Outsourcing Your HR: How It Can Benefit Your Small Business in 2021

Outsourcing Your HR

When people start up a new company it can be both exciting and challenging; there are so many new things to learn and to put in place. Whilst companies are keen to focus on providing their goods and services, many are held back by their admin and paperwork.

One major area is the HR function. It covers everything from recruitment to staff benefits and salaries. The bigger the company grows, the more time will be required to oversee it. As a result, more and more people are outsourcing this area to external HR companies. We will now discuss some of the reasons why this might be a good idea for your business.  

Assistance With Recruitment

It’s possible for specialist third parties to advertise the vacancies and to assist with the interviews. They can also perform the necessary background checks and oversee the probationary periods for the successful candidates.

You can also take on additional HR support for small businesses. Providers such as Spencers Solicitors can offer a range of services, including the creation of employment contracts, help arranging interviews, background checks and more. Third parties such as these can use their expertise to incorporate such things as maternity/paternity leave or grievance/disciplinary policies within the wording.

A Pool Of Resource

If a company employs its own HR staff, time needs to be spent on the induction and ongoing training. Should a person leave, the whole process has to repeat itself. The benefit of using external HR specialists is that they can provide a whole team of qualified workers, many of whom specialise in different areas.

Every employee will bring different needs to their company. As the number of staff increases, so will the complexity of the HR function. When CIPD qualified professionals are gained through outsourcing, they are best placed to cover every area.

Maintaining Compliance

When aspects of employment are externally regulated, it can be a real challenge to manage. Legislation can affect a wide range of factors, from working hours to minimum wages, and from health and safety to paternity leave. If small businesses don’t stay abreast of all the changes, they can be penalised.

When outsourcing is achieved, it’s easier to stay compliant. The third parties will be familiar with the law, including any recent changes. Should a business be externally audited, the process can become far less stressful as a result.


An Extra Contact Point

Once the work has been outsourced, employees can contact the external company directly with their HR queries. They could be regarding anything from holiday requests to questions about salaries and expenses. In turn, this frees up the small business to focus on its business plans and daily duties.


An Objective Voice  

The HR company can make its own assessment of your business needs. It can also comment on sensitive matters like staff discipline or restructures and redundancies. Because they are objective on such issues, staff will be less likely to feel targeted or victimised.

It’s advisable to find a quality HR provider and to stick with them. The longer they work for you, the more valuable their input will become.

 

 

Security of the Future

Kastle Systems

Security is vital in commercial spaces, but finding a company capable of handling these requirements is not always easy. Kastle was born out of a need for these services in Washington DC, but in the last fifty years has grown to serve a much broader base of customers. We take a look to see how the team has achieved such success in this issue of Corporate Vision.

In 1972, a group of commercial real estate owners in the Washington DC area had a major problem. They needed an outsourcing solution that could manage their security, so that they could focus on the needs of their specific businesses. When Kastle Systems was launched, it was meet this specific market need, but over the years it has grown and evolved significantly.

The aim of the organization has not changed, and neither has the model which the team uses. Like all things, however, technology plays a much bigger role in the operation of the firm. Cloud computing has enabled a reach that goes far beyond the limits of Washington DC, spreading across 47 states and Australia. While the team are still committed to the community which brought them into life, they now serve over 40,000 businesses in a range of industries. The largest market that the team works in remains commercial properties, where Kastle Systems is responsible for securing both the buildings and thousands of tenant office spaces within them, but they also operate within sectors such as residential multifamily, enterprise businesses, education and construction.

When a client takes on Kastle Systems, they take on a firm which is able to provide Security-as-a-Service. This guarantees an end-to-end approach that encompasses every need a client might have with the team taking direct responsibility to their security package and operations. This ownership has proven key to the team’s success. As a firm that is contracted to work for a client, they ensure that as far as possible everyone is available in house.

The most obvious way in which this has proven to be a boon is in the way that the team control their own technology stack. This means that they directly deliver the end user experience. No two organizations require the same support in the same way, and by controlling this, the team can tailor their service and support to the last detail. This means that clients receive consistently high service in a way that is unique to each client.

Clients large and small turn to the Kastle Systems team for support, with their reputation for providing excellent security protection now known across the country. It has become clear that while the option of building up a staff with the expertise to protect property is present, it is far easier to outsource to experts in the field. Instead of simply selling a system to a business in the form of software and hardware, the Kastle Systems team provide a completely integrated service. Not only do they design and install the systems, they are always on hand to monitor and maintain them in the long term.

Competitors within the industry do sell systems that companies can use and run themselves, but this often leads to operational challenges as the needs of the security industry change over time. Beyond the simple challenges of staff turnover is the need to train staff in new skills and to ensure that the machinery remains fully operational. This usually creates problems where a series of outside vendors must be consulted before any progress can be made. By working with Kastle Systems, this strain on the system is removed entirely and business owners can focus purely on the operation of their enterprise.

Enabling customers to focus on what they do best has guided many of the decisions that the team has taken. Recently, the team have developed KastlePark, a new operating system tied to Kastle access control for the building. The management of parking lots has traditionally been taken by third party parking vendors, but many of these cut corners and run poor operations. This reflects badly on the owner of the parking lot.

KastlePark allows owner operations to take back control of the complex system, making the parking lot an extension of the building system. Instead of being two separate systems, they are integrated into a cohesive whole. All tenant usage and payments, at the company and individual level, reside within the same master tenant directory that manages building access and lease details and billing, all-in-one. For clients, the result is a better, healthier business that is run from one place.

