Author Archives: siren

7 Part Time Business Ideas

1.Tutoring service

Whether you’re an academic or you have a special skill (like computer expertise or fluency in another language), it might be time to get into the tutoring business. First, figure out your target audience of students — for example, are you looking to help high school students with math, or teach computer skills to adults? Once you know whom you’re looking to reach, start advertising your services. If your students are happy with the results, ask them to refer friends or other organizations that can use your help, and build up a clientele from there.

2.Software Trainer

If you’re proficient in a highly specialized software, you can get paid to pass your knowledge on to amateurs and professionals looking to expand their skill sets. Technical manuals are available for programs like QuickBooks and Final Cut Pro, but these are often expensive and difficult for the average user to get through. Schedule small group workshops or private sessions, and charge by the hour for a full tutorial of the program. Patience and a great personality are critical.

3.Handyman

Do they call you Mr. or Ms. Fix-It? Starting a part-time handyman (or handywoman) business is a great way to work with your hands, help people in your community and make some extra cash. A new handyman can put up fliers, advertise in local publications, and recruit friends and family for an online social media blitz. Then, you can get to work repairing everything from leaky pipes to faulty electrical wiring — just be sure you read up on the proper techniques and procedures, and check with your local government to make sure you have the necessary permits for any projects you might take on.

4.Pet Care

Are you good with animals? Spread the word to friends and neighbors that you’re available to watch their pets while the owners go on vacation or a weekend trip. Pet owners often feel more comfortable leaving their furry friends in the care of an individual rather than placing pets in a boarding facility, so getting referrals shouldn’t be too difficult. If you can’t commit to lodging animals in your home, consider starting a dog-walking, waste-cleanup or pet-grooming business.

5.Caricaturist

No festival or county fair would be complete without a caricature artist to draw fun, unique souvenirs for visitors to take home. With online tutorials like Learn-To-Draw.com, you can learn caricature techniques and begin building a portfolio to display for potential customers. Then, check your town or county’s website for local events that have booths available to rent. Charge by the portrait at these types of events. (Depending on how quickly you can draw, the earning potential is huge.) And once you earn a reputation, you can offer a flat rate to be hired at school functions, weddings or children’s birthday parties.

6.Craft/Jewelry Vendor

Do you have a knack for knitting, jewelry making or creating other small crafts? If you can produce a large quantity of items in a short amount of time, consider selling your goods to the public. Online storefronts like Etsy are a safe place to start, since you can display photos of sample products and fill orders for them as they come in. However, if you have a large amount of inventory stored up, consider selling your work at a local craft fair or other community event.

7.Music Teacher

For the musically gifted, offering lessons to others who want to learn how to play an instrument can be a great source of extra income. Unless you’re teaching piano, students can bring their own instruments to your home for hourlong lessons. Stock up on sheet music or songbooks in varying genres, and aimed at various skill levels, so you can offer a wide selection for your potential clients. Voice lessons can also bring in a lot of money if you market yourself to local high school and community theater groups.

5 Business Fads That Are on Their Way Out

Subscription services are all the rage right now, but Jeff Neal, creator of a mud-run series turned project manager and estimator, said box subscriptions — a business where a company sends subscribers a curated box of items every month — will taper off because they are more interesting than practical. Over time, he said, you will end up with way more of a certain product — like coffee, wine or cleaning products — than one person could possibly need or use.

If you run a box-subscription company, you might want to consider finding a “common denominator” with another type of business and adapting, said Neal. For example, you could branch out into retail sales: Subscription services like Julep (cosmetics) and Blue Apron (meal ingredients) allow subscribers to skip their monthly deliveries and instead purchase related products individually from the service’s websites.

The trend of e-commerce “daily deal” websites hit complete market saturation in 2014, said Mike Catania, co-founder and CTO of savings community Promotion Code. However, with so many ties to small business communities, daily deals sites could easily morph into location-based apps that curate retail deals nearby, he said.

“Entrepreneurs in the field could also diversify by moving into the popular rebates arena, as they likely have significant amounts of purchase data from their existing daily deal customers,” Catania added.

The emerging information about the dangers of UV tanning has decreased the demand for traditional tanning beds. However, it is possible to stick with the tanning business and remain profitable, said Eric Anderson, CEO ofUnlimited Tan. Switching the focus to spray tanning can increase business and even bring in a whole new clientele that would normally not visit a tanning salon.

