How Efficiently Does Your Business Communicate?

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This is the 21st century and with technology, business and commerce moving at such a blistering pace, it can feel a little intimidating to neophytic entrepreneurs. Nonetheless, like it or not, a fast paced and occasionally frantic business climate is the reality of modern entrepreneurship. This means that you must be as time and resource efficient as possible to stay agile while adapting in new technologies that can make your processes and practices more efficient as and when you encounter them. Whatever the nature or industry of your business, there’s a good chance that communication plays a big part in your daily operations.

Communication, after all, is the key to success in any business. If we don’t communicate the principles and standards of our brand to our employees, we can expect to see them lapse and our brand compromised. If we don’t communicate the value in what we offer to our clients or customers, they’ll head across the road to our competitors. If we don’t communicate clearly and persuasively to our shareholders, they’ll withdraw the support upon which our ongoing growth depends. No matter what your business does, where it operates or what your role in it may

be, it’s never a bad idea to think carefully about your communications processes…

How well do you communicate personally?

Remember that everything you do is an act of communication. And if you’re the CEO of your own business, all eyes are on you as the figurehead of your brand. Everything from your tone of voice from what you wear communicates something to your customers and employees. How well do you embody the core values upon which you built your business within your day to day communications?

Are you able to communicate with brevity; conveying potentially complex processes and ideas in quick and easy to understand terms? This can play a huge part in the ethos of efficient communication in your business.

Are you an active listener? Do you show customers that you’re attuned to their needs while showing your employees that you value their ideas and input? Your personal communication sets a standard for everyone involved in your business

Is the problem your platform?

Many of us struggle with using the right platforms, software and digital apps to help us manage our business in the most time and cost efficient way possible. This applies to your communications platforms too.

Is email really the best way for you to communicate with your team? Emails are rarely responded to quickly, even when they’re red flagged. Likewise communication over landline telephones tethers you to your desk and could potentially have an adverse effect on your productivity. Try a business text platform like TextBetter instead. Texting has an immediacy which your employees and subcontractors are more likely to respond to promptly.

What is your business saying to the world?

Your business exists in a vacuum and in the digital age we rely on content marketing and social media to communicate what our business does and what it stands for to the outside world. Just make sure you stay abreast of what your business is saying. If your website is shoddily designed or if your content is clearly outsourced to a cheap overseas third party provider, you’re probably not communicating the values of your business as efficiently as you should.

Removing Potential for Controversy When Working With Third Parties

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Many small business owners tend to make the same mistake when they first start out: they try to keep complete control over every aspect of their work for too long. This is understandable. When you create your own business, you’re in complete control. You work for months on end alone to get things off the ground and up and running. It’s also likely that you will be reluctant to ask for help with their venture, as they consider third parties and outsourcing agencies a needless expense when you can take on the extra work yourself. But as you start receiving more and more orders or contracts (and consequently more and more responsibility), you’ll soon grow to realise that you’re not a robot. If you try to go it alone, you’ll end up burning yourself out. What’s more? Your business will suffer for it. You need to focus on areas such as product development. You need to be deciding how you’re going to push your business forward, what you’re going to bring to the plate for the marketplace, which demographic you’re going to target next… You can’t do all of this if you’re constantly tied up with administrative tasks, correspondence, and market research. In short, you need help to succeed. However, when you do decide to collaborate with a third party, it’s important that you find the right one. After all, their work will automatically reflect on your brand, so you need to ensure that they are reliable, professional, and avoid controversy at all costs. So, here are a few ways to go about finding the perfect partner!

Carrying Out Audits

First things first, you should carry out an audit that will give the potential partner c tpat certification. This will ensure that you can assess and enhance security measures throughout the third party’s business and supply chains. You can also carry out further audits to ensure that they have the same ethical and moral policies as your company too!

Set Out a Contract

To ensure that you and the third party know exactly what is expected of one another, you should set out a contract that can be signed before getting to work or exchanging any money or services. This means that everyone is completely clear on what to do!

