Category Archives: Industry Update

Promoting a New Startup in 5 Easy Steps

Owning a startup is one of the best ways to start climbing up in the business world and when you look at some of the today’s most successful companies, you’ll notice they actually started as startups. This means you too can become a success story, but only if you’re willing to strive for greatness and actually know what to do. Promoting a startup might not be the easiest part of the job, yet it’s something every business needs, so here are some of the most effective techniques you might want to explore.

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Make a viable plan

The biggest problem lots of startups are facing at the moment is not having a clear vision of their future. The CEO’s know they want to make a living first and earn more and more money later – which is ultimately why they started a startup in the first place – but they’re not sure what to do. That’s why you must make a viable business plan for the years to come and know what you’re trying to accomplish. Writing down your goals and working towards realizing them every single day is the only way to actually do something in this dog-eat-dog business world.

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A website is a must

We can’t stress this enough: you simply can’t own a company in the 21st century without a website! Although everyone should be aware of this, there are lots of people who think otherwise, yet nobody’s ever heard of them. Why? Because they don’t have a website! Yet a number of startups still think this is too expensive, so they aren’t willing to set some money aside for a website. However, if you scratch the surface of the Internet, you’ll find tons of inspirational and helpful things that will make your job easier – just find a way to use other people’s experience and you’re already halfway there!

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What about social media?

This is another amazing way to get the word out and make people know about your company. Moreover, social media is free and you basically won’t have any trouble using it, even if you have little or no experience with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If your website has quality content and you’re offering something other companies in your area aren’t, building a social media presence is easier than you think. In the end, this is important on several levels – it reaches new audience, helps your customers identify with your brand, enables quick communication, etc. – so explore all the options social media platforms are offering.

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Promotional gifts

This is another easy way to advertise yourself and a minimal investment can really go a long way here. Whenever you’re meeting potential new partners or important clients, a promotional gift or two will make a powerful statement and let them know how seriously you take your job. These gifts are often simple and inexpensive, but also quite practical, which is why everyone loves them. For instance, a couple of elegant diaries from Aussie Custom Diaries that feature your brand’s logo will surely spread your message to new clients and partners effectively.

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Reach all age groups

One of the reasons so many startups fail is because they focus just on one age group and ignore everyone else, deeming them unworthy of their time and investment. However, not only is this way of thinking wrong, but it also makes zero sense if you want to run a successful business. Therefore, think outside the box and change this paradigm by appealing to all age groups equally because you can never know how popular your service or product could be with the elders or teenagers.

 

Other ideas

Promoting a new startup is always hard and if none of these ideas seem to be working, just find other options. Some of the most popular ones include launching a guerrilla marketing campaign, offering discounts for regular customers and focusing on the word-of-mouth marketing in your own neighborhood as all of these will turn your first-time clients into recurring ones.

5 Ways to Improve Your Performance at Work

 

Spending your working hours in an office may involve your dream job. However, it can still be difficult to maintain productivity in such an environment, and even harder to boost your performance. Therefore, it’s important that you put some effort into your own mental and physical health as well as the way your working area makes you feel. The following tips may sound simple, or too good to be true, but they actually work wonders for improving your concentration and productivity at work.

1. Keep your desk tidy

Never let clutter take over your desk, working area or your desktop/laptop. In general, you want to make sure that everything you need for work is neatly organized in your drawers and your desk surface. The same goes for your icons and folders on your computer as well. When you have to go through a mess in order to find that one thing you need at that moment, your productivity is bound to drop. After all, this will break your focus. Moreover, clutter is known to increase stress, which is something you want to avoid at all costs.

5 Ways to Improve Your Performance at Work

2. Organize your tasks

Has it ever happened that you simply forgot to tend to all the tasks you had planned for the day? If it has, and it affected your work performance at some point, it’s time you organized yourself better. In fact, this is nothing too difficult. You can take some time during the weekend to write out everything you need to get done during the following week. Of course, beside work-related tasks, include all your responsibilities outside of work that you can recall as well. You can write everything in your planner, or you can use post-it notes on a corkboard when you go to work on Monday. This is a great way to keep all your tasks in check and never forget what you have to do. What’s more, this will help you plan out your days properly, so that you have time for everything. It is definitely a sure way to improve performance.

3. Healthy lifestyle

You may not like hearing this, especially if you have to sit at a desk, in front of a computer for hours, but the undeniable truth is that a healthy lifestyle is key to maintaining and boosting productivity, as well as good mood. In that respect, adding fruits and veggies to your diet, ditching foods that are obviously not good for you, and exercising regularly is a must if you want to be up to the task of staying productive. Remember, even 5-10 minutes of regular physical activity is enough. There are also plenty of deskercises that you can try out while at work.

