Introduction

In countless vertical business markets, mobile professionals are roaming far from their corporate campuses with laptops and cellular phones in tow. The increasing ubiquity of Wi-Fi hotspots and high-speed cellular networks, in part, has made these road warriors depend on real-time access to email, calendars and other corporate information systems.

Similarly, Sales force workers equipped with mobile devices such as Tablet PCs and ruggedized handhelds can be found in retail stores, on construction sites, in manufacturing plants, on service calls and everywhere else business is being done. Mobility gives them the tools they need for order-entry, shipment tracking and business intelligence reports. The use of mobile devices increases accuracy and eliminates redundancy, so there’s no need to carry around a stack of manuals.

Throughout business locations such as factories, offices, hospitals and other facilities a new breed of mobile worker, often referred as corridor warrior are seen armed with lightweight, handheld devices linked to wireless local area network (WLANs). The real-time communications and information access made possible through these complete mobile solutions is redefining the ways professionals perform at their jobs and consequently the costs of doing business.

These solutions are helping to raise the standards that both businesses and their workers are held to. This White Paper will discuss how the benefits of mobile solutions, are empowering Enterprises and their employees to improve revenue, engage in industry best practices and offer the best practices possible with its new features, functions and capabilities.

Obstacles in traditional SFA

A firm that has mobile sales force has been facing a lot of obstacles in recent times. They must continue realigning as the market changes. Earlier SFA Applications served the basic needs of field workers such as access to emails, contact management, calendaring and scheduling. Even though these features remain the dominant in SFA, the portfolio of capabilities has started to expand. A firm must adjust the pace of rebuilding the mobile force to match expected obstacles. The common anticipated obstacles are

Focus – Wasting time, money and resources on uninterested prospects. Instead of focusing on best prospects, sales force spends time on all the prospects.
Access – The Sales person often are not able to satisfy customer needs as they do not have access to the information that are sitting elsewhere in a database back at the office.

This led to the expansion of Mobile Sales Force Automation.

Expansion in Portfolio of Capabilities

Quick Access to Information – Imagine having outdated and inadequate information when you are in a sales call. Sales people should have critical facts and figures on the field that help them to close a deal. By providing the sales people with quick access and communicate information to and from the field allows the sales people to get the most from the time they spend with the customer.
Shortened Sales Cycle – Sales people can access current product information, check inventory and quote prices during a customer meeting which gives an outlook that they are very responsive. During the sales call customer can be informed about their accounts receivable status and credit standing with the push of a button. By using their mobile device the sales professionals can remove tedious tasks and reduce the delay in sending accurate information about customer meetings. Remote order entry capability also eliminates manual input of data into ERP. With these sales cycles are shortened, accurate information is gathered, customer is satisfied and revenue is increased.
Sync Capability – Synchronization provides a simple method of sharing data and merging new and updated information between offline users and the Mobile Server. When the offline user comes online he should be able to retrieve the updated information from backend server through mobile server and the information in his mobile device should be updated with the backend server. This ensures timeliness and accuracy of the information. The changes made outside the wireless coverage should be reliably conveyed to the backend. This ensures the sales professionals have most recently updated information and at the same time they need not reenter data again and again into the database. For Example, the corporate network of a major banking industry is designed to provide sales professional with reliable real-time access to their server. In a customer’s place network coverage is not stable always, it gets lost. They need to use their mobile device and enter data as they interact with customer and then make that data available to the server as soon as the connection returns.
Always On Sometimes Connected – During sales call, sales professionals are in consistent time constraint. They need to deliver their messages efficiently as well as effectively so that they don’t waste the face time with the prospects. The required boot of the laptop can waste a considerable amount of time in front of the prospect, which makes it less optimal. In such cases, sales professionals needs a mobile device which can help them access critical information in a small screen. “Always On capability is a must and the sales professionals can connect sometime to retrieve information.” An efficient and powerful search capability is an important requirement.
Security – With the growing functionalities in today’s SFA security plays a very important role. The primary security requirement is that all users should authenticate themselves as a verified user into the corporate systems. This ensures the sales professional accessing into critical information is an authorized user. And also an insecure connection or a lost device can cause a loss to company’s proprietary data, in turn lowers competitive advantage. Mobility devices should have strong encryption capabilities for application data as it is transmitted over a network using a standard communication. A strong encryption system such as Triple AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) or DES (Data Encryption Standard) is necessary in ensuring the application data on the device is protected. In case of any lost or stolen devices, they should have the ability to remotely disable it.

