Going paperless can save even smaller companies tens of thousands of dollars each year. Majestic Invites, for example, an eight-employee company saves approximately $50,000 annually since going paperless. Moreover, these are the savings for a smaller company. A larger company, Suncoast Medical Clinic (they have 370 employees), believes it will save $1 million yearly by making the decision to go paperless. These statistics show that going paperless can save your company big bucks—but how should you spend it? Here are a few ideas for spending that extra cash that will be laying around after your company makes the decision to go paperless.

Employee Retreat

Employees need an opportunity to relax. Studies have shown that employees who have the chance to relax feel less stressed in the workplace. If tensions are running high at your place of business, having a retreat day (or weekend) may be the perfect way to reduce stress and improve productivity in the workplace. As a bonus, an employee retreat is the ideal time to bond with employees and build work relationships.

Amusement Park Outing

An amusement park outing is the ideal way to build employee relationships, as well as the perfect way to include your employees’ family! If you are worried about bankrolling a day out to the amusement park for your employees and their families, consider purchasing a large number of tickets in bulk. Many amusement parks offer discounts for group tickets. You can even sell the tickets to your employees for the lower rate. Then, you can take the extra money to have an employee raffle for prizes and provide lunch. You can even include the children of employees if you choose.

Improve Office Technology

Have your employees been complaining about how slow the office computers run? Have you had difficulty finding software compatible with the older technology in your office? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you might want to reserve some of the money you save for upgrading office equipment. The bonus of improving your office technology using the extra cash is that it may improve the level of efficiency among your employees, which will save your business even more money.

Employee Bonus

An employee bonus is the perfect way to spend the money you have saved if you are looking to reward employees. This is especially true if they have put in much work as your company was switching over to paperless. This is a good option if your company is too busy for a retreat or outing, or if you do not believe your employees would be interested in either of their options. Reward them for their hard work by giving them money to spend how they please.

Jazz Up the Break Room

The employee break-room should be a relaxing, stress-free environment. After all, lunch is the only time that your employees have personal time to unwind during the work day. One way you can spend the extra money from going paperless is to make the break room a better environment. If the employee fridges are overcrowded, consider purchasing a new refrigerator. If the microwave is slow and outdated, buy a new microwave for the break room. If neither of these things are problems, then you can also consider buying more comfortable chairs, new decorations, or even a fun video game or air hockey table that the employees can use to unwind. If these ideas are not appealing, consider decorating the break room as a theme for a day and purchasing lunch for all of your employees.

Lautaro Martinez is a freelance writer and blogger who specializes in business and business related topics. For a business looking to start their paperless transition, he recommends making use of Filecenter by Lucion for making the switch and management. You can learn more about Lautaro on Google+.

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Beginners Guide to Business Advertising

by admin on May 8, 2015

Excellent products and services are good. But you know what is even better? It’s knowing how to connect those products and services with the people who need them. In the past, you could simply build it and they would come.

Nowadays, that doesn’t work as well as it used to. In this guide, we’ll discuss some of the most effective business advertising methods that you can use to make your business more popular and gain more customers.

Print Advertising and Marketing

Print advertising alone is huge. There are so many categories that it would be almost impossible to master everything while still trying to run your business. In print advertising, you have newspaper ads, banners, signs, flyers, brochures, direct mail, catalogues, posters, and billboards.

The key to making any of these tools work for you is identifying your target demography and putting out an ad in the medium that will offer the highest return on investment. For instance, most businesses need banners and signs.

These are proven methods for driving traffic and generating sales for your business. The key to making banners and signs work for you is to make sure that the design, copy and materials are excellent whether you design them yourself or consult with a service like Quality Sign Designer.

Digital Marketing and Advertising

If you have been around for a while, then you’ve heard about digital marketing some form or other. Even if you don’t know it as digital marketing, you might have heard terms like social media marketing, Facebook advertising, search engine optimization, media buys, pay-per-click advertising and so on.

These are all broadly grouped under digital marketing. When used correctly, they can generate impressive results. You must, however, “know your onions” well, as it can get pretty expensive, pretty quickly.

