Tips on Setting Realistic Business Goals

When it comes to setting business goals, it can be tricky to find that middle ground. If you set goals that are too high, you might get discouraged. If you set them too low, you may end up bored or complacent, or disillusioned with your business. So how do you strike a balance? Here are some tips.

1. What do you want?

First, you need to determine what you want. Go ahead and brainstorm – make a list as you do. Put it down on paper and don’t hold back.

2. Assess your list

Now, take a look at your list. Make a sub-list of steps you have to take to reach each of those goals and dreams. Are there some items on your dream list that involve steps you can’t take? If you cannot take the steps necessary to achieve that goal, then it needs to be modified or removed from your list.

3. Strategize

As you are making your sub-list of steps, you need to develop definite strategies for those items on your dream list that are achievable. Being able to see what is necessary to achieve that dream can help you decide whether or not to pursue it. The strategy may in fact be doable, but you are unwilling to take those steps for personal reasons. That is fine; it’s your list and your goals.

Go ahead and don’t judge yourself – if you can’t/don’t want to adopt a certain strategy for your own reasons, then cross that goal off the list. The point is to narrow things down.

4. Timeline

Determine a timeline for your goals. Do you need to make more money right now, as in this month? Or do you have more long-term goals, such as eventually quitting your day job? On your master list, write down your timeline. This will help you further narrow things down – if the goal can’t be reached within your allotted time, then it doesn’t belong on your list of goals.

5. Know yourself

One of the keys to succeeding is to be really honest about your strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes we think we can do it all, or do anything… and other times we think we can’t do anything. Neither of these extremes is likely to be true! If you can, ask others what they think they can see you doing. Once again, break out your pencil – list things you like to do and abilities you feel confident about. Just about any skill or attribute can be channeled into helping your business succeed.

These list-making exercises can help narrow down your goals and keep them realistic and reachable.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9525978

3 Steps to Build This Key Business Skill and Increase Your Bottom Line

Your business success depends on relationships. With clients, team members, suppliers, and other business owners.

So developing and honing your relationship skills makes sense, right?

This is a lifelong process, but you can make a great start by fostering empathy.

Empathy is the practice of perceiving and relating to the emotions and perspectives of others. To get better at empathy, understand and practice these 3 steps:

1. Listen with an open mind and open heart. All you have to do is listen fully. Set aside any temptation to problem solve, analyze, or judge at this point. Listen. Watch their facial expressions and body language.

You can also give the other person signals that you’re listening:

  • Stop whatever else you’re doing. This is not the time to multi-task. If you’d like to make notes because it will help you remember their important points, then ask if it’s OK first.
  • Turn to them and face them.
  • Lean forward a little to indicate interest.
  • Maintain eye contact without staring.

Finally, an important point: don’t interrupt.

It’s becoming more and more common in our culture to interrupt while another is speaking. That doesn’t make it OK. To develop your empathy skills, practice waiting until the other person has finished speaking. The space you create by doing so will bring out more information than you would ever get by prodding.

2. Learn more. Ask questions to find out the person’s concerns and mindset. Here are some examples to help you get started.

To assess the situation as it stands: How have you approached this so far? What’s working and what’s not working? How would you like things to have gone?

To go deeper: What’s your biggest fear about this situation? What has the impact been on you and others? How does this situation challenge your perceptions or stretch you?

To shift the focus to the future: What needs to happen next, do you think? What’s one thing you/we can do to move forward? What support do you need so we can avoid this in future?

3. Acknowledge that you have heard and understood. For empathy to be most valuable, people need to know that you’ve heard them, that you understand where they are coming from. That acknowledgement is best communicated with words. Your signals (see #1) do help, but body language isn’t always clear.

After the other person has finished speaking, make statements to let them know that you’ve heard. I know this can feel a little awkward at first, but repeating back key points is so helpful. By practicing it, you’ll get more comfortable. If it helps, you can begin with: “Just so I’m sure I’m understanding you”, or “I’d like to be really clear about the things you’ve said.”

Refrain from launching into your own story about how the same thing happened to you! This time is all about the other person. After you’ve established empathy and the person feels fully heard, then you can share. Limit that sharing to important points that demonstrate empathy. Don’t make it a mutual complaint session, or take the focus away from the other person.

Above all, treat the other person with respect and honor what they have to say, whether you agree or not.

