Archive for the 'General Interest' Category

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Four Ways To Improve Your Hiring System

If there is one thing that every business needs, it’s a strong HR team. It’s not just about recruiting and firing people, but about the training of new staff, supporting existing staff, and generally being a business that cares about what its team is doing. One way to progress your business is to improve the way that you hire people. If you can streamline what you’re doing and make it easy, then you’re going to have a better shot at bringing the right people on at the right time.

A company is only as reliable as the people working within it, and it’s why having a robust hiring system is vital for business success. From the moment a job is advertised until you choose a new employee, you want to know that it’s a process that works. Some companies like to include AI in HR to streamline their process, and they’d be right to do so. We invest in technology in so many ways, why not for the hiring process? So, if you want to improve your procedure, you need to start from the bottom and work your way up – including technology upgrades along the way for better employee experience. Let’s take a look at four ways that you can do it.

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  1. Firstly, you need your HR time to know what they are scouting for in the business. Defining the position that needs to be filled is vital, and you want to ensure that every single qualification and skill is listed so that only suitable candidates apply. You will have a much more realistic pool of candidates to choose from it; this has been done correctly.

  2. The next tip is to canvas thoroughly, and this is where technology can help. Being able to scan through a hundred resumes is not easy, but studying for the right keywords? That’s much more efficient. It can weed out those with mediocre resumes or who are underqualified for the position, taking the strain from your HR team.

  3. Data is essential, so when you make your final choice, you need to look at the information that you have collated and match it to your gut feeling. You should never rely on likeability – friendly people can be rubbish workers, too! It would be best if you thought about what you want from a candidate and interview based on that as well as their qualifications and references.

  4. If you come across resumes from those who are not as experienced but who would be great in other areas of the business, keep their information on file and do this electronically. The next time a position matching their skills becomes available, the technology that you use can flag their information as a possible candidate and save your hiring team a lot of trouble! This also allows you to decrease the costs of advertising – you already have a pool of potential candidates ready!

You want your business to grow and expand in the right way, and the best technology can help you to do just that!

How Motivation Can Drive Growth in Your Business

As a business owner, your motivation is a big factor in the growth and success of your company. But how do you find time to develop yourself personally when building a business? Personal motivation in other areas can give you the inspiration and ideas generation to put straight back into your company development. Read below to find some ideas to inspire and motivate you to pursue your own personal goals this year.

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Valuing Education 

There’s nothing more inspiring than developing your own skills, and it’s the perfect thing to motivate you in your business. Don’t be afraid to enhance your career options, you aren’t betraying your business but upgrading it. Regis College offers Post-Master’s Certificates, for example, if you want to become a Nurse Practitioner. Taking a Masters or Further Education, particularly over a few years or part-time, allows you to keep investing time in both your business and your education. So you can learn how to take yourself and your business forward at the same time.

It doesn’t have to be a Master’s course though. You might want to look at taking A-Level Maths to boost your numbers knowledge or learn a new language like Mandarin through taking a Rosetta Stone course online. Any new training will motivate you and add value to your business. It will also give you an outlet to pursue separately to your company, helping with the work-life balance.

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Pushing Fitness Levels

You know your own personal fitness levels, whether they’re at non-existent, novice or above and beyond. But developing a fitness routine that works for you will increase your motivation and give the much-needed boost to apply even more to your business. If you’re a complete novice, try building up to a 5K run through apps like couch to 5k. It will build up your running speed over nine weeks at manageable intervals. It’s only a half-hour run at three runs a week, so it’s perfectly manageable.

If you’re at a higher level, why not try a new sport like rock climbing or yoga? Set yourself targets to push yourself further, like developing towards a more advanced yoga move or climbing even higher. Working towards these personal goals and achieving, or even exceeding them will give you some much-needed motivation by spurring you on to achieve and exceed goals in your own company.

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Look At Public Speaking

Public speaking is a great way to develop skills that are useful for both your business and your own personal development. It will give you increased confidence when talking to your clients and also give you a useful tool when pitching and presenting. There are lots of different tools out there from day-long workshops to longer courses that you can take on the weekends or in the evenings. Some of these courses also are also accredited and give you a certification at the end of the program.

If you’re looking for a specific type of public speaking course, make sure it’s tailored to what you will need in your business. For example, there are specific courses on talking to clients and increasing confidence, as well as pitching and presenting. If you are able to either identify what is most important to improve personally, or what is most relevant to your business, then you’re sure to get the best out of your course.

