Friday, November 2, 2012

The Outsourcing Trend

Being a recruiter you can often feel like a glorified CV sifter, searcher or administrator. With the current market place being so candidate rich it is not uncommon to receive 1000's of applications for any one role, with information being drawn into databases at a rate no recruiter can keep up with. This often results in vast amounts of badly segmented data being left dormant and rapidly becoming out of date as up to 50% of candidates are never contacted. Outsourcing promises to take away all these basic web based processes allowing recruiters to do what they do best - recruit. This is not to be confused with offshoring, which is the relocation of processes such as production or manufacturing. Although outsourcing can also be offshore, it focuses more on third party service providers taking over business processes on a service level agreement, based in a lower cost location. RECRUITMENT PROCESS OUTSOURCING (RPO) Recruitment Process Outsourcing covers services such as: advert response handling, CV re-formatting, CV searching, first level candidate profiling, database cleansing/refreshing and internet research. This allows recruiters more time to focus on building relationships with clients and candidates and securing those all important placements. Outsourcing labour intensive tasks ultimately results in saving recruiters time, but beyond this it also has a number of other advantages including: 
• Greater ability for budgetary control 
• More efficient working for existing staff 
• Access to better technology 
• Access to trained staff, often called administrators 
• Faster turnaround of outsourced tasks

Yet with any business process, there are a number of disadvantages that need to be worked around. After the initial investment of time to choose an outsourced provider, you must then educate them about the intricacies of your business. For some small tasks this can often seem inefficient and when the costs involved are taken into consideration outsourcing is often not the right solution. Other concerns expressed include: 
• Loss of control 
• Confidentiality 
• Quality of output 
• Legal liabilities

When these processes are then routed offshore it comes along with the time additional advantages, allowing research for candidates to been done at evenings and weekends and ready when you come back to the office the next day. Good offshore companies will also not just offer an account manager but a dedicated team that ensure there is no down time on processes. The costs involved in offshoring are also considerably less. However there are the additional concerns about communication problems, language barriers and quality control.


A strong framework is required to get the best results from outsourcing. Vague briefs and unclear objectives can often result in varied results. By ensuring your outsourcing team really understands the intricacies of your business and the standards you require early on they can ensure no major misinterpretations occur. If you require candidate CVs to be formatted in a certain style make sure you present them with clear guidelines. Don't be afraid of giving harsh feedback if there are errors as it can only improve your working relationship.

Close monitoring can also vastly improve results. You will be saving hours by outsourcing these tasks, so taking just a few minutes a day to monitor outputs can ensure that any discrepancies can be picked up early and be rectified so that fewer errors will be made in the future. Make sure you push for a dedicated account manager you can liaise with directly making the monitoring process a lot easier.

Grouping tasks can make outsourcing even more efficient. If you are considering outsourcing CV searching, but why not also ask them to pre-qualify candidates over the phone. Data cleansing goes hand in hand with refreshing. Larger projects are always more efficient when outsourced, and can allow recruiters more time to focus on building relations and second stage interviews.

If you are still not sure if outsourcing is for you, most good providers now offer a free trial. These no obligation trial periods allow you to test the quality of outputs and work out how the logistics will work for you. With recruitment business around the globe all ready outsourcing their labour intensive tasks it appears that outsourcing is the way forward.

Five Biggest PR Stunts in History

There's no such thing as bad publicity, the old saying goes. If an action or event puts your brand's name in the forefront of your target market's minds, it must be good. Never mind if the event has absolutely no connection with the product you're selling. What matters is name recall.

Having said that, here are five of the most successful PR stunts that have made their brands and subjects household words:

1. The Guinness Book of World Records. Who hasn't heard of this book? We hear of it in the TV news, we read about it in the newspapers, and yes, a lot of us enjoy reading the book itself too. Children as young as nine years old are familiar with the name Guinness.

And what, you may ask, is it promoting (if you haven't guessed yet)? Why, Guinness beer, of course!

It all started when Sir Hugh Beaver, managing director of Guinness Brewery, went on a plover-hunting trip and failed to shoot a single one. He mentioned to his companion that the golden plover must be the fastest bird in Europe. The friend disagreed, and there was nothing to settle the argument as there were no reference books that did that sort of thing at the time.

So Sir Beaver had the idea of publishing a book that would settle such bar bets, and the rest, as we all know, is history.

2. The Hollywood sign. It was the challenge of a lifetime for Harry Chandler. He built an expensive housing development in the middle of a dirty desert town, and now he had to sell it. Of course, people first had to notice it - and who would look at that place when looking for an expensive home?

His idea was to create a gigantic billboard. Billboards are effective ways of getting public attention, right? A 50-foot billboard should do the trick.

He was right. It did. That 50-foot PR stunt to sell overpriced real estate is now known all over the world as the Hollywood sign.

3. David Beckham's hair. Even people who don't watch football know David Beckham. What made this celebrity footballer's name a household word even if he's not the greatest football player the world has ever seen? (For people who disagree, please refer to the Guinness Book of World Records.)

It's his hair. Like Madonna in her heyday, David Beckham constantly reinvents himself by sporting a - shall we say "outrageous"? - well, let's call it "head-turning" new 'do from time to time, keeping himself in the media eye.

