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An Ad's Environment Is as Important as What It's Selling

July 16, 2019

  • A recent study found advertisements viewed in high-quality mobile web environments performed 74% more favorably than the same ads in low-quality environments.
  • Customers are three times less willing to seek out brands that advertise with “unsavory content.”
  • Ads seen in conjunction with high-quality content have the capacity to generate “up to a 20% higher engagement rate and up to a 30% greater memorability” among subjects.

In the age of content creators and influencers, advertisers have had to adapt to fit the open-source nature of the internet, leading to some major growing pains. With an estimated 163 zettabytes of online content expected to be available by the year 2025 and smartphone adoption in the U.S. expected to pass 70% this year, a newly released study suggests that the content an ad is associated with, among other things, can influence how a brand is perceived by a potential audience. It’s a small study with potential for a big impact.

Released earlier today by Integral Ad Science, The Halo Effect: Ad Environment and Receptivity examined how an ad’s overall environment impacts people’s reaction to it. Researchers at Neuro-Insight used Steady-State Topography to monitor the brain activity of 50 people as they made their way through a simulated mobile experience. Eight “digital display (i.e., banner) creatives” from the automotive, consumer packaged goods, financial services, technology and retail industries were shown on four high-quality and four low-quality mobile web environments.

What researchers found as they watched the brain centers responsible for “positive and negative affinity” was that among the few people in this study, the tendency was to enjoy ads more when they were next to high-quality content and disliked them when the content wasn’t acceptable.

“This biometric research demonstrates that the quality of an ad’s environment has a dramatic impact on how people …

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'Homeshoring' Brings Call Centers and Customers Closer

July 16, 2019

The call center industry is famous for offshore outsourcing, sending jobs overseas to places like India or the Philippines. While outsourcing cuts costs for a call center, it often comes at the expense of customer satisfaction. Luckily, call center jobs have been returning to the U.S. in large numbers throughout the past decade, thanks in large part to a trend called homeshoring.

What is homeshoring?

Homeshoring is the process of using at-home agents to achieve both cost savings and a high level of customer satisfaction. Offshore outsourcing typically achieved the first objective but failed miserably at the second. Customers regularly reported language barriers or difficulty understanding agents’ thick accents. In addition, agents in other countries are not always subject to the same requirements as those in the U.S., raising concerns about security and privacy. To solve this problem, call centers employed technology to allow agents to work remotely.

Traditionally, call centers have been located in office buildings with hundreds of cubicles and buzzing phone lines. In the U.S., where workers tend to be highly educated and demand more pay to meet the relatively wealthy standard of living compared to much of the world, this setup was costing call centers a fortune. Hence, offshore outsourcing began in earnest. As technology developed, however, it became feasible to get the benefits of a domestic home-based agent – accent-neutral with a high level of education – at a fraction of the cost.

“The basic beauty of homeshoring is that you’re able to tap into a talent pool with individuals who are highly educated,” said Peter Hargittay, former vice president of marketing and sales operations at Arise Virtual Solutions, one of the companies that pioneered the homeshoring movement.

Editor’s note: If you’re looking for information to help you choose the call center that’s

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What to Look for in Your Credit Card Processing Service Contract

July 16, 2019

  • Businesses need to understand what is included in their credit card processing service contract.
  • Withheld funds, termination fees and equipment charges are among the things credit card processing service sales agents fail to tell businesses about.
  • Before signing a contract, businesses should have an unbiased consultant review it.
  • If there is something in the contract businesses don’t like, they shouldn’t be afraid to negotiate better terms.

Accepting debit and credit cards has become a must for businesses today. While consumers are far from abandoning cash altogether, credit and debit cards have become the most popular payment method for shoppers.

Research from the 2018 TSYS U.S. Consumer Payment Study revealed that 80% of consumers preferred paying with debit or credit cards, compared with just 14% who said cash was their preferred form of payment.

This data shows the importance of being able to handle credit card transactions and is the reason why so many businesses are employing credit card processing services to handle those needs.

While most credit card service providers will openly boast about their cheap rates, low fees and mobile options, there are other things they aren’t so forthcoming about. The problem many small businesses run into is that the fees and rates they end up being charged to accept cards from their customers are much higher than they thought they’d negotiated.

Editor’s note: If you’re looking for information to help you choose the credit card processor that’s right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our vendor partners contact you with free information.

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What to be aware of in the contract

Phillip Parker, a credit card services provider expert with, says it is critical to have a full understanding of any credit card processing service contract you are signing and to always …

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How to Start a Podcast

July 16, 2019

Many of us have made the long commute to work more bearable by buffering the departure and arrival with a podcast or two. Some of us have compensated for the sense of isolation felt as new parents by consuming manageable chucks of podcasts during baby’s naptime. And who hasn’t tried to cut through the boredom – and worry – of waiting to see a doctor by losing themselves in a podcast? Podcasts can be sanity savers, informative, educational, inspiring or just plain fun. 

