The Zoom Boom – How to Manage at a Distance

zoom

How to Manage from

a Distance – Zoom

It’s no secret that the world is changing. With more and more companies making the move to remote working, Zoom and other digital means of communication have skyrocketed in popularity. While lots of businesses have taken this in their stride, others are finding it more difficult to manage their workforces effectively. If you’ve been struggling to apply in-person management techniques to your remote employees, you’re not alone. There’s definitely something of an adjustment period, but sometimes there are small creases you can’t seem to iron out.

Fortunately, there are many ways to overcome the challenges you’re facing due to physical distance. These aren’t always easy to figure out on your own, which is why this blog is here to give you some important tips and tricks to help you out. Discover how to manage more efficiently at a distance and watch your business flourish as a result.

Finding the right tools

The first step to effectively managing your remote workforce is by finding the right tools for the job. Without these, staying in touch and collaborating with members of your team will be more difficult than it needs to be. Just because the whole world is using Zoom doesn’t mean that you have to as well. Once the initial shock has died down, think carefully about the types of tools that would serve your business the best. For example, if you’re already using Gmail, perhaps Google Meet is the next logical step to take when it comes to weekly meetings. Alternatively, you might decide that Slack’s clean interface and simple messaging system suit your business needs even more.

But it’s not just communication-specific tools you need to think about. When businesses were based in a physical office, it was easy enough to collaborate simply by sitting at the same table. But now that teams are spread around the world, it’s important to find software that allows you to collaborate online. This includes things like Google Docs, cloud accounting software, and image libraries, all of which allow team members to work together and make changes to ongoing projects.

Check-in regularly, but avoid micromanagement while utilizing Zoom

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As a manager, it can be disconcerting not knowing what your team is doing all day long. You might be worried that they’re focusing on the wrong tasks, not prioritizing correctly, or interpreting briefs in an unusual way. Things are likely running smoothly, but to avoid crossed wires, try to make meetings a daily practice. These meetings don’t have to be long, in fact, they can even be under 10 minutes, but they give everyone a chance to clarify what they’re working on and ask any questions.

But these regular check-ins have led many managers to fall into the trap of micromanagement. The morning meeting quickly becomes countless messages and requests for updates throughout the day, leaving employees to feel like they can’t leave their desks to stretch their legs. If you’ve been feeling a sense of anxiety around leaving people to their own devices, it’s time to recognize that these worries are coming from within you and have nothing to do with your staff. Trust your team to do the job they’ve always done well.

Listen and offer support via Zoom meetings

Have you stopped to wonder whether your team is finding it just as hard as you to communicate effectively? While you might be feeling like staff are willfully out of reach, they might see you as distant and unapproachable. Working from home has been difficult for lots of people, so it’s important to ask about any concerns staff might be having and listen closely to their answers. If people are struggling, these are some ways you can work to improve communication and replicate an in-person work environment:

  •       Hold drop-ins: Sometimes employees don’t want to send you a message because they don’t want to disturb you. By holding drop-ins, you give your team the confidence to come forward. These drop-in calls don’t have to take a long time, and you don’t actively need to be speaking for the whole time period. Many managers open a video or voice call and work while they’re online and available to talk. Sometimes nobody will drop in, but at least everyone knew you were available.
  •       Have a ticketing system: An efficient ticketing system allows employees to make requests and submit tasks without jumping on a call or starting a new chat. This can sometimes remove the hesitancy some team members might have over opening discussions virtually for the smallest of things.
  •       Don’t forget about socializing: While some team members will be content to have lunch by themselves, others will feel a disconnection from office life. Setting up optional lunchtime events or after-work drinks can give people a chance to bond with their co-workers. Don’t forget, there would be plenty of chances in the office for people to chat about the weekend or their holiday plans, so give them the same opportunities when they’re remote as well.

Track progress and celebrate wins with Zoom

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It can be easy to forget how far you’ve come when working remotely, as every day will blend into the next more easily. Equally, it’s all too easy to slip up and forget how close a looming deadline is if you haven’t got it blocked out on your calendar. Tracking how far along projects are is key to managing your workload when working remotely.

But it’s important to make sure you’re tracking the good things as well. Keep a close eye on both individual progress and your team’s achievements as a whole – and don’t forget to acknowledge successes. Remote working can be demotivating for some, as they might not have a real, tangible picture of the impact of their work. Celebrating projects that went well can rekindle a sense of team spirit and boost morale.

And finally… Don’t panic

Thousands of businesses across the world have started working remotely, putting them all in the same boat as you. Remote working has its ups and downs, but as a manager, it’s your job to help your team make the best of them. Stay level-headed and meet the challenges that come with a well-thought-out plan of action.

 

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9 ways you can Speed Up your WordPress website

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Time is money, and with the growing digitalization, people have grown more and more restless. If a WordPress website takes longer than 3 Seconds to load that means it is slow. And a slow website means users will potentially leave the website before it even loads.

Even Google admits that while ranking websites, it takes into consideration the website loading time, SEO configurations and present backlinks. Most of these can be checked by opting for relevant plugins like backlink checker, or other SEO tools.

With the growing competition, a website owner has very little time to show users it’s content and also convince users to stay on the website. So, it becomes imperative for website owners to make sure that their website loads quickly. 

Nine Ways to Boost the Speed of Your WordPress Website

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Here are some ways one can speed up WordPress: 

  • Install a WordPress Caching Plugin

Caching can make your WordPress site anywhere from 2x to 5x faster. WordPress pages are “dynamic.” This means they’re built on the fly every time someone visits a post or page on the website. To build the pages, WordPress has to run a process to find the required information, put it all together, and then display it to the user.

