How an Insurance Company Can Benefit From Sharepoint

Insurance companies are notoriously slow to change when it comes to technology (but they sure do love corporate events), so it is of no surprise that insurance companies that specialize in Funeral Insurance have lagged compare to the rest of the industry in keeping up with IT investments in their businesses. Thank fully with some pressure from the government all financial focused businesses need to upgrade and stay up today with new technology innovations.  One of such innovation is Microsoft SharePoint, an advanced software beyond the typical IT intranet systems you might be familiar with.

Used by more than 80% of top-ranking companies listed in Fortune 500, this powerful web based platform is not only a tool for online collaboration but provides additional functions for organizations like insurance firms such as the all important audit trail to keep track of who made what change to a legal document. Additionally, it can manage your business data or records, and can provide more than what the typical intranet can do in terms of ease in team communication, access of data, systematized knowledge base of the company, facilitate ease in managing your contents and keeps an automated workflow that is friendly to future audit of information and log-ins. It is an all-in-one online collaborative communication tool to serve business needs to modernize organizations like insurance companies focus on funeral insurance and other related insurance cover.

Let’s face it, companies are eager to recoup their losses from the latest episode of the global financial downturn that hit modern economies 6 years ago. While a number have bounced back, the insurance industry is one of the most affected in terms of loss in volumes of sales as more and more people find it hard to invest in pre-needs and “what-if” protections. Thus, funeral insurance firms have resorted to developing new products like funeral bonds and pre-paid funeral plans to attract new younger clients in addition to the more typical funeral plans for seniors. The language and form verbiage has changed from the complicated legal only to include more easy to understand summaries so as to not intimidate the customer. The focus has expanded from simply looking into the client’s capacity to pay monthly or quarterly dues but also assess their assets and long-term needs to better suit them and not the insurance company selling the product.

With so many changes, databases have also expanded needing new systems of storing, accessing, managing and safeguarding so many sensitive documents. The networks of insurance agents working for insurance companies have also evolved. While in the past, only brochures and hard copies of plans are stuffed into briefcases, today, the modern insurance agent is further equipped with a laptop or tablet which he can then use to access the office’s SharePoint server that has tools to help compare funeral insurance quotes from different insurance providers instantly.

Some companies still find the use of basic file share intranets sufficient for their operations. Others have however shifted to more agile and modern systems like SharePoint. These developments will continue in the future. As needs change and clients’ preferences shift, insurance firms have also to keep up with the pace to get ahead in the race.

Developing an Amazon-like Online Business: Key Steps to Success

Starting your online retail store has many advantages over physical storefronts. At this time, Amazon is the world’s largest online retail store, with a revenue that exceeded $70 billion in 2013. Obviously, setting up a similar business requires a long time and substantial funds, particularly if you want to be successful and reach your audience. There are several aspects that you should be considerate towards, which can seriously influence your performance as an entrepreneur, not to mention your success and, above all, your revenue. Before proceeding, be sure to check the following factors.

Start by Investing in Merchandise

You cannot build a business like Amazon unless you have merchandise – tons of merchandise to be more exact, as Amazon is selling anything from home appliances to books, decorative elements, sports equipment and the others. The first step that you should do is invest in quality merchandise, which is going to attract potential customers and help you increase your revenue. Assuming that you cannot afford investing billions of dollars in merchandise, you should consider only those products that are extremely popular and can help your prospective customers to choose your retail store over others. Once you have the merchandise that you intend to sell, proceed to the next step.

Holding Merchandise Inventory

Storing merchandise is the next most important factor that can help you build a business similar to Amazon. Warehouses are a convenient option due to their large space, providing a low-cost alternative to huge inventories that are typically used by large retail stores. Furthermore, hiring forklift operators is essential to carrying merchandise around, especially if we talk about very large products that cannot be possibly handled by regular workers. In most cases, you should not expect to pay too much for hiring forklift operators, but you should consider this as another small investment that you need to make. You also must invest in workplace safety and proper OSHA training for your forklift drivers! Safety is a huge concern.

