StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article

5 Ways to Enjoy Your Break Time during a Long Day of Work

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article

If you’re struggling through a hectic day at work, it’s likely that you’ll spend a lot of time dreaming about your next break. Taking regular breaks is a fantastic way to stay motivated and energized throughout the day. This is especially true if you’re using your break times effectively. When you’re planning your week ahead, make sure that you think about more than just the tasks that you want to complete. You should also consider how you’re going to get the most out of your free time. If you’re searching for inspiration, you’ll need to read on. Below are five ways to enjoy your break time, during a long day of work.

Socialize with Your Work Colleagues

Even if you already have a strong working relationship with your colleagues, it’s important that you use your break time to socialize with them. This is a great way to get to know everybody on a more relaxed level. Investing time and effort into your work place friendships will ensure that you always have someone to turn to for support and advice. It will also set you apart as someone who can strike the perfect balance between friendliness and professionalism.

Put in Your Headphones

It might not be the most social of options, but putting in your headphones is an easy way to escape the outside world. If you’re dealing with a particularly stressful day at work, you might be desperate for a little time out. Why not listen to a humorous podcast or hum along to an uplifting tune? This is a simple yet effective way to lift your spirits.

Try Meditation

You could also deal with a stressful day by enjoying a spot of meditation. This practice will help you to clear your mind and control your breathing. Even if you’re surrounded by chaos, meditation will help you to stay strong and centered. It will also allow you to put your problems into perspective.

Enjoy Vaping

If you love to vape, your break time could be the perfect opportunity for you to indulge. Just make sure that you find a suitable area that you can escape to. You should also make sure that you’ve invested in the appropriate vaping equipment. Why not visit https://www.auster.com to explore all of the options available?

Download Interesting Apps

You should also consider downloading interesting apps onto your technological devices. This is a fantastic way for you to enjoy your few free minutes. You could download a range of games that don’t take too long to complete. Alternatively, you could download apps that provide you with motivational quotes, random facts, brain teasers, or riddles. The important thing is to find apps that you look forward to engaging with. It will be much easier to get through a boring meeting or a large pile of work if you’re genuinely looking forward to your break time.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

The 6 Most Common Mistakes New Online Business Owners Make & How to Avoid Them

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Growing an online business is as much about learning what we should be doing, as it is about learning what we should not be doing. It is important to have a solid plan in place with a trusty list of your ‘to-do’s which can be satisfyingly ticked off as you go along. However as you move forward with your new business it is also just as important to be aware of the things that you should avoid and the common pitfalls involved in starting an online business. Whilst the obstacles to starting an online business are low, the potential initial mistakes, that can affect the long-term success of a business can be high. Read on for our list of the six most common mistakes that new online business owners make and our tips on how to avoid them.

A Weak Business Plan

It is all very well and good having a fantastic idea but if you don’t have a solid plan of attack then you could be on a backfoot before you’ve even gotten started. Whilst it’s not necessary to have a formal business plan, a plan of sorts is extremely necessary. In order to build an effective business plan you need to be considering the following: Who is is your target market and what do your customers look like? What is their ‘pain point’ and how will your product or service help them with their problem or issue? What are you selling and why would anyone be willing to pay for your service or product over your competitors? What makes your business different and how do you plan to position yourself to stand out alongside your competitors?

Alongside exploring the above questions you will also want to be thinking about the budget that you have available to you and how long that will last. You will want to be submerging yourself in a constant learning curve about how best to market yourself utilizing social media platforms and other avenues that will benefit your business. You will also need to be thinking about the details such as logistics, hiring staff, your accounting and your website content and strategy. You will realise that as your business develops so will your knowledge and understanding of all areas of business. You will essentially be ‘learning on the job’. However having at least a basic plan of the above will help you to avoid coming up against unexpected surprises and bumps within the initial first few months.

Becoming Obsessed with Detail

It is very natural to want everything to be perfect before we launch the fruits of our hard labour. We completely concur and agree that there are many things that need to be in place and fully functional before launch date. However becoming too hung up on the minute details of a new website has delayed many a business from launching and therefore has resulted in months of lost business revenue. You would be surprised how easy it is to fall into the routine of carefully analysing every last detail, tweaking, changing, moving, shifting, then changing it back to how it was in the first place. This process stalls the process of moving your business forward so try to be relaxed with the smaller details and keep modifying and playing with the details, as you go along in order to experiment with what works and what doesn’t.

