Business

Business

5 Management Tips for Ambitious Introverts

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Moving up the corporate ladder can sometimes feel like an impossible task. What’s more, introverts may find it particularly difficult to advance in their professional life –– especially if they struggle voicing their opinion or speaking in front of a group.

Nevertheless, reserved professionals often make excellent leaders, and you can achieve great success in a managerial position no matter your personality or passion. With that in mind, here are five management tips for introverts looking to make the most of a big career opportunity:

Don’t Change

The first –– and perhaps most important –– thing to remember for introverts in management is to resist the urge to completely change your personality. It’s better to be genuine and honest than to attempt to create a persona that isn’t authentic. While there are steps you can take to communicate more effectively, there’s no reason to start giving rousing speeches if you have no inclination to do so. Remember, you don’t have to be dynamic public speaker to inspire your staff.

Listen & React

Introverts are great listeners, which is just one reason why they’re adept at handling leadership responsibilities. Listening to employee concerns is one quick way to earn trust and develop relationships. However, you also have to be willing to act accordingly as well, otherwise you could risk alienating important team members.

Keep Things Brief

Business meetings can be a major pain point for employees and managers alike. In fact, long, ineffective meetings can sap energy morale and lower energy levels faster than just about anything else. As such, introverts in leadership roles should strive to curtail staff get-togethers and only focus the truly vital issues.

Communicate How You Feel Comfortable

Gone are the days when bosses stalked around the office searching for people slacking off or goldbricking. Still, managers need to be able to touch base with their team members –– if for no other reason than to offer support. If you’re not comfortable starting conversations or “making the rounds” as it were, consider checking in with your staff via email, text message, or chat app. It’s already common for individuals to interact over a digital platform, and few employees will balk at this practice.

Look the Part

The truth is, few people feel prepared to take a leadership role when they get a promotion. Insecurity is normal for new managers, but it’s crucial to overcome your nerves all the same. Fortunately, “faking it until you make it” really does work. How you look and how you perceive yourself will likely influence the way others think about you too. Therefore, updating your wardrobe and implementing some CEO office design elements in your personal workspace are great, yet simple ways to give yourself a confidence boost. Plus, your staff will be sure to notice the changes as well!

Ideazon Shares: Is Crowdfunding the Best Way to Launch Your Idea?

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Ideazon is a crowdfund marketing agency. The company has hundreds of clients who have experienced successful crowdfunding campaigns. Companies have raised up to $1 million with the help of Ideazon. Ideazon is meant for someone who would use a service such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo to fund their business.

Ideazon works with you to drum up buzz for your project, including driving traffic to your site using viral marketing tatics. This crowdfunding marketing agency also helps you build the buzz for your project and helps you successfully navigate the often confusing crowdfunding platforms.

Why Crowdfunding is So Popular

Crowdfunding is an excellent method for backing your project because it allows your clients to become a part of the process. Contributors feel like more than just a customer, they feel like they are making your project possible because they are. Choosing the right platform will be a huge part of your crowdfunding success. There are different types of crowdfunding platforms, creating attractive options for investors.

Crowdfunding breaks down into three overall categories; equity crowdfunding, donation crowdfunding, and reward crowdfunding. Equity crowdfunding allows your contributor to earn stock. Donation crowdfunding is based on the contributor’s belief in your project. Reward crowdfunding allows you to give incentive for backing your project.

Popular Crowdfunding Sites

There are various crowdfunding sites out there, so how do you know which is bestyou’re your project? Let’s breakdown three popular platforms and see how each can help you.

Kickstarter: Kickstarter is one well-known crowdfunding site with a built-in audience. This site does not allow you to keep all of your funding unless you fully hit your goal. For this reason, you will have to have a very accurate picture of what to expect from your contributors.

Indiegogo: Indiegogo allows you to keep your funding even if you don’t hit your goal.

GoFundMe: GoFundMe has recently switched to a fee-free platform but may still charge credit card processing fees. This platform is often used to solicit funding for specific causes or individual needs.

Is Crowdfunding the Best Way to Launch an idea or Project?

