Terry Lane - Monday 27.04.15, 21:11pm
A Mind for Business - Get inside your head to transform how you work
A Mind for Business – how taking care of your mind is the key to taking care of business
It is common knowledge that people are now the most important factor in any business, whether that is customers, suppliers, staff or business partners, and in the knowledge economy it is the human mind that is the most valuable asset of any company. Advances in neuroscience and psychology mean we now understand more about how the mind works than ever before, recognising how factors such as nutrition, sleep, water, exercise, distractions, relationships and even sunlight and can directly impact how effective we are mentally. Tapping into this knowledge can give individuals and organisations a huge competitive advantage.
In an increasingly health-conscious society where we are all constantly made aware of the importance of regular exercise and the benefits eating 5 fruit or vegetables a day, it is remarkable that taking care of our minds is still such a taboo subject. For so many entrepreneurs, business leaders and executives, skills like decision making, creativity and communication are the keys to success, so what can be done to improve the tool that controls all these skills – the mind.
A Mind for Business leads the reader through chapters on how to master mood swings, get and keep your motivation, managing pressure, learning and understanding yourself and how you deal with situations, training your mind, making better decisions, influencing people, understanding how to better communicate, work collaboratively and think creatively.
A Mind for Business by author Andy Gibson is a visually engaging book that offers simple, practical advice on improving the day-to-day performance of your mind. The book is very accessible; and though it explains how to manage this through effective insights from psychology and neuroscience to help people work smarter, manage their minds and thrive under pressure, it is simple to follow and isn’t full of heavyweight psychobabble. The visual approach of A Mind for Business will not only appeal to professionals from any sector, but is also an informative and inspiring guide for anyone who wants to get the most out of their minds in everyday life.
Andy Gibson is an entrepreneur and consultant specialising in innovation, business performance and social change. He is the founder of Mindapples.org. In A Mind for Business Gibson lays out a compelling yet relaxed and simple-to-follow program for business owners, team leaders and motivators to take care of their minds, in the same way they would take of their bodies, in order to make a genuine difference to their lives.
This is a really amazing book and well worth a read. Given the time, A Mind for Business will help you take care of your mind so you are able to take care of your business.
Mindapples is a London-based non-profit business that promotes public mental health and teaches everyone how to make the most of their minds. They offer training to businesses in smart and healthy working practices, bridging the gap between wellbeing and performance training, and take this same content into communities and education to help everyone get more from their minds, including supporting local campaigners to promote mentally healthy living. The proceeds from A Mind for Business go towards their ongoing campaign to make looking after our minds as natural as brushing our teeth.
A Mind for Business – Get inside your head to transform how you work by Andy Gibson is published by Pearson, priced £12.99.
For more information visit www.mindapples.org/business
Derek Smalls - Friday 19.12.14, 13:36pm
Storing excess inventory is something that a huge range of businesses – from retail store to e-commerce companies – struggle with. With the cost of office space on the rise, particularly in major cities, many companies are using external stock storage.
From flexibility to security, there are numerous benefits to storing your company’s stock in a commercial unit. Despite this, many businesses continue to store stock on site or in an industrial property.
We spoke to the commercial storage experts at Store First to find out how external stock storage for your company’s products and equipment can help it save money, become more efficient and avoid common security concerns.
External storage means greater flexibility
Has your business expanded rapidly over the past year? While it’s impossible to add more storage space to your retail store or industrial facility – save for renovating it and adding a new building – it’s easy to scale commercial storage up and down.
Many external storage contracts give your business flexibility to increase or reduce the amount of space it needs, often on a monthly basis. Scaling up your company’s storage is often as simple as ticking a box and signing on a dotted line.
Compared to the huge cost of building your own storage space or renting an entire industrial building, outsourcing your company’s storage to a commercial storage provider is much more flexible and affordable.
External storage means no security worries
Security is a major concern for many businesses. Although insurance means that most thefts won’t hurt your company’s long-term financial health, when stock is stolen it can be a major short-term blow to your company’s cash flow.
While you’ll need to hire your own security if you store stock on site or in a rented industrial building, you’ll never need to worry about security at all if you keep your stock in a commercial storage space.
From 24/7 CCTV cameras to alarms and trained personnel, storage providers take security extremely seriously. Enjoy peace of mind, fewer security risks and lower bills by storing your company’s excess stock in external storage.
External storage means lower per-metre rental rates
If your business is based in a major city or urban area, you’ll undoubtedly be paying more rent on a per-metre basis than you would in location that’s further away from the city itself.
Most commercial storage facilities are located within easy reach of major cities and urban areas, but not so close that they’re affected by city property prices. This gives them a serious competitive edge over storing your stock on site.
By storing your company’s stock externally, you can save on rent by using a smaller retail outlet with less internal storage space. This is a direct saving – one that your business can see on its monthly expense list – of storing your stock externally.
