Top tips to run a remote team

Remote working is a growing trend within UK businesses, with more companies allowing employees the option to work away from the traditional office environment. This can bring many benefits to both the employer and employee, which can increase overall productivity within the business. To run a successful remote team, a lot of planning and skill is required, from hiring the right team, using the best tools available and creating good processes within your company.

Find the right candidates

When looking to hire an employee for your remote team, you are no longer restricted to finding someone local to the area and you can search globally for the right person for the job. The ideal candidate will need to be self-motivated and disciplined to ensure that work is completed and deadlines are met. Conduct a range of interviews by email, phone and Skype and set the candidate a small task that will reflect the work they would be doing if they were hired.

Use effective management processes

Remote workers need to know what exactly is required of them, for example, if they’re expected to be online at certain times of the day or if they have to reply to emails promptly. By establishing clear guidelines and giving your employees instructions, this will ensure the productivity levels are kept high. Access to training opportunities is vital and you can provide relevant eLearning courses through places like EssentialSkillz, in order to ensure employees are able to perform their roles in a safe and effective manner.

Provide workers with the best tools

Having the best tools available is vital to ensure your employees can be as productive as possible. Google Hangouts is a great way to communicate with colleagues and clients as you can message and video call anyone in your contact list who is online. A great tool for project planning is Pivotal Tracker as you can easily manage team projects and stick to deadlines. Another tool that is useful is Google Drive, as this allows colleagues to share and collaborate on documents and spreadsheets at the same time.

The benefits of remote working

Remote working is beneficial to the employer and employee. Without having to commute to an office every day, the employee has more free time meaning they can spend time with family and friends, go to the gym or take on a side project. This leads to improvement in their health, wellbeing and stress levels.

A company can save a significant amount in costs by operating from a smaller office, saving in heating, maintenance and electricity bills. Productivity would increase as remote workers are generally more productive than employees who work in an office and are less likely to take sick days. Remote workers are proven to be hard working and loyal to their employer.

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7 Essential Tools for Business Success Today

Starting a business is one thing. Growing the business is another, while keeping operations from becoming unwieldy is a different ballgame.

Business owners must build systems and explore how to operate them more efficiently. There are tools to help budding businesses focus on what matters most. We look at a few here, which we use in our own operations at HomeBusinessWiz.

  1. Organisation

A business can easily become overwhelmed with meetings and deadlines. Google Calendar makes it easy to schedule meetings and share events. It is excellent for internal and external appointments. It also provides a way to monitor your people, so booking team meetings doesn’t get to be a hassle.

  1. A comprehensive business plan

Doing business without a plan is akin to going to war without a strategy. You need to pull away from the competition. Your business plan sets the focus and tone of your operations.

It is self-defeating to toy with your operations even if your business is a hobby. Many home-based business owners show this inclination. It is a path to frustration and failure. Get a business plan right away.

  1. Education

You do not need a PhD to run a successful business, but you must be thoroughly versed in your chosen niche. There are numerous online courses available online. You can audit (take for free) many of these.

The insight will help you rethink many aspects of your business and inject ideas that customers will yearn for. MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) from the world’s top universities are available. The most popular MOOC sites are Coursera, edX, and Udacity. You won’t get a certificate but the content is priceless.

Other avenues for continuous learning include video outlets, Youtube and Vimeo.

  1. Project Management

As a budding business, reliability should be your watchword. Do this enough times and the word goes around. But, how do you manage all the madness in the face of changing project requirements? Use Trello, the famed project management tool.

Trello is adaptable to teams and one-man operations. You can keep track of marketing or promotions using this nifty tool. Everyone on our team, for instance, can log in and check our blog’s progress. They can also tag other staff for their opinion.

Trello does not cost you a penny–it is free with premium pricing plans for teams, but you’ll likely do great with the free option. Find Trello here.

  1. Networking with Social Media

You probably have an account on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. These social media platforms have tools and features to cater to business needs. You can chat with and pitch old acquaintances, join common-interest groups and engage industry thought leaders. If you are active enough, you will grow a large following.

