Blog Archives

Crowdsourcing a Job Online: 3 Tactics on the Cutting Edge

Crowdsourcing a job onlineThe in-house project has become an online event. Global crowdsourcing has arrived.

If it’s been a while since you’ve checked in on the state of online crowdsourcing, you may remember it as a realm mostly dominated by graphic-design competitions. But these days, the new frontier for the competitive crowdsourced project includes building mobile apps, websites, architecture, and engineering.

What does crowdsourcing promise however? And how can small-business owners best take advantage of the professionals who’ll respond to a job once it’s posted at one of the many online platforms that serve as networks for these projects?

To find some answers, we turn to one expert in the industry, and break out a trio of tips to bring your crowdsourced-project dreams a whole lot closer to coming true.

Resources on the Cutting Edge: Crowdsourcing for SMBs

“More and more businesses are turning to crowdsourcing to build their infrastructure and complete jobs online, removing the often prohibitive barrier of hiring full time,” said Nikki Parker, a regional director at Freelancer.com. “For many, however, the growing world of crowdsourcing is uncharted territory — until you complete your first job, it can appear quite daunting.”

Here are three key steps to keep in mind as you plan your first crowdsourcing project:

1. Have a Solid Plan and a Clear Project Brief: Before you post a job to a freelance community, it’s vital that you have a clear idea about what your project is and what needs to be done. Refining your brief and running it under the eyes of some friendly freelancers, offline at first, will help you to set ensure a solid foundation when you take the posting live. This dramatically increases the chances that your work will be executed to your exact requirements. Your freelancers will, of course, have some suggestions and opinions of their own, so collaborate with them and make the most of hiring an expert.

2. Get to Know the Candidates: Each freelancer has his or her own expertise, skill sets, and work habits. It’s important to establish what those elements entail before working together with any individual or team. Choose your freelancer(s) based on his or her advertised skills, work experience, and customer feedback — don’t rely solely on their hourly rate or bidding price.

3. Be Upfront with Payment Details: Set up a third-party payment process to protect your business (and provide security for the freelancers you hire). Consider milestone payments — which work in a way similar to an escrow service. With milestones in place, money will only be released once the work has been successfully completed, each step along the way. On both ends of the relationship, transparency and security in payment processes is paramount — it goes a long way toward ensuring that you get the most out of crowdsourcing your job online.

 

One thing should become clear as you consider the above tips, Parker said: “Whilst global crowdsourcing is a relatively new tool for doing business, the tips and tactics for making it a success remain in essence the same as how we have always done business.”

That’s an encouraging note. It means that although the way technology is changing project bids, bringing them to the cutting edge, your already proven skills are still crucial to success — identifying strong candidates and bringing in talent that creates a product well representing your business. New tools, longstanding best practices —  for small-business owners the two combine for a more powerful way to get the next job done.

The Business of Your Well Being: 5 Steps to Better Living and Working

The Business of Your Well Being: 5 Steps to Better Living and WorkingOne in four small-business owners would pay $500 for one extra hour in their day.

That’s according to a recent survey conducted by eVoice, looking at how time management and office tasks are changing with the continued ascendancy of the cloud.

Turns out, time is the most valuable asset for small-business owners — 38% said so in the report — outpacing computers, mobile phones, and the company’s office/storefront as well.

With that in mind, what follow are five essential tips for time-management tactics — from learning to “pilot” the cloud to empowering employees your promoting better work habits for better living. Put the best use of time in the spot of MVP!

Time Management: Tips for Working and Living Right

Time management isn’t just about getting work done, the purpose is also to help small-business owners maintain a healthy work-life balance. Leveraging technology can help professionals reach that goal. Here are five ways to approach time-management strategies:

1. Empower your Employees: Learn to let go of the day-to-day tasks that are taking up your time. Instead, focus on the big picture. Not only does this help you to take charge of larger business issues, but your employees will learn and grow by taking on tasks normally assigned to the boss. That’s empowerment. Take a hard look at what you’re spending the most time doing every day. Whatever doesn’t fall into must be done by you category can be reassigned to an employee instead.

