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Sophia Belnap - Blog

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How You Can Provide Great Customer Service Online

Because more people are using the internet than ever before, businesses of all kinds are now having to prioritize the online customer service as a pillar of their overall reputation. However, many businesses are stumped as to how they can achieve excellent customer service results online. If this sounds like you, then read the tips below to learn how you can make your customers satisfied consistently online.

Recruit The Right Customer Service Team

When you are trying to make sure your customers have a positive impression of your business online, then you need the right people at the helm. Whether you are trying to improve your net promoter score to attract new clients, or if you are simply trying to put out fires, the right customer service team will serve you in several dimensions.

Begin by vetting potential hires with detailed interview questions. The right training program can also help to educate your team on the specifics of your products and services. It also helps to train your customer service team in de-escalation so they know how to deal with angry or unruly customer queries.

Make Your Website Easy to Use

Customer service isn't just about fielding complaints with grace and efficiency. It's also about making sure customers are having a good time when interacting with your brand. In today's world, this means you have to build a website that is not only functional but easy to navigate. When you do this, you eliminate a lot of the issues that are typically associated with problematic business models.

A complete FAQ page goes a long way toward answering common customer questions. You should also aim to design your site in such a way that it is easy for people to get where they need to go without any added fuss or hassle. This can also lead to increased consumer confidence.

Create Easy Contact Forms

When a customer does have a problem, the last thing you want to do is to make it challenging for them to get in touch with your team. Providing a wide variety of contact options is optimal if you are able to handle it. Create detailed email forms so customers can describe their issues before a customer service agent handles their problem.

When providing live customer support on the phone, also strive to answer calls in a systematic way. If a customer calls with a problem, it helps for them to know that they are being served with the utmost care. Again, this is where your customer service training comes into play. Remember the old adage: the customer is always right.

Use Online Chat Services

In today's world, there are several choices for creating a stellar customer service profile online. One of the leading techniques is to make use of live chatbots. These services can be embedded directly into your website. Typically they collect redundant data to identify your customer and their problem before forwarding the issue to a live member of your team.

In some cases, these chatbots can even eliminate the need for a customer to speak to a member of your support team. You can set your bot up to serve as an advanced FAQ, taking in customer queries and returning common solutions. From there, if a customer still needs help, then you can program your chatbot to escalate the situation to a member of your support team.

Use Social Media

Social media isn't just for funny cat videos and selfies. It can also become quite a powerful online customer service tool. SItes such as Twitter allow you to stay connected and provide real-time updates to your customers when your website or other services are having trouble. Sometimes customers like the added layer of communication, especially in times of uncertainty.

There are lots of challenges in providing great customer service online. Remember to follow these steps the next time you are trying to make sure your customers are happy with your service online.

Publish Date: September 19, 2022 5:26 PM

How Travel Puts You in a Better Mindset

The monotony of life has a way of taking a toll on your mind after a while. The more you repeat the same routine each day, the easier it is to feel as if you are stuck in a rut and unable to see all of the possibilities in front of you. Thankfully, there are some very simple ways to hoist yourself out of this mentality. One surefire way to improve your mindset is by traveling. When you remove yourself from familiar surroundings, you are giving yourself a chance to feel a renewed sense of excitement about your life. 

There are many ways that travel helps to boost your overall mood. Take a look at these points and learn more about how taking a trip can improve your mental health.

See New Sights

While routine is said to be good for helping a person feel a sense of consistency, repeating the same patterns can also dull the mind. If you’re growing tired of walking the same streets and encountering the same faces, travel offers the chance to shake things up in a significant way. Whether you decide to go to a town that’s 30 minutes away or you hop on a plane and venture to the other side of the planet, experiencing a new setting is a proven way to stimulate the mind. 

According to one recent study, people who traveled often were more likely to appreciate the beauty of the natural world when compared to individuals who consistently remained close to home. This sense of appreciation was said to contribute to a greater sense of hope, meaning that people who traveled were able to think about their lives in a positive way. If you feel you are in need of a fresh perspective, visiting a new locale might be the perfect way to feel inspired. 

Relax in Wonderful Accommodations

When you’re the type of person who is always busy, you likely appreciate a bit of downtime. Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to unwind when you’re hanging around your home. Instead of relaxing, you may find yourself thinking about all of the unfinished chores you need to tackle or the countless obligations on your calendar. Another way travel helps to put you in a better mindset is by giving you the chance to relax in a space that is not your own. 

Part of the fun of getting away from home is discovering luxurious accommodations that you don’t have to worry about cleaning. Naturally, finding the perfect place to stay takes time. If you’re headed to South Carolina, seek out spaces that offer many amenities and are located in close proximity to local attractions. There are plenty of cozy Hampton Inns in Columbia SC that may be the perfect fit for your upcoming excursion. Review your options and start to feel excited about what’s in store. 

Experience New Thoughts and Ideas

Though many people strive to feel comfortable in their daily lives, feeling too content can actually prove problematic. When you are comfortable, you are less likely to take chances and experience growth. Travel offers your mind the opportunity to encounter new cultures, settings, and people. Interacting with the unfamiliar makes it easier for your mind to generate fresh ideas, providing you with a more robust perspective. 

More than this, some studies suggest that travel makes you more resilient. When you’re in a strange environment and a problem arises, you will need to problem solve in ways you did not expect. By doing this, you will start to discover parts of yourself that you didn’t know existed.  