4. Dove's Real Beauty campaign. It may not exactly be a stunt, but it's one heck of a brave thing to do. Instead of using picture-perfect models Photoshopped to further perfection, Dove took real women with real body fat and used them as their models instead. Granted all that these models were still thinner than the average British and American woman, they were still meatier than the average ad model, and many hailed that as a step in the right direction. For one, it boosted Dove's sales by 700%.

5. Richard Branson, the Virgin bride. Richard Branson is, of course, the unchallenged king of PR stunts. He has driven a tank down Fifth Avenue to launch Virgin Cola. He mooned the world in the Canadian Launch of Virgin Atlantic. He went around the world in a hot air balloon to promote the Virgin brand in general.

But his most outrageous stunt to date was when he went out in drag as the Virgin bride to launch the Virgin Brides wedding venture.

Did it work? Not much, as far as Virgin Brides was concerned. The venture closed in 2007. But it certainly made Richard Branson and the Virgin brand quite well known.

Exhibitions Displays - How to Stand Unique in the Competition

Exhibitions, both trade and consumer has an edge over other forms of advertising. This is because exhibitors get large number of targeted audience and the opportunity to showcase their existing product and launch new product. Again, the most advantageous part is that buyers come to you if you can make it all attractive to them plus you get the opportunity to interact face-to-face with your customer, which is essential in building relationship.

With competition at the highest level and several competitors located around, it is vital for the exhibitors to draw business buy attracting potential customers to their stand with unique exhibition stand design and build.

The first and foremost important step is planning. Planning ahead would make things easier. You need to assign key responsibilities to appropriate person or department, that too with deadlines.

Exhibition stand design, when effectively laid out, contributes much to the success of the exhibition. Find out a design that fits in with your company brand. Many exhibitors now consider hiring professional architectural model makers to make high quality exhibition stand designs and models. For that exhibitor needs to contact a reputed model making company who will create an effective display that would communicate the nature of his business. An effective exhibition stand design and build draws potential buyers to your exhibition stand by capturing their interest. Remember, the first impression gets counted with the design of your exhibition stand. So, it better to leave it in the hands of experts. The skilled architectural model maker will use a variety and often the best resources to prepare the exhibition stand design and present it to the exhibitor in large format printing. Be selective in hiring a designer for your stand and hire only after checking his/her previous work samples. Using graphics and appropriate colors can create an everlasting impression.

Lighting holds importance when you need to make an impact. Using down lights can give positive results. Also, make sure that your products and graphics are seen in best light.

Posters and banners play a great role in attracting prospective buyers. So, it's better to choose banner stands for your exhibition. Banner stands are compact, cost-effective and do not require much space.

Often on-stand drinks service yield out great results. Cocktails, wine or coffee is served especially when businesses is within industries such as food, medical etc. this is because on-stand business deals fetch large revenue.

The use of modern audio-visual equipment often helps to make your stand unique. An audio-visual presentation of the product has better impact on the audiences. It not only grabs the attention of the customers but convert them into potential buyers. It is a better tool for the marketers to explain their services and products to their targeted consumers.

Always remember work doesn't stop after the show. It is necessary to follow up all leads as these may transform into possible customers. Exhibitions allow touching, seeing and hearing the services or products one offers. As an exhibitor bringing the service or product to life is likely to create more impact on the visitors.

No Balance - No Life - No Job

Don't blame the work. That doesn't help. If you don't know how to balance your life then don't blame your job. It's not the job or the boss, it's your process that stinks.

If your work process was designed about 3 years ago, and you still do things the same way that you did 3 years ago, then you are on the edge of becoming a Neanderthal.

Once, it took a thousand years to see change on the planet. Now it's daily and soon it'll be hourly. If you're not evolving your process the first sign will be "Work Life Balance will go out the door."

Working harder to get things done went out about 10 years ago. If you are still working long hours to get your work done, you're a self proclaimed antique even if you're 18.

Here are a few modern day suggestions to evolve your process.

1. Work in chunks

If you have a 5 hour job to do, eat, drink and then go to it. Lock yourself away. Don't stand up or pee (joking) until the job is done. Einstein used to lock himself away for three days to do inspired work. He knew that it takes about 30 minutes to get totally into something and about 10 seconds for an interruption to send you right back to the uninspired state.

2. Don't Edit

Head thinkers edit everything. Head thinking leaders edit what they write, what they say, what they feel, what they think, what they do - they even edit their strategies over and over and over. Editing means "not inspired" - or "not in the Zone" Modern work practices don't edit. They spend time getting balanced, healthy and in a good space and then do it once, and do it un-edited.

3. Don't Kill Yourself Yesterday

If you blew a fuse yesterday it's going to cost you heaps today. So, instead, either don't blow a fuse yesterday or accept that you blew a fuse yesterday and don't expect too much today. Don't be blindsided by tiredness that makes your decisions and thoughts today absolutely crappy - don't trust yourself the day after the night before... go home and take a jog instead.

