How to Motivate Your Team to Success

Motivation is a tricky thing to master in business. It requires that you dedicate your efforts to create compelling reasons for wanting to reach a particular goal. When your goal is to motivate your team, you need to tap into the reasons why they might want to accomplish the goal you put in front of them.

This takes an understanding of what is important to them and how you can get them to put aside what they might want personally so that they can focus on giving you what you want. Leaders like successful real estate construction entrepreneur Lloyd Claycomb II align the goals they have with the individual goals of their team members so each team member can be motivated toward the reaching the goal, for his own reasons.

At the core of any motivation strategy must be the correct demeanor and attributes of the leader. How this person acts will determine in large part whether the team member will buy into the goal and be sufficiently motivated to go for it. Here are the characteristics of the leader that is most likely to get people motivated.

Infallibly Passionate

Reliability is a core quality needed to get people motivated. Teams need to know with 100% surety that the person who is asking them to commit is also committed all the time and that he or she is consistent in their thoughts, beliefs and conversations. This individual needs to demonstrate over time that their demeanor will not change during hard times or good ones in regards to the quest for the goal, and that he or she can be relied upon to offer the same level of enthusiasm about the goal throughout the journey.

Consistently Reliable, Prepared

Team members will check to see how important the goal is to the motivator before they will commit. Does the leader get to meetings early and stay late to answer any questions team members have about the goal? Is the leader fully prepared when discussing the goal? The level of seriousness regarding the goal will be communicated by the behavior of the leader, so he or she needs to be reliable and prepared.

Accessible

Leaders need to be available for team members when needed. This means making sure everyone has direct access to the motivator via his phone, e-mail and other contact information. When the leader receives communication from a team member, he or she needs to respond timely with either an answer to the question or comment or a specific time when it will be answered.

Good Listener

A good leader is always prepared to listen. Enthusiasm is great, but what is better is to let a team member know that his comments and questions are appreciated and important. Not every question will be a good one, but every question will be an important one so the leader must listen and give a thoughtful answer. This not only builds confidence in the team member about the goal but also gets team communication flowing which will aid to reaching the goal.

To keep everyone on your team motivated takes time and commitment. Be prepared to spend a lot of time on motivation because it is at the core of every project’s success story.

Continue Reading

Wireless vs. Non-wireless Card Solutions

There are a lot of wireless card solutions out there

Finding credit card solutions that work for a unique business is crucial to maintaining a healthy profit margin. But, before a business owner can decide on a system and equipment, they’ve got to know the fundamental differences between different types of payment terminals.

Here’s a breakdown of the differences, and similarities, between wireless and wired credit card processing:

Free to be Wireless

A wireless credit card and debit machine involves very different equipment and processing than a wired terminal. First, wireless terminals do not require a direct link to a phone jack or Internet connection. Instead, a wireless terminal transmits card information to a radio tower, which then transmits the information to a credit card processor.

The benefit of wireless credit card processing services is obvious; business owners can take payments anywhere, which gives them more freedom and flexibility to grow their business.

Similar to wired terminals, wireless processors have features including a magnetic stripe reader, display screen, and keypad. However, wireless terminals are typically more expensive than wired options and may suffer connectivity issues should the device be out-of-range of a radio tower.

Wired to do Business

Wired credit card processing relies on phone or Internet connectivity to transmit data. More importantly, these terminals are not designed to work outside a store.

Wired devices that connect via phone line are typically less expensive and slower than devices that connect to the Internet. Depending on the nature of the business, this may be something important to consider.

For example, a credit card machine hooked up on a phone line may have to share the line with other equipment. This congestion could slow payment processing and discourage customers from returning.

Terminals connected to the Internet process faster and may be more reliable if the business has peak periods for customer transactions.

Now that you understand the basic differences between wired and wireless credit card processing, it will be easier to pick an option that works best for your business.

Continue Reading

Skyrocket Your Sales with Business Text Messages

The number of people with cellphones is almost uncountable. We live with mobile communication all around us now. And if you own a business, you need to find yourself a business SMS solution if you are to benefit from all of this. So how can you benefit from this process the most?

