DCIM Decisions: Finding the Best Solution for Your Company

It can be difficult to choose the best DCIM solution for your company. There are many to choose from, and many vendors too, all of which offer slightly different products.

Here are some things to keep in mind to find the best solution for your growing company

Decide on the Features You Need

When it comes to finding the right data center monitoring solution for your needs, the first thing to do is look at the features provided by different vendors’ solutions.

You want to make sure that your chosen solution has all of the features you require, so compare products and avoid those that do not have the most important features.

Some of the things you might need include asset management, VM control, IT control, and environmental control. So look at the solution in depth and use this to guide your decision-making process.

Make Sure It Is Scalable to Your Needs

A DCIM solution should be scalable so that it can grow alongside your business. If it is difficult or impossible to scale, it is unlikely to be of much use as your business grows.

Save the hassle and expense of changing solutions later on, and choose one from the start that will grow with you.

Choose a Vendor with Good Support

As well as choosing a solution that has everything your business needs, you will also want to make sure you get the right level of customer support from the vendor.

You don’t want to be left on your own to deal with problems when they arise, so ensure you can always speak to a real person and get answers to your questions as soon as you need them.

Know How Easy It Will Be to Get Up and Running

If you have a small business, you may want to ensure that you choose a solution that is easy to set up and start using rather than a complex solution that takes many months to get up and running.

Also, find out if you will be provided with training. You don’t want your vendor to disappear and leave you without knowing what to do.

Choose a Vendor with Experience

Finally, make sure you choose a vendor that has a lot of experience and a great reputation to match. You don’t want to find out when it’s too late that they have a terrible reputation.

Do your research and find out who their existing customers are and ask them what they think. Read some third-party reviews if you can find any, and look out for any warning signs.

Only choose a vendor when you are happy that they will provide you with the level of service you need.

Find the Right DCIM Solution

These are some of the main factors to keep in mind when you are choosing a DCIM solution for your growing business.

Finding a suitable DCIM product is something you want to get right first time. So look into all of these factors very carefully, then take your time finding a solution that works for your business and provides you with all the benefits you are looking for.

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How to Protect Your Home Business from Financial Ruin

52 percent of all small businesses are operated out of the home. And, this number keeps growing. The best way to protect yourself and your business from unpredictable future events is to have adequate insurance. However, research shows that 40 percent of home businesses are underinsured. Here is why you need home business insurance and what products you should consider.

Why You Need to Protect Your Home Business

A few real-life scenarios will illustrate the reasons why you need extra protection for your home-based business. First, let’s consider the uncertain future. Your digital or printed business data could be compromised if you are the victim of a technology failure or security breach. This could lead to lawsuits or lost income. You can protect yourself from these unforeseen threats with business insurance.

Your reputation and business could be in jeopardy if a customer were to sue you for negligence. But, you can protect your good name and company when you have the right policy in place. Also, most homeowner’s policies will not cover you if a delivery driver were to drop off a package for your business at your front door and injure himself taking a dive off your front steps. Yet, a strong business insurance policy will cover any potential costs associated with this accident.

How Do You Protect Your Home Business

There are almost as many different home business insurance policies as there are home businesses. The key is finding the right policy to manage the potential risks of your enterprise. A few of the most popular types of coverage include:

  • General Liability– This helps out when the delivery guy trips over his feet. Your business and your family are protected from lawsuits due to injuries, accidents, or negligence claims.
  • Interruptions in Business – If your home business’s operations are interrupted by a covered loss, you will still be able to secure some income when you have this product.
  • Workers Compensation – You will need this type of insurance when you have employees working for you. If a worker suffers an illness or injury due to workplace conditions, workers comp insurance will provide a schedule of benefits, regardless of liability.
  • Medical insurance– it is essential that self-employed people take out health insurance to protect you against loss of earnings if you were to fall ill and be unable to work. Independent workers are often under huge amounts of pressure to return to work quickly following illness. This can exacerbate the problem and prevent you from bouncing back to optimum health.
  • Business Property – With this policy, you can protect the merchandise, equipment, computers, tools of the trade, and any other property that is associated with your business.

