Don’t Worry… It’s Just Business

Don't ignore what you can and cannot do.
Don’t ignore what you can and cannot do.

Often one of the biggest impediments to taking the leap and starting a new business is overcoming fear.  We may have a good idea, something that we are more passionate about, but we are afraid to leave the comfort of our current situation.  Don’t worry, it is normal to be nervous; especially when we are consider major changes.  Here are three things to consider that may be able to help you overcome your worries.

1) Prioritize

One of the most important things to do when considering starting your own business is to sit down and evaluate what your priorities are.  Do you have a family?  Are you the primary income source?  What are your family and personal needs?  How will those needs be met while you are developing your business?  It is critical that you evaluate your priorities and determine how best to use your time and effort?  Is the comfort of having a job important to you?

2) Make a List

One of the easiest ways to solve the questions of priorities is to make a list.  One list that I would recommend when you are considering starting a new business is to list out the pros and cons of staying where you are as compared to the pros and cons of starting up your business idea.  Really take some time to develop out the list and ask follow-up questions to yourself.  Find out the why behind things you are doing or thinking about doing.  Do it somewhere where you can have a clear head and focus on questions and answers.  Weigh out and even consider scoring/ranking the ideas that you come up with.

3) Ask an Entrepreneur

Too often, people considering going into business ask for advice and support from friends and family members that have never started their own business.  While it is nice to get their insights as they will provide some much-needed support at the beginning, their advice can only go so far.  I would prefer to sit down and speak with someone who has made the decisions that I am considering.  Find out why they made the choice that they did.  Get some insights on how to deal with the tough times.  Their perspective will be invaluable.

At the end of the day, one thing is clear.  When starting a business… Don’t worry.  It will all work itself out.

What Did You See Today?

I walk a lot (to and from the office) and I use it as a time to look around and see things.  I have found that the ability to observe and understand the world around us is what truly brings meaning and understanding to what we are involved in.  It might be opening your eyes to the needs of a friend or a neighbor.  Finding a solution to the challenges that your clients and customers are facing.  Ultimately, it is the ability to find the beauty in the world around us.

As a business owner, are you talking time to observe the things that are going on around you?  Do you know how your business is doing?  Do you understand the needs and concerns of your employees?  Do you know what you can do to become even more successful?  By taking the time to observe, you will be better able to succeed in accomplishing all that you would like to accomplish in your life.

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One thing that is useful for many people is keeping a journal of your observations and using those notes to map out your goals and opportunities.  Building a business is just that, a process of building.  Map out your progress and enjoy the beauty of all around you!

 

 

photo credit: Wyrmworld via photopin cc

Making Friends and Improving Business

Quite simply, business is about relationships.  Customers buy products and services that they feel connected to.  That is why you should put the same effort into building business relationships that you do in building friendships.

Think about how you interact with your friends.  You want to spend time with them.  You share with them and you support them despite their shortcomings.  These connections that bring so much meaning to our life should be the driving force behind how and why we do business.

Too often, we get so caught up in the dollars that go into our business (or out of our business), that we miss out on the beautiful connections that we are making.  We would do well to spend a little more time connecting within and throughout our business and a little less time obsessing over ‘the numbers.’

It is the connections that means the most in the end, anyways.

Brick And Mortar Stores Vs. Virtual Stores

We live in an age where new technology is constantly supplanting old ways of doing things. This phenomenon has had a largely positive impact on commerce, increasing efficiency and aiding the spread of new information and products. But it has also complicated the choices available to those who are starting a business for the first time.

Many new business owners are wondering: “Is having a traditional brick and mortar store worth the trouble?” To provide some context, and make the decision-making process a bit less agonizing, here are some of the pros and cons of tangible brick institutions versus virtual business models.

Brick and Mortar Stores: The Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Humans are material beings. Prior to purchasing, many consumers like to be able to physically touch and inspect whatever it is their buying. For a certain set of people, this principle holds true whether they’re buying a car or a dining set. A physical location allows consumers this option.
  • A brick and mortar store can serve as proof of legitimacy. There are plenty of fake businesses on the internet set up by scam artists. So consumers will be reassured that they won’t end up getting ripped off when purchasing from an actual, in-the-flesh business.
  • Few people stumble upon a website truly at random. With a physical store, there’s the chance to pick up extra business on a walk-in basis. This especially holds true for businesses in highly populated areas.

Cons:

  • Opening a brick and mortar business requires a great amount of overhead, even if it’s set up in a suitable and preexisting building.
  • Establishing a physical business requires much research, as location can dictate profits. Even then, it’s something of a gamble. What may have seemed like a good location might not turn out to be, and relocation is expensive.
  • Businesses that operate at a physical address are limited in the hours that they can serve customers. After all, if a business has closed for the night, it can’t serve customers.

