In the past, robots were huge and robust gadgets which executed duties outlined for them. They came with bright colors to caution workers of their imminent danger. They were encircled with protectors and a fence for security reasons. Setting them up was an arduous task and one needed to have excellent programming skills to set them up.

Today, technology has evolved and this has seen the emergence of collaborative robots which are light, compact, and adept.

 What Are Collaborative Robots

A collaborative robot is a machine that is specially designed to interact directly with humans in a collaborative environment. There are various terms individuals need to understand when it comes to these gadgets as illustrated below.

Cobot. This is the short form of collaborative robot

Collaborative operation/Human Robot Interaction. This is the condition by which humans and a function designed robot works directly within a designated environment

Collaborative environment/workspace. This is a protected area where humans and the robot execute duties together amid an automatic operation.

IAD (Intelligent Assist Device). This is a non independent smart lift assist gadget

What Are the Collaborative Features For Robots?

Modern day robots come with four collaborative features which are;

Hand Guiding

This collaborative operation involves teaching through demonstration. For example, it comes in handy when one needs to teach trails for pick and place operations instantly. While hand guiding relies largely on industrial robots, it comes with an extra gadget that senses the worker’s effort as applied on the robot. More characteristics of hand guiding robots are;

  • Uses path teaching and demonstration
  • Requires an end of arm gadget in order to sense applied forces
  • Uses normal industrial robots
  • Makes specific robot collaborative modes

Safety rated monitored stop

This collaborative characteristic is executed when the robot is working independently. However, a human may need to penetrate its work environment occasionally. For instance, if a particular operation must be executed on a part while it is within the robot’s space. In this case, the robot does most of the work while the worker carries out subordinate operations on the part.

This means that the worker is able to execute his task on the part within the robot’s space. When a person enters a proposed safety area, the robot seizes operations altogether despite the fact that it is still on. These robots work efficiently when humans work away from them with limited close interactions. This reduces the amount of time it stops due to human interruption. More characteristics are;

  • Requires safety gadgets that sense human closeness
  • Utilizes common industrial robots
  • Stops when the safety area is invaded
  • Utilized for inadequate cooperative procedures

Speed And Separation Monitoring

Here, the robot’s workspace is controlled by a vision or laser system that trails the worker’s position. The robot then operates within the functions of the predetermined safety area. For instance, if the worker is within a specific safety zone, the robot works slowly and continues to slow down further as he approaches. It eventually stops when they get too close. More features are;

  • It requires a vision system in order to sense the nearness of the human
  • It uses common industrial robots
  • It is utilized for operations that need frequent human presence

Power and Force Limiting

This is one of the most human friendly robots because it allows human robot interaction in the absence of extra safety gadgets. It is capable of sensing unusual forces along its path. It is specially programmed to stop every time it reads a force overload. Additionally, it is designed to use up forces in the event of impact within a wider surface. This explains why robots are rounded and have no defined motors. Third parties for human robot collaboration industrial safety accredit many of these robots. Its features are;

  • It is not a common industrial robot
  • It does not need extra safety gadgets. However, it will need to undergo a risk assessment
  • It comes with force limited characteristics
  • It is designed to collaborate with the worker directly

Finally

Force limited robots are easy to integrate with and program. They do not need to be fenced and one does not have to change their production line. This is because they are specially designed to collaborate with humans. They come with the hand guiding feature which cuts down the programming time.

Collaborative Robots

In the past, robots were huge and robust gadgets which executed duties outlined for them. They came with bright colors to caution workers of their imminent danger. They were encircled with protectors and a fence for security reasons. Setting them up was an arduous task and one needed to have excellent programming skills to set them up.

Today, technology has evolved and this has seen the emergence of collaborative robots which are light, compact, and adept.

Customer engagement has always been important to a business, and with the rise of the digital age, there are now so many ways for that to be optimized that it is now no longer an option, it’s a priority. From the ways that they can discuss your business on your website to the ways that you respond to social media interaction, being available and on-brand at all times has never been more important or expected. We have moved past the days where customers were expected to merely listen to your message, now they want to have dialogue, and by failing to address that need, you are going to fall behind the competition and stunt your business growth. Interaction is important for your business in that by opening up dialogue; you create meaningful communication that reinforces your brand and encourages sales. With profits on the line, are you making the most of your customer communications?

