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Business Etiquette Tips

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Employees with bad attitudes can spoil a business and alienate customers. This principle remains true whether the business in question is a fast food restaurant, high-end retail store, or even a business-to-business company. People skills and social etiquette are instrumental to a successful business – paradoxically, people will sometimes choose a smiling face and an inferior product over a more efficient solution which is dealt out in a surly manner. Here are some tips on how to keep employee and client dissatisfaction at a minimum by using old-fashioned good manners!

Etiquette Tips

  • Stress the team. Every person at a company has a role – at least they ought to if they’re being paid! Make sure that everyone feels included. If lower-level employees don’t feel appreciated, their quality of work will suffer. Without proper support staff, hot-shot upper level employees will have their efficiency compromised.
  • Minimize meetings. Although they are a necessary part of running a business, meetings can become a burden on productivity. Keep meetings concise and be sensitive to the time-strain they may put on employee’s effectiveness.
  • Be quick on the draw. Nothing is worse than reaching out to give a company business only to receive dead air in return. No matter how absurd or demanding the request, always be prompt in correspondence with potential clients.
  • Organize thoughts. Rambling emails appear unprofessional and can also be a legitimate source of confusion. By being concise and clear the first time, the chances of having to explain something twice or deal with a perturbed and confused employee are reduced.
  • Don’t overdress or underdress. The idea of a uniform might seem constricting, especially in creative fields. But for most businesses, and especially in the case of those that are engaged in a large amount of business-to-business contact, underdressing can be taken as a sign of unprofessionalism. Establishing guidelines for dress is a tacit way of reminding employees that they’re at work and that they need to reflect this outwardly.
  • Make deadlines. A missed deadline can give a client the impression that they are of limited importance. If the scope of work becomes larger than expected, give significant notice and explain the reasons behind a project’s tardiness.
  • Be sensitive to diversity. This goes both for clients and employees, creeds and personality types. Remember that a business relationship requires collaboration and compromise. Additionally, keep in mind that a lack of dissenting voices doesn’t necessarily mean consensus – it may mean that employees are afraid to speak out!

Some may underestimate the value of proper etiquette in the work place. After all, we live in an era when many of the formalities have gone out of business relationships. We can see our business associate’s exploits on social media, and interoffice emails these days often contain cat video attachments or the like. But when it comes to ensuring a profitable and smoothly functioning business, decorum still has a rightful place. It can be difficult to measure how many clients may be lost or never secured because of poor etiquette, so it’s best to do everything possible to keep this number low!

Justin blogs about business tips and how to start and market a business on behalf of Kwikkerb. He also provides information on the Kwikkerb business opportunity.

 

 

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Managing Your Office: Success Stems from Well-Planned Space

Real estate can be one of the biggest costs to any business and for many companies the thought of expanding can be something that is out of the question. Instead of paying out more for larger premises you may need to make the most of what you already have so a little re-organisation of your floor plan may be needed. One way that you could make use of the space available to you is by partitioning sections to make new rooms to use. Creating partitions however is more than just a case of putting up some new walls and there can be quite a lot to be taken into consideration.

Safety

Often overzealous health and safety restrictions are much maligned in business and commerce and are often at the butt of jokes. The thing is though that some health and safety regulations are genuinely needed otherwise people could genuinely be at risk of sickness of injury and this needs to be accounted for when building a new partition. Blocked passageways could present an obvious risk and the risk of fires breaking out should never be neglected. Most safety aspects are common sense although if you are unsure a list of guides and regulations will be easy to obtain if needed. With health and safety taken into account when building a new partition you can help make sure that people are not hurt and also that you don’t have any problems with litigation.

Comfort

Depending on where you have built your new partition you may need to take peoples’ comfort into account as comfort is importance for happiness and productivity. Office workers sat in a cold warehouse partition will soon begin to complain and it is unlikely that much work would get done. Other factors such as noise could also be something that could affect productivity negatively and sound proofing and acoustics may be needed to create a suitable working environment.  When trying to create a suitable environment within the partition the experts should have plenty of valuable advice that will help you to achieve what you want.

Space is also important for comfort in addition to health and safety so make sure that you are not trying to cram too much into too small a space. When planning your floor space you could use computer software such as CAD that will make it easier for you to see how your design will work. With the help of some handy software you could create a comfortable environment that anybody would be happy to work in.