That's it. And if you are an employee rather than a self employed individual, then this balance thing is going to be even more critical because unlike an entrepreneur you don't have the luxury of choosing to work odd hours to suit your balance process. You'll need to be even more disciplined.

Threading Through Oakville

Every Canadian province carries its own distinct history. If you have yet to be lucky enough to step foot into every province, or thread through every Canadian town or city, be sure to anticipate a sense of wonder every time you visit a new corner in this vast country.

Case in point: Oakville, Ontario. The province of Ontario has the highest population in the entire nation, hovering just below thirteen million people (The highest population density, however, goes to Prince Edward Island, with a density of 24.7 people per kilometer square. Now that is a tight squeeze!) Still, anyone who lives in any other province will most definitely notice the population difference in Ontario compared to their home-province.

Oakville has a population of 180,000 people. Seems like a small number compared to Toronto's 2.5 million. Nonetheless less, Oakville is still very much a bustling and robust town. With arts and jazz festivals, museums, libraries, and annual corporate events in Oakville, the town has grown to be its own, albeit smaller, metropolitan. Frankly, Oakville (and the rest of the principle areas of the GTA) can function quite independently from the city of Toronto. That is not to say that they should, but only that they could, further illustrating Oakville's self-sufficiency.

Although each of the five areas within the GTA function somewhat independently from each other they are still close enough to each other that the citizens can cross over and enjoy the different events, facilities and services that each have to offer. In fact, each area runs on their own transit system. Oakville, in particular, runs on Oakville Transit, which offers above-ground (no subway) transportation services. The multiple transit systems across the GTA can seem confusing at first, but when looked at from a practical perspective, they do offer a level convenience that residents would have otherwise. Those who opt to drive their car through the GTA will also find it relatively easy, seeing as how major highways interconnect the GTA regions. For example, a resident of Milton wouldn't see an issue in working in Toronto or being a guest at wedding in Oakville. The areas are so close to each other, and are connected by transit systems, that it is very easy to get from one end of the GTA to the other.

It's All About Impact

"The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior."

You will hear those words quite frequently if you watch The Dr. Phil Show, but they're just as true for resume writing as they are for marital counseling. When he or she is reading your resume, a recruiter or potential employer is searching for the way you behaved at your previous job. That reader wants your resume to answer the key questions: Why did you get hired? Why did the company keep you? What impact did you have on your previous position?

It's important to realize just how important impact is to your job search. You could have rebuilt the Space Shuttle, or taken apart and reassembled a Sikorsky helicopter blindfolded, yet if your resume is full of duties alone, it will never make it onto the hiring manager's desk.

To get noticed, your resume must show the kind of accomplishments that had impact on your prior employers. As author, speaker, and executive coach Jay Block puts it: "A resume without accomplishments is like a report card without marks."

Consider the following:

Janet Jobhunter has been pursuing a career in the aerospace industry as a mechanic. She has 20 years' experience assembling and disassembling helicopters and airplanes. Who wouldn't want someone with that kind of experience, right? She even tells the reader on her resume:

* Assembled and disassembled helicopters and diagnosed and repaired jet engines for airplanes. Tightened bolts to exact tolerances.

To her surprise, however, Janet gets no responses from her resume. Nothing at all. Not even so much as a letter acknowledging receipt.

On the other hand, we have Patricia Professional. She's also done the same things Janet has, and for exactly the same length of time. But Patricia's resume says the following:

* Troubleshot consistently recurring failures occurring in twin helicopter motors. Traced problem to inadequate wiring between pilot's controls and engine. Facilitated all corrections, and established permanent fixes for the manufacturing stage, which reduced the failure rate to 0.

Based on their resumes, which of these two would you hire?

Give this some thought and think about this example when you're writing your resume. Because a resume is not a simple, dry listing of your daily job duties; a resume is a commercial for you. And just like any other commercial, whether for soap, gasoline, toothpaste, or shampoo, you need to show the employer the ways in which you have had an impact.

Improve Customer Loyalty With POS Software

When most people hear POS software, they think of stock control, quick customer checkout and other retail administrative tasks. However, they are missing a critical piece of the puzzle and that is customer relationship management. Any retail EPOS systems that are worth their salt include comprehensive systems that allow retailers to manage customer relationships and boost customer loyalty through various marketing strategies and tactics.

The Importance of Customer Loyalty

It's a proven fact that a repeat customer improves profitability significantly. Repeat customers tend to spend more and cost less per sale than a new customer. This is why it is imperative for any retail operation to build a relationship with their customers.

The better your relationship with your customer and the more they enjoy their experience in your store, the more money they will spend with you and the more people they will recommend your store to. In other words, you win on two fronts, namely increased revenues as well as free word-of-mouth advertising which is the most effective type of advertising in existence.

Using POS Software to Understand Customer Behaviour

Understanding your customers and their purchasing habits is essential to improving customer loyalty. The more you know about your customer, the more you will be able to create offers based on their purchasing habits. This not only increases the chances of them making a purchase but it also increases their loyalty towards you because you make them feel special and important by customising an offer particularly for them. You'd be surprised how such a small thing can have a massive impact.