Feel Renewed

When you return home after a vacation, you are likely to have a new outlook on matters. You will be able to take what you learned about yourself while away and apply it to your daily routine. You may also find that breaking the monotony for a bit helps you appreciate all that you have accomplished in your life back home. 

When you’re feeling stuck mentally, travel can offer the perfect solution. Take a look at a map, pick a place you’d love to see, and revitalize your spirits with a well-deserved vacation.

Publish Date: September 19, 2022 4:10 PM

The Importance of Owning a Ladder

In today's world, a variety of businesses are trying to abandon the use of ladders. Instead, many opt for ladder-free devices when it comes to different tasks. These devices may seem like a good idea, but many end up turning back to the good ol' trusty ladder in the end. 

Different Types and Their Uses

A variety of businesses will require different types of ladders based on their specific uses. Ladders are made to be solid and safe. They are made from various materials such as heavy-duty metal and good-quality wood.  

One of the most common ladders is the step ladder, used for business and individual use. This ladder usually has an upside-down support structure generally shaped like the letter V. It is a self-supporting ladder and can be folded up for easy transport. They are also quite versatile and are used in everything from changing a light bulb to various construction tasks.

Another one that is more commonly used is a straight ladder. Unlike the step ladder, it needs to be leaned against something for a person to climb it safely. These ladders may also have to be climbed down before moving them, but they can get closer to the wall because they do not have a second side. Because of this, many people who work in construction prefer the straight ladder.

A couple of other ladders are platform and extension ladders. A platform ladder is self-supporting and has a platform at the top that enables the person on the ladder to stand at the highest point. Because of this, it is usually used in landscaping projects, painting, or installing something in a high place. Whereas the extension ladder is a lot like a straight ladder because it is not self-supporting, the difference is that it can extend to reach higher places. Because of this, it is usually used in projects that require reaching high-up areas, such as roofing and different maintenance jobs.

Arguably, the best type of ladder is a multipurpose one that can be set up quickly, extended if need be, and foldable or collapsable once the job is complete.

Different Safety Protocols

One reason people may try to avoid ladders is that there is always a chance of injury when one is used. That is why ladder safety is so vital.

When a business purchases a new ladder on standby, it is a good idea to get to know the different parts and thoroughly read the manual to understand the instructions on how to use it properly. It is also a good idea to make sure the base of it is firm and sturdy. Then, test the quality again and check the weight limit posted.

It is also advised that when the ladder is not in use, it should be stored in a safe place and not left in a random spot since that could cause an accident. After using, the ladder should be cleaned thoroughly, compressed or collapsed depending on the type and the instructions, and stored in a dry room or closet. 

Many other crucial safety measures must be followed before a person can use a ladder. The first step is to inspect for any potential damages to the ladder. If a business notices, they must put it to the side and label it not to be used.

Another safety measure is to ensure metal ladders are not being used close to electrical wires or equipment. It is also a good idea to adhere to the weight limit posted on the ladder and to always climb facing the ladder to avoid injury.

Ladders have become such a vital piece of equipment for a business to have these days. They are also becoming more common to have in a household. They can be used for various tasks such as changing light bulbs, cleaning places up high, and painting. All these tasks can be done comfortably and safely with the right ladder.

Publish Date: September 18, 2022 6:56 PM

What is EDR How Can it Help Your Business?

A business should protect themselves from cyber-attacks however they can. The cyber security landscape is constantly evolving, and enterprises must adapt their strategies to keep up with the latest threats. Endpoint detection and response (EDR) is critical to any modern security strategy. Cyber attacks can be costly, time-consuming to recover from, and can damage a company's reputation. Cyber attacks can also result in the loss of customer data or confidential company information. By taking steps to protect their network and data, businesses can reduce the risk of being impacted by a cyber attack. One way to ensure protection is by using EDR.

EDR solutions provide visibility into endpoint devices' activity so that suspicious activity can be detected and responded to quickly. EDR tools also allow enterprises to collect data for forensic analysis so that they can understand the root cause of any incidents and prevent them from happening again in the future. Organizations that implement EDR solutions can enjoy a number of benefits, including improved threat detection and response times, reduced security team workloads, and improved overall security posture.

So what exactly is EDR, and why should your business use it? Here's the breakdown:

What is EDR?

An EDR solution is a type of security software that helps protect computer networks from malware and other unauthorized activity. EDR tools are designed to detect and respond to malicious activity on endpoint devices, such as laptops, desktops, servers, and mobile devices. These tools provide visibility into malicious activity on endpoint devices like laptops, servers, and mobile devices. EDR solutions can help organizations in a number of ways, including:

-Detecting malware and other threats that may have bypassed AV defenses

-Providing insights into ongoing or past attacks

-Helping to speed up incident response times

-Improving security team productivity

EDR tools can be deployed as on-premise software, cloud-based services, or hybrid solutions. They are often used in conjunction with other security solutions, such as firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDPS), and anti-virus software.

How Does EDR Work?

EDR agent monitors for suspicious activity and sends alerts to a central console if malicious behavior is detected. This allows security teams to quickly investigate and respond to threats.

The agent also collects data about endpoint activity, which can be used to generate reports, conduct forensic investigations, and improve security policies. This data can be stored locally on the endpoint device or in the cloud.

