Graphic Design Classes on the Internet

There are plenty of graphic design classes provided on the internet now. These online courses make it much simpler to get the required experience that you must position yourself in a better vocation. Do a basic search with Yahoo or some other search engine, type the keywords “graphic design classes” and you will discover an extremely large quantity of results. It’s essential that you don’t plainly pick whatever graphic design course you discover first. Do some research and make sure that the online graphic design classes that they offer are legitimate.

It’s amazing that today we are able to continue our learning right from the comfort of our own houses. With online classes available, you will not have to leave your present job or change your schedule much as you are able to study in your free time. A few years ago, you had no option, if you wanted to take certain classes, but to register for the class times offered and show up at the appointed place and time. Now was one of those days that you didn’t care if you missed something on your schedule.

When looking for graphic design courses online, location doesn’t have to be a factor for distance teaching. This is because you are going to be participating in internet study not schoolroom classes.

If you are concerned about the cost of graphic design courses you shouldn’t. While college classes can be expensive, the deals on online classes are astonishing. When getting it online, you will save a great deal of cash. To start, there is something vital I want to tell you. Be forewarned, taking a course online can be much more tough than it would be if taken in the average classroom setting. Because it’s so enticing to procrastinate, you have to prepare yourself to a strict agenda so you can complete your course work on time.

I remember when I took graphic design courses, I had to quit the job that I was working in because they couldn’t adapt my school agenda, it really made things tough for me. If only these sorts of course had been provided in the past, it particularly would have helped me out. It took me a few months to find a new line of work that I could work around my courses of study.

How to Manage Channel Partner Performance?

Your channel program is up and running, your new channel partners are on-board, joint business plans have been agreed. What now?

Now comes the real work. Identifying which partners have the capability to become your star performers that will help your company to achieve its strategic goals. It’s also time to start learning which partners may end up holding you back and either need more channel management support, or be dropped. In other words, it is time to evaluate and manage your channel partners’ performance.

The first step is to hold a review meeting with all of the relevant stakeholders. Obviously this should be scheduled for a time when significant progress should have been already made against the previously agreed joint business plan. It should be a more formal meeting with relevant stakeholders and an effective structure:

  • Who should attend?
    • Sales, Marketing, Training, Technical and any other relevant team members from both sides.
  • What will be the agenda?
    • An agreed structure is important.
    • Accurate data must be available to inform the review process. Try to avoid relying on opinions.

The joint business plan should have already identified what the process for accountability and addressing failures should be, and this should be used as a guide during the meeting. The meeting should revolve around metrics and data as much as possible focusing on areas such as marketing, sales, training, finance, product development / extension / intellectual property and of course any miscellaneous areas of relevance.

What are some examples of the metrics that could be used? Well for example, best practices in channel management training suggests that marketing metrics might include:

  • Overall marketing ROI (ROMI)
  • How many MDF claims by the partner have been accepted/denied during period?
    • What is the amount per claim?
  • What pipeline was created during the period?
    • MQL’s V SQL’s
    • What is the trend?
  • What progress has the partner made with digital marketing?
    • If this is important to the vendor

And miscellaneous metrics for the period could analyse the trend for items such as:

  • Partner profitability
  • Overall engagement
    • Training, events, social media, content marketing
  • Solution specialization
    • Are they becoming expert in a high priority emerging solution / technology / industry?

All of this data could be presented in an easily digestible format such as a KPI Scorecard, often used in channel management.

KPI Performance:

KPI TARGET ACTUAL COMMENT
Sales $100k $70k Decisions pushed to next Q
Marketing 50 SQLs 70 SQLs Improve conversions.
Training 3 SEs trained 3 SEs trained On track
Product New Beta Completed On track

 

The channel management team may also consider developing a capability scorecard for the partner. This can be used to benchmark partners against one another as well as identifying capability gaps for your channel partners. You may decide to share their results with partners comparing their results versus the average and top performers. This can often form the basis of a roadmap for long-term success.

Once the review of the previous period has been completed it is then important to focus on the future, looking at next period planning. The following are sample marketing activities that could be considered.

