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5 Things to Remember When Selecting a Website Builder

Here’s a little known secret: You no longer need an expensive website designer or agency to build you a great website. In fact, nowadays you don’t need to know how to code to build a jaw-dropping. gorgeous website. All you simply need is a cloud-based website builder. If you are a small business with a limited budget and design capabilities, website builders are a great option.

Below are some key points to remember when selecting a cloud-based website builder for your small business:

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1. Create a wish-list of your goals

Aside from the usual traffic and conversion goals, which almost every website is fighting for, you need to decide what you want to achieve with your website. Start by creating a long list that includes website goals, must-have items, and like-to-have items. Then take a step back, analyze the list, and discuss it with your team. Once the list is narrowed down, you’ll have an idea of what you’re looking to achieve.



Some questions to ask yourself as you create this list: What types of websites do I like? What are my competitors doing? What content do I want to feature on my website? Do I need an online store?

2. Research and evaluate your options

In the last few years website builders have gained much ground in various markets and as a result, there are more and more website builders released into the market everyday. Make sure to evaluate your options carefully. For this item, you can take the list from above and use it to evaluate each option you have. Whether it’s a certain look and feel or specific capabilities, make sure to always evaluate the options available against your website goals.

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3. Check the templates

The best part about a cloud-based website builder is all the different templates available! Most will even offer access to try them out before you sign up. This makes it easier to find both the template and builder that matches with your website goals! Each builder has different ones and if you feel overwhelmed by choice, try taking a break and looking at what is working for others in your space. This can help you figure out what you like and don’t like in order to narrow down the templates.

Pro tip: Zeendo categorizes their templates by professional categories, which can be used as a guide as what works best for your industry.

4. Know your audience

This is one of the most important items and it goes beyond simply creating a website. Know who you are trying to target and what their interests are. This should be the foundation of all of your marketing efforts. Your site will need to cater to their needs and interests. Keeping this in mind when you are selecting a web builder can help you build a site that caters to your audience. This should also extend to all of the content you write and the graphics you choose.

Example: If your audience is hair salon owners, then make sure you choose a friendly and sleek design with a feature that allows you to display client photos. Take some time to get to know your audience and it will help you choose more than just a website builder.

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5. Pick the website features that help your business goals

Most website builders today comes with integration capabilities with well-known 3rd party apps like Google, Yelp, PayPal, OpenTable, social media sharing etc. These all have a multitude of benefits when implemented. For an example if you are a restaurant an OpenTable feature on your website will help your audience book reservations right from your website! Do some research when you are looking at website builders, see what they offer that would be of value to your business. There are many features that website builders can easily add to your website that can take your site from a simple web page to a robust website that that drives value to your brand.

Website builders come loaded with so many features and options that there is plenty of options for every kind of website you want to build. First start with your goals for your website, and slowly, but surely, you will be well on your way to building your website with ease, flexibility, and control.

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Víos Nutrition Launches Matrix Nutrition Shake

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On Saturday, September 17, Víos Nutrition (Víos), asked the crowd of more than 200 at its Elevation sales conference in Winston-Salem a simple question – does your shake have the Matrix? This question was the culmination of the company’s first two-day sales conference and seminar, and served as the introduction of Matrix, its new, all-natural total nutrition shake.

Víos’s Matrix is a complete, plant-based meal replacement shake with a balance of protein, complex carbohydrates, omega-3 fatty acids, natural vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, branched chain amino acids and high quality fiber. Matrix is whey-free, with no added sugar, salt, synthetic vitamins or minerals, fillers or preservatives. It is also dairy-free, gluten-free, non-GMO and is verified organic by the USDA.

Simply put, Matrix is unlike anything else on the market today.