When choosing an EDR solution, it is important to consider the features and capabilities that are most important for your organization. Some common features to look for include:

- threat detection and response

- endpoint visibility

- event collection and analysis

- incident response

What Are the Benefits of EDR?

There are many benefits of using an EDR solution, including:

-Improved threat detection: EDR solutions provide visibility into the malicious activity that may have bypassed AV defenses. This can help organizations quickly identify and respond to threats.

-Faster incident response times: EDR solutions can help speed up incident response times by providing insights into ongoing or past attacks. This can help organizations minimize the impact of attacks.

-Reduced security team workloads: EDR solutions can improve security team productivity by automating tasks, such as data collection and analysis. This can free up time for security teams to focus on other tasks, such as investigating incidents.

-Improved overall security posture: By improving threat detection and response times, EDR solutions can help organizations improve their overall security posture. This can help organizations reduce the risk of data breaches and other cyber-attacks.

With the rapid growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), EDR solutions are becoming even more important, as they can help enterprises to secure their connected devices and prevent attacks that could exploit them. It's easy to see how EDR solutions offer a number of benefits for businesses, with their threat detection, fast incident response times, and reduced security team workloads. These solutions can help organizations improve their overall security posture and reduce the risk of data breaches and other cyber-attacks.

Publish Date: September 18, 2022 6:55 PM

3 Reasons Why Great Customer Service is Essential in the Call Center Industry

Businesses compete for every penny in today's marketplace and exceptional customer service is what sets the ordinary place apart from the extraordinary company that is growing like wildfire. This is true in every industry but especially in the call center field where clients do not get the opportunity to interact with company representatives in person for that personal touch. Here are some reasons why great customer service is essential in this industry and how it benefits both the company and its clients.

  1. Feedback is Critical to Growth

Communication from your customers about what works for them and what doesn't is critical to growing your business. After any call center interaction, a survey should be presented to your clients to assess customer effort score which will affect future policies. Depending on the feedback you receive about what is not working, you may need to address specific issues that reoccur over multiple customers' experiences. Your clients may ask for attention for matters that you cannot foresee from the center's perspective and this is why requesting scores, surveys or any other type of feedback is important for growth because it shows your customers you are listening. 

  1. Service Leads to Repeat Clients

Great customer service is answering customers' questions and responding to their needs in real-time. It is letting them know that what they say and how they feel is of utmost importance to you and that you will do whatever it takes to make them happy. You will only accept highly satisfied clients and will give the proper service to get them there. If you need to refund, replace or compensate them, you will, and it will be done in a respectful not resentful manner. Showing your customers that you care about what they are going through is key to getting their business again because if they know that you will handle any problems that might occur, then they will not hesitate to use your service again. They already have felt your professionalism and compassion. Providing training to employees is paramount for being able to handle problems because if knowledgeable people are not answering the calls, the company will seem inefficient and unreliable. 

  1. Follow-up Displays Responsiveness

Great customer service in the call center industry is all about problem-solving and following up on what the customers ask for, inquire about or need help with. If you cannot solve the issues your customers have presented promptly, not only will you lose their business, but you stand the chance of having a negative review or score, which is never an acceptable outcome. When a customer calls with a problem or you call them and they ask a question about a service they had, you must face the issue head-on, respond with accurate information and try to anticipate any other concerns they will have about the situation. If you attempt to follow up on feedback and are not allowed to talk to or interact with the customer, then at least leave a message so they know you tried. Accessibility to you is important, so having weekend hours, technical support and 24/7 availability will add to your level of customer satisfaction. 

A call center company thrives when its customers feel taken care of, when they have the products and services they need, when all their questions are answered and when all of their problems are solved. Listening to what clients say and keeping your self-control and patience with every caller is the foundation of quality service. When you show your customers that you have a great product, that you care about their experience and will do everything possible to make things go smoothly, then you will have repeat customers who give you positive scores and reviews that lead to growth in your business. You will end every day knowing that you did your best for every person who needed you, and that is a job well done. 

Publish Date: September 18, 2022 6:54 PM

Qualities To be a Good Team Leader

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best way to be a good team leader will vary depending on the team you are leading and the specific goals and objectives you are trying to achieve. You must motivate and inspire your team to reach common goals as a team leader. You also need to be able to manage conflict and keep the team focused on their tasks.

Some important qualities to develop and cultivate if you want to be a good team leader include:

1. Communication

Effective communication is one of the most important aspects of being a good team leader. This means clearly and concisely conveying your vision and goals for the team, as well as giving timely and constructive feedback. It also means being a good listener and being open to hearing feedback from your team members.

2. Leadership is Not All About You

A good team leader knows that it's not all about them. It's about the team and its success. A good leader puts their ego aside and focuses on what's best for the team. This means making decisions that may not be popular but are in the team's best interest. The principal role of a leader is to enable and empower a team to achieve collective and individual success. To do this effectively, you must focus on the group as a whole rather than your unique goals and objectives.

3. Good Leaders Make a Decisive Commitment to a Vision

A good team leader knows what they want to achieve and doesn't waiver from this vision. They can articulate this vision to their team and inspire them to work together to achieve it. A good leader also understands that there will be obstacles and setbacks along the way, but they don't let these deter them from their ultimate goal. A commitment to a vision drives all great leaders on how to lead a team. This will allow you to focus on more critical tasks and give others on the team a chance to step up and take on more responsibility.

