Top Six Best Ways to Finance a Company Car

Having a company car can be a massive deal to you, the employer, as well as your employees. It can be an additional perk to working for you, helping to improve employee morale, but as the employer, having a company car can also help promote your business’s image. While it does not mean you should go above your budget, there are ways to finance a luxurious car that is sure to help promote your business.

To help you choose the best model for your company and get the best finance options, read the following guide for advice on the matter.

1. Know Which Models Are Best for Your Business

When you buy any vehicle, it should always be because it will accomplish the jobs you need it to do, and not because you like the brand or have always dreamed of driving that specific model. If you don’t choose the model of your vehicle based on need, you are only boxing yourself in the future. With company cars especially, you want the vehicle to perform how you need them to for as long as possible. This means if you need towing power, it is best to choose a strong model, whereas if you need a lot of storage space, choose a flatbed truck, and so on.

2. Don’t Buy the Newest Model

When you buy one or two company vehicles (that aren’t large transportation trucks), you can save a lot of money by buying a slightly used model. Remember, your car will lose half its value when you drive it out of the plot or dealership.

3. New vs. Used

Regarding used cars, so long as the vehicle is certified you can enjoy much lower costs on vehicles that are fairly recent, just because people often trade in their current vehicle for a newer model.

To save on new vehicles, all you need to do is choose the model that is one or two years old. Dealerships often want to get these models off their lots as soon as possible, and if you go during a sale or at the end of a fiscal quarter, you can likely save a lot of money and enjoy the full warranty of that new car.

4. Trade in an Older Vehicle if You Can

If you do have an older vehicle, it is often best to trade up. One of the key benefits of new vehicles is how efficient they are with their fuel. By doing this you can not only have a newer, better performing vehicle, but you can also save a lot on daily operating costs. When your company requires a vehicle to the point where owning one is paramount, it is best to reduce its operating costs as much as possible.

5. Find the Best Financing Rates

Financing is what will end up haunting you if you aren’t careful. Sure, you could get a vehicle for a very small down payment, but you will end up paying far more in monthly repayments. For businesses, this can be incredibly risky. Unless you are growing comfortably, even one bad month can mean these fixed costs hit you. That is why you owe it to yourself and your company to find the best auto financing options out there, and to do that you need to know the basics, like what the principle of the loan is, what APR is, and so on.

6. Know How to Negotiate

Learn how to negotiate, and always be prepared to walk away. You need a good deal to make trading a vehicle up worthwhile, and when you are just starting out as a company, it can often be your only option.

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4 Things You Need to Digitize Corporate Training

 

Corporate learning vs Higher Education

Corporate eLearning has grown by a whopping 900% over the past decade and this market is predicted to surpass $243 billion in revenues by 2022. It helps to know that digitization of corporate training is much more than just a transfer of your learning materials to the cloud. It requires the right strategy, the right tool, and the right team. If you want to transform your corporate training, get ready to embrace this trending training strategy for enterprises.

Here are four elements you need to implement for achieving successful digitization of corporate training:

1. Corporate training strategy

A proper strategy is indispensable for effective digitization of corporate training in any organization. Training strategies build the foundation for successful eLearning programs and ensure that both instructors and trainees get all the benefits out of every training. The first thing to do is to set your goals. This could be virtually anything that you want to achieve, right from higher knowledge retention rates by delivering more engaging learning materials to increasing the number of employees enrolled in the program. It is important to know that these goals do not materialize just by themselves without a clear-cut plan. You have to pay attention to several factors when you set the goals. At the start, you have to identify exactly where your business is heading towards, what are your business goals, and what do you need to achieve them. After that, you need to assess your existing workforce in terms of their skill and knowledge levels. This will help you get a precise idea of the gap between your company goals and the current level of skills and knowledge. You need to get all the job descriptions and required skills for all your employees ready before you can identify the training & development needs for each one of them.