Something else to be taken into consideration is light and nobody would want to work in a dark and dingy office all day long. While artificial lighting can help to brighten up any space it just is not the same as natural light so try to make sure that windows are available wherever possible. If there are no windows available but you are still near an external wall then you should consider having windows installed as they can help to make the room a much happier place and therefore much more productive.

Security

There are some areas that you would probably not want everybody to have access to so security might also be a consideration. Server rooms in particular may need to be kept behind locked doors so that sensitive information cannot be accessed or maybe you would rather just restrict access to prevent large numbers of people passing through and disturbing the people working there. From simple locks to impenetrable defences you have just what you need to create a space that suitably keeps the contents inside safe from harm and disturbance.

Industrial partitions could help you to make the most of the space that you already have and could help to avoid increasing your real estate expenses.

 

 

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Supply Chain Management

Depending on the type of product or service you provide, Supply Chain Management can be a complex job.  There are few companies that are lucky enough to be self-sufficient.  Most businesses rely on suppliers and outsourcing for at least part of their business, producing a delicate supply chain which can quickly fall apart if something disturbs any piece of it.  Supply Chain Management Software (SCMS) is designed to make monitoring and managing supply chain transactions easier.

There are several things that SCMS can handle, including:

  • Customer requirement forecasting
  • Purchase order processing
  • Inventory tracking
  • Warehouse management
  • Delivery tracking
  • Supplier management

While there are lots of vendors in the SCMS industry, there are a handful of key players that own the majority of the market share.  They include:

JDA

JDA offers Supply Chain Management Software for a huge range of industries, including grocery stores, aerospace and defence companies, pharmaceuticals, and the hospitality industry.  They offer a one-stop solution that covers supply chain management, transportation, and retail.  Their software is aimed at major enterprises.

SAP

SAP is a company that specialises in providing software for businesses.  Their Supply Chain Management solution aims to “transform your linear supply chain into a responsive network”.  It covers supply and demand planning, logistics, fulfilment, and delivery tracking.  SAP offers a range of solutions that will cater to most sizes of business.  They also offer SAP events where people can learn more about their products.

Intelex

Intelex have been producing business software for 20 years, and service hundreds of major businesses.  Their SCM software makes it easy to track supplier performance, evaluate and rate different suppliers, produce performance reports, and follow up on issues.

3PL

3PL Warehouse Manager is an enterprise-level supply chain management application aimed at the logistics market.  It offers automated reporting, EDI, and barcode scanning.  This software makes billing, logistics and tracking a breeze.

Accuware

Accuware’s ProActive Inventory Manager is a web-based inventory solution which has been built to run on Microsoft ASP.net and Microsoft SQL server.  This software is available in two forms – a self-hosted version, and a SAAS version hosted on ProActive’s servers.  ProActive Inventory Manager has a standard, inexpensive version for small and medium sized businesses, and a more sophisticated enterprise version.

Choosing Supply Chain Management Software

It’s important that you find the right supply chain management software early in your business’ life.  Investing in the wrong version can cause costly mistakes which could damage your reputation.  Deploying new software, and transferring over your existing inventory and orders can be a struggle.

Before you invest in any SCMS, consider attending a few industry events.  Whether you choose to attend SAP events and JDA events, and shop around in that fashion, or go to one of the major logistics conferences is up to you.  Consider taking up some free trials, and spending a weekend or two running test orders through different systems until you find one that you and your employees like to use.

Amy Fowler writes on technology, this post was written in conjunction with UK & Ireland SAP User Group, organisers of SAP events. For more information on their SAP events, click here.

 

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Strategic Event Planning and Management

It can be incredibly daunting to organize and manage an event; it can be even how more to ensure that it goes on to become a success. As hosts, we always want things to be outrageous and over-the-top:  something the guests haven’t seen before. But before we get ahead of ourselves, we need to get the basics nailed first and foremost. The best events are not always the ones with all the bells and whistles; rather they’re the ones that went smoothly, no matter how simple they were.

