Are Your Products Flowing Smoothly? : Supply Chain Management is Important to Your Business

Most people in business recognize that supply chain management is crucial to their success, profitability and customer satisfaction. There are numerous benefits to ensuring your supply chain is properly managed and serves to provide a structure to your business that is efficient, productive and progressive. There is also the fact that as business has become more competitive in recent years; it’s now harder than ever to stand out from the crowd. Supply chain management is integral to achieving this as it provides a solid structure from which to offer a high-quality service to your buyers.

Here we take a closer look at the distinct advantages of good supply chain management:

Improves Customer Service

Everyone knows that the customer is king when it comes to business and delivering good quality products, goods or services in an efficient and cost-effective way, ensures repeat business going forward. Customers want to know their orders will be delivered to the right location at a time that is convenient to them and without having to wait too long. Ensuring your operation is streamlined to deal effectively with individual orders will keep your customers happy and more importantly, make them come back for more.

Reduces Operating Costs

Your supply chain is as important to your retailers and suppliers as it is to your business. Keeping a close eye on product inventory in terms of stock and distribution should be well managed as part of your supply chain strategy to ensure consistent and smooth flowing fulfillment of orders. If you have a product that is particularly popular at any given time, your supply chain should be set up to make sure there’s enough stock at outlets to meet demand. If your supply chain is efficiently managed, you can significantly reduce your operating costs.

Improves your Financial Position

An efficient supply chain is often a good way to streamline costs and boost cost-effectiveness of your operation. Naturally, it goes without saying that if you are making savings in one area of your business, you’ll notice a corresponding increase in revenue. Good supply chain management protects your business from overstocking and wastage and consequently boosts your bottom line.

Increases your Cash Flow

A good supply chain is responsive to orders as they arrive, so that they are fulfilled within the quickest time. Obviously, if you can get your goods to your customers in ten days rather than twenty-eight days, you can invoice them sooner and benefit your cash flow.

How to Achieve Good Supply Chain Management?

You understand how your business works better than anyone and also the buying behavior of your customers too. In order to understand how to best organize your supply chain, you need to undertake some supply chain analytics, to help you create a clearer picture of how you can best serve your customers by improving your supply chain. The difference between good and bad supply chain management can mean the success or failure of a business and so this is an aspect that requires closer attention.

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Supporting Your Local Businesses:  Why Should You Buy from a Local Dealer?

When purchasing new or used vehicles, consumers have many different choices. It is often tempting to buy from a chain store or other branch, because such outlets offer substantially the same experience at each location. Furthermore, they are more well known, because they have large advertising budgets.

But buying that vehicle from a local dealer is usually a better choice, although the reasons are not always apparent.

Economics

Franchise businesses send a good portion of their earnings out of the community, but locally-owned businesses reinvest almost everything they earn back into the local community, and that benefits everyone. Moreover, according to one study, local businesses generate 70 percent more economic activity than franchises.

There are advantages in terms of payroll as well. Most all local businesses employ mostly local workers, and in many cases, the wages and benefits are higher. Additionally, local businesses are much more likely to use local banks and other nearby institutions.

Finally, local businesses foster competition. If there are many small or medium-sized outlets competing over the same business, consumer prices are lower and business innovation is stronger. Furthermore, to gain an edge, local businesses often offer better customer service.

Service

There is much more to say with regard to that last point. Customer service at a franchise is either totally outsourced to another location or probably performed in accordance with regimented standards that have nothing to do with the local community.

In contrast, almost everyone who works at a local business, from the very top to the very bottom, is heavily invested in the community and knows the customers that patronize that business, so the experience is much more personal.

Inventory

Most people believe that franchises have more selection than independent businesses, and while that may be true in terms of the cars on the lot, that’s not necessarily true overall. Typically, small business owners have direct access to vendors, so if there is a specific item that you want to purchase, that item will be available much more quickly at a small business than a large dealership.

Furthermore, contrary to popular myth, prices are usually no lower at a franchise location than they are at a local business, because for the most part, vendors set the prices for their products and they do not like discounts.

Generally, most business owners are willing to go the extra step to earn a customer, while that same urgency is not always present at a franchise location.

Community

Local businesses give communities a unique look that would be sorely missed if those businesses disappeared. Many people recognize this fact, as in one survey, only a desire for more restaurants eclipsed a desire for more local businesses among community residents.

For local businesses to contribute, the community must rise up. If a franchise location has a slow month, the financial loss may hardly be a blip on the radar. But if a local business has a slow month, the impact could be significant, and if that business closes, there is not always another one ready to take its place.