Many businesses have been able to take advantage of these channels with great results to show for it. You can too. But we would recommend hiring an expert first or learning everything you can before taking the plunge.  The major advantage of digital marketing is it doesn’t require huge amounts of money to get started.

TV Advertising

An oldie but a goodie, TV advertising has been popular since the ‘50s and continues to sustain its reach. There’s a lot of rumors regarding the fact that TV ads are dying. But the truth is that even internet-based companies are taking out ads on TVs.

This begs the question that if TVs weren’t as effective or didn’t have massive reach, why would internet-based companies advertise on them? If you have the budget and can afford it, take advantage of the additional marketing channel. It works.

Radio Advertising

Right after TV is radio advertising. Recent studies have shown that many people still listen to the radio and take action on ads aired there. Luckily, radio has not remained offline.

There are lots of online radio stations — some are offshoots or just online versions of your local radio station. Some are hosted only online. But they work today, just as they worked in decades past.

Know your options and don’t discount any path between your message and the people it needs to reach — advertising, like many other pursuits, benefits from a combined-arms approach. Keep the above in mind to maximize your reach.

Oscar King is a freelance writer and small business owner who contributes articles and insights about the challenges faced by the business community, and all the latest solutions that exist for them.

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Most Common Myths About Safety Programs

by admin on March 27, 2015

Guest Post: OSHA, better known as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, was founded in 1971 for the purpose of worker wellness and workplace safety, specifically in high-risk industries where injuries and health risks arise on a daily basis. Providing the proper training for employees is essential for organizations interested in lowering workplace accidents and avoiding fines from OSHA, as well as other government-sanctioned agencies.

In order to properly train workers and managers on essential principles of hazard management, safety professionals must understand the mistakes and myths commonly held regarding these processes so as to maximize the benefits of the relevant training. Below are a few of the practical myths taught within safety programs for workers seeking proper certification and compliance with OSHA and other government agencies. By understanding a few of the main myths about safety in real-world situations and applications, employees and their leadership can better apply their training to create and perpetuate safer environments.

Five Key Myths about Safety Program Training

The Complete Elimination of Risks – 100% risk-free, 100% of the time is impossible. While various safety software systems and communication tools such as ecompliance.com and IndustrySafe.com are great for eliminating human error due to a lack of communication and accountability, total safety in every workplace is ultimately impossible. Business and operations, particularly in high-risk industries, must balance productivity, profit, and safety equally on a daily basis. The use of heavy machinery and the presence of hazardous materials will always carry with them a certain assumption of risk. Rather than seeking perfection in safety, workers should train in the prevention, mitigation, and compensation for potential safety risks that occur within the workforce.

OSHA is not the Final Standard – All companies within an OSHA regulated industry must comply with standard safety procedures that include evacuation plans, contingency plans, workers’ proper safety equipment, and safety signage. The requirements placed on companies and organizations are the absolute minimum training required for operations – true safety grows beyond those standards. Companies that are truly committed to safety will use OSHA’s rules as a starting point, and add their own training and practices to further enhance the safety of its job sites.

Proper Safety Training Increases Costs – Although investing in safety training is an extra cost associated with doing business, companies that invest in safety benefit themselves in the long run. Some companies sidestep strong safety programs due to the mistaken belief that they’ll become less competitive due to these increased costs. On the contrary, companies who invest in safety have proven to be more efficient in the long-term and more reliable for customers and suppliers. Relationships only strengthen when your partners understand your commitment to quality in all things. In addition, lower worker turnover and less waste due to proper safety training create a positive environment for day-to-day operations, which ultimately lowers overhead costs, insurance costs, and worker’s compensation costs. In the short-term, safety is an investment, but in the long-term, companies stand to lose much more in terms of resolving individual incidents, as well as larger impacts on the reputation of the business.

Falls are not an Issue on Flat Surfaces – One of the most prominent safety risks plaguing companies in all sectors is worker falls. More workers are injured each year due to slip-and-fall accidents than any other type of accident, but many companies believe if elevation is absent, they do not need to invest time in proper safety training. In reality, falls can occur from obstructing objects or spills on the surface of production floors. Proper signage, barriers, and guardrails are needed for job sites or production floors where any threat is eminent, even if that threat is not on an elevated surface.