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Learn Some New Technical Skills

If you want to improve on your technical skills, there are a wealth of courses out there that can help you develop your knowledge. Whether you want to boost your online business with some copywriting abilities, or develop your coding capabilities, learning these skills will have the added benefit of spurring your on to use your newfound training in your business. There is a wide range of technical writing courses that could help, including proofing, editing and copywriting.

There are also infinite systems that you could learn, from Excel to Google Docs. Some of these courses run online, or via classes, so you have the flexibility to fit them around your current schedule and availability. You might want to learn about cybersecurity or a set of skills that will directly benefit your business.

Generating motivation for your business by developing your personal skills is the perfect way to gather ideas and gain inspiration. Through looking at further study or developing your public speaking or technical skills, you’ll quickly find that you’ll discover new short cuts or ideas that will help you drive your business forward this 2020.

Small Businesses And The Lack Of Account Management

This combination is deadly, so we wanted to discuss it with you today. There are a ton of things that can be deadly to a small business. The lack of funding and profit, the economy, competition. The list of things could go on, but all of those are spoken about in every other article. Instead, we wanted to talk about the troubles that are caused when a small business keeps riding solo. It’s natural to pick up so many links and make so many connections in the business world. From procurement to sales, you’ll be interacting with people on a daily basis that will soon become well known to you. But these aren’t managers of accounts, these are people who you have to speak to weekly, if not daily, to keep your business afloat. The same should be thought about account managers. Over the years you should build up a profile of account managers that are helping to keep your business afloat. We’re going to talk about the essential managers you need.

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Server & Network Management

Server and network management is actually far more important than you might think. For a newly established business, it’s probably not as important as one that’s a few months to a year old. Because within that timeframe you will start to add so many things to your network that need to be managed, and so much data begins to pile up. So all of the sudden you have a database that’s piling high, and poor network management can lead to downtime, which in turn has a direct impact on sales. Network Management Solutions can provide you with support plans. They can manage your server and your network for you, making sure you’re on the best plan in terms of usage and storage. Plus, they can be on call to manage downtime and anything else that might come your way.

Financial Management

Financial management can be hard for a small business. In the beginning, it’s common for a small business to manage their own books. The numbers might not be high and they’re easier to manage. However, as soon as things do begin to pick up slightly, you need an accounts manager to manage the books for you, as well as advise you when making financial decisions. The lack of an account manager can lead to financial mistakes in the books, late payments being made, and a general chaotic view of business finances.

Advertising & Marketing Management

Advertising and marketing is something that will grow as your business does. Naturally a newly established business will stick to social media marketing and perhaps a radio advert if they’re lucky. It will then begin to pick up, and techniques such as SEO and PPC can be used as the budget for marketing grows. As it does, it would be good to have someone managing your marketing and advertising. You’ll have accounts with many different companies and campaigns that are hard to manage. Having someone solely focus on it will allow you to get more out of it.

Why Reliability is so Important in Business

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In these days of global business, it is vital that you do everything you can to ensure that your business gets ahead of the competition and stays there. Reliability is one of the best ways of achieving this…


Reliability Boosts Efficiency


Using reliable staff and reliable machinery is a good way to increase efficiency. Employees who are well trained will know how to get the job done as fast as possible, and may even be able to identify new ways of doing things to save even more time, whereas reliable machinery will keep the show going come what may.investing in both these things will save time and ensure that fewer mistakes are made and that will be good not only for your customer relations but also your bottom line.


Reliability Keeps Customers Happy


If you use the most reliable air freight companies that are guaranteed to get your deliveries to their destination on time, for example, you can ensure that your customers are kept happy. Similarly, if you use the most durable manufacturing materials that are known to stand the test of time, customers will be impressed and next time they need to buy something, they will come to you first.


Reliability Builds Trust


If your business always does what it says it will when it says it will, and if your employees always solve problems quickly and efficiently, it will start to build trust between you and your customers. Customers hate being lied to and ripped off, so if they find a company who is straight down the line, they will be more than happy to keep using them over the years.


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How to Be More Reliable as a Business

As you can see, reliability is so good for business, but how can you achieve it?

Invest in It

Spending more money on better materials, equipment and employee training is the best way to ensure that your business is as reliable as possible.

Be Realistic

As a business owner, you need to be realistic, right from the start, about what you can and cannot offer your customers. If you promise them next day delivery when you know the post won’t be picked up in time, for example, you’ll fall at the first hurdle.


So many things can go wrong when you don’t communicate with your employees and they don’t communicate with one another. If you expect a project to be completed by a certain date EVERYONE needs to know that no matter how little involvement they have, so everyone is on the same page and working to the same goal. Similarly, any problems that crop up need to be shared quickly so a solution can be found.

