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SocialH Design blog is a place for Designers and Developers. We provide high quality articles and web resources in web design, social media, SEO, wordpress and blogging.

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For several years now, voice search has been a particularly hot topic, and for a good reason too. According to data from Hitwise, more searches, an increase of about 60% compared to previous years, are being performed on mobile devices. Such an increase is something that should change how SEO agencies think. But there’s more. With voice searches increasing, 2018 looks promising and should be the big year for voice search.

Consider it this way: For Apple device users, Siri is your indispensable companion and is now part of the laptop and desktop operating systems and iPads and iPhones. As of June 2015, way before it was even added on to different devices, Siri was already handling well over 1 Billion requests every week. As of May 2016, a ¼ of all searches made on Windows 10’s taskbar were all voice searches.

With this information in mind, it is worth noting that in 2015, 1,700,000 voice-first devices were bought and shipped to new users. By 2016, this number had risen to 6,500,000, and in 2017, about 24,500,000 devices had been shipped. And all this is before Apple’s Home Pod, which is Apple’s incursion into the virtual assistant/speaker world and is something that has been scooped up by Apple’s faithful followers.

What is the value of voice search to businesses? According to information provided by the President and Founder of Milestone Inc., Benu Aggarwal, during a presentation at the 2017 SMX, about 82% all mobile users use their devices to search for local businesses. Half of them visit a store within one day of searching, and about 18% of this number make a purchase.

As more of these searches are being performed using Cortana, Alexa, OK Google, and Siri, it is becoming more important to rank top on most of these searches, especially for those searches related to your business.

What does that mean? It means that your domain shouldn’t only be optimized using the proper keywords, but the content therein should be optimized for both typing and the more conversational voice search according to Matt Woodward.

So how does one optimize for search?

Answer All The Right Questions

Here’s a breakdown of voice search according to a report presented by Internet Trends: 30% of searches made by users are for general information, 22% for local information, 21% for entertainment and fun, and the remaining 47% use voice as personal assistants.

So, what questions should you be answering? If you run a local business, it is vital that you rank at the top of local searches made by people looking for services or products your company provides. It is almost certain that most of these searches are for the same things, be they services or products, most users are looking for.

If your main aim is to get users to find you by providing them with the information they need, it is vital that you answer the general niche-related questions and queries most people ask. Ensure that your voice search answers are precise and to the point as this will prove that you are an expert in the area.

Keep It Simple

If you want to rank on voice search, it is vital that you optimize your website for commonly asked questions in a simple, yet straightforward manner. Consider it this way – when a user queries a simple cookery question like “How long does it take to boil an egg until it’s done?”, the best reply to this question for a voice search answer should be something simple like “, suggests that you bring an egg to a boil, and let it stand in hot water for about 14 to 17 minutes.”

Substitute the question and answer, including your website name. This not only helps with branding but also with what it can do for your conversions and the bottom line in moments.

As a person running a local business, you should do your best to ensure that you are the answer a user finds when searching for something like “best coffee house (or burger joint, or what it is you provide) in (whatever location you are in).” As such, it is vital that you use the right keywords, and that you keep your website and content on your homepage simple.

Do It Better

Why do recipes come up first on most voice searches? Because the answers they give are simpler and way better than those provided by their competitor’s, well, at least for now. The Incredible Egg or Good Housekeeping may have great answers tomorrow, and may soon outrank them, but that’s if they are working on optimizing their websites.

The key to ranking better than your competition in voice search is working on improving your answers as you move forward.

Dig Deep For Click Through

Apart from branding, how do you get your users to click on your links and visit your business or site? The only way to do this is to go deeper. With that being said, where users land is important. For restaurants, you need to have an excellent menu page with contact information and photos of your top cuisine prominently featuring on your homepage. This way, when users visit your website on their phones and other mobile devices, the read and see things that will motivate them to visit your joint.

For recipes, consider including instructions below the answer you give that exactly explain why you do not really boil eggs, and the 3 to 8-minute timer your grandma gave you will not produce great results.

To get clicks, you will have to dig deeper by providing a more comprehensive answer. When you do this, the clicks you get from your “spot on” content will eventually lead to conversions.

Understand The Aim of Voice Search

The main aim of voice search is mostly building expertise and brand recognition. Conversions are often a result of these things. Nevertheless, voice search doesn’t always guarantee organic traffic. Once users have a good enough answer, especially to general questions, they probably won’t read beyond that – and they do not have to.

The important thing is that you have provided them with the information they wanted, and the rule reciprocity dictates that the more often you do this, the more likely users will buy from you. The goal is to building expertise and brand recognition and to increase conversions. However, this does not guarantee an increase in organic traffic.

However, the more you satisfy users with your voice search answers, the happier search engines like Google will be with it, and the more likely you’ll continue to rank – a win-win situation for everyone.

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How long can you go without food or water? How do you feel when you go for long without food or water? Is it a good feeling? Your body needs food and water to survive. Additionally, you get energy from food and water. Their scarcity can be indeed dreadful since it can cause dehydration and affect your health as well. Eventually, it will become a life-threatening menace. Correspondingly, an essay requires an outline just as much as the body needs food and water. Writing an essay without an outline can bring about many mistakes hence it will, in the end, get to affect your overall performance in college. For instance, you may easily write an article which does not correspond to the given topic, or you can provide information which is irrelevant or does not relate to the topic.


Essay writing, being a necessary task in college, poses a challenge to many students. Some students do not know how to go about some essays because they do not understand what is expected of them. Additionally, some seek assistance from custom essay writing companies hence they forward their papers without knowing what made it difficult for them to write their essays in the first place. However, some learn how to write their essays through reading pre-written articles offered to them by these essay writing companies. Additionally, they practice essay writing continuously which enables them to perfect the art and hence write perfect essays. Essay writing necessitates that you are proficiently equipped with the adept essay writing skills. This will progressively help you grow and develop as a writer. Before writing your paper, you need to draft an outline. The essence of an outline in essay writing is it helps simplify the writing process. Moreover, it enables your paper to have a smooth and systematic flow. However, you first need to know what an outline is. An outline is a rough draft of what your article ought to be like. To write an outline for your article, consider the following essay writing tips from Essay Zoo:

