team

How to Raise Your Team’s Emotional Intelligence

In the past, experts believed that the intelligence quotient, or IQ, is the primary driver for success. However, a growing number of experts from different fields, ranging from psychologists to leadership consultants, are challenging that belief and believes it is Emotional Intelligence. Read More

7 Key Benefits of using Website Templates to Launch Your eCommerce Business

E-commerce is fast becoming an essential business channel. From solo entrepreneurs finding success with their first online store to large retailers leaping into the digital age. According to Nasdaq, by 2040, it is thought e-commerce will facilitate 95% of purchases – a figure traditional retailers can no longer ignore. If you’re still on the sidelines about taking your business online, you needn’t worry just yet: it’s never been easier to start. Readymade solutions such as Shopify & BrandPacks feature hundreds of rich-featured website templates enabling you to deploy custom websites in just a few clicks. But why should you use a readymade template when you can hire a developer to build something custom? Something unique to you? Well, let’s dive into that, shall we…

1. With Templates, You Can Launch Your Site Quickly

Developing a website from scratch can take weeks. Drawing up the plans, figuring out which features you do and don’t need, and the back-and-forth of revisions. It adds up to a timely endeavour, and that’s without considering the time taken to actually find someone who can build it for you. Instead, you could just take advantage of the numerous website templates on the market already. These tried and tested themes are already known to work, they can be customized to match your brand and deployed in just minutes.

2. Cuts the cost of your new website to a fraction by using templates

It’s true, with templates you don’t always get exactly what you want. Often, it’ll be a close approximation – something that can be tailored to suit your brand – but not necessarily made for your brand. The flip side to this is cost. Building a custom website design exclusively for your brand, as we’ve mentioned, is a timely process, time is more valuable than money. Instead, solutions like BrandPacks with libraries of free templates offer an efficient, low-cost solution for getting your store online. Remember: the more money you save on development, the more you can invest in sales and marketing.

3. Hassle Free Support and Regular Updates

Digital technology is constantly evolving and your website needs to keep up. With a custom site design, you’ll need a developer on call to fix your website should something go wrong. On the other hand, readymade templates are often consistently updated by the developers that make them, ensuring your website stays online without the cost of a full-time dev. This support is priceless; it saves you time, money and keeps your site updated to the latest technological changes. Furthermore, template development companies are often highly active within large, helpful support communities such as Facebook Groups and Forums Why pay overtime for a dev when you can post a question for free?

4. In-built SEO features

SEO, aka being found in search engines, is one of the most important factors for a successful online store. Working with a professional website template often means many of these factors are taken care of for you. Even more importantly, a website template can you give an added amount of control over the key factors that can make or break your presence in the search engines, namely Title, Description and URL structure. Additionally, a growing area in SEO is page speed. In 2011; a Google Webmaster video was released on YouTube where Maile Ohye gives an overview of site performance and page speed. Maile states that “2 seconds is the threshold for e-commerce website acceptability. At Google, we aim for under a half second.” Well-designed templates are light in code and optimized for search. This keeps your customers on site longer and improves the user-experience required for them to make a purchase.

5. Mobile optimized and fully responsive

2016 was the year when mobile internet usage surpassed desktop. Enter 2019, as mobile use continues to increase, online stores wanting to keep their mobile visitors are being forced to update their sites. Using a mobile-optimized template ensure you can transition with ease. This’ll help provide a user-friendly experience to your customers and in turn, convert to more profits in the long run. Most e-commerce website templates nowadays are responsive, meaning they adapt to all screens. Launch your new business using a responsive template and you’ll appeal to a mass market of cell phone users, no longer needing to build a separate mobile version.

6. Full Design Flexibility and Complete Customization

Readymade templates enable you to build a fully-functioning online store with little-to-no web design or development skills. The large selection of professional templates on the market means you’re spoilt for choice when deciding upon a template to use. Templates give store owners complete control over their website design. Easily drag and drop design elements, change colours, fonts, and upload product photos/video without having to rely on a developer.

7. 3rd-Party App Integrations

A website template gives you the added advantage of having a complete structure to work within. Along with most design aspects already taken care of, oftentimes templates are ready to integrate with 3rd party apps and services. Whether you want to track website visitors, add social media buttons, integrated email marketing software, pop-ups, customer surveys, contact forms and more. Readymade templates are designed to plug & play. Read More