2. Learn to Pilot the Cloud: Cloud services can be big time savers for small-business owners. From business communications to document services, applications like Google Docs allow business owners to collaborate in real time with employees; EZ Balances is a simple app for business owners to use when tracking their spending; and Evernote allows business owners to keep track of notes and needs on the fly. And all your cloud-based materials are always accessible. And as any Mozy user knows, in addition to convenience, the cloud also provides security that your files will remain safe.

3. Streamline Communications: A virtual phone number enables small-business owners to work from anywhere without worrying about missing an important call or losing touch with the business. Just designate where you want to get the call — cell phone, office, home, hotel room, wherever. Most allow you to pre-screen incoming calls, cutting out the time consuming but less necessary chats till later. Even better, most virtual phone systems are equipped with voicemail-to-text features. Checking messages just got faster and easier as well!

4. Prioritize the DIY: As a small-business owner it’s tempting to do everything yourself. A whopping 90% of owners told eVoice that they fill the role of at least three different employees at once. As you began to categorize what tasks you could better delegate to your employees, in Tip 1, also work up a list of what you could outsource entirely, hiring a specialist rather than spending hundreds of hours doing it on your own.

5. The Business of Your Well Being. A recent Gallup Daily study found that employees who exercise and eat right are more enthusiastic and engaged in work. No kidding, right? But the same goes for owners at the top. Take the hint and make sure you give yourself a few hours each day to relax and give some attention to things other than business.

The bottom line is to streamline, refresh, and recalibrate. That extra hour in the day doesn’t have to come at such a steep price! Work with the tips above, and you might carve out even more time for making progress — and you’ll feel better about the way you go about it to boot.

 

MozyEnterprise Online Backup

 

 

Business, Marketing, and Big Data: 5 Key Tips for Bringing Them Together

Business Marketing DataThe explosion of social media and online/mobile commerce over the last few years has created a treasure trove of information. For many leading business people, deft analysis of this “big data” is the new key to making better business decisions.

Whether you’re a three-person shop or a sales force of dozens, one of the key benefits of big data is that its massive analytical potential can lead to the discovery of results-oriented patterns within massive sets of incoming information — exactly the kind of material that social media and commerce-based sites tend to generate.

But how to leverage it?

It’s not enough to simply amass the raw info.Strategists from small-business owners to large enterprises need to integrate that big data with the “on-the-ground” tactics.

To get a start on that, we turn to several experts who are working on the tools to effect just this kind of integration. They bring us five tips for better marketing, using big data as a primary approach.

Bringing Big Data to the Marketing Table

We turned to Mark Cerullo, senior manager of Campaigner email marketing, to help isolate the five basic principles to help owners achieve those goals in the big-data realm.

  1. Standardize Best Practices. Big data can give you a dynamic, real-time view into the behavior of prospective buyers. Use it to help discern content type, frequency, and sequences that yield the best results. For example, if your data reveals that a video demo followed by a personalized email yields the best results, standardize the practice.
  2. Segment for Success. Use big data to segment your audience into specific subgroups. You can combine a number of data factors — such as job title, location, items and services purchased, or pages viewed — to create an audience segment. You can then create highly targeted communications specific to each group. For example, you can deliver tips specific to CMOs in a specific industry or create a bundled offer to buyers who have purchased a specific product or service in the past.
  3. Up Your Game with Integration. Integrate information from different systems to capture, analyze, report, and then act upon the intelligence you have collected. Multi-channel information can be used to gain visibility into user behavior and help you tailor smarter strategies for reaching and engaging your audience. For example, your website, CRM data and e-mail campaigns all yield streams of information. By pooling these individual streams of information you gain greater insight into your customers’ behaviors, likes, dislikes, and buying patterns. You can use this to not only customize more relevant content but also to tailor the delivery channel and timing.
  4. Use This, and Then Use That. Use big data to create automated triggers based on user behavior. Develop specific follow-up actions prompted by customer behavior. For example, a visitor that reads a blog post on marketing may be prompted with a message that directs them to a marketing-software demo. An opt-in form may trigger an immediate follow-up call from a sales representative. An abandoned online shopping cart might prompt a follow-up e-mail with a special offer for completing the transaction.
  5. Data Strengthens Data. The inflow of big data can help you to become more efficient about what is captured, stored and used. You can identify the data that is most relevant for your business. You can save time in analysis but also store only what is important to your business needs, thus saving on data storage costs.