Understand your customers

Before you sold your first product, your business will have completed a thorough business plan. Part of that plan needs to have included significant market research into your target audience, and that is the key to your customer interaction and communication. Even if you open your business without a clear idea of who your customers are going to be, looking at your website analytics will help you, and you will be able to use that data to optimize your communication strategy. There’s not much point on spending money on Facebook advertising if the majority of your customers use Twitter, and if your Instagram posts aren’t driving traffic to your website, then there’s little point in using it. However, once you have pinpointed your client base, make use of tools such as Hootsuite in order to manage your social media more proactively, and you’ll find that you will be able to assess your customer interaction in real-time.

Social media

It’s a simple fact that the majority of businesses use social media to communicate with their audience. The rise of Facebook and Twitter has seen a shift in the ways that businesses are able to interact with potential customers or keep existing customers updated in terms of new products and special offers. Your marketing strategy should be increasingly social media focused, and be doing so you will be able to maximize your impact on the digital landscape. Be wary, and always remain on-brand, as the repercussions of bad or negative social media use can cause significant damage to your business. Make sure that those with access to your social media profiles are able to understand not just the technology, but also the need to remain consistent across all platforms.

Your website should be responsive

Although we can all too easily spend all of our marketing time focused on social media, never forget the importance of your website. This is the natural online face of your business, and by now you will have recognized the importance of a functional, easy to navigate site that has been optimized for viewing on all potential devices. However, too many websites neglect to allow space for contact pages and ways to communicate with you. This can be easily addressed, and if you used website building resources to create your site, then you can make use of a number of tools available in order to increase the ease with which visitors can contact you. Use one of the best contact form plugins that are available, and you will increase the interaction possibilities of your website, and increase the chances of converting a site visit into a sale. For those wishing to adopt the latest technology to create the best customer interaction options, then look at ways to integrate a live-chat box that can be used in real-time to answer any questions that may need to be answered before a customer buys from you.

Customer interaction remains as important as it always has, it’s simply that the responsibility is now on the businesses to ensure that they are up to date on the best ways to make the most of their business communications. Failing to recognize the potential of customer interaction in terms of driving sales is the first step to losing those sales to your competitors.

Life will quickly become a bore if you sit around waiting for positive happenings to come to you. Your days will be a lot more interesting and fun when you’re challenging yourself and engaging in various activities. However, you have to initiate the events and be willing to have new experiences.

The hard part is thinking of what you could be doing differently and how to go about testing yourself on a regular basis. The good news is there are a lot of ways to do so, and you’ll soon experience for yourself all the benefits of putting yourself out there and living fully.

Learn A New Skill or Hobby

When you’re feeling bored is a good time to take up a hobby or learn a new skill. Challenge yourself by attending a jewelry making class, learning a new language or teaching yourself how to build furniture. It doesn’t matter what the activity is as long as it’s interesting to you and gets you outside your comfort zone. There’s a class out there for just about any hobby you want to start doing, so don’t feel like you’re limited in any way. Search until you find a good fit for you.

Travel & Participate in Local Activities

Challenge yourself by traveling to different destinations and seeing places you’ve never been before. Pick locations that have fun local activities you can participate in like the Indianapolis Escape Room. Here you’ll have to work your way through tough puzzles to escape the adventure of your choice. It’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced, and you’ll likely have such a good time you’ll want to do it again. Not only travel but make sure to engage in the local culture, foods, and activities to truly get the most out of your trips.

Take on A Project or Leadership Role at Work

One place where it’s easy to find a new challenge (if you want one!) is in the workplace. Raise your hand the next time your boss is asking for volunteers to spearhead a project or take on a leadership role. Don’t let your negative self-talk keep you from being recognized any longer. Step up and show the company what you have to offer. It’s not only good for your morale and building confidence, but you may get noticed for your hard work and your boss may choose you for the next promotion.

Do lots of Reading

One activity that has the ability always to challenge you is reading. That is if you pick publications outside of your normal routine! Read books, blogs and newspapers that make you think and break through your assumptions and judgments. If you ever want to explore new topics or get your brain going on another level then start reading. It can also be a relaxing activity when you need to unwind or reduce your stress after a long day. Make a cup of tea and sit back in a comfortable chair and find an article that gets your mind working.

