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Benefits of a Small Business Answering Service

A small business answering service is essentially the same as having a receptionist, except nobody is actually needed in-house – and that comes with it benefits. Of course, there are pros and cons of not having a receptionist, but the many benefits of an answering service far outweigh any downsides.

In the vast majority of cases, a business answering service is a far better option than having an employed receptionist. Ultimately, though, it is your decision to make – so here is some information to help you make the right decision:

How does a small business answering service work?

When you opt for a business answering service, you will still have someone answering your phones just like you would with a receptionist, except this person will be in a remote location not your office building. You’ll still have complete access to them, as you would with a receptionist in your office though.

Who will answer the phone?

Generally, there will be a team of people assigned to your business. They will have received training about your company, how it operates, and how to offer the best customer service for your customers. Having a team of people means that you don’t have to worry about your employees’ holidays or sick days – there will always be someone available to answer the phones.

How much will it cost?

Since every answering service will differ in cost, it’s hard to put an exact figure on this. However, you can be certain that a small business answering service will cost much less than having a receptionist as one of your employees. Consider how much would you be paying your receptionist each year. Then on top of that, consider the other costly aspects of having an employee, such as health benefits and other necessary compensation. Then there’s things like providing an office space, a desk, phones, supplies…etc.

With a small business answering service, you get all the benefits of a receptionist (and more), without any of the hassle. What are you waiting for? Go and check out the services available to you today!

 

Tools Of A Great Digital Marketing Campaign

Building a great digital marketing campaign for your business is key when you’re seeking out success online. The tricks of the trade are many, but there’s plenty of information scattered about to build your own pool of knowledge.

There’s no better time to start learning than right now. Take a moment to read through this brief ensemble of a few tools of a great digital marketing campaign, and get started today.

Social media

Every excellent digital marketing effort includes a social media presence. Your business can make a name for itself on social media, no matter the industry of your operation.

Everyone spends time carousing the pages of social media, so there’s always a place for your business. Take the opportunities social media presents to clearly target users who will most benefit from your services.

Blogging for business

Adding a blog to your digital marketing campaign will give your business more content to present to potential customers. The more you can connect and build rapport with web users, the more likely it is that they will become customers.

Your business blog can easily be linked to your business website for maximum exposure. This blog featuring business tips is well-suited to the business it represents. Write about what your business specializes in doing.

Mobile optimization

When you do start working on your operation’s digital marketing plans, you need to be focused on building a presence that is mobile friendly. Mobile web use is at an all-time high, and your marketing content should be built to please the majority of users online at any given time.

Design your digital content for a smaller display screen. Make the buttons on your pages a little bigger so the clumsy thumbs can still differentiate between the various options available.

A strong business website

Your business website can always be improved upon. The specifics of what digital design requires shifts so often, that you need to keep a constant eye out for changes.

Your business website should always contain fresh information and content to keep users interested in what’s next. It’s preferable that you hire someone specifically for the purpose of developing your operation’s web presence.

Reach out through email

Email marketing is another stem of your digital marketing efforts that will help your business build a relationship with web users. Use your business website and your ecommerce platform to gather email connections from consumers, and then stay in touch with them.

You can even work to develop a regular newsletter release to keep email connections fresh. Your business will never be a last thought in the minds of users when you continue to regularly place your brand at the forefront.

5 Tips for Improving Hygiene in the Workplace

In this day and age, hygiene is more important than ever in the workplace. COVID-19 has led to people becoming much more aware about the use of hand sanitizers, face masks, and so on. Plus, with the pandemic still going on, your employees may feel uncomfortable coming into work right now and interacting with others.

Yet even aside from COVID-19, a business should always strive to provide the best possible hygiene standards in the workplace. The last thing you want is for an employee to fall ill under your watch – and the cause of their illness be down to a lack of hygiene.

With these points in mind, your focus should be on enhancing cleanliness levels when necessary. As a starting point, consider these five tips for improving hygiene in the workplace.

