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Freight Forwarding Companies Explained

5b6800734536bfc7d9369dcfe862When people bring up freight forwarding companies in a conversation, it is likely you are going to get confused; this is because the systems they follow can be quite confusing, especially if you do not know anything about them. Basically freight forwarding is a system used by businesses who want to deal their goods internationally and multi-nationally.

The freight forwarding company does not actually move the freight itself, instead it acts a go-between the client and the transport companies. If you want to move your products from international destination then you are expected to involve a number of different carriers, requirements, documentations and legalities.  As there is so much to take care of, the client and company may not have the time or expertise in freight forwarding, this is where the freight forwarding company comes in and takes over.

Choosing a Freight Forwarding Company

A good freight forwarding company will guarantee you that your products will get to the intended destination on a specified date, if your goods do not get to the destination then you will have the right to complain and recover expenses from the company as part of a breach of contract.

You should choose a freight forwarding company that has established strong relationships and connections with a number of different carriers; this can include air freighters, rail freighters, sea liners and even trucking companies. Freight forwarding companies will know the best economical route for your goods, saving you both time and money.

Some freight companies will offer you different services, a good company will also be able to offer you warehousing services, a project manager and risk assessment surveys.

Benefits of Using a Freight Forwarding Company

You may wonder why you would want to choose a freight forwarding company, the main reason to why most businesses will choose to hire one is because they will attempt to save you a lot of time and money. When shipping goods internationally, you will have to create the correct types of paperwork, this will include customs documents and insurance, if you do not provide the correct documents then there is a risk your goods will not get to the intended destination.

Rather you having to spend hours doing research into the best potential route to transport your goods across the world, a freight forwarding company with good experience will know immediately the best way to transport your cargo.

You should never just use the first freight forwarding company you come across, as the services they offer can differ quite spectacularly. You should complete plenty of research before you choose a company.

Peter works on behalf of a global freight shipping company and likes to share advice with others. He has listed a variety of services, http://www.thefreightpeople.com, to help people choose what services they need. 

 

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How To Turn Your Customers Into Marketing Marvels

PhotoChooser-6d6357ba-775a-475b-9c04-8fdf1a200275Businesses everywhere are working around the clock to ensure that they deliver a five-star service experience and leave their customers raving about them. The reason for this? They know that a customer telling their friends or posting on Facebook how great their product or service was is a much more powerful marketing tool than any advert they could ever dream up.

If it is good enough for the biggest brands on the planet, then every small business in every town and city around the world should also be working towards this mantra.

Turning your customers into your de-facto marketing team removes a lot of stress from small business owners who may be worrying about where their next advertising campaign is going to be funded from.

Of course, it isn’t as easy as just throwing open the doors and inviting your customers to deliver word of mouth recommendations to anyone who will listen. Putting the work in first will mean you reap the rewards later. Read on to find out how to turn customers into marketing marvels.

Help the Customer

How many businesses try to grow their revenues by suggesting items to customers? They all do, now ask yourself again how many do this in a helpful manner? Telling customers that they should spend more money because one product works well with another is unlikely to win many friends.

On the other hand, suggest items that will make a difference to the customers’ life and benefit them in some way. Sell them what they need rather than what you want them to buy. ‘This product has really made my life easier, I feel as if they made a real effort to get to know me,’ is better than, ‘I bought this because they suggested it but it’s useless.’

Keep In Touch

This is a definite must if you operate any form of e-commerce site. When you sell an item, do you allow your customers to track the item, and keep in touch with them regarding their delivery? Or are you a business that takes their money and leaves all responsibility to the courier from then on?

You don’t need us to tell you which scenario you should be looking to replicate. Keeping customers updated after they have parted with their cash will allow you to prevent ‘buyer’s remorse’ from building up because they are thinking too much about their purchase.

Putting the power in the hands of the customer means they can proactively check for themselves where there exciting new product is, and not have to continually log in to your site and look for updates.

The relationship between the product and the customer should begin the moment the sale is confirmed, not when it is delivered.

Ask for Feedback

All roads lead directly to this point. By asking your customer for feedback, you will be enjoying many benefits. Other potential customers will see that you have a reputation for quality products and services. User generated content on your website will make you more attractive in the eyes of search engines.

