Archive for July, 2016

10 Weirdest Services Out There (Video)

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

Have an idea for a new service but afraid it’s a bit too weird to work? Don’t worry. There are already plenty of weird services out there in the market. Some of the weirdest ones are included in the above video.

Whether it’s goat rentals, mobile weddings or an invisible boyfriend: all of these businesses meet a need in the market.  At the same time, their unconventional nature was almost certainly what made these businesses a success. Offering unusual services made these businesses easier to market and promote and guaranteed they would stand from the competition.

Unusual Businesses Get Noticed

Think about it. You’ve probably seen tons of lawn mowing services through the years. And even if that’s a service that you’re interested in, there are so many different companies you can choose from. But if you hear of a company that offers goat rentals, that’s likely to really catch your attention. And once you actually learn what the service is for, you might even see it as a huge benefit.

So if you have an idea for a weird service based business, you don’t have to give up your entrepreneurial dreams. Making money doesn’t have to be boring!

Make sure to also check out the full list of weird services here.

This article, “10 Weirdest Services Out There (Video)” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Pok?mon Go: A Security Threat to Your Business?

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

Mobile Device Security: Is Pok?mon Go a Security Risk to Your Business?

It seems like you can’t go anywhere these days without bumping into a gaggle of Pok?mon GO addicts. Since its release at the start of July, the insanely popular augmented reality app has already surpassed social media staples like Twitter and Facebook in terms of user activity.

Yes, Pok?mon GO has caught on like wildfire, and this craze doesn’t look like it will be dying down any time soon.

Bearing that in mind, it goes without saying you’ve probably already got a few employees who are playing the game throughout the day at the office – potentially even on devices that are also used for business activities.

But according to Vadim Vladimirskey, CEO of the cloud-based IT services firm Nerdio, that sort of behavior can ultimately pose major security risks for your business.

“We should mention that since Pok?mon GO was released, Niantic Labs, the maker of the game, has developed a number of security patches to minimize security threats,” Vladimirskey told Small Business Trends. “However, there is still the inherent risk that when employees use a company or personal mobile phone with corporate data stored on it, that data can be compromised.”

How Pokemon Go Threatens Mobile Device Security

The bulk of those risks stem from the game’s initial setup.

In order to start playing the app, Pok?mon GO users must first sign up for an account that grants Niantic Labs access to their personal Google accounts.

The game asks for this access because Niantic reportedly uses an outdated version of Google’s shared sign-on service, which allows the company to automatically absorb basic account details such as a user’s name, email, gender and location in order to expedite the registration process. It’s all harmless enough in theory.

But in practice, Vladimirskey warns that the process also makes it fairly simple for hackers to access any given user’s emails, Google Drive documents and more. After all, a vast majority of mobile phones and tablets don’t usually encrypt traffic, which makes them easy targets for cyber criminals.

If Pok?mon GO players fall victim to a hacking attempt while using a company address or affiliated device, that can subsequently place an entire business at risk.

“If a businesses’ data is compromised, it’s a very big problem,” Vladimirskey said. “A hacker could potentially read all business emails, send email as the user, access all Google Drive documents, access search history and Google Maps history, access and reset passwords, access all photos and do various other nefarious things.”

“The repercussions are endless when you consider all of the sensitive business information that is now stored and accessible digitally,” he added

Fortunately, there are plenty of things business owners can do in order to mitigate these threats.

First and foremost, experts advise companies to configure access to company assets like file and email servers via a remote desktop service. It’s also worth using a secure transmission protocol such as PC-over-IP (PCoIP) video feed, and ensuring that important or sensitive files are regularly wiped from shared company devices.

“By using cloud-based PCoIP connections, you are only using your device, be it a laptop, desktop or mobile device, as a remote window into your data,” Vladimirskey said. “With this approach, no data is stored on these devices, but rather solely on the server.  The devices then access the data on the server.”

Above all else, businesses must ensure they have strong hardware firewalls that are adequately supported by intrusion prevention systems in order to filter and block any and all intrusion attempts via apps like Pok?mon GO.

And despite the surging popularity and security fears surrounding this summer’s hottest app, Vladimirskey points out that Pokemon GO is not the only mobile device security threat that poses a risk to small businesses.