1. Promote regularly washing hands

Before they sit down for work, every employee should be made to wash their hands. This is a simple yet effective way to stop germs from entering the workspace, where they can quickly spread due to populating everything from keyboards to documents.

When it comes to the washing part, encourage employees to use soap and hand sanitizer. Also, instruct them to spend a minimum of 20 seconds washing their hands.

2. Clean desks

Along with their hands, you should also encourage employees to regularly clean their desks. Certain items on a desk are a breeding ground for bacteria. For instance, research suggests the average computer keyboard is 20,000 times dirtier than the average toilet seat.

To help with the cleaning process, ensure all employees have access to hand sanitizing gels and anti-bacterial wipes. Also, give them reminders not to skip on the desk cleaning.

3. Use a ULV Fogger

If you want to disinfect the entire workplace with ease, look no further than the ULV Fogger Sanitiser. This ultra-low volume fogging machine can be utilized in various different ways. In the workplace, however, it helps to disinfect and/or sterilize the environment.

For more details, Fanmaster is the leading distributor of the ULV Fogger.

4. Avoid sharing

There’s another type of place where bacteria love to reside: shared items.

For example, dish towels, which are used by multiple people and stored in the communal kitchen, can pick up a large amount of bacteria. This is often due to such items not being cleaned on a regular basis. There is an alternative. Instead of a towel, you could instead use disposable tissue paper, for example.

While there isn’t always a solution to a shared item, try and limit the office’s use of such products.

5. Stop the spread early

If you’re suffering with an illness that can be spread to others, how do you stop it from doing just that? There’s one easy solution: stay at home!

If you feel you’re infected with any form of virus or some other stomach bug, simply remain at home and give it 48 hours after the final symptoms have vanished before you return to work. This is a rule that all of your employees should follow.

By doing this, you can avoid a virus from temporarily wiping out your workforce and slowing down business production.

 

4 Things Small Businesses Need to do to Comply with Employment Laws

Small businesses have it tough. They are up against the corporate giants and it can be harder for them to recruit and retain the right talent. One of the toughest parts of running a small business is ensuring you’re compliant with employment laws. While big companies have HR departments and legal advisors, small businesses must figure things out for themselves. When it comes to hiring employees, here are a few things that small businesses need to make sure they do.

1. Get the right paperwork

When you hire someone, by law, you need to obtain several different types of paperwork. This ensures that the person you’re hiring has the right to live and work in the country and also means you have records for legal purposes. Many small businesses use specialist HR software to store sensitive documents from copies of passports to bank details, so it’s easy to access them if they need to check something or are asked to prove they obtained the right documents.

2. Ensure you follow rules for paid time off and work hours

Small businesses often have employees who work long hours to keep up with deadlines and to finish big projects. While there are no laws about how many hours an employee can work in most states, anything over 40 hours needs to be paid as overtime, and consistent, long working hours are often discouraged, as it can lead to burnout.

There’s no legal requirement to offer paid vacation time, but again, it can be good for employee’s mental health to offer something to them.

Many employers offer a package that includes:

  • 10 paid vacation days a year
  • Parental leave – while you aren’t obliged to offer paid time off to new parents, it can benefit your business to do so
  • Sick leave – this is usually accumulated depending on how long the employee has been with you
  • Paid leave for bereavements and personal days – this is usually just a couple of days off, but it can be very helpful for employees going through a difficult time

Some employers also allow workers to take unpaid leave when they have caring responsibilities and other emergency situations. You should make sure you know the difference between leave that can be taken unpaid, and things you’re legally obliged to pay for.

3. Know the laws around pay

You should also do some research into the laws around minimum wage and ensure that the amount you’re paying your employees doesn’t bring your employee’s hourly rate under the federal minimum wage level of $7.25 per hour.

If you’re in a state that has its own minimum wage laws, then you need to compare state and federal rates, and pay the higher of the two. For example, Colorado has a state minimum wage of $12 an hour.

