Category "Innovation"

From Amps to Apps – Technology to Beat the Band

- - Business, Innovation

Remember the garage bands of your youth?  Getting together after school to write songs, learn lyrics and practice for hours with dreams of making it big someday.  Booking gigs and lugging all that gear around was a chore, especially if the club owner threatened to cut your pay for being late.  And how many times were you paid with beer and an “atta boy!”  Well things have changed as a recent trip to the Guitar Center showed.  Now there are many apps to teach you how to play an instrument, write and record songs, and apps that can stand in for all those amps that used to fill up the back seat of your car.

There is an app called the PocketAmp that can turn your iPhone or iPad into an amp with the addition of an instrument adapter.  It allows you to get down to your favorite sounds in your iTunes playlist.  It even has a feature that will slow down any song so you can clearly hear the words and phrases.  It’s the perfect gift for the budding musician in your life.

There is an incredible amount of software available for all your music needs for sale this season on Groupon.  You can get great deals on selected items at the Guitar Center that can save you as much as 50% off purchases and qualify for free shipping so your gift arrives faster than Santa’s sleigh.

There’s even an app called AppliTube that lets you use your iPad or iPhone to process, play and record your guitar or other instrument on the go.  It’s a tone studio that allows you to build and edit guitar or bass rigs so you can easily capture your most creative moments.  Don’t let that bass line that been looping in your head get away.  Use this app to capture the beat before it vanishes like a dream.  This easy to use tool lets you drag and drop pieces of virtual gear to create the guitar and bass rigs you want with 6 stompbox effects, an amplifier and speaker cabinet with 2 microphones with variable positions, and so much more.  We certainly had nothing that easy to use back in the day.  With apps providing such a wide range of ingenuity and creativity, it might be time to get the guys back together again.


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The Three Areas That Self-Build Developers Forget About

- - Innovation

Building%20Site%2008 The Three Areas That Self Build Developers Forget About

Completing a self-build project is probably one of the most satisfying projects you can complete in your life, particularly if you don’t even work within the construction industry. Economic reasons mean that more and more people are turning down this route, although a lack of experience means that many neglect to think about some of the key costs involved.

Most of the time it’s easy to accumulate the cost of materials, with a lot of builder’s merchants providing this information on hand. However, when it comes to other areas it’s much more difficult to find details, and this subsequently becomes forgotten about when it comes to financial planning. As such, we’ll now highlight the three areas of a self-build project that you simply must remember in a bid to keep your costs in order.


Even if you are constructing a bungalow, scaffolding will be required. A lot of people just regard it as a few pipes being joined together, but in reality it’s a highly specialised field that will require you to invest in a third party service. Click here for more information on renting scaffolding, and how much damage it is going to do to your budget.


While most people will appreciate that they will need machinery on-site, a lot of the time it’s underestimated. There’s far more to do than digging the foundations, you’ll probably need some form of machinery on site every single day of the project. Whether it’s the crane to hoist materials to roof-level, or just a cement mixer – make sure everything is covered before giving the go-ahead.


Last, but certainly not least, is the dreaded paperwork. Planning applications and building regulation approval is often overlooked, but can make considerable differences to a project’s budget. Make sure you check with your local authority before continuing, as you may have to adjust your project in accordance with the increased costs.

Software Packages that can Transform your Business

- - Business, Innovation

All businesses are constantly looking for ways to improve customer retention, increase the spending their customers make and increase referrals for new customers. Knowing how to achieve this can be difficult. There are ways in which you could attempt to do this yourself such as promotions, loyalty rewards or high quality advertising campaigns to name a few methods. But you should know that there is now a much easier and more straightforward way to do this. Technology has aided businesses massively in recent years, and now it can help to boost your business and make the running of it smooth and simple as well.


There are applications that have been developed to manage and help run stores, and they can also be used to get clients to spend more money when they visit. Salons are a good example of a business type that have benefited greatly from these applications. Retention marketing is one of the most important as it is proven to be more profitable to keep your existing customers than constantly recruit new ones, so creating loyalty is key to your success. This can be achieved through utilising popular social media channels, having a scheme to reward customers for any referrals and getting them to try out new products, sending out SMS reminders and a few other clever techniques.


Applications to Assist in the Day to Day Running of your Business


A lot of these applications that have been developed for salons and other similar establishments can even be used to book appointments, make sales, check statistics and stock levels. Management software packages, including ones available from Phorest and other similar developers, can be used on your iPad and iPhone which makes them easy to implement as well. This also allows you to use these packages remotely, and this brings advantages for both you and your clients as it effectively keeps your business open even when you are not at work yourself.