  • Develop two new joint case studies.
  • Work with vendor marketing team to launch 4 digital co-marketing campaigns.
  • Get at least $50k entered into vendor deal registration system.
  • Secure $25k in co-op and MDF marketing funding from vendor marketing team.
  • Co-host booth with vendor at XYZ event.

Once the partner performance review is complete it is important to wrap it up formally. This should include a general discussion for the next period covering:

  • Performance by the partner.
  • Performance by the vendor.
  • Vendor updates.
  • Any other business.
  • Schedule next review.

Evaluating partner performance is a critical task for channel managers to assess partner performance versus targets on KPIs that are aligned to strategy. A formal structure and agenda for the meeting is essential and should include a discussion of targets and actions for the next quarter. It can also be helpful to discuss long-term capability development and future value-add.

Gardening in the Winter? Some Tips

If you thought your gardening skills would be put to rest during the winter, you were wrong. Your plants need you more than ever in order to survive Winter. While some plants are sturdy and capable of surviving a freeze, others cannot. Give everything in your garden a fighting chance to make it through even the coldest winter.

Keep your plants warm

When plants freeze, their cellular design is damaged. This often results in death. Avoid this from happening by keeping your plants as warm as possible. At night, consider covering your plants with straw or fleece. Uncover them during the day so they absorb plenty of sunlight.

Trees, especially those designed to survive cold weather, are still susceptible to damage. Instead of worrying about their leaves, it’s more important to keep their roots warm by pouring a thick layer of mulch around the base of each tree.

If you have especially tender plants in your garden, they should be transplanted to a pot. This way, you can easily move them indoors to a warmer environment such as a winter greenhouse until the temperatures outside rise once again.

Prepare the lawn

During the winter, your lawn becomes very vulnerable. Avoid running and playing on it as it may damage the surface. Instead, make winter a time when your lawn gets to rest.

It’s also important to fertilize your lawn during the winter so that it gets enough nutrients to thrive. If you saved all of the leaves and trimmings from autumn, then you should have a hefty compost pile. You can also bring in additional loam to ensure your lawn is properly cared for.

Bring in more trees

Plant new varieties of trees and shrubs in your garden. The soil should be perfectly moist for new roots to grow deep into the ground. Choose species that are known for being hardy during the cold months, like evergreens.

Add mulch around the seedlings to keep them warm and protected. If the weather gets too windy, it may be necessary to tie the tree to a stake for additional support. Any snow or ice should be gently removed from the branches as soon as possible.

Care for the birds

Birds and other wildlife are vital to the health of your garden. Beautiful to watch, they also eat insects that may otherwise damage your plants. That’s why you should place some feeders around your property. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the assortment of winter birds flying into your garden for a meal every day.

Temperatures are dropping so do not ignore your garden. In fact, you need to spend even more time tending to the needs of your plants to ensure they survive until spring.

By taking the necessary steps to care for your garden now, you’re sure to have a beautiful, blossoming garden come warmer weather. If you need any tips, look for a local tradesman skilled at gardening.

Net Neutrality in the United States

President Obama introduced certain net neutrality rules to prevent the big players in the ISP industry from abusing their power. The Republicans overturned these rules by pushing a bill called “Restoring Internet Freedom Act.” Nevertheless, in April of this year, the House, made up of Democrats, tried to reinstate these rules by pushing a new bill called “Save the Internet Act.”

Free and open internet is something every resident of the United State deserves. Everyone should have equal access to internet and protections have to be offered to both consumers as well as content providers. Yet many internet service providers’ comments about net neutrality suggest that not everyone is fine with it.

Establishing Net Neutrality is not exactly a decision that everyone would accept. However, many tech companies like Facebook and Google, as well as academic institutions support Net Neutrality strongly.

Today’s Internet Service Providers have grown into massive conglomerates by investing in content creation and distribution.  For instance, Comcast owns NBC Universal and AT&T owns Time Warner. However, in an aim to prioritize the content that they have created, they might block other content or start charging more for fast access. Net neutrality is the only thing that can curb such harmful practices.

Even if there is a chance that the Net Neutrality act of 2015 can make a comeback, there will be many obstacles it will have to face.

