Should My Business Use Paper Or Electronic Invoices?

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Sending invoices to clients is perhaps one of the most satisfying parts of running your own business. Unfortunately, it can also be one of the most time-consuming. When you’re running a business, you might wonder if switching to electronic invoice filing would be more efficient, but there are perks and pitfalls associated with each.

 

Here are some tips on whether you’re business should choose paper or electronic invoices.

 

Paper

 

Paper invoices are the traditional way to send bills to your clients. Small business invoice factoring relies on classic pen and paper processing. This gives the invoice creator complete control over the data entry system and you don’t have to run through the gamut of learning a new electronic invoicing software.

 

This method is a little more private than electronic invoicing but it reduces the transparency between you and your clients. When you’re looking to streamline your company, relying on electronic invoicing methods may be your best bet.

 

Electronic

 

One of the primary benefits of relying on electronic invoice factoring services is that it saves you on postage. Sending electronic invoices is 57% less expensive than sending a paper invoice since you don’t need to rely on paper, stamps, postage, and other fees. Freight brokers love the ease of an electronic service for international factoring and local factoring alike. It can also help you solve the oft-asked question: why get an invoice advance loan?

 

The speed at which electronic factoring is performed is one of the primary benefits of using this type of service. You also don’t need to worry about undelivered bills getting lost in the mail and it also enables you to offer a prompt payment method associated with the invoice. This is a great option for international freight shipping companies and local small businesses alike. After all, you can use an online small business factoring company from any location and at any time.

 

Making the transition to online invoicing is easier than ever with our help. Whether you’re looking for a freight bill factoring company or pondering “why get an invoice advance loan” you can rely on our experience for the best invoice factoring around.

Comparing Composites: Kevlar And Carbon Fiber

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Anyone who’s ever seen Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight has heard the terms “Kevlar” and “carbon fiber” thrown around. While the two sound perfect together, what makes them such a good pair on a chemical level? Is it really possible to construct your own Batsuit using a carbon fiber design? To see why Lucius Fox (a.k.a. Morgan Freeman’s character) suggested armor platelets over a mesh of carbon fiber, we need to take a closer look at each composite.

Construction

Carbon fiber is technically a cloth woven from many thin strands of graphite — and we mean thin: the fibers are between five and 10 microns in diameter, just slightly wider than spider silk. These strands are then laid over a mild and pasted into place using an epoxy resin. The strength of these minuscule fibers comes from their crossed positioning which creates the checkered pattern seen on many carbon fiber prototypes and carbon fiber products.

Kevlar, on the other hand, is constructed on a microscopic level by chaining man-made molecules together into a rigid polymer crystal. As a result, the solution can be spun into strands or poured like a liquid.

Strength

Just as both composites are incredibly light, they’re also incredibly strong. However, their strengths when it comes to strength differs: Kevlar is very rigid until it begins to buckle under compression; carbon fiber is generally less resistant to piercing forces (which is why Kevlar is preferred for body armor) but can withstand the high temperatures that weaken Kevlar.

Flexibility

And here we come to the main difference between the two. Kevlar can become severely compromised by the alteration of its shape, hence why Kevlar items are designed to be stiff and rigid. Since body armor plates are produced to stop weapons and projectiles, increased flexibility would result in more impact on the wearer’s body.

On the opposite side of things, the structure of carbon fiber is inherently quite flexible, though the thickness of the sheet does make a difference. In fact, that flexibility is one of the ways it dissipates impact energy, making it more suitable for breakaway items (like car body panels).

The combination of both materials for the ever-iconic Batsuit makes a lot of sense once you consider the nuances of each composite. If you’re planning a project that utilizes carbon fiber design, keep this information tucked away — you never know when it may come in handy!

Here are 3 Marketing Strategies to Focus On

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Did you know that almost 98% of those who click on your website won’t get turned into a new lead or customer? This is the problem that so many businesses face — there’s so much potential to grow one’s leads and customer base, but how does one get that percentage up? This is where a marketing agency can help. Their expertise might not be able to get 100% of site visitors to convert, but they can certainly make that number increase. They can strategize with you about methods to reach new customers and encourage existing customers to stay loyal to your brand or services. Whether it’s through better search engine optimization (SEO), creating more high quality content for your site, link building, or new marketing strategies to better reach customers, a good marketing agency can improve your sales figures.

