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What staff can do to help boost agency profits

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article | What staff can do to help boost agency profitsWorking in an agency can be a fantastic experience, but unless you work in sales or account management it can feel like there isn’t much you can do to help the company achieve better profits. Actually this doesn’t have to be the case at all, and there is plenty that you can do help your company be more of a success financially.

Make yourself accountable

There can be a problem at all levels of agencies where members of staff do not feel like they are accountable for the success of the company. In fact, everyone at the business has a role to play in ensuring the success of the organisation, and it is up to individuals to make themselves accountable to this fact.

For managers, the issue may be that there is no one to check to make sure they are accountable to the things they say they are going to do. For other members of staff, they may not feel that what they do can have a financial impact. However, as we will see, this is not true.

Find cost savings

There is a misconception around company profits with members of staff, and this is that the easiest way to boost them is by making more money. Of course, no-one is doubting this as a concept, but it hides the fact that there are other opportunities. One of the most important ways that you, as an employee, can improve your company profits is by spending less money.

If you can find cost savings in your department or your role, those savings act as pure profit for the company. That is money that was being spent before and is now no longer being spent. Consider where you and your department spends its money and look for ways you can reduce it.

Provide management with ideas and information

Don’t lose sight of the fact that you are the person who does your job every day, which means that you understand it better than anyone else in the company. That means those things that might seem completely obvious to you, may also be completely obscured to those in management. This puts the onus on you to provide your management with any ideas and information that could help you do your job, or help the business succeed.

Often it is the day-to-day activities that actually make the biggest difference to a business’ bottom line. So don’t be afraid to voice your opinion on matters, good management will find it extremely valuable.

Be dedicated and go the extra mile

No matter what your job entails you have options with how you perform it. You can go through the day doing the bare minimum, or you can actually show hard work and dedication. Businesses love engaged staff and it is not just because this means more productive employees – when you show your dedication to the business you are showing your potential for the future.

This means that being that person who goes the extra is not only a great benefit to the company, it also provides you with far better career prospects.

Request training that you’ll actually benefit from

Ask yourself: how many times have you been on a training course where there really doesn’t seem to be much point at all to it? Too often when businesses provide training, they are have actually just followed the ideas of someone who doesn’t really understand what will be a benefit to your team.

Instead you should be proactive. Talk to your manager about the kind of training that you would actually benefit from. Once again this will pay dividends in that you will get the training that can help the business, but it will also provide you with valuable tools and skills to make it easier for you to advance your career.

“One of the biggest issues I see in owner-managed agencies is the gulf in understanding between top managers and their employees/managers. If you hope to bridge this gap, you have to invest in training your future leaders.”

Da Costa Coaching

Stop overservicing

Interesting details from the State of Agency Workflow Management report revealed that nearly half of all agencies revealed a loss of 11% due to overservicing. Overservicing is a term that means that those agencies were delivering work for clients that they were not getting paid for – and that is a major problem.

The old adage ‘time is money’ is never more appropriate than when talking about agencies, and if you are spending your time doing work that no-one is paying you for, then you are wasting both your time and your money.

Protecting Investments for the Novice

Not everyone enters the world of financial investments with the confidence and know-how of a finance expert, despite what folks want you to think. Many of us have spent years scrabbling together savings, and learning as we go.

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article | Protecting Investments for the Novice | Personal Investing | Personal Finance

No matter how you came by your investment portfolio, whether you’re new to the world of finance or not, the most important thing is how you choose to protect your assets. For the financial amateur, this can be a daunting task, but with a few simple tips you can protect your financial investments and ensure that your assets are safe.

Patent Management

Portfolio management, or patent management, is a great way to protect your investments. It works in much the same way as having a money manager who oversees your investments and financial decisions.

You’ll sit down with a team to discuss your long-term goals, and the patent manager will oversee your investments, keeping an eye out for unique opportunities, as well as risks and pitfalls. They’ll oversee any changes to your investments and maintain your portfolio. They’ll go over strategies and ideas to grow your investment and will guide you every step of the way as you grow your assets.