Virtual Business: Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • If set up correctly, an online business will operate at all hours of the day and night, and there’s no need to hire clerks, security guards, or cleaners. This grants consumers constant access, allowing them to buy whenever they feel truly ready or when the inspiration strikes.
  • Although they still involve quite a bit of time and work, online businesses are very inexpensive to start-up.
  • A virtual setup allows access to a much wider pool of potential clients. This international clientele pool is even wider than that seen by a brick and mortar business, located in a bustling metropolis.

Cons:

  • Competition in the virtual business sphere is fierce. Instead of competing on a local level, a virtual business has to compete with international competitors right off the bat. Online businesses may be easier to put up, but also easier to knock down.
  • A virtual setup can severely limit personal interaction. This can make it more difficult to establish a relationship with customers and create a positive brand identity.
  • Unless the budget is already in place to hire an IT staff, setting up a virtual store will require the development of a skill set which is likely new for many would-be entrepreneurs.

Justin blogs about business tips, as well as how to start and market a business on behalf of Kwikkerb, and also provides information on the Kwikkerb business opportunity.

2 Questions to Ask Your Small Business Lawyer

Working with a small business lawyer can really help you manage risk in your small business.
Working with a small business lawyer can really help you manage risk in your small business.

Owning and operating a small business does involve certain levels of risk that a small business owner needs to be aware of.  One of the best ways to manage risk is to hire a small business lawyer to help you manage that risk.  When meeting with your lawyer, make sure that you are aware of what they can and cannot do for you in manage risk.  Given the importance of being able to work in conjunction with your lawyer, here are 2 questions that will help you to better understand the services that a small business lawyer can provide to you:

1) How should I set up my company?

Every small business owner needs to know the various business entities and what types of protections they offer.  Because every business is unique, it is an important exercise to walk through and learn about your business entity options and determine one that fits your needs for flexibility, administration and liability protection.

2) How can I structure this ‘deal’?

Each relationship that you have within your business comes with some sort of risk.  Because of that, it is necessary to walk through your various business plans in order to assess the potential risk and determine how to structure the transactions.  By walking through and evaluating each ‘deal’ or relationship in your business, you will be better able to anticipate risk and protect your interests.  It is always good to create as much ‘predictability’ as possible for your business.  Your small business lawyer can help you by discussing this.

By discussing these two areas with your small business lawyer, you will be better able to run and protect your business.

Don’t Hold Back Your Internet Marketing

By now, almost all business owners and managers know how important Internet marketing is. However, many are reluctant to invest heavily into online marketing, and some lose a considerable amount of consumer interest because of this. When it comes to marketing online, it is important to avoid holding back; here are a few of the reasons why Internet marketing is so important and why significant resources should be devoted to it.

Long-Term Results

SEO is one of the cornerstones of digital marketing, but it takes time to see results. It may take months to see increased traffic through SEO, and the full effect may not take place or years. However, investing in SEO is one of the most efficient ways to increase interest in a business, and those who make the investment can help ensure that they are maximizing their online properties. When it comes to SEO, do not let the lag between investment and results become a disincentive, and remember that SEO that is done well can lead to great results for years.

Short-Term Results

Online marketing, however, is not always about the long-term. Pay-per-click advertising and other paradigms are tremendously powerful, and they can be used to increase sales within days or weeks. It takes time to develop the most effective pay-per-click advertising scheme possible, but even subpar efforts may lead to profits. Those who need to increase capital in the short-term should not neglect Internet marketing.

Trackability

Perhaps the most powerful tools enabled by web marketing is the ability to carefully track how well ads work. Those using pay-per-click advertising, for example, can track how well each ad is performing and determine which ads lead to the most sales. However, it takes time to determine how to best track ads, and those who start early have an advantage over those who get in the game late. For managers and owners, the ability to collect accurate, reliable data should encourage them to invest more heavily into trackable marketing.

Low Costs

Launching a radio or television advertisement cost a considerable sum of money, and entering either of these realms is a significant risk. The Internet, on the other hand, has solutions for those with minimal advertising budgets. Because of this, businesses should constantly experiment with new techniques in digital marketing, and companies will want to scale up efforts that lead to results. In addition, it is possible to stop an advertising campaign if it ceases to work as well as it did in the past. This flexibility makes the web the best platform to target for small and medium businesses.

Jennifer Jones is a keen marketing blogger who covers various aspects of SEO and learned her trade working for a small internet marketing agency, if you would like to read more of Jen’s work please do so on Social Bitch site.

Helpful Tips On Finding Teaching Jobs Abroad

There are many reasons why one would want to teach abroad. Teaching abroad helps you to experience different cultures, climate and cuisine. It also helps you break the monotony of working in your country. It may also help you fulfil your passion of teaching children from developing countries. English is the primary language that many teach abroad. With English becoming the principal language of international trade, many countries in Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe have found it necessary to have their nationalities learn the language. Teachers who teach math and sciences are also in high demand. It is not easy to secure a job abroad without assistance. Fortunately, there are many ways one can use.

