Latest Posts

How Public Relations Can Help You

In the business world, growth is of the utmost importance.  To no business is this more important, however, than to a small business.  Large businesses, monolithic companies with locations all across the country and even the world, they can sustain extreme losses and still be able to survive, even if it means they have to close some locations or cut back on certain expenses, offer more stock, or even sell some solid assets that they may control, like administrative or warehousing buildings or other real property (which is to say, property that exists on the physical plane of existence).  If a small business begins sliding backwards, that’s how you end up with worst case scenarios where people have two mortgages on their house and are still losing money each month on their business.  It’s generally accepted by the Internal Revenue Service that opening a business isn’t going to be an immediately profitable endeavor, and they full expect, and allow, that your first five years will be years in which your tax burden will be little, if anything, because in most cases, you can write-off business losses on your taxes.  After that, it’s assumed that you’ll have grown your business, or that you’ll be closing your doors.

social media managementSo, because closing your doors isn’t something that you really want to do, how do you grow your business?  Through careful advertising, through word of mouth, and, in general, through maintaining a steady public relations campaign.  A pr campaign, artfully and expertly run, can make all the difference between competitors.  Look, for example, at the history of our home video technology in the United States (and worldwide, eventually).  When home video recording and viewing first came into being, there were two names that were competing for the chance to put their device in your home, hooked up to your television, projecting your favorite videos onto your screen.  The competitors had even designed their own machines, which used two very different formats.  One was called VHS cassettes, large, bulky, plastic cassettes with magnetic tape that, when read by the VCR that would play them, would show video images.  The long-forgotten competitor (except by weirdos like myself who remember such things because it makes me look intelligent and a real asset when it comes to trivia games) was called ‘Beta Max’, and it was superior in almost every way.  Whereas the VHS competitor could only show the images, the beta max was able to skip along chapter by chapter, much like DVD players of today, and was also able to provide closed captioning and other language dubbing in some cases.  Obviously, Beta max was the better product, and the only thing that held it back was a dismally run marketing campaign and terrible public relations, while VHS pulled a PR coup and relegated Beta max to the scarp heap.  Public relations and marketing alone sunk a superior product.

So, if you’re a small business, how do you go about getting someone to manage public relations?  You can’t hire a full-time PR employee, they’re going to be out of your price range, especially when you factor in the cost of things like advertising and producing the actual content for advertising.  You could do all this yourself, of course, but you’ve got quite enough on your plate as a small business owner as it is.  What, then, are you to do?

Hire yourself an expert!  Or, rather, a group of experts, a PR firm that represents various companies and their marketing interests.  These people, hopefully, will also be able to offer you social media marketing services as well, because we do live in the internet age, and it’s important that you keep up a presence on the major social media networks so that your customers feel connected to you and the products and services that you offer.  Another great advantage of running a social media site is that it allows you to give people a reason to come back in after their first stop in at your business, whether it be because you’re running a promotion, a discount, a sale, or even a contest, or maybe just because you’ve gotten new product in stock at your location that they really desire.

So, there’s an obvious benefit to hiring an independent pr firm when you need help in finding and sustaining long-term growth for your business.  If this is the case, I urge you to contact your local PR agency and see what they can do for you before it’s too late and you have to close your doors.

Three Reasons To Ask Your Denver Orthodontist About Invisalign

If you’re going to see your local professional orthodontist, you’re going for one of two reasons.  Either you’ve recently been diagnosed with a malocclusion (yes, I know this word looks scary, but it basically means ‘misaligned teeth’, so calm down there) and are coming to get some sort of treatment, or you’re coming in to see if you have a malocclusion.

If you’re coming in to be diagnosed, you’re going to be subjected to x-rays, having your teeth examined, maybe even things like bite-mark impressions and, if you’re really lucky, some computer imagery of your teeth.

If, on the other hand, you’re coming in to get something to realign your teeth, you’re probably there to look at braces of some variety.  Or, maybe you have one of the rare malocclusions that arises from overcrowding, and you’re in to get a consultation and a referral on what kind of dental surgery you need to remove that extra tooth you’ve got crowding out the others.

More likely than not, though, you’re there getting braces.  Standard metal braces, to be exact.  They’ve basically become the go-to method for aligning the teeth in the forty-odd years since they were invented and came into use in the general public.  However, that doesn’t make them the best option, nor does it make them the newest technology for realigning the teeth.

That would be Invisalign, invisible braces for teens and adults.  Here’s just three reasons why you should ask your local orthodontist if Inivsalign might be right for you.

1.  Discretion

A big trend in orthodontics (and in everything else, really) is a trend from less discreet to more so.  Look at the three orthodontic treatments currently available; orthodontic headgear, not discreet at all, least popular.  Braces, somewhat discreet, and getting a bit more discreet all the time, but also the most established method of tooth realignment, controls the market.  Invisalign, the new kid in town, slowly gaining market share, is the most discreet option currently available to the public.

choosing the right orthodontistBraces are the big name in town, and probably will remain so a little while longer, just because they’re easy to install and, unlike Invisalign, they don’t require any computer knowledge, computer imaging software, or anything like that.  You can install braces pretty much anywhere, from a sterile room in a beautiful office in Denver to a tent in the middle of the Sahara.