This venture was inspired by a need created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many parking vendors simply went under during the crisis. For the team at Kastle Systems, business has been booming. With remote work mandated, offices have remained empty, and the need for the best possible security has risen sharply. Thanks to the technological innovations from the team, the firm’s remote security-as-a-service has been an enormous success, with a great year of growth for the firm.

As companies return to the workplace, the team have taken extra provisions. They have enhanced their access control operation to implement health screening protocols to make the return to work, and the ongoing operation of the workplace, a healthier and secure environment. This feature configures Kastle Access Control systems to integrate with the various mainstream coronavirus testing methods, so that daily test results are implemented instantly into physical access rights at the credential level for the individuals. By implementing existing technology with new processes, the team hope to make the return to work as smooth and safe as possible.

The growth seen over the last year means more staff are needed to run the systems that make Kastle Systems great. When it comes to finding staff who are the right fit for Kastle Systems, the expectation is that they join a team who “own and deliver” security for the customer, and anything less is a failure. This approach is one which demands high standards and therefore attracts some of the industry’s most exceptional people. They think nothing of going above and beyond for their clients at every stage.

As a result, the team are committed to going above and beyond for their staff. While working in the Physical Security service industry, they have made a name for themselves by working with technology. Any innovation that makes life easier, richer and safer is of interest to the team and has allowed them to progress where other clients have stalled. This gives the Kastle Systems team a steeper innovation curve for competitors to follow, but also generates greater preference for their end users where their service becomes an amenity rather than a utility.

Looking ahead, the team are hoping to leverage their open-standards interoperability to provide benefits of scale and efficiency serving more multi-location operations. As buildings become increasingly smart, the team expect to find themselves working in a more flexible environment. As the role of technology becomes clearer, it’s obvious that it will be integrated into the fabric of the building itself. This new reality will make life easier for businesses like Kastle Systems, with their access control, identity management and video surveillance integrated with lighting, HVAC, and even structural infrastructure. It’s a bold new future that the team are preparing to enter, but it is also one for which they are more than prepared.

Company: Kastle Systems

Email: [email protected]

Web Address: www.kastle.com

How to Get Your Business Ready for Online Education

Business education

The world turned on its head, and after a year of tumbling around, most industries and businesses are just now getting their bearings. Nearly overnight, the world switched from working in an office to working remotely.

Now, everything seems to be remote, and as it turns out, people seem to like the option of off-site working. 

Yet, as industries are shaking off the shock, they also need to come to grips with this new normal and figure out how to proceed with remote operations long-term. Even though the threat may be passing, the scars are fresh, and people are cautious about going back to their “old” lives.

While that can be all well and good for daily operations, what is your business doing about continued learning? Is your business ready for online education? 

Whether you are looking for online accelerated BSN programs to help close the gap of available nurses or you simply want to supply continuing education for your workers, this article will explain how to get your business ready for online instruction:   

 

Gather Information

When you commence your idea to offer online education for your employees, you want to gather information like you would for any other decision. You should consult your workers by taking a survey, a poll, or just bringing it up during a meeting.

You need to gather this information the best way possible for your specific organization, but getting this intel is essential. This information gathering will help set the course for the rest of the actions taken for getting ready for online education.

 

Shop Around

If you are going to provide online education for your employees, you need to know what is available for the expertise you need.

After all, you don’t want to be waiting years for your next foreman or manager to get their certification. You want to know what is available, a possible timeframe, and what you are looking to offer first. 

Plus, you want to know how much (both in time and money) the online education candidate will be missing work to pursue their certification. 

While many programs will likely work with your business to accommodate you, some certifications require time during business hours. You need to be aware of this and have an idea of how to handle it.

 

Come Up with a Plan

When you are implementing anything in business, you want to come up with a plan. So, if you decide to move forward with online education, this initiative should not be different. 

You need to develop a plan of what you need, what you intend to offer, and who you intend to extend the offer to first.

The plan you come up with should have at least two parts: Short-term and long-term.

The short-term plan should be the actions you want to take first:

 

  • The certifications you want to offer
  • The list of people you want to get the certifications
  • Specifics on how to handle financials
  • Time constraints and other related issues  

 

The long-term plan should encompass your future goals if the initial offerings go well:

 

  • Which certifications would you like to offer in the future
  • The time frames between being hired and being eligible for certifications
  • Contractual obligations of those who work for you and get certified (if applicable)

 

Expand Gradually

Once the plan is in place and you get the ball rolling for online education, you want to keep this new endeavor manageable. You don’t want to take on too much too soon. There will likely be issues that you need to deal with along the way. So, you always want to mitigate your risk.

To mitigate your risk as successfully as possible, you want to start slow and expand gradually.

 

Ensure the Benefits Match the Investment

Always remember that your business is not a charity. The reason you are even considering online education is to help your business thrive. While it does help your employees, ultimately, having certified employees helps your business. 

So, after a couple of rounds of certifications, ensure that the benefits match (or exceed) the investment. If you are losing money, you cannot continue certification programs at that level.

Fortunately, with investing in certifications and online education, the benefits to your company should be fairly easy to see.

Ultimately, everything from commuting to the day-to-day business routine has gone through a transformation. Yet, when it comes to continuing education and certifying those in your business looking for more responsibility, most companies are still uncertain of how to proceed. However, if you follow this article’s guidance, you will be well on your way to getting ready for online education.

