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5 Stunning Tech Trends That Will Forever Alter The Future Of Business

The business world is in constant flux thanks to the exponential advancement of technology. If you're going to get an edge, you have to stay on top of the changes. Drones and the Internet of Things are two things that promise to satisfy the demand for immediate satisfaction in the world society. Co-working spaces, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and Fintech also just the latest examples of technology coming together to streamline all sorts of business processes. The modern business environment is characterised by constant change. Rapid evolution, innovation, and adaptation are now core business activities for any business that strives to be an industry leader. To remain competitive, it is absolutely essential for business leaders to not only be aware of impending revolutions but also be prepared to adapt to them. 5 Tech Trends that will Define the Future of Business 1. Drones Since FedEx purchased their first aircraft in 1977, air transport has played a pivotal role in the rapid delivery of consumer goods. The rise of digital juggernauts such as Amazon has fundamentally changed consumer expectations. Today, consumers want low prices, immense choice, and short delivery times. The rapid expansion of drone technology and availability has not gone unnoticed by Amazon and similar firms. Amazon’s flagship drone delivery service, Prime Air, has taken the world by storm. Designed to service the “last mile” of delivery, Prime Air promises delivery of consumer goods within 30 minutes of purchase. Of course, it doesn’t work everywhere, but with a current delivery distance of 7.5 miles from the nearest warehouse, Amazon can certainly reach a large market who demand instant satisfaction when shopping online. As Amazon continues to expand its global presence (they are currently hunting for warehouse space in Australia), Prime Air will no doubt continue to expand to service new regions and likely become a standard feature of Amazon’s offering. 2. Internet of Things (IoT) The Internet of Things is best understood as an internet within the internet. Imagine a world where almost everything you own is connected to a network, communicating with everything else. Your front door opens, and your kitchen light turns on. Your mattress detects you sitting on it, so your bedroom light dims. Your fridge notices you’re out of eggs, and fires off an order for another dozen. It goes beyond that. Individual parts of your car will be able to communicate, instantly identifying mechanical issues. By the year 2020, according to Gartner (an analyst firm), over 26 billion devices will have internet access. The Internet of Things is the efficiency and productivity revolution of the 21st century. 3. Co-Working Co-working spaces speak for themselves. Imagine a building filled with people with a vast array of skill sets, all engaged in their own side hustle or working for very different companies in a range of industries. Now imagine tapping into that skill set to build out your own capabilities. This is the power of co-working spaces. Cheap rent, immense resources, and an atmosphere of innovation and hard work can do wonders for the early growth of a business. Larger firms are also recognising the immense opportunities offered by co-working spaces. When Uber first expanded to Brisbane, they operated from River City Labs, Steve Baxter’s own co-working space. Other international organisations are following suit, embracing flexibility and adaptability. 4. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning World leaders in innovation and sheer profit-making are investing heavily in artificial intelligence and machine learning. Google, Microsoft and Apple are all engaged in a race to make the most discoveries and pioneer the most advances in AI and machine learning. If you needed any proof of the importance of these technologies to the future of business, there it is. Machine learning will revolutionise the way we make technological advances. By using the power of data that we collect every day in ever greater amounts, artificial intelligence can see patterns, make connections, and learn lessons that would have been the realm of fiction only five years ago. 5. Fintech Fintech is leading the way with effective cost-cutting measures for businesses of all sizes. Fintech covers a range of business processes, from micro-trading to payroll management and financial planning. Several small startups have seen immense success in the space, simply by providing an efficient way for businesses to manage their finances. Combined with other major advances such as machine learning and the Internet of Things, Fintech will change the way we do business forever. Take Advantage of Innovation The only way to succeed in the modern business environment is to stay informed and take full advantage of every innovation you can. To stay in the game, you have to play the game. What kinds of innovation do you want to see revolutionise the world? Tell us in the comments, and share this article on social!

