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Better Inventory Management Leads to Higher Profits

Featured image by DifferR

Inventory management plays a key role in setting a business up for success. In fact, better inventory management helps to ensure that you don’t run out of stock at an inopportune moment. Ultimately, this makes it easier for you to keep your customers happy and coming back for more.

But does your inventory management strategy need a boost? Here is a guide to making important improvements.

Invest in the Right Software Solution for Better Inventory Management

Why try to cope with manually doing real-time inventory management when you can invest in better technology? The latest inventory management software will help you streamline the process and remove the burden from your shoulders. It is true that there are many different options in terms of inventory management. However, it is also true that not all software solutions have been created equal.

RELATED ARTICLE: LET MODERN TECHNOLOGY TRANSFORM YOUR BUSINESS

When considering the different alternatives, be sure to look deeper than basic inventory management. Pay special attention, for instance, to software that can tick the boxes for the effective management of other aspects of your business, too.

For example, field service management software for service companies usually comes equipped with inventory management features built right in. The only difference is that this software offers other features to boost your operations.

You can choose software that gives you billing administration and customer relationship management, for instance. Some also give you work order management and assistance with dispatch and scheduling. The best of them provide reporting and analytics as well. In short, by choosing better inventory management software, you will get a lot more bang for your buck!

Conduct Forecasts for Better Inventory Management

If your business sells a wide variety of items, the simplest way to approach managing your inventory is to categorize these items. Then create a stand-alone strategy for each.

Part of this strategy should include conducting informed inventory forecasts. In order to do this, you will need to access your records and analyses regarding sales. Then use this data to predict which stock is likely to experience a high demand in the near future. Better inventory management forecasts will let you know when to spend and when to hold back.

As you well know, ordering excess stock can pose extensive cash flow problems, both in the short and the long term. On the other hand, not having enough of a particular item on hand can lead to unhappy customers. This can have a significant effect on your company’s reputation.

Regularly Review and Revise Inventory Management Policies

The demand for goods is forever changing. Therefore, your inventory policies and strategies must do the same. So review and, if necessary, revise these policies and strategies every month, when you access your records and analyze market trends.

RELATED ARTICLE: MARKETING RESEARCH: THE KEY TO BUSINESS SURVIVAL

Additionally, use your inventory records to better manage other aspects of your business. For example, take a good look at your marketing efforts and consider how you can better manage inventory to boost profits.

You can also use your inventory records to keep existing inventory at a manageable level. For instance, if you notice that you have too much stock of a certain item, consider advertising a promotion or a discount. This will encourage more conversions and clear out the excess.

Wrapping Up

Put into practice all the advice we offer here about inventory management, and your business is certain to be the better for it. Here’s to optimized operations, more satisfied customers, and an attractive bottom line.

For more ideas to help you run your business more efficiently, be sure to browse our blog often.

The post Better Inventory Management Leads to Higher Profits appeared first on Business Opportunities.

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10 Worst Practices for B2B Influencer Marketing – Don’t be a Clown

Worst Practices B2B Influencer Marketing

Worst Practices B2B Influencer Marketing

When it comes to sharing B2B marketing advice, I prefer not to clown around too much and do my best to line up on the positive and optimistic side with trends, insights and how to’s focused on looking forward towards best practices and getting better results.

Marketers expect serious results but unfortunatley, many B2B marketers insist on clowning around with half-hearted or incomplete influencer marketing efforts. Instead, they choose to ignore experience, best practices and even common sense when it comes to B2B influencer marketing.

I know this from stories told by brand marketers that have worked with other agencies and from being on the receiving end of clueless pitches, minimum viable engagement efforts and willfully ignorant attempts to get me to promote something I really have no business caring about. I’ve heard much of the same from other people who are often engaged as influencers as well.

What better day than today for an appeal to B2B marketers to stop clowning around with influencer marketing efforts, especially now when marketing has no room to be wasteful or unsuccessful. Below is a list of some of the worst offenders. If your B2B company is doing these things, whatever efficiency or shortcut you’re hoping for is a joke on you in terms of program success and building real relationships with the credible experts your customers listen to.

1. Lead Gen Disguised as Brand Awareness – Marketers initiating an influencer program with stated goals of increasing brand awareness inevitably always shift their thinking midway through and start talking about lead generation and sales expectations if not from the start. Of course building brand awareness and lead generation are two different strategies with different types of metrics. Expecting both from the same campaign is like expecting a flying car to also be a submarine. It’s possible, but not very practical.

2. Choosing Influencers Based on What? – Companies hire influencer marketing staff, consultants or agency specialists to help with influencer identification and qualification more than just about any other aspect of an influencer marketing program. And yet, some marketers prefer to choose influencers based on who they think would be influential or based on the opinions of a few executives vs. based on data.

Influencer Programs have a strategy for how to achieve a particular goal with the identified audience using a specific mix of content and tactics. Influencers play a role like ingredients in a recipe and data informed selection incorporates a minimum of topical relevance, audience resonance, network size, publishing type, style and cadence as well as brand alignment into consideration. When you start deciding on ingredients for recipe you haven’t made before based on what you like vs. what tastes good for your guests, it’s possible the dish will be tasty, but probably not.

