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Business

6 Important Barcode Scanner Features You Need to Think About

barcode scannerThere are a lot of options to pick from when trying to find the barcode scanner that best fits your business. Considering the saturation of barcodes and barcode technology in general across most commercial and industrial fields today, it’s not surprising to see so many different choices and options to dig through. Picking the device that will work best with your business might seem daunting at first, but it’s actually not that difficult to distill your prime needs and significantly narrow down your scanner options.

So, before you even think of hitting the marketplace on the hunt for scanners, you need to sit back and consider what your business could use barcodes and their scanners for. While the final decision is yours, taking these six particular features into account can drastically help you in deciding what your business needs.

Symbology

This is arguably the most important feature you think to think about. A barcode scanner’s symbology is simply a fancy term for the type of barcodes the scanner can read. There are a lot of separate barcode symbologies you can find in use today. Barcoding provides a list of well over 30 disparate code types. But wait! Before you despair of never being able to decipher all the nuances and differences between the myriad symbologies, you need to understand that all barcode types can be concentrated into two main categories (technically three according to barcoding, but stacked barcodes are not nearly as ubiquitous as the other two). Those categories are 1D and 2D. 1D codes are like the common UPC codes found on products everywhere, while 2D codes are like the QR code squares found on advertisements and the like.

If you use a 1D symbology, it doesn’t really matter what type of scanner you get as just about every type can read them. If you use a 2D code, however, you’ll need to find a more advanced 2D imager scanner.

Speed

While important when dealing with bulk scanning, the speed of a barcode scanner isn’t a top priority. It’s still important and should be taken into consideration when out shopping. Business Solutions states that scanners can have one of three scan engine types. These engines are responsible for the speed of scanning. There are laser, CCD, and imager scan engines. Laser engines scan the fastest but they are unable to scan 2D codes. Distance from the code can affect scan speed as well.

Size

Like speed, size is one of the less important facets to think about when picking your scanner. However, it’s important to know that scanners come in a lot of different shapes and sizes. From the small, wireless scanner eCommerce vendor Shopify sells, to the large, fixed scanners found in big retail stores, the variety can be astounding.

Ease of Use

Training takes valuable time away from your business. Until your employees are properly trained, they are a drain on your businesses resources instead of being beneficial. When looking for a barcode scanner, you should definitely think about how easy the device you’re looking at is to learn. You don’t want a device that requires a great deal of practice on. Business Solutions suggests looking for a device that is ready to go and easy to use right out of the box.

Integration Capability

Unless you’re doing an entire overhaul of your business’s systems and software, you’ll want to make sure the scanner you’re buying is capable of working with your current point of sale software and any other programs you use in running your business. Make sure you carefully review your current systems and their requirements along with the requirements for the scanner and any barcode software you’re looking to get.

Connectivity

Connectivity is definitely up there in importance, and it’s actually somewhat related to integration. Your first decision regarding connectivity is whether you want to get wireless or wired scanners. Wired scanners can connect to PCs and other devices using USB, PS2, and other cable types. While wireless scanners can come with Bluetooth or radio transmission and reception capabilities. You might want to test the devices connectivity capabilities before purchasing. One of the most important reasons to get a barcode scanner that both integrates well with your current system and can reliably connect to your other devices is for the sake of real-time updates on inventory and other important data points.

Getting barcode scanners for your business is an excellent idea for a few reasons. For one, using scanners reduces the chance for human error in inventory counting and other mundane recordkeeping tasks by astronomical proportions. For another, centralizing all your product data and sales information into a single databank via barcodes makes multiple aspects of business life much easier to handle. Depending on the POS system you use, connecting a barcode scanner to it is an excellent way to gather data about consumer purchasing trends and sales figures right away, without any need for frustrating counting and figuring.

Business

3 Important Points for New Businesses Regarding International Money Transfer

When you are starting a new business and have suppliers and customers both at home and abroad, the odds are that you will need to make multiple international money transfers in short time frames. In fact, the odds are that as a new entrepreneur, you may have to order your supplies in bulk least you lose your local market due to a paucity of your products, even before you commence making inroads in the Australian market.

One of the most important things to do is to compare the various agents, agencies and financial institutions that specialise in such money transfers. In fact, this is why you should firstly research the leading global money transfer providers.