You’ll be surprised by how open people become when they feel listened to and heard. You’ll hear things you wouldn’t otherwise hear, valuable information that you can use to help resolve the situation as your next step.

Even the Harvard Business Review lists empathy as one of the 5 critical leadership traits. When you develop this business skill, you’re also developing your leadership. You as a business owner are a leader, and modeling effective behavior is a great way to demonstrate it. With empathy, you’ll encourage people to openly engage new ideas, and improve their own relationships.

Empathy is powerful. It’s an essential skill for successful communication. When you practice it effectively, empathy can work real change for your business.

That client who comes to you with a complaint can become an advocate, a source of referrals, and a repeat client.

That prospective client in a new market can share valuable information about their needs and what they value that can help make your new offering successful.

That team member who is not performing well can be transformed into a high-performing staff member who makes great contributions. Or you’ll both become clear that they would do better elsewhere, either in your company or outside of it, and you can hire someone who is a better fit, saving you time and money.

That conflict you are having with a supplier can be turned into a deeper understanding and a more profitable service.

That joint venture partner you’re considering working with can become an important ally and help you reach more people as you find the best way to work together.

That business mastermind you’re participating in can become a greater source of active support and referrals.

Use these 3 steps to develop your empathy skills. They’ll strengthen your relationships, and you’ll see a boost in your bottom line.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9564442

Tips on How to Really Own Your Workplace

Full-time employees at home and in an office setting usually spend around 30-50 hours a week in a cubicle or a make shift office environment at home. Whenever a person spends that much time in one place, the décor and the look that the specific place has will most likely dictate and show the personality and personal style of a person.

A natural setting at home or in the office will most likely make an individual more inspired and productive in working. Decorating a common work space according to your personal taste should not be limited. Here are some ways on introducing your personal style in your working space to be able to claim it as your own.

Chose a theme

Your theme for your office space can be as simple or as elaborate as you want to, if your office premises permits such. Include things that relax and allows you to be more creative. You can pin a few images if your family or a dream vacation in mind or a quote that keeps you going through a busy day. Just remember to keep things organized and handy even with all the little decorations and accessories around your working area.

Wall calendars as accessories

Wall calendars are not just accessories that can decorate your working area but can double as a reminder of the things that you have to do in the coming days whether it is work related or not. It is also a great place to stick notes and small reminders that you might miss as the day gets busy at work.

Decorative stationary

Gone are the days of snail mail. However, you can still use stationaries to write a few interesting points about your day or use them as your journal at work. You can even get scented ones to be able to inhale something invigorating on a stressful day at work. Cute stationaries can also be great ways to add color to your working areas.

Personalized mugs

Personalize not only your favorite cup of tea but your mug itself by bringing a rather colorful mug at home than the usual plastic cup. This can include a printed picture of you on a vacation, a quote or your favorite movie. Choose bold and fun colors that fits the personality and the décor of your theme.

One small item when strategically placed will instantly change the look of your working area. Claim it and make it uniquely and creatively yours with accessories and décor that matches your personality.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9541123

Key Advantages of Cloud Storage for Your Business

risks_and_benefitsCloud computing has immediately changed the way we store fragile data, both professional and personal. The vital thought is that of securing data “in the cloud,” or remotely by Internet connection.

Cloud-based storage is made through immense server farms located all over the world, which are either controlled by dedicated cloud-based associations or rent space to various cloud organizations. While a couple of associations have gotten a handle on this new platform, others are keeping down for a variety of reasons. Security worries at initially added to reservations, yet capable dispersed stockpiling associations have demonstrated that the perils are not any more noticeable for cloud-based limit than with some other sort of Internet trade.

If your association is considering doing the change to conveyed stockpiling, you may not think about the different favorable circumstances of this advancement. Here are just two or three the upsides of Cloud stockpiling that I’ve found in the IT business.

Affordability:

Data storage can end up being altogether over the top. In case your association has and maintains its own particular servers, you’re paying for the cost of the hardware. The HR cost of the all inclusive community who manage and maintain your servers, whether it’s an outsourced association or your own specific staff, can incorporate after some time.

Cloud-based storage providers consistently charge a low month to month cost that gives every one of you the space you could ever require, without putting resources into gear or pay for backing.