Good POS software will allow you to gather data about your customers, including what purchases they made and when they made them. The easiest way for you to gather this data is to use branded loyalty cards. Every time they use their card they will be rewarded and you will know exactly who purchased what and when. Additionally, when applying for the card, they will have to enter their personal details, allowing you to reach them via email with various offers and other incentives to bring them back to your store.

And everyone loves getting something for nothing, even if it's just their perception, which is why you won't have a problem convincing people to sign up for your loyalty program. However, you need to make sure that customers are rewarded and that it doesn't take forever for them to receive those rewards or they might find another store more to their liking.

POS software can help you keep track of all this information and generate detailed reports, allowing you to effectively tailor an offer that will entice your customers back to your store. Additionally, high quality retail EPOS systems also come with integrated email marketing features, allowing you to manage contact lists and reach your customers with a few clicks of the mouse.

Customer retention is critical to the success of any retail store. While it isn't a deal breaker, it can certainly take your store's performance from mediocre to outstanding and all it takes is the implementation of a quality POS software solution.

Security Solutions for Your Network

We now live in an almost fully computerized world where almost all information is stored and transferred as digital files. The private and public sectors have realized that physical security is not sufficient when it comes to protecting digital data files. Moving these data files from one location to another requires the use of networks which must be completely secured so as to avoid unauthorized access. Network security solutions have therefore become an integral part of business and government operations.

Private and public institutions such as government agencies, banks, colleges, and research centers are examples of organisations that have lots of high value data which should be protected using the very best network security solutions. The security systems required by these organisations should alert administrators and security personnel immediately a breach or other unauthorized action occurs. Failure to have adequately secure data can have serious consequences for these organisations.

An important aspect of network security solutions is network monitoring. This is the process of constantly examining the various components of a network with an aim of ensuring that they are working at optimum capacity and without interference from internal actions which are unauthorized or accidental. Network monitoring ensures that the system admins are aware of any issues that may arise as soon as they occur and as such, remedial action can quickly be taken to return things to normal operations. The issues looked at when monitoring a network include component failures such as server crashes, equipment failures, broken connections and other similar issues.

External threats are another concern when looking at network security and they should be continuously monitored to avoid loss or theft of data from your network. The consequences of losing data are serious and could have long term effects on the operations of the business or government agency. Hackers, viruses and other malicious applications are the most common threats to network security. Preventing their entry and dealing with them before they cause any serious harm to your systems is critical.

There are a number of other important aspects of network security solutions that should be looked into when procuring a security system for your network. The value of an organisation's data cannot be over emphasized and while network security was optional in the past, it is today an integral part of the operations of almost all organisations and businesses. Investing in good network security solutions will not only ensure that your data is secure, but it will also give you and edge on the competition by allowing you uninterrupted operations.

The Search for a True Lead Generation Website Is Over

Is there really a lead generation website out there? Generating leads is the most vital aspect of building a successful multi-level marketing company. The consistent recruitment of prospects will assure growth and stability. Because there is such a high turn over rate in this industry, it is increasingly important that you continue to recruit more and more team members. Because most people in this industry recognize the importance of this process, a lead generation website is in high demand. Considering the far reaches of the world wide web, this is a common query that requires an answer.

The Traditional Lead Generation Website

If you scavenge the internet for a lead generation website you will undoubtedly stumble upon a mountain of different internet platforms making outlandish promises. These systems and websites generally ask for a sizable up front payment and tend to significantly under-deliver on their promise. Some of these websites essentially allow you to purchase their email list. While acquiring someone's personal contact information can be valuable, it is only valuable if they have in some form previously expressed interest in either your product line or business opportunity. What good does it do to market your weight loss products and business to an email list full of fellow marketers or uninterested people? This is an expensive and common mistake made by marketers when they initially take their business online.

Looking for a Lead Generation Website? Step 1 is Complete

If you're a network marketer reading this post, I believe congratulations are in order. You have taken the right step. What step am I referring to? I'm referring to your acknowledgment that the internet is the most valuable tool to a multi-level marketer. The internet allows us to present our network marketing business opportunity, as well as our quality products, to an immeasurable audience that we otherwise would have never come in contact with. But if most of these websites promise go unfulfilled, how do we go about establishing this online presence?

Empower Network is a True Lead Generation Website

While there are some bad eggs out there that will assuredly not help with your lead generation process, there is a true lead generation website. In order to have your business found online, you must do a number of things. Many of these steps involve tedious and consistent work and effort. Luckily, there is a system that simplifies this process.

Empower Network is a truly one of a kind lead generation website. Empower Network was launched near the end of 2011 by David Wood and David Sharpe. These men developed this progressive website as funded proposal system that would allow members to earn an income while recruiting leads for their other businesses. Empower Network members have access to an authoritative blogging platform and countless hours of marketing training from the industry's best. This elevated blogging platform will add validity to any content you post. This essentially means that your business related content posted on this website will naturally rank higher on a search engine results page.

While there is certainly far more that goes into the Empower Network, this website built in advertising and search engine optimization qualities put it miles in front of its competitors.