Use an SMS Webform that Customers Can Opt In to

If you want to grow your customers, but you don’t want to spam them, then an opt in form is a necessity. This means that people give you their consent to be contacted first. By providing an opt in form, you build trust among your customers, and it is far more likely that they will read your message.

Tell Customers How Often You Will SMS Them

If you tell your customers from the word go how often you will message them, they will feel more respected, which in turn builds brand trust and loyalty. If you message your customers too often, they are likely to block your number. But be honest and upfront, and stick to your promises, and they are likely to remain engaged.

Promote with Media Links

The great thing about cellphones is that they are linked to the internet. Hence, you can add links to videos, images, promotions, and so on to your SMS messages, and make sure your customers remain interested in what you are doing.

Provide an Opt Out Option

Make sure that your customers always know exactly how they can opt out of the SMS messages at a later stage. You can add this to each message you sent, but since you are limited in characters, it is better to make this very clear on your web form.

Make Sure You Are Effective with Your Time

Do not send text messages first thing in the morning or in the middle of the night because you most likely will be wasting your time. If you have customers from all over the country, you may have to create groups based on their time zones so that they receive messages at the appropriate time. Also make sure that you do not promote items that won’t be available for another month. Teasers are good, but not that long in advance.

Provide Mobile Coupons in Your Physical Store

Make sure that you have mobile coupons available on your premises to attract more people to sign up for the service. Offer them a first order discount for signing up, for instance, and make sure the coupon has a QR code on it to make it easy for people to leave their details.

Make the Messages Personalized

Even though you will be sending the same message to lots of people, you should personalize it as much as possible. Your opt in form should have, for instance, included your customers first and last name. Using that as a macro in your SMS message, so that each individual receives a message that is actually addressed to them, can make a huge difference in terms of how positively the message is received.

Continue Reading

John Bradberry Consulting – Have a Start-Up Idea? Don’t Forget to Patent It!

Startups involve bringing a new service or product to the market in order to solve a current problem or to respond to a present need.  Because of this, it is likely that many people or teams are working to develop a solution to the same problem – in fact, many of the greatest inventions of our time have been developed almost simultaneously because they are spurred by a general perception of a problem.  The reason we know the name of one inventor and not another is often because one of them made it first to the patent office.  As industry experts like John Bradberry Consulting can tell you, there is a great deal of competition to find the next big startup idea.   If you think you might have found it, be sure you consider applying for a patent to protect your rights.

What is a patent?

A common misperception about patents is that they give the holder “ownership” of an idea.  This is not the case – instead, a patent gives an inventor the exclusive right to develop an idea in order to bring it to the market. Even then, this right is not forever.  A patent will expire after a period of time, allowing competitors to develop their own version of the same product.  There are some limitations on what kinds of ideas can be patented.  First, the idea or process needs to be new – this means that it can’t be something that is already available to people.  It also needs to be something that is not obvious to other people.  This is because if an idea is so obvious that someone could simply “stumble across it” then there is not likely to be a significant intellectual process that needs to be protected.  Finally, in order to be patented, an idea needs to be actually possible to develop.  This means that you cannot patent ideas for technologies or processes that aren’t currently possible.

Things to remember

If you are considering applying for a patent for your idea, you need to keep a few things in mind because they might affect your rights.  For example, in the United States, the law is that if you have publically demonstrated or used your product, you have 12 months to apply for the patent (because remember, patentable ideas must not be in the public realm).  You also have only 12 months to apply for a patent if you have sold your product.

Patents are quite expensive to apply for and can be quite complicated.  For this reason, some developers choose to protect their idea by keeping processes, ingredients and technologies “secret” rather than patenting the idea.  While you don’t have an exclusive right to develop the idea without a patent, if it sufficiently complicated you may find that you don’t need to patent it at all.

You do need to make sure, however, that any great idea you have for a startup has not already been patented by a competitor.  Be sure to do your homework on this issue before you invest any time or money developing an idea that someone else has secured the rights to.

Continue Reading

Drive Ahead with a Better Business Model

In running a business, what do you find to be some of your biggest challenges?

Probably one challenge that most if not all business owners would identify when being asked that question would be keeping customers satisfied.

