Ten Tips for Adapting your Business Website to Mobile Devices

It might be hard sometimes to get the right vision on all these online features, especially when it comes to adapting your website to modern trends. That is when eWeb comes in handy. In spite of you being a beginner or an advanced user, you have to keep an eye on new things to be competitive on the market. eWeb provides you with the TOP solutions on how to create your own website and optimize it for your mobile users.

Mobile Internet

Mobile internet usage for the first time went over the computer internet in 2016. People now are shifting more towards mobile screens for internet purposes. With the rise in the use of the mobile web, it is also essential for the webmasters to have a shift in their priorities. The following ten elements are necessary for you to make sure that the mobile version of your website is performing optimally.

1. Make your website more responsive

The site must be responsive and contain all the necessary informati

2. Make your information easily available

The information present on the website must be easy to find on the web screen. If the data is not easy to find, this brutally affects the response rat

3. Throw out Flash

It is essential to know that Flash is now out of equations. Android and iOS do not support flash now.

4. Turn Autocorrect on for Forms

It must be made sure that there are no spelling mistakes in the content of the website, and every link is alive.

5. Large Buttons

The press button must be large enough so that it is easily pressed on the mobile screens. Otherwise, this creates a sense of irritation when the press buttons are not large enough. 

6. Compress images

The resolution of mobile phones is smaller than that of PCs. Hence, you need to compress your images. 

7. Larger font size

The content of the website must be easily readable for the users. For this, you need to go for larger font sizes.

8. Allowance for Desktop view

There may be some users who prefer a desktop view even on mobile phones. For such users, you must incorporate the option of desktop view as well in the website you are creating.

9. Making Viewport Meta Tag a part of the website

The Viewport Meta Tag can be used to significantly enhance the outlook of your website. Including this aspect can prove to be helpful for the interactivity level of your website.

10. Mobile testing

Mobile testing is an easy way to ensure that the visitors of your website are getting the experience you want them to have. 

The mobile phone version of any website is essential to increase the number of visitors one may get. However, several complications may come as a part of it. By using the services of platforms like eWeb, you can significantly enhance the overall quality level of mobile phone websites.

5 Brilliant Ways to Use Technology to Boost Workplace Productivity

According to the recent survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workplace productivity is constantly declining since 2007. As modern-day smartphones become increasingly popular, entrepreneurs are wondering if today’s technology can actually help or hinder employees to become more productive. From applying for quick business loans to organizing team building activities, employers are doing everything they can to improve productivity.

Many employers believe that banning technology can improve focus and boost productivity. However, they fail to realize that the right technology can simplify and streamline tasks. Here are five different ways you can use technology to boost workplace productivity.

1.    Cloud-Based Management Software

Cloud-Based management software enables you to access all your projects, assets, and milestones anytime, anywhere. Since all the important documents are easily accessible, the convenience can significantly improve team performance and boost your company’s competitive advantage. In fact, most (if not all) companies run 79% of their workloads in cloud-based software.

With that said, regardless of the size of your business or the industry you belong to, great cloud-based management software can greatly enhance your team’s productivity.

2.    Online Meetings

Providing an avenue for online meetings is one of the best tools created for small businesses. While teleconferencing isn’t new, today’s virtual meeting tools have advanced capabilities that can result in improved productivity. While it’s beneficial to physically meet occasionally, virtual meetings are more flexible, especially if some of your employees live in different states or countries.

By holding your meetings online, you won’t have to deal with traffic, you can record the meetings, and you can host a meeting anytime, anywhere. There are different tools you can choose from, such as Zoom. This app allows you to share documents while the meeting is going on. Other virtual meeting applications are Facetime, Skype, and Zoho. The best type of software depends on your business’ needs and preferences. Make sure to find one that works well for your business.

3.    Communication Software

Aside from your regular meetings, constant and effective communication is critical for team productivity. However, some companies are hesitant to invest time and money into communication software. Studies show that companies with approximately 100 employees waste an average of $420,000 annually just because of miscommunication.

Thanks to technological advancement, there are many advance communication solutions for businesses in all shapes and sizes. There are team messaging apps, video calling apps, and other communication-centric software that can significantly improve internal communication and in turn, increase team productivity. Some of the messaging apps most companies use are Slack, Workplace by Facebook, Zinc, and Crew. Most of the communication apps in the market offer more than just messaging, so make sure to look for one that’s suitable for you.