Equipment Cause Most Injuries – Unfortunately, most accidents in the workplace are preventable and simple human error is often to blame. Although broken equipment and machinery cause accidents, workers’ safety is ultimately a product of proper training and focus.

Further Reading

https://www.osha.gov/

http://www.safetymanagementgroup.com/articles/Common-Safety-Myths-Do-You-Believe.aspx

http://ohsonline.com/articles/2014/08/01/beware-of-these-five-common.aspx

Matthew Hall is a Los Angeles resident and freelance writer contributing on topics of operations management and business law, adding the benefits of his experience and perspective on the moral responsibilities of the business world to the general dialogue.

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Revisiting the Online Marketing Funnel

by admin on March 22, 2015

Guest Post

—————–

Even offline sales benefit from revising this old canard.

Traditionally, people making money online cast a wide net. They’d identify some prospective customers through various contact processes and then try to draw an ever smaller number of them into a “trap”: the hole in the bottom of the funnel where a sale was to be made.

That model makes some of us shiver now, because, to put it bluntly, we’re not spiders.

Our customers aren’t flies and we don’t wrap them up once and then feed off of their drying husks till they’re all gone.

On the contrary, we encourage them to live and to prosper. We might think of them sometimes as aphids being tended by ants, but by and large the insect analogies and the farming analogies only further separate us from what we’re really doing.

Long Term Relationship Marketing

We’re not prospecting or hunting or farming. We’re selling products and services within long-term relationships.

That realization helps not only your sales and your business – but it should extend into your marketing life, and the way that you conduct your business. You should be getting more from each sales prospect and at each point of contact between your business and every customer.

Very often, offline sellers will look exclusively at how online-only sellers are doing it.

This is a relatively grave mistake, because unbeknownst to lots of offline sellers, online-only sellers have learned the really important tricks of the trade from offline sellers – not the other way around.  We’ll look more closely at human sales people below but first, take a look at what the stone age of Internet selling looked like. Bring your club.

“Ye olde sales funnel”

  1. Website site visit
  2. Inquiry email
  3. Follow up email
  4. Purchase

And maybe sometimes, they’d include something more after the sale.

Sales funnels can be a lot more elaborate, but ye olde sales funnel is entirely focused on a one-time sale. You miss out on all the good stuff including repeat sales and 99% of the people who wanted to buy but weren’t ready to do so quite yet.

One-time sales cost a fortune compared to second, third and repeat sales.

And even hesitant, or not-ready-to-buy now customers (99% of your contacts?) go right back to being cold-call, expensive-to-reach nobodies. That’s not a good sales and marketing plan.

The Sales Funnel in the Age of the Repeat Customer

It’s also the age of the repeat visitor, the acquaintance and the only passively interested customer. That’s where your sales are, not in the cold-call stratosphere of the Internet and the mass market.

Repeat customers (and all of the above) are the secret to offline selling that Internet seller had to learn. What those offline sellers had expertise in – and that online sellers have studied endlessly – is one thing: environment!

Marketing is always about establishing and maintaining an environment of trust. Even lots of experienced marketing people never learn this. Sales people may do it – but many of hardened sales pros don’t know that what they’re doing is “marketing.” But many sales people are the very best marketers in the world, far better than marketing teams and commissions and departments. Sales people live and breathe marketing, and that’s precisely why some industries continue to rely on a human sales team. No one does it better.

Sales people do marketing by talking, asking questions and listening.

The new re-conceptualization of the sales funnel is designed to listen better, communicate better and to draw customers into a pattern of repeated use, inquiry and value exchange. The more you learn about your customer the more you can contribute to that customer’s well-being. Maybe not surprisingly, bricks and mortar stores had – and have – a distinct advantage when it comes to establishing the environment where that can happen.

Think about it. Customers come in, they ask questions and they learn about solutions. Sales people ask questions and provide answers and strengthen human relationships, and the good ones know that their customers will come back.

Duplicating that kind of sales funnel online can mean a lot more simple interactivity.

It can mean more informative content – and it can quickly grow into programs or apps that help your site to make suggestions based on past purchases or inquiries.  The more important goal though is to always keep prospects and past customers in a circulation, living and prospering, but stopping back in from time to time and always remembering your name and recommending your business.