3.  Overpromise and Underdeliver – Marketers are busy and often overzealous when pressed for time and resources to recruit influencers for a project. Value exchange scenarios emerge where the influencer is asked to X and the brand will do Y in exchange. Then surprises start to happen, like being asked to do this one extra thing. Or two. Or three.

When a big exposure opportunity implied in the recruiting effort falls through (it was actually speculative), gets switched for another thing the influencers don’t want or requires the influencers to sell their soul to the brand with some kind of endorsement to participate – all contribute to the experience the brand is creating for the influencer. When expectations are not met either by the brand or the influencer, nobody wins. Such disconnects are avoidable with effective influencer program management.

4. Transactional Engagement – Efficiency is an expectation now more than ever in marketing departments and at the same time, influencer engagement is a relationship focused practice. When marketers treat influencer interactions like sales transactions or as impersonal exchanges, it may create conveniences for the marketer, but it’s nothing special or worth repeating for the influencer.

The classic transactional engagement example is when the marketer invites the influencer to contribute to a project of relevance and then sends a link to a form with 10 more questions than implied in the invite. Once the form is complete, there is no thank you, no acknowledgement and no follow up until the content is published and the marketer sends an email with the exact same 5 social share message suggestions that were sent to the other 49 people who were asked to fill out the form. Yuk.

5. Nowhere to Publish – Less an issue with small or medium sized companies, publishing influencer content on the large b2B brand websites or blogs should already be coordinated and approved before the influencers are recruited and informed where they will see exposure. Nobody wins when a top lineup of experts share their expertise and the brand doesn’t have somewhere for that content to live.

Also, simply publishing episodic content like a podcast to aggregators and not creating a web page index for the podcast or episodes is a huge missed opportunity. Web pages are hooks in the water for search engines, social shares, industry blogs and media websites. Plus, those web pages also create exposure for the contributing influencers, which is probably why they said yes to the invitation.

6. Fear of Commitment – Relationships take time, effort and investment of resources and can pay incredible dividends over a long period of time. It’s definitely a best practice for B2B brands to conduct a pilot influencer project to work out processes and capture initial data for insight into building a program. But make no mistake, it is an ongoing effort towards influencer engagement that builds the kinds of relationships that drive high ROI advocacy from the people your customers trust the most.

Fear of committing to some kind of ongoing effort to nurture influencers as part of a strategy to drive brand conversations, grow brand influence, reach new customers and inspire more business has a cost that shows no ROI.

7. Management by Spreadsheet – Like any marketing program, there are many elements to manage in an influencer program from the marketing plan, campaign, assets and measurement to the management, engagement and measurement of influencers. Doing all of that by spreadsheet can work for a pilot but for any B2B company to scale it’s influencer marketing efforts, investment in technology like an influencer marketing platform will be worthwhile.

An influencer marketing platform should enable marketers to find, manage and measure influencer relationships (at a minimum).

8. Promotion Black Hole – Imagine an exciting new project where everything comes together: the influencers, the brand executives and SMEs and the content is impressive. Then the content publishes and… nothing.  Sometimes brands overestimate the value of publishing on their own properties including social channels.

Promotion of influencer content is a bit part of why influencers agree to contribute to a brand’s influencer marketing program. Of course the influencer will promote to their own channels and the brand will benefit from that. But if the content the influencer contributed to is not promoted on brand channels, it deflates the influencers motivation and that’s a lost opportunity for the brand.

9. One Night Stands – Engaging and activating influencers comes in many forms and some marketers miss the boat entirely on the relationship aspect of co-creating with influencers in search of quickie content capture and social shares. That quickie for a listicle might be satisfying for the marketer as efficient content creation, but it does very little to create a real relationship with trusted experts making product and service recommendations to their loyal audiences.

Engaging influencers only when you need them shows them you only care about yourself. That’s not how successful relationships are built.

It’s perfectly fine to engage in small or individual projects with influencers. Just don’t make that the only thing. Ongoing, or “always on” influencer engagement is practical, manageable and it creates a mutual will scenario for the brand, its customers and the influencers.

10. Goals to Measurement FUBAR – Influencer Marketing is still relatively new to B2B and many marketers add-on influencer contributions to existing content marketing programs than implement dedicated influencer programs on their own. Ambiguity about goals for the influencer part of a content marketing program leads to lack of defined metrics and performance measurement.

It could happen that a B2B brand adds a few high profile influencers to a demand gen project that achieves millions of social impressions. But it turns out, very few people shared their email for the download. If the project had goals of name capture, a specific type of influencer that more middle-funnel appropriate should be engaged and provided with UTM encoded URLs for influencer level tracking.

When goals to measurement are not clear with influencers that are part of a content project or a dedicated influencer marketing program, measuring and reporting success is basically guesswork.

For even more laughs about the ways B2B marketers are sidetracking the results of their influencer marketing efforts, check out this timeless list of 50 ways to fail at influencer engagement.

There’s nothing funny about failing but it’s a lot of fun to hit and exceed program goals. Be sure to check out these examples of successful influencer marketing for B2B brands, big and small and here are 25 campaign ideas.

 

 

 

 

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The Cost of Working Remotely During Lockdown

Featured Photo by Gabriel Benois on Unsplash

For the past several weeks, due to Covid-19, much of the country’s workforce has been working remotely from home. Therefore, many have turned to video calls and instant messaging apps.