An up-to-date profile is important on social media. Regular post updates or tweets tells your audience what you are up to and has been effective for product launches and press releases.

Social media is also an excellent outlet for repurposed content. The fun aspect of social media remains attractive to millennials, who are likely your target audience.

  1. External and Internal Communication

You typically want to explore every avenue that makes it easy for clients to stay in touch with you. You also want to have robust internal communication systems.

Zoom can be used to engage clients and prospects and has seen plenty of adoption in enterprise and small businesses. It has greater utility than phone calls and email because you are face-to-face with the client or associate. With Zoom, you can share schematics with them without the risk of ambiguity.

Internal communications can also use Zoom, but since many things are on-the-fly, rather than resort to email, the workspace tool, Slack, excels at offering an instant messaging service for teams. File sharing in Slack is a breeze, and there’s room for plenty of fun while at it.

  1. Payment Systems

Doing business online has become the new normal. But how do you receive payments? There are services you can incorporate on your website for low fees per transaction to ensure you get paid even before you deliver the service. Two of the most popular ones are Stripe and PayPal. Many existing banks have their own financial apps to make the payment process easier as well.

This is merely a small round-up of tools you need to get your business running until other tools become essential.

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Getting the Most From Your Digital Marketing Campaigns Means Tracking the Right Metrics

If you are at the helm of a growing business and you feel the pressure to keep growing, you can use that anxiety to propel your company forward. The key here is to track what you have been doing that has caused your success and to continue to do as much of it that continues to work. Also to take things to the higher heights, there are things you will need to start doing that will add to your success.  If you are a small business owner determining those things can be difficult. Should you hire more sales staff. invest in new computers, or rent office in a higher quality  office building? Which one will bring you the greatest return or are all necessary.

Chances are that your company needs to invest more in marketing to keep you ahead of the fast charging competition.

The situation today is that marketing is in a transition and quickly moving from traditional forms like television, billboards and radio to online marketing also called digital marketing channels. The reasons are simple for this change. First. people are spending more of their time online and less time watching traditional TV, listening to radio and in terms of billboards, let’s just say that everyone is too busy looking at their phones to look up at these 100 foot monsters.

Digital marketing also offers companies more control over their marketing strategies with better price controls and data that is richer and much more in depth. As you focus on continued growth, you need to understand how to better utilize digital marketing to win. Here is an infographic by from Campaign Monitor. featuring digital marketing tracking metrics that can be valuable in helping your company to achieve greater success.

 

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The Big Brand’s Top Secrets to Building Customer Loyalty

There’s a reason big brands have attained success–they know how to keep their customers happy. Is your business losing customers to competitors? If yes, learn how to keep your customers loyal to you by taking advantage of how big brands build customer loyalty.

1.       Avoid Disappointing Customers

If you’ve set a bar on the quality of your service, never let it drop. This is because your customers will come to expect nothing short of quality. Inconsistency in quality or performance will lead to disappointment and your customers would rather patronise a business they trust.

2.       Be Transparent

Always tell your customers the truth. Customers are never more disappointed than when they find out from elsewhere that a brand they trust has made a mistake and tried to cover it up at the expense of its customers or other stakeholders.

3.       Be Responsible and Noble

The nobler your brand is, the more loyal your customers. This is because people want to be associated with a brand that stands for something “good”. So take advantage of the Noble Edge Effect, by running a more socially responsible business and engaging in philanthropy.

4.       Build Your Brand on Customer Service

Customers love a brand that not only listens but also acts on what they have to say. If a single customer says there’s something wrong with your product or service, don’t brush it aside. Communicate with the customer and remedy the issue. You can even capitalise on this by sharing with other customers how you improved the brand experience of the complainant. It shows that you care.

5.       Provide Value

Offer your customers products and service quality they can’t get elsewhere. This is a key aspect of building loyalty in the long term. If you offer a level of service to your customers that can’t be matched by your competitors, you can be sure to enjoy their custom over the course of a good many years, as you build a valuable level of loyalty.