This is just a sampling of what is available. If you operate a home business, it is just a smart idea to be ready for any obstacles you may face. Insurance could make the difference between a little paperwork and financial ruin.

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4 ideas to make this summer’s office party a roaring success

Office parties have always had something of a reputation – we certainly don’t need to go into the in’s and out’s of why.

Some companies limit them to Christmas, but if you’re one of the lucky few who are able to party during the summer months then it’s fair to say that there are a wealth of different events that can make it a roaring success.

We’re not talking about all-day drinking sessions in the beer garden (although this might sound appealing to some offices) but rather some creative ideas that can really appeal to everyone from Barbara on accounts, to Tim in marketing.

Let’s now take a look at some of the best events for your summer office party that can really make a mark.

Crystal Maze

If you have a particularly young office, this first suggestion might not be everyone’s cup of tea. However, even if not everyone was old enough to remember Crystal Maze, there’s no doubt that the concept is still modern and will be enjoyed by most.

In simple terms, it’s a team-building event. The Crystal Maze element throws a much more advanced element to it though, with each different zone testing participants’ skills.

The best part of all? The winning team get to collect the famous gold tickets swirling around in the crystal dome.

It’s A Knockout

Let’s stay on the topic of television shows, by this time switching to It’s A Knockout. Again, this is something that might not be overly familiar to the entire office, particularly as the peak of It’s A Knockout occurred in the 80s. For anyone unaware – this was a BBC classic, and involved a whole range of activities that made use of the likes of inflatables, water and various costumes.

In other words, it’s something that’s going to prompt barrels of laughter. Combine it with drinks and a BBQ so you can reminisce about the day’s hilarities.

Boat racing

This time, we’re swaying away from the television theme. Most events companies who offer boat racing tend to do so in the Dragon Boat form – which just adds even more spice to the equation. For anyone unaware, Dragon Boat Racing includes a helmsman for steering and a drummer, who provides plenty of rhythm to really get the team in the mood.

One of the best parts of this idea is that it really can cater for offices of any size. Whether you have an office of hundreds of people, or just a few, you can either have the entire water to yourself or race against others.

Raft building

Following on from boat racing, let’s now move onto raft building. Little else needs to be explained here – your office will be split into teams who are given the task of building a raft. Particularly with the sun beating down through these months, a lot of offices find that this is one of the best ways to link together.

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Why Seniors Citizens are Thinking About Starting a Home Business

Most people think that senior citizens should continue to live a life of leisure as they’ve earned the right to take it easy. However, some people who are at an advanced age may not be inclined to do so as they prefer to find other ways to stay engaged with the world.

Extra Cash In Retirement 

Some active seniors who live at home, and even those who reside in assisted living communities, often find that the monotony of doing nothing at all can lead to boredom or loneliness. While a steady or part-time job may be out of the question at this point in their lives, some find that starting a small business is the perfect way to pass the time while making a bit of money in their golden years.

For seniors who have the entrepreneurial spirit, the desire to have a small home business or online business has nothing to do with accumulating more wealth. Cash may be an important determinant of a person’s life satisfaction, but its effect declines over the age of 75. For business-minded seniors, acquiring more money is not the purpose of any endeavor – it’s about doing something meaningful to fill their days.

Inspiring Entrepreneurs

Some seniors have even become so passionate about what they do that they became successful later in life. There’s Col. Harland David Sanders, who franchised his first Kentucky Fried Chicken at the age of 62. Then there’s 82-year-old Dorrie Jacobson, who started a very successful fashion blog to inspire women over 60 and has become the darling of the fashion world.  