An application like this could transform your business and help to improve profit through customer retention, higher spending and more customers through referrals. The software can also be used to assist in the daily running of a salon or similar establishment, so it is clear why so many business owners are now implementing them into their own organisations and reaping the rewards.

How to take your company global

- - Business, Innovation

As the eurozone economy continues to improve after years of financial downturn, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating across the UK have reported a rise in business confidence that is encouraging firms to consider a brighter future.

Not only are companies feeling more positive about their current operations, hiring more staff and becoming generally more relaxed after the difficult period, there has also been a marked rise in firms looking to expand their business on an international level.

According to research carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit last year, nearly one-third of medium-sized US firms are seeking growth through geographical expansion, with more than half of these planning to launch themselves in emerging markets such as Asia, Europe and Latin America.

Although this type of expansion could lead to unrivalled success for your business, it is imperative to have an effective strategy in place before tackling new markets.

Read on for a series of things to consider while planning the international expansion of your company.

Stay focused on priorities

There is a need to examine global demand for your product and service ahead of making that all-important step to overseas markets. On top of this, you need to figure out some factors that are unique to your offering and will therefore set you apart from your competition.

Consider your surroundings

Initially, it is vital for managers to take a step back from the situation and think about if your company is ready and the time is right. Although doing so is much easier nowadays than in previous years – thanks in large part to the internet and convergence of markets – expansion can still be draining on resources that are needed elsewhere.

It is also vital to ensure you already have an established business in one geographic market, which is profitable enough to finance the expansion process.

Ask the experts

Accountants and legal professionals that are based in your target market can provide a valid insight into whether or not now is a good time to invest. These individuals can also help you to register your firm with the appropriate authorities and make sure you are complying with local regulations.

SMEs could save money on communicating with experts before they visit their target market by planning an international conference call, which will help them build a relationship with the official without the need to travel.

Send your best people

The members of staff you send to your new market to establish the company should be the best available. This way, you can rest assured that the job is being carried out to the highest possible standard.

It could also be a good idea to find some locally-based talent who will offer something new and exciting to your overseas operations.

Be true to your aims

While it is important to stay true to your vision when setting up your company abroad, it is also recommended that you remain willing to be lenient and are open to suggestions from those in the know about how the international market works.

Companies that succeed overseas usually keep their overall strategy and goals constant, yet adapt their tactics to the country they are evolving in.

Give your dreams time

As the old saying goes, patience is a virtue – and SMEs should be sure to live by this rule when setting up their business abroad. Do not be worried if you do not see an immediate return on your investment, as it could take some time before you really start to enjoy the benefits of international expansion.


Motivate Employees Using Experienced Guest Speakers

- - Business, Innovation

Guest speakers generally specialize in topics that range from global affairs and teambuilding to sales and positive thinking. Professional speakers can make an event a grand success and create a huge impact on the trajectory of your company and can also be opaque. Any conference, event or meeting gets an added shine when a professional speaker is present. Value to your company in the present and future will certainly be enhanced by using professional guest speakers.

Using a Guest Speaker

The main objective of hiring a guest speaker is to bring about a change in the minds of the listeners and persuade them on issues that they have not yet experienced, seen or believed in so far. With a perfect professional guest speaker, a business establishment can:

  • Make the employees understand the importance of meaningful exchange
  • Know about how change can influence  a person’s life
  • Learn about the value and significance of the change

Though there are books, videos, and websites that cater to motivational themes, a real inspiration, social relevance, and the knowledge of belonging to a community comes from interacting with fellow humans only.

Effectiveness of a Professional Guest Speaker

If you’re looking for a motivational speaker, here are some of the characteristic features that are traced in an effective and experienced speaker.

  • A professional speaker can motivate and inspire the audience into taking a positive action.
  • An effective speaker will take the audience on a journey both on the emotional level, as well as the intellectual level. The audience is transported to a new space, outlook, and position when the speech is effective.
  • People are spurred into taking positive action only by others. A professional guest speaker has the opportunity to enable this transformation.
  • A great speaker will exploit the opportunity to the best level possible by making the audience commit themselves to the change. This is mainly due to the fact that the speakers are endowed with special powers once they stand before an audience and start their speech.

Motivating the Audience

While most speakers have the common goal of motivating their audience, you need to know that it is not possible for a person to motivate another into performing a deed. But one can provide the necessary incentive that will keep them motivated. Here are top 10 motivational tips that help the audience focus on their goals by using their latent and unused potential.