“It’s important to understand that any app that needs access to the information on a mobile device could be a threat,” he said. “This is why one of the biggest challenges for small businesses is managing the ways employees use devices. One of the best defenses is a BYOD policy that either restricts app usage, or one that takes a new approach to how data is viewed with these devices.”

Pokemon Go Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Pok?mon Go: A Security Threat to Your Business?” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Hinkley threatens UK-China ‘golden era’

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

Power station investment was viewed as a flagship project of bilateral co-operation

How to Open a Second Hand Shop

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

How to Open a Second Hand Shop

A second hand shop is often times one of the more talked about in a community.

For some, it’s a curiosity, an alternative to more traditional retail outlets. In other cases, it could be the local thrift store. But in almost every case, these second hand shops are known as places to get great deals!

And a place like that can quickly leave its mark. Second hand shops of all types often have loyal customers who like to tell their friends about some “secret” store where they’re scoring great products without breaking their budget.

So, opening a second hand shop of some type in your community could be a great business idea. Here are 10 things you should consider wen your launching and then running your business.

Things to Consider When Opening a Second Hand Shop

Choose the Kind of Store You Want to Run

There are second hand shops with a special niche — records shops, bookstores, clothing stores, furniture studios. Then there are second hand stores that will sell just about anything.

You’ll need to figure out what type of second hand business you’re thinking of starting. That decision could be based on a variety of factors, including availability of merchandise, shop location and your overall knowledge of a product. Consider your market, too. A college town, for example, may not be the best location for an antique shop but a used furniture shop or used bookstore could be a big hit.

Have a Plan for Sourcing Your Merchandise

You may be sitting on what you think is a lot of merchandise ripe for a quality second hand shop. And that may be true.

But what happens if you have a mad rush of customers one day and your shelves and racks are left bare? What’s the plan to get more merchandise in a hurry.

How to Open a Second Hand Shop - Clothing

Closeouts and liquidation sales may be one source, as are auctions. Check local auction listings. There are events near you for almost every type of merchandise — from restaurant liquidations to wholesale food products to an entire garage of tools — that could fill your shelves quickly.

Be Sure to Get the Proper Business Licenses

When starting any business, especially a local brick-and-mortar operation, it’s critical that you comply with all local laws and acquire all appropriate licenses. If you plan to buy merchandise from private citizens, it’s also important to ensure all procedures are in place to prevent buying stolen goods and that you work with authorities if hot merchandise does come through your doors.

Hire a Mr. or Mrs. Fix-It

If you’re running a second hand furniture or appliance shop, there may come a time when you buy something — with the intent of selling it — that needs a little work. You’ll be far too consumed with running other aspects of your business to have the time to devote to handiwork.

How to Open a Second Hand Shop - Furniture

Find a few reliable people locally who can do repairs at a negotiable cost and help you out on an on-call basis. This could include people with sewing skills or electrical skills or even someone as specific as an air conditioner repairman.

Run It Like a Modern Business

Just because a lot of your merchandise is second hand doesn’t mean your operation should be second rate.  Your customers will expect you to effectively use technology and create a positive shopping experience. Consider a point-of-sale system that has some portability. Adopt a customer loyalty program that’s easy to track. Keep a clean, well-lit location.

Don’t Be a Square, Keep Up with Trends

You may assume running a second hand store means accepting just about anything people bring in for resale or anything you can buy at an auction. Well, you’d be wrong. Not all second hand merchandise is created equally. So take a good long look at which of your products seem to sell best with your customers.  Stay up on the latest trends. Mix the old with the new and give your customers a truly unique experience.

Forget Firm Pricing and Learn to Negotiate

Few, if any, second hand shops have firm prices on their merchandise. And your goal running a second hand shop should be to move merchandise in an effort to bring in new stuff as quickly as possible. To do this, you’re going to have to learn how to make deals that keep you in the black and let your customers feel like they’re getting a good deal.

Being able to satisfy customers in this fashion can really go a long way in building a loyal customer base.

No  Matter What Your Niche, Diversify Your Stock

It’s great if you want to stick to a niche market but there’s nothing wrong with drawing in as many potential customers as you can. Using the record store as an example again … your shelves should be lined with vintage vinyl but to make the shop inviting to more people, consider adding products for people without a turntable but are related to your specialty.