Monitor Progress

When you collaborate with another individual, agency, or company, things may start out swimmingly well. But things might slide as time goes by. So it’s important that you monitor progress to ensure that everything the other party is doing is beneficial and positive for your own brand. The best way to do this is to measure productivity (ensuring that orders and tasks are being completed on time, every time), and that they are still complying to the rules and procedures that you laid out in the first place months or even years down the line.

As you can see, you’re going to have to put a fair amount of thought into avoiding controversy when working with third parties. But the above advice should help you to make a great success of your partnership!

Are You Sure It’s Wise To Just Focus On Cybercrime?

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There’s no stopping it now, the world of business is surely going to be all digital. Everything and everyone will all soon be connected online, and that’s just the way it is, right? If you plan on taking pride in a tangible existence in reality, then that’s wrong. Sure you can have both, and in fact, you must modernize and aim for that two-standard philosophy. But are we sure we haven’t lost sight of what’s important to our security in everyday life as business owners? We’ve put so much energy, time and focus on protecting our intellectual property. We did this to make sure our customers feel safe, and their irreplaceable information they give to us willingly is protected from cybercriminals. Just as the hackers in the online world are forever changing and improving their techniques to steal from us and damage our businesses beyond repair, so too are the criminals who operate in front of our eyes. What methods are available to us, in the modern sense, to keep those no-good reprobates at bay?

Shutter shutout

Believe it or not, some business owners feel as if they can rely on the area they are located in to be their unofficial security. They even leave their glass windows unprotected and put too much of their faith in CCTV and alarm systems. Foolishly relying on scaring off the criminals is just that, foolish. What your business needs are a front that crushes the spirit of the criminal and swats away any potential hope they have of breaking into your business. Aluminum roll-up shutters are not only sturdy, but they’re designed in a way that each blade works like Roman armor. They overlap and slightly bend to absorb any impact such as a brick being thrown or somebody trying to kick a hole inward.

Sixth sense security

The human touch is invaluable in business. Not only do you want to create a strong relationship with your customers, but you also want them to realize you respect them as individuals. The human touch is very useful in another manner that doesn’t first spring to mind. Someone who knows the area you’re situated in, the atmosphere, the local culture and indeed the criminal behavior can be like a Jedi standing at the door. With their sixth sense, they can pick out those who protrude body language of someone who is up to no good. US retailers lose a staggering and quite infuriating $44 billion from shoplifting every single year. Giving an expert security guard company the role of being your steel guardian in your business, can stop you from becoming one of those victims. Choosing any old security company is counterproductive because they’re not in touch with your needs specifically. A guard that wants to work with you to form a unique security protocol that is convenient to you creates an environment that is doubly hostile to criminal activity.

It’s a blistering headache to say the least to have to protect your business in cyberspace and in the living breathing realm too. As long as the criminals don’t stop, neither should you; just don’t neglect the criminals who want to rob you blind, right in front of your eyes.

Working in the Energy Sector

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Though the energy sector is one that is ever-changing, it is also one in which there is a high demand for staff. After all, there is a growing population around the world and bigger numbers who are demanding access to fuel to power their daily lives. So, if you have ever considered working in this sector yourself at all, here are just a few of the main points which are worth thinking about in more detail.

What is the Energy Sector?

Essentially, the businesses involved in the energy sector are involved in the production and sale of energy. The companies in this field range from the big multinational corporations to small businesses with only a handful of employees. In particular, the main types of industries which make up this field include petroleum, gas, electricity, coal, nuclear power, and renewable energy. Surrounding each one of these individual parts, there are a plethora of jobs,

Why Work in this Field?

Large energy companies provide plenty of opportunities for hard working and dedicated people to progress and advance. One year you could be using production report templates in the oil industry and a few years later you could move into a management position. There are usually very structured training programs which take you through the basics. There are plenty of international opportunities for people whose interests lie in traveling and working in a different part of the world. Large energy companies are also closely associated with having great working benefits etc.

What Are the Skills and Qualifications Sought After?

There are a host of general skills which will stand you in good stead in this field. First of all, you will need to have passion and a ‘can do’ attitude. Next, you will need a degree of flexibility and adaptability in environments which can change very quickly. You will also need to be able to provide a high level of customer service to a range of both internal and external customers. Most of the time, you will require some sort of further education depending on the specific role which you are planning on getting involved in.

