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Ways to Improve Work Performance and Motivation

Published on August 8, 2017 by in Guest Post

Business Colleagues Together Teamwork Working Office

Every manager has to deal with a wide range of issues on a daily basis, which is quite stressful and sometimes even overwhelming. In order to reduce that stress, they need to know they can rely on their employees to do their job properly. Likewise, the employees need to be motivated to perform well, which is partly the manager’s responsibility.

As you can see, if just one link in this circle is broken, your business results will suffer. That’s why we’re going to have a look at some efficient ways of motivating and rewarding employees for all their effort and achievements.

Preliminary considerations

Before you get down to evaluating employees’ performance, you need to make sure that you have clearly defined your goals, that they are attainable and that everyone understands what is expected from them. Also, it’s crucial that you have already established some system of rewarding and recognizing success and that everyone is aware of what kind of compensation they can expect for their effort.

Budget

Just like every other aspect of your business, this one also requires a budget. Depending on how much money you can invest, there are different options available. What you need to understand, though, is that financial rewards should definitely not be the only kind of reward you’re ready to give. The money you’re ready to allocate for this purpose can be used to offer additional training, cover for the extra days off you’re going to give your hard-working employees, or some other form of reward.

Embrace technology

While there are things you should do to motivate your employees which are free of charge (more about it in the next paragraph), you also need to be aware that no person will be sufficiently productive without the right tools. That means that you should create such an environment that people make the most of any aid available, including modern technology. Every worker appreciates having some of the workload taken off their shoulders and, even more so, the fact that modern technology can minimize most risks of human error.

So, if you wish to have employees who are not constantly under stress, consider keeping up to date with modern technology, if possible. It will not only improve your efficiency and reduce the costs, but you’ll have employees who are under much less pressure, which in turn means they are less likely to make a mistake.

Things you don’t need money for

A praise costs no money and, unfortunately we tend to forget that too often. If you notice and recognise someone’s effort and results, make sure they know that. By telling them how much you appreciate everything they’ve done you are sure to increase their loyalty to the company and motivation to continue working hard.

Another kind of reward that doesn’t have to cost you any money is to include some employees who have produced brilliant results in the process of decision making. People who constantly perform above expectations are clearly ambitious and wish to climb up the career ladder. Why not give them an opportunity to put in their two cents next time you need to make a business-related decision?

Choosing the reward

As we all know, not all people appreciate the same things. Some prefer having more time off to any other form of reward, while others react best to financial incentives. Generally speaking, you should try to tailor the reward to suit the recipient, but it can be too time-consuming for a manager to choose the right reward for every employee who deserves it.

Of course, some gifts are more popular than others. According to statistics, nine out of ten people prefer gift cards in lieu of merchandise. This is because they allow people the freedom to purchase whatever they want, thus eliminating the risk of the manager spending money on something that wouldn’t be so appreciated. Getting the right reward is one of the most important things a manager can do to boost employees’ motivation and keep high levels of performance.

Include everyone

Since everyone likes to receive praise and award, you should see to it that everyone really is eligible for such a treat. Regardless of their position in the company hierarchy, people who contribute to strengthening the team and achieving the company goals need to be at the receiving end of some reward. This applies to remote workers as well. No matter where your virtual receptionist or freelancer works from, make no mistake, every single person working at your company has a role that is important for some reason and the better job everyone does, the greater the results and everyone’s satisfaction.

Conclusion

Although having an appraisal system in place is necessary, it is equally important to create conditions in which people actually can earn their rewards. Once the right environment is created, managers can shift their attention to offering a range of benefits in order to keep their employees motivated and loyal to the company.

Selecting the right reward is next crucial step in having satisfied employees, ready to continue doing a great job. Finally, if everyone knows that they could receive some kind of reward and that their work is acknowledged and appreciated, they are much more likely to do their best at work, which should be reflected both in your company’s image and business results.

 
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5 Ways You May Be Unwittingly Hindering Your Marketing Efforts

Published on July 31, 2017 by in Guest Post

As a business owner or director of marketing operations, you have probably already tried multiple marketing strategies to attract the right clientele base. Sometimes, it can be difficult to understand why your strategies are not working and figure out ways to enact positive changes. The following are just a few of the mistakes companies make with their marketing efforts and ways that they can turn these mistakes around.