Invisalign, on the other hand, is far more discreet, being made of a clear plastic that allows the natural color of the teeth to filter through, making it look like there’s nothing there at all.  Add in the fact that Invisalign is form-fitted to your particular teeth, and you have a system that is as discreet as can possibly be for something that you need to wear to realign your teeth.  Comparatively, braces are discreet, completely so, right up until you open your mouth.  Even with ceramic or porcelain braces, made to hide the braces as best as possible, you can’t replace or hide that metal wire that’s providing the actual tension to realign the teeth.

2.  Comfort

Comfort is a big deal for people when choosing something that they’re going to have in their mouth for months on end, if not longer, and this is sensible.  Braces, on the one hand, protrude into the mouth, and will dig into the fleshy inside of your mouth and lips, which can be painful at first (although, to be fair, you will get used to it).  Invisalign, however, is form-fitted to your teeth, meaning that they’re not going to be protruding a noticeable amount, and certainly not anywhere near enough to become a problem.

3.  Cost

Probably the biggest factor in making a choice is cost, and the value that they see or feel that they’re getting for said cost.  Whether you go with braces or Invisalign, you’re going to be fixing your teeth alignment issues, but one will do it with some discretion, while the other does it completely discreetly.  Discreet teen braces (and adult braces) are harder to make, take more time, more equipment, and, therefore, there is a bit more price associated with them, usually somewhere in the five hundred to a thousand dollar range compared to the price of standard metal braces in your locality.

So, if you’re looking to have your local Denver orthodontist fix the alignment of your teeth, take some time and ask them what they think about Invisalign as a treatment option.  You’ll be glad you did when you’re using the most discreet method of realigning the teeth that is available today.

 

Three Ways That Product Development Firms Help Bring Your Products To Market

A business needs to expand in order to survive; it cannot stay the same size, selling the same products, and expect that it’s going to be able to hold onto the market share that it already has, that’s simply unrealistic for anyone to believe.

There are many ways, though, that a business can expand.  If you run a business that is based around the idea of servicing the public directly, maybe selling them foods or goods from a storefront, your idea of expansion will be to add additional stores in underserved markets so that you can tap into new groups of people as customers.  If you run a factory or a production facility of some sort, expansion means adding to your production capability, purchasing new things to help you better produce more product, of a higher quality, faster.  If you run a business that designs products like electronics, on the other hand, this can mean that you’re having to produce new models to keep up with the changes in technology.  This is the process of product development and research.

Research of a new product refers to the actual technical process of looking at what you can offer to the market, and then putting it together and providing it to the market.  What you produce might be something entirely new, or it might be something that is an updated version of an older product; look at video game systems in the last generation.  The first runs, released at the initial launch date, bore little resemblance to the designs being put out at the end, both in the external appearance and in the internals that were running the system.  Each updated version was trumpeted, sold at a price close to the higher prices at launch, and then slowly went through the same process as those that came before of becoming slowly outdated.

The development part refers to the marketing that each product will have to do at some point or another in order to ensure that, when it launches into the open market, it sells at least somewhat well.  For most small businesses, this means you’ll need to hire in some marketing muscle, because you’re not likely to have the people on staff you’ll need in order to get marketing work done.  Luckily, there are product development firms in existence, which are well equipped to help you.  Here’s just three ways they’ll assist you in bringing your product to market.

1.  Marketing

hiring a product development firmIn order to bring your product to a successful launch, you need to know who you’re making it for.  This is referred to as ‘targeted marketing’ by some, marketing that is designed to target various segments of the population.

How do you decide which segment ought be targeted, then, or segments?  You choose segments based on who it is that you’ve found to be most perceptive, not only to the message that you have to send, but to the product that you’ve designed and are trying to sell.

2.  Advertising

One of the crucial reasons you need to find a product development agency is so they can help you design advertising.  This doesn’t just meant that they’re going to design a few commercials that will be good at getting the attention of anyone who happens to be sitting in the room at the time ( a trick that can be easily accomplished by just raising the volume drastically when the commercial begins transmitting); it means that the message that the product has to convey to the people you’re trying to reach needs to be something that will resonate with them, even after they’ve turned off the television and left the house and gone to work or whatever else.

3.  Internet Presence

You need to have a website.  I can’t believe that, in the year 2015, there are still businesses that think they can get by without one, but it’s not possible.

Your website is the public face of your company, not just to people in your city or town and state, but to the world.  People from one side of the globe to another can look at your website and learn about what you have to offer, at any time of day, from anywhere, and with little effort on your part to explain yourself to them.  Get. A. Website.  I can’t stress this enough.  Businesses have collapsed for not keeping up with new trends.

So, if you’re looking to hire some marketing muscle, hire a local product development firm.  You’ll be glad you did when the money is rolling in.

 

What Teeth Whitening Can Do For Your Smile

Every bite you take, every drink you take, every smoke you have, you’re slowly damaging your teeth.  Beside the obvious wear and tear, the slow damage that you’re doing to your enamel just by using your teeth for the purposes they were intended to, you’re also slowly staining them with every bite you take and every sip of a delicious beverage (unless you live entirely on a bland diet of things like bread, rice, potatoes, and water, but let’s face it, that sounds like a fate worse than death), it’s slowly changing the color of your teeth.