4. Surround yourself with positivity

Positive energy that will boost your productivity and overall performance is not the easiest thing to come by. Therefore, you have to create the perfect conditions for yourself in order to be able to enjoy your time at work. Together with décor, music can make a world of difference when it comes to focusing and putting more effort into the task at hand. With that in mind, make sure to find the tunes that work the best for you personally. Obviously, you mustn’t disturb other people, so make sure to get a pair of good-quality and comfy in-ear headphones that will help you relax, but also achieve the focus you want.

5 Ways to Improve Your Performance at Work

5. Make your work space your own

Sterile and impersonal work environment is never going to boost your performance and productivity effectively. While it’s true that you don’t need plenty of knick-knacks and accessories lying around, as they will just make a mess and distract you from work, you should still try to make your work space your own. Stationery that you like, a photo of your loved ones, comfy seat cushion and a plant you find pleasant to look at can actually do wonders for how you approach work and handle all the tasks.

5 Ways to Improve Your Performance at Work

In order to improve your work performance, it’s important to realize that work is not everything you’ve got. Don’t forget to take the time to relax and enjoy your hobbies outside of work as well, in order to feel accomplished, fulfilled and ready to make the most out of every day.

Did Digital Kill the Traditional Marketing

The omnipresence of internet has sparked a lot of debates about the traditional media, making us wonder: Are the newspaper dead? Is there no more need for the printed books? And finally, did digital marketing defeat the traditional forms of advertising? It makes sense, advertising your product on the web is free or costs next to nothing and it gives you a chance to have a more personalized approach to marketing. However, that doesn’t have to mean that the old-school marketing doesn’t have anything to offer any more. In this article, we will try to determine the difference between the two, the benefits of each of them, and the possibilities of combining the two.

Did Digital Kill the Traditional Marketing

What is traditional marketing?

There are many methods of traditional marketing, and they include tangible advertisements, such as posters, brochures, flyers, business cards and print ads in magazines and newspaper. Commercials on radio and TV are also considered a form of traditional marketing. Additionally, promotional products, referrals, and reward programs can also be classified into this group.

What is digital marketing?

It is difficult to precisely define digital marketing since it grows and develops each day with the advancements of technology. Some examples of this new way of marketing are social media mentions (page, posts, games, etc.), websites, YouTube videos, blogging, as well as search engine optimization and banner ads. Digital marketing is currently more popular because it requires fewer investments.

The good sides of the old-school

Traditional marketing is still something that people are accustomed to, and that’s why they can easily understand and relate to it. This old-school marketing method enables businesses to reach a local audience with ease. Besides, the promotional materials can be kept for future reference, so you don’t have to google for company info every time you want to make a call.

The bad sides of the old-school

One of the primary flaws of the traditional marketing is that there is not enough interaction between the customers and the used medium. The medium is used merely to provide information without asking for feedback. Also, as we have already mentioned, these marketing materials can be very costly. And finally, it is very difficult, not to say virtually impossible, to measure the results of a marketing strategy which employs traditional marketing approach.

The good sides of the new kid in the block

Digital marketing allows you to target an international audience, as well as to tailor your campaign to specific properties, such as age, gender, location and interest. The audience has a say in receiving the product and they can also provide a meaningful feedback. It is cost-effective and the competition is less relentless. Above all, the results are immediately measurable.

The bad sides of the new kid in the block

Even though it seems like a DIY arena, digital marketing can fool you into thinking you can do everything on your own. However, given that online marketing includes a multitude of fields and potential strategies, that is virtually impossible. Fortunately, there are plenty of experienced expert companies, such as The Pipeline, to which you can outsource your marketing sector, at least until you get the hang of it.

Can they work together

In spite of being completely different, you shouldn’t be exclusive when it comes to these two methods of marketing; rather, always try to combine them. Since this is a mostly digital-based world, it makes sense to invest more in an online marketing campaign and use hard copy materials to support your online efforts or reach an audience which is not very tech-savvy (e.g. senior citizens). Also, there is one twist on the traditional marketing which rose in the ‘80s, but reached its true potential only today, and that is guerrilla marketing. Some of the biggest successes include UNICEF’s “Be a mom for a moment” campaign, IKEA’s “Everyday Fabulous” and The Sopranos taxi stunt.

Did Digital Kill the Traditional Marketing

There is no doubt that the world is changing and that we need to try to catch up. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we will renounce everything we are used to. We don’t have to abandon the principles from the past, they just need to evolve and be complemented with innovative methods.