You should always rely on the mainstream: At least in the beginning

Of course there are many ‘ad hoc’ money transfer agents that rely on peer to peer networks to bypass the mainstream financial institutions to send money abroad. However, from a new business or an entrepreneurial start up point of view, it would make sound sense to stick to the tried and tested routes. The last thing you want is for your precious monetary resources to disappear in some sort of black hole, with irate suppliers refusing to extend you any credit, while you try and track your money or in any way figure out a way from this unfortunate impasse.

Don’t make banks your ‘default’ setting

Just because you are running a business, it is not necessary that you only opt for a well-known bank for all your international money transactions, per se. Yes, it is certainly true that it is more convenient to work with a bank, especially if you already maintain an account there and can use your online banking account to make transactions, but remember that such convenience comes attached with a hefty price tag and that is why you may not be interested in making such transactions multiple times, in a single month.

Moreover, it is also prudent to note that many banks have a minimum transfer requirement. This means that the amount that you want to send has to equate that that stipulated limit or the transaction will not be allowed. Many banks in Australia have a minimum 500-dollar threshold.

On the other hand, should you be a high-volume customer, they may give you some special discount, depending of course, on the volume of profit you generate for them. There are various online sites where you can compare rates in different currencies all over the world.

Economies of scale

As a rule, it will always be more cost effective when it comes to transferring money in bigger amounts than smaller ones. Larger amounts mean ‘economies of scale’. Therefore, you may well be able to take advantage of significantly larger discounts, should the same be offered to you. You may also consider bundling your online orders together and send the money en masse to avail such discounts.

Ultimately, it is up to you to do your research well before opting for any specific service provider.

Business

Making Cost Savings SQL Server Backup Expenditure: Off-site Tape Storage vs. Remote Solutions

These are tough economic times, and many enterprises deploying SQL Server are on the lookout for strategies to reduce expenses. In spite of the downturn in revenues, the situation is not so dire that organizations would opt to get rid of ongoing services or existing service subscriptions.  The majority would like to go on, albeit with streamlined costs.

By selecting SQL Server for starters, you have selected a server that offers value for money, being the only one among its contemporaries whose enterprise package comes inclusive of business intelligence functions. In addition, you get user-friendly Reporting Services without having to pay extra for them.

There’s no doubt that off-site tape storage has brought a cheaper way for enterprises to manage their data. It also takes care of disaster events like fires, earthquakes and other threats to on-site backup locations, making it a worthier alternative to remote backup. Still, if you are considering off-site database backup, then you need to carefully weigh your options.

  1. Size

Databases tend to be big, and this presents a problem, especially when using remote SQL Server backup services. For instance, it’s not viable to back up a 3TB database over a WAN, since this would probably take longer than your backup window allows.

If the enterprise needs to have off-site backups in addition to in-house backup solutions either for archival, regulatory or statutory reasons, then offsite tape storage offers a faster and less expensive way to backup large databases.

  1. Recovery time targets

Imagine the worst happening: There is a hurricane that flattens your main data repository. How much downtime is allowable for normal operations to proceed with the least interruption, even with such catastrophes? Sure, a remote solution can kick in within a few hours, but you should weigh that against the cost.

This means that you weigh the potential time taken to get off-site tapes back up and running versus the additional expense of a remote solution.

  1. Backup partner

The next step, should you decide to use off-site storage solutions, is to vet various service providers and choose the best among them. You’re interested in a partner whose transportation and storage systems are at par with the recommended industry best practices to ensure data security and integrity at all times.

You will also need someone who can offer fast access to the SQL backup tapes within the shortest time when need arises. Another important consideration is their level of flexibility regarding pickups so that you don’t have to incur the additional cost of hiring courier services.

Choosing Remote Backup

If you choose to employ a remote backup solution, you want to ensure your server-level agreement is comprehensive and iron-clad. Request for a backup recovery test run to ensure that their team can restore your SQL databases in the time stated in the SLA. You should also confirm that the remote service provider has the storage space and bandwidth to attend to all their clients with minimal downtimes and no resource-contention.

At the end of the day, the most important consideration is the effect of your off-site solution on disaster recovery and business continuity. Where the requirements are not so stringent, off-site backup tapes can provide an inexpensive but effective storage solution.