International service programs

Programs like Peace Corps and world teach offer a way to travel abroad and teach there. By participating in their work and offering volunteer services one can easily secure a job. Teaching is common placement for Peace Corps volunteers. Its programs are run through many countries in the world, from those in Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe among others. It charges no fees and one receives numerous benefits with a relocation allowance included. They also offer benefits such as health insurance, free travel to their service site and duty loan assistance. Those that see their assignment through become its life members.

International school teaching opportunities
First of all, one needs certification or a background of teacher training and some experience wouldn’t hurt. Teachers who teach technical subjects like physics, chemistry, maths and agriculture are always in high demand. Being trained in a sport like tennis is also beneficial when seeking the teaching job. International schools in foreign countries aim to give their students the same curriculum offered from the host country. The practical way used by many to secure these jobs is by using services of organization like International School Service, TIE online which can connect you to schools or Search Associate. These organisations hold fairs in the states annually thus letting the international Schools interview interested candidates. Their respective websites also list vacancies.

Secure a job by teaching English abroad
Like I stated earlier, the English language is an important tool if one wants to ever trade internationally. It will make your work easier and facilitate your exchanges. With its dominance, English has forced the non English-speaking countries to consider offering it as a second language in their curriculums. There are numerous programs by these countries. Jet program places teachers in Japan schools. The Chilean ministry of education places teachers in public schools and offers benefits like health insurance. A number of developed countries in Asia offer lucrative teaching jobs. One should visit their embassies to get accurate information.

Summer teaching programs
This mostly attracts recent college graduates or those still pursuing the teaching course. A teaching job abroad apart from being adventurers can give one insight on where they would like to work in future. The easier way one can secure a job is by working with intermediary organizations with contacts in the host country. Some of those programs include Bunac, Planet Au pair that gives one a host family and is free of charge. Getting a visa is a demoralizing task without the help of organization or programs. One should therefore research extensively before choosing the suitable program.

Jack is a passionate blogger and works for a recruitment agency offering teaching jobs in Australia.

The Importance Of Risk Management In An Organisation

These uncertain economic times have had a major effect on how companies these days operate. Companies that used to operate smoothly with the help of forecasts and projections now refrain from making business judgments that are set in stone. Now, companies have a renewed focus: to manage risk.

Risk is the main cause of uncertainty in any organisation. Thus, companies these days focus more on identifying risks and managing them before they even affect the business. The ability to manage risk will help companies act more confidently on future business decisions. Their knowledge of the risks they are facing will give them various options on how to deal with potential problems.

According to a survey conducted by advisory firm PPB, risk is defined in this manner:

“Organisations face internal and external actors and influences that make it uncertain whether, when, and the extent to which they will achieve or exceed their objectives. The effect this uncertainty has on the organisation’s objectives is risk.”

Risk can come from both internal and external sources

The external risks are those that are not in direct control of the management. These include political issues, exchange rates, interest rates, and so on. Internal risks, on the other hand, include non-compliance or information breaches, among several others.

Risk management is important in an organisation because without it, a firm cannot possibly define its objectives for the future. If a company defines objectives without taking the risks into consideration, chances are that they will lose direction once any of these risks hit home.

In recent years, many companies have added risk management departments to their team. The role of this team is to identify risks, come up with strategies to guard against these risks, to execute these strategies, and to motivate all members of the company to cooperate in these strategies. Larger organisations generally face more risks, so their risk management strategies also need to be more sophisticated. Also, the risk management team is responsible for assessing each risk and determining which of them are critical for the business. The critical risks are those that could have an adverse impact on the business; these should then be given importance and should be prioritized. The whole goal of risk management is to make sure that the company only takes the risks that will help it achieve its primary objectives while keeping all other risks under control.

Due to the prevailing focus on risk, risk management jobs have opened up. Risk management jobs are usually considered as financial careers because most of the risks that businesses face are closely tied to the company’s financial standing.

Risk management jobs are available both internally and externally. You can work for a company as an internal risk manager or you can become part of a risk management firm who provides risk management services to companies who don’t have in-house risk managers.

To become eligible for risk management jobs

you will need a bachelor’s degree. Some companies and firms also require an MBA. Some risk management certifications will also help you progress up the career ladder.

Risk management jobs are very rewarding

primarily because a risk professional plays a crucial function in an organisation. They are also rewarded well in financial terms. However, the job can also be challenging especially when there are turbulent risk factors that affect the firm. Nevertheless, the risk management position is currently one of the most well-respected positions in firms and companies.

Ursula Jones is a specialist journalist on career and job related topics here she looks ar risk management but also writes on auditing and compliance jobs http://www.careersinaudit.com/

6 Ideas You Can Steal From Online Marketing

When it comes to marketing, there are many ideas that a business can steal. Online marketing has its own set of challenges and benefits, and the information below may help.