Cook Your Own Meals

Cooking is not only a healthy way to eat, but it also is a challenging activity that will keep you on your toes. Cook your own meals to keep yourself engaged in life each day. Pack your own lunch and take the time to research difficult recipes for dinner that requires you to think about what you’re doing. Instead of being scared off by a tricky recipe, take your time and work your way through it with patience. When cooking for yourself you have control over portion size, calories, and the ingredients, so you’ll also be doing your mind and body a favor as you work toward challenging yourself more.

Face your Fears

A lot of what you fear is in your head, so don’t be afraid to explore those feelings further. Figure out what your fears are and then challenge yourself to face them one by one. Write each one down and make notes about how you can go about tackling them. For example, if you fear speaking in front of groups of people then volunteer to talk at a conference for work. Doing so will force you to have to prepare and work through your fear of public speaking healthily. After you’re done, you can see for yourself the benefits of taking on a challenge and that you start to gain more confidence in your abilities.

Meet People outside your Circle

Another way to challenge yourself is to meet people outside your regular friend’s group. The act of going up to a stranger and starting a conversation is scary but satisfying. Go to events alone or take a class to put yourself out there and begin interacting with others you wouldn’t typically talk to. It’s good to have a wide variety of friends and acquaintances, so you’re not always partaking in similar activities and surrounded by the same opinions. You’ll be engaging in new conversations and learning about people who are different from you which will be refreshing.

Get Physical Exercise Daily

Physical activity is a great way to challenge yourself by seeing if you can stick to working out each day, and what will help you is getting into a routine where you exercise at the same time each day. Keep it fresh by mixing up the activities and surprising your muscles daily. There is an endless number of workouts you can do so this challenge will never get old. It’s also very healthy for you to get daily exercise and the benefits of physical activity will be well worth your efforts. You’ll be in a better mood, burn calories and love the way you look after only a short time.

Conclusion

There’s no reason to ever be bored again after seeing for yourself how many different ways there are to challenge yourself. Have fun giving each of them a try and notice how much more alive and engaged in life you feel. These are just a few thoughts so continue to rack your brain and find other ways of putting yourself to the test that will deliver the same results.

The successful are those who are smart. They are the ones who get it right and the ones who don’t let anything stand in their way. The United States of America was made for go-getters. It was made for those who have a dream. With the power of the internet you can be the success that you have always dreamed. You can achieve this success by getting the engagement that you need. This means the views, the visits, or the sales. Whatever you deem to be success, you can reach it by using these five techniques:

  • Branch Out  
    1. The first thing that you need to consider is what alternative channels offer you. You could start a podcast, create videos, write tutorials, and so much more. Branching out is the fastest and easiest way to expand your reach, and in some cases, it can help develop brand loyalty. However, in order to branch out and be successful, you need to add value.
  • Add Value  
    1. Pushing out content is one thing. Pushing out content that people actually want is another. That is why you need to try out different things and use analytics to see what is most successful. Finding the winning combination is difficult, but once you do you’ll have the unique selling point that will have people returning to you again and again, regardless of whether you are selling something, or are a content creator.
  • SEO  
    1. Search engine optimization is not dead. In fact, it is more important than ever. People still use search engines to find what they want, and not optimizing your site for SEO and using other white-hat techniques will ensure that users will never find your website via Google, even if they search for your name sometimes! Optimize your website, and you’ll be ahead of your competition and enjoy the majority of organic clicks from a single search.
  • Automated Marketing  
    1. Personalization is all the rage, because it is becoming easier and easier to do. Personalize a customer or reader’s experience, and you’ll increase your chances that they will return. This can be done through a process known as automated marketing. What is marketing automation? It is the ability to use the information you are given or have about a customer, from demographic information to search history, to better tailor their experience.
  • Collaboration
  1. Collaborating is, and always will be, huge. Collaborating allows you to create something with another, and it also gives you the opportunity to gain new fans or customers.

Working with algorithms is the only way to succeed. That’s because the platforms you use are built not with the little guy in mind, but with themselves in mind. There is no point in complaining about how hard it is, instead, you need to work on building your own brand empire that can withstand these algorithms until they work with you, not against you. Once you reach that point your business will only grow.

Trying to attract new customers to a business is something every company tries to do, though for the small business it can be particularly hard. You have smaller budgets for advertising, and you rely more on local custom than larger companies. However, there are still things you can do to get the new customers you need while staying within your budget.