SFA Mobile applications open up new frontiers

Recent advances in both wired and wireless Internet access solutions have spurred faster growth of mobile sales force population in the last couple of years, with hosted applications promising to open up new frontiers. The following features emerged into SFA applications, assures companies to maximize its capability to effectively and efficiently manage mobile users and devices.

Policy-based Management – Can provide a way to allocate network resources, primarily network bandwidth and security (firewalls), according to defined business policies. Users can be defined as individuals, groups, communities, and have specific management capabilities applied to them. This can be easily changed, and can be tied to a directory.
Broad functionality – Can function with a wide variety of applications and data requirements. Most of the applications have the needed interfaces to allow customization and additions.
Directory integration – Can interface with already defined directory structure and policies so a stand-alone or duplicate directory is not needed.
Scalability – Can provide management for a large number of users with a large number of devices.
Single console for all network/application/device/security – can provide a single console from which it can define, control, deploy and maintain all aspects of the device, application, network and security.
Web-based console – can be managed from a web-based console from any standard browser, allowing management from local or remote locations, and on a variety of devices.
Support for diversity in devices, platforms, and networks – supports a variety of devices, connections and platforms, and will continue to expand on the device types and OS flavors.
Security components – Provides at least a minimum set of security capabilities within the product. Can be integrated with higher-level security tools.
Bandwidth aware – can adjust for whatever bandwidth is available for the particular connection (e.g., delivering massive file updates on a slow connection).
Dashboard – can provide a management dashboard of information on processes, users, devices, performance, etc.
Backend management integration – can integrate effectively with other back-end management infrastructure already deployed within the organization without needing to retrain existing staff already familiar with the application.

Emerging trends in Mobile Capabilities

Today, an assortment of technology is used by sales professionals, ranging from laptop computers to consumer-grade personal digital assistants (PDAs) to beepers and cell phones. These top features provide a solution for everything a sales professional may need while out of the office.

Integration – Ability to integrate with enterprise-level business applications.
Operating System – Defining a standardized OS environment has greatly eased deployment of devices. Much like the PC desktop environment, the ability to deploy a single platform to all users means allowing a uniform distribution of SW, and a consolidated support requirement. Can support Familiar Microsoft Windows Mobile-based operating system.
Deployment platform – Companies ultimately deploy applications on one of two major platforms: Microsoft .Net, or Java. However, many organizations will deploy both. Can run in either environment (e.g., running a JVM on a Windows Mobile device supporting .Net).
Third party application availability – Many application vendors now offer mobile extensions to their application suites, providing a convenient means of extending applications to a mobile sales professional. However, not all vendors provide such capability, nor do they support all platforms. Third party middleware extensions provide needed functionality when not available within the application.
Asset Management – Deploying devices to users is only part of the challenge. The greater part of the challenge is managing the deployed assets. Devices deployed in enterprise settings provide the appropriate tools to mange the devices adequately, even when used with a third party asset management application.
Connectivity – Companies are relying on the notion of the “real time enterprise” which requires up-to-date data acquisition of business activity information, as well as empowering employees with the data necessary to make the proper decisions. Mobile devices offer connectivity, even if not immediately used with the expansion of WiFi deployments within companies, as well as in public places. Can also allow a choice of radio connectivity options.
Battery Life – Battery life varies greatly depending on usage factor but the bottom line for most users is, can mobile devices get the user through the workday without a recharge? Most consumer PDA devices are challenged to provide a full day’s operation when using a wireless connection (WiFi). Can provide sufficient powerful batteries to provide at least one day’s operation, and allow full recharge overnight. Further, can provide field replaceable battery, as most batteries will only withstand about 300 charge/discharge cycles.
Data Capture – Data capture options provide linear and two-dimensional scanning or imaging.
Voice telephony – Voice telephony for push-to-talk (PTT), peer-to-peer (P2P), private branch exchange (PBX), one-to-one or one-to-many communications.