  • Divide your essay into three parts. An essay has three parts: the introduction, the body and the conclusion. It also has a thesis statement which is usually found in the introductory paragraph. This will helps you know what to include in the introduction as well as the body.
  • Develop a topic. The essence of developing a topic in essay writing is that it helps to simplify the brainstorming process. You can pick a broad topic and choose to work with it. Having an outline will help you narrow it down to a specific argument hence it will make your research much easier. For instance, you can choose a topic on technology such as ‘The influence of modern technology on the society.’ Once you have a topic, the outline will be simpler for you to write.
  • Determine the goal of your writing. Determining the purpose of your article helps you understand and know what type of paper to write. Essay writing seeks to serve different objectives. You can write an essay which enlightens or informs your audience of something new, persuades them or call them to action.
  • Conduct ample research. Research is fundamental when you are writing an essay. It helps you to gather as much information as possible as well as gain more knowledge. However, you need to conduct research based on your topic. This will help you focus on what is required of your article. For instance, based on the above topic, you can research the advantages and disadvantages of modern technology in the society. Write subtopics to help make your research more comfortable and enjoyable.
  • Use a mind map. A mind map is essential in essay writing as it helps you to organize the information you have gathered from your research. With the help of a mind map, you can also avoid the temptation of including irrelevant information in your paper. A mind map also helps narrow down your research to a simple and easy to understand format.
  • Write a strong introduction. The introduction is fundamental in essay writing. It is the paragraph which introduces the audience to your paper. When writing your essay, you need to ensure that your audience will like it and develop an interest in it. To achieve this, incorporate a hook for your introduction. It will help capture the attention of your audience and make them interested in reading your article more.
  • Develop a thesis statement. The vitality of a thesis statement in essay writing is that it holds or supports the argument in the topic. A thesis statement also helps you develop strong body paragraphs for your paper.
  • Provide essay body information. The body is significant in essay writing in various ways. First and foremost, it is the main content of your essay. This is where you state the reasons why you support your thesis statement. Secondly, it is in the body where your audience gets to easily comprehend more about the topic since you present your claims and assertions as well as provide evidence to support them. When writing the body of your essay, put the following tips into consideration:
  • Begin each body paragraph with a topic sentence. This will help your audience to easily note and understand that you are talking about different things. Additionally, it will help them get the reasons for your various assertions.
  • Use transition words and sentences. Transition sentences help you to convey the information in your paper clearly and concisely. Their essence is that they help connect your sentences and paragraphs. Moreover, they help your reader(s) note or see the relationship between your thoughts and ideas.
  • Make a conclusion. The conclusion of an essay is important as it shows your audience that your article has come to an end. However, when concluding your article, it is essential you finish it with a statement which either enlightens or informs them of something new, calls them to action or persuades them.


In conclusion, writing an essay is not that hard. It only necessitates that you are well equipped with the effective essay writing skills. However, before writing your article, you first have to understand the topic. This will help you know what is required of your paper. Secondly, you need to draft an outline for your article. An outline will act as a guiding tool in writing your paper. The tips stated above come in handy in guiding you on how to write an essay outline.

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Everybody knows that a hard drive can fail, but most people think that it will never happen to them. But what if it does? What if one day you won’t be able to access the files on your computer? What will you do then? You will probably say that you’re going to call in an expert that can retrieve the lost files from your malfunctioning computer. But, are you really willing to pay the absurd fee this expert will charge you with, for a task that can be done fast and easy? Don’t worry, as you don’t need to turn into an IT specialist to get back the files that are kept as prisoners by a failed hard drive. You just need to have the right software to do it.

A hard drive recovery is not an impossible nor expensive task if you have the right tools. In this case, the ideal tool to recover lost files is EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. EaseUS is a free data recovery software that can be easily downloaded and used for retrieving lost files. Even if you never used this kind of software before, you will find it easy to use EaseUS. Download the wizard for free from EaseUS’s website and start using it almost immediately. You will have to go through an installation process, but don’t worry, as the wizard will guide your every step. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about dear memories or a project from work you had to finish. This free data recovery software is capable of recovering files in various formats, from photos to videos, whole movies, documents, ebooks, and so on. Practically every file that was stored on a hard disk can be easily recovered in case of hard drive failure.

Taking into consideration that data recovery software free , there’s no reason not to download it and have it ready just in case. You never know when the hard drive of your computer will fail, as the causes that lead to this are very diverse. Also, it is worth knowing that you can use EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard to recover files not just from computer or laptops, but also from smartphones, tablets, cameras, flash drives, and other devices and storage units. Anything that can store files on it can be successfully used with EaseUS. So, don’t allow chance and luck to be your only plans when it comes to hard drive failures. Be more efficient and opt for a plan that actually works and won’t cost you a dime. After all, what do you have to lose if you decide to try this software out? The truth is that you can end up losing a lot if you don’t use it, in particular, a lot of files that have been stored on a hard drive that could simply fail one day.

See for yourself that hard drive recovery is really something that anyone can do, with the support provided by EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard.

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Are you looking for a fun way to engage with your audience and build brand awareness? One easy way to do this is to create a quiz. This is something you can do quickly and easily by using a software such as Typeform, which helps you create great-looking questionnaires that your audience will be happy to engage with.

This type of content is underutilized by marketers in general. Nonetheless, there are numerous benefits to using them as a social media marketing strategy. Let’s take a look at what some of these benefits might be.

They Increase Engagement

Quizzes are a great way to get your audience to interact with your brand. Studies have shown that over 80 percent of people take the time to complete quizzes that they see in their feed. This is an astounding level of engagement. It’s because questionnaires like this are short and fun, and people like to talk about themselves. When people engage with your brand in this way, it makes them feel like they’re part of a community. This in turn makes them more likely to buy your product or service in the future.

You Learn More About Your Audience

Along with being a fun activity for your audience, creating quizzes can also provide you with helpful information. By asking the right questions, your potential customers may reveal things about themselves that you can use in the future. Examples of this might include what they think of when they hear your brand’s name, what they like to do in their spare time, and what they think of your competition. All of this information can be used to tweak your marketing strategy in the future.

Quizzes Get a Lot of Shares

Questionnaires and surveys are shared more frequently than any other kind of content. In fact, according to BuzzSumo, an average quiz gets shared 1900 times. People like to share the results of their quiz because it makes them seem smart and also makes them look good in front of their friends. Of course, the more people share your content, the better it is for your business. It means more people will be exposed to your brand. Also, social media platforms give greater priority to content that’s shared than any other form of engagement.