1. Letting Your Leads Linger

Let’s assume you have some good marketing strategies already in place. However, you might be letting some leads linger. In sales, jumping on leads within the first five minutes of inquiry is absolutely essential. If you don’t have stellar marketing automation software at your company, this is something you might want to invest in since it can help you better manage your sales from the point of inquiry to the closing of the sale.

2. Create Documented Content Strategies

One of the biggest areas of difficulty for marketers is creating documented content strategies, which seems incredibly counterintuitive. However, in the past few years, this practice has been on a downward trend. In 2015, about 32% of marketers created documented content strategies, as opposed to 35% in 2014. Content strategy is what provides you with the groundwork for content marketing, so taking the extra time to document content strategies is essential for marketing success.

3. Relying on Shaky Statistics

Data is important. Reliable data is extremely beneficial. However, if you are conducting an Internet marketing campaign, bad stats can be detrimental. Data collected from small (and probably biased) sample sizes, stats that provide a very rough model of actual data, subjective data, and data gathered from certain focus groups can all be damaging to your marketing campaign. Instead, get help from a company like The Rainmaker Institute or pull data from reputable sources with large enough sample sizes that lack subjectivity in their approach.

4. Offering Too Many Freebies

“Free” is an attractive term, but it isn’t always the most effective form of marketing. If every seminar you offer is free, you have to add more incentives (which will come out of your budget) for people to consistently show up. Occasional freebies (such as items or coupons that are given out at parades, local events, or in online contests) are great but can negatively impact your marketing by making you look desperate.

5. Not Utilizing Social Media Networking

We live in the Digital Era, so crusty marketing methods simply aren’t going to work like they used to. Social media sites can boost your outreach, but you have to develop the right kinds of social media marketing strategies. Take, for example, NASA’s #AYearInSpace mission. Through social media, NASA astronauts floating through space were able to captivate audiences here on Earth and spread awareness of what NASA actually has their astronauts do while in space. Use social media to let potential clients know what your business is all about and use strategies to keep them coming back for more.

Marketing doesn’t have to be a nightmare. When you recognize the strategies that might be harming or hindering your efforts, you can take the initiative to enact some changes. Keeping your strategies current and avoiding cutting corners can help you get ahead with your marketing.

 
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5 Key Steps to Successful Law Firm Marketing

Published on June 19, 2017 by in Guest Post

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Top Eco-Friendly Technologies That are Cleaning Up Earth

We all hope technology will someday make all of the world’s problems go away, especially environmental. It is something mankind hopes to master to lead it into a new utopia. There have been plenty of books written and movies made about it. Then, there is the dystopian aspect. Our imaginations wander to places of robot overlords and techno-fascism. It could probably go either way, but technology has greatly harmed the planet in the past. Now, technology is seeking to heal and improve the environment, especially lately since we have all gone “green” as a culture in the western world. Below, are four example of how tech has improved the ecosystem.

Environmentally Safe Waste Water and Septic Treatment

There are several new water treatment plants and septic systems, such as those provided by Econocycle, that use a natural system of energy sustainable methods to treat commercial and residential wastewater. What makes this type of water treatment plant truly different is that it doesn’t use other power or resources for treating, which is a great resource for those who are trying to decrease the amount of energy that they use.

Commercialized Carbon

No one ever seems to have the answer to carbon, and carbon being politicized and taxed make people even more suspicious. There is a way to put it to good use, though. There are two carbon capturing companies known as Global Thermostat and Carbon Engineering, which are able to harness carbon and turn it into something of value. Basically, they are recycling carbon into a variety of applications and low-carbon fuels.

Tree Root Protection

We all know that planting trees is good for the environment. It’s something that we all want to do, right? Yet, there is one issue standing in our way from planting millions all over the earth—trees need the ideal soil composition. A new technology known as Silva Cells solves the conundrum. It is a system, which transfers inner city trees to less compacted soil. This leads to urban forestry. Urban forestry boosts energy efficiency in housing, removes air pollutants and reduces storm water runoff.