What Are the Range of Roles on Offer?

Here, we will discuss in more detail just a few of the roles on offer. Finance is always going to be a big area – looking after the accounts side of the business. IT is a growing field as our world becomes increasingly focused on technology. Of course, engineers are highly sought after as they provide the cornerstone of these types of company. And there are also plenty of opportunities in positions such as human resources and marketing. Beyond this, you also have customer services and sales jobs which you could work in.

So, there you have just some of the basics involved in working in the energy sector. Hopefully, this has helped you to make your decision just a little bit easier if you have ever thought about getting involved in this field.

How Companies Can Use Generational Differences To Their Advantage

It’s natural for any new worker to look around to see how many people are around their age at first, but there’s a huge opportunity lost when companies only recruit one age group.

Generational conflict will always exist based on style preference alone.

But workplaces can flip the script on older vs. younger in one swoop: cross-generational mentoring.

When you think of mentor it is assumed older-to-younger knowledge transfer, but don’t mistake age for experience.

Millennials were raised with technology so even with lacking workplace experience, their digital knowledge is far superior than generations above them. On the opposite end Boomers and Gen X understand office politics, communication and responsibility better.

This “fair trade” can be a huge asset to your bottom line if utilized properly.

There’s no better teacher than trial and error. Also if you really want to understand a concept, teach it. When workers are paired with co-workers of different ages the focus is on individual strengths instead of nitpicking about disparity.

Professional development is a huge retention benefit and when companies empower that responsibility to co-workers there’s more ownership taken because each person is involved with the process.

The term diversity normally pertains to ethnicity, but age diversity is just as important.

The healthiest organizations find ways to appreciate and value workers of all ages because everyone has something to offer others.

If employees expect management to provide direction solely, workers gain a “consumer’s” mentality believing learning needs to be spoon-fed to me. When cross-generational mentoring exists “learning” becomes a personal responsibility. Companies need to quickly dispel the notion that growth opportunities only happen within a organizational context.

When I advise clients who are job searching I always emphasize that personal growth is your responsibility. Anything a company provides is a bonus.

Make it your mission to find a mentor and mentee and learning becomes a habit, not a destination.

Tried And Tested Business Practices

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You don’t really have to worry about trying something new out with your business. Chances are it has already been done by someone else, and it has already been tested to the highest standard to make sure it’s going to improve the way a business is ran. But the sad thing is, not a lot of businesses actually try and use them. They stick to what they know, and often what they know might not be the smartest move. So, if you know you haven’t pushed the boat out a bit and experimented with different business practices, here are a few tried and tested ideas for you to give a go.

Outsourcing

Outsourcing is easy, simple, and one of the best things a business can do. There’s so many different elements to a business that could be outsourced as well. Some are more important, and will probably benefit your business so much if you actually gave it a go. One of the best is marketing. It’s so hard to understand how marketing actually works for some people. You’ve got the simple techniques such as social media marketing. This is a technique that is pretty easy to master yourself. Then you’ve got techniques such as SEO which is pretty complicated, but there are specialist agencies that you could outsource to to get them to do the work for you. Techniques such as SEO are so effective, so it’s probably best to outsource to get it right.

Relying On Software

Relying on software is something every business should do because there’s just so many different bits of software that can help a business. First, you’ve got ones such as cpq. what is cpq software you ask? It’s software that allows you to track and monitor sales and revenue, something that can be really difficult to do without the aid of such software. For pretty much every department of your business, there is software that can help with it. With accounts, there’s pieces that will allow you to track profits, losses, new customers etc. to see what your overall figures for the year might be without actually knowing. These predictions can save a companies life with things like overspending or overestimating the profit that might be made for the year.

Flexible Company Policies

A lot of companies are so strict, and it can have a real negative effect on the people that work for them. However, there are some companies that are so flexible, and their employee turnover is so low, and the overall satisfaction for working for the company is high. Try and be flexible with things such as annual leave, bonuses etc. You should also consider letting employees allocate their own breaks and their own break times. So long as they’re getting all their work done in the day, letting them have an extra half an hour or so to relax and recharge before finishing the rest of their shift might be beneficial for them and you!