The Digital Retail Wallet: Reasons it Makes Sense

The landscape of retail is progressing quickly as the emerging technologies and trends are modifying the anticipation of the experience that is in-store. As retailers discover finding their place in this brave and new world, a lot of them is now seeing the payments as a great opportunity. Retailers are relying on their smart devices in an enhanced manner. They are using the phones for researching the product, reviews of the customer, and comparing the prices between the areas. In the coming future, retailers will also initiate the digital payments almost for everything. The idea of digital payments is not new but the adoption rate is not that fast either. The countries like China and other Asian countries are in the middle of digital payments. On the other hand, western countries are in the first surges of digital wallet and usage of mobile payment. With 92% of retailers of US  expecting to maintain or enhance the investment in the payments, here are some of the reasons reflecting that why digital retail wallets make sense. Minimizes fees of transaction It is a well-known fact that when retailers process the credit and debit card transactions, they are subjected for transaction fees. The fees can be huge, especially for the larger retailers so working to reduce the fees is something that makes sense. The digital wallet is a technological advancement that allows the users to make their payments easily. There is no need to carry the credit or debit card. Hence, the digital retail wallet is one of the finest developments in technology. One likely strategy is introducing the card that is of store-branded and closed-loop payment. For experiencing any minimizations in the interchange costs, it is vital for the consumers to use the store card. Retailers must use the digital wallet as it is useful in reducing the cost through making fewer transactions. The retailers can even shove discounts that are in-app while using the store card for encouraging the adoption, driving the engagement for brand, loyalty and recognition. The card provision digitally is helpful in removing the cost of manufacturing and physical store cards. Increase experience and engagement Even after the rise in e-commerce field, it is predicted that 75% of all the retail sales all the retail sales will take place by the year 2025. The sales are going to be profoundly different because of the way they are conducted. Part of the continuing primacy of in-store is because of the increase in experience economy in which consumer buying behavior that is driven by the complete purchasing quality experience not because of the good or product. A digital wallet is an aspect that allows retailers for delivering the engaging and powerful in-store for tapping into the demand for this economy that is experiential. For instance, retailers can make the value-added services managing easier through the digitizing of gift cards, credit cards, loyalty points, and the platforms that are single and secure. By protectively converting and managing several values that are digital, consumers, can use the method of payment with the coupons, points and credit in a transaction that is single. It benefits in controlling the mix of payment as per their requirements. In conclusion, digital wallets offer retailers the chance for utilizing the technologies that are emerging like augmented for driving engagement or leveraging the data of consumer for proving the recommendations that are smart. Streamlining the checkout In-store assisted systems of checkout are something that doesn’t work for the consumers. According to the evaluation, around 86% of the consumer evades stores with the queues that are long, and 38% of consumers have the purchase that is abandoned because of the queuing time that is excessive. Digital retail wallets with a virtual point of sale consent the customers to look-out through in-aisle payment and alleviate the requirement to queue. It is also useful in freeing up the staff for being redeployed somewhere else in the store, to increase efficiency, the satisfaction of the customer and reducing the cost simultaneously. Digitizing the physical cards and receipts The retailers have to experience huge environmental costs for the aspects like gift cards, plastic store, paper receipts, print advertising, and cardboard coupons. Digital wallets are helpful in reducing the costs and notifications that are in-app. For retailers, a digital wallet is like a vehicle that is significantly efficient, sustainable future, and cost-effective, while delivering enhanced engagement of customer, loyalty, and insight. Enhanced security and alleviate risk The enhancing number of high-profile data breaches has challenged the sector of retail. The average beach costs around $4 million and a lot of retailers are shifting to the e-payments for avoiding the credentials of customer payment theft, a history of transaction and identity. Digital wallets integrate several technologies and techniques for improving the security and alleviate risk, lessening the probability and influence of breaches. For instance, tokenization is an aspect that is useful in replacing the traditional primary account numbers (PAN) with the identifiers that are unique and are known as payment tokens. It is helpful in protecting the data of transaction and mitigating fraud. Significantly, retailers can offer security for meeting the requirements and maintaining the simplicity and convenience payment usability which is essential for the customers. Seizing the opportunity of mobile It is evident that the digital wallets can offer the increased experience, alleviated costs, revenues that are growing, and the security of payment.  The complexity for retailers will be accelerating time to market and offer the experience that is seamless and enhanced from the beginning. Mobile is the opportunity that retailers can enjoy. They can efficiently seize the mobile opportunity and efficiently use for the digital payments.

Wrapping up

There are a considerable measure of huge advantages for the organizations that advanced retail wallet offer. Retailers require having a computerized procedure set up for taking care of the requests of purchaser that is hyper-associated that foresee the most recent innovation for installment. Having the procedure that is savvy and compelling for installment is valuable in improving the in-store acquiring.   Read More

The 3 Best Jobs Abroad for Recent College Grads

Graduating from college is definitely a lot scarier than it seems. You have been working hard towards that goal, and you have had a clear path in which your life was heading up to this point. Now the future seems a bit less secure and planned out. But this is not a bad thing, it is actually exciting and leaves a lot of space for self-exploration and experience gaining. And one of the best options is starting your career abroad, not only will you get to travel and learn about a different culture, but you will also be able to add a new language to your resume, as well as some valuable skills. Now there are different options when it comes to job selection abroad, we will cover some of the more popular ones in this article, and you can decide which one suits you the most. So let’s start!

Opt for hospitality jobs

Considering that this is one of the most popular options for college graduates in most developed countries in the world, why not try it abroad as well. Opting for an entry-level job abroad will not only provide you with a great experience and skills to add to your resume, but it will also enable you to live abroad and experience life in a foreign country. It might not be paid great, but for someone starting out with zero experience, it is the perfect option. It will test your adaptability, language learning skills and most importantly organizational skills and teamwork. There is so much to gain from a hospitality job, and most of the things you learn can help you navigate through company structures later in life. So start browsing now. First, select the countries you would most like to work in and then zero in on the jobs you could apply for.

Teaching is always a great option

Teaching is definitely a great option for a number of reasons. First of all, you will get to spend time with young and inquisitive minds and learn as much as you teach. Secondly, there are a lot of options when it comes to subjects you can teach, but a language is still the most preferable one. Numerous postgraduates from English speaking countries end up teaching the English Language throughout Asia and Africa. For example, in Hong Kong there are great schools like Monkey Tree for TEFL certificates, there you can gain experience that you need, further your language teaching skills and get to know this wonderful city and its people. You can also opt to attend a local language course so as to broaden your knowledge, and at the same time improve your ability to transfer knowledge to your students. Teaching language in U.A.E., China or South Korea can at times be quite lucrative, and you can end up paying off your student loans far more quickly than you’d expect.