They Can Generate Leads

Perhaps the best reason to build questionnaires is because they can be used to generate leads. This can be done by offering extra incentives at the end of the quiz in exchange for an email address. This might include a free ebook, or some other form of free content. This is a great way to turn a complete stranger into a potential customer. With this in mind, there’s little reason not to be using quizzes as part of your marketing strategy.

Now that you’ve seen what online quizzes can do for your brand, it’s time to make one yourself!

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Triggered emails are emails that are sent to your users based on certain interactions they have with your business and/or product or service; this can include a variety of different user actions. The trick is to identify these actions and determine the most relevant messaging that feels natural yet interesting to the receiver.

Fundamentally, a triggered email is inherently relevant, by their very nature.

Are they effective?

The Data & Marketing Association, a community of marketers worldwide, found that 50% of marketers expect their companies’ to boost spending on email strategy next year. This is no surprise, as they also found that 77% of ROI comes from well-segmented, targeted, and triggered campaigns.

At this point, you must be wondering what the best triggered emails would be! Let’s find out together, shall we? 

Top Triggered Emails

#1- When a visitor fills out a form or a Popup

This will typically be an on-boarding style email. Often, when a user is filling out a form or a popup, it’s because they’ve signed up, or they’re interested in a product of yours.

#2- When a visitor views a specific webpage

There’s a good opportunity to provide some follow-up content. This maybe additional information you have on a subject, or links to similar blogs of yours, or an e-book, etc. For example, you can set up a trigger in which the user visits one of your blog pages, and the user will receive an email accordingly.

#3- When a user is highly engaged

In this situation, you can consider this user to be a prime prospect to sell your product. You will want to send prompt to take whatever next step in the journey, or upsell an additional feature or product. Lead scoring is a great way to keep track of a user’s activity with your product.

#4- When user is not engaged enough

Keep it light here, send a gentle reminder-style email that doesn’t bother the user. You might be on thin ice with your customer! In this case, setting up a trigger will depend on what you consider to be “lacking” engagement. For example, we’ve set up a trigger for when user does not click on a link we wanted them to.

#5- When a visitor took one action in a journey, but not the next

Here is another opportunity for a reminder-style email to push them to the next step. Lay it on thick with an enticing CTA required here. In this situation, it is commonly acceptable to set up multiple triggers in order to remind the user of your product/service.

#6- When user reached a certain milestone (a goal achieved)

Congratulations! Make the user feel good about using your product. Fundamentally, the goal here is to make the user feel good about interacting with your brand, and achieving their goals while using your product/service.

#7- Triggered on a specific date

A simple shoutout, perhaps a happy birthday or a holiday email. This will build a stronger and closer relationship with your customer.

#8- When user did not click on a specific link

Send him an email to remind him that he didn’t click on the link inside the email he opened. You need to be careful with such instances. You shouldn’t scare your lead away by exposing your ability to monitor his behavior. You should keep a low profile and communicate with him as if you don’t know all his moves.

#9-  When a user’s status is updated

Send an email to notify him that he did an action and suggest him to do a next step.

Getting your ROI on your email marketing strategy is all about convincing the user to act on something — the very definition of engagement!

In essence, triggered emails tailor the customer experience, as the emails are sent based on what the user is doing right now. It doesn’t get any more small scale and personalized than that, doesn’t it?

Author: Georges Fallah, Marketing Manager at VBOUT

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There is something quite special about starting your own business. That idea that you have that you turn into something from nothing is definitely a thing to be proud of. An at home business can give you that flexibility and allow you to strike the balance between working and home life perfectly. However, if your business takes off, you may find that it quickly outgrows your home set up. So what next? I wanted to discuss with you some of the steps to take if you are seriously consider expanding your business.


Think about how you want to do it

One of the key steps to take at first would be to decide how you want to expand your business. Do you want to look at potentially growing what you have? Do you want to consider other revenue streams and the best ways to do it? Expansion could be done by looking at your current product range or the services you offer and simply adding to it. Whether you stick within a similar niche or try something new. You could consider moving your business from home into a shop or a location where you can store stock and work from. Knowing what you want to do is key to then taking the next actionable steps to make it happen.

How will you fund the expansion?

The next thing you might want to take time to consider would be how you plan on funding your expansion. No matter what option you take or which avenue you decide upon, there will be an element of investment required. One thing to consider would be an investment through business loans. This could help you get exactly what you need straight away enabling you to take on the expansion and do what is required. However, you could also look at reinvesting some of the profits you have already meade, keeping your business away from borrowing or any other form of investment. Make sure you pick the right option for you and your business.

Do you have the right support in place?

One key thing to consider would be if you have the right support in place to take on any expansion plans. You might just be one person, so considering outsourcing areas of your business could help you refocus the time you do have and put all efforts into the next steps of your business. It might also help to have the support of friends and family, as it can be quite daunting moving a business forward.

Have you covered off the basics?

Finally, have you covered off all of the basics within your business? You need to be on form with things like your website, your social media presence and creating a good customer experience. Having the basics already in place means any form of expansion will be easier to handle, as the rest of the areas of your business is working for you.

I hope that these tips help you take the next steps to expand your business.

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The internet has left an indelible mark on the industry, and office space is a prime example. Nowadays, there’s no need to rent a corporate building because you can be successful with a laptop and an internet connection. Of course, you still need to be productive and efficient or else the startup won’t go any further than the initial idea. A dedicated workspace is essential as it develops a routine and helps you keep focus. The thing is: where are you going to set up an HQ if you don’t have an office? You can start by considering these four weird and wonderful options.

The Living Room

Being a boss means you have the freedom to work from anywhere in the world. Still, staying in bed in your PJs isn’t going to increase output. What you need is a room that is casual but which also has a sense of formality. Enter the living room, the comfiest place in the house. Sure, there are TV screens, radios, and endless distractions but they are avoidable. Just don’t turn them on. Thanks to the coffee table, you can set out your stall and work from a cosy location. Lounges tend to be light and warm too, which are two bonuses.

The Garage

You can always go outside should it be too hard to focus while at home. Yep, even in the wintertime. All you need to do is kit out the metal building to make it feel like a genuine workspace. For one thing, remove the car and park it elsewhere for the time being. Then, add a heater to stop the draft from chilling your body to the core. Also, think about adding a lick of paint and furniture. Before long, the garage will transform into a business haven. Think of Churchill’s war room without the impending threat of doom.

