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How to Start a Business: A Guide to Starting a Business

Entrepreneurship is an idea that appeals to many, but figuring out how to start a business can sometimes be so overwhelming it scares people away. It’s time to stop telling people that you’re going to start a business and actually put in the work to make it happen. In this article, we’ll break down the steps of starting a business to set yourself up for success. 

How to Start a Business

Starting a business involves planning, making financial decisions, doing market research, and acquiring knowledge in areas you never thought you would learn about before. We created this 12 step guide to starting a business to help you put your best foot forward today. It is important to note that there is no one size fits all model to starting a new business but these steps will help you organize your thoughts, and iron out important details so when you launch your business you have answered all the important startup questions.

Step 1. Ask Yourself if You’re Ready

There will never be a right time to start a business. If the stars couldn’t align for Romeo and Juliet, they probably won’t align for you either. But you can either look at that as the thing that holds you back from starting or use that to push you to start today.

When it comes down to deciding if you’re ready to start a business, it’s more about mindset than timing. Are you in the frame of mind right now to win? If you didn’t shout heck yeah at your computer screen, you might need to re-examine if entrepreneurship is the right path for you.

The reality is saying you’re going to start a business is easy. But doing it, turning nothing into something that makes money, that can be a whole lot tougher. 

And you need to be mentally prepared to take something on. Why? Well, there are going to be challenges like creating ads that generate sales. And if your mindset isn’t in the right place, any failure could devastate you. But if you’re in the right mindset, you’ll KAPOW! failures until you finally start hitting your big wins. 

stars align
Step 2. Determine What Type of Business to Start 

The next step of starting a business is to figure out what type of business to start. 

Is there a niche that you’re particular passionate about? Are you looking for a business that you actively work on or just own? Are you looking for a business to start by yourself or with a partner? These are just a few of the questions you need to ask yourself before starting a business. 

You can start everything from a Shopify store like MVMT Watches did to a freelance business. You can choose to build a business by yourself by owning a consulting business or you can build a company with a team such as a manufacturing company or a restaurant.

how to start a business

To figure out what type of business you want to start, create a list of things you’re passionate about. For example, yoga, personal finance, dogs, movies, food, and clothing. 

Next, use a tool like Keywords Everywhere to look up the search volume of your list in Google. This will help you understand how popular your list of ideas is. You can also use Google Trends to analyze whether the trend is trending upward or downward or if it’s stable to determine the niche’s long-term viability. 

Then, look at the top three most popular keywords on your list and answer this question, “In five years from now, which niche would not only get me out of bed in the morning but would also excite me enough to continue creating content/products/tools for it?”

So, what’s your big business idea? Feel free to share in the comments.

Step 3. Do Market Research

So now that you have your business idea it’s time to figure out if and how you can make money in that niche.

For example, say you wanted to start a dog business. You can start a dog kennel, a grooming business, a dog sitting website, a dog blog, or start an online dog products store.

In this phase, you’ll want to break down which business type is easiest to start, best aligns with your talents, fits within your budget, and analyze how the industry is performing.

If you’d like to start a business with more than one idea, you can definitely do that. For example, a person selling kitchen equipment online can also other home-related items . And a kitchen blog can also be monetized with an online store.

After figuring out what type of business you want to start, it’s time to start planning your business.

The search volume in the graphic below comes from the Keywords Everywhere Chrome extension in case you want to use that in your research. 

how to start a dog business
Step 4. Set Realistic Goals and Expectations

One of the biggest reasons for failure in business comes from naive expectations. I constantly hear stories of people pouring thousands of dollars into ads thinking they’ll triple or quadruple their money only to end up with that big, fat zero.

So, let’s try to paint what a realistic scenario looks like. Your first year in business is all about failure. Why? Because it’s your first business. 

Most people approach their first business with a sense of false optimism. If that guy can do it, so can I, you casually think to yourself. But what you casually ignore is the fact that that guy is on his fourth business or he’s been running it for seven years. 

I love, love, love how excited people are as they begin learning how to start a business. But if you go into it thinking you’re going to dominate the world on day one, you’ll be failing in a matter of months due to drastic disappointment.

The difference between a successful business and a failed one is perseverance. Do you have what it takes to keep promoting your business even when you have no customers or website visitors after a month? Are you savvy enough to know when a strategy just isn’t going to work? And are you patient enough to play the slow and steady game (meaning that you might not see sales right away but will see bigger returns down the road)?

Now that you know that those first few months will take every ounce of hustle you’ve got, how will you approach your goals in the foundation stage of your business?

Maybe instead of focusing on your first sale, you might focus on creating content to drive relevant traffic. Or maybe before you start a business, you choose to build a following on Instagram so that you have an audience when the time to launch comes. 

You can use SMART goals to guide your goal setting but ultimately the goals you set for yourself based on your experience and business type will be very personal to you. 

SMART Goals

Image Credit: Crawford Thomas

Step 5. Create a One-Page Business Plan

Unless you’re going to the bank to get a loan, you don’t need to overspend time on your business plan. On a piece of paper, handwrite a plan for your business. While this may be a bit voodoo (sorry!) I find that whenever I handwrite goals, I’m always more likely to achieve them. I always carry my goals around with me which helps remind me of them so I can’t escape them.

Now back to real-world advice. On your one-page business plan include the following:

Problem your business solves
A one-sentence elevator pitch (what does your business do)
A list of your target audiences (e.g. people who own dogs, people who follow dog accounts on social media)
SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats to your business)
Marketing plan (list of ideas on how you’ll promote your business)
Financial plan (list of business costs, how you’ll make money to pay for the business in the beginning and how your business will make money)
Financial projections for each quarter (e.g. January to March, April to June, etc.)

Step 6. Get Feedback 

So now that you’ve got the idea, you’ve set some goals, and you’ve created a plan, it’s time to get feedback on your idea. This stage has been known to kill many ideas (and sometimes even good ones). The point of the feedback stage is to get a second opinion on how you can improve your idea. Instead of asking for feedback on the business idea, ask for feedback on a certain component of it. And whatever you do, don’t ask someone you love. Trust me.

