December 4, 2013
Dave published this at 10:38 am
It can be easy to keep track of your small business when you are first starting out.
You know what everyone is doing; in fact, you are often the person doing most of the work. However, as your business grows and expands into new areas and new departments, it can be difficult to ensure that everything is working smoothly until it isn’t.
To avoid crisis, you need to know if your business is functioning well in all areas. This is part of the role of business administration.
One area where you must review is on leadership.
Do you have a leader for every department or is one person trying to handle multiple areas? Is the right person in the right position of leadership?
Whether you believe that leaders are born or made, you must make sure you have a true leader in the right position to achieve the best results from your staff. That may mean hiring the right person or training someone to become the right person for the job.
You must also make sure you have your small business divided into the correct categories or departments to operate in the most efficient way possible.
Tasks need to be delegated to the area where it makes the most sense. This may differ from what has been done in the past, but results in better operations.
Do you have adequate communication channels set in place for your business?
A successful organization is one that receives input from all areas of the company. Furthermore, the leaders of the organization provide information that is accurate, relevant, and timely to the staff. No one feels left out or left “in the dark” as to the direction of the organization.
To have an effective administration means in part that you offer the opportunity for everyone to be heard.
This may include providing anonymous surveys for input. An organization must have weekly or monthly department and company-wide meetings to keep everyone updated on the different aspects of the business.
A business must also have an effective review system in place.
This not only ensures that things are working well, but it gives you the opportunity to see if there are ways you can do it better. It helps keep your company organized while you make sure everything is progressing along based on the business plan. If you find deviations, you must decide if they need addressed or if your plan needs altered.
As your business grows, you will find it harder to keep your hands on the pulse of the organization. However, it is important to maintain the proper oversight of every aspect of your company to ensure future success.
By focusing on having the proper administration in place, you can achieve your goals and keep your company running smoothly on all levels.
Photo credit: smallbusiness.chron.com
About the Author: Joyce Morse is an author who writes on a variety of topics, including SEO and business administration.
December 3, 2013
rosemary published this at 7:29 am
By Dipti Parmar
The best advice I received during my career in corporate America can be summed up in these four words; inspect what you expect. These four words that can provide focus for managing a business, a staff, a team, and even your children.
When it comes to business, the only metrics you should concern yourself with gathering are those that will help you make the right decisions. Most analytical software tends to emphasize metrics that might make you feel good about your business but do not really provide any useful guidance for making decisions.
For example, a report that reveals you have a total of 20,000 “hits” to your website may make you feel good, but the report tells you absolutely nothing about how you achieved those hits. In this sense, such statistics aren’t terribly useful.
You may have seen this in your business. You launch a new feature or product and a few days later sales and revenue are up. Everyone pats themselves on the back. The product guys think it is the result of the feature, the sales guy thinks it’s the new promotion and the customer service people think it’s the customer-friendly policies. The fact is, you don’t really know what caused the up-tick, but when sales and revenues drop back to baseline … no one wants to accept the blame!
Compare this to what I would describe as an actionable metric. For example, by adding a new feature to your website but allowing only every other customer to see it, you would be able to examine both sets of revenue streams a week later and make some meaningful conclusions. This metric is designed to allow you to ascertain the effectiveness of the new feature based on revenue differences. If the new feature increased sales, then you obviously want to implement that feature for all your customers. If you see that it didn’t move the needle for either group, you could scrap it. The important take-away here is that these types of metrics are actionable. It is data from which a conclusion can be readily made and acted upon.
How to Achieve Actionable Metrics:
Split tests—such as the one I described above, will allow you to take the right course of action on anything from minor copy tweaks to major product changes. These tests are widely known as A/B tests and you can get more information and background from this whitepaper titled “Controlled Experiments on the Web: Survey and Practical Guide” (PDF).
Per Customer Metrics—because people are metrics! Ordinary metrics can fog our focus on reality by diverting attention to unreal groups and pseudo concepts. It is significantly advantageous to examine data from a per customer or per segment perspective. Try focusing, for example, on the number of page views per new or repeat customer rather than just the total number of page views. Per customer data can indicate that you are increasing the level of engagement with your customer. Looking at aggregate data will not reveal this trend. There are several analytical packages that offer a business the ability to reduce aggregate data to per customer and/or per segment analyses. One is Google Analytics, which in combination with Google’s goal tracking feature will allow you to see which web referrers are driving the most conversions. Armed with this information, you can make decisions on which referrers are worth your time and money. This allows your business to maximize its return on investment.
Group analysis and funnel metrics—can be among the most useful metrics for forward decision making. For purposes of illustration, let’s say you have an e-commerce product with a few life-cycle events. These may include registering for the product, signing up for a free trial, using the product and, ultimately, buying the product. A simple report can be created to show these metrics for groups in a defined time period. For example, you might create a weekly report which shows what percentage of customers registering in that week went on to take each life-cycle step. If these numbers reflect no changes from group to group, then we have learned that nothing significant is happening. If one spikes up or tumbles down, then we have an unmistakable reason to investigate. Using funnel metrics to consolidate this data into a few useful numbers is easy to do manually, even if you have a large number of registrants. Simply break out the old fashioned index cards and record the number of customers registering each day. Then for each conversion (sale), make a tally mark on the index card corresponding to the date that customer registered (not the date they bought). Then on a weekly or monthly basis, you can compute conversion rates for the customers registering in that time period. Obviously, it is this number you want to focus on driving up!
