5 Ideas For Running Effective Team Meetings

Sadly, a lot of leaders today hold meetings that are essentially dull, make time pass by ever so slowly, and leave people exhausted and frustrated. If you want to run effective team meetings, you need to make it an interesting event that is filled with energy, so that it drives all the team members to collaborate in order to come up with decisions and solve issues. It makes all the difference how you plan and run the meeting. In this article, we are going to discuss 5 ideas on how you can run effective team meetings.

Have a Positive Attitude for the Meeting

A positive attitude is an essential aspect of every team meeting. Your task is to get people involved and actually work with them in order to come up with results, solve issues, make decisions, inform, inspire, and motivate them. This means that you simply have to occasionally get everyone together in a room and hold a meeting that is going to keep the spirits high. It’s a fact that you can’t simply manage people from the office via email. So make sure that you hold meetings that inspire everyone to take part in them actively.

Have a Purpose for the Meeting

The meeting needs to have a particular purpose. Having a meeting just because you always have one isn’t really a purpose. When you set up a meeting, you actually have an opportunity to do a variety of things. It’s the time when you get to find out how everything related to your business is panning out. It’s a chance to learn how each and every team member is handling their own end, and try to help them out with issues. It’s the perfect time to emphasize your mission statement and remind everyone what their goals are. Team goals should be the focus of every meeting.

Come up With an Agenda for the Meeting

Every purpose must have its own agenda. It’s basically a list of things that need to be covered during the meeting. By looking at it, you will know how much time you can devote to each item. The fact is that time is important when it comes to meetings. Every meeting should start on time and last for a given time. If not every item of the agenda is covered, they should be moved to the next meeting. If it’s urgent, a separate meeting needs to be held. There also needs to be a regularity when it comes to meetings. Decide how many times a week a meeting should be held, and make sure everyone arrives on time.

Encourage Team Members to Participate

You want each member of your team to participate in the discussion and take part in making decisions, if the purpose of the meeting is relevant to them. You can go around the table and get everyone’s ideas. Use glass white boards to put everything down and brainstorm. Furthermore, you don’t always have to be in the focus. Let another team member lead the discussion if they have something valuable to contribute. People will feel inspired about meetings if they are encouraged to take part in them and see that results are achieved. They will feel like their contribution is valued.

Keep Focus on your Strategic Goals

Continuity is an important aspect of business meetings. Every meeting should stay focused on your general strategic goals. After all, they are what connects all of your business efforts. Generally, the best way to do this is to start every meeting with a point in the agenda that consists of quickly going through all of these goals. That way, your team will discuss all the issues while still having the big picture in mind.

Be Positive

It is essential that you hold a meeting that encourages all the team members to participate. There has to be a purpose and an agenda, and you need to keep your focus on your strategic goals. And, of course, a positive attitude is important.

Optimizing Your Online Presence For Global Expansion

Widening your net to land a much more international audience is a great way to grow your company and get your product, service or even just your brand into entirely new territories. However, it isn’t as simple as many would naively believe, especially when you consider you have to cater for all the nuances that come with an international audience: cultures, laws and online behaviors.

That is why we have come up with a few things you should consider when it comes to launching your global marketing strategy; the reason being these will help you successful cater to the new audiences you hope to reach.

Going Cross-Culture

If you want to be a success across multiple cultures then you need to understand the cultural barriers that you and your business will need to overcome. Of course, a great place to start is having a website that has been translated into multiple languages because this will give you a huge advantage. However, the deeper you are able to delve when it comes to understanding other cultures the more you will able to tweak your strategy to meet the different nuances. As such, we recommend you learn from people in the target audience you are hoping to reach.

Different Laws

Every country – and often every region – has different regulations when it comes to products, marketing, and sales. As such, it is worth making sure you know the local regulations on all three of these fronts before you commit to launching your online campaign. To give you some more context, doing business in Russia will mean different product laws to doing business in America with regards to chemicals used, safety standards, packaging designs, language used and quality assurances. The same goes for advertising laws. While America is very relaxed on competitive messaging, places like Germany and Belgium have much stricter regulations.