6.       Incentives

You might have loyal customers but make them excited about patronising you by offering incentives such as discounts and promotional offers. The more incentives you have and the more frequently you offer them, the more buzz you will generate about your brand among your actual and potential customers.

7.       Personalise Your Marketing

Customers appreciate it when they are given the personal touch treatment when communicating with a brand they patronise. If you want your marketing campaigns to be successful, you have to personalise your marketing communication to each target customer. Addressing a recipient by name yields more results than a general address such as “Dear Recipient” or “Dear Shopper”. You can get the data you need to personalise communications through data that your customers have already shared with you and use it to create customised offers.

8.       Anticipate

The needs and wants of your customers will always evolve. To keep your loyal customers, it is important that you can expect what your customers require of you and offer it. This will make you a proactive brand that is in tune with its customers rather than a reactive one that acts too late.

Apply the above tips and you can expect the loyalty of your customers to grow.

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A Modern Way to Sell Your Items: Are You Familiar with These 4 Types of Online Auctions?

Auctions

Auctions

Auctions have been around almost as long as mankind. The earliest auction sales can be traced back to 500 B.C. when early civilizations sold goods to the highest bidder. But today, with the advent of the digital era, we are increasingly taking auctions online, drastically widening the pool of potential buyers.

Over the centuries, we have refined and streamlined the auction process. Today, there are several types of auction available online, each with their own specific benefits both to the buyer and the seller. For more information on online auctions and to sell your own used equipment, visit: www.equifyauctions.com/

Absolute Auction

An absolute auction sometimes called an English auction, is the most common type of auction that takes place online. It is exactly as you would expect, with no twists or frills.

A reserve price is often fixed for the goods up for sale. This is the lowest price the seller will accept and is where the auctioneer begins the bidding. Then the prospective buyers bid larger and larger amounts.

The product goes to the bidder who bid the highest amount. This buyer pays the amount they bid, and the product is then sent to them, or they can arrange to pick it up themselves. This is one of the most popular auction methods because of its simplicity. Every bidder knows what they will pay because it is the amount they bid.

Sealed-Bid First Price Auction

In this format, all bidders bid simultaneously on the product, however, their bid amounts are not publicly disclosed. This means it is not always apparent what the top bid is. Once the allotted time for the auction has ended, the bidder with the highest bid wins the auction and pays the amount they pledged.

Sealed-Bid Second Price Auction

This is similar to the format used by eBay and other online auction sites. It is similar to the sealed-bid first price auction in the sense that everyone bids simultaneously on the product and nobody knows the exact amount of the highest bid.

Except, in the sealed-bid second price auction, the highest bidder that wins the auction, does not pay the amount of their highest bid, they pay the amount of the second-highest bid. This removes the element of “winner’s curse” when the winner placed a bid far higher than the second-highest bid and is then forced to pay more for the product than they perhaps needed to.

Dutch Auction

A Dutch auction functions somewhat like an auction in reverse. Instead of starting low and having prospective buyers make larger and larger bids, the auctioneer starts with a very high price for the goods and subsequently brings it down until the buyers are willing to pay the pre-determined amount.

This format favours the sellers as they know they received the highest price available for their product on that day with those group of buyers.

These four types of auctions can be found online and in operation across the world. Which one is best for you will depend largely on your product and the nature of the sale.

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How to Treat Your Wedding Like a Business

It may sound strange to look at your wedding like a business because wedding is one of the most social events possible. People go into a wedding thinking that the focus needs to be on making sure everyone has a great time, there are no disasters, and the wedding is memorable and special.

All of these goals are very good to have for a wedding, but you can also look at a wedding from the standpoint of having it function like a business where costs are paid attention to and all of your objectives are focused on specifically.  Here are some of the benefits that you can have from your wedding if you look at it like a business.

Keeping Costs in Line

One of the most important things in running a successful business is to keep your costs in line. No company can be successful no matter how many goods and services they are selling if they don’t have a strategy for containing costs. Applying this to a wedding may be a little bit difficult because of all the emotions involved, but it can be done.