Flyover Country

Believe it or not, drones are considered crucial environmental technology. They are able to make a tally of animals over wildlife reserves and easily spot poachers. Because of this and other details, they assist in the protection of endangered species all over the world. While those drones save endangered animals, there are other drones surveying crops, which leads to a drastic decrease in farming inputs like fertilizer and water.

Those were four of a plethora of examples. Mankind has hurt the planet before it knew better, but we know now. Scientists and activists the world over have desperately been trying to clean up the “mess” we have caused and set things right. We can only hope the tech advances even more, so we can all enjoy the utopia and avoid the dystopia.

 
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How to Create a Website That Benefits the Customer & Your Business

Many people, including writers, often wonder how writing for a website or writing content for multiple site if different than writing a book or for a magazine. Content writing and web creation is an art form. Website visitors like to skim or read short bursts of text, so condensing information is key. If you can’t create content that readers can quickly find, they will bounce from your site quickly. Here are several tips to creating a site that will benefit your customers and your business.

Create a Page Summarizing the Duties

This page is likely the most important page for new visitors to see. Many people call it an “About” or “What We Do” page. A good example of a quality “What We Do” page is located on the Carter West site, because it is clear about what exactly it is that they do and the services that they provide. This makes it a lot easier for visitors to the site to know whether or not their needs can be met there. It also perfectly summarizes what the company’s functions are, and it acts almost like a table of contents for the entire website for people who do not feel like navigating the entire thing to find just one piece of pertinent information.

Make Your Content Valuable and Relevant

When a user types a word or phrase in a search engine like Bing or Google, they expect, and usually get, results providing relevant information to their query. If they decide to click on your site and your SEO is geared towards their search but offers outdated or irrelevant information, they will leave your site and move on to the next one. To prevent that from happening, make sure your website offers value to the topic it advertises its focus on.

Keep Your Content Concise

There is no need to write a novel on a website. Remember, most visitors are skimmers looking for specific information. Use headers, table of contents and “what we do” pages to keep informative, concise information under the proper topic heading.

Use the Inverted Pyramid Method

Many people believe they have to build to the conclusion when they write, and it is true, but not for websites. If you want to help your business and customers, begin with the conclusion and work down. You will give them their answer and the most important details first.

These four tips will help you create a website full of valuable and concise content. Always remember to put yourself in your readers’ shoes when creating a site. Create it to load fast and offer the most sought after information fast. All additional content added should follow the same format. If you stick to these tips, your website will attract repeat buyers and readers and bolster your business.

 
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Marketing Mistakes Your Business Should Avoid

Marketing for a large or small business is meant to be an investment, not an expense. Whether your strategy is digital or print, this sort of investment always has a risk. The correct buy-in offers a large reward, while the incorrect one can put a business under. Here are five common marketing mistakes your business should avoid in any advertising plan. Learning from others’ mistakes helps you create a return on your investment.

Paying to Advertise to Everyone

Getting potentially limitless exposure for your brand may seem appealing, but what good is it if your target audience is a fraction of that? Paying to advertise on broad channels is often an expensive and risky proposition. Look to marketing channels where you can target your audience by demographics and location. Use your own historical data to determine these statistics and you’ll see bigger returns on your investment.

Believing Empty Promises

If you’re a business owner or marketing professional, you’ve probably received your own fair share of “cold call” emails. Many of these start with an empty promise, such as, “Rank number one on Google for your search term.” These promises are so generic and empty that a reputable marketing agency or service provider would no better than to use it. Use genuine language to connect with readers first.

Not Doing Your Own Research

Don’t buy into any marketing plan because a sales representative made it sound appealing. Like anything you buy in your business or personal life, make sure you know what you’re getting into before you make the investment. A little research goes a long way. Always ask for references that you can contact, and look up reviews for any marketing sales pitch you might receive.

Changing Direction Early

Buying into a marketing plan isn’t an overnight success. There is no question you want the return on your investment just as fast as you wrote the check, but most marketing takes time to set in with your audience. The first few days, even weeks or months, can often be a nerve-racking experience. If you’ve done your due diligence, know that a little patience can go a long way.