Search Engine Needs

Choosing the right search engine, localizing content and understanding how keywords are interpreted; these are areas you need to give careful consideration to. Every region uses different search engines, so you need to know which is used by your target audience in every location you are launching in. Yes, Google has the top spot in English-speaking countries, but local markets tend to be best served by local search engines. Another thing to bear in mind is translations. It isn’t enough to just directly translate your content; you need to localize the messaging and the product to each market you are looking at serving. And let’s not forget the importance of knowing what the native keywords to use are.

Website Design

You may think you have got the perfect website in terms of design and user functionality and, yes, that may well be the case for your American market. But it doesn’t mean it will be for the Russian market. Simple things like the colors you use can have a completely different meaning because they are so deeply ingrained in cultures. White in the western world means marriage and purity, but in the Eastern world and Africa, it symbolizes mourning. That’s just the start as well. You’re social media accounts will need to be setup to adapt to the different languages too, while most of the customer services do’s and don’t will need to be addressed as well. You’ll also need to make sure that your users see the cost of something in their local currency and you’ll want to save yourself the headache of having text that can’t be translated in your graphics.

You Don’t Need To Be An Accounting Genius To Keep Business Costs Down

There are a lot of costs when running a business, no-one can deny that. The people, the tools, the processes, the products, they all cost money. It can become a tangled web where every cost has to be balanced precariously to fit a budget. However, if you’re having trouble with high costs, the solutions might not be all that complicated. There are a few practices to start putting in place across the board that can result in giving you a bit more balance to your budget.

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There’s always another supplier

Every physical asset you bring into the business can likely be found elsewhere. In most cases, if you need an industry level of supply, then you want to go straight to the source. Instead of a commercial front, go to your supplier’s supplier. That might be the manufacturer themselves or their distributor in the company. For everything else, spend a little more time comparing prices across the board. Sites like DontPayFull.com are a good starting point to source different deals of assets of all kinds. From hardware to furniture, there is always more than one option to get the resources the business needs. Of course, for certain supplies like paper and printer ink, it’s a good idea to create a business account with a local supplier. Long-term relationships with suppliers often tend to lead to better deals and discounts over time.

Consider going outside the business

Not all costs are about the physical resources the business needs, either. A lot of spending will go to the work that has to be done itself. Not just the day-to-day tasks of facilitating the business and selling the products or carrying out the services that are central to the business. There are tertiary tasks, such as branding, marketing, creating a website, running an internal IT system and more. One of the issues that new business owners have is that they create new business roles for these tasks without considering how economical it is. Instead, it might make more sense to outsource for those tasks that won’t require ongoing effort from a full-time member of staff.

 

Hire smarter

Naturally, there are roles that have to be handled internally, as well. However, when it comes to cutting the costs of the people in the business, prevention is much better than having to scale down the number of employees in the business. By simply hiring smarter, you can save yourself the costs of excess staff. This means taking a fine-toothed comb to the different roles in the business. It might mean re-drawing the lines, accounting for new duties in existing roles and creating new roles only when the demand for duties can’t already be met by existing staff as MindTools.com suggests. In some cases, existing duties might be taken from current staff members if they can be fit into a position where they can be done more efficiently, as well.

 

Once you know the best ways to source resources and assets and how to handle labor, you’re being truly resourceful. Resourcefulness should always come before having to make any cuts. Hopefully, the tips above make it a lot easier to keep costs manageable in the business.

Are You Ready to Move into the Flexible Jobs Market?

2017 might be the year when flexible jobs explode. For many looking to wrest some control back over their working lives, this could be the year. Flexible jobs give people the ability to have more control over when and where they work. For some this means cutting down from full-time, 9 to 5, Monday to Friday working, while for others it means taking their job and moving it to the spare bedroom. Initial results are showing higher levels of job satisfaction and higher rates of engagement and productivity within the work itself.

Flexible Jobs with Potential

According to Forbes.com, there are 20 jobs above all others which are primed to be the top flexible jobs of 2017. These are:

  1. Statistician
  2. Product Manager
  3. Physical Therapy Assistant
  4. Operations Manager
  5. Operations Analyst
  6. Office Manager
  7. Occupational Therapy Assistant
  8. Nurse Practitioner
  9. Nurse – ICU
  10. Medical Director
  11. Information Security Analyst/Manager
  12. Genetic Counselor
  13. Front-End Developer
  14. Financial Analyst
  15. Data Scientist
  16. Client Services Coordinator
  17. Business Process Analyst
  18. Business Development
  19. Account Manager
  20. Account Executive

With 63% of employees believing the 8 hour work day will soon be a thing of the past, it is worth considering if flexible work is right for you. The main considerations are financial and practical. Can you afford to work less? And can your job be done from home? Or can it be shared? Then you have to see if your company is willing to enter into flexible working arrangements. Reduced work, for example suits those with savings, stable income from a partner, or a second job/side hustle to fall back on or build up. Those on low wages with financial insecurity cannot afford the less work option, but may be able to wrangle a work from home remote position if it improves productivity for your employer.