Either you or the user can then share this content across social media platforms, bringing all of those benefits together.

The key, of course, is to ensure you do everything possible so that each piece of feedback will be positive and paint a favourable picture of your business.

Once you’ve done this, your customers will be your marketing team. You can sit back and enjoy the rewards.

Robert is an online content writer across a number of industries, with a specific interest in business turnaround. Robert’s areas of expertise include transformational change strategies, such as relaunching product ranges and reconnecting with new and previous customers.

 

 

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How To Find The Best Apps For Your Business

Best_Mobile_Apps_for_Your_BusinessOne of the biggest trends in small business right now is the use of mobile applications in order to make an operation more productive.  Large businesses are increasingly using apps, too, however in these cases they are usually a compliment to what is already in place.

For small companies and start-ups, business apps can be the difference between success and failure. While that statement can seem an extreme one, the financial and time savings that apps can give to a business owner, particularly sole traders, are valuable, and mean that resources can instead be directed towards product development, building customer relationships, and selling.

How can you choose the best apps for your business, and then use them to ensure your company hits the big time?

Do You Really Need It?

When you head to an app marketplace, it is very easy to be taken in by everything on offer. Therefore, write down everything that you need to do that you think an app might be able to achieve for you.

The purpose behind this is simple. By doing it this way, you will write down what you need, and keep your business as simple as possible. If you were to head to an app store right away, you would soon find yourself downloading all kinds of apps that achieve nothing but making your business more complicated than it needs to be.

Look Further for Reviews

Rather than just checking out the reviews on the app stores themselves, find forums where apps are discussed. This way, you will be able to connect with fellow business owners and strike up a conversation and ask questions, rather than make a decision based on a few sentences, which may have been written in hasty joy or anger.

Business magazines and social feeds will also be a valuable resource, as they feature news and reviews on the newest and most effective apps that could make a difference for you.

Think Employee

If you have employees in your business, they will be working to a specific set of objectives and a job description at all times. Should they fall below the required performance level, you review their role and question whether someone else could do it better.

You should take exactly the same approach to your mobile apps. If you are using a profit and loss tool, does it give you a detailed breakdown of all incomings and outgoings? Does your mobile invoicing system allow you to send invoices straight away from your device, or do you have to import the file into email first?

Be clear in your head what each app should do, and if they aren’t making your life easier or performing their role, deal with them as you would an employee.

Taking this approach to sourcing mobile business apps will leave you in a great position to get on with the job of generating revenue for your company, which in turn will see you in a strong place when it comes to expanding your brand.

Robert is an online content writer with a specific interest in the technology sector. Robert regularly writes about emerging trends, such as managed VPS hosting, as well as popular apps that can help to make businesses more efficient and profitable.

 

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Go Greener With A Garden Office

IMG_1362The time has long since passed that sheds and summer houses were used only as storage facilities or home extensions. A whole wave of garden offices and studios are combining the outdoors with the indoors to create eco-buildings that are green in more ways than one.
Saving expenses
Many business owners are choosing to skip the commute nowadays and run their business virtually or from home. Not only are they avoiding the rocket-high rentals on a city office building, but the maintenance too   on everything from heating bills to paying for internet and electronic equipment. Add in daily travel and food costs and it starts to become clear why this so-called ‘shedworking’ craze has taken off.
If this is something you’re considering, it pays to do some research. Find out how much a second line for phone and internet might cost and if you already have an existing shed or outhouse, research the steps you would have to take to insulate and light it effectively. Initial costs may seem high, so weigh up potential savings over time compared to leasing a serviced office and work out how the books will balance.
Built-in green features
There are all sorts of extra ways you can promote the environment from your own backyard. Building the shed yourself is much more cost-effective and satisfying, with a range of recycled materials available: used doors and windows, reclaimed laminate and even slates made from rainpipe guttering can help make the project a worthy one.
If you want to go all out for the environment, solar panels can be installed on the roof, again reducing your company outgoings over time. Then there’s the decoration. Use cladding or roll mat plants for your shed roof and you have an instant flood defence, insulation and the bonus of an attractive, natural look.
An alternative to a new shed one that has been used already. It’s worth visiting the local garden centres and asking if they have any ex-display sheds they want to get rid of – these will normally be heavily reduced in price, you’ll just need to do a little dismantling and rebuilding.
An eco-friendly business can still be achieved in the home at reduced cost but it may be the case that your home life and work life are not so easily separated, with kids in the next room or noise from the kitchen down the hall. A private space of your own is a precious thing and coupled with green savings, the garden office is a useful feature indeed.

