8 Things Small Business Owners Need to Know About Finance

Figuring out how to manage finances is one of the most challenging things you’ll face as a small business owner. Often, people get into the business world because they have an exciting idea or product to share. The chances are that you won’t have a lot of experience with accounts, taxes and cash flow too.

While learning as much as you can about money matters can seem like an exhausting process at first, it’s something you can’t afford to overlook when you start bringing your company to life. Knowing these 8 simple things about finance will help to keep your organization on track.

1. Sometimes You’re Going to Need a Loan

When you first launch a business, sometimes it’s tempting to try and do everything by yourself. The last thing you want is to be in debt before you’ve ever started making a profit. However, the truth is that most people simply don’t have the capital required to handle the demands of a business without a little support. A loan can be the most useful tool you have when it comes to starting your business, and even overcoming cash flow problems. Just make sure that you compare your options so you can ensure you’re getting the best interest rates.

2. Have a Billing Strategy

No matter how good you are at staying on top of things like cashflow, there’s nothing to say that your clients will be just as efficient. Most companies will have at least one customer that always seems to be late when paying their bills. Too much cash tied up in your unpaid invoices can quickly lead to cash flow problems. With that in mind, it’s important to make sure that you have a billing strategy in place. The good news is that there are tools online you can use to automatically invoice clients and send them reminders when they’re late.

3. You Need to Pay Yourself

When you’re running a small business for the first time, you might find yourself trying to put everything you earn back into the company. Any extra capital is a great way to help your business grow, but you also need to look after yourself and your family too. Remember that you’re playing an important role in your company, and you deserve to get paid for your work. Don’t focus on everyone else and forget to look after yourself.

4. You Need to Spend Money to Make It

This phrase might sound like a cliché at first, but it’s true. If you want to make real progress in any industry, then you need to be willing to invest in yourself and your business. With that in mind, make sure that you take risks from time to time, and invest in your growth. This could mean that you need to take an extra loan out at some point so you can afford to buy additional equipment, materials, or pay for staff, but a good risk analysis will help you to see if it’s worth it in the long-term.

5. You Must Remember to Look at ROI

Speaking of investing in the long-term, it’s a good idea to have a way to track your return on investments. Every time you start pouring money into projects for your business, make sure that you set up a measurement system that will show you which of your strategies are good for your future, and which might not be worth the effort.

6. You Need to Constantly Monitor Your Books

Monitoring your books might be an obvious task for financial health in your business, but it’s something that people often forget that they need to do regularly. If you’re the kind of person who might leave managing cash flow to the end of the month, try setting up an hour in your schedule each day where you can look at your incoming and outgoing expenses and make some crucial notes. The last thing you want to do is neglect your accounts.

7. It Helps to Establish Good Habits

Make sure that you do everything you can to develop good financial habits – even if it just means that you block aside some time at the end of each week to check that everything is running smoothly in your business. Running a small business often leaves you strapped for time, but your financials aren’t something you can afford to cut corners on. Start building good habits for your finances now.

8. You May Need Help

Finally, don’t expect to become a professional accountant overnight just because you’ve decided that you want to run your own business. If you don’t know anything about taxes and deductions, and you don’t have time to learn, then invest in an accountant or bookkeeper to help you. You’ll thank yourself for it in the long-term.

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Prices Likely to Spike for Commmon Goods as Geo-Political Tensions Rise

In today’s global economy, what happens in one part of the world – sometimes in one specific country – can set off a chain reaction likely to have far-reaching effects for consumers everywhere. When Panama Disease hit and peaked in Central America in the 1950s, for example, it wiped out thousands of acres of banana plantations that caused a worldwide shortage of the fruit, even forcing growers to abandon their favored cultivar and go in search of new types. Today, most of the world eats an entirely different kind of banana – the Cavendish – because of this. Like bananas, global products of all kinds are not immune to the effects of global markets. Recent announcements and economic policies have U.S. markets and consumers poised for a price hike for common steel and aluminum products. From soda cans to new cars, hundreds of industries are likely to see costs go up. Yet these products are far from the only ones being impacted by global geo-political tensions and sharp changes in demand and consumer preferences.

Food

Global food prices are hitting new highs as demand for meat, dairy, and wheat from countries with expanding populations continues to surge. U.N. food agency data shows global food prices are up 7 percent from a year ago and ahead 17 percent from a low set in early 2016. According to analysts, there has been a growing global demand for meat, particularly for beef. So strong is this demand that global meat has outpaced most other major food commodity groups, according to U.N. data.

