Monthly Archives: July 2014

Help for HR Departments

One of the reasons some companies avoid replacing their current employees with newer ones is that they do not like the whole process of recruiting people. I know that maybe in the past recruiting was not as easy as it is right now and this is why some people got discouraged from it. A lot has changed since computers were introduced in offices more than ten years ago. Thanks to some very helpful recruiting software, business owners can keep track of their candidates in a way it has never been possible before.

If I had useful software at my disposal, I would like to be the one to recruit suitable candidates for a company. Recruiting seems like a piece of cake these days and even managing your new employees with the help of online timesheet solutions sounds easy too.

If you have a program that will keep track of your candidates or of your current employees, everything else is just a piece of cake. All the information about every single person is stored safely in your computer in such a way so that you have access to it at all times. The information about each single person is stored in such a way that you never have any doubt where to look for it in case you need it. I strongly believe that thanks to the employee tracking system that I am thinking about right now, more and more companies are going to enjoy recruiting employees once they start realizing how easy it can be to recruit someone and then keep them as happy employees. I think that recruiting new people to a company should be an easy and painless process during which everybody can have a lot of fun. I know that I would like to experiment with such a program and see how it works.

How to Develop a Business Strategy

Ѕtrаtеgіс рlаnnіng іs а сrіtісаl соmроnеnt оf аnу соmраnу’s suссеss and it determines whether a business will fail or thrive.

“Ѕtrаtеgу wіthоut tасtісs іs thе slоwеst rоutе tо vісtоrу, tасtісs wіthоut strаtеgу іs thе nоіsе bеfоrе dеfеаt” Ѕun Тsu.

Dеvеlоріng рlаns dоеs nоt nееd tо bе оnеrоus, but іt dоеs rеquіrе еffоrt аnd а соmmіtmеnt tо tаkіng thе tіmе rеquіrеd tо thе рrосеss. Аt mу соmраnу wе sсhеdulе а quаrtеrlу mаnаgеmеnt mееtіng оff sіtе whісh wе usе tо сrеаtе рlаns, tо rеvіеw hоw рlаns аrе gоіng аnd tо аddrеss tасtісаl рrоblеms. І bеlіеvе thіs іs а gооd рrасtісе аnd а bіg раrt оf аnу suссеss thаt wе hаvе еnјоуеd.

Тhеrе аrе mаnу bеnеfіts tо tаkіng thе mаnаgеmеnt tеаm оffsіtе fоr thеsе kіnds оf sеssіоns.

1. Іn а fаіrlу shоrt аmоunt оf tіmе уоu саn dеvеlор а rоаdmар thаt уоur tеаm саn ехесutе аgаіnst.

2. Yоu wіll tаkе аdvаntаgе оf thе соllесtіvе brаіnроwеr оf уоur mаnаgеmеnt tеаm.

3. Ву gеttіng аwау frоm thе оffісе уоu саn brіng а frеsh lооk аt thе busіnеss.

4. А рlаnnіng sеssіоn shоuld fосus оn thе роtеntіаl, but аlsо rесоgnіzе thе сhаllеngеs.

5. Ѕоmе соmраnіеs рrеfеr tо brіng іn ехtеrnаl fасіlіtаtоrs; wе hаvе hаd mоrе suссеss hаndlіng іt оursеlvеs. Whаt уоu dо nееd іs sоmеоnе сараblе оf lеаdіng thе sеssіоns.

6. Тhе sеssіоns shоuld bе struсturеd, fоllоwіng а рrосеss thаt “tеаsеs” оut thе іdеаs, еnсоurаgеs раrtісіраtіоn аnd іs nоt соnstrаіnеd bу “grоuр thіnk”.

7. Тhе sеssіоns nееd lоts оf sрасе tо wrіtе… wе usе thе lаrgе роst іt nоtе shееts аll оvеr thе wаlls.

8. Оnе trаdіtіоnаl аррrоасh, аnd а gооd wау tо gеt іntо рlаnnіng іs а ЅWОТ… Ѕtrеngths, Wеаknеssеs, Орроrtunіtіеs аnd Тhrеаts.

9. Аll раrtісіраnts shоuld fееl sаfе, еvеrуоnе shоuld bе trеаtеd еquаllу аnd nоbоdу shоuld dоmіnаtе thе tаlkіng.

10. Тhе еnd rеsult оf thіs ехеrсіsе shоuld bе АСТІОΝ Рlаns… wіth mеаsurаblе оutсоmеs, аssіgnеd tо реорlе АΝD wіth dеаdlіnеs.

Hiring tips to make a budding small business bloom

There’s no better feeling than growing a small business by hiring on new employees, but those feelings can quickly go sour if the wrong person lands the job. The right person can not only go above and beyond a job’s requirements, but also influence and transform the culture of the business.