Issue 5 2021

Welcome to the May edition of Corporate Vision magazine, providing you with all of the latest news and features from across the corporate landscape in 2021.

As we see the much-anticipated return to normality on the horizon after many months of lockdown, many of us are wondering what the new normal will look like. For some, it’s a relief to finally return to the office, while others have found the WFH set-up much more amenable. Elsewhere, companies that were once limited by their geography can now collaborate on an international scale thanks to the rise of digital communication platforms. Meanwhile, others have taken the pandemic as an opportunity to evolve, coming out of Covid-19 as a whole new business ready to take on a new economic era.

In this edition of Corporate Vision, Stefan Ott, Founder of this month’s featured company, Confinity Solutions, tells us how Confinity has always looked to the future, pioneering innovation since day one to ensure its clients have the resources to deliver the very best in financial services. Consequently, when faced with adversity, Confinity was well-placed to adapt, utilising advanced technology to ensure that its worldwide clientele continued to benefit from highly valued, market-leading solutions.

We hope you enjoy this month’s issue of Corporate Vision and the success stories it features of businesses across the world as they gear up for life after lockdown. We wish you well for the month ahead until we meet again for the June edition of Corporate Vision.  

Content Curation Made Easy with eLearning

Content Curation

With the rapid increase of lots of excellent pieces of learning content offered on the internet, some organizations have gone the inapt way of unlimited content. They overload the company’s LMS with articles, authoring tutorials, podcasts, and videos that seem at the very least useful in some way. This left them to wonder why no one is looking at any of the content. Especially since WordPress LMS came into the picture giving the learning management system a technical advancement edge.

The harsh reality is nobody in their right sense is going to spend valuable time-wasting over figuring out what’s in there which is of their actual use. You have created a monster that scares you away. The problem behind this approach is the basic dilemma of quantity-quality balance. If you focus on quantity, your learners will be overwhelmed. Balancing quantity with quality while creating content should be the focus. The best way to achieve it through eLearning content curation.

Content curation is a way to thoughtfully collect, research, vet, and share to meet the specified needs. Fortunately, in the internet era, there has never been so much information available easily as there is today. Need to understand that curation is different then aggregation. Content curation is the evaluation of what you collect and sifts out what does not meet your requirements so have a short-listed content specific to your needs.

Content curation is similar to what you had done while writing your college assignments. Gather sources on the topic and go through them while eliminating the topics that don’t meet your needs and relevancy. You need to judge whether or not the content is what you need. And the reason behind doing this is to share the best with your learning audience for effective results.

 

Define your purpose

The specific goal in mind is to create a learning experience that helps employees in honing their skills at what they do to contribute to your organization’s success. To start with, you need to understand what are the goals of your business? Where it stands and where you need it to be? Define what directly impacts the goal, performance, and gap. After determining the situation and purpose, you will know what you need for learning content. If you lack proper resources to judge the type of content is required, then eLearning content curation is your option. Find the resources that are the best fit for your needs and vet them.

 

Selective with content curation

After exploring what the internet has to offer, you may come up with an initial draft of potential resources addressing different aspects of learning topics. But as you go through with the process of content curation, you will end up with five that are worthy. While vetting, you need to be very thorough and careful to make sure you end up with the best content in the final draft. It will not be done the right way if you curated the resources without going through the whole article. Watching open bits won’t do good. A careful review of the entire piece is important to judge the reliability of the resources. eLearning content curation assembles courses that you can just purchase and learners can take it on the site where it is available. In case, what you have curated is a wide array of source material, you just have to curate in a course format that will redirect your learners to read, listen, or watch to the different bits of content.

 

Conclusion

Small businesses or startups usually do not have the capacity to build all the content and training programs in-house to meet their business’s goals. Understanding the dynamics of eLearning content curation is one of the best ways to attain the content without actually creating it.

7 Reasons Why Sales Training Is Vital for Success in 2021

Sales Training

As a business leader, you’re seeking signs and signals of change. In the last year, the need for change in sales training has risen to the top. There’s no question that sales training is the way to keep your business thriving.

With more reliance on virtual learning, many organizations are making changes to their educational approach. More organizations are turning to professional sales training to keep their teams engaged.

High growth companies are keenly tuned in to the power of sales coaching, mentoring, and training. The reasons for this go far beyond the obvious ones of professional skills development.

Effective sales training has a direct impact on employee motivation, engagement, and satisfaction. This all contributes to the bottom line and confirms that training is a key component of business success.

 

1. Employee Motivation

With more employees working remotely, sales leaders are looking for ways to encourage, motivate, and support effectiveness. A comprehensive sales training helps your team grow new skills, refine processes for virtual sales, and achieve their goals.

 

2. Employee Engagement

Fostering employee engagement is not only intelligent; it’s good for the bottom line. Training is a way to develop sales skills and grow future leaders. Smart organizations are investing in short and long-term success. 

 

3. Employee Satisfaction

Sales professionals want to have the knowledge, skills, and tools to succeed. With quality sales training, mentorship, and coaching, you’ll enable people to master the skills they need. You’re increasing employee satisfaction in the short and long term.

 

4. Employee Ease with Remote Working

As employees master the new demands of remote working, companies are offering care and support in new ways. 

How can you do this in your organization? Consider the practical and educational needs of your employees. Many companies offer training to help employees and teams stay engaged while working remotely. Employees can learn new skills, master technology, and work productively.

Many companies are finding ways to provide practical help. You could consider offering technical support. Provide workers with workstations and technology tools. 