 

MozyPro Online Backup

 

Big Data: 5 Key Questions Business Owners Need to Ask

Big Data Questions for BusinessBusiness and tech professionals are talking about big data. A successful big-data project can illuminate new patterns and prompt fresh ideas about a business’s products, services, and customers. Big data is about putting the information you’ve got — and the data you’ll bring in next — to new use.

But when it comes to your business, and when it comes to how big data impacts and stands to augment small-business owners in particular, what’s the difference between big data and just lots of data?

The distinction is important and there are some key questions that owners can ask to help identify and tackle distinctions like that one. Let’s look at five of them, a shortlist of ways to think about big-data and, for small-business owners, the big picture.

Big-Data: Questions for SMBs

“Big data is many things, but what it is not is a technology initiative,” said Jim Gallo, National Director of Business Analytics for ICC, an Ohio-based IT services provider. “Your IT department will be deeply involved in setting things up and making sure you’ve got the number crunching horsepower to ‘do’ big data, but it is an initiative driven by the business not the IT department.”

What Gallo suggests that business owners think about boils down to this: don’t work with big data because you think you’re supposed to, engage with it because your business demands it.

Some ways to frame an approach to big data are as follows.

1. What Do You Want to Know? A big data initiative should begin with owners and partners addressing how the technology stands to help the business achieve its objectives. If new ways of seeing incoming information seem likely to improve efficiencies, increase margins, or open avenues that will help the team to sell smarter, then big data may be a good choice.

2. Do You Have a ‘Big Data’ Problem or a ‘Lots of Data’ Problem? Just because a data set is large, that doesn’t automatically make it “big data”. Remember that the idea behind a big-data enterprise is to find and utilize the kind of connections that all this info-crunching can produce.

3. Is It Worth It? Define the value you will get from big data. Corporate decision-makers faced with escalating costs, shrinking budgets and conflicting priorities are not going to fund a solution without a solid business justification (and that usually means: ROI). Part of the answer is back in the What Do You Want to Know? question. Develop the practical side of the response from there.

4. Where Will the Data Come From? Once you’ve determined that big-data is what you need, you have identify potential data sources. There’s what’s in-house already, and that may be a significant source, but the information you’re after may take some serious integration work to capture, or you may have to bring it in from third-party sources like social media or public data sets. Assess how you’ll secure it.

5. Will It Work? The stakes can be high when working with new technology, so talk to experts — and ideally talk to owners similar to yourself who’ve embarked on a big-data effort of their own. The business world is learning its way into this newly accessible way of looking at information, and the lessons learned by the community of owners like yourself, in this early stage of the game, may prove critical to your own assessment. The best way to understand whether big-data will work for your business is to understand what it does in action. Find out who other big-data exploring owners are. Reach out. In a similar model: answers that will help as you move forward.

Want to dig deeper into big data and how it applies to business. ICC has published this white paper on the subject. More ways to learn. Good luck!

 

MozyPro Online Backup

 

Small-Business and Q1: An Uncertainty ‘Report Card’

Small Business Report CardSmall-business owners say the early part of 2013 was all about the financial crisis in Congress, with 37% indicating in a recent survey that they delayed hiring due to uncertainties stemming from what would come of the impasse.

With sequestration now the new reality, it remains to be seen what will develop in terms of small-business human resources as the result. Let’s look at some of the deeper issues and effects of recent changes in the economic scenario. We turn to the numbers, and the people generating them, to examine where SMBs stand at the end of Quarter 1, as they start the rest of 2013.

Q4–Q1: The Horizon for SMBs

Tough times have apparently taken a toll on small-business owners.

Among those polled by Manta, a company that connects SMBs with new clientele and resources, 82% did not make any new hires from October–December of 2012. More than half (65%) didn’t plan to add staff in Q1 of 2013. Meanwhile, nearly 40% of those businesses said that these decisions correlated directly with the recent fiscal turmoil in Washington.