  1. Getting out of the comfort zone that is the biggest hurdle to self-improvement, is the first step towards a better future.
  2. Mistakes are part of life. It is important to remember that while being wise helps us steer away from mistakes, making mistakes gives us wisdom.
  3. Thoughts should focus on a wider perspective instead of being self-limiting.
  4. Having pleasant and enjoyable thoughts will keep the motivation levels always high.
  5. Reading inspirational books or tapes that focus on self-development will help in improving self-esteem.
  6. Living for the present moment will give the power to accomplish things in a better way.
  7. Completing pending tasks before embarking on a new one will help you focus on thoughts.
  8. Dreaming big will help to direct the goals and expectations in the right direction.
  9. Setbacks are stepping stones to success. Being discouraged by them should be avoided at all costs.
  1. A commitment to enjoy life always should be made.

The personality of a guest speaker can make a vast difference where the content fails to do so. Though professional speakers cannot change the world in a speech, they can instill in the audience the need for change by using appropriate tools, message, and delivery. In addition, they also show how to bring about the change and what type of motivation is needed to accomplish it.

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Thomas Rightly believes in adopting change as per the prevailing trends. He also helps you locate the correct source to encourage your employees if you’re looking for motivational speakers.


Simple Steps to Starting a Cab Business

- - Business, Innovation

Traffic congestion worldwide fluctuates from year to year. In most countries it is a severe problem and can cause endless waits, particularly for commuters. The more diverse the transportation, the less traffic there will be one the road. Now, for someone who wants to start their own cab company, this is a real incentive.

Identifying Your Market

Getting from A to B is becoming more difficult. Rail networks are ailing, there are overcrowded underground trains, and bus lanes are continuously clogged-up. However, there is one particular sector that can benefit from all of this mayhem. The taxi companies have new and ever more reaching powers now, with extra customers depending on their services day to day. They provide excellent services for people who need to get to and from work, as well as the loyal customers who want to get home after a night out. When you are thinking of targeting certain demographics like this, it’s important to tailor your service to the demands of the city you’re based in.

Finding the Location Is Not Simple

This size of your business will dictate the size of the office. A burgeoning business will need more room for staff and car park space for vehicles. The planning process of getting a taxi office can be complicated, however. This is because the company will need special permission. Just because a company has found an unused or abandoned building they want to use doesn’t mean they can use it straightaway. You have to gain the right to operate the business from the premises. One of the main reasons is the effect your business will have on the local area. One of the most vital things you must do when looking for an office is to check that the premises have ample parking spaces available to you before you purchase.

Get the Right Vehicles and Insurance

A taxi company’s vehicles are not just the necessary tools they need to get the job done. They are the face of the company. Brand image is so important in business in today’s society. An organisation’s first impression on a customer tends to be their visible image, rather than their service. This is why an excellent fleet of vehicles is needed. Once this is in place, it is important to get the right type of insurance. InsureTAXI offer a range of taxi insurance deals for this situation. It is very crucial that a taxi company finds one policy to cover all their vehicles, so they save money.


Turning to Ecommerce: Why Successful Businesses Sell Online

- - Innovation

Today it appears almost a necessity for businesses to promote their brand, if not sell their services and products, online. As stark as this may sound, the threat of not doing so could quite easily render your business invisible to the vast majority of potential customers that are rapidly becoming more internet savvy and global in outreach.

The challenge is such that any business NOT operating online is limiting their chances of competing with others in a marketplace that has become incredibly popular. Society is being revolutionised by online technologies and we are becoming more ingrained with online modes of communication, research and purchasing.

For this reason, companies are looking at ecommerce as an online strategy that provides them with a shopfront to promote themselves to a fully consumerized society.

Increasingly, when people look to buy goods and services, they do so via the Internet using search engines, social media and online interactions with friends, family, colleagues, etc. This trend isn’t going to stop anytime soon. Ecommerce provides the simplest, cheapest, most convenient way to shop anywhere, any time… from a PC, tablet or mobile of your choice. For browsing, researching and then buying, ecommerce provides ultimate freedom and peace of mind to make the right choice, at the right time and at the right price.