A Coffee Shop

Working on-site is lonely and not atmospheric for lots of entrepreneurs. Anyone who has worked in a fast-paced environment will need the hustle and bustle of people milling around. Because you can’t get that at home, you need to venture out into the world and find a coffee shop. As clichéd as a latte next to a laptop has become, it’s an effective way to work. The background noise is a faint reminder of the office, while the coffee-on-tap keeps the adrenaline pumping. There’s also free internet access in the majority of establishments.

A Library

Yep, the stuffy old places filled with dusty book jackets are not obsolete just yet. Sometimes, freelancers and entrepreneurs need to get out of the house to feel productive but don’t want any distractions. In that case, a library is an ultimate option to keep in mind. The whole place is deathly quiet because, well, thems the rules and there are librarians to manage unruly guests. As old-fashioned as they seem, libraries have computers with Wifi for public consumption. It’s amazing what you can get done while sat in the comfy chairs in the kid’s section.

Are you looking for a place to call business HQ? What are your thoughts on the examples above?

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When it comes to advertising business, there’s a lot you can do in the digital world. However, in the world of app development within that, there’s an often unexplored route of creating your own game! This allows any users a whole new level of experience, people will be able to find you a lot easier, and they’re more likely to stay with you on their phone! So once you’ve polished off the website, it’s time to turn your resources towards the mobile industry. Here’s some tips for what to include in your new gaming app.


Get Your Message Across

Getting your message across on a platform filled with interactivity is going to be easier than you think. Design your game around what you offer or provide, and even if you don’t get as many customer conversions as you want, you still have the interest in your app to fall back on. More and more people will come to you if you have something fun for them to do!

Set up competitions with your app by having people compete on a global leaderboard, and offer both in app and out of app prizes for this. Getting people to spend money on microtransactions is a good way to set up a side income, but it also needs to pay off in real life with dedication from your company!

Let Yourself Expand

The good thing about a game is the connectivity it has. Not only can people find each other through the app via in game messaging boards or leaderboards, but a game can very easily access social media as well. Customers can link their accounts, which makes it a lot easier to market other relevant products to them as well.

Makes sure you’re not limiting yourself to a single market either, and make your game available for download on both Android and iOS. You’ll be targeting every phone user in the world that way!

Make Sure it’s Fun!

A game needs to be something a user doesn’t want to break themselves away from, so the first step is to make sure there’s enough to continually do to keep it fun and fresh as you go further and further on. Let it become more and more challenging as it goes on, with that sense of competitiveness found in all of us keeping people coming back for more just to beat a single level.

Simply put, if you have a gaming app to your name, it needs to be entertaining. As a good example of this, check out the endless amount of adventure with Final Fantasy 15 you can get out of a single storyline! This is the number one functionality to include in a gaming app, as this is a market where people can easily download and delete in a matter of seconds.

There’s a lot to think about when you’re creating an app overall, but a gaming app needs to be able to support multiple people at once! Start your designing today.

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SEO is now a firm part of any effective digital marketing strategy. Paid traffic works well for many companies but SEO also has a big part to play in driving website traffic and generating sales leads. More people are beginning to understand SEO and the various principles involved in it but haven’t quite taken this understanding to the next level yet.

Just in case you are hearing about SEO for the first time, let’s briefly talk about this. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is all about optimising your website or online content for search engines. It is about applying a set of principles that make your website and content more favoured by Google and other search engines. The main objective from the search engines’ perspective is to provide the best user experience.

The search results are returning the websites and pages that are most useful and relevant to the user performing a search. And when they visit the website listed in the top results, it should be easy to use and the user will get an accurate answer to their query or the product they are looking for. So SEO is basically the work that goes into getting those websites and content to be deemed high quality by the search engines.

And why do people want to put so much effort into this? Because the higher they feature in organic searched, the more website traffic they will receive and therefore the more potential for conversions or capturing sales leads.

There are many different principles that go into SEO but here we will just look at defining the differences between on-page and off-page SEO.

On-page SEO

To keep it at a fairly high level, on-page SEO refers to the SEO that happens within the website itself. The main elements of this include meta description and title tags. It also involves keywords usage and using SEO friendly URLs. Some of the on-page SEO will get done automatically for you if you use WordPress, for example like subheadings being marked up with heading tags.

On-page SEO also involves the user experience, so how fast the page loads (largely determined by the quality of the web host), whether it has a responsive design, how easy it is to navigate around the website and its pages. The content quality is a big factor in on-page SEO, in particular ensuring that the content is useful and is adding value for users. The length of content can also be an important aspect of determining the quality. For example, a long-form 2000+ word detailed guide on how to solve a relevant problem would be deemed higher quality than a shorter one that skips around the topic and doesn’t offer much in terms of guidance.

Linking is involved with both on-page and off-page SEO. Internal linking comes under on-page SEO, so the linking of your pages within your website.

Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO is more about what happens outside of your website. It is a bit like a popularity contest, in a way. Google wants to know how popular your website is with other internet users and if other people use your content to link to from their website.

The main aspect of this is referred to as ‘backlinking’, in other words, links that go back to your website from other places on the internet. The most desired types of links are natural links, whereby an internet user has found your content and wants to link to it because it helps them to explain something or adds to their own content. It can be difficult to get started with this but you have to concentrate on producing high quality, very useful content.

You are trying to establish your website as a high authority site, a source of high quality content that people want to use. You want to produce content that social media users share and achieve as many links as possible. Both off-page and on-page SEO are very important in getting the results you want, so it is worth spending time in both of these areas if you want to increase the amount of organic traffic going to your website.

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>We all think about a career change from time to time. The main reason you might want to change your job and profession is to improve yourself. You might feel undervalued and overworked, or genuinely believe that you can do more to help people. No matter what your motivation is, you will need to make sure that you are considering your options before you jump head first in, and regret your decision. It is important to choose a career you will enjoy long term, and one that will provide you enough challenges for the years to come, or you get bored soon and move on. Below you will find a list of deadly mistakes you want to avoid when searching for the ultimate career path.

Image via Robins Air Force Base

Not Enough Qualifications

You might be dreaming about being a brain surgeon, but, unless you are qualified, you will not be offered the job. It is important that you check the positions advertised in your dream field and work out what type of degrees and official qualifications you need. For example, if you would like to become a criminologist, you are likely to need an associates in criminal justice or equivalent qualification. Some positions in the field will also require field experience.

