Planting the Seeds of Success: A Smart Start Miniguide for Home Businesses

It can be exciting and daunting in equal measure when you are setting up a new business but when you are first starting out, any mistakes you make could be costly.

Here is a look at how to try and set out on the right path to success. There is an overview of how e-commerce often needs to be an integral part of your plans, and why financial management is so vital, plus an insight into setting goals for you and your business.

The importance of an internet presence

Even if you are opening a store in your local area you need to support your bricks and mortar persona with a clicks and mortar profile if you want to improve your odds of success.

The vast majority of your potential customers will be just as used to searching out deals and information online as they are walking into your store to browse for what they want. You simply cannot underestimate the importance of having a website and if you don’t take advantage of e-commerce opportunities, it is almost like trying to run your business with one hand tied behind your back.

If you have a seed budget to work with you need to consider allocating some of this cash towards setting up an internet presence, as this will help people to find you and find out about you, plus you can boost sales by setting up an e-commerce store.

Keeping costs under control

On the subject of money and budgets, you will need to make every dollar count when you first start out in business.

It would be a good idea to have a cash flow projection and a business plan to work to and if you need to borrow any money to start the business, you will need to produce some facts and figures to support your request for funding support.

There are also some other strategies and ideas to consider that will help you to keep control over your finances in the early days and moving forward.

A business credit card with low annual fees could help you to keep track of your expenses, and if you pay off the balance by the due date you, it could prove to be a good way of helping your cash flow stay strong.

Dare to dream

Many people start a business with plenty of optimism to fire them up but don’t really have a specific game plan that they are working to.

Setting out in business and taking the view that you will just see how it goes is not recommended. It would be much better to set some clear personal and business goals so that you know where you want to be in near future and even further ahead.

If you have some clearly defined goals and aspirations this will give your business a sense of purpose and direction. It also gives you something to measure your progress against and drive you to reach new heights.

There are a lot of things to sort when you first set out in business but as long as you have a plan and a list of tasks to get through, there is no reason why you can’t turn the seed of an idea into a successful venture.

John Pearce is a business consultant who likes to believe that he keeps his clients on the right track when it comes to growing an maintaining their business. Read his articles online at business blogs.

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Work and Life in Balance: What You Need to Know About Being Your Own Boss

 

With levels of self-employment considerably increasing within recent years, it’s clear to see that becoming your own boss is gaining strong popularity.

Whilst there are many positives in this choosing this career path, there are also plenty of disadvantages too. Estimates suggest a huge 80% of self-employed people are living in poverty, meaning that the dream of earning a high wage whilst working for yourself isn’t a walk in the park. If you’re thinking of branching out on your own, keep reading to discover everything you need to know about being your own boss

Pros and cons

Having total control over your hours, escaping the dreaded early-morning commute and being able to work in your own home environment are a mere snapshot of the pros associated with being self-employed. Especially if you have kids, working from home can be a huge advantage in terms of spending more time with them and fitting work around your children – not the other way around.

However, a lack of routine and financial security are big obstacles of being self-employed. A huge amount of dedication is needed to stay focused, and your income will lack the rigid stability that comes with being employed. If starting your own business is something you want to try, this can prove even more problematic in terms of applying for a business loan especially if you have bad credit. But, as long as you do your research, there are plenty of helpful resources out there.

Getting started

If even after being hit with the self-employment cons, you still want to venture out and become your own boss, you definitely need to take the right approach when starting out. Here are a few simple tips to ensure you get off to the right start and stay as focused and productive as possible!

Plan your week ahead

Structure is key to staying on-track, and if you don’t have a boss to push you to stay focused, you have to do it yourself. Take some time on Sunday evenings to structure your upcoming week day-by-day and stick to it as rigidly as you can. This will give your days purpose and ensure you have a working plan in place.

Stay vigilant

Especially when freelancing, the internet has skyrocketed the availability of online jobs up for grabs. But it’s important you keep mindful of scams, as there are plenty of fake jobs out there that will take your work and run without paying you anything. Stay sensible and perhaps go through a specific freelance site that monitors the payment process to ensure you don’t get scammed.

Take time out

It can be difficult to ‘switch off’ from work when at home all the time. But to keep you sane, take some time out to relax otherwise you could burn yourself out.