2. LMS Software

Once you have outlined your training strategy, it is time to move forward and adopt a LMS software. Some of the fastest growing industries today such as healthcare, information technology, eCommerce, education and construction are top adopters of LMS software, which has become an essential tool in their corporate eLearning process. In layman terms, it is a software platform specifically built to disperse knowledge to employees in an engaging way. But it goes far beyond just that. LMS software is designed to track learners’ progress, engagement, and score as they take their courses online. Online training software literally transitions a classroom to the cloud and allows employees to access courses from anywhere they want. They can learn from the convenience of their homes, while on the break, or when they are commuting. Your training strategy determines the type of online learning software you should choose to meet your specific needs. For instance, if you want to enable your employees to learn on the go, you should look for a mobile-ready LMS platform. On the other hand, if you want to keep track of all the learning efforts of your employees, you may go for TinCan enabled ProProfs LMS solutions.

3. Learning & Development Team

The next thing you’ll need is a learning & development team. If you already have one, you may revisit it and see if it needs an overhaul. Don’t worry, you can do well by adding a new key player to the mix – a digital learning manager. He/she acts as the head of the corporate training digitization project and oversees the digitization of employee training. The digital learning manager’s role is vital for the success of the digitization process, and it helps to create the post in your organization if you are yet to do so. It would be a step in the right direction as it will help in implementing the right digitization strategy for your online training courses. Further, your learning & development team needs to identify your business objectives and the skill level of employees right from the start is essential to finetune your strategy and execute it. However,, most importantly, the team has to ensure the learning strategy is sustainable and help personalize the training experience to improve knowledge retention. Your learning & development team has to facilitate the digital transformation process, thereby helping your organization leverage new eLearning opportunities and achieve the training goals.

4. eLearning Community Manager

The success of any learning & development team hangs on the ability of an eLearning Community Manager to communicate the importance of online training to your employees. This person holds the responsibilities of encouraging employees to participate in online courses, and moderating the communication that takes place both on the LMS platform and elsewhere in the organization. He/she also needs to take feedback on online training and learning materials. eLearning Community Managers add to the quality of interaction for online learning and help employees adopt new learning methods in an efficient way.

Wrap Up

When they have a detailed training strategy, a versatile LMS software, a dynamic learning & development team, and eLearning Community Manager, enterprises stand to see positive results in their efforts towards digitization of corporate training. Such a well-planned and executed process tends to hand over full control to instructors to ensure they reach their training goals in a delightful manner.

 

Author Bio:- Robin is a Technical Support Executive. He is an expert in various LMS and employee training software. Currently, he is a resident learning management expert at ProProfs. In his free time, Robin enjoys cycling and sky diving.

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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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Best Email Marketing Strategies to Boost Your E-Commerce Conversions

The Personal Human Touch

Recent developments in technology have contributed to boosting up the industry vertical of e-commerce websites to a great extent. However, with extensive growth in the e-commerce business, it has been closely observed that the human touch gets missed by the users in their buying experience. Users usually do not have access to communicate with any physical entity while buying products online that restricts them with their buying choices in more than one ways.

We have seen that e-commerce drives online sales, but an online store without a proper email marketing support lacks sales enablement. Email marketing conversation keeps the e-commerce store alive and relevant for the customer. The biggest challenge that businesses face while applying email marketing strategies to accelerate their e-commerce conversions is that the control of the email communication between a brand and the customer is always in the hands of the latter. Let us look at some of the ways following which one can get over with such challenges in a smooth manner, and get maximum business benefits with e-commerce.

Choose a Catchy and Attractive Subject Line

You might have heard the term that first impressions are always the last. Imagine your users working on their desk, and an email message pops up on their smartphone featuring your best offers of the season. Putting up the same in front of them in the best and most creative way would be the key to pique their interest in focusing on your mail. Choosing a perfect subject and preview line is always crucial to creating an impactful impression over your customers. Not only that it attracts them more towards your brand, but it also strengthens their trust towards your brand offerings.

Make them Open your Mail

There are tons of promotional emails that a customer receives on a daily basis on their email accounts. It is not necessary that they are going to open each one of them. In fact, there are many emails that directly go to the spam folders to never to be explored by them. How should you manage to convince them to open your promotional mail? With an attractive subject line already in place, an effective preview text is highly crucial for grabbing their attention in the space of just a few seconds. Optimize your preview text to establish further communication with your customers make a big difference.

Lock the Attention of Your Customers

If you want your customers to act on your emails, you must have a clear strategy to increase their curiousness to catch a certain offer that you are throwing in their court. To start with, address the consumer in a personalized manner to establish an emotional link with them in the first place. In your email content, the learning quotient must have a powerful convincing and explanation power to enable them to understand the offers and drive their learning towards your brand in a crystal clear way. You can also present the content with the exact quantum of cost value to entice them towards taking definitive action.