Childcare jobs in developed countries

Working as an au pair abroad is always a great option for recent college graduates. Of course, you need to live kids if you want to try this job out for size. Being an au pair helps you develop a lot of useful skills, from empathy to patients and organization. You will be in charge of something most precious any parent can have, so there is no shortage of responsibility. But you also stand to gain a lot, not only are these types of jobs paid well, but you will also have the opportunity to learn the local language and customs, as well as to participate in the family daily routines and activities. You’ll get to see first hand how people of this country live, what are their values and viewpoints, and how they perceive the world around them. This can be an eye-opening experience, it can broaden your views, make you aware of the world around you, and ultimately make you a far better professional further down the road. So there you have it, top three job options if you decide to go abroad after graduation. This option might seem a bit scary, but there is no better way to gain much-needed life experience than leaving your comfort zone and exploring the world. Read More

5 Methods to Improve Operational Cash Flow

Running a company is a process that’s supposed to earn you money, yet, even the most low-cost of businesses (simple drop shipping e-commerce operations) have some starting costs. Most other business models come with regular costs (a lease on office space, employee salaries, utilities and more). In other words, you need some operational cash flow to keep it all running and there are ways to make this more reliable.

1.      Conduct a credit check on customers

A lot of businesses find themselves in need of a debt collecting agency when, in reality, they were supposed to think about this problem a lot earlier. One of the ways to avoid this problem is to conduct a credit check on customers, especially if you’re in an industry with an unusually large value of an order and have a payment system that comes in many credit payments. Sure, this may take a lot of time, effort and resources, yet, it can help you avoid the scenario in which your credit payments aren’t arriving in time, or aren’t arriving at all.

2.      Hire a debt collection agency

Previously, we’ve mentioned the fact that it’s best to avoid the need to collect debt, if possible. However, the problem lies in the fact that, sometimes, such a thing won’t be a possibility. Think about it; every person with a bad credit history has had one point in their life when their credit history was still flawless. In other words, just because they were always responsible when it came to their payments in the past, that doesn’t mean they’ll keep up with this practice in the future, as well. In that case, you might be compelled to hire services of a debt collecting agency. Fortunately, this practice is nowhere near as bad as it sounds, seeing as how it comes with numerous benefits of its own.

3.      Sell invoices

So far, we’ve talked about credit payments that are either late or not coming. However, what if these payments are coming in time, yet, you need the entirety of the money right away. In that case, you might want to try and sell some of those account receivables. This is a scenario where you get to sell your invoices to a factoring company and get the majority of their full value right away and a small part once the factoring company receives the money. Of course, they keep a small fee in exchange for their service. This nonetheless is a lot closer to selling your assets than getting a loan.

4.      Getting a loan

Sometimes, you’ll need the money right away, however, this might not be the money that you have on paper, like was the case in previous examples. You see, a lot of businesses simply need more cash to stay afloat before their business becomes profitable. For a business to become self-sustainable, it sometimes takes between six months and two full years, which is the amount of time that a lot of first-time entrepreneurs tend to underestimate. In this case, your safest bet may lie in the idea of applying for no security business loans.

5.      Incentivize immediate payments

The last thing you need to do is encourage those who want to pay for the full value of the order (in cash or by using an electronic payment) by offering different sorts of incentives. Sometimes, this can be an additional offer to sweeten the pot, while in some scenarios, you’ll be offering them a chance to pay less. The net result will be similar to when you’re selling your invoices but the procedure will be a lot simpler and you’ll have your money even faster.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, improving your operational cash flow is a tricky business in which you’re bound to encounter numerous solutions, each of which has its advantages and downsides. In any case, you have a problem that needs to be resolved and you have to pay in order to solve it. Now, whether you pay a debt collecting agency, factoring company, or return interest to a lender is up to you. Just keep in mind that this is a necessary expense for your business to stay in the game. Read More

4 Habits of Tech-Savvy Entrepreneurs

Every successful entrepreneur knows that their personal life might affect them professionally. This is why they also understand that a boost to their personal life (that often comes from various gadgets), might also come to reflect on the performance of their business. In a competitive environment, even the tiniest of advantages can make a stellar difference. With that in mind, here are several ways in which tech-savvy entrepreneurs exploit this phenomenon to their benefit.

1.      Smart mattress

As an entrepreneur, you’ll have to be the first one to arrive in the morning and the last one to leave at the end of the workday. If you add to this the fact that you simply have to leave some room for your friends and family (work-life balance is crucial), it will become more than apparent that you won’t have much time for sleep. Still, while the quantity of sleep is what it is, the quality can be improved with a purchase of a smart mattress. With the aid of such a mattress, you can fall asleep much faster, wake up without an alarm and keep tabs on your sleep. This last part is more important than it may sound, seeing as how a lot of people with a sleeping problem might not even be aware of what the issue is. All they know is that they get up as tired as they had been when they went to sleep, but they fail to recognize the cause.

2.      Fitness gadgets

The next thing you need to understand is the fact that in order to keep your mind sharp, you can’t afford to allow your body to hold you down. Now, as an entrepreneur, it’s not that uncommon that you spend an entire day on your feet, in which case feeling guilt over not working out might be quite unfounded. One of the best ways to get ahead of this issue with a gadget is to get an Mi Band 3. Truth be told, this is as much of a health gadget as it is a fitness gadget, seeing as how it measures your heart rate, sleep quality and controls several other aspects of your health. The battery can hold for up to 20 days, which means that this is not something you’ll have to worry about very often. For an entrepreneur, one worry less can be a major boon. Mi Band 3

3.      A smart suitcase

Smart suitcases have taken the business travel to another level. First of all, a smart suitcase is break-resistant, which is a huge plus for someone who travels a lot. Second, it comes with a GPS, which, due to the fact that these suitcases often contain vital information, is more than important. Lastly, there’s a slot for a portable power pack to be stored, so that you can use your suitcase as a portable charger. This alone can prevent you from having to make unnecessary stops on your daily itinerary. In other words, this also saves you quite a bit of time.