Being your own boss certainly comes with its perks, but it’s vital you understand what you’re really getting into before you get started. Utilizing the above tips will not only make you more productive but will also give you a better idea of what to expect!

Harriet Garner took a leap to start her own business after she was made redundant several years ago. Not easy, but always rewarding, Harriet shares her tips with others who want to make the leap.

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Top Tips For Your First Business Trip

Heading out on your first business trip will be an exciting time, meetings to be had, deals to make and a company to represent. Whatever the nature is of your trip, you are going to need to be prepared , both from a business and personal point of view. To help you get prepared in the right way, we’ve put together a list of tips for you and whether you are traveling transatlantic for your business dealing or just a few hours away from home, we’ve got you covered. So before your next business trip, check out these tips and make sure that you are prepared in the right way.

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Organization

The first thing to ensure is that you are fully prepared for your business dealings and your itinerary during your time away. Make sure that you have paper and digital versions of all documents that you are going to need and whatever schedule you have whilst you are away. Be sure to secure all of your transportation before you go,it is likely that plane or train tickets will be already sorted out but ensure you have a car waiting for you to take you to a meeting.  The last thing you need is to be searching for taxis in the middle of Bangkok when you have a pressing business lunch, or trying to catch a bus in Edinburgh for a business launch, plan ahead, and book a private car to get you there.

Downtime Planning

When you’re on the road for business you are bound to have a lot of downtime and you need to be sure to use this wisely. It’s important that you plan ahead for this, whether it be in order to relax or in order to brush up on your business dealings. If movies and games are your thing that you need to relax then download some ahead of time, if you like to exercise then check out if your hotel has a gym and if not, look for one nearby. Regarding the business side of things, try to create some one page sheets which will enable you to quickly study some key points about your business or take the opportunity to look for areas of growth. Planning ahead means that when you get that downtime, you are ready to spend it however you see fit.

Staying in Touch

You absolutely want to make sure that you can stay in touch with friends, family and the business itself whilst you are away and it’s important that you know the best ways to do so. If you don’t already use them then you should be utilizing FaceTime, Whatsapp, Skype and even Facebook messenger to stay in touch with people whilst you are away. All of these mediums work so long as you have an internet connection and you should look to buy a local SIM card if you are heading to a foreign country. A local SIM gains you access to mobile data and means that you are never out of reach when people need to get in touch with you.

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Top resume tips for eager job seekers

By following these top resume tips, you'll improve your chances of getting a position you want
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A great resume explains why you are the person to hire in a professional, concise way. Utilize a few resume tips for finance majors from the experts at Beacon Resources to make it clear why hiring you is something your selected company will benefit from. Think of your resume as a representation of your brand  and make it stand out.

Keep It Short

Keep your resume short and to the point. One page is the recommendation; however, if yours must be two pages, make sure the most important information is on Page 1. Remove unnecessary info if you are having an issue with length, such as “curriculum vitae” and “references available upon request.” Most recruiters and employers spend about seven seconds on a resume.

Create an Engaging Summary

Write a fluff-free summary featuring your key qualifications and other strengths that separate you from the competition. Avoid “buzz words” such as “motivated” and “proactive” in favor of language that touts your professional experience.

Make a Skills List

Show off your skills in bulleted list form. Review job descriptions thoroughly so you understand what potential employers are looking for and what terms you should emphasize in your skills list, such as accounting, budgeting, cash flow management, and business analytics. Use action verbs, including “created”, “managed,” and “developed.”

Include Your GPA; Avoid Coursework and High School Info

Include your GPA on an entry-level resume only if it is 3.0 or above. If your GPA is below 3.0, note that your San Francisco financial recruiters might ask why, so have an explanation ready. Do not include information about high school, as employers want to know what you have been doing lately. Avoid mentioning your college coursework as well, especially if you have relevant internships and the like listed.

Find accounting jobs in Orange County with these and other resume tips for finance majors from Beacon Resources.

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Easy but Effective Saving Tips to Help You Buy a House

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Buying a new house is definitely exciting but it requires a lot of hard work and discipline most especially for people who are just starting to work and earn money. Most often than not, young people get blinded by material things that they can now afford with their salary so the usual ending is that they save nothing from their salary. So how’d you expect to buy a house when you spend all your salary in things you don’t actually need?

