The Online Adventure of a Stay at Home Mommy

Busting the Myths About Online Education

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Online education has come a long way. No longer is it just a class here and there. No longer is it of little or questionable substance. Universities around the world have developed top-quality education programs, offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in a variety of fields, with all coursework done online. Online news resource www.insidehighered.com cites an estimate that one-fourth of students enrolled in U.S. schools are enrolled in online programs; that’s about 5.5 million online students. Here’s a look at some of the myths about online programs that today’s online students are discovering for themselves.

It’s Too Easy

A common misperception is that online coursework is too easy, so it’s valued less than a traditional education. Online students have more options about when and where they study, but the coursework is the same and so are the assignment deadlines. These students may actually have it a little harder, having to be more self-directed in managing their time and coursework. As for work quality, academic standards may vary from school to school, but most institutions require that all students meet those same standards.

Online Credits Won’t Transfer

Some students may encounter trouble transferring credits no matter where or how they are enrolled. But that is not due to the course being an online offering. It may instead be due to trying to transfer credits to a for-profit institution or a specific program. Often, the school has no way of telling if a transfer course was taking in class or online.

Online Courses Aren’t Accredited

Accreditation varies from school to school, as with traditional courses. Students definitely need to research their school and program of choice for regional accreditation by a trusted agency. Student aid may not be available and credits may not transfer from schools that are not accredited by a reputable organization. Students should visit the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or the U.S. Department of Education to see whether an accrediting agency is legitimate.

Employers Shy Away From Online Degrees

This may depend on the individual employer. If you can show an employer that your program and school have top-quality academic credentials, most organizations will support you. Seek schools with a good reputation and programs with high standards, such as George Washington University (GW) and Maryville University. Learn more about the healthcare MBA offered online by GW and the online MBA in supply chain management offered by Maryville.

Not Enough Interaction with Instructors

Although you’re not physically in class, colleges have found ways to work around this to the student’s advantage. Enrolled students can reach instructors via online chat sessions or Skype, by sending an email or even by phone. Instructors are happy to work with you and many offer regular online and in-person office hours.

What getting a good online education comes down to is choosing a reputable school, researching its accreditation and taking advantage of the many ways you can interact with instructors. For businesses seeking to get up to speed on advances in their fields, and for business people who seek career advancement, online degree programs provide a means of doing both.

Image courtesy of jk1991 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


How To Choose The Right Casters For Food Service

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The food service industry is one of the most demanding work environments for casters to operate in. Food services require versatility, durability, and strength from its equipment. Once more, since operations here are very time sensitive, there is little room for error. High quality food service casters help to keep things running smoothly in kitchens and restaurants.

A variety of appliances utilize casters, including freezers, refrigerators, ovens, prep tables, and shelves. During the course of the day, casters get exposed to water, oil, chemicals, and varying temperatures. They endure wear and tear as staff wheel them around at a fast pace. Therefore these casters have to be tough, and they must also meet industry standards.

Plating
Just about all food service appliances will be exposed to liquid at some point, be it through moisture in the air, cleaning, or food splatter. That means that the casters will get wet too. Because of this, rust is a leading reason for caster failure. Rust can also contaminate food. To combat this, high quality kitchen casters should be plated with stainless steel. Stainless steel plating is corrosion resistant, therefore an ideal metal for kitchen casters.

Wheel Tread
When it comes to wheel treads, some materials may not be a good match for your floors. Kitchen floors can be made of a variety of materials. The wrong wheel can damage the floor, and vice versa. A wheel with hard metal treads will roll smoother, but it also makes more noise and can possibly damage the floor. Soft treads made from rubber aren’t noisy or damaging. However, the wheel material must meet guidelines set forth by the NSF. For example, it must be temperature resistant so it doesn’t melt or crack.

Wheel Bearings
Wheel bearings are essential to meeting health codes, though they often go overlooked. Most bearings require lubrication, and the lubricant must be food-grade and non-toxic. Lubricants must also be reapplied often because they need regular washing.