Effective Stage Design

More often than not, an event will require a stage or some platform where hosts and various presenters can be seen by the audience. The stage will be the main focus of the entire venue, so it has to be extremely presentable. The size of the stage will vary according to what the event needs, but it should be large enough to accommodate all of the people who need to be in it, without them crowding the entire space. The height of the stage is also very important. While social functions may require just a short platform, larger and outdoor events may require something with a higher height. When it comes to decorating the stage, you need to consider what the event is all about, essentially. If it’s a more social event with scholarly lecturers, then a more academic and minimalistic backdrop may be required.

Organization of Audience and Guest Reception

The success of any event is contingent upon how comfortable the entire experience was for your audience members. Hence, they should always be your primary concern. So that your guests get to follow the entire flow of the event, it is necessary that you give out handouts detailing the sections of the program. An all-day affair will require an entire itinerary. For lengthy events, keep in mind that your guests would naturally have a limited attention span. Although they aren’t exactly like kids who lose their interest after a few minutes, nonetheless schedule breaks and intermissions and provide refreshment options for your guests during these breaks. To keep the enthusiasm high, pique your guests’ interest by giving a witty introduction or a sneak peak of what’s about to come.

Strategic Event Planning

The success of your event will depend according to how your audience sees your presentation to be relevant. Given that you already have a specific audience in mind, make sure that you pick out speakers who are interesting according to your audience’s perspective. Tailor your activities using the same rationale as well. If you’re entertaining a group of resident physicians with hectic schedules, do away with the games and trivia. Proceed with the lecture instead, as their time is of essence. On the other hand, if you have students who have all the time to while away, then go ahead with whatever game you had in mind originally.

Your author Michelle Gibson is an expert in event managent and is available at many speakers bureaus

 

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Turbo-charge Your Event

Orchestrating large events is a cumbersome task that requires a number of skills. Often, individuals will attend large events with little thought to the work that was required in putting the event together. In the same way that a professional athlete performs complicated skills with little perceived difficulty from the viewer, event planners plan events that hide the work. Event planning requires logistical prowess, professional communication as well as stress and priority management. Planners can become overwhelmed with the importance of the event they are planning. Similar to a climber who makes the possibly fatal mistake of looking down, event planners must learn to focus on the individual components of the event and not it’s degree of importance. Events such as wedding and corporate meetings hold a great deal of importance to their respective parties and must be handled with care to ensure satisfaction. Fortunately there exist a number of tools for event planners to help them perform at a high level.

Events Management Software

Events management software is a fairly new form of software that provides a variety of tools for event planners to utilize in order to carry out their duties more proficiently. This type of software allows planners to keep track of logistical needs as well as scheduling and contact information. Depending upon the software developer, the software can also include more advanced features such as email composition tools and Web integration. A device which has provided additional solutions for event planners is the Smartphone.

Smartphones: Must Have for Event Planners

Smartphone’s are invaluable for event planners that must communicate professionally with other individuals while on the fly. These types of phones allow for contact management, scheduling as well as email composition all while operating remotely. Additionally, smartphones offer applications which can improve logistics and scheduling. These same applications offer integration with existing planning software and/or Web pages. This type of flexibility can prove invaluable given the mobile nature of the event planning process.

Event Planners Build Strong Networks

An underrated component of event planning is networking and the development of close working relationships. Frequently, event planners will work within the same group of vendors and services. It is vital that event planners strive to obtain excellent relationships with these groups as they are the backbone to their services. By generating good personal relationships, event planners garner several benefits that can prove invaluable in case of an emergency. Often times they will be quoted reduced prices if they promise repeat business. Additionally they can often get last minute projects completed provided they have a good rapport with the vendor.

While technology offers a variety of tools that work to help event planners perform their duties these tools are not a replacement for hard work and the development of good personal relationships. When planning any event, there will be incidents that can negatively impact the overall product. A good planner will recognize these issues and search out viable solutions that do not detract from the event.

+Nancy Goebel has her own blog, ForgottenCulture.com and frequently writes about living and entertainment. She is intrigued by technology that makes living and entertaining easier and more professional, in this case, events management software.

 

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Conquer your paper : The Paperless Office is not a Myth

Computers were meant to cut down on paper but it seems we feel some sense of security
by having piles of paper around or can it just be hard to break those old habits of printing
everything. Can a paperless office be in your future? Yes it can and here are a few steps that
can help get you on your way:

Step 1.