Of course, workers need to stay in touch with their colleagues, teams, managers, and employers. Moreover, platforms such as Zoom and Skype have enabled them to keep in touch and continue to work.

RELATED ARTICLE: BUSINESS INFORMATION UPDATES DURING COVID-19 BREAKOUT

What Is the Cost to Businesses of Employees Working Remotely?

Working remotely from home will naturally lead to more time spent in video meetings so that employees can discuss their work. Projects must continue, and there are lot of other things that need to get done. But what is the additional cost of this extra time spent in meetings?

The team at CIPHR.com have developed a calculator to answer that exact question. Their tool shows the exact cost, in terms of an employee’s salary, of time spent in meetings per month.

What Does This Look Like for the Typical Office Worker?

The average salary in the UK is around £29,000 per year. According to a study in The Independent, on average we spend around eight hours per week in meetings at work.

Dropping these figures into CIPHR’s meetings calculator shows a figure of a whopping £560 worth of work time spent in meetings each month. (For our US readers, this translates to roughly $606 a month.)

RELATED ARTICLE: EXPAND YOUR HOME OFFICE TO BE MORE PRODUCTIVE

To help visualize how much time this is over a working month, the calculator says you could have used this time to create 480 servings of fresh pasta from scratch!

remote working

What Is the Cost of Working Remotely for Executives?

What about executives, who tend to spend more time in meetings and also typically take home much larger salaries?

According to Inc.com, executives spent an eye-watering 25 hours per week in meetings. If we estimate a salary of £100,000 per year, that equates to a cost of £5,270 for time spent in meetings, at 100 hours per month. This is the same amount of time you would need to learn beginner Spanish.

Use the CIPHR Calculator to Find out How Much Remote Working Is Costing Your Business

Commenting on the release of the virtual meeting calculator, David Richter, director of marketing at CIPHR, said: “This new calculator puts a light-hearted spin on the sudden increase of virtual meetings and chats that many organizations are adjusting to.”

He continued, “Next time you’re about to send a virtual meeting request, think: Could this be an email instead? Is every person on the invitation list genuinely required (or is there anyone important missing)? Will it really take an hour, or will 15 or 30 minutes suffice?

“And when you’re in a virtual meeting, respect your coworkers’ time and stay on topic. Equally, while chat apps are a great way for colleagues to keep in touch in an informal way, too many notifications can end up being distracting. If you want an answer to a question that’s not urgent, email may be best. And if you need a block of time to focus on an activity, change your notification settings to ‘do not disturb.’”

“Remember,” he added, “virtual meetings and chat apps are just some of the ways to communicate information. For critical announcements, organizations might find it more effective to use functionality available in specialist HR systems like CIPHR.”

How Will You Keep Your Costs Down During Lockdown?

Use the suggestions in this article to help you find ways of keeping the cost of remote working down in your business.

To learn more about how other small-business owners are surviving and even thriving during the Covid-19 pandemic, visit our blog often.

The post The Cost of Working Remotely During Lockdown appeared first on Business Opportunities.

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Has Your Employee Been Hurt on the Job? How to Prepare

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If someone who works for you has been hurt on the job, especially if they have sustained serious injuries, they will likely seek the help of an attorney. With a good personal injury attorney, they can get the compensation they deserve.

While of course you want the best for your employee, you need to be ready to defend your business as well. This article highlights some of the key questions you can ask your attorney to make sure you are in the best possible position for a fair and equitable outcome.

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How Long Have You Been an Attorney and Do You Specialize in Defending Businesses Like Mine?

With this question, you are looking for the right kind of experience. You need a lawyer who has experience in handling personal injury cases, especially when defending businesses in cases involving someone who has been hurt on the job. Ask them where they went to school, the specific number of years they have been practicing law, and the number of years they have been handling cases such as yours. 

Where Are You Based?

General rules may be the same throughout the country, but in each state, there are specific laws and guidelines governing how each case should be handled. Therefore, hire someone who understands the laws in your state about people who have been hurt on the job. For example, if you’re in Atlanta, Georgia, try finding someone who practices in that market.

Have You Been Disciplined by Any Legal Body?

Anyone who is unhappy with a lawyer’s conduct can file a complaint with their state bar. Continuing with the above example, you would look at the Georgia State Bar’s site. Ask the attorney about how they have handled previous cases involving businesses like yours when someone has been hurt on the job. Then also do your own research on the state bar’s website.

What Is Your Success Rate for Cases Like Mine?

Number of years of experience doesn’t necessarily translate to a high success rate. This is especially true in cases involving someone who has been hurt on the job. Therefore, don’t forget to ask about similar cases they have handled in the past.

It’s likely that the personal injury lawyer your employee has chosen is equally qualified.

You can also ask about the biggest settlement they have heard of clients receiving in cases like yours. This doesn’t mean you will get the such an outcome in your case, but such a conversation with your attorney can be a good way of gaining an understanding of how good he or she is at negotiating on behalf of their clients.

How Much Can My Employee Sue Me For?

Compensation for injured workers extends to much more than the payment of medical expenses. There could be more when a person has been hurt on the job. For example, the court could award temporary and permanent disability benefits and job displacement benefits.

A good lawyer will carefully evaluate your case to come up with an estimate for a settlement amount that would be ideal for both parties.

Who Will Handle My Case?

