Automation and Online Businesses

Automation and Online Businesses

There are so many people who are intrigued by the idea of entrepreneurship. There’s something really inspiring about the way entrepreneurs can call the shots in their lives. They also have a level of freedom that people with full-time, traditional jobs don’t have. If you’d like to experience the benefits of entrepreneurship, it’s important to be ready for the sacrifices. At the beginning of the journey, you’ll have to work harder than you might have worked when you were an employee. However, once you set up specific systems and processes, things chance and you can kick back a bit. It’s important to use the magic of automation to keep your business running on all cylinders.

Making a List of Tasks

 Sit down to make a long list of everything you’d like to accomplish with this business. Use the example of an author. If you’re an aspiring author, your list will consist of tasks like writing books, editing and proofreading. You’ll also want to develop a marketing plan, a sales funnel and more. If you’d like to increase the streams of income, it’s wise to create workbooks, audiobooks and supplemental products. You’ll need to build a website, secure social media handles and more. Setting up an online store to sell dropshipping products internationally is a huge undertaking on its own. Knowing this, you’ll want to educate yourself on the process. Don’t forget about the financial aspect of the business. Taxes, expenses and profit margins play major roles in keeping your business afloat. Obviously, there are a million tasks to consider when you’re starting a business as an author. Even if you decide to operate as a solo entrepreneur at first, realize that you won’t be able to operate without assistance in some way. Automation, systems and other people are essential. Otherwise, you’ll never have time for anything outside of your work. Today, there are platforms like Oberlo that allow you to sell products internationally by facilitating the creation of your online store.

Using People and Systems 

Take advantage of the resources around you. It’s also wise to take advantage of the resources on the internet. Do not make the mistake of trying to do everything on your own. One of the first ways you can let go is by hiring an assistant or an intern. If you hire an intern, make sure they’re aware of the payment system. Whether you’re offering college credit or small stipend, get that information in writing. If you choose the route of a virtual assistant, this is another sustainable one to consider. A virtual assistant can handle everything from emails to managing social media content. It’s all about finding someone with the skill set that matches what you need. If you know that you’re extremely disorganized when it comes to filing, find someone who is a whiz in this area. Even if they come in and work for you on a part-time basis, you’re automatically making your workload lighter by delegating it to someone else. Systems are also effective because you can use them to automate everything from payroll to social media publishing.

Streamlining the Process

 Eventually, you’ll get to a place where you’ve found a new normal for your work-life. When you achieve that balance, it’s best to take a look at the gaps and holes. There’s always a way to improve your current workflow. Talk to your employees about things they don’t like. Have conversations regarding how the process can improve. As you make different tweaks and experiment over a period of time, this will help you avoid complacency. It will also help you to perfect your company’s ability to produce quality products and services in an excellent manner. As an entrepreneur, you’ll quickly realize that everything falls back on you. Knowing this, you’ll want to make sure you have laid a solid foundation. If there are cracks in the foundation, it’s always best to fill them before you move forward. The same applies to a business. What seems like a small problem in the present can easily morph into a nightmare in the future.

Expanding the Brand 

Brand expansion is always necessary when you’re looking to grow an online business . However, you’ll want to think critically about how you can expand without taking on more work. When you’re looking to automate the processes, keep that goal the main priority. It’s easy to see that the workload is growing and as a result, take more responsibilities into your lap. Truthfully, the correct response might be that you need to hire a new employee, virtual assistant or intern. Get into the habit of delegating continuously so that you can maintain the breathing room to call the shots, cast vision and maintain the health of the company. When you’re able to commit in this way, your company will eventually thrive. Automation is uncomfortable for those who are used to doing everything on their own. However, it is essential for an entrepreneur who desires work/life balance and time freedom.

 

That’s A Good Idea, Now Protect It: Patents, Copyrights, and Trademarks

That’s A Good Idea, Now Protect It: Patents, Copyrights, and Trademarks

The world as we know it is built upon brilliant minds and even more brilliant ideas. Our ability to innovate has always been the hallmark of our existence as a species and it is what keeps us as the dominant species on the planet. And that hasn’t changed at all. In today’s age, there isn’t a single thing that we interact with that isn’t the product of someone’s brilliant idea, whether it’s the house we live in, the streets we walk on, or even the food that we eat.