4.    Time-Tracking Software

One of the best ways to measure improvements in productivity is through using a time-tracking device. Before you can increase your productivity, you need to analyze your work clock. What distracts you the most during work hours? What time of day are you most productive? How much time do you waste on said distractions? How can you contribute to your company’s progress? By using time-tracking tools like Toggl, Hubstaff, Tick, and Time Doctor, you can make the most out of your working hours and become more productive.

5.    Total Automation

Change is uncomfortable; but if you’re still using pen and paper while everybody else is going online, you might want to reconsider. Going online or automating your workplace not only improves company performance, but it also helps your employees with their daily repetitive tasks. You can automate different types of business operations, such as task management, email management, and more. This frees up time for your employees, allowing them to focus on more important tasks.

For example, you can automate time tracking so you’d know how your employees spend their time while working. Additionally, you can streamline certain tasks like social media posting, email replies, and other manual tasks.

Boost Productivity in the Workplace with the Help of Quick Business Loans

With the right technology, you’ll be able to maximize workplace productivity and set your business up for success. Think of these tools as an investment for your company. Most of these applications don’t require a huge investment, but if you’re in need of additional working capital to try out different apps, you can apply for a quick business loan.

Aside from improving productivity, the funds from small business loans can be used for almost any other business purpose.

Small Business in the time of Virus – Turn Anxiety into Survival

Every Boomer got spanked today by the stock market. Part of me cries when I see years of good investment ideas wiped out in a day. My sadness turns to worry about what this means for my business market. I need a crystal ball to help my planning.

Little known fact; my college degree is in Fine Art. My specialty in College was 14th Century Italian Art which can be subtitled – frescos from Black Death. The Bubonic Plague hit Italy in 1348. Prior to that time was almost the Renaissance, with frescos showing a worldly and secular culture. Shortly after the plague the frescoes take a dark and mystical turn. This early specialty has turned into a lifelong interest in how regular people lived in medieval times. The plague set the stage for the Renaissance and Enlightenment. Darkness is followed by light.

CompanionLink is 33 years old. We made it through the Dot-Com crash, the 2008 crash, and 7 Presidents. Hare are a few things that I have found help when times get tough.

Keep a High-Level Perspective

For all that happens today, it is still a wonderful day. Dogs and children will play in the sunshine today, so take time to join them. We have been through worse and came out stronger, and this will happen again. There is a difference between worry and strategic planning. Take time to plan. When planning is done give a moment of gratitude for what has gone before, and patience for what will be ahead.

Plan without Panic

The news media thrives on hype and it is difficult not to get caught up in it. Avoid the headline and seek the facts buried in the lede. Business success comes from anticipating how markets change. If meetings and travel raise fear, then re-arrange your business to teleconference. If schools and public events are canceled, work to connect with your customers as their schedules adjust. Flexibility is an enduring trait.

Anticipate Supply Chain Disruptions

We live in a consumer driven culture with goods supplied over great distances by people who are paid very little. If public events are canceled, what danger is felt by the clerk at the cash register? Work on your corporate supply chain and purchase ahead any supplies that are critical for your business. Then work on your customer’s supply chain to see what you can fill in.

Know the difference between Fixed Expense and Variable Expense

Manage your budget items to avoid fixed expenses based on scale; things like Rent, Utilities and Monthly Services. Shift as many costs as you can to an as-needed basis. If business is slow and you furlough staff, are you still paying full price for Cloud Services? Are your service fees budgeted according to your best sales month, or your worst sales month? If you can pull expenses in line with income, as income fluctuates, you will be better able to weather any storm.

Focus on your Friends – Core Business, Core Customers, Core Staff

Years in small business have taught me that our core customers will work hard for us when we work together. I have to give and be generous. I get rewarded by people who work with my team. Delivering solid value to people who know us well is the best way to survive.

Calamity creates Opportunity

Your competitors are facing the same obstacles that you encounter. Not all of them will survive. Keep an eye out for ways to pick up the pieces left when other companies are disrupted. You know your products better than anyone else. If another vendor drops the ball, step right in to pick it up.

Stay Optimistic

Like a parent, we want to wrap our arms around our world, and tell it everything will be OK. Like a director, we want to tell the obstacles that they are wrong. Like a 100 year storm, our society can meet the challenges before us. The 1918 flu was followed by the Roaring 20s. With careful planning and persistence there will be new opportunities for business success.