Common Household Goods

Yes, even toilet paper is not immune to drastic price hikes and consumer panic. Just this week, a spike in the price to produce toilet paper in Taiwan cause panic to a point where lines formed outside of local grocery stores as people snapped up toilet paper and paper towels in bulk. The mess began on February 23rd when, according to The Economist, Taiwanese retailers, including several supermarket chains, said that toilet-paper producers would increase prices by as much as 30 percent in March because the cost of raw pulp had gone up.

Pearls

Political uncertainty in the South China sea has forced the price of pearls upward, much to the dismay of traditional brick-and-mortar and online retailers throughout the U.S. Leon Rbibo, who runs two of the top pearl websites in the U.S., The Pearl Source and Laguna Pearl, says military escalations in this part of the world can drive costs up “literally overnight,” since a large portion of the world’s favorite gemstone is imported from this area. Add to that the implications of Brexit, which is destabilizing world currencies, and you have a recipe for higher costs.

Gas and Other Fuel Types

There was a brief respite from the pump for many U.S. consumers over the last year, but don’t bank on that trend continuing, analysts say. According to AAA and the transportation industry, more than half of the country is likely to see a significant spike in the average cost for a gallon of unleaded gasoline. According to AAA, there are numerous reasons for the hike: This year “has seen fluctuating crude oil prices, strong gasoline demand and new U.S. oil production records creating a volatile gas price market from month to month for consumers,” Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokeswoman, said. “Typically, March brings more expensive pricing as days get longer, weather gets warmer and refinery’s gear up to switchover to pricier summer blends.”

Bourbon (and Other U.S. Produced Spirits)

New U.S. tariffs have other countries considering raising duties of their own. The European Union could choose to retaliate by going after peanut butter, orange juice, cranberries, and yes, even that world-famous Kentucky bourbon.

The European Union is the first trade partner to offer specific steps and products if the U.S. is to proceed with certain proposed tariffs, including on steel. Canada has also promised countermeasures. And Mexico, China and Brazil are said to be weighing options.

 

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Robots Are Taking Over Human Jobs on Wall Street

STEPHEN HAWKING WARNS ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE ‘MAY REPLACE HUMANS’

Quote by Stephan Hawkins:

“If people design computer viruses, someone will design AI that improves and replicates itself. This will be a new form of life that outperforms humans.”

The rise of Machines and AI is Fast Approaching

The rise of the machines was always going to come at a cost, as each wave of technology destroys what has been put in place. The frenetic pace of technological development in the areas of artificial intelligence and robotics is causing massive shifts in the finance industry.

The impact is already being felt on Wall Street, where there have been far-reaching and significant changes, with technology eliminating many jobs by replacing hundreds of humans with either robo-advisers or software.

Many investment banks and big institutions, in a bid to cut cost and improve efficiency, use AI to automate financial tasks usually undertaken by humans, such as wealth management, operations, risk management, and algorithmic trading.

One of the areas that the Wall Street has seen the greatest disruption of robotics and AI is the execution of buy and sell orders, where robots carry out between 50% to 60% market trades, according to CNN, citing data from Art Hogan. Hogan is the chief market strategist for B. Riley FBR.

The preference for technology over human traders is premised on the inability of the vast majority of traders to act consistently rationally when trading. Often, people fail to control themselves, allowing emotions to get in the way of their thoughts and actions.

Machines don’t suffer from these psychological issues when a major trading decision is being made. This is because they remove emotion from short-term trading activity, allowing for a more objective approach to trading.

Laying a Claim to the Future of Investing

Artificial intelligence and robotics is fast advancing into the investment sector, where its incredible ability to learn and think will eventually make them the most advanced and complex investment systems capable of helping corporations to make more efficient and effective choices.

For instance, advisory bots are increasingly being used by companies to assess investments, deals, and strategies in a fraction of a second, much faster than any human quantitative analysts using traditional statistical tools.

Such is the growing dominance of robots in the finance industry that former Barclays boss, Anthony Jenkins warned they could displace half of the workers in the banking sector, and lead to branch closures.

Activities such as calculations based on structured data and other repetitive support tasks are the most susceptible to automation because robots are well-suited for them.

There’s Still a Place for Humans in a Robotic Wall Street

While AI is probably the most robust technology there is today; its ability to perform complex tasks is limited. Trading machines can only learn historical data and trade patterns. However, stock market behavior changes all the time and computers can be less adept in the face of unexpected market performance.

