Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Make Your Home Office a More Efficient Work Space

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Office Space

work at home business, home office
Whether your home office is located in a spare room, corner of the living room or the dining room table, there are some ways to help improve the functionality of any working environment. Work from home professionals are challenged with keeping their personal space separate from their working space and this can sometimes be a challenge that is not easily overcome. By streamlining the way your work space flows, it can make it much easier to become not only more organized by also more efficient.

Take an Analytical Look at Your Workspace

To begin streamlining your workspace, evaluate the area itself. Take a good look at what office space, equipment and resources you use on a day to day basis – this should include any table top or desk space and filing areas as well as pieces of office equipment such as computers, printers, and copiers. Are all of these items used every day? Are they crucial to accomplishing goals? By truly evaluating what space and equipment is being used, it is easier to see what needs to stay and what can go to free up more space. Having an organized working environment can help you relax and get more work done overall.

Going Digital Can Help Reduce Paper Clutter

Invoices, letters, and email printouts – all of these papers can add up to one huge mess, especially in a small working space. Consider cutting down on the paper and becoming a digital office. Converting archived paper documents to digital format will not happen overnight but it is worth the time and effort to free up much needed desk space. Bulky filing cabinets are a thing of the past – with the amount of hard drive and even external storage space available in today’s technology driven business marketplace, it is possible to keep all of your archived information in a single location that is no bigger than a mouse pad.

Organization is Key

There is nothing worse than having a client wait while you try and locate a document to share with them, but the hustle and bustle of modern business makes it completely understandable to not want to waste time organizing paperwork and digital documents. The reality is that business professionals waste more time looking for things that it takes to organize their work space. Take the time to create file folders, inboxes, and outboxes for specific documents and create organization folders within your email box – the time saved when looking for important information will be worth the time taken to organize it.

As many professionals have been told over the years, “work smart, not hard.” A great way to live up to this saying is streamlining your workspace, something that is especially important for work from home professionals. Drawing the line between working and personal space is truly the first step in becoming more efficient, but following these guidelines for organization can take your productivity to a new level. Professionals working from a home office will be amazed at what a little organization can do!

Need help getting your legitimate home business up and running? Perhaps you need to learn about opportunities in your area. If so, Stacy O'Quinn can help! For more information about Stacy and to find out how he can get you started with a real work at home business, click here.

*Photo Courtesy of JodiMichelle via Creative Commons License

Friday, May 23, 2014

What to Look for in an Outsourcing Partner

Things to Consider when Establishing an Outsourcing Relationship

small business, outsourcing
Many work-from-home professionals and small business owners are tasked with doing everything for everyone within their organization – catering to customers, taking care of employee payroll, ordering supplies, paying invoices, and much more. That is a lot of work! It is becoming more and more common for these business professionals to seek help with their workload outside of their organization. An outsourcing partner can be a great asset for these busy individuals but it is important to know what to look for when beginning to build this type of relationship.

Do Not Rule Out Outsourcing Based on Business Size

Many work-at-home professionals and small business owners do not think outsourcing is an option to them based on their business size. This is simply not the case. Remote management and information cloud capabilities have taken this service, which was once reserved for large corporations, and made it applicable for small business and single-person business operations. Having an outsourcing partner can be a huge advantage for these individuals, helping to share the work load and allowing the business owner to focus on what he or she is truly passionate about – the business.

Review Your Service Level Agreements

Service Level Agreements, or SLAs, are what outsourcing partners use to measure and report the work they are doing. These agreements help keep the business’s partner accountable and show the business owner that the work they are expected to be done is actually getting done. This is also crucial in making sure that keeping this relationship is aligned with the business’s overall goals, such as cost reduction and increased sales. It is important to receive and review these reports in a timely manner to make sure everything is being done and accounting numbers are falling into place correctly.