Easy Way to Remove Photo Background for Social Media Posts

Today, a wide range of photo editing tools are available online that have made background removal easier for everyone. Background removal is a common concern for most people handling photo projects. Background removal is a type of photo editing. There can be various reasons why you need to remove the background of a photo. Maybe you need a blur or plain background for a logo or a product photo, or you may want to cut out the subject of an image, or the image background might not be appropriate for a social media post. Whatever the reason may be, you should have an efficient tool that enables you to remove the photo background on the go.

This post elaborates on inPixio’s Remove Background Tool, which allows you to erase the background for free. It is available online and has gained popularity since its release last year because it is time-saving and easy to use. It enables you to remove image backgrounds in just a few clicks.

How to Use inPixio

The best thing about this background tool is that it is totally a web-based application, and you don’t need to install it on your device. The interface is simple, self-explanatory, and easy to navigate. No need to sign up for using this online application. Follow this three-step guide to achieve a perfect background edit.

1. Select an Image:

This online photo editing tool provides a few options for importing a photo for background removal. You can browse files from your computer or phone to upload the image, enter an image URL, or drag and drop an image. You can also import additional images at the editing stage in this Remove Background tool. This way, you can edit multiple photos at the same time.

2. Remove the Background:

The process to erase the background is very simple in inPixio. You can use the markers to mark the areas you want to keep and erase. Use the red brush to mark the area that you wish to erase. Use the green brush to highlight the area that you want to keep. Finally, click the “apply” button to get your desired result. If you have highlighted the wrong area while editing, use the erase tool to correct your markings. A useful tip here is to zoom the image to mark the areas precisely. The slider enables you to amend the feathering around the image.

3. Download the Image:

Keep marking the image until you achieve a perfect cutout. Once you are done and satisfied with the result, click the “Save my photo” button to download your edited photo in .jpg format.

Photos that Work Best with Background Erasers:

There is a huge variety of photos that can be edited with this background removing tool. Try to select the images having contrasting colors of the background and the image subject. This makes it easier for this application to do the background erasing job, and you won’t have to put much effort into the editing process. Many eBay and Amazon merchants use this app to create product images. This application is also useful for web developers and product marketers for editing various images for marketing.

Bottom Line

Most photo editing tools are expensive to buy and difficult to use. Background removal is a basic editing task that can be best done using a free and simple tool like inPixio. Therefore, inPixio Background Remove is a simple tool, yet it delivers quality results. This application gives you control over what you want to remove and keep, enabling you to cut out the background with the help of markers precisely.

Health Tips for Mobile Professionals

From ‘tech neck’ to ‘texter’s thumb,’ to carpal tunnel and eye strain, injuries incurred while on our devices are on the rise. With the pervasiveness of devices dominating our daily lives and careers, today’s work-related injuries often look a lot different than they did in the past. However, tech-related injuries are no less serious than any other type of repetitive stress injury. The good news is that there are a host of products to protect your vulnerable joints and digits as you spend your day interfacing across multiple devices. From wrist braces to finger covers, there is no shortage of healthcare supplies designed to help us stay in the game.

The best method of avoiding a tech injury is, of course, prevention. While that can be difficult in the digital age, keep in mind that easy exercises such as standing, stretching, and taking regular breaks are powerful protectors against strain. Another quick fix is to adjust the brightness of your screens to a level that’s easy on the eyes. If your body is still feeling taxed despite your best efforts, it’s a good idea to seek professional advice with your healthcare provider.

In addition to tech injuries, you should also be mindful of any injuries that are exposed to tech. Minor injuries as simple as paper cuts or splinters should be treated immediately and protected from contact with keyboards and smart screens, which have the unfortunate reputation of being among the least sanitary daily items that we come into contact with. A fast bit of first aid on any open wound likely to touch a keyboard or touch screen will save you from exposure to a world of nasty bacteria. It is also advisable to sanitize all devices that you come into contact with

Best Translation Apps for Small Business Travelers

Translation is that the transfer of knowledge from one language to another. Human translation is the correspondence of a message from a source language to an end language, performed by a medium proficient in the two tongues; giving it that human touch.

How does it work?

Things being what they are, what does an interpreter do? An expert interpreter peruses and comprehends both the source and target dialects of a translation. Yet, more significantly, a capable interpreter conveys social ideas, not simply composed words. An interpreter changes over both the words and the significance of a message, utilizing exact punctuation and linguistic structure, into whatever target-language(s) you require.