Sponsor a Local Team or Event

If you have a local sports team or there is a fair nearby, you could become a sponsor. Typically, you will be able to display your logo and branding on the sports shirts and banners. There may also be the opportunity to have a stall at a fair to show people the types of products you sell. You can even create your flyers and cards to hand out to people as they go past. If you want to know how to make a flyer, there are sites that can help you design and print them online.

Social Media

A good way to get your company in front of more people is to use social media. You can set up an account for free and post about your products and services. Many sites like Facebook and Twitter also have the option to pay for additional advertising. However, if that is outside your budget, you can still attract many new followers with just your posts. Try to engage with your followers, ask them questions and set polls for them to answer. If they ask you a question, try to answer it quickly. It is a good idea to have an account on more than one social media site to reach a wider audience.

Local Newspapers

Placing ads in local newspapers are still a good way to get your brand out there. They are usually distributed in local supermarkets, and some get posted through resident’s doors. It can get your brand in front of hundreds of potential customers at a local level. If you are holding a sale or an event, you can even ask the local newspapers to cover it. Many events, especially those organized for charities are popular with readers.

Email Marketing

You might think that email marketing is more for national advertising. However, it can be extremely useful for local campaigns as well. When you get new customers, ask for their email address, then you can create email messages that can tell them about new offers and products. You can also add a newsletter request form to your website to gain more emails. That will give you an email list of new and current customers that you can build on for the future.

These are a few of the ways you can attract more people to your business, no matter how small. With the right strategy and enough local coverage, you can soon start to create a strong local customer base. Once you have those loyal customers, it will be easier to target areas further afield.

Everyone who walks in through the casino doors hopes for a jackpot. However, fortune favors only those who are smart and shrewd enough to claim it. Admit it, we all want to get super rich super-fast. Even the most honest of gamblers must have wondered about hacking an online casino. A word of caution though, hacking a live casino is illegal. If you would like to know how to win the bonuses and free spin, hunting for promo offers would be the safer option!

Moreover, hacking a casino is not as easy as it looks in the movies. The casinos are heavily guarded and always under the eye of a surveillance camera. Tech-savvy players and coders can even infiltrate the gambling software only once they get past all the security and firewall protection.

All said and done, hacking into a casino is not unheard of. There are plenty of stories where people have managed to beat the house for millions! However, for all their meticulous planning, most of the cheaters do get caught eventually. Here are some of the most successful casino hacking stories:

FIN10 Hijacking Canadian Casinos

Cybersecurity of casinos in Canada was under serious threat of being hacked by a group called FN10. A team of hackers spent over three years, trying to find a way into the core systems of major Canadian casinos and betting platforms. Once successful they would infiltrate the sensitive files and steal information, holding the victim casino ransom for 100 and 500 Bitcoins — about $35,000 to $170,000 CAD. They collected crucial data such as bank records, customer information, corporate records and personal communication details from Canadian casinos. According to FireEye, a cyber-security group, the FN10 was operative in as early as 2013 and was only discovered in 2016. The hackers are yet to be identified.

The Fish Tank Fiasco  

Online casinos and live betting platforms are no longer safe from the eagle eyes of the hackers. They just need an outlet, one loose spot and they squirm their way in and steal vital information. In this case, a team used a fish tank to hack into the casinos of North America. The high-tech fish tank was equipped with internet connectivity and could be controlled via a remote. Hackers could transfer about 10GB data from the casino companies in minutes. The scam was eventually detected under the company’s software routine check-up. The entire fiasco was planned very cleverly using only the standard protocols used for streaming audio-visual content. Now, that’s innovative!

Mathematician Turned Hacker

A Russian mathematician Alex tried his hand at casino hacking. Tired of his monotonous and exhausting business, this programmer decided to con a casino. He developed a program that could get into the RNG or random number generator of the casino slots and retrieve the complicated algorithms of numbers. His business venture then started engineering reverse algorithms pseudorandom number generators, or PRNGs. These codes could monitor the happenings of the slot machines, hence predicting the outcomes. With the PRNGs, Alex could now decipher which casino or slot would win and invest his money there. He recruited a team of agents who would roam around the casinos from Poland to Peru and play only at the slots that Alex had “figured out.” A 4-member group can make more than $25,000 per week using Alex’s hack.

