Project Managing: The Changing Flow Of Customer Desires

When you begin a project in business, you quite clearly have an aim in mind. That aim might be to increase your customer base, reach out further on social media, create a new product that will flesh out your line or even just to gauge what consumers want these days. Whatever the case may be, you have to admit that you are at first going to be perplexed at the worldview you run into. It’s not unusual, to imagine how your project will go but it ends up being completely different due to the new information you collate. For this reason, leading a project itself is quite daunting. Not only do you have to try very hard to stick to initial plans but if and or when you do see the market shifting you have to accommodate that too. Customer trends always change, but the reason for why they change isn’t that difficult to understand if you are keeping your fingers on the pulse. When managing a project you will also need to make sure that you are absorbing any new information to then discuss and implement in the project itself.

Note the unexpected

One of the things that any new project will have to do is to contact the public and see what their opinion is on your initial approach or idea. Quite simply, this means sending out email survey campaigns to all your customers, to people who have shopped with you and of course to your business clients. Usually in these email surveys you will have some kind of questionnaire or a survey in which you could ask questions about how customers might feel toward the project. You’ll have to make it short and sweet as this way you will gain the most engagement. However you should also supply a further comment section which allows customers and recipients to give you their full and honest view.

When you see something out of the ordinary or perhaps a viewpoint that you did not expect, note this down. This could be the start of a similar viewpoint that is shared by many but you just didn’t know it. It could be the very beginnings of a changing flow in your customers’ desires. Of course treat this with a pinch of salt as some people sharing a similar view doesn’t mean the majority hold this view. It’s important to discuss any unexpected views that do seem to be gathering steam because it may warrant you changing a part of the project to accommodate it.

How we use technology

Customers are the ones who usually set trends in the marketing world, at least nowadays. Social media is a place for anyone to be creative which means businesses need to continually make sure they are aware of what’s going on. Sometimes a moment in culture might have a big impact on business. A certain name might be given to a piece of clothing, a software, a product etc. it’s this reason why Adwords are so important because as these new trends transpire, they will become available to bid for. You need to be at the forefront of this so you’re not the last one to the party and not able to take full advantage of the trend while it is at it’s peak. A business which wants to make sure they are serving the changing desires of their customers might need to consider using Automating Adwords optimization tasks. In a free-flowing marketing world, being able to harness the power of Adwords and automatically optimize your project to adhere to them will keep you from falling behind.

For example if a clothing item that is normally called a quilted jacket is worn by somebody famous and they make a social media post calling it a ‘country coat’, this term will obviously begin to be widely searched for by their fans. If you are such a business that makes quilted jackets, you want the Adwords for this so anytime anyone searches for a country coat, your website is further up the top of the results page.

Customers’ desires are changing more rapidly than ever before. Thankfully there are always new ways in which you can keep up and even bring them closer to your business. During a project, make sure you’re noting any signs of change from your own customers and clients from the information you get from your email survey campaign. Make sure that you’re in the loop regarding any kind of social media or cultural trend which might affect your project and adapt to it to secure new customers.

Enhancing Communication In Your Modern Business

Year after year, the landscape of business changes. Becoming more modernized to suit the needs of the next generation, businesses must adapt to a new way of operation. One of the biggest trends seen in recent years, is the concept of a flexible work arrangement; more employees are opting to work beyond the traditional hours of 9-5, and often choose to work remotely all together. With change comes the need to adapt. Here are three ways to further incorporate technology into your workforce that facilitate stronger communication.

Go Wireless and Unify

Gone are the days of coming into the office and working from your hardwired desktop computer and phone system. Employees are constantly on the go. Whether they’re collaborating in meeting rooms or working from out-of-office locations, your employees need to be able to access their work and team members at their fingertips. Start by considering replacing your phone systems and opting for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Calls through VoIP work by converting voice from analog to a digital signal. Basically, all your employees need is a connection to the internet. If you’re seriously considering VoIP, look into a complete unified communications package. Aside from your phone services, you can include your other tools like web and video conferencing, team messaging, and screen sharing. You can customize your unified suite to include whatever your company needs.

