About Bernadine Racoma

Bernadine Racoma is the Content Manager of eTranslation Services. Her long experience in an international development institution and extensive travels have provided her a wealth of knowledge and insights into cultural diversity. She writes to inform, engage, and share the idea of the Internet being a useful platform for communicating, knowledge sharing, educating, and entertaining. You can find Bernadine Racoma at Twitter.

5 Ways to Enhance Small Business Productivity Digitally

Efficiency is an elusive friend; some days, there aren’t enough hours to accommodate our ability to pour out work and, others, there doesn’t seem to be enough throughput to fill the hours.

Getting the most out of each and every working day is about balance, and that can be made much simpler by discovering and harnessing the tools and tricks of the trade that capture our most effectual moments, and spread them throughout the working day.

Read more below about some of the best ways to enhance your efficiency online.

1. Integrate Your Website’s Development, Management and Analysis Under One Roof

Now more than ever, your site is one of your business’s most important assets, and choosing a platform on which you can successfully design and operate your site will offer the best approach for streamlining all aspects of managing your online presence. Platforms like WordPress’s website builder offer plug-ins that allow for seamless integration, both in terms of the day-to-day tasks of content publication and social media cross-posting, and for accessing all analytics pertaining to your online presence.

You can take a look at this WordPress website builder review for a more comprehensive breakdown of the ways in which the platform can manage your site, as well as create it.

2. Replace Meetings with Digital Collaboration

One study completed by the Atlassian found that the average office worker will spend more than thirty hours a week in meetings that do not prove to be particularly fruitful. What’s more, this lack of productivity accounted for half of all meetings held.

You can limit time spent in meetings by practicing the ‘stand up’ meeting, which will keep you and your employees from getting too comfortable, and facilitate a more concise approach. Alternatively, there are plenty of excellent apps for speeding-up workplace collaboration. From instant messengers to file sharing, utilising tools that foster a more instantaneous approach to communication offers a much better alternative to traditional meetings.

3. Streamline Your Accounting with a Dedicated App

There are few things that are best left until later – and accounting is not one of them. Committing numbers to paper may be the tried and tested method, but integrating your cheque book, bank accounts, tax preparation, invoices and expenses within one easy to use app will save you hours – particularly at the end of the month.

Apps like QuickBooks and Wave are ideal for small businesses looking to track day-to-day ingoings and outgoings, create, send, and edit invoices, and prepare for tax season. You can sync-up all relevant accounts, which will keep you from switching back and forth, and enable you to record everything as-and-when it happens, rather than keeping track of countless files.

4. Focus on 90-Minute Stints

Productivity is not a personality trait – none of us are inherently efficient or slow. One of the best ways of harnessing productivity is to focus on our own time management, rather than to pursue it continuously throughout the day, and to follow the golden rule of 90-minutes on, followed by 30-minutes off.

Unfortunately, we are not always the best judges of our own time – particularly when we are focusing on the task at hand. Apps like Toggl and Hourstack come rated highly for their ability to keep you on track, and perfect those all important time management skills.

5. Prioritise Tasks, and Save Others for Later

We all know how to prioritise but, from time to time, practicing what we preach is not quite so simple. Apps like Pocket enable you to save everything non-essential in the same place, which will save you the time it takes to trawl through your browser history, scribbled notes, and that mental backlog of ‘things to return back to’.

Altering our workday routine isn’t easy, but by organising our To Do lists in a tangible way, you will find it much simpler to visualise your schedule, and organise – and re-organise – it around the most pressing tasks.

5 of the Best Features to Look for in Your SME’s Email Marketing Software

An effective email marketing campaign has the potential to represent one of your business’s most valuable assets. They represent a significant opportunity for ROI, clicks, ensuring new and existing customers remain engaged with your brand, and, of course, driving traffic to your site.

Why Your Campaign Needs Email Marketing Software

Email marketing can quickly become an indispensable string to your proverbial bow, but without the right platform from which to launch your campaign, it risks remaining painfully underutilised.