Your personality, that is, your brand should be more attractive than an ant picking up aphids and herding them around. But filling out your brand – so that it lives and breathes like a personality – can take a lot more involvement. Such a strategy requires that involvement.

At the same though, this kind of sales and marketing plan doesn’t have to be extremely expensive. It doesn’t even need to be very technological. Some of the best and most cost-effective sales and marketing strategies involve a better mix of incentives to visit a physical location with incentives to return online – or to stay in touch. In most cases, it will involve a lot more communications, information and information exchange.

If you’d like to revisit your own Online Sales and Marketing Funnel to include more prospective leads and customers, and to keep them closer longer, we’d be happy to consult on many of the most advanced methods and technologies. Contact NettSolutions and we’ll be happy to share a variety of the most interesting projects we’ve most recently been working on.

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Guest post

There really is no substitute for the smell of fresh leather. There is something intoxicatingly luxurious about it. For good reason, leather is not the cheapest material for your office furniture. However, it does make for a quite comfortable waiting room or conference room chair. You can also impress visiting clients with having the nicest office furniture in town.

One of the major downsides to leather furniture is its upkeep. After spending all of that money on nice leather office furniture, you better darn be sure you are going to keep it for a long time. That is why caring for your leather office furniture is so important.

Cleaning

The first way to care for your leather office furniture obviously has to do with cleaning. How many times have you reached down on a piece of leather furniture to assist yourself in seating only to find a crevice filled with crumbs and dust? Yea, we’ve all been there.

Leather office furniture should be brushed frequently with a soft brush. This should be done regularly and softly. Too much pressure can cause the crumbs or other debris to scratch the leather, tarnishing your lovely office furniture.

Spills should be cleaned immediately. Some people assume that leather cannot be stained easily. While it is an upholstery that is typically harder to stain, it still can be. Real leather will soak up any liquid spills through the seams. Soakin leather has a tendency to become discolored, usually darker than areas that have not been soaked.

Dry blotting with a paper towel or an absorbent sponge will do the trick for most liquid spills. If need, you can use a damp cloth for stickier substances like chocolate or pop. However, avoid using a damp cloth of any grease stains. Unfortunately you may need to leave the grease spills to professional cleaners.

Finally, for cleaning, you can use a leather specific cleaner once every couple of months. Prior to using this cleaner on a scheduled basis, try using on a portion of the leather that is not seen to make sure it does not negatively affect your furniture.

Maintenance

In order to keep your leather office furniture looking fresh longer, you need to perform maintenance on it. Leather will lose its natural oils overtime, causing it to dry out and crack. There are a number of products at your disposal to perform the conditioning and nourishing of your leather furniture, preventing it from cracking.

One of those products is Saddle Soap, although there are conflicting theories behind if it helps or hurts. It does help to condition your leather furniture however it may also prevent your leather from breathing, which can also cause cracking.

Regardless of the product you use, the application process is simple. You simply wipe the product over the leather with a soft cloth, making sure to work it into the natural grooves. Just as you did with your cleaning product, you will want to spot test any maintenance product prior to using it over the entirety of your furniture.

Puncturing

Another simple way to care for your leather furniture is to prevent people from sitting on it with sharp objects in their pockets. This may be an awkward request to make of a prospective client, however it should be something that your employees are well aware of. Keys, pens, and pencils can all cause puncturing to your leather office furniture.

Salt Stain Prevention

Another preventative measure for caring for your leather office furniture is to avoid sitting on it if any of your clothing is damp. Damp clothing can cause salt stains which require a special solution to clean. If a salt stain occurs, a mixture of vinegar and water wiped over the seat with a cloth can usually do the trick.

Another way to prevent salt stains is to cover the furniture. Wait, wasn’t the point of the leather furniture to show it off? Yes, yes it was. However, during winter months it may be best to cover the furniture due to the sheer volume of potential rain, snow, and salt that is tracked into the building.