4. Following OSHA laws

Most private sector businesses, no matter what their size, must comply with OSHA regulations and laws. Violating OSHA standards can lead to a hefty fine, so even if your business is small and low risk, you should pay close attention to the regulations and ensure you aren’t in breach of any of them, otherwise, you could find yourself in legal trouble.

As a small business owner, it’s important to research both state and federal employment laws so you can ensure employees are kept safe and protected, and you aren’t hit with a large fine.

 

Seven Tips To Save Money In 2020

Your finances are an area of life you can’t ignore and the more informed you are the easier it is to make important decisions. However, even with good planning money can be limited and in 2020 everyone is looking for ways to save money and cut expenses. Luckily, saving money is not reliant on one solution and there are several different ways to bring down costs and improve your finances.

Saving money can involve a lot of different approaches, techniques, and changes to your lifestyle. With so many options and a high degree of flexibility, it can be hard knowing where to start. Here are some tips for saving money this year that should take some of the mystery out of improving your finances.

Seven Tips For Saving Money In 2020

  1. Budgeting: a well thought out though budget is the first step to getting your finances organized and saving money. It’s hard to save money without knowing what your expenses even are and where your money is going. A budget not only gives you a very useful overview it also allows you to see areas where spending can be cut.
  2. Plan Your Meals: a lot of needless spending comes from a lack of planning and related impulse buying as it relates to food. By planning your meals in advance you can take advantage of money-saving strategies such as bulk buying, sales, and coupons.
  3. Eat Out Less: related to meal planning is cutting back on fast food as it quickly adds up. While you certainly don’t have to give up takeout entirely random trips to the drive-through can be cut down. This is especially true for coffee as a lot of money can be saved by making your own coffee at home as opposed to buying it at a large chain or local coffee shop.
  4. Memberships And Subscriptions: while subscription services can greatly improve the quality of your life they can also be a source of wasted money. They are very easy to set and forget and you may be paying for services you never use. Review your monthly subscription costs and cancel the ones that you don’t use or don’t use enough to justify the cost.
  5. Cable: one of the most cited areas where people save money is with their cable bill. If you’ve looked at your cable bill recently you know it can be an expensive service. Like with a subscription you should make sure your investment is worth it based on how you use it. You don’t have to get rid of cable entirely, downgrading is certainly an option and many cable companies offer deals if you call them and talk it over.
  6. Your Cell Phone: much like with cable your cell phone plan is another area where you can easily overpay. A key area of cell phone expense is the data plan and while it’s certainly convenient unlimited data is expensive and sometimes unnecessary. Depending on how much cellular data you use (and how often you’re on WiFi) downgrading to a lower data amount can be a way to save money. Many cellular phones and apps allow you to track your data usage so you can get an idea of how much you really need.
  7. Organizing Your Home: taking stock of your possessions can help you save money in two ways. First, any items you no longer need can be sold at a yard sale or one of many online marketplaces for a small profit. Two, possessions that you no longer use often do have a related cost of ownership expense, this can be the space it takes up, upkeep expenses, storage fees, and related moving costs when you get a new home or apartment.

Final Thoughts

As the above list shows there are many different areas of your life where you can cut costs. Also, the above is only a few of the many different ways you can save money. In 2020 there are numerous lists and entire books devoted to the subject, many of which you can apply right now in your own life. So don’t be afraid to sit down, start looking at where your money truly goes, and see how you can cut down on those unneeded expenses.

New Car Technologies Bringing Us Into The Future

Over the last century, the idea of a car has shifted in a big way. Starting with Ford’s Model T, 2020 brings in the reality of self-driving vehicles. Automotive technology is aimed to keep us safer on the roads, and it’s looking good so far.

If you’re looking to purchase a capable new vehicle, take a moment for some light research. Check out a brief look at some of the most impressive new car technologies bringing us into the future.

