Monthly Archives: March 2015

The Pros and Cons of Cloud for Businesses

By | B2C Marketing Communication Strategies | No Comments

Business People Working with Technology

Cloud computing has experienced a recent burst of popularity. More and more businesses are switching to a cloud operating system because of the flexibility, price, and storage cloud computing can provide.

Although cloud computing has a number of benefits, there are also some disadvantages in switching to this style of computing. Consider this list of pros and cons before switching your business to a cloud operating system.

Pro: Cost efficiency
Cloud computing can eliminate a number of costs associated with a traditional network, such as multiple licensing fees for software and the need for an in-house IT department. The cloud is normally available at lower rates, and businesses can chose between different methods of payment including one time or pay-as-you-go payments.

Con: Technical problems
Even the best cloud networks are still prone to technical issues. Because all the computers share the same cloud operating system, when the network goes down work is halted company-wide. In addition, as so much information is constantly being shared, businesses need incredibly fast internet connections with lots of available broadband in order to function properly.  

Pro: Easy backup and recovery
Because all information is stored on the cloud, retrieving and restoring data is much easier than with a traditional computer. Likewise, most cloud service providers can quickly and easily restore data when needed.

Con: Security and vulnerability
When utilizing a cloud operating system, your company’s most sensitive information is being stored by a third party provider. Likewise, cloud networks are much more vulnerable to hacking and other internet threats. 

Pro: Location flexibility
Cloud computing allows employees full access to their files from any location and on any device with an internet connection. This gives companies greater flexibility to work remotely, either from home or while travelling. In addition, employees have the freedom to work from the device of their choice and can even bring tablets or smart phones from home to use at work.

It is important that companies understand the advantages and disadvantages of a cloud operating system before making the switch. By evaluating the pros and cons and looking at how it will affect their business, companies can make a more informed decision about whether or not cloud computing is right for them.

Books Every Business Person Should Have on Their Shelf

By | Business Management and Leadership | No Comments

Busy Businessman

The world of business is an ever changing marketplace. Because of this, even those who have been successfully working for a number of years still need to stay abreast of the latest trends and ideas. One great way to do this and to continue your professional development is through reading books on business topics.

Although there are thousands of books on all facets of business, these five books are the best of the best, offering advice, insights, resources, and tips to expand your business skills.

1. How to Win Friends and Influence People
Although it was written in 1936, How to Win Friends and Influence People is still widely considered to be one of the best books on business ever published. Written by Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People teaches readers techniques such as six ways to get others  to like you or nine ways to change someone’s mind without resentment. 

2. The Wisdom of Failure: How to Learn the Tough Leadership Lessons Without Paying the Price
Learn from the mistakes of others without having to make them yourself by reading The Wisdom of Failure: How to Learn the Tough Leadership Lessons Without Paying the Price. Written by Jim McConoughey and Laurence G. Weinzimmer, The Wisdom of Failure is based on a 7 year study of more than 1000 managers in 21 different industries. By reading about the mistakes of others, business people can gain the wisdom and experience that comes with failure without suffering any negative consequences.

3. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is arguably one of the most successful business books of all time, with more than 25 million copies in 40 different languages sold. With strategies that can be applied to both your personal and professional lives, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a must read for anyone looking to improve their productivity in all areas of their life.

4. Think and Grow Rich
A perennial favorite among for managers and business owners alike, Think and Grow Rich encourages business people to find success through concrete planning and the power of positive thinking. Author Napoleon Hill argues that personal success can be found in any area, whether it is Money, Power, Position, Prestige, Influence, or Accumulation of Wealth, by following this plan.

5. The 4-Hour Workweek
The principles of The 4-Hour Workweek are designed to help business owners work less while earning more. Written with a focus on business owners, The 4-Hour Workweek provides a blueprint for leaving the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, earning a monthly five-figure income with little to no management, and living more while working less.

Ways Nonprofits Can Show Appreciation to Contributors

By | Nonprofit Public Relations | No Comments

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Many nonprofits struggle to find financing, bring attention to their cause, or to convert one time gifts into long term donations.  Because of this, finding ways to help donors feel appreciated is often a primary concern for many nonprofits. 

The following five ideas are just a few of the many ways nonprofits can show their appreciation to contributors. By making contributors feel valued, they are more likely to want to donate to your organization again in the future.

1. Add a personal touch
A phone call, handwritten note, or a coffee date with a contributor can make a big impact on their desire to make future donations. Thank you’s that are personal or given in person often mean much more than a form letter of appreciation.

2. Show them what their contribution does
Contributors like to see what their money is going to support. Rather than showing them a graph that breaks down how each dollar is spent, show donors the tangible results of their donation, such as photos of the new addition that is being built or a video of children receiving new clothes and toys. This creates an emotional connection with donors and encourages them to contribute in the future.

3. Remember important dates
Call or send a note to contributors to commemorate the anniversary of the first year they donated. Likewise, send information around birthdays, anniversaries, or other holidays about how to make donations to your organization in lieu of traditional gifts.