1. Build the Brand

It is vital for a business to build its brand. This implies spreading the word about the business around the community. The business may also choose to create a website that talks to potential customers and clients around the world.

2. Communicate With Customers

Every business owner knows that it is necessary to stay on the good side of customers. One online marketing idea deals with talking to customers and answering their questions in a timely manner. Customers will appreciate the gesture, and the business may demonstrate the ability to care and pay attention.

3. Offer Rewards and Incentives

Customers are likely to come back to the business if the business offers rewards and other incentives. For example, if a customer purchases a certain amount of products, he or she may get an item free during the next visit. It is also an excellent idea to award discounts.

4. Maintain Appearances Online and Offline

It is not enough to offer rewards or talk to customers. If a business wishes to stand out and do well, it is crucial to maintain appearances. If a business claims to be friendly for families, the people in charge should not allow employees to demonstrate unruly and inappropriate behaviour.

5. Reach People through Their Phones

Many people rely on smart phones in order to communicate with loved ones. Some people choose to use their phones to get on the Internet, and a business can take advantage of this. The business may create a website that looks good on phones, and it may send emails and text messages to potential customers.

6. Create Great Content

A business may stand out from the crowd when it chooses to create exceptional content. The official website of the business should have text that makes sense and does not contain grammatical errors. Any and all articles should centre on useful topics. This is an online marketing tip to keep in mind.

The online world has a lot to offer. A person may easily find information on any subject. A person can communicate with peers and learn something new no matter what the hour of the day. Many businesses carry awareness of this, and the people in charge choose to implement online marketing tactics. If a business wishes to see similar success, it is a good idea to steal some of these online marketing ideas. The information above may help a business owner make changes and enter a new beginning.

Mike Wood is a keen blogger who covers many aspects of inbound marketing.  If you would like to ready any more of Mike’s stuff check out SEO Bitch where you can read more.

The Long, Hard Journey In The Pursuit Of Creative Excellence

The ethos of practice making something perfect as well as the concept that a great idea is just another thought away are certainly over-used clichés, but there is no getting away from the fact that there are usually no shortcuts when it comes to coming up with worthwhile innovations.

In the world of graphic design and the creative industries this is known only too well as businesses compete to ensure that their brands actually stand out and have a genuine message to say, whether this is through the written word or visual image.

Web design companies spend a great deal of time working on concepts for their clients so that their website and marketing exploits go hand in hand. These days, there is absolutely no excuse for a business not to have a social media presence and the design of the website can have a great bearing on how the brand is viewed by its audience.

There are twists, turns and back steps at every stage of the creative process as a website is built and rebuilt to reflect the true image of a company.

For those owners of an enterprise that fancy they can come up with a website of their own that satisfies all of the objectives that can push the business forward, this is certainly a bold step to take. However, with useful guides available showing on the internet that this can, indeed, be done, there is nothing stopping someone from deciding on this course of action – but as any creative will tell you, it takes a lot of effort to build a true brand image for a site.

It is certainly worth getting sounded out by a web design agency, to hear what they have in mind when it comes to developing a site that is not only authentic, but is a work of creative genius, with every small detail taken care of.

The cost is usually the most prohibitive factor for an SME going ahead and leaving this creative process in the hands of the professionals, but this can often be the difference between success and failure online.

To achieve creative success in any field takes endeavour and a will to press ahead and explore all the avenues available, while considering what has worked for other leaders in the industry. There is no shame in using competitors for inspiration, but true creativity brings something new and unique to the table.

For this an individual approach is required, one that involves assessing the needs of your business and then taking a step back to come up with workable solutions that will propel your online activities for the coming year and beyond. Planning for a future that involves social media and video content is a must, while working on your brand image to give people a reason to choose you over those selling similar products and services.

So give the experts time and a clear set of objectives and leave them to bring your vision to life. It may not be instant, but it should be sustaining, leaving you with a site that is geared towards a long and prosperous future.

Mike Channing is a web designer and one who understands the creative process that is necessary in coming up with exemplary sites and creating brands built to last. He recommends industry leaders like coredais.co.uk for this specialist type of work.

Landing Page Mistakes That Ruin Conversation Rates

Landing Page

Generating traffic to a landing page, regardless of whether it’s an email opt-in page, a sales page, a video landing page, or some other form of a landing page is typically the easy part. The hard part comes in getting the users that land on your page to actually take the action that you want them to. If errors are made on the landing page, your conversion rates go down, causing a lack of purchases or submission of user information, which was your goal to begin with. To start with, avoid making the following landing page mistakes.