4. Achieve Goals in Good Time

Being a good team leader is knowing how to set and achieve goals. This means setting realistic and achievable goals aligned with the team's vision and objectives. It also means having a plan for achieving these goals and ensuring that everyone on the team knows their roles and responsibilities. A good leader also understands that there is value in taking the time to celebrate milestones and accomplishments along the way. This will help keep the team motivated and focused on their ultimate goal.

5. Avoid Dysfunctions and Reward Excellence

A good team leader knows how to avoid dysfunctions and reward excellence. Dysfunction can quickly destroy a team and its morale, so it's important to nip any problems in the bud. They are being able to identify potential conflict early on and address it before it has a chance to escalate. The best team leaders avoid common dysfunctions that can plague teams, such as conflict avoidance, lack of trust, and poor communication. They also work to identify and reward excellence in their team members. Doing so creates an environment where team members feel valued and motivated to do their best work.

These are just a few qualities that make up a good team leader. The best way to become a good leader is to learn from those who have gone before you and gain experience by leading teams. There is no one answer to this question, as the best way to be a good team leader will vary depending on the team you lead and the task at hand. However, these qualities will give you a good foundation for building your leadership style.

Publish Date: August 23, 2022 6:15 PM

Why you should major in business in college

Business encompasses so many different fields and areas of study. From entrepreneurship to economics, there are so many different things that fall under the umbrella of this broad category. By gaining a business degree, you are gaining knowledge in a wide variety of different areas.

One of the most obvious reasons to major in business is that it opens many doors for you. It allows you to be qualified for many different careers and positions, even if your original plans didn't work out. Being a business major will allow you to focus on the core essentials that are important in today's world, such as economics and marketing, as well as branding and communication skills.

You can use your business degree to build a solid foundation for your future career. Your ability to make sound decisions based on research and data will help you stand out from the crowd and land a great job. Talk to your advisor before you decide whether you should major in business in college, but it's a definite winner if you do!

Business Majors Pros and Cons

Business majors are usually a good decision to make. In selecting a major, it is important to make the best decision based on the present and future. A business degree is the best choice because it offers more job options than other types of majors like arts, education, or psychology. If you consider athletics as a major, you should not major in business, as many companies prefer applicants with business experience before college.

Here are some of the pros and cons of a business major to help you decide what is best for your plans:


- More opportunities when applying for jobs - You will have access to more job offers because employers prefer applicants with experience in the field. That would make it easier for you to apply for jobs and be accepted by a company since you already know the basics needed in many companies. That could open up more job opportunities that may not be available if you don't major in business.

- More flexibility in the workplace - In a business environment, you will be exposed to different settings that you may not have experienced if you had chosen another major like arts. If you can adapt well to various situations, it helps get promotions due to your ability to handle stressful situations.


- More competition - With more people majoring in business, the number of people applying for jobs would also increase. That means you will be competing with more people for a position in the company that you want to work. That could make it harder for you to get the job since many people are applying for the same position.

- More specific - A business major is more specific than other majors and requires much education to understand. If you cannot handle academia, it would be best to choose another major that is easier for your future career opportunities.

Student loans for business majors

Majoring in business is the greatest decision you could make; these are just a few of the many benefits that come along with it!

With any degree, there are numerous financial benefits with private student loans, but a business degree can earn you much more than average paychecks. On average, a business major will make $1,19(US) higher than the average college graduate. Also, students who major in business typically graduate with an average of $18,000 more than their peers. Business majors also have a 6% lower likelihood of filing for bankruptcy and almost 3% higher net worth than the average college graduate.

Publish Date: August 23, 2022 6:10 PM

5 Great Exercises You Can Do at Home

Working out at home is an excellent option for lots of people who have neither the time, nor the desire, to head out to the gym. It's also a great companion to traditional gym workouts. There are loads of exercises that can be done in virtually any home scenario, with minimal or no equipment that can isolate all parts of the body. 

  1. Push-ups and Planks

One of the oldest forms of exercise and adopted by everybody from personal trainers to military organizations, push-ups work by using your own weight against gravity. They work your back, shoulders, arms and core. Though they are not necessarily renowned for it, they also work the legs. Anybody who hits the floor for push-up sets after a 30 minute leg workout will undoubtedly feel how their lower half strains to hold the body in position. 

They are difficult and there are many modifications that you can make, including wall push-ups to doing them on your knees. The plank is another effective full-body exercise in the spirit of the push- up. Both need minimal space and both will leave you looking and feeling stronger.

  1. Using the Stairs

If you occupy two levels, don't eschew your staircase because it can be used for several types of exercises. You could do variations of push-ups at different angles by pushing off of the stairs. You can also simply walk up and down them. The trick to this stuff, as with any exercise routine, formal or informal, is to keep track of the details. Your routine is dependent on you creating a workout that is achievable and doing it several times per week, adding more to it when you're ready. 

You might walk up and down the stairs twice, then do three sets of ten modified stair push-ups. You could repeat this cycle two or three times in a matter of a few minutes. 