Future Technology Accelerators

Tablet PC

Tablet PCs combine the touch screen and handwriting features of the PDA with the computing power of a notebook computer in a compact and light weight design. End-user experiences the same look and feel in the office as in the field. Other advances in battery life and wireless capabilities are also eagerly anticipated.

Voice

Emerging technologies that allow natural text to speech dictation will allow easier data capture by both sales professionals and other members of the sales channel. Such services can run on mobile devices or via telephone services to a central server. Such solutions will tie directly into sales and marketing applications and can help increase the amount of useful data that can be captured in the field.

Extending into Field Analytics

As wireless networks improve, our ability to access information throughout the enterprise increases. Through integration of analytics into a mobile environment, we bring the sales professional in closer contact with the home office and help them to better highlight customer needs. We will be able to better measure and predict behavior and the interactions with the customer and, in turn, support changes in the business landscape, such as product launches and formulary changes.

RFID [Spell out] – Radio Frequency Identification

An RFID system comprises three main elements: electronic tags, tag readers and software to store collected data.

The tags, which consist of a silicon chip and an antenna, provide each individual object to which they are attached with a unique identifier. When scanned, the tag transmits a wireless signal to the reader, which in turn sends the data to a database. The reader can also write information to the tag if required.

RFID technology is becoming prevalent in logistics where the movement of mobile tags, for example on pallets of consumer goods, is read by static readers, say, in goods in/out bays of a warehouse. However, for Sales Force Applications, this concept is reversed: the tags are static and the readers are mobile, i.e. carried by the sales professional. Tags can be attached, say, to a fixed location for proof of attendance, or to a specific item of machinery to be checked.

Top 5 reasons to make SFA MOBILE

Company conducts business in a national or global market.
Sales professionals spend more than 25% of the time out of office.
Business depends on quick and informed decisions from people who are frequently on the road.
Sales professionals need to have quick access to information and provide quick answers to the customers when they are on the call.
Nimbleness is a competitive advantage for the sales professional.

Sample Case Study

Challenge

A famous Banking company needed a robust tool for managing sales leads and opportunities with visibility of the sales pipeline. The company desired a web-based, customizable solution that would be a good fit with that company’s mobility offerings to their sales professionals. It also desired a low-risk solution that could scale as the company grews. They also wanted their sales professionals to have up-to-date information about the leads they handle.

Solution

They selected ZSL’s middleware technology for its wireless capabilities, ease of deployment, configuration and customization. Through ZSL’s middleware technology the sales professionals were able to wirelessly access the provisioning functionalities such as sales order management systems and hosted prospect database. In addition, they were impressed with ZyPrism’s ability to synchronize data’s with reliable real-time access.

Results

Because of availability of data at real-time sales professionals were able to respond to customers at a quicker rate, shorten the sales cycle, increased their productivity and greater revenue generated. Because leads are pushed via alerts directly to sales professional’s Mobiles, sales professionals started experiencing faster response times to people who register interest via the web or its sales call center.

Conclusion

By providing quick access to information to sales professionals available at back-end data and applications helps them to shorten the sales cycle, gather accurate information, improves customer satisfaction and increase revenue. Sales professionals become more responsive to customers through expansion of capabilities in SFA.

Notifications rank amid the most widespread features in mobile apps. Whatever they may concern – a message or a comment in a social network, an update of an app, an announcement or a reminder – notifications are made to bring useful information to users in a convenient way. However, these seemingly simple parts of your software require as much thinking as anything else, especially in terms of the message you want to send. After all, if you pay less attention to tinier things, it’s much easier to make them bad.

What’s In A Notification?

Apple divides notifications into local and push (remote) ones. The difference has been very clearly set by Apple:

– Local notifications are scheduled by an application and delivered on the same device.
– Push notifications, also known as remote notifications, are sent by your server to the Apple Push Notification service, which pushes the notification to devices.

Aside from alerts and banners, notifications include sounds and badges, as exemplified by iOS. This is what’s visible to users. Badge numbers usually indicate a number of specific things (upcoming events, unread messages, or updates /files to download). An app can also specify a short distinct sound to alert the user.

Functional Notifications: Right Time, Right Place

Local notifications are delivered to users when the app runs in the foreground. They are often used for asking users to rate the app and write a review, offering rewards, offering to download and install a new update, as well as offering to show new features afterwards. All this works for encouragement of users, for the sake of rich experience.