What Can a Marketing Agency Help With? 
A marketing agency can help you come up with a viable marketing strategy, map out and oversee the marketing campaigns necessary for the strategy, and/or offer particular services that you might not otherwise have access to like telemarketing. You might want them to stay on just for a certain project or retain their services for a longer period of time, when you need them.

Some firms might specialize in say, digital marketing, direct marketing, or marketing communications, but there are also full-service marketing agencies that have a bunch of divisions within their company.

The end result of working with such a firm is to optimize conversion rates and acquire new customers. There are tons of marketing agencies out there, so you want to be sure that you’re retaining a good one. We’ll discuss what to look for in a later section, below.

What are Some Effective Marketing Strategies? 
Create Good Quality Content 
This might seem like a no-brainer, but quality content matters. If you have high quality content, you could increase traffic to a blog by as much as 2000%. It also factors into the algorithms that Google uses to rank your website in their search engine, along with link building. Without that content, you might fall lower in a search than you want to. And good quality, long form content over 1,000 words tend to be shared more widely via likes and shares, than shorter content.

Direct Marketing 
Despite complaints that technology is pushing us further away from each other, we still crave connection and personalized content. Direct marketing can be especially effective here, giving you lists of e-mails that link to people who match what you’re trying to market. They’ll usually handle creating and mailing the items as well, whether it’s via snail mail or e-mail. Given that over a third of Americans keep an eye on their e-mail regularly and about 16% check their e-mail four to six times a day, your ad is likely to catch their attention, even if it’s just a subject line!

SEO 
SEO also matters — and has mattered for quite some time. Good SEO will drive more traffic to your site and improve your search engine rankings, meaning that your business gets more exposure. Marketing firms can help you improve your SEO overall, not just when it comes to one specific campaign.

What Should I Look For in a Marketing Agency? 
Of course, a good reputation, longevity in the field, and a high success rate are important. Communication and collaboration are important and you should feel confident that they’ll keep you looped in and be willing to collaborate on strategies. Ask them what the first three to four months of working with your business would look like — based on what they know so far, could they offer you a preliminary sketch of what their strategy would include?

Hiring a marketing agency is a smart move, even if you only use them for a specific project. You’ll likely pick up certain things along the way as well that you can implement in the future!

Top 3 Ways to Soundproof Your Office

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We face countless distractions at work — our phones going off, chats popping up, coworkers dropping by. If we’re especially distractable (or our neighbors are particularly loud), loud gum chewing, the tapping of fingers, or heavy sighs might also break our concentration. Despite this, more and more offices are moving to open floor plans, to maximize space. But there are multiple benefits to soundproofing an office and as the benefits of soundproofing increase, more business owners might start to wonder how to soundproof an office room to get the best of both worlds. Even if you work in an open office floor plan, there are still ways you can create a sort of soundproof office booth for employees. You still have collaboration, but the noise level will go down — often to many people’s relief.

What are the Benefits of Soundproofing? 

Even building a small soundproof space like a soundproof phone booth where employees can go to do calls or a soundproof booth for quiet work can make a big difference. Concentration in a soundproofed office can increase by almost 50% and can get rid of over 50% of conversational distractions. Workers won’t notice other conversations happening around them as much with the help of soundproofing, so they can focus on their own work.

Because people are better able to focus, it can reduce work errors by as much as 10% and cut down on the stress levels of those working by almost 30%! These are significant numbers and can overall achieve a more productive and happier workplace.

Whether it’s getting a private phone booth for office or a designated space where people can go if they need to focus to totally soundproofing the right office, it’s becoming increasingly clear that this is a smart move for businesses to make.

How to Soundproof an Office Room 

If you’re wondering how to soundproof an office room, particularly if you’re tackling an office floor plan, there are actually a number of creative ways available.

For those who work in an open floor plan, soundproof desk dividers can be a huge help. These are often made from noise-absorbing fiberglass, which cancels out noise by absorbing it, reducing echo and unwanted noise, and is usually available in an assortment of colors and styles that can easily match the design of your office. These usually come already fully assembled, so they’re easy to use and set up!

Sound reduction panels and hanging acoustic panels are two other ways to soundproof an office room effectively. These you will likely need some assistance in installing, but they’re low cost, effective options (as compared to having a remodeling contractor come in).

Soundproof paint is another unique new option that can help reduce noise transmission through walls. If your office is relatively quiet, but the room next door to you tends to be fairly raucous, soundproof paint can help with that!