It is not too late to start fixing your spending habits and teach you how to save for a Lendlease house and land package.

  1. List down all your expenses – first of all, you should make sure that you have clear idea of all your expenses. To do this, you should list down all your monthly expenses starting from the most important ones like rent, gas, food allowance, electricity, phone bills and others. This way, you know how you will budget your salary in a way that you will still have some left for your savings.
  2. Spend according to your budget – coming up with a weekly or monthly budget plan is definitely a good idea. But you should make sure that you will indeed follow that set budget. Spend money according to your budget and do not go overboard or else you will find yourself broke.
  3. Allot specific percentage of your salary to go to your savings account – just what mentioned earlier, it is best if you will put money to your savings account every time you receive your paycheck. It is best to do this first thing before you pay your bills or other expenses.
  4. Pack lunch – you would be able to save money if you will bring packed lunch to office instead of eating out every day. You should prepare and cook your own meals. Not only you will be able to save money but also, you will ensure that you are eating healthy.
  5. Avoid drinking alcohol every Friday night – do you usually go out every Friday night? Well, you can unwind once in a while but do not make this a habit. Do not spend all your money on booze just to unwind. Not only you are burning your liver but also your money.
  6. Refrain from using credit cards – it is also advisable that you stop using your credit cards most especially if you know yourself to have no control or limit. Using credit cards lure you to believing that you can afford something that you actually do not. So it is best that you just spend cash.
  7. Minimise your shopping – lastly, avoid shopping impulsively. Do not buy things unless you really need it. Always think of other goals that you wish to achieve like buying a house so you can stop yourself from spending thoughtlessly.

Related: Tips to Save More and Spend Less

Sometimes, the smallest things can help you big time and can even get you closer to your goals like buying your dream house. Do not take for granted small actions like the ones we discussed. You should do your best to become more responsible with your finances. It will definitely pay off!

You might also enjoy: MILLENIALS: FROM 30 YEAR CAREERS TO FREELANCE

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Top 4 Reasons to Hire a Plumber

Of the many essential services a homeowner relies on, the plumber must be at the top of the list. A short circuit might leave you without power for a while, but a burst water pipe could really cause some serious damage. Every house has a complex system of pressurised pipes that deliver the water to various locations within the property, and if the system is compromised in any way, the consequences could be disastrous. Here are just a few reasons why the plumber’s number should be in your speed dial memory.

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  • Emergency Situations – A water leak will cause damage, and just how much would depend on the severity of the leak and the length of time it takes to make the repairs. If you happen to be in Western Australia, and are looking for an emergency Perth plumber, Plumbdog are plumbers in Perth who can send someone round in a jiffy. Speed is of the essence when dealing with a burst water pipe, and you should turn off the water at the mains before calling for help.
  • Undetected Leaks – It might not be evident for a while that you have a water leak, and you might only realise by the sudden rise in the amount of water your family is using. Modern plumbers are equipped with hi-tech leak detection systems, and they can source the problem very quickly, then make the necessary repairs. If the leak is within the building, it can cause serious damage to timber rafters and joists, as well as plaster walls and ceilings. One way to find out if you have a leak is to turn off all faucets and appliances that use water, then take a precise meter measurement. Wait a further 15-20 minutes (without using any water) and then take another reading. If the second reading is higher, even by a little, you have a leak somewhere in the system and should call in the plumber.
  • – Preventative Maintenance – Many plumbing issues can be nipped in the bud, providing your plumber makes regular inspections. When he spots a worn hose on the washing machine, or a leaking faucet in the bathroom, it can be repaired before it does any damage. Major kitchen appliances that use water should be looked at periodically, especially the water hoses and connections, and any leaks need to be dealt with promptly,
  • – Drain blockages can also cause a lot of damage, and regular maintenance will ensure that your drainage system works efficiently. Ideally, your drainage pipes should be cleaned annually and it is a good idea to inspect the drains after a heavy storm when there can be a build up of leaves and twigs. Blocked drains are particularly dangerous during heavy rain, so constant monitoring is advised whenever the rain is heavy and prolonged.