Confidence at the Inside Sales Desk

The most important ingredient to success as an Inside Sales (I/S) person is self-confidence. The foundation for self-confidence is training, education and preparation. Just like it is in sports, success and building self-confidence requires the practice of skills learned during training even if it's only On-the-Job training. Success is about practicing perfect. Sports legends often say you play like you practice. In relationship to Inside Sales this means if you don't take training and preparation seriously you will fail. Group role playing is an effective way to reinforce training and build confidence. Notice I said group role playing. Individual role playing can sometimes do more damage than good to self-esteem and confidence if it is not conducted properly. Group role playing eliminates threat and embarrassments. Practice should include planning what they are going to say in different situations. Practice of the presentation and delivering a meaningful and engaging message. Customers are only interested in how a service or product will benefit them or their business - it is the responsibility of the Inside Sales Manager to ensure that the message is perfected prior to the delivery. The art of inside sales is one that must be practiced daily - just as an athlete practices their skill, an inside salesperson must practice their craft.

A successful I/S person knows what they are going to say prior to the prospect answering their call. While every conversation is different, the introduction throughout the inside sales presentation should remain the same. One of the main purposes of inside sales is to deliver a consistent message - one that matches the branding and messaging of the firm he or she represents. Great Potential but Effective I/S Management is Required The potential for I/S to contribute to sales and penetrate accounts can be the defining difference between just surviving and thriving while maximizing growth opportunities. Industry surveys and case studies prove:

I/S persons have more customer and prospect contact than any other employees. Studies cite 85% or more of all orders are taken by inside sales personnel who are in an excellent position to influence purchasing behavior. The consistent use of suggestive selling techniques and promotional sales during customer contacts can increase average order value and penetrate sales potential An inside sales person must be prepared. Their confidence is dependent on that preparation. And their success is dependent on that preparation and training. The ultimate objective of the inside sales department, in consultative selling, is to build relationship equity in order to present the product or service - the company and the value it represents to the customer.

While it is important to respond to the customer, answering their questions and concerns and further exploring their interest and needs, the ultimate goal of the inside sales professional should always be the same - get the order, build on the relationship equity and satisfy the customer's needs. I/S people are no longer just sales support and orders takers. Inside Sales personnel are now considered frontline warriors that make a substantial contribution toward the company's growth objectives. They have become the key customer contact, the backbone of the business and the primary influence that proves the company's commitment to service excellence.

Once you master confidence, a proactive outcall program to generate new business is a logical next step. This can also lead to defining the real difference between customer service representatives and Inside Sales personnel.

The Role of the Inside Sales Manager

As I/S Manager you must understand the changing role and importance of front-line customer relationships to achieve the core mission of the business, i.e., customer retention, growth, satisfaction, and profitability. When managers do not envision the relationship between management practices and inside sales front-line actions, the business is not focused on meeting today's customer demands for service excellence. Additionally, failures to recognize the critical role of inside sales can destroy individual confidence which leads to individual failure at the desk. Further, as Inside Sales Manager you cannot take appropriate steps to support and train front-line inside sales personnel if you do not understand the need for the right support and training, thus core measures of business success suffer.

The most successful businesses in any industry are those that maintain relationships through ongoing customer satisfaction earned by meeting changing customer expectations versus those that focus on new business and new sales but lose existing customers. The importance of customer retention and its relationship to profits and growth through existing account penetration and through referrals from existing satisfied customers is well documented.

SOooooo... Guess who becomes the "Point of the Spear" on customer relationships, customer retention and increased customer penetration; The Inside Sales Person.

Answer These Questions As CEO, Sales Manager and as a leader, how are you treating your inside sales staff? Are they trained adequately? Do you recognize their value? Have you implemented an incentive program for I/S? In the past, Management often viewed inside sales people as order takers and treated them accordingly. This 'attitude' was reflected in areas that impact customer service, retention and job performance.

For example:

• Job descriptions: the lack of them or inappropriate job descriptions that do not reflect the realities of job responsibilities, tasks, or performance measures.

• Recruiting standards: the lack of them or inappropriate standards that do not reflect today's knowledge, education, skill demands, and empowerment needed to perform.

• Compensation and performance recognition programs: 'clerk' and 'order taker' compensation is considerably different from the knowledge worker demands of today's front-line inside sales professionals. An inside sales incentive program based on growth and profitability is essential.

• Training: the lack of training or inappropriate training that does not address the use of complex computer and communications technologies, product and product applications training. Value propositions and solution selling.

Customers rely on the day-to-day interactions with inside sales personnel to get product and applications questions answered. This reality appears not to be recognized or is the subject of multiple management excuses when it comes to training:

• We can't take them off the telephones during work hours

• We don't allow overtime so we can't train them after normal business hours

• We only allow vendors 15 minute increments during lunch hours to train them

• We would have to increase our costs to train them

• We don't have a training budget for inside sales

• We can't afford to send them offsite for training

Since the early 1980s, industry studies position I/S at center stage. They document changing customer expectations. They prove the primary day-to-day contact with all customers, and the only contact with the majority of customers, is the inside sales function. Inside sales people are the customer's window into the company. Through that window, customers see and experience the commitment to service excellence. All suppliers tout "We have the best service in the industry." Today's customers demand talk the talk be proven by walk the walk! When a company does not meet new demands of I/S for service excellence as customers define it, customers will readily switch suppliers to get what they want: "Anywhere, anytime, their way, for less, now, and fast!" Treat them right and confidence will grow. As confidence grows - success becomes imminent.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Importance of Facebook to Businesses

The world revolves around Facebook these days. It's everywhere, from households to businesses. Launched back in 2004, it has amassed a staggering one billion users. It has affected the social life and activity of people in various ways; it allows users to constantly stay in touch with its availability on many mobile devices.