Daniel Parkinson is a finance and business blogger who gets out his green fingers at the weekend. He’s currently writing a book about eco-business. He has used www.enviromat.co.uk on a number of occasions.

 

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Points To Consider When Organizing A Team Building Day

Business team building a puzzleTeam building days have become a tool that large and small companies use to build trust, cooperation and respect between employees and departments. New managers also use the events as a way to get to know the skills of different workers. Planning an entire team-building day takes a large amount of effort. Every detail from scheduling and reservations to catering and games must be meticulously planned. There are several points to keep in mind when attempting to organize a day of team-building activities.

Be Aware Of Employee Limitations

Every person is different. It is essential to take into account the physical, medical and practical limitations of each employee taking part in the event. This means planning activities that everyone can perform and excluding activities that might be difficult for workers with limited mobility. It also means choosing a location that is accessible to everyone with or without a vehicle. Catering needs to be considerate of any dietary restrictions or allergies. Designing the event with the limitations of the employees in mind will allow the day to flow smoothly and without incident.

Catering

Every team-building day includes one or more breaks that allow participants to think or talk about what has just occurred. Everyone taking part in the event will need to eat at least once. The best way to feed all participants is to plan for a professional catering service. The food could be simple sandwiches or a large buffet. Eating will help to reset each person and will provide the energy needed to get through the second half of the retreat. Including a catered lunch or breakfast also makes employees feel appreciated.

Maintain Focus

It is important to maintain focus at all times during the planning stages and when hosting the event. It can become easy for a group of co-workers or even strangers from different offices to become distracted by personal conversations, the decor of the location or minor unimportant details. Event organizers and hosts should develop ways to keep groups focused around the core topic or activity. This will make the entire day much more effective and will encourage participation from everyone at the event.

Time

Time is always a concern when organizing a corporate team-building day. The day should be divided into large blocks of time that are strictly enforced. These blocks should be general such as introductions, morning activities or lunch. The large general blocks can then be subdivided into smaller segments of activity that are more fluid as long as they do not extend beyond the total time allocated for the general period. This will allow flexibility while also ensuring that every important part of the team-building plan is covered.

Consider Professional Planning Services

Large corporations might want to consider using a professional event planning service for a large portion of the retreat. These services will have access to and knowledge of locations and suppliers that will make the day much easier. They also have the time to plan the event properly. Professional planners are an economical solution for large corporations because they often have access to discounts and larger venues that are not available to the general public.

Featured images:
  •  License: Image author owned

This post was written by Jen McAllister, an event planner in Toronto. She has worked with ibowl.ca Family Fun Center for a few years. For other types of events, visit http://ibowl.ca/.

 

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Yelp’s In Trouble Again: The Scandal Behind The Review Site

MW-AY957_yelp_2_20130205133121_MEYelp is a popular online review site that allows customers to leave their own personal reviews on restaurants. Many customers have turned to Yelp to not only write their own reviews but to read the reviews of other users in order to decide where to eat.

But while Yelp seems like it could be a big help to your next dining decision, the popular review site is currently under fire.

Back in January 2013, over 700 complaints filed with the FTC about Yelp were made public, and here’s what some of those complaints discuss.

Yelp blocks positive reviews.

Many business owners have claimed that Yelp removes positive reviews on their business and only allows the negative ones to come through. These negative reviews have a negative effect on the company’s overall rating, and business owners are upset. Some owners don’t know why Yelp could benefit from keeping these positive reviews from showing, and others feel as if Yelp uses it as a way to blackmail their users.

Yelp blackmails businesses.

Many businesses have come forward and said that they received emails or phone calls from Yelp claiming that they would remove negative reviews on the company’s page in exchange for the company buying advertising on the site. On Yelp’s website, they claim that they do not remove reviews for any reason other than if it can be proven they were fake, but many companies are saying otherwise.

Yelp harasses businesses.