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5 tips on how to nail a radio interview

The radio is still a preferred medium of communication even with the massive surge of people that have had flooded to the internet. This is, no doubt, due to the ease of access to it as we just have to press or flick one button and the wonders of the radio present itself. Radio interviews provide a large block in air-wave broadcasting. Not only radio interviews help to spread important messages, but also crucial to create awareness about your business and product. However, to fully grasp the opportunity and be effective in a radio interview, you must be prepared. How do you be prepared for something that is difficult to emulate for practice? Well, there is no way to be fully-prepared for a radio interview. Nevertheless, these are 5 tips that you could follow to come out successful: 1. Be calm and assertive. Firstly, most people are not used to speaking spontaneously, especially under pressure. If you’re tensed, you tend to speak faster, slur on words and might also strain your voice. However, you don’t want to sound monotone. People are very sensitive to the tone of a voice. Try to vary your tone and excite the listeners. Moving on, most listeners of the radio are stuck in traffic and feel stressed from work. Just imagine an office-worker driving home with a screaming child on-board and a mind distracted on ‘what to have for dinner’. Now, add in a turbulent personality in the background. Last thing they would want is another person creating ‘noise’ on the radio. We have to grab their attention and at the same time; project a message. People are looking to you for information and solutions. Interviewees who can provide good information with a calming voice will connect with listeners much better and faster. Relax. 2. Be energetic and lively. Don’t be boring. Well, that was easy to say. How do we become more engaging? Think about that lecture you had with a dry, textbook reading and an interactive, animated lecturer. Which one would you rather go to again? Undoubtedly, the lecturer that engages with his or her students. A good interview is no different. Record yourself and listen to your energy in your voice. Make sure that it sounds hyped and passionate but not over-bearing. Speak that way on-air. Be memorable. Furthermore, keep track of your body language. This is because some radio broadcasts are also video live-streamed but more importantly, your body language translates to the way you speak. Think about it, a smile can change the way you sound. 3. Give short but full answers. Speak naturally like how you speak with your spouse and friends. Radio is no different. An answer is normally 30 seconds long. Be straightforward and also elaborate on your point with conciseness. Use short sentences to keep your points clear. No one wants to hear a long-winded presidential speech. People are more interested in a two-way conversation. Treat an interview as such. 4. Express complex information simply. The best teachers are the ones who can pass their message effectively and efficiently. Being called-in for a radio interview, you must be either an expert or at least well-trained in your field. Complex words should be simplified down to something easily understandable by someone who has no knowledge on the topic. Make sure you research on multiple words that could replace the terminologies without compromising the original message. 5. Be friendly and flexible. Talk the way how you really talk. The originality and honesty in your voice can draw listeners in. Having a friendly voice and tone work wonders because both you and the listener would feel more comfortable. Break the ice before answering tough questions. When you feel comfortable, you set a positive tone. A little polite introduction and simple questions are the best way to begin. Once you have set the foundation, the whole interview would feel so much better. Most radio interviews are done live or with little editing. Be ready for difficult questions. The interviewer may throw a curve-ball question and the last thing you want is to sound uncertain. As Bruce Lee says, “Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless - like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot.”   Another important point to take note is talk through personal experience. Listeners would be able to relate to your experiences and lend a hearing ear. These are the 5 essential tips on going through a radio interview with flying colours. Remember; keep it simple, straightforward, stay confident and you’re well on your way.

