6 Different Approaches to Job Scheduling and Rostering

Job Scheduling in the waste industry

Within the waste and recycling industry there are lots of different job scheduling software packages. However, many of these are pitched at the Enterprise market and are not cost effective for smaller companies or social enterprises, and you need to come up with another approach to manage your day-to-day collections work.

There are a number of approaches you could take:

1. Use of whiteboards – these can give a visual display to the whole room of what work is current at the moment. You may also be able to display recent history and the next few upcoming days. For instance you might want to show a single week or a fortnight. You cannot schedule regular jobs or see any history in detail. This does not hold data about your customers, it only shows collection information.

2. Use of diaries – this can give you a better historical record, as you don’t have to wipe and start again each week. However, only one person can access this information at once and again you cannot schedule regular jobs. Also, like using whiteboards it only shows collection information.

3. Use of spreadsheets – this is a quick and easy way to store much more detailed information about your customers. With large complex spreadsheets, using linked sheets you can start to store more complex information. You can even use the date function to use a spreadsheet to schedule your jobs. However, they have not been designed with accessibility in mind and you will need to remember that ultimately you are using a spreadsheet for something it is not designed for. Microsoft have now created a new suite of packages called Office 365 for online collaboration and sharing.

4. Use of calendar software – this will allow you to generate regular appointments and assuming you never delete or edit the cycle, you can keep a historical record of activity. It is presented in a much better way than a spreadsheet, but only shows the job schedules, rather than more detailed information. There are online calendars which will allow you to share information easily. In addition, there are programs which work with Google docs (a suite of online programs including a calendar) which will allow your customers to book in their own jobs online.

5. A database can be created in-house with a certain level of background knowledge – MS Access has been designed with this in mind. However, unless you are certain that the person who wrote it will stay at the business this could cause problems in the long run, as you will need to consider how to maintain it and what you would do if you wanted to update or improve it.

6. Implementation of web-based software. Sometimes called cloud applications, or Software as a Service, these kinds of software have allowed software developers to provide software to you at a much reduced cost. Google Docs and Office 365 are examples of this. However, there is a wide range of software of software out there which have been designed with specific jobs in mind, so you can be sure you will be able to find software that will suit your requirements for a low cost. Usually, these software deals will give you a free trial so you can see whether their software suits the way you work.

Differences Between Cosmetic and Traditional Dentistry

There are two main sectors of the dentistry industry. Traditional and cosmetic dentistry have two different focuses, procedures, and objectives. Both are very important and can accomplish a beautiful smile as well as healthy oral hygiene. Traditional dentistry focuses more on dental hygiene, and cosmetic dentistry focuses on the aesthetic appearance of one’s teeth and smile. Traditional dentistry procedures are necessary for keeping your teeth and mouth healthy. On the other hand, cosmetic dentistry is a choice to improve one’s mouth or smile. Here are some of the differences between cosmetic and traditional dentistry.While cosmetic dentists do focus on the health of your teeth, their main objective is to make them look more pleasing to the patient. This is done through different procedures such as bleaching your teeth to make them whiter, putting on braces to straighten your teeth, or have veneers put on. Other procedures include contouring, dental bridges, and gum lifts. All of these procedures enhance your smile and make your mouth and teeth more beautiful.Traditional dentistry’s main focus is to improve the health of your mouth and teeth. The procedures are very different than what a cosmetic dentist would perform. It is important to see a traditional dentist every six months to have your teeth cleaned and examined. They clean your teeth with fluoride and do a more thorough cleaning and flossing. Also, X-rays are taken at the visit to find any cavities or imperfections. Traditional dentists fill cavities, do root canals, place crowns on a damaged tooth, and clean teeth. The procedures maintain your overall dental hygiene.The tools used in both fields of dentistry are more advanced than they used to be years ago. Both types use dental laser tools, and the practice of laser dentistry is becoming more prevalent. A common tool used for both cosmetic and traditional dentistry is a dental diode laser. It is used in almost all cosmetic procedures. The laser is more precise, offers quicker recovery times, and causes little to no pain. A dental laser can bleach and whiten teeth, make very precise incisions, and are used for both types of dentistry.Both fields are different but can improve the health and appearance of your teeth. Traditional dentistry is necessary to ensure that you have strong healthy teeth. Cosmetic dentistry can enhance and perfect your teeth and smile which is important because it makes you feel good about yourself and can give you confidence.

