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Top 5 Modern Business Solutions to Cut Costs Without Sacrificing Productivity

There comes a time in any company’s lifespan when the dreaded budget cuts become inevitable. What distinguishes a well-run company from a short-sighted, short-lived business operation is the way in which its management handles financial hardship.

When faced with the task of finding ways to cut costs and focus on maximizing profits without too much expenditure, businesses turn straight to laying off their employees in order to make that balance sheet look better. The truth is, however, that while firing people might result in a short-term financial boost, the long-term consequences of such a decision might completely eradicate the gains made in the weeks following a mass layoff.

Firing staff leads to a situation where, sooner or later, these professionals will have to be rehired once the organization gets back on the right track. Since the relationships with former workers are severed, it means having to replace every laid-off employee with a new one, which in turn is associated with a lengthy and costly onboarding process. Not to mention the fact that even after thorough training, new employees tend to take time to adjust to their new surroundings and work at maximum capacity.

How, then, can you decrease your business expenses and fix up your budget without firing people? As a business owner, there are quite a few things you could do to achieve just that, and even increase productivity while you’re at it.

Ditch the Landline

Of course, we don’t mean removing all of your telecommunications capabilities altogether. However, it’s been a long time since landline companies were the only way of implementing integrated phone systems in offices. Switching to a VoIP service with virtual phone numbers might prove to be cheaper and more functional than the traditional means.

What is a virtual phone number? It works just like a regular telephone number, except the fact that it isn’t tied to any geographical location as it is routed via the internet instead of a traditional phone line. This means that you won’t have to worry about redirecting or the high costs of interstate or international phone calls. With VoIP, you’ll be able to cut your phone bill by quite a lot, which will amount to a small fortune in the long run.

Outsource More

If you want your business to grow (who doesn’t?), then you’re probably aware of the fact that as your scope and profits increase, so does the number of tasks and responsibilities that you and your workers will have to handle. In these instances, most businesses tend to hire more full-time employees, and while that is the ideal situation, it may not be the best thing for your company if it’s in a financial rut at the moment. Outsourcing certain creative tasks, such as content creation or social media management to freelancers can keep your payroll relatively low compared to what it would be if you expanded your on-site team.

Plan Ahead

Dire financial situations for most businesses most often come as a result of poor planning and shortsightedness. Of course, there are instances when hardship is brought about by an external factor, such as a global pandemic or a financial crisis like the one we’ve all experienced in 2008.

Dealing with any sort of crisis requires resources. Preparing a business continuity plan that would guide your firm out of the rut in case an unexpected disaster strikes could prove to be absolutely crucial in terms of long-term savings. This particular tip might be one for the future, but it will still end up saving you a lot of money without having to resort to aggressive cost-cutting when things don’t go your way.

Saving Trees = Saving Money

Most business owners don’t realize how much unnecessary spending is caused by continuing to use outdated technology, such as the aforementioned landline telephone services. Another one of such unnecessary operations that cost your business money on a daily basis is using paper for internal communications, dealing with customers, or passing out agenda sheets during client meetings. Businesses use up tons of unnecessary paper, which is not only harmful to the environment but very costly in the long run due to the price of toner, printers, and increased power bills due to printing and copy machines being left on standby overnight.

Minimizing, or even eradicating paper use is no longer an outrageous, radical idea. Digital signatures work just as fine when finalizing contracts, customers can be notified digitally, rather than via fax or traditional letters, and meeting agendas can be e-mailed to clients who can then view them on their mobile devices.

Go Remote

2020 has proven that most office work can be done completely remotely and that having every employee show up at the office every single day isn’t really necessary. Getting your workforce to switch to a more permanent remote work mode will allow you to move the business to a smaller, cheaper office, as well as reduce equipment costs by a significant margin.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, there are plenty of ideas you can explore when it comes to reducing your company’s expenses without firing people or even removing financial employee incentives. Even if your organization isn’t going through financial hardship at the moment (in which case, you should consider yourself very lucky), incorporating some of these ideas into your company’s culture can help you increase cash flow and utilize those cost savings in many ways, such as improving your products or investing in better equipment for your workers.