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5 Top Small Business Apps From Sales to Cash Flow Management

The cloud is redefining how we live and do business. It is now being recognised as a global economic engine underpinning new innovations, new business models and even entirely new industries. Now data can be created, stored, disseminated and accessed real-time from anywhere in the world that is connected to the internet. This has created a data explosion with 90% of the world's data being created in the last 2 years! The global app ecosystem is leveraging this plethora of data and is fast becoming one of the biggest marketplaces in the world. There are now apps servicing all parts of a business - accounting, operations, payments, cash flow management, marketing and sales. The success of a business is now defined by how best to use these apps to help improve business productivity. So how are apps making businesses and their owners more productive? By:   Automation - technology that automates processes that have long required human labour to operate. Most simple tasks now can be handled by smart technology.  Mobility – the creation, storage and use of data from anywhere.  Connectivity - technology acting as the plumbing between databases thereby centralising and structuring data from various sources.  Insights - Smart analytics turning data into information then disseminating and reporting the information that is digestible for users in seconds. Let’s look at some top apps for small business that are helping with productivity across all parts of the operation. These are apps that are helping to automate business processes and which more effectively communicate to internal/external stakeholders, get better insights into your business and customers and of course help you grow! Accounting Cloud technology has been the driving force behind innovation in the accounting space. A business's accounts are the foundations to their financial credibility. If you don’t have solid foundations, your house falls over. The same goes for accounting. That is why cloud accounting platforms are the driving force behind most productivity apps. Xero is Australia’s fastest growing and most innovative cloud accounting platform. Xero is an app from a team that has pride itself on delivering beautiful accounting software that is user-friendly both to a business owner and also their bookkeeper or accountant. With 70% of SMEs still relying on their accountant for advice and direction, Xero has created an app that helps streamline and strengthen the advisor/customer relationship. Furthermore, Xero actively promotes open integration and data sharing with over 500 other apps available on their app-marketplace. Xero reported that of 600,000+ businesses using their software, those that used apps on the marketplace grew 30% faster than those who didn’t. Paperless Solutions One of the biggest challenges and inefficiencies in a business is manual data input. Especially when it comes to bookkeeping. Fortunately automation technology that scans, uploads and structures paperwork is removing mundane, time consuming and expensive data input leaving the user to focus on more important tasks. Receipt Bank is a market-leader in the small and medium business space that has automated much of this process and is making life easier for businesses and bookkeepers alike. Seamlessly connecting to your cloud accounting platform, piles of paper now are stored in a structured manner within a few clicks. You can read more about Receipt Bank and their automation technology here. Banking & Payments Managing transactions and payments efficiently has a huge impact on a business's cash flow and on the people involved. Banking and payments have long been an antiquated, labour intensive processes due to the lack of technological innovation of the sluggish Australian banking system. But now there is a wave of financial technology stimulating innovation in the financial services space which are making financial services more customer outcome focused. One exciting fintech business that is leading the charge in banking and payments is Tyro and their new Smart Account. The Tyro banking app enables a business owner to open a bank account seamlessly and manage payment processing and reconciliation all from the palm of their hand. Integrated with Xero, you can reconcile and make batch payments at the click of a button as opposed to battling with old banking spreadsheets. Furthermore, Tyro doesn’t charge any account-keeping fees, transaction fees, overdraft fees or statement fees! A true technology business delivering business productivity at a fair price! Cash Flow Management Over 50% of SMEs still fail due to poor cash flow management. Conceptually a simple process of managing the balance of money in and out of the business, cash flow is often managed reactively using manual tools like Excel or overly sophisticated software. How do you keep a finger on the pulse and monitor the health of your business cash flow? Skippr is a financial technology business that lives and breathes cash flow. We set out to revolutionise how a business owner or their trusted advisor manages cash flow but most importantly we aim to give them peace of mind. Cash flow management should be proactive and a simple process. Our app helps a user diagnose cash flow health in minutes and craft the best course of action using easy-to-use visual dashboards.  Sales & Marketing There is no point of having good internal processes, if you do not have effective external processes to market and sell your product or service. Cloud technology has revolutionised how a customer purchases goods or service but more importantly how a business triggers awareness, conversion and retention of their target market customer. Hubspot is one app that is redefining how businesses market and sell to their clients and encompasses multiple marketing channels in one. Social media, blogs, online advertising, email marketing, website hosting, landing pages and workflow automation all come together on one platform. If it sounds daunting to have all those marketing and sales functions on one platform, users can join the Hubspot academy to learn about marketing and sales best practice and how this fantastic app that is tailored to source the right clients and convert and retain them using content marketing best practice and automation. According to App Annie, the app economy could double in size to $101bn by 2020 as smartphone adoption continues to redefine how consumers and businesses use data. These are just 5 apps that are leading the charge in their space to help make businesses more productive. What are some other great apps that are making your business life easier?

