As 2017 is winding down, news of major cyber hacks, threats, and data breaches still linger in our heads. Which begs the next question, what will 2018 have in store for us?
In 2017, the media dominated the airwaves of data breaches, cybersecurity threats, major hacks, which affected companies like Equifax, Verizon, Yahoo, and the WannaCry global incident. Which begs the question to organizations of any caliber are we next?
Various organizations, corporations, governments, public and private sectors, businesses big or small are all likely targets. What will 2018 have in store for us? McAfee and Kaspersky threat predictions identified cybersecurity trends to watch for in 2018:
Critical infrastructure cyber attacks is a major concern, as we come across some of these attack surfaces, many security experts are predicting that we will begin to see an increase of cyber attacks on critical infrastructure in 2018. Here are 16 critical infrastructure sectors that could be attacked in 2018:
There is no denying it, there is a shortage of skilled resources within the field of cybersecurity, over 3.5 million positions will go unfilled by 2021. Small to medium businesses will be affected due to budgetary reasons or lack of knowledge on the subject.
The pace of innovation of technology and solutions will help compliment some concerns, however, education for all employees is the key to maintaining the cyber awareness of organizations well into the future. The only problem that these organizations face is that sometimes IT departments lack the skillset or real-world experience in properly protecting an organization from the onslaught of cyber threats in the digital frontier. By outsourcing or augmenting your organization's cybersecurity stance, you allow the company become resilient by implementing cost-saving products and solutions to better equip your staff. Adhering to your businesses regulatory compliances, along with effective 24/7 threat detection and remediation will put your business in the right posture to become resilient to ongoing threats.
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Increasing your profits might sound like it's an unattainable dream just out of your reach. But there are a finite number of ways that profits can be increased. Once you understand what they are, you'll have clarity on how to best reach your goals.
There are two primary ways to increase profits:
That's not particularly enlightening or instructional, is it? Let's look at four ways you can increase revenues and four ways you can reduce expenses to get clearer on what actions you can take for your business.
The easiest way to raise revenue is to simply raise prices. However, this is not foolproof and assumes you'll be able to maintain the volume of sales you've achieved in the past. This method is also limited by market demand, what your customers are willing to pay.
Add new customers
Adding new customers is what most entrepreneurs think about when raising revenue. Increasing your marketing or adding new marketing methods is typically the way to add new customers. Another related option is to work hard to keep the customers you already have. You can also potentially contact the customers you lost and ask them to come back.
Introduce new products or services
For some companies, your products and services are changing every year. For others, not so much. To increase revenue, consider adding new products or services that will bring in an additional revenue stream that you didn't have before. Even if your products are changing every year, you can consider adding something completely different that your customer base would love. For example, a hair salon could add a nail desk, a clothing store could add handbags or shoes, a grocery store could add a coffee bar, a restaurant could add catering, a landscaper could add hardscaping, and so on.
The final way a business can increase revenue is to acquire another business in a merger or acquisition.
Negotiate for a better deal with vendors
If you've been working with a vendor for a while, you may be able to re-negotiate your contract with them. This is especially common with telecom companies. Call you phone provider and ask them for the latest deal. They always favor new customers over long term customers, but they don't want to lose customers either. Just calling them usually yields a better price than what you are paying now.
If a vendor has gotten too expensive, it might be time to look for a new vendor. Health care insurance seems to be in this category. Often, changing providers will lower your costs.
If there is not enough work to support your employees or not enough cash flow to pay them, then it might be time for a layoff or restructuring. You might also consider outsourcing a function that you previously did in-house.
Reduce / rationalize expenses or services
It might be your business no longer needs to spend money on an expense. Perhaps this expense has been automated. In this case, it's an easy decision to cut the expense out entirely.
Those are some of the ways to increase profits. Which one makes the most sense in your business? Create a plan around these eight ideas to boost your profit this year, and let us know if we can help. For results you can count on, contact us at 1 844 577 7654 or at firstname.lastname@example.org We hope you find all of this useful and, as always, please keep your feedback and suggestions coming.
BizMetrics and Results You Can Count On are trademarks of BizMetrics Incorporated. Copyright © 2017 BizMetrics Incorporated. All rights reserved.
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We (at Ruppert Contracting) have been working with clients on their mostly residential projects for the past 16 years. Since my background is European and I am familiar with the typical European home construction, knowing the North-American stick frame systems I wanted to find something better. This is what led me to the ICF (Insulated Concrete Form) products. I was excited to learn that ICF is a better alternative to the traditional stick frame exterior walls, possibly even better than the wall systems that are being commonly used in Europe.
To understand where my excitement came from, let me tell you a bit more about the ICF system:
The Insulated Concrete Form is specially produced EPS/expanded polystyrene foam that look like a giant LEGO block and its two sides are connected with plastic webs. When it comes to assembling the exterior walls on site, the blocks are placed on top of each other by very easy physical labour and reinforcing bars are inserted onto the plastic webs. These bars will later become part of the reinforced concrete. Once the perimeter walls blocks are up and properly supported (so they are plumb), as well as window and door opening are created, workers place concrete into them. This is the most critical point of the ICF construction, as the concrete placement has to be done properly (a knowledgeable person shall monitor the right amount of material flowing into all necessary cavities).