You and your soon-to-be spouse should look at all of the costs related to your wedding and come up with ways to cut 15% off your budget. At first this may seem like you are just penny-pinching, but you might soon realize that the money that you end up saving isn’t really money you had to spend anyway.

For example some of the larger items like the bride’s wedding gown can be purchased more cheaply than the average bride considers. Today there are online shops offering cheap wedding dresses that are beautiful, well-constructed, and can fit any brides idea of a beautiful wedding gown. Going this route can save hundreds of dollars off the cost of a typical wedding gown purchased at a wedding shop. In the end the bride can look just as beautiful and have money in her pocket.

One way to also save on a cost that might not seem out of line is on the flower girl dresses. Depending on how many you have, these costs can quickly add up. You can buy them online and save money in the process.

Putting Together the Right Teams

One of the key jobs that a company must master in order to be successful is to put together the right teams to execute agendas. For a wedding you must do the same in order to make sure that all of the events and activities are executed properly. The events surrounding the wedding must be handle by a group of people who all work in a coordinated fashion.

Whether you are planning your wedding yourself or you hire a wedding planner, you need to make sure that everyone is in sync and achieving outcomes that surpass your expectations.

On your big day you will need to coordinate several teams that must work in conjunction with each other. Because there are actually two events, the wedding in the reception, all groups must be aware of timelines and each of the activities going on, so that they can do their parts to perfection. When this coordinated effort works well, the wedding and reception are flawless.

Treat your wedding like a business it will run smoothly and everyone will have an enjoyable time.

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Staying Healthy While You Play Sports

If you play sports at any level and want to avoid injury while you play, read these tips for some great advice on what you should do.

Do Fitness Exercises that Help You Stay Limber and Strong

When you play sports, a certain set of physical attributes are needed to excel. The first is strength. You need to have the strength to be able to compete against the opposition. This requires that you are in good physical condition and have worked on strengthening your entire body.

Another attribute that is important is that you are limber. Flexibility plays an important role in almost every sport. You will be asked to twist, turn, bend, leap, stretch, and do other things with your body in order to compete.

If you are ever injured you may have to visit a sports physio. As well as treating an injury they can help make sure you avoid injury in the first place. This can keep you playing longer and better.

To become strong and flexible, you need to do fitness routines that promote these areas. The perfect fitness routine to compliment any sport is Pilates. Pilates involves exercises that work out the whole body, while focusing on the core. By strengthening your core, which is the muscles around your midsection and lower back, you will increase your stability and build a solid foundation. With a strong core, you can then strengthen other parts of your body.

Pilates exercises are designed to stretch and loosen the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints throughout the body. More and more, athletes are now engaging in Pilates and finding that it provides them with a great foundation of exercises that help them become better at their sport. Pilates also has an advanced set of courses called Reformer Pilates which utilizes a custom made apparatus and specific Pilates exercises that combine to give you more strength and flexibility. Reformer Pilates is the perfect fitness regimen if you are an advanced athlete or would like to become one.

Wear Safety Equipment

In many sports you see some of the biggest stars forgoing certain safety equipment that is advised for the athletes. In sports, safety equipment is there because there is a likelihood that you will get injured if you do not utilize it. When you play a sport make sure that you wear all of the necessary pads, guards, gloves, helmets, and every other piece of safety equipment that is recommended. You may feel skilled enough to play without it, but for safety sake you should definitely use it.

Never Play Angry

When you play sports, your attitude often determines how well you do. Many people play and become frustrated if they are not winning and as a result play angry. When you play angry, you open yourself up to injury and don’t think clearly resulting in bad decisions. You should always play with a level head no matter what the score or what position you and your team are in. If you find yourself angry on the field or court, take yourself out of the game, have a drink of water and calm yourself down. Once you are calm, you can resume playing.