The Roulette Scam

The Roulette Scam involves a New York crime ring that invaded casinos in Ohio sometime in 2012. The group, consisting of 50-70 members, had its people spread out across different casinos across America; the Casino Control Authorities eventually discovered them. Each player would bet a small nominal amount initially, pocketing specific colored chips as another would distract the dealer. The player would then pass the chips on to another person who would take his place in the game. The second member would hit another table and cash in on the high-value chips and boost his earnings. The group made around $1000-$2000 per scam and were caught in four different cities in Ohio.

The 60-Seconds ATM Scam

Casino scams don’t usually take place on the betting tables; sometimes all one needs is a debit card. In 2014, a group of 14 people was charged with the theft of $1 million from Citibank via the casinos in Nevada and California. The hackers found a gateway, a gap in the kiosks security for about 60-seconds only via which they could make multiple withdrawals. The leader of the conspiracy, Ara Keshishyan recruited a team to visit the casinos in California and open various Citibank accounts. In that one-minute gap, the hackers could withdraw ten times the amount on their accounts. However, they were careful enough to limit the withdrawals under $10,000 to keep suspicions at bay. Talk about cashing in on opportunities!

The Roselli Brothers

A team of hackers who called themselves the Roselli Brothers managed to make over $37 million from casinos in New Jersey, Nevada, and Puerto Rico without having to spend a dime. They first infiltrated the casino software and obtained the details of people with excellent credit records. The brothers then opened various accounts in their names and deposited about $50,000. This scam spanned about five years from 1995 to 2000 where they successfully managed to dupe gaming officials into believing that they were losing. In reality, the associates won massive profits and paid off all the outstanding parties boosting their credit line by millions!

The Bottom Line

As long as gambling has existed, there have always been players who would strive to beat it. Only some are noble enough to tread the road never taken. They honestly place their bets without breaking the rules. Most shortcut approaches, however, culminate into one big scam. Raiding casinos is the fastest, easiest way to earn some big bucks, theoretically. However, there is always the fear of getting caught, and catch you they will. The modern-day security measures are pretty reliable in protecting the casinos from any “shady business” and infiltration.

The field of civil engineering is more exciting than most would anticipate. There are some very interesting developments and new technologies being introduced in the past few years. That said, civil engineering has always been about heritage and passion. The combination creates a unique mix that attracts a lot of civil engineering students to the field.

Whether you are studying for an online civil engineering degree or taking an offline course, there are several must-read books to look into. They can either be a part of your course or just a classic, great-to-read book about engineering. We are going to take a look at some of them in this article.

Brunel: The Life and Times of Isambard Kingdom Brunel

Isambard Kingdom Brunel is one of the greatest engineers of our time. He was also a key figure in engineering due to the changes and innovations he brought to the table. Without him, engineering would not be the same and Britain would not be the country we know today.

Behind his genius and his immense passion for engineering, Brunel was a controversial figure. He was a great marketer and an excellent showman, but his life was filled with controversies that often direct people away from his great achievements. The book by Prof. Angus Buchanan titled “Brunel: The Life and Times of Isambard Kingdom Brunel” offers a more docile yet detailed take on his work as an engineer.

This is the work from which you can learn about project management and the many unusual approaches of Brunel while getting to know the man as an engineer. He was Britain’s most innovative civil engineer and there is so much to learn from his life, his work, and his legacy.

Material Science and Engineering: A First Course

To be a complete civil engineer, you have to know the materials you work with. At top universities such as Norwich University, engineering students are taught how to work with different materials effectively. The best online masters in civil engineering programs take the subject seriously.

When it comes to material science, “Material Science and Engineering: A First Course” by V. Raghavan is a crucial book to read. It may not be as in-depth as other, more advanced books on the matter, but this book is the perfect first step into the world of material science for engineers.

Infrastructure: A Guide to the Industrial Landscape

If industrial engineering is your passion, then this last book on our list is perfect for you. “Infrastructure: A Guide to the Industrial Landscape” by Brian Hayes takes readers into the world of infrastructure and offers a unique take on the industry. The book is filled with examples and great photos, making it a very fun read.

What’s interesting about the book is the way it also talks about the recent natural disasters, mainly Hurricane Katrina and the Fukushima disaster. Reading the book feels more like an adventure thanks to the way every bit of information about the world around us is presented. The illustrations simply make the experience and the adventure, more enjoyable.

Each of these books would be a fabulous addition to your bookshelf.

