Organizing Your Office for Business Success

Learning how to organize your business office can help you achieve long-term business success. The more organized an business is, the more productive it is, as organized businesses are efficient businesses.

When an office or business is disorganized, important documents can be lost, deadlines can be missed, and the whole business can slowly start to get behind, leading to loss of profits, dissatisfied customers, and potentially a business failure.

For those who are not naturally organized, or are feeling overwhelmed with the state of their office, here are a few simple organizational tips to help get things back in order:

Go Digital

Many small businesses do not use the technology available to their advantage. Whether the investment seems too hefty a price for a small business to make, or they simply do not realize the tools they need to help their business become more efficient, not going digital can be a huge mistake.

When it comes to keeping track of records, other important documents, and project files, store them digitally through a cloud storage system, such as Google Drive, Dropbox, or other similar systems. The benefit is that not only are all the documents in one accessible location, they will also never be lost. Moreover, they can be viewed from any location and from multiple accounts, making it easy to keep employees informed and do business on-the-go.

Lastly, depending upon your business, consider investing in the right software programs, such as salon software if you are a spa or salon business. These types of software programs help keep your business running efficiently, such as providing your business with the tools and help it needs to be successful and productive.

Paper Files

For the paper documents you do have, take some time to go through them and get rid of anything that is no longer relevant or out of date. Not only will these alleviate some of the clutter, it can also help you recall where certain files are when you need to find them.

A great way to free up space is to scan them, turning them into digital files that you can store in your cloud system. Paper invoices, bills, receipts, and other statements can be scanned as a record, allowing you the ability to throw away the paper files and free up space in your office.

Email

While email is digital, a cluttered inbox can be as chaotic as a cluttered file box. Many businesses and business owners receive hundreds of emails a day, and if they are not organized properly, it can be easy for an inbox to start overflowing, which can lead to emails getting buried in your inbox.

Letting your email get out of control can lead to important emails being lost in the hundreds of messages. This break down of communication can lead to a loss of profits, or a loss of customers, should a customer have a question or complaint that never gets answered. Moreover, be sure to regularly check your spam folder, as many legitimate emails get filtered as spam for one reason or another.

Finances

Being disorganized with your finances can leave your business in financial ruin. It is imperative that you are up-to-date with your books, bills, and other financial obligations. Many businesses, especially small businesses, do not keep track of their finances as well as they should, and find themselves in the red at the end of the year, or with money missing from their business.

Staying on top of your finances will allow you to see if a business never invoiced you, if a payment is missing, or if you missed a crucial payments and are accruing late fees. Additionally, keeping your finances in order allows you to be ready and organized for tax season. As a small business, it is critical you have all receipts, expenditures, income, and other business financial papers accessible for your taxes.

Before tax season arrives, check in with your tax advisor or accountant in order to make sure you have all pertinent information you need for your taxes.

Organization will help you be more productive in the office, allowing your business to run as efficiently as possible.

Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/calculator-paperclip-pen-office-178127/

Continue Reading

Trade Up for a Better Home Business

If you sell products or services out of your home, what are you doing to make sure your customers get top-notch customer service each and every day?

For some home business owners, that task can be challenging given all they have to do as a one-person show. Others, however, are able to pull it off, knowing that their customers will always rank as the most important item on their to-do lists.

With that in mind, what are you doing as a home business owner to improve your brand?

More specifically, what are you not doing, and how can you correct that moving forward?

Give Consumers What They Want

Fredmeyer_edit_1

Start out by reviewing your customer service procedures, including what information your website provides them before they might even have to talk to you by phone.

Look at your website to see if it covers the following:

  • Basic information – Your website should have basic company product and/or service information on it. Such things as what your brand offers, how long you have been in business, how to reach you etc. are all necessities your site needs. The information should be in areas on the site that are easy to find, meaning customers (current and potential) do not have to feel like they are surfing through a maze to find it;
  • Product or service instructions – If you sell a certain product, do you have information about it on your site? Products typically come with how-to manuals, giving customers the basic of how to put it together, how to operate it etc. Take an example from Trade Bit, who offers repair manual downloads on countless products. While you likely only sell one or a number of products, it is a good idea to download such manuals on your site, allowing customers access to them if they do not have the paper version handy. Doing so just makes for smart marketing tactics for your brand;
  • Error-free copy and links – There are many ways to make your home business website look professional, one of which is making sure it is free of errors and broken links.  One of the more irritating things for customers (current and those you are hoping to convert) is coming onto sites where links do not work, copy is loaded with errors, and a simple search for this or that seems to take forever. As a home business owner, funds may be a little tight at times or seemingly all the time. That said it does not mean you shouldn’t be spending money where funds should be directed. Spending some extra money for a professionally-done website is certainly worth the investment;
  • Eye-catching imagery – Your home business website also needs to be appealing when it comes to imagery. If you have a dull site that is full of copy and very few images, it will more times than not bore viewers. This doesn’t mean go nuts on photos etc. but do have them strategically placed on the site for maximum exposure;
  • Social component – It shouldn’t come as a surprise that your website needs as much attention as you can possibly give it. One of the great ways to go about this is via social media. In the event you haven’t up to now, promote your site on social networking sites and allow consumers to do the same for you. For any web copy you have, leave icons at the top of the page so that visitors can tweet, share, pin etc. This will put your site and its offerings out in front of the eyes of countless others. Also be willing to share other’s copy, including those who you may invite to guest post on your blog. Once again, this sharing component presents you with more opportunities to market your brand.

Part of being a sound home business owner is being able to market your products or services to the general public without too much hassle and effort.

If your website has been on the backburner for some time now, take the time to get it up to speed.

Remember, your website is a key component of your overall marketing strategy, so make sure it is a fine representative of your brand.

Continue Reading

Could 3D printing revolutionize manufacturing?

Is it possible that do-it-yourself manufacturing could one day be a reality where the vast majority of products are concerned?

Similar to how the Internet helped to level the playing field, 3D printing could well do the same in the manufacturing sector.

3d-791205_640

With 3D printing, very soon you might not need all the capital to be able to make things. Soon, everyone will have the opportunity to produce hundreds of their own goods, at least on a small scale.

3D printing is being applied to everything from concrete to chocolate and even cells. It’s being used by corporations and consumers alike, who understand how the technology has the potential to give them a competitive advantage, whether it’s in business or just to save the individual some money.

3D Printing for all?

3D printing isn’t a new technology. It’s actually be around for years. However, it was only recently given its cool new moniker, whereas before it was known by the much more stale term “additive manufacturing”, which meant creating products layer by layer. However, the term 3D printing has taken over as the technology has now become cheap enough to be “consumer-friendly”, which means the vast majority of people can take advantage of it. In addition, new techniques and advances have been made, and the Internet is helping to make it more popular.

The technology has come so far that industry is now bracing itself for change. Manufacturing for the masses is set to become the next big industrial revolution, allowing everyone to take part in the process. This will be similar to the time when computers were made widely available to the public, having previously been restricted to only big companies and governments.

Today, 3D printing can be done at home, in the office, at schools, inside hospitals, meaning non-manufacturers can now manufacture all kinds of items.

As a result of its popularity, 3D printing is also being considered by numerous new industries, including the aerospace, automotive, defense and healthcare sectors. With 3D printers now capable of printing new materials, and producing bigger objects at that, it’s now possible to manufacture all kinds of complex things, such as aircraft parts, more aerodynamic car parts, and so on. In the future, the military might be able to manufacture spare parts right on the battlefield.

This article was brought to you by the Norwegian packaging company Pall-Pack AS. Pakkemaskiner is Norwegian and means packaging machines. With the widest range of packaging machines, we have the right one for you.

Continue Reading

Marketing to Capture Results For Small Business

Any business owner knows that marketing in smart, innovative ways is key to capturing business. You want to grab the attention of new customers while keeping your current ones returning. A smart marketing plan will help you do this. Keep it alive, innovative and always working.

hand-895588_640

Do it Yourself

You may be very adept at marketing your company yourself. You’ll save money this way, and get things done the way you want. Remember, the key here is to get the consumer’s attention. Whether they are your current customer or you’re looking for new clients, attention is the key. Here are some fun ways of grabbing it:

  • Create custom stickers and work them. You can create custom, die-cut stickers with your logo or artwork and send them into the big, wide world. Include them in your shipping and mailings. Stick them on your car and your friends’ cars. Have them in your stores for your customers to grab and stick them on their stuff.
  • Go altruistic. Share a gift card on your social media. Small businesses have recently shown their altruistic side by screenshotting a gift card (think Starbucks) and letting their customers have a treat on them. It’s lovely to see the gratitude, and when you’d think some person would scoop it all up, no one does. Everyone is grateful and enjoys sharing the good will.
  • Use social media. Let your followers do the work for you, and everyone benefits. Invite your followers to share the photos with your product or brand in it. You can even offer a reward for the one that gets the most likes.
  • Create a contest. Let your clients be your marketers. Invite them to design a new logo, come up with a new catch phrase or create the next flavor. You’ll see great results this way.
  • Sponsor a team or be a school partner. This is a win win. You’ll see lots more customers coming in and you’ll be supporting the community. You can offer seasonal discounts (like promotions on flowers during prom season if you’re a florist) or weekly specials (like 10% off your meal with spirit wear after a football game if you’re a restaurant).
  • Host a 5K. You can donate the money earned to a non-profit of choice (perhaps related to your business). You can hand out promotions, discounts, those stickers, and other information at the race. You’ll form bonds with partners and let your customers see you in a new light.
  • Sell t-shirts. Have t-shirts for sale in your storefront or restaurant with your brand. Encourage customers to tag you in social media when they wear them. People love t-shirts of their favorite things.
  • Host open houses. If you have a storefront, have an open house. You can have wine and cheese in the evening, or cupcakes and cookies. You can donate a percentage of the purchases made during that time, and just be on hand to chat with and get to know customers. It’s a nice way to say thank you.

Stay Relevant

It’s important to stay relevant with what your company stands for. Keep the context to where it makes sense. For instance, you’re not going to advertise your Birthday Parties for Kids in a club where young singles go. You don’t want to advertise that club on the back of your kid’s softball jersey, either. Think how things work together and play off one another, and do what makes sense.

Outsourcing Marketing

Business owners need to wear a lot of hats. Some slip on quite easily, while others may be a tougher fit. If marketing isn’t your thing, hire someone else to handle it. The money spent will probably be worth it, because marketing is an essential part to running a business. Outsourcing marketing can get you started, feed you ideas and get a strong customer base. A consultant can help you with techniques you can work on by yourself. Sometimes it pays to let the experts handle it.

Look around for more great marketing ideas to see what fits for you. From stickers to t-shirts to community clean up days, you can go in whatever direction you desire. The trend in marketing these days is to make it personal, relevant and community oriented. Let your customers see a human side of you and your business. Share it with them, and they in turn will end up sharing it with others.

Image Source: http://www.aboutbradsugars.com/wp-content/small_business_owners_image.jpg

Continue Reading

The Best Transportation Apps

No matter how experienced you are at traveling to new cities, there comes a time you’re going to need a helping hand to be able to get around. Fortunately, today’s business traveler usually comes equipped with a smartphone, and there’s a ton of great apps to help you get from A to B. Whether you’re looking to hire a car and driver at the last minute, or simply trying to find the best route to go on foot, you can always find an app specifically for it, no matter what destination you’re traveling to.

navigation-1048294_640

Here’s our favorite transportation apps for business travelers in 2016:

AllSubway

The first and still the best subway app around, AllSubway provides highly detailed subway maps for dozens of cities in the world, including London, New York, Paris, Tokyo, Sydney and many more. The maps are very easy to use, and you can pinch or pull to zoom in and out. The app also tells you what platform to go to and which stations to get off at if you plot a complicated route.

Blacklane

Sometimes it’s just too annoying to hail a cab in some cities, while other in other cities the taxi ranks are often overflowing with scammers who’ll charge extortionate rates for a very poor service in a beaten up old vehicle. Why bother with all that hassle when you can simply book your ride 60 minutes before with Blacklane? Blacklane is kind of like Uber, only it’s a bit more reliable with fixed rates that don’t increase during busy times. The company touts itself as a worldwide airport transfer service specialist, and provides a hassle-free way to get into the city or to the airport in comfort, and for a reasonable price.

Embark

If you’ve traveled in a foreign country before you’ll be all too aware that you can only get online when there’s a Wi-Fi connection around. But for those moments when we’re outside of the hotel and Wi-Fi isn’t available, Embark is a great way to plot your subway station trips. The app constantly downloads data in the background when you’re connected, so even when you’re offline you can still pull up information on any station to find out the train schedules.

Google Maps

It might be an obvious choice but there really is no maps app that comes close to Google’s offering. The new Google Maps is far superior to the older versions too, with new features like voice-guided GPS navigation, no matter if you’re walking, driving or riding a bike, and also transit directions for more than 15,000 cities. And thanks to the integrated Street View, it’s even easier to find exactly what you’re looking for, and know which landmarks to look out for. Google Maps also offers live traffic conditions in many western cities, so you can do your best to avoid the delays.

