Learning – Projects & Critical Thinking

Even though class size doesn’t impact well organized student collaboration lessons. This lesson is only dependent on its’ design and the classroom management skills of the teacher. Not to worry, there isn’t another professional development class to score or even another degree. If your classroom has an atmosphere of respect and student curiosity, you can easily achieve this lesson type successfully.

Group learning is collaboration and this setting promotes critical thinking too. Learning, the transfer of information, is accomplished in student collaboration because students do learn from each other – they have told me so repeatedly and I have seen the positive learning results. A classroom with relevant collaboration can be described with these characteristics: 1) equitable groups of students, 2) teachers as facilitators, 3) knowledge shared (back and forth) between students and teacher, and 4) shared responsibility of the classroom between teacher and students.

One important goal of education is putting students on a track to being lifelong learners. This type of lesson does just that because students are building their skills of asking appropriate questions, gathering meaningful information, efficiently and creatively sorting through information, using logic to derive information, and reaching reliable and trustworthy conclusions based on their information. These skills are very useful in the world for careers and to live fully.

It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” Albert Einstein

The student collaboration activity can be short (two minutes) or an extended period of time. The key aspect is students must have clearly defined task(s) to accomplish in their work together. There are the five elements of relevant student collaboration. The group work has to be set up by the teacher so that these elements are included as tasks. To get started, I put one or more questions on the board that the groups would study during their work.

1. Asking questions: used to drive the efforts of learning objective.

2. Collecting data: using discussion, labs, and other student activities to collect meaningful information.

3. Analysis: students examining data, influences, and other factors.

4. Synthesis: manipulating materials to demonstrate model(s) of understanding.

5. Conclusion: explanation justified by evaluating and reviewing data while including time for reflection.

Instead of assigning students to get a conclusion, I directed them to put together an educated guess based on their work together to satisfy the question(s) on the board.

“Participants formulate new concepts based on modifying and redefining their current concepts and by adding new concepts.” (Dewey, 1910)

“Students successful in learning exercise metacognition by articulating their own ideas, comparing and contrast ideas with others, and provide reasons to accept/deny a point of view. In effect, they are in control of their own learning.” (American Psychological Association, 1993)

“Dynamic learning environments are created by learners exercising their threshold of knowledge as they use their understanding in a variety of contexts and receive feedback.” (Bransford et al., 1999)

Teacher Characteristics to Induce Critical Thinking

· Am I asking questions to drive my lesson? If not, I need to do so.
· Write down the ten questions I’ll use today to steer class discussions.
· What is the student activity today where students use investigation to examine connections (details, relationships, reasons) to uncover the concept of ______.
· Be organized, not getting ready. Students have short attention spans – don’t lose them because you’re not ready. · How many students did I inspire today?
· What are two informal assessments today that will help me understand student comprehension?
· Master teachers teach academic studies while also instilling social responsibility.
· Find my comfort zone and then push that limit every day. How do I expect students to get out of their comfort zone when I don’t get out of mine?
· Have a plan and work that plan. Make adjustments as necessary.
· My plan must not have more than 15 minutes of me lecturing or presenting today.
· What opportunity am I providing for students to reflect on their work?
· What effort am I making to keep my teaching methods up to date with current learning research?

References American Psychological Association and Midcontinent regional Education Laboratory. (1993). Learner-Centered Psychological Principals: Guidelines for School redesign and Reform. Denver: regional Education Laboratory.

Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L. & Cocking, R., (Eds). (1999) How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School. Washington, DC: National Press Academy.

Dewey, John. 1910. How We Think. Lexington, MA: DC Heath

List of Small Business Ideas – Apartment Preparation Service

Apartment preparation services help property owners in marketing their apartments for rental. When the old tenant moves out, floors, walls, ceilings need cleaning and light repair, which is where you come in. The landlords needs your service because if the apartment is in great condition he or she will be able to charge a higher rent. It is important to be healthy for this job, a lot of time will be spent on your knees on the floor.

Begin by purchasing basic cleaning equipment and materials. Advertise in the local newspaper, and also in any landlord associations in your local area, also advertise in the Yellow Pages, contact property managers, real estate agents, association managers and property owners. You can usually charge $75 or more per apartment deal. It will be better to get one large complex of apartments together in one deal, so you can maximize your time efficiency and maximize your profit. Also find apartment complexes that offer or specialize short term leases.