Eco-Friendly automobiles

Sure, there are still plenty of vehicles on the road today that aren’t quite as clean as they should be. However, today’s automotive technologies are creating vehicles that put out no harmful emissions at all.

Low/no emissions vehicles are a little more expensive to purchase, but green car loans will lead to saving much more than a few dollars. You can get tax benefits by owning an eco-friendly vehicle, and some businesses reward owners with good parking spaces as well.

Connected mobile applications

Today’s tech-savvy vehicles can do a whole lot with a smartphone connection. Remote start, Bluetooth connections, checking tire pressure, and a slew of other functions are all made possible by the connectivity to mobile applications.

Teen driver technology

You can purchase a vehicle that will help you keep a better eye on the new drivers in the family. Technology has enabled parents to keep tabs on teen drivers in a way never before imagined.

Capable cars can limit the speed of your young driver, turn off the radio if their seatbelt isn’t engaged, and even keep your kids from blaring the radio while you’re not there to tell them to turn it down.

Stolen vehicle tracking services

If you have a fear of getting your car stolen, there’s technology available to help you save your vehicle. Tracking technology is built into your services through OnStar or Connected Drive. In the event that your car is stolen, it can immediately be tracked through GPS capabilities.

Adaptive cruise control

As the world moves towards a more common setting of self-driven vehicles, you are slowly getting the various pieces of the complete puzzle in more affordable packaging. Adaptive cruise control is one of those pieces.

Your daily commute to work is made into relaxing work when your vehicle can control its speed all on its own. Just set the adaptive cruise control, and forget about the pedals. The car will slow and accelerate all on its own, even in traffic.

Auto emergency braking

Distraction is a constant criminal against safe driving. You look down to turn the volume up on the radio. In that second, the conditions of the road ahead could shift.

Auto emergency braking is there to make that split-second decision when you miss the opportunity. Sensors on the vehicle will determine if a collision is imminent and enable braking in an instant.

 

Top 6 Stag Night Activities Not to Miss

If you’re looking for creative ways in which to spend your last free single days, there are plenty of ideas about what you can enjoy with your mates. Here are six top stag night activities that are sure to fill your evening with fun and laughter and you’ll remember it for many months after!

three people holding glass bottles while talking

Bust the Bucket List

You’ve all dreamed of doing things since high school or university. Now’s the perfect time to tick some of these off, and the best part is you can do this together. Why not make a whole weekend of it, and see how much your budget & time allows to make some life-changing memories together?

Plan a Scavenger Hunt

Maybe you’re after adventure and hidden treasure. If that’s the case, plan a detailed scavenger hunt for your stag night. Incorporate some dress up and travel from one location to the next. Let someone facilitate it so you can solve riddles to get more clues along the way until you all reach the final prize and destination.

Take this up a level and plan your own Amazing Race Stag edition where you pair up. Teams can battle out a series of tasks and activities & race against each other to the finish line.

Visit an Online Casino

Want to make a little extra cash? Gambling just got a whole lot more fun. Whether you’re looking for some virtual entertainment in Canada or in Canberra, visit some of the best online casinos Canada has to offer for some inspiration.

The bucks you pocket can go towards your next round of drinks, or maybe you feel like spoiling the groomsmen with generous thank-you gifts.

Go to a Comedy Club

For a little comic relief, go to a comedy club. Be sure to get front row seats. For a really good laugh, see how you can surprise your groomsmen by volunteering them as audience members in the comedian’s skits.

Try Indoor Skydiving

For a thrilling experience, take your group of friends to new heights and try indoor skydiving. Places such as iFly will get your adrenalin pumping. In under two hours you can literally learn how to fly!

If this doesn’t float your boat, maybe indoor bungee jumping, go karting, paintball or rock climbing will.

Enjoy a Museum Hack Tour

To get back down to earth, enjoy a night at the museum. A museum hack tour has been designed specifically to give you an exclusive backstage pass to experience a museum like others normally wouldn’t.