“Víos Matrix represents the evolution of the total nutrition shake,” said Joe Land, co-founder of Víos Nutrition. “Simply put, it’s game-changing. Matrix’s combination of all-natural ingredients combine to provide users with everything they need to perform at their best, whether as pre- or post-workout shake, or day-to-day as a meal replacement. When we introduced this product at Elevation, our Brand Partners in attendance went through the roof, and I can’t wait for them to bring Matrix directly to our customers! It’s the perfect product introduction at the perfect time for our company.”

Matrix’s proprietary blend focuses on four key areas to help fuel the body:

  • Protein: Organic Millet, Organic Quinoa, Organic Pea, Organic Pumpkin Seed
  • Fiber and Carbohydrates: Organic Golden Flax Seed (micro-milled), Organic Apple Pectin, Organic Pysillium Seed, Organic Aloe Leaf
  • Pre- and Probiotics: of Organic Chicory Root Inulin, Lactobacillus Acidophillus, Lactobacillus Bulgaricus, and Lactobacillus Bifidus, Organic Pineapple Bromelain enzyme and Organic Papaya enzyme Papain, Alpha and Beta Amylase (carbs), Protease (protein), Lipase (fat), Cellulase (fiber)
  • Adaptagens: Organic Maca powder, Organic Ashwaganda powder, Organic Schizandra powder, Organic Rhodiola rosea powder

This powerful combination of ingredients promotes overall good health in a number of areas. Matrix’s protein blend promotes muscle strengthening and conditioning; it’s fiber and carb blend helps boost stamina energy and endurance; pre- and probiotics promote digestive health and support the body’s immune system; and its revolutionary adaptagen mix helps the body’s resistance to stress, anxiety and fatigue.

Matrix was developed and formulated by nationally renowned nutritionist, author and teacher Dr. Gordon Tessler, PhD, author of The Genesis Diet, and is marketed exclusively by the company’s highly-trained, independent Brand Partners. Through its premium entrepreneurial business system, the company provides its Brand Partners with all of the tools, support, customer care and marketing materials to be successful.

“Most people don’t realize that the majority of protein shakes on the market today are very high in protein, and very low in complex carbohydrates and fat,” said Dr. Tessler. “And believe it or not, too much protein is not good for you! To digest and utilize proteins properly, you need nutritional balance. Matrix is the first shake to accomplish that balance, combining all-natural protein with the carbs, pre- and probiotics, and adaptagens to provide the maximum impact and overall health benefit. It is truly a complete, whole food shake that will supply the nutrition of a meal without the extra calories.”

Matrix is the second product introduced by Víos Nutrition in 2016, a premium whole food, plant-based nutrition supplement company based in Winston-Salem. The company also markets and distributes PHYTE, a whole-food greens product containing powerful cereal grasses and their essential vitamins, minerals and proteins that promotes overall good health. Víos PHYTE’s proprietary green blend is rich in chlorophyll, which is vital for the synthesis and function of healthy oxygen-rich blood, boosting stamina and endurance. This blend of cereal grasses, spirulina, chlorella, and other greens contains essential enzymes and fiber that aid in digestion and help maintain healthy PH balance.

All Víos supplements contain certified organic ingredients, and are gluten-free and non GMO to deliver to your body the vital nutrients it needs – in convenient, single-serve packets.

Matrix will be available in late 2016 through the company’s Brand Partners across the country. Like Víos PHYTE, it is available in convenient, single-serve packets for people’s on-the-go-lifestyles. For more information about Víos and its products, please visit www.vioslife.com.

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About Víos Nutrition 

Víos Nutrition develops whole food, plant-based nutrition supplements designed to give customers more of the natural essentials their bodies need, when they need them. Based in Winston-Salem, N.C., Víos Nutrition provides the highest quality products to our customers in convenient, single-serve packets to give them the healthy nutrition they need, when they need it. Marketed and sold exclusively through the company’s independent Brand Partners, Víos Nutrition products contain certified organic ingredients, and are gluten-free and non GMO. For more information, please visit www.vioslife.com.