Push notifications involve interactions with the server, and they are usually delivered to users when the app runs in the background. While local notifications engage users, push notifications draw users back to the app.

In a nutshell, quality of the message defines its success. Both push and local ones are widely used in mobile marketing. And it’s quite easy to keep in mind the following things that will help your notifications be healthy.

Notifications In Marketing: How Not To Overdo

Notifications are made to draw users’ attention. But for the same reason they get overused, since any app owner can find so much to inform users of. But notifications in marketing must mean effective dialogue and clear answers to their questions, not mobile spamming. Let your users decide whether they want to receive anything, how they will receive it, and which topics would be relevant for them.

– Abusive apps are generally hated – irrelevant and interruption notifications are treated by many as eye-offenders, and are hated as much as irrelevant ad banners with striking colors. While users love the value that’s given by apps, they hate everything valueless.

– Content and frequency of notifications matter. The less personalized these notifications are, the more annoying they will seem to users. Different users find value in different information and different message. Then they can decide whether to open the app or dismiss the notification.

– Timely notifications mean success. The schedule of notifications must be properly written, with adjustments to time zones. They can be recurring – daily, weekly, monthly, etc.

– It is always recommended to take notice that push notifications, requiring Internet access, drain the smartphone battery – another good reason for not to overdo it.

The rule here is turn to the right people with the right offer and be moderate at that. Unfortunately, each of us must have encountered at least one app where this rule is broken to a certain extent. Instead of location-aware and relevant offers, news, and reminders, users can simply get a perfect anti-engagement tool, which will be abandoned.

Lead generation is a critical component of online sales and a proven strategy for an organization’s profitability.

Firms generate around 60% of more sales with the process of online lead generation than traditional methods of marketing.

A reputed service provider offers a wide range of online marketing services, including search engine optimization, paid search, email marketing, social media, telemarketing and traditional mailing. There are three main parameters to consider while planning an online sales strategy for an organization.

Tracking

Tracking the performance of a lead is essential to map its progress towards making a sale. After the initial contact with a potential lead, service providers track its performance in order to instigate to turn it into a buyer and help in achieving the sales target of an organization.

Outsourcing firms empower entrepreneurs to track a lead’s behavior, for instance, how likely they are to buy from an enterprise or what kind of response do they give to sales professionals during follow-ups. Service providers increase the chances of making a sale by mailing or calling the leads just when they need it.

Reporting

Enterprises that want to outsource an online marketing service rather than doing it in-house, can take the help of service providers. These vendors do a proper analysis and provide reports of the progress of a marketing or sales campaign to an organization. This helps in exploring the strengths and improvement areas of engaging prospective customers online.

Help & Support

Organizations strive to make productive sales. By implementing effective marketing techniques entrepreneurs can do so efficiently. With a quality sales mechanism, service providers bring new customers on-board, while entrepreneurs focus on serving existing customers better.

Some of the popular ways of generating leads today are via:

  1. Banner Ads
  2. Pay-per-Click (PPC) campaigns
  3. Viral videos

Out of all, although PPC ads might generate immediate results, though, organizations need to spend continuous money on this to fetch desired results. Apart from the ongoing expenses, the quality of leads generated from PPC tends to be lower than those generated from other organic channels.

There are plenty of people who want to buy what enterprises are selling. The problem is finding those customers and letting them know about the service offerings of an enterprise.

A good marketing service helps an entrepreneur to connect with its potential customers in order to make maximum sales. Most marketers target people who are already thinking of buying a product or a service. This is done by using online research and marketing techniques.

Being one of the most popular ways of online marketing, lead generation enables businesses to:

  • Regulate pricing on a per lead basis
  • Select the product or service entrepreneurs wish to offer to its prospects
  • Choose the geographical area which interests an organization
  • Control the number of leads an organization wants to receive per month (it helps in budgeting)

A freight forwarder is an agent hired by importers, exporters and companies to efficiently and safely transport goods from one international location to another. Used for multi-national or international import and export, freight forwarders do not in most cases perform the transportation task by themselves. They actually serve the purpose of establishing an effective communication between the client and the transportation services, thereby playing the role of an intermediary between the two.