Business

Pawnbroking Through The Ages

Pawnbroking is one of the world’s oldest professions and can be traced back through various documentations over three thousand years. For an industry to last three thousand years and not only still be going today, but be thriving in today’s tough economic climate,  it must have a stable centre set of values and principles that it has stuck to whilst also adapting with the times and to the ever changing needs of its customers. 

So what has changed over the years and what has remained the same in this now thriving industry? 

Pawn broking Origins 

Surprisingly it is said that the earliest pawnbrokers were Buddhist monks in China in around the 5th century. However, it was not common for pawn shops to be seen outside of the monasteries at all unless wealthy laypeople formed partnerships with the monks and opened up for business in nearby towns. People from other religions soon got on board although in a few, including Judaism and Christianity, pawnbrokers were forbid from lending to the poor at high interest rates. 

Along the way Pawnbroking has created some exciting stories. For example, the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus would never have happened if it wasn’t for pawnbroking. His voyage was almost entirely funded by the proceeds of the pawning of jewels from the collection belonging to Queen Isabella of Spain. 

Development of the Standard System 

The industry as we know it today, however, can be easily linked back to fifteenth century Italy, a time when the powerful Medici family were very much a financial force to be reckoned with. The Medici family split into two and whilst one half of the family continued the banking successes the other half became pawnbrokers. In fact the widely recognised sign of the pawnbroker today comes directly from the  Medici family crest, the three golden balls feature prominently on the originally medallion. 

It should come as no surprise that the origins of our modern system are so intertwined with banking as pawnbroking really is just another form of banking. 

Pawnbroking Today 

Today pawnbrokers cater for a wide range of customers from all sorts of backgrounds from the very wealthy to the impoverished as there is always a need no matter what your financial background for short term loans. The largest pawn broker in the UK is H&T Pawnbrokers with almost two hundred stores nationwide and the country as a whole has well over two thousands stores, proving what a thriving industry it is. 

Business

Why you should start your own business

Starting your own business is challenging. It will drain you on both a physical and emotional level as you battle with anxiety, fatigue and doubt. It will present financial obstacles and risks that will determine your future. So, why do so many people take the leap to chase their business dreams and become entrepreneurs?

There are just as many, if not more, positive reasons why people start their own business. Here are just a few that may convince you to do the same:

  • You’ll be able to do something you love

There’s nothing worse than dreading going your day job every day. Starting your own business gives you the opportunity to do something you love and make work your passion. As a result, you’ll have more drive, be more inspired and be more willing to go the extra mile.

  • You can establish a work/life balance

It may take some time, but one of the pros of owning your own business is that it offers flexibility. You may be able to set your own hours, work from your chosen location, hire who you want. Once established, you’ll be able to develop your own schedule that helps you achieve a work/life balance you’ve always desired.

  • You can enjoy tax benefits

Found a good retail space for sale but worried about all the costs? Thankfully, owing your own business comes with some good tax perks. You may be able to write off the cost of your car, phone bills, travel, equipment, and so on. You may even qualify for a government incentive that will help fund the cost of renting or buying a space for your business.

  • You’ll build a strong network

Initially, starting a business on your own can feel isolating but it also gives you an opportunity to build a strong network of like-minded people. You’ll be able to swap stories of the challenges that come with entrepreneurship and even find the right mentor that will help guide you on your journey.  

  • You’ll gain financial independence

One of the biggest reasons people take the leap and work for themselves is financial independence. Whether it’s increasing your wage or growing your savings to buy a house or secure your retirement, establishing your own business can offer that and more.

  • You’ll build something to pass on

Owning your own successful business gives you an opportunity to proudly pass it on to the next generation. One day, your passion may become your child’s passion allowing you to watch on as your business expand beyond your original expectations.

  • You’ll grow

By far one of the best outcomes of starting your own business is the growth you’ll experience as an individual. Your knowledge will expand, you’ll develop new skills and you’ll become more resilient. You’ll never gain this growth working for someone else.

Top tips for starting your own business

Feeling inspired to take the leap of faith? Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Develop a detailed plan that outlines your mission, goals and deadlines
  • Understand your financial commitment and establish a budget
  • Know the ins and outs of your customer
  • Find your point of difference that sets you apart from similar businesses
  • Get out there and network seeking advice and mentorship
  • Remain determined. Don’t give up when you’re faced with the first road block.