More stats and figures:

  • 14% said they would not increase salaries or issue bonuses until the effects of the fiscal wrangling became clear.
  • 13% indicated that they had already eliminated discretionary spending.

Respondents also said they were leaving behind some healthy habits in favor of working harder at their shops.

  • 29% of small-business owners said they ate healthier and worked out more, in recent months, but that’s down compared to nearly 51% who said they were doing so during 2011.
  • Nearly half of those polled said they worked more than 50 hours/week, up more than 20% from 2011.
  • 37% of the owners said they averaged less than 6 hours of sleep every night.

But all hope hasn’t been lost. Among the small businesses polled by Manta, 78% of the owners said they’re still hopeful about growth in 2013.

“I’m always hopeful about the year ahead, but I also know it’s on me to make it happen,” said Stuart Rubenstein, co-owner of Florida-based Kaleidoscope Limited, who participated in the survey. And that attitude is no surprise to Pamela Springer, Manta’s chief executive officer. The will to survive, and to thrive, she said, is a hallmark of the SMB demographic.

“The New Year has a new level of uncertainty for all businesses,” said Springer, but, she added: “It is inherent for small-business owners to have a can-do attitude, even in the toughest of times.”

 

MozyPro Online Backup

 

Mobile Security and the SMB: Emerging Strategies and Tools

Mobile Security and the SMBAccording to global research firm Forrester, 350 million employees will use smartphones by 2016, with 200 million choosing to bring their own device to work. That’s a lot of points of pressure when it comes to mobile security in the realm of corporate data.

Professional users are demanding the same kind of end-user experiences in business as they enjoy in their personal lives. To respond to these requests, many businesses have adopted bring-your-own-device policies. For chief information officers, the imperative is to isolate simple, safe and secure multipurpose mobile solutions. How to keep all this information flowing, but protected from being hacked?

Let’s turn to to some of the experts in making BYOD work, security-wise, and to one company that’s deploying mobile with a mind to make it free of compromises.

Logging: The Employee/Employer Equation

According to a report recently published by CIO, while a whopping 88 percent of employees believe their device is very or somewhat secure, 77 percent of IT managers see the risk of malware spreading to the corporate network from mobile devices. Level of risk: moderate to very high.

One responses is what’s come to be known as logging. Companies simply record what employees are doing on the internal network. But there’s a potential complication for staff members: they may not realize that they’re being watched.

Study-conductor Blue Coat found that even though only 19% of corporate employees would knowingly allow their company to monitor their personal devices as they interact with the in-house network, some 41% of the corporations examined were already doing so.

“And the regulations have come down pretty clear on this,” Timothy Chiu, Blue Coat’s director of product marketing, told the publication. “The corporate network is a corporate-owned resource and companies are allowed to log what they want.”

The Third Party App: Minimizing Risks with Employee Buy-In

Another idea in the arena of locking down personal mobile security on the corporate network is to implement third-party data sharing apps.

Eric Hart is the network/infrastructure manager at PING, the golf equipment brand.

“Mobile devices are important for how we share information,” Hart said. PING uses a third-party data-sharing company to manage their employees BYOD on the IT side.

“Teams at PING use . . .  smartphones, tablets and traditional computers to collaborate with our partners, clients and vendors for a more consistent and secure experience,” Hart said.

The bottom line in Hart’s environment is that the company wants to open up the employee-end options by having the whole team get onboard with a common-thread application. The goal is to reduce the obstacles and effort it takes to share information, but to also keep the walls from crumbling when it comes to protecting what’s proprietary at PING.

And so, the BYOD moment is upon us. Making companies productive without compromise: the realities are still coming into focus for both workers and their employers, but the tools and strategies are emerging that may afford collaboration and security a better future fit.

 

MozyPro Online Backup

 

Internet and Hiring: How Tech Professionals (and SMBs) Can Win in 2013

SMB Hiring Cloud JobsIt is the era of the online-market independent.

If the Freelancer Fast 50 report for the end of 2012 tells us anything, it’s that employable skills in the cloud-based world of business are at the center of what hiring managers want.