Stretching

Lastly, another preventative measure for caring for office leather is to avoid standing on it. This may seem like common sense as standing on chairs or couches is generally an office hazard to begin with. However, there may come a Christmas party where someone gets a little too festive and decides to dance on the leather couch or the office handyman (or woman) decides to use it as a step ladder. Standing on leather furniture can cause the leather to stretch beyond its normal capacity. This will cause the upholstery to become loose and no longer as luxurious looking as it once was.

Andrew Fujii is a marketing professional with expertise in digital/web and content marketing. He is also a copywriter for multiple agencies producing copy for blogs, articles, websites, product packaging, mobile apps, and more.

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+AndrewFujii2/posts

http://www.linkedin.com/in/andrewfujii/

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Guest Post

Our hobbies bring joy into our lives, but they also tend to take a lot of money out of our pockets. What if you could enjoy doing what you love and make money at the same time? It turns out, you can. Today, more than ever, people are turning their hobbies into lucrative business ventures.

We’ve put together a list of 5 business opportunities for the fabric enthusiast. All of these business ideas leverage existing skills you’ve developed and require very little business knowledge to get started. It’s time you start making money on your hobby, instead of just spending money on it.

1.  Upholstering Furniture

Learning to upholster furniture can be challenging at first, but the rewards are tremendous. Not only do you gain the ability to completely transform any piece of furniture, but you also gain a valuable skill that people are willing to pay their hard-earned money for.

This is a great business venture for 3 reasons:

  1. You can easily start small and scale up by hiring employees
  2. Custom upholstery tends to attract higher-end customers
  3. You can attract clients locally and online

The average person will be intimidated by an upholstery DIY project and that immediately increases the value of your service. Finding your first clients can be as simple as offering free (or reduced cost) labor to friends and family to build up a portfolio of work. You will likely want to find clients locally at first, but once you have proven yourself you will have clients that are willing to mail their pieces to you to work on.

2.  Creating Custom Drapes

Selling custom curtains is easier to get into than you might imagine. If you’ve already created custom drapes for your home, you can create them for anyone’s home. All you have to do is get in touch with the people looking for that service.

Fortunately, thanks to the internet, finding customers is easier than ever. A great website to sell custom drapes on is Etsy. You can also sell them on eBay and your own website.

Etsy is great because they target customers seeking customized and personalized products. These customers understand that handmade products/services cost more than walking into a chain store and are willing to pay more.

3.  Selling Personalized Throw Pillows

Selling custom throw pillows and blankets is similar to selling custom drapes. The key difference is that there is a high demand for personalized pillows. If you have a flair for personalization, this could be the opportunity for you.

It’s best to create several templates for customers to choose from, to make the ordering process as smooth as possible. This will also help you get the finished product completed as quickly as possible. Then you can offer additional personalization for an extra cost, if you choose.

4.  Handmade Clothing Accessories

Right now there is a high demand for handmade clothing accessories, such as scarves, wraps, gloves, hats, ties, etc. The primary objective for you is to use high quality fabrics and great craftsmanship. Customers are excited to pay top dollar for premium, handmade accessories.

You can use the same marketing channels as you would with selling custom drapes or throw pillows. The barrier to entry is very low and it really doesn’t require any business knowledge to get started. From there, the opportunity to expand is only limited by your ability to meet the growing demand of your customers.

5.  Interior Design

Maybe you fancy yourself as more of a visionary than a builder. If that’s the case, interior design consulting may be the most suitable business venture for you. Your income will derive from two sources:

  1. Consulting fees for your time
  2. A markup on materials you purchase on behalf of clients

The first thing you want to do is find a source of materials that allows you to charge a slight markup, while still saving your clients money. There are stores online, such as iLuvFabrix.com, that cater to interior designers or you can arrange an agreement with a local vendor.

Next you’ll want to build up your portfolio, which can easily be done by offering your (free or reduced price) service to friends and family. From there you can market your service locally and online to connect with potential clients. You should consider narrowing your focus to a specific niche or set of niches. Whether you keep your operation as a solo venture or hire employees is up to you. The opportunities are endless.

Kyle Stout is a freelance writer, and upholstery enthusiast, based out of Dallas, TX.

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Guest Post

Starting a business is both an exciting and terrifying time. The rush of building something from the ground up often helps to outweigh the fear of failure and the unknown. For those starting a business, it can seem like you are roughing it alone or venturing into the unknown without a support team.