In some cases, the lawyer you interview may not be the one who will handle your case. This is why you should ask this question. Sometimes, a lawyer will pass the case to someone else within their law firm or even to another law firm.

How Much Will You Charge?

Mostly, personal injury attorneys charge a contingency fee. This means they get a certain percentage from the compensation amount of the person who was hurt on the job. Ask about the fee structure your attorney uses.

If you feel their fees are too high, you can always negotiate or get a quote from another attorney. Also, don’t forget to ask if there are any upfront fees.

When an Employee Gets Hurt on the Job Ask Your Attorney the Right Questions

Asking the right questions is one of the steps you should take when someone at your company gets hurt on the job. The right questions will help you to find the right attorney for you. In addition, do your own research. Browse the Internet for reviews to make sure you are hiring the right person.

The post Has Your Employee Been Hurt on the Job? How to Prepare appeared first on Business Opportunities.

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How to Make Money from Your Website

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It’s not a myth. You really can make money from your website. Anyone can. And when it comes to making money online, earning money from your website can be a lucrative option.

Here, we offer several different strategies in one place. Pick and choose what works best for you, and make the most of your opportunities.

For best results, make sure your website has a great design and attractive layout. Also, employ proper SEO practices so your website will rank high in search results. If you don’t know how SEO works, Surfer SEO will help you out.

But after you have your website online and up-to-date with SEO best practices, what’s next? Follow these simple strategies to make money from your website:

Make Money on Your Website with Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a terrific way to earn money from your website. However, it’s not the quickest way. It’s a process. You will need to be patient and consistent.

Start by choosing a product you know you like and can recommend. After that, request an affiliate link from the manufacturer or one of their distributors.

RELATED ARTICLE: BEAUTY PRODUCTS AND AFFILIATE MARKETING: A MONEY-MAKING DUO

You can then promote that product to your visitors and email subscribers. Then, whenever visitors to your website click the affiliate link to purchase that product, you will earn a small commission and you be making money from your website.

Sell Your Own Digital Products to Make Money from Your Website

You can sell your own digital products on your website, too. This is a simple concept that’s easy to execute. For example, you might write an e-book about how to do something you have become expert at doing. If people want to purchase your expertise, you’ll be making money from your website.

Another idea is to offer online learning. There are several platforms that can make it easy for you to set up and offer a course such as this. To promote sales, learn how to market your e-learning courses.

RELATED ARTICLE: MARKETING YOUR ELEARNING COURSE IS EASIER DURING LOCKDOWN

You would still need your own website to do this, and while you wouldn’t be making money directly through your website, you would still be making money online.

Earn Money Through Sponsored Posts on Your Website

Once you establish stable traffic to your website with engaged visitors, there are several ways to monetize your blog.

For example, one way to make money from your website is by posting sponsored articles. Many companies look for blog sites that will publish their sponsored content.

Let’s suppose your website is all about skincare and beauty products. Then creators of those products will search out your website so you can feature and review their products to your fans by posting articles they write for your site.

Build an E-Commerce Site

No one said making money from your website had to be only about the content. For example, you might want to have an online store based on tools or products for home repairs or do-it-yourself projects.

RELATED ARTICLE: HOW YOU CAN ENSURE SUCCESS FROM AN ECOMMERCE SHOP

However, there are perhaps thousands of e-commerce stores already on the Internet, so make sure you set up your online store in a niche that will appeal to a large number of buyers.

Offer Consultation Services

If you have expertise in a particular area, and you are good at showing and telling others how to do what you do, then offer your services as a consultant by way of your website. If you choose, you can offer your services strictly online by consulting with your clients on Skype or Zoom and over email. Being an online consultant can be a good way to make money from your website.

Create a Job Board

A job board can be a good way to earn money from your blog or website.

To get started, offer your site as a job board to employers who are looking for people to hire. If your site has a good amount of traffic, eligible readers will notice these postings and apply. You can earn money from your website by taking a commission from both parties.

Conclusion

All of these ideas for making money from your website require a fully functional and well-designed website. Moreover, your site should appeal to a target audience whose members are eager for what you’re offering.

So be sure to set up a quality website and keep it fully functional. It will take effort and dedication, but you can succeed with making money from your website.

To get more ideas about how to make money online, be sure to browse our blog.

The post How to Make Money from Your Website appeared first on Business Opportunities.

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Why You Need a Dedicated Team of Developers

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A dedicated team of developers with the right expertise and experience can help you deliver a project of any scale quickly and within budget. 

Outsourcing has become popular solution for businesses that want to tackle their software development challenges. In this environment, the dedicated team model is taking its rightful place. This model is the most flexible, cost-efficient engagement model for mid- and long-term collaboration.

As a business owner, you may simply be looking to expand your current technological capabilities. Alternately, you may have a great idea in mind but no one to bring it to life.

Let’s have a look at what makes hiring dedicated programmers such a popular choice in today’s software development environment.

Save Resources on Search and Recruitment

You can’t afford to waste time when you have a great idea and you want to implement it. Who knows? Maybe your competitors are already working on it.

In such a case, when you need to gather a professional team here and now, hiring a dedicated team of developers from a vendor can help. Such a team saves you the trouble of daunting searches and expensive recruitment procedures. All the specialists you need are already in one place, ready to come aboard your project.

