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Business

Top Tips for Injecting Some Life into Your Presentations

June 20, 2017

We all know that presentations are an integral part of the business world. Whether they are delivering presentations to clients, employees, or industry peers, the majority of businesses will require excellent presentation skills in order to thrive in this competitive climate. However, many presentations rely on the same structure: a PowerPoint presentation, simple bullet points, basic handouts, and perhaps an open floor to questions. Whilst this can, at times, be an effective way to convey your message, it can also result in an audience switching off. Even if you are talking about a hugely exciting project, sometimes the familiar formula is enough to undermine your enthusiasm. Therefore, when delivering a presentation, it is important to mix things up! Below are a few ways to get started.

Switch PowerPoint for Prezi

Sometimes even the simplest change can make a huge difference. If you are looking to inject some excitement into your presentations, but you don’t want to do anything too drastic, Prezi will do the work for you. This online presentation software helps to create dynamic and visually stimulating presentations. Due to its range of ready-made templates, Prezi is easy to use but incredibly effective. Instead of moving from one slide to the next, a Prezi presentation will use impressive graphics and special effects to convey your message. Not only this, but it is free to set up an account!

Be Bold

One of the best ways to engage your audience is by shocking them to pay attention. Why not try to be really bold with your approach to delivering presentations? A good place to start would be Pechakucha. This is a type of presentation that is taking the world by storm and has even been featured by Forbes. Pechakucha is an excellent way to demonstrate just how daring you are willing to be, as your audience will be shown 20 slides for just 20 seconds. The strict guidelines of this Japanese technique will ensure that your presentation doesn’t drag and your points are as concise as possible.

Invest in your handouts

A simple A4 handout can result in a very underwhelming end to a presentation. If you are really looking to impress, why not showcase your documents in quality presentation folders. This way you can make sure to establish your business’s brand and give your audience something of quality to keep hold of. Not only is this approach effective, it is also surprisingly easy and affordable. At folderprinting.co.uk  you are able to select the perfect presentation folder for your document, and you will be able to find the type of quality product that shows your mean business.

Interact with your audience

At the end of a presentation, it is very common to ask the audience for any questions. However, it is important to remember that there is more than one way to interact with your audience. Why not try shaking things up by asking them some questions? Maybe even add a competitive element to the questions, with rewards for whoever engages most effectively. Alternatively, you could try moving around the audience area to avoid standing statically at the front of the room. You could also try taking and questions at select moments throughout the presentation if you are aiming for a more collaborative environment.

Business

Technology to Drive Efficiency Within the Workplace

June 20, 2017

To be successful, your company needs to be efficient. You pay your employees for their skill, time and productivity, and so, employees should be working towards targets, meeting deadlines and delivering sound results. However, efficiency levels can drop and plateau to new lows.

There can be many reasons behind a decline in efficiency – it may be because a department isn’t achieving their KPIs, however, it could also be because your company is yet to implement the appropriate technology that’ll speed up business processes and lessen employee frustrations.

What’s the best technology to drive efficiency within the workplace? Read below.

Document Management Over the Cloud

The cloud makes sharing documentation a smoother process for every employee (and employer) in the company. Through applications such as Dropbox, employees can add, edit, amend all your company’s documents without having to email the documents back and forth, or waste time reuploading the new document.

This type of document management is perfect for companies who have in-house staff as well as freelancers or those working from home. It’s also ideal for those who spend a lot of their time commuting to and from work, or must attend business meetings in other locations. Business is easily accessed, no matter where your workers are. They can work more efficiently without having to rely or depend on anyone else.

Supplier Portals

Your supply chain is key to providing a great service to your customers. If you are in retail, making sure your store (whether it’s online or offline) is fully stocked can determine your profit margins. For larger organizations running SAP ERP, you should invest in sound technology such as a SAP Supplier Portal found at weaveability.com to allow communication with your suppliers in real-time, to set up notifications for when stock is running low, forecast future demands and to see your current order statuses.