Hiring, however, can be a gamble. It takes time and money to hire a new employee. Pick the wrong one, and that’s time and money down the drain.

Follow these tips to land the right hire.

Be clear

When writing a job description for a jobs website or a newspaper, don’t leave anything to the imagination. Overly general job descriptions don’t do any good for you and the potential hire that’s looking to join your company. Those types of job offerings also look sketchy, potentially warding off any potential hires.

When hiring a receptionist, don’t just put in an ad, “looking for someone to man the front desk.” Be descriptive and clear. A receptionist requires strong customer service skills, but also someone that’s quick on their feet. Think of issues that a receptionist might run into and use that as an example in the advertisement.

Also be clear about pay for the position. The worst job advertisement creates a perception of higher or lower pay than what the reality of the situation actually is.

Be strategic

Hiring people should be part of a small business’ plan, say the experts over at Xero. The company’s small business guide on hiring the right employees challenges small business owners to look beyond hiring one person at a time.

The report calls small business owners to prioritize their needs and hire people with complementary skills. Additionally, it asks the small business owner if it’s the right time to even hire a new employee, and if so, should that employee be part-time or full-time?

Skills vs. culture

A small business owner wants a person who can get the job done, but also someone that isn’t going to clash with the culture of the business. Sometimes, it’s preferred to get someone who has a good attitude that meshes with the rest of the staff and mold them along the way.

In addition to those technical questions, ask some personality- and trait-related issues. If it comes down to two individuals, ask the question, “Which person would you rather be stuck in an elevator with?”

Culture is important, but it’s not just the small business owner driving that culture. Hiring the right people can take that culture to the next level.

Affiliate Marketing Explained

Many people looking for a work-at-home business eventually find themselves looking critically at affiliate marketing. The industry has a long history and an exciting future. The following is a brief description of those origins, along with some common terms and knowledge you should have to get started.

Affiliate Definition

Affiliate marketing is not a new concept. It actually predates the Internet and has been around since business was a concept. The basic idea is that a merchant will reward an individual or other business for bringing additional customers to them. Today’s market is very different from these early partnerships, and is much more income-based than original concepts. Today’s affiliates are driven less by a trust-based partnership and more by the pursuit of compensation.

Most companies compensate their affiliates directly, usually on a cycle of 30 days. The affiliate runs ads for these companies in an attempt to capture leads for them. Some companies pay per lead, no matter the quality, while others will pay for a conversion.  Be sure to clarify the pay cycle, and that you understand the criteria for payment.

Methods of Marketing

Typical affiliate marketing takes place on the Web or on TV. Ads are run that feature various Web URLs or phone numbers for the customer to call. Targeting is a big factor, and narrowing down who can see your affiliate ads is key to success. When a lead comes in from those locations, the conversion is tracked and the affiliate is rewarded based on the agreed upon amount of commission.

Written by Phin Upham

Phin Upham is an investor from NYC and SF.  You may contact Phin on his Twitter page.

Being a Business Owner is Good For You

I have always believed that being your own boss can be good for you. If you have the power to decide at what hour you get up, what hour you show up to work and what it is that you do once you already get there, this truly means that you are your own boss. For many people, being one can be a very rewarding and liberating experience. Of course, being the owner of a company also has many responsibilities and this is something that I would like to write about in this post.

One of the first things a new business owner will have to do is to hire a person or people to help him with all the necessary tasks that he has to do. The ability to delegate tasks is one of the most essential traits of a business owner. Without this particular ability, a business owner will soon become overtired and unable to cope with his daily work life. The solution to it is find somebody to take over some of those responsibilities like AMS.

Every business owner might need some help with warehousing, order processing and packing. After all, nobody expects company owners to be physically present while such tasks are being conducted.

Using Products that are healthy for us and our environment

For at least a century, manufactured chemicals were all the rage. Whether cleaning the house or cleaning the body, the feeling was that laboratories had the answers and could provide us with products that overcame our every problem. Nature couldn’t solve our cleaning, health, and personal care concerns.

But things have changed, and in the new millennium, everyone wants organic, natural products that still do the job, but without the harsh and frightening chemical compounds and waste by-products of yesteryear. Whether it’s caring for one’s body, house, or merely finding less wasteful ways to perform everyday tasks, Nature is once more tasked with solving our needs. The following five products can help people do their part:

Reusable Shopping Bag or Tote
One obvious product that can replace a wasteful habit is the reusable shopping bag. Imagine how every time you go to a grocery store, you leave with five or six plastic or paper bags. Now imagine that multiplied by everyone you saw in the store, times every day, times ten years. And that’s in just one community. Not only that, but the manufacturing of these bags as well as recycling them uses valuable energy resources. If everyone bought a few of these bags and was diligent about taking them into the store with them, then an enormous amount of waste would be saved. There are a hundred choices, from recycled reusable bags to natural hemp or cotton bags.