All you need to do is simply provide the project requirements. Then your vendor assembles a team of the right size and expertise that suits your needs best.

dedicated team of developers
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A Developer Team Starts Your Project Fast

From paperwork to assigning specific roles and responsibilities on the project, building an in-house team can take months. Preparations and onboarding procedures extend this process.

That’s a risky delay most projects can’t take in today’s fast-paced market environment. However, with a dedicated team of developers, you can minimize the time needed to begin the actual work on the project. A professional vendor will streamline the preliminary procedures. Therefore, your team will be up and running in a matter of several weeks.

Reduce Administrative Expenses

In addition to search and recruitment, building an in-house team comes with considerable administrative expenses. This includes costs like finding additional office space for your new employees, buying equipment, providing training, vacations, health insurance, and so on.

When hiring a dedicated team of developers, however, you don’t have to worry about these and many other overheads. Your vendor has already provided your remote workers with everything they need to do their job efficiently. 

Set up the Processes to Fit Your Management Style

When it comes to project management, hiring a dedicated team provides you with the same level of control as if you had your own employees working remotely from a different location. This enables you to set up your own rules.

You choose the methodology you think is best for your project. In fact, you practically have the dedicated team of developers working your way.

You can easily adjust your level of involvement with the project. You may take direct control over task management, communication, and setting up workflows. Or you can leave the micromanagement to a dedicated project manager and focus on other important matters.

Adapt and Optimize Developer Teams on the Fly

Reaching development milestones and unexpected changes in the market environment may require changes to your team. In fact, there are numerous reasons why you might have to extend your team with additional specialists.

Alternately, you may need to reduce the team to just a couple of key players. Making these changes could pose a major administrative challenge. However, a dedicated team of developers gives you incredible flexibility in change management. As a result, you can to scale your team up and down freely and without delay.

Budget Ahead with Confidence 

The dedicated team model offers full transparency when it comes to costs. From the moment the team is gathered, your vendor provides you with a set monthly fee for their services. With such a clear pricing model, it is easy for you to track costs. You can produce highly accurate estimates. Also, you can restructure your budget in case there are any adjustments in the scope of the project. 

Track Progress and Performance

Numerous project management tools like Jira, Asana, and Trello aid in managing and monitoring a remote team. A good vendor will help you set up all the necessary tools and establish seamless communication for you to effectively manage the project. This includes progress tracking, workflow optimization, KPI monitoring, automated reporting, and more. Therefore, you can be certain your resources are used in the most efficient way.

Lower Your Development Costs and Reduce Turnaround Time

One of the main advantages of outsourcing is significant savings without sacrificing the quality of the final results. Access to large talent pools at significantly lower hourly rates provides a great cost-benefit ratio. However, there’s another advantage worth mentioning. Time zone difference between your office and the dedicated team enables you to set up a nearly uninterrupted workflow. In addition to spending less on development, you also get a faster time to market.

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Get Better Collaboration Results with a Dedicated Team of Developers

Unlike taking on freelancers or building an in-house team from scratch, hiring a dedicated team provides you with an already organized working environment. These are not office newcomers or strangers scattered around the globe we’re talking about. A dedicated team of developers is made up of people who have a proven track record of projects they’ve completed together. They are good teammates who don’t need any learning to work together or getting to know each other. Therefore, they are highly productive. Moreover, they know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and they deliver better results.

Build Value-Based Relationships with Your Vendor

If you’ve enjoyed working with a dedicated team of developers and are happy with the results, you could always turn your collaboration into a long-term partnership. A reliable tech partner ready to provide their best talent and expertise provides added value to your business. They help you tackle any software development challenges with ease and utmost precision. You can give yourself the space you need to focus on the big picture and leave the rest to your trusted tech partner.


QArea is an award-winning company with 18 years of experience in full-cycle software development and a proven track record of more than 800 successful projects. They have a roster of more than 280 engineers with niche skills and expertise in various domains.

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Reduce Costs for Your Product Development in 4 Ways

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The product development process is a long and often costly one. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. With the right approach, you can take a product from concept to reality while keeping costs low.

Reducing the costs of development doesn’t just mean that you need less money to get your product off the ground. It also enables you to turn a profit more easily. Here are four key principles to follow for anyone looking to keep their product development costs as low as possible.

Simplify for Reduced Costs

Sometimes the easiest way of reducing the cost of your product development is simply to embrace more streamlined solutions. Needless complexity is one of those things that will drive up the overall costs of a project.

However, you might have grand ideas for your product that involve a plethora of features and functionalities. If this is the case, then you need to be prepared for a long and difficult road.

reduce costs for your product development - simplify

Don’t get caught up in the rush to do something just because your competitors are. It is much better to set realistic and achievable targets for your product. There is nothing wrong with being ambitious and aiming higher. However, you need to balance your ambition with a sense of what is and isn’t realistic for your product.

Qualified Designers Are Essential

Work with designers who understand exactly what it is that you are trying to achieve. These should be people who can help you identify the best ways of achieving what you have in mind.

Outsourcing aspects of your design to people who are not qualified will inevitably end badly. However, it isn’t easy to identify the most efficient way of solving a problem if you don’t have the necessary background or experience. Therefore, be cautious and hire well.

It is easy to inadvertently over-engineer a solution to a relatively simple problem, making more complications than necessary.