A freight forwarder takes full responsibility of organizing and handling the large number of carriers, legalities and requirements involved in transporting goods internationally, thereby relieving customers completely of the hassles and botheration involved in the process.

These agents make sure that they use the most efficient, reliable and safe transportation means for delivering your goods to the desired location, with regard to the type of goods and your individual transport requirements. As per the situation and requirements, they make use of all kinds of freight operating systems, including air freighters, ocean liners, trucking companies and rail freighters. Whatever the means of transport, they guarantee the delivery of your goods on time and in the best condition. They always aim at offering the most affordable rates by negotiating with the freight operators to take the most economical and reliable route while transporting the goods.

The function of a freight forwarder may vary to some extent depending on the client requirements and type of goods. However, some of the common activities performed by them include:

  • They play a significant role in determining and organizing the most suitable transportation route based on the type, fragility or hazardous nature of the goods to be delivered.
  • Negotiating with the freight operators on the costs of handling and transporting the goods.
  • Taking care of the safety of the goods by ensuring the most efficient and reliable packing, warehousing and delivery.
  • Verifying and arranging necessary documents required for clearing customs, meeting insurance needs and obeying the rules and regulations of overseas countries.
  • In case of any damage to your goods, they take full responsibility of arranging for the insurance claims.
  • Using various advanced methods, including internet technologies, e-commerce and satellite systems to facilitate customers with real-time tracking of their goods.
  • Serving the purpose of making as well as collecting payments on behalf of the customers.
  • Verifying the urgency of the delivery in order to determine the means of transport. For example, they opt and arrange for air transport for goods that are of high-value and need to be delivered on an urgent basis.

A reliable and reputed freight forwarding service has the expertise and skill to provide efficient transportation services while saving their clients a great deal of time and headache required to handle such procedure. They efficiently take care of all the necessary requirements involved in transporting your goods internationally. These include maintaining effective communication with all parties involved, handling and storing the goods in the most appropriate manner and delivering them to the desired location in the best condition. For any company having the requirement to transport goods internationally, a freight forwarder can be of ultimate help.

There are many types of manufacturing facilities that must be operated according to standards to ensure they are safe. Depending on the types of products manufactured, there are always risks associated with the operation. Every manufacturing facility needs a well-planned risk management strategy to address the different situations that occur as a result of the manufacturing process. Although this will help reduce risk a great deal, there is never a guarantee that accidents cannot occur. Manufacturing insurance is designed to give manufacturing companies the protection they need when the precautions they take aren’t enough.

The reason that many manufacturing facilities fail to reach their maximum productivity level is their lack of understanding that productivity and safety are dependent on each other. Putting a risk management strategy in place and having appropriate manufacturing insurance will result in their keeping safety incidents to a minimum and having financial coverage when incidents do occur.

Creating an Effective Risk Management Strategy

Just as different manufacturing businesses operate differently, they also have a different approach to risk management. Those who have successfully implemented risk management into their operation to make it more productive and safe are likely to start by assessing the likelihood of diverse events for assets and operating procedures and then continue with assessing the impact of these adverse events. Next, they will rank the risk for adverse events in these areas and then create a closed loop process to mitigate the risk in each area. This basic structure incorporates identification, quantification and mitigation.

Backing up Your Strategy with Manufacturing Insurance

Nearly every manufacturer needs insurance regardless of the products they make. There are laws imposed on the need for manufacturers to carry insurance that may vary on a state-by-state level. Even in those situations where the rules and regulations are limited, manufacturers should consider their risk potential when determine the degree of manufacturing insurance they need to protect them. Insurance can cover the cost of equipment repairs and replacement, damage to the facilities, or for medical liability in case employees are injured on the job.

General liability is a type of insurance that protects the manufacturer when an injury takes place on their property and they are found to be at fault. Lawsuits can be devastating to your business if you do not have the protection you need to cover any losses that may be awarded. General liability should be the basic part of your coverage that is included in addition to that which applies to your specific risks.

Value of Insurance Your Business

When accidents occur, it can have an impact on your manufacturing business at any level. Loss of equipment or employees can lead to downtime that has a significant impact on your bottom line. Lawsuits or excessive damage to the facility could cause you to lose your business altogether. Understanding your risk and having the manufacturing insurance to cover your losses can often be the difference between a business that fails and one that is both safe and productive.