  1. Dumbbells for Everything

Investing in a set of light-weight dumbbells is a wise purchase for any home gym. They are as versatile and dynamic as any piece of equipment you could own. With dumbbells, you can work any part of the body. Standing, sitting, walking or lunging, they provide the proper resistance for scores of exercises. Here is a small sampling of popular and effective dumbbell exercises:

  • Triceps kickback
  • Bicep curls
  • Shoulder Press
  • Farmer's walk
  • Bench press
  1. Lunges

Great for strengthening the back, legs and core, lunges are a resistance exercise that helps sculpt and tone the body. They are powerful exercises for mobility and stability and can be done empty-handed or with a set of dumbbells.

  1. Burpees

Burpees are something that you might have to work up to. A proper burpee involves going from a standing position to prostrate, then pushing oneself up and jumping into the air with arms raised. They require balance, stamina and tremendous body control. 

When putting burpees into your workout, consider going very slowly until your body gets the hang of all of the motions. Even then, with a core that's still weak, it's easy to lose your balance and crash. The good news is that it's as good an exercise for coordination as you'll find, and you can do it at home.

Doing your workouts at home can be a powerful way to stay fit or rehabilitate your body. You don't need much in terms of room or equipment to get a big return on your investment. The most important element to working out at home is generating the desire to create a routine and sticking to it. Keep to it and the results will soon become visible in how you look and feel.

Publish Date: August 22, 2022 5:10 PM

The Importance of Understanding XDR

XDR, or extended detection and response, is the latest and greatest in cyber security and is recommended by industry professionals for various businesses. When searching for the right tools and techniques for your security teams, you are bound to come across security vendors offering XDR. Understanding the importance of this tactic before hitting the market can help you sort through the offerings. The goal of an extended detection and response framework is to streamline your Threat Detection, Investigation and Response, TDIR, workflows for more comprehensive cybersecurity.

What Is It?

If you ask security vendors, IT professionals and security experts, "what is XDR" you are bound to receive several different answers. Most vendors will tell you that it is a product they can sell you, but most security experts will tell you that it is a technique, not a tool. Understanding XDR as a framework instead of a product will help you better identify what your security team is doing well and where their workflow could use a boost with additional or better tools.

In simplest terms, XDR is a technology designed to monitor and mitigate threats to your company's cybersecurity. The approach used by this technology is threat-centric and uses the data from security products to detect, investigate and respond to threats. While it is generally accepted that technology is a product, the information and security technology providers within the XDR Alliance refer to this technology as a framework.

Why Use It?

The biggest reason to use an XDR framework for cybersecurity is that it shortens the time needed to detect and respond to threats. TDIR workflows are complex; XDR streamlines them. This streamlining allows for a quicker and more comprehensive response to malicious actors, saving companies of all types from bankruptcy and any legal ramifications of a successful hack.

How Does It Work?

XDR gives security teams a comprehensive set of telemetry with tools for knowledge analysis, correlation and extraction. This telemetry set combines Network Detection and Response, NDR, with Endpoint Detection and Response, EDR, solutions for a more comprehensive picture than log data alone. This framework can incorporate many different solutions, such as visibility solutions for access management, cloud security and identity. Valuable technologies used in an XDR framework include email and other security products.

What Do You Need To Consider?

The first step in successfully integrating XDR tools and techniques is to look inward at what your security team is already doing. In most cases, you will need to provide the team with more data from all levels of network flow, along with the tools necessary to analyze and correlate the data for knowledge extraction. Once you have the correct data pool, your framework will need the tools to detect incursions from the extracted knowledge and respond to detected threats. Many times, your cybersecurity team will be able to identify the gaps in your current framework and offer suggestions to fill those in for an XDR approach. Working with your team like this can save you time sifting through the security vendors offering XDR as a product and show you which solutions bundles will provide the best return on your investment.

Understanding the extended detection and response template for cybersecurity will help you and your security teams better protect your company's and client's data from threats. It is crucial to understand that this is more of a framework than a product and seeks to enhance and optimize the workflows your security team already uses. Understanding how XDR works and what technologies are used in the template will help you identify and find gaps in your current processes so you can fill them with the right tools and techniques.

Publish Date: August 22, 2022 5:09 PM

5 Ways To Make This the Best Family Summer Ever

Summertime is when the world seems to loosen up a little bit. The weather ranges between temperate and hot, kids are out of school and family vacations are scheduled. It's a time for pool parties, using the green space around you for picnics and going to the beach. It's also a season for family bonding. If you want to make this summer memorable by spending happy family time together, you've got lots of options.

Spending family time together is about maintaining those lines of communication and enjoying each other's company. While the kids might not want to talk about things like inground pool financing and you might not want to get bogged down in Tiktok stories, just being together will generate the conversation. Chances are, it'll be about exchanging thoughts based on shared experiences.

Impromptu activities are excellent but you should definitely plan out some dates, too, to ensure that everybody's got the time off. It can be hard to balance family time with work time. Part of what's special about creating space for family time is that it purposefully removes everybody from their routines, which can be inspiring.

  1. Go Out for Ice Cream Together

Even though ice cream is to summer like air conditioning is to humidity, it's not the only reason for stepping out. Visiting your local ice cream shop, grabbing a cone or dish and eating it in the car is a fantastically low-key bonding experience. It's a chance to talk about the day or what's coming up tomorrow. Plus, it's ice cream.

  1. Explore Nature Together

It's a wide world out there beyond devices and living rooms. Let nature be an umbrella term that encompasses beaches, forests, parks, mountains or any other outdoor space you can imagine. You can work out the logistics as a family and your options are limitless. 