Cut Your Losses

Many novice investors make the mistake of becoming too attached to certain investments, or refusing to cut their losses when numbers are dwindling. Or, they’ll wait to get out of a bad investment until after it’s far too late to recover from the loss.

One thing that savvy investors know is that you get out quick when you see the signs of a loss. Sentimentality or hope that things will recover is a fool’s errand. Cut your losses while you can and don’t look back.

Buy Stocks

Some investors refuse to buy a stock if it’s “going down” on the charts, but many successful investors know that that’s exactly when you should be buying them. Buying stocks that are coming out of a price consolidation can grow your numbers exponentially.

Choose Investment Accounts Wisely

This is something you’ll want to speak about with your money manager or patent/portfolio manager. Saving money for retirement is an excellent idea, but there are so many different types of investment accounts to choose from, it can be hard to know which is the best option for you. 401k, traditional and Roth IRA plans, and more. Talk to your manager about which option is best for your retirement savings, compare the risks and rewards, and make a sound decision.

Mutual Funds

Mutual funds are another great option for the novice investor. These funds can help diversify your investments and allow you to purchase stocks, bonds and other investments all at once. They are a convenient and low-risk way to diversify your wealth.

If you take the time to follow these tips, you’ll be well on your way to securing the safety of your investments, and even seeing some real growth! Talk to your money or patent manager today.

Entrepreneurs: Try These Productive (And / Or Lucrative) Ways To Spend Your Coffee Break

The life of an entrepreneur is many things, but relaxed and leisurely it is not. Rarely do entrepreneurs get to enjoy downtime in the same way that their salaried peers do. The entrepreneurial mind is never at rest and is constantly striving for new challenges and new ways in which to hone its skills while developing new ones. Entrepreneurs exist in a constant state of self-improvement and self-development. So even when they take a few minutes for a coffee break, it’s not uncommon to see them restlessly tapping their fingers, twitching their legs and scrolling through their phones.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article | Entrepreneurs: Try These Productive (And / Or Lucrative) Ways To Spend Your Coffee Break

If you find yourself restless, try these productivity boosting and / or potentially lucrative ways to spend your coffee break.

Take a trading break

In the digital age, trading is no longer the sole preserve of high flying Wall Street types. In fact, virtually anyone can become a trader in their free time. Using trading apps like Metatrader 4 can help to demystify the world of trading and allow you to trade all kinds of commodities with reasonable commissions and very little financial commitment on your part. Instead of spending your downtime on mobile games, why not try your hand at something that could become a potential revenue stream?

Compose some thought leadership articles on LinkedIn

Entrepreneurship is all about building your own personal brand to supplement the brand you’ve created for your business. The more people like and trust you, the more likely they are to see value in your business. Take the time to write thoughtful blog posts on LinkedIn which demonstrate your knowledge, experience and expertise to your target audience and other business leaders. Of course, you can use the same content to post on the blog section of your own business’ website. However you choose to present it, commiting your insights, reflections and musings on your industry to writing can be an extremely useful and potentially profitable way to spend your downtime.

Learn a new language

The world is getting smaller every day, and even if your business doesn’t yet have its sights set on an international market that’s no reason not to be prepared. Learning a language isn’t just a great way to help your business on its way to international domination it’s also a great way to keep your brain healthy and feeling young (just like learning a musical instrument). You’[d be surprised how quickly you can learn the fundamentals of a new language in just 15 minutes a day.

Listen to business audio books and podcasts

We all know what a prolific reader Warren Buffet is, but if you don’t have the time to consume his massive reading list in your downtime, listening to business audiobooks and podcasts may be a more readily digestible alternative.

Try mindfulness meditation

Finally, the busy mind of the entrepreneur is like any other highly efficient machine. It needs to be well rested and maintained to remain at peak efficiency. As such, it may be worth taking a few minutes in your downtime to practice mindfulness meditation. It can not only help you to manage stress and quiet your mind, it can also help you to work more efficiently and prevent the rush of entrepreneurial life from feeling too much.

