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Finnegan Pierson - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog Page 6

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Tips to Make Running a Business Easier

Running a business can be demanding and stressful. Most business owners find it hard to manage their companies and end closing them down. It is essential to learn how to keep your business going even during hard times. Here are time-tested tips to make running a business easier.

Hire Competent People

Nothing will make your work easier than hiring competent employees. The workers you hire should be skilled in the tasks on the table. Do background checks. Take time to go through resumes and call referees to ensure you are hiring the right people. If you are not in a good position to hire yet, it is crucial to work with recruitment agencies. The agencies can help you identify skilled and disciplined individuals for the job. Competent employees will make running a business easier because they know what to do, and you don’t have to keep an eye on them all the time.

Stay Organized

It is essential to stay organized when running a business. Keep every file in the right place in your office. Your employees should have organized desks to increase their work performance. Your stationery and necessities such as paper shredders, printer ink, and staples should be in the right place so that you can easily spot them. Being organized extends to payments. You need to have a reliable payment system to track down the records. For example, you can use a pay stub template to organize the paycheck records for your employees. The model includes the employee’s information, payments, deduction, dates, and many other vital details. This means that it is easy to calculate the amount of money used on salaries and also identify any employee who has not been paid.  

Be Focused

It is essential to stay focused on one thing until it is finished. If you are ordering inventory, focus on that, and then you can pick up another task later. Trying to do all jobs at once makes most business owners feel overwhelmed. Concentrating on one thing at a time makes a difference in the business world. If you have a tight schedule, however, assign each task to your employees, and handle what you can manage.

Plan Everything

Failure to plan is the first ingredient to making running a business harsh and unbearable. If you want to run a business like a pro, you need to be a good planner. Effective planning can help you run your day to day activities smoothly and avoid delays and inconveniences. It is crucial to note that emergencies are inevitable in the business world. In such a case, you need to adjust your plan to suit the situation. It is not wise to stick to a program that is not working.

Consider Outsourcing

The chances are you don’t have all the skills in your company yet. Before you can hire employees who can meet all the needs of your firm, it is advisable to outsource essential services. Outsourcing services can reduce the work on your plate and enhance business performance. For example, you can work with a website management company to ensure that your website is updated and running effectively.

Use Technology

The advancement of technology has made work easier for business owners. You can now use apps to track the activities in your company in your absence. Also, you can use technology to analyze sales and introduce new strategies to increase sales. Technology can help you work smarter and efficiently.

Plan a Time to Answer Emails Daily

Stacking up emails to answer at the end of the week makes your work hard. It is vital to create time to reply to emails. It can be in the morning after you get to the office or in the evening before you leave. This helps you respond to the needs of stakeholders on time. If you accumulate them, you might have hundreds of emails at the end of the week, and you may end up ignoring important ones.

Running a business is fun when you apply the right management approaches. These tips can help you make your work easier and avoid burnout.

Publish Date: March 3, 2020 1:13 AM


Considerations When Building Your First Office

When you run a business, sometimes it is best to own your office space. It can be even better to build it. This gives you ultimate control over what happens with your work area. However, commercial real estate construction is no simple matter. Whether you are building a small workplace for your team is a large office complex, the following considerations will help you make it happen.

1) How Much Space Do You need?

Construction projects are not simple, and they are expensive. Try to think ahead when you are planning out the size of the building. If you create something that is perfectly fit for your current needs, you will have no room for expansion. Conversely, if you create too much room for growth, you will be increasing your costs significantly for no return.

If you expect your needs to be volatile, consider renting until they stabilize. While owning your building can be a nice situation, none of the benefits outweigh flexibility if that is what you need currently.

2) Get the Financing in Order

Make sure you have your finances together before you put too much time into other aspects of the project. Fortunately, there are numerous options for borrowing money to help pay for business offices. For example, you may be eligible for an SBA loan. You can also get funding for construction projects.

Having a clear financial plan can help significantly in this situation. Not only is it easier to get financing when you have a plan, but it will also help you to stay on top of your spending on the project. Construction can easily get over budget and behind schedule. Make sure to set clear expectations and control to keep things in order.

3) Find Excellent Help

Chances are that you aren’t an expert on office construction. That is okay. The key is to find people who are. Hire the right architect to help you plan the project. Find great contractors and builders to make the building come together. Learn to lean on these people for their expertise.

This applies to your vendors and suppliers as well. For example, if you are building in Houston, you want to find the best Houston crane rental and other heavy equipment providers. It is worth it to invest in having the right help. Cutting too many corners could leave you in a very difficult spot.

4) Avoid Making Sudden Changes

Try to have a good plan of what the final result will be before you break ground. One of the most common challenges on projects such as building an office is the temptation to make changes. Perhaps you find out about a new trend that seems like a good idea or realize you forgot something. In some cases, changes are unavoidable. However, try to minimize the number of changes as much as possible.

Trust your planning process and the experts you are working with. It is common for people to get nervous and think that things need to be changed. However, this isn’t usually the case.

5) Don’t Forget About the Law

Remember all the permits, zoning and inspections you need to do. When you are building commercial real estate for renting out, this is normally obvious because your tenants will insist that everything be up to code. However, it can be easy to miss a legal step when you are building an owner-occupied location.

Your commercial real estate inspection will be different than a home inspection, which you may already be familiar with. This will likely be performed by a city agency to ensure that your building meets the local codes.