You can run this business from your home. Usually no staff is required unless you get more jobs than you can handle or the work required is extensive. This business is difficult for people with disabilities due to the physical labor involved. Your major expenses will be in cleaning equipment and materials which should be of high quality so maintenance costs are kept down. You should also keep an eye on insurance costs and tool repairs.

For related Internet links on this business do a search for the Building Contractors Association, the National Apartment Association and the National Property Managers Association.

How News Reporting Differs From Article Marketing Writing

Are You A News Writer Or An Article Marketer?

Fresh out of journalism school over 20 years ago, one of my first jobs was with The New York Times (D.C. Office), where I had the opportunity to work for some of the most talented and celebrated journalists of today (Maureen Dowd, Gwen Ifill, Thomas Friedman). I learned a great deal about writing and editing news articles (I went to a lot of congressional meetings:), and understood on a more meaningful level the art of news reporting.

Fast forward ten years later. I was married and had a child with another one on the way and I was trying to transition my career as a psychotherapist into one that I could do online because I wanted to stay home with my children. At first I didn’t know how I was going to make that successfully happen, so I thought the easiest thing I could do while I figured things out was to write.

As I wrote more articles for the web, I began to realize that how I was trained to write was not going to get me the results I was looking for – for people to actually read the articles!

The two styles of writing are completely different and you need to be really clear about what kind of writer you are when looking for results on the web.

1. News reporting means that there is an issue or an event that a reporter (writer) is going to investigate, research, and report about. There are no opinions in news reporting – just facts.

In article marketing, there can be a variety of article types. There can be fact reporting, opinion, how-to and many more approaches to the writing. There are no rules on the type of articles you will read on the web. In fact, more often than not you will read an article that has a unique perspective on a topic of interest.

2. News reporting is timely. It is not evergreen. You typically cannot read a news article that was written last year and it still be relevant the following year.

Good article marketing articles are evergreen. This means that the articles apply to today and will remain relevant the next year and even longer. While this is not always the case, for the most part, this is a good standard to write by for the web.

3. Good news reporting requires a great deal of research. In fact I would say that 70% of the work of a news article is the research that goes into it. The other 30% is the energy and talent that it takes to pull all that information together into a cohesive and interesting article that people will read. Needless to say this takes a lot of time. Research has to be searched for, found, and then validated.

On the other hand, article marketing requires less “research” on your part. While there may be some initial research for content you may want to add to your articles, the real purpose of article marketing is to educate or entertain the reader about a topic that you specialize in. You shouldn’t have to do a lot of research and fact checking. In fact, people are more interested in your perspective and your opinion on the topic — not just “the facts”.

4. News articles typically begin with a lead (the point of the article), the facts (supporting information), and then the background information (background info and interviews). This is pretty standard among most publications.

Web articles used for article marketing do not have to fit the same stringent criteria as news articles.You can discuss a point you are trying to make using storytelling. You can build to your “point of the article”. You also do not have to include a lot of background information, etc. because you don’t have a lot of time or words to get your point across to your reader.

People who read The Times know that they have to devote at least 10-15 minutes to an article. They are use to it and have been conditioned to expect that. Web readers do not have that type of attention span.You have to get to the point quickly and succinctly. No more looking to “fill” your articles with stuff. Just talk about the things that people really care about and move onto the next article.

5. News articles tend to be copy heavy for the reasons I’ve already stated above. Long, in-depth articles are expected.

It is the opposite on the web. Dense articles can give readers headaches and a reason to click away. Readers need white space and visual breaks between paragraphs.

Web articles are read on computers, tablets, and smartphones. Also again there is the attention span issue. Readers have less and less time these days. If they are reading you at all — it’s better not to bore them to death with too many paragraphs of filler and fluff.

6. News articles do not have a resource box at the end of their articles. The writer is given a byline and maybe a blurb if it’s a news column.

What makes article marketing unique is the use of the resource box. The key to a good article marketing strategy is to use a resource box to give the reader a call to action to follow after they’ve finished reading your article.

7. Finally and probably most importantly is the fact that people who pick up a newspaper are reading to find out what the news is of the day. What’s going on in the world or in their communities.