If you’re not sure where to start, ask your employees. Employees have different needs for a home office. They may appreciate assistance in setting up a home workspace with office furniture, lighting, and networking.

Many sales employees are working from home and relying on company health programs. Consider how your company can offer health and wellness benefits to provide peace of mind. Some organizations offer financial help for medical visits, vaccination appointments, virtual health care, and mental health wellness.

 

5. Powerful Sales Impact

The number one reason why high-growth companies invest in sales training is Sales results. 

Small and large organizations invest in sales training for one single reason: it works. Industry experts from Accenture estimate that sales training delivers a 353% ROI. This means that every dollar your company invests receives a $4.53 return.

While you may have been looking at sales impact, there are further places where training is a remarkable investment. Factor in the money that will be saved by not having to hire new employees, conduct new-hire training, and offer coach and mentoring. 

Additionally, add up savings from not having a loss in sales productivity due to attrition or talented employees leaving for more attractive positions. 

 

6. Positive Corporate Culture

Every business has a unique culture. It’s something you can feel and sense in any sales organization. Exceptional leaders and teams most often arise out of an organization of shared values, goals, and practices.

In popular language, this is termed, “the vibe.” Each tribe or culture has a certain vibe. In organizations where high-quality training is the norm, there’s a felt sense that people are considered valuable. Employees know that they can grow their skills, expand their knowledge, and master new dimensions of leadership.

This culture is radically different than one where people are not valued, not receiving training, and not getting professional coaching. 

A positive corporate culture with quality training is a lot more appealing to employees and customers.

 

7. Adapt to the Future

We’re looking at ways to adapt to the new normal, cultivate a positive learning environment, and cultivate a values-driven culture. In many ways, the challenges and turbulence of the last year provoked us to adapt and become more agile.

A lot of people in business and academia talk about agility. It’s seen as a lofty concept that enables leaders and organizations to stay flexible. Sales training is a way to help your employees and teams stay agile and adaptive—every day. 

Is it Time Your Business Moved Away from Spreadsheets?

Spreadsheets

If there’s one tool that nearly every business uses or has used in the past, it’s spreadsheets. Whether you’re an Excel diehard or you take advantage of cloud-based Google Sheets, it’s long been a useful tool for personal use and basic data analysis. But what if we told you that it might be holding your business back?

While they’re a powerful solution that many are comfortable using, spreadsheets are no longer equipped to deal with the complex, data-related tasks you carry out for your business. Between 70% and 80% of businesses still heavily rely on spreadsheets for tasks including customer relationship management, reporting on business data, and financial reporting, but they aren’t equipped to deal with these functions at an enterprise level.

By implementing a solution tailored to your business needs, you can improve customer satisfaction, increase staff productivity, and ensure your data is always accurate and up to date. Here, intelligent IT solutions provider Perfect Image explores why businesses shouldn’t rely on spreadsheets for all their complex data requirements.

 

How are UK businesses using spreadsheets?

We know that spreadsheets are still heavily relied on in businesses, with over 90% of employees using them daily at work according to a 2019 survey. While the most common use of spreadsheets in business were personal tasks like managing lists and managing tasks in a plan, financial analysis and budget planning weren’t far behind. 59% of employees use spreadsheets for financial analysis, while 58% use it for budget planning.

Spreadsheets are also commonly shared around businesses, with 30% of respondents saying most of their spreadsheets are shared. Many businesses also still rely on emails to share this company data, with nearly half of respondents in a separate study stating this is the case for their employer. There are four major issues with this:

  • Email communications don’t encourage conversation about the data to identify solutions and improvements – let’s face it, nobody wants to be the person who replies all to a company email about performance.
  • It’s very time-consuming to blend data, so data is not readily available for employees who need to see it, when they need to see it.
  • Email volume is high, particularly now, which means important data is greatly diluted in an employee’s inbox – far from optimal when business data is crucial.
  • Sending static reports means the data is often already out of date by the time you press ‘send’.

Why using spreadsheets could be holding your business back

We’re not saying that spreadsheets are entirely unsuitable in a modern business. They have a lot of good use cases, and many people use them every day. To an extent, they’re great for gathering and manipulating data. However, they are also very restrictive and require a lot of manual input and effort.

Some of the biggest issues with using spreadsheets for all data-related tasks include:

Disparate data sources equal data chaos

You can’t accurately measure or analyse your data without bringing it all together. ’Data chaos’ occurs when your data is disparate and difficult to merge. Manually copying and pasting data from spreadsheet to spreadsheet is time-consuming, manual, and very frustrating. It can be prone to human error, like in the case of Fidelity Investments, whose error of missing a minus sign led to a $1.3 billion loss being reported as a gain and a mistaken year-end payment promise to its shareholders!

 

Your data is outdated and unreliable

If your disparate data isn’t brought together into a solution which updates automatically, it quickly goes out of date and therefore becomes unreliable. For example, the customer data your sales team holds might be different to customer service, marketing, and finance teams. If they’re all working on separate spreadsheets, you won’t have unified information.

 

You can’t cross-reference with older data

It’s difficult to track new and old data, because spreadsheets aren’t equipped to deal with large volumes of information. However, updating spreadsheets with only newer data means you miss out on the ability to spot trends over time or compare insights across longer time periods.