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CAT S42 smartphone review

When I think of CAT or Caterpillar products an Android smartphone is definitely not the first, or even tenth, thing I think of. Bulldozers, earth movers, back hoes, and even work boots — never a phone. Alas, it does offer multiple phones, all of which are rugged and look right at home on a job site.Its latest, the S42, is branded and sold exclusively by CAT, but the phone is actually manufactured by Bullitt Group. The same company that brought you the Land Rover phone, which you probably never heard of either.The CAT name itself implies TOUGH; perhaps even indestructible. After all, their heavy equipment painted in school bus yellow can be found in or near every construction zone I’ve ever encountered. Does their entry-level S42 live up to the company’s reputation? I spent a few days with the S42 as my everyday phone and I have a few thoughts.BuildRetailing at $299, the CAT S42 unlocked phone is a bargain compared to flagship phones. Even mid-level phones start in the $400-$500 range anymore. I fully expect corners to be cut in order to come in at this price point; let’s see if the right ones were made.The S42 advertises MIL-SPEC 810H as well as IP68 rating. I wasn’t familiar with the MIL-SPEC 810H rating so I had to do some research. According to Wikipedia, the MIL-SPEC 810H is a military rating system that rates equipment on its function across environmental factors. There are standardized tests for this when it comes to construction equipment but not when it comes to consumer electronics. CAT details how they tested the phone on their website including drop tests and waterproofing.The body of the phone is entirely plastic other than the 5.5” (1440×720) HD Gorilla Glass 5 screen. Overall, the phone measures 6.35 x 3.04 x 0.5in and weighs 7.76 ounces. Pretty thick by today’s phone standards. Keep in mind though that this phone is literally built inside a ruggedized case so you don’t have to bother with wrapping this in any additional protection. That can be good or bad depending on whether or not you like the looks out-of-the-box. I’m guessing the target market is the same men and women who drive CAT heavy equipment and wear CAT steel-toed footwear.The phone features volume up/down and power buttons along the right side. A customizable button (can be assigned as a Push-to-Talk button) sits just below a rubberized flap covering the dual-sim and micro-SD card tray along the left side.The bottom of the phone features a single speaker and covered micro-USB charging port. The top of the phone is where you’ll find a relic from the distant past; a 3.5mm headphone jack. That too is covered with a rubberized flap.Upon loading a SIM card, you’ll receive a pop-up reminder to replace the port covers. I’m guessing that IP68 waterproof rating only applies when all port covers are in place. Not necessarily bad, but just more things to worry about if the S42 ever does find itself in water. The Gorilla Glass 5 screen comes with a pre-installed glass screen protector.The rest of the specs are as follows:Mediatek Helio A20 MT Quad core32GB internal storage3GB RAMAll of the typical smartphone sensors/antennas (GPS, NFC, BT 5.0, 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 & 5GHz) WiFi)13MP rear camera with flash5MP front camera4200 mAh Lithium Ion batterySoftwareThe CAT S42 ships with Android 10 in its pure form without any skins or overlays. It does come pre-loaded with CAT Toolbox software as well as the typical Google Android portfolio of apps (YT Music, YouTube, Gmail, Chrome, etc.). I’m guessing if you are buying an Android phone, you expect that Google is going to load it up with their suite of mobile applications.The phone also comes pre-loaded with Zello which allows for Push-to-Talk (PTT) functionality (sign-up and subscription required). I didn’t get a chance to test this out because honestly, I don’t know anyone who would prefer a walkie talkie like communication experience.I haven’t used that feature since I owned a Nextel phone in the early 2000’s. I’m guessing industries served by PTT capabilities already have some sort of enterprise account for their end users. I assume that the PTT button can be programed to take advantage of any number of personal or enterprise PTT applications/services.There are a handful of other pre-installed apps that the user may appreciate or at least appreciate that they are easily uninstalled.PerformanceAdmittedly, I am an iPhone user. My current everyday phone is the iPhone 11. Unfortunately, the performance of the CAT S42 will be judged with a level of unconscious bias.Let’s start first with battery life. The CAT S42 kicks my iPhone’s butt in this department. I’m reaching for my charger typically after 13-14 hours of usage. I don’t consider myself a heavy user but I do use my iPhone for work calls, social media apps, limited gaming (Words with Friends) and camera. The CAT S42 lasted ALL day! Not just all day, but about eight hours into the next day, even despite the fact that I used GPS for at least two hours, music, web browsing, social media and camera functions. I was seriously impressed.The CAT website boasts two days of battery life and I think that a typical user, not trying to put a phone through its paces, would probably get near that. The phone also supports quick charging so I can’t imagine having dead battery anxiety with this one the way I occasionally do with my iPhone.I have no experience with mobile CPUs other than Apple. All of my previous Android phones featured Qualcomm Snapdragon processors. I wasn’t sure how the Mediatek Helio A20 MT Quad core processor would perform compared to high-end chipsets.Again, I was pleasantly surprised. The CAT S42 was responsive and I didn’t notice any lag in opening apps, web browsing, etc. The only issue I had was with the actual phone app when attempting to navigate an automated call system menu. The number pad locked up and I wasn’t able to select “1” to proceed in English. I rebooted the phone and no issues moving forward.LTE connectivity was fast as expected. WiFi was speedy. Screen response was adequate. I don’t play games or watch movies which would require higher frame rates so I can’t say that it would be ideal for those purposes but I’m guessing the target market for this phone wouldn’t care either. CAT S42 Photo Samples 1 of 6 The only feature I find lacking on the CAT S42 phone is its camera. I didn’t attempt any videos but it is rated at 1080p at 30fps. Your next independent film isn’t going to be made on this phone. Outdoor photos are fine. You’ll be able to make out what you are shooting but the colors are flat and even with HDR, photos lack any discernible dynamic range. Indoor photos rely heavily on the LED flash and any motion whatsoever will produce blurry results.ConclusionI only spent a few days with the CAT S42 as my primary device and I’ll admit that I was not only pleasantly surprised if not impressed with it. The phone does many things well. Especially when you consider the retail price is only $299. Battery life is its strongest attribute along with its physical durability. I didn’t purposely drop the phone but the CAT website boasts it will survive a six-foot drop on steel. I didn’t test its waterproof rating either. The IP68 rating indicates it will survive prolonged submersion in water beyond one meter.The only drawbacks or weaknesses in my opinion are its physical size and its camera capabilities. I can see myself occasionally grabbing the CAT S42 when I plan an activity that might damage a more expensive phone. It also might be a good device for a new parent who occasionally allows their toddler to watch videos or play games on their phone. One of my earliest smartphones was destroyed when it found its way into the mouth of my teething daughter.