Why Cloud Storage is a Better Idea for Small Businesses

Like big businesses, small businesses have varied requirements from infrastructure, IT deployment, daily operation, and manpower to data management. However unlike big businesses, small businesses have budget constraints that often limit their scope of expansion and expenditures in the needful projects. Despite the limitations it doesn’t mean that small businesses do not have options. In fact there is a plethora of options available for small businesses to fulfill their wide-ranging business requirements.One of such options is cloud storage, also called as online storage, for data management, which is the biggest need of small businesses. Cloud storage is an answer to all the prayers related to data backup and restore of small businesses which are more prone to data loss/damage as compared to large businesses. According to a survey, 70% of the small businesses shut down within one year of their operations after they suffer major data. According to a survey conducted by Sage North America, about 62% small companies do not have a proper disaster recovery plan in place for safety from catastrophic disasters, man-made debacles, accidental deletions, thefts, power outages, hardware failure. In the same survey, it was concluded that around 33% of the businesses do not have data backup and recovery plans in place because there hasn’t been observed any catastrophic disasters or emergencies in their areas while around 30% said that “have never thought about it”. Around 28% of the participants said that they regularly back up their data because they have major data losses in the past.This is the poorest scenario for any small business that needs to be able to run properly without facing operational hitches which may occur and recue in the absence of a proper data backup and recovery plan. If you run a small business from your home or office, you can understand how vital it is to keep your data organized and safe to be able to meet the tailor-made demands to your clients, protect your business ideas and information from competitors, and from employees who might take advantage of your personal or professional information for monetary purposes among other things.The question that arises here is ‘why small businesses do not pay attention to data backup and recovery plans when they cannot prevent a tornado or other such catastrophic disasters, accidental deletions, thefts, power outages, or hardware failure for that matter from occurring’? Small businesses may be taking this risk because data management is not affordable for them. Besides, regular data backups and recoveries on several devices involve lots of hassles that put them off from maintaining proper data management plans. However with the onset of cloud storage, it has become extremely convenient and affordable for small businesses to maintain data. Businesses can back up their data as many times as they want and access it anytime, anywhere from their computers, Smartphones, tablets, servers, and networks etc. connected to the Internet.Since your data is stored in a cloud server, which is the only place for all your digital possessions viz. emails, contacts, documents, images, family videos, music numbers, social network updates, and bank details etc., the cost of regularly data backups and recoveries drastically come down. It’s is because you don’t have to use multiple hard disks and/or USB devices to store your data. In the cloud server, your data is stored once and forever. You can access, add, delete, edit, re-edit, backup and restore your business data as many times as you want without going through the lengthy and cumbersome procedure.In fact the data stored in a cloud server remains protected and safe from the tactics of hackers. Besides, cloud storage services are scalable as you can store higher volumes of data according to your needs. With cloud storage, it only takes a computer, server or mobile device with an active Internet connection or Wi-Fi to be able to manage the data. Such a flexibility and convenience is absent from the external storage media on which the cost of backing up and recovering data is also very high, in fact the highest.Considering that cloud storage is the only contemporary, affordable, and viable solution for small businesses and users, several major tech giants including Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Netgear, and McAfee among others have come up with integrated cloud storage. Cloud storage is around 1,000 times more affordable than the external backup media whose reliability and safety are always at risk due to environment, physical conditions, catastrophic emergencies, accidental deletions, thefts, and other contingencies. Thus, if you own a small business, make sure that you cloud-power your data. It’s your choice to keep spending big money on the external storage media or spend only once and forever with a cloud storage services. It’s your choice if you want peace of mind or want to constantly run around losing business, clients, and money.