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6 Foolproof Steps to Stop Wasting Money on Printing

Printing and printers can be a hassle, but it doesn't have to be with these tips. First, choose a printer that's economical and eco-friendly. Next, when choosing ink, buy from the OEMs; don't risk breaking your printer and wasting more money just to save a little money. Make sure your printer is reliable and come up with a printing plan to prevent employees from wasting paper and money. Looking at the printer, you would think that it is a humble contraption that will do exactly what you need when you need it to at a minimal cost. It’s not until you actually purchase it that you start to come across subtle frustrations that cost you both time and money when you are running a startup. The Oatmeal made light of the common situation by publishing this post on their website. More often than not, it is the cheaper solutions that tend to cost entrepreneurs more over the long-term. It’s important that startups implement a print management setup from the outset. Not only will it save you more money and time, but it will also give you better peace of mind so that you can run your startup without any unnecessary hassles. 1. Choose a printer that produces economical printing This is one of the major areas that startups get wrong. As they try to save on costs, they often choose a cheap printer for less than $100, thinking that it will do the job and that it will cost them less in prints. The upfront cost is cheaper, however, the long-term costs tend to be much more. This is because the cost per printed page is significantly higher. Instead, startups need to look at the cost per print and then forecast the amount of printed sheets that your startup will make annually. That way, you can invest in the most economical printing solution for your startup. 2. Choose a printer that is eco-friendly Another factor that is generally overlooked is the energy consumption from the printer. Printers generally remain in an idle mode throughout the day and still consume energy, which will increase the overhead costs for the startup. Investing in an eco-friendly printer will help the startup to save money by powering down the printer when it is idle. 3. Purchase ink cartridges that are from OEMs When people look at the prices of printer cartridges from OEMs, they tend to get put off by the price. They then look at other ‘knock-off’ solutions that claim that they can produce the same quality prints. This is a hit and miss and more often than not, it is a miss. There’s a chance that you can damage your printer and get poor quality prints, which will actually cost your startup more in the long-term. 4. Avoid refills Startup owners usually try to cut costs in order to make or maintain a profit. When it comes to printing, one of the ways they try to do this is by using refills instead of purchasing printer cartridges from the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). There are people that use refills successfully, however, if it is done incorrectly, it will damage the printer and it will either cost more to repair the printer or the startup owner will need to fork out more money to purchase a new printer. 5. Invest in a printer that isn’t known to jam This is one of the most frustrating problems that people experience. Investing in a printer that continually jams wastes paper, ink and time. It might also force you to call on the IT expert several times to fix the printer in the office. This is another cost in itself. If the jamming gets really bad, it will force you to invest in another printer over the long-term. 6. Implement a process that prevents people from wasting paper People will always use the options that are presented to them. When it comes to printing, people will make several unnecessary printouts, which will add unnecessary costs to your startup's operations. Instead, aim to implement a paperless environment and encourage people working in your startup to print only when it is absolutely necessary. Investing in an efficient printing management as a part of your startup will save the company from wasting hundreds, thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in printing related issues. Implement a management strategy that will allow you to manage and control these costs before they start controlling you and your startup. What kind of printer does your startup use? Share in the comments and on social media; we want to hear from you!