Not Enough Demand

If you are chasing a career dream without reading reports on the industry, you might be up for a surprise. There are many careers that are popular, but overcrowded, and you will find it hard to find a suitable position. This means you might waste years on your education, and end up unemployed. Without checking your career outlook, and consulting with a HR professional about your options, you should not make a decision about pursuing a new career path.

Extreme Competition

Even if there is a huge demand for your future skills, chances are there is an even greater competition. You will need to check how many people get qualified every year, before you make your choice. If you have to face with cheap college-leaving workforce as a competition, you will find it hard to get a job. Talk to companies and check out job sites that tell you how many people applied for different positions, so you get a clearer picture about the competition.

Your Future Job Is Likely to Be Replaced by AI

Artificial intelligence is predicted to replace different jobs. If you want to be a researcher, you will need to make sure your computer skills are up to standard, and you can work with AI. Anything that involves repetitive actions is likely to be completed by computers in a few decades. If you are planning for long term, check out which jobs are likely to be replaced by artificial intelligence, and develop skills that are irreplaceable. Customer service, face-to-face communication, and legal professions seem to be safe for now, so is health and social care.

Not Challenging Enough

Many people have a clear idea about how they will enjoy their job once they are qualified, and they get disappointed. If you get used to the new routine after a few months, and you are unable to improve, you will get bored again, and think about moving on. To find out whether your future job will be challenging enough, you should talk to people already working in the industry, and try to take on an apprenticeship, instead of investing thousands of dollars in your education.

Industry Culture

You might simply not like the culture of the industry. There are several people who leave the insurance sales profession because they don’t agree with the company’s price or customer retention policies, despite the financial benefits and the plentiful of bonuses. You have to learn as much as you can about the industry and the organization you would like to work for. Volunteering, or taking an apprenticeship for a few months can open your eyes, and help you decide whether or not you would like to work in that environment.

Lack of Promotion Opportunities

Another deadly mistake people make when choosing their careers is not checking the career progression outlook in the industry., If you will get qualified and get stuck in an entry level position for a few years, you might feel under-appreciated, and have to look somewhere else. Talk to a college advisor, or a recruitment agency professional to find out whether or not you have a chance for career progression in a few years, or you will regret your decision.

Feeling Out of Place

Again, if you fail to find out as much as you can about the industry, you might never be able to make an informed decision. You will not only need to be able to do the job, but also fit in. If all the people you work with are from a different background, and they have values that contradict yours, you are not likely to last long in your new job. Visit a couple of companies, and find out more about their culture, corporate policies, and human resources approaches, before you change your career.

Not Knowing What the Job Entails

Job descriptions can be misleading. If you believe that you know everything about a position without talking to people who are actually doing the job, or trying your hands on some of the tasks, you are mistaken. Make sure that you read blogs from people working in the profession, check out documentaries, and learn as much as you can about the daily life of the department, to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Whenever you consider a career change, it is important that you gather all information necessary for making an informed decision. Get people to talk to you, sit down with a recruitment agent and a college principal, and research the future of your chosen career. Find out more about the demand and the number of people applying for the same position, and you will succeed in choosing the right career for your needs. Sign up for an apprenticeship to get hands-on experience before you make a commitment.

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The idea of a local business is becoming a thing of the past. Being able to log onto any social media platform or e-commerce site gives you the chance to talk to people and purchase items anywhere in the world.

And being able to be contacted no matter where you are is essential to reaching as many customers as possible. You want your business to grow, and this will only happen if you can build a reputation of trust and consistent availability. Without this, you will struggle to reach a broader market and further expansion.


As much as it is easier to send an email and wait for a response, a phone call will get you even further. People don’t like to sit on hold forever, and this is one of the reasons that put them off phoning your business directly for any reason.

But, just because we are relying more on the internet nowadays doesn’t mean you do not need a working phone. Your business will need a telephone number for tax purposes but also to give customers more than one option if they want to get in contact. Working with a service that can provide these numbers anywhere, such as Planet Numbers, will allow your company to ensure that any customer issues can be dealt with by merely picking up the phone.


Business and social media may have once been seen as something that was disallowed in an office. You can’t be browsing Facebook when you are supposed to be doing your work, after all. But, company’s have realised the importance of strong social media presence and are using it to their advantage to be more engaged with customers and potential customers than ever.

Maintaining an active social media account across the board will allow you to build your brand and interact with customers who have praise or criticism and want to speak to you directly. This is an evolution of the customer service procedures of the past, and now businesses are almost forced to respond to any messages that come their way.


While you may have found success in your home country, the markets in other countries may be vastly different. Because of this, you can’t rely on the same tactics that have brought you success locally.

Undertaking research into the international markets where your business will have the most success is vital towards reaching this goal. From here, you can identify what works and what doesn’t by looking at marketing campaigns of the past and seeing what was successful. This will help you avoid any mistakes or misunderstandings and give you a strong launch into the foreign markets you want to conquer.


Not everyone wishes to take their business worldwide, but not exploring ways in which this will become a reality will mean that your business is missing out on its potential to spread as far and wide as possible. Being available, building a strong reputation, and knowing your market is crucial to achieving whatever global expansion plans you might have.

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ecommerce website

Building a website for your business can help grow and develop your brand, while increasing profits. Recent research found that one in five small businesses in the UK do not have an online presence, losing each business up to £20,000 a year. There is a clear financial case for taking your business online, however there are a few things you should be asking yourself in order to launch a successful website.

ecommerce website

Is your domain name searchable?

The e-commerce industry is growing massively, and the UK is second (after Norway) for making e-commerce purchases in Europe. In 2016, online sales increased by 21.3%, according to the Office for National Statistics, and this trend is hardly going to slow down. It makes sense to have a website that can be easily found online, which will make it easier to bring customers to your page. Potential customers searching for your services should be able to find your website on search engines, such as Google, and how easy you are to find depends on how you brand your website. Picking the right URL for your business is key, as well as the extension you choose. Branding experts Novanym recommend using the most recognisable, and trusted,.com extension to increase chances of having your website found online.

You should aim to have your business name as your domain, or at least keep it as simple as possible. It’s also recommended to make sure your domain is pronounceable, otherwise customers and website users could be left confused and struggling to remember the URL. This is thanks to ‘processing fluency’, which is the ease in which our brains process information—if something is pronounceable, our brains are more likely to process it easily, which helps ensure that it’s not easily forgotten.