Learn More

Construction your business’s new workspace can help you to enjoy a more productive work environment. Additionally, it gives you a lot of control over the property where you work. However, it can also be a challenging project to take on. Learning the basics will help you to ensure the success of your project.

Publish Date: February 28, 2020 5:35 PM


Innovative Technology That's Changing the Face of Business

From new advancements with 3D printing to artificial intelligence technologies, there’s no question that tech innovations are growing – and fast. As more and more cutting-edge technologies are making their way to the market, many business strategies are evolving, too. If you are interested in learning more about what innovations are on their way and what may impact your business, you should keep reading. Here you can learn more about the latest tech advancements and how they may impact your business now and in the future.

The Introduction of 5G Networks  

While 5G isn’t exactly all-new (as it was first rolled out by some telecommunications in 2018), it is something that is still impacting and transforming the business realm. With 5G, users are promised faster connectivity, reduced power consumption, and lower latencies. What this means is that now, mobile-powered connectivity is much faster than the majority of wired broadband services in the United States.

There are many in the business realm who believe this is going to fuel further innovation from the internet of things, augmented reality, PaaS, cloud services, media, health care, virtual reality, smart homes, and more. All this is going to create amazing business opportunities across an array of industries.

More Mainstream Blockchain Apps

Decentralized apps, typically referred to as just dApps, are something that is predicted to become more mainstream and will have millions of users. Chances are, there will also be billion-dollar valuations being announced in many blockchain companies, which is something that is even considered a bit strange today. It is going to become more and more common in the coming years, and something that is exciting for all sorts of blockchain startups.

An Increase in AI-Enabled Platforms for More Automated Work

AI solutions are something that is going to revolutionize business. With these in place, business owners will have the ability to focus more on their core work, while leaving time-intensive tasks and busy work to the machines.

Customer Service Transformation by Machine Learning

More and more enhancements are being introduced in the realm of machine learning. This is something that is going to improve modern customer service professionals and help ensure they are as effective at their jobs as possible. With all the acquisitions related to AI technology companies by some of the biggest players, it is clear that this is set to be a rather hot topic in the tech realm.

3D Printing

When it comes to American manufacturing, many believe that 3D printing is going to be a catalyst. With this technology, it is possible to make smaller items, such as gifts, logos, toys, and more using a 3D printer in-house. With this type of tech, it is much easier for you to create a prototype of a new product, test it, improve it, and go through all this without spending a few thousand dollars to create the prototype. There is no question that this year will be one that 3D printing really makes a move into mainstream business operations.

New and Improved Security Measures

Data security is becoming more and more important. With data breaches having entered into the more mainstream news cycle, many consumers have built more awareness regarding how data is treated, and there is a much higher corporate responsibility regarding data privacy. There are also new security tools that are emerging on both the consumer and corporate sides. It is necessary for business owners to be cognizant of various security risks that are presented with newer technologies.

Are You Ready to Integrate New Technology?

If you want to ensure your business has the highest level of success possible, it is important to remain abreast of all the tech advances that are now available. By doing so, you can remain ahead of the competition and feel confident that your business will have the best chance of success possible. Being informed is the best way to ensure that your business has the tech innovations that are needed.

Publish Date: February 27, 2020 12:13 AM


What Is Willful Digital Disruption and Why Is It Good for Business?

Disruption, particularly digital disruption, in the business world is the emergent technology and techniques which have a transformative effect on every aspect of modern society. The steam engine and internal combustion engine are two examples of technological disruptions while targeted marketing is an example of an evolving technique disruption. You can willfully use disruptions to either get an early edge on the market or to keep up with it.

 

What Is It?

The definition for willful disruption in the digital age can be somewhat different as the technology and techniques are constantly evolving and bringing in useful things from industries other than your own. For example, some oil and gas extraction companies are incorporating artificial intelligence and robotic operation to better find and extract reserves with less danger to employees. Willful digital disruption is the aggressive and deliberate use of disruption for digital success. For instance, Google took an existing market, online searches, and innovated the field with real language searches and an extensive network of web crawling bots finding and categorizing websites. This company continues to use disruption to expand into mobile devices, email and social networking sites and quickly became the household name for all online search activities. Think about the last time you told someone to search something online, chances are that you told them to “Google it.”

 

What Are the Types? 

There are five main types of willful digital disruption: Offense or innovation, defense or competition, serendipity or chance, self-disruption or reinvention, and destruction or anarchistic. Many disruptions will fall into more than one type. For instance, when Netflix started the DVD subscription and then entertainment streaming revolutions, it fell into both offense and self-disruption categories.

 

Who Can Benefit? 

The biggest beneficiaries of digital disruption are those who either do it first or do it best. Your company can fall into those categories by keeping an eye out for emergent technologies and techniques which offer you opportunities to get ahead in the market and by continuing their evolution. This means embracing the information and analytics available to you and then leveraging that data to get ahead in the market.

 

Not everyone in your organization will be able to fully embrace disruption techniques so it is important to show your team managers how this will benefit both them and the company. This means opening dialogue, showing examples of successful disruptions in the past and attending various trade shows to get everyone fired up for emerging techniques and technologies.

 

How To Spot It?

It can sometimes be difficult to spot the disruptions which will be most beneficial to your company because it means seeing the developments in both techniques and technologies a couple of steps ahead of where they currently are. Smaller companies can look at how larger ones are disrupting the market and which strategies they can incorporate into their own practices. Research along these lines can lead to the information gathering and analytics that pinpoint the next innovation as well as show how to build a good defense.