This process involves a lot of steps, and it can really slow down a website when multiple people are visiting it at once.

That’s why a caching plugin will help. By enabling caching on the website, the site data can be stored locally in temporary storage spaces, called caches. 

Instead of going through the whole page generation process every time, a caching plugin makes a copy of the page after the first load, and then serves that cached version to every subsequent user.

This means that browsers can load the site files more easily and don’t have to re-download everything from the server every time the site is needed.

Caching thus makes the page loading speeds much faster especially for recurrent users. 

  • Optimize Images for Speed

Images bring important visual aid to a content and help boost engagement. An illustration catches the eye quickly and helps build interest. So, adding images to  content is an important step. 

However, beginners forget to optimize these images before uploading them on the website, which results in slower speed. As, uploading the image directly from the camera roll means the size of the image is way larger than it needs to be. 

In their original formats, these photos can have huge file sizes and will be a major contributor to the size increment of a given webpage. The larger the picture files on the website, the longer a site takes to load.

Hence, it’s recommended that hosts use photo editing software to optimize images for the web. Plugins can be easily used to resize, compress and retrieve these files.

  • Clean-up your database

The more a WordPress site is used, the more it’s database becomes clogged-up. These old and unnecessary files slow down it’s performance. Cleaning up the  database therefore speeds everything up by removing the items that aren’t needed.

Deleting unwanted data from the database will keep its size to a minimum and also helps in reducing the size of its backups. 

It is also necessary to delete spam comments, fake users, old drafts of the content and maybe even unwanted plugins as well as themes. All of this will reduce the size of the databases and web files, and thus speed up WordPress

  • Choose faster plugins for the website

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Poorly coded WordPress plugins often load too much bloat whether the site needs it or not. This increases the page load speed and slows down the website.

It’s not the quantity of plugins that generally causes a speed problem. In general, it’s the quality and usefulness of plugins that affect page speed.

Poorly designed plugins, plugins with outdated software, or surplus/duplicate plugins can all contribute to slow website loading.

It’s a good idea to run a Google PageSpeed test both before and after installing any plugin. This helps show the impact of the plugin on the website’s speed and allows the host to make an informed decision about whether the plugin’s functionality is worth slowing the site down.

  • Use a lightweight WordPress theme or framework

Sometimes less is more. 

Sure, WordPress themes come with a lot of dynamic elements, sliders, widgets, social icons and many more shiny elements. But, too many elements result in higher page sizes which immensely increases the website load time.

The best option is to use lightweight themes. And make sure to think about the website visibility on the smaller screen. As, mobile friendly website configuration helps in choosing the best themes.

“My coach has been working with me to set and meet aggressive goals for my company. He’s even gotten my employees on board with my vision, and I’ve had problems with them in the past. After several “false starts,” I’m finally taking my business to its potential, and I would like to see my clients do the same. He helped me identify $20,000 in unmade sales (services people wanted but we didn’t offer to them and they didn’t know we could provide) and another $25,000 in missed revenues due to under pricing certain services. We also found a way to change our process for preparing returns that cut the turnaround time by 30%.” Dan, Owner, CPA Firm
  • Minify CSS, HTML & JS files

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), HTML and JavaScript (JS) files are used to add comments to the website code, for example to clarify formatting or style. 

Simply reducing the size of these files and deleting unnecessary code will help improve the site’s Google PageSpeed. 

It enables the site to load more rapidly, whilst retaining the key information needed in order for the site to display correctly. 

  • Don’t upload audio or video files directly to WordPress

Hosting audio and videos costs bandwidth. It increases the backup sizes tremendously, and makes it difficult to restore WordPress from backup in the future. 

Let SoundCloud, YouTube, Spotify and other such platforms to host these when required. They have the bandwidth to handle it. 

WordPress has a built-in video embed feature, so a website owner can simply copy and paste the video’s URL directly into the post and it will be embedded automatically.

  • Keep the WordPress Site Updated

WordPress is an open source project and is therefore updated frequently. Each update helps fix security issues and brings new offers to the table. 

A website owner should always use the latest WordPress version. And ensure fully updated latest versions for all of the page’s features. Make sure to update plugins as and when new software becomes available. 

Updates are always highlighted on the WordPress dashboard and a website owner can simply check regularly and click on any update messages to action them.

Not doing so may make the website slow and unreliable, and make the page vulnerable to security threats.

  • Use a Content Delivery Network

Distance can mean lag in content delivery, which is where a CDN becomes handy. No matter a user’s location, the content on the website should be delivered blazing fast. Sometimes this isn’t always feasible, if the website isn’t on an infrastructure that contains data centers in other parts of the world. 

A CDN keeps a copy of the website in various data centers located in different places. The primary function of a CDN is to serve a visitor from the nearest possible location.

It helps in faster page load time because when configured, the website will use an optimized server that’s closest to the site visitor. The data center will store static content and files, and then deliver them to users based on their location. 

Conclusion on WordPress: 

With the online community today, in a state of  growing impatience it is imperative that website owners speed up WordPress. 

small business coach

 

4 Negotiation Tactics that Every Business Can Use

negotiation

Four Negotiation Tactics That Any Business Can Employ

Whether it’s asking your boss to assign you a two-day off or establishing a B2B trade, it is never easy to negotiate as one does not know the intentions of the person sitting on the other side of the table. Knowing how to negotiate is a skill that one develops from knowledge and information about both the trader and the traded. Every business needs negotiation tactics that can help direct their actions in the right direction to achieve the desired results. So, we are going over the 4 best negotiation tips to help you win your business deal. 

Let’s take a look.

