7 Strategies To Save Your Holiday Budget

7 Strategies To Save Your Holiday BudgetFor holiday shopping, we always face one problem: what to buy that doesn’t bankrupt you? Even if you persuade yourself to buy expensive gifts thinking “never mind, it’s holiday season!” you will most likely suffer from shopper’s remorse when your credit card bills roll in. To help you this kind of situation, we have seven strategies. Let’s get on with those strategies.

1) Create a master list: Most of the times, you have to buy gifts for the same people. So make a master list and you will only have to make changes to it every Labor Day for the holiday season that year. Also, you can create a column in the list for the personal preferences. For example, you know your colleague loves books – specifically romantic fiction – you should note it down in the list. So whenever you see romantic fiction going on sale, you know you should get one and save a bit in the bargain.

2) Keep gift list handy: Make a gift list separate from the master list and keep it in your purse. Refer it during your breaks or when you see bargains online or offline. Sooner or later, the gift list will be impressed on your mind and you will be ready to grab the bargains without panicking.

3) Grouping of gifts: First of all, you need to decide on the total shopping budget for the season. Then group people by category of family, friends, neighbors, coworkers and others. Divide your total budget between various categories realistically. If you don’t have enough budget to stretch for everyone, let’s say co-workers, then plan to make the gifts for one group instead. Make changes in the list if and when necessary.

4) Find prices online: It’s always wise to check for the prices online before shopping in-store. Use online search engines such as “shopping bot” to help you check prices on various websites. It will help you find the best price for any given item. For example, you are looking to buy a Panasonic camera, just type that into a search engine box and you will find a list of all online retailers who are offering it along with the prices. You can even save on shipping by buying it bit early because few eCommerce stores offer free shipping if you buy before a certain date.

5) Stick to your budget: Buying expensive gifts is tempting because they are usually displayed in an attractive manner. You need to practice restrain if you don’t want to go beyond the budget you have already allocated for each category. Stick to it religiously while shopping. It would be wise if you complete shopping for important presents first – parents, partner and kids. That way even if you go overboard, you are doing it for your loved ones.

6) Pay your bills in cash: One of the best ways to avoid overspending is to buy on cash. When you start shopping, leave all your credit cards at home. That way, if you run out of cash, you will automatically need to stop shopping. If you are using debit card, then you will need to keep a tally of how much cash you withdrew during the start of each gift-shopping session.

7) Use prepaid debit card: If you are feeling uncomfortable about carrying lot of cash, try prepaid debit card – which works like a credit card. The only difference is, you have to pay the balance up front into the card. Every time you make a purchase with it, the balance will be deducted from the total. The beauty of debit card is you get the protection of credit card and you can easily dispute charges that appear on your statement. However, don’t forget to have a built-in spending limit. If you want to have such a card, visit your bank. They will let you know the exact procedures.

Do you know any other strategy to save money during holiday shopping season? Share it with us!

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User Friendly Fellowes Office Furniture

User Friendly Fellowes Office Furniture

Having the right office furniture is very important for healthy life because usually we spend more than 9 hours in office, sitting on chair and working on desktop. If your chair isn’t ergonomically designed, you are quite likely to end up with back pain. In the same manner, if your keyboard tray isn’t ergonomically designed, again, you might end up with carpal tunnel syndrome. Scary, isn’t it? But we can avoid these problems simply by buying the right office furniture. Like Fellowes back support accessories, keyboard tray and keyboard.

Fellowes offers a huge range back support accessories, including heat and soothe black support and office suites mesh back support. All the supports are designed for maximum lumbar support during the extended period of sitting. The back support accessories come with adjustable strap for easy use.

If you are having very small workspace, try Fellowes’ compact keyboard tray. They are fully adjustable to offer maximum comfort. To adjust the height and tilt of the tray, you just have to loosen a single knob and then retighten it to lock the position. The memory foam wrist supports new and improved Microban antimicrobial protection that stays cleaner. It will also keep your hands/wrists in neutral position.

If you are looking to buy back support and computer accessories, consider AceDepot.com. Our store has a huge collection of Fellowes office products that are of top-notch quality. All the products are affordably priced too. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to serve you.

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8 Black Friday Myths Debunked!