Most cities have business centers where you can speak with an in-house entrepreneur who will give you feedback on how to start a business. Some cities even have programs for younger adults that allow you to be mentored by an entrepreneur in your field. So be sure to get feedback from the right people to help you inch closer to business success. 

Step 7. Find a Way to Pay for Your Business

The most common way people pay for their business is through their 9 to 5 job. Avoid quitting your day gig until you’ve generated enough to pay your costs, taxes, and yourself with six months runway. In the beginning, you likely won’t be able to pay yourself, as you’ll need to reinvest your earnings back into your business so you can scale the business faster. 

However, some businesses have very minimal costs such as freelance businesses which might require some software or a computer which you might already own or have access to. 

Step 8.  Pair Up With a Partner 

Solopreneurship is on the rise and so this won’t apply to all. But success in business sometimes comes in pairs. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was any successful business. There’s going to be a lot of time and resources that’ll go into your business. And having someone you trust to build alongside you can allow you to break up the workload so you progress faster. It’s also great for holding you accountable.

The important thing to stress about a partnership is that you really need to know how well you work with someone. Is this person trustworthy? Have you worked together before? How have the two of you managed conflicts in the past? Do your skillsets balance each other out? Will a business relationship ruin your current relationship/friendship? Make sure to ask all the tough questions because choosing the wrong partner, if you even decide to have one at all, can have negative consequences.

how to start a business with a partner
Step 9. Name Your Business

Coming up with the perfect business name can be hard, especially if you want a .com domain to go along with it. You can use a free business name generator to help you come up with a name.

Most brands try to include their keyword in the brand name, such as Fashion Nova. However, some brands create a unique name, such as Oberlo. 

The business name you choose should be catchy, memorable, easy to spell when heard, have available usernames and a domain, and be concise. 

Sometimes the best naming ideas come after bouncing names with a friend as a second opinion helps give you a different perspective. So feel free to get a second opinion if you feel stuck when choosing the right brand name. 

how to choose a business name
Step 10. Register Your Business

In some cities or states, you don’t need to register your business until you’ve earned a set amount of income or profit from it so you’ll need to do your due diligence to see what laws apply for you.

However, some entrepreneurs register their businesses on day one to prevent liability. For example, if you’re incorporated on day one and you get sued in the early stages of your business, your business takes the hit instead of you. So, the sooner you incorporate your business, the safer you (personally) are from a legal perspective.

Of course, incorporation isn’t the only business model. You can also choose to become a sole proprietor or create a partnership business. You’ll need to do some research prior to starting a business to determine which business model is best for your situation. 

Step 11. Create Your First Product or Service

There are a number of products or services you can create to sell to your audience when starting a business. 

In e-commerce, you can use Oberlo to choose from millions of products that you can sell from any popular niche such as fashion, jewelry, home decor, automotive, beauty, electronics, and more. 

how to choose products for your business

If you’re an industry expert, you can create digital products such as ebooks, courses, music, or other digital content to sell to others. You can monetize your expertise with products and upsell with services.

As for software businesses, you can create a SAAS product that helps other businesses. Or if you’re a consultant, you can offer speaking gigs, coaching, or your skillset. 

The products you create for your business will depend heavily on your skillset and business type. However, there are countless products that can be ordered or created that you can sell to an audience. 

Step 12. Promote Your Business

The most important part of starting a business is the promotion stage. Getting your business in front of people will help you generate sales so that your idea turns into a business. Here are a few ways you can promote your business idea:

Facebook: You can run Facebook Ads by going after “broad” interests and including relevant brands as an interest to capture their audience. You can also post in Facebook groups as your fan page which is great for businesses with niche audiences. 
Instagram: Grow your Instagram followers so you can make sales with each Instagram post. You can also add direct links in Instagram Stories to capture more sales.
Pinterest: Group boards are a great way to get visibility on your posts when you’re starting out. You can also create your own boards to promote your content on. Be sure to promote other brand’s content to avoid triggering your account as spam.
LinkedIn: Build your personal brand by creating posts and sharing thoughts on articles on LinkedIn. Invite relevant users to follow you to increase your reach. 
SEO: By optimizing your website for search and creating blog content you can generate more leads, email subscribers, and website traffic
Quora: Answer niche questions on Quora to promote your website. You can use SEO tools to find high-ranked Quora keywords to help increase your visibility on the platform. 

Additional Resources to Start a Business

Starting a business is no small feat. You need a lot of courage, creativity, motivation, and so much more, to take the leap. So here are some additional Oberlo resources that will help you start a business in 2020:

Reasons to Start a Business: Looking for reasons to start a business? We asked entrepreneurs why they started a business and they gave us answers so real you wouldn’t believe it!

How to Find Time to Start a Successful Side Business: Not ready to dive head-first into a full time business? We share our time-saving secrets that you can try through starting a side business before you move onto your full time idea.

30+ Small Business Ideas That’ll Make You Money in 2020: Want to start an ecommerce store but not sure what to sell? These small business ideas are perfect for new entrepreneurs who are looking to get their startup off the ground.

What’s Your Motivation? 11 Merchants Share Their Reasons for Starting a Business: Worried about starting a business? There are many different reasons for starting a business and your motivation might be totally different to others. Whatever your reason, it’s important to stay inspired throughout the entrepreneurial journey. We talked to 11 successful merchants and discovered their reason for starting a business to help you.

Realistic Dropshipping Budgets for 2020: Our top performing YouTube video walks you through how, working with Oberlo and Shopify, you can set up a dropshipping business that will be low risk, and low cost.

Conclusion

Now that you know how to start a business, there’s an exciting adventure of creating one that awaits you. Pushing yourself to finally take life by the horns and take that first step can be a bit scary. But once you get started you realize that the process of starting a business can be pretty fun. There will be challenges and roadblocks along the way but as long as you push ahead and learn from mistakes there’s nothing that’ll block your success. All you need to do now is take that first step and you’re well on your way to starting a business.

Want to Learn More?