Versatility:

With cloud storage, you pay only for the server space you truly use, rather than the space you may eventually need. Regardless of what associations think, redesigning you’re storage isn’t frustrated. Or maybe, you simply add more space to your course of action. It’s basically that direct. Besides the circumstance that you use far less space than you at first expected, you can basically diminish your data group.

Improved security:

Capable cloud-based organization associations ensure that they’re using the latest encryption gages and mechanized endeavors to set up wellbeing to secure their customers’ data their business depends on after keeping their customers’ information safe.

In addition, dispersed capacity uses distinctive servers to go down and secure data, so there is no single reason for dissatisfaction. If one machine misses the mark, your information is still secure. That is honest to goodness sentiments of tranquility you can’t get working off a single framework or server.

Access Anywhere:

Another marvelous great position of cloud storage is the ability to get to your data from anywhere with an Internet connection. With a creating workforce the country over and around the world, this is a key component and the fundamental segment for some IT Services associations, both extensive and little.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9522873

Tips On How To Add A Touch Of Elegance To An Outdoor Event

Birthday parties, company picnics, anniversary celebrations, and wedding receptions – these are just some of the types of events that can take place at an outdoor space. When these events are held outdoors, the guests tend to be more relaxed and hence, will have more fun and enjoy the gathering even more.

Although outdoor events are designed to make guests and all attendees feel more relaxed and comfortable, it doesn’t mean that you can’t add a splash of elegance to the occasion. Below are some tips that will enable you to add elegance to an outdoor event:

Have the right turf protection products installed on the lawn. Portable pathways are great turf protection products you can use to cover grassy areas. They are particularly useful if your guests are going to be in evening wear since high-heels and soft ground never mix well at all. These portable floor covering products are expensive but you don’t have to buy them; you can rent them from companies known for their event hire products.

Consider carpets as well. Carpets always add a touch of luxury to events. You can also rent some rolled turf, carpets, and vinyl products that can cover the portable flooring material and match the look and feel of your event.

Make use of flowers and plants. If the lawn is lacking in bushes and other plants that can add color to the venue, consider bringing in extra plants to create a more lush setting. Keep in mind that the right floral settings can help set the mood you are looking for. To add a more romantic feel to the venue, consider placing some floating flowers. Adding some orchids can also create an elegant, modern look.

Be creative with your lighting features. Lastly, if the event will take place at night, bear in mind that lighting is particularly important. The good news is that you don’t have to spend a fortune on buying expensive lighting features that you may only use for this event. With this aspect, it is important that you be creative. One tip you can follow is to use lighting to emphasize floral displays or draw attention to areas intended for people to gather. Candles are also great and affordable lighting options. Simply place one or more on each table. You can place a number of tall candles of various sizes grouped together in the center or just simple tea lights. If you already have some Christmas lights, you can use them, too. These lights can enhance the romantic atmosphere of the event.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9553303

Tips To Create Signs for a Profitable Business

logo-skok-ubezpieczenia-page-001-300x200A successful physical retail business needs to get noticed to attract customers and improve sales. In this tech centric world, marketing online and over mobile have become the latest trend in advertising. However, an old fashioned business sign is the perfect way to grab the attention of people. A sign is your silent but highest selling salesman. More than 50% of small retailers consider signage and graphics effective in attaining profit to their business.

Few tricks to attract the customers to your business is discussed here,

– Be specific while designing a sign. A customized sign provides the right message in the perfect place. Do not fail to include relevant product information and details that is location specific.

– In-store signs have equal important just as the attention grabbing outdoor signs. It makes shopping easier for the customers as they could navigate inside the store without needing the help of the staffs. It is essential to set standards for the signs and the color, visibility, messaging, and quality of the signs should be considered thoroughly.

– Hire a reputed sign company who create signs in an easy and effective way to urge foot traffic and to communicate with the customer.

– Try to deliver a simple message clearly because too much information is often ignored. Adopt the five second rule which states that the main themes of the sign should be conveyed within the duration of five seconds. If you cannot achieve that, shorten your message or make a series of signs.

– The choice of the color plays a major role in a design. Studies have shown that about 80 percent of the recognition of a brand is due to its color. It is best to select everlasting colors rather than using trendy colors that could be an eyesore the next year.

Another important factor to consider is the contrast in signs for readability. It is critical for the viewer’s retention of the content.

