Must-Have Technology for Telecommuters

Entrepreneurs and freelancers are known to dive into their business ventures with gusto, blasting out emails, attending networking events, taking on new projects and learning as they go how to best structure an efficient workflow. With just a little bit of time and research on the front-end, start-ups can avoid a few common time-consuming pitfalls as they grow.

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Should You Consider Seasonal Work?

If you’ve never considered seasonal work as a stop-gap measure between full-time opportunities, now might be the perfect time. Seasonal work allows you to focus on your job search while providing a much-needed source of income and experience. The retail industry is a safe bet for seasonal work this time of year as sellers typically boost their workforces significantly in preparation for the holidays.

There are also plenty of professional, well-paying options beyond the sales floor this time of year if you do a little digging. Behind the frontlines, a whole host of marketing professionals, social media specialists, recruiters, customer service personnel, IT support and others will need some extra help in order to keep operations running smoothly this holiday season. Try adding keywords like “seasonal” and “temporary” to your current search queries to see what comes up. You can also check out LinkedIn groups to uncover some of the “hidden” jobs out there.

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5 Reasons Companies Choose eLearning

If you’re hesitant to adopt eLearning tools, just look at other companies. You don’t need to switch every training session to an online one, but incorporating some eLearning education or training programs is a step in the right direction. Investing in new technology and eLearning can yield a significant return for employers, as well as help strengthen computer literacy skills for employees.

Here are five ways that eLearning tools can benefit your company. Check out the statistics that have proven the value of online training.

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Square Inc: Taking a Look at Some Well-Rounded Products

What do you need to run a business? Some startup money, adequate space, cool technology, a reliable staff – but let’s go back to the cool technology part.

We all know what an iPad is capable of – it can become your own personal movie theater, your own drum set, and it can also double as your own personal cash register.

Square Inc. is a mobile payments company that is behind the iPhone credit card reader. Square was founded in 2009 and along with the card reader, also offers hardware and software like the Square Market and Square Wallet.

The Square Market is an online storefront specifically for small businesses. Using it, you can embed a link on your website or blog to sell your products. Simple, easy and effective for people trying to grow their business.

This past summer Square developed an app and created a stand to turn an iPad into a full-functioning cash register, stand and all.

Traditional cash registers are usually passed over in favor of POS (point of sale) systems because they are smarter and more functional. Setting up a POS system for a business can cost thousands of dollars – and now that the Square Register has been out on the market for a few months, how does it stack up?

Square Register: price and functionality

Let’s break it down:

Square Register stand: $299

Apple iPad: roughly $500

Just those two elements alone get you to about $800. That doesn’t include any miscellaneous accessories you’ll need, like a way to print receipts and of course, a cash box.

Ah, cash – forgot about that. One of the biggest drawbacks of the Square Register is that no matter how minimalist and modern it looks, it would potentially still have to sit on top of a cash box – not so minimalist and modern.

If you did need to use a cash drawer, print kitchen tickets in a restaurant or simply print receipts, the app is compatible with that sort of equipment.

But is the initial upfront cost plus the cost of extra equipment and accessories worth it? It might be when you consider the data tracking.

Data tracking capabilities

What the Square Register is offering isn’t just a cool, slick way to use your iPad – it’s a way to track data in real time.

  1. Sales history. See recent history that shows what time and which items were purchased and paid for.
  2. 2.       Deposit history. Use whichever spreadsheet program you prefer to see exact dates and transactions of payment.
  3. 3.       Payment history.  Get your hands dirty with data that shows detailed graphs with everything from item details to mobile staff summaries to different transactions.

You can also email or print out daily reports and summaries.

If the register seems like too much, small businesses owners can always stick with smartphone apps and the Square iPhone card reader.

Rural Arts Education and the Digital Divide: Bridging the Gap

Broadband Internet access might not seem like an issue for the 70% of Americans who have it. But for those who don’t, the digital divide is real – and it’s a real problem.

It’s a problem that disproportionately affects people living in rural areas. According to a 2013 White House report, only 58% of rural residents in the U.S. have broadband Internet access at home. That’s compared to 72% of urban residents. In total, over 100 million U.S. homes lack broadband access.
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The Future of ‘Second Screening’

“Second screen” is a buzz word that’s been thrown around the TV and tech industries. It’s exactly what it sounds like – a second screen, like a smartphone or tablet, that viewers use while watching TV.

You’ve probably used a second screen without even thinking about it – for example, if you’ve ever Googled an actor’s name during a movie, or tweeted about a show while you watched.
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Social Media for E-Commerce: New Tools to Spark Brand Growth

Though consumers still make the trek to brick-and-mortar stores to make purchases, more and more people are shopping online– either as their primary means to buy or as an informational resource prior to visiting a physical store. By 2014, more than a third of Americans are going to own a tablet device, and it’s clear that e-commerce, particularly of the mobile variety, won’t be slowing down any time soon.

A whopping 71% of shoppers believe they get a better deal online than in stores. Even more, 46% of online users rely on social media when deciding what to buy.  Nowadays social media platforms are utilized by brands not only for advertising but to solve what their traditional counterparts would see as ‘customer-facing’ challenges, including direct communication and damage control. That means it’s even more important for these brands to solidify a strong online presence – just ask Lululemon, Warby Parker and Chobani. We’ll get to them in a bit.
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