Kayak

For travelers in a hurry Kayak offers a very quick fix. Simply search for a flight by entering your location and destination and voila! – Kayak will throw up all available flights starting with the cheapest. Even better, you can book and pay for the flight right their in the app, so there’s no faffing about.

 

Continue Reading

How to Make Money While Sitting on Your Couch

Work From Home

It’s everyone’s dream. Make money while sitting on your  couch. But it is not always easy to earn cash while sitting around in your bathrobe.  Here are some tips to help you find the dream job you can do from your sofa.
Work From Home
Utilize a Skill You Already Have
The best way to start earning money from home is to take advantage of skills you already have. Are you a natural writer or have experience doing so? Perhaps you could find a job as a copywriter. This is often a flexible position as far location and you could definitely find a gig that would allow you to work from your couch. Do you have experience in computer programming or design? Then you are in luck! Many tech industry positions often allow flexible work environments including working from home. Some other popular work from home industries are medical transcriptionists, call center operators, travel agents, and tech support staff. So look at your work history and maybe you are already qualified for one of these positions.

Make Use of the Global Economy
Maybe an at home  job may seem like a low pay rate but it is all relative. A small hourly rate in Manhattan could be a king’s ransom amount in a country like Vietnam. So if you can flexibility where you work, you are opening yourself up to a plethora of opportunities. A recent publicized trends of of “digital nomads” is highlight workers who are taking advantage of this and working abroad while making a U.S. salary. If you choose a low cost country to visit while working remotely, not only can you work from your couch but you can travel the world as well.

Do Your Homework
If a job is too good to be true, it likely is. Be skeptical of banner adds about retirees earning $100,000 a with nothing more than laptop. Check out legitimate job sites and referrals from people you know. There are plenty of work from home jobs but remember they are actual jobs that require actual work. You will still have to work just as hard as in the office, if not harder! Also, it is important to make sure working form home is for you. It’s not for everybody. Some people think working from home will be ideal but after a few weeks get bored or miss the routine. For some it is nice to get out of the house ever once in a while.

So whether you are looking for a little extra cash on the side or a full time career from the couch; if you do you research and are qualified you can find it. Make sure you have a strong internet connection and a fast laptop and update your resume. The next thing you know you could be logging 40 hours a week from the comfort of your couch.

Continue Reading

Tips For saving Extra money for a rainy day

Saving Money For Rainy Day

Every wants a few extra bucks for the proverbial rainy day, am I right? While everyone knows they should be saving money it is not always as easy as you’d think. Whether you you want to stash cash for a dream vacation, a wedding, retirement, a down payment on a house, or just a bit of stability;  here are a few tips for saving extra money for a rainy day.

Saving Money For Rainy Day
Make a Budget
Writing out a budget, whether it is on a fancy new app, a spreadsheet, or the old school pen and paper; it doesn’t matter so long as you write down how much money are making and how much you are spending. This will help eliminate the ever present “where does all my money go” we have all been asking ourselves since our first paper route. Having a budget will allow you to make a realistic expectations for savings as well eliminate wasteful spending. It will also put things in perspective, 4 bucks a day on coffee doesn’t seem like too much until you realize that it is $120 a month that could easily be building your savings.

Enroll in a “Keep the Change” Program
Fewer and fewer of us are using cash. While some say a debit card makes it harder to stay on a budget, there are plus sides. Many banks over a “round up” or “keep the change” program which will round your transaction to the next dollar and put that extra money into a separate account. For example every time you buy lunch for $6.49 or your gas is $28.08,  the 51 or 92 cents will be moved to your savings account. While this may seem like (and is) just pennies, it can add up very quickly. These programs are incredibly helpful for those who want to These programs are incredibly helpful for those who have a hard time putting money into a seperate account. Now the only trick is to leave your savings account alone!

Teamwork
Everything is easier when you a partner. Just like are more likely to go to the gym if you have a gym buddy, you are more likely to save money if you have a saving. If you are planning a vacation with your best friend, make an agreement that you will both save $20 dollars a month until you reach your goal. Planning a wedding? You and your spouse could open a joint account and add equal amounts each week until you have enough. This way you have someone to hold you accountable and encourage you to put money into your savings and more importantly someone to deter you from taking it out!

No one has ever complained about having too much money saved for a rainy day. So follow some of these tips and hopefully it will help you in saving money for a rainy day.

Continue Reading