If you’re a senior citizen and are thinking about starting a small home or online business, you’re in luck – there are lots of opportunities out there for you that aren’t physically demanding. Even if you’re in an assisted living facility and have impaired mobility of movement, there are other things that you can do that don’t require you to move around as much.

Here are a few business ideas if you’re planning to start a home or online business:

  • ·         Take a call center job. This is a great online job if you have low mobility as all you need to do is talk on the phone.
  • ·         Follow in Jacobson’s footsteps and start a blog where you can give expert advice. Pick a topic that you know and start writing. If you aren’t tech savvy, there are tons of tutorials out there to get you started.
  • ·         Do you love to sew? You can start an alteration business or take on small sewing jobs from your neighbors.
  • ·         If you’re into crafts or DIY projects, you can sell your wares at craft markets or at an online shop, such as Etsy. Many seniors earn a decent amount of money by selling handmade soaps, lotions, knitwear, and other items on this site.
  • ·         Got a winning cookie or pie recipe? You can sell baked goods at home or online. You can ask younger members of the family to scout for places where you can sell your food if you want to earn more.

There are many small businesses that you can launch from the comfort of home. All you have to do is to find one that you’d enjoy doing, and most importantly, one which will give you happiness and a sense of fulfillment.

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Electronics for Beginners: Launching a Lucrative Hobby at Home

Electronics makes for a fascinating hobby. It’s not difficult to get started, nor is it too expensive, and you can soon find yourself creating all kinds of things either for fun or to use around the home. You could even turn it into a lucrative hobby by making a side business out of it.

So how should you get started?

Here’s a quick guide to the basics you need in place to get your electronics hobby off the ground and start making fun and useful things at home.

What You’ll Need to Get Started

You’ll need to get a lot of equipment and tools before you can start making anything interesting, but these are all easy to get and relatively affordable.

A soldering iron is one of the most basic tools you’ll need. You will use the soldering iron to solder parts onto the PCB or solder parts together. Start with getting just one, but if you get more serious in your hobby, you might want to invest in a couple, such as one for thicker wires and one all-purpose solder. And you’ll also want a de-soldering tool as well so you can remove components.

A prefabricated PCB is a necessity. This is easier than making one yourself and they are not expensive. You can use them for creating simple circuits up to about 100 components, which is perfect for getting started.

A Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) is a semiconductor device made of Configurable Logic Blocks (CLBs). This allows you to change a design after the device has been soldered onto the PCB, and you can find a wide variety of these online at sites like RS.

A wire stripper is another essential tool. You’ll be stripping a lot of wires, so you’ll want to get yourself a good one. You’ll also want to get a set of pliers for cutting wires.

A VOM/DMM (which stands for Voltmeter Ohmmeter and Milliampere Meter and Digital Multimeter) is essential for any hobbyist. It is used to measures thinks like the ampere, voltage, and resistance.

You’ll also want to get a sharp knife, either a penknife or a cutter, which you will use regularly.

Take Your Safety Seriously

Before you start, always make sure you take safety precautions and learn about the risks. These can range from burning yourself with a glue gun to electrocuting yourself with a capacitator, so be careful. Also remember to turn off all your devices before you work on them.

Learn About Components

You will also need to learn about components to enjoy a successful electronics hobby. You can do this on a course, from books, or just from practice. The most common include capacitors, resistors, inductors, transistors, and diodes. Learn the basics, find out what they all do, and then start practicing with them.

Learn Some Useful Techniques

You will also want to learn a variety of basic techniques that you will use on a regular basis, and using a soldering iron is one of these. Read up about it, go on a course, or watch YouTube videos to find out how to do it properly.

Other techniques like using a breadboard (which involves constructing a circuit without soldering), how to use a glue gun, and how to use a multimeter are also essential skills.

Start Up Your Hobby from Home

These are some of the basics that you will need to know to start up a fun and rewarding electronics hobby. As long as you have an interest in making things and finding out how things work, you will love playing around with electronics. So find a suitable space to work, invest in the basic equipment, learn some techniques, and have fun.