You won’t find a better price on these JASHEN portable vacuum cleaners

If you’re shopping for a vacuum cleaner for someone this holiday season, or need to pick one up for yourself, we’ve got a trio of bargains for you.Right now you can choose from three different models of JASHEN portable vacuum cleaners, all of which are heavily discounted. Not only that, but we’ve got a promo code that takes an extra 20% off of the price at checkout.You won’t find a better price on any of these models this season. All you need to do to take advantage is shop November 26-28 and enter coupon code BFSAVE20 at checkout.JASHEN V12S Cordless Stick VacuumA built-in motor providing ultra-quiet powerful suction for up to 40 minutes of cordless vacuuming, makes for deep, thorough cleaning of your house. With an upgraded motorized brush, JASHEN cordless vacuum can pick up dust, crumbs, pollen, and even pet hair quite well. This vacuum uses a high-efficiency filtration system with a washable filter, hygienic HEPA filter, and large dust cup, that locks in small particles with no leakage and expels fresh air. Wireless, it’s easily convertible to a handheld vacuum so you can satisfy your various floor to ceiling cleaning needs. JASHEN operates with comparatively quiet working noise so you can clean your home without great disturbance. $90 $72JASHEN V16 Cordless Vacuum CleanerMeet JASHEN V16: the perfect vacuum cleaner for your hard floor and carpets! Powered by a 350W digital brushless motor, this V16 provides strong suction to lift embedded dirt and stain with ease and zero noise. It comes with a 2-in-1 dusting brush so you can clean both hard floors and carpet. With a built-in filter sensor, the LED screen shows selected power mode, remaining run time, and filter cleaning alert. It also reminds you to clean filters for optimum performance. V16 runs on a rechargeable 2,500mAh battery which delivers up to 40 minutes of runtime. The wireless design means more flexible cleaning, no limitations. $160 $128JASHEN V18 350W Cordless Vacuum CleanerThe perfect vacuum cleaner for your hard floor and carpet is here. The JASHEN V18 Vacuum Cleaner is powered by a 350W digital brushless motor that provides strong suction to lift embedded dirt and stain with ease and better noise optimization. It comes with a 2-in-1 dusting brush so you can clean both hard floors and carpet. With a built-in filter sensor, the LED screen shows selected power mode, remaining run time, and filter cleaning alert. It also reminds you to clean filters for optimum performance. V16 runs on a rechargeable 2,500mAh battery which delivers up to 40 minutes of runtime. The wireless design means more flexible, easier cleaning. $170 $136