Unclear Call To Action

Many people have too many words on their landing page, making it hard for a user to figure out exactly what is wanted of them. If your landing page immediately confuses the reader with overcrowding and too many options, it will take the reader about 10 seconds before giving up and closing the page.

The webpages copy should be designed with specific objectives and goals in mind. Remember, you are sending people to the page for a specific reason, so the page should center on that, and that alone. If you want to get more people signing up to your newsletter then that should be the sole focus of the page. Having too many options is a common mistake that lowers your conversion rate considerably.

Misleading Ad Copy

The user clicked on your ad for a specific reason, and that is based on the word choice in your ad copy. If after clicking on the ad, they are lead to a page with an entirely different headline than what the ad claimed, they will be confused and in most case, leave immediately. Even if this was an honest mistake, it can lower your conversion rate. Avoid this by double-checking that the landing page has the same headline as what is in your ad copy.

Low-Quality Headlines

Speaking of headlines, you have more to consider than just getting the wording to match up with your ad copy’s wording. The headline should be of high quality and give the user a reason to stay on the landing page. A weak headline can get the user to give up on the page quickly. Do a quick split-test of different headlines until you find one that works best.

Keeping the Original Site Design

While it’s good to keep your website design on most webpages, a landing pages is completely different. Because you don’t want to steer the focus from your main objective, you should simplify the design on your landing page. This means a clean presentation with no overcrowding, as mentioned earlier. Remove the toolbar if possible, as this keeps the user looking at the task at hand.

Skimping on Quality

It’s tempting to worry more about the quantity of people visiting your landing page, and less on the quality of your content. However, this is only going to get you a lower conversion rate when people following the link leave the page after only a few seconds. Spend some time on your content’s quality to avoid this common mistake.

These are common mistakes that are easy to make, so don’t beat yourself up over it. If you’re guilty of them, a few tweaks should clear it up. Keep in mind that you don’t just want page views, you want the landing page to provide you with results.

Featured images:
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gavinjllewellyn/6924415704/

Jason Lee works for Creative Fuel, a San Jose web design and development company that specializes in creating unique and powerful designs for print, web and mobile devices.

Starting Your Own Freelancing Business – What You Should Know

Owning and operating a small business is exciting, stressful and fun. However, there are many things to keep in mind and constantly consider. Small businesses have tremendously changed over the past decade and especially over the past few years.

As the internet evolves, people are changing their ways of doing business and making money. You no longer need to open up a business, or work for a corporation to earn a steady income. The internet has allowed average people to take their skills, turn them into services, and get clients.

Creating a Name

You may be wondering whether or not you should personalize your business name or not. For example, if your last name was Smith, should your business be named “Smith’s Writing Services”? Creating a business name is one of the most exciting things you get to do.

Think of something catchy, short, and effective that will best describe your area of work and stand out against your competition.

Finding Work

If you aren’t already familiar with the freelancing industry, you may be unaware that there are many sites from which you can find work and begin developing clients. These websites are specifically designed for freelancers and clients online looking to outsource work. You no longer have to go out in the field to hunt down clients and work.

In fact, you don’t even have to call and talk to them on the phone! Most freelancers only deal with their clients and contractors via email, or once in a while on Skype.

Go Old School

Consider reaching out to some small brick and mortar businesses in your area. Most people are so focused on the internet and outsourcing, that their communication is always through email. Consider walking into a business with your portfolio or even sending them a brochure.

Even when on freelancing websites, consider leaving your phone number so the client can reach out to you. Many freelancers don’t use this tactic, yet it can be beneficial to standing out.

Your Competition Is All Over the World

Unlike small brick and mortar businesses whose competition is usually the big corporate stores or other small business in their area or town, online, you are competing with people in countries you may have never even heard of. It’s best to be prepared and ready to show clients what you have to offer.

Price doesn’t always have to be a factor, as some clients want to work with people in their area, so stay focused on your businesses qualities and understand exactly what your client wants and needs.

Robert is a sports writer for several local news papers. He built his experience through college and freelancing. You can contact him through his Enthuse profile.

Building A Website 101

So you’re looking to build a website?  Whatever your reason for it, whether you are attracting potential customers or to show off your goods and services, you probably realize that a good website can add greatly to your company’s bottom line.  Making sure you include some basics such as selecting a host, server monitoring tools, and securing a domain. These are all key ingredients to building an effective website. Follow the below guide to help create your dream website that will attract and retain customers.