Phone Apps for small Business

To expand business potential, some need to conquer the boundaries of language. In case you’re going for business, interpretation applications are turning into a well known approach to impart. Consider these applications and pick the best ones to assist you with conveying the desired information:

  • Waygo Translator
  • The iVoice Translator Pro
  • Quest Visual’s Word Lens App
  • Google Translate
  • iStone Travel

Small Business Productivity

Translation services give a chance to express what is on your mind to a global crowd. Also, with human translation services, you can step up your worldwide reach in manners your business has never experienced. Human interpreters read something other than the words on the page. Human interpreters get aim, manner of speaking, and need. We accept that each correspondence originates from the heart: the core of a human; the core of a business. We additionally accept that human controlled translations are the best way to keep up that heart in every translation.

Running in corresponding with the expanding interest for translation services and the accessibility of particular ICT for interpreters, different authoritative advancements have had, and are in fact proceeding to have, a significant effect on the translation services division. For instance, numerous in-house translation divisions have shut as enormous business associations have thought that it was important to scale back and center around center capabilities so as to decrease costs (Fraser and Gold, 2000, p. 3; Locke, 2005, p. 19). Because of this divestment, associations presently will in general re-appropriate more translation assignments to independent interpreters. Open part associations have received a comparative approach and now will in general depend on the services of specialists, related to a center collection of in-house interpreters. Because of these improvements, a considerable extent of interpreters, in the UK and somewhere else, presently take a shot at an independent premise (Holland et al., 2004, p. 254; Locke, 2005, p. 19).

Translation Company

Inside the language services industry, the expressions “company” and “organization” are regularly utilized reciprocally. Along these lines, a company that gives translation services to other companies may be alluded to by its customers and contractual workers as either a “translation company” or a “translation office”. In certain unique circumstances, in any case, the expression “organization” has certain derisive meanings. At the point when independent interpreters get together and talk about the general benefits of working for direct customers rather than “offices”, the view is here and there communicated that organizations find a good pace huge lump of the cash paid out by the customer, regardless of increasing the value of the completed item.

The suggestion is that the office has no in-house capacities that are legitimately applicable to keeping up or improving the quality and precision of the translation (for example no in-house translation, checking or altering ability), and is along these lines simply exchanging on its entrance to gifted specialists.

A further ramifications is that such offices do not have a top to bottom comprehension of the complexities of the translation procedure and are probably going to compromise (for instance, by holding back on the checking or altering forms) so as to amplify income.

This likely could be a legitimate analysis of certain organizations. In any case, there are various other language service suppliers (Honyaku Plus included) whose staff remembers full-time for house interpreters who complete a critical extent of the translation extends that the company embraces for its customers. This sort of company will probably still redistribute some division of the work that it does to consultants—either in light of the fact that its in-house interpreters are completely involved or on the grounds that the current task requires an interpreter with a specific specialization. Given this certain differentiation between the two words, we at Honyaku Plus consistently like to be portrayed as a “translation company” as opposed to a “translation organization”, as we do utilize in-house interpreters and take huge consideration in guaranteeing that the work which we convey has been altogether checked and altered.

Site Translation

Site translation is otherwise called “Site Globalization”. So as to really “make an interpretation of” a site into different dialects you may require both Internationalization (I18n) and Localization (L10n) services.

DejaOffice 2020 Changes to Edit and View Screens

This week we are releasing changes to DejaOffice PC CRM. A focus of these changes are to lower the number of keystrokes needed to create Calendar Events and Tasks, and to better utilize space on the Contact View Screen.

This set of changes is dubbed “2020”. For all of these changes you can revert to the 2019 screens by going to Settings, and then selecting Contacts, Calendar or Tasks, and choosing the option to use 2019 screen formats.

Calendar Edit

When creating an event, we have moved location higher, and condensed some of the options for private and complete. Most notably we have added “quick select” buttons for most common appointment times.

If you choose to make an appointment for a future day, for instance choose “T” for Tuesday – the appointment will automatically slot to your next available time on Tuesday. If there is no slot, a message will show for the Conflict. The system is always trying to slot you for the future. If you click “T” on Tuesday, it will be for the following week on Tuesday. If you click on “Today” it will be for later today.