4. Keep communicating
Don’t stop talking to a contributor for the year once they make a donation. “The more a supporter gives, the more you need to communicate with him or her,” said Ruthellen Rubin, a professor at NYU’s Heyman Center for Philanthropy & Fundraising. Cultivating a relationship with a donor and communicating with them throughout the year often encourages them to donate more and more frequently.

5. Acknowledge their donation
Whether it is a certificate of appreciation, a plaque, a calendar, or a pen, donors often like to receive something in exchange for their contribution. Online printing companies like Vistaprint offer low cost items such as mugs, shirts, calendars, or stickers that can be customized with any logo or message. In addition, thank you’s created by the people your nonprofit serves – like a banner signed by the members of a youth orchestra the donor helped fund – may mean more than anything else.

Ways Nonprofits Can Show Appreciation to Volunteers

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Volunteers are often the heart and soul of any nonprofit organization. 

Recognizing volunteers helps them feel motivated, reenergized, and appreciated. By showing them your appreciation, they are more likely to want to continue volunteering with your organization. The following five ways nonprofits can show appreciation to volunteers are just a few ideas to help your volunteers feel more valued.

1. Honor volunteers’ commitment

Showing your volunteers you appreciate them doesn’t have to involve a black tie awards banquet (although it certainly can!). There are a number of big and small ways that organizations can show their volunteers they are appreciated. Highlighting a “Volunteer of the Month” on your website or in a newsletter is an excellent way to show appreciation for dedicated volunteers. Likewise, make sure to recognize milestones like how long a volunteer has been with the organization or reaching a certain number of hours spent volunteering. Seeing their commitment honored in print or with a small token of appreciation can go a long way in helping volunteers feel that their time is valued.

2. Share success stories

Volunteers like to see the difference their contributions are making. Share success stories about the ways that their time and contributions impact your organization and changes people’s lives. Likewise, showcase photos taken at recent events or follow up with people the organization has helped in the past. 

3. Provide a meal or snacks

Providing snacks or a meal to volunteers can keep them happy, engaged, and motivated. This is especially true for volunteers who are working through a meal time or for long hours. Studies have shown that providing food can create positive attitudes, encourage socialization, and inspire feelings of reciprocity. All of these add up to a volunteer force that is more likely to come back time and again.

4. Create bigger roles

Regular volunteers may be able to take on bigger roles within your organization. Many volunteers may have experience in the corporate realm or with other leadership roles; this makes them perfect to serve as advisors, consultants, board members, or team leaders. While some volunteers are happy to just show up and do whatever task is assigned to them, others will appreciate having a larger, more involved role in the organization.

5. Value connections
While some volunteers may come to your organization because they are truly dedicated to the cause, many come because they were invited by friends, family, or coworkers. Honor these connections by placing volunteers who know each other in positions where they can interact or signing them up for the same shift. Most people will be thankful to spend the extra time with friends or family just as you’re thankful for their time!

Happy volunteers can have a big impact on a nonprofit organization. If volunteers feel that they are valued and their time is well spent, they will not only continue to work for your organization, but will invite others to volunteer with them. Because of this, taking the time to honor volunteers can have a big impact on your organization!

Resources to Help You Make Your Own App

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Flat Design Concept Mobile Apps Phones In Hands Of The People

As more and more people begin using smart phones and tablets as their primary computing devices, app development has become big business. Now more than ever there is a chance for app developers to become overnight millionaires with a successful or viral app. However, turning a great idea into an actual, downloadable app can seem like a daunting process, especially for those of us who aren’t computer or code savvy.

Luckily for would-be app designers everywhere, there are now a number of resources to help you make your own app. With many tutorials ranging from beginner to advanced levels, as well as those specializing in different media platforms such as Windows, iPhone, or Android, there are resources for nearly every kind of app design.

The following resources can help you turn your app idea into a reality.

Android
Android is currently the most popular mobile market worldwide, with over 1 billion people using the Android operating system. And companies like Google are willing to pay big bucks for apps for these devices; in 2013 alone, they paid Android app developers nearly $5 billion.

The Building Your First Android App development program is an all-inclusive guide to creating an Android project, including the fundamentals of app design and how to handle and incorporate user input. Gizmodo also has a step-by-step tutorial perfect for beginners which includes explanations of programming codes and acronyms that may be confusing for new developers. 

iOS
Although there are only about half as many iPhone and iPad users as there are Android users, they spend nearly twice as much on apps. However, the app requirements for the iOS operating system are different from those of the Android operating system.

For those looking to create an iOS app, “How to Make iPhone Apps With No Programming Experience” is an excellent starting resource. Written by a programmer, the tutorial is written in plain English and designed to help anyone make their app idea a reality.

Other resources
Once you have your app idea, you may decide you want outside help to create the actual programming. Finding a programmer can be as easy as placing an ad on Craigslist, contacting the computer department at a local college, or using an online forum such as Elance. The cost of development is significantly higher when hiring a programmer, ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars based on the time it takes to develop.