 

How To Use It? 

Once you spot disruptions, you need to be able to effectively use them. The earlier you can start, the easier it will be to gain the market edge. For instance, scientists are rapidly learning how to use DNA as an information storage device, which could cause serious disruptions in the current system. To stay on top of this emerging technology, your company should determine how its widespread use would change the way that you need to do business and start making some of those changes now. The biggest example of how this has helped companies comes, arguably, from Amazon which used aggressive disruption to undercut the competition while offering new benefits to customers with emerging ecommerce technologies.

 

Willful digital disruption is a powerful technique which can take your company to the next growth stage. It can be difficult to spot and incorporate the right emerging technology and techniques, however, so be prepared for some missteps and to play catch-up every now and then.

Publish Date: February 26, 2020 6:54 PM


Effective Methods to Help Improve Sales at Call Centers

You may have all the right prospects and the right value statements, but your sales aren’t going up. What is causing your sales calls to fall flat, even though the script seems just fine? There are several potential reasons for this. It could be due to skeptic customers, tight competition, or the ever-shortening attention spans of individuals.

Being aggressive won’t work for salespeople because customers aren’t going to hear you, they will resent the pressure to buy, and turn away from the sale. As a result, it’s necessary to ensure your sales team is well-versed in your product, that they sound empathetic, and to familiarize themselves with your customers while showing them appreciation for their time. Doing all this is going to improve customer service and boost sales. Keep reading to learn some effective tips you can use to increase your call center sales.

Get to Know the Product Well

The first step to increasing sales is to gain knowledge and expertise of the service or product that they are trying to sell. They need to be aware of their customer base and up to date about the latest product features and options. All your sales agents need to possess the right skills to answer all questions and address customer concerns. Have a team meeting with all of your salespeople to train them how to sell the product. Create a sales meeting agenda to ensure that you cover everything important in the meeting. This will make sure that your sales agents have the knowledge and ability to actually “sell” the product effectively.

Get to Know Your Customers

Before your sales agents make a call, they need to fully understand your customer base. Take some time to put yourself in their shoes and get to know what they do and do not need. To do this, simply research your customer. This includes visiting the company website, check the CRM, look at the LinkedIn profile, and take time to find particular pain points. With your acknowledgment of this, you can help increase sales significantly. Once you have done this, the next step is to create a connecting statement for your calls to ensure you are more attractive to your potential customers.

Use the Right Openers

When you are cold calling a customer, you need to use a quality opening line to make sure you can keep the customer’s attention. This statement should be polite and be valuable to the customer. They should feel as though they have gotten something – some type of benefit – by not hanging up the phone.

Personalize the Conversation

If you want your agents to excel at the sales process, they need to give their names and build a personal relationship with customers. They should also tailor the conversation to their customer needs. This is going to help increase comfort levels, help with building trust, and is extremely beneficial when it comes to making the sale.

Next, the sales agent needs to know the right way to speak to a customer. This means things like mimicking their vocabulary and tone. When a sales agent is able to match the tone the caller has, it makes them feel as though they are talking to a person, which helps to make up the various visual cues, lets the customer know you are listening and increases the likelihood that they will turn into a loyal customer. It also means that you have an understanding of what the customer has experienced and that you are empathetic to their situation.

Increasing Sales is Possible

If you use the tips and information here, you will quickly discover that making more sales is possible. You have to ensure your sales agents know what to do and how to do it for success. Being informed is the best way to ensure that the desired results are achieved. Don’t underestimate the benefits offered by knowing what to do and sharing this information with your sales agents, as it is going to make them more effective at their jobs both now and in the future.

 

Publish Date: February 26, 2020 6:09 PM


Best Management Software for Your Business

In today’s business world, it is important for you to be computer savvy. There are a lot of new technologies and intelligence tools that businesses can use for management purposes. Here are some of the type management tools.

Customer Support Software

Customer service is crucial to your business! There are a lot of ways that you can make your customers feel valued. One of these ways is through quality customer service. When it comes to customer service, you may need customer support software. This is one way that you can bring your customer service to the next level.

If you simply answer your customer’s concerns through an e-mail and attempt to track the customer requests on your own, then you may feel like you are in over your head. You may even anger customers if you lose an e-mail. Customer support software allows you to manage, track and organize customer requests.

It provides you with a way to resolve customer issues faster and to help customers find solutions themselves with the use of a self-service portal. When you have this type of software, your customers will have solutions quickly and likewise, you will be able to learn more about your customers through the use of your enterprise customer service system.

Team Management Software

When it comes to teamwork in the workplace, it is extremely important to bring people together. Teamwork is what brings in new ideas, what builds morale and what can help solve problems in your business.

Nowadays, when it comes to running a business, you have to find new ways to empower your teams to achieve high results. You have to create the best conditions for them to work under and help them to increase productivity. One way that you can help is through utilizing team management software.

Team management software provides a shared space for your team, no matter where each member is located. It is crucial that your team management software includes task management, communication and scheduling features. When choosing the best software, you need to consider your team, the work that your team needs to accomplish and the types of features it needs to be more productive.

Accounting Software

When running a business, you have to run a right ship when it comes to your finances. In order to track the success of your business, you need some type of accounting software. Not every business has the budget to hire an entire accounting team to take care of the finances. Instead, a lot of businesses turn to technology for assistance.