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Coworking 101: How to Thrive and Survive In a Shared Office

coworking

When you’re new to a country and a culture, meeting people can be a little daunting. We all know that customs vary wildly across the globe and eastern practices, in particular, tend to be quite different from those in the west. Often, a lack of knowledge can lead to insult, especially in the business world where first impressions are everything.

This is just one of the reasons why foreign investors and those looking to launch a company in Singapore are encouraged to try out coworking spaces. These shared offices are a great place to people watch, learn from others, and get to know the locals. They bring together like-minded entrepreneurs from all walks of life in a creative, collaborative environment.

Keep reading for some advice on the best ways to thrive and flourish in the coworking spaces of central Singapore.

Respect the Culture

Shared office space is so valuable precisely because it gives foreigners a chance to observe local people in a relaxed and polite way. So, for this reason, you shouldn’t worry too much about causing offence. If you show good manners and respect Singaporean customs, people will be glad to work with you. Just remember that people in Asia aren’t as direct as westerners.

They place a lot of emphasis on conversational niceties and greetings are important. Don’t ask too many personal questions until you know somebody better and always accept business cards with care. They should not be placed out of sight until the giver has left. Visit www.servcorp.com.sg/en/virtual-offices/ to check out coworking spaces in central Singapore.

Be Helpful and Supportive

One of the easiest ways to make connections in a coworking space is to be a helpful presence. Even something as small as carrying extra pens can make a difference because you only have to offer somebody a tiny bit of assistance to show that you’re worth their time. It is also a good opportunity to spark up a conversation and find out what industry they are in.

It can take a little while to get used to a shared office, especially if you have never experienced one before. The tenants here are open to collaboration and discussion, but this doesn’t mean that they’ll always seek it. Use your instincts, don’t disturb anybody who is obviously hard at work already, and try to restrict your introductions to slower moments like coffee breaks.

Stay Safe and Secure

The best coworking facilities have robust security features. They don’t just let anybody walk in off the street. Most have a system of some kind. It might be a key code or even a key card which tenants can use to get into the building. This is important because you wouldn’t leave a conventional office unsecured. Virtual workspaces are no different in this regard.

Again, the high-end providers use a range of cutting edge software solutions to keep data safe, but it is always a good idea to double up. Make sure that your laptop and any mobile devices you use are secure, protected against network intrusions, and built for the safe transfer of data. Cloud storage is very valuable because it automatically updates itself.

Why Coworking Is the Hot New Trend in Singapore

It is great news for small businesses and entrepreneurs when commercial rent costs start to fall. Launching a company in a high profile region like Singapore can be very expensive. The thing to remember, however, is that traditional leases are always apt to rise again. So, virtual workspaces continue to be a much more affordable option for businesses trying to streamline their expenses during those risky first years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Marketing Ideas for your Bootstrap Business

These days, it is easier than ever to set up your own business. While there are a variety of ways to finance your startup, the idea of bootstrapping is often the most attractive. By setting up your business on a miniscule budget, you do not have heavy debts or financial backers to worry about, and whether it succeeds or fails, the business is all yours.

The digital world is perfectly aligned to this kind of business model. In essence, all you need is a laptop, an internet connection, a great idea and a working knowledge of WordPress, and you are good to go. But while it is easy to get started, can the bootstrap philosophy be equally applied to an effective marketing campaign to grow your business? Management consulting firm Global Resources reviews numerous small businesses, and says that the answer is a resounding “yes.” Here’s how.

Use Social Media

Did you know that one in three people on the planet use social media? Chances are, you are one of them, and if you are not, you are missing out on the best digital marketing tool around. Facebook alone has two billion users, and LinkedIn just celebrated passing the 500 million mark.