 

You’re not making the best use of analysis tools

You can do a lot of different analysis in spreadsheets, but a lot of people tend to have a handful of graphs they regularly use and feel comfortable with, or pivot tables. This method of data visualisation leaves you vulnerable to data distortion. Data needs to be presented in the right way to find meaningful insights. Line graphs aren’t always going to cut it. It’s easy for formulas to go wrong in spreadsheets too, with a scientific paper on economic recovery incorrect due to a formula mistake. With the paper used by world leaders, this could have been a very costly mistake had a student not identified it!

 

Data security issues

Chances are, you’re using spreadsheets to analyse and process sensitive data, like customer information. Many spreadsheets don’t have strong security features – especially if they’re being shared on email. Using recognised cloud solutions with market-leading security protocols means team members can collaborate on spreadsheets together. However, that isn’t intended for more than a few users at once. Plus, data can be changed or deleted – so there’s usually more than one version of the spreadsheet anyway.

Moving away from spreadsheets will also help your employees avoid opening malicious spreadsheets from hackers. It’s well-established that most cyber-attacks start with an email, and 48% of those emails have a malicious Office document like a spreadsheet attached. If your people don’t have to rely on sharing data in Excel, they can more easily spot suspicious attachments.

So, should you move away from spreadsheets?

Most spreadsheet programmes were designed for data storage and basic analysis. Trying to use it for anything else is going to result in frustration, errors, double data entry, wasted time, and security issues.

There are better solutions that will also allow you to do so much more than basic analysis and storage – generally, customer relationship management (CRM) solutions offer far more than spreadsheets. But the exact solution you need will depend on your unique business needs and what you’re looking to achieve.

If you’re processing, analysing, and storing customer data, you’ll need a CRM system that updates in real-time and has market-leading security features. Leading solutions will unify all of your data into one reliable, up-to-date solution. You never have to worry that different teams are using different sources of data again. You get a full 360-degree view of every single customer, including their history, interactions, and preferences. That means you can build deeper, longer-lasting relationships with them and sell more effectively.

A tool that takes care of data and analytics is essential for wider business data. Merge, blend, cleanse, and prepare data with ease. Drag-and-drop workflows make working with data a breeze. Advanced analytics allow you to ask “what if” questions without the risk of waiting for answers. Data visualisation platforms replace reams of numbers with the answers you need – fast.

These solutions, as well as standalone enterprise resource management (ERP) systems will also allow you to manage and analyse your financial data. You can gain visibility of financials across your whole business. Many leading solutions will integrate with one another, meaning there are no siloes between systems, you can sell better, and optimise operations. It helps you to streamline business processes, improve customer interactions, and make better decisions.

There’s no doubt that spreadsheets have a time and a place, but that isn’t necessarily as the main solution to your business’ many data requirements. Find a powerful solution more suited to your unique needs – don’t let spreadsheet difficulties and data chaos hold you back. It’s time your business implemented a solution that meets all of your needs, instead of struggling to use spreadsheets in ways that they weren’t built for.

 

Andrew Dinning is Head of Data & Analytics Solutions Architecture at Perfect Image, a UK based IT managed services company.

Building A Successful FBA Business

E-commerce

Many businesses, whether traditional brick-and-mortar or e-commerce businesses have a footprint of some sort on Amazon. But one overlooked aspect to leveraging Amazon’s platform is their FBA, or Fulfillment By Amazon business.

This stat is true of business to consumer as well business to business models. For example, while the volume of business on Amazon is incredible and only keeps increasing, several companies operate by utilizing Amazon’s platform to create a drop-shipment business. 

To build your drop-shipping business utilizing Amazon’s platform, there are 6 things you can do to position your business for success.

 

1.) Choose a niche

Don’t focus on being a one-stop-shop for everything. You won’t be able to compete with larger businesses on the platform, or even Amazon, which offers their own brand for many products.

The best strategy is to choose one profitable niche, not too competitive, and you can drill down into being an exclusive dealer in those products.

2.) Do competition research

Examine your potential competitors in the space. As mentioned previously, it will be impossible to topple giants such as Amazon and Walmart, but there are cracks in their business models that you may find opportunities. Additionally, you want to understand possible issues in the product offerings, such as shipping costs or production issues that may slow your business operations.

3.) Secure your supply chain

Too often, many drop-shipment models rely on getting their products through a wholesaler rather than creating a relationship with the producer of the products. By choosing to go directly to the producer of your product, you will be able to control inventory and possibly create a dedicated brand for your product. 


4.) Optimize your e-commerce site

Building a website for your products is the most basic thing you can do. Unfortunately, basic is all you’ll achieve without optimizing your website to direct every transaction and every search query to your targeted keywords. By targeting every page and product description, you’re increasing the likelihood of your product and brand being at the top of search results, which in the game of e-commerce is 100% vital to survival.

5.) Create a customer acquisition strategy

Building a relationship with your providers as well as optimizing your website is only the beginning. This isn’t the “Field of Dreams,” the movie starring Kevin Costner about a character clearing farmland to build a baseball field that ghosts of legends in the game would visit.

The reality is that it takes a lot of hard work, dedicated practice, and focused strategies to attract your potential customers. Using social media and pay-per-click advertising are good ways to get your brand in front of people, but you need to have a clear strategy of your messaging or risk spending a lot of money with little return.

 

6.) Analyze the data

You need to constantly tweak and refine your messaging to see what is most effective with your optimization and advertising. By looking at what keywords are converting either for traffic or sales, you can further improve your product descriptions and website keywords, increasing their performance over time. 


Once you establish your business, you need to consider how you are going to ship your products. One of the most profitable is to utilize a fulfillment program such as the FBA, or Fulfillment By Amazon, option. 