As technology grows and changes, the software also improves. There is accounting software that is easy to use. If you don’t have a solid background in accounting, you can still use the software and maintain bookkeeping without hiring an outside professional. With the right accounting software, you can perform different accounting tasks quickly and efficiently and even have reports generated to show you the financial status of your company.

Inventory Management Software

When it comes to logistics operations, having inventory management software can save you a lot of time and can decrease errors. If your business sells on the internet, then you need to think about how online demand works. It can increase and decrease quickly. This means that you have to be extremely precise in your inventory management. This can be difficult when you are dealing with pages of spreadsheets and manual data entry.

Most businesses do not have time for inventory management. Not to mention when you have to manually enter everything, you are more likely to make mistakes. When you are using software, there are less mistakes and you can save time and money. Streamlining your processes can help your business run more efficiently.

If you want to run an efficient business, then you need to be willing to utilize management software. This is the best way to streamline processes. When you use management software, you can increase your business’s productivity and efficiency.

Publish Date: February 25, 2020 10:17 PM


Ways To Develop a Secure Website Structure

Website structure is often about how user-friendly your site is. A good website should allow visitors to move from one page to another with minimal distractions. Here are a few proven tips that can help develop a user-friendly and secure website structure.

Have Reasonable Links 

It is often crucial to have a reasonable number of links on each page. Inbound links can help web visitors to get to their destination faster. Linking a web page with inbound links can also help direct web visitors to other related pages. However, don’t link irrelevant links to a web page, as that can distract web users and make them abandon your site.

Develop Text Links and Hierarchy 

Developing clear text links and hierarchy can allow web visitors to move from one page to another within the same site. How user-friendly website is can determine how long a web user can stay on it. A user-friendly site often allows users to get to their destination in a few clicks. A website that takes users more than three clicks to their destination can drive them away, and they may never return.

Replace Images With Text 

Text can be better than images when it comes to displaying important links, content, or names. It often gets straight to the point, and visitors may not need an explanation to understand what the information is about. Images can take a web visitor away from what he or she is trying to understand. Website owners can take advantage of tools such as terraform to deploy, create, and manage their website infrastructure such as code.  

Use Accurate and Descriptive Alt Attributes and Title Elements 

Alt attributes and title elements are often where website owners can incorporate their long-tailed keywords. Incorporating keywords you are focusing on in the meta description, page title, and alt tags can make your website easy to navigate. However, the content on your website ought to be directly related to your keyword. Doing so can ensure compliance with SEO rules and keep your website unique.

Consider Your Buyers’ Personas 

It is often critical to think about your target audience when designing your web pages. Research what your target audience would be looking for and reasons for visiting your site. Building a clear path can help your target audience navigate through your site with minimal distractions. Having clear goals and showing what actions your web visitors can take such as call-to-action can make a website easy to navigate. 

Check For Broken Links 

Web users are unlikely to open a broken site or link. Testing every link that a web designer develops can ensure that everything is functioning well. Broken sites and links can make your visitors turn elsewhere. Of course, virtually no one wants that to happen, do you? Equipping a website with Google Webmaster tools can help spot website errors and broken links to ensure user-friendliness.

Keep Your Website Simple

Over-structuring a website can make it hard to navigate. It can be tough to display everything in one portfolio site, but having a one-page layout can add to the usefulness of a website. Having more than six menus on one website can only bury some of your essential stuff deep in the site where web users may not find it. Linking pages to each other can ensure that no one struggles to navigate your website.

These tips can help develop a website with pages that are easy to navigate and information that accurately and clearly describes your brand. Never lose lucrative opportunities and web visitors to a poorly developed site. Instead, create a navigable structure that can guide your visitors through your website and sales process. Keeping your website simple and posting useful information can help attract more visitors and retain the existing ones. Monitoring your website for broken links and using descriptive and accurate alt attributes can contribute to its user-friendliness. Be sure to consider your buyers’ personas and understand what they are looking for when designing your website.

 

 

 

Publish Date: February 21, 2020 7:17 PM


Up Your Marketing Game With New Tools

A marketer’s toolkit is constantly evolving. Advances in technology, messaging platforms and data analysis in the past several years have changed the marketing world. Successful marketers need to be able to create genuine connections through personalized communications, creative content and excellent customer service. Here are some new tools for marketers to add to your toolkit.

 

Create Great Content

Eye-catching content attracts attention across a range of digital marketing channels. Making stunning graphics for social media, crafting website layouts and putting together professional quality videos takes time, no matter your skill level. For small teams and newer marketers, the learning curve that comes with top-of-the-line design software can be intimidating. Adobe Spark helps alleviate some of the stress. The all-in-one design tool offers pre-made templates for social media posts, videos, web designs and other marketing pieces. Free plans come with loads of visually appealing templates. Paid plans let you customize, access premium designs, collaborate with team members and add your company’s branding elements. 

 

Automate Your Interactions

You’ve landed a great set of leads for your business. Now what? Take advantage of marketing automation to nurture a lead into a loyal customer. Automation platforms allow businesses to coordination their communication across email, social media, web and other systems to send the right message at the right time. These tools pull in data from a range of sources about customer communication preferences, purchasing behavior and other characteristics. For example, when a new potential customer signs up for your email list, an automation tool would allow you to send a series of follow-up messages through email, text and social media. Those messages happen automatically, and they’re designed to move your new email contact through the marketing funnel. Automated messages save time, connect efforts by your sales and marketing teams, and prevent missed opportunities or human error.

