Five more questions to ask your membership management system supplier

You’ve taken the plunge and decided to invest in membership management software for your organisation, but how should you go about choosing which system is best for you, and what should you ask potential suppliers?

Is it their own, or are they reselling someone else’s system?

Some software developers still write and sell bespoke, unique software packages for individual clients. For some membership businesses who have complex requirements, this may be exactly what you want and need. However, the ongoing costs of maintenance updates and bug fixes can be expensive.

Perhaps the supplier has taken an existing piece of off-the-shelf software and adapted it to suit a particular industry sector, such as membership management. There can be downsides to this scenario if the off-the-shelf software is developed and upgraded at a faster rate than the add-on.

Are you being offered an off-the-shelf dedicated piece of membership management software?

Be clear before you start what the supplier is actually offering you as it can have a huge impact on cost and development later down the line.

BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, offers some useful information about the differences between bespoke and off-the-shelf software.

If you’re looking at membership management systems, companies like have nearly 20 years of experience in their field.

What’s covered in your contract?

Be certain that you know exactly what is included in your contract. Is it just the software and installation? What about data migration from another system or even paper records?

How will you be charged for your software?

More and more software houses are moving to a subscription model versus an up-front charge. This can make it much more cost-effective for most businesses and help to improve cashflow. However, for some organisations, paying up front will be a better option, so you should make sure this is possible.

What support can you expect?

What does the supplier offer, and does it come directly from them or a third party? Does it include on-site visits or just telephone support?

What about ongoing fees?

What else will you be charged for in the future? Are regular upgrades included, or will you have to either pay more further down the line or face being left with a system that is out of date?

How to get the most from your flexible duct

Flexible ducting is at the heart of your HVAC system, but it must be installed correctly. Most of the problems that people claim to encounter with this type of tubing stem from poor installation. Master that and your system will work like clockwork.

Common problems when installing ductwork

One of the most common problems with flexible duct is that installers don’t pull the inner lining tight. This simple step can significantly reduce the friction rate by reducing longitudinal compression. Leave the liner loose and you’ll experience a 15-30% rise in the friction rate.

You also need to make sure that the ductwork is adequately supported. Sagging ducts make it difficult to create really tight and solid connections between the liner and the connector. Always seal first with duct tape before securing with a plastic zip tie for best results.

Another issue is making the bends in the ducting too tight. Use another piece of high quality flexible ducting from a company like as a guide when making your bends – they should fit snugly to a 90-degree angle but no tighter.

Tips for correct installation

Get it right and your ducting will be versatile, durable and long-lasting. It should be easy to install if you avoid the common installation problems and take your time.

Start by planning out where the piping has to go, remembering to add in regular support joints for an optimised installation. Keep the number of joins to a minimum and don’t situate any part of your ducting system too close to a heat source.

When installing, work from support joint to support joint, piece by piece, ensuring that joins make a really snug and tight fit. Don’t forget to pull out the inner sleeves to reduce friction throughout your system, so do this as you go.

To improve the airflow, ensure you have sufficient insulation which is vital to protect the ducts from extremes of temperature and constant heating and cooling of the airflow. Check for leaks and use a high-quality mastic around the joins if necessary. Also, check that there’s sufficient support and no overly tight bends that are inhibiting airflow.

Flexible ducting is cost-effective, easy to work with and ideal for tricky installations. Pay attention to the details when installing and you’ll find your HVAC system functions brilliantly.

How to Pack Clothing for Your Courier Delivery

It’s easy to send clothes by courier if you know how to pack them correctly. If you’re returning items, sending clothes to family or friends or posting an item you sold on eBay, then this guide will give you the information you need.There are many advantages of using a courier service. Here’s how to pack your clothing.

Fold Your Clothes

Start by folding the clothes neatly and try to get them as flat as possible. This way you’ll be able to fit them into a box or bag. To avoid creases in the clothes, use tissue paper and secure belts and zips.

Bags or Boxes?