568489171_1280x720

No matter what it seems company owners do, some customers will never think it is enough. As a result, the latter may move from business owner to business owner, looking for the one that will deliver each and everything they want.

With that in mind, running a business tied to transportation can prove to be quite a task.

For starters, you’re going to have to make sure that you get customers to and from where they need to go without hassles.

Secondly, given the time element is so much in play, even small delays can end up irritating any number of customers. When this occurs, they might never come back for more business.

At the end of the day, driving ahead with a better business model is doable if you put as much time and effort necessary into the process.

Transporting Success for Your Company

When it comes to a car sharing platform, if you’re in this line of work, you know how important it is to not only make being on time quite important, but also a smooth and hassle-free experience.

At the end of the day, some key areas to focus in on include managing all of your customers, the suppliers you work with, the vehicles involved in the operation, and of course your employees. You also want to make sure your technology is up to date, allowing you to identify and check drivers before they ever get behind the wheel.

If you’re in the delivery business, you also know how crucial a smooth transportation process needs to be.

For example, let’s say you deliver medicines for a pharmacy.

Unlike some other delivery services where being a day or two late wouldn’t have quite the consequences, many people (especially the young and senior citizens) depend on receiving their medications on time. If your driver/s prove to not always be reliable (not focused, get into accidents rather easily etc.) your customers can pay the price.

While there are many pharmacies and those related to the industry doing things online and via the regular mail these days, some still make deliveries to their customers.

No matter what kind of delivery service you have, make sure transportation bottlenecks do not come to define your brand.

Let Consumers Know Your Brand Works

For those businesses in transportation related industries (or any business for that matter), it is crucial that consumers know not only how your brand works, but how it can help them.

One of the best ways to get that word out in today’s digital age is of course through the Internet.

For instance, if you don’t have a website or it is lackadaisical at best, that is something you need to change moving forward (sooner better than later).

With a strong website in your hands, you have the opportunity to move your brand ahead, with the potential to leave competitors in the rearview mirror.

Speaking of that website, make sure it focuses on the following:

  • Content – Having solid content on your website is imperative. With that content, you can reach millions of consumers near and far. Most notably, make sure that content is both fresh and relevant;
  • Visuals – You also need a website that is strong on imagery, notably positive imagery;
  • Functionality – If your website has functional issues, you can’t truly expect consumers to want to come back again and again (if at all). Test your site regularly to make sure it is functioning with as few errors as possible.

If you are prepared to drive forward with a better business model, what are you waiting for?

Continue Reading

Thailand Serviced Offices: What You Need to Know

Picture1

Over the last decade, Thailand has become a premier destination for western businesses looking to expand into the Asian market. It is a popular gateway to this part of the world, due to the draw of low corporate tax rates and quick registration processes.

There is a catch though and it’s a big one. If you want full ownership of a company in Thailand, it needs to be held in the name of an American or Thai partner. Despite this, scores of new businesses are launched every year and many are run from serviced offices in Bangkok.

Serviced facilities are a great way for new businesses to get a quick start and build up a secure foundation for growth. Keep reading to find out more about why they might be right for you.

Getting to Grips with the Basics

A serviced office provides all of the things that a conventional office lease does, with the difference being that it carries no long term contract. Also, the workspace is accessed as a fully furnished, fully equipped corporate suite. There are exceptions to this – some companies prefer to furnish an office for themselves – but, usually, there are no set up costs.

You pay a flat rate fee to call a ‘ready to go’ office your home. Serviced facilities include cleaning, lighting, HVAC, IT support, telephone answering and more. It is a great option for small teams looking to expand into Thailand because it minimises the risks. If you’re not tied into a 3-5 year lease, you can retain flexibility. Visit www.servcorp.co.th/en/serviced/offices/ for more information.

The Main Benefits of Going Serviced

Increased Flexibility

According to statistics, many of the businesses which opt for serviced facilities are concerned with their degree of flexibility. This is a valid issue because the first few years of life can be tough for a new company. There is no telling where market fluctuations and rapidly changing trends will take you. The important thing is that you can adapt to accommodate them.