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Black Friday is approaching fast. You must be thinking of different ways to save money while getting your entire shopping list done. Have a look at this top 8 Black Friday myths to know when you are being hoodwinked and prevented from getting the best possible prices for the products you want.

1) Black Friday sales start on Black Friday: Most of the major retailers start their Black Friday sales as early as two weeks before the actual day. In fact, some of the deals will be sold off before Black Friday. Want an example? Just consider Amazon.com, who will launch Black Friday offers starting on November 19.
2) Doorbusters are adequately stocked: As most of the doorbusters are exceptionally low-priced to generate sales and traffic, most retailers have a very limited stock of these products. Consequently, only first few shoppers get to grab them. To understand this better, let’s take Best Buy’s 2014 Sharp 42” HDTV deal, which was priced for $199. The store, however, had only guaranteed 10 units per store.
3) You need to camp out of the store for the best deals: If you are planning to buy a popular doorbuster, being first in line won’t guarantee that you will grab the deal. However, you can find the same deal online most of the times. As a matter of fact, in 2013 70% of in-store Black Friday deals were available online for the same price, if not less.
4) In-store Black Friday shopping is violent: Contrary to what you see in random shopping videos and read in news, majority of the Black Friday shoppers aren’t overly-aggressive. The shoppers, in fact, say that they experience a sense of camaraderie while waiting in line. So the worst thing you will face during Black Friday in-store rush is large crowds and messy inventory.
5) Every Black Friday sale is the lowest possible price:  Yes, many Black Friday deals offer the lowest prices but when it comes to toys, branded HDTVs and winter apparel, you should wait for sometime. Toys witness deepest discounts just before Christmas; HDTVs are lowest priced between December and February; and winter apparel sale are best after Christmas.
6) Black Friday prices are unbeatable: We have been seeing this since last few years. Most of the stores match competitors’ prices better sooner or later. In 2013, Amazon, Best Buy, Home Depot and Meijer not only matched competitors’ prices but they designed better deals.
7) All the best Black Friday deals are printed in the ads: Few retailers like Walmart and Best Buy advertise additional Black Friday deals on Thanksgiving Day. So find these secret deals online before you visit brick-and-mortar store on Friday. You may even find competing retailers declaring last minute discounts.
8) You might not find Black Friday deals on designer and luxury goods: Although Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus participated in Black Friday sales in 2013 – breaking age-old tradition of skipping it – don’t hold your breath to find similar deals on other designer and luxury brands. At the same time, there are high chances that you may witness special promotions from their outlet branches.

This Black Friday do not forget to visit Acedepot.com. We specialize in offering new and factory refurbished office machines and supplies at the most competitive prices. Check our collection for cash registers, currency products, copiers, shredders, binding machines and more.

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Top 5 Pricing Mistakes

 

Top 10 Pricing Mistakes

In today’s most competitive world, companies are looking for various ways to increase their competitive advantage and improve their overall performance. Most of the companies have already resorted to cost cutting, outsourcing, process re-engineering and adoption of innovative technologies; however, their benefits from these actions are diminishing day by day. They are on the lookout of new strategies, and pricing is the most obvious one. Majority of the companies have already started recognizing this, and so they have started devising pricing strategies. Unfortunately, these strategies aren’t yielding the results they want due to certain errors that they fail to realize. Let’s talk about those errors now.

1) Prices based on costs: When the prices of the products are based on the cost of production, either the price end up being higher than the customers’ perceived value – pushing up the costs of sales – or, being lower than the perceived value – missing the opportunity of maximizing the profit. The bottom line is, the costs are irrelevant when it comes to pricing because they form a lower boundary for the price. The better strategy is to understand the perceived value of your products in the eyes of your customers.

2) Prices based on the marketplace: When you price your products based on the marketplace, you are bowing down to the collective judgment of the crowd about your product. Usually only those companies use marketplace pricing who are laid back about their business, ending up with thin profits. You should rather differentiate your products or services from your competitors.

3) Same profit margin across all product lines: Many financial strategies support uniformity in profit margins across all the product lines. However, this doesn’t work in the real world because each product line has a different set of target audience, and again, these potential customers have different perception about the price of the products. To put it simply, the price of any product line should reflect the target customer’s willingness to pay for that product.