Your plumber is an essential partner, and by using a company that has a round the clock emergency service, you can safeguard against the serious damage that might occur with a burst water pipe.

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Donations to Charitable Institutions

Momentum Ventures, a venture capitalist firm based out of Montreal, Quebec, Canada,had been keeping busy with a variety of initiatives that aim to create a positive impact on their environment and help the causes they care about. Last 2016, Momentum Ventures had started handing out monetary donations to charities and society organisations that they believe in, just like they believe in their own subsidiary businesses. Distributed throughout 2016 is a total of $75,000 in cash donations which is an amount that Momentum Ventures employees voted for, along with their chosen charities.

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In February of that year, the company donated a total of $25,500 to the Canadian Cancer Society, and then $25,000 to Unicef Canada in March 2016. “With the Canadian Cancer Society donation made earlier this year we were able to help make a donation that could help people across Canada, with this donation [Unicef Canada] we are able to extend our helping hand to those across the world,” Momentum Ventures CEO Matthew Keezer said of the latter, adding, “we look forward to future donations to worthy causes over the course of 2016.”

Companies that had established themselves in the industry have a tendency towards giving back to their community, being more generous to and creating a work-friendlier environment for their employees, or finding causes they could align themselves with their growth:

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On top of the 2016 donations, CEO Matt Keezer and his team extended their season’s greetings to two Montreal families to have a merry Christmas with a combined $3,600 in material benefits and assistance covering winter clothing, toys, transit passes, and other essentials. Under Keezer’s management, the company also initiated a 50% car subsidy to make purchasing eco-friendly hybrid and electric cars more of a reality, in consecutive years’ moves to make Momentum Ventures an environmentally- and socially-friendly workplace.

Introducing the Momentum Ventures Background

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Momentum Ventures has had a 100% proven track record in launching successful businesses ever since they started in 2007. As a venture capitalist company, they had attempted to introduce seven new businesses and all seven were consecutive successes. Their flagship brands and most popular ones include online travel businesses JustFly and FlightHub: JustFly is an online travel agency launched in 2014 that caters travel needs to the American demographic while FlightHub was launched in 2012, and has been Momentum Ventures’ biggest success to date, generating more than $1.5 billion in annual sales and serving millions of travelling Canadians yearly.

Conclusion

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Momentum Ventures is growing as one of the firms that makes a difference and approaches their business differently. The company’s winning streak is pushed by the strength of their endeavours as a team and as an enterprise. CEO Matthew Keezer had noted the importance they place on their personnel, and their winning strategy includes the people they value and what their team is passionate about.

If you have anything to add, feel free to leave your comments here below!

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Will Skyrocketing Debt Plunge the World into Another Financial Crisis?

Less than a decade ago, unsustainably high debt fueled the worst recession since the Great Depression, and millions of people all over the globe are still in various stages of recovery. But lest we think the worst is over, consider the fact that world debt overall is now far above the levels it was in 2008, and rising at a rate far higher than income. It appears that collectively and individually, we may be spending ourselves right back into another financial crisis, which could very well end up being worse than the last one.

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Where is all this debt coming from?

Among the egregiously overextended are numerous governments – Economist Intelligence said that total government debt has doubled since 2008 to $59 trillion – but governments aren’t the only offenders. Add household, corporate and bank debt, and the grand total was $199 trillion in mid-2014: an increase of 40 percent since 2007, according to a 2015 study by McKinsey Global Institute.

And one of the most dramatic increases has been in United States student debt. According to data collected by the Federal Reserve, outstanding student loans have swelled from to $589 billion in 2007 to $1.35 trillion in 2016, a 130% increase. This leaves 2016 graduates with an average student loan debt of $37,172, a 6% increase from the previous year alone. Graduates’ average earnings for the year are $50,556, which represents a 5% increase over the previous year, and a slight decrease from the $50,900 the average graduate earned in 2007. Despite having done exactly what governments and central banks wanted them to do to help end the Great Recession– take advantage of historically low interest rates to borrow and spend – more than seven million are in default on their student loans, and the economic picture for 2016 graduates overall is bleak.