  1.     Ask open-ended questions

To know your counterpart’s threshold, you must ask them open-ended questions. Allow them to speak more so that you can understand what they want. 

Let’s say that you are sitting on the table for a factory equipment deal. You can ask questions like:

  • How about we buy 12 instead of 10 pieces of factory equipment  from you, will you offer any discounts then?
  • Will you provide after-sales support if need be?

Such questions will give you an idea about how much extra your counterpart is willing to offer. 

  1.     Figure out their vulnerabilities

Your counterpart will try to get the better end of the deal. To counter that, you must know where their pain points are. Think like your counterpart, what they do or don’t want. Robust analysis of your counterpart will help you know more about their capabilities and pain points. So, if they try to take advantage of your vulnerabilities, you know where to hit. 

negotiation

  1.     Give them a number

Another strategy is called the bogey strategy. In this tactic, you give a budget to the counterpart, which is a touch lower than your actual budget. You tell them that you cannot afford anything above a certain price. Coming back to the ship example, you tell your counterpart that you can only afford to spend $1million for the ship, of which your actual budget is $1.5 million. Through this tactic, negotiation slightly bends in your favor. Even if your counterpart wants to negotiate further, they can only ask you to increase your budget a bit. In other words, you may end up buying the ship for approximately $1.1 million. 

  1.     Always have your deadlines in place.

Deadlines force people to take action. However, in negotiations, deadlines are often not honored because of the lack of mutual consent between the two parties. But that does not mean that talks should go on endlessly. You must set your deadlines as your time and effort are precious. If the deal is eating up a lot of your time, try changing the mediator, manager, or the deal itself. At last, if it still does not work out then, it might be time to call it quite. 

Final Thoughts on Negotiation

Negotiations are a part of daily business life. They can happen internally between an employee and their boss or externally between the two businesses. To be a perfect negotiator, you must know what you and your counterpart expect from the deal. Ask them open-ended questions to figure out what they want from your business and how far they are willing to go for the deal. Also, it would help if you spent ample time researching their vulnerabilities. Use the bogey technique to play safe and keep your deadlines intact. You must know the last date until which you are willing to negotiate. By using these techniques, you will always have the upper hand. 

 

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How to Create the Ideal Company Wiki in 5 Simple Steps

company-wiki

In Five Simple Steps, Create the Ideal Company Wiki

Want to keep your knowledge and content private yet accessible to only your associates? Then a company wiki is your best bet—it’s a wiki you don’t have to share with the public.

A company wiki is a perfect solution for teams working within a company on projects together. Only those can access the company wiki you allow, and all your content is private and secure. So it’s perfect for storing sensitive data or work methods.

A company wiki can help in numerous ways; some significant ones are as under:

  • It helps make a new hire’s onboarding process easier
  • It Ignites your team’s productivity by saving the time they search for information
  • It helps tackle errors in documentation, as it can be a collaborative process
  • It stores the vision, goals, and style of your company to communicate will all
  • It helps answer technical questions to avoid being asked over and over again

A company wiki is an essential asset for any company, big or small. Hence, this article will teach you how to create the ideal company wiki in 5 simple steps:

  1. Select a wiki software that caters to your company needs
  2. Structure your company’s wiki
  3. Create and upload the information
  4. Circulate the company’s wiki within the company
  5. Keep adding the new information

Five steps to an ideal company wiki:

  1. Select a wiki software that caters to your company needs

For an ideal company wiki, you need an ideal wiki software that runs it. With a multitude of options to choose from, it can be challenging to find the gem. However, we have done the research and found the best for you.

If you want to use a company wiki to help your team stay organized and keep the content up-to-date, Slite is the ideal software to create a wiki. It is a company wiki software that is easy to use and set up. With its clutter-free interface, you’ll have an excellent company wiki that everyone will use.

  1. Structure your company’s wiki

Once you have chosen the right company wiki software, you are ready to populate it with the information. However, you will first need to structure it.

If you’ve got a lot of information to share, make sure to categorize and sub-categorize it in order to make the platform more user-friendly and easy to navigate. The idea is to create a hierarchy of information. For instance, think of the three main sections as Tiers.

  • In Tier 1, you should have the departments
  • In Tier 2, you should have the functions of those departments
  • In Tier 3, you should have the different tasks those functions do

To Elucidate, the HR department’s function to onboard new hires should be structured as a subcategory of the main HR category. In this subcategory, you can place the documents, guides, or tutorials for the newly-in employees.

Similarly, you should structure the information on your company’s wiki by dividing it into the functions of central departments so that it remains clutter-free. However, this structure is not the thumb rule but an example. Since you know your company well, you should structure your company’s wiki in an easy-to-use way for everyone in your company.

Having done with structuring your company’s wiki leads you to the next step that is to populate it with the information.

  1. Create and upload the information for your company wiki

company-wiki

Once you have structured the wiki, it’s time to put some flesh on it. At this stage, you will need the help of the heads of each department of your company.

Since the heads are the ones dealing with the technical things of their departments, they can tell what things are to be incorporated in the company’s new wiki. For instance, the head of HR must have the knowledge of frequently asked queries of the employees. Hence, you must have them create an HR FAQs page under the HR main category.

Similarly, the marketing head may know more about your company’s style; hence, you can request them to help communicate the style effectively. Also, they can have templates such as marketing plans uploaded on the company’s wiki.

Besides domain-related knowledge, there are certain things such as a company’s vision, mission statement, expectations from employees, general guidelines that need to be circulated within everyone. For that, your company wiki should also have a dedicated general page.

At this stage, you should create and upload all of the general information. Then, as the wiki goes live, you can allow the desired employees to edit or add new information.