Reduce Costs by Planning Your Production Process

Proper planning is always important if you want to operate efficiently in business. The first part of product development should involve conducting all the necessary research that you need to inform your decisions about your product.

This includes the market and audience research needed to predict your audience’s response to your product. This will alert you to adjustments to your approach in order to appeal to them.

RELATED CONTENT: THE IMPORTANCE OF PLANNING IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Establishing your requirements early in the process ensures that all of your designs are pointing in the right direction. Think of your development plan as being like a business plan, but for product development.

Therefore, your development plan should specify what you want to achieve and how you plan to achieve it. It should also set out the key milestones of the product development and release. Also, it needs to specify how you will establish whether you have met these goals or not.

You can always update your development plan as time goes on and circumstances evolve. It doesn’t have to remain a static and unchanging document.

Prototyping Carefully will Reduce Costs

The prototyping phase of the product development process is your opportunity to identify any shortcomings in the design of your product and fix them before it hits the market.

Every product should go through a prototyping phase to confirm that the proposed design works. However, the way you approach your prototyping will determine how useful the process is. It will also suggest how long you need to spend on it and the costs involved.

If your goal is to keep your product development costs as low as possible , you need to consider carefully the way you prototype your products.

For example, if you try to dive in at the deep end and go straight to constructing a working prototype, you are more likely to run into issues with your design. If this happens, then you are forced to go back and revise your design and produce another prototype.

On the other hand, if you begin with a simple sketch of your product on paper and then work to produce a gradually more refined prototype over time, you can identify and solve issues as you go along.

Sketch, Then Simulate

Producing a highly detailed annotated sketch of your product is much easier and cheaper than producing a functional working prototype. The more information you are able to include on your initial sketches, the more likely it is that you will be able to identify shortcomings in your design and fix them before you move on to producing physical prototypes.

reduce costs in product development - simulate
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If possible, using simulation testing in place of prototyping can help you to save a considerable amount of money when you are still finding out everything you need to about your product design. Simulation testing is a great way of working out whether circuits and other components within your design are going to work properly.

Choose the Right Manufacturing Method

Choosing the right manufacturing method for producing your prototype is also essential if you want to be as cost-efficient as possible. There are many potential manufacturing methods you can use to produce a working prototype. For example, you can pick and choose among everything from 3D printing to injection molding.

We have already highlighted the importance of properly researching and preparing before you begin the prototyping process in earnest. Part of that research should involve looking at the different manufacturing methods available to you and settling on the one that is best suited to your needs.

For example, Rapid Direct offers a plastic injection molding service that is ideal for producing prototypes. Rapid Direct is an injection molding supplier with experience in prototype injection molding.

Producing your prototypes in China is always a reliable way of keeping your costs down. For example, using a business such as Rapid Direct that offers injection mold in China is very cost-effective. Whether you need plastic or aluminum injection molds, Rapid Direct offers everything you need.

Choosing the right prototyping method is essential if you want to produce your prototypes in the most cost-effective way possible. 

Be Open to Feedback

Few people are able to design a working product on their first try. Your product development process will inevitably involve a number of rethinks and re-evaluations as circumstances change.

Throughout the process, be receptive to feedback from others. Whether this feedback is coming from other members of your design team or members of your audience, always be willing to listen to what other people are telling you.

Remember, it doesn’t matter how much you personally like your product. If no one else wants to buy it, then it will never be a success.

Keep Your Expectations Realistic

The product development process is always going to cost you money. Developing a product for free is a fantasy. However, if you approach the process in the right way you can reduce these costs, sometimes significantly.

The lower your development costs are, the easier it will be to turn an appreciable profit on the final product. Stick to the advice outlined above and you should have no trouble keeping your costs as low as possible.

The post Reduce Costs for Your Product Development in 4 Ways appeared first on Business Opportunities.

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B2B Marketing News: Changing B2B Sales Models, LinkedIn Adds Polls, Social Media Engagement Data, & Twitter’s Scheduled Tweets

2020 May 15 MarketingCharts Chart

2020 May 15 MarketingCharts Chart

COVID-19’s Impact on B2B Software Budgets
31 percent of B2B software buyers say they’ll spend less due to the pandemic, while 30 percent said that spending won’t be affected, according to recently-released survey data. Web conferencing, collaboration, and remote desktop software were the three top segments for expanded spending, the survey also noted. MarketingProfs

90% of people buy from brands they follow on social media, study says
Nine out of 10 people purchase from the brands they follow on social platforms, and the amount they spend climbed 12 percent from 2019 figures — two of numerous findings of interest to digital marketers contained in new report data. Just 23 percent of marketers use social media data for measuring return-on-investment (ROI), the report also noted. Mobile Marketer

LinkedIn Adds Poll Feature
LinkedIn (client) has rolled out a user polling feature to members, offering marketers a new avenue for gathering community sentiment, the Microsoft-owned professional social media platform announced this week. Adweek

Eric Schmidt, who led Google’s transformation into a tech giant, has left the company
Longtime former Google chief executive Eric Schmidt — a staple public face at the company — has exiting the firm, after nearly 20 years with Google and its parent company Alphabet, the firms recently announced. CNET

Digital ad market not yet ‘back to normal’ but recent stability fuels optimism
Advertisers are finding more stability in the global ad market than was seen during March, according to newly-released data of interest to digital marketers from Socialbakers, which also found that traditional daily ad performance click-through-rate (CTR) peaks have largely disappeared, as most consumers have been working from home. Campaign