6 Ways Entry-Level Engineers Can Get an Employer’s Attention

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article | 6 Ways Entry-Level Engineers Can Get an Employer's Attention | Talent Management | Resume | Cover LetterYou are about to graduate with that coveted engineering degree. It’s the ticket you were told would land you a high-paying position in that big (or rising) tech firm you’ve had your eye on. Yes, the economy appears to be humming along with many companies eager to hire. But before you prepare your resume and cover letter, there are several things you need to do to make yourself more attractive to today’s CEOs and the people that they trust to make the best hires for them.

Here are six helpful tips that will be a sure way to catch that employer’s attention:

Clean Up and Polish Your Social Media

A recent Harvard Business Review article noted that many recruitment subcontractors scour LinkedIn and other social media to find potential candidates. They’ll trace your “digital exhaust” from cookies and other user-tracking programs to learn who you are. So, ditch those college party photos you have on Instagram, Facebook, etc. Replace them with photos or videos of you working hard at that tech firm you interned with during the summer. Don’t have any intern photos? Plug in some pics of tech projects you worked on in your garage or senior lab. Use photos of you attending tech seminars and symposiums – preferably those attended by that tech firm you want to join.

It also doesn’t hurt to add a professional bio to your social media account(s). And replace college handles and URLs with those that make you look more professional. Create a brand that sets you apart – post, share, or re-tweet anything related to the industry you’re eager to enter. Follow blogs, news sources, and any other websites that represent thought leaders in the tech field you want to work in.

Network like Mad

Referrals and professional networks are 1st and 3rd in order of what CEOs consider sources of quality. People in the tech industry know that you’re young, hungry and need advice. And many are all too willing to share what they know. They remember what it was like when they tried to break in. So go to every trade show, conference seminar, and networking event you can get into. Talk to people in booths and after seminars. Ask what you can do to get into their apprenticeship, internship or mentor program.

Print out 500 “job seeker” business cards with your name, major and the job you’re looking for. Include your contact info and website if you have one. Hand these out to people you meet at trade shows, tech conferences, and seminars. They may not have an opening, but word gets around about your unique approach. And someone may just call you.

Another tactic is to attend any social/community outreach programs which the firm you’re interested in may be sponsoring. Talk to the people there and ask if you can help. People are more open at these events and the conversation tends to be more relaxed. It also builds your reputation as a caring individual; the kind that other employees like to be around. Who knows, you may end up serving food to the homeless next to the firm’s CEO. (if that happens, ditch the hard sell, but answer any questions—just make sure they remember your name. Write your last name out clearly on your “Hello, my name is” tag.)

Sell Yourself in the Cover Letter

The letter is a key element in any job search. It paints a picture that CEOs, recruiters, and hiring managers will create in their minds about the kind of person you are. Like your resume, your letter should dovetail with the firm’s needs and requirements. If you met an engineer or other tech staff member from that company at a seminar, conference or other event, namedrop that in your letter. ‘Beta test’ your letter with a career counselor or someone you know in the industry. And keep it short, no more than a page – single-spaced.

Fine Tune Your Resume

If you’re an astute tech grad, you should know how to write a resume. There are all sorts of resume writing tips and templates online. The important thing to remember is to fine-tune your resume to the needs of the tech company you’re eager to join. That means including any internships and mentor programs you’ve completed. Don’t forget to stress any senior-level projects that align with the company’s product or service.

And don’t ‘fudge’ your background—many university career counselors advise students not to be as forthcoming with their qualifications or remove entire degrees if the job posting doesn’t call for it. While this may get you the interview, it will bring up more questions that will put off hiring managers when they ask you for details during the interview.

As with your cover letter, beta test it with guidance counselors and any pros you know in the industry. You can also get a free resume evaluation at Monster’s Resume Writing Service. You’ll get detailed feedback, including a review of your resume’s appearance and content, as well as a prediction of a recruiter’s first impression.