Fire Up Your Computer For An Easy Payday Loan

There will always be months that are harder than others but whereas everyone knows that December and January are likely to be financially draining what with Christmas presents, parties and higher heating bills, unexpected bills can pop up at any time of the year. Your car breaks down, your son is rushed to hospital, your ancient fridge finally gives up and needs replacing – life constantly throws unexpected hurdles our way, and often those hurdles require payment. If you need to meet an unexpected bill but won’t have the money until you are next paid, a payday loan could be the answer. And, as with most things in life these days, the Internet is the best place to look for a fast, easy payday loan.So what exactly is a payday loan? Such loans offer a short-term solution to emergency expenses and are secured against your next paycheck. Providers pay out anything between $100 and $1500 on the proviso that you pay it back in full, plus interest (and because these loans have short terms the interest rates can be very high), on your next payday. As long as you don’t borrow more than you can afford to pay back in a few weeks, these easy payday loans can be very helpful in bridging the gap between each pay period when emergency funds are needed.Now you know what these short term loans are, exactly how can you get one and where should you look? Online lenders are generally the most convenient, providing easy payday loans at any time of day or night without having to leave your house. The requirements usually are that you are over eighteen years of age, have a regular income and have a bank account that accepts transfers. The latter is important, as often, the short term loan providers will only pay via bank transfer because they then automatically debit the amount of the loan, plus the interest, on the date it is due (yet another reason to ensure that your income is sufficient to cover what you borrow). Unlike physical loan providers, an online lender normally won’t even require you to fax in any documents, making it truly an easy payday loan.To be approved for an easy payday loan, the lender will ask you a few questions, often via an online form, and if you meet the requirements you could have the money you need deposited in your account within hours. Those with bad credit need not worry either, as lenders will rarely check the credit history of those who apply, meaning that easy payday loans are an option for all. Importantly, the information you supply lenders with is completely confidential so no-one need know that you have applied for or received a short term loan.What can be easier than an easy payday loan? Putting aside funds for the very purpose of immediate cash flow problems. Having a separate savings account set up in case of emergencies is a very good idea – you never know when something unexpected might happen so it’s good to be prepared for any eventuality. Think about it for the future and you will save yourself a lot of stress and money.But what of now? You need money and you need it quickly. For sheer sake of convenience, which can often be of paramount importance when you need money urgently, online lenders are usually the best sources of easy payday loans. Just ensure that you are realistic when you apply for one – borrowing more than you can afford will only worsen your financial situation. And when you’ve paid it off, think about that savings account.

Bridging the Employment Gap

For many people, having a voluntary gap in employment is inevitable. With more and more employees opting to temporarily leave their job to take care of an elderly parent, raise children, or even pursue social or missionary work, hiring managers are noticing an increase in employment gaps.And while those people who took time off from the workforce know they have done the right thing, when it comes time for them to re-enter the job market, they often have hesitations and fears: “What if the industry has changed so much that I can’t keep up?” “What if no one wants to hire me because of my gap in employment?” “What if during this time away I’ve lost my edge?” The list of worries is virtually endless.Realize that any hesitation you may have about re-entering the workforce is likely unfounded. Today, employers know that many people have to take time off, and most employers actually expect it. For example, according to AARP, over 30 million households are currently providing care for an adult over of the age of 50. That’s a large number of people who are potentially out of the job market. Therefore, savvy employers realize the worth people with experience bring, regardless of any employment gaps.No matter why you took time off from work or what industry you’re in, you need to remember that you are your most valuable resource and asset. While your list of experience on your resume is certainly important, employers are also looking for people who display self-confidence and who know the value they can offer a company. So even though technology and policies change rapidly in many industries and you may feel less than confident in your skills, you can take steps to make the most of your employment gap and showcase all you have offer. The following guidelines will help.1. Be upfront and honest about the employment gapIf you’ve chosen to leave the workforce to take care of a parent or to raise your children, you are showing a distinct level of commitment that employers are seeking. Realize that many employers complain of a lack of commitment from their staff these days, so demonstrating that you have commitment, even in a non-workplace environment, is a definite selling point. Therefore, don’t lie about any gaps and don’t stretch the dates of your previous employment to make the gap appear shorter. Be honest about what you did during the gap, whether it was taking care of an aging family member, doing missionary work, or raising children. In this case, honesty really is the best policy.2. Keep up with your industry and educationWith the Internet, it’s easier than ever to stay up-to-date on industry trends. During your absence, or at the very least during the two to three months leading up to your re-entry to the workforce, regularly visit any pertinent industry web sites and subscribe to relevant industry journals and magazines. Additionally, take online courses that would sharpen your skills or advance your education. Be sure to state on your resume that during your leave of absence you were taking steps to keep your skills and industry knowledge current, and detail the exact measures you took. Chances are you’ll have done more industry-related research during your absence than many people who were gainfully employed in the company.3. Take time to take care of yourselfMany people who take on a caretaker role for several years fall into a pattern of ignoring their own needs and pushing themselves to the limit. As a result, they feel and look as if they’re constantly tired. When you’re trying to re-enter the workforce, the last thing you want is to appear exhausted and frazzled. Therefore, give yourself a two to three week break to rest and get yourself mentally and physically ready to be employed again. Also, if you’re going back to work because the person you were caring for passed away, remember that you’re still dealing with the grieving process. So don’t push yourself too far. Set your bar at an appropriate level. The last thing you want is to feel overwhelmed and regretting your decision to go back to work.4. Explore a new businessIf you’re still uneasy about going back to your old profession, then maybe it’s time to look into starting your own business or trying a new industry. For example, if you’ve been taking care of a parent with Alzheimer’s disease for the past five years, chances are that you know a lot about the condition and how to care for someone in that situation. Perhaps you can go into an Alzheimer’s related field, either assisting patients or providing guidance for their caretakers. Additionally, with the Internet, you can do so much online these days, whether it’s telecommuting for an employer or running an online business. Therefore, take the time to investigate all your options before making any big moves.Confidence = EmployedWhen you do get hired and are on the first few days of your new job, be honest with your co-workers about what you’ve been doing for the past few years. Don’t hide your employment gap from anyone, because there’s no need to anymore. Chances are that one of your co-workers is going to end up doing the same thing or something similar that you did one day. As long as you’ve kept up with your industry during your time away, you can hold your own and prove your worth.In the end, being honest, staying abreast of your chosen profession, taking care of yourself, and knowing all your options will give you the confidence you need to successfully re-enter the workforce. Take comfort in the fact that most employers understand what’s going on in real life and are accepting of employment gaps. And if you do run into a potential employer who has a problem with your employment gap, then at least you know that particular employer isn’t one you want to work for. By showcasing all the talents you have to offer-both work-related and personal-any employment gap will seem insignificant because you have the confidence and know-how to excel at your chosen field…and you and everyone else will know it.