Yelp has sales people that contact businesses to see if they want to purchase advertising on the site. Many businesses have claimed that these sales people harass them on a regular basis, even after the company has told them they were not interested in buying ad space or asking the sales rep to stop calling. Some of these sales reps have also been accused of promising to remove negative reviews in exchange for their ad space purchase.

Yelp leaves libelous material on their site.

There are companies and individuals out there that write fake reviews on businesses, and sometimes this information is completely wrong and libelous. Unfortunately, the only thing that a business owner can do is to contact Yelp and ask for the review to be removed, but Yelp has a strict policy, and unless it can be proven that the review was fake, they will keep it up there. Many restaurant owners are upset because severe damage has been done to their business, and Yelp will not do anything to remove them.

Yelp encourages fake reviews.

As a reviewer, you have the ability to join Yelp’s VIP club. As long as you write a certain number of reviews every month, you can become a member of their VIP, and this will provide you with special private parties and other perks. Since most people don’t eat out all day every day, many individuals are writing fake reviews on businesses just to become a Yelp VIP member and enjoy these perks.

All of these complaints against Yelp are currently being investigated. Maybe they’re true, maybe they’re not, but the public will certainly know soon once the investigation is over.

Joshua Reynolds is a reviews tracker and reputation manager.  He enjoys sharing information pertaining to business reviews and blogging.

 

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How To Find A Reliable Air Freight Company?

images (3)If you are exporting freight from the UK to it may be necessary to employ an air freight company to move your goods. You will want to choose an air freight company that handle all aspects of the export process and will ensure that the goods get to their destination, quickly, safely and securely.

Search Air Freight Companies

Finding a good air freight company is not a straight forward process. It would be worth considering several different companies and perhaps taking a look at their websites as a first step. Look for companies that have a depth of experience and that really understand international markets.

A follow up phone call or email will allow you to get a feel for how responsive the company is and whether you feel you could work with them. The air freight business is a people business, and you will need to understand whether the person you are speaking with will be directly responsible for handling your shipments, or is just another sales person.

Packaging

Prior to preparing your goods for export you should contact your air freight company to understand any size or weight restrictions that may apply for the destination you are shipping to. There is little point packing your goods and then finding out they are too big for security measures or too big or heavy for the available aircraft size.

It is essential that you package your goods properly for air export. If you don’t you may find that your cargo may not fly or may arrive damaged. Also bear in mind that insufficient or incorrect packaging can invalidate the insurance that you purchase for your goods to have the right to travel.

If you are unsure how to package your products then your freight company should be able to guide you or suggest a suitable export packing company. The packing company will design the packaging to ensure a safe transit and make sure that packing standards such as ISPM15 are complied with.

Air Freight Options

A good global freight company will be able to offer both economy and express services and will also offer a courier option for smaller shipments. It is also important that your freight company can offer freight insurance (if needed) and a full documentation service. It is essential your goods have the correct documents to travel with or could find that you can have a considerable loss to your company.

James works on behalf of Allenco, The Freight People who are a global freight company. They specialise in a variety of different export services, you can find a list of services at http://www.thefreightpeople.com/

 

 

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Workplace Monitoring With The Use Of Technology

r-NYPD-COMPUTER-GLITCH-large570Employers can monitor your activities at work and in many situations they have the right to do it

Monitoring In The Workplace

There are many ways in which you can be monitored at work and the following are all covered by the Data Protection Law:

  • checking phone logs or recording of phone calls. This is for business calls on a business phone that is connected to a particular computer which runs checks on calls and records them. This is a great tool to help with productivity and customer service
  • computer monitoring software which will record all actives on the computer including incoming and outgoing email content, websites visited and any social network sites visited
  • videoing outside the workplace to check if anyone is taking too many smoking breaks or they are meeting with anyone suspicious. This is also a good tool in case of any accidents on company land
  • recording on CCTV cameras to check if anyone is stealing from the company or if they are doing anything untoward in the office and again this is good for recording any accidents that might become an issue

What Are The Rules?

The Data Protection Law doesn’t prevent monitoring at work, however, there are rules set down about the circumstances and the way in which it should be carried out by the employer.