4.      Smart office thermostat

Finally, you need to understand that someone with a lot of entrepreneurial spirits refuses to leave anything to the case, including the temperature. If there’s such a thing as the optimal work temperature, you can use a smart thermostat to set and keep it there in the most power-saving manner possible. While this may not seem like that big of a deal, it sure does make a difference.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, there’s one thing that’s quite obvious – all of these gadgets save time by making you more efficient in vital activities that you can’t afford to do for too long (or even as long as you should). Of course, we’re not suggesting that a smart mattress can replace hours of sleep or that you can instantly get in shape by using an Mi Band. Still, as we have already stated in the introduction, every little bit helps, and a little here and there goes a long way. Read More

How to Use an eGift Card and Stay Safe

Buying gifts can be a wonderful way to express gratitude or appreciation for another person. But when you don’t know the recipient very well, it can be a problem. Putting thought into your gift and getting something that will be liked and used is great, but sometimes you don’t have a clue where to begin. Wrong gifts can create an awkward situation. eGift cards are the perfect solution – that way the recipient can choose something they will truly enjoy. But is it safe to use eGift cards? Here are some tips on how to use them without compromising your security. Buy from Legit Sources This sounds like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how easy it is sometimes to be lured by fake offers. If an offer seems too good to be true, believe your instincts. Whether you are buying or receiving the card, only do so if it comes from a trustworthy, reputable site. Furthermore, there are some regions that are seen as more reliable (less fraudulent) than others, which is why, for instance, issuing a co-branded prepaid card in Hong Kong, may make it somewhat more credible. If you receive a text or email saying you got an eGift card, make sure that the link actually leads to the official online store of the company in question. Check carefully to see whether there are any spelling mistakes in the URL – if there are, it’s likely a fake. The gift buyer should always have the courtesy to let the recipient know they got them a card, and let them know which store it is from. Don’t Brag Online Taking pictures of everything in our lives and posting them on social media is such an ingrained part of our daily lives that we sometimes forget to use common sense. Posting a picture of your eGift card is a big no-no. By doing this, you are essentially giving everyone all the information they need to use your card. Beware strangers lurking over your shoulder too, don’t lend other people your phone, or leave it lying around if it’s not locked with a complex PIN number. Basically, an eGift card is just like cash, and you should treat it as such. You wouldn’t leave your wallet unattended, so don’t leave your card information either. Cybercrime is very much real, but it is also something that can be avoided if you act reasonably. Don’t Use Shady Apps When it comes to apps you can use for eGift cards, it’s best to stay on the safe side. Your best bet is to use official store apps. The process is simple: you create an account on the official website of the store, then download their app and log in with your account username and password. After that, you can use the app to make your purchase. The recipient of your gift will typically receive a notification email with a barcode. Official apps are also the safest way for recipients to save their cards. Alternatively, there are a few reputable apps that you can also use for storing the gifts, such as the Google Wallet, Apple’s Passbook, and the Gyft mobile app. Wallets like the Google one and GoWallet have their own scam and fraud monitoring systems, which brings added safety. These security systems ensure that no transactions can be made without the owner’s authorization. If fraud is detected, the account is immediately suspended for the user’s protection. The most important thing is to be vigilant and reasonable. In case your phone gets stolen, lost, or if you suspect it has been in any way compromised, it’s best to be prompt. You need to pause or suspend your account before the eGift card is redeemed. However, if you follow the few simple security rules we’ve mentioned, you will surely be able to enjoy giving and receiving gifts without any trouble at all. Read More

Future-Proofing Digital Marketing of Your Website

One of the main traits of black-hat marketing lies in the fact that they prefer to exploit loopholes in the system in order to give one a competitive edge. The problem with this method lies in the fact that these techniques only work until the next patch, after which they become completely void. So, in order to future-proof your marketing and avoid the need to reinvent your entire digital marketing strategy after every algorithm update, you need to take the path of the white-hat. Here are several tips on how to do this most effectively.

1.      Quality content

The first thing you need to recognize is the fact that quality content brings you leads, followers and promotion. This is why one of your first decisions should be to make a blog and fill it with the above-mentioned quality content. If people like your content, they’ll use it as a reference in their article which will generate backlinks. People on social media are going to share it and it will drastically increase your reach. Aside from this, quality content will make people come back for more, which means that they’ll turn into return visitors, perhaps even return customers, at one point.

2.      SEO

The next thing you need to understand is the fact that the visibility of your website and your content affects its maximum potential reach at any moment. In fact, about 95 percent of all searches end on the first page, while about 33 percent of people click on the first link that pops up. This is why you have to get to the top. This boost in your website’s SEO comes in two parts, on-site and off-site optimization. While it’s preferable to hire an expert to deal with your SEO, you would be surprised at just how much you can achieve through do it yourself SEO, provided that you have the right platform on your side.

3.      Become active on social networks

It’s completely natural for your business to be represented on social networks in 2018, however, in order to achieve your goals, you need to be as active as possible. Try posting something every day, even if it’s not original content. This will remind your vast audience that you’re still out there. Remember, your competitors won’t just sit idly, which is why you shouldn’t do this either. It would also be smart to do some research on the optimal posting time on various networks so that you get the maximum out of your online activity. The reason why this method will stand the test of time is due to the fact that social media only grow in prominence and influence with each passing day.