Do Not Focus Solely on Cost

The most important aspect to consider when looking for an outsourcing partner is the level of service he or she is able to provide. Although cost is also important, especially on a work-at-home or small business budget, it would not be prudent to sacrifice quality of services for the overall price. Make sure to research different partners and look for organizations that use trusted technologies and have proven track records. Outsourcing partners are meant to alleviate some of the work load and streamline business systems – with this in mind, the cheapest outsourcing partner may not always be the best.

Outsourcing partners can give work-from-home professionals and small business owners the support they need to run their organization smoothly and efficiently. Although these services may come with a higher price tag, it is often worth the cost based on the growth that is seen in other aspects of the business. Outsourcing partners allow business owner to focus more on their business, making sales and pleasing clients instead of worrying about things like payroll, invoices, book keeping and the like. Although obtaining this king of support may seem like a no brainer, make sure to do proper research.

Would you like to see more tips on how you can make your legitimate home business more profitable? Click here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Increase Productivity and Increase Profits

Tips to Help Increase Productivity Using Technology

small business, increase productivity
Technology helps many small business owners improve their operational efficiency and increase their overall productivity, which in turn has a positive effect on their profit margins. With the equipment and programs to make this happen more affordable than ever, small business owners should be utilizing this advantage to help pave the way for growth within their organization. Simply put, new technology and new business programs are truly the best way to do more work with fewer resources.

Embracing Change Can Help Improve Productivity

Recent developments in technology are vastly changing the way small business owners conduct business. Not only is this changing the way business is done, it is also greatly changing our relationship to work. Working remotely with round the clock access to networks, programs, and files is becoming the new normal and puts a business’s productivity through the roof. Although this is increasing the working hours throughout the week, it is also granting business owners the ability to work almost anywhere.

Considering Using Cloud Computing

One the newest technology trends hitting the business world is cloud computing. This internet based service makes sharing information simple, not to mention it helps offload some software and hardware costs. Although there are some concerns about using cloud computing, such as security of information, availability and performance speeds, the benefits of this service may greatly outweigh the concerns. Cloud computing allows everyone in the network to access company information wherever they are.

Internet Based Conferencing and Communication Tools Save Time and Money

Since most of the information and programs are available to associates on the go, it is important to make sure communication is available in the same manner. Using an internet based conferencing service can help a business owner meet with their team whenever necessary from wherever they are. This helps to cut down on travel costs and keeps the business owner and their team productive by not having to waste time traveling when they can simply have a meeting online.

Continue Investing in Associate Training

When business budgets get tight, one of the first areas to be cut is training for associates. Although this may seem redundant when everyone is performing up to standard, it is important to remember that technology is always changing. Keeping a commitment to training in this area is important because it keeps associates up to date and proficient on the latest and greatest technologies that make their jobs possible. Making this kind of investment in your team will keep the business’s productivity running high.

Technology for the business world is constantly changing – every advancement in this area is an opportunity for owners to make their business run better and make more money. Having information available on the go and setting up an online conferencing service will cut down on wasted travel time to get to the office or get to a meeting. This type of mobile business allows an organization to work whenever and wherever they please, furthering their productivity and increasing profitability overall.

Need more tips on how you can make your legitimate home business more successful? Stacy O'Quinn would love to help you! For more information about Stacy and what he can do to help you earn six figures a year, click here.

*Photo Courtesy of Fernando Mafra via Creative Commons License

Friday, May 16, 2014

Making the Most of Social Media for Your Small Business

How to Use Social Media to Build Business

social media marketing, small business, home business
In today’s modern technology age, more and more businesses are using social media to connect and communicate with their customers on a whole new level. With millions of consumers using social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn both on their computers and on their phones, it only makes sense for small business owners to jump into the social media pool as well. With proper planning and controlled execution, business owners can create and manage an effective social media marketing plan.

Develop a Social Media Marketing Plan

Unlike utilizing social media for personal use, using these websites for a business takes some planning to ensure it will benefit the organization. Start by laying out a social media marketing plan. This plan should include the purpose of the endeavor, what the desired outcome of the plan is, how the plan will be executed, including a comprehensive timeline, as well as who will be responsible for maintaining the social media sites. Taking the time to plan these aspects of social media will help small business owners determine if this is the correct path for their marketing and determine what outcomes will be possible.