Planning your outing can actually be part of the fun because you can make a family decision. Will you go to the beach and if so, what will you pack? How long will you stay? Will you put a moratorium on devices while you're there? 

You could picnic in the park and lounge beneath the breezy blue sky or fly a kite in that breeze. These days, communities have invested so much in green space that nature trails can be found everywhere. Pick one with a grade that everybody can handle and have an adventure. 

  1. Learn Something Together

Generally, learning new things can occasionally be a frustrating task, or even anxiety-inducing if it's attached to grades or work. That's why taking the time to learn something as a family that has no attachment other than enrichment for its own sake is so great. It's fun and enlightening to watch each other's learning process and low-pressure learning is the perfect speed.

Find out what the community is offering. There could be pottery classes, poetry workshops, arts and crafts workshops or any other thing that captures your interest. You could stay home and learn baking together from online recipes or videos, which aren't considered cheating. 

  1. Check Out a Drive-in Movie Together

There are about 300 drive-ins in America, so there may not be one near you. It'd be worth it to drive a while, though, because the experience, once the popular way to see movies, is now unique. It'll certainly be unlike anything the kids have experienced. 

If you can't get to a drive-in, visit a regular movie theater and attach dinner onto the back end. Everybody can share their ideas about the movie over apps and entrees. 

  1. Engage in Competition Together

There are so many cool choices for lawn games today, like Kan Jam and cornhole. If you want to establish a running family bonding agent, schedule matches between family members or even better, add friends to the mix. It'll begin a fun, new routine.

Happy memories are made in the summertime. It's the perfect season for family bonding and having fun, new experiences together. Whether you're loading up the car for a weekend getaway or teaching the kids nostalgia at the drive-in theater, family excursions in the summer that break up the everyday routine is time well spent.

Publish Date: August 22, 2022 5:08 PM

6 Tips To Improve Your Hotel Management Skills

Hotel managers handle various hats, from keeping employees on task to ensuring the property remains in tip-top shape. With many things under their control, it's essential to find ways to streamline and improve efficiency and profit. Managers can't stop and wait for things to get done. They must command with presence and organization. Consider using the following tips for those looking to enhance their management prominence.

1. Maintain a Visual Presence

Your venue remains operational when it's booked. You want to keep demand strong, which requires a heavy online presence. Managers should encourage a digital visual presence, allowing customers to snap pictures and share them online. Don't be a wallflower; be the garden everyone wants to see.

Create a witty hashtag or line. Make photo op stations on the property with the whimsical line nearby. Then, let your customers brag about their wonderful stay. After all, word of mouth is an excellent way to get others through your doors. Doing it through images and online platforms helps that spread faster and better.

For instance, potential customers may spot the Westin Richmond when they see their friend's pictures. The visual encourages them to look it up and consider it for their next stay.

2. Invest in Technology

People stay in hotels for several reasons, primarily work or travel. No matter the reason, these patrons want efficiency and speed. Don't expect them to stand at the counter; waiting in a long line when checking in at another place nearby is half the time. Managers, therefore, should hunt for ways to use technology to ease procedures and ensure customer satisfaction.

Of course, don't cut out the human touch. Find a happy blend between technology use and staff assistance. The combination delivers friendliness without the fuss.

3. Seek Events and Leads

Don't wait for people to come to you. Find customers for your place. Be an active hunter, seeking groups and events for your establishment. Host conferences, advertise your meeting space, and consider blocked rooms for special occasions. Network with local organizations to gain contracts for their business meetings or specials.

4. Embrace the Team Concept

Hotel stays and satisfaction don't hinge on one person. Visitors judge the property from when they park to when they pull away. That means they consider every worker and area from cleanliness to check-in. Ensure your employees understand that everyone should collaborate to create an excellent travel experience.

Talk to different departments about how things are going. Train people to know their roles and do them well. Run a tight ship with high expectations, and when something isn't going well, reach out to those employees and find out why it's falling short in their division.

5. Know the Trends

What do people want right now? Are they looking for a good breakfast? Do they want luxurious sheets? Perhaps they want additional entertainment or a free drink. Know the current travel expectations and trends. Spend time researching the latest and greatest in the field, making adjustments to the property. This could be anything from easy check-ins, extended hours or a change in decor.

6. Communicate

Don't neglect communication skills. Remain present on the property, visible for people for staff and visitors to see. Then, let others know your goals and needs. Management isn't a quiet job. It would help if you talked with others, found problems, resolved conflicts and offered advice. It's constantly discussing the ups and downs and staying with others.


Hotel managers are major multi-taskers. It's about people and pleasure and getting those to-do lists done. Take the time to work with staff to make the property look good and operate well. Those touches and communication about your expectations remain crucial to running a smooth ship. Thus, stay active and involved with all of your team members.

Publish Date: August 19, 2022 9:16 PM

6 Tips for Starting Your Own Business

Starting a business is no small feat. However, it can be a worthwhile and rewarding experience if done right. Here are six tips for starting your own business.

  1. Create a Business Plan

The first and most fundamental step in starting a business is creating a business plan. Essentially, this document will lay out the specifics of your organization, as well as your goals for the future. You'll want to include market research, the name of your business, sales prospecting, potential pricing, potential locations and branding. While you don't need to have definites for everything, you'll want to at least have a plan in place. Be sure to add your vision for the future of the company.