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6 Steps to Create a Successful Small Business Website

If you are considering setting up a new small business website or looking to improve an existing one, here are some tips to get you started in the right direction. 1.  Register a Keyword Rich Domain Name Register a domain name that includes keywords related to your business.  For example, if your business name is Jack Black & Sons, it is a good idea to choose a domain name such as: manlyplumbing.com.au rather than jackblackandsons.com.au to show your customers and search engines what your business is about.  You can always register additional domain names with your business name or product names to protect your brand, but the main domain name, should have some keywords included.  This will help with search engine optimisation later on. If you already own a domain name and can’t easily change it, ensure you name your pages with keywords within them.  For example, rather than naming your pages: jackblackandsons.com.au/page123, name your pages as follows: jackblackandsons.com.au/emergency-plumbing jackblackandsons.com.au/blocked-drains 2.  Research Keywords People May Use To Find Your Business, Products or Services Before you start putting together copy for your small business website, find out what words or phrases people are using to find your business or products.  Ideally you should find keywords and key phrases which are searched for often, but that don’t have a lot of competing websites optimised for them. There are two kinds of keywords that people use: “research” keywords and “buying” keywords. Research keywords are words and phrases people use when researching a product or a service.  For example, someone looking to buy a new vacuum cleaner, would start with a broad search, such as “vacuum cleaner”, or “reliable vacuum cleaner”. Next they may narrow down their search to more specific keywords, such as the brand name “Dyson” or “Electrolux”. At this point, the visitor is still researching. It is only when they start looking at keywords such as “Dyson DC29 Multi Floor Vacuum Cleaner” or “Electrolux Super Cyclone Bagless Vacuum” that they are ready to buy. As such, you want to have your site optimised for keywords that people are using when they are ready to make a purchase. Two great tools you can use for researching keywords include: Google Keyword Suggestion Tool and Wordtracker. 3.  Create Your Small Business Website with Original and Relevant Content Include as much information about each product & service that you offer as well as details about your business.  When people are looking online they want the information straight away - they don’t want to wait until they can talk to you on the phone or email you.  If you don’t address their questions, they will simply go to your competitor’s website. Search Engines love original content, so make sure you write your own text – don’t copy from other people’s website –you may get penalised for duplicate content and may breach copyright laws. Pages you may wish to include on your website: - Home page, also known as Welcome or Index page - Products / Services – break them up into different pages for different product categories or services - Pricing – even if you can be specific, include a range, eg. $55 - $99 per hour - Frequently Asked Questions – turn the copy of your website into questions - Contact Us – include on its own page, but also at the top and bottom of every page - Testimonials from happy customers - Product Reviews - Photo Gallery / Portfolio of projects completed - About Us - Resources - Guarantee – the longer the better - Return / Refund / Privacy Policy - Survey - Site Map - Links - Media Information - Blog - Awards / Achievements - Online Store - Videos - Social Media Networks - Trade Associations you belong to - Qualifications you and your staff have 4. Include Call to Action Make sure you include Call to Action on your homepage and other pages, where appropriate.  Tell people what you want them to do when they arrive at your website, for example download a report, subscribe to a newsletter, phone you, follow you on Facebook or request a quote.  Remember 98% of people won’t buy from you the first time they visit your small business website – you need to build trust and credibility with them first, so it’s a good idea to encourage them to leave their contact details so you can stay in touch with them. 5. Website Credibility Credibility is a big problem for many online businesses, especially if they are just starting out or their products / services are not well known.  Lack of trust is one of the main reasons, visitors don’t buy from businesses online.  The great news is there is something you can do about it.  Simply include as many of the following elements as possible: - Testimonials and product reviews from current customers - Contact details including street address, postal address, landline, email address - Before & After photos of how your product/service resolved a problem - Offer money back guarantee - Spell out your Privacy Policy - List details of any reputable trade associations you belong to, including a link to their website - Include useful information, so you are seen as the ”go-to” expert in your industry - Add any media articles that have been written about your business,  products or staff - Include About Us info such as business hours, photos of your staff & their qualifications - Supply details of any awards you or your staff have received - List community projects and charities you are involved in 6. Social Media Interaction More and more people use social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ to keep in touch with their family, friends and business associates or clients.  So don’t get left behind – find a social network where your customers hang out and create a profile, whether it be a Facebook Business Page, Twitter account, YouTube Channel or a LinkedIn Profile.  The more you interact with your customers, the more they will trust you.  And the added benefit is that search engines will take notice of that too and may rank your small business website higher. You should never sell via social networks, instead provide useful tips, industry news and build relationships with your visitors.  If done correctly, this will lead to trust and many future sales. Creating a successful website takes planning, preparation and testing.  If you register the right domain name, include appropriate keywords, write original content and prove your credibility, you have a much better chance of not only ranking higher in search engines, but also converting visitors into paying customers.  Remember though, having a website is not a one off exercise.  You need to keep tweaking it to meet the needs of your customers and search engines.