Is your website secure?

Despite the rising trend of e-commerce, shoppers can still be hesitant when it comes to buying online. A recent study by the Department of Commerce found that around half of internet users in America are worried over the privacy and security of their personal information. You can prevent shoppers from leaving your website before checking out by ensuring your website is secure. You can do this by installing an SSL Certificate onto the web server, which initiates a secure sessions with browsers, keeping personal information protected against hackers.

Shoppers will be able to see your website is secure, as it will include HTTPS (HTTP Secure) in the browser, as well as the padlock symbol marking the webpage as protected. You should also look at the colour of the address bar, as websites with an extended validation (the highest level of validation, and the most secure websites) will have a green address bar.

Do you have a USP for the online market?

In order to attract customers to your website, you need to offer them something they can’t get anywhere else. You’ll need to establish a unique selling proposition before launching your business online, so you can easily include it in your website. It may be that you offer cheaper products than your competitors, or a wider range of products and services. Your products may even offer hidden benefits to customers, which you should highlight when building your online presence.

For example, if you offer ethical and fairtrade products, you should highlight this to customers. Ethical commerce is in demand, and is growing in popularity across all sectors. Between 2000 and 2015, ethical spending grew from £1.34 billion to £9.03 billion, while community shopping and charity spending grew from £4.53 billion to £9.41 billion. People are more interested in shopping ethically, even if that means products are more expensive. Drawing customers in with your USP could encourage them to spend with your business, as opposed to your competitors.

Who will maintain your website?

A website is crucial for your business—it will inform customers about the products and services you offer, as well as contact information, and may even let them shop online. Therefore it should be a priority for you, which means you’ll need to keep it updated and maintained. If you wind up neglecting your website, it could start to look dated, and include incorrect information, which could drive customers away from your business.

You may have to employ someone with technical know-how to be in charge of keeping the website up and running. It’s important to update a website regularly, whether this is with blog posts, adding new products, or hosting special offers, as this will keep customers coming back to your page, increasing the chances of them completing a purchase.

While moving your business online may seem like hard work, it is highly recommended. It gives you chance to build your brand and increase profits, while also reaching a larger customer base. As long as you ask yourself these four questions before you launch, moving online should be a great success.

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It’s never been easier to set up a company than it is today. Simply go online, start an eCommerce site, and begin advertising. Before long, the marketing will take hold and people will flock to the website or blog. It really can be that simple and effective, which is why thousands of new businesses appear every week.

There is one problem, and that is the liability. Because it’s cheap and accessible, lots of startups opt for a sole trader scheme. Basically, the owner is the person in charge and they don’t have to answer to shareholders. However, there isn’t a distinction between the business and the boss. So, everything from assets to personal liability is on the line.

Getting sued and losing a house is a scary thought, frightening enough to make you rethink the plan. But, what if you have no other option? And, what about the millions of sole proprietorships that are already live around the world? For your sake, here are the ways to protect yourself and the company.

Set Up An LLC

“LLC” stands for Limited Liability Company and comes with lots of advantages. The first is that it’s easier than it sounds to set up. With help from, you can be ready to trade within a couple of days. Oh, and don’t forget that the fee is minimal too. But, the best reason to change from a sole proprietorship to an LLC is separation. Limited companies can put distance between the people in charge and the firm’s assets. In simple terms, creditors can’t come after your personal belongings if there is a financial dispute. Creating the hurdles is something which you need to think about carefully, and you will want professional help. Just remember that there should be zero blowbacks regarding the owner and liability from a money standpoint.

Be Asset Savvy

Usually what happens is that individuals borrow more than they can afford. After a couple of months of scrimping and saving, the bailiffs turn up at the door demanding payment. You don’t have the cash so you can’t satisfy the debt, which is when your valuables end up in the back of a van. And, belongings can range from a property or a car to televisions and electrical items. Obviously, some things are less valuable than others, and they are the stuff to use as collateral says A bank won’t accept a laptop as security, but they will consider a fancy car. The creditors might be interested as long as the vehicle has a healthy resale value. It’s not nice yet it’s better than losing a house.

Save Your House

An average entrepreneur won’t have enough assets to bargain with. If you did, there would be no need to apply for a loan in the first place. So, the home may be the only resource you have at your disposal. Of course, it’s essential to think long and hard before offering it as security. However, you should know there are ways to limit the damage as a sole trader. Remember that only the person in charge is liable and no one else. That includes employees, managers, and family members. It’s sneaky, but lots of sole proprietors change the deeds of their family home. As tenants by entirety, says both you and your partner will own 50% of the house. Therefore, creditors can only take the half with is yours and not the part which belongs to a spouse. It’s by no means a perfect solution, but at least it gives you leverage. Creditors don’t want 50% of a house because it’s impossible to sell.

From flickr

Buy Insurance

Banks and lenders aren’t the only people who can derail a startup. Anyone can because any individual can file a lawsuit. As a single proprietor, the responsibility falls at your door. And, the worst part is that suits are common practice in modern business. Some competitors use them to destroy the competition, for example. Then, there’s the customer who trips and falls or has an accident as a result of a company product or service. And, don’t forget about the employee who feels bullied and unfairly treated. Lawsuits can come from all angles and it’s terrifying. Thankfully, there is a way to shelter yourself from the damage: insurance. A comprehensive policy covers the boss and business from unfair dismissal and injuries. Coverage can be expensive for SMBs, yet it’s cheaper than losing a court battle.

Don’t Hire Employees

“But how am I supposed to get any work done?” Workers are the lifeblood of an organisation, which is why this method seems silly. But, there is a method to the madness. In most laws, sole traders aren’t responsible for acts or damages that happen because of independent contractors. Quite simply, it’s a loophole which you will want to exploit wherever possible. With third-party contractors, disgruntled can’t take you or the company to court because it isn’t your fault. The external parties are to blame, and they have to deal with the fallout. At least, that is the case where negligence isn’t obvious. A court can rule against you should they find that you had grounds to take precautions in the first place. Keep that in mind before you fire everyone in the office!