Serviced office solutions are rented out on a rolling basis. This means that the contract lengths are very short and usually negotiable from month to month. If the business is thriving and you want to take advantage of it, you can upgrade to a bigger space without incurring penalty fees for a contract termination. Alternatively, you can downsize if you need to cut costs quickly.

Pay As You Use Resources

If you decide to work from a serviced suite, you’ll never have to worry about paying for resources you don’t need. For instance, instead of being expected to cover the cost of a generic office package (containing some tools that you have no use for), you can pick and choose the assets which hold the most value.

So, if you do almost all of your business online and very rarely make telephone contact, you probably don’t need a 24/7 receptionist service. You could scale the size of the service back or completely eliminate it from your rental terms. That way, you’ve got more to spend on the things that you do need; like IT support, help with website development, and fast broadband.

Why Modern Businesses Need to Act Quickly

While the core principles associated with setting up a business are much the same as they were fifty years ago, a lot of other factors have changed. These days, consumers are fickle beasts and there’s a lot of competition for their attention. It means that modern companies have to learn how to adapt quickly to market changes and serviced offices are one way to ensure that you stay flexible and ready for whatever the world throws at you.

 

 

 

Continue Reading

Business books that entrepreneurs should read in 2017

One of the greatest things that any entrepreneur can do for their personal and business development is to read books on a continuous basis.

If you are looking to keep learning and evolving in 2017, it is vital to choose ones that will teach you relevant skills, inspire you, and prepare you for what is coming in the near future.

In this post, we will review four books that have caught our eye for the amount of actionable information that they provide their readers.

1) Performance

Although this book was published 10 years ago, its recent listing on Amazon has allowed this under-appreciated guide to creating a performance-based organization to become better known by those in the business community.

Authored by Mark Stiffler, this book aims to provide a practical framework that owners can use to streamline their organization’s processes, thereby allowing them to replace the disjointed system that they presently have in place.

2) Tools of Titans

2016 saw the return of business and personal development author Tim Ferriss to the world of non-fiction books with his latest release, Tool of Titans.

The first of his books to eschew the 4-hour branding he had used in previous works, he has taken hundreds of hours of information from his podcasts and has condensed it into one of the best attempts at an instruction manual for life that you will ever see.

Containing wisdom from people like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Seth Godin in its 674 pages, it will be a constant source of inspiration and strength for you throughout this coming year.

3) Building the Internet of Things

From cars that drive themselves to smart home systems that turn on the heat and the lights via a smartphone app, the Internet of Things is quickly becoming an integrated part of our daily lives.

While it may not be perfect, as evidenced by several massive dDOS attacks orchestrated by hackers using insecure IoT networks this past year, it is clear that this technological development is here to stay.
In his book Building The Internet of Things, author Maciej Kranz outlines the various ways that business enterprises can make use of these advances to prosper in 2017 and beyond.

It also details how the IoT threatens to disrupt various sectors of the economy, allowing managers to prepare their organizations to adapt to changes that will reorganize the economy in the near future.

4) The Power of Broke

Created by Shark Tank co-host and FUBU founder Daymond John, The Power of Broke argues that having little cash and a lack of access to other resources has the effect of unlocking mental assets that can help propel anyone to success.

Starting with the story of how Daymond launched his brand with $40, a sewing machine, and a lot of hustle, this book examines the ways how anyone with an idea and the will to make it happen can overcome the lack of cash and other disadvantages.

The essential concept of this book is this: when your back is against the wall and you have next to no cash, your only choice is to succeed or perish.

Continue Reading

Top Tips For Business Travelers

If your job or your business calls for you to spend a lot of time on the road then it is important that you stay fully prepared to make your life as easy as possible whilst you are traveling. You are likely to be spending large amounts of time alone, taking many flights or trains and you will need to stay organized and at your best during your travels. We’ve put together a list of tips and tricks that you can employ during your time on the road to ensure that it goes as smoothly as possible and that you will be fully effective during your business dealings.

Bought a travel wallet :(

Keeping Your Itinerary up to Date

Even if you have a secretary organizing things for you, it is still important that you stay on top of your itinerary in order to avoid missing meetings or flights. Another reason for this is that if you are traveling through different time zones, you need to ensure that you are managing your sleeping pattern in accordance with it so that you avoid unnecessary tiredness. There are some great apps on the market that you can download to your smartphone to ensure that you are on top of your plans.