The role any reliable email marketing service provider seeks to fulfil is incredibly multifaceted. There are plenty on the market – many of which offer a comprehensive toolset with which to simplify, streamline, and automate many of the most time-consuming aspects of email marketing.

Email is frequently touted by marketing experts as one of the most lucrative mediums with which to access your growing customer base, both in terms of cost and time. Without the right software to take on the majority of the work on your behalf, however, the efficiency and strong payoff of email marketing is liable to be lost – and the campaign, underutilised.

With that in mind, here are five of the most important features to look for, learn, and use in your email marketing software.

Automation

Not only will automating many of the existing steps in your email marketing campaign enable you to free up hours each week, the ability to do so will also help you to grow your efforts, without needing to invest much more time into its execution.

From social media and CRM integrations to ensuring that emails are issued according to time zone, automation ensures that you spend as little time as possible on the more tedious aspects of your campaign.

Responsive Designs

The vast majority of us open emails on both our smartphones, and our computers. Unless your software is capable of managing device adaptability, email templates that are suited only to one platform risk being virtually unreadable on others.

Let’s say you send out an email formatted only for PC browsers; considering the fact that so many of us regularly open our emails on our cell phones, your efforts will prove largely futile.

Software that features templates with responsive designs will ensure that your emails are capable of arriving on any device, without any issues arising in the translation from PC to mobile to tablet.

Issue Surveys and Questionnaires, and Segment Data

Your customer base is considerably diverse, both in terms of their interests and preferences, and, in a much broader sense, their age, gender, and location. Of course, the more you know about them, the better, and choosing a software provider with the ability to issue effective surveys – and, more importantly, organise and put the results to use – will enable you to create a more targeted campaign.

Detailed Reporting

Rather than allowing your emails to slip off into the void, utilising a provider capable of issuing regular engagement reports will much it much easier – and quicker – to understand how your customers are responding to your outreach.

Look for a software that offers a real-time breakdown of your readership’s activities, such as opens, clicks, flagging, and those who have unsubscribed.

Support

If you have been managing your campaign manually until now, or using a more limited software, then getting to grips with the new features may well come as a challenge at first. To avoid setbacks or frustration, choose a provider that actively caters to first-time users; up to date guides and responsive customer service will prove invaluable if you encounter any stumbling blocks.

Final Thoughts

There are many more features a good email marketing software provider should bring to the table. Affordability, security, and spam testing, for instance, are all integral to your ability to optimise your campaign and ensure that you are getting the highest ROI possible.

When it comes to marketing, streamlining every element that goes into your email campaign is one of the best ways of improving small business productivity, and facilitating further growth, development, and customer retention as you move forward.

4 Ways To Make Your Small Business More Productive

shallow focus photo of thank you for shopping signage

New small businesses are being created every day by ambitious owners looking to make a difference. As these companies go up against fierce competition, it is essential that small businesses do everything in their power to ensure that they are productive and efficient with every minute they have.

What stands in the way of many small businesses from reaching the top is a lack of productivity. Productivity is essentially how effective a business is using its time to improve itself and spread a message. With these 4 productivity hacks, your small business will be on its way to the top.

1.  Be Collaborative

Being collaborative in the workplace is any business’s first step to success. All members of a small business team need to b eon the same page so that there is a clear vision and end goal. Working in the same space can help, but having effective communication outside the workplace is also key.

Given there are hundreds if not thousands of communication apps available to download and install collaboration with colleagues and stakeholders have never been easier. Setting up the time and space for a team to collaborate together will encourage the spreading of ideas that are what could take a business to the next level.

2.  Spread Your Message

The main goal of any business is to spread a message to customers. You can do things like build your own blog or push new marketing campaigns to get your business seen by the masses. You can have the best product in the world, but it won’t stand a chance of selling in the current marketplace unless you are making it visible.

Understanding how you can sell online and get a message across around the world will open up your doors to new and never before considered markets. Using a powerful message to show customers you have plenty of value to offer them is what will get them hooked on your business.