From pexels

Haggle Over Debts

Creditors will chase any and all overdue balances because they want their money back. Don’t see this is a threat but an opportunity. As they are money-orientated, they will consider a deal which helps them retrieve the cash. And, if it’s less hassle and saves time, then it’s two more reasons to agree to terms. The trick is to contact lenders in advance and inform them of the situation. Firstly, it shows them that you are not going to shirk your duties. Secondly, it stops the situation escalating. By haggling, you can find a solution, such as a payment plan, and avoid litigation.

Experts would say you should avoid a sole proprietorship altogether. If it’s the only option, use these tricks to help you avoid dangerous situations.

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When Microsoft acquired LinkedIn back in 2016 for a crisp $26.2 billion, many people scratched their heads. Why focus on a networking site whose ‘cool factor’ palled in comparison to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? Why such a large amount for a platform that had, for all intents and purposes, plateaued in the public eye?

Well, now we know now that Microsoft had a few tricks up their sleeves.

Embedding LinkedIn with such things as Skype, its email system, and a host of other features, Microsoft has elevated the platform from a ‘social network for job-seekers’ into an indispensable resource for business professionals the world over.

As we enter 2018, the newly streamlined and user-friendly site has amassed over 500 million users, making it the third larger social network in existence. While stats show that only around a quarter of users are actually active, that’s still hundreds of millions of users who are potentially viewing your content each and every day.

And unlike other social media channels, the platform isn’t burdened by fake profiles, fake news, and unwanted comments that bog down and dilute quality content.

LinkedIn, in short, dominates business-to-business marketing, and is an essential platform for all things related to both marketing and communications. Here are a few of the (many) features in which you can extend your reach and get the most out of the platform:

1- Groups

Allowing you to narrow your focus on specific professionals within a given industry, the LinkedIn groups feature provides places to share content, find answers, and to establish yourself as an industry expert.

Unlike groups in say, Facebook, where memes and misspelled comments reign supreme, LinkedIn groups allow you to specify your content in a professional setting. The groups feature even creates its own feed, which aims to keep you up-to-date with the most relevant information tailored to you.

Not sure where to start? Firstly, the ‘product’ is found on the homepage dropdown menu. Past that point, you will be able to use any keywords you want to find the groups that best suit your needs. LinkedIn, will, of course, have plenty of suggestions.

2- Slideshare

Immensely popular in its own right, LinkedIn embedded SlideShare into its platform when it purchased it back in 2012 for $119 million. Hailed as “the youtube of presentations”, the feature enables you to share quality PDFs that have potential to go viral within, and outside of the LinkedIn network.

With over 80% of SlideShare’s visitors coming from targeted sources, their over-18 million uploads in 40 content categories serves as an invaluable resource for you and your business. If you have a finished presentation that you want to share, this feature will give it its proper due.

3- Pulse

Back in February 2014, LinkedIn opened its publishing platform, Pulse, to the general public. Previously used only by influencers and a small pool of high-level execs, Pulse is now open to over 230 million English-speaking users, with the average post reaching LinkedIn members in 21 industries, and across 9 countries. Not bad for a single post.

Both a blogging resource and personalized, integrated newsfeed aggregator, Pulse marries published content with LinkedIn’s data and professional identity. And while influencers still drive the general conversation online, their published content is a great place to cull inspiration of your own. Subjects related to careers, business, and self-improvement rank as the most shared subjects throughout the entire network, so keep your audience in mind.

Make sure to draft your piece with care. Pair that with a stellar headline, a nice featured image, and keep SEO tactics in mind—you never know who your content could reach.

4- Native Video

Unless you were one of LinkedIn’s Influencers, the only way that you used to be able to share video content was via a YouTube or Vimeo link—behold a new era. Available on both mobile and desktop, you can now share videos directly to the platform.

And while other social media sites make your content compete with cute cats and puppies tripping over their ears, LinkedIn’s video resources allow you to add an element of visual storytelling – and a personal touch – to your business while always keeping it professional.

5- Advanced Search

With a new interface and a new search bar, LinkedIn’s advanced search options are more streamlined than ever before. With advanced search, you are able to narrow down your fields by location, current companies, past companies, industries, profile languages, nonprofit interests, and schools. You can even look for 1st, 2nd and even 3rd connections if need be.

If you’re willing to upgrade to LinkedIn’s premium Sales or Hiring plans, you’ll also be able to unlock additional features such as “function,” and “years of experience”. Clicking on the label “structuring your search” is another way to sharpen your focus by structuring complex queries with search operators.

LinkedIn, in short, has simplified the search process to guarantee that you find the right connections, and fast.

6- Messaging

Taking its cue from Facebook, LinkedIn now has a live chat option, with a green button appearing beside your icon if you are ‘online.’

While this may seem intrusive at first, it allows your connections to see when you are available, and how active your business truly is. Allowing for the potential of real-time discussion and higher levels of engagement between yourself, your clients, and your peers, this chat-like feature encourages a more instantaneous connection.

This new feature also allows you to message directly from the homepage – and any page, really – without having to click through each individual profile to find that message button.

7- Recommendations

LinkedIn dubs the profile ‘recommendation’ as “a statement that is written by a LinkedIn member to recognize or commend a connection, such as a colleague, business partner, or student.” It is an important tactic to use when attempting to put one’s profile above the rest.

A well-written recommendation – paired with the all-important “endorsements” from your connections – will not only instill a sense of confidence in a potential recruiter, but will, in general, elevate any profile.

As important as it is to have a wide range of recommendations, be careful not to “logroll”: ie, exchanging LinkedIn recommendations between current or former teammates. This will have a negative impact on potential recruiters. So if you’re putting the effort into creating a stellar page, don’t let your hard work go to waste.

8- Customized Notifications

Filtering your content has never been easier. While the new, sleeker homepage enables you to scroll through content that your connections post, you can now turn off, mute, or unfollow anything you deem irrelevant to your business or brand.

So while your connections will, of course, still be there, you won’t need to see every single article shared (keep in mind that those reading and watching your content can turn off your content as well!).

And while LinkedIn has also streamlined the way you see your content, customizing your notifications is another tool to ensure that you’re seeing exactly what you want (and need) to see.

9- Sales Navigator

While this is not a free LinkedIn feature, it’s advantages for your business far outweigh the cost. Payable on a monthly or annual basis, the feature is available for both team and individual members—the latter allowing you to see who’s viewed your profile; access to the extended LinkedIn network; lead and account search capabilities and recommendations, and plenty more.