In most cases, crowdfunding is an ideal way to gain capital for your company, regardless of your product or service. Crowdfunding is an excellent idea because you’re tapping into a marketplace that has hundreds of thousands of active visitors. You’re also tapping into a customer base that already exists. Plus, you’re not paying an extravagant amount of money in order to reach this large audience. Crowdfunding allows you to gain significant funding for your business, you’re taking minimal risk in order to gain a massive reward. This method of funding allows you to easily generate pre-sales for your company.

Crowdfunding differs from angel investing because with angel investing, you would need to find an accredited investor to provide seed capital. In exchange, you’re giving the investor equity in your business. In most cases, you’ll need to provide the investor with significant equity in order to gain funding, whereas with crowdfunding you don’t need to provide any equity in your company for funding.

Get More Crowdfunding Advice from Ideazon

Through crowdfunding, you can get the funding you need without the use of traditional bank vehicles or loans. There is a lot to learn about crowdfunding. Thankfully, Ideazon crowdfunding will help you sort through the entire process of creating a marketing campaign and getting the word out. Follow Ideazon on Twitter and Facebook for more information on how to gain financial backers for your project. You can also gain more information on the Ideazon website and by visiting their blog.

Going PRO — 3 steps to startup culture

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Starting a business can be trickier than tying your shoelaces one-handed — and much more rewarding when you pull it off.

But if you don’t define and embed an appropriate corporate culture from the start, there’s little chance of implementing it once you expand.

Pardot co-founder David Cummings says, ‘corporate culture is the only sustainable competitive advantage that is completely within the control of the entrepreneur. Develop a strong culture first and foremost’.

Since we’re fond of acronyms, here’s our three step guide to going PRO (Payroll, Radical transparency and Organisational structure) with startup culture.

  1. P = Payroll outsourcing

Rather than being henchmen for management or advocates for staff, HR employees should focus on optimising business operations.

Emotionally intelligent HR staff will become the guardians and enforcers of your corporate culture — monitoring compliance at all levels.

But they’re ineffective while bogged down by time-consuming admin tasks like payroll, so set them free by engaging a payroll outsourcing provider. This type of service automates precise salary payments and ensures adherence to relevant tax regulations anywhere in the world.

When HR staff aren’t stuck behind computer screens all day, they’re free to walk the floor and champion the values and behaviours that keep the business working like a well-oiled machine.

  1. R = Radical transparency

In autocratic businesses, major decisions are often made exclusively by C-Suite executives, then cascaded down the hierarchy to be implemented without question by less senior staff.

There are potential problems with this approach. Firstly, decision-making quality is compromised by ‘group think’ — policies, plans and procedures are always scrutinized by the same people, so potential pitfalls aren’t spotted. Secondly, decisions never benefit from the input of experienced frontline staff or the collective intelligence of the entire organization.

The solution is radical transparency — an ‘ideas meritocracy’ where staff at any level are contractually obliged to constantly challenge and/or defend the thinking behind their decisions. It enables the most robust ideas to win, no matter where they originate and has been adopted by prominent hedge funds and social media agencies alike.

  1. O = Organisational structure

If your organisational structure clashes with the type of culture you’d like to embed, it’ll be very difficult to implement effectively.

For instance, a radically transparent culture might not suit a traditional top-down structure where there’s a strict hierarchy and managers aren’t willing or able to be challenged.

But it is complemented by a flat organisational structure with less layers of middle management and self-managed teams — the rationale is that people with the relevant information make the decisions, regardless of the seniority conferred by their job title.

Flat structures are popular with major tech firms and large shoe and clothing retailers as well as small and medium startups — although some companies have found them hard to maintain as they’ve scaled up.

So there are three steps to going PRO with startup culture — they could be your key to sustained success.

Which corporate culture do you admire? Share your thoughts in the comments section

How to use a Lathe

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Commonly found in woodworking and metal fabrication workshops, a lathe is a machine used to form materials into a particular size/ shape. The rotating drive turns the material on its axis against various interchangeable tools to cut and manipulate the piece into the desired shape. A lathe can be used for everything from cutting and sanding to facing and knurling and everything in between.

image source: here

How to use a Lathe

Whilst the mounting process will slightly differentiate from project to project, the following points provide a good foundation to work from. For more in-depth details, see your suppliers hand booklet.