For any size of business, Magento ecommerce offers a plethora of custom designed solutions to start selling online. Above all, Magento is not just a platform for the technologically astute, or those with deep pockets. With various tools and services available through its open source community, Magento can help any type of business to create a simple, safe and scalable online presence. The benefits of such a migration are considerable:

1) Global visibility for your brand, products and services. Embrace consumerized society that spawned from mobile technology and the marketing power of Internet research.
2) Ultimate convenience ecommerce platforms that are customisable for generic or niche business models. With simple templates or complex design, get started in minutes.
3) Broadening your geographic reach, Magento ecommerce has the connectivity to open doors to every region and geography – local, regional, national and international.
4) Minimal complexity or cost to set up, hosted ecommerce platforms are feature rich and template based for the easy design of new build, or migrations of existing, online shops.
5) With 24/7 availability your online shop is an ever present selling portal. Maintained at minimal cost compared to running a physical store with overheads and rigid opening times.
6) Integrity of service without limits on geographic reach establishes brand awareness in traditional and emerging markets. Targeting demographics few can match.
7) Brand awareness can also be established and maintained through ecommerce design that is tailor-made to deliver the ultimate customer experience for residual visitors and purchasers.
8) Building a clutter free and robust ecommerce shopfront gives internal and external stakeholders total confidence in your business as an online brand of serious repute.
Ecommerce shopfronts are no longer a divine right of the technologically adept or financially lavish. With web development platforms in abundance, ecommerce solutions such as Magenta, Joomla and WordPress provide any business with the opportunity to sell their services and products online.

This can be achieved easily, professionally and securely, with immediate effect for you to capitalise on far reaching online audiences. The benefits of setting up such an ecommerce shopfront are pretty much endless as more people come online to make purchase decisions, if not buy outright.

Creating a unique online store for your business not only differentiates you from competition but also provides speed and agility to be first to market, in people’s minds eye at all times and delivering an end-user experience that sets you up for success, for years to come.


How Company Mergers Affect Employee Morale

- - Innovation

There’s a school of thought that says that the most important asset of any company walks out the door every day at 5pm – the employees. Employers hope they have shown enough respect to their staff with their version of incentive awards, to ensure the employee will want to return the next day and work to the greatest height of their abilities.
One of the most difficult tasks in business is to maintain continuity and productivity in two companies that are merging.  There are so many issues that have to be defined and redefined; a new chain of command, new job description, analysis of departmental efficiency, whether some positions need to be eliminated or some need to be added.  Will the company move into one or the other’s physical operation? Or will both companies have to move to a new location?

All of these unknowns can cause stress, anxiety, and potential for morale problems with employees on both sides of a merger.

What can owners and managers do to ease some of these concerns? There are a number of recommendations from experts of “dos and don’ts”:

  • Don’t deny change is coming. Although new management frequently believes they won’t have to make changes, this rarely happens in reality.
  • If you don’t know what changes will occur, clearly communicate that, and promise to keep the staff informed.
  • Don’t move too slowly. If restructuring is called for, on a micro level by departments, or companywide, it’s best to get to it quickly.
  • Ask employees to participate in the process.
  • If employees give advice, don’t ignore it.
  • Encourage free and open discussion among the employees regarding proposed changes.
  • Make sure employees are constantly updated with accurate information from management.  There is nothing worse than letting a company “grapevine” control the conversation.
  • Open criticism by the acquirers, of past management’s methods and practices is unhealthy.  Don’t forget there is a lot of loyalty built up among the staff of the acquired company, and causing them to believe they were “doing it wrong” is very hard on morale.

Numerous surveys of employees in merger situations have been conducted in the past; Kenexa Research Institute published their findings on

Going forward, look to improve processes and workflow, especially among merged departments like sales and production.

  • Continue to offer learning and development opportunities, providing employees with the idea that they have a future with the combined organization.
  • Make sure that workloads are reasonable. If the merger plan calls for cuts of personnel, make sure that reassigned tasks are not overwhelming, as this can cause ill-will that can spread quickly.
  • Consider offering retention bonuses and incentive awards. Recognizing valuable employees, getting them to stay and continue performing, and providing incentive awards for exemplary effort during difficult times, can go a long way towards you retaining a company’s most valuable assets.

The Birmingham Business Journal has a great article about how you can spot potential difficulties before they occur. Your goal here is simple: create a new blended team of the best employees and management by retaining staff that is productive and enthusiastic about the change. You will accomplish this through the methods above, and other systems and procedures that are unique to your own industry; clear communication, consideration of workloads, and incentive awards will all help you reach your goal.

Why it’s Time for the Washington Redskins to Change their Name

- - Innovation

Political correctness comes part and parcel with living in a modern, global society. Though there are times when the move toward political correctness seems to go a bit too far, the reality is that the principle behind the practice is sound.

One area in which the PC movement seems to strike the right balance is the use of slurs or epithets directed toward a person’s race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. In general, the use of such language is frowned upon by society at large.