Students aren’t the only ones whose debt levels are surpassing their ability to repay. Overall, the U.S. debt-to-GDP percentage increased from 217% in 2007 to 233% in 2014. Other countries, notably Greece, Italy, Spain, and Japan, have seen their debt-to-GDP ratios swell even further. In all these cases, the skyrocketing debt levels have left many people with little money left over for spending beyond basic necessities, which can only hurt economies that are dependent upon consumer spending to thrive. Still, governments continue to hold historically low interest rates to encourage spending, despite the fact that doing so sends a clear vote of no confidence in their economies.

Even the student debt crisis isn’t insolvable

The U.S. government could make student indebtedness much less of a burden by taking a couple of straightforward measures, as other countries have done. First of all, reducing the interest rates charged for student loans would make a marked difference. As it stands now, the rates applied to student loans are higher than those applied to business and mortgage loans. Some suggest that there is a moral as well as economic imperative to cease treating student debt as a profit center, and that it would be appropriate for banks to charge at or near the base rate that the Fed charges them for working capital, currently near the 5% level.

In addition, extending the time period between graduation and the onset of student loan repayments would significantly ease the burden on students, who typically begin their careers at low wage levels, and for whom the almost immediate burden of student loan repayment cripples their ability to become consumers.

Also consider that student loans in the U.S. must currently be repaid within ten years, with monthly payments much higher than those paid by students in Germany, where the debt repayment is spread out over 20 years, or in England, where repayment of student loans is stretched out over 30 years. In Australia, students get an even bigger break, as they are not required to begin repaying their loans until their income reaches roughly $40,000. Once that income level is achieved, the student pays approximately 4% of their income until the loan is repaid. In addition to offering lower payments and longer payoff time, the Australian model is structured so as to increase or decrease the required payment amount in sync with the debtor’s income. This minimizes the burden in the event of decreased earnings. Students in the U.S. are given no such latitude, and are required to meet the established payments regardless of any fluctuations in their earnings.

In short, the burden placed upon students in the U.S. are onerous in comparison to that which students in other countries face. By treating an educated populace as long-term assets rather than shorter-term profit centers, the economic health of the country would be improved, as well as that of the graduates themselves. Without the crippling burden of massive debt hitting them during their early years in the workforce, students would become more capable consumers, driving the need for additional products and services, and expanding the workforce. It is possible – even likely – that the inevitable surge in the overall economy would reduce the need and temptation to go further into debt, thus avoiding the financial brinkmanship in which not just the U.S., but the world as well, finds itself at the present.

Current global trends aside, what can you do to avoid a personal financial crisis?

Making smart choices can keep you out of trouble

Although student loans are a big albatross for many, particularly in the U.S., it’s pretty clear that other types of debt – credit cards, personal loans, mortgages, small business loans – are problematic for millions who may still be financially fragile from the last global crisis. Debt isn’t necessarily a bad thing, of course, and in fact it’s often necessary to fund a business, make a major purchase or simply to build a credit history. But many people have found to their dismay that debt is a two-edged sword and can quickly become unmanageable if not handled properly.

Fortunately there are numerous resources to help consumers avoid problem debt or find a way out of a debt hole once they’re in too deep. For instance, online resources such as loan-comparison site and credit brokers provide much more than comprehensive side-by-side comparisons of lenders; they also include honest reviews from real customers, as well as abundant moneysaving tips and information about managing personal finances.

There is no reason for any prospective borrower with Internet access to make an uninformed choice. Being well-informed is a prerequisite to making intelligent choices about borrowing, saving, investing and anything else that will affect your bottom line. And ultimately that will be good for the global bottom line as well

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Why the internet has driven retailers online

Wondering Why the internet has driven retailers online?
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If you are thinking about starting a business, you have to consider where and how you’ll showcase your products to customers. A mere 30 years ago, your options were limited. You could have a brick-and-mortar building, or work out of your home, but you had to attract customers to your store. You had a limited region of coverage for sales, at least until your business expanded into other markets. Advertising was very different. The use of mass mail marketing was common, and you had to rely on word of mouth. Billboards and television commercials caught the eyes of your customers.

Fast forward to 2017, and the options for you as a business owner have expanded exponentially. Your customers can be from anywhere on the entire planet, via the internet. You can still send out mailers and advertise on TV, but if you aren’t taking advantage of the opportunity to develop your business online, you are missing out on your full business potential. Here’s why the internet has driven retailers online.