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Advice on Getting into the Auto Industry

The automotive industry is one of the most competitive industries out there, but that doesn’t mean that those of you who dream of working with and around cars should be willing to settle for a career that isn’t what you’ve got your heart set on. All it takes is the right approach.

The first thing is not to be intimidated. Yes, there’s a lot of competition, but it’s also one of the most diverse industries out there. There are of course jobs in engineering (the only place the industry actively courts young talent) but also in computing (a growing market, especially since driverless cars are just over the horizon), sales, management and more, so whatever skillset you already have, you can find a way to put it to use in the auto industry.

You don’t need to worry about demographics either—though cars generally are often seen as a ‘male’ thing and the industry is male dominated in places, a recent story from AA Cars reveals that there is a strong female element in the industry today with some women in very influential positions.

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The next thing to know is that you’ll need to make and exploit connections. Any experience you can get will be helpful and put you in a position to meet people at industry events, so if you’re certain that working in the auto industry is what you want don’t be afraid to start at the bottom of the ladder, after all the only way to reach the top is one rung at a time.

You’ll need to keep your eyes on the prize, though. Once you know who to talk to about the area you’re interested in you need to be in constant contact. Perseverance is vital to showing you’re passionate about the industry and you won’t let up. It’s a competitive industry so getting the job you want is itself a full-time job.

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If you’re keen to work from home specifically there’s still a lot of options in sales and support. With the aid of computers you can even manage repair shops or hire company fleets by telecommuting. And if you want to start your own garage or develop an idea of your own, some manufacturers have start-up outreach programmes like BMW i Ventures, so do your research and see if you can be their next success story.



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What Are the Ideal Goals of a Scrum Master?

Have you ever wondered what a Scrum Master does? If you have, do not worry, you are not alone. The Scrum Master role is something that has been greatly confused by many for quite some time now. In most cases, this role is confused with that of a Project Manager. The Scrum Master is neither a Project Manager nor is he a product owner.

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So who is a Scrum Master?

The best way to explain it is to use this analogy:

If the product owner is the ultimate decision maker and head of the project, and the Scrum Team is the body tasked with ensuring that everything is executed according to plan so as to bring the project to life, then the Scrum Master is the one thing that holds it all together. He/she is like the glue that brings all the pieces together and facilitates the smooth completion of the project.

The Scrum Master takes on a number of roles during his or her reign. They are the coach, the mentor, the leader, the administrator, and a one-man/woman think tank that makes the scrum development possible.

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So what do they do?

The Scrum Master will often spend their days doing any one or all of the following things:

– Facilitating, while not participating in the scrum’s daily standup

– Doing all they can to help the scrum team to maintain their burndown chart

– Setting up sprint reviews, retrospectives, and sprint planning sessions

– Making sure that the scrum team is not interrupted during the sprint

– Making sure that all possible obstacles that could affect the team are removed

– Making sure that the product owner understands the most technical aspects of the product and user stories

– Making sure that there is useful and viable collaboration between the product owner and the Scrum team

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What are the ideal goals of a scrum Master?

From the explanation above, we can clearly see that a Scrum Masters’ job is to ensure that everything runs smoothly for both the Scrum team and the product owner. Therefore one of the most important goals that any Scrum master should have is to ensure that there is complete synergy between these two factions.

Improve Synergy between the product owner and Scrum Team

The Scrum Master is the one link between the product owner and the Serum Team. He or she will act as the go-between. He or she should seek to clarify the product owner’s vision to the scrum team and pass any concerns from the serum team to the product owner. At the end of the day, should there be complete synergy and understanding between these two factions (resulting in an excellent end product that both factions are proud of) then it can be said that the Scrum Master has achieved his or her goal.

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Help with prioritization

As a Scrum Master, one of the most important aspects of your job would be to understand the project thoroughly. You would have to know the ins and outs of it all and quite essentially, master it. This, in turn, allows you to come up with the right order of priority.

