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Monthly Archives: February 2013

Ordering Office Supplies For Your Small Business

AdobeCreativeCloud_promo122412In these tough times for the economy as a whole you certainly won’t want reminding of the need to remain afloat while other firms falter around you. This has not just affected small online companies but big names on the high street too. So it is now more important than ever to keep track of your spending on essentials such as office equipment and stationery.
Whether you run the enterprise from the comfort of your own home office, rent out premises in the city centre, or have rental space in a building on the outskirts of town, it is necessary to fit the place out with all you need to ensure the smooth running of the business.
No matter if you sell products direct to the customer, or supply other firms with the parts they require in keeping their operations going, you will be expected to maintain a tight ship with regards to your paperwork.
This means that you should take stock of all you own and the equipment pertinent to your organisation. Printing is a requirement for nearly all firms, in all industries (even if the majority of business is conducted online), so your printers need to have spare cartridges ready and the mail ready to send out, without any delay.
Office furniture and hardware is another consideration for any SME, irrespective of its sector. Staff will have to sit somewhere and if your company ever invites customers or prospective clients to your offices it certainly pays to devote time and effort on the right décor, in fitting with your brand image.
Personalised stationery may not be a must, but in some cases it can really help to get your message across to your audience. These are the kinds of decisions you will have to make as you contemplate what will be beneficial to your firm in the long run.
Even if you conduct your business at home, it is recommended you differentiate this room to the rest of your house as this can have a psychological effect on your work and how you go about it.
So when ordering the supplies you need from a dedicated office products and services company, make a definitive list of the things which are essential in maintaining the smooth flow of your operations. You don’t have to spend a fortune, but you will be expected to invest in all the right areas, including the physical office space.

Article written by Shane Peters who recommends http://www.mgmofficesupplies.ie for office supplies.

 

 

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Workplace Flexibility: An Interesting HR Concept

business_meeting_2The world around us has changed so much that some of the things we see nowadays are things we would never have imagined. Workplace flexibility is a concept which if well nurtured will transform the world of human resource.

The whole idea behind the concept is to have some elasticity when it comes to when, where and how work is done. It affords the employee convenience to work at times when they are comfortable and from places where they feel comfortable. At the end of the day, tasks are completed and work is still done. A few HR personnel argue that work is done more efficiently because people work in a more relaxed environment.

What is Workplace flexibility?

It is basically an arrangement between an employee and employer where they agree to have some elasticity in terms of how, when and where work is done, provided that the objectives of the company are met. It should afford the employees some convenience, but at the end of the day they have to do all that is required of them, so as to meet all their obligations to the employer.

Possible ways in which the flexibility comes in

1.      How work is done

There are a number of options here. For example, when it comes to hourly jobs, the employer and the employee can agree to use a monthly or annual hours instead of the traditional weekly hours. This way an employee can take a 3 month holiday provided he gives the employer high quality hours as agreed. People are also at liberty to share one job, depending on the arrangement. One can work from Monday to Wednesday while the other works for the rest of the week.

2.      Where people work

The conventional style of working involves people waking up every day to go to work. Workplace flexibility allows employees to work remotely or from home. How it is effected is highly variable, but there should be an agreement on how many days an employee works at home, as well as how regularly it should be done. Working remotely allows the employee to work in a client’s workplace or from an office that is not his or her main workplace.

3.      When people work

Here, the human resource manager and the employee agree on the time when work is done. For example, if the employee has to work for 8 hours a day, then they could agree that the employee starts his day whenever he is comfortable as long as he is loyal to the dedicated hours. Thus an employee can come to work at 6:00 am and leave at 2:00 pm. He can come to work at 8:00 am and leave at 5:00 pm. Other forms of flexibility on when to work include part time working, part year and variable year employment arrangements. To further illustrate this, workers can put in more hours during peak seasons and less hours during off-peak seasons when there is less work. The amount of leave days can also be altered so as to suit the needs of employees.

Are there pitfalls?

For the arrangement to work, the employee must be very loyal so as to honor the arrangement. It therefore means it might be risky to have such an arrangement with an employee who you have not worked with before. Some employees will fail to honor their part of the bargain, which slows you down.

Sometimes, you need to have an employee around, who you can call upon to tackle emergency situations. This arrangement might not work in this aspect, more so because the employees might be away from the workplace at a time when you need them.

It is quite difficult to promote teamwork with this kind of understanding. Employers’ give up their control over employees, which makes it very difficult to assign an employee tasks which require him or her to work directly with others. Some online software however overcomes this problem by allowing people to interact and have conferences through these platforms.

All in all, it is a good concept. As long as both the employee and the employer agree on how to go about it, is something that should be embraced by human resource departments.

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Sarah Filer has teamed up with Breathe HR to offer HR advice, Sarah has been in the HR industry for 3 years and Breathe HR is a cloud based HR management system.