Digitally Manage Projects

Maintain the trend of going digital by looking into online business productivity software. When you’re able to track project status, you are more likely to increase communication amongst team members. Productivity software holds all stakeholders accountable for their contribution to any given initiative. Managers and team members can track goals and deadlines in real time, therefore making it easy to identify when extra assistance and mentorship is necessary. This process translates into larger business productivity; with teams practicing frequent collaboration to achieve goals, and seeking continuous learning opportunities to develop new skills. The ability to track individual processes will further motivate your workforce while making them more alert and hard working.

Create a Digital Workplace

Beyond tracking your employees’ productivity, you should be seeking to incorporate channels that facilitate the type of teamwork you’re looking to encourage. Look into incorporating a digital workplace. Social intranet software is becoming a more widely known concept. Providing employees with digital platforms allows colleagues to work and manage tasks, further streamlining their working relationship. Digital workplaces allow for members to share documents, collaborate on content and provide real time updates for the status of their work. Teams that work closely together can even create sub spaces to further organize projects and communication.

No matter your field of business, the right tools can help employees gain a better understanding for each other and the work they’re doing. This correlates to an increase in productivity by allowing employees to work more efficiently; translating into the achievement of business goals.

Author Bio:

Cameron Parish is a business enthusiast who actively seeks opportunities to share insight on communication.

You Don’t Need to be a Millionaire to Invest

When people think about investing they always think about films like Wolf on Wall Street, The Big Short, or Boiler Room. It’s fast-paced, it can get dirty, there are a lot of men shouting at each other in a hot room filled with computers. The deals aren’t always legit, but there are millions to be made. And, that might be true for some people. But there is a much easier way for people to invest small amounts. Yes, the returns are more modest, but it’s something you lead to learning as you go. In general, making smart investments will help you grow your wealth, and you don’t need to be a millionaire to invest either.

Who Are You

DIY – You want to learn from the ground up, you have an idea where you would and wouldn’t like to put your money. You want to know the best combination of indicators for day trading and you’re happy to put a lot of time into it.

Half and Half – You are comfortable being hands-on but want someone or something else to help you make the final calls. You want the stocks all processed for you, and you want to manage a varied portfolio. You have a little bit more money and some clear goals. A robo-investor is going to be great for you.

Think about what it is you want to get out of it. Do you want to learn the details, and handle everything, or do you want to be hands on but have a helping hand too.

Check Account Options

If you want to invest, you’ll need an investment account to do it. If you are going down the DIY route, then a brokerage account is what you’ll need. Going half and half? You can get yours through a robo-investor.

A brokerage account is like the quickest and cheapest way to start buying stocks, funds and open up the rest of investment types for you too. You will probably need to pay a transaction fee for every trade you make, which might sound expensive, but you won’t have a robo-investor creaming the top of your investment profits. But, it is all on you to make wise decisions.

Getting some help? You can sign up to something like Betterment, which has a $0 minimum and start buying. You’ll be charged a management fee, which is typical of all investors, and it varies depending on what you have invested in and how much you have made. The robo-investor will keep checking in on your goals to make sure you are getting the best service.

Even Easier?

If you aren’t ready to do any of those, but you still want to have some investments – Plum can help. Not only will it allow you to set up automatic savings each week, but you can also use those savings to make some investments. They have a range of options from sustained, small growth to the significant growth great gamble options like Technology. It keeps track of everything for you and gives you a breakdown of where your money is. You can withdraw it at any time too.

A Shortcut To The Skills: Areas Where Outsourcing Can Really Save You Time And Money

As a business that is constantly looking forward, we’ve all got to embrace the latest trends, albeit to an extent. Whether we’ve gone analog and we’re embracing a new era of digital transformation, or we’re looking to round off the edges, the latest trends don’t necessarily mean the best for our business. Outsourcing is one of those things that, understandably, we all look upon with some form of trepidation. Some think outsourcing rids businesses of their personality, but outsourcing, for numerous startups, can save an infinite amount of time and money. Let’s show you how.

The Ever-Changing Technological Landscape

Because technology progresses at such a rate, the race can be hard to keep up with. These days, as there are so many different IT consulting firms, such as cyberjaz.net, we can choose the right company to partner up with, so they can guide us with a steady hand through these changes. For those people who aren’t able to acquire the skills of workers in-house, outsourcing to an IT support company can make the processes easier to handle.