Things can always go wrong from time to time, but if you build your business on a foundation of reliability, you’ll be able to weather any storms with more ease, and more importantly, you will be an efficient, trustworthy and successful company. If you can’t afford to be second best, make reliability your cornerstone.

Increasing Your Skillset As A Mature Student

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Whether you are looking at obtaining your first degree, or you are hoping to return to university to carry out some postgraduate studies, there is no denying that enrolling in an academic course can greatly enhance your career prospects. Whether you are someone that runs their own business or is looking to improve the value that you provide in your current role or are in fact looking at career progression, developing your skills and knowledge can help you.

For the mature student, there are many routes that you could choose to take. For example, Bradley University provides online degrees across a range of professional study areas. Making the studies work around your current life commitments is achievable, and many institutions offer flexibility and means of making studying possible for you.

There are many reasons why people choose to enter higher education at a later stage in life. You may have skipped going to university as you wanted to get out and start earning money. You may have had personal or family commitments that prevented you from going. You may not have known what you wanted to do when you were younger. And ultimately, you may have been put off by the sometimes prohibitive costs associated with studying.

Alternatively, you may be looking for a career change, or taking a step up in your career and see raising your skillset as a way of doing this. Everyone has their own motivations for study, and age and circumstance should never be a boundary for you deciding to go back into education. But starting a course in later life throws up some curveballs. Here are some hurdles you may face and the best way of dealing with them.

Getting Over The Age Gap

Even a few years away from education can seem like a lifetime. Time spent in the working world can make you take things more seriously, and younger students make seem frivolous in nature.

But in actual fact, you will probably find that when it comes to university students, even those who have never left full-time education are happy to knuckle down and try hard. The unfair myth that younger people don’t try or are liable to waste your time is simply not true. Many younger people feel the pressure to succeed more than ever, so really do push themselves within their studies. University is a big financial commitment, especially when you are young and need to take out loans to repay it. When faced with that amount of debt, younger students know that what they do in their student years will directly affect them when they go out and look for work.

Try to engage as best as you can with people of every age on your course. It will surprise you how easily you find common ground. You will also find that your course may have a wider age range than you may think.

Adjusting To The Workload

University study comes with a heavy workload. But, unlike lower levels of education, you won’t have a tutor standing over you and reminding you about what you need to do. Having a pro-active approach to managing your workload and submitting your work within deadlines is vital.

If you are planning on working your study around your current employment, try and work out a schedule that really works well for you. Allow time for you to start working on assignments and dissertations as early as possible, as often you will need to put in considerable research before you even type a word.

Including time to take care of yourself is vital. That means trying to get some exercise each day, plenty of fresh air, maintaining a good diet, and getting plenty of sleep. Stress is a serious factor that affects students who are not working alongside their studies. If you are juggling both, be sure you try and keep a keen eye peeled for the effects that stress will have on you and act on them quickly. Keeping yourself sharp and in check is crucial, as to allow everything to get on top of you may result in a lapse in your focus or sharpness of thought.

Keep time aside to enjoy yourself with your family. If you are constantly busy, then this can be to the detriment of your family or social life. Keeping a day each week to devote to your loved ones and maintaining a routine of spending some of your evenings together will ensure you get their support throughout this stressful period without any problems forming in your relationships.

Making Knowledge Stick

It’s thought that the average person retains about 10% of the information that they read. Of course, this can vary massively. Some of us have got much better memories than others. You remember more if you are alert when you read it than you would if you were tired, your memory is better when you are feeling happy and well-rested, and other conditions can affect how much information you retain.

In general life, this 10% might serve you well. But, sometimes, we need to remember more. Before a test or exam, we need to remember far more than 10% of the information that we have learned. If you’ve learned something new in the workplace, or a process has changed, you certainly need to remember more than 10% to be able to do your job well. In some cases, being unable to retain information might put you, or others in danger. So, when you need to, what can you do to make that knowledge stick?

Write it Down

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When you learn something new, perhaps from a book or lecture, getting it back out of your head, instead of just leaving it to sit there, can help to cement it in your mind. Write down what you’ve learned in your own words, and you’ll back up your understanding. You’ll also have notes to come back to if ever you need them.

Another option is speaking about what you have learned. Try to teach someone else, or ask your teacher questions.

Make a Song

Have you ever noticed that you retain song lyrics and tunes much more easily than you do things that you’ve read, or even spoken word? We can often remember all of the lyrics from our favorite songs from years ago, even if we haven’t heard them for a long time. If you are struggling to remember something, creating a simple song, or rhyme can be helpful. This can be an excellent revision tactic if you’ve got exams coming up.