That is why you need to build an exceptional support network. Without doing any actual polling of successful entrepreneurs, it is safe to say that the majority of them will agree that a strong support network is key to the success of any new business venture.

This network serves as your backbone, provides you with insight and experience, provides you with motivation, and can keep you on your toes. There are five ways to build a support network, but in truth, these five ways are all essential pieces of your support network.

Get Personal

The first, and possibly easiest way to start building your support network, is to reach out to your already present personal network. Being independent is a thing of the past. Family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances are not off-limits.

Your goal should be to get in touch with as many potentially supportive people as you can. Your potential network is literally at your fingertips. In this digital world there is literally no excuse for not being able to connect with people you are familiar with.

This personal network is your safe space. It is comprised of people who you can contact regarding most problems or just to get some internal feedback. Don’t hesitate to be that person who reaches out of the blue through LinkedIn or Facebook to rekindle a long-ago relationship.

Like-Minded Individuals

Another key way to build your support network is to link up with individuals who have a similar mindset to you.

Connecting with people who share your mindset is not just confined to those who share your same sentiments about a product or service. It could be anyone who shares your enthusiasm for a certain cause, a certain technology, or can just match your energy in general.

The reason you want to have these people in your support circle is because they can provide a lot of motivation when the going gets tough. Simply discussing a certain topic with someone who is just as enthusiastic about it as you can often be the catalyst for reinvigorating you. Every entrepreneur will have a conversation where they were so impassioned and vigorously talking that they didn’t even notice all the chuckling bystanders. Those are the types of conversations that can help you push through any friction and hard times.

Keep Your Competitors Close

Another way to build your support network is to keep your competitors close. Love it or hate it, your competitors are probably the most passionate people about your business besides yourself. They love to see what you are up to and what new techniques you bring to the game.

So, on the flipside, you should be keeping just as good an eye out on them. Learn from their mistakes and take advantage of their missed opportunities. There is a good chance you are going to cross paths a lot. For example, there is a good chance that they will be attending the same industry association conference as you.

Don’t let your competitiveness and pride get in the way of making them your acquaintance. If you are just starting out, there is a good chance they don’t even view you as a competitor yet. Now is your chance to pick their brain for all its worth. You may even form a very unlikely partnership down the road or at least get some odd sort of mentorship from them.

Industry Outsiders

Now that you’ve gotten your industry insiders, let’s move onto the importance of building your support network filled out industry outsiders.

One of the main benefits for building up your support network full of industry outsiders is that they can provide a fresh perspective. If you’ve ever heard the expression that “someone is too close to the project to see it clearly”, you understand. Sometimes the biggest hurdle is yourself. Industry outsiders can point out when you are getting in your own way with minescule details or over thinking something.

Industry outsiders also provide you with insight into other industries that, even unrelated, may have something that can benefit you.

Diverse Strategic Operators

One of the final ways to build up your support network is to connect strategically with a very diverse group of people. Technically, this strategy pulls from many of the previously listed support networks. However, there is a deliberate reason for each connection.

For example, you may connect with a major player in a logistical company that can help you with distributing your product. You might also connect with a manager of a manufacturing company that can help create your product. Finally, you might also connect with an advertising executive to help consult you with your marketing strategy. All of these connections are genuine, but strategically made to help advance your business.

Andrew Fujii is a marketing professional with expertise in digital/web and content marketing. He is also a copywriter for multiple agencies and a contributes to the TechSpace blog.

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Have you ever felt like your attention is being pulled in 20 different directions at any given time, or that the number of tasks you need to get done in a day is insurmountable? Don’t worry, you are not alone.

Some of the hottest topics of the day are time management, working efficiently, and productivity. We are told to use this method or that app, but in the end we are just getting more distracted by techniques that just don’t work.

10 Hacks To Get More Out of Your Work Day

  1. Get to the Office Early

Getting to the office even just a half an hour early will help your day and provide you with much more than a half-hour of productivity. The quiet moments in the early morning give you time to yourself to get in the zone, zero in on the most important tasks of the day, and set the pace for the day ahead. Not to mention, this looks great to your boss, clients or partners who will surely take note of not only your productivity, but your early arrival.