Humans can easily adjust themselves to these changes. Getting the robots to do the same, however, will require changing their algorithms, which can be too expensive and time-consuming. For this reason, humans will always be a step ahead and remain relevant.

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Tips for Saving Money on Your Taxi Insurance

Getting the best deal for your money is something we all strive for, particularly when looking for insurance. As a taxi driver, you probably encounter many claim-worthy situations in your day-to-day but, at the same time, you may never actually need to make a claim on your insurance. This presents a worry when it comes to both over-insurance. Having said that, it will pay in the long run to have comprehensive cover and protects you against a wide range of possibilities, from accidents and damage to your vehicle, to injuries suffered by both yourself as a driver and your passengers or pedestrians.

When searching for a quote or trying to find a cheaper premium for your taxi insurance, you need to think of all the steps you can take to reduce costs.
Here are a few tips you can take on board when searching for cheaper taxi insurance.

Choose a Less Risky Car

As you will know, the type of car you use as a taxi can significantly influence the cost of your insurance. Insurers calculate the costs of your insurance by working out the risks presented by each type of car. For example, cars with powerful engines that have a history of being in accidents will cost a lot more to insure than smaller-engine cars.

Therefore, if you drive a car that has less risk of being in an accident you will pay less to insure it. Although it may be unavoidable in certain circumstances (you may be assigned a particular make and model depending on the firm you work for), it pays in the long run to have a car that is less expensive and less powerful.

Have Experience & A Clean Record

Drivers with clean records will pay less for their insurance. Obviously, a clean driving record proves that you are a safe driver and unlikely to influence an accident through your driving skill. Anything from points for speeding, driving under the influence of drink or drugs, or any type of criminal conviction will have a huge impact on the price you pay for your taxi insurance.

Similarly, your age will influence the price of your premium. Those under the age of 25 will find it a lot harder to get cheap taxi insurance than other age groups. Unfortunately, the statistics show that people under 25 get into a great many more accidents and therefore present greater risk on the road. These risks are compounded further by the fact that taxi drivers are on the road a lot more than standard motorists.

Use Telematics to Prove Safety

Nowadays, there is technology that can be put in place to prove to your insurance company that you are driving safely, thereby presenting less risk. You can put a black box tracker in your car which can record information about the state of your driving, including speed, braking distance, and how quickly you take turns.

All this information presents a clear picture of your driving ability to your broker, giving them the opportunity to revise the cost if your taxi insurance premium to go in line with your risk.

Change Your Excess

Your excess refers to the amount you would have to pay out in the event of a claim. If you increase your excess then you will more than likely pay a less expensive premium, however this could end up costing you quite a lot if you do get into a situation where you need to make a claim. It might be worth looking into this, however it pays to be mindful.

Be a Named Driver

If you work for a company and drive the same vehicle every single day, it might well be worth getting named driver cover as part of your overall taxi insurance policy. If drivers are named, then the insurance companies have a very clear view of the risks of each driver and each car.

This is particularly useful if you have a good amount of no claims bonus as it means the savings can be passed back along to yourself.

Make the Move to Electric

Electric vehicles are becoming more and more popular with drivers across the world. They can benefit both the environment but also your pockets! They are generally cheaper to repair than other cars with standard fuel, they actually cost less to insure.

Although they are not as widely-used as they may be over the coming years, it could be a good idea to get ahead of the game and start driving electric.

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The Benefits of Having a Personal Loan: When Do You Need One?

 

There is nothing unlimited in this world. All things are finite, be it the material things or the ones that are more metaphysical. Because of this fact, we need to find ways on how to avoid becoming short of the things necessary to survive, grow, and thrive in this life. So save time by knowing where to go for what you need.
Not having enough of something we need to expand our life style or cause, constraints us from being more productive, and it stops us in our tracks from improving our standard of living. One of the best examples of this issue is not having enough money, or a project being under-capitalized.
We all know how limiting this feels, however, not to worry because there are personal loans that are specially designed to save the day, and your time.
In this article, we’re going to talk about the benefits of having one. We’re also going to tell you when is the perfect time for you to get a personal loan. Once you’re done reading through, you’ll find it easy to compare the best personal loans available.

 

 

Easy Application Process

One of the best things about personal loans is that they’re easy to get. They are different from other loans because the process of applying for one isn’t that complicated.

There are even some personal loans that will only take you as little as 24 hours for you to get the money. That’s how cool these loans are, making them perfect if you need to have emergency funds ASAP.