“Adding a spray booth or custom spray tanning is a must to adapt to the changing needs of your customer base,” Anderson said. He added that creative marketing and partnerships will keep customers engaged.

Although the teeth-whitening market has been alive and well since the days of the ancient Egyptians and Romans, today’s health-conscious consumers are wary of modern methods like bleaching and laser treatments. Max Robinson, owner of Teeth Whitening Belfast, said he does far less traditional laser teeth whitening than he used to do, because most of his customers are now looking for natural treatments. As a result, he has had to diversify his business, he said.

“We use a lot of coconut oil, charcoal and baking soda, and provide different [whitening] treatments,” Robinson said.

Pokémon Go was without a question the most popular new app this summer. But how many people do you know who still play the game regularly? AJ Saleem, academy director of Suprex Learning Houston, said he expects gaming apps capitalizing on nostalgia to die off in the coming year, if not sooner, because the games eventually lose their popularity (again).

“There are definitely ways to prolong its popularity, such as adding new additions and updating, but eventually the game will die out,” said Saleem. “Those popular games aren’t meant to last forever.”

6 Business Ideas for Artists

Art dealer

Imagine making a living finding beautiful works of art and selling them to art enthusiasts. If you have the money to rent space in a high-traffic area, you can open your own art gallery and assist fellow artists get their work noticed. As with any business, building your reputation and niche can be an uphill battle: You’ll need expert networking and marketing skills to get the word out. Use social media to your advantage to show your work and meet people in the business to build your contacts. Once you establish a good client base, you’ll be rubbing elbows with some of your city’s most prominent artists at your gallery parties and exhibits.

Paint-and-sip franchise owner

If teaching a painting class isn’t your speed, maybe opening a franchise like Painting with a Twist or Pinot’s Palette is. With this trendy business model, participants pay a fee to enjoy a fun and relaxing painting class with their friends while sipping their favorite beverages. Become a franchisee and own your own business, while supporting local artists who can teach the classes.

Custom airbrushing

Whether you work on cars, murals or clothing, there’s a wide range of possibilities for an airbrushing artist. You’ll need to purchase some equipment to get started, like an air compressor, stencil materials, and of course, paints and airbrushes. Airbrushing can be done in a well-ventilated storefront, kiosk or even at home in your garage on a freelance or project basis. You can also create and sell airbrushed paintings online or at local events.

Caricature artist

No festival or county fair would be complete without a caricaturist to draw fun, unique souvenirs for visitors to take home. With online tutorials like Learn-To-Draw.com, you can learn caricature techniques and begin building a portfolio to display for potential customers. Then check your town or county’s website for local events that have booths available to rent. You can charge by the portrait at these types of events—depending on how quickly you can draw, the earning potential is huge. There are also opportunities to do your work at weddings, Project Graduation parties, fundraisers and a number of community activities. Once you earn a reputation, you can offer a flat rate to be hired.

Makeup artist

A more practical (and far less permanent) way to use people as canvases is becoming a makeup artist. Beauty school isn’t a prerequisite for launching a successful makeup business: All you need is a good reputation and a great knowledge of cosmetics. Since beauty professionals often build their business through client referrals, work on friends and family for free or at a discounted rate at first. Once you have a solid customer base, you can offer competitive rates for updos and makeup for weddings, proms and other special events.

Silk screener

Could you see your artwork on a T-shirt? You can go into the silk-screening business andstart your own clothing line. Startup costs are relatively low if you don’t buy your own printing equipment, and once you build up an inventory, you can sell your clothes through a site like BigCartel.com or on your own website. Matthew Johnson, founder ofSeventh.Ink Shirts and Apparel, reminds aspiring clothing designers that having a unique product and staying engaged with customers are the keys to a successful business.

Business and society in the coming decades

Business exists to serve society.

Over the past several decades, one of the great discussions within capitalism has centered on defining exactly what a business is and what its obligations are to society at large and to the many stakeholders participating in business systems, including customers, shareholders, employees, suppliers, and communities, to name a few.