And of course, there’s more full-scale soundproofing that would involve remodeling contractors and your office to be upended while the soundproofing occurred.

Who Can Help Soundproof? 

In the case of the desk dividers — and even with some of the sound reduction or acoustic panels — you might be able to soundproof your office yourself or with the help of some colleagues. However, if there’s a painting job or a total overhaul of your office space, it’s best to get contractors in to handle it. They can do a quicker, more efficient job, and ensure that everything is taken care of safely.

Once you’ve ordered the materials you want, you’ll need to see who can come to install in your area. Usually, a quick online search can help, or if you bought the materials locally, the store might also be able to offer recommendations of companies or contractors they’ve worked with before.

Don’t let the noise of the office drive you crazy. Learn how to soundproof an office room and take care of the extra noise floating around — it’s simpler than you might think!

Make Your Meetings Less of a Snooze and More Efficient With These 3 Tips

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There are very few people who actually enjoy attending meetings. Even though they’re often designed to help a team work collaboratively, map out important strategies, and execute ideas — which are all good things — they can often veer into time-wasting territory. Indeed, the National Statistics Council reports that almost 40% of employee time is spent sitting in meetings. Steven Rogelberg, at the University of North Carolina, conducted a study that showed over 70% of senior managers thought the meetings their organization had were unproductive and inefficient and Interaction Associates reports that around 70% of those in meetings say they multitask during the meeting. So what’s the point? If no one wants to go and people aren’t paying attention, why have meetings? Despite their bad rap, meetings really can be an effective tool for communication and collaboration and chatbots might be a step towards finding good meeting solutions.

Streamlining Meetings
When calling a meeting, consider if everyone on your staff needs to be there. Is this a meeting that’s actually most useful for upper-level management? Will assistants or mid-level employees add something useful to the conversation? Similarly, there are often top-level executives who don’t need to be in every single meeting or weigh in on every little thing — it’s a waste of their time and your business’s.

Have a set agenda — and if you can, consider distributing it ahead of time, so that people can review, and prepare any questions or concerns in advance. Stick to the agenda and try to not get off track.

And stay up to date with your tech, to help things along. A chatbot for your site or business, for example, can help schedule meetings or dial people in; UC management tools and other software solutions can make sure everyone is connected and knows what’s going on.

How a Chatbot for Your Site Can Help in Unexpected Ways 
Chatbots are excellent at gathering data. A chatbot for your site can help drive awareness for your brand, but also collect customer feedback — both positive and negative — which can inform marketing and publicity meetings, but also long-term strategy. If you can see at a glance what’s specifically working (or not working), you already have bullet points built in for your meeting, instead of expounding theoretically on what might be effective or ineffective.

Chatbots can also help network and introduce people at events or larger meetings, pairing people effectively. This promotes more engagement and face-to-face time, versus time spent staring and swiping at a screen. Networking, as studies have shown, can bring important leads and deals to your business.

And, chatbots can help summarize and distribute meeting information as a back-up after the meeting is done. No one will have to spend time sending out notes or collecting the information; it’ll be done automatically and accurately and get sent to team members immediately. This can help people stay on track, identify goals, and follow up when necessary.

How to Stay On Top of Things With UC Management 
Unified communications pull a variety of communication tools together (voice, e-mail, messaging, conferencing, and so on) and integrate them for your business. It automatically makes your business more efficient, empowers your employees and ensures that everyone stays on the same page, even if your offices are spread across the globe. Meetings can be easily scheduled — no more telephone tag! — and team members interfaced in no matter where they are or what they have access to.

It also helps improve your collaboration, incorporate consumer feedback, and neatly provide reports and assessments. It relieves other staff members of those duties, ensuring that they can focus their attention elsewhere. In short, UC management is an important tool in today’s modern workplace, and one that more and more businesses are increasingly taking advantage of.

Whether it’s a chatbot for your site or further exploration into unified communications, there are a host of ways your business can be further improved and made more efficient. Explore these options today to maximize your performance.

4 Important Steps to Planning a Funeral

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Unfortunately, over 2 million people die every year in the United States. These can be extremely difficult times for family members, friends, and even entire communities. If a relative of your own as passed away, it might be your responsibility to plan the funeral service.

 

There are a few important steps to planning a funeral, but it’s important to note that during this difficult and emotional time, you’re not alone. You’ll likely have friends and family members of your own to help you, but your best bet is to work with a helpful funeral director who can assist you throughout the entire planning process.