The readers on the web are looking for solutions. They are looking for answers to specific questions. So if you are an article marketer, make sure that you write articles that solve problems for people in your niche, because that is what will ultimately separate you from a writer just reporting the facts. Your Expertise.

Building an Interactive Chiropractic Community With Web 2.0

When the internet made its debut more than a decade ago, it established itself as a major information source. Then in the last five years, a new web developed. Known as Web 2.0, this new internet was now interactive, able to combine an array of applications and focused on creating communities. The world’s most powerful source for information had transformed into the planet’s most powerful tool for collaborative communication, allowing chiropractors to expand their reach, grow their patient-base and develop their financial health.

Creation of Your Community

For local business owners like chiropractors, Web 2.0 has become a potent force in the creation of individual communities and in expanding their reach with their geographic region. For various service providers, the ability to utilize various types of interactive information resources such as reviews, blogs and eBooks has gone a long way to create trust, credibility and long-lasting connections with new clients. With Web 2.0, once someone becomes a member of a business owner’s community they may stay connected through a variety of features, including auto-responders, RSS feeds, newsletters and much more.

Creation of Trust

As chiropractors share information about their services or products, offer answers and insights online to related health topics and provide various free resources and links, they have begun to develop a public presence that encourages trust. In this way, Web 2.0 can not only enhance a doctor of chiropractic’s presence locally, they can define it and become a daily positive presence in the lives of the public.

Getting More New Patients and Business

Perhaps the one thing that stops someone from using your chiropractic services is a lack of trust. With Web 2.0, chiropractors can foster trust and credibility by communicating with and offering helpful information to potential new patients. And, as new features are added, search engine rankings rise and a doctor’s practice can start to come to the forefront. Interactive social networking, publishing and multimedia tools peppered with links, specific words and phrase and images can all help a site and chiropractic practice get recognized by Google, Yahoo and other search engines.

Web 2.0 is about connecting with people, becoming a collaborative resource and developing public confidence in your business or company. It has quickly become the post powerful public relations tool on the earth.

Prepare For a Rewarding Healthcare Job

Even if you cannot recite the statistics, you undoubtedly can tell stories about their consequences. The United States and most of the world’s modern industrialized face desperate shortages of doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals of all descriptions. In the United States, the healthcare system needs more than half a million new doctors. Consequently, patients wait long hours for urgent care, emergency rooms cannot keep pace with demand for their services, and people in search of routine medical care wait months for appointments. In addition to doctors and nurses, the United States desperately needs dentists, surgical technicians, and physical therapists in all the specialties. Of course, the need is even more urgent in the world’s developing nations.

Therefore, if you seek an exciting, remunerative, emotionally and psychologically satisfying career, definitely consider one among many possibilities for a healthcare job.

Everyone imagines that becoming a physician represents the ideal and ultimate healthcare job, but job seekers should take note of two salient facts: First, the public holds certified nurse practitioners in even higher esteem than doctors, recognizing that nurses command both medical science and the fine art of patient care. Second, more practically than idealistically, a person preparing for a job in this field should recognize that certified nurse practitioners and physicians’ assistants command nearly the same salaries as primary care physicians-especially if they go to work in major hospitals and health maintenance organizations.

Think beyond a traditional healthcare job.

Of course, opportunities about in traditional healthcare job paths: Just to satisfy the current demand, the United States needs more than 800,000 registered nurses. In the next three years, that number will climb to more than a million. Nursing schools cannot keep up with the demand for their graduates, and newly minted RN’s have the privilege and luxury of choosing among thousands of well-paid jobs with handsome benefits and very attractive sign-on bonuses. Most of these job opportunities come with tuition reimbursement and continuing education bonuses, so that working nurses can complete their Bachelors and Masters degrees.

Thinking beyond the tradition, however, you may find your calling in a non-traditional healthcare job. As research demonstrates the intimate and unbreakable connection between diet and health, the demand for registered dietitians and certified nutritional counsellors skyrockets. Similarly, as the American population ages, baby boomers require more and more medical care: One in five women over fifty suffers the ramifications of thyroid deficiency, and fully half of all women over sixty suffer serious bone loss. Therefore, look for a satisfying healthcare job in geriatric care.