And well, we value good ideas. In fact, that is exactly what successful businesses are built upon. When a good idea happens, and if it’s properly marketed and perfectly executed, money is bound to come pouring in. It is a formula that has stood true throughout the years and will continue to do so in the future.

The only problem with tried and tested formulae is that everyone’s going to want a piece of the pie. And sometimes, that means that people are willing to employ underhanded tactics in exchange for more revenue. The theft of intellectual property is one of those things that I speak of.

And the truth is that it’s an arms race, in a way, for businesses that try to become first in a certain market. And well, there are many instances when some companies may not be the first at what they do in a certain niche, but they were the first to actually protect their intellectual property.

So, how exactly do you protect your ideas?

The Main Differences: Copyrights vs Trademarks vs Patents

There are three main methods that you can employ in order to protect your intellectual property. The difference is their purpose, or rather, the type of intellectual property that they are meant to protect. These are further explained below:

Trademarks

According to this article, “A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.”

Trademarks do not expire after a set period. They can essentially last forever as long as they remain in use by the company or brand that they represent. Now, getting a trademark isn’t mandatory, however, knowing when to consider getting a trademark can not only save you a lot of money, it can also save you a lot of trouble.

Copyrights

On the other hand, copyrights are meant to secure original works of authorship. These include songs, literature, architecture, and even software. These vary in terms of duration. Copyright for works that are created by an individual lasts for the life of the author and an additional 70 years thereafter.  For works created anonymously or pseudonymously, protection lasts 95 years from the date of publication or 120 years from the date of creation, whichever is shorter.

Patents

Patents are used to protect machines, manufactured articles, industrial processes, and chemical compositions. They are, in a way, a permit that the United States Patent and Trademark Office gives so that companies may disclose their inventions to the public

How Could Blockchain Influence Different Industries?

How Could Blockchain Influence Different Industries?

Despite warnings about the risks associated with investing in crypto, it is almost as if investors pay no attention and just do their own thing – because it is certainly attracting backing from different areas. Those who read regularly will know we have written – perhaps ranted is more accurate – about cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin a lot, but the fact is that this and rivals like Ethereum and Litecoin are popular investments and that is where blockchain technology becomes very important indeed.

A big issue that has been raised here about crypto is that it has risks that you don’t get with more traditional investments – well blockchain tech is an attempt to reduce these red flags. It was created specifically to track Bitcoin transactions and it works by storing all these as chains in block form, hence the really unimaginative name ‘blockchain’. This info is made secure by cryptography, but I know you want me to get to the point, so how is it impacting on industry?

Well the financial industry is the one that it is changing the most right now as a result of blockchain technology, with several major banks already looking at adopting it for their transactions. One big reason that they are doing so is that using blockchain allows for these transactions to be carried out a lot more quickly, which probably sounds pretty appealing if you have ever experienced the wait for your bank to clear a cheque. Then there is the matter of security.

Most people don’t really think about cyber-fraud until the day someone hacks their credit cards and uses them to buy a Ferrari, but blockchain actually has the potential to reduce it. As mentioned above, the blocks of information on each list are protected by cutting-edge cryptography that makes them difficult to hack into or change without authorisation. Blockchain tech also decentralises the information across lots of personal PCs, which means it can’t be corrupted by a single person or group of hackers.

It is not just the financial sector that blockchain tech could revolutionise though, as it has the potential to improve other ones as well. For example, who wouldn’t want their private – and potentially embarrassing – medical information stored on a database that only those with the necessary authorisation could read. Equally, the communications industry could benefit from blockchain tech providing a secure record of all discussions that take place and enabling genuinely two-way automated communications.

Blockchain also offers a way for the online casino industry to increase the level of confidence its customers have in it, by allowing the latter to examine a casino’s previous transactions to see whether they are reliable at paying out to winners. Gambling always involves some element of risk, but we all want to get our money if we win.

Whether you are a believer or sceptic when it comes to crypto, blockchain tech does reduce the risks and that could see it adopted by a range of industries.

Is Investing In Cannabis Shares a Sound Decision?

Is Investing In Cannabis Shares a Sound Decision?