3.  Establish An Efficient Workflow

Productivity and efficiency are two products that go hand in hand when you look at how a company is going to do. Being productive means using your time effectively, and efficient workflows are how you are able to remove burdens and free up essential time.

Streamlining your online business means that you can sell products without having to do much work and can use your time for more important tasks. Having the luxury of efficiency on your side will make being productive much easier and, by extension, improve revenues and profitability.

4.  Have A Reliable Team

The last but often most important element to having a productive small business is to have a team that shares your goals and values. Asking people to invest in your vision asks a lot from people and you need to make sure they are reliable enough to help make your vision a reality.

Start conversations with every employee so you are all on the same page and can reach your goal together. The last thing you want to have to do is drag dead weight around that is not going to help you get to the top.

5.  Be Secure

Keeping in touch with colleagues, selling products online from a website and ensuring security of stored data can be a real pain. Ensure that all hardware is secured with AV software, and lines of communication are sent via secure channels. Be prepared for the worst and it won’t happen, but give a thief or hacker just a small opportunity and they may end up destroying all that you have built or are trying to build.

How to Take Your Logistics Business To The Next Level

Trends in supply chain management are now coming and going faster than ever before. The essential, but outdated world of SCM has now transformed itself into a very dynamic environment. New and emerging technologies are now being used to try and spur on productivity and vendors are sending representatives out into the field to seek out new customers as well. This is all very good, but at the end of the day, if you want to take your logistics business to that next level, then here are a few of the steps you need to be taking.

Take Out A Loan If You Can

Another way that you can take your logistics business to that next level would be for you to take out a loan. When you do, you will soon find that it is easier than ever for you to rocket the success of your supply chain and that you can also really take advantage of everything that it has to offer. Of course, logistics is a very fast-moving business, and for this reason it helps to make sure that you are always one step ahead. A business loan is often the best way for you to do this, as it gives you the chance to not only push things to that next level but to also invest in new and emerging technologies.  If you want to take out a loan, then the best type would be a commercial vehicle loan as this will help you to harness the power of owning your own fleet of vehicles while removing logistical nightmares through third-party providers.

Match Your Metrics

Just think about this; what if a modern brick and mortar company just shrugged off the need for a website presence?  This would mean that the company would be stuck in the past and they would not be able to get their fair share of the market. When you look at the logistics industry and the metrics associated with that, you will soon see that everything is very similar. What was important a few years ago might not be as important now; in fact, it might be totally obsolete. At the end of the day, there really is a reason why marketing teams are discussing their Facebook likes when they think about changing their strategy. You need to do the same. Sure, you might not have a Facebook page, but you do have a team of employees who might be able to advise you on the next best step to take overall. 

Focus on Emerging Trends

Supply chain management is defined as being everything from e-Chains to ERP and more. Now, with this new dynamic market, things are going beyond ERP, TMS and even WMS. While a traditional warehouse management system works by automating the warehouse to boost efficiency, supply chain management software helps warehouses and even facilities to work together much more effectively. SCM on the other hand, focuses on optimizing the operation in general. New solutions are always emerging, and this includes combining WMS with TMS, or Transportation Management Systems. This creates an inventory which is visible all across the supply chain and it also allows the rerouting of shipments as well.

Think: What is Next?

So, what is next? It would seem that the AMR Research Team, which is based in Boston is reporting that there are in fact some major trends happening in the industry. There are product suites which are being integrated, and the alignment of vendor applications is also allowing for much easier integration overall. Product strategies are now focusing on niches and segments along with optimal decision making also. With these developments, ERP vendors are also promoting an SCM market and this is generating much more user interest. The more you can harness this now, the better your business will be overall moving forward.

Take Note of the Growth Rate

AMR have forecast a 48% growth rate over the next five years for the SCM and SCM supplier market. Market penetration is low right now but as supply chains become much more pervasive, it looks like SCM initiatives could easily rival the huge impact of ERP systems overall.