Also, listen to your customers. If they’re asking you for certain kinds of products, do your best to get them in as soon as possible. Again, this is another way of developing loyal customers.

Promote Where Your Customers Are

Second hand stores have vibrant social media followings and you should work toward getting your posts — on Facebook and similar social media  — out to as many people as possible. Using each network’s best practices for promoting a business, let customers know about new products you just got in. Run special promotions for your followers too.

Remember, Second Hand Needn’t Be Second Rate

In some places, there’s a stigma that follows second hand stores of any kind. Of course, as noted earlier, these are the same stores that are often beloved — when they’re good — in the community. So be sure to connect with the community in which you operate early and often.

Work hard to get a feel for exactly what your community needs and the kind of experience customers are expecting.

Then do whatever it takes to fill those needs and create that experience.

Don’t wall yourself off from the rest of the community. Become part of it, instead.

What qualities about your favorite local second hand shop do you appreciate the most? What keeps you going back and what drew you there in the first place. Leave your answers in the comments below.

Vinyl Photo via Shutterstock, Clothing Shopper Photo via Shutterstock, Repurposed Furniture Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “How to Open a Second Hand Shop” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Number of Migrant Arrivals to Bulgaria On the Rise

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry has recorded an increase in the number of migrants who cross into Bulgaria, news website Dnevnik.bg reports.

More than 500 migrants have been detained across the country over the past 7 days. Of these 120 have been arrested while trying to cross into Bulgaria from Turkey or Greece.

Between January and end-July, more than 2000 people were detained while trying to enter. Most of the arrivals were from Iraq and Afghanistan. 

As many as 5000 were arrested while leaving the country for Serbia, compared to 4500 people for the same period of last year.

A Serbian NGO recently claimed up to 300 migrants crossed into the country from Bulgaria on a daily basis.

Belgrade maintains Sofia fails to provide good enough border controls to curb the inflow of Middle Eastern migrants.

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Confused by Financial Statements? Maybe it’s Time for The End of Accounting

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

Confused by Financial Statements? It's Time for The End of AccountingMost of us have been around financial statements for so long that we take their use for granted. As a result, many of us don’t question when a financial report includes 50 or more pages of footnotes. We don’t question whether the “earnings report” is actually linked to higher profits. We don’t question how a company comes up with its numbers.

Two experienced accounting professors in the The End of Accounting and the Path Forward for Investors and Managers argue that it’s time to start questioning.

What is The End of Accounting About?

The driving force (and controversial idea) behind The End of Accounting is that financial statements are a complicated mess when they don’t have to be. Throughout the book, the authors question the reliability and quality of earnings reports, balance sheets and everything else traditionally reported to investors as a sign of business performance. Numbers, they say, without the appropriate context, have been manipulated, distorted or even omitted without most investors even knowing about it (despite the regulations and 50+page footnotes), the book claims.

In short, the authors say we can do a whole lot better.

The authors of the book don’t call for everyone to throw out their financial statements just yet, but they do propose a better type of report to supplement the data-heavy financial statements called the Strategic Resources & Consequences Report. The Strategic Resources & Consequences Report is a financial document that brings more context to the numbers on a financial document, like a balance sheet. To provide an example, the Strategic Resources & Consequences Report would discuss a business’s new venture and how this venture might impact that business beyond the numbers put together by the accounting department.

Numbers are important in the business world, the book argues, (especially for investors, suppliers and creditors) but so is the story behind those numbers.

The End of Accounting is partly the work of Baruch Lev, an accounting and finance professor at the New York University Stern School of Business and director of the Vincent C. Ross Institute of Accounting Research.

Co-author Feng Gu is an associate professor in the Accounting and Law Department at the University of Buffalo.

Both authors are award-winning academic researchers in the areas of finance and accounting.

What Was Best About The End of Accounting?

The best part of The End of Accounting is the challenge the book issues. Essentially, the book asks, “Are we doing accounting the best way?” That is a very challenging notion if you accept the book’s assertion that accounting is going in the absolutely wrong direction and will continue in that direction if it doesn’t change.

A second best part of the book is the large amount of evidence it provides to back up its challenge. The book goes to a great deal of effort to make it’s case. And the results are very convincing.

