Give Your Small Business A Professional Makeover

As the owner of a small business; you’ll already be aware of how tough the competition is out there. To succeed as a company in today’s market; you’ll need to be a more appealing option than your competitors, for your potential consumers and clients. If you’re struggling to progress, grow, and keep the momentum high of customer traffic; it might be time for a business makeover. Putting your efforts into a fresh start, while sticking to your brand identity and online presence, will give you and your company the boost it needs.

Consumers will always take note of what, and who, is new on the scene, and are always investigating into the latest places to invest their money, especially if they’ve been let down by another brand. Therefore, you can make the most of your current customer base and following, and push your business forward with a relaunch and new outlook. The following are some areas to consider, tips, and ideas for those who need a helping hand with their company’s makeover, to boost their sales.

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Image source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/arrangement-bloom-blossom-bouquet-395132/

A Look At Your Branding

 It’s worth thinking about your brand, logo, and the aesthetic of your business’s identity. If you’re not a whizz when it comes to graphic design and tying a company together with colors, shapes, and images; you might want to do your research online, and also employ the help of a designer. Take a look at sites like fast.company to discover the main principles of great branding and design; you can begin thinking about how these might apply to your business.

Check out what your competitors have done, and how it works for them; it’s not about copying others, but you can boost your ideas and thought process regarding what you want to achieve. You’ll need branding that can work across all your online platforms, from your website to your social media; you’ll also want something that looks great in print so that you can hand business cards out with pride. A rebrand and relaunch will give your business something to shout about, and there’ll be an instant boost in your customer traffic and sales.

The Professional Touches

As a small business; you probably won’t have access to all the very latest in technology and services that a bigger company may have. This doesn’t mean that you can’t give your customers plenty of professionalism, and utilize what’s on the market for your size of brand. Take a look at sites like merchants.services and decide on which merchant service is the right one for you; allowing customers to pay by card at checkout, both in person and online, will be an appealing attribute to your business. If you utilize trade fairs, markets, and events where you sell your wares or services; you’ll need the ability to let consumers pay with their card, so they don’t go elsewhere due to lack of cash.

Keep a supply of business cards or flyers on you at all times; nothing says “serious business person” more than the ability to provide your contact details at a moment’s notice. Let your followers know about all your changes, and build excitement about your business and its fresh start, for plenty of future growth and success.

Keep Your Employees Happy, Healthy, and Productive with Free Food

What do your employees want, more than anything? Perks, of course. But what kind of perks can lure new employees into your company, and work hard to keep those already employed from looking elsewhere? There’s a range of things you can offer, from flex time to expense accounts to on-site workout facilities. And of course there’s food.

Food appeals to all sorts of employees, of course, and nearly two-thirds of those that get free food at work describe themselves as happy. Food in particular appeals to Millennials—but not if they’re seen as a way to keep employees chained to their desks, working through lunch and breaks.

Food offered as a benefit doesn’t have to be free meals every day. It can take a lot of different forms. It might be a weekly catered lunch. It might be a shared cooking class designed to encourage team building. What does food as a perk mean? This graphic can help.

Food & Drink Perks Keep Your Employees  Happy, Healthy, and Productive

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Image credit – https://zerocater.com 

 

Improve Your Work Habits With These Tips

The workplace seems like the last place where you’d expect to find any form of habitual behavior. However, just like in our personal lives, they vary, and transcend the mere basics like washing your mug every day, reviewing the morning paperwork, or keeping your productivity up for eight hours.  Work habits range from politeness and socialization, to staying focused on a single task. And to ensure the best results, here are our tips on how to improve your work habits. Acquiring work habits can be difficult, as they didn’t have a lifetime to become automated in our daily lives. That is why we offer five simple tips that might help you out.

Small beginnings

No matter what you choose as a habit to build, you need to start small. A lot of your current habits took years to turn into a kind of automatic behavior, with most of them hardwired into your brain without you even remembering how it happened. So in order to put new habits into place with active effort, you will have to start small. For example, if you want to stay more focused on a single task, try focusing on it for five minutes. Then, after a week (or when you feel you can), extend that time to ten minutes.

