While one of technological companies’ greatest offerings to society is innovation, and the development of high-tech solutions for everyday life, another is giving back to the community through a variety of socially responsible programs. Three specific projects provide excellent examples of how technology, innovative ideas, and entrepreneurship can come together to form tools for social and economic change.

The first of these is Research in Motion (RIM) that recently launched Action Starts Here, a contest based and targeted solely at residents of India. The competition invites participants to put forward  ideas for change, and then take action towards them via a simple process. By setting a goal on the contest’s Facebook page, and making a pledge to achieve it, participants take a BlackBerry action, which they can then publicise through Facebook to gain as much support as possible for their ideas. The more friends invited and support gained, the more points are earned, and consequently, the greater the likelihood of becoming a winner. Participants are encouraged to use social media to forge links with various networks, while considering, and taking action towards what they want to change in their society. Winners will receive one of three high tech tools for action: a Blackberry Bold 9900 mobile phone, a BlackBerry Torch 9810 mobile phone, or a BlackBerry Curve 9320 mobile phone. RIM’s reward is to have helped boost, among other things, grassroots entrepreneurship in India.

The second example is Dell, which  aims to address a variety of societal issues in the areas of education, environment and entrepreneurship. The Dell Social Innovation Challenge is particularly interesting as a competition that tasks college students around the world to come up with innovative ideas in these areas.. The prize pot is set at US$50,000 and comes with the offer of training from Dell Mentors, who will help winners develop crucial business knowledge and skills. This project, just like RIM’s, helps actualize groundbreaking ideas by encouraging youthful entrepreneurship.

The third and final example is that of Cisco, which has also given back to the community, but by focusing mostly on educational endeavors. With a core competence in networking technology, the company’s social projects seek to enhance the quality, as well as the delivery of technology-lead educational programs. The Cisco Networking Academy helps about four million students’ worldwide gain Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills. The aim is to prepare students for a constantly developing, technological world, and in doing so, increase their future job prospects.

Efforts like these, made by some of the world’s major technological companies, can go a long way towards transforming the lives and aspirations of underprivileged communities. They allow innovation to take place where, previously, it might have perished, and continue support individuals to develop their own tools for social change.

According to studies, only 14% of the press releases posted on wire services are being optimized for search. The same study also revealed that press releases with video clips and images get shared three times more than text releases. A lot of online marketers are missing out on opportunities to get their news shared and viewed on the Internet. Here are easy way son how you can share your news to a wider audience.

Draft a release with search in mind.

Having a clear, compelling, and interesting story is no longer, you need to write a press release in a way that people can easily find your company online. Reporters are now using search engines like Google and Bing to search for story ideas and sources. You can begin by making a list of phrases and keywords that are relevant to your organization. Cross-check these items by using Google Keyword Tool to determine how much volume and competition are brought by these keywords. As soon as you have decided on a set of keywords, make sure you place them in the headlines, sub headlines, and throughout the body.

Place search-optimized images on your release.

Include images on your release that can make a huge difference in coverage. Use images that truly define the news that you are trying to share. Make sure you optimize these images by tagging them with your keywords. You can also include the news’ headline in the name and tags of the photo. If you are releasing a new product, don’t just include a photo of the product, but make sure you show customers using it.

Boost PR release with engagement.

Data from Crowd Factory and PR Newswire have revealed that adding a picture to your press release increases customer engagement by 14 percent. But this number actually doubles when you add a video to it. Video clips dramatically increases interactions, impressions, and PR syndications. When making videos, make sure you focus on the news itself and avoid advertising yourself on the clip. Simply putting a link in the video will not do the trick. Make sure you have the video embedded in the release itself.

And don’t forget to release your news to the best distribution site on the web. Check out press release reviews and make sure you find a company that is worth your time and money.

 

BlackBerry has been investing in the Indian market for a while now. The investment has proved more successful than its major rivals and one that has increasingly solidified in recent times. In the face of rising concerns over national security in India, recent years have seen the Indian government contemplate a temporary ban of the handsets in order to push RIM to give access to encrypted services to the government, a request the firm has made clear it could not satisfy. The importance of BlackBerry for India was underlined when the government dropped all possibilities for a ban, and rather focused its efforts on tackling the issue on an industry-wide level.