Advertise Your Store

Once you have deposited your merchandise, you are ready to sell it to your prospects. Since your store is new, nobody knows about it, thereby you have to advertise it through both traditional and online advertising strategies. Contacting a reliable advertising company should be your first concern – unless you have knowledge and experience in advertising yourself –, as this is typically an expensive option that will cost you a fair amount. The best way to advertise your store is choosing an online advertising strategy – for instance, Google Ads or Facebook/Twitter paid ads. If you can afford advertising your store on major media houses, that will add up and provide you with some measure of success.

Implement Strategies to Reach Audience

Aside from advertising your store, you have to implement appropriate strategies to reach your audience. Opt for creating fanpages and accounts on major social media networking platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+, as they are highly popular and you have better chances to make your store look reliable. Make sure to display your expertise, benefits and, above all, other advantages that might help customers make wise buying choices. Provide customers with a wide array of options in terms of shipping, paying methods, etc. The more reliable your store, the more chances you have to grow it in a shorter time, earning a substantial revenue.

Top Conferences For Sporting Betting Enthusiasts

Sports betting conferences are always flocked by sports enthusiasts. Attending one is often the best way to keep up to date of what’s happening with the industry. These conferences are usually organized by sport betting businesses and showcase the latest that the industry has to offer. If you are thinking of starting a career in sports betting, or would like to establish a tipping service on your own, or just want to see the latest technologies read on.

Careers in Sports Betting

There are thousands of people currently enjoying their careers in sports betting. Of course, who would not get excited with the adrenalin rush of winning? The careers in sports betting includes marketing professionals, human resource personnel, business development experts, online bookies such as the ones found at free bet options, web developers and programmers, legal and property administrator and others. The career opportunities of this business are so huge that it provides better growth by attending lectures, conferences and trade shows. This could also be a starting point on starting a tipping service.

Starting a Tipping Service

There are other people who want to take charge of their own lives instead of being controlled by a company. If you’re knowledgeable on sports,  starting a tipping service could be a business for you. To start a tipping service, it is important to know  how to get your service visible to potential customers.

There are different kinds of sports betting conferences that anyone can join. This is so to learn more about the sport or to gain more techniques in sports betting. These coming months, there are lots of worldwide conferences to join. Some of which are:

Sports Betting Conferences

• The Betting on Football Conference on May 8, 2014. This online conference is geared towards betting on football, and enables the bookmakers to reach their goals. Represented by major companies in the betting industry, this event should never be missed. The price of the conference is £295.00+VAT.

• Southern Gaming Summit on May 6-8, 2014 at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center – this is one of the largest conferences on gaming and BingoWorld. This can be anyone’s ticket to build a tipping service or to meet the icons in the gaming industry.

• MGaming Summit on May 15, 2014 at Dexter House, The Royal Mint London, EC3N 4QN. This summit will concentrate on the rising demands in mobile gaming. The use of smartphones continues to soar high and it becomes a good opportunity to market the gaming industry.

• iGaming Supershow on June 24-27 at Amsterdam.The iGaming Supershow is the biggesnt conference for business and information. It will highlight eight events including payment processes, sports betting new trends, player acquisition and others. It will be attended by over 100 speakers and more than 3,000 delegates.

• G2E Asia on May 20-22 at the Venetian Macao. This is where different industries come together to propose business, find partners and offer more opportunities in online betting. This is a great way to start a business or to pursue a career in the industry.

Therese are great conferences to attend. Not only will you learn more about the industry but you will also see more of the world. What else could anyone want?

Go Online and Increase Profitability by Reducing Wages Costs

One of the most significant things a business can do to improve profitability is to reduce costs. It’s often much easier to reduce costs than it is to improve sales or margin.

There’s many different ways to reduce costs, and just about any business owner will have spent considerable time considering how they may best do so.