However it should also be noted that Facebook has become an important medium for businesses to showcase their products. Firms do not know where their prospective clients and customers are. Most of them are active on Facebook, and if your business doesn't have a Facebook page you are missing out on a lot of customers. You can't get a prospective audience of 3 to 4 million or maybe more easily and most importantly for free elsewhere. This is a reason why you can find almost every big business owning a Facebook group or page. From Pepsi to Levi's, everyone is there. You need to be on this social media giant to gain such a market. Marketing on Facebook has a great effect, information spreads through networks virally.

Facebook provides a medium for constant customer interaction between the customer and the business, giving the company a better opportunity to understand, comprehend and discover what their consumers want. Moreover it provides a platform for firms to develop a better relationship with prospective and current audiences. Furthermore Facebook gives a clear idea as to how the business is perceived online. This can be done by obtaining direct feedback and looking at what the people have to say about the product. Businesses can acquire both negative and positive comments and can work accordingly to solve the issues that are arising. This is a great platform to grab new customers as anything you publicly post on Facebook goes viral in no time. This social media is also used as a tool by businesses for creating brand awareness amongst their customers apart from their corporate websites. Gradually as the page or group grows worldwide and increases its fan base the traffic to the company's website will increase. Creating a Facebook page allows businesses to get better search engine rankings.

Facebook is a world in itself; it's a growing universe which is endless. If it is properly used it can create a whole lot of difference to your business operations. A firm can achieve tremendous amount of growth within a very short period of time and it is cost effective.

Wide Format Document Scanning - The Advantages

Wide format document scanning and the digitisation of large documents is one of the most used services these days by the likes of architects and local authorities and with good reason.

Even the largest and most successful businesses in the world are finding that they need to save as much space as possible as well as bringing in the need for resources as much as is physically possible. Scaling back has become a familiar thing for so many businesses but when you have a lot of large documentation or large format drawings, plans or blueprints this can be a difficult task. More often than not these types of wide format files are either kept rolled in hard cardboard tubes or are left in a particular room unrolled where they take even more room than the cardboard tubes do. Cardboard tubes help to recude the amount of space that can be taken by large format documents but they are still heavily bulky things that take a lot of room especially if you have a large quantity of larger wide format images.

The best way to reduce the amount of space taken by these drawings is to simply get rid of them altogether but, as with most things, it's not as simple as that. This is where wie format scanning comes in.

Much like traditional document scanning, wide format scanning is a way to make digital versions of physical files but in this case on a much larger scale. Obviously you can do a large format drawing on a standard office scanner and they are more often than not done on a specialist large format scanner by a professional company.

But in doing this you can gain room that you might never have even realised you had. If your organisation is thinking of downsizing this can make a huge difference or even if you're just looking at giving your team some much needed space, wide format scanning is the ideal solution. This can have untold impacts on people's morale as well as the potential to use the new found room however you wish.

With wide format scanning files can be converted to numerous file formats of your choice whether this is PDF, TIFF or JPEG plus it's also possible, thanks to modern software innovation, to then convert the scanned files to fully editable CAD files which can be modified and used again and again.

With wide format scanning you're not just getting a way to save space and reduce your paper usage it also makes for a more flexible way of handling your documents. As with most PDF, JPEG or TIFF files, you can do pretty much anything you wish with them; modify them, email them, put them online to download and virtually anything else you can think of. This is the true beauty of digitisation.

Once the wide format scanning is completed you can then dispose of the large files either by sending them for secure shredding or to recycle. Usually the document scanning company that handles the conversion of you documents will be able to help out with these needs.

It might be surprising to realise that wide format document scanning is also something that doesn't cost a great deal. Most companies are in a position where they can process files quicker so that prices come down.

Mushroom Growing Business for Uganda: The Real Magic Uncovered

'In just 90 days, I was able to get over Shs. 50 million from the 7,000 stems of oyster mushrooms I grew. Each stem produces an average of 1.5kg of mushrooms in that 90 day period, and a kilo of mushrooms ranges from between Shs. 5000 and Shs. 8000.'

Mr. Kiddu Abel of the African Grower's association (U) Limited

Mr. Kiddu who is referred to above is right, mushrooms do grow quick. Their complete growth cycle is on average 15 weeks (about 4 months), even when using rudimentary methods. In Uganda it is common to grow them by having polythene bags suspended from the ceiling/roofs of dark grass thatched huts. The polythene bags being stuffed with damp cotton seedlings as well as maize brand, cotton or timber waste. With modern methods however, the mushrooms begin to sprout after 1-3 days.

So with the above in mind, how do you set about to make money to "feed the gods" of Kampala and it's surrounding areas?