Canada’s decision to legalize the medical and recreational use of cannabis last year put the world in a pretty interesting situation. Right now, a person in the European Union, where growing, selling, and using cannabis is either illegal or at least frowned upon, can own shares in a company that grows and sells cannabis in Canada or the United States. From a legal standpoint, cannabis is perhaps the most controversial commodity in the world today – in some countries, it is considered a type of medicine, in others, it is put in the same category as cocaine. At the same time, given the boost legal cannabis gave Canada’s economy, there is a chance other countries will want at least a small slice of this delicious and intoxicating pie. Still, given the controversial regulations in force regarding it, is investing in cannabis a sound decision?

A multi-billion market

Cannabis is big business – otherwise, it wouldn’t’ve been worth the risk for drug cartels around the world. The global cannabis market was worth $12.2 billion in 2018 (remember, these figures only cover the three countries where it is legal) and it is expected to grow by more than 35% this year, to close to $17 billion. There are countries that consider either decriminalizing its use (usually the first step toward legalization) or approving its consumption. Countries like France and Italy in the EU and Lebanon in the Middle East are also talking about the potential legalization of pot for medical or recreational use. Slowly but steadily, the sinful cannabis stocks are becoming less sinful.

Fast-growing stocks

As demand for (legal) cannabis increases, hemp farmers and processors will see their sales skyrocket. Aphria (NYSE: APHA), one of the largest cannabis companies in the world, is expected to see its sales grow by 407%, the Motley Fool writes, and their growth is on the more low-key side compared to businesses like Aurora Cannabis (TSE: ACB) with sales growth of close to 600%, OrganiGram Holdings (CVE: OGI) with close to 900% or Hexo (TSE: HEXO), that is expected to see its sales soar by up to 2,000% (yes, two thousand percent) this year. Canada’s decision to legalize pot was the first step among the many needed for cannabis to shed its “illegal” label and gain a lot of legitimacy, especially when it comes to CBD, its not-so-psychoactive alkaloid, which is seen as a natural and effective anti-anxiety and anti-psychotic compound, and is the active ingredient in the US’s first FDA-approved cannabis-based medicine. What do you think: is investing in legal cannabis a sound decision in 2019?

Merchant Advance or Traditional Loan: Which is Best for Physicians?

Regular loans are different from merchant cash advances or revenue advance loan. Each has its own distinct advantages. So, which of the two should a physician choose for their practice?

When physicians are in need of a working capital to run their practices, they typically weigh two financing options: revenue advance or traditional loan. Revenue advance is a lump sum advance that can be given to a borrower (physician in our case), based on their future credit card sales. A specific portion of the physician’s future credit card sales will be used for the repayment of the advance. Unlike traditional loans, approval can be completed within 24 to 48 hours and funding can be provided within the same time. This increases the appeal of merchant cash advances.

In this article, we’ll discuss whether a merchant cash advance is right for physicians or should they get a traditional loan.

Quick Underwriting, Fast Funding

Many physicians face issues with insurance companies. The reimbursements from insurers can take a lot of time to process and there isn’t any certainty that what is owed by the practice will be given to it. Some insurers take a lot of time to pay out valid claims. Due that this reason, the practice may struggle with less revenue – paying salaries or staff or leasing and buying medical equipment becomes hard. Unavailable liquidity and insufficient flow of cash are two major reasons why physicians seek additional funding.

Sometimes, the physician can’t wait to get the capital. A conventional small business loan takes several weeks or even months to get approved. By contrast, revenue cash advance can get approved and funded within 4 to 24 hours. This means that the practice can access a reliable and quick source of capital in the shape of revenue advance. However, this isn’t the most healthy or feasible long-term solution for a physician seeking capital.

Paying the Debt

Physicians should not pursue a revenue cash advance on debt that doesn’t have any settlement date. Insurance will only pay claims when the conditions are met and the process takes time. If the physician doesn’t receive the payout from their insurance company within the revenue advance’s specific repayment period, penalties and interest will increase their debt and add more stress to the practice.

Therefore, merchant cash advance is viable when the physician knows that they are financially capable of repaying the advance. If the short-term repayment isn’t possible, a physician should not take a revenue advance and consider a traditional business loan.

The Bottom Line

Physician may seek additional financing options for a variety of reasons. Both a revenue advance and traditional loan can provide funding to a physician. However, financial experts tell us that the option that is better for them depends on timing. If physicians require funding in a short time and can’t wait to get capital, then a revenue advance is a better option for them than a traditional loan. On the other hand, if they can wait to get funded, then they should apply for a traditional business loan.