Let’s face it; everyone makes mistakes when they are younger. Whether it was a night of underage debauchery with your parent’s pilfered booze or a dare to rob the cash register at the local 7-Eleven, you might still be reeling in the wake of that bad decision today. People who were arrested as a youth have unique struggles in life, as they are often treated differently than those who haven’t had a run-in with the law. Here are a few challenges that the 70 million Americans who have been arrested might face.

Getting a Job

Image via Flicker by reynermedia

Getting a job is the number one issue with having an arrest record. Many job applications ask you to disclose any arrest information, and if you have anything listed, many companies simply choose not to interview you. Even if you do make it to the interview stage, 69 percent of employers perform background checks. In a background check, your employer will be able to see all of your arrest records, court reports, criminal convictions, and police reports.

If the report does come back negative, only 58 percent of employers allow candidates to explain the arrest or conviction. The rest will automatically decline the candidate for the position.

Renting an Apartment

Employers aren’t the only ones who can run a criminal background check on you. Landlords also choose to do this, and many are swayed by negative results. While this is technically against the law, many landlords are choosing to deny prospective tenants regardless. The Fair Housing Act is intended to prevent against this sort of discrimination, but landlords will come up with other reasons to justify their bias.

If you’re thinking of just skipping rentals and jumping into homeownership, think again. In a survey of 25-year-olds, 21 percent of them who had never been arrested owned a home. However, only 15 percent of people who were arrested owned a home. The rates were even worse for those who had been convicted, with only 10 percent being homeowners.

Earning a Professional License

If you’ve ever wanted to become a professional of any kind, you might be banned from doing so thanks to your criminal record. For example, many states won’t allow you to become a plumber, cosmetologist, or funeral director if you’ve been arrested before. Oklahoma, in particular, is extremely strict, limiting anyone with two convictions of marijuana possession from becoming a physical therapist, interior designer, or land surveyor.

Filling Up Your Bank Account

Whether it’s because they can’t find a good job or because of salary discrimination, those with an arrest record make far less than their peers. At age 25, the median income for someone who was never arrested was $25,000. For those with an arrest, it fell to $23,000, and for those with a conviction, $20,000.

If your arrest record is affecting your life, there are steps you can take to have it expunged after a certain period of time. Doing so might make life a little easier, so be sure to look up the rules in your specific state.

Generating visitors from search engine results is big business. In fact, competition is fierce when it comes to gaining a high placement on the almighty Google search results. Even a website that covers a niche subject will find it hard to stand out from like-minded businesses.

However, there are a number of steps that can be made that will help with pushing your website up the Google search rankings. Some of these are easy such as changing the image file names, while others will require plenty of dedication like producing regular blog content.

With that said, read on for five big steps to optimizing your website for SEO.

  1. Conduct keyword research

Relevant keywords that match your website’s subject matter will help boost attaining targeted visitors. As for how to conduct keyword research, there’s many detailed guides out there to offer assistance in that regard. Although utilizing Google AdWords is a good starting point.

  1. Implement those keywords

Once you’ve done that research, you need to place those keywords within your content! With that said, it is vital that you do this in a subtle fashion. Shoving in keywords in a ham-fisted way will not only spoil the overall quality of your content, but Google will also not appreciate this blatant keyword stuffing – to the point where they might punish your website when it comes to its search engine ranking position.

  1. Deliver beneficial content

Great content is going to draw in visitors for various reasons. Engaging and well-produced content is going to help retain customers. Such content is going to be shared by those that enjoyed it. Google appreciates such content and will push it up their search results.

As for producing rich content, ensure it is grammatically correct, enjoyable to read and full with visual content such as pictures/videos that will capture the reader’s attention.

  1. Change page titles and image file names

These might be seemingly small changes, but they can produce a big impact. Changing your page titles from something generic to ones that contain keywords will help with being spotted by search engines, as will changing the image file names in a similar fashion.

If you need help with fine-tuning your site or with any of the other aforementioned points, don’t be scared to hire someone to help. If your website is on the WordPress platform for instance, get in a professional WordPress Developer to check your website. After all, they might be able to spot beneficial changes that you have previously overlooked.

  1. Speed it up

Slow performance is a curse that nobody wants to suffer from with their website. If a site hasn’t loaded in a swift fashion, it can lead to potential visitors giving up within a couple of seconds and going to a competitor’s content instead. It goes without saying that is a bad thing for a number of reasons. To add to the bad news, Google is also punishing websites that are slow to act. Thankfully, you can make use of PageSpeed Insights to identify and rectify those speed-related issues.