How to Start a Dropshipping Business
30+ Business Ideas That’ll Make You Money
25 Free Business Name Generators to Find the Best Brand Names
What is Dropshipping?

 

The post How to Start a Business: A Guide to Starting a Business appeared first on Oberlo.

Read more: oberlo.com

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Towards 2020: Predictions For The Future Of Procurement

Technology holds big pledge in the procurement sector, however taking advantage of it needs a reassessing.

Observers have actually been anticipating the advancement of procurement for several years. The outcomes of brand-new innovation efforts have actually been frustrating, according to the newest research study from the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS). Why is procurement stopping working to develop, and how can leaders turn this around?

There’’ s a fantastic series of podcasts on the BBC called 50 Things That Made the Modern Economy . Among the episodes has to do with the very first spreadsheet, called Visicalc– a grid on a computer system screen that took the world of accountancy by storm in the early 1980s. When this – very first spreadsheet came out, it made 400,000 accounting professionals redundant. Just in the sense that they didn ’ t have to carry out such meaningless and repeated manual jobs any longer. They all discovered other more tactical work’to do and made more cash.

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But we ’ re still imitating pre-spreadsheet accountants in procurement. Think about the common RFP: You determine all business’ requirements, compose them down, and ask suppliers to comply. It ’ s a traditional example of concentrating on the inputs, not the outputs.

. The procurement puzzle’.

Procurement requires its Visicalc minute. While research study by CIPS revealed that 97 %of procurement groupshave actually begun utilizing artificial intelligence, expert system( AI), enhanced truth, Internet of Things, or blockchain in their procedures, the effect has actually been blended, at finest. An absence of concentrate on individuals is to blame. As these innovations end up being more prevalent, we should keep in mind to concentrate on their influence on individuals simply as much, or if not more, than the whiz-bang tech.

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The seriousness is really genuine, as ineffectiveness and mistakes stay swarming. A fascinating story about a sugar factory in the U.S. highlights the real-life implications of procurement failed. In this case, the accounts payable department’s failure to pay billings resulted in a costly shutdown of the factory. An upkeep provider ’ s billings were not being paid as part of a method from treasury to keep more money on the books. The provider’was declining to perform upkeep due to the fact that of overdue billings.

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It was simply the very same old story of administration in a big business: missing out on paper, unanswered e-mails, individuals on trip, miskeyed information, over-burdensome checks and balances. It ’ s likewise a terrific example of how consumer experience and supplier experience are inextricably connected– and how innovation to streamline and automate procurement can have a substantial effect throughout your operations.

. A much better method.

Another typical procurement obstacle is that a lot of pricey procurement resources are being released in the long tail with toocouple of outcomes.Unlike the 80 %that goes to core providers, this long-tail invest– the 20%- plus of invest that primarily goes to low-volume, typically one-off, or irregular orders to a large variety of providers– usually goes unmanaged in companies. Efforts to discover expense savings have actually been thought about useless.

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Solving the long-tail issue and the inadequacies it develops needs a shift in procurement from the “ age of required ” to the “ age of assistance. ” Here are some useful actions to arrive:

. Accept the online search engine. Permit procurement groups access to markets that have 10s “of countless providers and countless products.” Offer some light guardrails, however make the experiencesimpler than Googling and paying on a buying card. Go simple on approvals for little products. Concentrate on worker experience and attempt to work out trust. Usage AI behind the scenes to find scams. Permit end users to perform “ 3 quotes and a buy ” for products where theyare the professional. For numerous service classifications, the understanding lies with completion user. Let them pick who they wish to work with, bringing a classification supervisor in just when asked. “Release an easy, mobile navigation experience so they can discover the appropriate course for whatever they purchase.

Beyond this, think about digging much deeper into the worth chain to see what service results your stakeholders actually desire.Rather of asking suppliers to adhere to a set of fixed requirements, share this info with possibleproviders and inquire to resolve the stakeholder issue. It may include their providing in a various method. Here, too, innovation can assist.

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In Australia, we anticipate this kind of value-driven method to end up being more pertinent as business seek to resolve function, such as the plastics issue. What ’ s amazing is that companies can have a substantial effect on this location by taking the method I ’ ve explained above. Innovation is and will play a vital function in making it much easier, from tracking and tracing to letting business interact wanted results to purchasers and providers en masse.

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Redirecting even a little part of worldwide invest in product packaging to precertified providers of recycled plastics and options can have a remarkable effect as these providers grow, enjoy take advantage of economies of scale, and lower the expenses of their items. This will make sustainable products more affordable and commonly offered for purchasers.

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Procurement has the opportunity to blaze a trail in protecting sustainability and in making sure favorable consumer experiences. With a concentrate on individuals, the long tail, and taking ingenious techniques to how we do things, we can produce significant modification.

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This short article initially appeared in Procurement and Supply Australasia and is republished by approval.

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Read more: digitalistmag.com

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‘A complete disaster’: Fears grow over potential Nevada caucus malfunction

Anxiety is rising over the possibility of another tech-induced meltdown at the Nevada Democratic caucuses on Saturday.

In interviews, three caucus volunteers described serious concerns about rushed preparations for the Feb. 22 election, including insufficient training for a newly-adopted electronic vote-tally system and confusing instructions on how to administer the caucuses. There are also unanswered questions about the security of Internet connections at some 2,000 precinct sites that will transmit results to a central “war room” set up by the Nevada Democratic Party.

Some volunteers who will help run caucuses at precinct locations said they have not been trained on iPads that the party purchased to enter and transmit vote counts. Party officials scrambled to streamline their vote reporting system — settling on Google forms accessible through a saved link on the iPads — after scrapping a pair of apps they’d been planning to use until a similar app caused the fiasco in Iowa two weeks ago.

The volunteers also said the party has not provided sufficient training on how to use the Google form that will compile vote totals, a complicated process in a caucus.

The concerns, which were described on condition of anonymity because the volunteers are not authorized to speak to reporters, come at a perilous moment for the Democratic Party. As the third state on the primary calendar and the first with a significant minority population, Nevada holds huge importance in the nomination contest. The debacle in Iowa cost one state party chairman his job and threatened the standing of the national party chairman, while casting doubts about whether the results from party-run caucuses can be trusted.