Use Special Occasions for Your Advantage

Holidays and festivals bring with them an air of positivity and eagerness to purchase new items. Creating your email campaigns revolving around holiday season themes can make a whole of difference for your email marketing success. Research data has clearly shown that during the times of Christmas, New Year and other big occasions, big portions of sales are directly driven by the customer traffic attracted by email marketing campaigns. Incorporate this fun email marketing strategy in your emails to get instant positive results to boost up your e-commerce sales during the times of holiday seasons.

Start an email Series

Make it a fun experience for your customers from the very beginning by attracting your visitors with a series of email campaigns. As a welcome gesture, offer them lucrative discounts to build strong relations and boost your conversions. Besides highlighting your brand best features, it also works as excellent advertisement support for your brand. Make email series post-purchase including information related to shipping, and other tracking details. You can also ask your customers to put their valuable feedback once receiving their products to encourage them to stay on your website for a prolonged time and build your brand trust in them. A series focussing towards asking your customers to shop back and rewarding them to stay with your brand for a long time would further play a decisive role to boost up your sales.

Make Your Promotional emails more Personalized

Using personalization in your email marketing would be a sure shot way to enhance your e-commerce sales. However, you do not have to fake familiarization by addressing your clients with their personal nicknames. Sending bespoke content suiting the individual needs of individual customers would lead to greater traffic on your website. You can start using this strategy by segmenting your custom preferences on the basis of gender. You can also take assistance from previous interaction with your targeted customers that will make it clearer to you about their individual preferences. Analyzing the past purchased products by your customers shall also enable to create a better and compelling email framework for increasing your sales. There are better chances that the customers would likely buy any item that is similar or complementary to what they have purchased in the past.

Keep Your Call to Action Catchy

Having an impactful call to action display encourages your customers to click on the same and enter your website to further move towards making an effective purchase. Design your call to action message visibly attractive, legible and powerful. Having provided an impressive call to action is as important as detailed information related to yourbrand offerings and offers. You can use unique color scheme related to the color of your brand logo and website for the style of your email. You don’t have to make its size bigger than the other content, but the use of right color, button shape, and a catchy line would do the trick.

Redirecting the Audience to Your Website’s Landing Page

It is absolutely essential for your marketing team to put a link of your landing page in your promotional emails. No email marketing is complete without directing the audience to your landing page. Ultimately, your end goal is to enhance your online purchase that creates the necessity to put a clear direction sign for your customers to visit your main website or any important landing page with a dedicated link mentioned below it. If you are sending these emails for a special purpose or occasion, it would become easier for your audience to explore the page by putting a link for them.

Increase Click-through Rates with A/B Testing

The technology related to A/B testing refers to creating more than one title for the subject line of your email. Analyze your conversion rates with the emails and understand which of the emails scored better than others for increasing your sales. In order to achieve positive results out of this, you must send several emails and observe how many customers subscribed to your services after reading which of these emails. To achieve better clarity over the concept, hire an expert digital marketing company with SEO experts to incorporate this attractive technique in your email marketing in a better way.

The Power of a Thank You email

Your work doesn’t end with selling your products to the customers. They have spent their hard-earned saving on your items that need to be acknowledged to establish a lasting relationship with them. You can do so with a thank you mail to individual customers listing the items that they purchased along with links of related items, additional offers, any special offers on the items of similar genre. You can also ask them to review your products after a while to remind them about the special offers that have been running on your website at the current moment.

Remind the Customers to Finalize their Purchases

There are times that customers add their items in the cart but forget to purchase due to different personal reasons. Send them a reminder mail to make the purchases, and the chances that they are going to perform the action become better. Make the email attractive by posting the items to-be-purchased in your email that would invariably lead them to complete the final step of making the purchase.

At the end of it, it all comes down to the knowledge that with the recurring developments in technology, man is turning into machine, and machine is turning into a man. With a great amount of work performed by the machines, a lack of human interface is quite visible when it comes to e-commerce business interactions. Humanizing e-commerce through great content-driven email marketing campaigns would give a definite boost to your lead conversions over your e-commerce websites.