With an FBA, you’re storing products or licensing rights onto their platform for a small fee. If you strategically conduct research and optimize your messaging, an FBA can be a very profitable endeavor. 

Depending on your outcome objectives for your dropshipping business, you can continue to build it slowly over time or consider selling it to increase your profit. 

There are a variety of ways to sell a fulfillment business. Once you’ve shown positive growth and a reasonable profit margin, you can utilize a service such as a forum specializing in niche FBA business acquisitions. 

You can check a website like Amazon Forum for ways to build, grow, and sell your FBA easily and often quickly. 

As so much of what people have had to do has been remote, the growth of e-commerce has seen a significant growth rate, and entrepreneurs would be wise to consider leveraging Amazon’s FBA program to gain traction in the e-commerce sphere. 

Once you gain some level of sustainability in the FBA market, you can continue to expand your growth or use that positive growth to sell your FBA business to free yourself up to find a new challenge and new opportunities.

6 Business Ideas to Consider in 2021

Business ideas

Despite the global pandemic, finding a solid business idea and executing it has never been easier. Typically, the best business ideas thrive off passion, strategic thinking, skills, and impeccable timing – without personal satisfaction, running a business becomes a soulless pursuit for money.

Fortunately, there is no shortage of profitable yet exciting business ideas. Whether you enjoy taking care of the elderly or love the freedom that comes with working from home, you can find a suitable niche in 2021.

Here are six business ideas to consider in 2021:

 

1. E-Commerce

E-commerce is hands down the most versatile business idea in 2021. Thanks to pandemic-induced lockdowns and social distancing rules, the growth of online shopping accelerated by 4-6 years. If you have ever felt the urge to start a retail business, now might be the best time.

E-commerce stores are perfect for both first-time and experienced entrepreneurs who would like to venture into an online business with minimal start-up costs. The beauty of e-commerce is while you may wish to produce and store your products, you could easily outsource most upstream business functions via fulfillment models like dropshipping.

 

2. Senior Home Care Services

Let’s face it, America (and most of the developed world) is aging fast. There are at least 50 million Americans aged 65 and above, and the number is set to double in the foreseeable future. Senior citizens – particularly in their 70s and 80s – are pretty vulnerable and may require extra assistance to perform the daily activities younger people take for granted. That’s where ADL care comes into play.

ADL? What is ADL? Short for activities of daily living, ADL is a critical component of healthy senior living. By starting a senior home care business with an emphasis on ADL, you can help homebound elderly citizens get through routine tasks like housekeeping, running errands, and meal preparation. ADL care is a surprisingly profitable yet satisfying way of directly helping one of society’s most neglected members.

 

3. Healthy Catering

Whether you’re a professional chef or simply have a knack for surprising friends and family with fantastic home-cooked meals, there is a lucrative business opportunity waiting for you. The food business landscape has made tremendous leaps in the past few years thanks to innovative, risk-tolerant foodie entrepreneurs.

More people are beginning to embrace creative catering services. Couple this with the sudden concern for healthy living, and you could have a steady stream of health-conscious customers eager to purchase nutritious meals. Furthermore, if you enjoy a particular cuisine, you could serve a specific client base exclusively. Whatever you choose, make sure you have the proper permits before diving into this venture full-time.

 

4. Craft Beer-Making

Some business ideas require hefty upfront investments, but they are exciting nonetheless. Craft beer-making happens to be one of them. If you have the start-up capital, a deep passion for beer, and a natural brewing talent, craft beer-making might be the business for you.

The demand for craft beer is always on an upward trajectory, plus there is arguably nothing more satisfying than turning a hobby into a successful business. However, similar to catering services, you may need to apply for specific permits before launching your mini brewery.

 

5. Consulting Services

One of the best career progressions for many industry professionals after specializing in specific fields is simply sharing their expertise. Consultants are often sought after by all kinds of businesses looking to scale or improve their bottom lines.

With some networking and marketing efforts, you can tap into this ever-growing demand for valuable industry knowledge. That said, regardless of your profession, you will need an aesthetic website to showcase your skills and experience. Ask previous clients for testimonials to serve as social proof and integrate social media platforms like LinkedIn to grow your professional network.

 

6. On-Demand Printing

Do you enjoy the thought of running a business without the hassle of storing and managing inventory? Start a print-on-demand business: it is easy to start, low-cost, and can be highly rewarding.

On-demand printing is an excellent business idea for creative people looking to cash in on their artwork. From hoodies to mugs, t-shirts, and greeting cards, you can share your custom designs for a profit. In addition, all you will handle is the designing – the printing, production, and shipping is better left to a manufacturer.

Perhaps the biggest perk of on-demand printing is once you have a couple of good designs, the business can run hands-off. To establish your brand much quicker, consider sharing your plans on social media and marketplace sites to drive high-quality traffic to your website.

 

Wrapping Up

Even though finance, product manufacturing, and healthcare tech companies dominate the Fortune 500 list, these businesses might not necessarily be the most accessible for everyone. Instead, the most rewarding companies for small and first-time entrepreneurs have low start-up costs, are easy to start, and can capitalize on market trends or needs. Ultimately, the best business for you will depend on your skills, experience, and preferences.

Customer Service Essentials in 2021

Customer services

Businesses live and die by the quality of their customer service. Companies with products and services that seemingly sell themselves can struggle if their customer service is subpar. Meanwhile, businesses that offer optional luxuries and indulgent experiences can generate billions if they succeed at addressing the reasonable wants and needs of the consumer.