In the beginning, your company’s wiki may look like a newborn having little knowledge or information. However, it will mature as more employees will be allowed to edit or add the information over time.

  1. Circulate the company’s wiki within the company

Voila, it’s time to invite your employees to the hub of information they need within the company. Your company’s wiki is ready to go live after you have structured and added the pre-existing information.

The company’s wiki will let your employees collaborate without having to use other applications. Here, they can share every form of information, such as audio, video, image, text, etc., with each other. Furthermore, since it is a collaborative platform, it makes it easier for the employees to have feedback, direction, and brief on the projects they are working on.

By contributing new information, the wiki will mature over time and become the go-to resource for any employee that needs clarification or a solution to a problem.

  1. Keep adding the new information

Since the company’s wiki is created to save employees’ time who seek clarifications to their queries, you must keep it up-to-date.

Whenever an employee’s mind lights up with a question, the answer should already exist in the company’s wiki. If it doesn’t exist, it should then be added in case the same question pinches another employee someday later.

It will save everyone’s time; hence, keeping the wiki up-to-date will contribute to the company’s overall productivity.

Conclusion on creating a company wiki

If you do steps one through five, you’ll have an ideal company wiki that your employees will turn to when they need information.

By setting up a wiki, you’re increasing your company’s overall productivity because your employees will be able to find the information they need quickly and use that time to work on something else.

Also, It’s crucial to make your wiki as easy to use as possible. It should also be easy to add, edit, and update.

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6 Ways to Bring Remote Teams Together to Bond

remote-teams

Six Ways to Bond Remote Teams

One of the many revealing truths that have been unearthed by the pandemic is the importance of keeping good team morale. It can be a challenge to develop and maintain good team morale when you have remote teams.

The pandemic has presented many challenges for workers, and adjusting to the demands of remote working is often a steep ask for employees who are accustomed to the office lifestyle.

With many teams separated by distance and still unable to deal with internal issues face to face, it’s critical that we’re able to maintain strong bonds and keep our employees smiling in order to adjust to the new normal.

For business leaders looking to support morale, keep their teams working collaboratively, and maintain their company culture, communication and social activities are key. So, here are six ways that you can bring your team together.

remote-teams

1 – Zoom Yoga
Yoga for team building is not a new concept. Teaching your team simple yoga moves like the downward dog, and child’s pose can be highly beneficial for stress management, and overall health. In fact, YogaJournal.com lists as many as 38 benefits. So, go ahead and choose a small break in the day to hold an optional yoga class via Zoom or Teams and allow your team the chance to take a deep breath.

2 – Coffee Breaks for your remote teams
A common complaint among remote workers is one of a blurry work-life balance. It’s easy to become distracted and end up working late into the evening, or eating into days off to meet your demands. For workers with children or other responsibilities, this can be even more pronounced. One way to combat this is through good diary management, but also by encouraging regular coffee breaks. Scheduled coffee breaks can also be a perfect moment for an informal catch-up call where you can cut the work chat and strengthen bonds.

3 – Team games
Along with coffee breaks, employees often miss some impromptu fun with their team. You can replace Friday bar drinks with a virtual quiz, or test your best poker face with a Zoom version of online poker. For added incentive, you could play for money or prizes, but as explained by Poker.org, you don’t always have to play with real money.

4 – Playlists
We know that music is pleasurable, but it may also be a way to enhance our social connections. According to research by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), when we try to synch with others musically (even when that person is not visible to us) we tend to feel positive social feelings towards them. As a business leader, you can capitalize on this by creating a collaborative Spotify playlist. Employees can add their favorite tracks, share new discoveries and ultimately march to the same tune as their colleagues.

5 – Pet Pics
Another popular endorphin booster is our pets. VeryWellMind.com explains how scientific evidence from psychological research proves that viewing certain animal pictures can combat stress and make us happier. While a bring your pet to work day may be off the cards, you can still encourage employees to include their pets on team calls, and in group chats.

6 – Group Chats with your remote teams
In the past, some business owners have been skeptical about encouraging online communications between colleagues. Fears over distracting email threads, and the potential for arguments have slowed down what should be a natural evolution of our work communications.

Yet, group chats are becoming more popular in the age of remote work. While WhatsApp and Facebook chat groups may press a little too close to home for most workers, tools like Slack can prove to be the perfect fit.

With Slack, you can create channels such as #memetime and #recipes where employees can test their gif game, and share their favorite meal-time treats, alongside project focused channels for more regular work discussion.

Maintaining employee morale during a global crisis is challenging, but it’s not impossible. By employing your efforts to improve communication, strengthen bonds, and allow your employees to be themselves you can prove to them that you care. Unlock your team’s potential with these six tips, or read Small Business Coach‘s advice on further remote work solutions.

 

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Factors to Consider When Writing a Great Business Plan

business-plan

A business plan sounds so strict, serious, and a little intimidating. It’s a particularly scary word for young entrepreneurs who have never drafted a business plan before. However, as long as you have a winning business idea, you should not be afraid to implement it in life. Thus, at some point, you’ll need to start working on that business plan. Don’t fall in despair, though. It’s not as difficult as it sounds. You can simply follow the common steps of writing such a plan. To do so, just follow the five main factors we mention in the article.

 

Consider the Following When Writing a Strong Business Plan

 

What is a business plan?

A business plan is a breaking point in your pursuit. This concept turns your vision and dreams into reality. Thus, it turns your idea into something tangible. You should be able to put your idea on paper, plan it out, and decide on every needed step. Your business idea should look like a concrete strategy for turning your dream into reality by the time you finish your plan.

