Every business owner needs to look for ways big and small to make their company run more quickly and more efficiently. In this way, you can save time and money, as well as valuable resources, while driving up your profit margins. But what steps should you be taking to make your business run smoothly every day? Check out the tips below to get started.

 

Single Sign-On

Single Sign-On, also referred to as SSO, is a great way to eliminate the time-consuming process of needing to authenticate as you move between different apps. Every one of your employees can make use of SSO when they use any web or mobile apps that are hosted in the cloud or hosted by your own business. Take SSO solutions provider ProofID as an example of one of the products that you can use in your company every day. With the right SSO provider, you can have the best combination of user experience and security to get more done in a shorter amount of time. 

Customer Relationship Management Software

Another wise investment would be customer relationship management (CRM) software. This will give you the tools necessary to control all of the communications between your business and your clients. In this way, you and your employees will never drop the ball when it comes to keeping your customers—especially your loyal customers—happy and coming back for more. This could lead to increased sales and more satisfied customers with less effort on your part.

Use Free Cloud Solutions

Your employees work on a lot of different projects every day in order to keep your company going strong and they often have to send files back and forth to each other, making revisions all along the way. This can be time-consuming, as well as take up a lot of space on your email server. So rather than sticking with the old-school method of emailing updates between employees and making notes in files, why not use one of the free cloud services that are available? These include Dropbox and Google Drive as a couple of popular examples. You can give and restrict access for security, as needed, and you can track changes a lot more easily too. Plus, workers from remote locations can access these files with greater ease, without having to worry about having the files on their drives everywhere they go.

Outsource Where Necessary

A final way to make your company more efficient is by outsourcing the tasks that your staff can’t handle on their own. The last thing that you want to do is give your workers too much to do, causing them to hate their job and actually become less efficient overall. So, if you need writing services, design work, or even IT support, consider outsourcing these tasks to qualified pros.

With the strategies and tools above, you can take small steps towards making your business a lot more efficient every day. Before you know it, you will be able to save money that you can reinvest into your brand to help it continue to grow. 

Are you tired of attending Business Award Ceremonies and coming way empty handed?  Do you wait patiently each year in anticipation, only to watch another team walk away with the accolade? Or perhaps you feel deflated when you thumb through your Business Sector magazine and read articles of a team that’s smashed their targets for the third year running?  The secret to High Performing teams is, of course, teamwork.

As a manager, it’s important to know the keys to developing an effective team.  Let’s have a look at seven ways you can do this:

  1. Communication – Sounds like a simple thing, but if a team doesn’t communicate effectively how do they know what goals each other have and what the expected outcomes are? Effective team communication is essential to the success of the group in performing its role as well as to the morale of staff and their motivation to succeed at work.
  2. Utilizing varied strengths and abilities - Team leaders should never forget that one of the key benefits of teamwork is the individual strengths of its members. Some members can be good organisers, others are innovative, others may be good motivators.  Remember that it can be the blend of different strengths which makes a team effective.       
  3. Goals - The whole team must understand what the goals are and should be committed to achieving them. Goals give the team clear direction, if there is an agreed purpose and specific path to be followed it will promote effective teamwork. The team clarity is reinforced when the organization gives clear guidance relating to the team's work, goals, accountability, and outcomes.
  4. Cooperation - Cooperation means working together, for everyone’s benefit.  Work teams succeed only when all staff are fully ‘on-board’ in sharing ideas and undertaking tasks. These cooperative qualities make an individual much more valuable to his team. Getting actively involved and cooperating also earns the respect of other team members, making them more susceptive to hearing your ideas.
  5. Managing Conflict - Provide specific and detailed instructions on how to resolve problems that arise among team members.  This will instill teamwork by encouraging members to solve issues efficiently and productively. Instead of creating a culture of blame in the workplace, create an atmosphere of being proactive and solution oriented.
  6. Participative Leaders - This is demonstrated when leading meetings, assigning tasks, recording decisions and commitments, assessing progress, holding team members accountable, and giving directives to the team.
  7. Effective decision making - A confident and effective team leader looks to the team for answers and welcomes constructive challenges and suggestions for alternative courses of action.  On occasion, the leader must be prepared to take difficult decisions and be willing to explain the basis on which they have been taken

Of course, this is not a definitive list.  Why not also think about ways to motivate, reward and bring your team together?  Have you considered implementing a Recognition Program for staff? Or, you may want to encourage social activities outside of the work environment. There are also many companies that offer team building activities in London, Manchester, Birmingham and other UK cities.