Can You Go 100% Flexible?

For the above, it is mostly about reconstructing or renegotiating jobs you are already in. For many, this is not an option. The first decade of the 20th century saw an explosion of jobs relating to the Internet. So far, the second decade has seen working patterns fracture and become more flexible with more jobs being related to servicing online needs or performing everyday business tasks and services online. The so-called gig economy has been around for a long time, but it seems more prevalent now and has allowed many people fired from work to instantly get back up on their feet and move forward with their lives. Instead of applying for a steady stream of jobs, many people are able to brainstorm how to turn their situation into a job or at least a steady income be it driving people around or delivering items.

Make no mistake, the flexible lifestyle of a freelancer can be stressful. You do have the ability to work when you want, as you want, but each gig is not always well paying, and they may be hard to obtain too. You need tremendous self-discipline and the ability to go out there and make things work for you. Furthermore, whether a freelancer or a remote worker, flexible work needs a lot of organization and an ability to ignore distractions. Strike the right balance, work hard, and it can be a very rewarding lifestyle.

Jenny Holt is a former HR executive turned freelance writer, who now spends more time with her young family and ageing, but ever eager Labrador, Rover.

Is Your Social Media Profile Secure?

With people spending more and more of their lives online – it can be difficult to know where to draw the line. Sharing almost every aspect of your life might have been commonplace – but you could also be putting yourself at risk.

While social media has become a great place to share and communicate with friends and family – it has also become a place where criminals target the unsuspecting. This is becoming a growing problem. People who came to the internet late in their lives might already have a sense of reluctance to share absolutely everything – but those who have grown up with it might not be aware that they could be sharing too much. We’re going to look at a few simple security tips that should make your social media profile more secure.

1. Don’t share too much

Sharing parts of your life can be great fun – but some people take things too far. Do you really want people knowing where you are all the time? Leave a bit of mystery in your life – it could actually protect you. Simply advertising when you’re not at home or even making it really obvious where you live or work are not the greatest ideas. Use some common sense. By all means, share photos and enjoy yourself – but try and keep some things private in your life.

Remember when you need to reset a password because you lost it? Oftentimes they’ll ask you when your birthday is or what your pet’s name is. This is the sort of information people freely share on social media. That means you’re giving this secure information away for free. Don’t do it.

2. Make sure you know all your “friends”

Having as long a friend list as possible has almost become a competition between some people. It makes you seem popular – but that’s not really the reality. Try and rise above this sort of behaviour. Only accept someone as a “friend” if you really know who they are. This means what you share should only be seen by people you know.

Of course, you can’t control how your friends use their accounts, so make sure you really only have people you can rely on in real life. A good question to ask yourself is – would you stop and talk to that person if you saw them in real life? If not – why are they on your friend list? You’ve got to get away from the desire to have thousands of friends and realise that some things (like your security) are more important.

3. Don’t share access of your account

Some people share their password and let their friends log in for them. This is a huge mistake and could be asking for trouble. Make sure it’s only you that has access to your account. You should also log out when you’ve finished – especially on public computers like those in libraries or at college.

4. Vary your passwords

Some people use the same password for everything. While this can make things easier to remember – it also means losing access to one account could spell disaster. Make sure you vary your passwords and change them regularly. Don’t write them down, either.

About the author

Keith has a strong background in advising people on security issues. He’s been writing about tech and social media for a number of years. In his spare time, he also writes for a private tuition service based in Singapore.

How the Internet is Boosting the Storage Industry

Numbers don’t lie and every savvy marketer knows this.

In the modern business environment, every business is scrambling for a piece of the internet market because this is where the customers are.

For instance, in self-storage, the industry is experiencing major growth; a fact that has been attributed partly due to increased use of internet technology.

Storage in Brooklyn has changed rapidly since the adoption of the new marketing techniques available online.

Below are some other pertinent factors that explain the relationship between storage facilities and the advent of online marketing.