A lot of people don’t think about it when they’re eating or drinking, but there’s a lot of color to the foods we get to consume today.  Green food tends to wash out of the teeth fairly easily, just because it’s mostly plant matter, which tends to be manipulated easily by water in general.  However, some fruits and berries, in particular the berries, tend to stain the teeth more than other things.  For example, if you eat a lot of raspberries (or drink a lot of wine, for all of those who fancy themselves to be fans of fine wines), you’re going to slowly be staining your teeth various colors; raspberries will stain your teeth pink, if you consume them in large quantities over the long-term, and blueberries, if consumed in the same manner, will slowly turn your teeth a light tinge of blue.  Then there are things like coffee and the ever-present sodas that we all love, which are slowly going to turn your teeth yellowish or brown.  That caramel coloring that is in almost every soda that looks dark brown?  It will, over time, given the opportunity, stain your teeth that same color.  You can fight back against the tide with a good, and regular, dental health care regimen, but that only goes so far against the influence of the things you’re consuming every day.

Then there’s smoking.  Smoking has no positive benefits to it; this isn’t a matter of opinion, this is a scientific fact, and I say it as a person who used to smoke quite regularly.  There are few things that can damage your body in its entirety more than smoking cigarettes regularly, and the damage they cause, in general, to the body, can take years upon years to repair, if you repair it at all.  In no part of your body, however, is the damage that is caused by cigarettes more obvious than in the yellowing or browning of the teeth, which shows the symptoms clearly to the world. There is only one way to treat the staining of the teeth, and it’ll require a trip to your local cosmetic dentist’s office for a teeth whitening.

To find a teeth whitening dentist isn’t a really difficult process.  If you’re looking for local cosmetic dentists in your area, you can simply use the American Dental Association’s website, which lists dentistry offices near you;  call the ones nearest you, make sure they offer the service, and find the one you want to go to.

teeth cleaning for oral hygieneWhen you set up an appointment to get your teeth whitened, it’ll go down something like this.  You’ll go in, take a seat in that lovely dental chair (maybe I’m the only one, but I’ve found few chairs I can fall asleep in as comfortably as those.  Call me crazy), and they’ll open and dry your mouth a bit.  Then they’ll apply a gel to your gums and other fleshy parts of your mouth in order to protect them from the ‘bleaching’ agent (which, just so you’re aware, doesn’t contain bleach, as you think of it, so don’t be alarmed!).  Afterwards, they apply the bleaching agent to the teeth.  This agent is either going to be a solution of hydrogen peroxide, or a peroxide solution that, when put in contact with the natural moisture of the teeth and mouth, will form hydrogen peroxide.  This solution is left on the teeth for around an hour, and then removed, followed by the removal of the protective gel, and then you’re done.  Unless, of course, you’ve an especially bad case of discoloration, in which case you may need another return visit (or multiple, if you’re really bad off, like many habitual smokers).

So, if you’re less than satisfied with the way your teeth are colored after years of use, consider going to your local office of cosmetic dentistry for smile correction and getting a teeth whitening treatment.  You’ll be glad you did when your teeth are restored to their ‘natural’ beauty.

A Successful Custom Marijuana Grow Room

grow room builderMore than half of the people in the United States now favor outright legalization of cannabis. For those of lucky enough to live in states like Colorado and Washington, we’ve already seen this wish come true. If you’re in one of these states and proponent of legal cannabis, you may have been considering getting into the industry yourself. It can be quite profitable, but it is EXTREMELY competitive. Not just anyone can make the cut, and you need to know what you’re doing if you want to be a success. Of course you’re going to have tons of bureaucracy to deal with to even get the proper licenses to run a store. If you can get through all the red tape, you still aren’t out of the woods yet. What kind of experience do you have with cannabis or in business in general? Hopefully you’re getting into this with at least some business experience and a passion for marijuana, or you may run into issues. Even if you have both of those things however, you may not have the experience of building an indoor grow room. In Colorado at least, your grow must be out of sight and secure. In most cases this means having it inside.

If you’re serious about opening your out recreational marijuana dispensary, it is probably worth looking into professional grow room builders. In Denver there is at least one company on the scene who builds custom modular rooms for their clients. They’ll be able to help make sure that you have the most state of the art, efficient grow room possible. This can be the difference between a mediocre and a great crop. How exactly can they help you though? What will they provide that you can’t do yourself?

First, they are going to ensure that your indoor cannabis grow room is up to code in every aspect. They’ll make sure it meets International Building Code, as well as complies with any additional state and local requirements. Beyond that however, the modular grow room company is going to help you make sure your room complies with local marijuana enforcing bodies. You don’t want to see your business shut down because of a simple oversight. It’s better to have a company that will be thorough in its check than to rely on yourself.

Next, you’re not going to have to worry about hassle of hanging and hooking up lights and ventilation. Instead of having to mount your lights in the ceiling via traditional methods, the custom grow room company I’m familiar with will install a track system for lights and fans. This will allow them to be easily installed and moved when necessary. It can make things a lot easier to deal with, and it let’s you know you’re in a professional grow room.

Another thing they’ll ensure is that the environment in your grow room is easily manipulated and controlled. Growing a successful indoor marijuana crop isn’t the easiest thing in the world to accomplish. With a modular growing room you’ll know that controlling the temperature and gas levels will be easy, because it will be air-tight. They’ll also be guaranteed to be light-tight. As you probably know, this is absolutely essential when it comes to a grow. Having stray light hit your crop during dark cycles can end up costing you a lot of money. You want to get the very best product possible out of your grow, and that won’t be it.