Content Marketing

Creating content that is easy to absorb by potential customers is a fine art, because it can come across as being a bit too commercial-esque in the wrong hands. And when we haven’t got the time to learn how best to develop our voice, we have to outsource to a content marketing company that has the strategies in place that lends themselves well to your brand. The goal is always the same- to sell products- but we have to do it in such a way that it doesn’t seem like you are relying on sales and leads. We have to generate leads but we have to start relationships with our customers.

Bookkeeping

You may think it’s easier to manage all of the tasks yourself. After all, when you are a novice startup, it’s cheaper! But because the balancing of many plates can result in a dip in productivity, outsourcing to a bookkeeping company isn’t just taking advantage of their expertise, but it’s offloading the more mundane and stressful tasks. Your business needs adequate accounts and documents to support every item of expenditure, and while there are many reasons to not use outsourced bookkeeping services, accountingdepartment.com provides a solid argument for you to use them. You can’t be too careful when it comes to your money. After all, it’s a legal requirement that you keep everything in order.

Outsourcing isn’t a bad word anymore, and it is certainly a way for us to take advantage of the resources out there when we can’t complete certain tasks ourselves. Put simply, outsourcing gives you the opportunity to look at the skills you don’t have, and give the tasks to those that do. From content marketing to bookkeeping and the complicated minefield that is technology, we’ve got so many aspects to outsource. But these things can save us so much time, not to mention money. We could spend years finding the right people to benefit our business, but we have to pay them a full wage. Outsourcing is a great shortcut to the skills.

5 Ways to Prevent Employee Burnout

Employee burnout is visible in numerous ways in all levels of your workplace hierarchy. It is most commonly associated with fatigued workers who work overtime regularly and who rarely take a day off. However, it can also be expressed in general job dissatisfaction, intense levels of stress, anger, cynicism or other negative emotions. Some workers may struggle with the inability to cope with seemingly minor stressors or inconveniences. As an employer, the impact of burnout can be felt throughout your operations. Burnout can result in decreased productivity and efficiency, a lower customer satisfaction rating, a declining employee retention rate and other consequences that you understandably want to avoid.

Understanding the Causes of Employee Burnout

Before you can determine the best ways to prevent employee burnout in your company, you need to understand its many causes. Long hours and long to-do lists are only some of several common causes. In many cases, multiple causes contribute to a serious issue rather than only one factor. For example, workers may also feel burnt out and overworked when they have too many responsibilities or when they lack the support and resources necessary to complete their tasks efficiently. Managerial oversight, conflicts with coworkers and other sources of stress may also contribute to burnout.

Effective Ways to Prevent Burnout in Your Workplace

Now that you understand what some of the many causes of employee burnout are, you can take smart steps to reduce its impact on your workforce. These are some of the more effective ways to prevent employee burnout in your workplace:

1. Assign a Realistic Workload

Managers are responsible for assigning a reasonable volume of work to each employee. Some managers see hardworking employees as workhorses who can handle more tasks than others. However, these individuals may work so hard or for longer hours than necessary because they feel intense stress and pressure to get their tasks completed. This stress is combined with an ever-expanding to-do list. Regardless of how efficient your employees seem to be, all employees should be assigned a realistic workload and should be able to complete their tasks within a reasonable number of hours each week.

2. Promote an Effective Work-Life Balance

Some employees may feel burnt out when they work too much and seemingly have minimal time to enjoy life on their own terms or to spend with family and friends. All employees should have ample time away from the office to exercise, to relax, to get an adequate amount of sleep at night, to tackle personal responsibilities and to maintain healthy relationships with friends and family. To promote an effective work-life balance in your team, consider allowing telecommuting periodically. Allow your team to use their paid time off on their own terms and without guilt. Consider offering additional paid time off beyond what is considered to be standard as a perk.

3. Encourage Employees to Disconnect Regularly

Today’s workers are increasingly connected to work activities wherever they go. They may immediately feel stress related to work activities as soon as they wake up and look at their phone. Emails, text messages and more may require attention throughout most waking hours. Their commute to and from work, their lunch hour and their evenings may also be impacted by their connectedness. Essentially, they are always on-duty even during their time away from the office. While you understandably want to maximize the benefits of technology in the workplace, encourage your team to turn off their devices at reasonable hours and on their days off. Work tasks can usually wait until normal business hours.