We highly recommend you try a couple of these business practices and see how they help your business!

Do You Have What It Takes To Be A Trader?

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Trading is a career path that is appealing to many – especially thanks to the success of TV shows and movies like Billions and The Wolf of Wall Street. From the outside, it can seem like anyone can become a trader – but in the same way that not everyone can become a doctor – becoming a trader might not be the right move for you.

Take a look at some of the traits needed to become a good trader to see if you have what it takes to make it in the industry.

Are you good at math?

You can dance around it all you want, but if you’re going to be a successful trader – there has to be some mathematical ability there. While there are automated trading tools and other applications that can make the trading process simpler, you still need to be able to input the data to be able to use them effectively. Traders are also very analytical in their thinking, so good problem-solving skills are also a must.

Can you handle the pressure?

Trading is a stressful game. The markets can change unexpectedly and cause huge losses overnight – while unpredictable events such as election results, natural disasters and terrorist attacks can affect market prices. Being able to see these things through with a calm and level head will make you a more confident trader, one who can see beyond the obvious and make informed decisions. It’s worth testing out your capabilities using an online stock simulator to help you see if you can handle the pressure of being a trader before you start using real money.

Do you know how to stop?

Knowing when to get out can make the difference between a bad trader and a good trader. Good traders know how to make plans and how to stick to their exit point. If you’re too much of a risk taker, this could work against you and cost you a large chunk of your profits. Taking a sensible approach to trading is important, so you’ll need to learn how to practice self-restraint if you’re going to make it as a successful trader.

Are you ready to reap the benefits?

Becoming a trader is an attractive career choice because of the benefits it offers. The earning potential, as well as the prestige that comes from working for some firms, can be very appealing to those looking to make a decent living. However, it’s not all good news, and the stress and uncertainty that come with the role might mean that it’s not necessarily the way forward for you. Remember that other things such as a healthy work/life balance are also important, so don’t be afraid to explore other avenues if trading isn’t the one for you.

If, after reading this, you think you’ve got what it takes to become a good trader, start doing some research. Getting as much information as you can about trading will give you a strong foundation and help give you the best start to what can be an exciting and profitable career.

How Social Media Has Turned Perception Into Reality

There’s an overwhelming belief that Millennials don’t take advice from elders.

But here’s a spin on that: mentors are sought out in the workplace more than ever.

Young professionals will turn to co-workers for guidance.

Social media has become a source for recommendations.

For older generations, the concept of following a stranger’s advice is odd, but times have changed.

Yelp is the go-to source for restaurant reviews.

Instagram is the wellness answer to how to stay healthy.

Twitter is the forum to find out the latest sports and news trends.

In the corporate world, companies need to understand this tendency. There is a direct correlation to management style. Coaching is most effective. Why? Because people don’t want to be told what to do. They want to make informed choices.

Look deeper into consumerism, people want to be more educated these days. Take for example, Carvana. They’ve taken the salesperson completely out of the equation. Buyers get the information they want to make a decision and when they’re ready to purchase it’s as easy as pushing a button for delivery.

Social media has become a market research tool to identify what people want. Smart companies know that consumers determine what products/services they want to buy.

Social media has turned perception into reality by crowdsourcing information. Brand ambassadors hold more power than actual companies now because their influence is rooted in a personal relationship. Influencers are technically strangers to most, but if you’re a loyal follower it feels like they are speaking directly to you.

If you’ve ever tried to sell an idea, it’s much easier for someone else to promote it than yourself (insert testimonial here). That’s where social media comes in. Video, in particular, has given your opinion a voice. Never in history has there been a time where your view matters more.

Inspire or be inspired.

Is Your Office Making You Unproductive? Four Quick Fixes

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When it comes to our office environment, could it be that we’re only as good as our surroundings? Numerous studies have indicated that the environment we work in can have a huge impact on our health, wellbeing, mental focus and productivity, so its surprising that small companies don’t invest more time in making the right changes to promote a culture of co-operation and creativity. However, despite the wealth of evidence to the contrary nearly half of employers still say that they don’t consider workplace design a good business investment.