Thinking beyond the hospital, clinic, and convalescent home, you may find your perfect healthcare job in biomedical research. Pharmaceutical companies and laboratories at major universities desperately seek qualified bio-chemists to continue their ground breaking research. You can contribute your skill and talent to treatments for Alzheimer’s or a cure for cancer. Just as importantly, you may contribute to the research that will eliminate autism in this generation.

In as little as eighteen months, you can be ready to command a great salary and enjoy the intrinsic rewards of a healthcare job.

Culinary School – French Cooking

France, one of world’s countries that produce outstanding & well-known chefs that are now scattered all over the world. Yes! French cooking or rather cuisine is outstandingly delicious. If you haven’t tried how French cuisine tastes like then you may have already missed half of your life. Don’t worry, there are a lot of culinary schools that offer to teach French Cooking to their students. Would you want to be a master in cooking of the French Cuisine? Or perhaps would you want your son or daughter or even your maid/housekeeper to know how to cook this wonderful dishes for you? Then it’s time to enroll yourself in a culinary school that specializes in French Cooking!

French cooking is respected all over the world. The French do know how to cook! And they cook really good! That’s why they have shared their knowledge and expertise in the kitchen to the different culinary schools all over the globe as for you to learn once you enroll yourselves there. French Cuisine has a long history as well as a rich variety in tastes and flavors. This type of cuisine has been the basis of most other cuisines when making up a new dish or abiding by its standards. Also, this type of cuisine is known due to the fact that in France itself there are a lot of cooking schools that are scattered all over. This would only imply that the French take their cooking seriously.

Did you know that French cuisine varies in season? An example would be salads and fruit dishes are a rave during summer due to inexpensive and abundant ingredients as well as all these dishes are refreshing. Furthermore, the French Cuisine has structured meals from breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Have you ever heard of the dish Basil salmon terrine? Or how about fish a la bordelaise? These are only a few of the various recipes that you could cook once you learn French cuisine from your culinary schools.

The French highly value their dishes and talk about these as a part of their daily lives. Once you have learned this type of cuisine you might find yourselves sought after by your workmates, parents, grandparents, or even your little brothers and sisters! As they would want you to conjure up a dish that would make them feel like being in France itself. A little candlelight dinner perhaps for your partner in life? Learning the French cuisine could definitely have an impact in your life as well as it can be useful in everything that you do in the kitchen!


Finding the Right Real Estate Broker For You

No matter whether you are looking to buy your first home or are an experienced property purchaser, it would be strongly advisable to find a real estate broker who can deal with the ins and outs of the property market for you. They bring a ton of experience with them and in the long run will save you financially and emotionally.

The property market is a complex and intricate one and if you make a poor decision or miss something then you will really pay for it. That is why it makes sense to get someone who does this everyday to help you.

The first thing you need to look for when trying to decided which broker you are going to hire is to find one that works regular hours so you can always contact them. Also, it means they will never let a great place slip by because they are always on the case.

Make sure you find a company who have had years of experience and a good reputation. Ask them how many sales the deal with per annum. A general rule of thumb is that the more they deal with, the better they are at it.

Make sure you go with a company who you get along with well and who understand you. The brokers should not only have a comprehensive knowledge of the market but should also have integrity and be personable.

Your broker should be able to quickly grasp what you want and should be someone you can talk with easily. Don’t forget that this is a professional association and you need to feel that they are going to be able to deal with you in this manner.

Find a company that has state of the art practices. One key thing is that they have to have a strong online presence, also they should be totally linked into the modern communication network so that they do not miss out on any sudden developments.

No matter who you go with, you need to ensure that they have a clause that will allow you to switch broker at any time, as there may be complications later on and you need to have the freedom to move at any time.

Features of a Payroll Software

Why should a company use Payroll Software?

Payroll is the sum of all financial records of salaries for an employee, which includes wages, bonuses and deductions. To ensure that all employees receive their wages or bonuses, companies usually use calculators or, thanks to the technological advances, software that can reduce the burden of understanding complex payroll legislation and payroll systems operation to do what we call a payroll.