“The Freelancer Fast 50 report is a fairly unique leading indicator of the online economy,” said Matt Barrie, CEO of Freelancer.com, which recently released its report after surveying some 261,000 job posted online — companies in search of new blood.

Let’s look at the main points from the survey’s results.

Top Trends from Q4

Things are changing in the cloud. Internet traffic is up, but social networks are in flux. The online marketplace was anything but consistent, at year’s end.

But the good news about that is that independent workers are scooping up business opportunities, and the numbers and the percentage-shifts are, for the most part, not small.

Here’s what Freelancer’s report tells us about what’s happened.

— Website Hosting: Jobs skyrocketed over 3,300% to 4,059 jobs as businesses moved into the cloud. Many of these jobs involving the transfer of established websites to  cloud servers, or they were related to companies throwing the switch and making cloud-hosted sites live for the first time.

— Software and Website Jobs: Quality assurance positions soared as eCommerce sites rushed to fortify themselves for holiday season traffic. Q4 saw a spike in software- and website-testing jobs, and software-testing jumped 2,500% to 5,200 jobs. Meanwhile, website-testing saw a 2,055% increase to 3,923 jobs.

— eBay Jobs: After 17 years in the online auction business, eBay rolled out a number of changes to its website and mobile application, including new branding. These changes, in combination with a pivot to a mobile-centric and small-business friendly focus, correlated with eBay jobs gaining 22% (to 1,790 jobs) for the quarter as it diversified its auction house into an e-commerce marketplace.

— Social Media and Internet Marketing: Jobs in this space may be experiencing a moment of contraction, in the wake of platform and search-index changes. According to the New York Times, only 14% of digital advertising budgets are currently allocated to social networking, and social-networking projects declined 5.1% (to 5,820 jobs). Both Facebook — down 8.4% to 7,186 jobs — and Twitter, down 6.4% to 2,240 jobs, seemed to feel a pinch. Internet marketing in general was flat — down 1.4% to 15,244 jobs — while SEO may still be reeling from the after-effects of Google’s Panda changes (down 3.3% to 10,159 jobs). Some marketers fell back to e-mail marketing, which ticked up 186% to 1,003 jobs.

Those are the numbers, and, of course, what might seem clear from Q4 is always subject to changes in the market place.

What’s currently certain is that most freelance workers with a tech-savvy portfolio are deep in this mix. Whatever the result for individual companies — those seeking to impose or reinforce their presence in the marketplace — 2013 should still be a time when those seeking work will find it.

 

MozyEnterprise Online Backup

 

Better Servers through Technology: Submerge Your Infrastructure in Liquid-Cooling Enclosures

What are six words that every department head and director would like to hear from a company’s information-tech department? We can do it for less.

At the end of the day, IT spends a lot of company dollars on hardware, upgrades, and infrastructure. And a lot of that line item gets plowed into servers, power, and all the equipment that keeps the business’s data-backbone strong.

But what if you could bring a plan to the table that, for an initial outlay, promised some significant cutbacks in expenses going forward? Safe to say, it’d be music to management’s ears. One company, recently, has suggest that its server technology — submersion cooling arrays — can do just that. Let’s take a look at submersion cooling, and what one proponent of the system says it can do.

Rethinking Servers and Server Costs

Liquid Cooling EnclosuresWhat if your data center could skip the giant generator, the chiller, the raised floor, and all the hardware that typically goes with keeping servers cool? Green Revolution Cooling says why not — by replacing air-cooled technology with cutting-edge non-conductive-liquid submersion tanks.

“For years high-powered electrical transformers, supercomputers, and over-clocked gaming computers have harnessed the power of dielectric fluid submersion for high performance applications,” according to the company. “However, this performance has required a trade-off in the form of higher costs and/or cooling power.”

What Green Revolution proposes is to place servers inside enclosures filled with a white mineral-oil — clear, odorless, non-toxic, and low cost. The mixture is meant to drive down the price of keeping all a company’s central data hardware at the ideal temp. What follow are some estimates regarding how that will play out, post-installation:

— Energy Consumption: Compared to a standard air-conditioned rack system, Green Revolution’s submersion model could be capable of reducing cooling energy consumption of a typical data center by 90-95%. The company expects a client will cut its total data-center energy consumption by half.