Tablets

Most work needs to be implemented on a desktop, however, offering your employees the chance to work with more flexibility can improve their performance rates. Employees do not need to be chained to a desk, and by providing them with tablets, they could find another place to quietly work when they need a change of environment. Tablets could also persuade employees to work during their commute if they come to and from work via bus or train. Instead of opening up a laptop, tablets are lighter and much more exciting.

Social Media Add-Ons

Keeping tabs on your social media activity can prove troublesome. It’s difficult to Tweet once every hour, and so, programs like Hootsuite allow you to line up Tweets for your Twitter account, so you solely focus on mentions from your customers. However, this does not mean you should leave your Twitter; make sure to keep watch of what’s happening, and amend Tweets or add more if it calls for it. Your customers will be contacting you, so remember to retweet or like their comments. You still need to be ‘present,’ even if you’re only really half there.

 

 

Business

Tips on Making Your Business More Secure

June 19, 2017

Online hacking is becoming an increasingly difficult problem for businesses large and small. Many small business owners have lost data and money as a result of cyber-crime, so you need to do all you can to protect your data and your customer’s personal information.

It is not only the loss of data or earnings that are problematic. A company’s reputation and level of trust with the customers can also be hurt. Here are a few tips to making your business more secure.

Risk Assess Data

You will probably have a significant amount of data stored on your computer systems, such as customer data, employment records, and supplier details. All of this has to be assessed to see if you are handling it correctly.

When you are looking at some of the information, ask yourself, what would happen if this data was compromised? Think about where you store this information and is it adequate for the type of data it is. Do the people who have access to the data, need to have it?

It is these types of questions that will give you some idea what data you have and how you should be dealing with it day to day.

Moving your data to the cloud

One of the ways you can secure your data easily is by getting your information uploaded to the cloud by a hosting firm. Companies such as umbeehosting.net can take all your data, including personal information, and transfer it to their servers. This is a far more secure way of dealing with your data, and it has many other advantages such as flexibility and cost effectiveness.

Then, you can have a remote desktop system for all your employees, and only allow access to those who need to see it. It also provides workers that are out of the office, a secure way to access the company data.

Passwords

Passwords can be difficult to manage sometimes, particularly if your workforce are not entirely secure with their passwords. Some may have their passwords written on post-its, others in a Word document. You can always employ help from a password manager tool that can help you keep all your passwords safe.

You then have the power to revoke passwords and generate new ones as needed. This will hopefully make your computers more secure and stop employees from divulging their passwords or leaving them unguarded by mistake.

Education

An important part of keeping your data safe is teaching people how to secure data properly. A small amount of training can go a long way to stopping potential breaches and maybe even prevent data being lost on memory sticks or laptops.

There are guides and videos on the internet that can help you to train your staff in the best practices of data protection. It also means that if there were a breach, you know that everything was done to try and prevent it from happening.

Protecting your information is a big responsibility. You are not only responsible for your data, but also for your customers and your employees. With these tips, you can move toward a more secure computer system that will hopefully protect your company from cyber-crime.

Business

5 Ways to Get Feedback from Customers

June 8, 2017

In order to successfully run a business, it is very important to get feedback from customers. Unless you get proper feedback, it will be extremely difficult for you to improve the quality of your product and service. Fortunately, collecting feedback is not a very difficult process. Here are 5 ways to get feedback from customers:

1. Feedback Boxes: Whenever anyone is going through your website, he or she will always be constantly thinking of ways to make your website look better. Maybe they are not impressed with some aspects of your website or maybe one of your links is broken. Unless the problem is very serious, they won’t reach out to your support team. They will just ignore your site and find a better website. Hence, if you add a Feedback Box below your website asking ” How can we make the website better for you? , it will be much easier for all your visitors. Since it is easily accessible, they will be more than happy to share all the issues which they are facing.