Task Edit

The Task Edit screen largely follows the changes on Calendar Edit

Contact View

Our goal With Contact View is to get more info into the available screens space. For our Palm Desktop customers, this has not been an issue, because the screen can easily display Contact info, Phone Numbers, Custom Fields and Notes. For our CRM Customers, however, the view area is both crowded and also forced you to scroll to see important information. There was no way to view History, Notes, and Custom Fields without scrolling up and down.

Our solution is to reset the field display if you give it enough width:

Normal Contact View
Expanded (two column) Contact View

If you make the View Panel wider, it will automatically reset to a two-column format. This allows notes to show beside the Histories, and allows addresses to appear side-by-side.

For our CRM users, we recommend you keep the screen expanded as much as possible, and this will reduce the need to scroll.

Unique Capability

With the expanded view – DejaOffice offers something unique in the CRM world – the ability to see both your notes and your history at the same time. Nearly all competing products use tabs, so you can see notes or history, but not both.

New Edit Modes for Contact Screen

We have added context sensitive editing. So if you click on an Address, it will go to the Address Edit view. If you click on the Custom Fields, it will go to the custom fields edit. If you click on the Notes Header it will go to the larger note edit screen, while clicking on the Notes Body will let you edit in the existing view frame.

Detail feature guide: Here is a Guide for our new 2020 Edit Screens.

Thank you for using DejaOffice!

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The Best Translation Apps and Localization Services for Your Business

Connecting personally relevant information to people in an easy way is key to success in business. But the pursuit of information connectivity can hit a wall when it reaches language barriers. Happily, the latest generation of translation apps bridges the gaps which previously separated businesses from worldwide customers. We’ll consider how you can use an online language translator — software app, bot or online translation services — to increase connections and improve communications with global audiences.

Globalizing your customer communications with professional translation services

Globalization is a megatrend that has transformed our world. The physical borders that previously separated us have been replaced with cloud communications and devices which connect us with everyone else. One main barrier remains language. And even here, thanks to the latest batch of apps, the walls are tumbling down.

Who can provide translation services? If you have the budget, it makes sense to turn to a translation agency that can provide an expert human translation. But for those businesses that want to save money and cut some corners, we’ll outline cost-saving alternatives to certified translation services.  The economic benefits are already built-in: the cost of localizing content is a fraction of the expense to create new, original content. Reach a new country or region that expands your market and your revenues. So it’s an investment with potentially rapid payoffs.

Localization services go beyond mere translation. They involve the adaptation of measurement units and currency to the target location. They sometimes require changing dates and number formats. And, ideally, they involve knowing something about the cultural preferences of your target market, adapting language and graphics accordingly. Localization also involves many technical adaptations to get your website and software localized, but that goes beyond the scope of this post. We’ll focus on the top translation apps, both for mobile devices and on the desktop, hitting the leading business translators among them and identifying the best features of each.

Translation apps to close language gaps

What are the best translation apps? There’s no one best translation app that does everything better than all others.

  • The most common language service that businesses require is document translation. What is the best app to translate English to Spanish documents? It should come as no surprise that Google Translate is the winner. Whether you translate English to Spanish or Spanish to English, choose between copy and paste or choose document mode to produce a translated document. The interface is fast and easy, on desktop and mobile devices.
  • Another common business usage for translation apps is one-to-many speech translation. This is useful when you have a conference call and not all audience members understand the language of the speaker. Here Microsoft Translator really shines. Each member of the audience is given a unique code that embeds their linguistic preference. The speaker’s speech is automatically translated into the preferred language in real-time, just like a simultaneous human interpreter.
  • Google Translate is good at one-to-one voice translation. A voice-to-text algorithm translates your words as you speak. Press another button and the app voice-translates into the language of your interlocutor. It takes a few rounds for both sides to get comfortable with the back and forth in a business or traveling context, but the process soon becomes natural and fluent.
  • Another feature of value is camera translation. Several translation apps have this capability. Point your phone camera at a foreign language menu or sign or marketing brochure and a translation in your preferred language overlays the original text. It’s an implementation of augmented reality. It’s of great use when dealing with unfamiliar texts while on the go, for ordering at restaurants or making sense of images online or in the physical world. Both Microsoft Translator and Google Translate have this feature: judge for yourself which is the more intuitive.

Some apps perform better in some languages than others. While Google and Microsoft do well in Western languages, try Baidu or Gengo for Asian languages, especially Chinese.