  1. Find Funding

Next, you'll need to create a financial plan. After all, you can't create a business without any funding. Start by looking for donors. Reach out to friends, family and local donors. If you can't get a substantial amount of funding from these individuals, don't worry. You may be able to get a loan until your business begins making money. No matter what, be prepared to be in debt for a while. This is normal for new business owners.

  1. Register With the Government

Once you have stable ground for your business to stand on, you'll need to register with the government and the IRS. If you skip this step, you won't be running your business legally. Start by getting articles of incorporation. Next, you'll want to get an employer identification number (EIN). This allows you to separate your personal and business taxes, which will likely save you some money. After that, you'll need to file some income tax forms. Finally, be sure to get any licenses and permits you may need.

  1. Hire a Compatible Team

To create a stable company, you'll want a strong team to start off with. Begin with the management. During interviews, be sure to prioritize people with experience in your particular business type. While management experience is certainly a plus, understanding the fundamentals of your business is essential. Once you've hired managers, you can begin to get lower-level employees. Focus on the responsibility and innate ability of these individuals. Workers with prior experience may actually be more difficult to train.

  1. Make Your Brand

To truly make your business official, you'll need some stand-out branding. Start out by cementing your name. Remember that the name doesn't need to be a description of your business. If necessary, you can always add a subtitle. However, it should be indicative of your business's aesthetic. Consider how customers should feel when walking into your store. Will it be cozy and familial? Will it be futuristic and modern? Once you have a name and aesthetic, you can create a logo. Be sure that the colors, fonts and added graphics all play into your aesthetic.

  1. Start Advertising

Advertising is vital for every business. After all, you can't get customers if no one knows you exist. Start by creating social media accounts. You'll want to be present on every popular platform, particularly ones that cater to your intended customer base. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube are all musts. After creating accounts, start posting regularly. You may want to assign this task to a young employee with an interest in social media. After that, you can begin advertising in person. Hand out flyers, put up posters and attend community events. Keep in mind that you should be advertising early on. The moment you have a business plan, people should be hearing about your store.

While starting a business isn't easy, it can still be very rewarding. Do your research, reach out to others and keep your eye on the prize.

Publish Date: August 9, 2022 6:27 PM

Six Ways to be More Eco Friendly Immediately

As there are more and more people in the world each day, they produce more and more waste. Much of that unwanted material is labeled garbage and ends up in a landfill or floats out to sea. Unfortunately, a great deal of what is buried underground or sinks to the bottom of the oceans does not break down quickly. Instead, toxins from basic household products seep into the soil and minuscule particles circulate the waters where they are consumed by fish or other aquatic life. Eventually, these pollutants work their way back into the human food chain. The good news is that there are solutions everyone can take. Even if you cannot achieve all of these suggestions, here are six ways you can be more eco-friendly starting now.

Recycle Recycle Recycle

Facilities that assist businesses, as well as general citizens in reclaiming or reprocessing materials, are becoming increasingly common. In addition, manufacturers are beginning to label their products so disposal is no longer a guessing game. Whether you run a company, a township or just a household, modern recycling equipment makes it simple to find the resources you need. It is not a mystery to sort your leftover containers once you understand the process and number codes. Further, there are now options for processing even the bulkiest materials such as tires and scrap metals.


Society tends to focus on the bigger-is-better mentality, but if you are trying to reduce your carbon footprint, then the opposite holds true. Evaluate the size of your home and the number of belongings you own. If you are a single person, then you could probably get by with a one or two-bedroom space. As empty-nesters, you might want to consider moving to a smaller house. When you choose cozier quarters, you are cutting back on heating and cooling needs and therefore using less energy. Using less energy lowers the demands on natural resources.

Opt Out of Plastic

One of the most difficult challenges is limiting how many single-use plastic pieces you consume. It is admittedly easier to grab and go, but each time you say ok to a straw, container or bag that will eventually be tossed aside, you are contributing to the growing disasters impacting the ecosystem.  


Many people do not stop to think about the odds and ends on their plate at the end of a meal. Regardless of if you live in a rural or urban neighborhood, you can create a compost outlet. Some believe it is not possible to save debris without attracting unwanted pests but if done properly, that is not true. Keeping food remnants out of dumps helps to decrease the amount of methane released back into the environment.

Walk or Bike

When going by foot is a viable choice, choose it. If the area where you live does not have sidewalks or paths conducive to pedestrian traffic, reach out to government officials and push for additional green space for public use. Another alternative to going by car is using a bike to run errands that might be a little further away. The benefits of walking and riding include cutting auto emissions and increasing your physical health. 

Make Your Own Anything

A commonly forgotten way to curtail your production of needless refuse is to make things on your own. Upsourcing is a new and trendy way to hang on to clothing, blankets and towels otherwise ready for the bin. Likewise, many pre-packaged snacks that are bought for their convenience can also be made by your two hands. Instead of buying salsa in a plastic carton, visit a farm stand and bring back the fresh ingredients in a reusable produce bag. Ten minutes with a knife or food processor and you can pull out the chips for some dipping.

Not only is being eco-friendly vital for the longevity of the planet, but it can also be fun and creative too. Explore websites that offer savvy tips and become an advocate in your community.

