Thursday, October 31, 2013

The horror of disengaged employees

If your employees are beginning to resemble the walking dead, it may be time to bring them back to life with career development. Turn lifeless zombies into fired up employees with self-directed learning, cross training, or workshops. Revive and re-engage your ghoulish crew by teaming them up to teach one another new skills and say goodbye to your house of horrors. - Manta Media, Inc


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

7 Things To Know Before Financing Equipment

By Philip A. Bruno, Chief Marketing Officer, Marlin Leasing Corp.
Most manufacturing and industrial businesses are familiar with equipment leasing and financing, but may not know the kinds of specific information they need to make the best financing decisions for their investments in equipment or software. Understanding the ways in which leasing fits your company’s particular needs can help to build a solid business case for financing as well as determine which financing option to choose. This decision requires careful assessment of your financial, operational, and other situational needs, in addition to knowledge of the many benefits leasing provides.

The following is a checklist of important issues to consider when making decisions about leasing equipment:
  1. Whether to buy or lease. First and foremost, the most important thing to know before financing equipment is that leasing is usually more advantageous to your business than buying equipment outright. Equipment finance industry research shows that in 2013, 55% of the projected $1.3 trillion total U.S. investment in equipment and software, or $725 billion, is expected to be financed. The most recent research available shows that in 2011, 72% of firms used at least one form of financing. These statistics bear out that organizations agree with the adage, “it is more important to have and use equipment than it is to own it.” 
  2. Cash flow/budget requirements. Financed equipment can generate income for your business that far exceeds the cost of your monthly payment. Financing also enables you to stretch your budget to obtain additional equipment you couldn't have afforded otherwise because it’s more feasible for most businesses to make a monthly payment than to make a large lump sum cash outlay. In addition, 100% financing is available so that no down payment is required.

    If your business experiences seasonal fluctuations, or has a project or new line ramping up that requires equipment that will not generate revenue immediately or will only generate it seasonally, lease terms are available that allow for these circumstances. Lower initial payments or deferred payments are among lease term options. The important thing is to assess how long it will be before revenue will be generated from using the equipment to offset the finance payments.
  3. Capital expenditure plans. Most businesses, particularly in this current economic climate, have reduced or limited budgets for business investment. If your company is like the majority of those facing unlimited wants and limited resources, leasing equipment allows capital budgets to be used for other business and operational purposes.
  4. Equipment obsolescence risk. Technology changes and innovations develop rapidly. Chances are that the software and equipment you purchased 2 years ago are already outdated. Financing provides a hedge against equipment obsolescence through options to either purchase the equipment, trade it in for new equipment or return it outright at the end of the lease term. Taking advantage of options to avoid obsolescence is critical to maintaining a competitive edge.
  5. Credit availability. Access to credit is a key driver of business growth. Financing equipment preserves your lines of credit and enables you to save your bank borrowing capacity—important considerations to accommodate both planned and unforeseen future business expenditures your company may incur. Financing also has one-day credit approvals, whereas banks can take days or even weeks. This speed-of-access to equipment is another strategic advantage for your market position. 
  6. Tax Benefits. Tax code provisions continue to provide incentives for businesses to invest in equipment. For 2013, the IRS Section 179 Deduction threshold for total amount of equipment that can be purchased is now $2 million, and you can deduct up to $500,000 of equipment cost.
  7. Standard Finance Plans. With a clearer picture of your business situation and equipment needs determined from this checklist, you are ready to think about the type of finance plan for the equipment you are acquiring. Following are some of the most commonly selected ones:

    Fair Market Value offers the most options both during and at the end of the term, so this is suitable if you are concerned about obsolescence or want a small security deposit and a relatively low monthly payment. At the end of the term, you have three options: extend the term of the agreement, return the equipment, or buy the equipment at its fair market value. 

    10% Security Deposit also offers a lower monthly payment. It is especially attractive if you can afford to pay a security deposit of 10% of the finance amount at the beginning of the agreement. End-of-term options still apply. The deposit can be used to extend the agreement or you can return the equipment and request a refund of the deposit.