  1. Large diameter materials will need to be mounted directly to the faceplate using a drill for maximum support. For narrow pieces, you can use a hammer to connect the drive spur.
  2. Reattach the whole piece to the spindle and slide the tailstock up, until it is nearly touching the other end of the material.
  3. Use the hand crank to securely clamp the material between the live centre and faceplate.
  4. As a rule of thumb, the larger the material is, or the more there is to remove the slower the spin speed should be. Fast speeds should be reserved for finer cuts or detailed work.

Lathe Tools

Before you start any project using a lathe, it’s important to make sure that your tools are sharpened, as a dull, or blunt blade can be extremely dangerous. For most projects, you will require the following tools:

Roughing Gouge: Used to turn a rough material into a cylindrical shape, typically the first tool used to shape larger materials.

Spindle Gouge: Designed to smooth and refine already rounded materials.

Parting Tool: Used to separate sections or segments of material, allows you to make straight, square cuts to a given depth.

Bowl Gouge: Used to hollow out materials (e.g. for making a bowl).

Tool Rest: Provides a solid foundation to rest your tools upon when making cuts.

The most important thing to remember when using a lathe, is to take your time, have fun and work safely, after all you are dealing with powerful machinery!

Vaping at Work: Advice for Employers

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In the last few years, there has been a huge rise in the number of people using e-cigarettes. Some of these people have replaced smoking tobacco with vaping, whilst others simply enjoy vaping and do it as studies show that it is a healthier option than smoking.

Difficult Decision to Make

Due to the fact that this creates water vapour from e-liquids, available from places like VIP, instead of harmful smoke, it has meant that employers have had to think about their approach. Whilst it seems to be healthier, it can still be anti-social and there has not been enough research carried out to truly know the effects. Employers will need to decide on their approach to e-cigarettes as they fall outside of the scope of smoke-free legislation.

Vaping in the Workplace

Some employers will happily let their employees use their e-cigarettes in the workplace as they support their efforts to stop smoking, but this can be problematic because it could be irritating to those around them plus some employees may argue that cigarettes should be allowed too. If you decide to ban the use of e-cigarettes in the workplace, this could make it difficult for somebody to quit cigarettes and particularly if they have to use the outside smoking areas to vape.

Enforcing Rules

As you can clearly see, it is a difficult decision to make and ultimately it will come down to your own preference. It is important to encourage employees to stop smoking  as they will need support if they are to succeed. One possible solution is to introduce an area that is separate from those smoking where employees can vape. In this case, you will need to make it clear in the rules that all employees maintain the same amount of break time as colleagues who do not smoke and those that smoke so that it is fair. Any employee, whether a smoker, non-smoker or e-cigarette user, who takes excessive breaks will face disciplinary action, as well as those that smoke or use an e-cigarette in a prohibited area.

The rise of e-cigarettes has made it challenging for employers to come up with a fair solution for their employees. Whilst the use of an e-cigarette should be encouraged as it is healthier than smoking, it can still be problematic as you must also consider your employees that smoke and those that do not. Ultimately, it will come down to your own personal preference but it is important that the rules and regulation are clear to all.

3 Ways to Bolster Your Resume In-Between Jobs

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Starting over is never easy. Despite the fact that professionals change jobs more frequently now than ever before, it’s still difficult to manage a transition from one occupation to the next. This is even more pertinent if you’re looking to change career paths.

The good news is, you don’t have to spend your time off wondering if anyone’s going to pick up the phone and call you. Rather, you can take action yourself to improve your chances of landing a job interview while increasing your professional experience at the same time. Here are three smart ways to bolster your resume while looking for a new position:

Freelance

Are you a creative person who has worked writing blogs or designing web pages in the past? Then you don’t have to worry about finding profitable opportunities to explore in your downtime. Indeed, just about every company under the sun maintains a blog of some sort, and many businesses look to freelancers to write content and redesign web pages for them. The key here is to keep an open mind and be willing to try new things. Just because you’re not an expert on ski equipment or digital marketing doesn’t mean you can’t prove useful to a company in need.