Additionally, a modular grow room company is going to give you an easy plan for expansion. If you find yourself out of a space in a traditional grow room it goes to cost a lot of money to change things. You’ll either be knocking down walls or moving. Both of these can be a costly expense. Modular grow rooms on the other hand, are easily added to without being a huge investment, whether time or money. The rooms are constructed with additions in mind.

These are some of the most prominent ways that custom grow room builder is going to help make sure you’ve got one of the best rooms in the industry. When it comes to cannabis, the grow is really the most important aspect of the business. It’s what brings you the final result to present and sell to the customer. If you take the time and care to set up a professional grow, you’ll be on the right track. Of course more will go into your success, but you must have a great foundation if you want things to progress smoothly.

The Complexity of the Tax Code and the Need For Tax Services.

It’s often quipped that there are only three guarantees in life; life, death, and taxes.  This remark has, allegedly, been around for centuries, since the time of our founding fathers.  Back in their day, they fought a war over the minor taxation of their tea (the Boston Tea Party?  Happened because of a sales tax less than the sales tax in some major cities.  Let that sink in for a minute), because it was unreasonable to them.  They supported, of course, a system of taxation of certain purchases, because they recognized the need for taxation for the general good in some aspects of the maintenance of a society.  However, back then, tax code was exceedingly simple, not just in the United States, but around the world.  There was no income tax, there was no series of ‘payroll taxes’, there was no investment tax or inheritance tax.  There was basically a property tax, a tax paid determined by the size of the property you owned, and, on some things, there was a tax levied in order to cover the cost to the state of the transportation of the thing in question, plus to cover tariffs and so forth.

tax accounting firmToday, the tax code is drastically different.  Where once the tax code could fit in a pamphlet and was easily understood by people who were decently literate, today, it is not so simple.  Indeed, it has become more and more complex by far as time has gone by, and this hasn’t been helped by the establishment of the Internal Revenue Service, commonly known by the acronym ‘IRS’.  The IRS, in essence, is an organization, run by the government, and in conjunction with various other government three-letter organizations, whose only purpose is to ensure that they get the appropriate tax money from the citizenry, according to their tax codes and the laws passed by the Congress and Senate.  The IRS is operated at the federal level, not the state, although the state has their own various groups that act as the local IRS for each individual state.  The tax code, at the federal and state level, have both become far more complex than they were in the days of the founding fathers.  Where once the code was, at most, a few dozen pages, today we have hundreds upon hundreds of pages describing every possible monetary transaction and what cut of it ‘belongs’ to the state, city, and federal governments, as well as what portion of that tax you can get back depending on various circumstances.  The tax code is so extensive that, in essence, it covers almost every possible scenario and prescribes a solution to each in kind.

With all this complexity, what is an individual to do?  Well, they have a few possible solutions.  They can take the time out of their lives, assuming that they have the intelligence and the proclivity to even understand the IRS tax code (and if you don’t, don’t be offended; it’s a long, complicated, boring read, and is pretty generally a terrible thing to try to decrypt and decode on your own, unless you have years of experience in reading legal documents). Another option is to use generalized software or the IRS-provided online tax payment system, which can make it somewhat simpler, but doesn’t really define all the things that you can write-off on your taxes all that well, meaning you may be leaving money on the table.  You can try to just fill out your tax forms by hand, by yourself, but there you run the risk, again, of either overpaying or underpaying, neither of which is a desirable outcome by any stretch.  Or, you can hire a CPA firm that specializes in tax services and personal tax accounting.  CPAs, or ‘Certified Public Accountants’, are basically accountants who have not only gone through a four-year degree program (and in some cases, extra schooling), they have also gone through various certification processes at the state and even federal levels in order to be ‘certified’ Public Accountants.  They’re experts in all aspects of accounting, the kind of people best equipped to help the lay person understand what, exactly, they’re doing in the world of things like taxation.

A Certified Public Accountant can be a boon to anyone who’s having trouble with their taxes, or, even worse, having trouble figuring out their taxes.  A CPA firm that offers tax accounting services will be well worth the payment, especially if they can find you a lot of savings that you were originally missing out on.  So, if you’re about to tangle with the IRS and our insanely complex tax code, give your local CPA firm a call today.  You’ll be glad you did!

You Should Always Trust Your Web Developer

It’s no secret that every good website had a formidable web developer behind its construction. And since it’s pretty much necessary to have a website for your work in order to be found, for example, it would mean that you would need a good web developer to set up your website in the first place. This is because it’s pretty easy to mess up on a website layout, so you need an expert on the field to talk to you about design principles and guide you in making the right choices for your website. Basically, if you want to avoid your website looking like a high school MySpace page, you want to hire an expert in the field to keep tabs on all your work. It’s a good idea to get yourself accustomed and knowledgeable with design principles, so this essay will spell that out for you.web developer

1. A big don’t that you should avoid is going overly creative or carried away with color choices. Colors that clash or are too bright can be a real eye sore, and it may possibly make your website look ugly at best. There is nothing clean or neat or professional about colors that are all over the place on a website. You can look at a color wheel, which will give you different shades of your favorite colors that may be more appropriate for a business profile, so that you don’t stick to primary, bold colors. Pick a color and stick with it for the rest of your website, since having the same color on all your pages will let your viewer know that he is still on the same website, which is a navigation method that is needed.