 

 

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Making A Brand’s Campaign Accessible For A Global Market

 

La Coca-cola china

In a global market place, thoroughly researching how campaigns will come across to other cultures is vital. This highlights a contradiction in globalization: although we are increasingly integrated into a unified global society, that society still consists of diverse cultures, languages, and value systems that need to be understood in their own terms.
Chevrolet is the fastest growing major automobile brand in the world. Despite its “American Pie” roots, however, most Chevrolet cars are purchased from outside North America, which has increased from 27% to 65% of total sales in the last 10 years. Their new campaign, “Find New Roads,” aims to reflect this trend, and appeal to a global audience. It replaces the widely criticized “Chevy Runs Deep” slogan, which tried to capitalize on their longstanding immersion in American culture.Ford Pinto USA 1978
Chevrolet’s new campaign shows an attempt to revaluate itself from a global perspective. The brand has in the past been able to translate its core message effectively for different cultural audiences. The advertising jingle was at one time “Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pies and Chevrolet”, exemplifying all that is Americana. When marketing to South Africa, however, this appropriately became, “Braaivleis, Rugby, Sunny Skies and Chevrolet”.
This sensitivity is a far cry from their infamous faux pas made years ago. Chevrolet tried to market the Chevy Nova in Mexico, but unfortunately in Spanish, “No va” means “it doesn’t go”. Unsurprisingly, the model did not sell.  These kinds of stories are not unusual in a globalised market place, often to humorous effect:

  • The widely popular “Got Milk?” campaign, when presented in Mexico, was translated into “Are you Lactating?”
  • Frank Perdue’s chicken slogan, “It takes a strong man to make a tender chicken” was translated into Spanish as, “it takes an aroused man to make a chicken affectionate”.
  • The wording of one Pepsi Generation ad campaign in China apparently claimed the soda could “Bring your ancestors back from the dead”. In Germany the same ad was translated into “Rise from the Grave with Pepsi.”
  • The Chinese characters originally used to translate Coca-Cola, at first had meanings like “Bite the wax tadpole,” or “Wax-flattened mare”. Finally, “Kekou Kele” was settled on, meaning “Delicious in your mouth”.
  • In Germany, the word “latte” translates into erection. Starbucks has had to remove several advertisements in German stores offering a “morning latte break”.
  • In Chinese, the direct translation of KFC’s slogan, “Finger Licking Good,” is “Eat Your Fingers Off”.
  • In many third world countries where the majority of the population is illiterate, it is common practice to place a picture of what the product contains on the packaging. When missionaries donated Gerber Baby Food to tribes in Africa, the tribes’ people were horrified upon seeing the jars of ‘baby food’. They had a similar aversion to ‘pet food’.
  • Only after Ford sent many Pintos to South America and spent a considerable amount marketing it, was it realised that Pinto was Brazilian slang for “tiny male genitals”. Even after Ford substituted Corcel as the new title, meaning “horse”, people were still uncomfortable to be seen driving them.

With the rise in global campaigns, translating a product’s catchphrase isn’t enough. A different culture needs to be understood.  As Nelson Mandela said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language – that goes to his heart.”

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Terence Stoker is a Branding expert and lover of SUVs. When not writing, he can be found exploring back roads in his beloved Chevy Trailblazer

 

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How To Recruit Top Talent Online

CodeEvery company out there wants to hire superstars – the “Michael Jordan of coding”, the “Usain Bolt of design” or the “Dan Marino of online marketing”. But people of this calibre are hard to find and if you do find them, they are likely to be employed elsewhere.

The competition for superstars is tight. That’s because there’s a shortage of amazing people. So, how do companies use the web and social media to find their next star employee?

Hire faster and smarter

Unlike traditional classified recruiting ads, social media can be a fantastic tool to discover passive candidates. These are people who already have a job but are open to a new position if the right opportunity comes up. Nearly half of all currently employed candidates are passive candidates.

There’s also the issue of time. Rather than wasting hours digging through piles of resumes, you can use social media to find the most talented candidates, thus cutting through the clutter. This will save time and money.

What no longer works?

Sure, you can use an online job board like Craigslist but the results won’t be much different from publishing an ad in a newspaper. You’ll still get a high number of resumes and will still need to go through them and see if you can find a least one or two quality candidates. This is ok if it’s what you want, but it’s not the most effective way of hiring online.

What works?

LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, in that exact order. These three are great tools to help you locate potential candidates.

Out of these three, LinkedIn is the most powerful as it is a social network created for business purposes. People love it because it makes it easy to connect with the right people, whether they’re potential business partners or employees.

What’s great about it is that instead of waiting for candidates to apply for a job, you can get out there and search for the person. If you have an upgraded account you can search for candidates by their recommendations, which is very useful as you can determine if someone if worth bringing in for an interview. In short, it allows you to go headhunting.