Merge the habits

Say that the new habit you want to put in place is to keep a cleaner desk. You want to stop seeing piled up papers and wrappers at the end of the day. What you can do is to use every bathroom break to pick up the scraps of trash and toss them on your way there. If you want to be more sociable with coworkers, use every water break, or visit to the copier to stop and exchange a few words with someone. Tying a new habit to one of your old ones can help maintain the cycle of its occurrence.

Accountability

This goes for all those who feel like procrastination and difficulty focusing are habits that are hard to break. What you need is a sense of accountability for your work. Far-reaching deadlines are hardly going to keep you motivated on a daily basis. If possible, find a person: a colleague, or your team manager, to whom you will deliver daily reports. Knowing that your work performance depends on that end-of the day report will boost your focus. Also, keeping a to-do list, or a specific but simple checklist can go a long way. If possible, talk to the person reviewing your reports on a daily or a weekly basis, to see how well you are doing.

Organization

Organization has to be one of the most common ailments of the modern worker. From their desks and cubicles, to their offices, people tend to pile up things they don’t need. Old projects bulletin boards that they’re too busy to take down, broken down printers or piles upon piles of archives that are not a necessity right now. The habit of keeping your space clean starts with cleaning it out completely. If you have a problem giving up certain things that may be of use later, you can always look for some supercheap storage. Geelong, for example, has numerous storage offers where you can store whatever you feel could be necessary, without cluttering up your space.

Use a reward system

Lastly, employ any kind of a reward system. To truly motivate yourself, you need to know that after those ten minutes of hard focus, you will have five minutes of distractions. Or, after drinking the required goal amount of water for the day, you can treat yourself with something sweet, and so on. This part is crucial for the creation of a habit, as it hardwires your brain into linking the new behavior with some kind of gratification afterwards. Since no one gives pats on the back for achieving these small goals, a self-reward system is a perfect replacement for a positive affirmation.

Lastly

The best possible way to observe and approach habits is to see it as a kind of behavior that needs practice. It is not about a person’s laziness or inability to perform or follow through with a habit. It all comes down to how the human brain works. Most people won’t form a new habit of working 30 minutes with an unrelenting focus from day one. It takes practice and reward. Get your colleagues in on the “project” and you’ll see how fast the habit sticks.

3 Signs You Desperately Need Help With Your Business

Regardless of what kind of experience you have in the world of business, there will be times when you need a little outside assistance. There is no shame in this – it’s just part and parcel of the process of building an empire. But it is important to be able to recognise when you need help, and to have the strength of resolve to ask for that help at the right time, and from the right people. These in themselves are surprisingly tricky things to get right, and can take as much practice and devotion as any other aspect of business. The first step, of course, is to recognise when you need help in the first place.

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You Are Spending Too Much Time On Non-Essential Tasks

If you find that you are routinely spending a lot of your day to day time on non-essential tasks, then it might be worth getting someone to help you with those tasks. By non-essential here, we don’t mean that they are not important for the running of your business, but that they do not directly involve your service, or your relationship to your customer. For example, you might be running a law firm, in which case you want to spend as much time as possible actually helping your clients. In this case, you will probably want to outsource your marketing, as marketing for law firms can take up a lot of time and energy – which you could be spending on your clients.

Your Sales Are Dropping For No Apparent Reason

One of the most distressing things which can happen in business is when your sales are declining and you can’t even tell why. When this happens, it often has a way of causing a significant amount of despair, and it can be one of the quickest ways for entrepreneurs to become disillusioned with their own organizations. If this starts happening to your business, the first step is to consider getting a consultant on board. It might be that their expertise – or just the fact of having an extra pair of eyes – will help you to identify the inherent problems in your business. You can then face those problems head-on, and so get your business back on track in good time.

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You Have Had An Influx Of Customers

Or, it could be the exact opposite situation: having many customers come to you all at once. Whether it is the result of good marketing, or just chance, having a sudden influx of customers is good news, but also a potentially very stressful time for you and your business. If this happens, one of your main objectives will be to bring some people on board to help you patiently and politely deal with those extra customers. You really want to get this right – succeeding at a time like this is a sure sign of a business that will stay around for a long time yet.