Being a Bit Too ‘Old School’

Regardless of what generation we are from there is no denying that we are all now living in a digital age. For many of us that have been in business for a while and have different tried and tested ways of promoting and growing businesses it is easy to dismiss elements of modern technology and software as a ‘passing fad’. However there is so much technological support now available that will benefit your business that it is essential to be getting your head around the modern developments that will help you to grow your online company.

Regardless of what type of business you are planning, the bread and butter or the ‘first impression’ of your business, is going to be your website so this is always a good place to start whether you are focused on investing in software to prevent enterprise-level disasters with SEO alerts to ensure that your content is doing your business justice. Or perhaps your problem area is keeping on top of the finances in your business in which case you should be looking into the software and programmes available to support you in that area. There really is a whole world of wealth when it comes to the software, technology, apps and programmes available to you that will help you to grow your business to future and long-term success, so make sure you are taking advantage of it.

Not Focusing on Finances

One of the most common areas where businesses fail is through lack of proper financial planning. Many new online businesses fall foul of running out of money before they get to the point where they are making any and there is no other choice but to abandon the project. Therefore long-term financial projections are essential in order to plan out your time efficiently. Look into how much money you have in order to be able to run your business, how long that money will last whilst also factoring in a contingency budget that will cover you for unexpected costs and expenses along the way. Too often online business owners have to quickly try to pull funds together after realising that their budget is almost gone. By then it is probably already too late. So plan effectively in advance and keep your eye on your finances on a regular basis in order to avoid burning yourself out too quickly.

Lack of Confidence in Product or Undervaluing Your Service

It is very common for businesses in the initial months to want to just get the orders and the business rolling in and commonly that is to the detriment of a solid pricing structure. This is a big mistake however as lowering the price of your products or service is essentially devaluing your product and damaging your business. You should not be creating a business in the first place if you don’t believe in your product, so make sure that you are staying true to the proper pricing of what you are selling in order to build your business in a solid way.

Customer Service Focus as Secondary

As the sales come rolling in, a common mistake is to feel content that success is yours and that your job is done. However major value in your business is how you take care of your customers after their purchases. It is a dangerous mistake to see customer service as an afterthought for your business, as good customer service can be the make or break of any company. Living in the online age makes business easier in a lot of ways but it also makes the world of business pretty cut-throat too. Customers are savvier and more demanding than ever and if they are made to feel unimportant or unhappy, in any way, by a company, you will certainly know about it.

Dealing with customer service as a priority for your business means that you can look after your clients in a way that makes them feel valued and important to your company. That will keep them coming back and loyal to you and your business. Ignored requests, enquiries or complaints can, and very often do, lead to damaging public reviews that not only ensures they are never coming back to you again, but will also work as a huge deterrent to any new potential customers.

Recognising the above mistakes and taking great strides to avoid them will go a long way in steering your business in the right direction and keeping it on track for long-term success.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

Technologies Your Business Really Can’t Afford Not To Embrace

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Historians will look back on this time as an era of epochal change. They will see this as a time of technological revolution where science fiction met with science fact. A lot of the technologies themselves have been around, in some form or another for decades but through generations of refinement and repurposing, we are now witnesses to the emergence of technologies that will change the world.

It is through their strategic use that you can change the face of your business.

To say that these are exciting times is an understatement, yet it’s surprising how slow some businesses are in embracing technology. Sure, they use it to facilitate their day-to-day function but when it comes to thinking outside of the box and bringing their business right to the bleeding edge of the technological revolution they can find themselves faltering. Of course, we mustn’t blame them. It’s in the nature of entrepreneurs, especially those who are fairly new to the business world to keep a close eye on overheads and as important as it may be, staying ahead of the technological curve has never been cheap. After all, investing in new technologies is one thing, but investment in technology also requires investment in training so that your staff have the skills and expertise to implement it effectively.

Whatever the nature of your business, there are certain technologies that are slowly and quietly but consistently revolutionizing the ways in which businesses operate and the tech savvy business can either get in on the ground floor or face the combined impediments of increased running costs, lower output and reduced productivity. The pertinence of each to your business’ specific needs may vary but across all industries these are the ones to watch…

3D printing

From the automotive industry to construction and even medicine, it seems like there isn’t a single industry that 3D printing is failing to revolutionize. The ability to print on a huge or a tiny scale using precision engineered hybrid stepper motors is an obvious boon to a range of industries and although the technology is still fairly nascent, it seems to find a new technology every day. 3D printing technology represents a second industrial revolution. Theoretically, 3D printers may one day be as common as household ink printers facilitating the purchase of a huge range of products online that can be 3D printed at home virtually instantly.