2. Support Forums: You probably have to deal with plenty of phone calls from your customers on a regular basis. Instead of dealing with each call individually, it will be much easier for you to host a support forum or use a third party support forum. In the support forum, your customers will post queries and you will answer them. The main advantage is that most of the queries are common. Hence, once you have answered some of the basic queries, your job is almost done. However, you have to hire a moderator to look after your forum so that there are no spam messages.

3. Social Media: You should also take the help of social media to get some valuable feedback. In the different social media platforms, people will be always talking about your business. You just have to do a hashtag search to find out what people are saying about your brand. What social media you should use depends on your customers and the nature of your industry. However, irrespective of the nature of your business, being active on Facebook and Twitter is a must. After that, you have to select industry specific sites. For example, if you are a tour company, you should be active on TripAdvisor. If you own a restaurant, you should be active at Yelp.

4. Direct outreach: These feedback boxes and support forums are a bit impersonal. In order to get quality feedback, the best option is to directly contact the customers and conduct an interview. Ask them about their experience of using your product and whether they want any changes or not. If the interview is positive, you can also use it as a marketing tool to promote your product.

5. Customer Survey Questions: Surveys are also an extremely effective way to get valuable customer feedback. They are also quite easy to create. If you manage to design the questionnaire properly, then you will get to know a lot about your product. However, don’t make it too long. Keep it short and concise. And apart from rating scales and multiple choice questions, you should also include a few open ended questions to get a better understanding of the customer’s experience.

Business

5 Reasons Why Your Business Should Invest in a Premium WordPress Theme

May 29, 2017

If you’re currently looking for an affordable solution when it comes to getting a site online, but you’re not looking to spend thousands on a custom-made product, it’s probably time you look towards a premium WordPress theme to give you a helping hand. WordPress makes it very easy for business owners to get a site online in a professional manner – have a look at the five reasons why your business will benefit from a WordPress solution.

  • Cost-Effective

If you look at the Theme Forest database, which is filled to the brim of premium WordPress themes, you’ll see that a theme can cost anywhere between $40-$60 – and that is the fraction of the cost of a custom-made solution, which could end up costing upwards of $2,000, or even more depending on your requirements.

  • Easy & Quick to Setup

The great benefit of looking at WordPress for your website is that it’s very easy to use and quick to setup. If you’re investing in a custom solution you can be sure that the design process alone can take weeks, let alone the development process that follows. By investing in a WordPress theme, you can be sure you’ll have a site up within just a few hours – or even less if you have web development experience. Most web hosting solutions such as bestwebhosting.co.uk offer tools so setting up WordPress can be done with just a few clicks.

  • Free Theme Support

Most premium themes come with 6-12 months of support so you can get help if you’re looking to customise the theme to suit your needs further. Most themes also come with free demo setups so you can have your site looking exactly like the live preview of the demo they were trying to sell you in the first place – so all you’ll have to worry about is editing content and pictures.

  • A Professional Website

All premium WordPress themes on the market look beautiful and professional and you’ll easily stand out from the rest of the competition. A lot of people are wary about buying a WordPress theme because it can be sold hundreds of times, but when you look at the fact there are billions of websites online currently, the chances of any of your clients ever noticing that you have invested in a WordPress theme is slim.

  • WordPress Themes are Easy to Customise

One of the best benefits of investing in a WordPress theme is that you’ll not have to buy another theme in the future because most of them come with easy to use control panels that allow easy customisation. These themes can be changed so much so that they can look like completely unique designs.

The benefits of investing in a premium WordPress theme are practically endless and it should always be an option worth considering if you’re looking to get a website online quickly and in the cheapest possible manner. WordPress offers thousands of plugins that can be used in conjunction with the premium themes available to purchase and that means you can change your website from something standard into a full-blown store that can accept payments within a matter of minutes.

Business

A Guide To Hosting a Corporate Event

May 1, 2017

As you can imagine, the world of business is fast-paced and unpredictable. In order for a business to be successful, its growth is absolutely necessary. Although this may require a lot of time, attention and effort – when done correctly, the business can face a significantly positive outcome. One of the key drives for a business and its success is its growth. But what factors encourage the growth of a business?