Staying in Touch Back Home

Staying in touch with family or friends can be particularly difficult if you are traveling a lot and you should take advantage of the many ways in which you can stay in touch with loved ones back home. Many services like Skype and Facebook offer video, audio calling options as well as instant messaging services, this will allow you to easily stay in touch providing you have an internet connection. It has never been cheaper to make calls abroad and you can often call direct from your cell to your family for just a little extra money than a normal call back home. Should you run out of credit abroad, your family can easily top you up again with www.recharge.com, a great service that will ensure you never run out of credit.

Filling in the Time

If you have a lot of time to fill in whilst you are in the hotel and want to avoid spending too much money then try to utilize the hotel’s gym and spa facilities if they have them. Prior to your trip you should also try to download any films or games to your computer or tablet to keep you occupied during the quiet times. It can be easy to simply hit a bar or a restaurant but if you want to stay at your best then you should use the downtime that you have to relax and prepare yourself for that upcoming meeting or presentation.

Flying Through Airports

If you are traveling for just a short amount of time then ditch the suitcase and just take a carry-on, you’d be surprised at the size of bag which you are now allowed in the plane and you can fit at least 3 or 4 days worth of clothing in your carry-on. This will cut down your waiting time and check-in time at the airport and allow you to breeze through the airport once you leave the plane.

Continue Reading

5 Ways Your Business Can Use Video For Improved Customer Service

customer-service

No business can afford to underestimate the value of good customer service.

Research shows that 89 percent of buyers have stopped using a specific business after experiencing bad customer care. 45 percent will also quit at the purchase-ready stage if they feel their questions have not been addressed.

Both of these figures demonstrate just how vital it is to have an airtight customer-service system in place. As it’s more expensive to attract new buyers than to keep existing ones, investing in ongoing satisfaction can actually save you money down the line.

Video is one of the most effective tools at your disposal, but not enough businesses use it to its full potential. Video is more engaging than even the finest-written text, using visuals and audio for a stimulating experience. You can also condense extensive blocks of text down to just a couple of minutes, saving time and effort on the customer’s’ part.

With that in mind, here are five ways your business can use video to improve your customer service.

Record FAQ Videos

The frequently asked questions (FAQ) section is a staple of many websites today, providing answers before customers need to ask them.

Newcomers to your site (or your entire company) are likely to visit your FAQ page for extra information, but scrolling through them can be arduous. Your goal is to convey the most useful details to visitors in the quickest, most engaging way.

Using video instead of text allows you to address various issues, using numerous techniques. For example, you may want to create a dynamic video that encapsulates your entire brand rather than providing a written history, perhaps incorporating animation and music to enhance its engagement.

You can also use videos to introduce your team, demonstrate how to use certain features on the site, and present your offices. This is a more personal approach, and makes visitors feel closer to your business.

It’s also simpler to send customers a link in response to questions via email or social media, rather than repeating the same chunk of text again and again.

Offer Live Video Chat with your Customers

Live chat may be a common feature on websites, but this usually takes the form of instant messaging. As helpful as this is, it can be a frustrating, time-consuming process: you have to wait for an operator to become available, before trying to articulate your query or complaint as best you can in words.

Live video chat is a much faster, simpler solution. Being able to see your support agent’s face to face means customers will feel more engaged and as if they’re receiving more personal treatment (rather than being just another voice on the phone). This face to face interaction also allows operators to read customers’ body language, to handle the caller with the most appropriate tone and approach.

As complex as this sounds, video can actually be added to your website or app with surprising ease – all you need is a quality SDK. Integrating live video-chat will give customers a direct link to your support agents at the touch of a button, but it’s vital to invest in a reliable service. Video chat firms like Agora.io, for example, uses 80 data centers around the world to identify the strongest connection to every location your customers could possibly be, making your video connection extra clear and stable, so there are no choppy video streams which can ruin the experience.

Use How-To Videos to Demonstrate Products

Depending on the types of products you sell, your customers may need a little help to get the most out of them. For example, if you produce tablets, your customers may appreciate a video that demonstrates the various features, enabling them to hit the ground running when they unbox it.