Try the LinkedIn advanced search, you’ll love it. This powerful search option allows you to refine your search based on things like years of experience, previous employer, job titles.

Get your know your candidates a bit, see where they currently work, what their experience level is and maybe also what events they’re planning to attend, you never know when you might ran into them.

If you get it right, you should be able to snare exactly the sort of talented person you’re looking for.

Twitter also has a huge potential for hunting down potential employees. For example, your company may be looking for a web designer at its London location. Write a short message like “hiring web designers” followed by a hashtag like #hiring or #job or anything similar. You can also use the Twitter advanced search to search for potential candidates, but to get really in-depth information about them you’ll probably end up heading over to LinkedIn.

The creative approach

These social media tools are all great but if you want to stand out from the crowd you may want to try a catchy approach.

For example, GCHQ, the intelligence agency, came up with a challenge for its potential candidates. The agency posted a code online and asked people to crack it.

This not only went viral but it also helped the agency find and recruit a new generation of tech-savvy spies. This is an excellent way of reaching people who might not have thought about applying to work at your company, and also creates a media buzz about your company.

It’s not an easy thing to get right, but if you do it can increase your firm’s profile massively.
The web has changed the way companies find employees, and if you are not taking advantage of all it has to offer you are likely to be missing out on the top candidates who will be scooped up by your more innovative rivals.

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Guest post by 123-reg.co.uk blogger Alex Gavril.

 

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Networking In Business: The Difference Between Success Or Failure

Business NetworkingNetworking efficiently can be the difference between success and failure in business. Each industry requires time and patience to build a sustaining relationship with customers built on diligence, trust and respect. Have you done your marketing and do you know exactly what your customers want and need and why will your business supply those needs better than a competitor? What set your business apart from the rest? If you offer graduate positions, how can you be sure that you will receive any applications without trying the effective tool of networking?

Try Public Relations (PR) to Push Forward a Product or Service

There are a great many organisations that work solely on building a successful networking of contacts who can support any industry to succeed. Public Relations or PR is one such industry that successfully networks people and businesses with the right people and places. Word of mouth is powerful and the more people who learn of your product or service, the better your business.

The Power of Advertising

The world of business is fiercely competitive. Salespeople, senior executives, politicians, or community leaders earn their recognition through effective networking. There is no denying that customers are bombarded daily with sales pitches, email advertising, street advertising, transport advertising and magazine advertisements, many of which are posted thorough the door, watched on the television, or heard on the radio. Celebrities are carefully chosen to endorse a product and some celebrities are paid millions of pounds to do this. Manufacturers believe that a celebrity will give the product credibility and this type of marketing works very well to sell sportswear, fragrance, make-up and other accessories.

Not every type of industry can afford to hire a celebrity to endorse the product or service, but there are a wide range of celebrities to choose from, each with their own price tag. If you can manage to get a celebrity to support your product or service then it is more likely to become a success.

Time to Hire the Networking Experts

If you are a master in networking then go right ahead and spread the message about your product or service. However, if you have no previous experience in networking, it is better to hire an expert. If your business is new then you can expect small sales unless you get your product or service into the public. Relying on word of mouth needs a fair number of sales first. It is always good to have a website to support your product or service. Excellent marketing tools include Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Twitter, although there are hundreds more to choose from.

Good networking will set you apart from your competitors. Questions to ask during your market research could include “Why do you use a specific product or service.” Expect a response along the lines of because he or she enjoys the brand, the customer service is good and the company is trustworthy. Profit is important in business, but so too is customer service. Remember the saying, ‘The customer is always right.’ Offer feedback to a customer after an email or phone call, as this can help you put right what is currently wrong.

Success in business comes from networking, building a customer’s trust, cultivating a relationship with suppliers, and leveraging your network.

The Key to Success or Failure

Successful networking provides many benefits for your business, including:

  • The development of information resources
  • The creation of referral networks
  • The building of a network of contacts
  • Being able to learn more about your community and become involved in events
  • The ability to supply graduate jobs
  • To simplify and triumph in win-win relationships
  • To build excellent personal relationships
  • To change aspects of your industry

There are many effective ways to promote your products or services through networking, with public relations and market research being two useful examples.

Frankie Hughes is a writer who has a keen interest in the business sector. She suggests that if you are planning to network and promote a product or service in the West Midlands, then there are plenty of great apartments in Northampton to hire overnight.

 

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Making Motivation Schemes Work For Your Business

staff incentive schemesMaking Motivation Schemes Work For Your Business

More and more businesses are introducing motivation schemes to increase productivity and wellbeing amongst members of staff. Motivation schemes are essentially a reward system, in which staff members are offered incentives or rewards for achieving goals, for example boosting sales or extending the company’s client base. The staff team work towards a particular goal, incentivised by a reward, for example a staff day out at the races or a team building event going fishing or shooting. Such incentive schemes have been proven to focus a workforce, making for a happier and more productive staff team.