The obligations to society have been defined in different ways at different points. For many retailers, including Walmart founder Sam Walton, the focus has been first and foremost on serving the customer. For others over the past couple of decades, the focus was myopically on the shareholder. With the advent of shared-value, double-bottom-line, triple-bottom-line, and related movements, we have seen a broadening of the discussion to recognize the importance of multiple stakeholders and the need to promote social, environmental, and financial value.

Long-term capitalism goes one step further, asking companies to actively reshape the systems in which they operate. Those systems could include the complex of logistical and shipping services that move goods around the globe, the web of overseas contract manufacturers on which companies rely, or the array of energy suppliers that fuel worldwide operations. Long-term capitalism takes a deeper view of business’s role in society, recognizing that, in the long run, the interests of stakeholders converge with the interests of the broader community. The actions of any one company may reverberate throughout the various systems in which it operates, generating second- and third-order benefits as well as negative externalities. Under long-term capitalism, companies recognize that fact and, through concerted action with others of sufficient scale, work to ensure constant improvements to those systems.

The basics: Add value for society as well as business

When it comes to serving society, a company’s first task is to ensure that its core business is fundamentally value creating—not just for shareholders but also for customers, employees, suppliers, communities, and the environment.

This stakeholder-value principle may seem obvious, especially given the extent to which triple-bottom-line thinking has seeped into mainstream business discourse. Yet financial short-termism still drives day-to-day decision making for much of the corporate world. For many, shareholder value creation remains the driving force of business initiatives; creating value for stakeholders becomes a by-product or a means to an end. Even when faced with reputational challenges, companies sometimes launch social initiatives as side projects only tenuously linked to the core business, rather than strengthening and articulating the ways in which the core business adds value to society.

Taking a more expansive view of serving society means first ensuring the core business delivers value to the broader set of stakeholders. Is it adding value to the local community, for example, through taxes and engagement with local organizations? It also means addressing externalities related to the core business.

Go beyond the core to change the system

While it is important to operate the core business in a way that delivers value for society and the business, a healthy, high-performing company can and must go further. The world faces social, environmental, and financial challenges of unprecedented magnitude and complexity. No one actor can resolve these issues single-handedly. Governments and civil society are increasingly calling business to the table.

Meanwhile, globalization and technology have heightened interdependence in our social, environmental, and financial systems. Even seemingly small actions can have serious consequences for others far away in space and time. Globalization and technology have also greatly increased transparency. Actions and their consequences, however far removed, are much more visible to all.

So, how can companies define their unique contribution to making society stronger? At Walmart, we use five screens.

1. Prioritize issues that are relevant to the company mission

Like most companies, we look for those issues that sit at the convergence of our business interests and the interests of society. For example, as the world’s largest grocer, we believe the sustainability of the world’s food supply is one of the areas in which we can make a significant contribution.

The United Nations projects that food production must increase by roughly 70 percent to feed the estimated nine billion people who will inhabit the planet by 2050. We will need to meet that challenge in a way that is sustainable for the environment and equitable for consumers and farmers (who make up two-thirds of the population in emerging markets).

2. Draw on the company’s particular capabilities

Even in purely philanthropic areas, companies can have greater impact by drawing on their unique business capabilities and applying those skills to complex societal problems. In our own efforts, we try to add value in ways that are different from—and ideally additive to—what others can do.

For example, to address hunger in the United States, we make use of our particular assets. Over the past several years, we have donated nearly 1.5 billion pounds of food to food banks across the United States, including an increasing amount of fresh food nearing the end of its shelf life. This improves nutrition among those most in need, while reducing the amount of food we send to landfills as waste.

In tackling priority issues, we design our initiatives to promote benefits for society as well as business. We set ambitious targets, and we track progress rigorously.

In food sourcing, for example, we pursue initiatives that lower the environmental and financial cost of food production. One of these initiatives, agriculture optimization, aims to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by eight million metric tons across ten million acres of row crops such as oats and rice by 2020. Similar initiatives in the food chain and our own operations have allowed us to reduce our greenhouse-gas emissions by approximately 18 million metric tons since 2010. To do so, we are working with the Environmental Defense Fund, as well as other large food companies, including Cargill and General Mills, to adjust the use of fertilizer and other inputs. We measure progress by tracking improvements in greenhouse-gas emissions, water, yields, and other critical factors per ton of food produced, by supplier and by category.