4.      Share other people’s work

You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours; this is one of the oldest rules of the business world. It transferred pretty well into the digital environment, as well. This is also what makes it so ideal for our list, seeing as how no matter what change happens in Google’s algorithm, the good old tit for tat strategy is bound to work. Nowadays, you can do this effortlessly by promoting other people’s content, commenting on them and promoting their business, in general. Fortunately, this method also transfers well into most other types of digital marketing, as well. Ultimately, you can also opt for specialized blogger outreach services in order to ensure that your content is being spread on domains with sufficient authority, rank and credibility.

5.      Google local business

Another trend that we see, which is bound to pick up its pace in the future is one of the local registries. People looking for a local business are more likely to turn towards a platform like Yelp or at least look for an answer in the Google Local Business directory. There are other such lists that you need to get your website and business on, so don’t hesitate to look for them on your own.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, in order to understand the direction that you should take, you need to understand goals and objectives and Google as a company. Their main goal, since the very beginning, is a better user experience, which means that every time you take a step in this direction, you’re aligning your website with their agenda. This inevitably leads to future-proofing of your business. It really is that simple. Read More

5 Tips to Organize a Memorable Business Trip

Whether you’re a business owner or an employee assigned to a client abroad, things can get rather monotonous when the time comes for you to represent your company in your official capacity in a different city or country. From the hours you’ll spend at the airport, all the way to long meetings, it takes effort and dedication to leave the right impression, but also to make the most of your journey. So, why not do it with style and enjoy as much as you possibly can, since that will boost your productivity? Let’s see how you can leave stress out of the equation, simplify your time management and organization, and plan a memorable trip that will ultimately boost your business!

1.      Plan and book ahead

Whether it’s your responsibility, or that of your company, to pay for your airplane tickets as well as accommodation, think in early-bird terms. The sooner you start looking for the best, most affordable, as well as suitable stays and travel options, the better your chances are of finding what you need at fair prices. That also means you won’t have to squeeze your flight to be too close to your key meeting, thus risking you miss the event altogether in case your flight is cancelled or delayed. Always plan to arrive a day early, so that you can prepare in the comfort of your hotel room, and rest before the big event.

2.      Look for reliable services

From the moment you arrive until the final moment of your business trip, you will need to rely on a whole range of different services that will either make your stay smooth or turn it into chaos. For example, if you are expected to take your clients or business partners to a dinner, you should look into restaurants that have suitable menus – perhaps there’s a vegan among your guests. Then again, a part of your professional image entails arriving everywhere on time, and in style. That is why booking corporate cars in Sydney and other major cities has become a staple of business travel, as it combines convenience and luxury with reliability. This is equally important if you’re not traveling alone, but with a team, and relying on the local public transport may result in late arrivals and other inconveniences.

3.      Stick to carry-on

If possible, it’s best to be a minimalist traveler who can pack all of their essentials into a single bag. This is especially wise if you’re going on a short trip for only a day or two, where you’ll need only a single business attire and few other basics for grooming and style. This means you won’t have to worry about any lost luggage or think about transferring your heavy bags to the hotel in case of bad weather.

4.      Limit your workload

The leitmotiv of your entire trip is business, so there’s no need to bring all of your daily chores with you if you can delegate to others at the home office. It’s important that you can focus on the key objective of your journey, and plan for achieving your goals without worrying about other, less relevant issues. Make sure that your colleagues have all they need to take care of your business back home, while you either filter your calls and emails or postpone responding to them for the duration of your trip. There’s no need to add more stress to your trip since traveling can be enough taxing as it is.

5.      Make time for fun

If you have planned for your trip in time, booked the right accommodation in the best location for your needs, then you will notice a number of useful gaps in your itinerary that are just waiting to be filled with a fun, rewarding experience! Spending a few hours exploring a new city will give you plenty to talk about with your clients, it will help you clear your mind for the important meetings, and serve as a stress detox. Ultimately, adding some fun time will help you present yourself in the best possible light even during professional events. Read More

Tips for Making a Strong Social Media Brand

A strong brand can both withstand the test of time and yield some immediate results. However, if we’re talking about a social media brand, you need to change the way you look at these things by quite a bit. First, you need to know exactly who you’re talking to. Second, you need to find an angle that will allow you to portray your brand as unique. Finally, you need to keep measuring, testing and tracking everything in order to ensure that you’re on the right path. If not, this will give you an opportunity to pivot in time. So, here are several tips you need to keep an eye out for.

1.      Looking out for metrics

When it comes to building a brand, it’s all about awareness and relevance, which is why even vanity metrics matter. However, you need to ask yourself whether it would be better to focus on those metrics that really help your business make that extra step. We’re talking about the duration of visit, engagement rate, conversions, activity and reach. Some of these metrics can be tracked quite effortlessly. However, there are some that might require a specialized tool. We’re talking about brand mentions and similar, a tad more abstract terms.

2.      Include user-generated content (UGC)

The ultimate goal of every brand is to make a buyer feel like the member of the team. We all know the “Is Pepsi ok?” meme, which is a unique case where the consumer is so loyal to a brand that they tie their identity to the product. In fact, they are even ready to get offended if someone suggests they should try something else. The online beef between Android and iPhone users is another great example of how this works. One of the best ways to get there quickly is to allow users to become an active part of your campaign. The simplest way to achieve this is to include UGC in your marketing campaign.

