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Showing posts with label SMALL BUSINESS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label SMALL BUSINESS. Show all posts

Friday, 27 June 2014

Why You Need a Biannual Finance Check-up

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Sure, we all know the importance of getting a medical check-up every six months or so. It helps us identify any health issues sooner rather than later, increasing our chances or retaining great health well into our later years. But did you know the importance of getting a biannual financial check-up too? In many ways it’s just as important as a medical checkup: it can help us identify problem areas before they get out of hand, and can help us stay on track towards our financial goals. We all know that money makes the world go round, and without enough of it, the quality of our lives will surely suffer. If you’re not already convinced as to why you should schedule a finance check-up every 6 months or so, either with an expert, knowledgeable friend, or with your significant other, then read on. Here are three reasons that should hopefully convince you today.

You Can Take Stock of Your Trading Performance

If you’ve been trading with shares or on the foreign exchange market, now may be a great time to evaluate your general performance over the previous 6 months. These days, more and more people are getting into trading, as companies such as
Knowledge to Action (click here to be directed to their website) and other financial education firms continue to teach more of the general public the fine art of trading. However, every art form takes time to master, including share or currency trading. If you’ve failed to achieve your financial goals at this six month mark, take note of your success and failures over the last half year and identify any reoccurring issues. If possible, speak to a financial expert or invest in some more training. Hopefully you’ll perform even better over the remaining months of the year.

You Can Determine Whether You’re on Target for Your Savings Goals

Sometimes we need to take a timeout and reflect on where we’ve come from, and where we want to go. If you’re saving for a deposit on a home, a new car, or a much needed holiday, then you’ll need to make sure your saving efforts are well on track. Failing to track your goals is just asking for trouble. Looking over your savings progress 6 months into the year allows you to see exactly where you are in relation to your goals. If you’re on track, knowing this can help you stay motivated throughout the rest of the year. If you’re not, then it can also give you some motivation – this time, to get back on track and do what needs to be done to get you to your goal.

You Can Take Advantage of New Financial Developments

The world is constantly changing, and opportunities that may not have existed at the start of the year may now be ripe for the picking. However, if you don’t schedule a half-yearly financial checkup then you may miss them entirely. For example, the housing market may have taken a dive in the last 6 months, presenting you with an ample opportunity to purchase some property. Or, a new bank may have entered the market, promising rock bottom lending rates and minimal fees. Taking a timeout at the half year mark, and reflecting on your current financial situation, allows you to react to these new developments, and possibly take advantage of them. This is all about being smart and adaptive to the current financial landscape.

Posted By: Pawan Lubana on Friday, 27 June 2014

Monday, 23 June 2014

4 Tips for Businesses Hiring Summer Workers

Summer-employment
Summer is an especially hectic time for many industries. Restaurants and shops frequently extend their hours of operation to accommodate increased foot traffic from students who are out of school for the season. Outdoor-based businesses take advantage of good weather and longer daylight hours to get in as much work as they can. This upswing in business means that companies in these industries often hire temporary help to handle the increased workload.
Smaller businesses that are just starting out may get inundated right at the beginning of the season, before they realize they need a few extra employees. Established companies usually know they'll require extra hands on deck months in advance, but might still find themselves a bit short-staffed as the summer rush picks up. No matter what stage of growth you're in, here are a few things to keep in mind when looking for short-term workers.

Decide if you need an employee or a contractor

Worker classification is an incredibly important part of taking on any hired help. Depending on the type of business you run, you may have a choice between bringing in a regular employee and an independent contractor.
"Whether it's long- or short-term, judge your demand and decide which [type of worker] you need," said Steve DelVecchia, founder of online staffing platform Adaptive Professional Solutions.
A worker's status is usually dictated by the level of control the employer has over the individual's daily tasks, as well as the worker's overall contributions to the business. The key difference is that employees are listed on payroll and covered by a company's benefits and insurance, whereas contractors are not. This can make a huge difference in the time and money you spend bringing a particular worker into your business. Alternatively, DelVecchia suggested using a staffing firm for temporary help to avoid the hassle of payroll and HR paperwork.
Recruit with social media
Companies increasingly use social media to find the best and brightest full-time talent. C.J. Reuter, senior director of global client success at social recruiting solution Work4, said that social media can also be a great recruiting tool for employers who need seasonal help.
"Leverage what your marketing team has already done to market yourself as an employer on social media," Reuter told Business News Daily. "Social media shows [candidates] what it's like to be there. You can publish photos on social networks showing the behind-the-scenes, day-to-day culture. It's more believable, especially to the younger generation."
Since seasonal hiring tends to be very geo-specific, you can use social media to find qualified candidates in your local area and reach out to them throughout the year, Reuter said. This will put your company on local workers' radar when they're looking for a part-time seasonal job or internship.