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7 Tips to Help You Choose Your Small Business Software

The era of fast growing tech world changes the game for pretty much all businesses. In order to grow and have proper operations management almost all businesses need to have some software in place. Enterprise Resource Planning systems help businesses stay on top of their everyday operations and management, helping them boost productivity and improve delivered results. But why should you use an ERP software to run your business? Which one shall you choose? What happens if it fails? We've got you covered. If you’re looking for efficiency and success in your small business, certain software tools and processes must be implemented. A savvy business owner will initiate an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to help facilitate and track day-to-day operations. But how do you know which one is right for your small business needs? Purchasing an ERP system is one of the biggest investments a business owner makes. So, you want to find something suitable. Small businesses must thrive off collaboration, effective decision making and streamlined processes to succeed.  And the right business software can tick all the right boxes to get you on track. Before you jump into just any decision, make sure you ask the right questions to get the best results for your business: 1. What benefits will my business gain from an ERP system? Prior to shopping around, ask yourself whether your business will reap the rewards of an ERP system. The 4 biggest reasons why entrepreneurs will invest in ERP is productivity, streamlined decision-making, transparency and reduced operating costs. Productivity To manage increased volumes of work successfully, you need to be productive. The entire business needs to be productive. And all the processes and systems that go with it too. ERP is a crowd pleaser because it boosts efficiency. Time-saving advantages are vital for any company’s bottom line! Streamlined decision-making ERP systems are designed to offer real-time data, which is highly beneficial for marketing, accounting and management. It’s also the essential ingredient to encourage better communication for internal decisions and reduces the risk of running over deadlines. Transparency Streamlined data flow and integrated systems means all relevant data can be easily shared. This promotes better collaboration too. Reduced operating costs Perhaps the biggest reward - small business owners can reduce operating costs through an efficient ERP system. 2. What’s the difference between a cloud-based ERP and on-site? Because there are no upfront hardware costs, cloud-based ERP systems offer a cost-effective solution. Other benefits include little maintenance (which is usually included in your monthly costs), system stability, user friendly and easy access from any location or device. On the flip side, on-site ERP systems are priced around the one (often expensive) license fee but can come with greater data security. To choose which one is best for you make sure you weigh up costs, how the system will be used for your business needs and how it’ll grow with them. You’ll also need to consider the speed and accessibility you’re looking for. 3. Is training and ongoing support offered? Ongoing training and support is vital to a successful migration and ensuring the system works efficiently for everyone involved. There’s nothing more frustrating than lack of support. Thus, it’s extremely important to find out how your ERP provider will handle any issues. Adequate training must be implemented during the early stages too. All users need to be educated to encourage acceptance and ease of the new system. This is key to making sure the benefits of your ERP system are fully leveraged as well. Your system will provide the supported need and train your in-house team throughout the transition and beyond. 4. How long does an ERP implementation take? How long is a piece of string? A successful implementation can take anywhere from 6 weeks to 12 months. Because there is no one-size-fits-all solution, there’s no standard time frame for a software implementation. Time varies depending on: complexity of the system, number of users, data transfer, project scope, and what you ‘expect’ from the new system. After you have sat down with your ERP provider and worked out the best system for your business needs, they will confirm the estimated timeline. To determine the best time to start the implementation, consider seasonal factors and availability of resources. Month-end or end of the financial year are generally the best times to start setting up the business software. 5. How does my business prepare for the changes? Finding the right ERP provider is the first step of the process. Make sure you choose someone who is experienced in your industry and understands the project requirements specific to your business. They must be able to integrate the software with your other systems simultaneously too – automate, automate, automate! As the business owner, it’s your responsibility to handle management. This includes setting clear expectations of the ERP, expecting the unexpected in the implementation stages and keeping the future state of the business in focus. 6. Can the ERP system be customised? Yes! Regardless of whether you opt for cloud-based or on-site options, ERP systems can be customised or configured to suit your needs. Whilst you want to choose an ERP system that meets as many of your business requirements as possible, minimal customisations may be necessary. This includes adding new features to meet needs or extending the current setup. Customised software is key to suiting the exact necessities individual to your business. 7. What Impact will the New Software Have on My Business? Typically, business software can go 1 of 4 ways and you should be prepared for all scenarios: 1.  Effective This is the best possible outcome. Your ERP investment has paid off, improving processes internally and with minimal or no limitations. You and your team are embracing the changes and the business’s future is exciting! 2.  Efficient ERP system is implemented efficiently against time, budget and project criteria. The new system runs smoothly, but there are minimal or no major improvements in the business. 3.  Precipice The project reaches a point of no return. Going back to the old system (or having nothing in place) may be too painful or expensive, so additional funding is usually forked out to finalise the implementation. 4.  FailERP systems can fail from lack of project management, poor ERP selection, unrealistic expectations or sacrificing business results for speed and cost of implementation.