Nevada Democratic officials insist they have everything under control. But a repeat of Iowa — or any kind of breakdown — would be disastrous.


Iowa Democratic Party Chair speaks amid confusion over Iowa caucus results

One volunteer who has worked on past caucuses in Nevada said the Google form that will be used to input vote totals wasn’t even mentioned during a training session for precinct chairs late last week.

“We weren’t told at all about it,” the person said.

The iPads weren’t discussed until more than halfway through the presentation, the volunteer said, when someone asked how early vote totals would be added to the totals compiled live at each precinct. The person leading the training said not to worry because the iPads would do the math for them.

“There were old ladies looking at me like, ‘Oh, we’re going to have iPads,’” the volunteer told POLITICO.

After sitting through the two-hour training session, the person predicted the caucus would be a “complete disaster.”

Another volunteer, who will be in a senior position at a caucus site, said that as of Feb. 11 the party had failed to provide updated training sessions for caucus day to many people who’d been preparing to use the now-scrapped apps. Recently, the volunteer did take a refresher course for early voting, but it “diverged significantly” from the initial training. “We were practically starting from scratch,” the volunteer said.

The volunteer received no hands-on training with the iPads before handling one physically for the first time at an early-voting site on Saturday. As a result, the first two hours of early voting were “disastrous,” the person said, as volunteers struggled to get iPads to function properly and connect to the Internet.

Moreover, “There are [Democratic voters] that don’t even know that early voting is happening,” the volunteer said, blaming the party for failing to spread the word adequately. Early voting in Nevada started on Saturday and will continue through the end of the day Tuesday.

The state party said it purchased Google search ads and newspaper ads to inform potential voters of the early voting option.

Another caucus site leader went on CNN Saturday to decry the lack of training on the Google form, calling the process “horrendous.”

Others with more intimate knowledge of the process, including a state party official and a volunteer who has worked the caucuses previously, contend that backup systems are in place in the event of any technical snafus. The two methods of vote-reporting — the Google form and a telephone hotline — will ensure accurate results reach the war room, they said.

The process will break down like this: On caucus day, each precinct chair will be given a party-purchased iPad that will have a link to a Google form — dubbed a “caucus calculator” — saved on it. Pre-loaded on the form will be the early-vote total from that precinct.

The precinct chair will then input vote totals after the first and second votes. Under caucus rules, voters choose their preferred candidate at the outset, known as the first alignment. But if their candidate fails to reach 15 percent, they can switch to a different candidate, or seek to persuade supporters of another candidate who fails to reach 15 percent to help their candidate clear that threshold during the second alignment.

The prompts on the Google form are expected to look similar to how they appear on the physical caucus reporting sheet. When the first and second alignments are completed, the totals will be relayed over the cloud to the Nevada Democratic Party via the Google form, which on the back end appears as a Google spreadsheet.

Separately, the precinct chair or site lead will take the printed caucus reporting sheets — each campaign must sign off on them first — and call the Nevada Democratic Party boiler room via a secure hotline. (Site leads oversee multiple precinct chairs in caucusing at a single large location.)

The chair or site lead will report the results to a “trained operator” at headquarters, and that person will check that the figures match up with those transmitted via the Google form.

In past Nevada caucuses, Excel spreadsheets were used by those in the war room to tabulate phoned-in precinct totals. The party’s familiarity with spreadsheets has given some precinct chairs confidence in using a Google spreadsheet, given their similarity.

If the Google form is inaccessible for any reason, precinct captains will transmit their results solely by phone.

To make the process user-friendly for precinct chairs — whose technological know-how and past experience with the caucus varies — the state party “invited testing from security experts of varying backgrounds, experienced volunteers, first-time precinct chairs and community leaders,” the state party official said.

The official said the Nevada Democratic Party is using the “off-the-shelf” Google technology “in order to limit the possibility of human error” — in other words, providing a backup to people using paper and pen to conduct the math. In theory, the Google form will speed up the reporting process, but it’s unclear whether it will, given that precinct chairs need to be tech-literate to use it.

However, a third volunteer warned that misunderstanding and a lack of training on how to tabulate first and second vote alignments could pose a greater threat to the process than the new tech elements injected into the process.

According to screenshots of manuals provided to precinct chairs, the guidelines do not make clear that a candidate who falls short of the 15 percent viability threshold can get there on the second alignment. They can do so by courting supporters of other candidates who fail to make it in the first round.

The manual provides conflicting information: In one instance, it states that supporters of “non-viable” candidates can “join or form” a viable candidate. But in another instance, the manual implies that supporters of non-viable candidates can only switch to a viable candidate.

“Allow up to 15 minutes for non-viable preference group members to align with their second choice,” the manual reads. “People in non-viable groups can choose not to realign, however they will not be awarded any delegates.”

The Nevada Democratic Party undercut the confidence of at least one Democratic campaign when it sent a callout — circulated on Twitter on Friday — for “technical volunteers” to “pair” with precinct chairs on caucus day.

A state party official said they are recruiting volunteers to “help troubleshoot any issues in real time with our precinct chairs” and that it is typical to recruit volunteers up until the final day before the caucuses.

A senior adviser to that presidential campaign also said it is “not entirely clear” how vote totals from 80 early-voting sites will be allocated to the 2,000 caucus precincts.

Campaigns are expecting an invitation to witness the transmission of early-vote totals to individual precinct sites. “But where it’s going to happen and when it’s going to happen and how it’s going to happen is totally undefined,” the adviser said.

The adviser questioned why the Nevada party was moving forward with the new plan to incorporate Google forms at all in such a compressed time frame.

“The DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee very easily could say we need to know more about this before you’re [able] to go ahead with this,” the adviser said.

The DNC did not directly answer a question whether it had the authority to nix the Nevada Democratic Party’s plan to use Google forms. Instead, the committee said that Nevada took “quick steps to implement their back-up plan” to the scrapped app and that the co-chairs on the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee have “been updated on what is happening in Nevada.”

