictate the relationship they have with other countries. Having a rocky past with another country is going to hugely affect any trade deals that they might try to make with one another. Countries may find themselves involved in unfavorable trade deals with other governments that they have had disputes with in the past. Regardless of the many years that have passed, bad blood runs deep and it can have far reaching effects on the economy of a country.

The heritage of a country is a hugely important part of life for its citizens, but it also brings serious financial benefits.

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Low-Cost Investments to Start Making Money From Home

investment for online businessOne of the most popular ways to secure financial freedom in this current generation is to establish multiple streams of income. It could be from multiple jobs, a personal business or even investments. With job security an ever-growing problem for people all over the world, it seems like the most secure living you can get these days is to invest in the internet and work from home. Not only does working from home bypass the minimum wage that is set in your country, you also guarantee a wide range of clientele and the ability to work with people all over the world.

But most home-based investments require a lot of money. Trading stocks, starting up a business or investing in a company takes a lot of cash to start, making it a difficult option for someone who’s climbing out of debt but still wants to secure a comfortable future financially. In order to give you a hand, here are a couple of low-cost investments to get you started with making money from home.

Low-Risk Investments

When investments are concerned, we often think about expensive high-risk purchases like stocks, foreign currencies and even property. However, among all of the investments that people can make in life, there are some low-risk ones that have a very small chance of making you bankrupt. For instance, you can learn how to trade penny stocks online as a way to practice stock trading and you could invest in land purchases instead of entire properties. There are many low-risk investment options available to you as long as you do your research and look at the stability of a market instead of the potential gains.

Penny shares are, as the name implies, very low in price, meaning you can trade them freely without much consequence. However, don’t expect to turn $10 into $1,000 in a single week, and don’t even expect to make money within the first week of getting started. It’s a gradual and slow process, but that’s the nature of low-risk investments.

For property investments, you typically have a lot of factors involved when developing a property to be sold such as the location, target audience and so on. However, when it comes to investing in land, not only is the price a lot lower because you’re factoring out the development costs, it also doesn’t have a defined use, making it a versatile purchase for your buyers.

Starting a Content-Focused Business

A business could mean anything from a YouTube channel to a small company. However, the cheaper options here are definitely content-focused, such as a video channel, news website or a blog. You can monetize most of your content with the help of advertising services, but if you’re feeling brave then you can always upgrade to affiliate programs or even offering a product.

For instance, if you have a popular blog about the history of candy, then you could compile all of your material and blogs into a book to be sold. Ebooks are a natural transition for blog owners due to the content being relatively similar. All you need to learn is how to publish your own eBook and then advertise it to your viewers, social media and so on.

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