Potential for profits

It is expected that online sales via computers and mobile devices will be over $500 billion by 2020 in the US alone. E-commerce is growing at a faster rate than retail, with over 224 million shoppers spending more online every year. The bottom line is that there is money to be earned from online selling. To ignore it is to hobble your own business potential.

Online to enhance a physical site

Even if you aren’t ready or able to launch a website, you can still take advantage of the internet to build customers. If you establish a news feed, you will be reminding subscribers of your company every time that you post a new article. Posts on Facebook and Twitter also get your company name in front of subscribers, whose reposts are an open invitation to new customers. You can use online communications to invite customers to events at your store, publicize sales, and announce new products.

Online combined with a physical site

No matter how successful your brick-and-mortar business is, an online presence can help drive new customers to your door. Imagine that you are an artisan who sells handmade pottery and runs a storefront. Your customers are going to consist of the people living in the city where you sell. They may recommend your pots to friends, and eventually you may see customers from around the region, the country, and even the world. However, these people must call or write to you for your pots. Somehow, you must send them photos of your products for them to decide if they want to buy something.

The time invested alone in making a profit on the pots is staggering. With a small investment in a website, where you can showcase your pots, receive payments, and set up shipping, you will save time in customer contact. You will build your customer list by recommendations and search engine optimization (SEO). By using social media, you can update customers on new products. With a customer reward program, you can get positive reviews and return business. These efforts will all convert into sales with little to no work save the initial set-up.

Online presence only

Many stores operate solely online. Businesses that are only online can take advantage of the same networking and marketing opportunities as the potter, but they don’t have to pay for the cost of a building and all its attendant expenses, including employees and utilities. With your online presence, you can offer detailed information and videos on your company’s products and services. Customers can preview products and compare prices before they buy. One company that has made a success of an online-only presence is As Seen On TV. The company offers a variety of great products for the home, cars, pets, and more. It produces videos to show customers how its products are used, and the videos are just one way that the company drives sales.

Online is the future

The technology explosion is having a major impact on retail sales. Robotics can now put together customer orders. Analytics can tell you how to target certain audiences with specific products. Online payment systems are popping up to keep transactions safe and quick. Quick delivery of online products with drones is just around the corner.

Whether you are dipping your toe in the water, or basing your business solely online, there is an advantage to using the internet. Even a small investment can mean great profits. Start looking into how the internet can improve your business.

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Power outages are temporary but the damage might not be- Insure the future of your property with a UPS system

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Given the day and age in which we live, it is absolutely safe to assume that regardless of our occupations, we all have some type of electrically powered service that we would hate to lose. A lot of businesses today rely on data which is stored as digital information on large computers. Similarly, networks use large server rooms to house all the physical servers which host thousands upon thousands of ideas, notes, identity’s and overall information. Of course, it’s not all about computers. We could be talking about other power dependent gear  that can suffer a lot from a power outage.

Depending on where you’re sitting when a cut in power supply occurs, it could be a bummer, problem, or downright tragedy. If we’re talking about a large organization, a cut from electrical power can result in a sever loss of productivity that in the end translates to losing a lot of money.

Here’s where UPS systems come in. Just to clear the air, UPS stands for uninterruptible power supply or source. The purpose of these systems is to provide temporary backup for a power depended appliance/system/machine, so that virtually no downtime occurs in the case of a power cut from the main source. Keep in mind that UPS systems are different than backup power solutions in the sense that they are not designed to substitute a main power source, but rather to keep things going for a short period of time until the backup solution intervenes. Thus, UPS systems only hold enough power for a couple of minutes usually.

You can think of them as the hand you put over a leaking hole until you can strap a piece of tape in place, before cementing the hole. Or in other words, we are looking at the intermediate between the main solution and its backup. While it doesn’t sound all that critical the way it was portrayed just now, UPS systems have a crucial role in keeping systems running at all times. When the main power source goes down, it only takes the slightest instance before the UPS saves the day.

This both a productivity insurance mechanism as well as a safety precaution. When we say safety, we mean for both machine and potentially the user. Computer components often times get burnt due to power outages, while other situations make it dangerous to be left without a power source. When human lives are in danger.

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