Switch to online bill pay and receiving paperless billing statements. Using your bank’s
online bill pay, you can process your vendor bills online – which will also save on postage
costs as well as check stock. What is great about online bill pay, you can schedule your bills
in advance, which is a huge time saver, and by scheduling your payments it will save you
those late fee penalties. You can also take it one step further and set up automatic payment
directly from your checking account through your vendors.

Step 2.

Download your monthly bank and credit card statements. At the end of the year, burn the
statements onto a CD and file with your tax returns. While you are downloading those
statements each month, you can email your virtual bookkeeper the statements for
reconciling your accounts.

Step 3.

Client invoices. Instead of printing and mailing invoices – pdf and email them. Also in
QuickBooks did you know you could email your invoices directly to the client? When
creating the invoice in QuickBooks, check mark at the bottom email invoice. Once you are
completed with the invoice, go to File – Send Forms, you can edit your message and then
click Send. For organizing these invoices, set up monthly folders on your computer and
save your client invoices in the respective monthly folder. At the end of the year, burn to a
CD and file with your tax returns.

Step 4.

Purchase a good shredder or a local shredding company, ONLY $7/box just drop it off, who
has time to shred. For sensitive files containing credit card information, bank account
numbers, old vendor invoices with account information or old client project files – safely
toss in the shredder. If you have a scanner, you can scan these files and toss and/or shred
the paper copies. Remember though if you are saving these files to your computer to be
sure to back up your computer.

Step 5.

Stop unwanted junk mail. Register with Contact DirectMail.com to be removed from
receiving junk mail. Put in the recycle bin the second you walk in the door.

Step 6. 

Business receipts. Travel receipts, credit card receipts or vendor invoices received in the
mail can be scanned and stored in your monthly financial folder set up on your computer.
If you do not have a scanner, NeatReceipts or Neat scanner is a mobile scanner and digital
filing system. You can scan receipts, business cards, and also documents. The software
included with the scanner identifies and extracts the important information from the
receipts and automatically organizes it for you.
If you implement just a few of these steps, you’ll soon gain control of your paper overload
plus gain some valuable desk and drawer space, yeah!

Spring Organizing Tips!

Now that spring has arrived it’s time to shed our winter “stuff” and lighten‐up for the
season ahead!  Follow these expert tips for a smooth transition:

1. Start with your closets. Dry clean or launder coats, sweaters, and any
items you plan to store over the summer. Toss or donate any items that
are worn, don’t fit you, or you just don’t like. Take your spring and
summer clothes out now so you can see what you have and make a list of
new items you need to purchase. Don’t forget storage containers, clothes
bags, and cedar blocks for storing winter clothes.

2. Clear your kitchen. Take a look in your kitchen cabinets, pantry,
refrigerator and freezer. Look for food items that are reaching their
expiration date and use them up. Toss old food items and start making a
grocery list of fresh, healthy foods that coincide with the new season.
Consider moving “winter cookware” (crock pot and pasta machine) to the
back of the cabinet or into storage and bringing forward your salad
spinner and ice tea maker.

3. Bathroom Makeover. Yes, the bath needs seasonal organizing too! In what
condition are your towels, rugs, shower curtain, and counter top
accessories? Perhaps they just need to be cleaned, but if you’re planning
to replace them start a list. Clear out your medicine cabinet and vanity
cabinets by tossing out anything that’s expired or items you don’t use
anymore. Don’t forget to add replacements to your shopping list.
Consider organizing products such as containers, racks, shelves, or
drawers for extra storage.

4. Bedroom Switch. Now is the time to dry clean or launder the heavy
comforter on your bed and replace it with a lighter blanket. Swap your
flannel bed sheets for lighter fabrics, store the rest.

About the Author:  Michelle Paxton,  The Organizer Gal

P.O. Box 320504
Los Gatos, CA   95032
P: (408) 354-3581
W: www.TheOrganizerGal.com

 

What is a Professional Organizer?

A Professional Organizer is someone that helps you to overcome clutter and disorganization to make your life, less stressful and your time more efficient!

 

Why hire a Professional Organizer?

A Professional Organizer not only helps you organize your clutter, but they also create an easy-to-follow system to help keep it that way. They are there to help you through the entire process, and to get down and dirty and do everything themselves. They are there to sit, sort, clean, file, de-clutter, and de-stress to help make your home a better place to live.