Let’s face it, as much as the Scrum Team is in charge of implementing and executing the project itself, it is not unheard of for scrum team members to spend lots of time on less important aspects because they lack the full understanding of the project. That is why one of your main tasks as a Scrum Master is to offer guidance and coaching services to the Scrum Team as a whole as well as be a go-between for them and the product owner. You alone fully understand how both side of the isle work and as such, are best placed to identify the priorities.

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Providing the right working environment for the Scrum Team

Every Scrum Master is ultimately responsible for giving his or her Team everything they need to see the project through. This, more often than not, includes ensuring that the team is not unnecessarily interrupted or bothered by non-essential events or occurrences. It also means being able to foresee what possible obstacles the team may face and do everything in their power to make sure that these obstacles are removed or at the very least, reduced to a point where they are a non-issue. One can read up these Scrum books to understand more about it.

Galvanize the team towards the project

Since one of the Scrum Master’s roles is that of a coach, it is only natural that they should find ways through which they can galvanize the serum team towards the project. Find the means to make the team look at the project as their own and take ownership of it. One of the best ways to measure this is to give them free reign for a few days and see what kind of progress is made. If the team can come up with excellent ideas and make good strides as far as progress is concerned, then you, as the Scrum Master, are doing your job right. This shows that you have done your duty in ensuring that the scrum team fully understands the project.

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Creating a self-sufficient Scrum Team

When all is said and done, a Scrum Master is said to have thoroughly done their job when his or her Scrum Team can fully interpret and complete the project without his or her constant supervision or interjection. Also, when the team can chart a seamless path towards the completion of the project and do so with minimal re-orientation by the Serum Master.

Conclusion

Since you will almost always be working with different teams on various projects, one of your primary goals as a Scrum Master would be to perfect your own people skills. If you are going to bring about synergy, better relations between product owners and scrum teams as well as facilitate project understanding in every project you manage, then your communication skills will also have to be top notch. Ultimately, the most important goal for a Scrum Master is the success of the project.



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Supplementing Income However You Can

It’s safe to assume that most people would like to earn more money than they presently do, no matter how much money they make. That might not be true of saints or small children, but it’s true of this writer, and it’s likely true of the reader as well. We’ve become a nation of side hustles and cottage industries, and it’s enhancing the way lots of people live their lives.

Why do we supplement our income? For many reasons. Sometimes, additional income can work its way into an important part of a budget. Some people work a couple of hours during evenings or weekends, using all the money to fund a vacation savings account, or some other mad money purpose. Other people use it as a way to pay off debt. Debt is a creeping oppression, and the only way to get rid of it is to act hard and fast. Still other people earn extra money with the hope that the method will allow them to “buy themselves out” of a career path that isn’t desired for the long term. Wherever you see yourself (or don’t) in these examples, there are plenty of ways to earn extra money. Here are a few.

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Binary Options – You can choose from a range of binary options brokers that can help you earn extra money through careful allocation of your resources. Binary options trading is built on the value fluctuations of various options. If your speculations go in step with the actual changes of these options values, then you will incur dividends according to the amount that you invested in the first place. It takes some work to get the hang of it, but it’s one of the fastest ways to make money out of your own home, or wherever you happen to be with access to the web.

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Freelance Work – If you have been working long at almost any job, you’ll have skills that you can sell online just as well as you can sell them to an employer. All you have to do is seek out a freelance job hunting site and start bidding on job offers. It doesn’t take long to find something that fits your skill set. As your excellent ratings from clients start to accumulate, you’ll be able to earn yourself a reputation that brings in more and better clients (and more money!).

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Write for Amazon – Maybe you’ve never considered being a published author, but Amazon makes it easy. Whether your genre is self-help, adventure, or even erotica, Amazon has thousands of potential readers for you. You’ll be able to publish digitally without ever having to have a page printed (though you may choose to do this if you sell well). As you grow your audience, you’ll receive passive income every month from your catalog of publications.