Do your community a favor and shop local.

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Workspace Wonders: How to Design Your Dream Home Office

When you work from home, it can be tricky to separate your living space from your working space. Creating a home office is a great first step in making sure you can tune into a working mindset when you have things to do, and back into a relaxed state when it’s time to spend time with family or de-stress. Designing your home office can be as big a project as you want, and the energy you put into it can help you be more productive and professional. Depending on the nature of your work, organizing your desk area, incorporating shelving and storage, and making the space inspirational are all important in varying degrees. It’s good to experiment to see what works best for you and suits your personal needs, but there are a few constants that hold true for almost all home offices and working spaces.

1. Create a focused space. 

Make sure your office or work room is clearly designated as a space different from all others in your home. Ensure you have a door or curtain that can shut and as much as possible avoid storing cleaning supplies, old clothes, or other clutter in your work space. Not only will it distract you and remind you of other responsibilities, but it can make it harder to find important documents and tools if they’re sharing space with shoes, bottles or boxes

2. Separate work from life. 

Treat a home office like you would a cubicle in a busy office building. Keep it tidy, have a family photo or two, and decorate it in a simple, professional way. Your office might be at home, but the more you treat it as separate, the easier it will be to tune in when there’s work to do, and to decompress when you’re finished. Stock your office with everything you might need to avoid having to leave and grab something, which can take you out of your productive state and introduce all sorts of distractions.

3. Use soothing colors and decorations.

Working buildings and professional spaces often put a lot of effort into furnishings that promote productivity. Clean lines and neutral colours reduce distractions and can have distinct psychological effects. The colour blue acts as a relaxant, as well as an appetite suppressant, so consider painting the room a shade of blue or using blue furnishings. Keeping the space cool can promote brain function and focus, so make sure you can control the room’s temperature. Comfortable ergonomic chairs and desks reduce fatigue and long term damage like back problems and carpal tunnel syndrome. Incorporate as many of these as you can to help you be more productive, and promote well being.

4. Incorporate tools for focus.

A home office doesn’t need to feel like a jail cell, so using design elements like fountains, zen gardens, or executive toys can help break up the monotony without throwing your focus. A simple indoor fountain can help freshen the space up, and the sounds of running water not only relaxes, but it can act as white noise to drown out the sounds you might expect if you have kids, neighbours, or heavy traffic near your house.

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It’s Time to Turn Your Business Website into an E-Commerce Powerhouse

The place for business in the 21st century is on the web. More and more businesses are establishing websites in order to do the bulk of their advertising and selling. If you are searching for a way to turn your business website into an e-commerce giant, you’ll need the proper software. There are a number of types of ecommerce shopping cart software to choose from. It only takes the bare minimum of research to enable you to decide which types will work best for the needs of your business. Once you know what you need, it’s easier than ever to go about getting it.

A Shopping Cart Is an Essential Piece of Modern E-Commerce Software

One of the most important pieces of e-commerce software you can order for your business site will be a shopping cart. This is the place where your customers can store items that interest them while they continue to browse around the rest of your site. Giving them a place to store these goods is an excellent way to keep them from forgetting about these items. Once they have completed their visit to your site, they can quickly retrieve their item from the shopping cart and take it to the checkout page to complete their order. Shopping carts save you sales.

Having a Shopping Cart on Your Site Will Save You a Lot of Sales

As noted above, it’s a tried and true proposition that having a shopping cart on your site will save you a great many sales. Even if a customer should forget to take that particular item to checkout, you can still make it the basis of a reminder email that you send to them later on. A quick email with the item and a message along the lines of, “Don’t forget about me!” can save you a lot of sales in the long run. A shopping cart is an e-commerce item that serves many functions and will more than repay the initial investment you make in order to add one to your official business website.

It’s Time For You to Show Your Competitors Who’s the Boss

If your website has been losing ground in favor of your competition, the reason is as clear as it is simple. Your site simply isn’t up to snuff. You’ll need to overhaul it in order to feature all of the latest e-commerce software. Your competitors have already done and are reaping the benefits of their foresight. It’s time for you to make up for lost time so that you can get back to challenging them for the crown.

Order Your Shopping Cart Software From a Professional Provider Today

It’s an excellent idea to order your shopping cart software from a professional provider as soon as possible. The sooner you do so, the more your productivity and profitability will increase. E-commerce software enables your business to interact with your customers in real time so that you can quickly get a reliable feel for what items interest them the most. There are a thousand other benefits that come with these valuable e-commerce software items. A shopping cart and official web store are two of the most important ones that no modern business website can afford to be without.