  • Site Must Haves – Grab a pen and pencil and jot down the must haves for your website.  Some key components of a website include an “about us” page that details important information about your company.  A separate page of goods and services is a great way to introduce potential customers to what your company can do for them.  Depending on your line of work, including an online portfolio, which showcases your best projects, may also be of interest.  Outlining possible pages for your site will also help you gather all of the content for your website.  It is also crucial for you to include your contact information throughout the site to make it easy for customers to reach you.
  • Secure a Domain Name – Select a domain name that includes your company name or, if that is not available, select something that is catchy and will be easy for potential clients to remember.
  • DIY or Not – Once you have a grasp on the framework of your site, it’s time to decide whether you want to build the site on your own or hire a company to create it for you.  If you’re computer savvy, you might be comfortable designing it on your own and choosing a host.  Don’t be afraid to admit that you can’t do it yourself and look into the many companies that offer web page design and hosting.  Be sure to communicate your expectations and wants so that your vision is their vision.
  • Server Monitoring Tools – Selecting server monitoring tools to make sure that your site is always working effectively is a great way to keep traffic flowing to your site. It is an inexpensive way to make sure your site is up and running when your clients need to “see” you.

Taking the above suggestions in mind when creating your business’ website will ensure that you are meeting your potential clients’ expectations, all while putting your company in the best light.

Featured images:

Mike has built many websites and knows what it takes to create a successful site that will attract many visitors.

5 Minute Guide To Pinterest For Beginners

If you are a business owner who wonders what Pinterest is and don’t know whether or not it’s something to learn about for your business, then it most likely is! Launched in 2010, Pinterest is a photo-sharing website that uses pinboards so its users can create and manage image collections based on themes. In short, Pinterest is all about sharing visual content. The site has gained considerable momentum during the past year or two and is now being used by businesses and brands so that they too can share their photos and stories in a visually appealing way to amp up sales.

For example’s sake, we’ll assume that you are in the business of selling landscape lighting for the home. Let’s take a look at how you can leverage Pinterest to help you sell more lighting.

Setting Up Your Account

It’s super easy to set up a business account on Pinterest. Take the time to fill out all the details and profile info for your business page. Once you’re done, click ‘Join as a Business’ wherein you’ll be asked to agree to the privacy and business terms of service agreements and that’s it!

Setting up your Pinboard

Your pinboards are the categories where your shared content will be located. For your business, you’ll want to ‘pin’ or post photos of your landscape lighting here. You’ll also need to consider what other things your prospective customers would be interested in such as lighting technology, useful websites and so on. You’ll be prompted to enter the basic info about your board such as its name, category and who can pin there and then you click “Create Board”. You’ll need to choose the correct category so that people can find your pins so choose with care.

How to Pin

A pin starts with an image or video of your landscape lighting. You can use the “Pin it” bookmarklet to add a pin from your business site or upload a photo directly from your PC. It’s important to know that any pin is allowed to be re-pinned and all pins link back to their source.

It’s crucial to pin things that express who you are and what your business is all about so be human and remember that Pinterest does have a social aspect to it. If you can attract your targeted audience to your pinboard and give them what they’d like to share, you will drive traffic to your landscape lighting website. Make the effort to share exciting information about lighting you find online at other blogs and sites and encourage people to share your photos, videos and blog as much as possible.

To have a photo identified as a product for sale, you need to include a price with a dollar symbol in your pin description. Pins with a dollar value in them are automatically added to the ‘Gifts’ section on Pinterest. When pinning your products, add the url link of the product into the comment section so people don’t have to search for your landscape lighting but instead can simply click-through to your purchasing page.

Put a Pin it Button On Your Website and Blog

Finally, to ensure that all of your website and blog content is pinnable, place a ‘Pin it’ button on your site and blog. Make sure it shows next to your blog posts and images that you want others to share. Because Pinterest is all about image sharing, you need to be sure that your images are of very good quality.

Featured images:

Betty Fox writes about family, travel and gardening. Pinterest has been her favorite tool for organizing all wonderful images found on the web.

4 Great Tips If You’re Being Made Redundant

In this gloomy economic climate, many businesses are tightening shoestrings and making cuts wherever possible just to survive. Unfortunately, this is leading to the greatest redundancy figures for decades, and while scores of people are being left without a job, hard-nosed businesses are doing what they can to pay out as little as possible to those out on the streets. However, there are measures in place that mean that you should walk away with a fair redundancy package – and if not, there are steps you can take.

Notice and Payment
The first thing to do is check the small print on your contract. This will let you know what kind of package you could be looking to receive, and how long your notice period will be. Your period of notice starts at one week if employed for between a month and two years, and then is calculated at a week per year of employment, to a maximum of 12 years. This can be paid in lieu, if your contract is terminated, but full wages, plus all extras, must still be paid.

If you’ve been with the company for more than two years, you are entitled to half a week’s pay for every year of employment, if you are between 18 and 21. For those over 21, this rises to a full week’s pay per year of employment, and then 1.5 week’s pay if you’re older than 45. This runs to a maximum of 20 years, however, and is capped at £330 a week. To check your entitlement, you can use a redundancy pay calculator.

Negotiations
If you believe what you have been offered isn’t a fair reflection on your time with the company, you can always try to speak to your employers to try to get a little extra. The maximum amount you can receive as a payment before the taxman comes knocking is £30,000, so you could try to get any amount on top of this paid into a pension fund.