Few Documents Required

Another cool thing about personal loans is that you don’t need to present a lot of documentation. This is what makes this type of loan fairly easy to get.

Compare that to the piles of documents required in getting a car loan or a home loan. There are some personal loans that only require you to submit a few basic documents, just like your proof of income and proof of address.

This is one of the reasons why most people prefer applying for personal loans. There’s much less risk involved in the part of the lender, that’s why they don’t need a lot of documentations.

loan application in business folder showing financial investment concept

Multipurpose

Personal loans can be used for a wide variety of purposes. The money might either be used for emergency reasons such as medical and miscellaneous expenses.

Or you might need it to fund your latest home improvement endeavor. You can also use it to upgrade your car or to buy the latest gadgets.

Whichever you want, you have the freedom to spend it on whichever way you like. The flexibility of this type of loan is what makes this a perfect choice for people who need money to fund whichever project they need to spend it on.

No Collateral Needed

You don’t need to worry a lot if you’re unable to pay your personal loans. Why? It’s because there are no collateral needed.

The collateral is the asset or property that you’re going to surrender to the company if you are unable to repay the loan. In the case of personal loans, you don’t need any of those.

This makes it a very attractive choice for borrowers because there’s no risk of you losing your properties.

Shorter Loan Tenure

Compared to other types of loans, personal loans usually have a shorter amount of loan tenure time. There are personal loans which can be repaid in as fast as 12 months.

However, if you need more time to repay the loan, you can opt for the ones which have a longer tenure time. There are those that can be repaid for as long as 60 months.

The Perfect Time to Get a Personal Loan

The perfect time for you to get one is if you are avoiding risking a large or valuable asset. Remember, you don’t need to offer any collateral when applying for a personal loan.

This makes sense if you don’t have any assets to use as collateral. These personal loans also have a far smaller interest rate compared to other loans. So if you want to save up on interest, then this is what you need to get.

 

Final Thoughts

Having a personal loan is indeed the best way to borrow money. Not only do you not have to risk any property, but you also get to save money thanks to the lower interest rates. You also have total control as to when you want to pay it because you can pay them within a year or as long as 60 months.

With all of these being said, having a personal loan is indeed one of the best, if not the best way to acquire and borrow money to fund whatever endeavor or project you need to spend on.

 

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What to Do After Being Laid Off

Maybe you had a feeling that a layoff was imminent, or perhaps you had no idea that this would happen to you. Either way, you were just called into your supervisor’s office for a meeting with her and your HR representative, and you were gently told that your job was being eliminated.

Even if you had the notion that this was coming, being laid off can be a jarring experience. In order to get through this time — and you will — consider taking the following next steps:

Take a Deep Breath

No matter how tempting, do not make any knee-jerk reactions like telling your now-former boss that you think he is a giant doofus or that the company will regret letting you go. You will probably want to call on your former supervisors for references, so keep your cool, go for a walk or sit in your car to decompress, and remind yourself that you will be OK. In most cases, layoffs are not a reflection of you or your work, so try not to take this personally. This advice also pertains to social media; take the professional high road and refrain from posting your lay off woes on Facebook and Twitter. While you may eventually wish to use these platforms as a way to network, post lay off emotions can be pretty raw and it’s best to keep your feelings to yourself.

Ask for Everything that is Coming to You

Once the dust settles and you have a bit of time to process being laid off, contact the HR person to get everything that is due you. This includes severance pay, unused benefits like vacation days you never took, and if you can, negotiate a great benefit package that will last you during your job search. Also, request that the HR person write you a laid off letter that will make it clear to future employers that you were let go due to a larger layoff or company financial issues, not because you had done anything wrong. It is also possible that the HR person will have brought along a severance pay letter and other things to sign during the meeting; ask to bring these documents home so you can take your time reading through them before signing them. You should also ask your HR person about if your medical insurance coverage will continue and for how long.

Register for Unemployment Pay

As soon as you can, head to your state employment office to sign up for unemployment pay. Even if your employer promised you a great severance pay package, you can still register for the compensation. Bring the laid off letter with you and do not dilly dally; if you wait too long you may lose your window to qualify for payments.