Wi-Fi is another issue. If a connection at any location fails, the iPads are equipped with 4G cellular service, according to a state party official. That means each of the 2,000 iPads the party bought has a paid cellular subscription.

But questions remain about the security of Wi-Fi being used at each location. The Nevada Democratic Party said it has tested the connections, but it’s unclear whether Internet access at each precinct will be provided via a hotspot or a network provided by the host site, such as a high school.

“There remains an open security issue with their choice of Wi-Fi networking,” said Gregory Miller, co-founder and chief operating officer at OSET Institute, an election technology research organization. Miller, who has decades of experience as a computer scientist and software engineer, raised those concerns based on what he has read in published reports.

“We hope they’re not going to rely on a local building’s services. That would create a nightmare to protect,” he said.

The “least bad option” available, Miller said, “is to use a mobile device as a local hotspot to create their own Wi-Fi network and allow the iPads to attach to it. But the truth is, that’s last minute jerry-rigging with vulnerabilities of its own."

The Nevada Democratic Party did not answer specific questions about what kind of Wi-Fi network would be used at each precinct site other than to say “Wi-Fi will vary by site” and note it has “tested the Wi-Fi at all of our caucus sites” — offering no details on what that testing entailed.

The Nevada Democratic Party initially did not answer questions about what kind of Wi-Fi network would be used at each precinct other than to say “Wi-Fi will vary by site." It later noted that some spots will have hotspots and others will be run through tested networks.

However, after publication of this story, the party said it plans primarily to transmit data from the iPads over 4G cellular networks and only to use Wi-Fi if there are cellular data issues.

Read more: politico.com

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Microsoft cut off this game maker’s revenue stream, so he built his own replacement

Sam Kaufmann has actually been establishing Windows video games for a years, so when Microsoft stated it was cutting advertisement assistance for apps, he needed to rely on his own advertisement network.

Read more: cnbc.com

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This Week on Xbox: February 14, 2020

We know you’re busy and might miss out on all the exciting things we’re talking about on Xbox Wire every week. If you’ve got a few minutes, we can help remedy that. We’ve pared down the past week’s news into one easy-to-digest article for all things Xbox! Or, if you’d rather watch than read, you can feast your eyes on our weekly video show above. Be sure to come back every Friday to find out what’s happening This Week on Xbox!

Creature Cores: Customizable Combat in Darksiders Genesis, Available Today on Xbox OneWhen we set out to make Darksiders Genesis, our objective was to create something completely fresh – a whole new approach to the beloved Darksiders action adventure franchise. Partnering with Airship Syndicate to make the game ensured that right out of the gate with a top-down design… Read more

The War Rages on in Season Two of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare on Xbox OneThe return of an iconic map and a mysterious Operator lead the way for Season Two in this explosive new chapter for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare on Xbox One. A stream of free content starts today with the reappearance of Ghost, the return of the Rust Multiplayer map, and a refreshed… Read more

State of Decay 2 - Juggernaut Edition Hero Image

State of Decay 2: Juggernaut Edition AnnouncedToday, we are thrilled to announce State of Decay 2: Juggernaut Edition, an expanded and improved version that takes everything you love about State of Decay 2 and adds tons of new content and improvements for veteran and new players alike. Best of all, this is a free, automatic upgrade… Read more

The Top 5 Online Gaming Safety Tips From Xbox AmbassadorsGaming can take you on epic adventures, forge life-long friendships, and offer opportunities for creativity and fun each time you play. However, it’s important to be aware of the safety tools and settings available when gaming online. At Xbox, we believe that gaming should be inclusive… Read more

Outriders Hero image

The Next Step in the Evolution of Co-op Shooters: Hands-on with OutridersPolish developer People Can Fly has had quite the nearly 20-year run. Kicking off with cult classic Painkiller, they made a name for themselves by combining over-the-top shooter action with dark humor and tight gunplay mechanics in games like Bulletstorm and Gears of War: Judgment… Read more

Borderlands 3 Brings Broken Hearts Day Event and Rewards to Xbox OneFebruary is typically a romantic time of year—but all that lovey-dovey stuff is hard to come by in the mayhem-filled world of Borderlands 3. Express your Vault Hunter’s true feelings by wreaking havoc this week in celebration of Broken Hearts Day, Borderlands 3‘s free seasonal event starting… Read more

Xbox Live Gold Free Play Days

Free Play Days – NBA 2K20, Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD, and Sonic ManiaWe’re back with more great games for you to play this weekend with Free Play Days! Experience all the next level features and exclusive All-Star 2020 content that NBA 2K20 has to offer. Or are you down for updated takes on classic titles? Then challenge your reflexes with… Read more

All Heck Has Broken Loose in Trove on Xbox OneDragonfire Peaks, a toasty-warm beautiful world ruled by all kinds of Trovian Dragons, has suddenly been overrun by an army of amorous visitors from the faraway lands of Defiance. Heckbugs! Heckbugs everywhere! What’s a Trovian to do when faced with such plight but to help these… Read more

Xbox Game Studios

Microsoft’s Xbox Game Studios and Unity Technologies Partner with Louisiana State to Host Game Development Camp in New OrleansToday at the Louisiana Entertainment Summit, Microsoft’s Xbox Game Studios, in partnership with Unity Technologies and economic development organizations Greater New Orleans, Inc., Louisiana Economic Development and New Orleans Business Alliance announced it… Read more

Everything You Need to Know About the Bleeding Edge Closed Beta WeekendMake this Valentine’s Day special… by teaming up and causing chaos over the Bleeding Edge closed beta weekend! Bleeding Edge is the upcoming 4v4 team brawler from Ninja Theory, and our first closed beta kicks off soon on Friday, February 14. The closed beta starts on… Read more

Pre-Register for Forza Street on Android Today!Today, we are excited to announce pre-registration is now available for Forza Street, the Forza experience designed to be played anytime, anywhere, and excite anyone who loves cars! We’ve had a great response to the game on Windows 10 PC, and are excited to finally be bringing it to players… Read more