Make Your Resume Bot Friendly

It’s a regrettable fact that many recruiters, HR managers, and other gatekeepers use applicant-tracking systems (ATS) to pre-filter resumes. These bots look for keywords and key phrases. So include verb phrases and skills written in the firm’s job description. Use both the acronym and the spelled-out form of any given title, certification, or organization. And dump the ‘career objective’ section. Bots ignore this and so do most gatekeepers. Replace it with a qualifications summary – a bullet-pointed section packed with ATS-friendly keywords that highlight your achievements, applicable skills, and internships. Use spell check and grammar-check programs to wipe your resume (and cover letter) of any mistakes.

Ace the Interview

You made the shortlist and got a face-to-face interview. At this point, the job is yours to lose. So learn all you can about the company. Scour the firm’s website. Commit to memory the company’s key current events found in the ‘news’ section. If you met any company employees at a seminar, trade show or other function, be prepared to talk about your conversation(s) you had with them.

If you don’t know the answer to a tough technical question, own up sooner rather than later. It’s much better to admit temporary ignorance than fake your way in front of a potential expert. And do ask questions. If you don’t ask anything at the end of an interview, it shows a lack of interest in the company and what your typical workday might be like.

Know your resume like the back of your hand. Be prepared to discuss how your skills and talents align with the needs of the company. By the way, you should already be familiar with the basics of interviewing – firm handshake, smile, good eye contact, and dressing a step up from the person you meet. Check out a few videos on body language as well. And do follow up promptly after the interview with a thank you email – that’s one more chance to stand out among the other in-person interviewees.

You will want to start working on these steps well before you graduate so that when that graduation ceremony comes up and you get your cap and gown, you are well on your way to landing your first dream job.


About the Author

Dr. Radu Reit is the Vice-Chair of the Marketing Committee at the Society for Information Display (SID). Display Week 2020 will be held June 7-12, 2020, in San Francisco. For more information, visit www.displayweek.org.

Getting Insurance or Opening a Bank Account: Which Is a Wiser Choice?

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article | Getting Insurance or Opening a Bank Account: Which Is a Wiser Choice?Life can be unpredictable. One day we are healthy, then we’re in a hospital bed the next day. Getting sick, losing your job, or coping with the death of a loved one can be some of the most stressful moments of a person’s life. These situations not only take a toll on your physical and emotional health but also your finances.

That is why we need to prepare for anything that can happen in a snap of a finger. To become secured financially, especially for dire emergencies, you can avail yourself of life insurance with investment in the Philippines. It can mean an additional expense, but it won’t be in the long run. It can be one of the best investments you can ever make for yourself or a loved one.

Saving vs. investing money

A lot of people do not realize the difference between saving and investing. On the one hand, both put your money into good use. The former means you are keeping your wealth for future emergencies. Meanwhile, the latter means you are placing your money in a safe place where it is supposed to grow.

From here, we can already see the difference between the two. You can open a bank account and put your money there as part of your savings. It is easy to access in case of financial emergencies. You can save and save and make it grow over the years.

On the other hand, investing means using your cash into something that has excellent return rates. It can be a risk but can also be worth it, especially if its value doubles or triples over the years. Investing means a lot of things: it can be a real estate property, bonds, stocks, or insurance policies.

Is getting insurance worth it?

You might have encountered an insurance agent encouraging you to get a policy. You might want to hear them out and consider the possible benefits it can give you.

Getting insurance means you pay only the premiums without tax. In other words, there is no tax involved when you pay for your insurance premiums. You have to pay it diligently on the specific periods. It’s like savings accounts, only that most insurance policies offer other benefits, especially in emergencies.

As long as you don’t lay your hands on your insurance payments, then you are good to go. You can choose to withdraw your insurance amount after the premium payment periods are already done. On the other hand, you can let it sit until it becomes mature. Your loved ones will also be secured in case something happens to you (such as an accident or a terminal illness).

When you do decide to get insurance, make sure to check whether you can pay for it religiously. Also, you check the other benefits you can get when availing of a particular insurance policy. It can be an additional expense at first, but you will realize its real value as long as you complete the premium payments in a given period.