4. Reshape the system for lasting improvement

In the era of long-term capitalism, companies can and must go beyond the kinds of improvements described above. They can do this by harnessing their expertise and scale and by joining with other organizations to reshape global systems for lasting improvement.

Now we are exploring opportunities to collaborate with others to strengthen transportation and processing infrastructure in emerging markets. This will help develop local economies, feed local populations, and support local farming families, all while providing a secure supply of high-quality food products for Walmart customers.

5. Engage partners in transforming systems

To achieve lasting solutions to complex social and environmental challenges, we have learned that it is essential to engage and collaborate with other leaders of the systems we seek to strengthen.

The difficult challenges facing the world today are well beyond the scope of any single player to address. Solutions will depend on cooperation among leading organizations in all sectors.

To achieve the magnitude of change the United Nations, World Wildlife Fund, CDP and others have called for in food, such as a reduction in water usage, a 3 percent annual decrease in private-sector greenhouse-gas emissions, and a 15 percent increase in yield in the next ten years, leaders of the food system must take concerted, coordinated action. In recent years, there has been an explosion in the number of multistakeholder collaborations in the food system, including the Consumer Goods Forum, which aligns retailers and manufacturers in achieving global food commitments such as sourcing 100 percent sustainable palm oil and soy; the World Economic Forum, with its Grow Africa and related initiatives; USAID’s Global Development Lab, to harness the power of the private sector and others in addressing development challenges; and the Clinton Global Initiative, with its innovative approach to sparking collaborative commitments from corporations, to name just a few.

5 Business Ideas Poised for Success

Women’s health platform

Aspiring women entrepreneurs looking to make a difference are now in a better position than ever to launch businesses that help other women. An online store that focuses on women’s health needs, or another platform that connects women with important resources and products, could be a great framework for a successful and

Box subscription services

Box subscription services are popping up everywhere in the food, beauty and even pet product sectors, ready to deliver goods right to your door each month. One of the consumer perks is the idea that these subscription boxes are carefully curated just for them based on their likes and interests, and each month, the boxes’ contents are a surprise.

Find a unique product category that’s still untapped by the box subscription industry, or find a way to put a new spin on an existing service, and you could have a lucrative business on your hands. Keep it as inexpensive as possible — according to LearnVest, offering cheaper products will help you stand out from the competition.

Health clubs for millennials

Health and fitness services are being rebranded to become trendier and more sociable. Opening a health club or gym targeted specifically to millennials could be a great way to capitalize on the fitness trend, especially if you focus on creating a strong, fun and engaging social media presence to really connect with young members and potential customers.

Software training

If you’re proficient in a highly specialized software, you can get paid to pass your knowledge on to amateurs and professionals looking to expand their skill sets. Technical manuals are available for programs like QuickBooks and Final Cut Pro, but these are often expensive and difficult for the average user to get through. Schedule small group workshops or private sessions, and charge by the hour for a full tutorial of the program. The best part about this gig is that it can be done part time.

Freelancing

Companies are increasingly turning to freelance and contract workers to fill the skill gaps in their staff. It’s not hard to imagine that you could build a whole company around providing freelance services of one sort or another. Some freelance gigs pay by the project and others pay hourly, and the rates can vary greatly. But as you gain more experience, your earning potential will soar.

6 Business Ideas for Sports Lovers

Sports photography/videographry

Parents of school-aged children on sports teams want lasting records of their kid scoring the winning goal or hitting a home run. Most times, the best they can get is a blurry action shot on their smartphone or digital camera. As a sports photographer, you can work with amateur teams to capture stunning photos of each player and sell them to proud parents. Knowledge of the game and a good single-lens reflex(SLR) camera are essential for this business. Photography retailerDigitalRev offers tips for beginners.

In addition, game footage is a much sought after skill for coaches and media outlets alike. If you’re a skilled videographer, consider freelancing; teams require gameday film to prepare and local media often reports on high school sports.

Sporting goods retail store

Opening a retail store is a great way to get involved in the sports world. Whether you sell professional team paraphernalia, equipment for amateur athletes, or both, you’re sure to find a great customer base just about anywhere. You may want to scope out potential locations for nearby mega-competitors like Dick’s or Sports Authority, and open up in a spot with high demand.