Look into Entrepreneurial Opportunities

While you may wish to find a job similar to the one you had before, you may find that the hiring process is slow, long and tedious. This may be a great time to embrace your inner entrepreneur and take advantage of the emerging gig economy. Look for ways to get formal and experiential learning opportunities from freelance platforms like Amway, Closet Collective and Uber. To help boost your knowledge about being an entrepreneur and get the tools you need to succeed, consider signing up for the recently-launched Amway Education; the curriculum was designed with budding independent business owners in mind and will help you become a successful entrepreneur as quickly as possible.

 

 

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Transferring Your Skills Into Income

 

Earning extra money on the side has rapidly become the mainstream whether through the gig economy, consulting, or side hustling. In fact, nearly four in 10 Americans have a side hustle, according to Bankrate.com. And while you could just do some odd jobs here and there to earn extra cash, you can take it a step further and transfer your skills and interests into sustainable, consistent income. The trick is figuring out your strengths and skills and identifying the right opportunities along the way. Here’s how to get started.

Play to Your Strengths

Just because your former colleague is making a killing at project management doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a good fit for you. Take an assessment of your strengths from organization to leadership and start brainstorming ways to transfer those skills into income. For example, someone highly skilled at marketing and promotion may be well suited to help online entrepreneurs launch their info products. Another idea is to walk budding business owners through the process of gaining organic promotion through outlets like Instagram. The more you can focus on your natural superpowers in business, the more likely you are to find the right work opportunities.

Research Opportunities that Fit Your Skills

Of course, making up a list of strengths doesn’t always reveal a clear path to income generation. This is where researching existing opportunities from franchises to direct sales businesses comes in. Consider where your skills and strengths lie. If you’re skilled at sales and networking, selling products could be a perfect fit. Meanwhile, a passion for creating healthy snacks and smoothies while running your own team could lead to a franchise opportunity. It’s always wise to really research the validity of those companies — from Amway to Smoothie King — to find the best fit. Always look for proven business models with a track record for success that fits your schedule and lifestyle.

Keep it Flexible

It can take some time to match up the right skills with an ideal opportunity. While you launch that side business selling products to consumers to flex your entrepreneurial sales muscles, look for new ways to improve your business skills along the way. Take online classes or courses at community centers and stay flexible to new ideas and interests. You might discover that your interest in sales pairs well with your interest in healthy living and teaching others about the products you love to use.

Shadow a Mentor

Partnering with a mentor is also a powerful way to identify your skills and find a path to income. Ask a former colleague, supervisor, or someone in your community to help you on your journey. Make sure to choose someone who has proven success in areas you’re interested in. Try meeting once or twice a month and working through your ideas and questions. Your mentor can help identify how your skills in bookkeeping or copywriting can directly lead to opening your own business or consulting on the side. From there, you can work with a mentor to figure out how to fill in the gaps from start to finish.

Ask Your Network

Your own network has valuable insights to your skills and strengths. Meeting up for a coffee date with a friend or colleague and asking for help in identifying your skills and brainstorming income opportunities can spark new ideas. You may discover that you never thought much about your ability to come up with ideas quickly and how small businesses would value that skill in marketing and advertising.

Your skills are valuable with the potential to make real money, but it can take a little detective work to put all of the pieces together. Start by playing to your strengths and researching proven business ideas and models to help put money in your pocket.

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New Year’s Day 2019 – Wall Street

New Year’s Day, also called simply New Year’s or New Year, is observed on January 1, the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar as well as the Julian calendar.

In pre-Christian Rome under the Julian calendar, the day was dedicated to Janus, god of gateways and beginnings, for whom January is also named. As a date in the Gregorian calendar of Christendom, New Year’s Day liturgically marked the Feast of the Naming and Circumcision of Jesus, which is still observed as such in the Anglican Church and Lutheran Church.[2][3]

In present day, with most countries now using the Gregorian calendar as their de facto calendar, New Year’s Day is probably the most celebrated public holiday, often observed with fireworks at the stroke of midnight as the new year starts in each time zone. Other global New Year’s Day traditions include making New Year’s resolutions and calling one’s friends and family.[1]

In Christendom, under which the Gregorian Calendar developed, New Year’s Day traditionally marks the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ, which is still observed as such by the Anglican Church and the Lutheran Church.

Mesopotamia (Iraq) instituted the concept of celebrating the new year in 2000 BC, celebrated new year around the time of the vernal equinox, in mid-March.[4][5] The early Roman calendar designated March 1 as the new year. The calendar had just ten months, beginning with March. That the new year once began with the month of March is still reflected in some of the names of the months. September through December, our ninth through twelfth months, were originally positioned as the seventh through tenth months. (Septem is Latin for “seven”; octo, “eight”; novem, “nine”; and decem, “ten”.) Roman legend usually credited their second king Numa with the establishment of the months of January and February. These were first placed at the end of the year, but at some point came to be considered the first two months instead.