Spy Gadgets – Hi-Tech Gadget Sales Remain Steady During Recession

What may be a hi-tech toy or luxury to one consumer is often a necessity to another. You may have seen some of the newest and coolest spy gadget products around this season. From the Micro Eyes DVR Ball Cam, which is a motion-activated camera and DVR the the size of a ping pong ball, to the Minitrak Pro (aka the world’s smallest GPS vehicle tracking device) there is a must-have James Bond gadget for just about everyone out there who has a need for information and extra reassurance. Can people still afford these items during the economic crunch?In spite of the recession, the sales trends for spy gadgets remain undaunted. In some ways, these tough economic times have actually helped to increase consumer desire for purchasing spy gear and security products:Employers are watching their pennies more closely, and thus monitoring employee habits to safeguard against costly misuse of company time, materials, and vehicles. Key loggers are used to monitor computer activity at the office, GPS devices are used for fleet tracking and company vehicle monitoring.Many consumers are facing financial stress, job loss, and foreclosure due to the failing economy. Financial woes are often a number one contributor to marital and relationship problems. When a marriage is under strain due to decreased financial security, the chance of infidelity often increases. For the person who suspects that his or her spouse may be having an affair, there are a wide variety of spy gadgets available that will determine if your significant other is cheating. There are a large assortment of hidden cameras/DVRs cleverly disguised as common household items, a SIM card reader to extract text messages from cell phones, and even an infidelity kit which can determine if semen stains are present on a garment. All of these items can be utilized to either confirm or disprove suspicions of infidelity, at a fraction of the cost of hiring a private investigator.The last thing any one wants is to become a victim of crime, especially in their own home. Studies show that burglaries increase during the holiday season, and with the unstable economy the occurrence of theft is certainly not likely to lessen. Consumers turn to personal security devices such as tasers and stun guns for protection, as these products are widely available through online spy gear shops. Homes can be protected with do-it-yourself surveillance cameras, providing additional peace of mind. Homeowners can even watch what is going on inside their home while they are on vacation or at work, as long as they have access to a computer and an internet connection.Spy gadget stores in the US and the UK, as well as online, report that sales remain steady during these trying times. Regardless of the economy, people are inquisitive by nature. The need to feel safe and be in the know is always present, and stressful times only feed this need.