Sports bar

If you’ve ever had an interest in the restaurant business, a sports bar is the perfect idea for you. Provide a place for your fellow sports lovers to enjoy the game while you serve them a cold beer and their favorite game-day appetizers. This will take a considerable amount of startup capital, so it might be a good idea to go in on this venture with a business partner.

PR for athletes

Professional and college-level players frequently make sports headlines with their athletic abilities, but they all have lives outside the game. Many athletes are also entrepreneurs and/or philanthropists, and it takes a greatpublic relations agent to make sure their personal brands are well-known, both on and off the field. If you’ve got an arsenal of media contacts and a go-getter personality, you can launch an independent sports PR firm.

Health/nutrition coach

Both major and minor league athletes need to stay in peak condition all year round, and part of that is making sure they consume a healthy, nutritious diet. Players need nutrition coaches to design healthful menus and keep their food intake on track. Online courses for nutrition certification are relatively inexpensive and usually take less than a year, so you could be making big bucks in no time.

Personal training

In addition to a good diet, athletes also need to follow a strict workout regimen to stay at the top of their game, especially in the off-season. If you want the chance to work with sports players, consider becoming a certified personal trainer. Build up a reputation with local clients, then start advertising to teams. Find out more about how to become a personal trainer here.

6 Unique Pet-Inspired Businesses

Cats are capable of taking care of themselves for the most part, minus cleaning their litter boxes and getting fed (in some cases, however, they know how to break into that, too). But what if your cat could use a cat-size toilet? Dream no more. The Cat Genie, is a full-size cat box that looks, and operates, similarly to a toilet.

According to the site, Cat Genie is a full-size, automatic cat box that uses permanent Washable Granules. Unlike disposable cat litter, Cat Genie’s Washable Granules never need changing and are 100 percent dust-free, biodegradable and septic-safe. The self-cleaning product rids itself of liquid and solid cat waste without owners ever having to handle cat litter again.

The cleaning system will run you approximately $244 without the cost of additional supplies.

If leaving your felines alone while you go off to work every day makes you sad, Kittyo might be just the thing you need. Cat owners can use the device and app to interact with their furry friends even when they’re not in the same room.

The device, which retails for $249, allows users to speak to their cats, play with them, dispense treats to them and even watch what they do while the owners are gone. The product works by connecting to a smartphone app, which in turn allows you to control the device from anywhere, as long as you’ve got an internet connection. You can use the device to shine a laser around the room for your cat to play with and record videos with a few taps on your screen. With Kittyo, you don’t have to work from home to play with your cat on your lunch break.

Do you love your pet so much you want an exact copy? Although actual cloning may not be an option, Cuddle Clones solves this problem by making custom stuffed animals that look identical to your fur baby.

Cuddle Clones creates one-of-a-kind plush replicas of your pets, based on photos and your chosen customization options. You can personalize everything from eye color and ear position to pose and tail position, so that your stuffed animal is as close to the real thing as possible. And yes, you can even get one that’s true to size. You’re not limited to dogs and cats, either; Cuddle Clones will replicate horses, turtles, rabbits, ferrets, birds, pigs and more.

Cuddle Clones also donates to animal-related causes, so while you’re getting a plush copy of your furry friend, you’re also helping Cuddle Clones give back and assist animals in need.

The thought of having farm-fresh eggs at your disposal and an adorable feathered friend to call your own might be appealing to some, but not everyone is equipped to handle a hen. Rent The Chicken gives you the opportunity to see exactly what goes into raising chickens before you bring one into your home permanently.

So how does it work? According to the company’s website, Rent The Chicken provides you with everything you need, including two egg-laying hens, a portable chicken coop, food and water dishes, enough food (with a non-GMO option as well) for the length of your rental time, and instructions for everything. Rental periods are open from May to November, which is when chickens lay the most eggs.

And, of course, if you absolutely fall in love with your chickens, you can adopt them for a fee that includes their supplies.

DoodyCalls says it’s “the nation’s trusted leader in pet-waste-removal services for homeowners and communities.” That’s right — DoodyCalls is the company you call to help pick up after your pets.

Providing dog-pooper-scooper services, cat-litter-box cleaning, patio and deck deodorizing, and dog-waste-station setup and maintenance, DoodyCalls helps keep your yard and community waste-free. According to the company’s FAQ page, DoodyCalls will scoop deer and goose poop, too: “We are happy to help keep any kind of poop off your lawn or off your community common areas.”