Like all technologies, however, 3D printing has a dark side, with criminal applications including the 3D printing of illegal firearms is already an unfortunate reality.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Lasers

If your business is involved in manufacture, and reliant upon precision cutting, you probably already use lasers in some capacity. The C02 laser cutter already has an enormous range of applications across a wide range of industries. Jewelers use them for engraving personalized pieces, the construction industry uses them for the cutting of and treatment of wood and metal and a range of surgeries are carried out using these lasers.

Its cousin the fiber laser, on the other hand is used increasingly in the 3d printing of tiny and complex machine parts for which precision is paramount. Recently, however, these laser technologies have been supplanted by direct diode lasers which have already been incorporated into a variety of industries. The advantage of these lasers over their counterparts is that they represent a more energy efficient alternative that is every bit as versatile and currently used in a range of applications such as industrial welding. As direct diode lasers are far more energy efficient they can allow your business to make huge savings in running costs without compromising on versatility.

WebAssembly a revolution and an evolution

The uninitiated could be forgiven for assuming that WebAssembly just another programming language. It is, in fact, more than that. It’s a new standard binary format for web design. If you need to outsource a company to design browser-based software for your business, it pays to use WebAssembly. Compiling applications in WebAssembly is advantageous as it enables them to run as fast as native applications, meaning that browser-based applications run seamlessly and quicker than ever. The potential applications are limitless but the most obvious candidates include seamless online gaming as well as incorporating browser based augmented and virtual reality applications, and of course a renaissance in more complex and feature rich web applications.

Apps

Soon (very soon) we’ll reach the point where having an app for your business will be as necessary and ubiquitous as having a website. In an age where 30% of all e-commerce purchases in the US are made through mobile apps, it’s not hard to see why. Whatever the nature of your business you would benefit more than you may think from an app.

Retailers especially find that they can use apps not just to facilitate transactions but to promote brand awareness and incentivize customer loyalty. Uber remain a historically great example of how to expand your reach by incentivizing customers to refer their friends, family and colleagues to your service by offering both new and existing customers discounts. That’s a win for the business and both customers.

Merely having a presence on the app store can be helpful in bringing new potential leads to your business, although with over 1,600 apps published daily, savvy businesses need to take steps to ensure that their app stands out. Here you will find some tips on helping your app to get featured thereby bringing millions of potential leads into contact with your business.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Virtual and augmented reality

If you thought that VR died with risible sci fi films like Lawnmower Man in the ’90s and that augmented reality extended to chasing up and down the highstreet searching for Pokemon, think again. Few could have preempted in the technophobic ’80s and ’90s that VR would go on to have a huge range of business and consumer applications. Gaming is a no-brainer, obviously, with Oculus Rift and Playstation VR no longer high-end speculations, but a mainstream entry into the consumer electronics landscape.

Already, a range of retailers are using augmented reality to create a novel and immersive consumer experience. Vehicle manufacturers, for example, are increasingly making use of virtual showrooms. VR and AR also have implications for a range of businesses as a training aide with all manner of on the job training and orientation potentially taking place in a risk free virtual environment.

Artificial intelligence and chatbots

There was a time when we thought that Artificial Intelligence would take over the world… and it may yet, but in less of a Terminator-y way and more in a way that benefits a wide range of contemporary businesses. Of course a lot of retailers and entertainment streaming services from Netflix to iTunes to Amazon already use a rudimentary AI to catalogue user interactions. This helps them to gauge their preferences and make recommendations accordingly but it’s really in many ways just the tip of the iceberg. Use of AI algorithms on a range of customer facing applications can potentially play a huge part in reducing staffing overheads for small businesses.

Drones

Drone technology is nothing new. In fact it has had military applications dating back to the Vietnam war, but it’s only in recent years that drone technology has been adopted in a range of civilian applications from war correspondence to ordnance mapping. If your business deals in any way with direct-to-consumer logistics then you may find yourself really embracing drone technology in the near future. UPS, for example began staging mock deliveries of emergency medical care in areas typically considered hard to reach last year.

With so many technological changes on the horizon, it’s up to you to decide which advances can help you to revolutionize your business.

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article

The Best Way to Improve Your Business Assignment

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article
Photo courtesy of Green Chameleon via Unsplash

Assignment writing isn’t always the easiest of tasks for everyone. Sometimes writing our assignments can be difficult, or the words just won’t flow correctly but luckily there is plenty of help and advice out there to help get those good grades on your work. We’ve decided to take a look into some of the best ways to improve your assignments, so without further ado, here is our list.