There are even more ways to make extra money, but perhaps one of these will strike your fancy. Making extra money is a great way to make new dreams come true. Put in some time and you’ll find a new way to live life.

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7 Marvelous WordPress Plugins That Actually Help You Run Your Business

WordPress is used by more than a quarter of the top 10 million sites on the web. It’s the world’s most loved content management system, and some of the world’s most recognizable business websites are powered by WordPress. From fashion to technology and Fortune 500 companies, WordPress serves a diverse range of businesses around the world.

And you can bet your booties that all of them rely heavily on WordPress plugins, the add-ons that allow for extra features and make customization possible. Without them, you’re severely limited in what you can do with your business website- in short, it’s nearly impossible to run your business on WordPress without adding a substantial load of plugins to your installation.

Not sure what plugins you need? Here are 7 essential plugins for your business website.

1. Disable Comments

Unless you have an amazingly active site with lots of loyal followers who are actively engaged in commenting on a regular basis, you’ll want to disable your comments.

Barring loads of really good comments coming in every day, there’s really no reason to leave your comments open to the world. If you do, you’ll most likely get an endless steam of spam comments coming in there.

And leaving them turned on but subject to your approval means you’ll quickly have hundreds of spam comments to sort through, in search of any that are real. In most website owners’ experience, there’s hardly ever a real comment and the whole ordeal is not worth your trouble. Do yourself a favor and just disable those comments altogether. Encourage your visitors to show their appreciation for your blog posts by sharing them on social media instead!

Comments are valuable, but until your site has a substantial amount of targeted traffic, keep the comments disabled. You can always turn them on later once you get a good following.

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2. Cerber Limit Login Attempts

WordPress sites can be hacked, and there’s an army of hackers out there waiting for sites without adequate protection. First, get yourself a strong password. Then, get the Cerber Limit Login Attempts plugin.

It helps protect your site against brute force attacks. If you look in your stats, sometimes you’ll see upwards of thousands of visitors to your WordPress site, suddenly all in one day! And if you look closely, all of them are going to your wp-login.php page. It makes it look as though your login page is your most popular page.

It’s popular alright, but with the wrong people! Those “visitors” are actually hacking bots pounding away at your login page trying to guess your login information over and over until they get lucky and get a hit.

With this plugin, they only get a few chances and then they’re blocked.

How it works: Cerber looks for multiple login requests that aren’t successful and then blocks them by IP. If someone from that IP comes again to try to hack into your site, they will be blocked. Your site is virtually hacker-proof now.

3. WP Smush-Image Optimization

One thing that’s extremely frustrating for website visitors is when webmasters use images that are just too humongous. Giant, heavy images take forever to download from the server, and that delay may make a lot of your visitors leave your site. Your bounce rate goes through the roof and before you know it, you’ve got a real problem on your hands.

There’s actually no need for such heavy images most of the time. You can have perfectly large images of good quality without weighing down your page. This is where WP Smush-Image Optimization comes in.

This plugin optimizes your images and helps speed up your page load time. There’s a free version that’s quite effective. There’s also a premium (paid) version which gives you more features and supposedly better optimization, too.

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4. Updraft

Updraft is a free backup plugin which allows you to back up your WordPress site not only on your own hosting but also to your Dropbox account. Actually, you can choose from several different ways to store your backup- Dropbox is only one of the options they offer.

Yes, there is a simple WordPress Exporter that’s built into WordPress but it’s kind of lackluster. It saves the text in your posts but it doesn’t save any of your images, theme files, theme settings, or any other uploads you may have stored.

Updraft creates an actual mirror of your entire website. That means if your hosting company went out of business today, you’d have a backup of your website all ready to go, for uploading onto your new (and hopefully better) host.

Updraft not only saves your posts, images, themes, and theme settings, but also backs up all your plugins and your plugin settings. Once you discover the amazing range of powerful plugins out there, you’ll amass quite a lot of them on your site, so backing them up will become very useful to you. By the time you finish reading this article, you’ll have seven more plugins to back up!