Sometimes, you just can’t get outside to take your dog for a walk, or can’t make it home in time to let your pets out to do their business. With The Pet Loo, you don’t need to worry; it brings the outdoors inside, so your dogs can relieve themselves without ruining your carpet.

The Pet Loo is a portable, square pet toilet that has a layer of synthetic grass to resemble the outdoors and drain urine into its base. It also contains a removable waste container for easy cleanup. According to its website, The Pet Loo is ideal for apartments and new puppies, and is a more convenient alternative to pee pads and midnight bathroom breaks. The company also sells cleaning products, odor-eliminating cat litter and more.

5 Businesses You Can Start with Your Kids

If your teen excels in a specific subject or has exceptional grades, encourage him or her to assist those in need of help through tutoring services. Your child can get paid for his or her knowledge and time spent helping others learn a skill or subject matter. This type of business is scalable, and live videoconferencing and electronic payments can bring your child’s skills online as well.

Kids are absorbing tons of social media knowledge at a young age. They’re becoming YouTube and Instagram stars with millions of followers for just being themselves. This could be invaluable knowledge for small businesses in your area. Encourage your child to apply his or her understanding of social platforms to consult for local shops and restaurants.

As long as houses come with lawns and outdoor maintenance, there will be a need for landscapers.The simplicity of the job, from mowing the lawn to trimming trees, means it can open doors to college degrees in the field, which can lead to jobs with theme parks or college campuses.

Technology has brought traditional job choices for teens into the modern age. Sites like SitterCity, Care.com and Rover.com have made it easy for people to hire and pay child or pet sitters. Encourage your child to gain some experience by babysitting for family members or neighbors. After they’ve gotten some experience, they can set up an online account to allow them to truly grow their business in an accessible way.

Etsy shop owner

Sites like Etsy have transformed the way crafters bring their talent to the world. They no longer have to rely on fairs and events to show off their creations; instead, they can sell their products online to customers around the world. If your child has a knack for crafting and creativity, Etsy may offer a great business opportunity. Etsy has a comprehensive guide on fees and owning your own business, along with guidelines for minors.

Find Your Dream Business

For when you’re searching for holiday gifts for your clients and co-workers, shopping for the perfect birthday present for your boss, or just looking for business inspiration, here are five companies with unique business models that can help. From mobile gift cards to personalized sweet treats, these businesses put a whole new spin on gift giving.

Now more than ever, the best food often comes from tiny carts, stands and trucks. These 10 food trucks from around the country are serving up so much more than just mobile meals — entrepreneurs can learn a lot from their creativity and innovation, too.

These companies don’t just give children and young adults something fun to do after school or when school’s out for the summer. They also help them learn valuable skills, develop their creativity, improve their health and further their education in other ways — keeping parents everywhere happy, too.

The legal cannabis industry is rapidly growing as more states adopt both medicinal and recreational cannabis laws. An industry research group projects that cannabis will be worth more than $20 billion in less than 5 years, meaning now is the time to get in on the ground floor of this fledgling business.

Back-to-school season isn’t always easy, but there are plenty of businesses out there that can help make starting a new school year a lot less stressful for students, parents and teachers.

From facilitating new ways to display art in your home or office, to giving artists new mediums to showcase and sell their work, these businesses put the “art” in “startup.”

Whether you’re looking for products or want to start a business that brings it back to basics, you need to check out these inspiring all-natural businesses.

Beyond record labels, major streaming services, equipment retailers and concert venues, there are a lot of ways business and music intersect, and these music businesses are really changing the game.

From virtual-reality sports platforms and game-footage analysis to family-friendly youth sports programs, these six businesses put a whole new spin on sports, helping coaches, athletes and families do what they love.

Fortunately for all you vegans out there, more and more stores and brands are dedicated to this animal- and eco-friendly lifestyle, covering everything from food and cosmetics to clothes and accessories.

While many organizations do their part by increasing recycling efforts, sourcing local materials and using energy-efficient equipment, some have taken their eco-friendly efforts to the next level by basing their entire business models on these principles.

Ready to use some of your hard-earned vacation time? Don’t book your flight just yet. Check out these cool travel businesses first to make your next vacation even less stressful — and more memorable!