You can choose between packing your clothes into a bag or box. If you’re sending baby clothes or a single item, then a bag is sufficient. Jiffy bags are easy to find and come in a range of sizes. Make sure if you use your own bag it isn’t overfilled, as it will break.

Boxes should be used for heavier and larger items. Make sure the box you choose is strong and don’t underestimate how heavy the clothes will be. If you’re using a box, then wrap the clothes in bubble wrap or other protective materials to protect them from potential water damage.

The Cost

Costs vary depending on the service you use, but each service will quote you on the price to send your package. There are lots of couriers to choose from, but make sure you find a reputable company with reasonable prices. One same day courier in Slough is

Things to Remember

When you’re weighing your package, make sure it’s fully packed with any protective materials included. If it’s heavier than the courier company expected, they might charge you extra.

Use a marker pen to write the address clearly. If the courier can’t understand your writing, then it may get delivered to the wrong address.

When sealing your parcel use strong tape to ensure it remains secure. Make sure you put tape around the edges to the parcel to keep the corners strong. Don’t use sellotape, because it won’t keep your items secure.

If the box has been used before, remove all addresses and labels so the courier can locate the address.

Here’s how Ron Blum has been able to become a successful inventor & businessman

When it comes to patent, Dr. Blum is a well-known name to consider. Dr. Blum is recognized as the inventor or co-inventor on more than 500 patents and patent applications across the world. He is ranked as the number one in the world for the filing of patent applications for class of eye examining, optics, vision correcting and testing. Dr. Blum also has considerable commercial innovation success. At present, there are nine different IP portfolios or innovations which Dr. Blum is recognized for. He is in fact the only discoverer or a co-discoverer who has been certified or sold to several number of worldwide billion dollar organizations.

The professional career of Ron Blum

Dr. Blum says that those who are creative and carry out useful inventions or offer resourceful ideas should have their intellectual property safe-guarded so that they can reap the maximum benefits. And this is why they should file a patent, which if approved can offer them exclusive right to produce and make profit out of it.

Dr. Blum is the Chief Visionary Officer and founder of PogoTec, Inc. Earlier he has been associated with The Egg Factory, LLC. He is the president, founder, and CEO of BeautiEyes LLC as well as the founder of Encore Vision, Inc and Encore Health, LLC. Ron Blum has also been the Founder and first President of PixelOptics  and has served Innotech as the President and CEO which has been purchased out of the NASDAQ by Johnson & Johnson. He has in fact great success in building varied management teams which is required to develop products in addition to executing business strategies. He is an innovator, visionary, and a successful businessman.

Ron Blum has managed and led the team that developed and invented the Definity Lens which has been acquired by Essilor later on and it fast turn out to be the number one product in North America. After obtaining the Doctorate of Optometry from Southern College of Optometry, Dr. Blum began his professional career.

The Egg Factory, LLC which he served as CEO, Chairman, and President is perhaps the oldest and most creative innovation companies that focus on Ophthalmics and Optics in North America. At present he is serving Pogo Tec Inc. as Chief Visionary Officer and founder which intends to change the way customers share videos and images by discovering interactive, sophisticated, and accessible technology solutions. Pogo Tec Inc. specializes in Wearable Technology, Eye Care Technology, Electronic Devices, Smart Technology, and Emerging Technology and it has a strategic partnership with Vista Eyewear and is right now located in Roanoke, Virginia.

Ron Blum has always been interested about inventing, developing, and growing companies and this has helped him to become a successful businessman and found a number of companies. Some of the companies Ron founded include Encore Vision LLC and Encore Health, The Egg Factory LLC, Innotech, and PixelOptics.  In addition to this, Ron Blum has also served on the Board of Trustees for Roanoke College. His outstanding knowledge, experience and understanding have helped these companies to become successful.

How to prevent your VOIP from going offline when your internet drops out

VOIP telephony is deservedly popular for the great flexibility and cost savings it offers, particularly to businesses. However, if your internet connection is disrupted or disappears for any reason, then the ability to make and receive calls could be compromised. The good news is that there are strategies that can be put in place to minimise any inconvenience that might result from the internet dropping out.