 

Up Your Video Game

Video is a key piece to any marketing strategy. While the ability to tell visual stories has been an important marketing skill since the dawn of television advertising, the format has exploded in the past few years. A recent study estimates people will spend more than 100 minutes a day watching online video by 2021. Marketers who are able to get in front of those viewers have a chance to tell a compelling story. If your video marketing strategy could use a boost, there are several free or inexpensive tools to help with video creation and editing. Headliner is a captioning tool that will automatically transcribe audio into text. That makes it ideal for creating content that can be consumed on social media, where many users are scrolling with volume turned off. Splasheo adds eye-catching frames to videos, and also offers a captioning service. Wistia is an online video hosting platform that allows brands to customize how the final product looks when it’s embedded on your site.

 

Get Organized

A proliferation of marketing platforms has complicated campaign management. For every marketing push, you need to write copy, craft images, set an audience and get the timing right. A project management tool helps get everything organized and keep team members on task. Trello is a free tool that organizes projects into boards. Teams use those boards to track to-do lists, move project elements through a workflow and share updates. You can upload files, make comments on tasks and assign due dates within the platform. For teams with design-heavy work, a tool like Asana offers more complex project management elements. Depending on your needs, there’s a wide range of management platforms that integrate with other systems you might already be using, including Slack for messaging and Google Drive for file management. Find a system that works well for your team, conduct training and make sure everyone is on board.

 

Optimize for Search

Search engine optimization is a key piece to any content marketing strategy. If your website runs on WordPress, install the free Yoast SEO plugin. You’ll be able to optimize for focus keywords, upload social metadata to create appealing social media link previews, and customize the article descriptions that appear in search results.

 

Publish Date: February 19, 2020 8:08 PM


How to Better Manage Printing Costs for Your Company

Printing costs are generally an afterthought when it comes to running a business. These costs, however, can be leaking out of your business without you even realizing it. This is because most businesses don't have any processes or software in place to help manage the costs associated with printing, and they are hard to keep track of. Here are some ways to help better manage printing costs for your company.

 

Investigate Printing Software

In many cases, it can be easier and more cost-effective to use printing software to help manage and streamline the document printing process. In some cases, it can save up to 30% or more on printing costs alone! In your search for the best printing software, make sure to check that the software will work with the printers that you already have. With a little digging, you should be able to see if something like this would make sense for your company. 

 

Print Primarily in Black and White

While we all like to add a little color to life, it will save a lot of money at the office if you only print in color when it's necessary. Color cartridges can cost a hefty 40% or more than their monotone counterparts. Charts and tables can often get their point across and be just as effective even when printed in black and white or grayscale. High-quality photo prints take up the most ink, so print those sparingly.  

 

Print Less

Instead of printing documents and passing out paper copies, send off an email to your colleagues instead. If your printer has scanner features, you can also scan a copy of the document and email it as an attachment. Google Docs and Google Sheets are also great applications for team collaborations where you need other people's input and you can track changes that are made as you go. 

 

Use 2-Sided Printing

This is an easy and effective solution to cut down on up to 50% of print costs and waste! Always make sure to look at the print preview screen before you print to make sure that the box for 2-sided printing is checked. You can set up your printer defaults from this screen to make sure that it automatically prints double-sided. Send out an email to the rest of your staff to remind them to check and make sure they are using 2-sided printing as well. 

 

Reduce Margins and Font Size

A great way to fit more information onto a sheet of paper is to reduce your margins and your printing size. A 10-pt. font is easy enough to read and will reduce the amount of paper required. Changing to smaller margins can fit up to 14% more information on a single sheet of paper!

 

Print in Draft Mode

Printing in draft mode may not be suitable for all applications because it's a lower quality print. If you just need to print something that is legible but doesn't require a high-quality finish, then this mode will help save money in the long run. It uses less ink to print. Depending on your printer type this may also be called Toner Quality, Toner Save, EconoMode, or Draft Quality. 

 

Use Recycled Ink

Ink and toner costs are often the most expensive part of owning a printer. Switching to recycled or remanufactured cartridges can save you up to 15-50% of those costs! Merchants that deal with these inks and toners can set their own prices instead of having to stick to the established prices set by Dell or HP, for example. Recycled ink cartridges are also filled to capacity with ink, whereas the cartridges that come directly from the manufacturer often are not. 

There are many simple ways to help conserve these costs so that you aren't leaching them out of your business. By following this guide, you'll be able to save a good chunk of change easily without having to make difficult or costly changes. Implement them in your business to start saving money now!

Publish Date: February 14, 2020 10:17 PM


5 Great Ways to Increase Your Work Productivity

You're gainfully employed, either in a field that's your passion or in an area where you can serve well and support yourself or your family. While dedication and enthusiasm will help bring energy to your job, you might find it challenging to stay on top of all of the demands and work efficiently. Here are several ways to make your work more productive — they're easy to implement and will improve your job satisfaction, too! 

Make Lists

Making lists is a key component of productivity, and can even be enjoyable. Progressing through and checking off items often brings a sense of accomplishment and mastery. There are several types of lists that can help you sequence and prioritize; from to-do (action) lists to project lists. It's less important that you choose a specific type of list system and more crucial that you find a method that is appealing and workable. Some people incorporate the regular use of analog (paper) planners into their list-making routine; the tactile element is a nice break from looking at screens. There's nothing quite like the feeling of crossing off a task with pen in hand. 