Defiance 2050: Put an End to the MutinyLock and load, Arkhunters! The Unseen Eye are making their move. Dark Matter, the military might of the Votanis Collective, have scattered to the wind with the death of Nim and the Mutineers have risen to try to fill that void. For four weeks, the Midsummer Mutiny event will be active… Read more

Dead Cells: The Bad Seed

Dead Cells: The Bad Seed Available Now on Xbox OneI’m really proud and humbled to be presenting our first DLC for Dead CellsThe Bad Seed. It’s two new early game levels and a new boss for you to play through. Anyway, I thought this would be a good chance to stop by and let you know what we’ve been up to over the last year and a bit… Read more

Awakening the Sah Chakram – Kunoichi Comes to Black Desert on Xbox OneThe story began long ago in the Ryuta river valleys. There, in the barren, drought-stricken lands lived the Okei tribe. Ichi and her tribe lived a modest life – surviving, but never thriving, and always praying for rain. The chieftain of the Okei tribe was wise, rational, confident, and everything… Read more

The Big Apple Bites Back: Hands-on with The Division 2 Warlords of New YorkLaunching a new gaming IP can be challenging, but the folks at Massive Entertainment knocked it out of the park with Tom Clancy’s The Division, which got a sequel in last year’s aptly named Tom Clancy’s The Division 2. Both games were lauded for dropping players into authentic version… Read more

Bring Odin’s Army to its Knees in Warriors Orochi 4 Ultimate on Xbox OneWarriors Orochi 4 Ultimate launches today! For those unaware, Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate was our company’s first Xbox One title, and now over five years later, we’re back with another exciting Musou adventure. This game marks the next evolution of our 1 vs. 1,000 action series, setting up one… Read more

Next Week on Xbox - Hero Image

Next Week on Xbox: New Games for February 18 to 21Welcome to Next Week on Xbox, where we cover all the new games coming soon to Xbox One! Every week the team at Xbox aims to deliver quality gaming content for you to enjoy on your favorite gaming console. To find out what’s coming soon to Xbox One, read on below and click on… Read more

Related:Creature Cores: Customizable Combat in Darksiders Genesis, Available Today on Xbox OneThe War Rages on in Season Two of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare on Xbox OneState of Decay 2: Juggernaut Edition Announced

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microsoft windows OS

Best Windows 10 apps this week

Three-hundred-and-seventy-three in a series. Welcome to this week’s overview of the best apps, games and extensions released for Windows 10 on the Microsoft Store in the past seven days. Microsoft released a new build of the upcoming version of Windows 10. It features a heavily updated Calendar application and improved graphics settings to make it easier to control which GPU apps run on. Facebook’s application for Windows 10 will be terminated on February 28, 2020. The company’s Messenger application remains available. As always, if I’ve missed an app or game that has been released this week that you believe is… [Continue Reading]

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microsoft windows OS

Save 25% on filing your taxes with H&R Block!

Want to conserve cash on submitting your taxes? Do not miss this offer to get 25% off with H&R Block this tax season!

.Conserve Money &&Time on Tax Prep This Year.

It’s difficult to think, however tax season is currently upon us! If this time of year tends to overwhelm you, make certain to have a look at H&R Block’s online tax services .

H&R Block’s objective is to make submitting your taxes simpler, less time consuming, and more budget-friendly. And you can utilize their services on a routine computer system and even on your smart device!

Not just are H&R Block’s tax services a minimum of $10 less than TurboTax, however they’re likewise using a special discount rate for Money Saving Mom readers to save an additional 25% off any of their services today!

Choose from 4 of their budget friendly, user friendly tax services :

.H&R Block Free Online (FREE + Free State Filing) — — Designed for individuals with less intricate filing circumstances, consisting of customers who have W-2 earnings, kids and lease, in addition to trainees and novice filers. More individuals can declare complimentary with H&R Block vs. TurboTax, consisting of trainees and moms and dads.H&R Block Deluxe Online ($ 29.99 $23.99 with discount rate) — — Designed for house owners, individuals who’’ ve made charitable contributions, and those with HSAs. This variation consists of 6 years’ ’ access to income tax return, Deduction Pro® ® to enhance reductions, and chat assistance for technical concerns.H&R Block Premium Online ($ 49.99 $39.99 with discount rate) — — Designed for freelancers, specialists, financiers, and rental homeowner. This variation consists of all Deluxe functions along with the capability to import costs from popular expense-tracking apps. It likewise includes cost-basis computation utilizing innovative filing calculators to assist figure out the expense basis of your house present, sale, and dividend and inheritance possessions.H&R Block Self Employed Online ($ 79.99 $63.99 with discount rate) — — Designed for self-employed people and small company owners with an office and/or staff member. This variation consists of all Premium includes in addition to an enhanced assisted Schedule C interview to make sure a much better experience for intricate customers.

With any of these paid variations of H&R Block, you can include on a state declare an additional $36.99 expense. You can likewise choose to use their H&R Block Online Assist that provides access to extremely qualified tax specialists to supply the level of aid you require or desire — — with an H&R Block tax professional, IRS registered representative, or CPA.

And among H&R Block’s greatest concerns is openness — — so you’ll constantly understand in advance precisely just how much you’ll be spending for your online tax preparation. You’ll instantly be informed if your rate modifications for any factor throughout the tax preparation procedure.

.Minimize H&R Block Tax Services.

Want to attempt H&R Block tax preparation services this year? I’ve got an unique discount rate for you!

H&R Block is using MoneySavingMom.com readers a 25% discount rate on any of their tax services .

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Top Five Trends in Legal Translation Tech

Do you require to equate legal files or offer linguistic analysis services? If so, you’’ ll know that the legal translation occupation needs rigorous precision in addition to performance in these jobs. How can you do the job in such a way that makes sure linguistic fidelity while at the exact same time reversing projects in record time?

.What Is Legal Translation?

Legal translation is a professional service that satisfies a vast array of requirements. From specific migration cases to complicated agreements and contracts in between global business and even federal governments, legal translation takes numerous types. In essence, it is the translation of legal files from one language to another. In practice, this might suggest legal files online, paper copy files, court documents, and even videos.