Best Android phones at Ultra Mobile (November 2020)

There are plenty of wireless service providers to choose from, at least here in the United States. In fact, some readers might think there are too many options to consider. But when it comes down to it, many of them rely on the networks offered by Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile.Ultra Mobile, a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), is one such carrier. Indeed, it has its own rate plans and features, but it licenses coverage from T-Mobile.When it comes to buying a phone for use on Ultra Mobile there are a few options to consider. For starters, you can bring your current T-Mobile or unlocked device to the carrier. Additionally, you can buy an unlocked phone for use on Ultra Mobile.Customers can also purchase a phone directly from Ultra Mobile. There’s quite a robust selection to choose from, but select models rise to the top.What follows are some of the best Android phones available at Ultra Mobile today. These aren’t the most powerful, but rather the best for particular needs.Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan EditionWell-rounded FlagshipIf you’re on the hunt for a phone that you plan to own for a few years, you don’t want to cut corners. You want a flagship phone. The problem is that too many of them cost way more than we’re willing to spend.The Fan Edition of the flagship S20 is what happens when you keep the most important stuff and toss aside the frills (and extra cost).Here, you get a large screen with high refresh rate, a large battery, three rear cameras, and a modern Android and user interface. Offered in two attractive colors, it’s the S20 you deserve.Shop Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition at Ultra MobileSamsung Galaxy A51Modest Mid-rangeOne of the best things about today’s breed of smartphones is that you can often purchase a generation or two later and still end up with more than you need. Or, you can go with the Galaxy A series which is a way to get many of the better features found in more prominent models.For about one third of today’s top phones you can get something that will last a couple of years. We’re talking plenty of hardware, a beauty of a screen, and one of the better cameras around. Here you’ll get a sizable (6.5-inch) screen, plenty of memory and storage, and a quad-camera setup on the back.Shop Samsung Galaxy A51 at Ultra MobileMotorola Moto G StylusMulti-TaskingIf you’re looking for a more budget-friendly approach to a phone with a digital stylus, this Motorola is your ticket. Priced a fraction of the Samsung counterpart, it’s an incredible mid-range phone with a quad-camera experience.Powered by a largely untouched Android 10, it offers up a 6.4-inch screen, a bunch of storage (128GB), and a strong battery. Throw in a headphone jack, USB Type-C charging port, and dual speakers and we’ve got an affordable winner that suits many users.Shop Motorola Moto G Stylus at Ultra MobileMotorola Moto EBudget-Friendly & Stock AndroidWe absolutely love what Motorola does with its Android phones. They run a bare bones software experience that leaves things the way Google intended, and feature affordably priced alternatives to flagships.Here, you get a big (6.2-inch) screen, a very modern build of Android (10), and respectable smattering of mid-range hardware. Key details include an octa-core processor, 32GB internal storage, and a microSD card slot for external media.Other things we appreciate? A water resistant coating, USB Type-C charging, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.Shop Motorola Moto E at Ultra Mobile

My favorite studio light from Godox is 26% off during Black Friday

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