Email-Only Communication

While it’s convenient to communicate only over email, being able to speak with your advertising reps over the phone or even in person will give you more peace of mind and realization that the service provider cares about your investment. Take the time to pick up the phone when researching your marketing plan. Those that communicate with you are much more worth your time and investment than those that don’t. You can also think about call center consulting as part of your marketing strategy. Call center consultant professionals will help devise a strategy specific to your business to get buyers interested.

Marketing is a hairy business. You have to do a lot of your own research to see the fruits of your labor come forth. Use these ideas to improve what you already have and get more involved in other kinds of campaigns as well.

 

 
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Marketing In Today’s World: What Methods Are Most Effective?

MarketingGetting the name of your business out in the open is an important step in gaining new customers and building your company. From mailing advertisements to posting on social media, the methods of marketing have changed significantly in recent years. There are a few techniques that are effective for all customer bases and that will deliver results in a short time if you maintain the strategy.

Influencing

This is a technique where a person is featured in an ad that is geared toward a target audience. It could be an actor, an athlete or someone else who has a high impact for the company. This is similar to word of mouth advertising where the person who is used in the ad campaign talks about the benefits of the company and what it can offer to the consumer.

Live-streaming

If you like being in the spotlight, then live-streaming is a way for you to get your story across to a large audience. It’s easy to use this method with branding on social media as many businesses are now adding videos to their social media pages. They see the positive results that other companies are getting with videos and short clips of products and services that are offered. You can even do live sales when you want to reach a large number of customers at one time.

Chatbots

These are the wave of the future when it comes to customer service. Most businesses don’t have people who are awake and ready to answer questions all the time. With a chatbot, you can set the robot to answer questions at any time of the day or night so that customers at least have a basic idea as to what the company offers. The responses that are created by the chatbot are done so in a way that coincides with what the human mind would think. Most phones have a chatbot already installed, such as Siri, that will recognize the person’s voice and be able to answer questions.

Personalize

The best way to keep a customer’s attention is by personalizing the sales experience. You need to ensure that you keep track of what the customers want, tweaking the inventory so that you have the supplies on hand to meet the demand. Social media is a great way to keep up with the personalization of customers.

Marketing changes all the time. Most of the techniques that are used now are on social media so that businesses can stay in touch with customers at all times. If you want your business to succeed, it’s best to reach out and take chances as they come.

 
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3 Reasons Scheduling Software Saves The Social Media Business World

unnamedA timely post to a social media platform can lead to higher conversions, more buzz for your brand and a slew of other benefits. However, there may be times when you want or need to post something overnight or at another time in which you can’t be at the computer. With social media scheduling software, like SimpliBuzz, you never have to worry about missing an opportunity to leverage your social following to help your business make money.

Create a Message Now and Schedule It for Later

If you have a national or international following, you may want to post messages across a variety of time zones to maximize reach and customer awareness. With a social media scheduling software program, you can create a message while you are sitting at your desk at work or before you go to bed and schedule it to post when it is most convenient. This is perfect for when you want to announce a secret midnight sale or need to post a message multiple times over the course of several hours or days.

Keep Track of How Your Content Is Doing

Simply posting content via your social media platforms is not enough to ensure that your message is being heard. Instead, you need to know whether or not a particular piece of content is being talked about, shared and otherwise valued by your followers. If your followers do decide to engage with a piece of content, you can learn about it in real-time and respond in a timely manner. This is important because your customers want to know that you hear them and care about their enthusiasm for your brand or their concerns over what they may have read or listened to.

Stay Organized When Conducting a Marketing Campaign

There is a good chance that you are going to recycle content from previous marketing campaigns into your current one. There is also a chance that you will attract the interest of spam or bot accounts each time that you post to your social media profiles. With a good social media scheduling program, you can make sure that your content is not being seen multiple times by the same people. It also helps to reduce the odds that you interact with fake accounts, which is a waste of time and money.

 

If you are looking to make the most of social media, you need a social media scheduling program. It allows you to post in a timely manner, keep track of your content and ensure that you are getting the most for your time and marketing dollars.

 
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IT Illiterate? How to Minimize Technological Challenges in Your Company

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When it comes to running a modern company, you don’t always have to be a tech-savvy business owner for the purpose of achieving success in your chosen industry. Nevertheless, there will be times when your business acumen will be tested with technological challenges.