BlackBerry’s success in India thus far has much turned the wheels of a growing market, making India one of the fastest growing smartphone markets in the world. Especially popular is the BlackBerry Messenger instant-messaging service (BBM), which works well on all networks available. The popularity of the smartphone has created a virtual community of BlackBerry users in India, attracting more and more people, as those who look for handsets prefer to have the same as their friends and then join to this growing connected community. BlackBerry has helped to nurture this community through services like BBM.

The firm now seeks to capitalize on India’s fertile grounds even more through a holistic strategy by bringing in new touch phones and apps specifically designed for India, new competitive price plans and new products and solutions suitable for the country. RIM India also plans to focus on the large SME market in the country, bringing enterprise solutions to answer the unique needs of this particular segment. Sunil Dutt, the managing director of RIM India, said that shipments of mobile phones are predicted to grow at approximately 70% a year until 2015.

In addition, the firm has just recently launched action starts here, an Indian-based campaign currently ongoing until the 30th of September and that will allow 20 participants to win a Blackberry Bold 9900 smartphone, Torch 9810 smartphone, or Curve 9320 smartphone. At the core of the campaign is a competition that requires all participants to use Facebook in the most strategic way possible to build a supporting community and earn points. To participate in the contest, users must be residents of India. They will need to visit the relevant Facebook page for the contest, set a goal and make a pledge in one of the choices given; leading them to take what is called a BlackBerry action. Participants can then invite friends to gain support of their action, earning points by doing so, the aim being to earn as many points as possible. BlackBerry’s initiative will help the firm create a stronger presence in the Indian market, while motivating Indian residents to build further links with their communities.

 

 

When a rental property gets in your hands, should you hold or fold. Are you thinking about outsourcing it to a property management firm or doing it yourself? Do you think you can handle toilets, tenants, and trash?

It doesn’t take a lot to turn your everyday homeowner into a landlord. Perhaps you need to move out of state for work but want to keep your home and have it rented out. Or perhaps you get married and move in to another house. While a lot of individuals would want to have an extra house that they can worry about, managing a rental property can be a headache. Among other matters, you need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is your property worth hanging onto?
  • How do you feel about strangers living into your home?
  • Can you work with tenants from hell?

Can you be a landlord?

The biggest determinant factor on whether you can be a good landlord is your temperament. Ask yourself if you have the skill and time to do this task properly. Aside from the keeping your business afloat, you also need to provide a safe and smoothly functioning house for your tenants. Your rental home’s wiring, plumbing, stairways, and outdoor areas should be safe. You also need to advertise your rental, screen and select the right tenants, and evict (if you must). If this sounds hard for you, then you might just opt for a property management firm that will do all the said tasks for you.

Outsourcing and Getting that Peace of Mind

When you think about all these landlord responsibilities, there is much to be said for getting professional help. Hiring a skilled property manager will cost you around 10% of your home’s monthly rent. When choosing a property management, make sure you ask them a list of services that they provide, professional references, insurance coverage, and etc. Ask the company if they offer a 24-hour maintenance service for all their rental properties.

Check out property management reviews online to prove the credibility and reputation of the company. Always remember that having a rental property is a business. If this isn’t something that you like, it is better to let go and stick to something that you enjoy!

 

 

GoDaddy isn’t just a leading domain registrar, but is also the organization behind one of the best online website builders today. Although the company is best known as a domain name registrar, they also offer various tools and services for small businesses, such as search engine optimization, website builder, site statistic reporting, and email marketing.

GoDaddy’s Ecommerce Site Builder ranks pretty high in terms of security, but not too much for layout. The homepage is probably one of the busiest and most confusion on the web, packed with prices, menu choices, offers, and text/image links. It is still possible to find the things you need, and the plethora of choices it offers is a great indication of the things that you can expect when you sign up for the company’s services.

GoDaddy offers three website builder plans at the moment namely Economy ($5.09/month), Deluxe ($7.64/month), and Premium ($12.74/month). All of their plans include more than 300 templates with 2000 plus design options, more than 70 pre-built templates, free stock photos, drag and drop website builder,  no setup fees, and free hosting, email, 24/7 support, and free Google Webmaster tools.

If you are looking for a website that is easy to make, the Economy plan may fit you. For small business owners who are looking to build an online presence, GoDaddy recommends getting the Deluxe plan for a beautiful, and full featured ecommerce site. For maximum features and storage space, go for the Premium account that also comes with SSL certificate.

Advantages:

GoDaddy’s new solution quick shopping cart features Flash support, audio/video players, RSS, and many more. GoDaddy definitely stands out with its traffic reporting and great shipping and shopping cart tax options.