Whatever you decide, be sure that your efforts to improve teamwork will result in a greater performance and you never know, maybe the odd shiny accolade for you to put pride of place in the office!

Business travel tends to come and go in favor. In today’s digital age a lot of businesses are cutting down on their employees’ travel somewhat, instead having them connect through the use of technology like Skype.

Despite the tendency to want to move away from business travel in lieu of cheaper and more convenient digital solutions, there’s still a lot of value in traveling itself, when your company is smart with your strategy and policies.

Some of the main reasons companies still rely on the use of business travel include customer visits, sales and marketing, employee training and internal meetings, as well as conferences and conventions.

The following are some of the important things to know about employee travel in your business.

Expense Management Software

First and foremost, when you have employees doing any level of business travel, it’s essential that you choose the right global expense management software. A big concern with business travel is the fact that it’s difficult and time-consuming to deal with expense reports and submissions.

Advanced software platforms alleviate this difficulty with centralized visibility and reporting, easy mobile tools that let employees make submissions on the go, and easy global capabilities that are integrated with the software.

In general, when it comes to business travel, automation makes the process simpler and more efficient for everyone involved and takes some of the burdensome decision-making out of business travel for employees while letting them focus their energy elsewhere.

Be Clear and Specific With Policies

While choosing the right expense software is important and can go a long way in helping you have the most successful employee travel, you also need to have clear, specific, defined policies in place. Your employees and your bottom line are going to benefit from clarity in your policies.

By being clear and removing potential gray areas in travel policies, you can save money, ensure that trips are productive and keep employees happy while maintaining compliance.

One department that should be included in travel policy planning but often isn’t is HR. Human resources is an essential part of bridging travel and expense policies with the actual functionality of employees.

Human resources can help look at things such as the impact the travel will have on the employee and the corporate strategy. Human resources can also help look at ways the travel can benefit the employee along with the company, and identify what all key stakeholders stand to gain from the experience.

Another way human resources should be involved in policy-making in this area is to make sure that comfort and safety standards are being adhered to, and that there is a consistent process in place for employee travel outside of only expense management.

Collaboration with CFOs and Travel Managers

Finally, your travel managers shouldn’t exist in a vacuum. They need to work together with other key stakeholders including CFOs. You want to make sure you’re identifying all potential opportunities to improve and optimize your ROI when it comes to corporate travel, and collaboration between travel managers and CFOs will help with this.

There’s need to be a shared strategy and by pairing CFOs and financial professionals with your travel managers you’ll be more strategic in how all employee travel is carried out.

You can’t turn on the television or open your Facebook feed without reading a political news or opinion article. Democrats, Republicans, and everyone who identifies somewhere between are watching the United States as it navigates what can only be described as a political divide. For some, the situation is uninteresting or stressful, but for people who enjoy politics, it is an interesting topic for conversation and debate. Now, Redwerk has gotten into the political game in the literal sense of the word. Electoral.io combines arcade-style gaming with politics to create a unique gaming experience.

First Impressions

Upon opening the game, the first thing you’ll notice is the caricatures. Whether intentional or not, Donald Trump sits to the left of the game and Hillary Clinton sits to the right — the exact opposites of where they fall on the political spectrum. Like most caricatures, the likeness is slightly exaggerated, but the art is excellent and not over the top. The first thing Electroal.io asks you to do is to log in. You can either do so as a guest or link to your Facebook account. From there, you’ll decide whether to play as a Democrat or a Republican.