When starting out with a business, you will probably be looking at every method out there that will give you that extra edge to succeed. After all, creating and maintaining a profitable company is much trickier than it might seem when all your initial dreams only focus on the potential rewards.

Thanks to the continued rise of technology and the Internet, there are more options available than ever to help your business grow and avoid common pitfalls. To best illustrate this, below you will find a healthy sample of ways where your business can utilize technology for your benefit.

Jump on the mobile bandwagon

Forget about desktops; mobile is where it’s at right now.

Well okay, don’t forget about desktops. However, it is important to note just how prevalent mobile usage is these days. In fact, people have been using their mobile devices longer on a daily basis than their desktops since 2014 – and the gap continues to grow each year.

As a result, it is highly recommended that you have your website optimized for mobile usage. Thankfully, this is generally included automatically with modern website themes/builders. On top of this, you should also explore the idea of producing your very own app. Because while people browse the Internet on mobile, reports suggest most of their time is spent using apps.

It’s not all about optimizing for mobile, either. There are plenty of apps on the market – from simple things like a calculator to project tracking software – that can benefit your business.

Hire the best from around the world

One of the great things about the Internet is that it opens you up to the world – and that includes your ability to hire workers. No longer do you have to be restricted to only bringing in local talent; now you can spread your wings and hire the best of the best in their respective fields.

As for how to find and hire these people, websites such as Upwork and Freelancer make it easy. Post the job you need doing (or simply headhunt a top rated freelancer), choose from the best applications, sort out payment terms, and then hire the person once everything is done. Considering this can all be done within an hour or two, it’s fair to say that it is much easier and quicker than going through a traditional hiring process!

If you don’t come across a suitable freelancer, there’s also the option of going with a specialist outsourcing firm. In general, these firms should be able to offer you that extra level of professionalism and assurance over the standard freelancer.

By the way, one other bonus of going the outsourcing route: you don’t need to pay the likes of health or dental benefits!

Use specialist software

Saying specialist software doesn’t just mean well-known programs like Photoshop and Microsoft Office. In fact, there are plenty of other software packages that can make life easy for your business.

One of the most helpful is dedicated accounting software. Now while there are various options available to suit all budgets/tastes, these accounting programs should help to keep track of those numbers all that much easier – something you’ll be thankful for when tax season rears its ugly head.

In addition, the inclusion of project management software and CRM (Custom Relations Management) software is also highly recommended. The former helps keep track of projects, while the latter places all your contacts/customers in one convenient place.

Conduct market research

Market research is certainly nothing new. However, with the Internet, conducting and getting a clearer message from your research is much more viable than traditional means.

First of all, you can set up a survey to send to prospective customers. Google forms are arguably the best option available in that regard, where you have the freedom to ask various questions that will help you gather the knowledge as to if your business idea is one that is viable or not.

Simply browsing the social media channels that your rivals use could also provide a healthy outlook with regards to knowing the market, while using Google Analytics helps to sort out those website numbers and see what is (or isn’t) working with your business.

Promote across the web

While traditional marketing methods haven’t exactly gone the way of the dodo just yet, online advertising techniques are certainly the priority for most new businesses. The reasons behind this are simple: it’s generally inexpensive, convenient and many people connect to the web on a daily basis.

As for which marketing options to choose, this is down to which you feel will best suit your business. There’s the obvious path of going with social media, which is recommended for essentially every company. Not only do you not need to spend any money with this method, yet nearly everyone is on the likes of Twitter and Facebook these days.

The likes of website banners, AdWords and other advert avenues have also been utilized over the years. You can also go creative with this type of advert – think about the possibility of sending your products to be featured by relevant YouTube channels or prominent bloggers.

Head for the cloud

Although you hear about security breaches, and you might be a little apprehensive to place your trust in cloud-based storage, there are many useful benefits over the usual means for storing your precious files and documents.

One advantage is that it boosts collaboration between team members. For instance, workers with access to a certain file will be able to access and edit it at any time and from wherever they are based. Speaking of which, it provides flexibility to employees who might need/want to stay at home to do their work.

Despite those aforementioned security issues, the cloud is also a more secure platform. With physical products like laptops and hard drives storing files, they can easily suffer from damage or become lost. In comparison, files stored in the cloud won’t be affected even if your work device is compromised.