Get Support

Within your workplace and profession, it's essential that you reach out for support — both personally and procedurally. If you're in a public-facing job, customer service training can help you navigate the complexities of effectively helping your customers, and take care of yourself in the process. Finding a mentor is also invaluable — this person might be at your workplace or at a similar company. Finding time to bounce ideas and concerns off your mentor is ideal, but simply observing his or her example is also beneficial. Supportive relationships with colleagues are vital, too. From quick comments at the water cooler to tips on work habits, positive interactions can help boost productivity and reduce your stress. 

Limit Distractions

In our media-saturated, technologically-focused culture, there are numerous opportunities for distraction, fragmenting attention and decreasing efficiency. While working on tasks or communicating with customers, it's critical to divert your attention away from your cell phone. Recent research indicates that continuous smartphone access during the workday significantly decreases productivity. Turning off notifications, putting the phone away for predetermined periods of time, or setting the phone to "do not disturb" are all good ways to limit cell phone use. If you work at a computer, online distractions can interrupt your flow. If closing out browser tabs is impossible, then various apps (often browser extensions) can help you stay on task.  

Take Breaks

Although it's necessary to work with as few distractions as possible, it's also a great idea to take frequent breaks. These getaways can take many forms; dance or exercise breaks, restroom runs, staring into space, walks outside, joking with colleagues, rearranging the workspace, and yes — even a quick glance at the phone! Productivity requires stretches of uninterrupted time, but breaking up the time tends to be good for physical fitness and creativity. While taking a few minutes off, your mind is likely sifting through work-related content in the background, and you'll probably return to your task with new ideas and a fresh approach. You'll also be more alert and engaged with your customers. 

Have a Life 

A rich, fulfilling life outside of work with healthy rhythms of activity, relationship, rest and self-care makes good sense in itself — it also helps you to bring stamina and stronger personal resources to work. The importance of work-life balance is a common topic these days; its relationship to productivity is strong. When you're considering a new position, take a close look at leave policies, opportunities for teleworking, and commuting distance. While you're an employee, monitor your quality of life at home and in your community. 

Increasing your work productivity fuels a sense of achievement. The steps you take to raise your productivity are connected to a balanced, fulfilling lifestyle in general. Try these suggestions to make it easier! 

Publish Date: February 13, 2020 11:37 PM


Tips for a Successful Startup

 

Launching and running a business can be an exciting endeavor. It can afford opportunities for learning as well as personal and professional growth. That being said, it may come along with many responsibilities and things to consider as well. That doesn't mean, though, that you should necessarily feel worried. With some research, effort and patience it can be possible to launch a successful startup business. 

Do Your Research

One of the first things you may need to do when it comes to getting your business going is research. You may often need to spend some time researching what it is that you plan to sell, so that you can help to ensure it is not something that is already being done. In addition to this, you may also need to research who you think your potential customers and clients will be, as well as do research to determine whether or not there will be enough of a demand for what you plan to offer to keep you in business. After you have researched these things, you may need to begin researching other important aspects such as how to finance a business or what business structure may work best for you. 

Develop a Business Plan

After your initial stages of research, it is often time to begin developing a business plan. There can be many things that go into a business plan, and your plan for your business could potentially have a big impact on whether or not it is successful, especially during the early stages. Because of this, it can be important to take your time during this step. Additionally, having a sound plan may often be necessary for those seeking a loan or the help of investors, as many may not want to put money into a business unless their intentions are clear. 

Find Your Funding

Once you have done your research and begun to create a plan for your business, it is often time to begin considering how you will fund it. Though some may choose to fund their business themselves, others may need aid when it comes to financing. One route that many choose to go is seeking loans. While this may be a popular option for many small businesses, it may be helpful to keep in mind that it can come with drawbacks as well, such as interest that could prove difficult for some small companies to pay back. Along with loans, it can also be possible to acquire funding through investors as well as newer funding options like crowdsourcing. 

Dealing With the Fine Print

Another part of starting your business that is often important is managing the fine print. When starting a business, there is often much paper work and many forms involved in the process. This can be true when it comes to taxes, choosing a business structure and also selecting a business name. Navigating all of the forms and requirements for a new business may feel tricky at times, so it can be important to take your time and make sure that you have all of the documentation you need before making any big decisions. Though some may want to rush through this aspect of starting their business, taking your time in this area could help to save trouble and prevent issues in the long run. 

Connect With Your Community

Although some may focus more on all the work they need to do themselves to get their company going, reaching out to your community can be important in your business' success. This can be especially true no matter where you live. By reaching out not only to potential customers in your area and connecting with them, but also to other businesses as well, you can help to network and gain bonds with your community that could help your business growth.

The Final Word

Starting a new business can be exciting, however, it may prove to be stressful at times as well. That being said, you may not necessarily need to feel concerned.

By taking your time to plan carefully and do your research, you can help to lay the groundwork to build a successful small business. 

 

Publish Date: February 12, 2020 7:25 PM


Helpful Tips to Take Your Business to the Next Level

Making the transition from a startup company to a successful business is, without a doubt, an exciting time. It is one that most entrepreneurs welcome and are ready for.

As you begin to see growth among your customer base and as your bottom line goes from strong to stronger, it’s easy to feel as though all the hard work and long hours you put in when you first started are long behind you. However, a period of significant growth isn’t a time when you should sit back and enjoy the ride. Instead, this is the ideal opportunity for you to gather even more speed and grow even more.  