Acquire Specialized Knowledge

Understanding a niche is something that’s always valuable –– particularly for someone looking to jumpstart a new career. Since “specialized knowledge” can refer to any number of things, you’ve got lots of options to investigate in this regard. One common way forward is to go back to school to pick up another degree. However, you may also want to consider outside studies as well; learning a new language or studying on-the-job with other professionals can prove massively advantageous later on. Remember, no detail is too small in this practice. It doesn’t matter if you’re learning about Leucosep tubes in a laboratory or modern SEO practices online –– the true value is in the process of discovery.

Network with Your Past

If you’ve been around the block a few times, chances are you’ve made a fair few connections along the way. Don’t be afraid to reach out to old contacts because they may be able to steer you toward new opportunities. And even if they can’t, they still could supply meaningful advice, or at the very least act as a reference on your CV. It’s easy to forget about people after a few years –– that’s why it’s critical for all professionals to stay in touch with old acquaintances. One might just help you out massively some day.

3 Tips for Starting (and Finishing) a Difficult Assignment

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Most professionals don’t procrastinate out of boredom, the compulsion to avoid work, or some misguided hatred of their job. Rather, most of the time, employees procrastinate because they don’t know how to tackle a difficult assignment.

This makes sense, since if you’re confused by your work, you won’t understand where to begin; and if you don’t know where to begin, you’ll look for other things to take your mind of the stress and strain of a tricky task. However, the most industrious pros nevertheless find ways to power through tough projects. And you can work to build good habits in this regard, too. Here are three tips to keep in mind next time you find yourself struggling to get going on a dreaded task:

Utilize Modern Tech

The first step for anyone having difficulty with an assignment is a simple one: Google it. No, using a search engine might not produce the exact results you need to complete a project, but, odds are, you’ll learn something valuable as a result of your query. Even if you’re merely able to refine your search parameters, you’re still making progress and handling the most basic research at the start. At the very least, this should provide you with a basic understanding upon which you can build. Plus, there are more resources online now that can help you study for anything from switching careers to implementing complex technology.

Forget Perfection

No first draft of anything –– a movie, book, website design, or Powerpoint presentation –– has ever come out perfect. The creative process simply doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t matter what type of task you’re tackling –– it’s a guarantee that you’ll need to edit it and review it in order to improve it. Sometimes people become so enthralled with their task they have difficulty getting started at all. Resist this sentiment and instead embrace the foibles and mistakes that accompany good work. Remember, it’s okay to hold yourself to high standards, but don’t let the weight of expectation inhibit your performance.

Make Your Work Relatable

Occasionally, a business assignment may seem so obscure, so esoteric, that you find yourself unable to understand or appreciate it at all. More often than not though, even the most specialized subjects have relatable elements to them. For instance, consider a company like Bee International: Bee manufactures high-pressure homogenizers, which, most of us wouldn’t begin to comprehend. However, high-pressure homogenizers are used to make products like body lotions and creams that we use every day. In the same way, most complex processes and subjects have elements to them that are immediately understandable. Use those pieces of intel you do appreciate to inform your work and make it more accessible to your audience as well. Keep that in mind during your efforts and you’ll likely form cogent, compelling work.

How To Best Market Your Business On A Limited Budget

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Promoting your business on a shoestring budget can be somewhat daunting as it requires careful planning and a proactive approach where you need to make the right choices and opt for the best marketing tools & techniques. Constrained budget brings challenges for enterprises, especially startups and S&MEs (Small & Medium-sized Enterprises).

You need to look for cost-effective marketing strategies to help you reach out to a wider audience. Below are a few handy tips for effective, yet inexpensive ways of marketing.