It is not just cost effective though – it is also something that your customers will expect of you. Facebook and Twitter are great ways of sharing blogs, news and video content, and LinkedIn is the perfect place to build a reputation as an expert in your field, particularly in the B2B world.

Understand your Customers

If you have limited financial resources, then bangs for bucks has to be at the top of the agenda when considering your marketing strategy. To get the best return on your investment, you need to have a clear understanding of who your customers are, and what they want from you.

There is more data like this available today than ever before. Take a look on Google Analytics and you will be presented with a raft of information about who is visiting your site, the search query that is bringing them there, how long they stay and lots more.

Digital Marketing for Less

The real beauty of digital marketing is that there is so much that can be done with a minimal spend. Focus on building the brand through social media and increasing conversions with a better understanding of customer needs, and you can achieve some great results without breaking the bank.

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How to Enhance Workplace Collaboration

Workplace Collaboration is possible using a few key tips and technologies

Entrepreneurs understand the value of a having a team that is highly collaborative. When starting a new business, every employee has to be on the same page — a task that is increasingly difficult if your team works remotely, as many start-ups do. Without the forced face time that comes with a traditional office, how do entrepreneurs promote collaboration among employees? Luckily, as the number of remote workers has risen, over 80 percent between 2005 and 2012, there has also been an increase in helpful collaboration tools for all kinds of workplaces. For truly effective collaboration, though, you not only need to choose the right tool, but you also need the right equipment and a culture that encourages openness and sharing.

Essential Equipment

Start with the basics — the equipment. Even the most amazing collaborative software will be ineffective if it is not paired with good hardware. For remote employees, a smartphone is the most important tool you can provide. Pair a good smartphone with affordable, unlimited coverage that won’t stretch your budget and will allow your team to use the other collaborative tools you decide to employ with no restrictions. In addition to a smartphone, your team will need heavy-duty laptops with video capability and fast and reliable internet access.

Choose a Collaborative Tool

The right tool for your team will depend on the nature of your business and the size of your team. You want whatever system you choose to be able to function fully as an app on a smartphone or on a laptop or desktop. Here are four of the best workplace collaboration tools.

a) Slack – Slack, and its competitor HipChat, are real-time communication apps. The Slack app allows team members to message each other, screen share and video conference. Slack stores and archives conversations so that they can be retrieved later easily with relevant hashtags. For many businesses, Slack is used in place of email.

b) Dropbox – Dropbox is a filing sharing app that allows team members share and edit files and documents in real time from any device.

c) Asana – For a more robust workflow system, Asana is hard to beat. PCMag gave it their Editors’ Choice award, and use Asana as their internal project management system. Among many other customizable functions, Asana allows users to break projects into tasks, assign tasks to the right team members, monitor progress and communicate at every step. Asana also integrates with other platforms like Slack for communication and Dropbox or Google Drive for file sharing.

d) Igloo Software – For an all-in-one collaboration tool suitable for a smaller business, check out Igloo Software. Igloo is a pre-built intranet system with features including real-time communication, forums to discuss specific projects, task management templates and file sharing. While not as slick as other intranet systems, Igloo is intuitive to use and easy to set up.

Create a Collaborative Culture

The truth is that no collaborative software system is going to be effective if you don’t put in the work to create a culture of collaboration. Effective collaboration happens when teams brainstorm openly and feel comfortable discussing and questioning ideas in a non-judgmental way. For this to happen, you need to actively encourage regular interaction with programs like mentorships, staff retreats and regular meetings to share successes and shortfalls.

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Business Brainstorming: Creative Ways to Finance Your Startup

You’ve got the idea; you’ve got the drive. Now all you need is the money to get started on your new business. Unless you are one of a very small group, you are going to have to raise it somehow. You can approach the bank for a loan, or you can explore some different options.

Loan or Equity

There are two main ways to raise cash to start your business, and you need to decide which works best for you.

A loan can be straightforward. You receive a sum of money to invest in your business, and you pay it back later. You remain in control of your business, but your overheads now include the interest and your cash flow is affected by repayments.