Let’s Talk Marketing Strategy

You’re a new non-profit and wondering how you’ll come up with money to support your cause, right? You’ve heard the hype about grants and loads of free federal money that are available to anyone willing to lend a helping hand in society, but have you done any serious investigation into the processes that sustain a non-profit in the long haul?Let’s start with a few pieces of common misinformation:Grants are sustainable.This is far from the truth. Grant funding is like a crutch. The whole idea behind setting aside a chunk of money is to help an organization establish a project or keep an impactful project in place when times are tough. Grant money isn’t intended to sustain an organization fully.Grants are available for everyone.Most grant money is available to government entities and non-profit organizations. If an individual or for-profit business, chances are your grant search is going to be grueling. Not to mention, probably spend more resource applying for the money than receive IF you get funded. Therefore, seeking grant money is a largely ineffective marketing approach for almost every non-profit organization.Grants are available for everything.Grant money for specific causes that advance a social mission. Federal money for very specific and foundation money is set aside to advance a specific purpose set forth by that foundation. Although true that a foundation may support minority-owned businesses, the competition is fierce. There are thousands of people just like yourself searching for that same money.So, does that mean you should give up? Absolutely Not.But, you should devise a strategic plan based on this information. Using a transaction cost analysis (TCA) framework, let’s look at some of the most cost-effective forms of marketing for ANY non-profit organization and then we’ll discuss how this all relates to your overall funding search. There are 6 major types of marketing for organizations with social missions:Direct mailMost of us associate direct mail with those little flyers we get stuffed between the newspapers or postcards offering 50% at the next department store sale. direct mail has proved to be valuable in capturing the attention of prospective donors and in following up with people who have previously donated money to a cause. Direct mail is relatively inexpensive but does not yield a huge response.Direct Response MarketingDirect response marketing constitutes a variety of techniques but is commonly associated with practices such as television, magazine, and radio advertisements where consumers are encouraged to take part in a direct call to action. Direct response marketing is expensive and relatively ineffective in reaching targeted audiences.Catalogue MarketingCatalogue marketing is generally an approach used by businesses that sell products or packed services but can be used by non-profit organizations that sell cause-related apparel. Although catalogue marketing has a low return rate, it has been found to increase among use of other marketing techniques.Telephone MarketingWe’re all familiar with telemarketers-primarily the reason telephone marketing gets a bad rep but if can be a very productive means of personal selling if done properly and legally. One of the main problems with telephone marketing is the training required to ensure that all phone calls meet regulatory requirements and that the sales people themselves do a good job at representing your organization.Personal SellingExactly how it sounds, personal selling is any face-to-face encounter that has the potential to turn into an investment in your cause. Face-to-face selling has a high rate of return however it requires the most resources of any marketing tactic because it requires research, scheduling, coordination, and often multiple meetings between executives.Online MarketingThere is no doubt that the internet has changed the marketplace and it is also one of the most cost-effective methods of marketing. The problem is have historically fallen behind with online trends and don’t make investments in online marketing processes, never mind an online marketing plan. For a social venture to be successful in the 21st century, it’s almost impossible to avoid investing in a website and social media.In a recent study published by Direct Marketing: An International Journal, TCA was used to measure the effectiveness of these approaches based on the level of control over direct marketing (DM) resources compared to the cost to implement each approach. Not surprisingly, the most productive forms of marketing were namely personal selling, telephone, direct mail, and online while the least cost-effective forms were direct response and catalogue. However, the findings presented in this study are consistent in that they support the use of multiple forms of marketing as the most effective approach.What does marketing have to do with fundraising?Most non-profits are small, and many of these organizations sustain their projects through donations from the public rather than grant funding. This means that marketing (or fundraising) is one of the most vital metrics that every organization should pay close attention to when planning how they sustain their operations, pay their employees, and build capacity. So, if we take grants off the table, we can first consider other forms of revenue generating pursuits, including:1. Individual Pledges2. Corporate Giving3. Sponsorships4. Fundraising Events5. Products/Services6. Major DonationsReferencesMallin, M. L., & Finkle, T. A. (2007). Social Entrepreneurship and Direct Marketing. Direct Marketing: An International Journal, 1(2), 68-77. doi:10.1108/17505930710756833