When you use the right approach and implement the right tools, from cloud computing to PaaS and more, you can feel confident you will see continued growth all while making sure that your business is equipped to handle this. If you are ready to achieve even more success, keep reading. Here you will find some tips to help take your startup business to the next level.

Revisit Your Established Business Plan

When you find that things are going well with your business, it is easy for you to become complacent. After all, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it, right? While this is partially true if you are running a business, it is still a good idea to review your strategy regularly to make sure you keep up this momentum. As your business continues to grow and evolve, your business plan needs to, as well. During times of prosperity is the perfect time for you to move the goalposts a bit further.

Think about the factors that have helped you achieve the success you have so far, and make sure that you continue to focus on your ability to play to these strengths. You should also remove the elements that aren’t as dynamic and find ways to replace them. Remember, as your startup grows, it will outgrow the initial blueprint, so taking the time to update your vision and set all-new objectives is essential.

Even though you need to remain realistic, there isn’t going to be growth if you aren’t ambitious. Make sure you are basing your new goals on what you have been able to achieve thus far and also focus on growing your strengths while overcoming the weaknesses you have found.

Upgrade the Technology You Have in Place

You already know how beneficial technology can be for your business. If your company is growing quickly, having quality IT infrastructure that’s able to keep up is a must. When your company is just starting to grow, shared hosting is a practical option. However, after your website generates more traffic, it may be time for you to switch and begin to use a dedicated server.

Instead of sharing resources with other people and businesses, when you have a dedicated server, it is focused just on your specific website, which helps to ensure optimal levels of performance along with maximum uptime for your site. Another benefit of using dedicated hosting is that it offers extremely high security. This is something that should be a top priority for any business.

In addition to the hosting, you need to look to other parts of the business too. For example, are all your operations as efficient as they can be? Take time to figure this out to see what you can do to improve the infrastructure.

Making Sure Your Business is a Success

If you want to ensure your business has the best chance of success possible, you should start by keeping the tips and information here in mind. These tips are proven to help any business continue to grow, regardless of the stage of growth you are currently at. Being informed is the best way to ensure that your company has the best chance of success, regardless of your industry or the size of your business.

Publish Date: February 11, 2020 8:06 PM


5 Steps to Take Before Launching Your Website

Launching a brand new website can be quite exciting. You probably can't wait to start attracting visitors and helping your business make more sales. Not so fast. It's usually not a good idea to start up a new website without a clear plan in place. There are likely goals you need to set, marketing strategies you must implement and content you should write. In this post, you'll learn about how to prepare for your website launch and a list of things you should do to get started.

Research Your Target Audience

It's often best to know your target audience before you decide to launch your website. It only makes sense because these are the type of customers you want to attract. These are the type of people you want to purchase your product or service. It would probably be disastrous if you built a website that didn't resonate with your audience. Ask yourself the following questions about your audience to better gain a better understanding:

  • What do they like?
  • What are their interests?
  • What problems are they having?
  • What goals are they trying to achieve
  • What solutions can help them achieve those goals?

Refer to Your Business Plan

When you started your business, you likely had to learn a few things such as how to build a business plan or how to apply for a business license. Within your business plan, you probably wrote a list of expenses and allocated a budget for certain components of your business. Hopefully, you included your website in that list because it's going to cost money to build and maintain. The question is, how much are you willing to spend on your website? There are many things that will affect the cost of your website such as the hosting platform you choose, whether or not you plan to hire a digital marketing agency, the type of theme you want and the content management system (CMS) you plan to implement. Your business plan should include some of these expenses. This can guide you in making certain financial decisions about your website.

Check for Mobile-Friendliness

As mobile devices are becoming easily accessible, the number of people using them has continued to increase significantly. In fact, mobile devices account for approximately half of web traffic worldwide. This is so important for businesses that are building new websites because pages should load quickly, images should render clearly and text should be easy to scan on smaller devices. Having a mobile-friendly site can help you build trust with visitors and can ultimately, increase your rankings because people will likely stay on your page longer. Leads that enjoy a positive experience on your website will likely appreciate your efforts. Even if they don't make a purchase right away, they might keep your brand top-of-mind whenever they do need the type of services you provide.

Include a Contact Page

No matter your industry, your site's visitors should be able to contact you if they have a question or want to provide feedback. If there's no way to contact your business, you can lose out on many customers. Not having a contact page can make people feel like you're not available and can hinder them from trusting you. Before you launch your website, make sure you have a contact page that provides a way for visitors to share their information and get their point across.

Backup Your Site

Technology has made many strides over the years. But sometimes things can go wrong and you won't be able to avoid it. For example, someone could hack your site. To prepare for this type of scenario, you want to ensure you back up your site so that you don't lose important data.

Now that you're armed with a bit more information about starting up your website, use this knowledge to ensure your website's optimal performance.

Publish Date: February 11, 2020 1:15 AM


Sales Skills Entrepreneurs Must Master

The success of any business depends on getting the product or service it sells into the hands of interested people. As an entrepreneur, you can't just sit around and wait for clients to come to you, though. There are likely many other businesses that offer something similar, so a big part of your revenue depends on your ability to rise above the competition. Here are some tips on how to be the best salesperson you can be.

Prepare Your Pitch

If you want to be good at anything, it helps to be prepared for the work you need to do. Sales is no exception. There are several ways you can focus your efforts so that your sales pitch will be fruitful.