5. Contact Form 7

This plugin has been around forever, yet it still delivers everything you might need from a contact form. It’s easily customizable, for instance.

In case you’re wondering why you’d need a contact form, it’s for marketing as well as for providing a way for your visitors to contact you. WordPress doesn’t come with a native way to create a contact form, and if you’re simply displaying your email address on a contact page well… how’s that going for you? Have you seen a lot of spam lately?

Displaying your email directly on your website in text form means it’s vulnerable to every spam bot that hits your site. Those spam bots will harvest your email and then turn around and sell it to email spammers. You’ll get so much spam mail you’ll be tempted to shut down that email and start again… with Contact Form 7!

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6. W3 Cache

There’s nothing worse than a slow-loading website. Plus, now that Google has come right out and stated that the speed of your website is a ranking factor (especially for mobile), it’s essential that you find ways to lighten it up.

So, unless you have the simplest WordPress site in the world, you absolutely must have a cache plugin. Without it, your website will be unnecessarily heavy and slow-loading. W3 is probably the best one that’s free.

This goes far beyond reducing the weight of your images. Cache plugins create a static version of your website, which enables it to load without having to run all the scripts that are in your them and plugins. It uses way fewer server resources and therefore loads much faster this way.

7. WordPress SEO by Yoast

If you want your business website to ever rank for anything, this is a good plugin to help you get there. Install it and on each post you’ll suddenly have on-page optimization all set up for you. Just feed a keyword into each post and Yoast manages the keyword density, readability, and much more for you.

Conclusion

WordPress is one of the best online business tools to come along …ever. For small business owners, it levels the playing field by offering an affordable content management system. And of course the seemingly endless selection of free (or very inexpensive) plugins that help you run your business make it possible to do almost anything with your site.

By no means are these the only seven plugins you’ll ever need. They are a good place to start, however, when you’re setting up a business website for the first time and you’re not sure where to start. Hope this helps, and good luck!



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Speed is Critical: How to Keep Your Site Snappy

Speed is very critical to your website’s ability to generate sales. If your site takes too long to load, you will lose visitors, influence and sales. Twenty-five percent of visitors who land on your site will abandon a page in less than four seconds if it does not load.

In the infographic below, created by SingleHop, you will find different back-end and front-end best practices that will help increase the load speed of your website.



 

Speed is CriticalInfographic created by SingleHop

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Scrap Metal: Can It Be Useful?

Did you know that a lot of energy is needed in the process of extraction of metals? And when copious energy is cultivated, you know what happens? It is the environment that is put up with this or that harm. And we are not strangers to the fact that environmental degradation eventually and adversely affects the mankind. This fact should stir you to think twice before you throw away any metal stuff.

Still, what the current situation is, from where the metal is coming is the same where it is going back. Many of you are mindlessly throwing away metal products, contributing a great deal of scrap towards landfills and pollution. And even worse, growing more demands for metals. This needs to be stopped. In this situation what seems workable is scrap metal recycling and bringing the recycled products into use and thus, lowering the demand for manufacturing of new products. But these are not the only uses of scrap metal. Read on to find out the variety of applications of scrap metals.

iron-1504139_1280#1: Uses in several industries: Scrap metals including iron and aluminium find an important application in the construction industry in road and bridges projects to name a few. They are also used extensively in the transportation industry in the fabrication of automobiles, aircraft and other modes of transport. In the process of making industrial wastewater clean and clear, the role of scrap metal is great. This, however, demonstrates a green future for scrap iron and other metals. In addition, scrap metals also find application in the packaging industry for the production of containers. Aluminium scrap is used to create many things of home décor, etc. To create fresh new items from scrap, the first thing that is done is scrap metal collection in Sydney and other places around the world. After this, the collected scrap metal is sorted and good quality metal is put to treatment whereby it is melted, purified and shaped into new things.