Disadvantages:

The builder’s confusing sign-up has plenty of options. Many experts say that the components of the site are poorly integrated and that their email account provision is pretty stingy. A lot of people also say that the products log you out often.

Before even signing up for a contract, make sure you read website builder reviews online and check the best packages out there.

When status quo doesn’t work anymore, use these recommendations to take your small business to the next level.

While homespun wisdom may work okay for common people, it can be pretty frustrating for ambitious small business owners who are determined to take their respective organizations to the next level of profitability and growth. A thriving one or two person business with no rent, employees, and inventory seems to be an easy way to generate revenue, but when phone lines ring like crazy and clients are coming back for more, home based business owners often find themselves fall victim to their very own success. They either burn out juggling all these tasks or spend too much money hiring manpower help that their profits are easily thrown out of the window. Here are easy ways on how you can grow your home based business online.

Choose one product or service and focus your efforts in marketing, selling, and promoting it. While it can be really tempting to try to provide everything for consumers, it is more profitable to focus on a specific product or service that you can execute well and just strive to get it on base.

Expand your product line to provide complementary services and products. As soon as you have decided on a product that your customers really like, don’t forget to offer related items to diversify the product line. This gives your consumers a wide variety of products and makes your products more attractive to retailers.

Increase sales on existing clients. This is a more affordable strategy than finding new customers. Even if you still can’t expand your product line, you can increase revenue by selling more of your current services and products to the clients that already have. Give away bulk discounts, especially if your products cost little to produce. Reward your loyal customers by running a rewards program, where they can earn points for every purchase and redeem those points with a product.

Think about hiring freelancers, interns, and other independent contractors. This will not only free up cash flow, but also lets you create a network of talented individuals that you can’t afford to employ full time.

Establish your company’s online presence through a website. Today, it is no longer necessary to open a storefront to reach customers. For marketers of specialty products like collectibles, gourmet foods, and rare books, all you need is an ecommerce site to reach millions of consumers all over the world, without paying for utilities, garbage collection, and rent. This can be a great way to establish an easy home internet business without expensive startup costs.

Find new ways to market your company. Advertising your business doesn’t have to involve thousands of dollars for marketing on newspaper ads, television, radio or Yellow Page listings. You can try sending e-newsletters to prospective customers. Many community organizations are also more than happy to accommodate business owners who are willing to share their expertise in local community events and forums.

Given the huge number of web hosts and the industry’s competition, web hosting can be a tricky business. Countless small web hosting services and even the big ones (like Exodus) have cut staff to minimize operational costs. If your web host goes under, then you might experience issues to. Your business site can be down for an extended period of time, or at least until you can find a better provider and transfer all your files to a new server. Aside from this major hassle, you also lose sales. Make sure you know the danger signs of a web host provider that is in trouble to avoid losing revenue. Is your web hosting provider sounding shaky these days? Here are some of the most common indicators that your provider is in danger of folding.

 

Lack of customer support

This is perhaps one of the easily observed signs that your web host provider is in trouble. If your provider isn’t able to promptly respond to your emails or if you receive auto responses, then you need to be suspicious. The organization may have lain off support staff and may indicate financial struggles.

Profitability

Web hosting firms in trouble are usually the ones that offer free services orcharge so little that they cannot profit from it. If your provider is a public firm, know if it is actually turning in profits. If they are aren’t, then prepare to change host. For private hosting companies, it can be harder to find out if they are profitable. But generally, if your web hosts offers hosting at a very low price, then you might want to ask yourself if the business gets revenue at all.

Media attention

Most web hosts are low-profile. If your provider is being covered in the news, then it better be positive publicity or you should be really nervous. If a news brief or article mentions company buyout, layoffs, or management changes, then you need to be suspicious. When your web hosting company changes hand, this doesn’t mean that you need to find a new provider immediately. You need to investigate on policy changes that might happen in between ownership changes.

Decreased hosting services

Withdrawal of services that your host has formerly offered may indicate an attempt to reduce financial losses. Find out any price increases that your hosting company has implemented in the last few months. Businesses increase prices from time to time and may not always cause for an alarm. But if the service decrease or price tag increase is implemented in a less upfront way, then the organization may be avoiding disclosing these changes in an attempt to save a struggling business.

Find out cheap hosting sites with the best services today! Web hosting doesn’t have to be expensive. Select the best and most established web hosting company that will give you the most bang out of your buck.