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9 things that CRM software may point about your business customers

These days, Customer Related Management Software is everywhere. Gathering customer information has been automated and it is a lot easier to get access to “large crowds” now, thanks to the digitalization of the entire process. The amount of data that you can gather in a small window of time if you do things right is astonishing. The problems start to rear their ugly heads when that date is supposed to be analyzed and the right type of conclusions need to be drawn. This is the point where most CRM software can’t really help you if you don’t know what to look for. This is the human element of CRM that requires certain knowledge and foresight on the part of the person or the team of people that are analyzing the data you have acquired. It is not only important to implement CRM software, it is crucial to know what kind of date it provides us with and how to use separate types of data for the right purposes. This has a lot to do with knowing the tools you use and the market you are in. Creating a valid representation of the big picture from small pieces of the puzzle is not a two-dimensional effort; it needs to have depth and an obvious usage. 1.   Making the right contacts It is all about the right connections, right? CRM software can give you a lot if insight into how you are interconnected with your potential new customers over your old business partners. This can open a lot of options for you and that’s why it is important to follow for example, some social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn. 2.   Customer background Social networks can be used to find out about your potential client’s background and through this have a bit firmer ground when negotiating new business deals. There is even CRM software that can gather news and information highlights about your new client and this will help you function with more ease. 3.   Statistical Visualization Numbers can confuse. We all know this and we all had to sit down and decipher pages and pages of tables and statistical charts. Numbers that go one for ages need to be analyzed correctly in order to draw the right conclusions. CRM software can visualize data (for example LockedOn is such crm software)  and cross-reference two or more different tables and create a much clearer picture of the data. 4.   The room to improve Handling complains can be complicated but if done right it can actually be used to improve your efforts. The customer feedback is actually telling you where exactly the problems are occurring and it is up to you to find a way to fix them. 5.   The focus on the right people Not all customers are the same. You can’t dedicate the same amount of time to all of them. Some deals that are more serious should take time and hold your attention more than the ones that are a bit more mundane. By having all the necessary statistical data, you will be able to decide is your new client worth the time you’re putting in. 6.   Are you missing something? No matter if you are selling something or providing some type of services, you can always add something more. Having the right data is crucial to answer the question of what your customers want from you. If you are selling clothes for example, you would have to have information about what type of clothing item is in this year and add it to your collection in more quantity and variety than others. 7.   Updating your tools A lot of people don’t use the right tools for the job and they do not keep track of the newest CRM software. This branch of software is constantly evolving and you need to use it in order to have access to the same information as everybody else. 8.   Remembering the right people If you have done business with a certain high profile customer and you haven’t done business with him/her for a while, you want to remember to check up on them just to see how they are doing and politely remind them that you are still interested in doing business with them. Sometimes you get overcrowded with work and forget to do that but there are CRM software solutions that can do this for you and notify you that they have done so. You can even prioritize some clients over others. 9.   Prioritizing the right goods If you are doing business in more than one place you want to create an optimal localization in order to maximize your revenue. For this, you need to have the right data in order to achieve this and this is also a thing you can get through CRM. 