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#2: Production of new, robust metal products: With the method of electric arc furnace, recycled steel metal scraps are consumed in the fabrication of higher quality tools. This way is so efficient that it can be used to manufacture stainless steel also. Similarly, there is this technique that involves blast and reverberator furnace processes, which can be used to make new things out of copper scrap. Besides, the energy required to melt the aluminium scrap is much lower than what the case is with intrinsic aluminium. This fact is actually true for all metals, making not only saving on energy a possibility but lowering CO2 emissions probable. This is going to make you environmentally friendly.

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#3: Lowers the burden on the environment: Recycling of scrap metal is associated with the preservation of our environment. Recycled scrap metal brings down the demand for metals remarkably. This further offsets the need for extraction of metal and exploitation of natural resources. Moreover, environmental pollution including land, air and water can be kept in check with the scrap metal recycling. Less scrap metal being trashed means lesser contribution to landfills and pollution.

Apart from these uses, there are several other uses of recycled scrap metals. You can get creative and make the “best out of waste” concept a reality. Now, what you can do is do the scrap metal collection and hand it over to a recycler who can turn it into meaningful things instead of throwing it away and ruining the possibility of its future life.



 

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Hosting Business Events Like a Pro: Step by Step Tips for the Planning Phase All the Way to the End

In order to sit back, relax and smile as your business event runs successfully, you’re going to need to make sure every little detail has been planned meticulously beforehand. There are various things that you’ll need to take care of to ensure your business event is one to remember, and not just in the planning stages. Remembering those important finishing touches after your event is just as important, so here are some helpful tips to get you on your way.

Copyright: gstockstudio / 123RF Stock Photo
Copyright: gstockstudio / 123RF Stock Photo

What Do You Need to Do Before the Event?

You’re going to have a lot to do and organize before the event takes place, taking care of everything from finding the perfect location to booking your entertainment. So, to make sure you’ve covered everything, make a to-do list that you can keep referring to. This will help you to tick off all of the things you need to prepare for the event as and when you do them, giving you a good idea as to what is left to do before the event deadline.

Even though you may want to create this show-stopping event on your own, the success of it relies on you delegating some of the responsibilities. Find out which of your co-workers are keen to help and enlist their skills to help make light work of your growing to-do list. This will help to take a lot of the pressure off your shoulders and create a more efficient event planning process.

No event is going to be successful without the right marketing so make sure everyone knows about the event well in advance. Send out emails, use social media and tell all of your clients about the event. You could even enlist the help of an entertainment marketing company (view The Poet companies, for example) to make sure you’re truly marketed to the masses.

Finally, make sure you’ve created a budget that you’re going to stick to. Any company will have a particular budget that they need to stay within so put together a total cost as well as itemized values of each individual aspect of the event so you know where you are with your budget at all times. Try to leave a little bit left over too, just in case something crops up that isn’t expected or you’ve forgotten an important detail that can’t be missed.

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What Do You Need to Do During the Event?

You’ve planned everything before the event to a tee but in order to make sure it runs smoothly you’re going to need to have some planning in place for the event itself. Have a meeting beforehand so everyone knows what their roles are for the day, taking the time to consider any potential hiccups that could arise (i.e. a drunk guest) and how you’ll have to deal with them.

Have a quick walkthrough in your venue before you open the doors to your guests so you know that everything is where it should be. Try to visualize the room as a guest would, making sure everything is where you’d need it and everything is clear (i.e. the seating plan is visible as you enter the room).

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What Do You Need to Do After the Event?

Once the event is over there are still a few things you can do to continue to market your company and to drive the success forward for future events. Firstly, take the time to send thank-you notes to those who helped you to put the event together. Showing your appreciation will help to make sure that they’ll be on-hand to help you for all of your future events.