Positive Reinforcement

It is a fact of life that if you want to get the best out of somebody, treat them well. Nobody responds well to having orders barked at them or being threatened with sanctions or worse if their productivity drops in the work place. This truism is backed up by solid scientific research. Behavioural psychologist B.F Skinner, recently voted the most important psychologist of the 20th century, discovered that ‘positive reinforcement’ worked better than any other method in encouraging desired behaviour. In simple terms, we all work better if we are rewarded for it; if we are made to feel appreciated and valued.

Over the past couple of decades more and more employers have been implementing reward and motivation schemes for their staff. It started out mainly in the sales environment – staff members fought to reach higher and higher targets and were rewarded for their efforts with, for example, a day at the golf, or a private tour of the city. But it is not just in sales that the workforce needs to feel valued. All businesses can benefit from a happy and motivated workforce.

Team Building

It’s not just productivity that smart business people are interested in when it comes to their staff – its relationships in the work place. A company can suffer serious consequences when there is in-fighting, back biting, and gossip going on in the work place. Building and sustaining great relationships between staff members can benefit your business in so many ways. A happy, well bonded team makes the company more attractive to both clients and to prospective members of the workforce. Staff members not only work harder but are less stressed, more likely to help a team mate if they are struggling, and more strongly identified with the core values and goals of the business, and less likely to look elsewhere for employment.

There are many ways to build and encourage great relationships in the work place. One of the most fun and popular ways to do this is by holding a team building event. Such ventures have had a bit of a bad press over the past decade or so, and have even become something of a staple of television sit-coms, where they inevitably go disastrously and hilariously wrong. If done well and properly organised however, the reality of the team building exercise can be fantastic and incredibly beneficial to your business, as their enduring popularity testifies. The trick is to find an activity that your staff will genuinely look forward to and enjoy, but that will involve them working together, like a day out sailing on a yacht charter, for example, or a treetop adventure in the woods.

It really is worth investing in creating opportunities for team bonding or incentivisation for your work force – the benefits to your business and to the well being of your staff are truly significant. Every one works harder with a smile on their face!

David Hamer is a business advisor based in Scotland. In his many years of advising businesses David has discovered that one of the easiest and sikmplest routes to staff wellbeing and retention is by implementing rewards schemes and hosting team building events. For businesses interested in arranging a team building event, David can recommend some companies who offer excellent event management Scotland way.

 

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What To Look For in a Marketing Agency

online-marketing-agencyIf you own your own business or are part of a team that is building a company, finding a great marketing agency to promote the business is vital. In seeking out a marketing or advertising agency, what should be evaluated to find the best company?


Track Record
How successful is the marketing agency considered? While any company may market a product or company, how does this agency measure or track their success? Results must be tracked with concrete results to know that the marketing has been successful. So, for example, if a marketing agency has created an ad campaign, how are they tracking the positive or negative results of that creative endeavor? Look for a company that uses standard control and test science to be able to measure positive growth.

Creative Examples
Most marketing agencies have examples of their work online so that you can see if their creative style matches the goals of your company. Compare the creative work of one marketing agency to another so that you have an idea of what looks like quality work and what does not. If you have a conservative company with professional clients, does the marketing agency have the ability to create a campaign that will match up to the image and mission statement of your company?

Good Fit
Even in the business world, personalities and professional styles matter. Meet with the marketing agency and their representatives to see if your team meshes well with their team. Are you able to establish good communication with the marketing agency so that they can meet the needs of your growing company? Ideally, there is good communication and chemistry between the representatives of your company and those of the marketing agency. Everyone needs to be on the same page, and only by meeting in person may you gauge the passion that a potential marketing agency may display.

Education and Experience
Consider the education level and experience of your potential marketing agency. Did the principals attend reputable colleges or universities? Do they hold degrees in marketing and communications? It may seem elementary, but the resumé credentials of an ad or marketing agency are important and relevant. Marketing is a field that continues to grow and change and you want to make sure that an agency working for you is up-to-date on the latest techniques and technology.

Also, does the marketing agency have a particular style or type of marketing that fits your business? Ask a potential agency about their overall philosophy and the techniques that they like to employ. Another variable to consider is if the marketing agency has experience with businesses such as your own.

Budget vs. Bang
Make sure that the services of a marketing agency may fit within the budget of your company. There are many agencies who may offer their services with prices from reasonable to ridiculous. Never be afraid to ask the price of the services of a potential advertising or marketing agency. Consider the return on investment (R.O.I.) as sometimes in advertising and marketing investing more money up front may yield a more profitable result.

A good marketing or advertising agency can help you build a company that is prosperous and profitable. Make sure you take the time to consider all the above variables to find the marketing agency that works for you and your business.

 

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