  • Although internet service providers may refrain from blocking traffic, they might start charging for faster speed. Many sites may not be able to pay for such expenses.
  • Thoughtless and offensive content might become easily accessible to internet users.
  • All those telecom companies that built platforms for customers to make free calls will have to close down their shops
  • Since the internet service providers may not be able to charge for their resource-intensive services, they might not be able to upgrade their networks, even if they wish to improve the quality of their services.

Since its inception, the internet has been growing at an outstanding pace and much of this growth is because of the protections and freedoms offered by net neutrality. Many novel products and groundbreaking ideas such as Google, Torrents, eBay, and even YouTube can reach where they are today, because of this. Many more start-ups, online stores, and ecommerce sites are making it big. They all need net neutrality to promote their creative expression.

The Competition Between Internet Providers In The USA

As per the cable industry, there is a lot of competition between internet providers in the USA. However, the reality is completely different.

Communication giants put in a lot of effort to keep the competition between the internet providers at a minimal level. This helps them keep the prices high so they can earn greater profits. For instance, out of 110 million internet users in the USA, 26 million have to use Comcast to gain cable broadband access. Although the other 80 million do have a choice, Comcast has managed to scoop up a significant percentage of the market.

The other bigger players are Charter, who has managed to land 25 million customers, AT&T has 16 million, Verizon has 7 million, CenturyLink has 5.4 million, and Frontier has 3.7 million customers.

In an effort to make huge profits in a situation of minimal competition, the ISP industry focuses very little on customer satisfaction. The data that they provide about the actual speed that they offer is totally misleading. Although 25Mbps of internet speed is mentioned as available to the residents, the actual median speed that they get is below 10Mbps. In some cities it is as low as 5Mbps or even 2Mbps.

For people to find affordable broadband internet in the United States, there is a great need for the competition increase among the companies that offer broadband services. Thankfully with Big Cable dominating the urban market, 98 percent of the urban population has access to broadband. That still leaves five million residents without broadband access. The situation is worse in rural areas where high-speed internet is inaccessible for more than 19.3 million residents.

While it is important to increase the benchmark of broadband services, it is also important for the regulatory body to take certain measures to toughen the competition. Here are a few such things that can be done:

  • Create more open-access networks by encouraging partnerships among fiber-route operators
  • Make it easier for ISP businesses to obtain right-of-way permits
  • Come up with a “dig-once” policy to bury the conduit supporting future fiber services automatically
  • Encourage cable operators to provide wholesale services over DOCSIS modulation
  • Make it possible for homeowners to buy their own fiber strands to connect their fiber splice to the nearest demarcation point.

Every resident of the USA has a right to gain access to high-speed broadband internet and it is the responsibility of the ISP industry to make this possible. With such steps taken in the interest of the customers, it won’t be too long for this goal to be achieved.

How to Choose the Right Cable Provider in the USA

With so many options available, it might be tricky to pick the right cable provider. So many complicated websites, bundled services, and tempting promotional prices can complicate your decision. If you know what exactly you need to do to choose the right cable provider in the USA your choice will be easier to make.

Here are a few steps you need to follow:

Step #1: Explore your options

Making a list of cable providers who offer service in your area is the first thing you need to do. You can ask some of your neighbors to find out which cable television and internet provider are using. See how they rate the customer service of the provider.  Ask if the service goes out too often. Find out how long it takes to resolve such issues when they do happen.

Step #2: Find out which channels you can let go of

Cable providers generally offer packages of channels, priced differently. Even if you end up buying the most expensive package that offers maximum number of channels, you will usually watch only a few. So instead of paying for channels that you may never watch, make a list of what you do watch. Among the others, tick off those that you have never watched in the past six months or so. These are the channels that you can get rid of.

Step #3: Go for bundling

These days many cable providers are joining hands with internet service providers to provide bundles of services to their customers. Apart from cable TV, these will also include streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. Most may even provide affordable home entertainment packages through these bundles. However, not all bundles may provide the value you are looking for. Do your math before choosing the right bundle.

Step #4: Look for deals

With the competition among cable TV and internet companies increasing, many providers have taken it upon themselves to provide some great deals on their services, especially to first-time users. Most of these promotional deals come with an expiration date. Always read the fine print before signing up for any such deal. Keep track of the expiration date of the promotion and re-evaluate your package before renewal.