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DCIM Decisions: Finding the Best Solution for Your Company

It can be difficult to choose the best DCIM solution for your company. There are many to choose from, and many vendors too, all of which offer slightly different products.

Here are some things to keep in mind to find the best solution for your growing company

Decide on the Features You Need

When it comes to finding the right data center monitoring solution for your needs, the first thing to do is look at the features provided by different vendors’ solutions.

You want to make sure that your chosen solution has all of the features you require, so compare products and avoid those that do not have the most important features.

Some of the things you might need include asset management, VM control, IT control, and environmental control. So look at the solution in depth and use this to guide your decision-making process.

Make Sure It Is Scalable to Your Needs

A DCIM solution should be scalable so that it can grow alongside your business. If it is difficult or impossible to scale, it is unlikely to be of much use as your business grows.

Save the hassle and expense of changing solutions later on, and choose one from the start that will grow with you.

Choose a Vendor with Good Support

As well as choosing a solution that has everything your business needs, you will also want to make sure you get the right level of customer support from the vendor.

You don’t want to be left on your own to deal with problems when they arise, so ensure you can always speak to a real person and get answers to your questions as soon as you need them.

Know How Easy It Will Be to Get Up and Running

If you have a small business, you may want to ensure that you choose a solution that is easy to set up and start using rather than a complex solution that takes many months to get up and running.

Also, find out if you will be provided with training. You don’t want your vendor to disappear and leave you without knowing what to do.

Choose a Vendor with Experience

Finally, make sure you choose a vendor that has a lot of experience and a great reputation to match. You don’t want to find out when it’s too late that they have a terrible reputation.

Do your research and find out who their existing customers are and ask them what they think. Read some third-party reviews if you can find any, and look out for any warning signs.

Only choose a vendor when you are happy that they will provide you with the level of service you need.

Find the Right DCIM Solution

These are some of the main factors to keep in mind when you are choosing a DCIM solution for your growing business.

Finding a suitable DCIM product is something you want to get right first time. So look into all of these factors very carefully, then take your time finding a solution that works for your business and provides you with all the benefits you are looking for.

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4 ideas to make this summer’s office party a roaring success

Office parties have always had something of a reputation – we certainly don’t need to go into the in’s and out’s of why.

Some companies limit them to Christmas, but if you’re one of the lucky few who are able to party during the summer months then it’s fair to say that there are a wealth of different events that can make it a roaring success.

We’re not talking about all-day drinking sessions in the beer garden (although this might sound appealing to some offices) but rather some creative ideas that can really appeal to everyone from Barbara on accounts, to Tim in marketing.

Let’s now take a look at some of the best events for your summer office party that can really make a mark.

Crystal Maze

If you have a particularly young office, this first suggestion might not be everyone’s cup of tea. However, even if not everyone was old enough to remember Crystal Maze, there’s no doubt that the concept is still modern and will be enjoyed by most.

In simple terms, it’s a team-building event. The Crystal Maze element throws a much more advanced element to it though, with each different zone testing participants’ skills.

The best part of all? The winning team get to collect the famous gold tickets swirling around in the crystal dome.

It’s A Knockout

Let’s stay on the topic of television shows, by this time switching to It’s A Knockout. Again, this is something that might not be overly familiar to the entire office, particularly as the peak of It’s A Knockout occurred in the 80s. For anyone unaware – this was a BBC classic, and involved a whole range of activities that made use of the likes of inflatables, water and various costumes.

In other words, it’s something that’s going to prompt barrels of laughter. Combine it with drinks and a BBQ so you can reminisce about the day’s hilarities.

Boat racing

This time, we’re swaying away from the television theme. Most events companies who offer boat racing tend to do so in the Dragon Boat form – which just adds even more spice to the equation. For anyone unaware, Dragon Boat Racing includes a helmsman for steering and a drummer, who provides plenty of rhythm to really get the team in the mood.

One of the best parts of this idea is that it really can cater for offices of any size. Whether you have an office of hundreds of people, or just a few, you can either have the entire water to yourself or race against others.

Raft building

Following on from boat racing, let’s now move onto raft building. Little else needs to be explained here – your office will be split into teams who are given the task of building a raft. Particularly with the sun beating down through these months, a lot of offices find that this is one of the best ways to link together.

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Why Seniors Citizens are Thinking About Starting a Home Business

Most people think that senior citizens should continue to live a life of leisure as they’ve earned the right to take it easy. However, some people who are at an advanced age may not be inclined to do so as they prefer to find other ways to stay engaged with the world.