Be sure to evaluate what was good and what was bad about the event you just hosted. Whilst it’s still fresh in everyone’s minds, it’s a good idea to find out what everyone thought the highlights of the events were and what could have been better. Try to speak to colleagues who were there as well as guests, so you get a good overall view of how things went.

You should also continue to market yourself and the success of your event afterwards by sharing pictures and videos on social media and in the local press. You could also include funny snapshots or videos in your post-email campaign to guests, reminding them of what an enjoyable event it was. Don’t forget to include some in your company newsletter too.



 

The post Hosting Business Events Like a Pro: Step by Step Tips for the Planning Phase All the Way to the End appeared first on Home Business Magazine.

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Finally BUSINESSES Can Write Reviews on Customers

As a business owner, I am fortunate each year to stumble across a few VERY good customers. In addition to those very good ones, every year we gain a bunch of good clients, some average and a few I wish we could have avoided.

We all know what a pleasure it is to work with great people. It is also quite helpful to the bottom line. On the other hand, just a few individuals who are not a good match for our business can reduce our workday enjoyment and detract from the bottom line.

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I once got a call from a property owner who lived in a very nice area. They had significant work done recently and needed a lot more work done. I spoke to a contractor I knew who had worked for these people at this property in the past. They said something to the effect of “There’s plenty more work to be done there.” So, I provided them with an estimate.

The estimate was signed and accepted. We did some work and they were happy. We did additional work and they emailed us to let us know how pleased they were with our service. When the balance due got close to $5,000.00, I called and spoke with the client about it and they said they “wanted to pay, but would have to call me back.” That was the last response I got even after leaving many voicemails and sending certified letters.

I was lucky that it only took nine months and a moderate amount of stress and aggravation to get paid. I mentioned my legal hiccup with this account to the person who had worked with them previously and he said, “I heard a lot of people who worked there had trouble getting paid.” Valuable information I would have preferred to know BEFORE I entered into a business relationship!

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On the opposite end of the spectrum, I had a fellow business owner call me and say, “I gave your name to Mrs. Smith (not her real name) and she will be calling you. She has been a wonderful client of mine for many years. She knows what she wants and is reasonable and willing to pay for good quality.” This job went fantastically well; the client was overjoyed with the result. We had fun doing the work and we made a fair and reasonable profit.

We have all had similar experiences with both scenarios as well as everywhere in between. My wish is for all business owners to find those good matches for our services. I want even my fiercest competitor to avoid those few “crazies” out there and I want everyone to be paid for the work they did.

In my never-ending quest to streamline my business to be more profitable, with more quality projects and less customers that are a mismatch for us, I knew there had to be a better way.

pool-shot-day-e1448941624814If we as business owners shared the experiences that we have had with past customers, we could all benefit. A “Better Customer Bureau” where entrepreneurs and business owners could write reviews on customers and research for reviews before taking on a job. Imagine what a difference it would make and the headache you could save if you took on just one or two more good clients and/or avoided one or two who are not a good match!

This is how www.ContractorsCustomers.com was born. ContractorsCustomers.com allows business owners to read and write reviews of past or potential clients. It reduces the uncertainty business owners often feel when engaging with potential clients/customers about whether to do business together. Any business owner knows that gaining just one well-matched new customer can be a profitable and enjoyable experience. Avoiding a client/customer who is not a good match could save the business owner and the prospective client/customer significant time, money and undo stress.

The new website is the brainchild of a business owner, who with the feedback from a focus group of business owners, conceived the idea based on their own experiences. In a sense, it is a “reverse Angie’s list”, a website where businesses can write and search for reviews on customers.

Current members have reported customers wanting business owners to write positive reviews on them so they can attract and work with higher quality businesses. The website is highly beneficial for both parties (customers and business owners) to engage with.

The new website went live earlier this year. The site is free for business owners to use, for a limited time. To learn more, visit www.contractorscustomers.com or reach out to info@contractorscustomers.com.

 


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