However for most businesses the key to reducing costs is simple. Reduce staff. One of the most significant overheads for virtually any business is wages.

There’s a number of ways of doing this, for example many larger businesses are moving manufacturing offshore low-wage countries where workers are paid a fraction of what workers in Western countries are paid.

This results in very significant cost savings to a business and will make a large impact on the bottom line, though of course the business will have to absorb the cost of moving manufacturing facilities to another country.

Of course not every business manufactures, and therefore not every business has the opportunity to move a manufacturing facility overseas. But there are other options.

Have you considered outsourcing?

Another way businesses are taking advantage of lower wage workers is by outsourcing work to people in low-wage countries. In many Asian countries, the Philippines being an example, people speak good English and will undertake a range of tasks that rates way below what employees in first world countries would expect.

There’s a range of websites where you can find people willing to undertake a wide variety of jobs at rates of pay that may surprise you. Workers will work part-time or full-time depending on your requirements and the standard of work produced is very high in most cases.

So if your business could benefit from outsourcing then this is an effective way of lowering wage costs. To find out a little more about outsourcing visit http://www.odesk.com.

How about starting your own website?

Another way to reduce wage costs is to start your own website. Of course there’s nothing new about starting a website, most businesses now have their own dedicated website. However modern advances in website technology have meant that a business website is now able to do things it could not have done a few years ago.

In the past a website was really just about offering information about the business, or products for sale. The technology was limited and it was very difficult to introduce any form of customer interaction on a website.

However over the last few years modern advances in website technology have meant that websites could do far more than they would in the past.

Consider Internet banking for example. Customers of a bank can logon to a website and conduct virtually all of their banking online. At any one time there maybe thousands or even tens of thousands of people logged on to one website, all conducting their own business at the same time. And modern technology now allows for this.

Imagine how many employees it would take to process all the information that one banking website is processing. The technology that allows for online banking has allowed the banking industry to very significantly reduce staff costs and therefore to improve their bottom line.

Of course chances are you don’t own a bank, however small businesses are often unable to use modern website technology in similar ways, thereby reducing their staff requirements.

One example we have recently observed is a company that offers installment loans. In the past all loans were processed manually by a staff member, however all loan applications are now undertaken online, and the web technology allows for speedy and efficient processing of the application with minimal involvement by staff.

For example we have recently been looking at the website of a company that offers installment loans online, processed in under an hour. click here to see. The technology to do this is now available to any small business and many could take advantage of technology like this to produce an interactive website that allows them to direct customer applications online and thereby reduce staff requirements.

So as you can see one of the most significant ways for any business to increase profits is to reduce overheads, and reducing staff is one of the best ways to do this.

We have suggested 3 ways to reduce staff requirements, depending on the type of business you do. But there are many more ways to help reduce the number of employees in your business, and we shall look at these in a future article.

Best Options for Car Finance for Australian Business Owners

Photo by Feyenoord and reproduced under Creative Commons

Starting a small business is a huge accomplishment. With hard work and dedication, this can grow in no time. Since managing your business would most probably require that you travel here and there to meet clients and suppliers, make deliveries and more; having your own car is very important. If you do not have a car or you have one but you prefer to have a separate vehicle for business use, there are various car finance options to choose from. Know how to get the best car finance deal at this car finance website.

Chattel Mortgage

This is one of the best options for small business owners when it comes to car finance. In this method, the financier will give the funds to you. You will be the one to purchase the car using the said funds and the vehicle will be under your name. The car will then be the mortgage for your loan and you must pay the amount and the specified interest within a given period.

The car will no longer serve as the mortgage when the loan and its interest are completely paid. Payment period is usually from 1 to 5 years. The amount of the monthly payment you need to pay can also be adjusted to fit your budget. Interest rate is also usually lower with Chattel Mortgage. Furthermore, you get tax deduction for using the car for business reasons.