Get Creative

Puzzles, games, pictures and other things can help you to retain information. Create a word puzzle with WordMint when there is something that you need to remember, and come back to it, later on, to test yourself, or refresh your memory. Try different techniques to find those that work for you.

Keep it Short

Often, one of the reasons that we forget what we have learned is that we have tried to learn too much. You can overwhelm your mind with new information, so that it can’t process everything efficiently, and you have difficulty retaining the new knowledge.

Try to keep new information to manageable chunks. Give yourself time to digest new information, and check your understanding, before you learn something new.

Try Different Learning Techniques

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We remember 10% of what we read, but it’s thought that we remember 20% of what we hear and 30% of what we see. So, stop just reading. Find someone that knows more about the topic and ask them to explain it to you, watch videos, listen to podcasts, and find as many ways as you can to explore the information that you need.

Maximizing Your Chances Of Beating The Entrepreneurial Odds

If you’re considering taking the plunge and trying to set up your own business, you might have stumbled across some statistics that make for grim reading. The truth is that the majority of fledgling companies fail, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t beat the odds. Here are some surefire steps you can take to maximize your chances of success.

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Invest in yourself, as well as your team

Business owners can benefit hugely from investing in their staff and providing training and development opportunities, but it’s also wise to consider your own credentials. Running a business requires a diverse skill set, and you could increase your chances of beating the odds by expanding your knowledge base and gaining more advanced qualifications. Consider taking courses in leadership and learning more about accounting and sales to push a marketing, retail or hospitality business forward, or getting your real estate licence or gaining qualifications related to specific medical or beauty treatments to propel a real estate office, health clinic or beauty salon forwards. Even if you have a lot of experience, training will always have benefits.

Be aware of the risks and challenges involved

If you’ve ever watched programs on TV that offer investment opportunities or the chance to land a dream job, you might have a rose-tinted vision of the world of entrepreneurialism. The reality is that it’s not easy to launch and run a successful venture. Competition is fierce, there are multiple plates to keep spinning at all times, and it can take a long time to see the fruits of your labor. One way to improve your chances of steering clear of potential icebergs is to be wary of common obstacles businesses face. Take steps to protect your company and prevent issues, rather than relying on being able to recover if things do go wrong. Make sure you have the relevant insurance cover, invest in security to shield your physical premises and the networks and devices you use, and keep a close eye on your cash flow.

Understand your audience

One of the most common reasons businesses fail is a lack of demand. Before you invest time, effort and money into a new business, make sure the demand is there. Research the market, find out more about your competitors and get to know the people you want to buy your products or services. Understanding the audience is vital when it comes to designing products, setting prices and drawing up branding and marketing strategies. Conduct market research, create an ideal buyer persona and make sure you promote your business in a way that will resonate with your target customer. It’s well worth devoting time to analyzing the market and engaging with potential prospects before you set anything in stone.

The odds on an entrepreneur winning are long, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make a success of your new business. Identifying potential threats, planning in advance, investing in yourself and your team and understanding your audience can all help to increase the chances of bucking the trend.

Are You Asking The Right Questions About Your Career?

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Finding the right job can be a challenge. That’s probably not the most shocking statement that you’ve read all day but that doesn’t make it any less true. The reality is that many of us go through our lives unable to figure out how to find a career that offers the right balance of challenge, satisfaction, and flexibility that we need. One of the most common reasons for this is that people simply aren’t asking the right questions. You might be asking: will I enjoy this job? Or perhaps, will this job be interesting? And those are great questions, but they only really give you part of the picture. With that in mind, here are some questions that you really should be asking when trying to further your career.

What can an employer offer you?

A job is often so much more than the things that you do on a day to day basis. After all, it’s not what you will sit down to do every day, it’s the environment you’re in and what your employer can do to make your life better. Even if you find a job you could love, an employer who doesn’t take care of you can make that job a misery. If you’re looking for flexibility and benefits then there are plenty of truck driving companies that are extremely appealing. If you’re looking for the chance to move up through the ranks then doing research on how often that happens in prospective companies can offer you a huge amount of insight.

What can you offer an employer?

One of the most important things to remember is that your career is a two-way street. It’s not just about what you can get out of your job, it’s what you can bring to the table. What are your skills? What can offer that no one else can? Understanding these things will not only make your chances of finding a job much better but they also put you in a position where you’re going to be able to make a whole lot more of your working day.

How does your career fit around your life?

Your career doesn’t just begin and end when you clock in and out for the day. It impacts a huge amount fo your life in general. If you have a family or an unconventional living situation then you may need different levels of flexbility. If you have any kind of disability then you need to be sure that your career makes allowances for that. Finding the right work-life balance isn’t always easy but it is always essential.

