Category Archives: Frugal
No matter what industry you work in, there’s no denying that the business world is constantly changing. For most businesses, it’s quite unlikely that the techniques that got the best results 30 years ago would still do so today, and as a result, we’ve seen many once-iconic brands like Kodak and Blockbuster disappear entirely, replaced by newer companies that better embrace the modern world.
So how can you ensure that this doesn’t happen to your company? Here are three key tips that will ensure your business doesn’t get left behind.
Embrace New Technologies
One of the first things you should do to ensure your company’s continued success is to take advantage of new industry technologies as they emerge. For example, proximity warning detection systems are vital in underground mining. These tech innovations help prevent accidents and other problems, which creates a safer environment for miners and allows for greater productivity. As a result, mines that embrace the latest, most up-to-date versions of this technology are making an investment for the future. On the other hand, mines that fail to use these technological advances put both their employees and their business at risk.
While your own company’s adoption of new technologies may not have a direct impact on employee safety, they are still essential for your company to achieve better results and not get left behind the competition. Everything from productivity and communications apps to streamlined manufacturing tools can benefit your company in different ways, allowing you to gain an edge on the competition and get better results.
Don’t Forget the Net
As part of your embracing of new technologies, it is especially important that you don’t neglect the marketing opportunities provided by the internet. These days, the vast majority of consumers look up a business or product online before making a final purchasing decision. They’re looking for reviews, information, and more—and without a web presence, your company could very well be entirely overlooked.
It’s best to start with the basics by creating a simple, user-friendly website that provides the basic information a potential customer would want to learn when visiting your site (such as services provided, pricing, business hours, etc.). A listing on Google Maps can also do a world of good for your company, as this provides an easy way for potential customers to check your hours and location, as well as leave positive reviews for your business.
Of course, there’s also social media, email marketing, and other digital tools to consider. While just about every business should have a presence on Facebook these days, it is important that you only use social media to share relevant messages about your business that will appeal to your customers and help drive business—don’t just share funny cat videos!
Analyze and Adapt
The ability to continually analyze and adapt your methods may ultimately be the most important thing you can do to guarantee the continued success of your business. A failure to adapt is what destroyed Blockbuster, while Netflix’s switch from a DVD rental service to online streaming has allowed it to remain a major player in the home entertainment industry.
Because of this, it is essential that you consistently monitor the trends in your industry. Be aware of what services or methods are becoming outdated, or which new technologies present opportunities or threats to your business. As you analyze your changing industry and make adaptations when needed, you’ll be better prepared to keep your company relevant in the years to come—even if this requires a dramatic overhaul of some of your current practices.
There’s no telling what the future might bring—as the cliche goes, the only constant is change. But as you embrace new technologies to streamline and improve your business methods, fully implement internet technologies in your marketing, and continually monitor industry trends so you can adapt when necessary, you’ll ensure that your company never gets left behind.
Going to the movies used to be a big deal, as it meant a night on the town, dressed up, seeing a newly released movie that had not been seen yet. While the Hollywood premiere may not take place for all of us these days, movies still hold a special place in entertainment, much as sports and music have as well. While a movie used to only cost a quarter and now we are paying over ten dollars for premium movies and times, and even more for 3-D shows.
According to a recent study by MooseRoots, a genealogy data site from Graphiq, calculated what the inflation-adjusted cost of the movie ticket would be in 2016, taken from the average cost of a movie ticket since 1940 from the Motion Picture Association of America. The comparison may be somewhat surprising:
1940 – Cost $0.24 (real 2016 cost $4.09)
1950 – Cost $0.50 (real 2016 cost $4.97)
1960 – Cost $0.60 (real 2016 cost $4.87)
1970 – Cost $1.55 (real 2016 cost $10.00)
1980 – Cost $2.69 (real 2016 cost $8.77)
1990 – Cost $4.23 (real 2016 cost $8.08)
2000 – Cost $5.39 (real 2016 cost $7.66)
2010 – Cost $7.89 (real 2016 cost $8.71)
2016 – $8.70
As you can see using the 2016 cost from 1940 of $4.09 compared to $8.70 now, there is a 213% increase, but when you think about it, is only a few dollars over the course of the past 76 years.