2. This is an absolute guideline that must be abided by, which is to make your text always easy to read. If you force your viewer to put any effort into reading, they will likely just dump your website and look for service from another website instead. You should make sure that your text isn’t made up of crazy fonts which can be used for the logo instead easily. You want to make sure that there aren’t bright colors behind your text, which can easily muddle or blend the text too much and therefore harder to make your text readable. It may sound obvious, but you also want to make sure that there aren’t photos in the background behind your text, which of course will only make your text incredibly hard to read. These kind of non-fancy gimmicks are not worth making your visitor frustrated with you. You should stick with a safer, more traditional way of going about it, which would be black text on a white background, white text on a black background. It’s not the most creative way, but it keeps readers on your website. If you want to incorporate colors to your website, speak to your web designer about more advanced color theories when it comes to web design.

3. Another guideline that you want to make sure you are abiding by with no exceptions is that your website is easy to navigate. No one wants to waste any time on needlessly searching for the information they need. You should have links readily visible on the home page so that viewers can just click and find the page they are looking for specifically. You will want your links, therefore to either be across the page on the top, or in a column on the left, which keeps up with the theory of visual hierarchy, which states that readers read from left to right, and from top to bottom. In other words, place your links on these areas and your readers will hover around to find more. Studies support the theory of visual hierarchy, and when you adapt it, you are making your website more intuitive for usage purposes.

Think about these design elements, then take a tour around the Internet and find yourself some websites that you admire the design for. Take notes and grab some screenshots that you can print and show to your web designer later on when you meet to discuss your ideas with him or her. This should make it so much easier to handle all of the details when it comes to website design. Don’t forget to really think about responsive website design as well – this is so that you keep adapting to the changing times and you are giving mobile users easy access to your website too. Your web developer will design a responsive website for you and will work with you on maintaining that site, too.

Tips On How to Handle Your Tricky Hedge Fund

accounting firmWhen you have a lot more money to invest, and you are looking to use this money to invest in something alternative and slightly edgy, then you should consider checking into a hedge fund. A hedge fund is a type of alternative investment that may be initially tricky to understand, but it can certainly give you some beneficial rewards if you play your cards right. You will need street wits, accounting knowledge and experience with stock market fluctuations to be able to handle hedge funds correctly, but when you understand that you can make profits even when the stock market is doing poorly, then a hedge fund should be easier to get.

While hedge funds prove to be a dynamic and flexible means to make more money from your investments, they are by no means simple to use or understand. They can be tricky, and that is for good reason. They are private investments, so right off the bat you will find it harder to look up information related to them. The only thing you will basically find would be hedge fund audits, which are documents that have a record on the performance of any given hedge fund, including history of fraud or tax violations.

When it comes to using a hedge fund to your advantage, there are two main ways of working with them, which are called long positions and short positions. These are strategies related to investment. Long positions are traditional forms of investing, where you buy some stock with the hopes that the value increases, and you profit from it in time after it does increase. Short positions are when you buy the stock that you know is going to decrease in value, and when the stock broker returns the money, you repurchase it at the reduced price, and you use the profit you have made from that into stock that you know is worth putting your money on. In a sense, short positions are meant to be supportive to the long positions, which is where most of your profit should come from. Short positions allow you to make a little extra.

The main goal of a hedge fund is to make “absolute return.” This essentially means that you get to profit from the investment, even if the market is doing really great or really terrible. This may sound impossible, but if you know the way the stock market works and are confident in making the right predictions in order to get those short positions working, like the way a 130-30 Hedge Fund Strategy works, then using a hedge fund will be the right fit for you.

But does it already sound very overwhelming to you? This is because it takes a lot of guts and a lot of street smarts in order to maintain a hedge fund properly, and chances are, you may not know enough to be able to really take care of a hedge fund to the best of your ability. It is wise at this point to hire a hedge fund accountant to help you in your needs and quests – they will know most of what you need in order to make sure that you are making the right stock market predictions to be able to make your decisions correctly. It’s also super helpful to talk to other investors who have a lot of experiences in hedge funds so you can learn from their mistakes and setbacks. Another need to know: hedge funds are private investments, which means that the amount of information you are trying to find will be limited, and that is because they are not required to provide as much documentation about their financial activities (whereas you can find a lot about other kinds of funds, like mutual funds).

The Securities and Exchange Commission has set up the law to basically state that hedge fund audits are required to be performed by accounting firms, usually working with certified public accounts. This makes it so there is a third-party independent investigation set up to determined the status of how a hedge fund is doing for the benefit of the knowledge of potential investors. An auditor is looking for a few things essentially: they want to make sure that the value being made into the hedge fund is far and well represented, that there aren’t any tax issues present in the hedge fund and there isn’t any fraudulent activity going on in the hedge fund. Auditors will also make suggestions on how to improve the performance in a hedge fund.

To put it simply, before you put your money into a hedge fund, especially for the first time, you want to do as much research as you are allowed to do. Be sure to spend some time reading any hedge fund audits that you can, because it will be the only source of information you will run into regarding these private investments.