Author bio:

Being a senior business associate, Peter Davidson strives to help different brands and startups to make effective business decisions and plan effective business strategies. With years of rich domain expertise, he loves to share his views on the latest technologies and applications through his well-researched content pieces. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.


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Spam and Fraud Fights Come at a Cost to Twitter

 

Spam and Fraud Fights Come at a Cost as Twitter Growth Slows Down Over Clean-Up Project

Online news and social networking service, Twitter has seen its stock fall 20.5% due to its efforts to purge the platform of fake accounts, according to a USA Today report. The decline, Twitter’s second most significant loss since 2013, represents a serious source of concern for the San Francisco based company.

Twitter lost nearly $5 billion after losing 1 million monthly active users following its decision to clean up the platform, The Guardian reported. In spite of the setbacks suffered, however, the company maintains that it is not backing down on its attempts to clamp down on spamming, as it believes the move is in the overall interest of the service and will ensure long-term growth.

Shareholders have been told to expect a continued decline in the current quarter as Twitter intensifies efforts to ensure civil discourse by stamping out bad behavior. “The continued attempts ‘to prioritize the health of the platform,’ could result in a continued decline in the current quarter,” USA Today quoted the company as telling shareholders in a letter.

Desired Outcomes Are Being Achieved

Twitter said that the measures it put in place to tackle trolls, spam, and bots are achieving the desired outcome, as abuse reports from both search and conversions have reduced by 4- and 8% respectively.

Despite the setbacks suffered, it is not all doom and gloom for Twitter. The USA Today reports states that the organization recorded a 20% rise in its revenue to $710.5 million in the second quarter of 2018, surpassing its forecast of $697.4 million for the period. The firm also made profits of $100.1 million in that time.

This comes as no surprise because most of the accounts being deleted are those that had been blocked for varying reasons such as being compromised or used for spam. As a result, they were already unable to post to the platform.

Also, it is believed that efforts to rid the platform of trolls and spam will further endear twitter to regulators and advertisers, who hope to be left with a higher quality user base.

Famous People Take a Hit

Twitter’s decision to prioritize the health of the platform resulted in many users losing followers. The imposition of measures had led to popular figures such as former president Barack Obama losing over 2 million followers.

Singer, Katy Perry lost around 3 million followers, with her follower count now down to 107 million from 110 million, according to a separate report by the New York Post. President Trump lost about 3200,000 followers, as his followers’ count fell from 53.4 million to 53.1 million.

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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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Apple Still working on Ambitious Self Driving Car Project

 

Apple Advances on Self Driving Car

What was once human fantasy may soon become the norm. Self-driving cars are becoming increasingly common to see on the roads nowadays. And as they hit the streets in growing numbers, one company is making efforts to ensure driverless vehicles do so in style and with as less trouble as possible.

Last year, Chief Executive Officer of Apple Inc., Tim Cook dismissed reports saying the company was building its own self-driving cars, claiming instead that his firm was working on “autonomous systems” that will power a range of different products. However, it has since become clear that Apple is indeed working on an autonomous vehicle of some sorts under the name “project Titan.”

A Cleantechnica piece claims that Apple’s self-driving car project is still in the works. The California-based company is said to have brought more people on the self-driving car project, including a Waymo engineer, Jaime Waydo. Apple also hired another notable personality in the person of John Gianandrea, a former Google executive and AI expert.

Ambition

The emergence of Tesla, Waymo, Uber and Google’s ambition to push the limits of innovation to deliver maximum comfort for passengers has led to breakthroughs in the quest for self-driving cars. Recent events suggest Apple hopes to join the train by manufacturing a driverless vehicle of its own.

If Mr. Cook’s earlier submissions are any indication, then Apple will stop at nothing until it has realized its goals. The CEO had stated that Apple’s then new self-driving technology was the “…mother of all AI projects,” which is “is something that’s incredibly exciting for us.”

Considering it’s a big rich company with a vast amount of resources and influence, there’s little to suggest that Apple’s Project Titan will be anything other than a success. The organization has all it takes to lay its hands on the right technology and attract the best brains to help speed up the project.

Steady Progress

It is not yet clear what form Apple’s self-driving car initiative would take. For now, however, it appears that the company’s autonomous driving team will concentrate their efforts on building self-driving employee shuttles in collaboration with Volkswagen, according to The Verge.