3.      Entrust this to professionals

The next thing you should consider is the idea of leaving branding to a professional branding agency. This is particularly true if you have a specific market in mind, instead of just working on a generic global presence, like it happens most of the time in the field of e-commerce. For instance, if you’re looking to start a business based in Victoria, looking for a brand agency from Melbourne would speed up the process. Why? Well, because they already know all there is to know about the local market and will have a lot easier time processing all the vital information.

4.      Go through influencers

Another thing you need to understand is the psychological benefit of using influencers. Sure, it’s more than obvious that these people are promoting your brand because they have an agreement with your brand, nonetheless, it’s still easier to trust their praise than a brand that’s shamelessly self-promoting. This alone would be a reason enough to hire influencers. Aside from this, you also have to keep in mind that people who have a certain reputation in the business world aren’t too eager to get associated with a brand that’s going nowhere. This comes as a form of affirmation, on its own.

5.      Reviews and ratings

Finally, give your users a reason to leave reviews and ratings. Remember, even the most illiterate, poorly written and vague reviews still get seen as more credible than paid ads. Of course, no one states that they’re more effective, that they give you bigger reach or that they give you a superior ROI. Nevertheless, they do give you that extra bit of legitimacy that you just might need.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, you need to understand that brand recognition and brand awareness aren’t one and the same thing. Brand recognition comes down to people just recognizing your brand name and logo, while brand awareness consists of a bit more knowledge about your business as a whole. For the time being, any of the two will do but in the long run, you should always aim for awareness. Read More

5 Tips for Choosing the Right Candidate

5 Tips for Choosing the Right Candidate

Finding the right candidate for your company is never easy. Not only that you have to make sure that the person you hire can help you lead your company to success, but you also need to find someone who’s going to represent your brand in the way you want them to. And if you lack experience as an interviewer, you may not always be able to recognize such a candidate. That said, we have come up with five tips that can help you choose the right candidate for your company.

Find a career-oriented person

When running a business, you need to have someone who shares your ambition by your side and that’s why hiring a career-oriented person is recommended. If a candidate has switched a lot of jobs recently, it means they’re not sure what they really want to do and chances are they won’t be staying with you for long. Therefore, looking for someone who will view the job in your company as a way to advance their career is a good idea.

Look for the right skills

Think about the position a candidate is applying for and make sure they have all the right skills for it – simple as that. Of course, the skills you’ll be looking for depend heavily on the work they will be doing. For example, if you’re hiring an employee for your customer service team, you might want to look for someone who’s polite and talkative. And in case you’re hiring a manager, you need someone with good leadership and decision-making skills. 5 Tips for Choosing the Right Candidate

Run social media checks

We all use social media and platforms like Facebook and Twitter can be a great tool for running a background check on your candidates. Sometimes, a candidate’s tweets and photos might just be able to tell you whether they’ll fit in at your company. Some people keep their social media profiles private, but it’s worth taking a shot. If a candidate has a LinkedIn profile, you can use it to check whether everything in their resume is true.

Run background checks

While social media can help you determine what kind of person a candidate is, there are more background checks you need to run before hiring someone. Firstly, you need to contact their previous employers and check whether everything in their resume is true. Once you do this, you might also want to get a police clearance certificate for any candidate you wish to hire. That way, you’ll ensure you don’t hire anyone who can hurt your company’s reputation. 5 Tips for Choosing the Right Candidate

Make sure they fit in

When hiring, you always need to make sure you opt for someone who’s a good cultural fit for your company. This means you need to find someone whose social skills aren’t going to disrupt the atmosphere in the office. Ideally, you’ll find a candidate who can add to it. This is where you’ll want to ask interview questions that’ll help you figure out whether a candidate is prone to conflicts at work. Talking to their former employers about it should also do the trick. 5 Tips for Choosing the Right Candidate With these five tips in mind, you should be able to choose just the right candidate for your company. Even once you make your final decision and hire someone, keeping a close eye on them during the first couple of weeks is an absolute must. Read More

How to Organise a Great Business Event

Organising a business event is quite complex, but the potential benefits most certainly justify the effort. Any opportunity for your colleagues to meet or a chance to mingle with your business partners is actually contributing to the team spirit among employees, i.e. to the process of boosting your brand. Since all those benefits are serving the same goal, increased revenue, it’s vital that you organise such an event properly. How to Organise a Great Business Event In order to make the most of your investment of time and money, you need to plan and prepare the event very carefully. While the potential benefits are great, you shouldn’t forget that throwing a badly organised even can cause great damage to your company. So, what is it that you need to know and do when preparing a business event?

Who is it for?

The idea to have a business event is great, but it should have a clear purpose. Define the nature of the event before you start inviting people and make sure that those you invite will be interested in what you’re offering. Think about what they would expect from it and then do your utmost to exceed their expectations. Whatever the nature of the event, it is a powerful marketing tool and you should treat it as such. Just like to target your advertising campaigns, you need to make sure that you are addressing the right kind of audience with your event. A mistake in your choice would mean that all your money and effort would go down the drain.

What is the expected outcome?

No event of this type should be organised without clearly defined goals. Depending on your estimate, you may wish to focus on reinforcing the relation with the existing clients, acknowledging the results of your colleagues or any similar goal. Once you’ve set your goals, turn your attention to the strategy you’re going to employ to achieve them.

What do you need?

One of the crucial things is to have a comprehensive list of all the things you need for your event. Compare the list with what you already have and think about where you can get the stuff you lack. While you’re at it, make sure you know how much they’re going to cost you. That’s very important for your budget. For example, if you wish to honour your colleagues with modern corporate awards, you need to know how many recipients there’ll be.