External storage means no utility bills to worry about
Does your stock need to be kept at a certain temperature or humidity level? It can cost a fortune to keep your stock at the right climate when you store it locally, but doing so is simple when you outsource storage.
Today’s commercial storage facilities offer climate and humidity control, making it easy to keep your commercial equipment, products and other items at the perfect temperature for long-term storage.
Avoid costly electricity bills by outsourcing your storage to a commercial storage provider. Since their energy is supplied in bulk, they benefit from lower per-unit rates, reducing the cost of maintaining your storage unit’s temperature.
Edwin Huxley - Friday 19.12.14, 13:33pm
If you could live and work anywhere in the world, where would you go? Would you choose the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong, the art and culture of Paris or the exotic, tropical charm of Rio de Janeiro?
No matter which location you relocate to and how long you spend there, working in a foreign country is a unique experience that everyone should have. It’s more than a working holiday – it’s a chance to learn about the world and about yourself.
From expanding your perspective on life to improving your salary, we sat down and talked to the experts at Robinsons to learn the five reasons everyone should work in another country at least once.
Your perspective on life will change dramatically
“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.”
– Aldous Huxley
Everyone, no matter where they grow up, develops a view of the world that’s based on their surroundings. This often involves stereotypes about countries and cultures that break down immediately once you experience them first hand.
Travelling to a country on holiday gives you a short glimpse of reality there, but it’s often too short to change your thinking. Living and working in another country, on the other hand, breaks down your illusions and changes your perspective.
Working in another country, particularly for a local company, expands your views on life and exposes you to ways of thinking, cultural values and perspectives that you might not have ever considered had you stayed at home.
You’ll gain a worldwide network of friends
One of the biggest benefits of working abroad is that it lets you network with other expatriates, whether through events or your professional life. The people you meet can become great friends, fantastic mentors and lifelong business connections.
Feel like expanding your professional horizon? Make a call to the managing director you met during your year abroad working in Sydney. Need a place to stay when you next travel to Tokyo? Call your old colleagues and ask to catch up.
Staying in your home country gives you a tight network of friends, but travelling the world – and working in another country in particular – gives you a global network of friends and professional contacts that can supercharge your career and life.
You’ll expand your professional and personal skillset
Working abroad doesn’t just mean working – it also means learning new languages and acquiring new skills. When you’re in unfamiliar surroundings, the importance of personal development becomes much greater, forcing you to adapt.
This can mean developing the ability to network and make new friends and business contacts easily – something you’d never have to learn at home. It can mean learning a new language to fluency and adding a valuable selling point to your personal CV.
The key to personal and professional improvement is forcing yourself to get better at new things, every day. From language to networking, working abroad makes the art of learning new skills something you have to master.
Your skills could be worth much more than you think
Think your English degree isn’t worth very much? Think again. Countries like China, which have rapidly-growing economies, are desperate to learn English to give their workforce an international edge.
Likewise, countries like Chile, through its Startup Chile programme, are encouraging would-be entrepreneurs in Western countries to move abroad and start businesses overseas.
Your professional skills – from language ability to entrepreneurial drive – might be worth a lot more than you think in another country. From Chile to China, Western-educated professionals are in huge demand throughout the emerging economies.
You’ll gain a new appreciation for your home country
Not only does working abroad make you appreciate the rest of the world more – it also helps you gain a new appreciation for your home country. After a year abroad, you’ll enjoy the things you grew up with more than you ever expected.
This is particularly true if you become a long-term professional expat and work in a foreign country for several years. The small things that you never appreciated when you lived at home become more enjoyable whenever you travel back.
If you could live and work anywhere, where would you go?
Working abroad isn’t just a rewarding experience – it’s also a surprisingly easy one for many people. From teaching English in Asia to becoming a digital nomad, there’s a surprisingly wide variety of ways to internationalize your career and your life.
From Europe to South America, Asia to the Middle East, if you could live and work in any country, which would you choose?
Derek Smalls - Friday 19.12.14, 13:31pm
Measuring the return on investment of your email marketing, display advertising or SEO is simple. But what about your trade show marketing? Is it possible to measure, to an exact degree, how much revenue a certain trade show or event produces?
Although it’s not quite as simple as measuring the ROI of an online campaign, it’s far from impossible to measure the ROI of your trade shows. With the right mix of goals and technology, you can pinpoint exactly how much profit a trade show generated.
We recently spoke to the trade show experts at Display Wizard to learn what they recommend to their customers interested in tracking and measuring the results of each trade show they attend.
What follows is a simple five-step system – from creating goals to measuring ROI on a three-month and one-year basis – that your company can use to calculate the ROI from its next trade show.