Of course, you don’t write such a plan only for yourself. This document is for your future sponsors, partners and employees. Hence, your plan should be professional, clear, and convincing. Don’t worry. You can always ask writers from study bay for professional writing tips or help with composition and edition. Overall, your business plan should always consider all necessary steps for making your idea work. Thus, it should include around five factors. These are the future strategy, people involved, finances, marketing, and operation. Let’s have a closer look at all five of them.

Strategy

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The first stage of your plan should always be an introduction. Thus, you get to explain your idea. Write why you think it is a good one. Start with factors that make it special so others will get invested in further reading. Here, you write what you plan to do with this idea. Hence, you briefly draft the strategy and outcomes you expect. Outline the purpose of it all. Explain what niche it is going to take and what goals it pursues. End with explaining how you are going to gain profits. This part is everything your future investors or partners are interested in, so make it count.

Execution while writing your business plan

At this stage, you explain all the operational elements of your business. Hence, this step answers all the ‘how’ in your plan. You should write down how you will run your business including the type of the organization you want to have and how you will implement it. Detail all the technical and operational issues. Thus, here, you show the upwards of your business. Start with the leadership team, explaining how the system of hierarchy works in your business. Next, move to the predicted point of your first profits. Then, show how you expect to achieve it. Overall, explain every little build of how your idea can work as a business.

Marketing

In our modern world of tight competition, marketing can make or break a new business. Explain to the people your marketing approach. Find the right ways to get noticed by the public. Show several marketing strategies that aim to attract, win over, and gain customers’ loyalty. Don’t forget to stress out your online marketing strategy, as this is where the real game happens. You may even seek out some unemployed professors who can explain marketing strategies in great detail if you want.

Finances

Here, everything is rather simple. You should write down your predictions, or better calculations, on how much money your business needs. Thus, you get to outline all your expenses. See what type of working space you need and how much that is going to cost you. Perhaps, you just need a website and social media presence. See how you plan to advertise your product. Plan how many people you need on your team to start off with your plan. Try to predict how many employees you may need if the business takes off. Overall, the financial factor is often the hardest one to predict and implement into life. However, this step is crucial for a reliable and good business plan.

Team

A good business plan will mention the people needed for the work. Overall, here you state what professionals you need to run your business. The people on your team play an essential role in your future success. So, already having good specialists on the team will help convince investors to believe in your idea. Overall, the people factor in a business plan is often among the most influential ones. Make sure you pay enough attention here.

The bottom line of your business plan

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These five factors should serve you as the crux of your future work. However, it’s not enough to learn only about your future enterprise. Remember to make adjustments to all plans and presentations depending on the audience. The people you present this plan for play a huge role in your future success. After all, your main goal here is to make people believe in yourself. Sometimes, you can achieve it with pure facts, numbers and graphs. Sometimes, though, you get to win people over with passion and ambitions.

 

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4 Best Solutions You Can Tailor for Your Remote Workers

remote-workers

Four Best Remote Worker Solutions You Can Implement

Remote workers can be an essential aspect of your business. Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began and spread, companies underwent forced lockdowns, thus increasing the number of remote working employees. A survey states that 88% of businesses worldwide directed and encouraged their employees to work from home. This unexpected change in circumstances forced many companies to search for ways to work with their remote employees. Thanks to advancements in technology and software, employers progressively find it easier to work productively with their off-site staff. Reports show that several companies are changing some job positions to allow their workers to work full-time or partial hours from home.

However, shifting to a remote work setup has a fair share of challenges for employers. How can you manage the attendance and performance of your employees in a remote setup? What are the best strategies to secure business data with distributed teams? Business communications, people management, time management, customer service, and IT security are common topics of concern for many employers planning to embrace remote and hybrid (combination of in-house and remote employees) workplaces.

Now, companies can tap into several solutions to meet their productivity quota with remote working staff. As an employer, what are some of the best solutions you can tailor for your remote workers? 

Human Resource Onboarding Software

Various digital human resource (HR) platforms ease the time-consuming process of hiring and integrating new staff into an organization. These HR digital packages assist in the reduction of time taken between searching for capable employees to hiring them. These platforms aid you in reducing the amount of paperwork needed for hiring staff, processing employee benefits, and simplifies the set-up of payroll.

  • GoCo Onboarding platform

GoCo blog points out companies can customize HR platforms to meet the needs of their business. The value of these platforms affects your business’s bottom line by reducing the cost of having a well-streamlined HR structure. 

Communication Platforms for Your Remote Workers

remote-workers

Ongoing and clear communication is essential to the success of any business project and venture. Your remote workers face isolation and non-face-to-face immediate interaction. Team meetings, coffee and lunch breaks, chats with colleagues made it easier to access direct information between in-house co-workers. Employees working in remote locations do not have the same access to these informal chats. To reduce this lack of immediate communication, you can invest in internal communication customizable software and platforms to include remote workers. 

  •  Zoom Video Conferencing

The Zoom platform enables businesses and individuals to conduct group meetings, one-to-one meetings, and host events and webinars. During these events, Zoom video conferencing allows you to present your PowerPoint presentations, the use of whiteboards, and other software that engages your employees or clients. It allows for the set-up of different breakout rooms for more in-depth team discussions or social chats. You can record a meeting or webinar to have it accessible during offline hours to your employees, clients, or as a marketing tool for your website.

  • Microsoft Teams to Help Your Remote Workers

Microsoft Teams offers a virtual office for team discussions, meetings, social chats, and team document collaboration. This virtual office makes it easier for remote workers to fit into an organization or company. Microsoft Teams allows room for file sharing, basic video calls, integrating different applications, and other features. A feature within Microsoft Teams is its digital working space under its ‘Together mode’ that allows both in-house and remote teams to work in the same workspace or ‘sit together’ as a team.