Brands and Retailers Are Changing Their Approach to Influencer Marketing
Financial firms have increased their use of influencer marketing to drive awareness of services in higher demand due to the global health crisis, according to recently-released survey data which also found that app developers have turned up their use of influencers. eMarketer

2020 May 15 Statistics Image

Consumers tire of COVID-19-related ads, survey finds
41 percent of consumers are ready to hear brand messaging that’s not pandemic-related, while 73 percent said that recent increases in the frequency of messages from brands has been appropriate — some of the findings of interest to online marketers in newly-released global survey data. Marketing Dive

New Survey Looks at How Marketers and Consumers View Social Media Engagement
Sprout Social’s latest Social Index report explores social engagement challenges and solutions, and found that 69 percent of marketers use social media primarily to increase brand awareness, with 46 percent doing so to expand a brand’s audience. Social Media Today

Twitter is rolling out tweet scheduling feature to some users
Twitter has been actively testing a variety of new desktop tweet scheduling functionality that could eventually expand brand marketer publishing options on the platform. The Next Web

B2B Decision-Makers Say Changes to Their Go-to-Market Approach Are Likely to Stick After COVID-19
57 percent of B2B U.S. firms have cut back spending on marketing due to the global health crisis, recently-released survey data shows, while self-serve interactions such as e-commerce and use of web support have both increased, the B2B sales study also noted. MarketingCharts

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2020 May 15 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at “resilience and change” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Former Reddit Mod Successfully Re-Enters Society as Wikipedia Editor — The Hard Times

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden — How to boost SEO flow like a pro during COVID-19 — Ragan
  • Lee Odden — 5 Hours of Content Marketing — SEMrush

Do you have your own top B2B content marketing or digital advertising stories from the past week of news? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thank you for taking the time to join us this week, and we hope you’ll join us again next Friday for more of the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don’t miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.

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The Best Team-Building Activities for Your Business

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

The importance of team building in the workplace cannot be overstated. It is beneficial for both the company and its employees. Team-building activities can improve workplace performance and take the business forward.

Such activities can also help to create a positive atmosphere that everyone can benefit from, including business owners. Moreover, team building forges strong relationships in the workplace. When this happens, people feel happy, confident, and supported in their job.

RELATED ARTICLE: DEALING WITH WORKPLACE DISCRIMINATION

There are many effective team-building activities you can try. Any or all of them will bring your team closer together. Here we suggest some of the best.

Team-Building Activities Arranged by Specialists

Team-building events arranged by specialist companies can be highly effective at bringing your team together. These often include ice breakers and challenges that involve working together. Such activities build trust and create a team-based mentality.

While they can feel odd at first, there is a reason why this is such an enormous industry. What’s more, people tend to relax once they get into these activities. This is what makes ice-breakers so effective.

After-Work Drinks

Specialist activities can be highly effective, but it is also worth arranging less formal and more relaxed team-building activities such as after-work drinks. It is in these settings that people feel like they can be themselves. It gives everyone a chance to get to know their co-workers outside of the business environment.

So arranging regular after-work drinks is certainly worthwhile. Please note, however, that these particular activities should never be required.

Exercise as a Team-Building Activity

Everyone is aware of the importance of exercise. However, people can struggle to fit exercise into their schedules when they work full time and have responsibilities at home.

This is why office exercise classes can be a smart idea. They allow people to get regular exercise, for one thing. This will improve everyone’s physical and mental health. Moreover, exercising together will be a team-building activity that is both fun and valuable.

Online Betting

Online betting on websites such as https://www.unibet.eu/ can be a fun activity with staff in the workplace. Such activities can bring a little excitement and competition into the day. Plus, you can bet on practically anything.

Obviously, it is important to do this activity when people are not working. Moreover, you should not require people to participate. However, it can be a fun activity that brings the team together and gives people something to look forward to.

RELATED ARTICLE: GO THE EXTRA MILE AND SHOW YOUR TEAM SOME APPRECIATION

Building Team Through Office Parties

Office parties are important for bringing employees together, showing your appreciation for their hard work, and having some fun with the people that you spend most of the week with. As such valuable experiences, it is worth having these on a semi-regular basis. Also, they can be a good incentive tool to use, benefiting both the business and its employees.

Conclusion

Team building is incredibly important in the business world. Moreover, it is an area that needs continual attention.

The above suggestions are a few of the best ways to unite your workforce and create a positive atmosphere in the workplace. These activities can bring employees together, make work more enjoyable for everyone, and help the company succeed.

For more ideas to help you run your business more effectively, be sure to browse our blog often.

The post The Best Team-Building Activities for Your Business appeared first on Business Opportunities.

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Business and Technology Ideas for Cities of the Future

Photo by Octavian Rosca on Unsplash

If you think cities are crowded now, you haven’t seen anything yet. Cities of the future are likely to be overcrowded and dangerous, posing an ever-greater threat to the Earth’s environment. In this post, we propose some solutions.

Will Cities of the Future Be Livable?

Projections for growth of metropolitan areas are mind-blowing. Urban areas occupy just 2.6% of our planet’s surface. However, they are currently home to more than 50% of the world’s population.