As a result of its versatility, this form of media has grown in popularity since its inception in 2005. In fact, today, there are some 750,000 active podcasts, with over 30 million episodes produced. Nearly 51 % of the U.S. population has listened to a podcast, up 7% from just last year. Listeners enjoy an average of seven shows per week, with 80% listening to all or most of each podcast episode. 

Given podcasts’ ability to attract and keep an audience, it’s no surprise that business owners, entrepreneurs, and marketers are looking to capitalize on the popularity of this medium. As a podcaster, you can position yourself as an authority in a particular topic or field, which will help you influence clients and customers in ways that encourage them to purchase your products and services, invest in your business, or promote you to their peers. And all of this can be done on the cheap, because in most cases, creating a podcast does not require a significant financial investment. 

Although you may be an expert in your industry, perhaps you are not quite sure where to start when it comes to creating your own podcast. To help you avoid common rookie mistakes, we spoke with experts to get advice and recommendations on how to get started. 

Here …

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Best Free PowerShell Training Resources

July 15, 2019

PowerShell was developed at Microsoft by Jeffrey Snover in 2003. Since then, Windows administrators have recognized the benefits of using PowerShell for a range of administrative tasks, whether at the command line or from its GUI. Today, PowerShell is tightly integrated with Windows, Windows Server and other Windows products, and it’s available for Linux and MacOS as well.

In fact, PowerShell now replaces the Windows Command Prompt in the default Windows menus, as its capabilities completely overtake and eclipse the older, DOS-inspired command line. Whether your aim is run-of-the-mill Windows administration or you’re branching out into the cloud or DevOps, knowing your way around PowerShell can improve the efficiency of your workaday tasks.

If you need to brush up on all things PowerShell, check out these free training and general resources before investing money in any formal courses.


With the retirement of the Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) in June 2019, Microsoft Learn is a logical first stop in a search for free learning sources for Microsoft products. To get started, go to the main Microsoft Learn page, click the “browse all” link, and search “PowerShell.”

The site is fairly new and focuses mainly on Azure and various business apps (Microsoft Dynamics 365, PowerApps, Power BI), so its PowerShell offerings are sparse as of this writing. Check back occasionally to see if more PowerShell content has been added. It’s possible that Microsoft will update some of the numerous courses that were available on MVA and host them on Microsoft Learn.

Supporting all platforms and languages that use PowerShell, this site’s Free Resources section is a portal to e-books and the YouTube channel (which has more than 100 videos). The Build Server section lets you sign up for virtual instances of PowerShell for testing and learning purposes.

While you’re …

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Best Virtualization Certifications for IT Pros

July 15, 2019

In today’s competitive IT job market, virtualization is a must-have technology skill set, fueled by the exploding popularity of virtualization and cloud computing. IT professionals can get started in this red-hot technology space with these five best virtualization certifications for 2019.

In both up and down economic times recently, IT job opportunities related to virtualization have remained a constant hot spot in the job market. As we analyzed top IT jobs, top IT pay and top IT certification surveys for the past several years, in fact, we saw at least one virtualization entry in every single category. That makes a strong case that virtualization is a good set of skills and knowledge for any IT professional. It applies across the board to IT pros who work with systems, networks or IT infrastructure and/or architecture.

Virtualization is a technology space where the platform rules. This explains why our top “virt certs” originate from vendors such as Cisco, VMware, Citrix, and Microsoft and cover their specific virtualization platforms and tools. Though there are other virtualization players, they don’t really compete with these large and well-established companies.

There were a few notable changes to our featured certifications this year. Although the Oracle VM3.0 for x86 Certified Implementation Specialist has been in the top five several years running, the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Data Center bumped it from the leaderboard. We also replaced the now-retired Microsoft MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification with the Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate. This also underscores Microsoft’s strong pivot toward Azure.

It’s not hard to understand why professionals want to specialize in virtualization technologies. Per SimplyHired, the average salary for virtualization engineer jobs is $109,353, with the lower end at $77,097 and the high end at $155,104. Glassdoor reports a salary range from about $67,000 for entry-level …

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30-Plus Grants for Small Businesses

July 15, 2019

A loan isn’t your only option: Many government organizations offer grants to local businesses that meet certain eligibility requirements and qualifications. You can also find small business grants sponsored by corporations, nonprofits and independent organizations. [Looking for more information on how to apply? Check out this related article on securing a business grant.]

Because grants are generally not expected to be repaid, they aren’t given to just anyone. Most organizations have strict guidelines and reporting measures to ensure that grant recipients use the money wisely. Many grants require you to match or combine the grant with other forms of financing.

To successfully navigate the often-complicated process of applying for a small business grant, seek help from a financial professional.

Independent grants for small businesses

1. The Awesome Foundation

This independent organization offers micro-grants of $1,000 each to small organizations or independent creators that are “advancing the interest of awesome.” Grants are awarded by independent local chapters around the world. The majority of awards go to projects that focus on community development, technology and the arts.

2. National Association for the Self-Employed Growth Grant

Micro-business owners who are also NASE members can apply for small business grants of up to $4,000. Grants are usually approved to finance a specific business need, such as buying equipment, hiring part-time help, creating a website, or investing in specific training and education. Grant winners are chosen monthly.    