Publish Date: August 9, 2022 6:26 PM

Smarter Not Harder: How to be More Successful in Business

You've started a business. Congratulations! Even with all the challenges that come with being a business owner, it's still an exciting time. But as your business grows, so do the financial responsibilities. Here are five ways to be financially savvy as a business owner:

  1. Keep Close Tabs on Your Cash Flow.

Businesses need cash to operate and grow. To ensure your company has enough cash, you need to track your company's inflows and outflows of cash. Inflows are money from sales, investments, and other sources into your business. Flows are the money going out of your business to pay expenses, make purchases, and so on. Knowing where your money is coming from and where it's going will help you make intelligent decisions about allocating your resources. Sales prospecting can be a powerful tool for generating inflow by identifying potential customers and convincing them to buy your product or service. By tracking your company's cash flow and sales prospecting activities, you can ensure that your business has the resources it needs to succeed.

  1. Make a Budget and Stick to It.

A budget is an essential tool for any business, large or small. It allows you to track your income and expenses to see where your money is going and make adjustments as needed. Creating a budget is simple: determine your revenue and costs for a specific period. Then, allocate funds for each category of expenditure. For businesses, staying on budget is crucial to financial success. By tracking your income and expenses, you can ensure that your spending stays on track and that your business remains profitable. So don't delay - create a budget for your business today!

  1. Invest in Yourself and Your Employees.

Investing in yourself and your employees is one of the best ways to grow your business. That means providing training and development opportunities to continue improving your skillset and offering better products or services to your customers. It also means offering competitive salaries and benefits packages to attract and retain top talent. Investing in yourself and your team ensures that your business will have the resources it needs to continue thriving. So if you're looking for ways to take your business to the next level, don't forget to invest in yourself and your employees. It's one of the best decisions you can make.

  1. Choose the Right Financial Partners.

You can't do it alone when you're ready to take your business to the next level. You'll need financial partners to help you get the resources you need to grow. But not all financial partners are created equal. Some will be more interested in their bottom line than in helping you achieve your vision for the business. Others may offer terms that are unfavorable to you. That's why it's so important to do your homework and choose partners who share your vision for the business and offer favorable terms. With the right financial partners on your team, you'll be well on achieving your business goals.

  1. Protect Your Assets.

As a business owner, you've likely accumulated a lot of valuable assets over the years. One way to do that is by purchasing insurance policies that will cover your losses in the event of an unforeseen incident. Various types of insurance are available, and choosing the right policies for your business is essential. You may also want to consider liability insurance, which will protect you from lawsuits if someone is injured on your property. You can protect yourself from financial ruin in an accident or disaster by ensuring your business.

Following these tips can take your business to the next level financially. Just remember to stay focused and keep your eye on the prize. With hard work and financial savvy, you can achieve anything you want.

Publish Date: August 9, 2022 6:03 PM

Go Solar! Your Next Great Business Idea.

Are you looking for a business idea that is out of this world? Well, look no further than going solar!

Solar power is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world, and there are plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurs to get involved. Solar panels are becoming increasingly affordable, and more and more businesses and homeowners are looking to install them. Numerous government incentives are in place to encourage the switch to solar, making it a wise investment for the future. With a suitable business model, going solar can be a lucrative opportunity. There are plenty of ways to get involved in the solar industry, from selling and installing panels to developing new technology. With some creativity, the sky's the limit when it comes to going solar.

The solar industry is booming, and sales operations are expected to grow significantly in the coming years. The cost of getting into the business has decreased dramatically due to technological advances, making it a more attractive option for entrepreneurs. Solar energy is a clean, renewable resource that is becoming increasingly popular as people become more aware of the environmental impact of traditional forms of energy generation. Solar power is also becoming more efficient; with the newer types of solar panels, the average solar panel can convert more sunlight into electricity. With the continued growth of the solar industry, there are many opportunities for sales operations to get involved and capitalize on this rapidly growing market.

Solar energy is one of the most abundant and renewable resources on the planet, and its use has numerous benefits. For businesses, solar energy can help to reduce operating costs and increase profits. Solar panels can generate electricity, which can then be used to power lights, computers, and other equipment. In addition, solar panels can also be used to heat water, providing a cost-effective way to meet a business’s energy needs. For consumers, solar energy can help lower monthly bills and hedge against rising utility costs. Solar panels can be installed on homes and businesses, providing a clean and renewable energy source. In addition, solar panels require little maintenance and have a lifespan of 20-30 years, making them a sound investment for the future. Going solar is an increasingly popular choice for businesses and consumers, and it’s easy to see why. With so many benefits, it’s no wonder that more and more people are choosing to go solar.

Solar energy is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and save money. Solar panels convert sunlight into electricity, and this electricity can be used to power your home or business. Solar panels are relatively simple to install and can last for decades with minimal maintenance. And because solar energy is renewable, you'll never have to worry about running out of power. So if you're looking for a way to save money and help the environment, solar energy is a great option.

Solar energy is one of the most abundant and renewable resources on Earth. Sunlight can be captured and converted into electricity using photovoltaic (PV) panels, which makes solar energy utterly accessible once you've installed the initial equipment. Solar power is a clean and emission-free source of electricity, which means that it doesn't contribute to air pollution or climate change. In addition, solar PV systems have a tiny carbon footprint since the manufacturing and installation process generates minimal emissions. As more people switch to solar power, we can expect a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions and a cleaner, healthier planet.

If you’re looking for a business idea that is both profitable and socially responsible, going solar is the way to go!

Publish Date: August 8, 2022 4:49 PM

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