According to LinkedIn stats, social selling leaders see:

  • 45% more opportunities created
  • 51% more likely to achieve quota
  • 80% more productive

And while these numbers may seem vague and/or slightly optimistic, it is abundantly clear that opting for a premium feature like gives you an added level of exposure. In all, it’s an invaluable tool for marketers and business professional, and that is well suited for a wide range of industries.

10- InMail

While InMail can only be used with a Premium account, its an excellent resource that allows you to send private messages to anyone on LinkedIn without an introduction or contact information.

If you’ve been running your profile on (free) basic mode, this would definitely be a cue for an upgrade. InMail will also track the effectiveness of your messages, and provide data on your InMail messages via the InMail analytics page.

Once you’ve signed up for InMail, you will be given a set number of credits. While this may seem strange at first, it ensures that each message you send and receive carries a sense of importance, unlike your standard email.

You can also receive credit back when one of your messages has received a response. In short, if you’re a business professional looking to expand their network, sign up for InMail as soon as possible.

11- Lynda

Purchased back in 2015 for a cool $1.5 billion, the online learning website has now been integrated into the LinkedIn interface. Given the official title of “LinkedIn Learning” and available directly on the homepage, the combination of’s easy-to-access expertise and LinkedIn’s complex database allows you to explore and learn about a wide array of subjects quickly, and easily.

With videos and beautifully-designed How-To’s, the marriage of LinkedIn and was the smartest union that could have been made.

12- Analytics

Like other social platforms, LinkedIn’s analytics aim to give you and your company deeper insight into your page’s performance. If you are a company page administrator, you can view analytics about your Company Page by clicking your “me” icon, followed by “manage”, and then the “analytics” tab. Broken down into three sections—visitors, updates, and followers—LinkedIn allows you to see the breadth of your page’s engagement in one place.

Unlike other social platforms, LinkedIn allows you to measure more than simple followers and clicks. Providing graphs and a variety of stats on such things as audience demographics, broken down by industry, seniority, and function, the analytics feature puts you and your business to stay a step ahead with every post.


Do not view LinkedIn as an afterthought, but as an essential tool with a multitude of underutilized features. Get your ideas, articles, videos, recommendations, endorsements, and questions out to the people on the world’s most popular professional networking platform. And while we only mentioned a handful of features here, there is still much to explore on LinkedIn’s new and improved interface.

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Author: Courtney Baird Lew

Content Manager at VBOUT

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There’s a reason that more people are setting up online businesses: there’s more demand. Sure, there’s a whole host of benefits that come hand in hand with operating on the web. You don’t have to worry about renting commercial property, overheads, hiring full-time staff, and protecting your wares from the wider public with CCTV and security. But at the end of the day, new startups sprout where the public has placed demand. So why are more people spending online? Besides the lower prices that can be offered as a result of online companies not having to worry about the aforementioned expenses, the main appeal of shopping online is that customers can shop from the comfort of their own home and have their goods delivered directly to their door. So you need to make sure that you offer and carry out this service impeccably to achieve high levels of customer satisfaction, recognition, recommendations, and increased sales. Here’s how to go about it!

Safe and Secure Packaging

Nowadays, the focus when it comes to packaging tends to be branding. People are trying extremely hard to offer their customers the best unboxing experiences possible. Sure this is a great novelty, but should this really be what we concentrate on? At the end of the day, your packaging can be as pretty as you please, but the customer will still be displeased and demand a refund if they open it and their item is damaged. So, prioritise the security of the contents of your parcel. Make sure that everything is sufficiently protected and, when possible, use natural and biodegradable options such as cardboard packaging nuts and Jiffy green bags.

Reasonable Standard Postage Costs

You need to get your goods from your warehouse or storage space to your customers without dipping into your profits. For small businesses, this means charging for postage. But you still want to keep costs as low as you can. The key to this is packaging your goods according to the guidelines given by your courier. They will have set prices for different sizes of the parcel, so try to keep things as compact as possible. Use online resources to calculate DIM weight and work out what it will cost you to ship each of your items. Set up a postage calculator on your site which will inform your customers of the cheapest standard postage option for their parcel size before they buy!

Have Multiple Shipping Options

While many customers will choose the cheapest delivery options available, it’s always good to have other options available should your client want their goods in a hurry or sent overseas. Sure, it might be more expensive, but people will be happy to pay it if they need their items for a special occasion. So, add next day delivery and international shipping to your list!

While shipping may seem like the endpoint of a transaction, you should bear in mind that it can determine whether a customer keeps the products you’ve sold and if they’ll recommend your company to their friends and family or return to buy again.

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When you’re settled within a business, whether it be your own, or one you work for, there’s certain ways in which you can educate yourself to make sure you’re always on top of your game. You want to be the best you can make at your job, but this doesn’t come without a bit of additional education along the way. Sometimes it can be hard to find the time to do so, but we’re here to help. We’ve put together a list of things that you can do to make sure you’re educating yourself through the business world.

Image Source

Business Owner

If you own your own business, you’ll find that you’re always learning no matter what it is you’re doing. There’s not a day that will go by where something new happens to you, or you’re reading  abit of information that you think might help boost you in the world of your business. But are you doing all that you can do? The answer is probably no. There’s always more than you can be doing to make sure you’re being a better person. For example, there are online courses that you can take, such as the online mba program that will allow you an insight into the morals and ethics of decision making within a business. Now, this is something not a lot of you will be skilled in. You’ll often make management decisions based on what you think is going to be best for your company, not for yourself, your customers, or the people that work for you. Yes, it might mean a little bit of extra work outside the office hours. But that vital insight into the ethics of decision making could actually make you better as a person, and help you to make more conscious decisions. Another way to better your education is through things such as conferences held by other business owners. They often provide a better insight into the knowledge needed to better run your business.


From an employees point of view, you want to try and have the best education possible if you want to go far in business. More often than not, management teams prefer to be hiring people with degrees to work within their team as they feel they’re more competent through being educated at a higher level. Now, this isn’t for everyone, but there are courses out there, just like the mba one, that can give you a recognised qualification without having the leave the comfort of your own home. For a lot of people, this is a much better option. You can also make sure you’re learning as much as possible within the company. When you have the time, try and ask as many questions as possible and take up as many offers as you can when it comes to learning more areas of the company you work for.

There we go, ways in which both parties can make sure they’re educating themselves through the business world. Knowledge really is power when it comes to business, so the more you know, the further you’re going to go.