Selecting the venue

Another important decision you have to make is about the venue. Perhaps you can save some money by throwing the event in your company, but you may need to rent a bigger space if you’re planning to invite more people. The choice of the venue is important, because you want to create an atmosphere appropriate for the occasion and the venue must allow people to mingle and talk to each other in the informal part of the event. Next, you have to sort out the catering and refreshments. Make sure you provide a decent selection of food and drinks, including vegetarian options. How to Organise a Great Business Event

Budgeting

You might have to rely on your own funds or seek sponsorship arrangements for the event, but some companies also organise ticket sales to offset the costs. The last option is particularly tricky, since you really need to offer something that people would be happy to pay for and you have to provide such content that people feel they got their money’s worth. How to Organise a Great Business Event

How to attract people?

When you’ve gone through all the preparations, it’s time to start inviting people. First, make sure you schedule the event when there are no similar or other popular events around the same time. Apart from signage at your place of business, you should advertise the event on your website and all social media platforms. You can also send e-mail invitations or opt for a more traditional way of inviting people by sending nicely designed invitations via regular mail. As you can see, this is a big undertaking, but most definitely worth the effort. If you have a clear idea and plan the event carefully, you’ll be able to reap the benefits almost instantly and you’ll be encouraged to organise even better business events in the future.     Read More

Top 4 Tips for Success in E-commerce

While selling on platforms like eBay or Amazon may seem like the easier way, creating your own e-commerce website is always a preferable option. Apart from the obvious reason of cutting out the middleman, you are also branding your business and providing your products with more legitimacy. Still, just making an e-store is not enough for success. In order to get there, you need to learn the rules of the game. With this in mind, here are top four tips that can ensure your e-commerce platform is on the right path from day one.

1.      Don’t despair over high shopping cart abandonment

A lot of people in the e-commerce business obsess about the issue of shopping cart abandonment.  However, you should be aware that about 17 percent of all people who leave your store are just conducting research and plan to return at a later date. Dismissing all of them simply because they left without making a purchase is a preposterous concept, which sometimes makes people eager to fix problems that aren’t there in the first place. On the other hand, not a single person from these 17 percent will return if they find a better offer elsewhere. In order to make them come back, you need to make sure that A) your prices are competitive and B) you offer special shipping offers. These two ideas alone can be enough to propel you to the very forefront of the industry.

2.      Focus on the visual

Think about traditional resale for a moment. Even with live-testing and showcasing, the only way for you to check the quality of the product is to buy it and test it yourself. So, how do people try to evaluate which product is the better quality one? Well, sometimes they look at the brand name, other times, they read reviews. Some people look at the price, assuming that the more expensive product is always of higher quality. In most cases, however, the product that looks better tends to be evaluated as the superior one. Therefore, you need to focus on the visuals. For an e-store, this means creating quality photography and knowing how to present your products in the best way possible. Needless to say, for this, you need someone who is both an artist and a marketer. You would be surprised at just how much of a difference flatlay photography can make for the appeal of your products. On the other hand, when selling a clothing item, you can achieve much more with the ghost mannequin technique. It’s all about creating a context.

3.      Be transparent about your prices

Even though tricking people by making your prices appear lower might compel them to make a purchase, you can achieve so much more by being transparent about your prices. One of the tactics that often gets used by e-commerce retailers is showing the price without the tax and the cost of shipping. Earlier on, we talked about the shopping cart abandonment rate. Well, about 25 percent of all people who leave your store without making a purchase do so over an unexpected shipping cost. Being transparent about your prices might lose you some one-time patrons, however, it also stands to earn you some repeat customers. Price transparency boosts your credibility and even increases the overall user experience, and in turn, this causes your audience to come back at a more consistent rate. Seeing as how 40 percent of all your profit is a result of purchases made by only 8 percent of your regulars, this is definitely an idea you shouldn’t underestimate.

4.      M-commerce is the future

Finally, you need to keep in mind that mobile users are currently the fastest growing demographic online and, as such, should never be forgotten or neglected. In fact, an average adult spends about 59 percent of their total time online on their phone. Therefore, make sure that your platform is optimized for mobile browsing and shopping. In fact, the simpler the checkout system is, the more appeal your e-commerce website has for your audience.

Conclusion

While having a great product might provide you with a bit smoother start, you need to keep in mind that your price, retail infrastructure and your ability to showcase what you’ve got might carry more weight than the quality of the product itself. Furthermore, you need to learn to accept that sometimes, bad metrics (such as high shopping cart abandonment rate) do not necessarily mean that your business is not on the right track. Read More

How to Make Your Telecommuting Efforts Efficient with These 5 Tech Tools

Nowadays, technology has allowed various businesses to expand their reach and employ workers from all over the world. That means that companies are no longer limited to their location, country or even continent for that matter. Instead, they can look for top talents and employees most suited for their company culture across the globe. However, managing remote workers isn’t an easy task. There are many challenges to overcome, such as different locations, time zones and many more, in order to ensure that your remote teams are efficient and that they feel like a valuable part of your company. Luckily, technology provides aid yet again. There are plenty of tools out there designed to improve the efficiency of telecommuting efforts for businesses that have remote offices and employees. The key is in finding the tools that suit your needs best. Here are a few tech tools that will help you improve your telecommuting efforts.

Project management

Project management tools are simply essential for every organization that has a remote workforce. Basically, these tools help gather everyone together on a single platform, as well as improve collaboration and communication company-wide. Tools, such as Basecamp, Trello, Active Collab and others help you assign specific tasks to different teams or individuals and set clear deadlines. What’s more, each member of your organization can have a better understanding of the scope of the project with a project management tool. In addition, your employees can communicate and share information, while you monitor their progress.

