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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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What Are The Powerful, Motivational Tools?

motivational_tools_793135One of the main differences between ordinary people and high achievers is their motivation regardless of whether you are a professional, student, or related to any other creative work. To give a meaningful purpose to your motivational efforts, you need to use effective, motivational tools as motivation is  the key to an exciting and happy life. The following are a few, useful motivational tools that we can use to motivate ourselves as well as others.

Identify the Barriers
You have to find the obstacles,and barriers that stop you from being highly motivated.  You need to remove all such obstacles in your way so that you can turn your vision into a reality. All of the people who are highly motivated have one thing common, that is, they have a vision of being motivated.

Give Freedom
In order to motivate your employees, children, or any other person, you have to give them freedom of choice and freedom of work. People don’t feel motivated under too many restrictions.

Show Your Strength
The highly motivated people always show some strength, and that strength develops from the inner desire of achieving something in life. You have to control your destiny in order to achieve something which is more than your abilities.

Set a Clear Objective
When you have clear goals in life, it becomes easier for you to motivate yourself at the required level. In order to achieve a major goal in life, you also need to achieve various, small milestones.

Finish Things You Start
Often people start things, but they don’t have the temperament to finish the tasks they have started. You have to motivate yourself in order to give things finishing touches.

Need Support
We always need support in life from our friends, relatives, or colleagues to achieve something big in life. Support increases our motivational level, and we can work above our abilities. Often mutual interests with a like-minded group of people can be a great source of motivation.

Make Failures Your Tool
Sometimes people get motivated because of failures. We learn a lot from failure, and it gives us a lesson to keep trying until we succeed. Keep in mind that all the great people’s success  occurred after their initial failures.

Get the Power of Your Dreams
Dreams are always important  for us, and we have to use our dreams to motivate ourselves. We need to turn our dreams into reality which is only possible by keeping ourselves highly motivated.
Changing Our Habits
You can also motivate yourself by changing your bad habits. You have to come closer towards your specified goals in life through changing your unwanted habits.

Change Our Behavior
We also need to change our behavior which causes problems in achieving our goals. When we change our behavior, we automatically feel motivated. Besides motivation, you also become an efficient and productive worker.
Motivation is something more than the skill you learn. You have to actually develop motivation within your character.

Written by Javed, H, who has contributed several articles on self improvement. You can follow his thoughts on @examinet

 

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Working With The Competition: How Staying Friendly Makes Business Sense For Struggling Creative Freelancers

IMG_2699Whatever your story, whatever your industry, little businesses in a post-recession economy are often advised to be apocalyptically ruthless. It may work for some, but what if we all took a different approach to try and dig ourselves out of the financial hole we’re stuck in? This alternative philosophy has been successfully practised by Tenessee-based burger brand Pal’s Sudden Service since 2000, when a Business Institute was launched to provide practical advice and workshops to promote their company amongst competitors, and it has made waves in the restaurant industry, with others following suit. As the Institute’s President, David J, McClasky states, welcoming your competitors with open arms can be more than just a philanthropic gesture: “No matter where a customer goes, if they have a good experience eating out, then they eat out more often,” he says. “We figure everybody wins when businesses are run at excellent levels.”

This mantra can be especially important in creative industries and an artistic approach to the 21st century’s financial challenges could be your most unexpected source of inspiration. If you have spent time previously studying the arts, you’ll understand the importance of co-operation, critique and collaboration, so just how should that be different once you have left education?

Collaboration in Practice: The Freelance Photographer

Take freelance photography as a strong example. It’s a demanding field which requires extensive technical knowledge and relentless passion from the individual, plus an unwavering desire to achieve outstanding results for each and every client. Working alone or perhaps with a micro-team around them, a freelance photographer will be responsible for all areas of his or her business, from booking shoots and meeting clients to more mundane tasks like banking and bookkeeping. Everyone has their own strengths and being required to fill such a variety of roles can take its toll, so it’s no wonder that many photographers in this position often feel overwhelmed. If this scenario sounds familiar, discussing your business with others can help you assess your approach to your work, enable you to get to know cameras and setups for use in your own projects, tackle common working issues, or even just help you offload the general stresses and strains of working on a freelance basis. You’ll be putting your work into perspective and developing valuable bonds with others around you.

Learning To Give and Take as a Business

So why should you take the time to forge reciprocal relationships with those who would traditionally pose a threat to your business? Well, being generous enough to share knowledge, experience and, crucially, contacts may equate to naivety and foolishness in some people’s minds, but consider your own personal benefit. Networking is paramount to establishing oneself as a professional company or brand, and open, assured lines of communication inspire confidence, helping boost your income and get clients. If old friends suddenly become your competition, shunning them can be counterproductive.

Furthermore if there is an ambitious job you don’t quite feel ready for, recommending a rival photographer rather than putting your own reputation into jeopardy is just common sense. As an artist may collaborate with somebody working in another medium to execute the best piece of work, this could be applied to business. Working together on a project with a competitor will allow you to combine your specialist skills to make for a more rounded enterprise, even if it is only temporary.

On a broader scale, however, a healthy business climate needs to be at the forefront of industry for a more stable future. Shying away from banker-esque cut-throat gluttony could be the first (deceptively simple) step in achieving great opportunities for every small business.

Where would we all be without a little help from our ‘friends’? Anna Layne knows first-hand the tribulations facing small businesses and how important it is to glean as much help and information from her competitors. She currently works on behalf of Trinity Photography, a Glasgow-based wedding photography firm that’s risen from small foundations to achieve a great reputation in the local area.

 

 

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How To Make Sure Your Staff Are In It For The Long Haul

tug-of-warThe best businesses have loyal staff that have been there since day one. They know the company like the backs of their hands and no situation or problem is unfamiliar to them. The longer you have worked somewhere the better you know the role and the company and there for the better you do your job. Every employer would love to have staff stick around for years to come but people often become bored and move on. So how can you ensure your staff stick with you through thick and thin?

Set Out  A Clear Career Path

Many companies loose staff because of the lack of progression they offer.  People do become tired of doing the same thing over and over and if there is no opportunity to move forward they will seek opportunity elsewhere. As a business owner you should encourage your staff to apply for promotions and work their way up in the company. In order to keep staff happy and motivated you should set out a clear structure when it comes to moving up the ranks.

Offer Rewards

It can become very tiresome for staff if they work hard and that hard work constantly goes unrecognised. A simple thank you or well done is a good start and goes a long way, but a great way to really keep staff happy and motivated is to offer small rewards for good work.

Consider monthly awards in the form of a title and a small gesture such as a bottle of wine or vouchers, for example ‘employee of the month’. This means your staff will get the recognition they deserve and is an excuse for a fun monthly get together.

Consider Staff Quarterlies

A great way to say thanks is to host an evening of fun once every three months. It is something for staff to really look forward to and is a great way to encourage staff bonding. You don’t have to do anything huge, maybe just put some money behind a bar or book a meal. Tell everyone the date and time and see your staff let their hair down for a night of fun.

Offer Bonuses

At the end of the day your staff are there to earn money, and money does make people happy. A great way to encourage staff to go above and beyond at work is to offer bonuses measured by how well they are doing.

Staff really appreciate being paid on time and the right amount. Mistakes do happen but that can cause great problems when people are expecting money. Ensure these mistakes don’t occur by making use of payroll services to keep staff happy.

Eilidh MacRae works for Trace Payroll who offer payroll services.

 

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