Getting help with your business is often the most sensible approach to take, and there is real value in learning when to do so, and when you can cope on your own.

3 Critical Things Your Startup Business Needs!

Startup businesses are a risky thing to own as it’s the phase in a business’s life where it’s most likely to fail! The key to avoiding failure is to be properly prepared because startup businesses face many perils that can finish them without a seconds notice, so we have to get ready for these things and avoids the pitfalls that await us, but what can we do to avoid these failures from happening? Well, if you read on, you’ll find out!

Hire Website Developers

Your website is your businesses face to the world, it’s where people come to your business in order to use your services so it has to be a good one! The problem with most startup businesses is that they don’t have a proper website; they have one that the owner has made themselves, and this just isn’t going to cut it if you’ve not got professional skills! If your website is poor, it’s going to put people off your company, so how do we get around this issue? Well, it’s simple; you get professional skills in! By hiring website developers, you can be safe in the knowledge that your website is going to be unique and easy to use, so you can captivate customers and get them to buy your services.

Target Only Your Demographic

Most big businesses will only advertise to their target demographic and no one else, why? Because if you’re advertising to people who aren’t your target demographic, you’re simply not going to get anywhere with them! You need to know what the best ways are to reach out to your audience, because that’s the way that good advertising is done. Take a seat and think about who you’re mainly going to be selling to, and then base your advertisements off that. If you put your adverts in the wrong place then you’re going to be paying for nothing, so think first before you start putting out wide adverts.

Getting A Business Loan

When people start off a business, they often underestimate the costs of running it and decide to fund it themselves, however this is a mistake that often puts businesses under entirely and is therefore something you want to avoid! Websites like businesslineof.credit offer loans specifically for businesses. They can help you with paying all of the costs that come with having a business as you’re going to make a loss for for the first few years until you start getting cash in, so loans like this help you ease the pain of this by giving you a nice sum of money to sit on!

Keep in mind all of these things if you want your startup to succeed. Hire a website developer to get a professional website that will look good and will be easy to use for customers, make sure you’re advertising in the right place and not wasting your money on reaching out to people who don’t care and make sure you get a business loan to keep your financial needs satisfied! On top of loans, another good way to get funding is through lines of credit which you can read up about here.

Best cloud-based test management tools

Nowadays, cloud testing has become a popular trend. Are our cloud activities limited to only testing or can we also manage all processes, related to it, by using special tools? These special cloud-based test management tools will be analyzed in this article.

The cost efficiency, high scalability, and availability make testing in the cloud more and more popular. Multiple machines can be used in different environments. Besides that, you don’t need to build your own infrastructure. Due to these, the tools like CloudTest by Soasta, LoadStorm or Xamarin Test Cloud became widely used all over the world.
We will overview the cloud-based tools, which allow you to take control over any activities on different stages of the software testing process: creating test cases and the test plan, reports generating, bug reporting, sharing results, managing your QA team, collaboration with other specialists etc.

Here is our version of the best test management tools, which can be used for testing in the cloud.

Zephyr for JIRA
We start from the cloud version of Zephyr, one of the most powerful JIRA’s add-on for the big teams and projects. 11 000+ global customers from more than 100 countries constantly use this tool in the software testing process.

The main features and advantages of Zephyr:

  • You can your manage issues like any other in JIRA.
  • It is easy to start the testing process.
  • Full set of testing activities management.
  • Close integration with other JIRA’s plugins and add-ons.
  • Zephyr Query Language and Execution Navigator increase the power of the searching options.
  • Dashboards and metrics with the individual configuration.
  • Customized Agile board.
  • Issues can be exported to the Word, Excel formats.
  • A wide range of the high-customized filters.

Pricing:
Up to 10 users: $10 monthly flat fee.
$3.50/user (11-100 users) – $0.76/user (2000 users).
Free trial period: 30 days.

