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Yes, Freebies are Real! If you tell someone that something is free, they immediately start looking for the catch. After all, the words of wisdom “there is no such thing as a free lunch” have usually been proven true for people time and again throughout life, and so a healthy cynicism towards free stuff usually springs up with good reason. If you are one of these skeptical types, however, you may be missing out on some really great stuff. The truth is that you CAN get free things that are really and truly free, and yes, actually worth having. You just have to know where to look. OK, here is where the caveat comes in. The definition of “free” often depends on the definition of “cost.” As any economist can tell you, cost really doesn’t only come down to how much money you have to hand over to get something. There are additional costs, like inconvenience and time spent doing something. And true, some freebies have these “non monetary” kinds of costs associated with them. You have to balance all of the costs with the value of the free stuff you are getting and decide if it is worth it to you. The two biggest costs associated with freebies? Time and convenience are at the top of the list. Time is a big factor in many free offers. Companies want a bit of your time in exchange for their free products. Indeed, some companies literally want hours of your time. Have you ever taken advantage of one of those “free weekend vacation” offers in which you received free accommodation in a beach house or condo for a weekend in exchange for suffering through a long presentation and intense sales pitch? For some people, they can handle the presentation and have no qualms about refusing to buy anything and the free vacation more than makes up for it. Other people would rather pay any price to avoid having to listen to one of these spiels. So, while these weekends are freebies, for some people, they cost too much. More often, a company wants your time in a less obvious way – they want you to spend time filling out forms. These forms may simply be your name, address and email address, or they may be very lengthy, quizzing you about buying habits and the like. The reason the companies want you to do these forms is often for market research, and they are more than happy to give you a freebie in exchange for this. Many people find the time spent filling out these forms will worth it to get a great free product. Convenience is the other cost involved with many freebies. Time and convenience go hand in hand in some cases – after all, it may not be especially convenient to fill out form after form simply because it is time consuming, but convenience takes another hit from freebies in the form of spam email. Often, signing up for a freebie can land you on a spam email list, and for some people, getting tons of spam is so inconvenient that they would rather pay full price. The truth about all of these costs of freebies is that the freebie is in the eye of the beholder. You have to decide what you are willing to put up with in order to get a free product. Once you know the limits to your freebie costs, than you can cash in on some really great products that don’t cost you a dime. When you spend five minutes filling out a form and get rewarded with a free DVD player that you have been wanting, you will realize that there are free things out there to be had.

Web Hosting - Why Backups Are Essential One thing most web site owners have little time for is... anything! Anything other than focusing on their site content and the business or service it supports and the information it provides, that is. That means that administration often suffers, as it frequently must. There's only so much time in the day. But the one thing that you should never let slide are backups. They are like insurance. You rarely need it (you hope), but when you do you need it very badly. Performing regular backups - and testing them - doesn't have to be a nightmare. A little bit of forethought and effort and they can be automated to a high degree. And, they should be tested from time to time. Even when a backup appears to have gone without a hitch, the only way to know whether it's of any value is to attempt to restore the information. If it can't be restored, the backup is worthless. Even when the web hosting company provides the service, there is still some planning involved for the site owner. Hosting companies often rely on one or both of two methods. They backup everything (called a full backup), then backup anything which has changed since the last full backup (called an incremental backup). Of special interest are any configuration files that have been tailored. If you've modified the default installation of a software package, you want to be able to recapture or reproduce those changes without starting from scratch. Network configuration files, modifications to basic HTML files, CSS style sheets and others fall into the same category. If you have XML files, databases, spreadsheets or other files that carry product or subscriber information - about items purchased, for example, or people who signed up for a newsletter - those should get special attention, too. That's the lifeblood of your business or service. Lose them and you must start over. That can break your site permanently. It should go without saying that all HTML and related web site files that comprise visible pages should be backed up regularly. It isn't necessary to record every trivial change, but you can tailor backup software to exclude files or folders. Usually they're so small it isn't worth the trouble. But in some cases those small changes can add up in scenarios where there are many thousands of them. Here again, the backups are worthless if they can't be used. Even if the hosting company charges for doing so, it's worthwhile to test once or twice a year at least to ensure the data can be restored. That's especially true of database backups, which often involve special software and routines. Database files have a special structure and the information is related in certain ways that require backups be done differently. Developing a backup strategy can be straightforward. Start simply and review your plan from time to time, modifying it as your site changes and grows. But don't neglect the subject entirely. The day will come when a hard drive fails, or you get hacked or attacked by a virus, or you accidentally delete something important. When that day comes, the few minutes or hours you spent developing and executing a backup plan will have saved you days or weeks of effort.

Positive Reasons Why Employee Turnover Can Be a Good Thing Employee turnover is the bane of many an organization. If you pick up any business paper, you will find headline after headline screaming about how much turnover is costing companies and how to keep your employees happy and on board to avoid the headaches and hassles of high turnover. The tide, however, is starting to turn. More and more business experts are stepping up and saying turnover doesn’t have to be the end of the world. In fact, in some cases, turnover can be the best thing that ever happened to your company. While some turnover is as bad as traditional wisdom assumes it is, other instances of turnover can be a real positive for your business. How can turnover possibly be a good thing? It all comes down to who is leaving the company, and why. Every office has its workers that are a drag on the business for one reason or another. Maybe the employee is dissatisfied with their job because they have been working it for too long and are overqualified, but they don’t have any room for advancement. Maybe an employee thinks that all of the decisions you are making about the business are the wrong ones and are constantly critical. Maybe the employee just has a personality conflict with the other people in the company and you and other works simply don’t like them very much. When these kinds of employees leave your company, it can be a shot of life into the business. Suddenly, everyone feels hopeful and re-energized because the negative energy in the air is gone. Negative vibes in the office can have a very damaging effect on the staff, and by extension, your business. When the person causing the bad feeling heads for the highway, they take with them all of the problems they created. Not only does the departure of an employee who was causing trouble in the office boost morale for the employees who are left behind because the bad feelings are gone, but it also boosts morale because it creates a job opening within company. If the person who left was a superior to many people in the office, there is now an instant opportunity for advancement. Your workers will step up with their games as they vie for the position, creating new business opportunities for you and generally keeping the spirit high in the office. If you decide to promote from within whenever possible after a turnover, your employees will work harder with the knowledge that they have a chance of moving up. These turnover positives hold true whether the employee in question quit the job or was fired. Who they were in the company and why they left are often much more important in determining whether the turnover was positive or negative. While losing an employee who is bringing everyone else down is a positive thing for your business, losing an employee who was an integral part of the corporation is another. Of course, there are costs involved in a turnover – you have to re-train an employee, and if you hire from outside of the company, you have the costs of advertising the job and the cost of the time spent interviewing candidates. If you are losing employee after employee, and the employees you are losing are the ones who were holding things together at the office, then you need to consider things you can do to reverse the turnover trend. Despite the potential negative side, turnover doesn’t have to be a bad thing for your company. If you manage it properly and if you are dropping employees who have been bringing your business down, turnover could be just the thing to turn your fortunes around.