The bonus is you’ll be exposed to a lot more than if you were just visiting the museum by yourself or even with a tour group. This is anything but boring. With a group of your best mates, you’ll have a new appreciation of natural history or science like you’ve never seen it before.

Now that you’re inspired, you’re set up to having the best stag night party ever with your friends by your side. One day you’ll all be telling your kids about the hilarious moments and incredible memories this night held.

2020: The year of positive energy in my home

It is going to be remembered for a whole host of different things and as we all know, most of these are hardly going to be positive.

For me, I’m trying to put a different spin on 2020. I’m trying to bring as much positivity into the year as possible and considering how much time I’m spending within these four walls; my home is receiving the lion’s share of my creativity.

First and foremost, I’m not the type of person who has really bought into Feng Shui in the past. I believe in positive energy, but it has to be on my terms. This might go against the so-called science, but there have been a lot of tips and tricks I have implemented which have just brought a bit of lightness to mine and my family’s life.

For example, let’s start with the natural sunlight. Apparently, there is a bit of science behind this first point, as natural light can stimulate the production of Vitamin D (which, in turn, creates better moods).

I’ve changed my approach to interior design somewhat and now place every emphasis possible on natural light. This isn’t just about using window dressings stereotypically either, although this does help no-end. It has also been about placing mirrors on walls opposite mirrors, or even cleaning windows a little more regularly. It has all helped to bring much more lightness into our home and ultimately, make it a happier place.

The natural light hasn’t just helped people though, it has stimulated the growth of other things in my home. For example, I’ve now started to place a lot more attention on flowers. They just add a fresh vibe to our living space and bring a little bit of color in these times of need.

Avas Flowers have helped me endlessly with this, mainly through the official Avas Flowers Instagram page which has provided more inspiration than you would imagine. I’ve been lucky enough to stumble across a couple of Avas Flowers coupons pages, and I’ll proudly admit that I have been leaving Avas Flowers reviews on any platform that will have me! I don’t have to go out to the store, everything is delivered safely to me.

Some of the positive energy transformations have been a little more permanent, as well. For example, I’ve recently started decorating for the first time in the last ten years. It’s meant that the once fashionable, but now dull and drab tones are gone and in their place are fresh, spring tones that have done wonders for everyone’s mood. It’s like old, heavy memories have been banished.

In truth, my positive energy journey has only just begun, but I’m loving the results. Hopefully, when the current situation ends, I will continue these tactics and perhaps add more to my arsenal. I will keep you updated on my progress.

 

How Can You Make Your Home Renovations Easier?

Renovating your home can be difficult, whether you are contemplating decorating your rooms yourself or are trying to communicate your vision to contractors. However, it is possible to make home renovations easier and achieve a successful and beautiful final product. If you are planning to start the home projects that you have been putting off for years, here are some top tips for making your home renovations easier this summer.

Hire a Professional

Rather than struggle through months of DIY, you should consider making your home renovations go smoothly by hiring a professional. Professional home decorators can ensure that your renovations are conducted correctly, that there will be no issues with your installations in the future, and that you will be able to achieve your dream home without learning heaps of DIY technique. If you are looking for a home decorating professional, Home on Call can provide you with the expertise that you need, whenever you need it.

Devise a Thorough Home Renovation Plan

The first step to ensuring that your home renovations go successfully is to devise a succinct and thorough home renovation plan that will help ensure that you make progress and stick to your budget over the lifetime of the project. Planning can ensure that you are able to obtain the materials and skills that you need, while also enabling you to carry out your tasks in the right order. Small, achievable goals add up to big changes!

Tackle Your Renovations in Sections

However, home renovations can seem daunting if you intend to carry them all out at once. Rather than tackling all of the rooms in your home at the same time, you should consider renovating your home in manageable sections, starting with the rooms that you use the most. This will enable you to reduce the disruption to your lifestyle and will make your home renovations seem more achievable than if you are struggling to know where to start.