Payroll software facilitates the automated calculation of gross wages or salary due to an employee based on hours worked at set hourly rates of pay or a set periodical salary. Payroll Software automates the application of payroll legislation to make the necessary tax deductions to transfer the correct net pay to the employee either by means of cash, cheque or credit transfer. Employers are obliged under legislation to then remit PAYE, National Insurance, Pensions and attachment order deduction to the relevant HRMC, pension provider or court on a timely basis.

Payroll Software is an important tool to the benefit of the company providing crucial audit, management and financial reports detailing payroll costs by employee and/or cost centre/department. Software will sort and track personnel records assisting the HR function of the business.

Payroll reports play an integral role of the financial planning and budgetary process of a business forecasting necessary payroll costs and investment to meet the needs of the business into the future. These reports will be implemented to make the key business restructuring decision to reduce workforce and employee numbers when necessary.

Additional Features of Payroll Software

A key advantage to using Payroll software, apart from the automation of complex payroll tax deductions, is the major reduction of time invested in the process. Automated payslip production (email payslips), time import from clock-in systems, HMRC returns/submissions from P45, P46, P30 and P35 to HMRC, and credit transfer files to online banking facilities all facilitate an efficient payroll function within the business. The investment in payroll software leads to a reduced investment of staff training and time into completing the entire periodical payroll process.

Characteristics to look for when buying Payroll Software

When you want to buy payroll software you should pay attention to the following characteristics: electronic filing, costs and updates and customer support/maintenance contracts.

Electronic filing implies that the software suppliers should provide a way to file forms that can be stored electronically including submissions to HRMC. On top of the purchase cost, most of the costs will be in operating, supporting and updating the software. So you will have to check how much does support cost and find out when and how the software is updated, does your license cover all necessary updates to complete payroll for the tax year?

Ongoing customer support to the end user of any software program is vital to the smooth operation and maximization of the software potential; imagine there’s a problem with the payroll software on payday, due to the critical nature of the software, it must be fixed quickly, so before you buy a specific payroll software make sure it offers excellent support to its clients, check the levels of support provided by the supplier, specially, the cost and response times.

Recent initiatives rolled out by HMRC see only a few exceptions to the compulsory online filing of all employer returns to HMRC so before choosing software ensure that it is HMRC compliant! Check it’s compliance to HMRC employer return requirements, will it meet your obligation as an employer to file returns with HMRC in the format they dictate, is the software recognized by HMRC? Does it hold HRMC accreditation? Research and the option to avail of unrestricted free trials of payroll software and its functionality is key to this decision process!

Payroll Software for Small and Medium Businesses

When we are talking about adapting the payroll solution to the business size, keeping enough money in a payroll account is one of the highest priorities for small business owners, even if the business itself doesn’t make any profits, employees must still be recompensed as per the terms and conditions of their contract of employment for their services, additionally any deductions made in line with legislative requirements must be remitted to the relevant government/HMRC body when required. This is why many smaller companies prefer to keep their payroll obligations as low as possible until they have started making profits and reached a certain level of profitability. Small business owners usually disclaim their own salaries in order to be able to meet their payroll obligations. There are specific payroll packages for small businesses and they are usually free (up to a certain number of employees using the software).

Payroll Software brings value to a business

There are several factors to consider when a company is taking a decision on its payroll system like payroll objectives, financial availability and size, just to name a few. The important aspect is that any payroll related automation should bring value to the business and make it more efficient. If you are looking for payroll software, check thoroughly what the market has to offer you. Lastly, make sure that you take a decision based on the software’s features and not its brand. There are very interesting payroll software solutions out there.

Internet Marketing Mentor: Your Secret Weapon to Success Online

This article is to inform you of the importance of having an Internet Marketing Mentor. An internet marketing mentor is crucial for internet marketers who are struggling, barely making money or altogether failing at internet marketing. Here’s the story:

You’ve decided to take a leap into Internet Marketing. You’ve decided that a home based business will be ideal. What better than an Internet business… more specifically, Internet Marketing. It gives you accessibility to your kids, their activities, no commute, you’ll save a fortune on gas, no moody boss, no expensive wardrobe, if the weather is bad… no big deal, you’ll be working at home in your pajamas! How hard can it be anyway, all I need is a computer and some products right? Besides, it seems like everyone is doing it and making mega bucks! Sounds perfect right? So you get right on it.