TestLodge

TestLodge is the rational choice for startups and small budget limited teams.

The main features and advantages of the TestLodge:

  • UI is understandable.
  • There is no problem with its adaptation to the needs of each team of your company.
  • You can automatically create bug reports based on failed test cases.
  • Integration with 20+ testing tools: JIRA, GitHub, YouTrack, Redmine, Trello etc.
  • Informative dashboards and reports.

Pricing: monthly $19-159/user (no users limitations).
Free trial period: 30 days.

EasyQA


EasyQA is a powerful all-in-one test management tool. You can use it with the equal efficiency on different projects not depending on your team size.

 

 

The main features and advantages of the EasyQA:

  • You can fully control over all kinds of the testing activities.
  • Customized reports and dashboards.
  • Inn-app bug reporting.
  • Special Chrome Extension
  • SDK both for Android and iOS applications.
  • Comprehensive set of the project management options.
  • Server Log Error Handler.
  • Tracking the time and testing activities
  • It is closely integrated with other testing sowtware: JIRA, GitHub, GitLab , YouTrack, Jenkins, PivotalTracker, Redmine, and Trello.

Pricing: monthly $10/user. There is a special discount offer – $5/user (till 30th of September).
Free trial period: 30 days.

TestMonitor

TestMonitor can be an optimal decision for the small and middle-sized companies. Its motto “Testing with a Smile” describes the user-friendly approach of this test management tool in the best way.

The main features and advantages of the TestMonitor:

  • Set up is simple.
  • Powerful API.
  • It supports the data security on the High level.
  • Wide set of the risk management indicators.
  • Different types of the Project roles.
  • It is integrated with 100+ tools: JIRA, GitHub, , Pivotal Tracker, Google Docs, Redmine, Dropbox etc.
  • ISTQB® and TMap NEXT® compliance.
  • It supports English, French, German, Spanish, and Dutch.

Pricing: monthly € 40/ 5 users – € 534/50 user. There is a special offer in the Enterprise version (100 users).
Free trial period: 14 days.

PractiTest

PractiTest is the modern multifunctional test management tool. An innovative approach and wide range of the testing options allow it to be among the best test management tools.

The main features and advantages of PractiTest:

  • Full set of the Agile management tools.
  • Multifunctional SDK.
  • Analytical reports.
  • Integration with JIRA, Redmine, Mantis, Bugzilla, Pivotal Tracker, Jenkins and Selenium.
  • Filters are well-customized
  • High-quality support level.

Pricing: monthly $35-45/tester (minimum 3 testers are required) + $15/developer. There is a flexible discount system.
Free trial period: 14 days (unlimited version).

Cloud-Based Test Management Tools Advantages

In conclusion, let’s look throw the main merits of the test management activities in the cloud.

Accessibility
Last time remote working becomes a common practice. Providing test management activities in the cloud, you can easy manage your team without dependence on geographical location, time or type of devices.

Cost saving
You don’t need to install cloud-based software on the server. Also there is no reason to spend additional costs for its updates and new configurations. Actually, you can pay only for the really required and often used features. Besides that, there is no need to buy any hardware and the full set of devices.

Collaboration
Cloud-based tools increase the team cooperation level on your projects. Using them, you will solve the problem of data sharing, communication with the remote team members or tasks redistribution much faster and easier.

Reliability
Communication to the customers is better performed by the cloud-based services in comparison with the desktops ones. You have much more impact on the software quality via features requests.

Scalability
Testing scale and the optimal redistribution of efforts are the typically problems the test managers are often faced to. That is why, you have nothing to do, but exactly determine your projects scalability on any stage.

There is no doubt, that you will get the real profit for your business providing cloud testing.

It is clear, that cloud-based test management activity is more than just a popular trend. I want this article help you not only to clarify the significance of such kind of tool, but also to make a right choice of tool, which meets the needs of your business.

Yana Gusti, Blogger/Columnist at EasyQA. Yana is passionate about helping organizing QA workflow, with 5 years QA experience bringing the Test Management Tools to boost QA process for the team.