What Could Have Been Done Differently

The downside of the book is that you really need to be technically competent in investing to truly understand some of the points being made. The book quickly gets into things like regressions (Chapter 3). Readers can understand the book’s main concept without it, but it can be a little intimidating.

The book also spends a lot of extra time defending its position which might be extremely helpful for those interested, but may be distracting to those readers who want a quick overview.

Why Read The End of Accounting?

If you have ever wondered (and I mean really wondered) why financial statements seem to require a Ph.D. to decipher, then this book may be for you. The book is an extended discussion (a bit heavy on the academic side) about why and how accounting needs to become more user-friendly. As the book wisely points out, we are in an age where just having numbers won’t cut it anymore. This book takes that discussion and provides a possible solution. If you are in any way, shape or form connected to financial reporting, this might be a book worth considering, just for the challenging ideas behind it alone.

This article, “Confused by Financial Statements? Maybe it’s Time for The End of Accounting” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Bulgaria’s Socialists Mull Proposing Air Force Commander for President

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

Air Force Commander Maj Gen Rumen Radev is among the favourites of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) for a joint left-wing presidential candidate, daily 24 Chasa quotes high-profile party officials as saying.

Radev is a possible nomination in two out of three options discussed within the BSP, according to the sources.

Socialists held on Saturday their traditional gathering on Mount Buzluzdha, with leader Korneliya Ninova vowing to raise a joint nomination with other left-wing parties in order to defeat any candidate put forward by GERB, the biggest party in the government.

Radev’s name was “surprisingly” added by the BSP’s headquarters to the list of potential nominees, 24 Chasa quotes the sources as saying.

The Air Force commander stepped down last year to voice his disagreement with the delay of measures to overhaul the country’s defense capabilities.

However, he did not leave the office as Prime Minister Borisov pledged to secure funding.

Possible running mates of Radev include Ivaylo Kalfin, deputy head of left-wing ABV party with which BSP is trying to produce a joint nomination. Another one is Vesela Letcheva, a former sports shooter who is now part of the BSP’s leadership after reshuffles made by Ninova in April.

Kalfin is also a possible presidential nominee himself, with Lecheva as a possible running mate, 24 Chasa reports.

The BSP and ABV are now expected to produce a nominee in August.

ABV, however, has already tabled its “recommendation” that its leader, Georgi Parvanov (who served twice as President between 2002 and 2012) should be the joint candidate, while Kalfin should be his running mate.

The BSP has previously rejected the prospect.

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Bulgaria Going Through Best Tourism Year Since 1998

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

The number of tourists to Bulgaria was 15% bigger between January and June compared to the same period of last year, Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova announced.

As many as 3.1 million tourists visited the country in the first half of 2016, she told Focus Radio on Sunday.

Angelkova said the results for those six months were already making 2016 the most successful year for Bulgaria’s tourism industry since 1998.

Although Bulgaria was expecting a good summer in terms of visitors to sea resorts and other places across the country, the average overall projections, of a 10% year-on-year increase as of December 2016, had not changed since the beginning of the year.

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Sofia Vies for World’s Biggest Pokemon Go Hunt

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

Thousands of Pokemon Go players stormed the National Palace of Culture (NDK) on Saturday afternoon, daily newspaper Standart reports.

People from Sofia, but also neighboring countries arrived in front of NDK in Bulgaria’s capital to look for a unique Pokemon “released” right inside the capital’s landmark.

There were participants from Serbia, Macedonia, Greece, Romania and elsewhere, according to Standart.

Organizers hope that the number of participants, which is yet to be officially confirmed (with 10 000 having said they would attend) could become the biggest hunt for Pokemon so far. San Francisco’s number of last week reached 9000. A definitive number of Sofia is not expected to be known before Sunday evening.

Like elsewhere in the world, Pokemon Go has already turned into a craze in Bulgaria.

Authorities, however, are already warning against looking for Pokemon without paying enough attention to one’s surroundings.

State-owned railway company BDZ earlier this week released a statement that called on players to avoid “searching for Pokemon in railway areas” as trains cannot stop quickly enough to avoid hitting people or vehicles.

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Corporate Diary

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

Investors will be interested in any hints of a new strategy or approach from miner’s chief executive

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