Before deciding whether to introduce monitoring, your employer should:

  • have a clear idea of the reasons for monitoring staff and what will benefit the company
  • think of anything that might affect the staff in a negative way (impact assessment)
  • is there a less intrusive method or alternatives to monitoring
  • is it justified

Except in extreme situations, employers need to let staff know that monitoring is happening and the reason for it and what they are looking at. Once an employer has carried out an impact assessment

Employers who can justify monitoring once they have carried out a proper impact assessment will not need the consent of staff members.

Monitoring Electronic Equipment At Work

It is legal for your boss to monitor your use of the phone, internet, e-mail or fax at work if the monitoring is related to the business, the equipment is provided by the company for work and the employer has made all reasonable efforts to inform you that you are being monitored. However the employee cannot monitor any personal electronic equipment

If your employer sticks to the following rules, they do not need to get your consent before they monitor you, but only if it is for one of the following:

  • to find out and establish facts relevant to the business, to check processes and procedures are being followed, or to check quality and standards by listening in to phone-calls
  • to prevent or detect crime
  • to check for unauthorised use of the internet or email for personal use
  • to make ensure the electronic systems are operating effectively with no viruses
  • to check communications, such as email or phone-calls are relevant to the business. But the employer cannot record calls

Charlie Hodgson has worked with private detective Cardiff as a private detective for many years. With hours of surveillance and other investigations under his belt he has the knowledge and understanding required to gain success in his field. Spy equipment, software and spy gadgets are of particular interest to him as he has used and relied on it more times than he would like to admit to. For more blogs like this please contact http://www.privateinvestigators-cardiff.co.uk/

 

 

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Smarter Ways Of Working

cold-calling-skills1Rising fuel prices, leaves on the line, crowded carriages and traffic jams – just a few of the things which can make the commute into work every day a complete nightmare. That’s even forgetting the added complications of flooding and the way the road network grinds to a halt when it snows. Most of us see a lengthy journey into work as a necessary evil and it’s hard to see any way of making the commute easier or cheaper. But there are some things which can be considered to make life better.

Working at Home

Not all employers are happy with the idea of staff working at home instead of in the office, so whether or not this will be appropriate will depend very much on what market sector your employer operates in. If you are primarily dealing with customers on the phone or by email and can just as easily work from the spare room or dining table as you can from the office, then there is no harm in asking your employer whether you can work at home for part of the week. Being at home will save you in terms of both time and money.

Flexible Working

If working at home isn’t an option, perhaps your employer would consider flexible working. Many employers are happy to allow employees to work their 37.5 hours a week over 4 days rather than 5, or to arrive early and leave early to beat the traffic. If you are thinking about approaching your employer about working flexibly, make sure you gather all the evidence to support your claim that you will be able to work as efficiently and get the work done in exactly the same way.

Season Tickets

If you have a regular commute by train into work, it is far cheaper to buy a season ticket than it is to pay the standard fare each day. Finding the money for a six month or year-long ticket is the main obstacle to doing this and many employers offer unsecured loans to help their staff meet the cost. Even if your employer does not offer this scheme, it can be worth approaching another lender for an unsecured loan as even with interest payments taken into account, you are still quid’s in.

Car sharing

One great way of cutting the cost of getting to work as well as lessening your carbon footprint is to share a lift with someone else travelling the same route. Many companies help put employees in touch with each other, and there are also several independent websites which will help arrange lifts too. The arrangements are generally left up to the individuals concerned, but a common arrangement is to pay the driver a set amount per mile, or to take it in turns to drive. Some forward thinking companies will even give drivers who car share a preferential parking space or other perks.

Cycling

Again it’s not for everyone, but if your commute into work is relatively short, going by bike could save you a fortune, be just as quick and could also help keep you fit too. Many employers are encouraging their employees to get on their bikes by offering cheap finance or unsecured loans to buy a bike, and by providing facilities such as lockers and showers on site. Buying a new bike doesn’t have to mean a huge investment, but when taking out an unsecured loan ensure that you factor in other expenses such as lights, a helmet and reflective clothing too. Given the levels of traffic on many city roads, cyclists often find that their commute is far quicker than colleagues who drive too.

Katie Latchford is a freelance writer who is constantly researching the latest financial advances in areas such as unsecured loans, credit cards, family finance and consumer rights. For more information, follow her on Google plus.

 

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