Call continuity

Providers can supply system redundancy and call continuity features to take charge automatically and divert calls to designated numbers on a mobile network should the internet connection fail. Also known as mobile-ready VOIP, this feature will make sure no calls are lost. Disaster routing can also shunt calls to other systems in the event of a disruption.

Second internet service

More than one ISP will mean there is always another internet connection to turn to. Businesses can have one ISP for computers and another for VOIP, so there is always an alternative. Or a business can have secondary internet network waiting to go if there is ever a problem. When installing that extra internet network, ensure you are getting fibre if you have been sold fibre. Some customers have been buying copper wire connections, falsely believing they are getting the latest technology. To learn more, see this report from The Telegraph.

Back-up connection

Thwart internet failures by getting back up at the place where your business phone network intersects with the internet cabling to prevent any loss of data should the internet cable be damaged.

Concerns about the effect of the internet connection failing may have deterred you from calling an international VoIP wholesale provider to get a great deal for your business. But if you are prepared with one of these strategies, there is no need to worry. If you want to find out more about what an international VoIP wholesale provider can deliver, it would be a good idea to contact experts in the field, such as who could tell you what deals and options are available.

VOIP is the future of telephone calls. With a little planning, there need be no anxiety about losing connectivity and VOIP power. With emergency features in place, you and your business can relax and start to enjoy all the benefits VOIP offers.

How Does Foreign Exchange Trading Work?

Foreign exchange trading used to simply be something done by merchants or those who traveled constantly, exchanging the currency of their homeland for the local currency. However, these days, references to foreign exchange trading more often refer to a special type of investment trading. Modern foreign exchange trading, commonly called forex trading, is a type of investment trading which is based on the price fluctuations between two different currencies, and the speculation of traders on the future values of those currencies.

The premise of Forex trading seems simple enough, and many who are looking to get into it believe that it will be quick and easy money. However, forex is no quick cash grab, and 96 percent of the novice traders trying to break into the market end up walking away with nothing. Often, this leaves them feeling scammed, but forex trading, while vicious, is no scam. There is real profit potential with forex, but novice traders fall into traps and don’t adequately educate themselves before jumping in. Any novice trader should seek first to learn the market before trying to turn a profit. If you go in big at the start and make a mistake, it can be disastrous. So choose a good broker to help you – market gbp or trade111 for example.

If you’re just getting into forex, then there are a few big mistakes you can make, but by far the biggest mistake, and the one that claims the most novice traders is leverage. Leverage is not a tool to be used lightly, and, while it can help experienced traders to make immense profits, it will swallow up novice traders and their money, spitting them out with nothing. Leverage is an interesting concept. It allows you to trade with borrowed money, using your account to trade with more than you have. For example, 2:1 leverage allows you to use $10,000 to control $20,000 in currency on the foreign exchange market. Many brokers in the US will offer leverage rates of up to 50:1, and that kind of potential is alluring to novices. But that potential for profit also comes with added risk and a potential for massive loss. Leverage is one of the most dangerous things a new trader can do, and many novices learn that the hard way; by losing everything.

If you’re able to surmount the temptation to use leverage, then your next biggest hurdle is yourself. The biggest danger to your success as a forex trader is your emotions. Trading based on hunches or emotions can absolutely destroy your chances of success, and cause your money to disappear quickly. Forex is unforgiving, and it takes a cool head to succeed. One of the most important things to do when forex trading is sticking to a solid plan. Make it clear to yourself when and where you’ll buy, and when and where you’ll sell. Keep to your plan rigorously. Losing out on potential profit is well worth the stability that a plan will give you. It’s also important to keep a close eye on your progress. Keeping a forex trading journal is always a good idea.

If you can keep your emotions in check, and stick to a solid plan, then you might just make it. However, before you ever enter the real market, you should practice with a forex trading demo, and develop the plan you need in order to succeed over the long term. When you think you’re ready to enter the market, remember to avoid leverage like the plague, and start out small. Let yourself mess up and make mistakes before you put big money on the line, and always try to learn from every failure as well as every success. Never get cocky, keep your head screwed on tight, stick to a solid plan, and you might just make it as a forex trader.

