With the advent of internet revolution, technology is no more a supporting function, rather it has become a driver for business growth in any sector and of any size. Small businesses in non-technology sectors, find it a daunting task to articulate a Technology Strategy, rather, most of them don’t even have it. Not only are these companies cash strapped, they have minimal or no internal capabilities and limited access to expert guidance on technology. Not having an effective Technology Strategy can drain a company’s resources, push them behind the competition or they may even cease to exist. This article provides basic advice for small business owners on where to get started. Below are some factors to take into account while creating an effective Technology Strategy.Legal and Government CompliancePlanning for technology that keeps the business in legal and government compliance comes before anything else. Last thing a business wants is getting distracting from core trade and going bankrupt contesting litigations. For example, a restaurant business should have technology planned for Sales Tax, PCI Compliance, and Employee Time sheets etc.Core Business and Customer ExperienceTechnology that facilitates core business and customer experience comes next. These are what directly generate revenue and these are the services what customers pay for. This is the area, a business must appropriately plan for and allocate funds for. For example, for a restaurant business to be successful, it must have good technology in place to take customers’ orders, execution in the kitchen and service. If the customers do not get what they ordered or get too late, then it is going to affect the restaurant’s business. While providing free WiFi internet may help in improving customer experience.Marketing and Digital ReputationFor a business to attract customers, not only it must announce its existence to the customers but continuously make buzz to stay ahead of the competition. Effective marketing is a very critical factor in any business’ success. In today’s internet savvy world, most of the customers research about any service or product on internet before they buy it. That makes having and maintaining good digital reputation on the internet very important for any business. This is what a business must plan for next and allocate appropriate funds. For example, a restaurant business might want to have a website informing customers about restaurant and the menu. For marketing and digital reputation it should create and actively maintain presence on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp etc. Using internet marketing over traditional marketing channels can be more effective as they enable reaching larger audiences at substantially lower cost.Operational Efficiency and EffectivenessNext thing to consider is planning for technology related to improving operational efficiency and effectiveness. Technology investments in operational efficiency can help reduce costs, cut-down waste and substantially improve the bottom line. Wherever the savings realized through improved efficiency exceed cost of technology, it is worth an investment. For example, for a restaurant business having technology for inventory and material planning can substantially reduce inventory carrying cost and food spoilage, thereby directly adding to the profitability.Insource, Outsource, or the CloudOnce you have figured out what you want, it’s time to plan for how to acquire these capabilities. Most non-technology small business have minimal or no internal capability and hiring staff for non-core business may burn holes in the pockets. So, unless the business has existing employees that have technology skills, insourcing may not be a good strategy. Most of the best technology, both platforms and software are generally available on cloud today and must be considered as first preference. From small business’ perspective, Cloud is not only cost-effective but also allows business to stay focused on its core strengths. Only if something is not available on cloud, outsourcing may be considered.Data Strategy and SecurityAfter having planned for what is need and how to acquire, it is also important to research and plan for data storage, retention and security strategy. It is important to have data storage in compliance with government laws for physical location, retention period, encryption standards, usage and other factors. Agreements with cloud service providers must be reviewed before making decision to buy their services. Cloud platforms usually come with best of breed security infrastructure. Having in-house data can add to security and safety costs.Finally, review regularlyFinally, always plan for regular review of the Technology Strategy to keep it aligned with business goals and other aspects discussed above. Remember that laws, technology, customer expectations, competitors and market are always changing and so must your strategy to stay in alignment.