These are just a few things to consider when purchasing high quality casters for food service. Choosing the right ones will help your operations flow smoothly.

image credit: pixabay.com


Business Challenges Faced By Online Businesses

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It required a large amount of capital to start your own retail business. Most of these costs were associated with building, renovating, or renting a store. Today, anyone with a modest amount of capital can build an e-commerce website that can compete with established brick-and-mortar retailers.

E-commerce has changed how business works. It’s more than a trend; it’s a global business model. Still despite how easy it easy to set up shop as an entrepreneur, you face many challenges before you can create a successful business.

Here are 4 common challenges and the steps to take to meet them:

1. Unexpected technical issues:

If you have your own server and a local area network, you will find that for the most part, your computer system will be stable and reliable. However, what do you do if things go wrong? For instance, what do you do if your server crashes and you didn’t have enough time to backup some critical information? In a case like this, you can use data recovery services to get your crucial information back.

Handle unexpected technical problems by taking following 2 steps:

  1. Make sure you do everything you can to prevent problems. Do regular maintenance of your hardware. Keep your software up-to-date with the latest upgrades. And use best practices and anti-virus software to protect your computer system from problems, which can include someone trying to hack into your machines.
  2. Outsource what you can’t do yourself. This includes getting IT help and having a list of services to call in an emergency when you do happen to have a problem.

2. Reputation management.

While you may do your best to run your business with integrity, you can still have reputation management problems.

For instance, a customer might complain on a consumer website about your company because they didn’t get a refund to or that their shipment was lost.

These may not actually be your fault. The product may have passed its warranty; your fulfillment company may have made an error in the shipment.

Small things can quickly spiral out of control. Other customers may decide to join the chorus; business partners may begin to suspect you of chicanery; and potential customers may decide to buy from another vendor.

Manage your reputation by taking the following 2 steps:

  1. Be scrupulously honest. Don’t cut corners, take shortcuts, or omit information. Don’t become an affiliate for a merchant who has questionable products even if the commission is high. Also, make sure all your employees do the same. Do your best to deliver on all your promises.
  2. Hire a reputation management company to keep on top of bad press and to refute allegations made against your company and present the reasons why things went awry.

 3. Keep positive cash flow.

Business is based on a simple equation: you must have more money coming in then going out.

Unfortunately, it’s easy to spend more than you earn when you run an e-commerce business.

You have to pay for numerous services to run your business. You have to pay for web design, IT, electronic payment processing, landing pages, email marketing services, advertising, and so on.

If you are not careful, you can end up spending more money than you make. Even if you start out with sufficient capital, it can be quickly drained if you consistently spend more money than you make.

Once you hit a point of negative cash flow, you can quickly lose control of your entire business because you will have your essential services cut off.

Maintain positive cash flow problems by taking the following 4 steps:

  1. Don’t just rely on your financial statements to see if you are profitable. Instead, make sure that you have more than enough cash flow generation.
  2. Shore up extra cash that you make for unexpected expenses rather than immediately reinvesting it all in growing your business. This way if there is an emergency, you can meet it.
  3. Don’t borrow more than you can pay back.
  4. Hire a professional accountant to help you keep track of all your business accounting rather than trying to do it all yourself. This way, you won’t fall behind because you’re busy with other aspects of your business.

4. Stay abreast of the latest marketing techniques.

Things change fast online. One month a favorite method of advertising may work wonders and the next month it is so saturated that you spend more money on advertising than you make from sales.

Stay abreast of the latest marketing techniques by taking the following 3 steps:

Constantly measure the metrics of all your advertising to be able to quickly sort out changes in revenue generation.

  1. Attend industry conferences and get the latest courses on the best way to promote your business.
  2. Have a mix of different advertising methods so that if one unexpectedly dries up, you will still be making money from your other ads.

Business As Usual

Starting an e-commerce business may be easier to get into than opening up a brick-and-mortar company, and you may have huge advantages like global exposure and a business that runs 24/7, but you are still running a business that follows all the usual rules—taking care of problems before they happen, maintaining a good reputation, managing your money wisely, and advertising your goods effectively.


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