Remote IT Support and Support for Remote Workers

In-house office setting, getting the IT staff to check on your computer or failing software is not a hustle. How about when you are working remotely? Platforms such as TeamViewer make it easier for the IT guy to help you fix your computer problem.

With TeamViewer installed on your computer, the IT staff can remotely and securely access it. You provide the IT person with the login details and the security number generated when you access the TeamViewer, thus allowing the IT staff to access your computer and help you fix the computer issue. Team viewer gives remote access to any device across various platforms.

Because remote and hybrid workers are at a high risk of cybersecurity vulnerabilities, companies and organizations must take more stringent security measures. Phishing, ransomware, and data leakage are just a few of the many IT problems remote workplaces may encounter. A minor IT problem can become a disaster, compromising the entire business. Hence, remote workplaces have several options:

  • Hiring an in-house IT expert.
  • Taking advantage of managed IT support Melbourne services.
  • Self-managing your IT security.
Conclusion

Remote work settings are increasingly growing, even after the peak rates of the pandemic, because of their cost-effectiveness. The recommended solutions above can help you manage your remote workers without compromising your business data, employees’ performance, and output quality. Having the right tools and strategies for remote work management can help make your company more successful.

 

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8 Strategies to Promote Positive Customer Reviews for Your Business

customer-reviews

8 Strategies to Promote Positive Customer Reviews

Positive customer reviews are a very important aspect to your business. Gone are the days when a catchy advertisement run across all available media platforms would direct all of the potential customers to your business. With time, trust issues have intensified quite a bit.

Today, most of your customers would go with a recommendation given by a friend or acquaintance rather than trusting the work of your sales department. They would rather trust a user’s review in the comment section than your promises and guarantees given in the description. Individual reviews feel much more relatable to them than anything else.

Naturally, the wisest strategy to operate under such circumstances is none other than generating maximum possible customer reviews. But then again, the goal isn’t as easy to achieve as it sounds.

Let us acquaint you with a few tried and tested strategies to promote positive customer reviews for your brand or business.

1. Develop customer-friendly strategies

Positive or negative-your customers won’t ever leave a review until they feel welcomed to do so.  As per the latest product management trends, you need to optimize the company’s strategies and policies so that they revolve around customers. Take the first step in genuinely connecting with them!

Create an online webpage and make it user-friendly, which will serve as a quick DIY reviewing portal.  You won’t have to make calls, get them to fill survey forms, or anything.

After purchase, they can review the products directly on the website instead of contacting the company.  Personalizing customer service is another efficient customer-centric strategy.

In it, customers will receive custom and tailor-made solutions to their problems. Consequently, they will feel more connected to the store and would be willing to offer positive reviews.

2. Have frequent discount campaigns

customer-reviews

Well, one quick way to urge your clientele to leave a review is to offer a gift in return. Perhaps, you can offer a discount coupon or code. It will compel the buyers and users to leave a review, and most likely, a positive review.

In case your brand is tight on budget and cannot afford to give out discount coupons to every user that leaves a review, then we suggest you consider a lucky draw. Offer a free entry to the lucky draw to those who leave a review. However, make sure that the prize of the lucky draw is inviting enough. If it isn’t, users might as well skip it. If you have a business that sells ergonomic furniture for WFH lifestyle, you could offer work from home accessories instead of discount coupons.

Also, if you run frequent discount campaigns now and then (without asking for the review), your clientele will most likely drop positive reviews. Who doesn’t appreciate getting more for less?

3. Provides spaces for customer reviews

Your website will only serve to be helpful in drawing clients until they know you and search you up. But, what about all those potential clients who do not know you?

First things first, you should create business pages on different third-party platforms. Studies show that consumers trust Yelp and Facebook quite a lot when it comes to brand reviews.  You can enable your customers and potential clients to give reviews on these platforms by creating your business pages.

Build a new page or claim a business; the selection depends on you. As a seller, you can establish a presence in e-commerce stores like Amazon and eBay.

Once you start receiving positive reviews on these platforms, you can feature them on your website and social media handles too. For your ease, you can use customer feedback software. This will help you collect and analyze your overall customer feedback seamlessly.

4. Build trust

When a user reads a positive review of a particular product, he may feel encouraged to buy it. However, if he scrolls down and reads a list of only-positive reviews, clouds of doubts may surround the reader. Ornate compliments will only further intensify these doubts. Thus, shaking your potential buyer’s trust in the authenticity of your brand.

For that very reason, businesses need to share both positive and negative reviews of their customers. Share them just as is and refrain from editing. Doing so will have your audience perceive your honest and dedicated intentions.

5. Show your appreciation for customer reviews

Reciprocation in all matters is of immense importance. Your customers will only feel motivated and encouraged to provide reviews when they know the value of it.

As a business, you should make your audience and potential clients aware of the importance of review-giving.  Appreciate your clients giving reviews through visual content. You can use social media tools, like Instagram and Facebook, to share encouraging infographics and posts.

For loyal customers, you can provide a special discount or send promotional products. Post about these online so that other customers feel motivated about expressing their thoughts.

 

6. Get to know your audience

When your clients pay a visit, be it in your virtual store or physical store, make sure that you get to know them a little more than just knowing what they need from you. Request for their email address so that you shall maintain frequent contact with them and keep them updated on the latest arrivals and trends.

We understand collecting so many emails can be rather hectic. Whether you do it digitally or manually, the struggle is more or less the same. Hence, for your convenience, you can make use of checklist software.  It will serve as a tool and organize the process to make it easier for execution.