Getting Rid of Toxic Cleansers

Another way people are looking to replace is bath and shower gels, as well as soap for washing hands. For years we’ve been sold on the need for antibacterial solutions that kill 99.9% of germs, and for some that .1% was probably too much left behind. Now we’re finding out that the chemicals used in these soaps are potentially far more dangerous than any germs they were killing. Not only that, they destroy the good bacteria we’re supposed to have on our bodies, and give rise to super bacteria that is truly dangerous. If you’re looking to get rid of the chemical soaps, but you’re still squeamish about cleanliness, there are a few solutions. Tea tree oil, lavender, or even sulphur soaps are becoming more and more readily available. These soaps are good for the skin and do a fantastic job of cleaning. The smells might be a little strong or unfamiliar and weird, but once you begin to associate them with cleanliness, you’ll find they do the job as well as any man made chemical soaps.
Cleaning Naturally
There’s also a natural way to clean the home. Vinegar and lemon juice are two products that are safe to use around pets and children, but that actually do a good job cleaning. Various sites around the net offer formulas and recipes that show you how to make a truly effective household cleaner that can be used in the kitchen, bathrooms, and even as a streak free window cleaner. You can also purchase these products pre made if you’re uncertain about making them yourself. Just be sure to read the ingredient lists so you know what you’re getting.


How you wash your clothes

Drier balls like those are another great option for reducing chemical use in your home. Fabric softeners may make clothes feel and smell good, but they also leave chemicals in the clothes you’re wearing right next to your skin. Drier balls are an effective way to enhance the drying cycle of laundry, and leave clothes fresh and soft. They’ll also save you money in the long run.

As an alternative to those amazing but disposable dusters that have been on the market, try using a microfiber cloth. Microfiber is adept at catching dust particles but can be reused indefinitely. Just shake them out outside or give them a wash every once in a while. It may be slightly less convenient than the disposable dusters, but convenience has a cost.
The preceding five methods only scratch the surface of the changes that can be made to a more earth friendly home. Talk to friends and spend some time on the internet to find other ways you can fill your life with organic, green products that will not only help the environment, but keep you and your family healthier.

Special Enrollment Period

If you have been following the media for the past few years, which you probably have, I am sure that you have heard a lot about Affordable Care Act. The debate over it was very heated and it ended with a website that allows you to obtain more affordable healthcare than ever before. The deadline to sing up was March 31st 2014, which means that many people might have missed it. Are you one of them? Even if you are, you don’t have to reason to fret as there might be something you can still do about it. The infographic below will explain everything.

As you can see, there is still hope for those who haven’t made it on time. It won’t hurt to check if you yourself qualify for SEP. If you have any doubts when it comes to that, check your eligibility. You might also want to check if your family members or friends who missed the deadline as well qualify for SEP. Fortunately for you, there is an easy way to do it if you know how to take the right steps. Personally, I am glad that something such as SEP exists. It is like giving a second chance to those who missed something important in life such as healthcare.

Why Do We Communicate in Such Complex Ways?

It is probably because our society and needs are considerably more complex than those of any other living thing on this earth.

Nature is incredibly complex, of course, but animal communication tends to centre on instinctive needs, rather than the complex emotional states, abstract concepts and conflicting desires that ours tend to focus on.

To what extent psychology influences animal behaviour is a (very loaded) question for another time. Factors like species, scenario and the old aphorism of ‘that which you study, you also change’ come prominently into play the further we go down that road, so we’ll save that one for a later date…

Of course, so much of Human communication is predicated not on what is said, but upon what remains unsaid.

This is before we get to the problems presented by lies, personal interpretations and manipulation of established fact. In addition, body language is actually more important than verbal communication and we also ought to consider even seemingly arbitrary things like fashion and the cultivation of our external image as forms of communication.

AND we haven’t even talked about the form and structure of languages yet.

So, yeah, your point is well taken, Human communication IS incredibly complex.

So why is this? Here’s a little piece (taken from displaying some of the reasons that we communicate.

1. We communicate to persuade: It means that we want someone to do something and this desire of ours is communicated. The mother patting the child to stop crying, the advertiser displaying a model in a new T-Shirt and the politician haranguing (urging) his audience to vote for him are all having the same objective of persuading, while communicating it differently.

2. We communicate in order to give or provide information: The science teacher demonstrating an experiment, the bank announcing a reduction in interest rates and the finance minister, presenting the budget are all communicating to provide information.

3. We communicate seeking information: A passer by asking you the way to the post-office, the student asking the teacher for some clarification or the investigating policeman making discreet enquiries are all seeking information by using this communication skill.