 

Here are some important steps to planning a funeral:

    • Making the call – Perhaps one of the most important funeral planning steps is making that first call to notify people of the deceased. This is an incredibly difficult step and it’s best to have a loved one nearby to assist you during these calls.

 

    • Contacting funeral homes – Once the appropriate parties have been notified about your loved one passing away, it’s time to find a quality funeral home and schedule the date of the service. Make sure to discuss everything from cremation services to funeral costs in order to avoid any complicated issues leading up to and during the funeral.

 

    • Provide the funeral director the deceased’s information – Once you’ve selected a funeral provider, you’ll need to provide them some basic information on the deceased. Be sure to include the deceased’s full name, date and place of birth, date and place of death, next of kin, whether or not an autopsy will be performed, as well as your name, contact information, and relationship with the deceased.

 

    • Acquire the death certificate – Acquiring a death certificate is important for finalizing the deceased’s affairs, including filing for life insurance claims and canceling credit cards. In some parts of the country, you’ll need to either be a relative of the deceased or prove that you have a financial interest in their death.

If you want to learn more about all the various steps to planning a funeral speak with an experienced funeral director today.

3 Undeniable Benefits of Having Speed Bumps Installed

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In today’s society, where far too many people have the need for speed, there’s an increased need for speed bumps. Speed bumps play a crucial role in keeping people safe, both drivers and pedestrians. Unfortunately, business owners often think that speed bumps are only meant for roads or heavy-traffic areas. But concrete speed bumps can be extremely beneficial in commercial parking lots and commercial entrances, too. To encourage you to have speed bumps installed where they’re most needed, let’s explore a few benefits they can offer.

 

Cars slow down: Obviously, the biggest benefit speed humps can offer is that they force vehicles to drive slower. All too often, cars speed through parking lots. This can not only increase noise from vehicles, but it can also put other drivers’ and pedestrians’ safety at risk. If cars are speeding through your parking lot, they risk hitting a person or another car. So when speed bumps are implemented, these drivers are forced to slow down and drive safely.

 

Less traffic congestion: Drivers tend to speed or cut through in areas that they know don’t have any speed bumps or stop signs. This can quickly lead to increased traffic, which is not always great in a business parking lot. Fortunately, speed bumps can help prevent this. With the right pavement services and careful selection of concrete speed bumps, business owners can rest assured that the traffic in their parking lot will be controlled. People won’t unnecessarily cut through or speed, making the parking lot a safer and easier place to drive and walk when needed.

 

Customers are safer: Another key benefit speed bumps can offer is that pedestrians, including customers and company staff, will be safer. Walking through a parking lot that drivers tend to speed through can be extremely dangerous for pedestrians. But when speed bumps are installed, customers can rest assured that they’ll be safe walking through the parking lot. If needed, speed bumps can even work with crosswalk areas to promote further safety for those walking throughout the parking lot.

 

As of 2017, the U.S. paving industry employed 284,626 people throughout 195,603 businesses, which means you should have no trouble finding a pavement company to install your concrete speed bumps. With the right speed bumps installed, business owners can have peace of mind knowing everyone in their parking lot, both drivers and pedestrians, will be better off.

Not Everybody Works The Same Way: Designing Office Spaces With Every Worker In Mind

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The history of commercial real estate has seen offices spaces fluctuate greatly throughout the past century. Building construction companies have gone from building grey boxes filled with smaller grey boxes to sprawling corporate metropolises (we’re looking at you, Facebook) all in the name of changing views on workplace productivity.

The value of private office construction at the beginning of 2017 was $6.6 billion, a number that’s only rising with the startup boom. Whether you’re looking at rental properties, site selection for construction, or land acquisition to build from the ground up, an office space is only worth as much as the employees inside it.

A well-designed office space should have the learning and working styles of all of its employees in mind. We’re not saying to coddle them, they’re adults. However, building an office that’s only conducive to the working habits of half of your employees will play a part in potentially decreasing productivity. Let’s look at some design implementations that reflect different working styles.