 

What are the benefits of getting organized?

EVERYTHING! You will find yourself having more time, less stress, you will know where everything is located (which saves time and huge headaches), and it will make your life easier and, more importantly, happier. Your environment plays a huge part on your attitude, outlook, and even blood pressure levels. When it’s in disarray, that will reflect and play an immediate part on your life. It makes life so much simpler when your environment is organized, clean, and it’s easy to find things!

 

Which areas do you service?

I will tackle anything from your children’s playroom to your kitchen pantry. Almost all areas of your home, office, garage, storage units and vehicles are covered.

 

Will you work with me or just coach me?

It’s entirely up to you. If you don’t want to touch a thing, you don’t have to. But, if you or anyone else wants to help, it’ll get the job done faster, and in the end, save you money.

 

How do I get started?

Simply contact me here and tell me what needs to be addressed, what areas you’d like organized, and any other details you’d like to include. I will then get back with you, and we can set up a time for our initial meeting/free consultation.

 

What takes place at the initial meeting?

I come and evaluate the space(s) as-is and formulate a plan of action. Then, we will discuss what problems you have with the space(s), what you would like to see change, and what is currently working for you.

 

Will you be flexible and able to work around my schedule?

I’m here to work with you and your schedule.

 

Will my sessions be confidential?

Absolutely! All meetings, conversations, and questions are between you and me, and no one else! Your dirty secret is kept private and confidential.

 

What are your rates and what kind of payment types is accepted?

She accepts all major credit card, cash and checks and is due at the end of each work session (each block day).

 

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3 Tips For Hosting Your Next Corporate Event

This year, you’re in charge of hosting your company’s huge corporate event. You’ll have to find a venue, purchase decorations, send out invitations, book a caterer and plan for entertainment. Corporate events can be enormous, especially if people outside of the company are invited. For example, many corporate events invite guests who are current clients or potential clients. Putting your best foot forward at an event of this magnitude isn’t an easy task. Plus, all eyes will be on the host. Even skilled party planners sometimes have trouble coordinating large scale corporate events. Luckily, there are a few tricks of the trade that will make planning the perfect corporate event a bit easier.
Host Etiquette
Knowing how to present yourself at a corporate event is possibly the most important skill to master. The host should always dress the part, even if the rest of the guests are dressed casually. The host’s attire should be formal and should stand out from the rest of the crowd without being loud. It should be obvious who the host of the event is simply by scanning the room. As a host, you should always have a smile on your face. Even if the event is falling apart and things are going wrong, it’s important to always put a calm, collected face forward. Resolving problems and staying confident throughout the night are key to overcoming obstacles and dealing with whatever goes wrong. One of the biggest things to remember is to not drink excessively at the event. You can’t effectively and professionally host a corporate event if you’re drunk. Keep it to one alcoholic drink every hour and sip water in between.
Print Advertisements
In a world where marketers rely heavily on the Internet and social marketing, print ads are dwindling in occurrence and quality. Stand out from the crowd with quality print advertisements. Despite what many Internet marketers may thing, print ads are actually extremely powerful in gaining new customers. Ads will showcase your company’s products or services. Create flyers, brochures or even catalogs that reflect your business. You can also create print ads that contain important information about the event itself or about a new product or portion of your business that you’re launching. These advertisements will be given out to your guests at the event.
Corporate Events on a Budget
Corporate events can be pricey. When the economy is down, the budget for business events has to be lowered too. There are a few simple ways to cut costs and still throw a quality corporate event. Instead of having a dinner, host a lunch or cocktail party instead. Serve sparkling wine instead of having a full bar. Hold the event sometime between January and March, when venue rates are lowest. Also, if you have the event on a week day, you’ll save a bundle, since rates are highest on the weekend. The best way to save money on a venue is to host the event in someone’s home instead of renting space.

Also, If you are looking to book a comedian for your next event, look no further than Andrew Taylor Management and More Comedy (http://www.andrewtaylormanagement.com/)

 

Claire is a Corporate Events Planner in Sydney, Australia, where she has been helping businesses plan important corporate events for the last 10 years. Claire has held events in all of the major corporate event venues Sydney has to offer.

 

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