7. Host events

customer-reviews

Another amazing way to get positive client reviews is to host events. You can come up with different events on your own or collaborate with other brands. For example, if you are a food brand, you can host a food festival in collaboration with ingredient manufacturing companies.

In these events, your customers and interested people can learn more about your business. You can organize various activities so that you can connect to your audience on a more personal level.

You can even offer samples to the audience, and ask for reviews directly.  Hence, you can get lots of positive reviews to feature on your web page.

8. Focus on packaging

Customers simply love it when the packaging of the product is good.  It is the extra cherry on the top that they do not expect, and can help you increase chances of positive reviews.  You can make a unique and aesthetic packaging that comes with a card or something extra.

Conclusion on customer reviews

Now, of course, you can experiment further with these strategies. And devise a custom one. In actuality, it always works best this way. Begin working with any of these general strategies and add elements of yours along the way. Doing so will help you get to a strategy that yields the maximum possible results for you. Good luck!

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How to Create a High-Performing Workplace Culture

workplace-culture

As a company executive, you’ve probably wondered about the things you can do to boost the productivity and performance of your organization, which includes the state of your workplace culture. While nothing can change how your employees feel about their duties and responsibilities or who they work for, organizational culture can boost engagement levels and improve the day-to-day experience of your employees.

Workplace culture is defined as the collective mind and heart of an organization. There are a lot of things that affect the attitudes of your employees about their duties and responsibilities and who they work for. When most managers conduct culture assessments, they find that most mechanisms, activities, and processes connected to the experience of employees affect their attitude toward their work and organization. The biggest influence on the experience of an employee is their managers. Let’s discuss how managers can create the right workplace culture to foster high performance.

How to Create a High-Performing Workplace Culture

 

1. Create meaningful values and communicate them

Organizational values are not philosophical principles. Values help in guiding employees on how they should interact with customers, the community, and with each other. Your organization should have no more than five values to make it easier for employees to understand and remember what’s important to the organization.

Leaders should communicate the values and the expected behavior linked to each value. This will help employees to know what’s expected of them thus reducing uncertainty and ensuring that everyone’s behavior is aligned with the values of the organization. The best way for managers to communicate values to their employees is by setting a good example. Values do not just apply to frontline staff but the entire organization including senior management. For organizational values to have meaning, leaders should adhere to them every day.

2. Proper selection is key for improved workplace culture

workplace-culture

Most of the time, managers rush to fill a vacant position in the organization without asking the right questions. And this leads to poor hiring decisions. Most managers look at the experience of a candidate to determine their employability. On the other hand, successful leaders look at how well the individual will work with others. It’s important to ensure that the candidate fits with the values and culture of the organization.

Human resource managers should consider using questions that have been tailored around the core values of the organization to know their candidates and make the right hiring decision. Another great way to conduct proper selection is by using a behavioral-interview approach. This method ensures that candidates engage in an activity during the interview process. This activity will help in pushing candidates out of their comfort zone and provide an opportunity to assess behaviors instead of asking a lot of questions.

3. Enhance the onboarding and orientation process

Research studies have shown that close to thirty percent of new hires quit within the first three months of working. To prevent this from happening to you, you should ensure that new hires receive an engaging and effective orientation during the first few days on the job together with an excellent onboarding process. It is important to set up success for new hires during this period to ensure that they feel connected to their team, job, and organization.

You can do this by establishing the right priorities from the first day. Ensure that all employees are happy and feel welcomed from the first day. By creating an organized training program and testing the comprehension of new hires, you will reduce turnover and boost the productivity and performance of your organization.

4. Communicate with all employees

The one thing that leads to poor engagement levels, low productivity, and an increased turnover rate in most organizations is poor communication. Most managers are usually surprised when employees or teams report that there is ineffective communication because they think they communicate with their employees regularly. The key issue is not the quantity but the quality of communication transmitted within an organization.

Business leaders can improve communication in the organization by keeping their words short and simple, using their tone and body language effectively, and communicating in a timely fashion. Using the right channels to communicate and reinforce a message is also important. Keep in mind that communication is a two-way process. Checking on your employees regularly to ensure that they understood your message is important.

5. Recognize your employees for better workplace culture

Recognition is a great way to reinforce good habits, make employees feel appreciated, boost engagement and retain the best talent. However, most employees don’t feel appreciated in the workplace. A research study found that 63 percent of employees don’t feel like they get praised enough in the workplace. Every employee learns and processes information differently. Therefore, managers should ensure that they recognize their employees effectively.

Managers should use different methods to recognize their employees. And they should be based around writing, saying, or doing something. The best ways to recognize your employees include writing thank you cards or emails, mentioning their achievements in meetings, or coming up with a fun recognition program. Employees are different. Therefore, recognition should be tailored to meet the needs of every person.

6. Coach your employees

workplace-culture

Informal feedback is one of the best ways to help your employees understand how their behaviors measure up to your expectations. Research studies have shown that 32 percent of employees wait for at least three months to get feedback from their managers. This makes it harder for employees to measure their performance and link it to the expected results. Informal feedback can be effective by ensuring that it is timely, fair, and balanced. You should explain why specific behaviors are important and include a gesture of appreciation.

7. Show employees that you care about the organization’s culture

Showing your employees that you care about them individually and you’ll do whatever it takes to improve the culture of your organization. You can do this by listening to their needs and supporting them as much as you can. As you listen, make sure that you listen attentively and try to understand the perspective of your employees.

Conclusion on the importance of workplace culture

Successful leaders are always on the lookout for areas that need adjustments or improvements. While organizational culture is complex, the tips that we’ve shared here will help you foster high performance in the organization.