First, make sure you can articulate everything there is to know about your product or service. A good way to do this is to write a value proposition. Identify a need that potential clients may have. Then analyze how your product or service not only satisfies that need but also does so better than the competition, including information about features as well as cost. Having a solid understanding and confidence in what your company has to offer makes you a more trustworthy source.

Second, get into a sales mindset. You want to find the people who can benefit from your product or service. Change your networking strategies so that you naturally come into contact with people who have the realistic potential to become clients. For example, if you are selling IT solutions, it makes sense to set up a booth at conventions where business owners looking for such solutions are likely to be. Make your display clear and catchy, highlighting your service's greatest selling points and encouraging potential clients to approach you. This is much more likely to be effective than cold calling businesses, hoping that you will find someone who needs what you have to offer.

Improve Sales Strategies

When you contact your potential clients to make the sale, it is important to focus on them and their needs rather than what you hope to achieve. While people may wish you well in general, when it comes to decisions that affect their pocketbooks, they make decisions for their own personal reasons. If you want to know how to be a good salesperson, you must first understand that the key to making the sale is figuring out what those reasons are.

As you approach potential clients, use good listening skills to build rapport with them. Tell personal stories and anecdotes, but focus mostly on what they have to say. Ask them questions, and pay attention to the needs their answers reveal. If you can match your product or service to those needs, it may be significantly easier to close the sale. Asking follow-up questions to make sure you understand what they're saying can tell you whether you need to adapt your sales techniques or not.

Reflect on Your Performance

After you have made a sales pitch, it's a good idea to review your performance to identify ways to improve. No one likes getting rejected, but the experience can be valuable when it comes to informing your future endeavors. Even if your pitch was technically successful (evidenced by a closed sale), you may be able to find practices you can tweak to be a better salesperson next time.

Missed sales are learning opportunities. Start by reviewing your value proposition. Try to uncover what aspect of the sales pitch was prohibitive to them. Did they balk at the cost? Did they see the product or service as unnecessary or irrelevant to their needs? Did you answer all their questions and try to understand their point of view? Analyzing your own performance can teach you how to improve your sales record.

As an entrepreneur, your success can hinge on how skilled you are at selling the products or services you offer. Good preparation, fantastic sales strategies and honest reflection can help you become more competitive.

 

Publish Date: February 7, 2020 10:19 PM


4 Software Tools Your Business Needs

You would be hard-pressed to find a business that is operating without the use of technology and an internet connection. Whether it is the use of email to connect with customers, social networking sites used for marketing or management applications that handle accounting or human resource functions, businesses of all sizes can’t get away from the efficiency that tech devices and online access bring to operations. There are hundreds of software programs and applications that you could incorporate into your business, but these can be narrowed down into a few categories. Though it would be great if network software was a one-size-fits-all kind of purchase, the size and scope of your business operations will factor into what programs you choose to run. However, these are four types of online software programs that every company should be using.

Website Blocking Software

To improve your employee productivity and reduce the threat of malware or viruses, consider adding a website blocking software to your company IT strategy. Though the World Wide Web is a tool that is used to provide quotes, conduct research and apply for permits or special licensing, increased access to the internet has diminished employee productivity. Statistics are showing that 30 to 40% of the time an employee spends online isn’t related to work tasks or needs. In fact, some have coined the term “cyber slacking” to capture the lack of effort occurring on the job. A trend that is becoming a necessity, about 80% of major businesses have instituted web blocking software and internet use policies on the job. This type of software is able to block certain websites (usually those known for social media access, media downloads and shopping), as well as set time limits or restrictions on when an employee is able to access the internet (such as breaks or lunch).

Network Management Software

Not only does your company need to monitor what your employees are doing on the Web, but your IT department also needs to know how efficiently your network connections are performing. If you are asking what is network monitoring, this would be the answer. This management software monitors your computer network for slow speeds or lost connections, reporting them in real-time to the IT department or network administrator. Any outages or other troubles experienced can be more quickly addressed when the report is automatically sent after the software detect the issue. These software programs can run tests or assessments as frequently as once a minute or once an hour. This is an effective way to eliminate a lot of downtime from frozen servers or lagging networks.

Cybersecurity Software

The threat of cyberattacks on your business are very real, and you increase your risk and exposure the more you rely on internet connectivity for your operations. Spyware, ransomware, viruses, phishing scams and malware are cybersecurity risks that could financially devastate your company, and ruin the privacy and security of your customers or suppliers. A simple firewall isn’t enough to block these threats, and advanced cybersecurity software is an imperative addition to your IT strategy. For many companies, outsourcing these protections to a third-party company that can construct comprehensive blocking software and provide continual monitoring is the best way to address these risks.

Business Management Software

Running a business can be time-consuming, but it also requires a lot of know-how in so many different areas of operations. If you aren’t up-to-speed in accounting or inventory or human resources, purchasing a business management software can organize your life and keep your decision-making accurate and relative. There are many cloud-based management programs, giving you and any remote or off-site employees continual access to real-time data and transactions. These programs can run reports for specific departments, giving management a strategic advantage when evaluating purchasing or productivity trends. Though these aren’t complicated to operate, you need to research your company’s needs carefully before settling on any one program.

The internet can be an invaluable resource for your business operation, provided that access and activities are responsible and cautious. Review your company’s IT strategies and see which of these four online software programs you should integrate into your operations.

Publish Date: February 7, 2020 8:09 PM

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