Perhaps another study may not say the same for concessions however, where in addition to the cost of the movie ticket, one can expect to pay $6 for a small popcorn or soda, or $10 for a cocktail if your local theater sells liquor. Not only is it an expensive date, but if you have an entire family going to see a (probably) mediocre movie, along with some snacks and drinks could cost upwards of $100. With matinee pricing being considerably less, or seeing a movie during a week day during later hours, could save half of the average ticket price. You could always wait until it comes to a second-run theater, or with the amount of home theaters that can rival the real deal, rent the movie at home when it comes out for a few dollars and curl up and enjoy with the family.
This has been a very hot summer in my area, and it seems like the air conditioner is kicking on every fifteen minutes or so, increasing my electric bill significantly. No doubt, it is time to make sure your home is as energy efficient as it can be and seal up gaps in your home. Winter is a prime time of the year to do this, as it is easy to feel with your hand any cold air that may be entering in unwanted areas, so if you missed taking care of that earlier this year, it makes it a little tricky now that we are in the warmer months. With the typical family wasting upwards of $350 per year in air leaks into our out of your home, if you want your gas bill to lower in the winter and electric in the summer, now is as good of time as any to do the most cost-effective approach: do it yourself.
Caulk around Windows and Doors
Double check each window, inside and out, to make sure there are no cracks, and re-caulk around any windows and doors in need. Replace any doors that lead to the outside that may be in need of an upgrade, whether it is a front door or a door that leads to the garage. Make sure it is a tight fit between the ground and bottom of the door to ensure no excess air escapes.
Gaps to the Outside
If you have any lines from the outside coming in, whether it is cable, or electric, this would be a good time to check to make sure there are no gaps leading to the outside. Take the outlet cover’s off on the inside and add insulation if necessary. Check around any water lines, as I had recently discovered bees were getting in, so I used foam insulation spray to make sure there was no room to enter.
Time to go in the Attic
If you have not been up to your attic in a while, this may be the opportunity. As the hottest place in your house, you will want to make sure that no additional air is coming in or out. Make sure there is ample amount of insulation on the floor between the attic and living space, to ensure that air is trapped up there.
With the summer months beginning to wane, it is time to take the cover off the grill, refill your propane tank, and get it cleaned up for the remainder of the summer grilling season. Cooking on the grill is fun and it reminds you that the warm weather is still here. Everything tastes better on the BBQ, whether it is vegetables, meat, or fish, there are plenty of ways to prepare a summer dinner. Enjoy a cold beer, fire up the grill, and get some use out of your patio furniture that goes unused for many months out of the year. In addition to taste, there are other reasons to cook outside.
Propane is Cheap
With the cost of refilling your propane tank around $16-20, it is inexpensive to use the BBQ grill. Depending on the size of your family you can probably get away with cooking on half of your grill, so there is no need to run all four burners, wasting unnecessary propane. Just a word of advice as I have learned from experience with having a cold grill in the middle of cooking, have a spare propane tank on hand; you will thank yourself instead of having to run out and get one and then start the grill again and try and salvage your dinner.
Save on Running the A/C
When you cook in the house, whether it is the oven or stove top, it gets hot. As the temperature inside increases, the air conditioner will start to kick on more and more, especially if you are starting to sweat from cooking and you lower the room temperature. Your energy bill will rise as it tries to maintain a constant temperature; it is hot enough outside, so you do not need to give any extra reason for your A/C to work any harder than it needs to.
Plenty of Health Benefits
Not only does everything taste better coming off a grill, it is also a healthier option to cooking. You actually eat less fat as the excess drips off and away from your food and into the drip pan. The vegetables you grill actually retain their nutrients more when you grill them (and you can add salt and pepper to give flavor instead of sticks of butter). Chances are if you are grilling outside, you were doing some sort of activity, such as cutting the grass or playing catch, so at least you were staying active before you eat instead of watching TV on the couch.