Create quantifiable goals before the event
In order to measure your trade show ROI, you need to create goals that are easy to quantify. The best goals aren’t just quantifiable, but easy to track on the fast-paced sales floor of a trade show.
Examples of effective, easily measurable goals include:
- Generate 200 leads from prospects during the show
- Get at least 500 attendees to leave their business cards at our booth
- Close $10,000 worth of new business with existing customers
Simple, quantifiable goals give your team a measurable objective to aim for during the trade show and make determining your short-term success or failure simple in the days following the event itself.
Track and tag each lead in your CRM software
Trade show leads can take quite a long time to mature, and you might see results immediately. By tagging each lead as being sourced from a specific trade show in your CRM, you can measure the value of a certain show over time.
Tag each of your leads using the Event Tag feature in Salesforce, the Custom Group field in Zoho CRM or the Contact Tags feature in Highrise. Make sure each event has its own specific tag to make measuring per-event ROI possible.
Return to your CRM to calculate ROI after three months
Since your leads will take a few months to mature, it’s futile to try and calculate an event’s ROI right away. Set a date for three months after the event and return to its leads – using your Event Tag – and see how much revenue they’ve generated.
To work out how much each trade show lead is worth in the short term, divide the total revenue by the amount of leads a show produced. This metric makes working out your approximate ROI on the fly possible at future trade shows.
Return to your CRM to calculate ROI after 12 months
Since your trade show leads will increase in value over time, it’s worth returning to your CRM software to calculate their value after a year. Use the same calculation as above to work out how much revenue each lead has generated after 12 months.
This method might take time, but it gives you an exact ROI figure for each event you attend that’s far more accurate than a short-term prediction. Over time, you’ll notice that seemingly identical trade shows will often produce a very different ROI.
Use your average lead value to calculate ROI during events
Once you’ve tracked an event’s ROI over 12 months, you’ll be able to return to the same event armed with far more data about the value of each lead. Remember the metrics we created earlier? Each of those can now be assigned a dollar value.
The more data you generate over time, the more you’ll be able to predict the value of a lead – and the ROI of a trade show – during the event itself. Use your existing data to create predictive calculations that make working out future ROI nice and simple.
Does your business measure its trade show ROI?
Measuring your trade show ROI can seem difficult, especially if you’re used to the simplicity of online ROI measurement. However, it’s surprisingly easy when your business has the right combination of measurable goals and CRM software.
Does your business measure its trade show ROI? Measuring every trade show’s return on investment might seem like a lot of work, but it will give you amazing insight into how much your company’s marketing and sales efforts are worth.
Derek Smalls - Thursday 18.09.14, 18:28pm
It’s a highly competitive market out there – more so than ever before. Every business is struggling to attract new customers and retain old ones. Whatever sector you’re in, there’s no denying that the going has been tough of late.
And yet there are businesses that are not only continuing to grow in this market, but are thriving. How are they doing it? Some people will say it’s because they’ve got the experience to ride the storm, having done it all before. Others will point to small surges in sales, bolstered by temporary market conditions. Of course, the real truth here is that the key to your business doing well in any market is your employees.
Whilst this is nothing new, too many businesses still refuse to treat their employees with the respect they deserve. Worse still, they use the same tired old job ads to recruit new employees. Recruiting is an art; perhaps different to painting, composing or writing, but equally as nuanced. Getting it right can be the difference between success and failure for your business.
Ensuring your potential candidates are adequately qualified for the position that you’re advertising is something that sounds obvious. However, it’s easy to say it and harder to implement as a recruiting strategy. For companies in technical fields, such as engineering, it’s especially crucial as candidates will need well-developed and complex skill sets in order to perform. So how do you guarantee that your candidates aren’t lying about their skills and qualifications? The best example comes from the catering world where everybody from waiters to chefs are customarily invited for a “trial” with their potential employer to confirm their suitability.
Another classic pitfall is failing to discuss the rules and culture of your business with potential candidates and generally not being clear about your expectations. Many times, new employees fail to reach the potential you saw in them or worse still, behave in ways that are counter-productive for their colleagues and the rest of the business. The Karate Kid’s Mr Miyagi famously made Daniel perform several menial tasks before revealing how they related to his goal of learning to fight. In business, there are many employers who would do well to heed Miyagi’s example by directing their new employees in company culture and standards, before unleashing them on more important projects and tasks.
But you’re busy running a business and growing your company. It’s not easy to remember the best way to hire people. Of course the easiest and often best way to find staff is to let somebody else do it for you. Every market has its own specialists. There are financial, teaching and even gas recruitment agencies.
Whilst many businesses will see recruitment agents as an unnecessary expense, they perform a vital service in that they can help you to avoid these common mistakes. By avoiding these pitfalls, employers have the ability to get the best possible candidate for the job allowing the company to grow and flourish on a day-to-day basis.