Working with freelance translation services to finish the job

Mobile apps can take you a long way, but in terms of translation quality, they still cannot match a quality human translator. You’ll want one of those on your side if you’re producing translated materials for publication. There the cost of an embarrassing mistake is too high to trust only machine translation. Find a translator specializing in the language pair, direction, and who knows your target industry (Software in Spanish, for example) on freelance marketplaces like Upwork or Freelancer.com.

Just sign up there as a client and briefly describe your project. You’ll likely get a flood of applicants. Compare their profiles, rating, rates, and reviews. A freelance translator – and you should insist on a mother-tongue speaker of your target language — will certainly cost less than an agency. how much do translation services cost? The range is wide, from $0.01 to $0.20 per word. Bear in mind, too, that you will need to invest personal time in selecting and managing your resources. Time is money. Freelancers can be a cost-effective investment if you wisely. Often it makes sense to do most of the work by machine translation, using your freelancer as a proofreader and auditor, or as a watchdog on an agency. This should give you a level of quality control and keep you safe from embarrassment

When translation and localization online services are needed

While our focus here is on budget translation solutions, there are times when you will want to pay a premium to have a translation company or localization agency to assist you. This is the case if you want to create a multilingual website, mobile app, or any other software. There are also ways to integrate automatic processes to expedite localization, and there are dedicated software apps for this. But this kind of project requires technical expertise beyond what most business people, or freelancers, possess. For these more complex projects, email a few translation and localization companies to get a free quote and some free strategic advice to get started. You can always leverage machine translation after a localization/globalization framework is in place.

For now, at least, you have some starting points for getting “found in translation”. Good luck on the fast track to going global!

Streamlining a Small Business: 3 Effective Tips for Leaner, Better Management

There is actually quite a bit of understandable confusion regarding what defines the broad term “small business.” Technically, it could essentially mean anything from a two-man company that handles the local need for handyman work, to small scale production facilities with complicated processes at every step.

What we are going to discuss here will mostly be targeted towards small businesses with a decent workforce and at least some scale. However, some of the lean management tips will be applicable to any small business owner, even if they are the sole proprietor and employee of their company right now.

Decide on a Lean Management Strategy and Commit to It

There is no shortage of lean methods these days, as a combination of modern software tools and ancient wisdom has apparently come together in the best way possible. However, the important part is to find a lean strategy that would be the best suited for your business, and stick to it, instead of trying out too many principles at once.

Let’s for example, take hoshin planning, or what is actually known as hoshin kanri. Hoshin planning is a lean management technique based on two primary ideas:

  1. Finding and confirming the right direction
  2. Managing that direction with maximum efficiency

As one might guess, hoshin planning is introduced and implemented on an administrative level, meant for people with executive decision-making power. The many steps of hoshin kanri can be divided into the following broad categories:

  • Determining and finalizing an organization’s vision & direction
  • Setting small goals for breaking down the process effectively
  • Setting down, deploying and implementing yearly objectives
  • Monthly reviews and annual reviews.

If you want to know more, take a look at this guide for hoshin planning by Kanbanize, which provides a comprehensive introduction and step-by-step guidance for implementing the seven steps of hoshin kanri successfully. In fact, Kanbanize takes it one step further by mapping the metrics of hoshin kanri on a Kanban board, simplifying and visualizing the entire lean strategy.

Task Automation

Automation is actually not a new concept, because it has been around for decades now, but thanks to the recent improvements in machine learning, the usefulness of automation in lean management has now become more valid than ever before.

Although the exact details of automation tools applicable and useful in streamlining the processes in your business will vary in accordance with the concerned industry, take a look at the list below to take note of the most useful utilizations of automation for lean production and management:

  • Automatic lead generation and client assignment
  • Sales pipeline updates and management
  • Sales & client management, follow-ups and service
  • Payroll management, automatic vendor payments and payment reminders
  • Help your accountant with automation tools developed for accountancy
  • Introduction of advanced robotics in manufacturing, automated by AI
  • Automated delivery route optimization via AI-assisted GPS with real time updates
  • Minimizing the need for data entry via the use of portable barcode scanners
  • Minimizing general data entry work such as form filling as much as possible with automated processes

The principle idea behind any lean management principle is to shed unnecessary steps, processes and measures from the business to boost productivity and profits.

The principle of automation is also quite similar, as it aims to minimize human effort and error, replacing it with mechanized efficiency, accuracy and productive capacity, wherever possible. This is the reason why automation and lean are so closely linked with each other, and in this modern age of business, they are often indistinguishable and mutually inclusive for streamlining production and administration.