— Buildout vs. Savings: Using GRC, data-center operators should be able to build a data center at lower cost, because the system’s cooling capability means a reduction in both average and peak power consumption. Since most build-out costs, when it comes to data centers, scale with peak power the payoff proposed is packed into the concept of reducing average data-center consumption by approximately 30% (and peak power by more, still). The company pegs the buildout-savings of a liquid-cooling center at 30%–40%, as compared to that of a traditional air-cooled arrangement.

Running Numbers

The fulcrum of a decision, when it comes the reasons an IT department might go with submersion cooling, is probably in the long game. The numbers on that would be along the following lines.

— Payback Period: GRC estimates that most refits of a data center with liquid-cooling technology would achieve savings paybacks within 3 years. A single 10kW, 42U Rack at 8 cents/kWh is estimated to typically save over $5,000 per year in electricity costs.

— Lifetime Savings: While GRC acknowledges that longterm savings will differ from company to company, the typical system is “$100,000 per 42U rack over 10 years, split between energy and infrastructure savings.”

So, that’s the rundown on what GRC says it can do. Of course, there’s a lot to consider, when thinking about a data-center switchover, or a new build. For more info about the system, and the deeper details of liquid-submersion tech, check this FAQ.

 

Mozy Data Shuttle

 

A Small-Business Guide to the Fiscal Cliff: 2013 Edition

Fiscal Cliff 2013Seems like we’ve been hearing about the fiscal cliff forever, now, and with March 1 comes the latest iteration: sequestration. What does this mean for small businesses, and what can owners do to help mitigate the impact of what’s already been done?

Let’s look at a rundown of what’s next on the line, but also some fresh strategies for grappling with what U.S. lawmaking has so far left it in its fiscal wake.

Fiscal Cliff 2013: Sequestration

So, yes, the fiscal cliff — at least a version of it — looms anew, with this March representing another crucial turning point. The newest round of wrangling has to do with sequestration — the ways that the federal government may (indiscriminately) cut into $85 billion worth of spending, programs, and services.

Experts say that if the sequester locks in, small business may very well feel the impact.

Here’s what Stephen Fuller, professor at George Mason University’s School of Public Policy told a House committee about his predictions on the matter, last fall.

“The size and specialized nature of small businesses make them more vulnerable to sequestration than large businesses,” Fuller said. “As a result, small businesses will  bear a disproportional impact of the federal spending reductions under  sequestration. While these impacts can be measured in the loss of jobs by small businesses that are prime federal contractors (34.1% of all prime federal contractor job losses), small businesses that are subcontractors, suppliers and vendors and  whose existence depend on consumer spending that would be negatively impacted by the losses of labor income resulting from sequestration, would account for 57  percent of the associated job losses across the country.”

This is why small-business owners watch for the outcome of the March 1 sequester deadline with weariness.

The Story So Far: What SMBs Can Do (Right Now)

In an effort to show a path through what may be some already difficult territory — into the next 9–10 months and beyond — accounting-software experts at Xero put their heads together with Jody Padar, CEO and principle of New Vision CPA Group, and Jason Lawhorn, of Lawhorn CPA Group, Inc.

Together, they’ve broken out helpful tips and notes about the state of affairs for SMBs, right now. Here are some fundamentals, and what owners can do to protect themselves. They’ve categorized their main points as good, bad, and ugly, regarding what’s happened in the fiscal-cliff scenario, so far.

The Good:

– The Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) relief, and extended Bonus Depreciation and Section 179 deductions. The AMT was created to tax high-wage earners, corporations, estates and trusts. At its advent, middle class and solo workers were exempt up to earnings of $45,000. But the bill did not account for inflation and wages have definitely increased since 1969 when the bill was first introduced. Had the relief law not been passed, a significant number of middle income taxpayers would have been subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax which is substantially higher than the exemption from regular income tax.