4) Failure to segment customers: Usually customers are segmented into different groups according to your requirements and expectations from the product. The value proposition for products and services is different for different market segments, and hence the pricing strategy should reflect that. But when you fail to segment your customers, you are either overpricing or underpricing your products.

5) Constant prices for long time: Although changing prices on the daily basis doesn’t make business sense, it doesn’t mean that you hold the prices for your products at the same level for years to come ignoring changes in the costs, competitive environment and customer preferences. For better customer service and profit margins, you should update your prices at reasonable period of time and communicate the same to your customers to make sure that the value proposition on both the side matches.

To control the management costs and boost the sales, optimization of pricing strategy is a must. But this task can’t be done offhand. It requires lot of research and proper analysis of the gathered data. You need to tie the pricing strategy with the value perception of the customers. Until and unless this is done, you can’t win customer loyalty, lower cost of sales and enhanced profits.

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How to Impress Your Clients This Holiday Season

How to Impress Your Clients This Holiday Season

Impressing the clients should be top priority for every business. And what better occasion to explore this aspect than the holiday seasons. Holidays are just the right occasion if you need to show the extra care and appreciation toward your clients.
And so there are many ways in which you can accomplish these tasks. Look through these tips below to find the best options which makes your clients coming back to your site to make more and more purchases.

Sending innovative gifts to impress the clients

Who doesn’t like gifts, isn’t it? And if the gift is a surprise from someone unexpected then the joy is doubled. Period. So sending innovative and creative gifts to your customers should be one of your primary agenda during festive seasons. Not only does it create an impression on your customers but it will also make your customers aware that you care for their needs.
But do make sure that the gifts that you send to your clients do not turn them away instead of attracting them. Before sending out gifts, ensure what the needs of your customers are. Plan out things in advance and then venture out on distributing seasonal gifts to your valuable customers.

Sending holiday cards to woo the clients

Attractive holiday cards always do wonders. Beautifully decorated cards catch the eyes of the public. This makes your customers aware of your brand value and they do not think twice to shop from your store.
But before you just send any simple card to your clients, make sure you design it in the right manner that depicts the brand image of your business. With modern designing techniques today, you can incorporate the logo of your business together with a customized message in your card to give a sophisticated touch to it. To make it more artistic and creative, add your team photo of yours to impress them more.

Inviting them to actively take part in the celebrations

Plan a day for hosting a holiday party for your customers to join in and celebrate the festive season. Indulge in the best celebrations that helps to build a great rapport with your clients.
Last but not the least, everything that you do, plan out everything in advance. This is important because you do not want to make a fool of yourselves in front of your customers. Isn’t it? If it is Christmas season, make sure that your gifts and cards reach your customers before Christmas.
If you are planning to send cards and gifts to your clients, you need to have their latest address for the gifts to reach safely. Also, if the clients are far away, plan accordingly so that it does not become a disaster at the last moment. Enhance this opportunity to use it to the fullest so that you can build a trustworthy relationship with your clients.

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Why IT Service Costs Are Mostly Inaccurate

Why IT Service Costs Are Mostly Inaccurate

Every business needs to keep an eagle eye over their business, particularly when they are looking to expand rapidly. Every expense needs to be recorded scrupulously and every penny of the revenue accounted for. However, when it comes to expenses, most of the businesses fail to calculate IT service costs properly. There are several reasons behind the miscalculation. Let’s have a look at some of those.

1) Inaccurately recorded expenses: This is one of the most common mistakes. Let’s take an example of your company to understand this point. Your marketing team needs a laptop costing $1,000. The accounting team records this expense under the marketing department because the laptop is going to be used by them. The same way, accounting department needs a laptop, and again the expense is recorded under the accounting department. Consequently, even though IT hardware expense increased, the IT department isn’t responsible for this. Technically, this is misappropriation of operational costs. These costs belong to IT department because they are assets of IT department.

2) Recording all expenses: You have to record each and every expense, no matter how small it is. Usually every business has one or two major vendors who account for 75% of the expenses. So it’s a common mistake to focus on these vendors while ignoring the small vendors who account for 25% of the expenses. Once you track all the expenses, big and small alike, you will the actual expense of your organization. This will also help you for future budgeting.