3. Idea Cafe Small Business Grant

Business Owners’ Idea Cafe awards a $1,000 micro-grant to “the most inspirational business owner” in order to start or grow a business. Semifinalists are chosen by panel; finalists and the ultimate winner are chosen by open voting. The winner also receives a total of $1,500 in advertising credits, as well as free hosting for two years from Liquid Web, the award’s …

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The Pros and Cons of Hiring Your Children in Your Small Business

July 14, 2019

If you’re a small business owner, it can be difficult to find and hire the talent you need. One possible solution to fill those gaps is to hire your children. As with every decision in life and business, though, there are pros and cons to consider before bringing your children on board. Here are eight pros and cons to hiring your children to work in your small business.

Pros of hiring your children

1. You may win out when it comes to paying the tax requirements for your children.

The tax requirements for family employees differ greatly from those for other employees. According to the IRS, payments for services performed by a child under the age of 18 aren’t subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes if your business is a sole proprietorship or partnership where each partner is the parent of the child. Payments for services performed by a child under the age of 21 aren’t subject to the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA). However, no matter your child’s age, payment for their services are subject to income tax withholding.

2. There are tax benefits to hiring your children to join your small business.

If your child is of legal working age and performing work you’d ordinarily pay someone else to do, their wages are considered legitimate business expenses. Reasonable work includes data entry, filing, typing, customer service, cleaning, maintenance, and stockroom or warehouse work. Depending on your child’s age, you may still be able to claim them as a dependent or get the tax credit benefit for them as well.

3. You’re probably familiar with your children’s capabilities and professional history.

One of the biggest complaints hiring managers have when looking for new talent is finding the time to sift through countless resumes to find the …

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Want A Business Thought? Draw Inspiration From Five That Made Tens of millions Fast

July 14, 2019

Business insider,Business plan,Business ideas,Online business,Business line,Business letter,Business daily,Business proposal,Business times,Business world,Business newsWhen selecting a business concept, it’s sensible to take a look at your strengths, skill set, and belongings you’re already obsessed with. Business Plans Index – A subject information to sample business plans and profiles for specific enterprise types from Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. There are plenty of on-line business ideas, but these five plans will be so obvious to start an internet enterprise with out risk. You should spend cash with the intention to start this business. Perform sensitivity checks on the cash required by altering key objects, similar to sales or margin.

Assume additionally about what the important thing elements of your future success will probably be and how you will strengthen your position out there. However I discover it’s tougher to make plenty of cash at seasonal businesses, so as an alternative I would first take into account offering a creative arts day camp after school or on weekends. This can be a very completely different business than what I might name eBay trading where you purchase and sell merchandise on eBay.

Small Business Ideas Philippines

A enterprise plan features a description of how the enterprise idea will probably be carried out in follow from the beginning. This is yet one more home-based business idea you can start without a lot upfront price at all (except you resolve to pay for a social media scheduling app or software). It’s endorsed to carry out research earlier than beginning this business. In instances involving elevating capital or getting a loan, businesses with plans were extra likely to get the funding they wanted.

All companies should ideally have a commercial checking account. Listed below are some low-investment business concepts that allow you to make cash without investing rather a lot upfront, while freeing you from the calls for of stock …

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More Naturalized Citizens Are Starting Small Businesses

July 12, 2019

  • The number of naturalized citizens who became incorporated business owners increased by 70.5% between 2000 and 2017.
  • The top industry for both U.S.-born and naturalized citizens’ incorporated businesses was construction.
  • Four of the top five metropolitan areas with the largest proportion of businesses owned by naturalized citizens are in California.

Immigration in America has been a hot-button issue for decades, but under President Donald Trump’s administration, the issue has reached a fever pitch. While most proponents of stricter immigration policies believe restrictions will save American jobs, a recent survey by FundRocket found that immigrants who become naturalized citizens are major drivers of the country’s small business community.

According to the study, which drew on data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, naturalized citizens are not only twice as likely to start incorporated businesses as U.S.-born citizens, the industries and cities that they operate in are thriving.

“Naturalized citizens founded many of the nation’s most powerful businesses: Google, Yahoo, and eBay owe their existence to entrepreneurs born abroad,” researchers wrote in their study. “Still, more titans of industry hail from families from other countries: Steve Jobs’ and Jeff Bezos’ fathers came from Syria and Cuba, respectively.”

Nearly half of Forbes’ Fortune 100 companies last year were founded by immigrants. Furthermore, researchers estimated that more than 1 in 10 American businesses are owned and operated by newcomers to the country.

Business ownership and employment

There are more than 30 million small businesses in the U.S., which account for nearly 60 million jobs, or around 48% of the American workforce. With those numbers in mind, the 12.5% of incorporated businesses owned by naturalized citizens accounts for roughly 7.5 million jobs.

Though the number of businesses owned by naturalized citizens makes up a relatively small percentage of the overall workforce – …

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