Likewise, how-to videos are ideal for troubleshooting common issues, such as showing how to correct faults or bypass technical problems. Not only does this give customers the answers they need in a hands-on way, it also saves them the time and effort of contacting your company for advice.

For online businesses, customers may only get to see your products when they arrive, rather than going into a store for a demonstration. How-to videos enable you to give customers a deeper insight and explore how the product will benefit them, just as a salesperson would in a shop.

Additionally, customers can rewind, pause, and re-watch videos, rather than having to follow advice or information given by phone.

Create Customer Review Testimonials

Testimonials are a key element of promoting your business on your site, but how are your customers supposed to know they’re genuine?

While any company can create fake testimonials, videos are a more authentic, convincing alternative. Ask satisfied customers to record brief videos describing how you have helped them, and add these to your site. You may even want to share snippets on social media, provided these are short (no more than 30 seconds).

Avoid hiring actors to perform testimonials, though, even if they’re reciting genuine comments. People will be able to tell, and it may make them question your integrity.

Host Live Webinars to Maximize Engagement

With webinars, your brand can interact with customers, provide information, and nurture stronger buyer-business relationships.

For example, you can record seminars exploring specific areas of your company and services, perhaps discussing behind-the-scenes details. You’ll be showing a more human, personal side of your business, and making viewers feel a part of it by effectively letting them in on a previously-secret area.

Customers will also be able to interact, asking questions and helping to direct the course of the webinar itself. Responding to these live, in real-time, demonstrates a real dedication to your customers, showing how much you value their input.

You can take this further by asking customers to suggest webinar topics, and perhaps add the recorded piece to your FAQ section for future reference.

Video has the power to help you transform your customer service and provide your buyers with the care they deserve. Investing in it today can save you money, time, and potential issues in the future – and if you do it now, you’ll stand out from your less-innovative competitors.

Have you considered how important video could be to your customer service?

Continue Reading

Why Your Start Up Needs a Financial Advisor

advisor
Photo by CC user Christophe Benoit on Flickr.
Photo by CC user Christophe Benoit on Flickr.

Starting your own business is an exciting time and one that will test your mettle, your knowledge and ultimately your acumen. Whilst there are many avenues of success that you can find yourself walking down with your business, the roads to success are often fraught with dangers where a series of bad decisions could see it all fall down.

The financial management of your company is key, this is where the staggering numbers of start ups that fail often find difficulties. Naturally your business will need to bring in money through the popularity of your products and services but without sound financial dealings, you could find yourself in difficulty regardless of how high your sales are. Hiring a financial advisor for your firm is a smart move to make for the security of your business and here’s just a few reasons why your start up needs one.

Investment in Your Future

Whilst hiring a great financial advisor, people like the effective Keith W Springer, will set you back some money, it is important that you look to this as an investment rather than a cost. A financial advisor can help you make financial mistakes that could cost you money in the long run and their advice will essentially pay for itself over time. Deciding what part of the business to outsource can be tough but a financial advisor is one area that should not even be questioned.

Free Up Your Time

Even if you yourself are financially savvy, your time is better spent on working out how the business can operate better, how you can achieve growth and ironing out creases that exist. If you are bogged down in the financial side of things then this inhibits you when it comes to doing what you should be doing, which is leading your company. A financial advisor will give you more time in your business, the value of time to spend on your business is immeasurable.

Staying up to Date

The world of finance, taxation and government legislation is always changing and as a business it is vital that you keep on top of what you are required to do from a legal standpoint. A financial advisor is paid to stay on top of such changes and offer you advice in order to adhere to them. For you to spend time keeping up to date on such things will only take you away from the day to day running of the business.

An Extra Pair of Ears

When it comes to making key decisions for your business it is important that you bounce the idea off many people to gain various perspectives. Having a financial advisor gives you the opportunity to seek advice from a financial standpoint and from somebody with no vested interest. Generally speaking, financial advisors are those who deal in figures alone, they weigh up risk through calculations and can offer advice without any emotional bias, the perfect way to help you make your decision.

Continue Reading