If there is no budging on a cash settlement, try and negotiate over things such as your notice period or even company possessions (if no one is using your work laptop, then why not ask to have it?). For more advice on how to negotiate your redundancy package, you can always speak to trained professionals with years of experience at Instant Law Line.

Collective redundancies
If you’re one of over 20 employees being made redundant within 90 days, consultation is mandatory between the employer and a trade union rep or an elected employee rep. The consultations will cover how to avoid redundancies or keep them to a minimum, and whether a retraining program can be implemented. For batches of redundancies of up to 99 people, the consultation period should be 30 days prior to any dismissals taking effect, or 90 days if there is a greater number.

Contesting your redundancy
There are a few different ways an employee can select who is to be made redundant, including the last-in-first-out method, asking for volunteers for redundancy or looking at disciplinary records and appraisal markings, skills and qualifications.

If you think you’ve been unfairly made redundant due to a discriminatory reason, such as age, religion, or exercising any of your statutory rights, then you will be able to contest your employer’s decision.

You can also bring the decision to an employment tribunal if you don’t think your company has tried to find you a suitable alternative job, either within the company or associated businesses, or if you are still unhappy with the amount of redundancy payment being offered. To read more about redundancy, and your rights, check www.gov.uk/redundant-your-rights, or get in touch with legal professionals for advice and help, to make this difficult time in your life that little bit easier.

Written by Jimmy Sheehan, a writer and blogger with past paralegal experience.

Picking The Right HR Software For Your Business

HR software is an important need for most businesses. This software can help your company keep important and confidential employee information organized, can help handle the tasks associated with hiring new employees, and can help with other needs such as payroll processing. If you’re in search of new HR software, you want to make sure that you’re choosing the best software for your business. Take a look at the following information to learn what important factors you will want to consider before making this important purchase.

Take Time to Determine Your Business Needs

Before choosing a specific HR software, you will want to think about your company’s needs. Each business has individual HR needs. If you’re a very small company, for example, you may have a small staff and only need a small level of solutions. Perhaps you almost never have to bring on new staff. Big or small, a business needs to outline goals and needs before choosing HR software so that they’re satisfied with their purchase. You may want to outline needs with several members of your staff so that you consider all issues.

Set a Budget, But Don’t Just Go For Cheap

When choosing software, it’s a good idea to have a budget in mind so that you don’t overspend. You should be aware though, cheapest isn’t always the best option. The most expensive software also isn’t guaranteed to be the best. When considering the price of software, also be sure to note the best features and determine which important features may be missing. You want to make sure that you’re spending your money on something that will work well for your business. This can help you get more bang for your buck.

Choose HR Software That Is User-Friendly

User friendly software can allow you to complete your important tasks more quickly and with ease. The less time your spent trying to figure out how to work the software, the more time you will have to handle other business needs. Be sure to look at the ease of use of all of your software options. Some software also offers training, which may be beneficial to your business if you have multiple users using the software.

Consider Software That Gives Employees Some Control

When comparing options, consider software that allow your employees to have records of their documents and data. Some software will allow employees to have online access to payroll data and other important forms. This can allow you to save time during the workday because employees won’t be asking to get copies of important documents. Instead, they can easily log in to the system to get what is needed.

Allow your business to function as smoothly as possible with the use of HR software. Don’t simply make an HR software purchase before reviewing all of your options. Take the time to compare features and benefits of all HR software so that you can make an educated decision and choose a program that will meet your business’s individual HR needs.

Authored By: Rebecca Whiteside. Find more information on HR, with these helpful HRIS articles.

How Vagueness Can Hurt Your Online Business

Any time you become convinced you have to try a new product, it’s because you got excited about the results it offered. Think of the infomercials on television showing how a product is used, how it compares to the competition and the convincing user testimonials. All these things build up your expectation for your own results. Then there are some commercials that are so vague, you have no idea what the company sells, life pharmaceutical commercials. If you’re creating a new online business, you need to be able to clearly define what your unique product or service promises. Vague, mysterious and fanciful wording won’t deliver that message. If people can’t visualize how your product or service is better or offers some type of benefit, it will be difficult to draw people in.

Example 1

An organization was formed to offer teaching in a food industry, promising a degree. The curriculum was not complete at the time the website was launched. There was no clear explanation how the person paying for the classes would benefit. The most you could derive from the offer was that you’d receive a piece of paper to hang on the wall. This same organization had a store selling related products, diluting the effectiveness of coming across as a reputable learning organization.

The idea did not go over well. There was plenty of excitement and expectation, but when launched, it fell flat. There was no clarity about the classes and the type of career it would lead to. This organization used the words “prestigious” and “accredited” frequently without any evidence to back them up.  Wrong language.  Wrong promises.  Wrong approach. What it could have done instead, was demonstrate the benefits over other, similar learning methods and provide proof of results.