  1. Make a To-Do List (And Stick to It)

Making a to-do list is one of the oldest tricks in the book. It does so much more than helping you remember all of your to-dos. It helps people stay focused and motivated. Each morning, the first thing you should do is make a to-do list. Review the day before, ask yourself what didn’t get done that needs to, and then prioritize the tasks ahead.

Throughout the day, think about where you are focusing your attention and whether or not it is on the to-do list. If it is not, stop and come back to that task when you have free time.

When you feel unfocused or uninspired, look back at your list and think about everything you have already accomplished (I guarantee it is much more than you think). Start rewarding yourself for hitting benchmarks and make your productivity like a game.

  1. Set Aside a Dedicated Time to Answer Emails

Emails are one of the biggest time sinks in our day. We allow others to dictate our time, instead of taking control of it ourselves. Start setting aside a specific time every day for emails. Fifteen minutes in the morning, fifteen minutes after lunch, and fifteen minutes at the end of the day.

Prioritize which emails you respond to or choose to read. Not everyone deserves or can have your attention – and if it is important, they will call.

Most importantly, stick to this routine! It’ll amaze you how much more you will get done every day.

  1. Use a Time Management System

While using a million productivity apps does waste more time than it saves, finding one time management system that works for you is invaluable. The best systems combine all of your needs into one place like Scoro.com, which combines your team’s individual tasks and project to-do’s into one easy to navigate platform.

Simplicity and integration are key.

  1. Assign Each Project or Task a Set Amount of Time

Another time sink we all fall victim to is spending way too much time on the least important tasks. Avoid this blunder by giving each project or task a set amount of time for you to work on it. The time should be based on not only difficulty, but also importance.

  1. Move Around Once Per Hour

Every hour, take 5 minutes to clear your head and move around. This may sound counter-intuitive, but sitting for long periods of time and focusing on something for too long causes you to be less productive. So get your blood moving and get a fresh perspective, you’ll thank me for this one later.

  1. Eat Lunch Away from Your Desk

Much like the last hack, this one is all about getting a fresh perspective and allowing your mind to rest or think about something else. It is also much more enjoyable and healthy to focus on the act of eating rather than mindlessly shoveling food into your mouth at a computer screen.

Warning: This does not mean eat out every day! Pack a lunch, go to the break room (or a room in your house you don’t work in), chat with coworkers, or get some fresh air outside.

  1. Schedule Planned Interruptions

Interruptions will undoubtedly happen in your day, but when they happen is completely up to you. This is why I believe in “office hours.” Schedule 1-3 hours a day for people to interrupt you. Let them know that between 2pm and 5pm, you welcome them to come to your office or call you up to ask questions, collaborate, or get feedback. Outside of these “office hours” though, they should not interrupt you unless it is urgent.

  1. Ask Yourself What You Plan to Achieve Before Every Call

Many times, our phone calls and meetings go much longer than planned and achieve far less than hoped. Before any conversation, ask yourself what you need to get out of it. When the conversation strays away from the goal, redirect it. If it starts to drag on, cut it short. All parties will thank you for staying focused and respectful of everyone’s precious time.

  1. Block Out Distractions

Lastly, block out the countless distractions that always beg for your attention. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, email, texts, or Candy Crush – learn to ignore them. Apps like SelfControl are great for those of us who cannot block the distractions out without a little help.

 

Beckie Borchers, is a freelance writer and recognizes how a day of productivity can slip by so easily when people don’t allow themselves to focus on what needs to be done throughout the day. If you want to learn about Beckie you can find her on Google+.

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What are the Components of HRIS Software?

by admin on September 15, 2014

Software that is used by businesses must grow quickly so that workers can keep up with global demands in the marketplace. HR software systems have the same requirements. The systems have changed from independent solutions to efficient software suites, which are totally automated. These features accommodate HR software requirements for any workforce.

HR information system (HRIS) software is another name for HR software. It gives HR representatives an interface that has one entry point and numerous modules, which manage the most difficult HR tasks. The software eliminates redundant and tedious tasks that usually require component or analog systems.