    10% Purchase Option offers a fixed purchase option at the end of the term. Upon final payment, you can continue to finance the equipment, return the equipment, or buy it at 10% of the original equipment cost.
    $1.00 Buy Out is the recommended option if you are fairly certain you will want to purchase the equipment at the end of the agreement. Once the term expires, the equipment is simply purchased for $1.
This summary of topics to consider is key to the equipment financing decision-making process. Finding a full-service equipment financing company that can help you address these issues and answer your questions will help ensure that you get the right equipment at the best possible terms for your business. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Boy gets prosthetic hand made by 3-D printer

Two years ago, Paul McCarthy began searching for an inexpensive yet functional prosthetic hand for his son Leon, who was born without fingers on one of his hands. McCarthy came across a video online with detailed instruction on how to use a 3-D printer to make a prosthetic hand for his son.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Don't keep your website visitors waiting

Is your website the tortoise or the hare? Because in this scenario, it's not the slow turtle that wins in the end - it's the speedy bunny. How fast your web pages load is critical. A mere one-second delay can cost your site as much as a 7% decrease in conversion rate. Yikes! Optimize page speeds, make sure you have enough bandwidth, and take the lead in customer satisfaction. - Manta Media, Inc

Friday, October 25, 2013

'Fogmageddon' grips Seattle

Seattle is known for it’s gray skies and rainy weather, but experts say the dense fog and temperatures in the 40s or 50s that have blanketed the city over the past several days is out of the ordinary.
Cliff Mass, a University of Washington Meteorologist writes on his blog, “I have forecast here for many decades and I can not remember a situation that is even close.”
The cause, according to Mass, is an odd combination of long-lasting high pressure, drought, and dense low clouds. In short, the high pressure on either side of the city is trapping colder air in the middle, close to the ground. The result? Fog, and lots of it.
The current foggy streak is standing at seven days. According to Seattle’s that puts the current stretch in a seven-way tie for the fifth longest run in the city. The No. 1 spot goes to a 13-day streak from December of 1985. But according to local reports the current weather pattern could make a run at the record with the sun not in the forecast at least for the next several days.
Ironically the only thing that will wipe out the dreary conditions is a low pressure system; in other words a storm.
Such a system is on the way but is not guaranteed to hit the city. The earliest it will get there, if at all, is sometime next week. Until then Seattle will continue to see the same gray skies and dense low clouds.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Automating the Royal Shakespeare Theater

A four-year, $139 million transformation of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (RST) in Stratford-upon-Avon included a major project to automate the movements of back-drops and scenery as well as the complex system of lighting arrays. At the heart of the project, (designed and installed by Trekwek, a Dutch theater automation company), are around 100 AC drives and servo motors from Control Techniques, an Emerson Industrial Automation company (NYSE: EMR). The contract was awarded by Trekwerk to Control Techniques’ Rotterdam Drive Center.

Click here for story... Automating the Royal Shakespeare Theater
Click here for photos... Royal Shakespeare Theatre

Thursday, October 10, 2013

5 Things Super Successful People Do Before 8 AM

Rise and shine! Morning time just became your new best friend. Love it or hate it, utilizing the morning hours before work may be the key to a successful and healthy lifestyle. That’s right, early rising is a common trait found in many CEOs, government officials, and other influential people. Margaret Thatcher was up every day at 5 a.m.; Frank Lloyd Wright at 4 am and Robert Iger, the CEO of Disney wakes at 4:30am just to name a few. I know what you’re thinking – you do your best work at night. Not so fast. According to Inc. Magazine, morning people have been found to be more proactive and more productive. In addition, the health benefits for those with a life before work go on and on. Let’s explore 5 of the things successful people do before 8 am. READ MORE!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Penny Pinching Pointers

Want more money? Go paperless! Reducing costs is a reality for businesses large and small. So, consider not printing those huge monthly reports, mounds of invoices, and countless emails with silly cat photos. A great way to keep some extra green in your wallet is to embrace the environmental and timesaving practice, and share files electronically. What do you have to lose other than clutter and cost? Manta Media, Inc