10 Essential Tips and Tricks for Ecommerce Websites

The way people shop changed a lot in the last few years and that’s why each year we’re getting more and more web shops. Nowadays, you can buy practically anything online meaning there’s a lot of competition in the eCommerce business and every good tip matters for eCommerce website owners. Here are the top 10.

Have and use your USP

What sets you apart from your competitors and why would the customers choose you are two main questions to ask yourself. Once you do that, you’ll know your unique selling point (USP) and how to use it. Always keep the customer in mind – your products or services should benefit them, so that can become your most effective tool for advertising.

Provide security

Although internet shopping has been around for a while, people are still dubious about payments and they want everything clean and transparent. Trusted payment options must be on display on your website so make sure you put it alongside the banner. It’s for your customer’s peace of mind – show them they can trust you and they will be yours for good.

Don’t forget about SEO

Having the best site in the world means nothing if people can’t find it online so doing a search engine optimization should be a priority. Do a research on keywords to make sure you use the hot ones on your website, optimize your pages, and be active on social media platforms. Be aware that poorly implemented SEO can damage your business so hiring a professional to do it is a good idea.

Offer live chat

To avoid your business being declared as impersonal you must include live chat on your website as a good alternative to face-to-face contact. Keep your email and phone number on display (and reply timely) but it’s even better to establish a live chat feature and show your customers you’re always there for them. Nothing beats talking to a real person!

Ensure photo quality

Whether you’re selling products or services, making your website visually pretty is essential. No one will decide to buy a product from a blurry or badly photoshopped picture, so pay attention to quality. Your gallery should be easy to navigate while products should be visible from all sides. Zoom option is also great, so keep that in mind when posting your images.

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Leave logistics to the pros

If you’re selling products, your biggest problem will be storage, inventory, packing and shipping your goods and that’s why it’s a good idea to leave it to the experts. Ecommerce logistics experts can receive, manage and dispatch your goods so you won’t have to worry about that. It’ll improve your customers’ satisfaction as well because they’ll know their order is in good hands.

Encourage reviews

You know what they say: only those who did something wrong are afraid of the reviews. But the thing is: real people’s experiences are valuable to your business. Nothing beats a satisfied customer since people will always take other people’s words when it comes to shopping online. It’s good for the SEO as well because reviews make unique content for your website thus making the search engines happy.

Optimize search option

Practice showed that site search users are more likely to convert than the average user so optimizing this feature is a must. The search box should be easy to spot, big enough, and provide autocomplete options for maximum results. There are some other tricks that can make searching your site a better experience, so make sure you take this advice and implement what you can.

Deal with out of stock products

Anyone who has ever shopped online knows that out of stock is the worst thing you can see on the ecommerce website. Knowing how to deal with this is important because that’s the way to address the biggest issue from the customers’ point of view. If your product is no longer available, link similar items to the page or contact link to the manufacturer so your customers will know there’s hope.

Create buying guides

For each category you have on your ecommerce website, there should be a detailed guide for shopping. For example, if you’re selling clothes, offering style and trend guides to your customers is a nice idea. If you’re selling wallpapers, providing home décor ideas, tips and tricks is a must. This will enrich the shopping experience and leave your customers in delight.

Think of your website as of the heart and soul of your business and make it both pretty and functional. That’s what keeps the customers coming and, more importantly, staying loyal to your business.

5 Traits that Make a Digital Workplace Unique and Productive

Digital workplace
The concept of digital workplace is not strictly tied to a physical space. More importantly, digital workplace is actually an organization strategy, which helps the employees be at the top of their game as they work. Thanks to the digital technologies used, one can break the communication barrier. Moreover, digital workplace is used to boost the motivation and productivity of the workforce. Basically, it can be very difficult to define a digital workplace. In general, it can be said that a digital workplace combines the modern technologies, tools and the whole work environment so that it can bring out the best from and provide the best to its workforce.

1. Better and faster communication

Digital workplace provides easy ways to communicate, exchange information and solve potential problems to everyone involved in a particular work project. This makes everyone’s work a lot more efficient. Colleagues in the office and at home can communicate effectively. Clients and other businesses can be reached instantly regardless of their location. Dynamic situations are encouraged and perfectly implemented into a working day without pressure or anxiety.

 

2. Strong, yet open form of leadership

Thanks to the digital workplace concept, the notion of leadership is getting a bit blurred. Of course, there is a need for a leader. However, the leader is no longer the boss who sits in his own office. Again, modern day digital technologies allow for integrated leadership as well. The “boss” can easily be a part of the team since the team is encouraged to solve problems and make decisions on their own. Moreover, because of the better communication mentioned in the previous paragraph, a lot of issues can be solved before presented to the leader. In that respect, digital workforce operates coherently and dynamically by involving everyone at work equally, which creates a more relaxed and at the same time more productive work environment.