Travellers have access to many professional travel agencies. Each travel agency cannot be an expert at all things relating to travel. Choosing the right travel consultant is important as they will be arranging your holiday. You need to have confidence that the travel agent has your interests at heart. Here is a list of questions that will help you find the travel agent that will help you.1. What is your main expertise? Do you specialise in my kind of travel? Do you have access to great deals in this area? Where d you get support?2. Do you recommend any airline? Do you have any favourite airlines, tour providers or cruise companies? Do the airlines and travel companies send you information on monthly deals?3. How long will it take for you to get back to me, after I give you the information that I have collected for my trip?4. Do you provide access to your travellers during their travel? How? What plans do you have in place in exotic locations? Are you available “out of hours”?5. What is the average response time to emails, phone calls and other methods of contact? Like Skype, Viber etc.6. Can I meet you? Face-to-face? Chat room? Skype?7. Can I read any testimonials from previous travellers?8. How often did they communicate with you and did they have any problems on their travel?9. How do you add value to travel plans? Can you give me an example?10. Do I need travel insurance? Can you arrange it? What insurance companies do you access? Where else can I arrange travel insurance?11. Do I need vaccinations if I travel to a particular country? Who can arrange them?12. Have you travelled to any of these destinations? What is special about them? How do I stay out of trouble?Of course there are many more questions that you can ask your travel consultant. You do not need to ask each one of them but the list to help you formulate your important questions. Write them down and have the conversation as soon as possible. Understand, that the travel consultant will also need to ask you a lot of questions to fully understand your travel needs. Good travel consultants research.The successful journey to travelling starts with you. Then together with the travel consultant plans are made and you then get to experience the wonders that you have chosen to experience.
It is mandatory for all new car owners to get auto insurance. The Road Traffic Act stipulates that all motorists should be insured against liability and it declares driving a car without a minimum level of insurance is illegal. The violation can attract severe civil and criminal penalties. This can be easily avoided by securing a proper auto insurance cover for your vehicle as per your state’s demands. It is quite a simple process.Nowadays, there is so much dependence on vehicles that the best thing to do is to follow all stipulated guidelines religiously. Getting the right auto insurance cover is one of them.What Is Auto Insurance All About?Auto Insurance simply means a contract or an agreement between an auto owner and an insurance company. Under this contract, premium is paid to the insurer and in return he pays for any car related losses as detailed in the policy.Key Legal RequirementsIn order to get an insurance cover for your vehicle, you would need to fulfill the following requirements. It’s advisable to find out the requirements in your respective state since these may vary. However, these are the broad requirements for auto insurance.Firstly, you should be in possession of a valid driver’s license before you go in for registration or insuring your car. For your license you would need to approach your local DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles). This is the primary requirement.You will also need to have an auto title. It is a legal certificate of ownership that confirms that you own the car. Most of the paperwork is already done when you purchase a gar from a dealer. Licensed dealers are needed to transfer the title of the car in your name. The title will list the owner’s name, address, make of the car, model and year of the car and the date of sale. This should be retained by you.Next, you need to get your car registered. You can apply for registration at the local DMV. The requirements may vary from state to state. In order to register your vehicle, you will require a valid driving license, signed certificate of title for the car, address of residence and proof of your insurance.The law also stipulates that that a vehicle more than three years old should have a valid MOT certificate. It is not possible to tax a vehicle without MOT and certificate of insurance and driving without them is an offence.It is also vital to keep the insurance company informed in case of any vehicle modifications and fixed penalties. Failing to do so is an offense and may affect any claim that you make.You are also legally obliged to take the basic level of auto insurance that will cover you against third party claims. Since the legal requirements for auto insurance vary from state to state, you will need to clarify the level of cover that you require while taking auto insurance. Only insuring the legal minimum isn’t necessarily the best choice to make.As a proof of your auto insurance, the company issues you the following documents – A Certificate of insurance which will also be required for buying your road tax; A cover note that will act as a temporary policy and certificate until your new insurance policy has been set up; and Policy documents which gives a detail of all that you are covered for. Read the documents carefully to understand your rights and obligations under the policy.Insurance companies have set up claim help lines and accident emergency recovery hotlines for ensuring a smoother process. In case of any ambiguity in terms of insurance or legal requirements, get your doubts cleared by talking to the company.