Packages the cable providers offer you are usually fixed. You can always negotiate for better prices or extra services. Find out what you are getting elsewhere and use it to make your side of the deal stronger. You can use the savings to treat yourself to something nice.

What is the Future of Television?

Television has always been a staple of entertainment for people of different generations and all over the world. A lot has changed in recent years with many embracing the newer digital viewing experience.

Gone are those days when the entire family would gather around the television to watch one of their favorite shows. Today they can watch whatever they want on any device of their preference, wherever they may be.

If you ask what is the future of television, one can clearly say it is streaming.

Streaming services have actually transformed the way people consume content and watch television. Convenient and reasonably priced, these services provide instant access to movies and shows. Using AI and machine learning, these services even recommend shows that a customer may be interested in watching.

Niche content has become more accessible through on-demand viewing. Now people don’t have to wait for a week for the new episode to be telecast. Nor do they have to worry about flipping channels to avoid annoying commercials. They can binge-watch their favorite shows and enjoy a delicious digital viewing experience without any kind of interruption.

The only problem that customers face with streaming services is limited access to top shows. If they want access to all the top shows they will have to subscribe for a number of streaming services, which can work out to be much more expensive than cable TV. To tackle this issue, many streaming services have now started creating their own content. Their focus is on improving their customer experiences.

A lot of expansion is expected to happen with the current trends. Considering the data that is available, a lot of original content is expected to be created in the next five or ten years. The focus of all streaming services including the streaming service by Apple, will be on delivering niche content to the people who will actually want to watch it.

With many people cutting the cord, it is quite obvious how much customers crave personalized content that is convenient to watch. The increase in data capabilities has definitely led to the emergence of many streaming services. All this is soon going to make the future of television, customer-driven.

Television is not just about providing entertainment; it is also about creating better experiences. Interactive content is the way. Netflix has already started offering it to improve their customers experience. It is only a matter of time before the others jump the bandwagon as well.

Your Home Entertainment Options are Improving

Home entertainment is very important if you want to keep your family members happy at all times. Thankfully, today you can find many home entertainment options that can add value to your life. All you need to do is choose the best product or service provider for your viewing pleasure and some comfortable décor depending on your interests and preferences. Here are a few options you could consider:

Surround Speaker System

Investing in a good surround speaker system can help you enjoy an excellent viewing experience. In fact it makes you feel as if you are at the movies. Today’s surround speaker systems are smart devices that can be integrated with voice-controlled devices like Alexa and Google Assistant. Bluetooth enabled, they can be connected to any of your smart devices.

Streaming Devices

Gone are those days when you had to watch only TV on TV set. Today you can find many streaming services and devices like Apple TV and Amazon FireStick that can enable you to watch anything you want on your TV. You can connect your TV to the internet and watch any of the shows on apps like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube TV, Amazon Prime Video, Crackle, PlayStation Vue, HBO, and Sling. Thanks to these streaming services, entertainment at home is more affordable than ever.

Gaming Systems

Gaming is an integral part of home entertainment, especially if you have kids or teens at your home. That said, gaming systems of today don’t come with any age limit. A great way to relax and get stress off your mind, these gaming systems can enhance your home entertainment experience. You can even get a new virtual reality headset if you wish to experience things in real time.

4K Television

A big screen is always a delight, when it comes to watching television. It goes without saying that it needs to have a high resolution. A 4K television could be an ideal choice since it has twice the amount of pixels as in an HD television. You can just sit back and enjoy your game or movie without putting any strain on your eyes or body. You can go for a 55” television screen if you have a small entertainment area. If you have a large room, you can get a widescreen TV or even put up multiple screens.

Making your room cozy and comfortable is very important if you want to get the most out of your home entertainment system. Choose some soft and plush furniture in colors that aren’t too loud. Make sure the lighting is comfortable on your eyes.

Pricing Strategies for Small Businesses

Getting the fundamentals right can make or break a small business like yours.  One of the most important building blocks for entrepreneurial success is choosing the right pricing strategy.

So what are the top pricing strategies to consider?  In this post, we’ll cover the main options to help you decide which is right for you.

Economy Pricing Strategy: Though it’s not an ideal approach in most circumstances, many small businesses try their hand at this lowest common denominator style of pricing.  The idea behind economy pricing is simple: offer the cheapest price on your products.