3. There’s no physical barrier

Just like the location is not a problem when it comes to effective communication at a digital workplace, location is not a problem when it comes to work itself. Virtual project platforms, cloud storage and other digital tools make it possible for workers to do their job from any location they want. This is extremely beneficial for companies and employees alike. Companies can hire the best candidates without worrying about their geographical location while employees are not limited to their local job opportunities. Working from home is a great perk for many people, but coworking spaces are becoming increasingly popular as well. For example, a Shared Office Space in Melbourne offers 24/7 membership precisely because of the rising popularity of this particular aspect of a digital workplace.

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4. Time-efficient and data-driven

If a digital workplace is completely implemented into the work environment, the need for physical storage will cease to exist. Because of the possibility to quickly store all the important data and information on a cloud, it will be possible to save a lot of space in the physical office. Moreover, any new information will be processed and saved with ease. Because of that, there’s a lot less chance for error as well as less need for time-consuming data organization and filing system.

5. Track your business success

Since digital workplace encourages more independence in problem-solving and decision-making ordeals as well as clearer and more measurable business values together with a better insight into the products and services of the company, digital workplace also allows any business model to be easily tracked and measured. This leaves a lot of room for immediate changes and adjustments where necessary, which saves time, money and resources.

Digital workplace is necessary in this day and age. Technology cannot be observed separately from a workplace or an employee anymore. By combining these elements together and making them work as a whole, the workforce’s creativity, productivity and empowerment will lead the business to success.

Building a Construction Company – Startup Checklist

ConstructionStarting a company is never an easy task. Apart from needing the courage to take the plunge, you also have to be sure that what you want to offer will be interesting to customers and that you won’t make any mistake that might prove too costly.

Needless to say, the whole process is quite overwhelming, especially if you’re planning to make a breakthrough in the field of construction industry.

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Unlike many other startups, a new construction company can’t start with a makeshift office above your garage and an old laptop, which is just one of the problems every aspiring entrepreneur has to take into account.

In order to ensure that no major issues have been overlooked, many experts have been compiling various checklists for up-and-coming colleagues. The fact that most of the tips are generally accepted among seasoned professionals means that a young entrepreneur should most definitely pay attention to them.

So, let’s take a look at some of the things that are most commonly found on such checklists.

  1. Make sure you have sufficient funds. You can’t start a company, particularly a construction one if you don’t have enough financial resources. Whether you use your own money or borrow it, not being able to pay for everything you need from the very start would definitely jeopardize the whole project.
  2. Get all the papers you need. Apart from registration documents, you are bound to need various licenses to do business. Requirements differ, depending on where you live, but you should definitely have all of them ready on day 1. If in doubt, consult a legal expert about what you actually need and how to obtain it.
  3. Sort out financial and insurance matters. Choose a bank to open an account with and have a look at what various insurance companies Again, it might be useful to consult an expert if you’re not quite sure what the best option for you is.
  4. Create a team. This doesn’t refer only to experts in construction business, to also to your account, lawyer, banker, insurance agent and all other people who contribute to the daily operations of your company.
  5. Create a website. It’s vital that you have a professionally designed website where you can present your offer and later showcase your results. Having a good website is the best possible catalogue of your achievements you can have.
  6. Buying vs hiring. Make sure you know exactly what equipment you need to buy and what you can hire and try to find the most cost-efficient way of working. While you might need to invest in buying your own crane, for instance, you might be better off renting a scissor lift.
  7. Design business stationery. You really need to give your new company a professional look from the very beginning, which is why you need smartly designed letterhead, business cards and other stationery.
  8. Social media presence. A great deal of interaction in today’s world is happening on social media platforms, which is a good enough reason for your startup to be present there as well. Respect the norms and standards of social networks and you might create an extremely powerful marketing tool.
  9. Double-check your business plan, with a particular focus on its financial component. In case you’ve made a single mistake, you might not be able to get a realistic picture of your performance. Again, if you feel insecure for any reason, asks someone with experience to go through the plan with you and revise it.

As you can see, this checklist contains the most commonly mentioned advice related to starting a construction business. Needless to say, there are many more things one should take into account before starting a construction company, and many of them are very specific and depend on the circumstances. Still, if you follow this simple checklist, the chances of missing something really important are minimized.