You’ve gone online searching for “how to start a Internet Marketing business”. You come up with a massive amount of information. There are so many options and products to choose from. Where do you begin? You’ve taken some online training here and there and even purchased some affiliate marketing products to market. Now what? You mean there’s more to this? No one told you there is a vast array of marketing strategies you had to learn. So again, you go online and purchase software teaching you a few marketing strategies and quick turnkey solutions which as a novice you can’t tell that half the stuff is junk and outdated. To add to it, your email is getting bombarded with spam emails for the next great internet marketing product & turnkey solutions that will get you that $1000 a day income. Against your better judgment you give it one last go on the hopes that this may be the one that will be that golden nugget… only to realize it’s just another bogus solution.

A few months and hundreds (maybe thousands) of dollars later you haven’t made a dime. Even if you have made some money, you haven’t broken even with what you’ve spent so far and realize something is wrong here. It makes you want to give up, cut your losses and just walk away. But you don’t. At this point, you’ve invested so much time and effort and you’re barely hanging on by a thread of hope… why? because despite your experiences you know that money is being made out there, lots of it! It’s being made by other people pursuing your same dreams.. Sounds familiar?

It seems that starting an internet marketing business isn’t as simple as we thought. Like many others, we jump into it grossly unprepared. The intention was never to set ourselves up to fail or to be considered a “fly by night” business. Like many, we under-estimated what it really takes to put ourselves in the position to be a successful entrepreneur. At the onset we have been oblivious to how crucial it is to be knowledgeable, skillful and PREPARED when it comes to internet marketing. This is where the expertise of an internet marketing mentor is vital.

Top 3 Reasons you need an Internet Marketing Mentor

1. There are many different marketing strategies available to help target your audience. Choosing the right strategy angle will make all the difference and ensure you are reaching the customers who NEED what you are selling. If you go about this the wrong way you would have already set yourself up for failure. You would have wasted a lot of time and effort chasing a deaf audience that has no interest in what you are trying to sell. Internet marketing failure is usually not about the product but how you go about the marketing. Internet Marketing Mentors are usually very skillful in this approach and will ensure you fine tune your marketing strategy to help you develop a laser focus angle on your audience giving them what they want and need.

2. More often as a Marketing Entrepreneur you may get discouraged when things aren’t happening the way they should within the time it should. For example, leads may not be coming in fast enough and if they are then a good percentage of them may be useless. Better yet, the distraction of LIFE can get us off our path of success and we lose focus of the big picture. Your Marketing Mentor will keep you focused on your goals and remind you of why you started this journey. Remember, they have been where you are going and have overcome challenges you will face. They have valuable insight on the distractions that can kill your dreams of success.

3. Keywords, keywords, keywords! Have you heard it enough? Frankly, internet marketing should be called “Keyword Marketing” because at the end of the day that is what matters most and what will drive your success. Marketing Mentors knows how vital keyword research is and that is the bloodline of internet marketing. It is their bread and butter and that’s what I mean when I say they can help you with the “angle” of connecting with your audience because it is all about keyword research. If you have not mastered the art of keyword research or not familiar with the process and strategy of keyword research then point made. There is a desperate need for help or FAIL!

Since discovering the value of an Internet Marketing Mentor, I realized it’s not common that one will drop in your lap (a good one anyway). It is known that a lot of wannabee internet marketing mentors prey on the Google searchers and haven’t been in the business for more than a year. As it’s critical to have a mentor who is an “expert” in his field (six figures plus) it is also critical not to get involved with ones that are fake and useless. Unfortunately, they are very well disguised in the field and if you can’t decipher between the two it can be detrimental to your business.

There is a solution to avoiding these mistakes and partnering with a mentor that will help you take your business off the ground and to the next level.

Think for a moment of your business and how far you’ve come on your own…If you feel you haven’t gotten very far it’s not your fault. You were doing everything you thought you should be doing. The good thing about trial and error is it gives us the opportunity to learn from our mistakes.The good news is this doesn’t have to be “The End” to your story of success.

Building Technology Strategy for Small Businesses

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 Compliance

Planning 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 Experience

Technology 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 Reputation

For 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 Effectiveness

Next 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 Cloud

Once 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 Security

After 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 regularly

Finally, 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.