A module could also include HR recruitment software, which helps employees locate new talent. When HR representatives use this type of module, they pinpoint areas of need and monitor manpower usage much easily. They can also recruit and target people who have the proper skill-set using online job boards. Recruiting software reduces lead time for finding the correct company drastically.

The HR department can access and optimize each worker’s performance using the management software. In addition, HR representatives can access costs and capability that are associated with the workforce. The modules make the process simple because it ensures that compensation matches each worker’s performance, expertise, and ability.

HR departments obtain repositories for documents in a digital format when they use HR document management software. The software also has revision tracking features, and representatives can update management for digital and physical documents. The software can track various kinds of HR data too, such as attendance data, employee time, and applicant data.

HR and payroll software simplifies employee paying procedures because it automates the process. The modules will gather attendance and time data from the track tax and other sources. It will also keep track of salary changes. The software will then send the data to an external payroll provider so that each task can be completed. These modules can generate direct deposits and manual checks too.

Why HR Software Is Important

A company must operate like a well-oiled machine; each component must work together so that the company moves forward. The HR department is often the cog in a business that has the most pressure. However, HR software keeps this cog running smoothly. There are four reasons why many businesses implement HR software in their workplaces:

Productivity

HR software automates numerous HR functions. It frees up time for HR employees so that they can focus on employee training strategies and finding new hires.

Fewer Errors

When HR employees make errors, there could be major legal and financial complications. One misplaced decimal point may lead to major issues. HR software decreases errors because it automates payroll information.

Compliance

Businesses must comply with numerous federal and state laws, but managing employee information can be complicated. HR software provides easy management solutions and information about compliance.

Metrics

Businesses review information every day to create strategies based on the competition. Most HR software options include metrics tools, which help businesses gauge issues, such as turnover rates and hiring costs.

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It is common knowledge that the world of business is constantly evolving. As a result, we see that businesses are becoming more high tech in order to keep pace with the rate of change and remain competitive and successful in their respective fields. One example of this move toward a technology-based workplace, which this article will explore, is the rising popularity of virtual receptionists.

A virtual receptionist is an individual who answers phone calls on behalf of your business but from a remote location. The concept is simple. Your business call is answered by the virtual receptionist using your business name. If you are free, the call is transferred to you but if not then the virtual receptionist will take a message which is then passed onto you for follow up.

Many businesses are opting for a virtual receptionist for the following reasons –

  1. Increased Customer Service

Having your calls answered the first time and speaking with a live receptionist leaves a great impression of your business. Even though you may be busy, your calls are still being answered and so potential customers and clients will be less likely to hang up and ring one of your competitors.

  1. Greater Freedom

As a virtual receptionist fields all your calls away from you, you are left with greater freedom to concentrate on other tasks and projects. In this way, you are free to divert all your attention to maintaining and growing your business without affecting your level of customer service. With the help of a virtual receptionist, you do not need to feel tied to the telephone.

  1. Increased Productivity

Having your phone calls answered by a virtual receptionist can have a positive effect on your productivity levels. With the freedom to focus on other work, your productivity levels increase as you can source products, meet clients and plan growth strategies for your business without having to answer phone calls all day. A virtual receptionist gives you the power to focus on the more important jobs without any compromise.

  1. Cost Effectiveness

With a virtual receptionist, you don’t incur any of the cost associated with the recruitment, training and employment of an in-house full-time receptionist. You simply pay a set fee for the service you receive. You also save on paying benefits, vacations and bonuses. What makes the service so attractive is that while you are saving costs in this way, you are also boosting revenue at the same time.

  1. Availability

With the services of a virtual receptionist, you can open up your phone lines outside of regular office hours and at weekends, ensuring that you never miss a customer’s phone call. The service can also be used during peak times of your business which ensures that every call to your business is answered by a live voice and not an automated answering machine.

You should consider employing a virtual receptionist if you wish to expand your business without incurring the costs and responsibilities of employing an in-house receptionist. Your virtual receptionist can be more cost-efficient and you may also benefit from extended hours of service as well as the increased levels of productivity that will inevitably result.

Mark O’Leary is a freelance blogger and social media expert based in Dublin, Ireland. He writes on behalf of several Irish businesses including Kendlebell Kimmage.

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