4.We communicate to express our emotions like courage or fear, joy or sorrow, satisfaction or disappointment with appropriate gestures and words. Some people have unlimited skill to emote, (i.e., to display excessive emotion) to suit the occasion. Our politicians are capable of emoting well, which by itself is a communication skill.

So, our communication needs, the imperatives that lead us to communicate in the first place, are much more complex than hunting, mating or grooming (although we do a lot of that, too, in fact, watch TV or listen to people’s conversations and see how prominent those three concepts are in our lives – the results may surprise you!).

As mammals, our social structures are closer and our relationships with each other are more complex than, say, reptiles, fish or amphibians. In evolutionary terms, a major cause of this is the nursing of live young on a mother’s milk, something which bonds and endears the young to its community.

Psychologically speaking, we are all unconsciously processing (and sending out) an incredibly large and complex set of signals each time we do anything.

A word, spoken aloud, may affect people in different ways. The word ‘cancer’, for example, will likely affect the listener in a way specific to his/her own experience, as well as its denotation/connotation within the parent culture. Context, also, is interesting, if a comedian comes out on stage in a comedy club and says the word ‘cancer’ – some people will laugh, but others will become angry. They will also react that way for different reasons that are individually specific to each of them (one man may laugh because he fears being left out in a crowd, a remnant of growing up in a large family, or being bullied at school. A woman may become angry because her friend has cancer and so on).

With every word, every action and every deed, we mask our fears and insecurities in ways as subtle and baffling as the way we send out tiny beacons containing our hopes and dreams. Why is it that shy people are often desperate not to inform somebody that they find them attractive? Surely that’s not nature’s way?

Overall, our communication is complex because it has evolved that way. At first, it was out of necessity, when we were cold, naked apes living in a hostile world of predation and starvation that needed to group together in order to survive. Then later, it evolved again when we needed to come together in order to build tools, or cities, or when we decided to look to the sky and dream of ways to get there.

Like all primates, we need complex social systems to govern how we interact and communicate with one another; we’ve just taken it a few steps further is all.


Daydreaming about Playing the Guitar

Do you dream sometimes? I definitely do because I strongly believe that doing so is healthy and good for me. When I daydream, I tend to think about all those things I find enjoyable. Just to give you an example here, sometimes I picture myself on a stage playing a bass guitar and having a great tuner. The crowd is cheering and I feel like my bass guitar is all that matters to me at that time.

Financing for Every Company

Whether for a substantial project or an equipment investment, nearly all businesses sometime find a need for financing solutions that cannot be resolved by traditional bank loans. The nature of the project may determine the sources to consider for capital influx. In some cases, grants or public partnership may be appropriate, if the project or growth will provide a substantial community benefit of some sort.

For investments in growth of facilities or workforce, or for additional equipment needs, there are means of alternative financing that can be secured by the value of land, buildings, fleet vehicles, or equipment held by the company. Whatever the case, for the company that is seeking additional capital for ongoing business needs, the plan should include efforts to avoid additional substantial debt, which brings with it ongoing payment obligations and additional costs of interest and fees. Generally, the various financing options available must be considered individually, based on the needs and capabilities of the company.

Equipment Lease

Many tax and accounting benefits may flow from equipment lease arrangements for businesses that use substantial machinery, electronic or medical equipment, or even one that owns a large vehicle fleet. Structuring the ownership and payment of company property according to principles of maximum potential ROI with minimum capital outlay often takes an astute financial guide, particularly in industries with large equipment needs that may change frequently, such as medical practices.

Invoice Factoring

Companies that have some substantial history in business along with a regular customer base may have accounts receivable that can be accessed for ready working capital. Many finance companies invest in invoices, allowing the company that generated the business sales to benefit from cash flow for any purpose without accumulating additional debt that costs money in fees, interest, and continuing monthly payment obligations.

Other Options to Consider

There are many ways and means to generate financial flow in business, including:

Working with skilled financial management experts, most companies find that they can have access to cash as needed for growth and working capital, using the resources available to them with cautious creativity.

Most business leaders understand that the ebb and flow of ongoing company finance often requires a ready source of financial support as a useful supplement to the revenue stream that the company generates in the course of business. Most company presidents are not necessarily experts on taxes and investments, accounting and finance, and all the other specialties that come into play in making wise and effective financing plans, however. It is usually worth whatever effort is required to locate skilled financial guidance in seeking financing answers that fit the company’s needs within the particular industry.

While a lot of financing options may be available in the market today, the costs, benefits, risks, and value will vary substantially from one company to another, and different strategies will make more sense in various industries. Creating a financial strategy team within the company that works with financial professionals outside of the company to formulate and achieve a workable financial strategy is the first step to generating the resources and capabilities that the company needs to grow and thrive.