As soon as the concrete is poured the mass of the new wall can be noticed if you are to touch it or lean against it - while the EPS foam will reflect your body heat, even the fresh concrete behind it will provide a very sturdy feel.
What you are gaining with ICF is the following:
- a great deal of thermo mass due to the density of the concrete(this will retain the heat it receives through heating and keep reflecting it once the heating source is turned off)
- a very quiet home - the ICF wall structure is very sound proof
- basically an earth quake-proof structure (like the high-rise buildings, an ICF building's structure is made out of reinforced concrete; therefore, their resistance against earth quakes or vehicle impacts is greater than even the resistance of the European homes that are constructed mostly with ceramic building block and can crack under stress)
- fireproof - the structure will not get compromised in case of fire
- water resistant - even if leaks or floods would happen, they would not compromise the structural integrity of the home. After drying and perhaps some cosmetics, the building can be used again.
- draft free and well insulated environment - I already mentioned the thermo mass, that will help retaining the inside temperature. However, thanks to the ICF walls' great thermal insulation, the heating or cooling costs are significantly lower, too. Since there is a continuous insulation, there will be now thermo-bridging, hence no drafts and cold spots.
I could go on and on about the advantage of this product, because I am a big fan of it as I am of all the better building materials. This being said, I would like to make it clear, that we do not produce and/or sell ICF blocks, we are only the end users - people who build them into their client's homes.
However, this relentless search for the better solutions helps us maintain a high standard when it comes to any parts of the home construction. We have a similar approach to a home renovation, basement finish or an interior remodelling. This is how we like it, this is what is normal for us. We do not expect our clients to see it in any other way either.
To learn more about our services and get your next project started please call or contact me here.
Zoltan Ruppert | RUPPERT contracting ltd.
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A few years ago, I moved into a brand new house here in Whitby. One of the reasons for the move was to find a good neighbourhood where there were plenty of children. We struck the motherlode. Between my house, my neighbours to the left, and the 2 houses behind us, there were 11 children.
While we never actually spoke about it, no one put up a fence. We simply cut the grass to where we thought our lot ended plus one more foot. It was like a park back there. Children's games crossed over from our yard to the next without impediment. To the kids, the entire area was their back yard. Touch football, whiffle ball, snow forts and snow men all shared the communal yard.Even the adults took advantage of the open space. We had block barbeques and fireworks. One year, somehow I was put in charge of lighting the fireworks and I still have nightmares of the "incident". All my neighbours were lined up on their lawn chairs, all comfortably wrapped in blankets and sweaters. The children were huddled on the ground in anticipation. I had a wheelbarrow full of dirt to stick the fireworks in before lighting. Well, it seems some of the bigger fireworks are quite powerful and one fell over and aimed itself toward the crowd. In a matter of seconds, the rockets were raining on them at about the 6 foot level, the crowd was diving for cover and there were screams of terror as the fireballs went over their heads. Fortunately, no one actually got hit but it was the talk of every gathering after that and I was never asked to light the fireworks again.
All good things must come to an end. One of the neighbours decided to get a pool; another a dog. Fences were now a must. A fence builder was called, prices obtained and we all shared in the cost of the fences that defined our lots. It was simple.However, it is not always like that. Some people can't agree on what day it is let alone what kind of fence to put up, who should do it, and what it should cost. It is a delicate subject that requires negotiation and sometimes, compromise. I get calls about this every few months. While there is legislation in Ontario that can require a homeowner to contribute to the cost of a party fence, it is limited to the least expensive fence which is likely a 3 foot high chain link. This is not the fence of choice these days as most people want privacy as well as property definition. The municipality will appoint a "fence-viewer" to determine where the fence should go if asked.
The best advice I can give you is talk to your neighbour and keep talking until something is agreeable to you both. The courts and lawyers are available but are expensive and often result in a permanent falling out with the neighbour, no matter what the outcome. If worst comes to worst, simply build your fence entirely on your property and never mention it again. Your stress level will go down and you will live longer.Brian McMurter is a life-long Durham resident who practices real estate and wills & estate law in Whitby. His website is www.mcmurter.com .
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You probably have heard that there are changes to the mortgage rules that take effect January 1, 2018. Though, you might be confused on how these changes impact you. The most noticeable impact will be when you want to refinance your mortgage.
Starting January 1, 2018, when you decide that you want to refinance your mortgage you will have to qualify at a much higher interest rate. This higher qualifying rate, referred to as a stress test, is the greater of the five-year benchmark rate published by the Bank of Canada (currently 4.99%) OR the lender contractual mortgage rate plus 2.0%.
Let's look at an example and compare refinancing now versa refinancing after January 1, 2018:
Bob and Mary have a $450,000 mortgage which they want to refinance and pay off some high-interest credit card debt of $45,000. Their house is worth $850,000, and their household income is $90,000.
In this example, after January 1, 2018, Bob and Mary will only qualify for a $420,000 mortgage amount. They will not be able to pay off their high-interest credit card debt by refinancing. They have a lot of equity in their home, but cannot access it through traditional lending. They will need to look for alternative means to access the equity.
It is essential for Bob and Mary to take advantage of this refinancing window now such that they can pay off their credit card debt and secure a new mortgage.
Are you thinking about refinancing your mortgage? Get your questions answered and start a conversation with Sean today.
Sean Stewart, Mortgage Agent
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