Extra Cash In Retirement 

Some active seniors who live at home, and even those who reside in assisted living communities, often find that the monotony of doing nothing at all can lead to boredom or loneliness. While a steady or part-time job may be out of the question at this point in their lives, some find that starting a small business is the perfect way to pass the time while making a bit of money in their golden years.

For seniors who have the entrepreneurial spirit, the desire to have a small home business or online business has nothing to do with accumulating more wealth. Cash may be an important determinant of a person’s life satisfaction, but its effect declines over the age of 75. For business-minded seniors, acquiring more money is not the purpose of any endeavor – it’s about doing something meaningful to fill their days.

Inspiring Entrepreneurs

Some seniors have even become so passionate about what they do that they became successful later in life. There’s Col. Harland David Sanders, who franchised his first Kentucky Fried Chicken at the age of 62. Then there’s 82-year-old Dorrie Jacobson, who started a very successful fashion blog to inspire women over 60 and has become the darling of the fashion world.  

If you’re a senior citizen and are thinking about starting a small home or online business, you’re in luck – there are lots of opportunities out there for you that aren’t physically demanding. Even if you’re in an assisted living facility and have impaired mobility of movement, there are other things that you can do that don’t require you to move around as much.

Here are a few business ideas if you’re planning to start a home or online business:

  • ·         Take a call center job. This is a great online job if you have low mobility as all you need to do is talk on the phone.
  • ·         Follow in Jacobson’s footsteps and start a blog where you can give expert advice. Pick a topic that you know and start writing. If you aren’t tech savvy, there are tons of tutorials out there to get you started.
  • ·         Do you love to sew? You can start an alteration business or take on small sewing jobs from your neighbors.
  • ·         If you’re into crafts or DIY projects, you can sell your wares at craft markets or at an online shop, such as Etsy. Many seniors earn a decent amount of money by selling handmade soaps, lotions, knitwear, and other items on this site.
  • ·         Got a winning cookie or pie recipe? You can sell baked goods at home or online. You can ask younger members of the family to scout for places where you can sell your food if you want to earn more.

There are many small businesses that you can launch from the comfort of home. All you have to do is to find one that you’d enjoy doing, and most importantly, one which will give you happiness and a sense of fulfillment.

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Coworking 101: How to Thrive and Survive In a Shared Office

coworking

When you’re new to a country and a culture, meeting people can be a little daunting. We all know that customs vary wildly across the globe and eastern practices, in particular, tend to be quite different from those in the west. Often, a lack of knowledge can lead to insult, especially in the business world where first impressions are everything.

This is just one of the reasons why foreign investors and those looking to launch a company in Singapore are encouraged to try out coworking spaces. These shared offices are a great place to people watch, learn from others, and get to know the locals. They bring together like-minded entrepreneurs from all walks of life in a creative, collaborative environment.

Keep reading for some advice on the best ways to thrive and flourish in the coworking spaces of central Singapore.

Respect the Culture

Shared office space is so valuable precisely because it gives foreigners a chance to observe local people in a relaxed and polite way. So, for this reason, you shouldn’t worry too much about causing offence. If you show good manners and respect Singaporean customs, people will be glad to work with you. Just remember that people in Asia aren’t as direct as westerners.

They place a lot of emphasis on conversational niceties and greetings are important. Don’t ask too many personal questions until you know somebody better and always accept business cards with care. They should not be placed out of sight until the giver has left. Visit www.servcorp.com.sg/en/virtual-offices/ to check out coworking spaces in central Singapore.

Be Helpful and Supportive

One of the easiest ways to make connections in a coworking space is to be a helpful presence. Even something as small as carrying extra pens can make a difference because you only have to offer somebody a tiny bit of assistance to show that you’re worth their time. It is also a good opportunity to spark up a conversation and find out what industry they are in.

It can take a little while to get used to a shared office, especially if you have never experienced one before. The tenants here are open to collaboration and discussion, but this doesn’t mean that they’ll always seek it. Use your instincts, don’t disturb anybody who is obviously hard at work already, and try to restrict your introductions to slower moments like coffee breaks.

Stay Safe and Secure

The best coworking facilities have robust security features. They don’t just let anybody walk in off the street. Most have a system of some kind. It might be a key code or even a key card which tenants can use to get into the building. This is important because you wouldn’t leave a conventional office unsecured. Virtual workspaces are no different in this regard.