Organize Your Home Before You Decorate

One of the biggest disruptions that can occur when you are decorating your home is obstructive furniture and possessions. To avoid spending your days painting or sanding floors around large obstacles, you should consider organizing your home before you decorate. This will ensure that you are able to clear the appropriate space that you need to complete your project, while also protecting your furniture from damage, such as stray paint or falling objects. You should also consider covering your furniture with a dustsheet to prevent you from worrying about staining your treasured furniture during the completion of your renovation projects.

Know What You’re Doing

The most important action that you should take to make your home renovations easier, though, is to know what you are doing. If you are conducting DIY decorations, you should research the latest tips on DIY techniques to ensure that your project is able to go smoothly and that you do not end up creating larger issues within your home.

Now you’re armed with these tips for making your home renovations easier, get cracking, and enjoy a freshened-up home for the summer!

 

How to Care for Your Summer Home When You’re Not There

Having a vacation home can be a rewarding investment that gives you a place to visit and get away from the stresses of life. However, before buying your summer home, it’s important to consider how you will care for the property when you aren’t on vacation. Fortunately, there are several ways to provide the maintenance your vacation home needs without needing to visit the property yourself.

A house with trees in the background

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1. Install a wire-free security camera system

Security is one of the biggest concerns with a property, especially if it’s being left vacant for extended periods of time. Burglars and vandals notice when no one enters or leaves your property for several weeks in a row, so you’ll need another deterrent to keep them at bay. Install a wire-free security camera system that can be your eyes and ears on your vacation home. Many wire-free security systems can capture high-definition video and audio that can be useful to police in the event of any kind of incident on your property.

Not only does a security system keep you up to date on everything that happens around your property, you can also use it to check in for a mini virtual vacation. Through the system’s app, you can instantly access the camera and microphone to be taken away from the stresses of everyday life and into the peaceful atmosphere that surrounds your vacation home.

2. Hire a property manager

Sometimes things happen to a home that must be dealt with immediately. If a water pipe starts leaking, for example, you don’t want to find that out several weeks later when your house has already sustained considerable water damage. But you may not be in a position to drop by your home every day (or even every week) just to check for the “what ifs”. Hiring a property manager can help eliminate some of your stress by stopping by regularly to check on your property. During a routine visit, your property manager can also do some routine maintenance to keep your property in top shape, such as cutting the grass or changing the furnace filters.

3. Use smart home devices

Smart home devices are tools that allow you to better manage your property remotely. They can take care of simple tasks, such as turning on or off lights, or more complex ones, such as vacuuming your floors. By using several of these devices in tandem, you can save money on utility bills while still keeping the property up without physically being on site.

Some of the best smart devices for remote property management include:

  • A smart thermostat: This device will allow you to change your thermostat up or down right from the device’s app, even when you are hundreds of miles away. With the app, you can even set up temperature schedules to adjust the thermostat automatically, keeping the temperature warmer at different parts of the day or different times of the year.
  • A smart vacuum: These gadgets take the heavy lifting out of your household cleaning — literally. A smart vacuum eliminates the need to push around a heavy vacuum (or pay your property manager to do it for you). Just push a button from the app or set a regular cleaning schedule and your robot vac will take care of the rest.
  • A smart door lock: Smart door locks can be a life saver for accessing your home away from home. If your property manager isn’t available and you can’t get to your vacation home, you can grant access to an individual of your choosing by giving them a special single-use passcode. You can also see who is entering and leaving your property through the automated entry log; and changing the access code is simple, meaning you won’t have to change all the door locks if your security is ever compromised.

Use technology to care for your vacation home remotely

By using technology to take care of routine home maintenance, you can enjoy your vacation home without adding a lot of stress to your plate. For everything that technology can’t accomplish remotely, utilize an on-site property manager to keep your home well-protected and in good condition while you’re away.

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