What I have shared here today has been focused on the e-commerce business but the theme of managing to expectations is equally applicable to brick and mortar businesses. The idea of inspecting what you expect is applicable to all business enterprises, from invoice financing companies like CBAC Funding to the mom and pop dry cleaning store in your neighborhood.
If you expect to achieve a goal, measuring your progress is essential; otherwise, how will you know you reached it?
December 3, 2013
rosemary published this at 6:46 am
By Christopher McMurphy
The phrase “adapt or die” has proved true in the animal kingdom, and it has a place in the wild world of marketing as well. Monumental shifts in the advertising landscape since the advent of the Internet have only served to buttress this point. And while larger organizations often have the full weight of entire marketing departments at their disposal, it can be difficult for smaller operations to keep up with the trends. And failing to move with the times can spell certain death for any outfit.
But those small businesses that feel they lack the means to mount an effective online marketing campaign are sorely mistaken. Any organization, big or small, can utilize modern, proven methods to convert leads into customers and generate that attractive ROI. Here’s how.
Set a schedule
Those running an operation themselves may rightly feel they don’t have much time to commit to crafting and posting regular blog posts. That said, there’s no need for the frazzled business owner to overextend him or herself. Owners should commit to a preliminary schedule that involves making at least one post per week. Once a firm schedule has been set, owners can then focus on increasing the output over a period of time, such as to multiple blog posts per week.
Some owners may simply be too busy to even commit to one or two posts per week, and that is understandable. However, that is no reason to forgo a blogging strategy entirely. Time-strapped owners can outsource their needs and hire writers from across the web. There are plenty of quality guest bloggers out there, all with the skill and expertise required to contribute authoritative, original blog posts on a variety of subjects.
In the world of blogging, the hard sell is anathema to success. The most successful bloggers reach large audiences by getting personal with their readers. When it comes to small businesses, owners are going to want to craft an overall theme to their blog posts (helpful DIY tips, Top-5 lists, etc., etc.) and engage while staying on message. Oftentimes owners find success in this manner by adding personal details and experiences within the content.
The best (and most successful) blogs contain content that is of some use to the reader. The average web surfer is highly likely to bypass all blog posts that contain nothing more than sales pitches on their way to more helpful content. That means the blogger needs to be credible in the field in which they write about. An auto parts business, for example, should consider publishing posts on DIY auto repair, as this is of use to their target audience.
One of the best ways small business owners can achieve success through blogging is by being honest. The most successful blogs around are transparent and forthcoming about what it is they represent. Fine print doesn’t translate in the blog world, so business owners should air on the side of prudence and gain trust through total honesty.
In the end, if there’s one thing that all small business owners and operators should take away from this article, it is the need for consistency. All the content in the world won’t matter much unless it is visible on a regular basis. That means being diligent in adhering to a firm blogging schedule is paramount for any successful content strategy.
December 1, 2013
molly published this at 3:00 am
Are your living in someone’s shadow?
Are you building your future out of spite, or to prove someone wrong?
How much misdirected energy is keeping you from achieving your true goals, and how can you redirect that energy for the benefit of all? How much more could you achieve if you could release the “dead weight” of expections (your own and those of others)?
“Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn’t you ~ all of the expectations, all of the beliefs ~ and becoming who you are.” ~ Rachel Naomi Remen
Have you ever been consciously aware that you are experiencing recognizing yourself in someone else’s experiences? I did earlier this week. It was during a conversation with someone who was just starting a journey that I’ve completed (in most respects). I had walked his path and realized that I was now being given the chance to serve as guide (and to learn even more about independence and autonomy through teaching it).
I want to keep this relatively brief, because I’m actually afraid of getting too wordy and losing the impact of our conversation. Anyone who knows me is familiar with my tendency to give the long answer first, and then follow up immediately with, “the short answer is…”
That said, the gist of our talk was that this person wanted OUT. Out of his life; out of his situation. He had applied a geographical solution to his problem by moving away from the town in which he grew up in order to live his life without the baggage that accompanied the expectations others had of him.
There are those who say this solution may be a form of running away, and in some cases, I would agree (“No matter where you run to, there you are”). I get it. However, the nation’s urban centers are teeming with people who left behind the perceptions, conceptions and limitations of the towns in which they grew up in return for a fresh start. To upend the theme song of the sitcom Cheers, “Sometimes you wanna go where NOBODY knows your name.”
