Why Your Business Should Have Data Backups

No matter what size a business is, backing up all business related data is an important practice. Because data backup is not always seen as being a mission critical function, some business people think that they can get away without having a backup plan in place. This idea is wrong for a number of reasons.

Even in the safest environments, data storage solutions fail. This failure can be caused by old age, or even a defective part. Regardless of the reason, without a backup any data loss is likely a permanent one.

Even in cases where data can be restored, restoration is not always the smartest option. In a business setting, it rarely makes sense to cease operations while technicians work to fix corrupted data. Having a proper backup solution in place prevents this.

Increasingly, businesses depend on data for a variety of business tasks. Customer data stores important information about the people who purchase products and services. Any business that loses a significant portion of this data, will immediately lose any kind of tracking information about their consumers and their buying behaviours.

Much like customer data, it is rare for a business not to store employee data. In a data loss scenario, losing access to employee payroll information can be as bad as losing customer data. This can result in delays in wages which will result in a disgruntled team of employees.

Every hour of the average day, a natural or man made disaster is happening somewhere in the world. Whether an earthquake or a flood, extreme weather plays havoc with even the most well prepared businesses. During these times, it can be almost impossible to access data, let alone restore it. Having data securely backed up before disaster strikes can lessen the effect of natural disasters.

Man made emergencies are no less serious than natural disasters. If anything, man made emergencies happen even more frequently. In the event of a fire, or just plain human error, having critical data properly backed up is the only way to ensure that work continues uninterrupted.

Employee incompetence and malice are equally serious threats. In a typical business, any number of employees have the ability to destroy important data at the push of a button. Given the fact that everyone makes mistakes, such a scenario is virtually inevitable.

It is impossible to know what lurks just around the corner. Even the most innocent seeming of events, can destroy your data and the years of hard work that it represents. The only way to prevent this destruction is to have a quality backup solution in place before disaster strikes.

For more information on data back ups and other IT solutions, visit http://www.proactiveitservices.com.au/

Selina Gough is an enthusiastic writer about all kinds of industries; ranging from business, start ups, marketing and design. She is always looking for the latest news and trends to write about and share with the online world.

Why You Should Hire an Accountant to Handle All Your Financials Needs

Is doing your tax yourself a good idea?

If you're and adult you can do most things for yourself. Cooking, cleaning, getting from one place to another, deciding what you wear, even gardening and renovating. Sometimes we outsource these tasks, when we hire a cleaner or take a taxi or go to a restaurant, but for the most part, these are things we feel comfortable doing on our own.

There are some things you could never do on your own. Invasive surgery or dental work, for example. I am of the opinion accounting should go on that list too. If you have an accounting background and a thorough understanding of the tax system, doing your own accounting work might actually be a good idea. You'll probably save yourself time and money if this is the case. If, however, your skills lie elsewhere and you are just bing brave and ambitious in thinking that you'll take care of the accounts yourself, then think again. First of all, accounting is very labour intensive. It takes time. A really long time. Is that the best way for you to spend your time? If an accountant can do it three times faster than you can, then it's not going to save you any money at all to spend a full-time week sweating over the receipts of the last financial year. Secondly, if you lack experience in bookkeeping and you make a mistake in your finances, it could cost you a lot of money, perhaps in a fine from the tax department, or perhaps in a missed opportunity. You could be paying for your mistakes for years to come. There is a chance you will do everything right the first time and learn as you go, but it's unlikely. If you really want to keep your tax in-house, consider some training for you or an employee by a firm like Teamwork Accounting.

Ivy Delfin is a copywriter working with Teamwork Accounting specialists in long-term financial security and reducing stress. When Ivy's not writing content she enjoys cooking and swimming.

5 Effective Branding Strategies for Small Business

When you start of your small business, you want to give it a jumpstart. You know how new and awesome the product or service is, but how do you get it across to your potential customers. There are also numerous companies that have been in the market with similar or related items and you also have to carve out a market that they do not share.