3 Tips for Maximizing Your Warehouse Business in 2017

Warehouse BusinessGetting into the warehouse business isn’t something lots of kids dream of nowadays. They all want to be entertainers, IT experts, astronauts and firefighters, and that’s quite all right, but the truth is that the world doesn’t need that many singers and dancers. What it does, however, need are trustworthy and responsible managers in all sorts of fields and one of the most sought-for career these days is in the warehouse management industry. If you’re an owner of an empty warehouse ready to be moved in with thousands of boxes placed neatly on shelves or looking for a new spacious warehouse that will accommodate all needs of your company, there are a few things you need to know. So, here are three important tips for maximizing your warehouse business this year and making some money in the process.

Organize, organize, organize

This might not seem like the most important thing in the world with a number of other industries, but it’s definitely paramount when it comes to warehouse management. Organization is at the core of this business and you mustn’t get into it unless you can handle organizing items in a strict order and in accordance with several rules.

Finally, if your warehouse isn’t neatly organized, your incoming packages won’t be placed in the right spot, while the outgoing ones won’t leave the premise nor arrive at their destination in time. Your employees will be confused and disoriented and, in short, the entire business will go down in flames quite quickly. There are lots of ways to organize your warehouse, but the most important thing to do is to keep the popular products near the entrance – if they’re moving fast, they need to be able to get in and out in the smallest amount of time.

Make a system

Even before organizing and setting up your warehouse, it’s important to come up with a system of placing, stacking and storing your items. No matter how spacious your warehouse is, you have to make sure the products can be easily accessed and moved around. This way, you’ll minimize the waiting period and become much more efficient, which will, consequently, bring you more and more work and boost your income. You can even use a warehouse management system software and maximize your productivity without having to come up with any special system on your own.

Applying a certain logic to the entire system is essential – depending on whether you generally deal with a smaller number of large products or vice versa, you can either focus on the number of products you get in and out or their size. In other words, your warehouse has to be able to accommodate a bigger number in small packages in the same amount of time as the smaller number of huge packages. And that’s exactly how you should store them – big products in the back, smaller ones in the front. This way, your pickers will always know where everything is and how to find a certain order in no time.

Use proper shelves

The main problem with warehouses today is that their owners are generally looking for a way to make some money quickly and rarely pay enough attention to the quality of the services they offer. And this is where they make a crucial mistake – yes, they’ll probably be able to make a few bucks in the first few months, but potential clients will soon find out how inefficient they are and simply find a better alternative. That’s why you shouldn’t cut corners, especially when it comes to shelves.

Being able to stock a large number of products at the same time is impossible unless you have proper shelves. They are literally the backbone of your warehouse and something that will make or break you in the long run. That’s why you need to look into reliable shelving solutions and opt for those that can guarantee longevity and quality. Keep in mind that poor shelves are bad for your business and stay far away from them.

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Other tips

Some of the other warehouse management trends you should look into are exploring various cluster-picking strategies, working during the holidays, delivering packages via drones and opting for all-purpose facilities that can be coordinated easily.

Why Does Cash Flow Have Priority over Profit?


Perhaps one of the most frequently asked questions in the world of business is: should I focus on profit, or make cash flow my priority? Although they both play critical roles in your business success, there are some points to be made in cash flow’s favor. So, don’t fall into the trap of putting all your efforts into making profit, since it is not the main indicator of a successful business. There is no denying it is crucial when observing the bigger picture and long term benefits, but while trying to stay afloat in a sea of corporate sharks, you need stable cash flow to maintain financial health.

The difference between profit and cash flow

These two different financial parameters have a certain impact on your business. Cash flow is the money that goes in and out of the company from various investing activities. You need it to meet your current needs and obligations. On the other hand, profit is the money that remains from sales revenue after all the business’s expenses are subtracted.

To put it in more specific words, if a contract is worth $60,000, and it costs your company $40,000 to provide a good service, your profit will be $20,000.

We can use the same example for cash flow. If your client decides to pay you in two stages of $30,000 each, you will send the first invoice and expect your first payment in about 30 days. A month later, you will send the second invoice and like the previous, expect it 30 days after. Assuming you receive the money on the exact due date you will have the cash inflow you need to keep your business running.

The importance of cash flow

Have you ever heard of the expression “cash is king”? Well, there is some good reasoning behind it. Without cash, how could you be able to pay staff and buy the necessary equipment and material for your job? Besides, every business reaches a moment when sales are in a slump, and there is no profit in sight. In that case, you need the cash flow to keep you afloat.

When cash flow is slow

It’s never a good thing when there is not enough profit, but when there is not enough cash flow, that could question the existence of the entire company. After all, employees will not be willing to work for free and your company will not be able to provide services that require previous investments in material and equipment. The cash flow squeeze can happen for various reasons:

  • Slow-paying customers
  • Seasonal fluctuations
  • Need for quick capital in order to pay contractors, suppliers and service providers
  • You need the capital for business growth

If one of these situations occurs to you, you can always check out some invoice finance options that can fund your cash flow whenever you need it. This way you can shorten the period of waiting for invoices to be paid, because the company you choose will advance you the cash.