Have a Cool Down Period After Games or Matches

Everyone understands stretching & warming your body up before a game or match is important. However, not as many people put as much emphasis on cooling the body down after a game or match is completed. When you’re done the body is still functioning at this overextended level, and needs to be slowly brought down back to normal. Doing things like stretching exercises, hot tub soaks, massage therapy, meditation and deep breathing will allow you to cool down and help you avoid injury.

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Understanding Your Therapy After a Car Accident

If you are injured in a car accident and have sustained injuries to your muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons, or joints, part of your therapy and healing will likely include seeing a massage therapist. The massage therapist will help you get your body back to normal and also help you with the mental aspects of your recovery. Here are a few of the important benefits a car accident victim can expect when seeing a massage therapist.

Getting Your Strength Back

Car accidents can create a variety of injuries. Many are to the skeletal and muscular system. If your muscles are injured, you will need to let them heal. This means not using them for an extended period of time. When muscles aren’t used for a long time they weaken and can even atrophy. Your physiotherapist will create a program that includes physical therapy exercises and Massage Therapy to help you regain your strength.

Work on Improving Range of Motion

When muscles and bones are injured in a car accident, you can develop issues with your range of motion in your joints, ligaments or muscles. Massage therapists that use remedial massage are great at increasing your range of motion. The remedial massage therapist will examine any injuries and develop a program that will include bone healing and range of motion massage therapies. This approach can greatly improve your range of motion, bringing back a sense of normality to someone who has been in a car accident.

Keep Your Morale Up

A massage therapist is also somewhat responsible for bringing confidence back to their patients who’ve been injured. Car accidents can result in mental injury as well as physical with the mental injuries sometimes much more difficult to fix. A massage therapist will use their time with a patient to provide positive messaging and reinforcement that assist a patient with their mental recovery.

Massage therapists can play a critical role for those who have been injured in car accidents and require continuing physical therapy to get back to full health. Seeing a remedial massage therapist will result in the patient gaining many benefits from the therapy.

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Have You Got What It Takes to Succeed as an Entrepreneur?

entrepreneur

Being an entrepreneur is more romanticised than ever and popular culture increasingly celebrates entrepreneurship as well. Have you ever thought of being an entrepreneur yourself? Do you have an idea nobody else has thought of? The better question should be: do you have what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur? Sure, new technologies make it easier to start a business, but increased competition means that there’s a smaller piece of the pie for everyone. Here are some questions you should ask yourself before you make the jump.

entrepreneur

Are You Willing to Work Hard?

While it is possible to work part-time on a business or take a second job, the reality is that starting your own business will require far more time than a standard job.

It is common to work six and seven days a week in the startup stage, especially if you’re alone. Twelve-hour days are common. Are you willing to work hard? And are you willing to invest this time though you may fail? Are you self-driven? If you aren’t able to drive yourself to keep going when you aren’t getting paid for your time, you probably shouldn’t be an entrepreneur.

And forget about off days and vacation packages if you’re just getting started. You’ll probably won’t have time to delegate at first and you’ll need to be committed to your clients, which means being available to them as much as you can. So, unless you are ready to put the whole weight of the business on your shoulders, then entrepreneurship is definitely not for you.

Are You Willing To Take Risks?

Starting a business is a major risk. An estimated 70% of businesses fail within ten years, though the failure rate depends on the industry and product or service offered. Even if you can start a business without any financial investment, you’re still pouring your time into it. You risk working many hours without pay if the business fails, whereas an hourly job would pay you a predictable wage. If you aren’t willing to risk failure, you’re not qualified to be an entrepreneur.

You can manage the risk by keeping debt to a minimum, only taking measured risks, and being covered by insurance. For example, you could limit your risk by taking out loans to fund the business but refusing to mortgage your house. Look for ways to rent the equipment you need instead of buying and try to buy used instead of new.

Insurance protects you against risk. You can get a quote for business liability insurance at next-insurance.com. Take the time to get familiar with the different types of insurance they offer since you may need additional types of insurance for your business.

Can You Handle Failure?