The January Kalends (Latin: Kalendae Ianuariae) came to be celebrated as the new year at some point after it became the day for the inaugurating new consuls in 153 BC. Romans had long dated their years by these consulships, rather than sequentially, and making the kalends of January start the new year aligned this dating. Still, private and religious celebrations around the March new year continued for some time and there is no consensus on the question of the timing for January 1’s new status.[6] Once it became the new year, however, it became a time for family gatherings and celebrations. A series of disasters, notably including the failed rebellion of M. Aemilius Lepidus in 78 bc, established a superstition against allowing Rome’s market days to fall on the kalends of January and the pontiffs employed intercalation to avoid its occurrence.[7][8]

In AD 567, the Council of Tours formally abolished January 1 as the beginning of the year. At various times and in various places throughout medieval Christian Europe, the new year was celebrated on December 25 in honor of the birth of Jesus; March 1 in the old Roman style; March 25 in honor of Lady Day and the Feast of the Annunciation; and on the movable feast of Easter. These days were also astronomically and astrologically significant since, at the time of the Julian reform, March 25 had been understood as the spring equinox and December 25 as the winter solstice. (The Julian calendar’s small disagreement with the solar year, however, shifted these days earlier before the Council of Nicaea which formed the basis of the calculations used during the Gregorian reform of the calendar.) Medieval calendars nonetheless often continued to display the months running from January to December, despite their readers reckoning the transition from one year to the next on a different day.

Among the 7th century pagans of Flanders and the Netherlands, it was the custom to exchange gifts on the first day of the new year. This custom was deplored by Saint Eligius (died 659 or 660), who warned the Flemish and Dutch: “(Do not) make vetulas, [little figures of the Old Woman], little deer or iotticos or set tables [for the house-elf, compare Puck] at night or exchange New Year gifts or supply superfluous drinks [another Yule custom].”[9] However, on the date that European Christians celebrated the New Year, they exchanged Christmas presents because New Years’ Day fell within the twelve days of the Christmas season in the Western Christian liturgical calendar;[10] the custom of exchanging Christmas gifts in a Christian context is traced back to the Biblical Magi who gave gifts to the Child Jesus.[11][12]

Because of the leap year error in the Julian calendar, the date of Easter had drifted backward since the First Council of Nicaea decided the computation of the date of Easter in 325. By the sixteenth century, the drift from the observed equinox had become unacceptable. In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII declared the Gregorian calendar widely used today, correcting the error by a deletion of 10 days. The Gregorian calendar reform also (in effect) restored January 1 as New Year’s Day. Although most Catholic countries adopted the Gregorian calendar almost immediately, it was only gradually adopted among Protestant countries. The British, for example, did not adopt the reformed calendar until 1752. Until then, the British Empire – and its American colonies – still celebrated the new year on 25 March.

Most nations of Western Europe officially adopted 1 January as New Year’s Day somewhat before they adopted the Gregorian Calendar. In Tudor England, New Years Day, along with Christmas Day and Twelfth Night, was celebrated as one of three main festivities among the twelve days of Christmastide.[13] There, until the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar in 1752, the first day of the new year was the Western Christian Feast of the Annunciation, on 25 March, also called “Lady Day”. Dates predicated on the year beginning on 25 March became known as Annunciation Style dates, while dates of the Gregorian Calendar commencing on 1 January were distinguished as Circumcision Style dates,[14] because this was the date of the Feast of the Circumcision, the observed memorial of the eighth day of Jesus Christ’s life after his birth, counted from the latter’s observation on Christmas, 25 December. Pope Gregory acknowledged 1 January as the beginning of the new year according to his reform of the Catholic Liturgical Calendar.[15]

 

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Use of Drones for Delivery Gives Businesses and Consumers Reasons to Hope

The quest to improve delivery times and cut costs has led to the development of new means of delivery such as drones, which can be used to convey items autonomously. Current events suggest that these machines with previously unimaginable powers will potentially give firms the capacity to improve delivery speed and affect lives in ways we never thought possible.

We will probably find out how drones will impact delivery in the next few years. For now, however, there are reasons to believe as their use for delivery is becoming increasingly attractive and widespread.