Don't forget about insurance coverage

Since seasonal hires are frequently part-time and will only spend a few months with you, it's easy to forget what this means for your insurance policy. Don't make the mistake of assuming all of your workers are automatically covered.
"It's important to look out for all workers, regardless of employment status," said Steve Carlson, vice president of select worker's compensation for Travelers Insurance's small commercial department. "Think about what insurance coverage you need and don't need, and what the cost will be [if you don't have it]."
Carlson advised speaking with your insurance agent about the types of employees you're taking on — part-time, full-time, paid interns, volunteers, etc. — and finding out what that means in terms of your local labor laws. Depending on their status, employees may not be covered by your worker's compensation policy, so you'll need to research the proper steps to take should they be injured on the job.

Treat them like your regular employees

Although they will only work with you temporarily, you and your seasonal hires should get the most out of that time. Once you've hired the right people for the position, train them efficiently and well so they can do the best job possible while they're there.
"Bringing someone new on is about training them and making sure they understand what's involved in the job," said Scott Humphrey, director of technical services at Travelers' risk control department. "Summer hires are usually college kids who are somewhat new to the workforce. They're eager to do a good job and get something done as quickly as possible, but as an employer, you want them to take their time and do it right. Supervise them and give them feedback about what to do and not do — the same way you would treat any employee."

Posted By: Pawan Lubana on Monday, 23 June 2014

7 Tips for Starting a Content Marketing Strategy

Final-content-mangement

They say that hindsight is always 20/20. That when we look back at where we came from we can see things we wish we would have known or done better. This couldn't be more accurate when I look back over the years at my content marketing efforts.
But you're in luck! I've outlined seven of the most important ideas I wish I would have known when I was first starting out in content marketing years ago. I hope they help you get ahead of the game.

1. Tailor to your personas

A persona is a fictional representation of your ideal client. You can create different personas by bucketing ideal clients based on common characteristics, needs or problems. Developing your personas is not only a fundamental piece of your marketing strategy, but also of every function within your organization.
They are key because you can tailor your content strategy, conversion offers, social posts, etc. around each persona's specific goals, needs and point of pain.
Tailoring your content around your personas will help ensure the right people are finding it, help increase engagement, and help build a loyal audience of the exact types of people you're trying to target for lead conversion. Without clearly defined personas, you will simply be shooting in the dark with your efforts.

2. Look at it as an investment

Content marketing (just like most things in business) is a marathon, not a sprint. It will not be an overnight success, but instead builds up momentum over time, like a snowball rolling down a hill. This can be quite scary for those who come from a paid media background with instant gratification in results.
In order to stay focused and dedicated in the beginning, continuously remind yourself that each blog post and each content offer is an investment in your marketing "assets" and in the business. Although it's usually estimated to take six to nine months to really start picking up steam, this is a relatively short investment for the long-term success of your marketing program.

3. Make it an organizational initiative

One key to success in content marketing is to get the entire organization, from the top down, to buy into a "culture of content." This means that everyone in the organization will not only get excited about your marketing team's efforts, but will also actually get involved in the production and promotion of content.
This is probably one of the biggest challenges marketing teams in larger organizations face, but it is critical. My advice is to start at the top and get all your C-level execs to back creating a culture of content. From there, you can follow this advice to promote the content culture throughout the organization.

4. Content doesn't have to be written

Many times when we think of "content marketing" we right away think of written text. However, it's important to keep in mind that that is only one media format. If writing is not your strong suit, think about incorporating video or audio content into your strategy.
Ultimately you want to pick the media format that works best for your team to produce and is best received by your audience. This also can include a combination of multiple-media formats. Once you find the right balance, you will be able to create content easier with bigger impact on your audience.

5. Quality over quantity

There has been this long-asked question: Which is better, writing a ton of basic articles or a few amazing articles? The bottom line is every piece of content should provide the reader value and leave them happy they had read it. Yet, it's important that you are consistently and frequently posting. So there needs to be a balance, which is slightly different for every organization based on resources, industry and your audience.
Typically I recommend posting a minimum of three good-quality, 700-word blog posts per week. Although when first starting out this may seem like a lot, this is a great formula to build traction in your content marketing fairly quickly (typically four to six months). If you can do more than three blog posts a week, that's awesome, but at a minimum work to post three.

6. Writing is only half the battle

As time-consuming writing your content may be, it is only half of the battle. The other half is promoting the content to drive people to read it. This is many times often overlooked by marketers simply because they are so glad to have the content finished.
Make sure you create a plan of action for promoting your blog content and dedicate 25% to 33% of the time it took to write the blog to promoting every new blog. This is critical for getting the most out of your content marketing strategy.