Let us start by clarifying that this article is not meant for those who were lucky enough to be born powerful. First of all, unlike money and other material things, power is an abstract concept which we should analyze and understand in order to use it to our advantage. In fact, rich and poor people alike can easily trick others into believing that they are powerful, thus making it easier for them to attract friends, clients, customers and even success. For example, every experienced salesman will tell you that people analyze every single aspect of your personality and appearance in order to get a general idea of who you are and what you can do for them. If we keep this simple and yet extremely important rule in mind, it will only take a few easy steps to start exuding power.

Personality and Tricks: Whether you are confident or insecure, you cannot exude power while interacting with people unless you pretend to be confident about yourself. Look into their eyes, be firm, talk about things nobody would disagree on, such as higher values (i.e. the importance of friendship, ethics, morals, love, and professionalism). If you are not a born smooth talker, stay quiet and get others to talk more than you by asking them key questions about their work, family, love life, general views etc. Always try to stay away from sensitive topics, such as religion and politics, as if you disagree with your interlocutor, he will lose his interest. A very useful piece of advice most personality coaches give their patients and clients is that people love hearing their own names, which is why we should do our best to say their names as often as we can during a conversation. Last but not least, do not mention sad or depressing stories and do not talk about your problems, otherwise people will not see you as a charismatic, powerful leader.

Looks and Appearances: If you want to exude power, it is very important that you start paying attention to what your clothes say about your social status and professional achievements. What kind of clothes do powerful people wear? Dolce & Gabbana suits, Ralph Lauren polo shirts, Tommy Hilfiger chinos, designer sunglasses, leather briefcases and expensive smartphones. “Cool, but I can’t afford to spend a fortune on clothes every month!” you may say. Well, most of us can’t, so relax. Fortunately for us, there are alternative ways to get clothes and accessories that can help us exude power. Auction websites, promotional offers and used clothes are your best bet! Nowadays, it is very easy to find cheap designer clothes and expensive accessories online. Look for special offers and used clothes (make sure that they are in excellent condition, though), and stay away from fake clothes as wealthy people who are used to wearing designer clothes and accessories will notice straight away and at that point, they will not respect you anymore.

Do you need more business? Want more money? Want more market share? It’s simple: give more. If you remember anything from this article, let it be those two words – give more. Why? Because it works.

I read recently about research by Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, who studied 30,000 American families. Brooks discovered a family giving $100 more to charity earns about $375 more income than a non-giving family that is similar in every other factor. For every dollar they give, they earn nearly $4 more. Who would have thought it? In giving, we receive.

But Realtors shouldn’t be giving just because they get something in return. You should give because you earn your living from your community.

But Bob, what should I do? There are so many causes out there.

Let me share some examples. A few months ago NAR highlighted several Realtors making heart-felt differences in their communities:

Bernice and Troy Helman, of Coldwell Banker REALTORS® in Terre Haute, Ind., joined two dozen other business leaders who pledged to live on $4.57 a day for one week (thousands of Hoosiers live on that amount of money every day). It generated tons of local media coverage on the prevalence of hunger. She also launched the “Grillin’ and Chillin'” picnic for local real estate pros that raises $10,000 to $15,000 annually for the poor. And as the 2011 fundraising chair for the local United Way, the Helmans led the charity to a record year of donations — more than $1.8 million.

When Tina McDonough of RE/MAX Select in Renton, Wash., lost her friend, Michelle Brown, to breast cancer in 2008, it touched her deeply. “I watched her 12-year-old daughter and her husband fall apart,” McDonough says. “I had to do something, so I started a team to walk in her memory.” Today, it’s the top fundraising team for the Susan G. Komen organization in the country — it has raised $1.4 million. McDonough also includes the Komen logo on all of her real estate signs.

Joel Pratt of J.L. Pratt, REALTORS in Canton, Mass., raises money and awareness for MatchingDonors, a nonprofit that has saved more than 500 lives by matching kidney donors with recipients. Pratt says every life saved keeps the memory of Lynda, his beloved wife of nearly 25 years, alive. She died in 1998 after a three-year battle with breast cancer.