– Congress also extended the Bonus Depreciation and Section 179 deductions, which allow SMBs to recover the cost of investing in new infrastructure and property. The deductions will continue to stimulate spending, support SMBs, and encourage economic growth. At present, Congress says the approved AMT relief and tax deductions are permanent fixes. Word of caution though, say Padar and Lawhorn, no fix is ever permanent with the tax code.

The Bad:

If your small business is defined as an LLC you will see a 3.8 percent tax on your earned income as part of the Healthcare bill beginning this year. One way to mitigate this is to change your status from an LLC to an S-Corp. Here’s the key to the timeframe: if you change you status before March 15 this will apply for 2013, whereas if you change after the cut-off date you will not be eligible until 2014.

The Ugly:

A misnomer is that the the $450,000 tax increase is on the “rich” and independently wealthy, but this is not the case. S-Corps and LLCs are in the same tax pool as individuals. Additionally, most of the $450,000 earners are small business owners. Your average person is not making this type of salary, suggest Padar and Lawhorn, and the small business owners that are may be using this as “flow-through” money — that is, reinvesting this capital back into their businesses. However, because of their tax designation (S-Corp, LLC) they still fall into this bracket and their taxes will be increased.

What to Do: 2013 and the Next Steps

The main thing to be aware of is the complexity of the law changes.

For small-business owners, finances are already complicated. Padar and Lawhorn said that dealing with undecided government regulations can feel like driving in a blizzard. They recommend (of course), that owners secure the services of a qualified accountant. And the idea is to work with that accountant to navigate the new landscape all year long, not just at tax time.

“If you read or see something that does not make sense, contact your accountant,” they said. “Sticking your head in the sand when it comes to your finances is as good as leaving the cash drawer open while you’re out.”

 

MozyPro Online Backup

 

Online Work is Driving Jobs: Skilled Professionals Leveraging Connectivity

If your work is focused on the games people play, the way they protect their information, or how to sell them the things they want to buy, then a new report says there’s good employment news on the horizon.

Online Work is Driving JobsWhile several states’ unemployment rates dipped below 7%, the national unemployment hovered at close to 8% at the the start of November 2012. But a recent report by Elance —  a company working to connect freelance talent with employers online — indicates that independent skilled professionals are making headway by working for themselves.

The focus, the study shows, is in the gaming, security, and sales/management sectors. Let’s look at what the numbers can tell us.

Sectors in Play: Gaming, Security, Marketing

Who’s reaping rewards from online employment, according to Elance?

— Game-makers for one, and professionals with the skills to implement the gamification that has swept through online consumer-facing online platforms. Game developers have seen an 88% increase in demand for their skills since 2011. Programmers: 76%.

— Protecting valuable information has become a critical concern. News stories continue to impress upon companies and consumers how much there is to lose to hackers and black-hat online operatives. Demand for security engineers increased 448% this year, and analysts have seen a 326% jump in their work opportunities. Managing security for a company’s web operations? Professionals with that skillset experienced an 87% jump in demand during the past 12 months.

— And then, somebody’s got to sell all these ideas and end results. Social-media marketers saw a 157% increase in demand for their talents. Lead generation ticked upward some 136% since 2011. And that’s out in front of demand for IT, a typical front-runner in these kind of metrics.

Explaining the Increase, Measuring the Results

The report, issued on Nov. 14, indicates that even in economically hard-hit areas the numbers are hopeful for these skilled professional workers.

For example, in Carson City, Nevada, unemployment numbers are staggering. U.S. professionals in the area have suffered under 11.6% unemployment during the recession. In Port Saint Lucie, Florida as well, 11.4% unemployment has been the reality.

Online jobs are one answer to the scenario, according to the study.

— In Carson City online-work earnings have grown by 784% in 2012 over 2011, thanks to online work.

— In Port Saint Lucie, the report shows 168% growth.

“Demand for sales and marketing talent has actually been surging for the last several months,” says Rich Pearson, chief marketing officer at Elance. ”We believe that it’s a direct result of increased competition for attention online and in mobile.

“The rationale for the growth in game developers and security experts is a little less clear,” he continued. “We believe the latter is driven by an acceleration in businesses using cloud services who want to make sure they are doing so safely.”

 

MozyPro Online Backup for Business