Social Media Marketing Is The Name Of The Game

Running a business is difficult and can demand a lot of time of its owner and operator. Depending on the business, it may be important to gain some exposure or publicity in order to grow the company or create a favorable opinion of what the company does. Public relations is especially important in industries where the companies that operate within them seem to affect people’s livelihoods and/or the environment. Public opinion is not something that can be ignored by even the biggest, most powerful entities because it can be the source of their downfall if they do not manage their reputations properly.

Many good PR firms have been hired in order to help garner support and manage the bad press associated with the oil and gas industry, for example, as it pertains to the concerns that have surfaced regarding fracking. The more sensitive the topic, the more important it is that it is properly managed appropriately by a company who understands how critical public opinion is in the outcome of their client’s goals. The information that is delivered to the public very often has to be offered with a delicate, proactive touch and the right PR firm for the job should know how to do that in a way that can mitigate certain concerns appropriately.

The duties of a public relations firm can vary a great deal based on the needs of their clients. Many PR firms specialize in specific industries where they are already familiar with their audience and know how to effectively reach and deliver messages to them, and there are some who claim to be able to help anyone with their PR needs. More often than not, PR needs are not chosen by the company, organization or person that hires a firm to handle them because often there is already an existing perception about them that either needs to be encouraged, repaired or better informed.

A public relations company who does their job well has good relationships with valid news sources and knows how the flow of information works. Generally speaking, public relations concerns itself with the spread of information between their clients (individuals, businesses, non-profits or government agencies) and the general public. A good PR individual knows how to write speeches and press material, schedule interviews and work with their clients and media outlets in order to create and execute a successful PR campaign. The internet has caused the public relations and marketing fields to overlap a little more than they used to, because of the exposure that can be created for both.

PR campaigns are alike advertising campaigns in the sense that they use publicity in order to create exposure. The difference is though that a public relations firm does this by utilizing the editorial press and other sources where no direct payment is required and the advertising world typically deals with a marketing budget that is used to position their product in high-traffic or relevant places where payment is required. Much of the work that modern-day PR firms do is on the internet, specifically on popular social media websites where millions of people gather on a daily basis to share information with one another. Many PR firms are starting to call themselves social media marketing companies instead.

Television and radio are still very powerful conduits with which to deliver important information to the public, and so are newspapers. But every day, more and more people are receiving their news from internet sources purely. In many places in the US when dealing with younger age demographics, it is difficult to find people who pay for cable television or even own a television at all. It is much more common for them to own a laptop, smart phone, tablet and/or smart TV that they use to conduct their daily affairs from. The internet can be used to find almost anything that can be seen or heard on the television or radio, and most television networks understand this and make their programs available online.

These days, a social media firm performs many of their duties by way of the internet because in many cases it is the most relevant medium to their clients. Information spreads as quickly as it does because of the internet more than any other information-spreading source, so any business that is concerned about what the general public is going to think about them needs to have a firm grasp on what people are talking about and where they go to talk about it online. A social media management company is the new, updated face of what used to be commonly referred to as a PR firm, because the internet and social media has changed everything.

 

 

A Web Development Company Better Know What They Are Doing

Any business who wants to make a good impression on their prospective customers should treat their website like they are going to be judged based on it, because they will. The last thing that you want to have to find out about is why your bounce-rate is so terrible because people leave your website as soon as they click on it. The ‘back’ navigational button in any browser is the most used button in part, because there are a lot of bad websites out there that draw people in and send them packing almost immediately because they do not find what they are looking for. A good web developer understands not only how to get qualified people who are actually looking for your products, services and/or information to your website, but they also know how to immediately engage them with a welcoming website. There are a lot of ways to go wrong and only so many ways to do it right, and here are some things that should be second nature to your web designer:

1. Simple Navigation – Your website should be simple, not complicated, disorganized or appear to be cluttered. The most important information should be on the home page and it should accomplish two things. First of all, the verbiage should be concise and let them know that they have arrived at the right place. Second of all, whatever they read should encourage them to want to look at the rest of your website. When they do start to look around they should be able to easily click on one of the four or five main headers at the top of the screen. Some common and effective headers are, ‘About Us’, ‘Contact Us’, ‘Location’, ‘Products’, ‘Services’ and ‘Pricing’ (if applicable). Navigating back to the homepage should be easy as well.

2. Link Your Company Logo to the Homepage – Your company logo is your calling card and an important part of branding. It should appear on every internal page (preferably in the same spot) on your website and your visitors should be able to click on it knowing that it is going to return them to the homepage. This is smart website design because it not only creates repetition, but it also provides a simple way to get back to the main page where they can then navigate to any other part of the website without having to click on the ‘back’ browser button. You will find that most well-designed informational websites will employ this action.

3. Do Not Allow Pop-ups – Pop ups are counter-productive to any webpage viewing experience no matter what the site, no matter who the visitor is. You do not want your visitor’s attention to be detracted by anything during their time on your website because you want them to be reading information that you want them to read, not some unrelated advertisement that appears out of nowhere and interrupts what they are trying to do. There are some clever ‘internet marketers’ who claim they can make you money off of your site and pop-ups is how they do it, but who would want their visitors getting distracted or guided to another website for any reason?