It is not always possible for a small business to measure up to the marketing and branding strategies of a large enterprise and this is when you have to do something effective, innovative and not very expensive. Given below are five effective branding strategies that could help your small business.-

1. Know Your Potential Customers

As a businessman with a fledgling business, the first thing that you need to do towards building a good brand, is know your customers. Even if you have a small business, you still need to know who will be your potential buyers. Carry out a survey and talk to people. Once you know who your customers are, you can start to create a brand focusing on their needs.

2. Know The Product Or Service

It is possible that there are similar products in the market. In such a case, you need to know what you are creating and how it is different and unique from the other similar things in the market. This will mean that you will have to have a thorough knowledge about the similar products in the market. Before making your business public, find out these things.

3. Be Different

You may have competitors in the market with similar products and services. When you want to create a brand name, you need to be different from them. Give some thought to your logo, name, color and design. Stand out, be different and get yourself noticed by the customers. Hire a professional to work with you.

4. Do Not Frequently Change Your Ideas

Use the same ideas you develop everywhere. Do not keep changing the colour, design or the logo. Make your customers associate you with something familiar. If you keep changing, then they will not be able to connect with you. Choose one idea, after a lot of thought and stick with it instead of constantly trying to improve on it and develop it.

5. Market Yourself

Marketing is all about making a brand name for yourself. Nowadays, marketing is not limited to posters, banners and television advertisements. Use the social media as well. Web marketing will help you connect to a larger customer base. Use digital print Australia to get your offline advertisements, with banner and posters and use adverts and pages in social websites to do your online marketing.

The best way to create a brand is to be everywhere – on the TV, billboards, social media and radio. When the customer constantly hears about your business, it creates a curiosity and draws them towards you.

Debt Consolidation vs. Bankruptcy: Which is Best for You

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Whether bad household budgeting, job loss, or divorce is the cause of a financial crisis, the problem will not go away by itself. Consumers are generally faced with one of two options: debt consolidation or bankruptcy. Both are stressful and neither is particularly enjoyable to go through. The following will help you determine which route is best for you.

Bankruptcy and Student Loans

The Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA), which regulates bankruptcies in Canada, was enacted to relieve debtors of excessive financial obligations. Credit cards are the primary culprits of insurmountable debt, while student loans are a close second. The BIA was amended in 1997 to include student loan debt as a dischargeable obligation.1 The one requirement is that the loans must be at least seven years old to be discharged.2 The only debts which cannot be discharged with bankruptcy are back taxes, alimony and child support. The downside to bankruptcy is that the negative information will remain on your credit reports for six to 10 years, depending on your province of residence.3 This will make it extremely difficult to obtain any new loans, buy a car, and in some cases, to get a job. Bankruptcy can be done without a lawyer for those who are savvy enough to read instructions and fill out forms. Otherwise, attorneys charge anywhere from $200 all the way into the thousands to handle bankruptcy cases.3

Debt Consolidation

There are several different types of programs that fall under the umbrella of "debt consolidation." In some cases, a financial institution grants the debtor a loan for an amount large enough to pay off all outstanding debts. This includes all credit cards, mortgages, car notes, and even cash advances through sites such as ServeUCash.ca. The consumer then has just one payment obligation per month. The interest rates on consolidation loans are generally lower than the average credit card, and the monthly payment is much lower than the total of all previous debts. One major caveat is that debtors may once again have access to all their previous accounts that were just paid off by the loan. This could tempt some individuals to use the cards and repeat the cycle. The bank which extends the consolidation loan will not be near as flexible as credit card companies are with monthly obligations. Missed payments could mean wage garnishments and liens being placed on your property.4

What Should You Do?

There is no right or wrong answer as far as which option is best for your situation. If most of your debt consists of taxes and alimony, bankruptcy will do you no good. If you've lost your job, home, and have no means of paying anything, debt consolidation is not an option. There are many credit counseling services that offer free or very inexpensive assessments of your situation that can help you determine your course of action.

1 http://www.bankruptcy-canada.ca/bankruptcy/bankruptcy-act.htm

2 http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/B-3/

3 http://student-loan-bankruptcy.ca/

4 http://blog.equifax.com/credit/faq-how-long-does-information-stay-on-my-credit-report/

5 http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/oca-bc.nsf/eng/ca02156.html

Peter Hearst A broker for small businesses and restaurants, Peter writes for several business and finance blogs in the U.S. as well as in Australia.