One of the best ways to increase a business’ growth is to hold corporate events. A corporate event is a private event held by a business, in which staff, clients and stakeholders all come together for a number of reasons. Such events are a focus on the means of evoking pride in employee’s, reinforcing the company message, helping productivity, sharing ideas, launching new products or rewarding staff. A corporate event not only pushes all entities within the business, but also increases the company’s exposure, which can create new lead generation avenues and branch out to newer audiences.

If you’ve never planned a corporate event before, it can seem pretty daunting. However, in order to make sure your event is smooth and successful, follow these tips from furniture and stacking chair experts, Race Furniture.

Determine a theme

First and foremost, you must come up with a theme for the event. Intertwined with this theme will be your goals and objectives that will be discussed throughout the event. You must attempt to excite the audience, making sure it appeals to them by taking their lifestyle, interests and daily challenges into account. If you don’t make the event interesting to the audience then you will give them no reason to invest any time into your business. As a result of this, they will not comply and you essentially render their time wasted. These are key factors in creating a successful marketing campaign for your business that will increase interest and growth.

Partner up with other business’

You should also consider partnering up with other business’. Partnering up with non-competing business’ who possess a similar clientele can benefit both companies. The act of marketing the event to a wider audience means both business’ are engaging with more people who show an interest and have the potential to be new clients.

Great customer service

Throughout the event, you want to portray a professional and high standard appearance. In order to achieve this, you must offer outstanding customer service throughout. Whilst avoiding a pressured atmosphere, you wish to give the attendees a true feel of what your business is about, what it has to offer and why it is worthy of their time. This is not a sales-pitch, so be careful how you approach your discussion.

It is also important to offer a de-brief at the end of the event. This is a chance for people to have a discussion, exchange business details and have a general chat about the interests of the event. Exchanging questions enables more room to be educated on the topic of the event and feedback can be issued to ensure further improvement for the future.

Logistics

One thing that may seem like a fairly small issue during the planning process is the venue location. With thought about the venue, comes a crucial think about logistics. It is important to ensure that the venue is suitably representative of the business. So whilst the need to find a venue that best suits the company is significant, you should recognise that there must be enough space to accommodate all of the attendees. As a result of small spaces and not enough chairs, there is the risk that guests, who are potential clients could walk out due to the unorganised and claustrophobic atmosphere. To avoid this, ensure that you have enough seating for the attendees. The use of stacking chairs is extremely handy in such an event as it enables one to maximise the space on offer, whilst having a sufficient amount of seating whenever necessary. The chairs are not only tasteful, but ensure you can provide and remove seating quickly and efficiently in a subtle, yet professional manner. These chairs offer an immediate response, which is ideal in the likes of a busy event such as this.

Indeed, planning a corporate event does not come easily, but is all the more worthwhile. Holding such events at intervals throughout the year will keep audiences interested and informed. It is a chance to express the future plans and changes in the business and to keep those who are interested at arms reach. The aim of such events is to inspire people of different entities. The chance to engage with attendees and please stakeholders is what contributes to the success and growth in the business. It is a means of getting the company’s name known and pushing their message out there. Educating others about why your business matters and how it could benefit them. It is that moment when attendees turn into clients that you realise your corporate event really contributed in the growth of your business.

Business

Types of Criminal Background Checks Available for Pre-Employment

March 22, 2017

Understanding the various types of criminal background checks currently available will help your organization in the pre-employment screening process. A thorough background check helps prevent your organization from hiring someone who poses a risk to workplace safety. Recognizing the current background checks available to you also prevents limiting the amount of criminal history information you need to accurately screen applicants. Here are some of the sources available to you for pre-employment screening. 

County-Level Background Checks

When you request a county-level background check on an applicant, the check will examine local jurisdictions where an applicant resides. The investigation includes any county criminal history records over the past seven years. However, you can request searches that date back 10 to 15 years or more. Compliant county-level checks include any misdemeanor or felony arrests and should filter out the records not reportable under federal and state law. Criminal record searches at the county level should inspect records at the county’s courthouse or through repositories with a direct relationship with the state. 