Guerilla Marketing

Guerilla Marketing is a productive strategy which helps firms unleash their creative potential and imagination to showcase their merchandise and connect with potential leads. If you’re a small business looking to promote your key offerings, make use of this strategy. It provides impactful ways of presenting ideas and products on a small budget. For example, if you want to set up a nice trade show, look for a rented booth and cool display accessories. Most reputable exhibitors like ExpoMarketing offer a wide array of display tools which you can use to promote your merchandise in a more creative way. If you have a small office building, hire an artist to do nice artwork or simply use chalk or markers. You can also use undercover sales people who can create brand awareness on the streets by practically interacting with prospective clients.

Use Digital Marketing

One of the most affordable and cost-effective ways to linkup with potential customers and generate awareness regarding your brand is to use the social media platform. Sites like Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin including Pinterest and Reddit are nice examples where you can talk to your clients, provide updates about your upcoming and existing products and develop a strong online presence. Customers like to be kept updated about important services and offerings including discounts, offers, and giveaways. As long as you maintain a consistent and solid presence on social media, customers are bound to follow your brand.

Focus on Creating Impactful Content

Marketing thrives on the content that has the ability to draw attention. The internet offers a number of productive mediums to concoct brilliant promotional content. You can create blogs, videos, colorful infographics, articles for authority sites and multimedia demos and podcasts. These help you get noticed by a large number of people and get your business site more traffic, especially through Google. Make sure you add meaningful promotional content with the potential to get you top Google rankings.

Customer Engagement

Engaging customers through giveaways and the use of accessible technology like smartphones, touchscreens, SMS apps and gaming apps, is vital for effective marketing. Have product demos like videos displayed on your FB page or on Youtube including contests that you can host online. That won’t cost you anything online. Customers love bargains, so make sure you have discount coupons, and special offers including free items like e-books, stationary, notepads, smartphones, or any of your product to give away to clients to build brand loyalty and gain goodwill.

Get Referrals

With Affiliate Marketing, you can benefit from the services of specialized marketers who will promote your products for a small fee. The affiliate marketers usually have a huge number of connections online, so they can help create brand awareness through a proper outreach program. Another good idea is to get the services of a social media influencer who has a good presence online with the power to change paradigms and build perspectives. They can help in promotions through reviews, feedback, and discussions on popular social media sites.

Leased or Serviced Office Space: What’s Best for your Business?

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Commercial real estate is a rocky terrain. After all, some startups struggle to find their own space at all. There’s a lot to get through and consider when finding that perfect workplace. Still, despite all the swirling and ever-changing criteria, the same choice must always be made eventually; a leased office space, or a serviced office space?

The choice is difficult, but by breaking down both options, you should be able to decide which route is best for your business. Depending on your needs and circumstances, you’ll soon be able to work out what kind of commercial property you need.

Serviced Office Space

A serviced office space comes fully equipped, kitted out and are often situated in dense urban areas. This means that anything from sofas to internet connections are all readily available, installed and fit for use – and that everyone can see your success! Additionally, the management of the building is usually overseen by a separate company, meaning you don’t have to worry about the ins and outs of the utility logistics just yet.

The serviced office space is a good choice for the younger, less profitable businesses. The contracts tend to be shorter than the lease counterparts, allowing more flexibility for more affordable pricing. For example, companies such as Be Offices offer a great range of serviced offices in Birmingham, meaning you can find a fully equipped workspace in a well populated area. This is especially crucial, as you’d be getting cheaper, readily equipped accommodation in an area where you can flaunt your companies image and capability. What’s more, if you’re not happy, you can pack up and leave sooner rather than later!

Leased Office Space

A leased office space involves dealing directly with the landlord of the property and renting. The leases here typically last at a minimum of five years, meaning older companies with a sense of direction are better suited to this kind of commercial property. You need commitment if you’re looking to make the lease work well. Put simply, when it’s time to put aside the growing pains of the early years, its time to lease!

That’s not to say you shouldn’t lease if you’re still growing as a business. After all, companies never really stop! However, it’s best to lease out only the room you need to begin with. For example, rent out a single floor at the start if that’s the only space you require, then eventually expand to other floors if they’re available as you go. This will take some negotiation with the landlord, but any reasonable one would make it work if the space is available!