It’’ s simple to see why legal translation services are necessary. They can have a substantial influence on individual and financial effect. It is the obligation of a language translator to provide precise, prompt translations each and every time. Check out on to find 5 leading patterns in legal translation tech if you provide or utilize legal translation services. Each of these can result in improved performance within the legal translation procedure.

.Computerese: What Is Important for a Legal Translation?

A legal translation requires to be precise and provided on time. Privacy is likewise crucial—– for this reason us just consisting of relied on, market-leading items in this round-up of 5 on-trend legal translation tech tools.

.memoQ.

One of the market’’ s leading computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools, memoQ improves the translation procedure. Through translation memory, terms management and automated quality control tools, it not just accelerates the translation procedure however boosts quality at the exact same time. Its constant technique to language translation and domain-specific terms indicates that language specialists can carry out legal file translation with self-confidence.

.SDL Trados.

Another CAT tool that calls for a reference in regard of both qualified and legal translation services is SDL Trados. Translators can develop to two times their normal speed while likewise preventing obscurities, disparities, and other mistakes. For those who are eager to prevent discovering what takes place when incorrect translation ends up being a legal issue , this software application might be the response. SDL Trados’ ’ close control over gain access to rights is especially assuring for those dealing with legal files.

.ABBYY FineReader.

Not all legal translations start with an electronic file. Those who equate site legal pages might have the high-end of a cool, organized batch of files, however other types of legal translation frequently include hand-written documents. That’’ s where ABBYY FineReader is available in. It’’ s among the most excellent optical character acknowledgment applications on the marketplace. The software application takes a picture of the file and turns it into an editable file in a variety of typically utilized formats.

.Dragon NaturallySpeaking.When legal translation services call for transcription work, #ppppp> There are times. In these circumstances, Dragon NaturallySpeaking enters its own. Dragon has actually long been the go-to brand name for speech acknowledgment innovation. This software application can assist to speed up the procedure without jeopardizing quality when it comes to legal transcription and translation work.

.Linguee.

A strong, multilingual dictionary can supply an excellent degree of peace of mind towards completion of a long day of equating. Linguee takes the concept of a dictionary to the next level. Not just does it allow you to browse 1,000,000,000 translations to inspect both expressions and words, however it likewise enables you to look for context and even for images. The capability to see how others have actually equated a specific expression is likewise within your reaches with this convenient resource.

.Just how much Does It Cost to Have a Legal Foreign Document Translation?When it comes to the award of legal translation work, #ppppp> Pricing is frequently a choosing aspect. Couple of people or business have cash to waste, so their objective is to purchase quick, effective translation services that put on’’ t cost the earth.

Using the above translation tech offers people with the possibility to put themselves forward as the very best translator for the task at an appropriate cost. Whether the customer requires to equate a site to English or equate files composed by hand to Russian, utilizing these tools can provide a quicker and for that reason more cost-efficient service.

The language pairing in concern will affect the rate of a legal translation. If you carry out legal translation, English to Spanish (for instance) will be a relatively inexpensive language pairing (the exact same uses if you require to equate Spanish to English). Look for somebody to equate a website or a batch of legal documents from Manx to Arapaho, nevertheless, and expenses will spiral quickly.

.Last Thoughts.

The 5 leading tech tools noted above serve to accelerate and improve the quality of legal translation services. They can hence be utilized as part of an incorporated technique for enhancing your legal translation abilities in an useful method.

The post Top Five Trends in Legal Translation Tech appeared initially on Law Technology Today .

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microsoft windows OS

How to use Edge’s tools to protect your privacy while browsing

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Version 80 of Microsoft’s Edge browser, now based on the Chromium source code, launched on January 15th, and with it came an increased focus on privacy.

Edge includes tools to block both first-party cookies (used to keep you logged in or remember the items in your shopping cart) and third-party tracking cookies (used to keep track of your browsing activity). Below are instructions on how to change your settings, see what trackers are stored on your browser, and delete any cookies. We also address how Edge deals with fingerprinting, another method of tracking which identifies users by collecting details about their system configuration.

Deal with trackers

The new version of Edge blocks trackers by default using one of three different…

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How to Sign a Document on Your Computer

It wasn’t all that long ago when signing legal documents required an in-person signature and the presence of a notary to witness and legalize it. Today, there are still some situations that may require that level of signatory scrutiny, but more businesses and industries are moving into the future by embracing e-signatures. For most, signing a document on your computer or other electronic device is a convenient option…but only if you know how to do it.

The options

Many people still assume that in order to sign a document at home and send it over the computer, you need to first physically sign it with a pen and then have a scanner or fax machine to send it. That’s one option, but it certainly isn’t the only one—or the most convenient one. There are online-signature platforms that allow you to sign with your finger (on your phone or tablet) or to draw your signature with a tool on your computer. We’ll get into how to utilize each of these options, but first, are they legally binding?

And whether you’re signing the old-fashioned way or with the help of technology, here’s what your handwriting says about you.

The legalities

Before we go into the specifics of how to sign a document on your computer, we should first address a common question: Does a signature signed on your computer and sent over email actually hold up in court? According to David Reischer, a business attorney at LegalAdvice.com, the answer is yes. “In 2000, Congress passed and the President signed into law The Electronic Signature in Global and National Commerce E-sign Act, which made electronic contracts and e-signatures legally binding in the same way a paper contract is a legally binding document,” Reischer says. In order for it to be considered legally binding, there must be some way to prove the intent of the party to consent to the agreement. “Typically, typing your name into the signature box and clicking a button that denotes agreement via words such as ‘I agree’ are sufficient to form a legally binding contract,” he explains.

However, adds Reischer, “it is important to note that some agreements can never be electronically signed and are considered invalid and unenforceable because they are too significant and important to be electronically signed without following the formal rules associated with signing paper documents with traditional paper and ink.”