Kristina Rhodes with F.C. Tucker Emge, REALTORS in Newburgh, Ind., has helped make more than 80 children’s dreams come true with her support for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. When Rhodes learned of Emily Jones, an 11-year-old fighting an aggressive form of cancer, and her dream of taking a Caribbean cruise, she acted. Sadly, Emily’s health never reached a level to allow for the trip. So Rhodes brought the cruise to Emily by arranging a pontoon ride on the Ohio River. “Emily taught me about what’s really important in life and helped me keep things in perspective,” Rhodes said.

So what’s the next step for you? Follow the acronym C.A.R.E. to get started today as a real estate agent who, well, cares:

C – Commit yourself to a cause. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: The day you truly commit, your whole world changes.

A – Act on your commitment. The only way anything gets done is through action.

R – Reward yourself. Humans do things because there’s something in it for them. After you act, do something nice for yourself.

E – Enjoy the rewards. I promise, once you start giving back to a cause you care deeply about, you will enjoy your life (and your increased business) more.

Let me hear from you. Are you involved philanthropically in your community? If not, why not? Do you believe if you were to give back to your community your business would grow?

Container shipping cost involved in international or multi-national shipping is determined by a number of factors, the two most significant among which are freight charges and port fees. Port fees are charged by these companies in order to meet the costs of custom clearance once the goods are dismounted from the ship.

The value of the services provided by freight forwarders and international cargo depends on a number of factors. Let us discuss in this article some of the significant aspects that you need to know regarding the international shipping costs:

  • One of the most important factors determining the service charges of the international shipping companies is the cost of the container. As you proceed from one country to another, the cost of container starts varying depending on the change in currency values. However, reputed shipping services that are involved in innumerable shipping projects, are not actually bothered about the petty changes in the container costs. Their service charges therefore remain unchanged with slight changes in the container costs.
  • It is extremely important for you to obtain thorough information regarding the cost values of the shipping company if you are planning to move from one country to another. This is important because you need to make sure that you know the service charges you need to pay with regard to the current value of the country you are currently residing in. Often people are unaware of these details, and eventually end up paying more than they are supposed to.
  • Another important factor determining container shipping costs is the method of shipping. For example, opting for liner vessel shipping can cost you less owing to their operating methods where they use fixed routes and fixed schedules. On the other hand, it might cost you more if you opt for charter vessel shipping that works on the basis of market conditions. In this case, the container costs vary in accordance with the changing market conditions.

If you have to trade your goods internationally, or want to relocate from one country to another, there are some important things that you need to determine before hiring a shipping service in order to choose the most appropriate shipping methods:

  • Determine how fast you want your goods to be shipped to your desired destination.
  • Consider the type, nature and size of the goods you want to ship.
  • Consider the total distance between the current location and the final destination of the goods.

In order to avail the most efficient services, it is important to hire the right container shipping service. Let us discuss some of the important points that you need to consider:

  • Make sure you hire a licensed and authorized container shipping company that can offer a wide variety of container sizes and packages.
  • Know the container shipping costs charged by various companies and make a thorough comparison between them in order to get the best deal.
  • It is a good idea to talk to the customer services of various companies to know how well they are able to respond to customer queries.

You’re lying on the beach. You’re basking in the hot sun while the cool breeze sweeps across your skin as you’re surrounded by the breathtakingly beautiful paradise… And your face is nose deep in your phone checking emails. Sound at all familiar? We’ve all been there. The reality is that it is hard to disconnect from your daily life, especially from work. However, a vacation’s purpose is just for that. We all need a little rest and relaxation so we can perform at our best in our daily lives. Here are a few ideas to help you get away from the earlier scenario and toward having a true vacation disconnected from work.

1. Give ample notice – Let co-workers, business partners, clients and customers know of your vacation well in advance. Informing pertinent personnel of the dates you will be away at least two weeks ahead of time will also help them prepare for your absence. This way, important projects and tasks can be assigned and completed before your departure, or it will be known they will be taken care of when you return. Chances are, they won’t want to intrude on your vacation time so letting them know can help keep those emails from constantly coming in while you are away as well.