Equity is effectively the sale of part of your business to an investor. You do not have the burden of repayments, but you will share the profits and lose some control.

Do It Yourself

You may not have cash to hand, but you probably have assets that you could use to raise a loan—your house, perhaps. You are borrowing money against your own property to invest in your business. If the business fails, you could lose your home—but the fact that you have put your money where your mouth is will encourage other investors.

Family and Friends

Many entrepreneurs start off by borrowing from close contacts, or by offering them a share in the business in return for a startup investment. If you go this way, have your agreement drawn up professionally—informal arrangements are a recipe for disaster. Remember that if things go wrong, you could lose your friends as well as your business.

Line of Credit

A flexible way to borrow money is through a line of credit, where you negotiate a maximum amount that you can borrow (rather like a credit card) and then borrow and repay in a way that is convenient to you. http://businesslineof.credit/ is a good source of information about the loans that are available.

Crowdfunding

This online way to find investors has become very popular in recent years. Using one of the many platforms, you can put out your business vision to a very large number of individuals, who can either lend money or invest in the equity of your business.

Angels

Rather than seek a large number of small investments through crowdfunding, you could try to reach a smaller number of individuals with significant funds to invest. They often operate through groups, and your local chamber of commerce may be able to put you in touch.

Small Business Administration 

The government is committed to creating a good environment for small businesses, so you may qualify for an SBA loan. These are targeted at particular areas, and it is well worth researching whether you are eligible.

Explore the Ground

There are many avenues to raise cash to get a new business off the ground. By getting to the stage of needing startup money, you have already demonstrated resolution and commitment. You need to draw on that same resolution to nail the deal that is right for you.

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Small Business Loans: A Miniguide for First Time Applicants

If you are launching a new business or trying to grow an existing small venture there is a good chance that you will need to apply for some funding to help you fulfill your plans and ambitions.

Applying for a small business loan can be daunting and confusing in equal measure, so here are some pointers to help you negotiate your way through the jargon and the various requirements you will normally be asked to satisfy.

It starts with a business plan

You can check here for some details of the loan options available but before you make any sort of application for a business loan you will need to have a few things ready for when you are asked to provide further information to support your application.

Anticipating the sort of data and details that a lender will want will help speed up the process and will also show that you are organized and on the ball.

The standard procedure for making a business loan application is to provide supporting documentation that demonstrates why you need the money and how you are going to repay the amount borrowed.

Your business plan should include a comprehensive set of projected financial statements, which should include profit and loss figures, a cash flow projection and an up to date balance sheet.

If you are unsure how to put all these figures together or need some help, it would be a good idea to use an accountant so that the data is accurate and credible, which is vital to the success of your application.

Expect a grilling

It would be fair to say that lenders are very thorough and stringent with their loan application checking process so be prepared for plenty of additional questions and requests for further information.

You should not take these higher expectations and additional questions as a negative, in fact, it shows that they are taking your loan application seriously and are trying to tick all the boxes so that they can lend you the money.

Collateral requirements

The strength of your credit profile and your business proposal can influence how much security your lender requires which means they might ask for collateral in return for granting the loan.

Some loan programs do not require any collateral and if you are asking for a smaller amount it might not be considered necessary. If you don’t want to risk your home or business ownership by offering collateral, you might be able to get a business loan for the amount you need but it will probably limit your choice of lenders and options.

Check your credit score

It is always a good idea to keep track of your current credit score and know what existing lenders and finance providers are saying about you and your payment history.

You will need to have a good clean credit file if you are going to get the best loan rates offered to you, as your risk profile is adversely affected by bad credit.

Make sure you check your file before you apply so that you have a good idea of how successful you might be with your loan application.

Lenders are often willing to try and guide you through the process so if there is anything you don’t understand or want to question, don’t feel like you are unable to ask, as it is important to get everything right.

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