4. Do Not Take Any Unnecessary Chances – There is a time and place to impress your customer and it is when they call you on the phone after the can easily find your website and your contact information on it. A digital marketing agency that thinks they can win a customer over on behalf of their clients by somehow making their website more fun than others by using a childish font or trying to appeal to a prospective customer’s sense of humor is missing the point and they are experimenting with your money. Informational company websites should be strictly business and be designed in a way that indicates that they value their prospective customer’s time and will treat them as such.

Your website is a chance to express who you are but what you do is a more important point to get across. Of course some clever copywriters at the web development company are going to paint you in a positive light but providing helpful, concise information regarding the products and services that your company provides in a visually conducive way should be the main focus of the website designer. In industries with stiff competition it’s the people who make the difference, but in order to get people to experience that difference they are going to have to go through your website and feel good about it before anything else.

Braces Are Not For Dorks

You are ready to wear braces (or you are bracing yourself for it, pardon the pun), but do you know much about braces? Chances are you don’t know that much information, and you are reading this essay in order to learn more. We first have to learn about what an orthodontist does.  A good orthodontist will be one licensed by the American Association of Orthodontists. The AAO is a professional organization that creates rules and guidelines that orthodontists will have to abide by based on cleanliness and ethical grounds. Orthodontists are specialists in tooth and jaw alignment.Invisalign

- Metal braces:

These braces are made of steel, and you already know what these look like since you have seen kids wear these while you were in school. These are the most common type of braces, for several reasons. They are extremely effective in treatment for almost all types of cases, from the mild to the more severe, which makes them malleable. They are also the most cost-friendly option among the various ones provided by the orthodontist’s office, with prices starting at $3,000 for the whole treatment. Application and tightening of the steel braces, although slightly uncomfortable, is easy to apply and it is also easy to take off by the orthodontist. Braces are used through glueing the bracket to the teeth, and the wires attached to them are used to tighten the teeth as it guides them to proper alignment. But considering the way these look, this is not the greatest option for kids who are very self-conscious and anxious or adults who need to look more professional.

- Clear braces:

These work pretty much the exact same way as the metal braces, except they are not made of steel. They are made of a different kind of material that makes them look clear. Ceramic braces are a type of clear braces that are made of a ceramic alloy, and this blends with the teeth much better than the metal ones do. These are not completely unnoticeable, however, but it’s very obvious that they do not attract a lot of attention like metal braces do. Prices for these start at around $4,000, so this makes them cost efficient even if they are a little bit more expensive than the metal braces.

- Lingual braces:

These braces are attached to the back of the teeth, which is why they are sometimes called hidden braces. These are better suited for professional adults who need to undergo teeth alignment treatment but in a discreet way. Considering that there is a stigma to wearing braces as a child or a teen, it is especially so with an adult because they would be deemed that they are too old to wear any braces. Any adult who wants to keep up a clean, professional appearance for clients and bosses though may want to consider using lingual braces for their treatment. Lingual braces are uncomfortable to wear, however, and the application process is also unpleasant. They are also less effective than other braces, because they are not suitable for patients with severe dental cases. These are the most expensive type of traditional bracket and wire braces available, with prices starting at $8,000.

-Invisible braces:

Otherwise known as Invisalign, these braces are the most advanced we have so far when it come to orthodontic technology. A mold is created of the patient’s teeth, and the computer scans it, designs an aligner, and then it is printed through a 3-D printer as a clear, plastic mold that is meant to slowly manipulate the teeth into alignment. They wear like a mouth guard, which makes this the most comfortable method available. This is another good option for both adults and for teenagers who are very wary over the idea of wearing normal braces because of the way they look. They are called invisible braces because they look invisible. You have to pay for a new aligner every two weeks, and how many you need will depend on your treatment, and since every new aligner will have to be paid for by you, the final cost of your treatment will pretty much depend on your current situation.

Another note to think about: oftentimes, the orthodontist will add a retainer towards the end of your treatment. What this is, is a custom-fitted wire to your mouth that holds your teeth in place. This acts as a supplement to your treatment, since sometimes you may something to hold them in place as the teeth get adjusted to their new aligned position. If the orthodontist thinks you need a retainer, not to worry – it means you are almost done and you get that smile you have been wanting!

401K Audits Can Increase A Company’s Bottom Line

Many Americans are eating healthier and treating themselves better and those factors combined with the advancement and increased availability of quality healthcare, people’s life expectancy is increasing. This means that in order to enjoy a long and prosperous retirement, one has to prepare themselves far in advance. Working and saving money does not do the trick anymore; smart investments are needed now in order to build a proper retirement fund that can be counted on to get someone through 40 or more years of their lives. People who retire around the age of 60 and live to be 100 have almost half of their lives to save up for, and most people do not start saving until they are in their 20s or 30s.

401K retirement plans have become a popular way for people to save for their retirements because they can do so before taxes are taken out. The annual contribution limit is $17,500 and most companies who offer this kind of retirement plan to their employees match a certain percentage. Anyone who is concerned about saving for their retirement who can afford to personally contribute a portion of their salary that is equal to the percentage that their employer is willing to match should definitely do that because otherwise, it is like tossing money down the drain. Any employer who reaches at least 100 eligible participants for their plan are required to hire a CPA firm to perform an audit of their retirement plan.