Example 2

This next business relied on referrals to survive. Their website used such vague language that no one could tell for sure what type of seminars they offered. Vague promises of achieving and doing amazing things with your life after taking the seminars did little to define what they offered. This approach led to their being perceived by outsiders as a “cult.” That cult reputation led to bad online reviews;  their lack of an online presence did very little to refute the claim. As a result, this business has been unable to grow and recently closed a location.

If people have to physically see or experience your product or service in order to be convinced of its value, your website is not doing a good job of selling. It’s one thing if you are selling something people use on a regular basis. You do not have to convince consumers that they need the product. You just need to convince them they should buy it from you. But, when you are bringing a unique idea to the market, your vision is not enough to make it succeed. If you can’t get others to visualize the end result, the idea will fall flat on the floor.

Unique ideas require research and a vision is not research. Research requires analysis of information available about the target market, the existing market and the potential for growth within that market. This research will provide you with the information you need to understand your market’s needs. From there, you need to develop language and a selling point that appeals to this market. If your wording is just grandiose, like your vision, people won’t see it. If it sounds too good to be true and doesn’t provide proof of results, the wording doesn’t sell.

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works with NameFind.com where you can read more online business tips here: Name Find Blog

If Time is Money, How Much Could You Save by Outsourcing Your Payroll?

Think back to the last time you restructured your office. You might have reduced your team, redefined roles and rearranged the furniture but what did you think to reconsider any processes that may be holding you back?

It’s often the older, more set-in-stone processes that go on behind the scenes that get left behind when we’re busy rethinking how other aspects of the business could affect performances.

Take payroll for instance, did you know that according to research from ADP, a staggering 55% of companies fail to measure the true costs of payroll? That’s a pretty significant number and one, which could be drastically cut if companies reconsidered their options, particularly outsourcing.

A few years ago, an article in HRWorld magazine stated: ‘Big businesses can afford to maintain big payroll departments. For small businesses however, an in-house payroll service is a money burner.’ With that in mind, let’s take a look at exactly how outsourcing payroll could save you time and money…

On the clock
Regardless of the size of your company, outsourcing payroll can save you crucial time. That time that could be utilised more efficiently to look at other areas of the business that need improving or fine-tuning.

Or perhaps the time is given back to employees to carry out their jobs efficiently without having to rush tasks at the last-minute in order to squeeze both the payroll paperwork and their projects into the out tray by the end of the day.

Whether it’s your time, your staff’s time or a mix of both, the chances are the hours could be divided up more efficiently. After all, working late is no one’s idea of fun and could lead to errors, an unmotivated work force and a bitter office atmosphere.

Outsourcing your payroll will save time by enabling professionals who are experts in their field to administer tasks such as:

  • Processing payroll
  • Cutting and distributing pay slips
  • Calculating and paying withholding and employment taxes
  • Preparing and distributing HMRC and tax paperwork
  • Keeping up with HMRC and tax legislation updates
  • Handling employee payroll enquiries

Underestimate costs; prepare to overspend
Remember that figure we stated earlier? That over half of companies fail to measure the true costs of payroll? If you’re not tallying up all the hours spent and resources used to complete payroll duties, you could wind up falling into this category.

A thorough cost assessment usually proves that businesses of all sizes save money by outsourcing the processing, tracking and filing of payroll documents. If you’re wondering how much time and money you currently spend on payroll administration, consider the following:

  • Whose time is being used up and just how important is that time if it could be switched to another area of the business? Consider both your time and anyone who processes or gets involved with payroll. Often, many people in a small company will be involved whereas if you outsource, you’re handing over the responsibility to one sole provider who can release this burden from the rest of the team
  • What savings would outsourcing provide? You may actually be able to downsize your team depending on how many people are involved in the process, saving you money which could be invested into other areas which are more in need of development
  • Trust the statistics. According to a 2011 survey by BPO analysts Nelson Hall, the number one reason for outsourcing payroll continues to be cost reduction, with approximately 85% of respondents citing this as their primary business goal

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em
You’re never going to get anywhere in business copying someone else. In almost all other areas, it pays to buck the trend and be original. But when it comes to processing payroll, did you know that a recent survey of UK firms by the CIPD revealed that around half of organisations intend to outsource part of their HR activities within the next three years?

There are countless reasons why outsourcing payroll has become so popular (increased quality of service, streamlined processes, increased compliance, reduced risk and introduction of advanced new HR technology) and it’s a rare that you will ever match the exceptionally high standards of the professionals who pride themselves on delivering meticulously accurate, prompt payroll services so if you can’t beat ‘em, it might pay to join ‘em.

About the author: Morgan Danaher is Managing Director of Ceridian Ireland http://www.ceridian.ie

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