How Do The Trophies And Awards Form & What Type Of Material Is Used?

Have you at any point seen an award show or sporting event and thought what the Trophies and Awards are made of? For example, Oscar statuettes, or ‘Oscars’ as they’re better recognized, are formed by Britannia metal which is then plated in nickel silver, copper, and finally, 24-carat gold.

The sports trophies are likewise mostly made by following the similar procedure, yet numerous are made in an unexpected way, for instance, the renowned three-dimensional cast of the ‘Gladiators’, the Winfield Cup trophy, is a bronze cast, while the Wimbledon Ladies’ Singles Trophy is a partially plated silver salver.

Materials Used for Making of Trophies

Not all trophies that sparkle are made of gold, and truth be told, because of its high worth relatively few trophies are really made of gold by any means, and those that do contain the valuable metal are usually gold-plated, similar to the Oscar statuettes.

Most Trophies and Awards are really made with the plastic infusion system as this material and strategy can be utilized to form shapes that are on occasion exceptionally multifaceted.

But, an assortment of different materials is utilized as a part of the formation of trophies and awards, containing glass, wood, nickel alloy, bronze, and silver, with numerous modern trophies and awards highlighting a plastic cast which is then plated. Another well-known alternative is a wood base with a plastic cast on top, and but then another choice is a totally plastic trophy, likewise with a plate on which the award and person’s name is engraved.

A few trophies have metal studs moulded into the quality and include weight and numerous have gypsum infused into the base to give more strength as well as extra weight.

How Trophies Are Moulded

Plastic injection moulding is the most usually utilized system in the generation of trophies; however different strategies are now and again utilized. A few trophies are cast as one piece; however, several trophies highlight elements with every component cast independently, i.e. piece by piece.

Steel dies are utilized to make the shape of the trophy parts. At the point when embedded into the moulding machine, fluid plastic fills the dies and makes distinct trophy parts, and a few parts, most outstandingly the base, likewise have metal studs as well as gypsum injected to give extra weight and quality.

Trophy Engraving

In contrast with the rest of the process, the way toward engraving trophies appears the most straightforward and simple to do, however, there is a lot of expertise required in engraving a trophy or an award, all things considered, there is no space for the mistake here if the engraving is to be artistically satisfying.  Engraving techniques for trophies and awards involve hand, rotary, and laser engraving.

Why the government wants to build on brownfield land

The housing shortage in the UK is a pressing matter for the government, which has decided to move ahead with accelerated development on brownfield sites such as railway stations that are no longer in use, shopping centres that have been abandoned, and rundown central areas of towns and cities.

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Investment in infrastructure

The government had announced a fund of £5 billion to spend on construction of up to 250,000 new homes, with £2 billion set aside for developing new roads and other infrastructure to make construction possible. Developers will be granted special planning powers to boost building on brownfield land with the aim of creating 25,000 new dwellings on brownfield sites by 2020.

Campaigners have long urged using brownfield sites for home building and have claimed efficient use of these areas could yield 1.5 million new residences, according to a report in The Guardian.

Protect the green belt

The National Association of Estate Agents has supported the government’s intention to develop brownfield sites for new housing. By using more brownfield areas, this will protect valuable countryside and green belt areas from being developed. The Council for Protection of Rural England has voiced concerns about green belt areas being eroded to accommodate new housing developments while brownfield sites were a self-renewable resource that was not being used to the fullest. A council spokesperson said that the government should support local councils to make remediation of brownfield sites a priority, adding that these areas could provide space for at least a million new dwellings.

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If you are considering the possibilities of land remediation and would appreciate some expert advice, it might be time to consult a reputable organisation such as An experienced firm in this area can give you plenty of tips and guidance on the best ways to carry out land remediation.