How to Play the Game

Just like real life politics, the object of the game is to win the most votes. Players begin as a small party cell that grows as they collect votes and financial contributions. Other players are moving around the board at the same time. Players should avoid opposing parties that are bigger than theirs but chase down and consume opposing parties that are smaller. Other players aren't the only pitfalls, either. Players also need to work to navigate around protests, dislikes and damaging evidence like foreign donations and email scandals.

Game Controls

People who choose to play Electoral.io on their desktop or laptop computers will use the mouse to control their political cell. The closer the cursor is to the cell, the slower it will move. The further away it is, the faster the cell moves. Players can use the faster flow to navigate to groups of votes and donations and switch to the slower flow to move through the groups and more easily avoid dislikes and other negative impacts. When necessary, players can hold their mouse button for a quick boost of speed, but this function should be used sparingly since it uses votes to perform.

Winning the Game

Simply put, players win the game improving their party’s rating with likes, votes, and financial donations. At the top right of the game screen, players can check out a list of other players. The list includes players’ names, how many points they have, and where that puts them on the leaderboard, making it easy to see who the real competition is.

Symbols in the Game

Electoral.io features several symbols players must pay attention to as they navigate the map. Financial donations, likes, and votes are available in the form of orange dollar signs, blue like buttons, and yellow checkmarks. Players should avoid purple dislike buttons, purple protest buttons, and red scandal signs. Be careful when navigating to new parts of the map as there could be a large foreign donation or email scandal right in the path.

Other Notes

Like most arcade games, Electoral.io provides players with a predetermined number of lives. Unlike other arcade games that usually only offer three or five to start, this game gives players 10 lives. A new life is available every 30 minutes and players can rate the game to get more if they would like to.

Final Thoughts

Electoral.io is a fast-paced and fun game that is perfect for anyone who has basic political knowledge and a love for classically styled arcade games. The easy controls and simple rules make it perfect for people of all ages. Adults can use the game to pass the time as they watch TV, ride the train or bus to work, or wait for a conference call to begin. Teachers can use it for students who are just beginning to learn the basics of politics and enjoy learning via gaming.

Electorial.io is available as a web-based app or as a download for Apple or Android smartphones and mobile devices. Should you decide to play, don’t forget to show your high scores off to your friends via Facebook sharing.

Whether you're a seasoned investor or an individual just looking to put your money where it will see a return above the present pitiful saving account rates, small businesses can prove a rewarding prospect. Every world-beating business has to start small. Those with radical new ideas or unproven technologies struggle to win support from the banks can be the companies that change the way we live. However, for every start-up firm that goes on to be the next Facebook or Vodafone, hundreds will fail within their first couple of years. Investing in small companies is a high-risk activity, but it's also a gamble that can pay off spectacularly.

Spotting potential and taking advise

If you're new to the investment game, it's good to go for areas you already know something about. This way you have the ability to accurately assess a new company's potential. If you have an interest in the field, you have a better chance of buying shares at a bargain price before the city investors catch on. It's always a good idea to listen to the experts however, or at least to take advantage of whatever information is available, especially on the internet. The golden rule is never to put all of your eggs in one basket, especially where small businesses are involved. Assume a certain amount will go bust, don't risk more than you can stand to lose and be prepared to wait a long time before you see a profit. Also, be on your guard against fraud, especially if investing online see quantumfinance.com.au.

Tax breaks

In the UK, several government schemes offer tax relief to those investing in small, unlisted companies and start-ups. These can offer a buffer against losing money on your investments. The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) offers 30% tax relief up to £1m per tax year on profits and loss, while the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme, specifically relating to start-ups, offers a 50% break. Not all businesses qualify however, and not everyone can take advantage of these breaks, so make sure you have all the facts before going ahead.

The risks of investing in small businesses are high; you'll need good strategy and more than a little luck to come out ahead. But you'll have the buzz of championing the underdog, and hopefully the thrill of seeing it grow into a serious contender.  

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