Statewide Background Checks

A statewide background check searches repositories for records on any misdemeanor or felony arrests on your applicants. However, some states do not allow the distribution of both misdemeanor and felony records. In this instance, you may want to request all of your background checks at the county level. Although state background checks are critical to some of your pre-employment screening, it may not provide enough information to accurately screen a potential employee. 

Federal Background Checks

A federal background check investigates whether or not an applicant faced criminal prosecution or convictions at the federal level. Federal crimes include fraud, embezzlement, tax evasion or mail and wire fraud. If your organization deals with finance or any field related to money, a federal background check is a smart choice. Most agencies conduct their federal checks at the district level where the U.S. government prosecutes cases. 

Sex Offender Registry Search

Several websites offer sex offender registry searches to help you determine if an applicant is a registered sex offender. In 1996, the federal government passed a law requiring the attorney general to institute a national database designed to track the movements and whereabouts of sexual offenders. The FBI currently manages the National Sex Offender’s Registry, known as the NSOR. The NSOR maintains any information regarding a registered sex offender’s crimes, current address, date of conviction and date when an offender registered as a sex offender. 

Civil Courts

You can request a review of an applicant’s involvement in any civil cases, which include breach of contract, product liability, any frivolous lawsuits filed by the applicant and other civil records. By determining if an applicant has a history of filing frivolous lawsuits, you can protect your organization from many legal actions by removing applicants with a history of civil actions in their background information. 

Other types of pre-employment background checks include obtaining an applicant’s driving record, federal bankruptcy records, international background screenings or a prohibited and restricted parties search. The selection of background checks will help you hire the best talent and avoid unknowingly exposing your organization to risk. 

Business

The Most Important Stages of Planning a Conference You should Know about

March 3, 2017

Whilst planning a meeting (especially an informal one) is generally easy and straightforward, planning a conference is an altogether different matter. You probably have to contend with a greater number of participants, for one. Secondly, you may have to plan the conference in a big venue, which entails additional time and effort (especially if you have to make an ocular inspection). If you want your conference to be successful, you’d have to plan it at least a few months in advance. Here’s what you should know about the most important stages of planning a conference.

Selecting the team

First of all, identify and set up the team who will be planning the conference with you. After all, you can’t do it alone. This group will be responsible for fulfilling the different roles and responsibilities associated with the conference, and the number of team members will often depend on how big your conference will be. Once you have determined the conference team, schedule a meeting so you can lay out your goals and objectives and prepare the specifications of the project. At this meeting, you should also lay out your budget. The budget should include the venue, equipment, catering, transportation, accommodation for guests, entertainment, etc. You should also agree on a specific timeline and deadlines for tasks and responsibilities.

The second stage

The second stage of planning a conference would be looking for the right venue. Prepare a checklist for the type of venue you are looking for, including specifics on what you require from the venue. If you need a venue which can provide your guests with accommodations (such as a conference venue Midlands like Heythrop Park, which has both the Crowne Plaza hotel and Heythrop Park Resort), then note this down. Check different venues and ask for proposals from each. Remember to check the venue’s availability and the availability of your key speakers. This is also the time to prepare your visual aids and other materials, such as handouts and presentations.

The third stage

Once you have gone through different prospective venues and found the one you like, confirm and book it. At this stage, you should also confirm your guests’ attendance and confirm arrangements for transportation, catering, accommodation, social activities, and entertainment. Make it a point to check the computer and audio visual equipment you need as well.

The fourth stage

The fourth stage is where you arrive at the venue (make sure you arrive at least a day earlier than the participants). Do a last-minute check of all the elements – the meeting rooms, the equipment, the catering and entertainment, and so on. You should also make sure that someone is assigned to man the entrance of the venue so participants will be properly greeted and settled in.