Your business may fail. That’s one risk we already addressed. However, as an entrepreneur, you will experience failure in many ways on a regular basis. Sales calls will be rejected the vast majority of the time. Your initial product may not sell well, and you may have to change the design or your business model or both. On top of all of this, you have to be realistic. If you set unrealistic expectations, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Are You Willing to Take On Complex Financial Issues?

You’re going to have to take on complex financial issues. A budget is the first step, but you’re going to have to start dealing with taxes and raising funds almost immediately. You’ll have to generate invoices and collect payment due if you want to remain in business. You can reduce the burden by hiring qualified tax experts and an accountant, but you have to be aware of your financial status and plan for future expenditures if you want to stay in business.

Recognize that you don’t have to be a jack of all trades, but you will have to wear many hats, at least at first. Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and know where you’ll need to bring in help and when.

Can You Sell Yourself?

If you’re building a business, you have to be able to sell your business – and at the very start, that is just you. You’re the head of marketing for your new business, selling your services or products. You’ll need to convince investors and lenders to loan you money. You may need to convince others to work for you. If you need constant ego gratification, the constant rejection small business owners face makes entrepreneurship a bad idea.

Conclusion

Read through our list of questions you need to ask yourself to determine if you’re the right type to start your own business. If you feel like you fit the bill, make sure that you research the market for your business or product idea first and have all bases covered before you start.

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How to Maximize the Production of Fertilizer

Fertilizer is a substance added to soil to improve plants’ growth and yield. First used by ancient farmers, fertilizer technology developed significantly as the chemical needs of growing plants were discovered. Modern synthetic fertilizers are composed mainly of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium compounds with secondary nutrients added.

The Importance of Fertilizer

Over half of the world’s food supply depends on fertilizer. The importance of excellent fertilizer production, storage, and transportation continues to grow. By supplying crops with the essential nutrients that they need, fertilizers promote the efficient use of land resources and improve overall crop quality and production. The world’s leading producers of non-organic fertilizers are China, India, USA, Russia, Canada, and Brazil. From small farmers to multinational agricultural concerns, anyone in the industry of growing food must turn to fertilizers because these substances contain plant nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium — primary components vital for plant growth.

The Process

Fully integrated factories have been designed to produce these compound fertilizers. The raw materials come from many different sources to be chemically engineered into viable nutrients. Depending on the actual composition of the end product, the production process will differ from manufacturer to manufacturer. For fertilizer production, the varying non-organic components are blended together. This blending can be achieved through a pipe reactor system or a rotating drum process, resulting in ideal size.

Cooling and Storing

The most important step in fertilizer production is cooling, which is required for proper storage and transportation. Elevated fertilizer temperatures will result in product caking, leading to breakage and a lower-valued end product. Naturally, fertilizers attract and absorb moisture from the surrounding air. Moisture transferred between the product and air will cause increased humidity in the surrounding air, leading to condensation and product caking. To prevent this reaction, cooling the product to an ideal temperature for storage and transport is extremely important and will lead to a higher quality end product.

Innovated Technologies

Fortunately, there are manufactures like Solex Thermal that have created an innovative technology that maintains the integrity of the fertilizer during production. Check their site today to find updates in heat exchanger technology your business can use such as how their cooling system uses vertically stacked plates within a modular design to cool fertilizer granules through conduction. The product passes through as water cools the material. Air is not used in this process, preventing contamination and degradation of the final product.

Solex heat exchangers ensure efficient thermal performance. The unit is designed with long-term operation in mind — and without the need for regular cleaning. Units are custom-designed to take in to account:

  • Type of fertilizer
  • Necessary thermal performance
  • Ambient local conditions
  • Water temperatures
  • Optimum purge air flow rate and
  • Optimum dewpoint which prevents condensation

By eliminating air cooling methods, this innovative technology has contributed to a superior end product and a 90% decrease in energy consumption.

In big agriculture, you want a company that brings at least 25 years of experience with over 150 fertilizer reference plants from a wide range of climates. Processes like those from Solex result in lower installation costs, minimal maintenance, and a decrease in manufacturers’ carbon footprint.

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