– The size of the letters really matters. The larger the letter, the easier it is to read. This is specifically important in creating signs for roadside or for the signs that will be displayed at a significant distance from the customers.

– If you are launching a new product make it to project out on the floor using unique signs and visual graphics to catch the attention of the shoppers.

If you manage to practice these tips, you will be way ahead in leveraging signage to your retail advantage and you could profit drastically.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9511177

How To Make Sure You Get Paid With A Letter Of Credit

A letter of credit is one of the financing solutions banks and other financial institutions offer to businesses involved in export and trading. A letter of credit is a legal document passed between banks, and the buyers and sellers. It is a written promise that the holder will be paid if they fulfill all specified requirements, as stated on the official document.

Transactions involving this type of financial document though can be complicated at times. But if done the properly, getting paid this way comes with a variety of advantages. Below are some useful tips you can follow to make sure you will get paid through this type of official financial document:

Give your customers clear and detailed instructions on how to issue a letter of credit in your favor. Don’t be embarrassed about providing your customers some documents, merchandise description, partial and transshipment conditions that will enable them to follow the whole process properly. There will be instances that it would be the first time for a customer to use this type of financial document. For you and your customer to avoid various hassles, give them all the necessary information they need and take the time to ask them if everything is clear or if they require any additional details or any assistance you can offer them.

Request for a copy of the buyer’s application for a letter of credit. Ask the buyer to scan and send you the application before submitting it to the bank or financial institution. Go over it carefully and make sure all the details and stipulations are correct. By following this tip, amendment-related delays and expenses will be easily avoided.

Once you get a copy of the document, use a checklist to compare its accuracy against the appropriate internal departments. To make sure you can accept the document, you can use a routing slip to record all required department signatures. And if necessary, ask for revisions before accepting the final financial document.

Make sure the document contains only the information required by the letter. Excess information can just cause discrepancies which can further result in delays or payment refusal. Before present your documents, make sure that any needed corrections or changes have already been done.

Finally, insist that the letter of credit be payable at the counters of the local banks you frequently deal with or have an account in. Banks that you have past or recurring dealings with tend to be more responsive and caring than out-of-state or out-of-country banks that you do not have any history with or do not know you.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9560096

Business Phone Service – Reasons Revealed For High Business Phone Service Bills

The telephone is now considered as a huge deal for big and small businesses. But what used to be a ‘telephone’ earlier has now transformed itself into a full-fledged business grower. For efficient running of any modern day business or trade, you need a lot of other allied facilities and services too. A large number of companies offer bundled services at ‘discounted’ rates and call the packages composite business phone services.

You can often hear people say that digital phone service bills for businesses are very high these days. They, generally, don’t look at the different components of a modern day business phone service and perhaps just do a mental comparison between the traditional telephone bill and the present day business phone service’s bill. It will be pointless to argue that digital phone service bills for businesses are not high. They indeed are! In fact, it may be quite interesting to look at the reasons for this being so. And here we go:

1. The ‘telephone’ is no more just a telephone – Let us accept that the reason why the bill that businesses receive today is a composite one is because it can be used to increase the sales of a business in a dozen ways. In addition, the bill can even be bundled with your Internet bill.

2. Multiple lines – Against a limited number of lines earlier, most businesses now have multiple connections or lines.

3. Better technology – Instead of sending signals at a particular frequency through a huge network of cables, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) transmits signals over the Internet or cable network. Long distance calling at low rates, unlimited calling facilities, caller id, voicemail, conference bridging and improvement in call quality are its distinct features which truly make life easier, simpler, faster, more business friendly and fun.

4. PBX in the cloud – Some companies offer PBX in the cloud plan with phone greeting, call transfer, auto attendant, simultaneous multiple phone ringing (cell, home phone etc.), and hold music features.

5. FAX is included – Your Fax expenses are also a part of the composite bill. Though you may be receiving a high (bundled) bill for your business phone service, you can’t deny that you are making substantial savings by not having to maintain the nearly obsolete analog phone lines and the outdated PBX systems. Finding a trained mechanic for which is both time consuming as well as expensive.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9553816

What Makes A Good Business School?