Amazon and UPS Leveraging Drones to Transform Global Delivery

To add value to clients and reduce the hurdles for the efficient delivery of customer orders, companies like Amazon and UPS are investing in drone deliveries. Amazon reportedly tested its drone-based delivery system, Amazon Prime Air, in several international locations in an attempt to safely get packages to clients in 30 minutes or less.

DroneDJ revealed that the leading online retailer might begin delivering purchases by drone starting this summer. The head of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), confirmed that drone deliveries are indeed close, suggesting they are “a lot closer than many of the skeptics think. They are getting ready for full-blown operations. We are processing their applications.” Amazon’s Prime Air can carry up to 2kg.

Another company that is on the cutting edge of drone delivery is the American multinational package delivery and supply chain management firm, UPS. The organization was said to be testing drone deliveries using the top of its high-tech trucks as mini-helipad. The vans have been fitted with a sophisticated docking bay to help with the distribution.

However, unlike Amazon’s, it is not yet clear when the UPS’ drones would be put into more extensive use, a Reuters report claims. Nevertheless, UPS did confirm that its drone deliveries could benefit package cars drivers who have to travel to rural locations to make a single shipment. The drone being tested is “fully autonomous,” a UPS Pressroom released confirmed.

The Challenges

While drones are likely to bring many benefits to consumers and brands alike, they still have a lot of hurdles to cross before they finally begin to make deliveries. There are still concerns regarding the large-scale implementation of the UAVs into the national airspace and technical challenges such as air-traffic control.

Nevertheless, efforts are being made to address these issues. And regardless of how things pan out, it cannot be denied that drones are ultra-sophisticated technologies with huge potential. Their use in delivery, aiding search, and rescue missions, demonstrate just how much they could benefit humankind

Consumers seek convenience. Firms seek ways to cut costs. Drones give them reasons to hope. To consumers, drones offer considerable benefits in the form of cheaper and faster shipping. For retailers, they present an opportunity to cut cost and strengthen the growth of online retail sales.

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Customer Loyalty Programs Start Using Artificial Processes and Strategies!

Increasing Customer Loyalty

Everyone knows that increasing customer loyalty is all about making bigger profits, creating a group of raving followers and finding customers at a faster and cheaper price. In the long run, customer loyalty can do wonders to your business. However, there are many questions and debates on how to ensure customer loyalty! Can your customer support knowledge base help you understand what customers really need? Can you use knowledge base support software to judge the requirements of customers online? Is it possible to use artificial intelligence to understand and improve customer loyalty?

According to experts, the answers to these questions is a big yes! Yes, you can go beyond manual, traditional methods and use software programs and artificial intelligence to boost customer loyalty.

Understanding Artificial Processes in Customer Loyalty Programs

Few months ago, Joseph Nunes and Xavler Drez made news. The whole world learnt more about their customer loyalty adventures. This duo experimented a new type of customer loyalty program at a local car servicing center. The consumer researchers rewarded 300 customers at the car wash with loyalty cards. Half of these loyalty cards expected customers to make eight transactions before winning a free service or car wash. The rest, needed ten transactions. However, there was a small twist to the story. The company offered two free bonus car washes as a head start. This means, their business began with free services.

In both these situations, potential customers had to make eight transactions for a free service. But, there is a small amount of difference in how complete the offers are. In offer one, the customers were zero-percent complete. On the other hand, offer two ensured 20-percent of completeness.

Now, you might wonder if the customer support knowledge base and this “Artificial” progress would ensure customer loyalty in return.

In the next few months, the duo noticed that 1/5th of the customers opted for the first offer. And, ½ of the customers chose the second option. This clearly proves an increase of 80% in terms of customer loyalty. Indeed, artificial progress has helped the car wash enjoy a better level of customer loyalty.

If you are planning to venture into customer loyalty, you must invest some time and effort on artificial progress. This is a smart way of introducing your business to new customers. Meanwhile, it is a strategic way of helping customers continue your products and services. The time required to witness the impact of artificial progress may appear long, yet it is worth your time and effort.

What is Customer Loyalty?

Before you start focusing on your customer support knowledge base and invest on knowledge base software, you must have a clear understanding of what customer loyalty is all about.

Let’s understand this with two real-time scenarios:
  • If you are an author, customer loyalty for you is represented by the number of people reading your books. For instance, if someone buys all your three books, they can be treated as a 100% loyal customer. And, if someone chooses to read only your book only once, they are less likely to return.
  • If you are a designer or a consultant, customer loyalty is identified by the number of people asking for your services. If people keep requesting for your services, you are on high demand! For example, if I approach the same designer for all my needs that is 100% customer loyalty.