Author Bio:

Leon Collier is a blogger and academic writer from the UK who works with professional writing services and BrillAssignment. He likes trying new subjects and is always focused on proving his worth as a writer in new and challenging writing areas. His hobbies are reading books and playing tabletop games with his friends. You can reach him via Twitter @LeonCollier12.

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Here’s Why You Need Staffing Software For Your Agency

Six Reasons to Invest in Staffing and Recruiting Software

Let’s face it. Managing staff is a minefield. Staffing software can be essential when dealing with certain situations. It’s one of the toughest tasks any business faces, even if they have the most dedicated, diligent workforce. There are so many variables and so many angles that you need to cover, and it’s not always easy to keep track and cover all your bases.

Excel spreadsheets and other free tools to help you organize your business are great when you’re first starting out. However, they have some severe limitations that can prevent your small agency from becoming any bigger. Even if you don’t want to scale up, you may also find that these free tools can still hold you back and prevent you from focusing on your clients more in your everyday operations.

We’re going to help you determine if you need staffing software (the answer is almost undoubtedly yes!). You’ll also learn some of the helpful benefits of staffing software for your small staffing agency, allowing you to focus more on the other essential areas of your business. The right solution will streamline how your business operates, prevent time and resources from being wasted, and help your bottom line.

Take a look at six reasons why you should invest in staffing and recruiting software for your agency and unpack how a dedicated solution can assist your business:

staffing-software

     1. All Your Client Data In One Place

It’s important that everyone in your business who works with clients and those they want to recruit has accurate information about those clients. It’s true that each agent tends to build a relationship with their respective clients, but you could be missing out on big opportunities if not everyone has access to what these clients are looking for. Another agent may have the perfect candidate but would never know it if they couldn’t take a look at the most recent information about what each client is in the market for.

Your staffing software will give you the place to house all of the relevant client information you gather and give all other agents in your business access to that information. When new recruitment candidates come in, the agent working with them can search your database of clients for potential matches without having to talk to their colleagues first.

     2. You Have One Repository For Recruits

Likewise with staffing management, ensuring that your employees can access up-to-date information about potential recruits is vital. Each agent needs to be able to easily see who is available, what their skills are, where their experience lies, and if they would be a good fit for a client. Being able to search one central repository for this information will save you all a lot of time and effort. This will also allow your employees to truly collaborate with their clients.

A solution like this will also help to ensure that you don’t lose information on clients or potential recruits. If each agent in your business has a spreadsheet – even one saved on a server for all to access – it is far too easy for information to be accidentally erased or for versions of the file to get overridden by another user.

     3. Communications Are Recorded And Trackable with Staffing Software

A staffing agency, even a smaller one, can deal with a lot of queries from both companies looking to hire people and those people looking to get hired. These leads – whether they come from your website or another source – need a proper solution that can help you to track where they came from, when they were contacted and what they are looking for. Without proper customer relationship management (CRM), it’s hard to ensure your business converts those leads into paying clients.

With a good software solution in place, anyone can log in and see exactly where a lead is along their sales journey. The system will automatically record sent emails and you can log when calls were made and include notes about the discussions that were had. You can even get systems that will send automatic follow-up emails to leads or remind users to follow up on specific days. This will ensure that no agent will forget about a lead or send them incorrect information based on their earlier conversations or the original query.

Another major bonus of a CRM solution is that all of your employees can have access to the system and the information it stores. That means that if someone is off sick or leaves the company, another agent can pick up the process without an extensive handover.

     4. You Can Segment and Search Data 

A major advantage of staffing and recruiting software is that you can fill in keywords for your client and potential recruits based on what they are looking for. You can then easily search through the databases to see if there are any matches. This will streamline your efforts and allow you to make more matches faster. You can also see easily if there are any gaps in the staffing options you offer depending on the kinds of queries you receive from clients.

Being able to segment a database will also make communication a lot easier. If there is a bulk job where a client is looking for a number of recruits, you can segment the database based on the criteria and send out a request to just those people. You can also easily text a group of people information, or make calls to people on your database to update their information if you find they are missing important elements through your segmentation and searches.

staffing-software

     5. Administrative Tasks Are Streamlined When Using Staffing Software

One of the biggest time sinks for any business is that of repetitive administrative tasks that have to be done in order for the business to operate. When they need to be done manually each time – like forms from applicants getting inputted into the system, processing payroll, or generating invoices for clients – they can take up a lot of your agents’ time.

A staffing software system that can do these kinds of tasks for you at the click of a button, or even better, be set up to automatically do them at a certain time each month will save you time and money. Your agents can spend their time focusing on clients, building strong working relationships, and generating income for the business. This is a far better use of their time and skills – and it’s the job you hired them to do.

     6. The Risk Of Human Error Is Reduced

Another big bonus of automating tasks is that you reduce the risk of human error. Manually generating invoices can lead to mistakes that cost your business income, especially if they don’t get picked up by anyone. The same goes for record-keeping or inputting data from clients or potential recruits. 

If you have paper forms that then need transcribing into your digital records, there is major potential for human error in the typing process. It’s also a waste of time because the information gets handled twice instead of just once – straight into the system.

When it comes to record-keeping of interactions with leads, having a staffing software system that tracks most things automatically will ensure that everyone has access to the most up-to-date information at all times. Those reminders for contacting leads and following up with them will also reduce the risk of agents getting too busy and forgetting about them.

Staffing and recruiting software can change your business for the better, and it will help you to scale up with ease. Technology gives us the edge in so many ways, and even the smallest businesses can benefit.

All of these factors will enhance your business’s performance and its profits alike.

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