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9 tips for selecting cloud accounting software

Moving to a cloud platform is no longer a privilege but has become a necessity to stay productive and profitable. With so many service providers at your disposal, choosing the software which is right for you in the long term can be quite tough. Are you grappling with this problem yourself? If you answer is “yes,” then follow these guidelines. 1. Start with introspection Evaluate your needs and skills. If your dependency on the software is going to be very high, then you would be better off with a package that gives you a whole range of options. On the other hand, if you need the accounting software to supplement the efforts of your staff, you can choose a lighter package. 2. Checkout the benefits Asking certain questions can help you here. Will the software allow you seamless access from anywhere and through any device? Is there a need to install software in your devices? Are the upgrades free? Does it provide scalability instantly? A positive answer to all of these questions means the software is good enough for consideration. 3. Have a specific budget You do not want to overly spend on your accounting software. Good service providers will provide you a variety of payment options and also offer you packages that vary in costs. Choose the one that fits your requirements and budget. 4. Add-ons integration are important Add-ons make your life easy and business processes efficient. The two vital components here are as follows: CRM options for managing sales and marketing Operational management options for inventory, job/project management and payment gateways The integration should be complete and problem-free. So, discuss your needs with the service provider in detail and checkout what they offer. If it seems effortless, then the software on offer is right for you. 5. Data transfer Data transfer needs to be quick, secure and convenient. Check whether the software can handle high amount of data transfer. Ask about the security of your data and how it is protected. You do not want a solution that makes data transfer and access difficult. At the same time, you do not want lax security, where your sensitive data can be easily exploited. 6. Use free trials: Service providers who are confident of their offerings will not hesitate to give you a free trial. In fact, they will encourage you to take a trial. Use this option and check the functionality and suitability of the accounting software before you make the choice. 7. Support options No matter how good the accounting software is, there are going to be times when you will need support. This can be either technical or process-related. Assurance that an expert is ready to extend a helping hand at the other end helps. Check whether they provide toll-free number, e-mail and online chat options for support. You do not want to be left hanging with no support at crucial times. 8. Staff training Your worries do not end with adopting accounting software. You need to ensure that your staff is well-versed with its use. What training does your service provider offer? This is an all-important question you must ask if you do not want your staff grappling in the dark after complete integration. A good company will offer you training in the form of web seminars and interactive online meetings. 9. Referrals and recommendations Testimonials, social media sites, and online rating agencies can come handy to know the experience of businesses that use the software you are considering. Professional sites like LinkedIn which often have forums where business owners like you discuss their experiences can also be helpful. Consulting with a firm that is already using the software can give you first-hand information. So, do not hesitate to ask your potential service provider for names and contact information of their existing customers. When you cover these aspects, you make your move to cloud-based accounting solutions foolproof.  

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