1. Small Market.

Whilst mushrooms are technically not vegetables, they are often classified as such and owing to a low-level of disposable income, they are often not considered a necessity by Ugandans and therefore market is often limited to supermarkets and a few markets. The East African and International markets as per a few other research reports I have viewed seem to show that exports from Uganda would not be competitive when compared to other countries. The market will not therefore be significant but I however believe that the demand still outstrips the supply and with an increasing middle class, it is expected that demand for mushrooms will continue to grow.

2. Perish ability

Mushrooms are highly perishable and need to be consumed fast or properly preserved immediately after harvest; either through drying them or freezing. For the more advanced farmer, I recommend that you preserve them by drying them using a tunnel dryer. A tunnel dryer is estimated per Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) to cost $250. At September 2012's exchange rate this is about Shs 632,000. I however expect that to be the non commercial type as the commercial ones are in the range of $6,500 but I believe the non commercial is a good starting point. There is of course a possibility that the creative manufacturers of Katwe near Kampala can make you a local tunnel dryer.

An alternative to drying is to have refrigeration facilities to keep them fresh as some consumers including export markets prefer fresh to dried mushrooms.

3. Water.

Mushrooms need constant supply of water and a moist dimly lit environment to grow favorably. We therefore recommend having an underground water tank to ensure constant supply of water.

4. Edible types.

Identifying and consuming only the edible types is a challenge, poisonous types with harmful toxins can easily be mistaken for edible ones. I would recommend that you contact an experienced grower to help you find the commercial and edible type of mushrooms. The most common types in Uganda being the oyster and the button types.


1. Little Space.

Growing mushrooms doesn't need a lot of land or space. It is particularly suited for even a Kampala suburb dweller and mushrooms can be grown in your backyard or store.

2. Simple process.

Mushroom growing is simple and doesn't require a lot of expertise and intensive care. The art of mushroom growing can be mastered quickly and easily as compared to other agricultural products or plants.

A word of caution, despite the ease of learning, it is worth visiting a farmer in Uganda to get first hand training. You can try Kabale district which owing to its cooler climate is renowned for mushroom growing and even has modern commercial facilities.

3. Profitability and return on investment.

I estimate the Return on Investment for this sector is as follows:

Start up capital (A): Shs.4,420,000
Profitability (B): 19,170,000
Return on Capital (A/B): 0.23 years
Final word

Mushroom growing is easy to learn and with low start-up costs and returns in about 3 months as shown above. This is therefore a cracking venture to start. It is also a sustainable venture as mushrooms are a very good alternative source of protein.

Mushroom growing therefore has the double benefit of being profitable and good for the community (as a healthy living option).

Otherwise best of luck!

For over 8 years I have worked with several clients providing audit, accounts, tax and advisory in sectors ranging from agriculture, mining, entertainment, financial services and technology.

My client portfolio in Uganda, The Bahamas and The Channel Islands, United Kingdom has equally been diverse and this experience has given me a "well rounded" view of business including several clients in this sector.

Why Should Payroll Accounting Be Outsourced?

Outsourcing the businesses' payroll accounting, is something that all small and medium-sized businessmen should indulge into. Handing over the payroll accounting aspect of the business to a professional service provider offers a series of benefits and advantages. Here are some reasons and tips for outsourcing businesses' payroll accounting, something that every business owner should consider.

-One of the biggest benefits on offer when you outsource your payroll accounting is the fact that they provide guarantee and certification of the fact that your tax will be filed accurately and on time. A lot of businesses regularly suffer fines due to filings that are either late or incorrect. The possibility of this is completely eliminated once you hire a payroll service provider as they take full responsibility of getting things done properly and on time. This saves you a lot of headache and fine money as a business owner.

-Next on list of reasons and tips for outsourcing businesses' payroll accounting is cost cutting. Although these services come at a price, but when compared to the time and money saved in terms of manpower that would otherwise be used if you undertook this process internally, this seems like a more financially viable option and something that makes complete business sense.

-Another feature of outsourcing a businesses' payroll is the fact that this enables direct deposit of paychecks, quite easily and in a convenient manner. Most employees given a choice will prefer the option of direct credit of salaries into their bank accounts and using the expertise of a payroll service provider allows a business to achieve this process in a hassle-free manner without glitches and mistakes. Also, the job of payroll document management as well as personal resolution of paychecks every month that would otherwise have to be done is eliminated.

-One of the most important reasons and tips for outsourcing businesses' payroll accounting is the fact that these payroll providers are always up to date with any changes that are coming up in areas like tax charts etc. This will mean that the possibility of making mistakes on this account by using incorrect reference or outdated information is done away with. This itself is a major advantage and will account to doing away with a lot of headaches for the business owner.

Outsourcing a businesses' payroll accounting is a decision that makes sound business sense and a small investment that will manifest itself in much greater returns.

Gyms Can Fight Financial Flab Using Direct Debit

Running a small business such as an independent gym or health club can be stressful at times. Not only do you need to be concentrating on sales all the time, but there is also the abundance of red tape to contend with. Corporation Tax and VAT returns along with PAYE, employee issues, maintenance of the building and equipment along with customer service issues all start to eat into your time.