Branding 101: Branding Isn’t Optional to the Success of a Product

The decision to purchase a particular product is not a rational process. If it were, no one would purchase Advil, an expensive brand of ibuprofen, when there are much cheaper generic brands available. Yet Advil enjoys a 51 percent market share. The product’s brand identity is so strong that Advil commands a premium price.What is a Brand?A brand is not a name, logo, product, service or business. It is the perception that a consumer has of a product or service. When a consumer initially encounters a product, the brand is what advertising says about the product. Once a product is purchased and used, the brand becomes what the consumer perceives it to be. The stronger, more coherent and motivating the consumer’s perception is, the more likely it will influence purchase decisions. A brand:Is a company’s or product’s face to the world
Is how customers perceive a company or product
Represents the business ethics, personality and values of the company or productWhat is Branding?Branding is a process that includes defining all the features, benefits and qualities of a product, defining the target audience for the product and deciding what is different about the product that will make it stand out in the marketplace. Considering all this, what will the consumers perception of the product be? Just keep in mind, CEOs, managers and marketing departments don’t define the brand. Consumers define the brand.Branding Defines the Perception Consumers Will Have of Your Products and/or ServicesThese companies determined the perception their target audience should have of their products. Their products deliver the benefits that create the perception. Their advertising reinforces the perception.The consumer perception of Apple is that the brand is exceptional, hip and cutting edge. Apple’s I’m a Mac campaign drives this perception. The Mac guy is youthful, smooth and self-assured, while PC is frumpy and clueless.
The makers of the sleeping pill Ambien, settled on the perception, “Works Like a Dream.”
The Crisco Vegetable Shortening brand identification drives the perception that people who really know how to cook, use Crisco. They reinforced the perception with the tag line “Cooks who know, trust Crisco.”Benefits of BrandingBranding saves products from being selected solely on the basis of price because it tells consumers what they can expect from a product and what differentiates a product from the competition. Branding adds value, allowing companies to charge more for a product because of how consumers perceive the product. Branding is what makes consumers go out of their way and endure inconvenience to purchase a particular product. Branding:Creates customer loyalty and builds name recognition for a company or product
Deliver the marketing message clearly and consistently
Forms an emotional connection between the target market and the product.
Motivates purchasesBranding in ActionConsider Pepsi, a product that demands a higher price than generic cola. The brand is so powerful that Pepsi drinkers won’t consider trying another brand of cola.
Many drivers go out of their way to find a Shell station because of their perception that Shell V-Power will clean up engine gunk and improve engine performance.
It isn’t necessary to know the name of the designer of those stylish pumps with red soles to find stores that sell the shoes. A Google search for shoes with red soles will produce dozens of links for stores where Christian Louboutin shoes – the designer shoes with red soles – can be purchased.Successful Products Have Strong Brand IdentitiesWould Kentucky Fried Chicken be the market leader it is today if not for Colonel Sanders, eleven secret herbs and spices and the slogan, “Finger lickin’ good?” The Energizer Bunny and the slogans, “Nothing outlasts the Energizer” and “It keeps going, and going, and going,” form powerful perceptions in the minds of consumers and helped make the Energizer battery brand an industry leader. During the recent depression (2007-2009), Louis Vuitton, a luxury fashion and luggage brand, experienced a $1 billion gain in its fashion and leather-goods sector. For more than a century and a half, this brand has dominated the way no other luxury brand has – not Gucci, Herms or Chanel. Louis Vuitton successfully differentiates itself by focusing on the art of the journey and this marketing message resonates with the company’s target market.Nike: A Powerhouse BrandThe Nike brand is an attitude. It’s the attitude that consumers will never have to worry about their apparel or equipment if they have selected Nike. The promise of the Nike brand and the consumer’s expectation are in perfect alignment. Nike provides the highest and most appropriate quality apparel or equipment and that apparel or equipment supports the consumer’s aspirations. Nike gives the consumer the freedom to just do the sport. The brand is not the “swoosh.” That’s the corporate logo. The brand is not “Just do it.” That is a slogan. The logo and the slogan are brand elements and valuable in marketing but the main value of the brand is the perception it creates. The perception of the brand is what makes the brand so popular.This is the first of three articles that will cover the basics of branding. The next two articles are:Branding 102: Defining a BrandBranding 103: The Systematic Development of a Brand to Enable it to Meet its Objectives