Even if you are not the most technologically inclined business owner, your managers and employees will expect you to be resourceful enough to know how to handle situations such as the five described below:

Productivity Software

Even if you are a micro company, the time will come when your office staff will need to utilize productivity software to get their jobs done. Your best bet in this regard is to consider a cloud productivity solution. If your employees are comfortable working from home or on the road, you may want to think about subscribing to a Microsoft Office 365 plan. The key to choosing the right cloud suite is to meet with all employees to identify the productivity needs of the office.

Security Incident Response

Choosing to implement your own data security strategy when you are not familiar with your office system can be a recipe for disaster. It is always better to get help when it is needed if a certain solution doesn’t work out, and this is something you can easily accomplish with Ottawa tech support or other remote IT services that can provide network monitoring as well as immediate response to security incidents such as data breaches.

Hardware Failure

If you can’t afford expensive hardware repairs, keep your office equipment to a minimum. Speak to a business consultant about a cloud computing solution such as Software as a Service (SaaS), which allows you to remotely access your data and apps, thereby keeping your hardware requirements to a minimum.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

If you choose a SaaS solution, you may want to streamline your IT infrastructure even further by allowing employees to use their own laptops and tablets at work. If you choose to implement a BYOD policy, be sure to retain a managed IT services provider for security and maintenance.

Outdated Equipment

Back in the days of client/server network architecture, business owners were essentially obligated to hire permanent IT staff to manage the system. If you have not upgraded your office network in years, chances are that you will need to retain that staff; however, upgrading to a modern system will allow you to outsource your IT processes.

In the end, even if you don’t know too much about technology, you can still manage a modern company with the five solutions mentioned above.

 
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5 Types of Software Your Business Needs to Invest in

5 Types of Software Your Business Needs to Invest inThere has been such a surge in the introduction of new technologies in just the last ten years that it is difficult for business leaders and even employees to keep up. There is ample incentive, however, for all businesspeople, no matter how modest their company is, to look into the possibility of using new and powerful technology to improve their products and services. Here are some new technologies to consider.

Local Search

The ability to search the web has changed the world in many ways. What has been far too often overlooked is the fact most computer users can’t perform a similar search on their own data. There have been some attempts to remedy this vacuum with features like Spotlight and applications like Beagle. By and large, though, they haven’t been adopted by businesses yet. This has the potential to be a major game changer, as the overwhelming majority of most companies’ institutional knowledge is not published online.

Voice to Text

The one-button feature built in to many mobile phones that allows users to translate spoken questions and communications into text is among the most popular and with good reason. Voice to text applications have a long history dating back to the earliest PCs, and the speed they make available to users is worth every penny spent on them, because it maximizes efficiency and allows users to perform data entry tasks in fractions of the time it would take to do it manually.

On-Demand Office Space

Many companies maintain a large “in the field” workforce and, therefore, have to make provision for shared offices on a flexible and dynamic schedule. This is known in the industry as hot desking. Like the shared office suite and remote work arrangement industry standards, hot desking allows companies to maximize the utility of physical workspaces through Add-On and other types of special software.

Digital Photography

Cameras with unlimited film are so recent that their potential uses haven’t even been fully considered yet. The document archival possibilities alone (especially if combined with optical character recognition or OCR) are intriguing enough that any company that needs to advertise (pretty much every business out there) should invest in this technology. Although it is pretty common now, it is especially useful when posting pictures on websites and social media. Just make sure that whichever camera that you’re using is of the best quality—such as a new Canon or Sony.

Desktop Databases

The formats businesses store their data in are crucial, yet most companies use computer technology to build the digital equivalent of the “shoebox full of receipts” common to stories about disorganized enterprises. Industrial-grade databases with very powerful features are available at minimal cost now that would give those businesses a much better means of managing their information. If combined with some of these other technologies, local databases would become even more powerful.

Technology management isn’t easy. It requires a considerable time investment and more than a little patience. Ultimately, however, the benefits are more than likely to outweigh the costs, and the effects of better and more efficient management practices are likely to register throughout the enterprise.

 
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