Each month you then need to reconcile your membership payments received against those that were due. With four or five hundred standing orders coming into the company account, this undoubtedly will take valuable time that could be better utilised elsewhere. Only when the reconciliation is complete can you identify those members who haven't made their payment and begin the monthly process of chasing those members up by telephone for card, cheque or cash payments. For persistent late or non-payers, more time is then taken by having to pass the debt to a debt collection agency or pursuing the outstanding amounts through the court system.

Moving membership collections onto Direct Debit could help reduce the time taken for reconciliation. Direct Debit is a system that operates on 'reports by exception' so you only receive reports when action needs to be taken - for example; unpaid amounts, cancelled instructions or changes to bank details. This means that you only need to concentrate on doing the things that really matter to your business.

While the Direct Debit payment method has been around for some forty years, getting access to the service can prove troublesome. The Direct Debit Guarantee is in place to give consumers protection and confidence in the system, however a customer's ability to claim back a single Direct Debit, or indeed a sequence of transactions without restriction on amounts or timeframe brings an element of risk to a sponsoring bank who provides access to the service. To restrict the risk to the bank, generally they will look for one or more of the following: (a) a turnover in excess of £1m; (b) A lengthy historical relationship with the bank; or (c) A deposit to be held by the bank.

These prerequisites preclude the majority of UK small businesses, so a number of specialised Direct Debit Companies have stepped in to fill the gap. These services provide a managed Direct Debit Service and can apply for access to the Direct Debit System by sponsoring a Facilities Managed Service User Number (FM-SUN) on your behalf. Some providers can also discount the service further by allowing the use of a shared unbranded SUN which means that the benefits of Direct Debit can be brought to all but the smallest of businesses.

Health Clubs and gyms suffer from high dropout rates. Members that signed up to beat the Christmas Flab rapidly lose interest in February and March and as the festive credit card bills start have impact, gym payments begin to be returned unpaid. This is where Direct Debit comes into its own: unpaid amounts can be scheduled to be resubmitted so a second attempt at collection can be made. Where a payment bounces at the end of the month, a resubmission in the early part of the next month may reap rewards as salaries are credited to members' accounts and the funds become available for collection.

For persistent non-payers, particularly in the initial twelve months of a membership contract, debt collection services can be an important service. Some BACS Approved Bureaux also have the facilities to chase debts on your behalf going through a set procedure of dunning using letters and telephone calls to request immediate payment of outstanding amounts. Letters can become stronger as debts become delinquent, and if no payment is forthcoming after a set period of time, the debt can then be sold onto debt collection agencies for court proceedings to be issued.

All of this happens in the background when you use a Direct Debit Company so you can concentrate on growing your business by selling new memberships, upselling to existing members and focusing on providing that excellent customer service that you can only receive from a truly independent gym operator.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Learn about 3D Printing And Support Materials

3D printing may be a seriously cool technology that exists to help U.S. manufacture the terribly odd things within the style world. CNC cutting and numerous machining tactics cannot create something. Mildew producing tactics cannot create something. I am not planning to say that 3D printing will creates everything either, but it will create quite a bit a lot of. Once it comes all the way down to victimisation 3D printing for producing functions, there ar such a large amount of a lot of prospects. In different articles, I've mentioned the advantages to powder primarily based 3D printing. Today, i would like to hide the magic regarding support materials between the globe of 3D printing. 

If you do not grasp already, 3D printing is that the layer by layer creation of just about no matter you are curious about creating. A machine can lay down layers of fabric in accordance to a 3D style. A designer, artist, architect, product developer, engineer, or no matter you would like to decision him or her can has to be compelled to style a file on the pc. This file can then function the blueprint for 3d printing processes. The extruders between the particular 3D printers themselves can work with this style to make a final piece. A hot glue gun-like head can then begin egg laying down layers of fabric. Once Associate in Nursing extruder lays down layers of fabric, it will solely do such a lot. For instance, it is not simple for a hollow out center to be factory-made. Grooves, curves, and complex centers ar terribly troublesome to manufacture. However, between numerous styles of 3D printing ar support materials. This material is that the key to making terribly tortuous items and styles. 

How do these materials ease once it comes all the way down to producing complicated parts? Well, basically - material is set down love it usually would be. Once there is a crater or a groove to wherever material could not are antecedently, a layer of support material is set down. There ar numerous styles of support material out there. Some support material is also a rather exhausting gel. Others is also created out of the particular material itself. Different styles of support material can merely be dissolved away once exposed to a chemical, going the ultimate product. 

The capabilities of those supports ar endless! There ar such many choices once it comes all the way down to truly manufacturing complicated items that have the capabilities of tortuous centers, hollow areas, floating items, and different advanced styles. There ar such many advantages to having the capabilities of support materials. There is with great care a lot of to realize from this! 

By having support materials within the arsenal of materials and producing, complicated items that might ne'er are created within the past ar currently out there for anyone to use! This implies that there ar planning to be some crazy styles that shake up the producing world. In fact, there have already got been styles that have merely dazed the planning world. The act of victimisation material with support materials are simply awesome! This is often one among the sides that 3D printing has on different numerous styles of producing.