These are just a few questions that you should be asking when looking for a new job. The truth is that the kinds of questions that you need to ask will often depend on very specific factors about you and your life. But hopefully, these questions will give you an idea of how to start making better steps towards finding a career that you will really love.

Pointless, Self-Inflicted Business Headaches You Can Do Without

Business owners are usually diligent, conscientious people who aren’t afraid of hard work. But even they can sometimes get sick and tired of doing the same, boring and repetitive tasks that take the fun out of enterprise.

Working hard is usually good, but bashing your head against the wall is counterproductive. As an entrepreneur, you have a responsibility to make sure that you direct your time and energy in the most productive way possible. It doesn’t make sense to work hard just for the sake of it.

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What follows are some of the unnecessary, self-inflicted headaches that business owners can do without. Avoid them at all costs.

Headache #1: Tracking Job Applicants

Tracking job applicants is a significant time drain for many small businesses and their owners. Not only do you have to read all the covering letters and delve into CVs, but you also have to manage who you want to bring forward for an interview, and who you don’t.

The good news, though, is that there is a solution: just use HR software that manages the process for you. All your HR people need to do is send out digital applications, store them centrally, and then review who they want to bring to the next stage, and who they don’t. The system will then do all the hard work of actually contacting clients and arranging dates for interviews.

Headache #2: Managing Payroll

Managing payroll is a full-time job for many business owners. With all the regulations and tax calculations, it can be tricky to figure out who should be paid and how much.

Modern technology, however, allows you to side-step these problems. With a payroll processing system, you can streamline wage allocations and get back to the task at hand: running your company.

Headache #3: Remaining Compliant

Governments in the western world make life as difficult as possible for businesses. Regulations mount every year, adding to the already extreme burden to comply.

Fortunately, entrepreneurs have come up with a range of solutions that help prevent red tape from undermining your enterprise’s potential. For instance, owners can now outsource compliance operations to third-party agencies who work as partners to ensure compliance. Usually, a representative from the agency will visit your premises once per week, inspect your products, web pages, and so on to ensure that they meet the standards required by law. They draw up a list of recommendations, and then all you need to do is implement them. It’s simple.

Headache #4: Keeping Staff Performance High

If you want your business to succeed, you need to have a strategy in place that enables you to keep staff performance high. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done. Managing people so that they work at their best consistently is challenging to achieve.

When it comes to staff performance, there’s no silver bullet. You can, however, try two things: training managers to provide better leadership and using performance metrics to create a sense of personal achievement and efficacy. E-learning platforms are an excellent option for training people quickly at a low cost.

Getting The Most Out Of Your Working Day – Tips To Help You Do It

When it comes to your working day, whether you have a place of work or you work from home, you want to ensure that you get the most out of your day. You may work for yourself and rely on the productivity for your income, or you may just have an increased workload for a set wage, how can you make the most out of your working day? Here are some of the best tips to help you get started.

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Get up earlier and start your day in the right way

One of the first things that you can do is get up earlier and start your day in the right way. It may sound a little strange, but it can make the biggest of differences to the rest of your day. Getting up earlier means you have some extra time to do the things that you may not have time to do otherwise. You could start to exercise, maybe eat a proper breakfast, or even get on with some work. The important thing is that you get enough sleep, but getting up earlier can enable you to feel less rushed with the start of your day. Some swear by this and say it makes a massive difference to their working day.

Value your time 

If you work for yourself and on your own business, then a value on your time is vital to ensure you get the most out of your day. In those early days, it is so tempting to want to do everything yourself, and to be responsible for every aspect of your Nubia’s Inness. But as time moves on it is clear that it can become impossible to do. This is when you may want to start placing a value on your time. Outsourcing can be a great way to free up time you didn’t have, and outsourcing elements such as taking advantage of managed IT services or even things like social media management or marketing can make a big difference. Allowing your to focus your time on other areas. You could also look at hiring staff if you are in a position to do so.

Utilise the times of day you are most productive?

We all have times of the day when we are more productive than others, and this can be one of the best times to utilise. For some, it is first thing in the morning. For others it is well into the night. Figure out what times of the day you work best and then make the most of it. This can really help you to get more out of the working day than you ordinarily would.

Time manage your day

Finally, the day can often escape you when you have an endless “to do” list so make sure you do what you can to manage your time effectively. There are some great time management hacks online that could help you to stay on track, such as prioritising workload or time blocking for certain tasks. Try it and see the difference it could make.

Let’s hope these tips help you when it comes to getting the most out of your working day.