Again, the high-end providers use a range of cutting edge software solutions to keep data safe, but it is always a good idea to double up. Make sure that your laptop and any mobile devices you use are secure, protected against network intrusions, and built for the safe transfer of data. Cloud storage is very valuable because it automatically updates itself.

Why Coworking Is the Hot New Trend in Singapore

It is great news for small businesses and entrepreneurs when commercial rent costs start to fall. Launching a company in a high profile region like Singapore can be very expensive. The thing to remember, however, is that traditional leases are always apt to rise again. So, virtual workspaces continue to be a much more affordable option for businesses trying to streamline their expenses during those risky first years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Marketing Ideas for your Bootstrap Business

These days, it is easier than ever to set up your own business. While there are a variety of ways to finance your startup, the idea of bootstrapping is often the most attractive. By setting up your business on a miniscule budget, you do not have heavy debts or financial backers to worry about, and whether it succeeds or fails, the business is all yours.

The digital world is perfectly aligned to this kind of business model. In essence, all you need is a laptop, an internet connection, a great idea and a working knowledge of WordPress, and you are good to go. But while it is easy to get started, can the bootstrap philosophy be equally applied to an effective marketing campaign to grow your business? Management consulting firm Global Resources reviews numerous small businesses, and says that the answer is a resounding “yes.” Here’s how.

Use Social Media

Did you know that one in three people on the planet use social media? Chances are, you are one of them, and if you are not, you are missing out on the best digital marketing tool around. Facebook alone has two billion users, and LinkedIn just celebrated passing the 500 million mark.

It is not just cost effective though – it is also something that your customers will expect of you. Facebook and Twitter are great ways of sharing blogs, news and video content, and LinkedIn is the perfect place to build a reputation as an expert in your field, particularly in the B2B world.

Understand your Customers

If you have limited financial resources, then bangs for bucks has to be at the top of the agenda when considering your marketing strategy. To get the best return on your investment, you need to have a clear understanding of who your customers are, and what they want from you.

There is more data like this available today than ever before. Take a look on Google Analytics and you will be presented with a raft of information about who is visiting your site, the search query that is bringing them there, how long they stay and lots more.

Digital Marketing for Less

The real beauty of digital marketing is that there is so much that can be done with a minimal spend. Focus on building the brand through social media and increasing conversions with a better understanding of customer needs, and you can achieve some great results without breaking the bank.

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Business Brainstorming: Creative Ways to Finance Your Startup

You’ve got the idea; you’ve got the drive. Now all you need is the money to get started on your new business. Unless you are one of a very small group, you are going to have to raise it somehow. You can approach the bank for a loan, or you can explore some different options.

Loan or Equity

There are two main ways to raise cash to start your business, and you need to decide which works best for you.

A loan can be straightforward. You receive a sum of money to invest in your business, and you pay it back later. You remain in control of your business, but your overheads now include the interest and your cash flow is affected by repayments.

Equity is effectively the sale of part of your business to an investor. You do not have the burden of repayments, but you will share the profits and lose some control.

Do It Yourself

You may not have cash to hand, but you probably have assets that you could use to raise a loan—your house, perhaps. You are borrowing money against your own property to invest in your business. If the business fails, you could lose your home—but the fact that you have put your money where your mouth is will encourage other investors.

Family and Friends

Many entrepreneurs start off by borrowing from close contacts, or by offering them a share in the business in return for a startup investment. If you go this way, have your agreement drawn up professionally—informal arrangements are a recipe for disaster. Remember that if things go wrong, you could lose your friends as well as your business.

Line of Credit

A flexible way to borrow money is through a line of credit, where you negotiate a maximum amount that you can borrow (rather like a credit card) and then borrow and repay in a way that is convenient to you. http://businesslineof.credit/ is a good source of information about the loans that are available.

Crowdfunding

This online way to find investors has become very popular in recent years. Using one of the many platforms, you can put out your business vision to a very large number of individuals, who can either lend money or invest in the equity of your business.

Angels

Rather than seek a large number of small investments through crowdfunding, you could try to reach a smaller number of individuals with significant funds to invest. They often operate through groups, and your local chamber of commerce may be able to put you in touch.

Small Business Administration 

The government is committed to creating a good environment for small businesses, so you may qualify for an SBA loan. These are targeted at particular areas, and it is well worth researching whether you are eligible.

Explore the Ground

There are many avenues to raise cash to get a new business off the ground. By getting to the stage of needing startup money, you have already demonstrated resolution and commitment. You need to draw on that same resolution to nail the deal that is right for you.

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