3) Recognition of expenses: This problem arises specifically in small businesses who don’t have dedicated IT department. They usually have couple of employees who are proficient in maintaining various IT devices. But as they have different roles, their expense is not considered as IT expense. For example, your small business has no IT department but you have an employee drawing $50,000 a year who looks after printer and server, along with his/her main role as executive assistant to marketing manager. Now this employee spends 10% of his/her productive hours in maintaining IT infrastructure. So ideally, $5,000 of the salary should go under IT department but unfortunately, most of the companies fail to do so. Once you start recognizing the IT expenses correctly, you will get better vision of your business.

There are several benefits of recording your IT expenses correctly. Some of them are as follows:

  • Helps in proper allocation of budget
  • Facilitates accurate accounting of each department
  • Helps top management in making better operational decisions
  • Facilitates proper future planning

Do you have more questions? Do not hesitate to contact us. The online store offers wide range of printers, including HP, Lexmark, Okidata, Brother USA, Canon, Samsung, Ricoh, Sindoh and more. If you have any confusion, just contact us. We are known for offering outstanding customer service.

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Warning: You’re Losing Money By Not Using Paperless Offices

You’re Losing Money By Not Using Paperless Offices

Love it or hate it, but you can’t ignore the fact that paperless office can contribute toward your cost savings significantly. No spending on expensive toner or printer. No spending on print paper. By cutting down all these expenses, you automatically contribute to your bottom line. How about shooting a mail to an undisciplined employee instead of dropping a memo off?  How about using electronic signatures instead of a pen?

Here are the six other ways you can make the switch to a paperless office:

1] Document Management System

Proper document management could your first step toward a paperless office. Store document electronically as well even after you have taken out a print and stored the physical version in a file cabinet. Document management systems such as M-files help documents to be stored electronically. Such system helps employees to work faster and eliminates excess paper shuffling and lost documents.

2] Scan & Email Prints

Every time you fax a document, two copies are produced. One at the recipients’ end and one at your end. You can save on paper by supplementing this process by using scan-to-email or scan-to-fax function in the printer.

3] Prefer Cloud Storage over File Cabinets

In cloud, storage papers are stored safely online. So you don’t need any hard copies of the document. Needless to say, you’ll have zero headache in terms of printing and file documents. Moreover, it’s easier for employees to access files stored in the cloud, irrespective of the place they are working from.

4] Email PDF Invoices & Statements

Invoices and statements also consume loads of paper. Businesses have the habit of sending invoice to the customers to collect payments. This process is inefficient as it wastes papers. And as your business grows, more and more paper gets wasted. So instead of sending invoices, send PDF customers. The PDF consists all the information they need to pay. And more importantly, it reaches the customers more quickly.

5] Digital Contract Systems in lieu of Paper Contracts

Contract signing also consumes excessive amount of paper. So instead of printing all the documents, create a digital version of the same with signature and initials.  The concerned parties can simply tab through the contract and sign wherever required.

6] Meeting Notes on a Laptop or Tablet

Meetings are not complete without printed documents for all attendees. These documents contain the agenda, meeting minutes and notes. In case the attendees have the technology, such documents could be shared with them via a mobile device prior to the meeting. This helps them access it during or after the meeting and more importantly saves paper.
Effectively employ the above tips to save money. Plus, you can accelerate your productivity and keep your environment green by turning your workplace into a paperless office.

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6 Best Email Security Measures for Better Security

6 Best Email Security Measures for Better SecuritySecuring your emails is a given thing in this digital world. Since it’s the most traditional medium to communicate with your employees, it’s important for the businesses to ensure that it’s not compromised or intercepted. If in any case, this thing happens, you may end up paying a hefty price for this mistake/accident. However, the best way to avoid this to formulate specific email security standards for your business.
Here are some email security best practices that you could consider:

1 – Employ Secure SSL Servers for Email Communication
An encryption technology like the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) allows you to communicate with your email server using greater encryption security.  It uses a private key and a public key to encrypt all email data, which only the recipient has access to.  So, even if your email is intercepted, it would be unreadable for the intercepting party without the private key.

2 – Employ Enterprise Grade Spam Filtering
There’s more to spamming than just random ads. You may even become a victim of phishing scheme or accidentally download a malicious software from someone trying to fake his identity. This can happen to you as well.
Employ enterprise grade spam filtering to prevent these emails from entering your inbox. Thus you can do away with this risk completely.