Business boom – cash flow dependence

In 2014 Inc. magazine published an article about three business owners who were faced with the problem of cash flow squeeze that happened during the period when their businesses were booming. On the surface, fast growth seems as a good thing. However, when a small business grows from hundreds to thousands of transactions per month, it makes the managing team lose their grip on finances. The thing is, when businesses grow, they become more complex, and some rules about billing and invoices become different. Meanwhile, more cash is needed to cover higher taxes, inventory, compliance expenses and debt. So, yes, ironically, as your sales go up, your cash can go down, and this can get you into serious trouble. In order to make it through the business growth, you will need a stable cash flow. The easiest ways to do that is through a proper accounting system and invoice financing.

Both profit and cash flow are important financial parameters, but if we would have to give an advantage to one of them that would definitely be cash flow, because without it, your business would be doomed.

Wow Clients with an Amazing Corporate Event

Planning a corporate event can be a time consuming and stressful task. Figuring out a budget, location, guest list and guest speakers can feel a little overwhelming and intimidating. Get a few ideas of corporate events that have worked for other companies.

1. Special Guest Speaker

Depending on what type of company you are involved with, you might want to hire or ask a special guest to speak to a room of clients. To draw interest your guest should be someone of interest—or at least someone you can create some mystery around. If you work in technology security, hire a hacker to speak to your clients about the types of threats that their businesses might face. Find a guest speaker who is able to convey a message about your company while entertaining the crowd at the same time.

2. Corporate Retreat

People love getting out of town and any excuse to get away from the confines of the city will help draw a crowd to your corporate event. Choose an overnight retreat that complies with your company’s brand and your mission. If you are a local wholesaler of foods designed for spas, choose a spa that will let you display your products on the shelves. Or, ask the spa to serve your food at mealtimes. You’ll probably need to provide free food, but you might get a discount on the retreat if the spa doesn’t need to provide food.

3. Host a Fundraiser

Show your customers you have a heart of gold by hosting a fundraiser. Find a cause that is important to you or your company. Perhaps one of your employees has discovered she has Multiple Sclerosis? Host an event to raise awareness (and money) for the cause. Display your products at the event and tell guests that a percentage of the proceeds will be donated to your cause. You can even go so far as to tell guests that for a select amount of dates, a percentage of the proceeds of your product will be donated to your cause. Customers will feel even better about your product—and they’ll feel swanky after they’re invited to a benefit.

4. Get Outdoors

Not every corporate event needs to be an expensive endeavor. You can wow your clients by simply getting them in a new environment. Host a camping event or a day hike if you want to save money on your retreat. Or, give them a day of zip lining, snorkeling, ATV riding or Frisbee golfing. Getting people out of the boardroom or office and into the wilderness opens up their minds and allows them to drop their defenses. They will be much more open to hiring your company or buying your product.

5. Online Classes and Webinars

You don’t need to be in person to impress your colleagues and clients. If you have funds to host a guest speaker or a guest teacher, host an online class or webinar. Your clients and employees will learn about an overarching task (how can big data help your company) while promoting your product (use our data graphs to help understand big data output). Obviously, the more relevant the class and the more well-known the teacher, the bigger your turnout will be. Offer a class for free that is usually extremely pricey or difficult to take—as long as your clients download a free trial of your product.

6. Rent a Function Room

If all else fails, throw a party. People love parties and they love getting invitations to elite invite-only parties. Try drawing customers in by offering a “play hooky” party and choose the location wisely .Rent a function room at a local center and throw a party at two or three in the afternoon where you ask your clients to ditch work for a few hours. Offer “play hooky” cocktails, wine and beer—and plenty of bar food to soak up the alcohol.

In renting a function room, you can have the entire event catered or you can provide the food yourself. The center can set up the room anyway you’d like, whether it’s a dining room, theater or cabaret-style set up, you can choose the format that works best for your theme.

Ways Project Managers Can Benefit From Lean

"LEAN" (quality process improvement efficiency)
Lean is a systemic business method for waste elimination. It first originated in Japan in the eighties, but has roots dating back to the Ford production line and Fayol’s principles of management. It has since gained global acceptance and popularity in the business world. Implementing Lean is a sure fire way of boosting profits as it directly affects employee productivity and enables business owners to utilize their full business potential. In a nutshell, Lean brings processes that add value to the forefront by reducing everything else. Here are some of the many ways your business can benefit from Lean training.