4. Invest in Efficiency-Based Technology

Workers may easily feel overwhelmed by their to-do list when each task is a struggle to complete. Numerous technological innovations are available that can bolster efficiency and help your team members to be more effective in their positions. These innovations are related to communication, project management, collaboration and more. Talk to your team about aspects of their positions that they struggle with. Then, explore available technology that may improve their work lives dramatically. Because technology continues to be improved, walk through this important step periodically for ongoing benefits.

5. Incorporate Relevant Perks and Benefits

Adding strategic perks and benefits may also improve your workplace in substantial ways. There is a cost associated with some of these perks, but you may discover that the expense is recouped in meaningful ways. For example, you can bring in a massage therapist to give chair massages to your team one day each month. You may host a potluck lunch to break up the monotony of the workday. Create an employee-of-the-month system that gives one person a prime parking space each month. This provides your team with recognition for their hard work and contributions. Perks and benefits can each have different impacts on your team, so a smart idea is to create a full list of combined benefits. These may transform your workplace culture with incredible results.

If your team is feeling burnt out, there is a good chance that you are as well. It can be challenging to find time in your busy work schedule to focus on improving the lives of your team, but this is an essential step that requires ample attention. After all, everything from productivity to turnover, customer satisfaction and more are at stake. Consider taking small, steady steps toward improving your work environment in these and other effective ways. Your employees and your business will benefit from the effort.

Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate tech enthusiast. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie enjoys reading about the latest apps and gadgets and binge-watching his favorite TV shows. You can reach him @bmorepeters

How Digital Transformation is Shaping Industries

Nowadays, we live in a primarily digital world. Almost everything has transferred online or became digitized these days. The fact of the matter is that technological innovations and advancements are disrupting industries left and right. Simply put, modern technology is forcing industries to take on a new approach, in order to remain relevant in the market, as well as remain efficient. However, technology isn’t the only reason industries must consider a digital approach.

As a matter of fact, it’s the consumers and their purchasing habits and behavior, as well as their tendency to follow the latest trends that also forces industries to adapt. If you don’t adapt, in order to meet consumer expectations and needs, your competitors will most definitely outrun you. Companies across various industries must simply develop a more consumer-centric solution, in order to continue providing a seamless customer experience. That being said, here are a few ways how digital transformation is shaping industries.

Chasing a competitive advantage

Newest innovations on the market are always regarded by companies as an opportunity to outrun competitors. The main reason so many companies across various industries are prioritizing digitalization is that it may allow them to gain a competitive advantage. It only takes a single business to disrupt an entire industry and drastically change the rules simply by adopting a new technology or developing a new approach.

That’s why most companies are in one way or another prioritizing digitalization. As a matter of fact, 47% of company CEOs stated that they are being pushed towards adopting a digital approach for their business by their board of directors while 56% stated that their business digitalization efforts are already increasing company profits. In essence, while some companies are considering digitalization others are already implementing new strategies and approaches. In other words, the digital transformation is bound to happen across various industries sooner or later.

Improving efficiency

The fact that every industry is about to experience a digital transformation is evident. Even the industries that are less likely to consider digitalization, such as oil and gas sector are in fact, doing so. Resource exploration industry has so far avoided digitalization but even they have to adapt to modern trends and innovations. The main reason is that a digital approach enables the oil and gas sector to improve efficiency, reduce operational costs and streamline entire processes, among other things.

That being said, oil extraction professionals that are keeping up with the latest technology have implemented an ecommerce solution. As a matter of fact, reliable oilfield equipment zone essentials can be easily bought and acquired online, thus reducing the downtime and maintenance costs for mission-critical equipment on the field. Not only that but artificial intelligence and automation are also making their way into the resource exploration industry, helping operators streamline the processes of detection and exploitation of natural resources.

Meeting consumer demands

As mentioned before, consumer habits are oftentimes one of the main reasons why industries and companies develop a new approach. After all, if you’re not relevant to your customers you will lose a battle to your competitors. Consumer demand for increased and improved connectivity, as well as their increasing interest in smart devices and IoT (Internet of Things), has already made an impact on various businesses ranging from retail to ecommerce and so on. These demands have made their way even to the automotive industry.