3 – Formulate Internal Policies and Procedures
If policies and procedures are in places then it acts as a shield for your business. Rope in your employees and keep them informed about the processes. Here team work plays an important role.
Here are a few points to follow when setting up email policies and procedures:
•    Can personal and business email accounts be combined?
•    Is there another way to open attachments?
•    What measures should be adopted for opening forwarded emails?
•   Any restrictions while sending and receiving emails from external contacts?
Ensure that all employees are familiar with these policies. Also, they should know to whom to go to if they have any additional questions.

4 – Close and Forward Accounts for Ex-Employees
If any employee leaves the company, ensure to close their accounts. Forwarding means when an employee is shifted to other department or tasks his email account is forwarded to another employee on your team capable of completing or delegating the continued communication.

5 – Avoid Outlook For Mass Emailing
When there are professional sites designed to send mass emails, why use your outlook. Subscribe Constant Contact or Mail Chimp services.  If you are using personal outlook, in all probability, it will be flagged as spam. This puts you at risk of being shut down by your email provider.

6 – Password Protection
Employees with mobile devices accessing company data should be using passwords to secure the information. This adds an extra layer of protection, preventing immediate access to emails, contacts and other data.
These are a few selected methods that help employees, customers and their data safe from security threats. Executing them on immediate basis protects your company from undesirable attacks.

If you have any more tips or best practices to share, go ahead. Use the comment box below for the same.

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How Unorganized Office Spaces Turn off Clients ?

1 How Unorganized Office Spaces Turn off Clients

Love it or hate it, but the fact is that clients dislike disorganized offices. In other words, out of whack offices with little or no filing system in place turn off clients. It simply says: You work in a clumsy environ and your attitude toward work may be equally or a lot clumsier.

So if you want impress your clients in the first instance itself, then besides the office décor and furniture, you need to invest a fair amount of money in spacious files and file cabinets as well. Systematic filing will not only help you and your employee’s access all the files quickly and timely, it also expedites work processes and in turn your delivery time as well.

The other important aspect to consider while maintaining files is the relevancy factor. It’s said that 75% of the papers filed never get referenced back again. So think about it? You can easily dumb all that irrelevant stuff, rather than stock them up in stacks and occupy unnecessary space in the file cabinets, and in all possibility, your mind space as well.

Also, a well planned filing system ensures that you store your documents category-wise. So as and when you need them, you just need to go category-wise to locate the required doc rather than going through all the files. This saves times, which can be better used for other crucial purposes.

Acedepot.com is a premium online supplier of Office Stationery. For unique and efficient file folders and other office stationery and equipment, take a look at our offerings section. It’s overflowing with the best and the latest office equipment and on top of it we are offering huge discounts on selected products. Visit now.

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How to Keep Your Workspace Clean ?

Cleanliness and productivity are interlinked. So if you are spending 40 or more hours at your workstation on a weekly basis, it becomes very important to keep it neat and tidy, if you really want to boost your productivity. However, there’s a gulf between expectation and reality. Because as your productive hours increase at the workstation, loads of useless stuff start crowding your desk as well, such as tea cup, coaster, rough sheets, over used pens, paper and what not. All this clutter is sure to affect your productivity in a big way. More than anything, you won’t feel like working at your workstation anymore.

clean desk

So if you want to keep your workstation clutter free, here are a few tips which will help you do so.

Dispose them 

Dispose off the pile of files and papers you haven’t used for a while. Throw  it in the bin and not at your workstation. Also, do give a thought to the old memos, drafts of old reports, printed e-mails and whatever is on your desk. Do you really need them?

Lose them 

If you are drawers are crowded with knick-knacks, it high time you lose them. Find the ones you have not been using at all. You may think that won’t be able to live without them, but simply get rid of them and you’ll realize that they were not worth the space occupied.

Clean them 

Clean your desk everyday. So you won’t be a witness to the clutter the next day. And more importantly, you will get to start the day on a happy note. If it’s not possible, spend every Friday evening (at least 5 minutes) before you call it day, to tidy you your desk.

Do you have any more tips on how to keep your workstation clean? Share with us in the comment box below.

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