Quality Improvement and Fewer Defects

Lean simplifies the production process by eliminating lot and batch production, and by doing so, it minimizes the opportunity for defects. This single-piece flow technology means that if a defect does occur, it will only affect the one part. In doing so, a lot of time is saved, that would otherwise be needed to isolate and test other material in the same production line, in order to make sure it is up to par. After a defect is caught, mistake proofing methods come into play that strengthen the production process and prevent recurrence; in turn, improving quality.

Visual Management

The second benefit of Lean manufacturing and management is a method called Management by Sight. When implemented correctly, Lean enables you to evaluate and gage the progress and state of an entire area of your plant, with a simple visual scan. Errors and abnormalities will clearly stand out and can be quickly and easily identified. Creating a visual workplace will forever change your business for the better. It will enable you to know exactly what is going on, in real time. Reorganizing the work environment, this way, also improves employee safety.

Less Manpower

As Lean boosts process efficiency and creates standardized work, one of its major benefits is the ability to do more, with a smaller work force. However, this in no way means that you have to let go of the now redundant workforce. The principles of Lean dictate that these employees can be effectively utilized to perform continuous improvements, be trained to enhance their skill level, or be assigned maintenance of the system upon its implementation..

Full Company Involvement

Lean is meant to be implemented across the whole organization, not just in one specific area. It is a holistic management philosophy that works only if every part of your organization is involved. This goes a long way in promoting the concept that every employee in the company is part of the team.

Managing Made Easier

Lean makes sure that each employee knows which tasks need to be performed by providing standardized and easy to understand workflow instructions. This makes management a whole lot easier. When problems do arise, they will be significantly easier to deal with as the new team environment encourages support groups to work together in problem solving activities.

Boosting Employee Morale

This final benefit has a tendency to not be immediately apparent, as every change in a routined business environment encounters some resistance, in various forms. Lean makes the transition of change feel natural, thus eliminating the stress related to it. By involving and empowering your employees to make tangible and profitable changes to their everyday tasks, they will gain confidence and feel like a valid and contributing team factor. Lean reduces uncertainty and ambiguity in the workplace, which in turn boosts morale by lowering stress levels and insecurities.

There are immense and sustainable managerial and productive benefits to be reaped from implementing Lean. If you ensure that Lean mentality is integrated into the very culture of your business, you will create an environment that minimizes waste while maximizing productivity and profits. Investing in Lean training, regardless of the type (from Introduction, Lean Champion to SMED),  will pay dividends, as your business will become far more competitive, both in the effectiveness of the services you provide and in the prices that you will be able to charge. This ensures a secure foundation for growth and development. .

 

2015 Social Media Map: Tools with Links

social-media-map-customIt is amazing to see how social media has evolved in past 10 years. We can see an evolving social media landscape through Social Media Map which Overdrive interactive has recently updated, that index majority of social media tools. Their map is a valuable social media marketing resource, but I noticed that some very good tools are missing from their list, but it still acts as a quick cheat sheet for any social media marketer and especially who are new to this field.

Social media map lists majority of social media tools including social media websites, social media apps, social media tools and platforms. Anything which falls under social media solution in general, you will probably find it in this downloadable map with live links to those tools.

While you review this map, you will notice that it is a good example of content marketing strategy as well. Through their landing page, they are sharing valuable data in exchange of basic contact details. They are effortlessly generating database for their leads without even pitching for their services. I believe anyone who wants to download this map, will not mind sharing this information.

I have listed all the categories from the map with few popular tools with their links. You can view the full map below and also download the map with links from Social Media Map.

social-media-map-large

Greatest challenges in customer service industry today

customer-service-effortsGreatest challenge in customer service industry today is to have well-structured and strategized customer service philosophy implemented within the company. To have an edge in current global competition, business requires redefining how you engage with clients.

My article on greatest challenges in customer service industry is focused on sharing my learning from my discussion with several leaders in this industry, from several articles and white papers. My purpose is to share my own belief on how to address these challenges in client engagement along with create a traceability matrix to improve my skills.

Changing_Mind_SetToday’s customer service industry is not an old school customer support program; rather it’s a customer centric revolution.  Companies need to understand that customer success is not an overnight process and a one man show – entire company should stand together to understand what value customer is seeking. They have to collect, analyse data relevant to clients business, way of using vendor services and propose improvements and new solutions instead of just selling and delivering the services.

As a client engagement manager, I strongly believe in the fact that customer makes their own success.  I, our product and services didn’t make them successful.  This truth helps me to keep my customers first and think how I can serve them better. It is imperative that we as a group believe that project success is much more than just delivering services or support.