  • Do not disturb: We all know people who work like this. Minimal noise, no outside disturbances whatsoever, the do not disturb worker lives their professional life in solitude because that’s how they’re most productive. Your office space must have areas where these types of workers can get their jobs done in peace.
  • Chaotic productive: The opposite of the aforementioned employee are the ones who thrive in noise. Whether that’s in a noisy coffee shop or in a collaborative office working space, they find themselves most productive around other people. Along with solitary, quiet spaces, your office needs to have some open working spaces where these types can flourish (often together).
  • The wanderers: As technology advances, we’re less and less anchored to a desk, making work more mobile. The wanderers don’t like sitting still, they get fidgety at desks, and are prone to move locations in the office a few times a day. Where the previous two working types have their “safe” places, the wanderers’ safe places are everywhere. Your office should have a few different spots sprinkled around the space so people who need to move around can work in different places throughout the day.

We’ve only listed a few of the more common worker types that a lot of modern office designs are built to accommodate. What really matters is knowing your employees and, if you’re considering a new office or a redesign, really focusing on their workplace needs. After all, they’re the ones making the place run.

Why Your Business Needs A Social Media Marketing Plan

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Over 55.1% of the world’s population has access to the Internet. Though it provides a number of uses, from research to news access, humanity seems to favor one thing above all else: social media. Whether they’re posting pictures to Instagram of their beyond-belief vacation or tweeting about what they had for lunch (memes included), people love posting on the vast social media networks available. As a result, social media provides the perfect platform to launch new marketing services.

Social media marketing offers two main benefits: increased brand exposure, and increased traffic. As society takes steps towards breaking down the barriers between brands and consumers, platforms like Twitter and Instagram offer the best and easiest ways to do so. With the help of industrial marketing services, you’ll find yourself among the greats.

Consider the Wendy’s Twitter account. The fast-food mogul has over 2.8 million followers because they’re able to combine humor with relevant posts about deals currently going on at locations around the country — they’ve found the perfect balance. So, how can your business take advantage of such ideal real estate?

First, interact with your customers. Listen to what they’re asking for and what they dislike. Consumers want to feel like they matter to your brand; social media personality and renowned music critic, DJ Akademiks, claims that Instagram is the perfect place to put your feelers out and get feedback in return.

“If you’re a rapper, you’ve got to get some music up on Instagram. Through all the BS comments, you’re bound to find some good stuff. Not only that, though, but you can do so much more in terms of promotion as an artist.”

While Akademiks is speaking particularly about rappers, the fact is the same for all brands looking to establish themselves in a world full of competition. MRO consulting agencies can help you figure out what you want to say to your consumers in a way that benefits both parties; the more you interact with consumers, the more you’ll grow to understand their needs and desires and the more you’ll learn how to best market your product or service to such a specific demographic.

Second, be authentic. The reason people seek out MRO consulting firms to manage their marketing resources and organization services is that they’re not sure how to quite get the truth of their message across.

How Can I Get My Co-Op Marketing Program Back On Track?

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It’s no secret co-op marketing can be beneficial for both distributors and retail businesses because it allows for greater marketing experiences at half the cost. But how can you make the most out of your co-op marketing experience?

If you’re looking to capture greater value through your co-op marketing funds, consider the following strategies for your future distributor marketing plans.

Don’t underestimate the impact of digital marketing

Many co-op marketing programs are used for advertisements in print and broadcast. While these channels are still effective, there’s no argument that digital marketing is the biggest thing to conquer.

In fact, up to 62% of marketers said they use Facebook as their top choice for social media marketing. This is because social media pages such as Facebook are able to reach wider audiences.

By separating your co-op marketing programs from the digital world, you’re causing your business more harm than good. While you don’t need to abandon your print advertisements, make sure you’re putting a good chunk of your co-op marketing funds in the online basket.

Make your co-op agreement easier to understand

Co-op marketing agreements can often fall short of their goal because of the number of requirements included in a distributor’s guidelines.

Although certain requirements are necessary to ensure a retailer is complying with your brand, a co-op agreement that’s too intricate can cause your marketing partners to become frustrated and drop out of the agreement altogether.

It’s often for this reason that co-op marketing funds go unused, which is a shame considering the savings that can come out of a successful co-op marketing program.

That said, be sure to go through your co-op marketing agreement to make sure it’s easy to understand and your requirements aren’t too complex. The easier your agreement is for your marketing partners to assess, the better.

Need help with your distributor marketing plan?

Distributor marketing plans can be challenging to create and to make them easy to understand. An industrial consulting agency can help you make a distributor marketing plan that works for both you and your marketing partners.

If you need professional MRO marketing services, Rivet|MRO can help. Our co-op marketing agency has the experience to create a distributor marketing plan that works for you. To learn more about our industrial marketing services, contact Rivet|MRO today.