Why the Surge in Self Storage Demand?

Today, there are more than 55,000 public storage facilities across the country and the industry is projected to keep growing.

Greater than 9.5% of the households in the U.S have rented self-storage and more businesses are also taking up these spaces to meet growing business needs.

With more storage facilities coming up in cities, smaller businesses are finding it cheaper to rent such units to cater for temporary storage as they seek rentals and leases.

What’s more, public storage facilities offer tailor-made solutions to suit different types of customers, a reason that makes them more popular with homeowners and businesses alike.

Impact of Internet on Self Storage 

According to the Pew Research Center, more than 87% of Americans are using the internet today and these numbers are incredible for any business seeking to extend its reach beyond the traditional catchment areas.

To the self-storage industry in Brooklyn, the internet is not a threat as most brick and mortar perceive this technology. Instead, established facilities have integrated this technology to remain relevant and add value to the customer experience.

Here are some techniques self-storage companies are using on the Internet:

  • Customer engagement: There is always a need for businesses to interact with their customers. In the modern business environment, social media has become the most important tool to provide feedback with their customers. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ are just some of the platforms self-storage facilities are relying on to interact actively with their customers. Real-time feedback is now more important than ever.
  • Internet marketing: There are different online tools that are being implemented to capture more customers. These range from social media, link building, video, email marketing, PPC among others. Most of these tools allow targeted marketing thus increasing conversion rates for self-storage facilities.
  • Online booking and scheduling: It is now easier for customers to book storage without even leaving their homes. This is a perfect solution for customers moving into Brooklyn from out of state or other cities. The best self-storage companies provide comprehensive description, virtual tours of the facility and easy online booking.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) says online retail sales are pushing beyond $427 billion and self-storage facilities are very much part of  this revolution.

If you are a customer looking for self-storage in Brooklyn, it is time to go online where you will find it easier to book and learn more about different storage facilities.

You will also find invaluable resources to help you make an informed decision.

For the storage business owner, make sure you are boosting your marketing efforts both on and offline, storing up more business along the way.

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers consumer and business topics on the web.

 

Are You Ready For The Next Step?

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If there’s one thing that you can guarantee about your business, it’s this: if it’s not moving forward, it’s falling behind. There is no such thing as being able to settle down and stay still in the world of modern business. As soon as you decide that you’re comfortable where you are, your business is going to stagnate, and your competition is going to leave you in the dust. Every business owner should be looking forward to the next stage in their business’s evolution, ready to face whatever it is that’s going to come along. Of course, the doesn’t mean that you should throw your business into the future without thinking about things carefully. If you try to push it forward without thinking carefully, then you could well end up in a pretty precarious position. With that in mind, here are a few things to think about when trying to make sure that your business is ready for the next step.

How can you reach new customers?

If you want to grow your business, then you need to expand your customer base. Otherwise, your business simply won’t be able to sustain its growth and will end up collapsing under its own weight. There are plenty of ways to reach new customers, and each come with their own unique challenges. You might want to expand to new demographics, in which case you’re going to need to put a lot more time and effort into creating effective marketing strategies. Perhaps you’re looking at expanding into more international territories. If that’s the case, then you’ll need help from one of the UK’s leading translation companies so that you can be sure that you’re communicating effectively with customers no matter where they are in the world. Being able to understand the challenges involved in reaching new customers is the only way to avoid making obvious mistakes or losing out on potentially profitable markets.

What new additions does your business need?

As a business grows, so do its needs. This could be in terms of your employees, technology, or financial support. Figuring out how any form of expansion impacts on the structure of your business isn’t always easy but it’s definitely worth doing if you really want to get the most out of any given situation. Do you need new employees? Then you need to figure out how many and where they’d be best utilised. Is your company’s tech not up to scratch? Then you’re going to want to figure out what technology will benefit your business most and whether or not you can afford it.

Do any existing elements need adjusting?

If there’s one mistake that many businesses make more than any other, it’s assuming that their existing business is strong enough to build on top of. If the foundations that you’re building on are crumbling, then everything’s going to come crashing down. Look at the infrastructure, workforce, and working methods of your business and figure out what works and what doesn’t. The things that work can act as the basis for all future developments to your business. The things that don’t need to either be adjusted and fixed or left behind entirely. Refinement is one of the most important things in your business.