Employee monitoring

Tracking your employee activity and productivity isn’t easy even when everyone is in the same office building, let alone when they’re scattered across the world. However, monitoring your employees is important, in order to ensure that everyone is doing their job and that they’re right on schedule. With an employee monitoring solution, such as WorkPuls, you can track when your employees come to work and when do they leave, as well as track how productive they are during working hours. Moreover, you can track their time spent on individual tasks and have an insight into the applications they are using. You can even schedule screenshots regularly to effectively monitor your employees’ progress.

Communication

Establishing an effective line of communication with your remote workers is of the utmost importance. If you don’t communicate with your employees, there’s no way to encourage them to be more productive, drive engagement with your workers or know what kind of issues they might be facing. Furthermore, employees need to be able to communicate with each other and with managers as well. That way, no important information will be lost and everyone can share data, as well as simply chat in order to feel cozier. For instance, Slack is a good example of a communication tool. It allows employees to chat in real time and you can set up channels for every team. Most importantly, Slack gives away a feeling of being present in the office, which is important for remote employees’ morale.

Video conferencing

It’s crucial to have face-to-face time with your remote workers. The main reason is that it prevents them from feeling isolated from the rest of the company and it’s a good way to improve their motivation, as well as their productivity. Moreover, your remote employees can attend meetings as if they were actually present in the office. That’s why it’s important to establish means for good video conferencing. Tools, such as Skype and Google Hangouts can be invaluable for live video communications. After all, it’s important to meet up with your remote workers in person, so to speak, and allow them to meet the rest of the team as well. It helps build relationships and it also improves teamwork.

File sharing and storage

One of the most important things you need to take care of is ensure both your in-house and remote workers can store and share files and documents. Tools, such as Google Docs, Google Drive and Google GSuite for businesses, are a perfect fit for organizations with a remote workforce. If you have any of these, not only will your employees be able to work on the same file, but it will also be safely stored in the cloud, which means no more lost files or broken hard drive issues. What’s more, creating spreadsheets and important presentations is easier than ever. Also, your remote workers can effectively collaborate and share files no matter where they are. Telecommuting is an important aspect of any business that employs remote workers. In order to make the best out of remote work, you have to ensure that communication and collaboration between employees and managers alike is it its best. That’s why you should utilize various tools to make remote work more seamless and your telecommuting efforts more efficient. Read More

Top 5 Reasons You Should Outsource

While traditionalists may argue that everything should be done in-house, more and more businesses are starting to take the idea of outsourcing more seriously. The reasons behind this are numerous, most prominently, due to the fact that outsourcing is more cost-efficient, it gives better immediate results and it is more convenient. Furthermore, the idea of outsourcing itself has evolved in the past several years. Here are five additional reasons why outsourcing might be the right solution for your SMB.

1.      Improve the focus of your company

When running a small operation, you will have trouble focusing on your core tasks due to the fact that you have to manage several departments at the same time. Therefore, outsourcing certain departments, such as IT or HR, can improve the focus of your company. These fields already require a high level of expertise that you probably don’t possess, which means that you will finally be free to dedicate your full attention to areas where you’ll be able to contribute the most.

2.      Easier budgeting

Even though you could start your own in-house departments instead of outsourcing marketing or customer support, outsourcing simply makes budgeting much easier. You get a fixed price for the set of services you’ve insisted on and that is precisely what you have to pay for them. Seeing as how you are negotiating directly with the representative of the agency you are outsourcing to, you won’t have to worry about benefits, paid leave, sick days, holidays, overtime, incentives or micro-management of their employers. As far as you are concerned, you have a financial obligation towards the agency you are dealing with, an obligation that can be fulfilled by simply paying what you owe on a due date.

3.      Expanding your talent pool

The next massive advantage of outsourcing is access to a much larger talent pool. Think about it, when hiring in-house employees, unless you’re willing to bring in remote workers, you are forced to work with the local talent. In 2018, however, offshoring is a viable option. Instead of working with a limited talent pool, you can hire a copywriter from Hong Kong and get a much better service at a more affordable price. Needless to say, in this particular situation, having a greater offer to filter through results in a direct boost to your company’s productivity. This is especially true when hiring people for jobs that require creativity.

4.      Prepare for the future

The next important reason why outsourcing is a good idea is that it arms you with an invaluable experience that you will definitely need in the future. You see, as a business owner, you will have to learn how to deal with an increased workload, sooner rather than later. As your company grows, you might be tempted to try and penetrate a foreign market or simply start an international office in order to diversify your brand a bit. Either way, outsourcing early on can prepare you for the challenges that come with these practices. Furthermore, outsourcing your IT, customer service or copywriting tasks is a great way to safely scale up in the world of remote collaboration. Outsource

5.      Greater expertise

Even if you do manage to hire the right people for the job, equip them with high-end tools and provide a top-notch training, it will take time until they are competent enough to rightfully call themselves experts. Sure, you have to start somewhere but what if you need some immediate results and you can’t afford to wait? While this may sound impatient or even unreasonable, the truth is that no one is going to cut you any slacks just because you are new to the business world. So, if you have the feeling that time is working against you, outsourcing might provide you with just the experienced assistance you need.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, there are so many benefits to outsourcing but there are a couple of flaws, as well. First of all, you no longer have a direct control over your operations like you used to. Second, there is always a question of security, seeing as how unverified personnel might gain access to the otherwise sensitive information. Finally, there is the issue of calculating the long-term costs. The longer you postpone starting your own department the more money you stand to lose. Still, some companies reach the conglomerate status without ever giving up on the idea of outsourcing. Read More