It cannot be denied that the housing shortfall must be addressed. It makes sense to use brownfield land that has been abandoned. While it just sits there, it is of no use to anyone, and bringing it back into use takes the pressure off developing rural areas. As a bonus, some of these brownfield sites are in excellent locations that already have all the infrastructure that new inhabitants could possibly need and are not too remote.

Guidelines to Hire Managers Effectively

When it comes to hiring managers, the company finds it little tricky. It is because of their experience, expertise, salary, and availability. Yes, just not one factor, but many are included in the interview process while finding a candidate for a manager position in your company. Request you to not take that as pressure. If you can follow the steps given below, then you can hire not only managers but any resource without any challenges.

Fool proof Steps in Effective Recruitment

  1. Understand the requirement before you start your interview process. First talk to the concerned authority to know whether the resource is hired for an existing opening or a new position. If it is replacement position, then talk to the current employee and know about the skills both technical and soft qualifications for that job. On the other hand, for a new job, speak to the decision maker about the expectation from the candidate. You as a recruiter can make a better plan to identify the right resource.
  2. Once you got an idea of the requirement, then you must design the interview process. You must prepare a job description and obtain consent from the stakeholders. Written JD is essential for candidates to understand the position better. Never talk to manager level candidates without having appropriate details in hand.
  3. After talking to them with the job details, you must explain the interview process. They must not only be aware of the job details, but also the process involved and the time frame. Tell them about your company aptitude tests, telephonic interview, face to face discussion and every other interview process in detail. Do not create any wrong impression and be open to let them know about the process and significance of the process. Senior candidates must be treated well, and only then you will find them cooperating with your method.
  4. Make sure you stand up for your promise. Do not over commit. Stick to the timelines and respect their time. Share feedback with them and openly communicate with them. Involve them in the loop and let them feel important. Ask them for their convenience before scheduling an interview and allow them to make decisions. Do not sell your open position. Make them feel responsible even for getting an offer. Introduce them to the interviewer and let them know who will interview them.
  5. Never negotiate salary, and you must know what they expect even before they are called for a discussion. Do not waste their time as senior people might get offended quickly than others. Explain to them what your package is when you start the process to avoid any clash with the existing team. They may talk to other managers in your firm during the interview, so you must exercise caution to avoid any conflict. Being on the recruitment team, these are the basic guidelines to follow when hiring a manager.

In a nutshell, be professional and take recruitment process seriously. Your one wrong move though not intentional will have a severe impact on the business.

Creative marketing ideas for retailers

At this time of year, retail competition is high, so it makes sense to find plenty of creative ways to market your offer to customers. Many ideas actually require just a little budget and time but will be sufficient to elevate your business from the throng and allow it to stand out for the right reasons. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Think about groups

Make sure you have joined any organisations that are relevant to your business, such as trade associations and the local Chamber of Commerce. These can be a great source of member-to-member networking, joint initiatives and knowledge building.

Focus on your print

Digital may be the new darling of marketing, but there is still plenty of scope to maximise your print efforts. Make sure you always carry business cards and print details of your products and services on the reverse. Have a brochure of your offer and keep everything in a PDF version to load onto your website and to send to prospects. Think about seasonal print, such as annual calendars marked up with your business information.

Pay attention to in-store ambience

In store music is a powerful means of boosting customer engagement when in a store. You’ll need to get a licence to play commercial music, which can be tailored to suit your retail offer, customers and seasonality. Find out more at

Have a website

Many small businesses still don’t have a website, and this is a vital way to reach potential and existing customers alike and to engage with them. Choose a memorable URL, invest in your content, and include your URL in all communications.

Look at social media

Smart businesses have a social media presence where they can engage with customers using valuable content that offers something new and interesting. From competitions to explanation videos, it is well worth learning about social media and dedicating resources to developing it.

Consider competitions

Competitions do not need to be expensive to operate. Hold a quick question quiz via Twitter or a drawing competition for the children of your clients. The prize can be one of your products or a chance to experience your services. Be creative, and it will build positive PR for your business.

Get ideas from your staff

Engage your staff for creative marketing ideas; they will often have the best suggestions!