Commercial Hire Purchase

This is also known as Offer to Hire or Corporate Hire Purchase. In this option, the financier will purchase the car instead of you purchasing it. You will not be the owner of the vehicle but it will be named to the financier. You will hire the car from the financier and pay the amount plus the interest within a given period, which is also often 1 to 5 years.

Like the first option, the interest rate is also low compared to other loans since it’s secured. Monthly payment is fixed, which will be given to you so you would know in advance how much you are going to pay. Interest rate is fixed as well. Once payment is complete, you will have the ownership of the car.

Car Lease

This car finance option is also known as finance lease. Like Commercial Hire Purchase, the financier will purchase the car, which you will then lease for a specific period. The monthly rate and interest is fixed. Tax deduction is also available if used for business reasons. Once the lease period is over, you have the option to purchase the car and pay the residual value. You may also continue leasing the car or trade it with another vehicle.  There are many leasing opportunities but how would you know which one is the best for you? Learn more tips for choosing the best leasing.

Weigh your options and determine the best car finance method that suits your needs and preference.

How to Get Your Small Construction Business off the Ground

If you are toying with the idea of starting up your own construction business, there may be many things you are not aware of. No matter how extensive your background in the construction industry is, the laws and policies are changing all of the time. You do not want to get halfway through the start-up only to realize how much you really don’t know!

Take Some Business Courses

Even if you have owned or operated your own small business in the past, you may want to take a few business courses to either learn new skills or refresh your old ones. Now, you might be thinking that you don’t have the time or the money to waste on education that you probably don’t need. If this is the case, you should consider taking a few online business courses instead of enrolling in college full time!

Many different Universities and technical colleges in Australia offer online courses that you can take in the comfort of your own home (or office). For example, Seek Learning offers different courses that will help you establish your small construction business. Some of the courses offered include:

  • Small Business Management
  • Marketing
  • Business Administration
  • Excel

I can almost guarantee that courses like this will greatly improve your chances not just of getting your business off the ground but also staying in business!

Enroll in a White Card Course

Taking an approved safety induction course before starting up your small construction business can provide many benefits. Of course, it is a requirement for anyone involved in the construction industry to have a white card, but there are also significant other benefits to taking a course early on.

A safety induction course will apprise you of the rules and regulations that you have to adhere to as a small construction business owner. For example, you will learn about things like the legislative mandates concerning construction, the pertinent health and safety regulations, as well as risk management processes. This will all help you keep your constructions sites safe and legal!

Keep Up With Changes

Like every other industry, the construction industry changes rapidly and it is vital to keep up with these changes. For example, White Cards were not always required for everyone who worked construction, but now even people who visit construction sites regularly are required to have one.

In order to keep your employees safe and abide by all of the pertinent laws and regulations, it is important to keep abreast of any changes in policy that take place. You can do this by taking a refresher safety induction course on a regular basis, as well as talking with your insurance company about different risk management techniques.

Another important thing to remember is that you cannot just take a few courses to get your business off the ground and then leave it to its own devices. Having a small construction business will require hard work and dedication as long as you hope to stay in business!

Top Ways to Lose Weight in 2014

Having a physically fit and healthy body can be considered as everyone’s dream. There are some people who are blessed with a perfect body even without trying too hard to achieve one, while some are almost killing themselves just to lose at least a few pounds. Lap Band surgery is becoming very popular. With a lot of health risks such as too much alcohol consumption, smoking, fatty foods, and preservatives that are present these days, people are getting more concerned about everything they take. People these days tend to be very health-conscious that their lifestyles revolve around different types of diets, organic goods, and exercise. Health conscious people can expect that different methods of losing weight will be introduced every year and these are the most popular ones so far:

  • Yoga. This practice provides a lot of benefits to everyone who tries it. Apart from keeping your weight loss goals stable, it can also help in developing a strong immune system to cope with different health disorders. We can also achieve flexibility of body from the way yoga is done. Though yoga is a slow-paced type of exercise, it should be done the right way with the supervision of a yoga expert to avoid injuries.