For a business to deliver on its customer centric promise, our mind-set needs to be changed by weaving customer insight, intelligence, and feedback to every step we take in engaging with customers.  It is important that we clearly understand few facts and challenges on this industry:

  • Customers are no longer beholden to the vendors selling them services
  • It is critically important to retain the customer we paid to acquire
  • Every day is a test to prove our worth to win customer loyalty, grow relationship and continue to earn their business
  • Just one phenomenal customer experience can make world of difference when it comes to work-of-mouth promotion
  • Biggest challenge is to digest that we don’t push customers towards our vision of success, rather we need to push them for their vision

Hopefully companies have started realizing the facts that customer needs more attention apart from just our services and products. Companies have started putting efforts in structuring the way to determine whether clients are getting value or not in addition of motivating their employees to stand together for their client success. They are proactively organizing to face challenges in customer service industry.

Note:
Thanks in advance for reading my article. I’d request all readers to share their experiences along with valuable tips, documents such as client servicing traceability matrix, any check list or templates to measure engagement efforts or customizable strategy for client servicing specially for IT industry. You can send your documents at hello@globalityconsulting.com. I’ll make sure that I mention about you along with your thought in my next article!!

Role of Offshore Manager or Onsite Coordinator

offshore and onsite coordinatorBeing into outsourcing from decades, I strongly believe that active communication and flawless coordination of tasks are the main factor of successful outsourcing. Companies have learned this by hard way and now they do not hesitate improve this process.  Trend shows that in order to improve the quality of communication between offshore teams and client, companies have started assigning a dedicated person known as offshore manager or onsite coordinator, who can coordinate the tasks and can oversee different activities.

The role of this offshore manager or onsite coordinator is to ensure active communication between client and development team, act as a liaison and present/translate the information without losing its meaning and in a lingo that is best understandable by client and offshore teams.  This person should have mix skills of business analyst, project manager, and knowledge of software development life cycle, sales and marketing.

Onsite CoordinationMain expectation from this person is to maintain transparency in the process, keep client updated on development progress and issues faced by team along with managing client expectations with offshore team.  This person needs to multi task and required to work for long and odd hours.  Irrespective of size of engagement, vendors are required to put a full time coordinator in the team.  Marketers are selling offshore coordinator as an add-on and it is getting heavy attraction.

One of the biggest challenge which this outsourcing coordinator needs to be face is being unbiased. S/he has biggest responsibility on their shoulder to make justice. Their mind-set plays crucial role in a situation where they need to take side. They need to decide whether they take side of the company, which pays them salary, or take side of the client.  No matter how proactive they are or how well they have maintained the transparency between client and offshore team they will always require to justify their work, loyalty and interest to the management.

It is not easy to find good and ethical offshore managers and they are not very cheap as well, however they are real value to your money. Typically, their onsite rate ranges in between USD 60-90 an hour (inclusive of per Diem, hotel, car etc.), which is quite high when compared to offshore rate, which ranges in between USD 25-40 an hour.

Offshore managers or outsourcing coordinators at Globality consulting have solid experience in supporting companies and delivering quality solutions and products while maintaining transparency between clients and offshore teams. Get in touch with one of your consultant at hello@globalityconsulting.com  for more details.

Google made August 16th a Historic Day

google-downAugust 16, 2013 became a historic day in IT world after Google services suffered a complete blackout and global internet traffic dipped by 40% within five minutes.

All of the Google’s services including Google search, Gmail, YouTube, Maps, Analytics etc. went down for few minutes and left user wondering whether it’s an internet issue at their end or they just gone crazy.
Google_Blackout
As per leading news channels, Google has refused to provide any further information on why there was an outage, especially when giant like Google has servers around the world.

According to web analytics, firm GoSquared, a message on the Google Apps Dashboard showed all of its services are down. Message was “We’re aware of a problem with Gmail affecting a significant subset of users. The affected users are able to access Gmail, but are seeing error messages and/or other unexpected behavior”

Later, another message appeared, which read, “Between 15:51 and 15:52 PDT, 50% to 70% of requests to Google received errors; service was mostly restored one minute later, and entirely restored after four minutes.”

Digital expert Phil Dearson, head of strategy for Tribal Worldwide, said the blackout had cost Google an estimated $500,000 (£330,000) just in the few minutes it was down. As per him “This is completely unprecedented, I’ve never heard of anything like this before”.

While Google is working (possibly) on answering world about its blackout – it has also raised a debate on how important Google is for our day-to-day life and how it has wiped its competition.

It has shown the unpopularity of its competitors such as Bing and other search engines, which were unable to pick up the slack during the outage.

As of now, everyone has only few questions – What exactly happened and how all of a sudden giant like Google went into dark. Did we reach the edge of the internet? Do we have a life beyond Google?