Start with Internal Promotions

Once a plan has been put in place and the site is up and running, it is time to start promoting. First and foremost, make sure to announce to the members and associates within your business that a social media site for the company has been launched – this internal announcement should include what platform is being used, the purpose of the site, and how or who will be managing it. Then, begin announcing the launch of your social media site to customers – include a link to the site in email signature blocks and add the site’s URL to business cards and other printed promotions.

Follow Strict Content Guidelines

The most successful social media for business always puts the customer first. As you begin developing content, make sure to keep what the customer wants to see in mind. An easy way to accomplish this is by following the 80/20 rule – 80 percent of what is posted should be beneficial to the customer while 20 percent should be self-promotion for the business. It is also important to evaluate the feedback you receive from customers regarding the content that is posted and make adjustments to meet their needs along the way. Social media is a unique opportunity to reinforce positive impressions!

Social media is everywhere we look nowadays – on our computers, smartphones, and tablets. Virtually every type of business, big or small, is using it to communicate with customers. With this type of popularity, it only makes sense for small business owners to research how a social media site can benefit their business. By using proper planning and following the guidelines that have been proven to work for other organizations, launching a social media site can grant small businesses increased exposure as well as the opportunity to engage and grow their customer base as well as cultivate long-lasting customer relationships.

How is your home business working out? If you need tips or help making it more profitable or just want to learn about new opportunities, Stacy O'Quinn can help! For more information, click here.

*Photo Courtesy of Jason Howie via Creative Commons License

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

How Are You Treating Your Clients?

Creating Personal Client Relationships to Boost Business

customer service tips
Every small business owner understands that the individuals who purchase their products or utilize their services are the only reason they are in business to begin with. Because of this, it is vitally important to show these individuals how invaluable they truly are and create personal, lasting client relationships – that’s right, clients not customers. As Dani Johnson writes in her blog, “customer” refers simply to a nameless consumer who hands you their money. Clients, on the other hand, represent a more personal one-on-one experience and treating them in this manner can make a huge difference in your business.

Showing Appreciation for Your Clients Can Boost Business

In small business, there is a lot of competition and one thing that sets some businesses above others is how they treat clients and show appreciation for their business. The first step in showing this is by treating the individuals you do business with as true clients and not customers. Take the time to talk to your clients about more than just business – ask them about what they do for a living, what they are passionate about, about their families. Showing this kind of genuine interest in a client will show them how much you care about them as a person rather than just their business.

Truly and Personally Thank Clients

Genuinely thanking clients for making your business possible is a great way to cultivate and grow personal relationships. Although this could be as simple as sending them an email or leaving a voice message, there are some other ways to really show your clients how much they mean to you. One of the oldest and sometimes most forgotten forms of appreciation are traditional thank you cards. When a client receives a thank you card in the mail that is hand written by a business owner, it makes them feel special and important to you and your business and has them coming back over and over again.

Johnson writes that business owners should include a personalized message to take this gesture one step further instead of just writing the general “thank you for your business” or having the cards pre-printed with messages and signatures. Why not include a personalized note that includes what specifically you appreciate or like about the client or wishing them well for an upcoming life event they have mentioned, such as a wedding or child’s graduation. Sending this kind of appreciation not only makes clients feel good but will also make you feel good.

Clients are the reason small business owners are in business – without them there would not be anyone to sell products to or provide services for. This is why it is vital to treat these individuals as the important clients that they are and show your appreciation whenever possible. Clients have a choice when it comes to doing business – whether you are selling pet supplies, shoes, doing landscaping or providing accounting services, there is another business out there where your clients can choose to spend their money. By making clients feel important, they will choose your business time and time again. 

Need more advice on how to make your legitimate home business more successful? Why not give Stacy O'Quinn a call today to see what opportunities he has available and how we can help you create a six figure income! Clickhere.