2. Take care of your to-do list – About two weeks prior to your vacation, plan your days out so that you can take care of all your outstanding tasks before your departure. Leaving for a trip with a long list of unresolved projects can take focus away from your vacation. The anxiety of having all the unfinished tasks you already have to do plus all the new tasks when you return on your mind will overcome the relaxation you’re supposed to be having. It’s better to leave a clean slate and return after your trip with a new to-do list.

3. Nominate a backup – In case of emergency, request a trusted co-worker to be your backup while you are away. Make sure to ask for their assistance at least two weeks prior to your trip so they have enough time to prepare as well. It is a good idea to give your contact information in case of any extreme cases. However, choose a backup that you trust can handle most situations without your help.

4. Set an away message – This is a good way to let anyone trying to contact while you’re away that you are on vacation and will respond after you return. This way, you won’t be getting multiple emails with the same requests and having people ask where you are. It will give you peace of mind and you won’t feel rushed to get back to them until after your trip.

5. Focus on those you’re traveling with – Give importance to yourself, your spouse, your family, your friends, or whomever else you’re traveling with. Yes, work is important. But we also have to dedicate time and energy on the other wonderful aspects of our lives. There’s no better way to do that than to spend a vacation with loved ones.

6. Remind yourself why you’re on vacation – Vacations are the time to take a break from work, which is truly imperative to our continued work productivity and overall well-being. Taking time to recuperate and regenerate will leave you feeling refreshed and at the top of your game when you return. It’s also very important for the mind and body to decompress and give yourself breaks from your daily stress. Constant tension can take a toll on you over time so make sure to sit back and relax when you have the opportunity to.

7. Literally disconnect – Don’t pack your laptop. Put your phone on airplane mode. Shut off email and notifications on your phone/tablet. These ideas may be provoke anxiety, but there are no better ways to actually disconnect from work than to literally disconnect from it all. You have the rest of the year to work. Why not use the vacation time how it’s supposed to be used and stay away from work?

8. Set boundaries – If you know you will need to check emails, texts, messages, etc. while you are on vacation, give yourself limits and stick to them. A good idea would be to allow a few minutes before bedtime to check in on the day and resolve any pressing issues. It’s understandable that not knowing what’s going on with work for a week or more may cause the stress that you’re trying to avoid while on vacation. In this case, make it a little easier on yourself, but don’t let it start to take over your days. Set a certain amount of time at a certain time of day to check, and that’s it.

Think you could implement any of these ideas for your next vacation? Even if you’re not planning a trip for a while, it may be good to consider them now so you have some tactics to utilize when a trip does come up. Again, it is important to remember that it is beneficial to your overall health to take a true vacation away from work and the stress it can produce. Making sure to take care of yourself is key. By utilizing some, if not all, of the above strategies, you can be well on your way to having the vacation you need and deserve.

It’s common to be excited when you see a company offering free web hosting. Before you go ahead and sign up for the service, you need to know a number of things about most of the free web hosting providers.

Most are startups

Research has shown that many of the providers willing to give you free service are startups and they do it in order to attract potential customers.

Since they are startups, they devise ways of cutting costs. One of the best ways of cutting costs is by avoiding buying some equipment or buying cheap equipment. For example, it’s common to find such companies with cheap and unreliable servers.

Although, you will be signing up for a free product, you have a right of enjoying good service; therefore, before you sign up, you should always research and find out what other people have to say about the provider.

Most lack the level of service agreement

A level of service agreement (LSA) is a document that gives details on how the provider will offer you the service that you deserve. It’s common to find most of the providers without the agreement. Before you sign up always ask for the document.

If the provider doesn’t have the agreement, you should move on and look for other options. If you are given the agreement, you should thoroughly scrutinize it in order to pick out flaws in it. If you find the document full of flaws, you should move on and look for other options.

Most offer a menu of services

Most of the companies offering the free services tend to offer other services in addition to the web hosting service. Since such companies have a number of services to offer, they usually don’t offer top notch service.

Before you sign up for the free service, you should research the service provider and find out what he does other than providing the web hosting service.

If the provider offers other services such as telecommunication services, you should look for other options. This is because the web hosting service is very sensitive and can’t be put on a menu of services.

Bottom line

It’s often said that you get what you pay for; therefore, you should not expect top notch service from a free service. To be on the safe side it’s wise to pay for the hosting and you will be guaranteed of the best service on the land.