401K audits are mandatory for employers who administer large plans because it is very important that their employees retirement savings are protected and they are not being taken advantage of. Many companies who offer these plans obviously have good intentions because they do not have to, but at some point it became clear that too many of them did not fully understand their fiduciary duties and take this responsibility as seriously as they should have. Timely employee payments must be made, accounts must be stated fairly, all employees must have access to the plan, and the plan should be valued accurately and fairly. This all may sound like jargon to a laymen, but these are important matters that a 401K audit is designed to assess.

Many companies who reach the 100 eligible participant threshold decide to hire one of the big four CPA firms to perform the mandatory audit. Over 95% of large corporations that are publicly traded use one of the major international CPA firms to perform this audit because they are priced and designed to handle very large accounts. It does not matter what firm is chosen to perform the audit as long as the audit is performed by a licensed Certified Public Accountant. Sometimes a company will choose a local CPA firm to perform the audit because they are more reasonably priced or because they take a more personalized approach. Whatever the case may be, the information obtained from the audit is included with form 5500 that is submitted to the Internal Revenue Service for processing along with a company’s other important tax documentation.

A CPA accounting firm does not have to be the biggest and best in order to perform a thorough audit. Any CPA has proven by passing the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination that they are more than capable of utilizing their resources and figuring out what is required for an audit like this. Most 401K auditors though have a lot of experience, specifically with 401K retirement accounts and often they also are well-versed in mutual and hedge fund audits too. There is a very strict set of guidelines that an auditor uses through the audit process in order for them to produce an objective opinion about how the plan is performing and if any of the companies practices need to be improved upon for any reason.

Although it is considered mandatory for a 401K plan with a 100 or more eligible participants to have an audit performed, many companies would choose to do it periodically anyway just to make sure that everything is copacetic with their plan. The financial burden of an audit falls on the company who is having it performed whether it is of their own volition or not; however this cost may be peanuts compared to what an audit could reveal about a company’s internal processes or the performance of their plans that ultimately could improve their bottom line. They say that you have to spend money to make money but in this case, a company may have to spend money to help them and their employees save money.

 

 

Orthodontics Is Easy to Understand

When you look at photos of celebrities or models or politicians, you will see the same thing: white, straight teeth. It is so common that it may seem like everyone has beautiful teeth except for you, and considering all the competition between your peers who also have straight teeth, you may feel like you will not be able to make a good first impression. Or you may feel completely unattractive because your smile isn’t something that others want to see. It’s a terrible position to be in, but orthodontic treatment is advancing and with it, come many options to wear braces. First off, you don’t have to worry about wearing braces because there are more discreet options that can help you achieve the beautiful smile that you have been wanting for a while. Also, if it comes to the point that you will have to wear braces at the front of your teeth for any number of reasons – due to low budget or because of the severity of your case – take comfort in the fact that your orthodontic treatment will be temporary for a few months, and then you can spend the rest of your lifetime with the comfort of knowing that you will have a more attractive smile. When you are ready to get braces, you will have to make an appointment with an orthodontist first of all to talk about the different options that are available for your particular needs.lingual braces

When it comes to choosing between a myriad of braces, it will mostly depend on the small details of your case. You don’t have to make the choice to wear the embarrassing looking metal ones, but it may be a good idea that you learn about the way they work so you can understand the rest. Here is the list:

First off, there are metal braces. These are the obnoxious looking ones that will make you feel as if everyone is paying attention to the fact that you have braces on. They are made of steel, which is essential to the way they work as they help in the giving proper alignment to your teeth. The system that they work on consists of two parts: brackets, which are glued to the front of your teeth, and wires, which connect them all and are the tool that orthodontics use in order to tighten the braces throughout time as the treatment continues. These metal braces are highly effective in treating all kinds of orthodontic cases, which makes them extremely versatile. For those on a budget, these are least expensive as well, which is why they are so common, but not popular.

Secondly, there are also clear braces, which is essentially by its very nature of its mechanism a copy of metal braces. They work the same way, down to their brackets and their wires, except that they are not made of steel. They are made of different materials that make them clear and see through, or of a ceramic alloy which allows them blend well with your teeth. They should give an illusion that they are not there. These are not completely unnoticeable however, but they do avoid getting so much attention that normal metal braces seem to get.

Third, there are also lingual braces for patients who are really adamant about the privacy and discreet necessities of wearing braces that no one can see. What makes lingual braces popular is because these are among the most unnoticeable type of braces, which is why they have another name: hidden braces. They are put on behind the teeth, away from public vision, which will  give you the privacy of dealing with the orthodontic treatment on your own without having to have anybody else know. It sounds magnificent, but there are some setbacks to this method. First of all, they are not comfortable (just think about where they are in the mouth, wedged into the roof of your mouth). Secondly, not everyone is eligible to wear them. Normal braces are variable and malleable to the dental case that is applied, but lingual braces aren’t, so you will need to have the right orthodontic case for this option to work for you.

Fourth, you have invisible braces, and they are among the most popular. They are plastic molds that are specifically designed to the shape of the patient’s mouth, and they attach to the teeth much like a mouth guard, so there is no need for wires or glue. A computer software program designs them after taking a scan of a mold of your teeth. Think of Invisalign, as this is the most well-known example of what invisible braces are. However, these are so much more costly in comparison to the other treatment methods, so it is up to you to make sure that you have the budget to use this treatment option.