They also produce 80% of the world’s GDP while consuming 75% of its natural resources. These numbers speak for themselves. It seems there’s no foreseeable way of stopping the growth, development, and most importantly, the population of cities of the future.

In fact, the United Nations estimates the global population will soar to 9.6 billion by 2050. Furthermore, the percentage of the population living in cities in that not-too-distant future will rise to 66%. This will lead inevitably to overcrowded cities, with living spaces becoming scarce.

Therefore, cities of the future will be even more dangerous for the environment than cities currently are. Without a doubt, people will feel confined in small spaces, having only low-quality air to breathe. Overcrowding will also force up the price of housing in cities of the future.

The good news is that these projections can also work to everyone’s advantage. Since we know this growth is on the horizon for cities of the future, we have an opportunity now to manage it. This will take a consistent, coordinated effort. However, that effort will benefit both businesses and the citizens who call these areas home.

RELATED ARTICLE: THE GROWING POWER OF IMPACT INVESTING

Importantly, these actions must begin today. Otherwise, the world will suffer, as Mother Nature will undoubtedly exact her toll.

What Are the Technologies Cities of the Future Will Need?

Here we offer eight business and technology ideas for cities of the future. These ideas point to the need for sustainability in an increasingly urban environment. Our hope is that these ideas will inspire readers to make their own changes. Even better, we hope that others will come up with more and better ideas for the urban locations they are a part of.

RELATED ARTICLE: 15 BUSINESS IDEAS FOR ENTREPRENEURIAL TEENS

1. Air-Purifying Billboards in Cities of the Future

Pollution will likely continue to be an issue in cities of the future. This is why there is a need for innovative solutions. To give just one example, Lima, Peru, has billboards that suck in polluted air from a five-block radius. Then, they cleanse that air and pump it out again.

If Lima, Peru, can do it, then surely businesses in other parts of the world can do the same. For example, if you’re in the business of creating billboards along highways that are generally populated during the traffic or rush hours, consider installing dual-purpose billboards. Rather than simply serving an advertising purpose, now your billboards could help clean up the air, too.

Not only will Mother Earth thank you for that initiative, but also motorists in open vehicles and nearby residents will appreciate your efforts. The air will be a little cleaner for everyone to breathe, both in cities now and in cities of the future.

 2. High-Tech Waste Management

Preserving resources and limiting waste will become essential in cities of the future. One way to do this is with high-tech trash cans that signal waste management when they become full.

3. Sharing Programs in Cities of the Future

Instead of everyone who lives in an urban environment owning their own car, bicycle, and other space-hogging transport vehicles, apps now allow us to share. For example, bike-sharing programs have sprung up in major cities throughout the world. Similar programs are likely to remain available in cities of the future as well.

Also, there are now apps that allow people to share common household items as well as transportation. In this way, you only pay for something when you need it.

4. Clearinghouses for Surplus Food

Poverty will likely continue to be an issue in cities of the future. On the other hand, there is also an unnecessary waste of food. Cities can now use an online clearinghouse to make better use of food so that it goes to nonprofit organizations that help people who need food.

5. Mobile Payments

You can use your mobile device to pay for parking in most areas now. Additionally, some cities also allow you to make mobile payments for small infractions such as parking tickets. This trend is likely to continue in cities of the future.

 6. Traffic Monitors in Cities of the Future

Wouldn’t it be nice if you had the most up-to-date information about traffic and weather conditions in your area? Well, you need not wait until you are a denizen of one of the cities of the future. You can already get this information through several apps.

Additionally, some cities, such as Helsinki, also have kiosks that provide this information. Using these kiosks, residents can choose the best route to their destination.

And Los Angeles continuously analyzes its traffic patterns and adjusts traffic control systems. This allows the city to lower commute times by 12 percent.

 7. Permeable Pavement

When population density skyrockets in the cities of the future, there will be a strain on public infrastructure for natural resources. However, a new permeable paving surface allows excess rainwater to escape through to the ground, lessening flooding issues and adding resources to the city’s aquifer.

 8. Multi-Function Lighting in Cities of the Future

A city’s lights can be more energy-efficient with LED technology. Additionally, these lighting systems can also be multi-functional.

For example, in Newark, New Jersey, street lights double as security cameras. These systems can also alert people to inclement weather or an increase in pollution. Multi-function lighting also reduces the need for multiple systems with different purposes.

However, cities of the future must ensure the products they’re proposing are of superior quality. Most likely, city planners will start by creating prototypes or models. In this way, they will give themselves chances to make improvements and avoid problems.

Visit https://prototechasia.com/en/metal-machining to learn more about how cities, both now and in the future, can make plans for installing multi-function lighting systems.

How Can Cities Prepare for the Future?

Cities are preparing now for whatever the future may bring, and innovators are stepping up as needs become apparent. City planners and designers, in partnership with tech companies, are looking to make urban areas smarter, more sustainable, and more efficient. These are hopeful signs.

The Consumer Technology Association estimates that the market for urban technology has now reached $34.4 billion annually. With every dollar spent, moreover, each innovative victory provides a blueprint for other cities around the world, both now and in the future, to manage growth in coming years.

To search out innovative ideas for your city and your business, both now and in the future, be sure to visit our blog often.

The post Business and Technology Ideas for Cities of the Future appeared first on Business Opportunities.

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