Business degrees are very popular and there are so many universities and even colleges offering them. The business job market is lucrative hence more and more people are choosing to study business as a good investment for a bright future. But to get the best whether you choose to pursue an MBA or an undergraduate degree, you must start by selecting the best school from where to get your studies from. The right business school will propel you into your business field only if it is founded on the best qualities. What then are these qualities that will make your business school a good and reliable one?

1. Strong leadership – This is a very critical element that determines how good a business school is. The leadership or administration of the school matters; for you to get the best you must be led by an experienced team in academia and business. This way the school is run and set as part of the business community and there is the collective vision to support and balance student, alumni and faculty interests.

2. Competent faculty – For a school to deliver quality education in business, it ought to have talented and qualified researchers and teachers. The faculty should be knowledgeable and experienced so they can effectively teach the aspiring business leaders. An inspiring faculty does not only dwell on theoretical standpoints, but also emphasizes on the application of the theory to real business world issues. Apart from gaining valuable education from such a faculty, you will also have an easy time getting business advice and getting connected to business career opportunities.

3. Appropriate majors and subjects – There are so many areas in business field and you could choose to specialize in a given area or degrees that are more general. A good business school should offer relevant majors and subjects that address the goals you have in pursuing a business degree program. For instance, students who wish to start their own business in the future should go for institutions offering business courses that are solid and allows specialization in entrepreneurship. Think about where you want to be when choosing a school so you start off on the right path.

4. Student support – Making educational decision can be a little tricky and you should therefore get all the support that you might need to make the best. A good business school should offer you guidance from the time you apply for a program all the way to even after graduating. You should be offered necessary help with simple and complex matters so you have the resources you need to be the business professional you aspire to be. Schools with strong alumni networks and career centers are best placed.

5. Good reputation – The overall ranking of the school among business schools can tell you a lot about its quality and worth. Rankings usually rely on important factors such as faculty, programs offered, student services, career support an research. Find out what kind of ratings and reviews are given to the business school just to be sure.

If you are looking for the best business schools, an education directory or school directory can help you narrow down the search to find the best and most reputable.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9547990

Advantages and Disadvantages of Buying a Business and Initial Steps

Buying a business is considered as a safe haven by many entrepreneurs as it involves a lesser risk than starting a new business from scratch. Even though buying an existing business seems to have lesser hassles in many aspects, one should practice due diligence to ensure a successful landing.

It is true that business brokers can help you in completing business acquisition deals, but to make it in your best favor, you should make yourself fully knowledgeable about the process and also should gain a solid grip on the purchase to make it profitable.

Advantages of buying an existing Business

The major advantage of buying an existing business is avoiding the huge startup costs. It is not just all about the cost involved, but the time and effort to be invested in terms of start-up establishment is way too high when compared to acquisition of an existing business.

As the business concept, fundamental works, brand establishment, and customer base are already set, you can jumpstart with cash flow instantaneously on the basis of the receivables. You can also enjoy the benefits of having a solid and loyal client base.

Disadvantages of buying an existing business

Even though buying a business seems to be beneficial in many aspects, there are also some downsides to it. The cost of purchase of a profitable business can surely be much higher than the establishment cost of a business.

There may also be underlying problems associated with the business you purchase such as their debts, deterioration of assets, problems with receivables etc.

Starters’ right approach

Anytime when you are getting on to buying a business, there will be thousands of opportunities popping up. It is you who know it at best about which type of business you need to pursue and what your priorities are. Here is a right approach to narrow down your choices and land up on a perfect deal.

It is important to rightly identify your interests and area of expertise while getting on to buying a business. If you are totally blank about what type of business to invest, the best move is to eliminate those which don’t seem to be interesting to you to shorten the list.

Consider your expertise while you are planning to buy a business. You may not be able to run something which you are fully ignorant about. Such a filtering also will help you narrow down your considerations to the best acceptable businesses.

Do proper groundwork to come up with a set of conditions as location, timings, size of the business etc.. Only consider the business satisfactory meeting your demands. While considering a business, just drop those which don’t at least meet 80% of your conditions to end up with the best in hand.

You also need to quantify your investment before searching for opportunities for buying a business. Check out for reasons why the business is put on sale and take a decision accordingly.

Keeping all these in mind, you need to perform due diligence while planning to buy a business and if not confident on doing it on your own, consider the option of reliable business brokers to take it up on your behalf.

The Article about the advantages and disadvantages of hiring a business brokers when it comes to buying and selling of a business.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9533443