People assign you with a label because it makes life easier for them. Naming you by labeling you helps them to frame their own place in life. Categorizing people as one dimensional, distilling them to one adjective (stupid, smart, lazy, ambitious, crazy, level-headed, clumsy, athletic et al) is inaccurate at best and carries a great potential for harm at worst. What’s doubly frustrating is when others label you based upon the behavior of others (ie. your family).
“Anyone can cut an apple open and count the number of seeds. But, who can look at a single seed and count the trees and apples?” ~ Dottie Walters
This was the case with my friend earlier this week. I could see the pain written in his face and see the energy straining to express itself as we talked. He wanted more. He knew that he had the ability to achieve great things. He was more than the sum of his parts and was willing to do the work in order to develop his own talents.
How much greatness lies dormant in us all?
Our obligation to each other is to recognize, nurture and develop the divine within each other. This precept forms the cornerstone of my work. Each of us has the capacity to reach out and help another evolve into the highest expression of our natures. Our environments have the potential to nurture our development or to squelch it. That said, YOU are the force which determines your life’s trajectory.
Your job is to recognize and believe that you are worthy of great things. You must invest in yourself. Others can accompany you on your journey, but you must do the heavy lifting yourself.
You are not Your Family. You are not Your Past. Your choices are your own. You are capable of achieving anything you set your mind to.
Molly Cantrell-Kraig is a woman with drive. Possessing an innate sense of purpose and a pragmatic, solution-based approach to empowering people, she fused these two traits in order to establish Women With Drive Foundation. Based upon its founder’s personal history, Women With Drive Foundation is a means through which Cantrell-Kraig may effect change on both a micro and macro level. By providing women with something as essential as personal transportation in order to transition them from poverty to prosperity, she, through Women With Drive Foundation, seeks to empower women to help them help themselves. Through this action, the individual applicant benefits, as does society as a whole. Follow Molly on twitter as @mckra1g or @WWDr1ve (Women With Drive)
November 30, 2013
rosemary published this at 10:26 pm
By Suzie Cheel & Des Walsh
We watched this dolphin being modeled one Sunday afternoon at Rainbow Bay beach.
Perfection with great attention to detail and made to last. The man building the dolphin was meticulous in the finish of his dolphin, so much so that they we enjoyed it for 4 mornings afterwards before the waves finally were washing it away.
November 29, 2013
rosemary published this at 8:28 am
By Jared Jaureguy
In a world that is constantly putting more and more trust in the hands of smartphones, tablets and desktops, one would expect paper to become obsolete. After all, it’s easy to read the news, check your bank account, send emails to clients, and even shop all in the cyber world. However, many companies are reluctant to let go of their reliance on paper. This could be due to the necessity of physical documents in some cases or just lack of willingness to break with a habit.
There are important incentives for going paperless. Among them are faster speeds, better organization, and benefit to the environment. Recent changes in technology, one of them being the growth of the e-signature, have made it much easier for companies and organizations to make the change.
Why go paperless?
One of the biggest reasons is efficiency. Earlier this year, attention was drawn to the Department of Veterans Affairs, when it became obvious how inefficient their system was. Veterans filing claims for disability compensation and other benefits were waiting months and sometimes years for their files to be processed. Investigations into the problem revealed that part of the problem was that almost all of the veteran’s claims were made on paper (97%). Piles and piles of paperwork had built up over the years, making the department incredibly inefficient.
Another reason is organization. Some feel that the old fashioned model of folders and file cabinets is the best way to stay organized. However, papers can easily be misplaced. Stacks of paperwork can build up, making it difficult to find anything. On the contrary, online files can be retrieved immediately.
Companies should also be concerned with the environmental impact their paper hoarding can have. Going digital helps in several ways. It saves trees that provide oxygen to the environment, lessens harmful substances released in paper industry, and reduces fuel consumption in transporting paper products. The U.S. pulp and paper industry is the second largest consumer of energy in the nation. Currently the average American office worker prints close to 10,000 pages per year. Simply deciding to use digital documents when possible can save significant amounts of oil, space, trees and energy.
How e-signatures can help
All companies and organizations use signed documents in their dealings with clients and colleagues. Printing long contracts inevitably generates a lot of paper.
Over ten years ago, the federal government passed a law giving credibility to electronic signatures, protecting them in courts of law. Over the years, the use of e-signatures has grown, as companies have adopted quick and efficient ways of transferring documents. Documents can be sent via email, read by customers (and explained over the phone if necessary), and signed by clicking boxes that show your acceptance of conditions. This method is just as safe, if not safer, than the traditional method. Most companies password protect the documents and store them in secure servers. Some even go as far as to encrypt documents when they receive them, making them virtually impossible to hack. To eliminate the possibility of tampering and fraud, the documents are made available to both parties, so no one can change them after they are signed.
The use of e-signatures is on the rise, with companies continuing to make it an easier process, and integrating them into user friendly formats on social media and personalized websites.
There are many ways that a company can go paperless, from basic email to digital record keeping. However, e-signatures are leading the way and will certainly help companies in the future become more efficient, organized and ecologically friendly.
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