  • Diet. There are different types of diet and they vary according to procedures, specific amount of food intake, food combinations, and duration. Though this is the most common way of losing weight, a lot of people consider it the hardest. Discipline is needed to avoid foods that will ruin the whole process as well as eating particular food that you hate to eat.

  • Aerobics. Considered as the most fun way of losing weight, aerobics is for every age. Regardless if you are a kid, a teenager, a mother or a grandmother, aerobics will never do harm to anyone, as long as it is done the right way. It is basically a set of movements performed together with a hyping music. Zumba is the latest type of aerobic these days where more and more people are getting interested in.

  • Medical procedures. Surgeries and other medical procedures can also be done especially in severe cases like obesity. Though they are not recommended for everyone because of their cost, there are still those who choose to undergo this process. Most of them are the people who want losing weight as instant as possible, obese people who need to be treated immediately, as well as rich people who try it just because they can afford the rates. One common example is the Lap Band surgery wherein an inflatable silicone device is placed at the top portion of the stomach to regulate and reduce food consumption.

If you are trying to lose weight to ultimately achieve the perfect body, the above weight loss strategies are definitely worth trying. After all, when you are fit and healthy, your productivity increases and you would be able to run your business well.

How To Organize A Corporate Event (A Trauma Insurance Subject Example)

Corporate events are undeniably some of the best forums for professionals, customers, investors and other interested parties to interact. It brings every relevant and interested person together for the purpose of information and contacts sharing. Planning the most perfect networking event is a simple task if the right guidelines are followed. 

Strategic Planning

A networking event should be held at an appropriate time and season. Strategic planning will ensure that the right audience will be attracted to the event. A planner should host the event at a time when the target audience is hungry for information or product. Scrutinize market trends and establish what people need and how soon they need it. For example, an increase in the occurrence of accidents or certain health conditions will prompt the need for trauma insurance. As such, an insurance event with trauma as the focus will be appropriate at such a time.

Purpose

Setting the purpose of the event can easily be done by considering certain options surrounding a particular field. Take the case of insurance. The purpose of the event may be set to address the issues surrounding trauma insurance. The planner should clearly specify that topics such as eligibility, claims, offers and conditions surrounding trauma and critical illness insurance will be discussed.

Marketing

When the purpose of an event has been established, the event should be properly advertised to attract the intended target audience. For proper advertising, the event planner should establish what means of marketing will efficiently reach the intended audience. Digital marketing is one of the best available advertising options. The networking event can be advertised on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. Interesting and precise content in form of status updates, photos and videos should be used. Contacting sites who focus on trauma Insurance to advertise on is another great idea that will attract a large audience. You can also setup an event blog that will contain sneak previews of what the event will have to offer. Additionally, traditional print marketing should be employed to reach the un-digitalized target audience.

 Event Essentials

The main essentials of an event are the location, time, date and speakers. The venue of the event should be easily accessible by everyone. It should also be in a conducive environment that is safe and peaceful enough for a meeting to take place. It should have adequate sitting space that can cater for any excess audience. The date and time set should be able to attract several people by not interfering with their normal operations. The main speakers of the event should be professionals or companies that are known and admired in that particular field. For a critical illness & trauma insurance event, ensure that the best actuaries and insurance adjusters will be present for that industry.

Fees

The worst mistake often made by event planners is putting inappropriate attendance fees or worse still, branding the event to be free. A free event often puts off professionals in certain fields. This is because it means that everyone, even idlers, can attend the event and ruin its face. The best way to set attendance fees is by creating groups with different offers. The groups could be in form of corporate companies, professionals and customers. Each category will have its own fee that should be reasonable. An event should only be free only if the purpose allows it to be.

When planning a corporate event, the main things to note are what people want and how the event can help them get it. A successful event has the audience’s interests at heart.