7. Repurpose

One of the greatest skills expert content marketers possess is knowing how to repurpose content in many different ways. Their brain can see opportunities to use existing content in many different ways to maximize the value of that content.
For example: Let's suppose you or someone in your organization is creating a presentation for a trade show. This is a great piece of content that can be easily repositioned into many different forms, providing huge content value.
After the event, reuse the content as an on-demand webinar conversion offer. Then have the webinar transcribed into text and divide up each of the main ideas into individual blog posts. Then take the most popular blogs and expand on them to create an e-book (and so on).
Although each content marketing strategy is going to be a bit different depending on the organization, the ideas in this article will be applicable to any scenario. For those of you just starting out with a content marketing strategy, I hope that you can keep these in mind and that they help accelerate your success.

Posted By: Pawan Lubana on

Saturday, 4 January 2014

7 Ways to Sneak Exercise Into the Self-Employed Lifestyle

When you’re self-employed, it’s easy to think that your schedule is 100% your own, and that you can pick and choose exactly how you want to spend your time. However, entrepreneurs work hard to please clients and build the perfect business — which means that personal time is often sacrificed for last minute projects, client meetings and tight deadlines.
The stress and long hours of the entrepreneurial lifestyle often come at the expense of physical and mental well-being. Trips to the gym take a back seat to the business.
If you’ve been struggling to find a way to fit regular exercise into your unpredictable, self-employed schedule, here are a few tips for the new year.

1. Wake Up Earlier

Squeezing in an extra hour in the morning is one of the most effective ways to fit a workout into your day. Maybe you’re not a morning person, and the idea of waking up in the dark to swim laps or head to the gym sounds like pure insanity. If this is the case, ease yourself into a new schedule by setting your alarm half an hour earlier each week until you’re getting up a 6 a.m.
The best part about working out in the morning is that it sets the tone for the rest of the day, and there’s no chance a last-minute client request will get in the way.

2. Get Social Support

Find a few friends or colleagues to join you on a biweekly bike ride or hike in order to stay honest and motivated throughout the year. This positive form of peer pressure is a proven way to encourage people to perform and follow through on their commitment.
For example, if you’re scheduled to meet a personal trainer or friend at the gym at a certain time, you’ll be more likely to go. And while I’d never recommend anyone to enter such a major commitment just for the exercise, adopting a dog will force you to get outside for a walk or run every day.

3. Gamify Your Exercise



Nike+ Fuelband SE
Gamification, which applies game mechanics such as rewards and leaderboards to working out, has been a hot trend for several years now. For example, you can start a challenge board for your fellow colleagues, friends, employees, etc. Challenges can include anything like “Do 50 push-ups today” or “Run X miles before work.”
If you work from home and don’t have a big group in the office, try tracking your activity with a device such as the Fitbit Force or Nike Fuelband. In addition, there are many mobile app games, such as Zombies Run or Fleetly to help keep you motivated.

4. Exercise at Your Desk

Surely you’ve heard about the growing research indicating that sitting for eight hours each day can shave years off our lives. In response, standing deskstreadmill desks and exercise balls are rising in popularity in offices everywhere. If you’re not quite ready to stand or jog while working, there are numerous exercises you can do at your desk during a sedentary day. Get up and walk, even at the office, for about 5-10 minutes every hour.
Click here to see 20 exercises, including simple stretches to boost circulation as well as more complex strength-building exercises. Likewise, do whatever you can to be more active during the day. If you have to drive instead of walk, park farther away from your destination and take the stairs instead of using an elevator.

5. Go Outside During Lunch

Not everyone can take a long break during the day, change clothes, and come back sweaty and flushed after a mid-day run or basketball game. However, you can probably go for a brisk 30-minute walk at lunch and still be presentable to meet with an important client.
Depending on where you are on the fitness spectrum, a 30-minute walk may not be sufficient, but it’s always better than sitting at a desk. You’ll also get the mood-enhancing benefits of sunshine, fresh air and a change in scenery.

6. Incorporate Workouts Into Meetings

You most likely meet with clients or contractors over lunch in a café or conference room. But, you could opt for a low-key fitness activity, such as golf or a walk in the park, to discuss business matters while being active.
Of course, you never want to spring this type of plan on anyone; make sure your client is comfortable with the idea. And who knows, maybe you’ll discover you have a mutual interest, such as rock climbing, kayaking or cycling — and your client may be just as eager to sneak these activities into his or her schedule as you are.

7. Make It a Priority

The most important thing you can do is treat your workouts like any other appointment. You’re not going to break a commitment to a client, so don’t break a commitment to yourself either. Schedule each workout into your smartphone and make it non-negotiable. You don’t owe anyone an explanation why you’re unavailable during that time.

Posted By: Pawan Lubana on Saturday, 4 January 2014

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