From afterlife preparations to unique burial methods and memorials, there are more businesses related to death than you might expect, including these seven totally killer businesses that will probably give you the heebie-jeebies.

Successful businesses all have one thing in common: They solve a problem for their customers. But some problems are less pleasant than others, and some are downright disgusting.

From the weird (bacon-flavored envelopes) to the inspiring (a food truck that gives back to the community), here are seven unique food and beverage businesses you probably didn’t know existed.

These breakup-inspired businesses know what it’s like to get dumped and are taking advantage of it. But don’t worry, unlike your ex, they’re not really taking advantage of you.

Whether they’re making use of a critter’s natural behaviors or pampering your pet to the fullest, these 10 companies have your four-legged friends in mind.

While most companies simply run Halloween-themed promotions during October, these eight startups have built their businesses entirely on the season of spirits.

Your wedding day should be flawless, and these services are here to help. To make sure your big day goes off without a hitch, take a look at these businesses that are dedicated to helping couples like you plan the best day ever.

Staying fit and relaxing are rarely the same thing. One invokes images of pumping iron, the other of lying on the couch. But Yoga harnesses the best of fitness and relaxation to bring you a mind, body, and spirit experience that rejuvenates and strengthens. These businesses help support those goals.

What was once seemed like a high-tech, futuristic device is now reality; 3D printers are taking the world by storm and allowing users to create real, physical objects from nothing more than a computer representation. These companies have harnessed the power of the 3D printer to create truly amazing businesses.

Do you love gaming? These startups have their sights aimed at the top of the heap when it comes to video games. See what these six businesses are working on that could change the game, literally.

Tips to Save Your Investment in Endpoint Security

 Keeping users safe

In an ideal world, users would be perfectly security conscious. These mythical users wouldn’t:

  • Click on suspicious links.
  • Open file attachments emailed by criminals pretending to be their friends.
  • Respond to phishing messages that appear to be from a bank.
  • Disable software updates because warnings and reboots are annoying.
  • Disable a security product because it slows down their PC.
  • Install free software from an untrustworthy developer, because their friend liked it on Facebook.

Sadly, our world is less than ideal. Much, much less: A recent report said that 86 percent of U.S. businesses surveyed had lost sensitive data during the previous year.

User awareness training helps, but it isn’t sufficient. That’s why your endpoints need securing. Doing so helps prevent your users from accidentally exposing sensitive business information, such as your  banking credentials, secret-sauce recipes or future product plans.

Save time and money on endpoint security

Your challenge is to protect your users while minimizing costs: How do you save time and money, while keeping your company safe?

Look for a modern endpoint security solution – not one thrown together from an old antivirus program and a fresh coat of paint.

How can you tell?

A start-of-the-art solution does the following:

  • Works intelligently in the background, without bogging down the user’s computer
  • Scans for malware in seconds, not hours
  • Uses a reliable, built-from-the-ground-up cloud security service to identify malware, not a huge signature file that’s quickly out-of-date
  • Works intelligently while offline, reconnecting with the cloud service to check changes made while disconnected
  • Fixes infected PCs, if necessary, by rolling back the computer’s state to a known-good point
  • Automatically monitors untrusted software executions to prevent infection
  • Allows you to enforce certain policy settings, such as use of USB ports, and prevents users from disabling security features
  • Doesn’t fight with competing installed products, to allow you to test it safely

How does it reduce your investment?

A modern solution will reduce costs by being integrable, controllable and reliable. That means your operating costs are lower, and you won’t lose money from malware infections that only waste IT workers’ time and squander end-user productivity.

Purchase cost is, of course, a factor. However, in most analyses of total cost of ownership (TCO), operations and end-user productivity losses dwarf all other costs.

You have to first consider your budget realities, but it’s smart to benchmark yourself against what similar companies spend. There are free security solutions, but they don’t provide the control or sophistication to minimize your TCO.

Don’t Be Fooled

Keeping your company safe requires more than a warmed-over, 10-year-old anti-virus product. You need a state-of-the-art endpoint protection solution to safeguard your organization, in addition to user awareness, enforced policies and proper patch management.

The best solutions allow you to sleep soundly, knowing that you’ve taken the key steps to protect your systems, while keeping costs low.