Simplify Everything

Businesses often make the mistake of thinking that streamlining is a complicated affair, but in truth, it’s actually quite the opposite. It may seem overly complicated in the beginning, but the end goal of every step involved in streamlining a business is simplification. To implement the same in your own business with efficiency, consider the following few tips:

  • Outsource, instead of increasing the number of people under your direct payroll
  • Hire temps to handle seasonal rushes or particularly big orders/projects
  • Keep the list of services & tools you use concise by only keeping the ones necessary
  • Pay bills on time and according to your financial settings
  • Pay the smaller bills as soon as possible
  • Set aside tax money after every payment
  • Only have meetings in person when necessary, and keep them short
  • Trim down the chain of command by removing unnecessary authentication requirements

With fewer processes to handle, the business automatically becomes more productive, streamlined and profitable, which is exactly what lean manufacturing and management is all about. The steps need not all be implemented at once of course, but initiation is still important. Take your time, but get started as soon as possible. The leaner your company becomes, the easier it will be for the establishment to grow sustainably

The 5 Lessons I Learned From Managing an Off Shore Engineering Team

I’ve been managing offshore teams since 2002, that’s when I founded Optics for Hire in the US and partnered with a team of optical engineers in Lviv, Ukraine. 

Our Team in 2003.

The work we do involves helping companies design and manufacture lenses and optical systems.  We’ve worked with some great engineers at leading companies like Amazon, GE, Mattel, Netgear, and many others.

Having engineers in Ukraine and customers in the United States leads to a number of potential failure points for project management. Issues we have to manage include time zone differences, language differences, different cultural expectations, jargon differences and more. Managing these risks has been critical to our success.

As our business grew and platforms like Elance launched, we expanded our use of remote teams, including hiring from India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Belarus for marketing, web development and many other skill sets.

In the years since 2002, thanks to new communication tools and software platforms, it has become easier to succeed in managing offshore teams.

When we started we used only email (this was pre-Skype, and phoning was expensive). This made talking about complicated technical subjects difficult.

Be sure to check out: 7 Great Project Management Apps for Teams

Here are five key lessons learned in the last 18 years:

1. Use Pictures, Screen Shares, and Voice Talk as Much as Possible  

Don’t expect to be successful with email alone.

Chat is better than emails, voice is better than chat, voice with a screen share plus video is best of all. It can be too easy to send a quick email to communicate, but if you haven’t been clear your partner could waste a full workday halfway across the world working on the wrong thing.

Don’t let that happen. 

2. Always Explain Your Assumptions 

A word like ‘expensive’ can mean different things in different cultures and in different contexts. Maybe when making a prototype expensive doesn’t matter to you but in production, it matters a great deal. Maybe expensive to us means more than $1,000 and to your partner, it means more than $100.

One way to make sure you understand everyone’s assumptions is to use ‘open-ended’  questions like “what do you mean by that?”

3. Make Sure You Communicate Not Just What You ‘Want’ But Also What You Really Need 

Clearly explain your end goal and be open to listening to feedback to see if your partner has a different approach. The reason you hire someone is usually that they have a skill set you don’t. Make sure you respect that skill.

It can be easy to pressure an offshore employee into doing a job a certain way, but they probably know a lot better than you do about how to do their job. Listen and learn from them and you will get better results.

You might be interested in Top Productivity Tools for Small Business

4. Use Software Tools and Keep Trying New Ones   

We use Basecamp, Appointlet, Uberconference, Skype, nimbus screenshot and Tickspot on a daily basis. Developers are always launching new tools that make our jobs easier.

In fact, as we’ve grown we’ve even started building our own tools, including a tool to search machine vision and CCTV lenses, as well as this free automatic graph digitizer Using these tools saves us engineering time and benefits our community.

Don’t get stagnate. If you aren’t trying new and better ways to communicate and manage projects you and your customers will be worse off.

5. Understand Vacations and Holiday Schedules

It’s no fun to find out just before a deadline that your team isn’t going to be working because of a three day Holiday you never heard of. So ask ( often ) about time-lines, working days and make sure you each understand when you and they will and will not be available

Working with offshore teams has been fun and profitable for our organization and our customers, we’ve made our share of missteps but I’ve never regretted the path we took. I wish you luck on your engineering projects and please connect with me if I can be of help you can find me here.