If you want your business to endow and enjoy the benefits of customer loyalty, you must stick to a structured process. Here are three steps you must follow as a part of improving customer loyalty over the internet and using artificial intelligence to give it a boost further.

Step #1 – You need to have a well-established Goal

First of all, you must appreciate the fact that artificial progress can help you. Don’t think twice to make use of endowed progress. After all, every business needs customers and goals to focus on. You might be venturing into an eBook, design service or hourly consultation, the business doesn’t really matter. Artificial progress can help you. When paired with knowledge base software, it turns into a power tool for any business.

Step #2 – Understand What your Customers Need

Everyone knows that customers are longing for efficient and effective services. However, loyalty goes beyond these elements. Today, you must educate customers on what has to be done for better servicing and products. Companies must be specific about behaviors and actions that can be rewarded. Why would you reward your customers and keep them loyal? Do you intend to reward all your customers? Or, do you wish to reward customers who refer and advertise your business? Or, do you wish to reward customers who have stayed with your business for a long time? It is important to decide what your loyal customers must have done or do.

This is when knowledge base software programs become useful. These software programs will help you keep track of customers. You will be able to monitor every customer individually. In the long run, you will have plenty of data about your customers, what they want and what they have done to become loyal. The best way to exploit any artificial or endowed progress is through knowledge-based support systems.

Step #3 – A Head Start

Remember the car wash case study? It would be wise to give your customers a head start. This will be a bonus that adds more value to your business.

But, you must not give a head start without valid reasons. Always stick to limited bonuses. This route works well when you have to launch a new service or product. The limited time bonus will create a hype and keep your customers geared.

Step #4 – FAQ is Must

Your customers tend to come across various difficulties that can be answered easily. But to cater their questions, it is advised to create a FAQ page that gets most of them covered easily. Not only will your customers get to receive the answers on time but also reduces the workload from your support department.

These FAQs can also be linked to well curated tutorials that aid your customers in times of needs. This will boost their loyalty towards your brand and will be more willing to spread the word.

Step #5 – Expert Support Team at Place

A skilled team of customer support agents can help you boost the loyalty factor. But make sure that they are well-trained about your product or service that helps them answer any technical questions. In case you plan on training them or think of developing an ongoing training program, then a knowledge base software can come to your rescue.

It can help you develop a training program for your support agents that they can access anytime, anywhere. As they get equipped with the online program, it’ll be easier to get all customer queries resolved in no time. Hence, increasing the existing customer loyalty rate towards your brand easily.

Step #6 – Multiple Channel Availability

If you wish to help your customers reach you at anytime, from anywhere, then it’s important that they find you available at all times. This is also possible if you work towards building a stronger presence across multiple channels. Reason is simple. Your customers would not necessarily try to get in touch with you with emails or calls.

They’d also prefer if you make yourself visible on various platforms, so that their options aren’t limited to just one or two. No matter what business you own, building a stronger visibility across multi-channels is important. This helps you satisfy your customers in the shortest span of time possible.

What’s great is you not only get to retain customers with prompt responses, but also build a strong relationship with your customers easily. This leads to expanding your customer loyalty further because your organization is taking the effort to reach out to them in time. A great way to build positive points amidst customers.

The Verdict

Dan Pink once told, “There is a big difference in what science knows and what businesses really do”. If you want to improve customer loyalty, go ahead and use endowed progress (or artificial progress). This is a tool that can keep customers attached to your business for a very long time.

After all, it helps you know their expectations from your brand when they plan to invest in your services or products. This can be done successfully by

 

  1. Monitoring every single customer and the decisions they take while browsing through your website.
  2. Giving them a great head start with valid reasons, so they can stick around with your brand for in the long run.
  3. Making yourself available at anytime, anywhere by increasing your presence on various platforms.
  4. Building a stronger support team that helps your customers get all the answers they seek when in trouble.
  5. Creating detailed FAQ with the help of a knowledge base software. These can help your customers find instant answers to their queries hassle-free.

 

So, do not get worked up on how to get your customers more loyal towards your brand, when the integration of such software can help you resolve the issue successfully.

 

Author Bio:-Robin is a Technical Support Executive. He is an expert in knowledge management and various Knowledge base tools. Currently, he is a resident knowledge management expert at ProProfs. In his free time, Robin enjoys cycling and sky diving.

 

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