It’s a strategy that certainly gets customers through the door, but it’s not sustainable for most small businesses.   Large retailers can afford to cut external costs to maintain their profit margins, but few small businesses have this luxury.  We recommend that you avoid this type of competitive pricing, however tempting it may be, unless you have the connections and cost cutting capabilities to still make a healthy profit.

Premium Pricing Strategy: When done well, pricing your products according to this strategy can actually reap more profits.  Premium pricing functions just the way it sounds – businesses who use this approach price higher than the competition in order to increase value perception in the eyes of their customers.  This, in turn, can boost sales.

If you choose this approach, however, make sure your products and your shop or service offer quality to match your prices.  Brand, market, and produce carefully and you could see big profits.

Discount Strategy:  This strategy involves providing regular sales and discounts. It’s often a strong method for increasing sales, yet, if done poorly, it can cause more harm than good.  If you choose to offer regular discounts, make sure you are making enough profit margin to stay in business!  Be aware as well, that offering too many sales may cause customers to see your products or services as low value.

Value Pricing Strategy: Value based pricing requires a bit of research to implement, but is often a great approach in the long run.  It is simply structured on the concept that price is based on your customers’ value determination.

In order to use this strategy correctly, you must first understand how much value your customers place on your product.  For example, if you sell white t-shirts you could charge anywhere from a few dollars for a scratchy and poor quality piece to over a hundred dollars for a designer-made and organic Egyptian cotton example.  This strategy depends upon nothing more than the perception of value, so if you choose to use it, make sure you’ve done your market research and your profit calculations.

It’s absolutely essential that small business owners and managers like you take the time to properly vet pricing options.  If not, you risk the very survival of your business.

In addition to using the best pricing strategy for your business, it’s also essential to get payments right.  Agile Payments offers payment system integration services including Electronic Bill Presentment & Payment Systems.  Find out more today.

Why You Should Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?

Filing a lawsuit is a decision you need to make when you have experienced a personal injury either from a car accident, a motorcycle accident, or even a fall or a slip. However, it is always better to consult a personal injury attorney for legal advice before taking action.

Most personal injury attorneys, like Fisher Stark, provide the initial consultation at no cost. You will be able to meet the attorney, discuss the details of your case and find out what steps you will need to take next.

Here are a few reasons why hiring a personal injury attorney is a good idea.

To understand the value of your claim

Without consulting a personal injury attorney, you will have no idea how much you can claim for your personal injury. Of course, there are many online personal injury settlement calculators that can help you get a rough idea. In the end though, only an experienced personal injury attorney will be able to analyze your injuries, assess your pain, estimate your future medical needs, and give you a firm number – after factoring in the strategy of the insurance company.  Getting your claim valued by a personal injury attorney may not guarantee the success of your case; yet, such an estimate can be a good start for filing your personal injury lawsuit.

To familiarize yourself with the legal process

Most average people are unfamiliar with all the legal procedures that are involved in settling a personal injury claim.  Personal injury attorneys handle such claims every day, they know exactly what documents need to be filed, what forms are to be completed, and the statutes of limitations that are applicable to your case. Familiarizing yourself with these procedures is very important if you want to make sure the insurance company you are dealing with does not take advantage of you. You don’t want to lose out on money you can get from the insurance company just because you are unfamiliar with the legal procedures that are involved.

To handle all your dirty work

An insurance company will do everything in their power to avoid paying you compensation for the personal injury their client has created. You cannot undertake a battle with them on your own, especially when you have no weapons. Personal injury attorneys are aware of all the tactics that insurance companies use to lower the settlement. They are your most powerful allies to take on even the strongest insurance companies.

To get the highest settlement possible

Most personal injury attorneys work with clients on a contingency basis. They will get paid only after they win the case or settle it successfully. Hence, they will put in their best effort to make sure you get the highest settlement. If you go with a shrewd professional who has extensive experience in personal injury cases, you can make sure your claim gets settled quickly and successfully.

In most cases the fact that you have hired a well-known personal injury attorney will work as a threat to the insurance company that is fighting against you. They might even be motivated to make an early settlement that will work out well for both parties.