Examples of documents that still require pen-and-paper signatures include:

Wills and trusts
Adoption
Divorce contracts
Court orders
Termination of life or health insurance
Documents related to the transfer of real property

Many of these include the documents you need to organize for your family before it’s too late.

Check the requirements

Even when e-signatures are accepted, some businesses and industries may have additional requirements regarding how to verify the intent to agree. “While word processors and PDF editors allow you to type out or insert an image of your signature, you want to make sure that the recipient of the document you are signing will be able to accept that signature,” says Sara Garces, team supervisor at Midland Trust, a provider of self-directed IRA accounts that routinely sends requests for e-signatures.”The party you are working with may require you to use an e-signature service that offers a form of authentication.”

Choosing the device

Assuming you have the all clear to sign however you prefer, Garces says, “the device you are using to e-sign will also contribute to how easy (or difficult) signing will be. For example, if you are using a desktop or laptop, it may be easier to insert a scanned image of your signature using a PDF editor. Or if you are using your phone, using your finger or stylus could be an easy way to draw your e-signature.” Here are more hidden iPhone features you never knew about.

Desktop and app versions of the same program (for example, Microsoft Word) may differ in functionality. While they should all be relatively user-friendly, you will need to be able to access the Internet from whichever device you use, adds Garces.

PDF editors

Now for the nitty-gritty: how to actually sign a document on your computer. One popular way is with PDF editing software, such as Adobe Acrobat or Foxit Phantom, which allows you to add signatures directly onto a PDF file. Garces explains that from the toolbar, there should be a “sign” option, with three ways to create a signature in a PDF editor:

Typing your signature
Drawing your signature
Uploading an image of your signature

“With typing your signature, you simply type your name into the field. The system will also give you the option to change the font, if desired,” says Garces. “However, some issues can arise with using this feature. Since the signature ends up being pretty generic, typed signatures are typically not acceptable on legal documents.”

For the option of drawing your signatures, she says, “you can draw your signature using your mouse, or you can use your finger or stylus (if you are on a touch-screen device). While this will be closer in appearance to your pen-signature, you will want to confirm with the receiving party that this is acceptable.”

And, finally, there is the option of adding an image of your signature to the document. “Before choosing this option, you should first be sure you have a copy of your pen-signature saved as an image file (.jpeg, .png) on your computer or Cloud storage,” says Garces. “Once you have an image file of your signature, go to the ‘Sign’ tool from within the PDF Editor. You will choose the ‘Add Image’ option and then select your saved signature file.” But again, you should first check with the institution you are supplying the signature for. Some institutions may not accept this “stamp” of your pen-signature, so be sure to confirm that this is acceptable prior to submitting your signed paperwork.

Word processors

“Similar to creating an image signature with a PDF editor, you can insert an image of your signature into a word processor (such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs),” Garces explains. “To add your signature in Word, you will need to be sure you have an existing image file saved. You will then go to ‘Insert’ on the toolbar and select ‘Image.’ You will then be able to search and select the saved image of your signature.”

Creating a drawn signature to save and insert

Evan Porter runs an online remote business, so he is constantly e-signing documents. He explains, “I’ve found that a lot of government agencies and other organizations aren’t big fans of those stock signatures you can electronically stamp on a document and will often reject them.” To get around this, Porter says, “you’ll want to make it look like you physically signed and dated [it]. Use a free online tool like Docsketch to hand-draw your signature and date, and save them as transparent images you can drag and drop on any document.”

Choose from different Web-based services

If all of the above seems like too much of a headache, there are a variety of Web-based e-signature services that are easy to use on a desktop or smartphone. “Arguably the most popular service (and one that we use here at Midland) is DocuSign,” says Garces. “If the party you are working with is sending you the DocuSign invitation, you can expect to receive an email that contains a link. Once you click on the link to your document envelope, you will need to read and agree to the terms of use. Once agreed to, you can [create] your electronic signature by selecting from a generated list or by drawing your signature. Once your signature is selected, you will just need to click on any fields that require a signature. Typically, these required fields will show in red. Keep in mind, there may be additional security questions asked prior to you being able to sign the document.”

This is probably the easiest way to sign a document on your computer or any other device, and it definitely takes the guesswork out of e-signing. Still, Garces advises using caution. “When it comes to receiving signing invitations for a Web-based e-signature service, be sure you are familiar with the sender or are expecting the invitation. Never open links in an email if you are not sure who it is from or if you were not expecting it!” If you receive an email requesting a signature you weren’t expecting, Garces suggests calling the sender at a number that you find on your own, not one listed in the email. Here are the other signs you’re about to fall for a phishing email.

“You can also set up your own account with these Web-based services if you would prefer to put that control in your hands,” she says. “If you want to set up your own DocuSign account, you will have the ability to upload the document to the website. Once the document is uploaded, you will be able to add signatures, initials, and other applicable fields to the file.”

Advice from a lawyer

“As an attorney, this issue is important to me because many contracts are executed electronically,” says Florida-based lawyer Lloyd E. Solt. “If you are creating an actual physical signature to be used when you electronically sign a document, my advice is to use a fat Sharpie or marker and draw it large, then scan and reduce the size. It will turn out way better than trying to scan it actual size. You can make the signature blue if you choose.”

But, he cautions, “one danger of electronic signatures that is not common to physical signatures is that others can potentially access your e-signature key and cause a great deal of harm.” For this reason, he says it’s important to maintain the same level of security with your saved signature as you might with any other important personal data.

Make sure you know these 18 secrets from people who never get hacked.

Here to stay

Think you can skip learning how to sign a document on your computer and just stick with the old-fashioned method of signing? Think again. “As our world continues to grow more sustainability-conscious and technology-driven, it is safe to say that e-signatures are here to stay,” Garces says. “While the above touched on several different types of e-signatures, this does not encompass all of the options available out there. Ultimately, the most important thing to do before opting to e-sign a document is to confirm that the e-signing method you choose will be as acceptable as a pen-signature.”

Next, check out these other innovations we can expect in the very near future.

Financial Documents to Never Throw Away
How Long You Should Keep Your Tax Returns
Everyday Documents You Should Shred

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