The tech giant settled for Volkswagen after talks regarding partnerships with Mercedes-Benz and BMW ended, per New York Times. It would be recalled that Apple obtained permits to test self-driving vehicles in California in furtherance of its driverless car ambition sometime in 2017.

The Drive reported that the company’s fleet of self-driving cars registered with the California Department of Motor Vehicles has grown to 55 cars. This makes Apple the company with the second largest fleet of autonomous vehicles in California after General Motor’s Cruise.

It may not be there yet, but Apple seems to be making continued progress with its self-driving car project.

 

 

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Dr. Joe Johnson of Welfont – Serial Entrepreneur And Venture Capitalist Gets Another Homerun!

 

Fastest Growing Real Estate Brokerage in America

Winning the prestigious INC 5000 award for the Fastest Growing Real Estate Brokerage in America over a three year period is no small accomplishment, but for Dr. Joe Johnson, growing up a missionary kid in Brazil, it’s truly a dream come true.

Johnson, a competitive swimmer in college and captain of his swim team seems to run his business with a heads down and swim for the finish line manner. So, when Johnson saw in year three, that his startup venture, (Welfont) stood a very real chance of placing high in the INC 5000 standings, he and his team put their heads down and in 2017 went all out to finish strong and by year end amassed an astonishing 11,359 percent three-year growth rate. To understand how Welfont got to where they are today, it helps to better understand the journey of Johnson’s life. He started his first business, a landscaping company, while still in high school. He had a truck and earth moving equipment but wasn’t old enough to get a driver’s license. But obstacles like these were just minor inconveniences to him. The solution was simple. Improvise. He just hired kids a little older than him who had their drivers license and he was in business.

Early Bankruptcy

Armed with more enthusiasm than business sense, by age 21 his vision and sales far outpaced his financial and staff resources as well as his operational processes. As he is quick to admit, “Out of pure incompetence, by the time I turned 21 years old, I went bankrupt.”

After Johnson went bankrupt at age 21 (on his lawyers’ recommendation), he worked other jobs and eventually earned enough money to pay off the creditors that he was no longer obligated by law, to pay. Somewhere along the way, Johnson had come to learn that a good name is more important than wealth.

 

First Turnaround

Upon graduating from college, Johnson mailed out 2000 resumes applying for the position of CFO. He received four requests for an interview and exactly one job offer from a failing $12 million tech company which he quickly turned around and was sold for a handsome profit. Doing things on a big scale became the hallmark of his storied career, including earning his doctorate at age 41, in Entrepreneurial Leadership from Regent University.

More Turnarounds

Johnson took over the reins and re-launched the struggling SUCCESS Magazine with a new team, which won “Best Design Launch of the Year Award” and gained over 500,000 in print circulation and was subsequently sold for millions of dollars. It was this type of success that fueled his desire to become a venture capitalist and enjoy more of the fruits of his labor.

That opportunity came in 2011 when he bought an insolvent real estate training company, making it wildly successful, earning a seven figure profit in just the first quarter.

Get Motivated Seminars

But fast forward to 2012, when the opportunity came to buy his former employers flagship company, Get Motivated Seminars, Johnson leveraged his previous success and went “all in”. Unfortunately, the previous owners were in a bitter divorce, greatly complicating the transfer of ownership. By year end, it was over, and the doors closed for good.

Down, But Not Out

Johnson’s love of real estate had become deeply ingrained into his psyche. In 2014, he began a consultancy helping nonprofits utilize the tax laws in Section 170 of the IRS code to acquire underutilized commercial real estate assets. It was the beginning of what became known as the Welfont Group of Companies. It soon became apparent that he could help a lot more folks and build a solid business by adding commercial real estate brokerage to the services his company could provide. Within 36 months, transaction volume grew to hundreds of millions of dollars, becoming the fastest growing real estate brokerage in the history of the Inc 5000.

Success is a Journey

Over the years Johnson, now 43, has created hundreds of jobs through various start-ups and turnarounds while earning his MBA and PhD, personally funded over 15,000 microloans in over 80 countries for underprivileged entrepreneurs, saved one of America’s oldest and best loved business magazines from bankruptcy, acquired over 10 million square feet of real estate nationwide and most recently not only ranked in the INC 5000 as the Fastest Growing Real Estate Brokerage in the country, but also ranked #16 in the top 20 fastest growing companies of all types.

 

 

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