Launching a Start Up With No Cash

Any serial entrepreneur will know that to start a new business project there needs to be some cash injected at some point by someone. While it’s often very easy to launch a new business with no money down at all, there is always a point when cash is needed to expand, scale and employ staff. Most entrepreneurs find themselves running the entire show by themselves which is a great way to kick off any new venture, however, it is certainly no way to sale a business.

There are a number of options out there for entrepreneurs ranging from crowd funding to bank loans so let’s take a look at some of the options available and the benefits of each.

Building & Reinvesting

This is by far the slowest way to grow a new start-up. This involves slowly growing the business and pumping all the profits back into the business in order to grow and scale. This works very well if the business is a small side project that requires very little time but it’s not ideal for a full time project as it will take a long time before any substantial profit is seen.

Borrowing from the Bank

This is a very common route for entrepreneurs that only require a small amount of funding to move to the next level. This is ideal for funding of up to around the $20,000 mark as the interest rates will be fairly high meaning that you will need to have some existing cash flow to cover the interest. Having a bad credit rating can be an issue however, with many banks steering clear of financing bad credit loans. If you do find yourself in need of a bad credit loan there are some options here to help you obtain finance even with a bad credit rating.

Private Investing

Similar to getting finance from a bank or mainstream financial institution, finding a private investor can give you access to a large amount of money with set repayment terms. When dealing with private investors everything is negotiable from the initial loan amount to the repayment terms.

Getting a Financial Partner

This is the most common route for entrepreneurs with a solid business idea that requires funding of $20,000 and up. Taking on a financial partner is a very big deal and is an entire topic in itself. Giving away a large chunk of your business can certainly help you to get up and running fast but it will hurt your bottom line in the long run. One advantage of this model however, is that having a partner to work with can often be very helpful when times get tough and having someone else there with a vested interest in the business can be very calming.

Public Funding

Over the past few years, there has been a new movement towards public funding for entrepreneurs looking for cash for a new business. A great example of public funding is the Kickstarter platform. In my opinion, crowd funding platforms such as this are the future of raising capital for entrepreneurs. To gain this sort of funding however, you will need to have a very solid idea and a formal business plan developed to inspire people to invest in you and your idea.

Networking 101: 5 Important Tips to Extend Networks

networkingIt pays a lot to attend conferences and seminars. These activities provide you with opportunities to increase your networks. This means that you will meet more people who may or may not be within your field of expertise. If you are a businessperson, these are opportunities for you to meet your potential business partners or clients.

If you are looking for a job, you might meet someone who will recommend you, or even hire you. Anything is possible when you are in a conference. Thus, you need to know exactly what to do in order to succeed in your goal of increasing your connections.

  1. Find out who else is going to the event. Check the speakers and attendees. Check their background and spot those who may be of interest to you. If you can find their contact numbers ahead of time, call them and set up a meeting over coffee or lunch for a few minutes. Don’t be too direct in dealing with them. Start by showing to them that you are interested to build friendship. By then, you will easily stand out from the others.
  2. Set up appointments during the actual panel discussion or talks. Though attending the event is important, take note that this might be your only shot at talking with your prospect for a much longer time. Don’t waste the opportunity especially if you want to discuss something in details. However, you need to make sure that the person you are speaking with is fine with missing the panel discussion.
  3. Don’t just think about who has your business cards. Make it a point to gather more business cards and you remember who those people are. When you give out your cards, you are not certain whether they will contact you or not. Once you collect their cards, then the control is in you. Most of all don’t just collect cards without speaking with the people for even a few minutes.
  4. Be more casual. Don’t look so tense. Make sure that the people around you won’t feel that you are so crazy in extending your networks. Just enjoy the conference. Before you know it, you have already collected a lot of cards and have spoken with several people.
  5. Try to stand out without looking so impolite. Usually, you can do this by wearing something unique or by using accessories that will make others easily remember you. This is a technique to ensure that when they check your cards upon going home, they will know who they have spoken with back in the conference.

Good luck and may you use these tips to your advantage.

Your guide to business events, conferences & networking