For example, Comcast became so infamous for lousy customer service that the telecommunications conglomerate had to rebrand their digital cable and high-speed internet division, which is now known as Xfinity. Meanwhile, the Walt Disney Company, another mass media conglomerate, has thrived on a reputation for providing exceptional customer service, particularly within their parks and experiences division.

With this in mind, business owners determined to reignite their revenue streams in 2021 need to place increased emphasis on offering excellent customer service. But apart from the basics of face-to-face interactions, what can companies do to elevate their customer service to a level that exceeds expectations? Keep reading to find out.

 

CDP

Intelligence on individual consumers has become increasingly crucial in providing excellent customer service. That’s where a customer data platform, or CDP, enters the picture. A customer data platform is designed to unify information gathered from multiple sources. In doing so, companies are able to develop a more refined approach to their customers without resorting to data mining and awkwardly worded prompts.

 

Call center

The classic call center remains a mainstay of customer service. However, most businesses are too small to justify a dedicated team of call center professionals. Fortunately, small businesses can utilize outsourced customer service solutions. These services include access to call center personnel, who can be trained to assist customers in troubleshooting and problem resolution efforts.

 

Chatbots

Though admittedly impersonal and incapable of fooling anyone with common sense,  chatbot technology is nonetheless essential for modern customer service. That’s because, even though the customer is quickly aware they’re communicating with artificial intelligence, the sophistication of chatbot tech has made it more responsive and effective. Though reliable numbers are hard to find, it’s safe to assume half if not more of most customer service issues can be resolved through chatbot assistance.

 

Functional FAQs

Another classic customer solution that continues to be valuable to businesses is an online FAQs page. Short for frequently asked questions, FAQs should always be the first stop in one’s effort to resolve issues with a product or service. They don’t have answers for every question, but they can provide the information needed for customers to take the next step with minimal frustration.

 

Online forums

An official online forum gives customers a chance to help each other out. With that said, it’s vital for companies to moderate these forums. Help forum moderating is another service offered by third-party customer service companies, but small business owners often find it easy to manage this task themselves. In doing so, they simultaneously enhance their image by acting as an involved business owner with genuine concern for helping their customers.

 

Satisfaction surveys

Sending out satisfaction surveys to customers at the conclusion of every transaction is a great way to improve your customer service. While you can’t please everyone, you can draw informative conclusions from reasonable feedback. Despite your best efforts to be in touch with the customer experience, there’s always the possibility of serious concerns going unnoticed until they’re brought to your attention via satisfaction surveys.

It doesn’t matter how good your products or services are; if your customer service is lacking, the result is no different than a large gash in the side of an otherwise seaworthy sailboat. Sooner or later, the negative repercussions of bad customer service will sink your business.

Trading Made Smarter

J4 Capital

J4 Capital is a registered investment advisor powered by Artificial Superintelligence (ASI), the first of its kind created by J4 Founder and CTO, Jeff Glickman. Using its unique supercomputer, J4 is able to predict market behaviors for liquid exchange-traded securities based on efficient market hypotheses. We take a closer look at this team of trailblazers in technology and find out how they are taking AI to the next level in order to optimize the investments of its clients.

In just over a decade, Artificial Intelligence has evolved from an idea of science-fiction to one of the greatest disruptors to businesses, economies, cultures and society as a whole. J4 Capital LLC is a registered investment advisor headquartered in Illinois, USA, that has taken the next step in AI to create Artificial Superintelligence, the next generation which offers predictive technology and the ground-breaking capacity for self-coding.

The first and only known intelligence of its kind, ASI was created by technology pioneer, Jeff Glickman, who is also the Founder and CTO of J4. Having been awarded multiple patents for machine learning in the 1990s, he set forth the foundations of ASI in 2005, with the vision of evolving AI to be better suited for success in the financial markets. After more than a decade of continuous research and development, Jeff and his team at J4 were able to deploy ASI to intraday trading on the US equity markets.

The supercomputer is designed to predict the market behaviors for liquid exchange-traded securities, programming itself with its self-code capacity to adapt to the constantly changing market conditions. Far surpassing human capabilities and capacities, J4’s ASI system has created a staggering historical accuracy of around 60% in intraday trading, thus boosting efficiency and optimizing current holdings of investors.

Working with institutional investors and professional allocators such as family offices, endowments, foundations and advisors to high net-worth investors and pension plans, J4’s unique methodology based on efficient market hypotheses is developing returns that would not be possible in the search for inefficient asset pricing, which leads to crowded trades and lower accuracy. Moreover, whilst many AI-powered investment firms employ a black box, J4’s technology is white box, meaning all of the supercomputer’s processes are fully traceable to allow for investigations and analyses of all decisions made by the ASI. With these insights, investors are able to understand why predictions were made and make decisions about future investment strategies.

Combining its market-leading expertise in technology and the financial industry, J4 today has the foundations from which to further develop its capabilities. Currently trading on certain highly liquid US equity securities on an intraday basis, J4 is building out its securities platform and adding additional exchange-traded liquid securities, highly liquid foreign entities and currencies to further diversify the platform and its portfolio.

With the support of the COO, David Oring and Director of Engineering, Robert Emanuele, Jeff Glickman will oversee the platform’s broadening capabilities, that are facilitated by a strong advisory board coupled with top tier service providers. Moreover, the unique private cloud technology infrastructure upon which J4 has been built is highly secure and scalable, accommodating J4’s bold ambitions to increase its assets under management.