From large-scale ergonomic changes such as investing in new seating, changing office layouts to enhance collaboration or smaller touches such as adding deck coating systems to make transform a rooftop into a staff recreational area, to smaller touches, a few adjustments could make a huge impact.

Lighting Your Space

After air quality, lighting is one of the single biggest factors in producing a comfortable working environment, but it also tends to be one of the most overlooked. Bad lighting is the cause of myriad health problems for workers, including lack of concentration, eye strain, headaches and low mood. Natural light is always the best option, but many of us don’t have the luxury of a desk by a window. Portable light therapy devices can be one solution you can proactively introduce.

Noise Levels

The current vogue for open-plan everything certainly has benefits in terms of making collaboration easier, but noise pollution is a significant downside of this approach. Not only can loud conversations from co-workers be distracting, but they can also cause a constant, low-level form of stress that is highly detrimental over time. Luckily, noise-canceling headphones can be a godsend for managing noise in the office, while online music streaming services offer white noise or calming playlists intended to promote focus. If you work from home, these can even be useful as many find complete silence just as detrimental to their focus in its own way.

Air Quality

Probably the single most important factor from a physical perspective, air quality isn’t often something that gets mentioned, but it can severely impact our productivity and wellbeing. The OSHA has estimated the total annual cost of poor air in our offices actually costs employers $15 billion in lost efficiency and increased sick leave. Your office should consider fitting or upgrading air filters, or personal desk-based ones can be used, although these tend to be drastically less efficient. A cheap hack is just to buy in lots of green potted plants – these calm our minds and are also nature’s air filters, providing a steady supply of clean, purified oxygen.

Unwanted Clutter

You may feel that your clutter makes you creative, but actually messy environments around us are linked to poor concentration, and can cost us time when it comes to the daily hunt for the stapler. Focus on keeping your immediate environment harmonized by allocating ten minutes at the end of each day to a quick file away and wipe down of your desk. Smart office storage solutions are available to help you minimize piles of paper, too.

How Coworking Could Revolutionize Your Working Day

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Working for yourself can be a lot of fun, but working on your own can also be a bit of a drain on your motivation. Sometimes, you can go days without speaking to another soul. You don’t have many reasons to leave the house, so why even get dressed? It can be a minefield! If you’ve experienced these things working for yourself, prepare for the game to change. Coworking is a fairly new concept that is helping freelancers and self employed people get more done all over the world. Who would have thought working with strangers could have such a big impact on your productivity? Read on to find out how coworking could revolutionize your working day:

More Structure To Your Day

Planning to get up and head to a coworking space can help you to create more structure. That’s one huge struggle for the self employed; structure. They don’t have anybody telling them to be in work at a certain time, or what to do when, so it can be tough to actually sit down and get stuff done. This means it can be hard to separate work and relaxation time, so it can feel like you’re working 24/7 even if you’re not being productive.

A Reason To Get Out Of The House

Going to a coworking space gives you a reason to get out of the house. You have a reason to get dressed and make yourself look presentable, and you’ll be able to stand up and walk around, even if just for a small portion of the day. Looking at temporary office spaces for rent could be the breath of fresh air that you needed in your daily routine. There’s nothing worse than going stir crazy because you haven’t left the house!

Stop Feeling Lonely

Feeling lonely is one of the worst things about being self employed. One thing you’ll always miss about being employed is the work place community, office parties, and chats by the water cooler (as cliche as they are). Even working alongside strangers can make you feel a part of a community and stop you from feeling lonely.

Networking

You never know who you might meet in a coworking space, and networking is a valuable thing for any entrepreneur and business owner to do.

Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Getting out of your comfort zone is something you should aim to do in one way or another each day. Going to a new place and seeing new faces can be scary, but it will give you a sense of accomplishment that you just can’t beat.

Feel Like What You’re Doing Matters

Studies showed that people who worked in coworking spaces felt like what they were doing mattered so much more when working alongside other people. It can show you that other people are doing what you’re doing, and it’s OK not to be a part of the rat race!

Coworking could change the way you view your job and life as a whole. Try it!