Why its Time for the Washington Redskins to Change their Name Why its Time for the Washington Redskins to Change their Name

This is one of the reasons why the continued use of the term “Redskins” to describe the Washington. NFL team is beyond astounding. If you listen to the supporting arguments, coming from people like team owner Dan Snyder, who shares in the revenue of NFL cable TV deals, you’ll hear that the team name should remain because it’s traditional, and that fans identify the name with a football team, not a slur. While it seems true that most supporters of the name aren’t seeking to actively offend Native Americans, the reality of the “tradition” argument is a much more prickly matter.

The problem with arguing the tradition angle is that plenty of really awful, horrifying things were also once considered tradition. At one time, women and minorities couldn’t vote, based on tradition. In much too recent history, segregating people of different races was perfectly acceptable in society, based on tradition. The list goes on and on, ad infinitum. What matters is that many things that were once acceptable, even traditional, are now looked back upon with disgust.

This is especially true of language, which often evolves much more quickly than other aspects of society. Many terms once used regularly to describe or insult people of different backgrounds have essentially been stripped from the global lexicon. Sure, some people may still use these terms, but those people are either quickly educated, assuming that they didn’t know that what they were saying was wrong, or chastised and shunned, assuming they used the term with malicious intent.

The bottom line is that even if a lot of people are offended by the name of the Washington Redskins, then the name should be changed. That fans who just want to watch their favorite team don’t mean to offend Native Americans when using the term is largely irrelevant.

Groups like the Oneida Indian Nation are fighting to have the name changed, because they find it offensive. This leaves the supporter of the name with two choices – continue to use the term, with full knowledge that it is a slur which offends a large group of people, or decide to change the name, based on the fact that so many people are offended by it.Why its Time for the Washington Redskins to Change their Names Why its Time for the Washington Redskins to Change their Name

With the growing, organized opposition to the name, people who support its use can no longer plead ignorance. It is a fact that many people are offended by it, and that a growing number of people, Native American and otherwise, support the name change.

Tradition is no excuse for bigotry, which is proven regularly as society becomes more inclusive and casts aside old prejudices. The NFL should take the lead here, using some of the money from their cable TV deals for positive change, instead of maintaining the status quo.



I’m Adam. Content is king, so the saying goes. Do you want to check out some more wonderful piece of writings like this, then check out this tech blog and you’ll find many more tech articles that will make your day.


Accounting Then and Now

- - Innovation, Legal

Accounting has come a long way from the past to the present. In the early centuries everything was accounted for by hand. Bookkeeping was complicated and it was often difficult to pass a record on from one person to another. Today, with advanced accounting software, organized ledgers and methods of dividing assets, credits and debits, understanding these concepts while getting an accounting degree is a much easier task.

Barter System – In early centuries many cities and towns used bartering. Today we know this system as credit. The town’s people would collect information about the borrower and set up arrangements to either work the debt off or pay it back in installments. In some cases the barter might be years of labor. In today’s accounting system, invoices are used for businesses and credit accounts are used for individuals. In the new system an account number is used to track the debt. In the old days, a name and signature is all you need. Bartering was sometimes hard to track if people moved or ran away. In today’s accounting system, more information is gathered, references are used and people can be found if they move or change their phone number.

Balance Sheet – In today’s accounting balance sheets are used to track a company’s assets, liabilities, and shareholders’ equity. A balance sheet is very important in an audit and in earnings reports. This helps the company report their activity to the IRS and to the shareholders. In the old accounting days coins were given to shareholders to help identify inventory that belonged to them. Today more personal information is captured about shareholders and all the information is electronic. In the old days keeping track of coins and hand written sheets was difficult. Coins could be lost or stolen. Some mistakes on balance sheets may not be caught until it’s too late.

Record Keeping – Accurate record keeping is the backbone of accounting past and present. In present day accounting some of the latest software can help an accountant keep all of the records in order. Among popular software is Quickbooks. Microsoft has also launched SMB software for accountants called accounting express and Microsoft Office accounting professional. Both of these programs are designed for small businesses and home based businesses. Programs like Quickbooks are designed for larger operations, but can be used by small businesses. In the old days records were kept in tablets. The ancient bookkeepers used stone tablets. This was a tough system because there was no room for errors to be made. It was also hard to correct mistakes if they were found.

The past methods of accounting paved the way for new accounting measures to be created. The past was a more difficult and slower process but gave accountants the time and teaching tools to create innovative software that evolved into the software that accountants use today.

One of the most important lessons that can be learned from past processes is to learn to keep software based accounting records saved and backed up. Some records you may need in hard copy.  In the event of a power outage access to paper files may prove important. The lesson the older accounting system creators could learn from the new accounting systems is to be forward thinking, creative and innovative. Creating new methods is a long process but worth it to future generations of accountants and bookkeepers.