Nowadays, one of the rising trends in this industry is self-driving and highly connected vehicles. Therefore, the cars of the future won’t be able to fly anytime soon but they will surely be able to drive themselves. Vehicle manufacturers and sales dealerships are also adopting a digital approach for their consumers. As a matter of fact, 75% of consumers who are interested in buying a vehicle will conduct their research online. Moreover, a digital approach in the automotive industry is also there to serve new consumer needs, especially since 56% of millennials would rather avoid interacting with salespeople in person.

Reshaping the logistics

The distribution and logistics industry is also experiencing vast changes due to the digital transformation. Logistics and distribution providers are practically being forced to adopt a new approach because their clients are doing so as well. For example, retail and ecommerce sectors are leveraging the newest technology to its fullest potential, thus making numerous promises to their customers, such as next-day or even same-day delivery, in order to boost customer experience. Also, manufacturers in the automotive industry want materials delivered at the right time for production, in order to avoid having to store materials around.

These demands force distribution and logistics providers to step up their game and deliver on their clients’ expectations. Even though logistic providers aren’t part of major brands per se, they still feel responsible for representing those brands through their services. Therefore, as manufacturers and retailers implement their digital approaches, distribution and logistics providers must become an extension of their clients’ brands, in order to remain competitive and relevant.

The world is already reshaped by the digital era and it continues to be transformed. As technology continues to advance, the increasing need for new solutions challenges various industries. Even the industries that are reluctant to transform will eventually have to do so. That is if they wish to remain successful and competitive in the market.

Guest author, Raul Harman, is a B.Sc. in Innovative entrepreneurship and has a lot to say about innovations in all aspects of digital technology and online marketing. While he’s not enjoying football and great food, you can find him on Technivorz.com

Spice It Up! How to Keep Business Meetings Exciting

Business meetings are necessary for a variety of reasons,but employees will not appreciate them or remember anything that was discussed if they are not being engaged. Engaging your employees is one way you can give and receive feedback on previous and current trends, as well as events of the business. There is more than one way to engage your employees during a business meeting. 

Start with an Ice Breaker

Whether you host a meeting in the morning, afternoon or evening, it’s good to begin the meeting with an icebreaker. Everyone can tell an interesting fact about themselves, what they did over the weekend or talk about a few of their favorite hobbies. You can take turns playing catch-ball by going around the room and letting everyone tell something about themselves.An engaging activity helps keeps employees awake, as well as help them maintain focus and remember many of the topics discussed in the meeting. 

Try a Different Location

Instead of staying in a building, get some fresh air and leave the four walls behind. Nothing wakes you up like a breath of fresh air.Try hosting a meeting in a park or make reservations somewhere nice, such as a cafe. New surroundings make people alert because they are busy observing, but still paying attention. New surroundings can also be great for relaxing and unwinding. Employees who are constantly on the edge will benefit from a different surrounding where they can relax. 

Put Technology to Work

Have you thought about hosting a conference call to host the meeting? Employees are more likely to attend because they can choose the place where they are the most comfortable, such as their home,library, bookstore or any other place. When employees are given a little freedom, they are more responsive and more engaged in the meeting. 

Bring Refreshments or Have it Catered

Refreshments are good for business meetings because they give everyone an extra incentive to attend. Regardless of what time you decide to start the meeting, refreshments give people a boost of energy that helps them make it through the last stretch of the day or get off to a great start in the morning. Refreshments could be something simple like light snacks, not a full meal. Bagels, chips, water, juice, coffee, fruit, and similar items make great light snacks that can help employees be more attentive in the meeting.

If you’re having a bigger meeting or just want to treat your hardworking employees to something special, having a full meal catered is a great way to reward them for their effort. Look into local restaurants and services, like El Molinito Restaurant & Catering or another in your area, for the best food and selections.

Employees and many business owners alike are not fond of meetings and dread them because of how boring they can be. These tips can help you spice up your meeting and make it interesting, so the next time, employees are more inclined to attend. Meetings don’t have to be the downfall of your day.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.