Additional Reading

Improving the quality of your assignment can ultimately come down to extra reading. It’s likely that you’ve been given a reading list, but if you truly want your assignment to stand out, bringing in information from outside of the set reading will not only help you form a more strategic and believable argument, but it will show that you’ve done the extra work. Use the library in every way you can. Take out books, DVDs, journals and more, and use the quiet study area to truly concentrate on what the source is telling you.

Critical Thinking

Thinking critically about your assignment will be what takes you up those extra grades. Proving that you’re not just regurgitating information onto the page and are actually thinking it through will ultimately help you write a better assignment and argument. Understand the information to begin, apply it in some sense, and from there, analyse and conclude. Go that step further with your assignment. Even if you don’t need to include it in the final assignment, that critical thinking will help the knowledge settle in your mind as a whole.

Appropriate Language

As with any assignment, you need to be careful and precise about the language that you use. Avoid using personal pronouns as much as possible, and the right tense for your essay is another vital choice to make. Plain English and appropriate jargon and vocabulary for your assignment can take you from a basic assignment, to a business-specific, intelligent sounding assignment.

Read with Understanding

Reading is one of the best and most prominent ways to get information but to truly get information from reading, you have to read with understanding. By this, we mean reading and understanding what you’re reading. It can be tempting to skim over words and make notes that you don’t truly understand, but making the effort to truly ‘get’ what you’re reading can be the difference between grades, and a good and bad assignment. Make notes while you read, but don’t copy them word for word. Rewrite the information in your own words rather than just highlighting sections of text, and make summaries of each paragraph that you read.

Outline!

Planning and outlining your assignment before you start writing it will help you form a better argument within your assignment. After gathering all of your materials you’ll need to think about how you’re going to complete the task and how it will be written. Outline your work by identifying any key facts or words that need to be in the text, adopt a structure if it’s relevant to the assignment, and in the case that you form an outline, expand on this even more. Write down what you’ll include in each paragraph or what isn’t relevant. Analyse your arguments before you write for a more precise piece of writing before you even begin.

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article

Don’t Underestimate The Power Of Old School Marketing

Any good business has to keep up with technology to survive. You won’t get anywhere these days without a good website and social media presence but they aren’t the be all and end all. Too many companies are directing all of their resources toward newer, more technologically focused marketing techniques and neglecting all the old school ones. While you do need to be up to date, some of the tried and tested marketing strategies are still just as effective as they always were. They’re also usually a lot cheaper so it makes sense to use them. If you think that these marketing techniques are obsolete, think again.

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article
Photo by Tomás Del Coro from Las Vegas, Nevada, USA (Sign Spinning 2017) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Trade Shows

Getting out there and meeting potential customers face to face is always a bonus. It gives them the chance to get a sense of who you are as a business and people are more likely to put their trust in somebody that they’ve met personally. A trade show is a great way to get thousands of potential customers in one place and show off your products. There’s going to be a hell of a lot of competition out there so you need to make sure that you’ve got great trade show displays that will catch people’s attention. There’s no way that people can visit every stall that’s there so you’ve got to make yours stand out. It’s also worth applying early so you can get the best position possible. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the best place to set up camp is right next to the entrance, people like to do a round before stopping anywhere so right at the entrance is actually one of the worst places. You’ll get way more foot traffic on the end of a row or in the corner somewhere.

Promotional Gifts

Everybody loves something for free so a good promotional gift goes a long way. It gives your company value and it’s a brilliant way to give people a taster of your products. It’s also a good way of encouraging people to buy other products in order to get the promotional gift. If you don’t believe me, just think about the toys that you get in a McDonald’s happy meal or in boxes of cereal. Kids are constantly hassling their parents to buy that stuff just to get the gift. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive and if you’re getting them in bulk, it’ll be even cheaper.

Sign Spinning

When people walk past signs and billboards in the street the conversion rate is pretty small. Half the time they’ll just get ignored. Sign spinning is a pretty cheesy way of advertising but studies have shown that it does actually work. The spectacle draws people in and then they’ll read the information on the sign as they watch. It doesn’t work everywhere but if you pick a busy promenade that gets a lot of foot traffic then you’re likely to see some good returns on it with very little investment.

Always keep up to date with technology but don’t underestimate the power of old school marketing techniques.