Maximizing Business Efficiency and Speeding up Internal Workflow Using Automated Transcription

Do you want to grow your business? Then automated transcription might be the way to go. If you want to find out more about that then take a look below.

Saving Time and Money

Corporate transcription was usually done by in-house digital experts but now it is possible for you to hire someone outside your company to take care of the job for you. If you find that your company deals with a lot of data, then it may help you to hire a transcription service. When you do, you can then count on them to help you to interpret any data you have, and they can also help you to take a lot of notes and in a very short space of time. If you are having to do this by hand right now, then you’ll be glad to know that you can save hours of time by investing in a transcription service. Of course, if your team are saving time, then this will save you money so it’s worth keeping that in mind.

More Accuracy

Another benefit of automated transcription software is that you can get way more accuracy when your team are trying to sift through files. If you work in the field of forensics for example, then you will need to listen to hours of audio files sometimes and you may even need to work hard to try and document each and every spoken word. This can be time-consuming and sometimes your team may miss out on phrases. This is the last thing that you need. If you have a quality automated transcription service on the other hand, then you can easily get everything you need written down and this can really help you out.

Data Protection

If you have a lot of data to deal with then you may be tempted to send it off to various external sources. Sometimes this can put your business at risk far more than you realize. If you want to avoid this then automated transcription is certainly the way to go. When you hire a service like this you can easily count on them to handle everything you need and in a very short space of time. You won’t have to worry about your data being infiltrated and you won’t have to worry about people listening to your text and potentially breaching confidentiality.

More Accessible Formats

Lastly, automatic translation can help you by giving you access to way more accessible formats. When you do look into translation, you will soon find you can give your team a written copy of a document, but you can also provide it to them in an audio format. If you have people who work at your company who are hard of hearing or deaf, then this will really help them out and it shows that you are an inclusive organization.

Of course, there are so many benefits to automatic transcription and when you look into them you will soon find that it is easier than ever for you to reap them.

Professional Liability – How to Find the Right Insurance That You Need

Small business owners have a lot to consider when looking for the right coverage for their needs in today’s modern world. The addition of technology into the small business world makes it even more complicated to keep your clients information safe and secure. This is where professional liability insurance can become an extremely beneficial resource.

Professional Liability insurance protects your small business from a lot of very complicated situations that you may find yourself in. Being a business owner is more complicated than ever, and it is worth a little money spent every month to have someone backing you up if you find yourself in a sticky situation.

This article is going to dive into how professional liability insurance can protect you in the modern world of technology. Whether you like to believe it or not, many of these small business hacks can open you up to a world of trouble in the long run.

Small Business Productivity

Small business owners are busy people. Unlike people who have built corporations, they are doing most of the heavy lifting all by themselves. It is natural that small business owners would be on the lookout for loopholes and tools that will make their lives much easier.

This is where small business owners begin to turn to third party apps for their phone, websites on their computer, and even software that they can download to their laptop. While these services might boost their productivity, it is important for small business owners to make sure that these third party services do not open them up to trouble with their clients.

Phone Apps for Small Businesses

Using an app for a small business on your phone can be a great way to make things easier for you. You might need an app to keep up with ordering or to store customer information.

In some instances, you may even decide to have an app created for your small business. In this instance, your app may be downloaded to customer’s phones. This is a common business plan for stores that use rewards for dollars spent in the store.

Either way, you need to make sure that your professional liability insurance policy will cover either of these instances. For example, if you have customer information stored in a third party app on your phone, will your insurance cover a data breach? Or will your insurance cover the cost of a new phone if your app causes a customer phone to die? These are legitimate questions that could be costly.

PC and Phone Security

Making sure that the computers and phones used inside of your business are secure is another crucial point for the small business owner. Breaches in these areas could be costly.

Final Thoughts

Liability is a serious concern for many small business owners. Technology has only created an even larger area for small business owners to consider when building their insurance policies. Whatever you do, make sure you are completely covered.