Yet as ASI becomes an increasingly disruptive and exciting concept in the investment and financial sectors, there is no doubt that its vast capabilities will also attract the attention of many other sectors, such as government and military applications, manufacturing and supply chain logistics, healthcare and pharmaceutical, legal analysis, as well as marketing, media and transportation. Thus, driven by its successes in US equity markets and dedication to constant evolution and development, the future looks bright for J4 and its team, as, with the support of ASI, they lead the technology revolution for tomorrow.

For further information, please contact Jeff Glickman or visit www.j4cap.com

Ingenious Innovation From docs24

Brand management

Digitalisation is happening, whether or not businesses and individuals like it. More and more elements of modern society are being transformed into digital elements, and the business world is caught in that as well. Technology can help make the world of business a far better place than it is currently, with innovations able to save time, money, energy, and efficiency, to name but a few. One firm that is capitalising on this digitalisation is docs24 Ltd, which has also been crowned the Most Innovative Marketing & Brand Management Platform – 2021 in this issue of Corporate Vision Magazine. Discover more as we take a closer look at the firm’s work.

Founded and established back in 2013, docs24 has rapidly grown over the course of almost eight years to become the most agile marketing, business content, and brand management platform from which clients can have simple, efficient, tailored, and controlled management of their business content and brand like never before. In essence, what docs24 functions as is a gateway to smarter thinking, smarter organisation, and smarter everything. It is the most exceptionally well-developed marketing, business content, and brand asset management platform in the market today. Quite simply, it is here to help clients improve their levels of productivity, control and manage their company documents and brand with maximum efficiency and do everything with total ease and reliability. docs24 has always strived to unleash the power of its own team and cultivate a company culture that will help it fulfil its mission of providing exceptional and innovative products to others. Accompanying those products is technology that enables superior document capability and outstanding customer service.

Despite the impossible-to-miss focus on technology and innovation, there are also several key cultural beliefs and behaviours that have fed into what docs24 has become and how it now works. The firm puts client development first, learns from its mistakes, never assumes, treats others with respect and dignity, works hard, takes the lead, thinks globally, focuses and prioritises, works as a team, and perhaps most importantly, has fun along the way. These behaviours are underpinned by a series of five values that guide the decisions and actions that docs24 takes. These include service excellence, integrity, reliability, innovation, and open, honest, and respectful communication. Each serves a purpose in making docs24 the firm it is today, and one of the best businesses working in technology globally.

As a product, what docs24 offers is far more than simply outstanding technology, and it certainly goes beyond what others in the same space have to offer. More than anything, docs24 offers freedom and choice to its clients. As a brand and document management platform, docs24 enables its users to create, control, bespoke, manage, and distribute all of their brand assets and documents from one central online location. This level of freedom and flexibility ensures that workforces can be kept up to date with what is going on at any given time, regardless of where they are or what time it is. Collating and organising documents is just as important as actually having them, and the exceptional nature of this level of organisation cannot be overstated.

Of course, there are a number of other features that docs24 offers to its clients and users, one of which is a selection of personalised templates. A feature that is as beneficial as it sounds, the personalised templates come as part of a smart online document designer that boasts a variety of editing tools and controls to give even greater levels of flexibility and driving efficiency to the client. It also allows users to edit on the go, allowing them to edit and preview templates that have been specifically tailored and customised to a unique business and brand. Accessible through a browser on either a desktop or tablet device, there is plenty of scope here for flexibility, accessibility, and ease of use. Furthermore, this tool is also enabling reduced costs, creating brand consistency and returning much lost company time. With a template in hand, users can protect a brand from inconsistency across its marketing and communication channels by allowing teams to benefit from knowing exactly what to use, where it is located, and how it should be used.

Having a template that can be easily accessed also reduces the amount of unnecessary time spent on repetitive design tasks. Editable templates make things much easier, and clients can discover the joy of having up to ninety percent of design time reduced by editing templates directly in a browser. Beyond the design tools that docs24 has to offer, there is also a wealth of benefits seen in the seamlessness of the workflow that is perpetuated. Teams can be easily connected with one another, and everyone can therefore contribute to a project through a single, centralised portal. Through account permissions and administrators, certain individuals can take control and share the load amongst themselves. Documents requiring approval before publication and purchasing can also be made to require permission before doing so, ensuring that quality is also maintained across a brand, as well as consistency.

That consistency is important when considering the amount of media and communication channels that clients often have to be aware of when communicating with their end customers. Mediums of print, email, social media, SMS, and more are all so important to keep track of, and docs24 ensures that teams can streamline their marketing communications across multiple channels with total ease. They can create, launch, and track campaigns across all of those aforementioned mediums, and ensure that any given campaign maintains its brand consistency and accuracy like never before. Finally, marketing data is another outstanding element to the service that docs24 can deliver. It can empower users to find and attract new customers with ease, delivered in well-designed and easily managed communications.

Ultimately, the world of technology is moving faster with every passing day and there is no telling where it may be tomorrow. However, for businesses of today, using docs24’s outstanding platform is a sure-fire way to guarantee that they can stay on top of their own documents, communications, assets, and processes. This is innovation of the highest standard, and the future of docs24 is brighter than it has ever been before. For now, the firm is fully deserving of this success, and can look ahead to bigger and better things in the years to come.

For further information, please contact Jim Rae at www.docs24.co.uk