Tag Archive 'Business Tips'

Apr 16 2014

The Latest in Promotional Products by OPEN Forum

Published by under Business & Marketing

MSNBC visits Advertising Specialty Institute’s (ASI) show featuring the wackiest promotional products to help businesses stand out and steer clear of competition. Some of the products featured in this video are available at Promo Direct as well!

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Apr 04 2014

16 Most Productive Ways to Spend Time On The Internet

The Internet is a huge powerhouse of knowledge and a majority of people across the globe already spend significant time online. Although, it gives us exceptional power to learn and understand new things, it also provides us with an opportunity to distract ourselves. If you can discipline yourself, you can harness the power of Internet efficiently.

So here are some websites that should be part of your favorites. Count on them to make your time spent online as productive as possible.

1. www.wikipedia.com : This free multi-lingual encyclopedia is probably the best thing that has ever happened to individuals online. Type in Google the name of a famous personality, city or historical milestone and voila, a wiki link will be among the first that shows up!

2. www.goodreads.com : If you are an avid reader, then this is the place you will love to visit very often. It is a virtual bookshelf in itself.

3. www.todayifoundout.com: Log onto this website to find out amazing facts each day.

4. www.howstuffworks.com: It is a subsidiary unit of Discovery communications and has comprehensive information on varied topics such as Adventure, Automobiles, Culture, Money, Science and more.

5. www.freerice.com: This is a non-profit website that supports the United Nations World Food Program. Here you can do your bit by taking up a vocab challenge. With every right answer, you would be donating 10 grams of rice to needy individuals.

6. www.lumosity.com: This is a simple online tool using which can be used to test your brain’s potential. Take the test and make your brain sharper, smarter and intelligent.

7. www.ted.com : Ted.com is the biggest platform where you can share ideas and gain knowledge from a wide spectrum right from science and business to international issues. You can watch conferences, talks and shows of famous personalities.

8. www.lifehacker.com: Find out different ways to make your life happier and stress free.

9. www.stackoverflow.com: If you are a software developer, this site will provide you with a wealth of information on software codes, troubleshooting and ideas. It is a free website and you don’t have to register to access the website.

10. www.famouspoetsandpoems.com: Here you will find a huge collection of poems by famous poets from all over the world.

11. www.spreeder.com: This tool will help improve your reading and understanding skills.

12. www.planetebook.com: Find some great quality classic literature on this website for free. Simply select the book, download and read!

13. www.mathrun.net: Instead of playing online card or racing games, go for this highly educational game. It will help improve your memory and math concepts.

14. www.coursera.org: This is an educational website that collaborates with the top universities of the world and allows you to take the best courses online and that too for free!

15. www.grooveshark.com: Love listening music? Then, enjoy live streaming music and let groove with the beats of your favorite genre instantly.

16. www.imdb.com: This movie database will provide you with interesting insights into a wide range of movies belonging to different regions of the world. If you are into movies, then the trivia, reviews and boards on this site are for you!

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Mar 21 2014

5 Reasons Why Most Start-Ups Fail

Published by under Business & Marketing

All start-ups are not runaway successes – in fact, a majority of them sink without a trace after 2 to 3 years of existence. Even when budding entrepreneurs are equipped with all the right qualities, they have to deal with layoffs, bankruptcy and faulty services/products. So if you are planning to set up a new venture, you must understand some common reasons why most start-ups fail. It will help you avoid potential problems that may come your way.

1. Thinking small

A research conducted by Harvard Business School reveals that 8 out of 10 businesses fail in the first 3 years. Most entrepreneurs try to create unique products or services that don’t cater to larger audiences. Think global, your product must solve the problems of masses and only then your business will survive in the competition.

2. Lack of funding

For any business to flourish, regular cash flow is a must. It is a blueprint that helps the business to grow and improve. Most entrepreneurs cannot afford to pay their staff. Financial problems can ruin a business. Before launching any new business, make sure that you have sufficient funds.

3. Trying to handle everything on their own

Newbie entrepreneurs, in an attempt to cut down costs try to play different roles themselves such as that of an accountant, Human Resource or Marketing Executive. This can become very stressful and may hinder the growth of your start-up. If you cannot afford to hire permanent staff, then seek services of a staffing agency and let them assist you.

4. Lack of research

Most businesses fail because entrepreneurs don’t have enough knowledge about their products, market conditions, and customer tendencies. It is very important to have insights about the market that you are getting into to build a successful business establishment.

5. Improper marketing

Marketing is the lifeline of any business. Most newbies don’t follow a proper marketing plan and simply blow up money on traditional methods of advertising that does little good to the business. You can harness the power of Internet; create forums and communities to reach out to target audiences.

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Feb 27 2014

Is your Company Lacking Inspiration? How to Inspire Employees and Stimulate Creativity

Published by under How To

In today’s world, competition is fierce in the business world when it comes to innovation and thought leadership. Companies are constantly trying to “one-up” each other and come up with the best, biggest, newest idea out there in order to grab consumers’ attention. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut where you lack inspiration and the new ideas just aren’t flowing within your business. Do you want your workplace to pop with excitement? Your employees excited to come to work and buzzing with ideas? If your company has been lacking inspiration,you can come up with the next big thing by promoting creativity in the office with these five easy strategies.

Create an Environment Where Creativity can Thrive

Provide an attractive and comfortable environment where ideas are free to flow. Jazz up the walls with colorful art and thought-provoking quotes. Place plants and flowers in prominent places, or allow employees to sit near a window. Encourage employees to personalize their work spaces in order to give them something to look at besides the walls to their cubical. People think better when surrounded by items that make them feel good, and covering the office with colors, patterns, and images will help stimulate creativity. However, you’ll need to change up the office environment to continually provide inspiration. Change up the furniture arrangements, hang different pieces of art on the walls, or even change up paint colors. When your employees can see their world in a new light, it will spur the type of creativity you need from them.

Host Mini Think-Tank Sessions

Use outside-the-box brainstorming sessions to allow your employees to throw out ideas and build off of eachother’s ideas. In most cases, the first couple of ideas people come up with are the safe and obvious. Have them write down their two immediate impressions, put them aside, and then throw out any ideas except those to the group. These initial thoughts can always be revisited later. Record all ideas without comment or criticism. Even ideas that seem silly at first can be tweaked and re-vamped, and eventually turned into brilliant ideas. If you create an environment where your employees aren’t embarrassed about their opinions, or afraid to throw out a dumb idea, these sessions can be very fruitful.

Create an “Idea Station”

When you aren’t having brainstorming sessions, provide a ways for employees to express and write down potential ideas. In between group sessions, turn a corner of the break room into Creativity Central. Mount a large white board and supply colorful makers. Every Monday put a new problem, situation or stimulating thought on the board for workers to respond to anonymously. Encourage workers to suggest topics for the creativity board. These topics can be work-related, or they can just be industry-related topics to get people thinking. People will look forward to a new challenge every week, and fostering a healthy competition between employees for the best idea will surely produce some good results.

Shake it Up with a Break

Regular breaks have been proven to foster creativity and prevent burn out. Designate a set time each day for everyone to stop work and gather to talk, drink coffee, walk laps around the building or halls, sit outside on nice days, or even engage in pool, basketball, air hockey, or one of many other desktop games available. If space permits, leave out an in-progress jigsaw puzzle. This kind of informal atmosphere promotes camaraderie and often results in employees bouncing ideas off one another. Depending on the size of your company, you can use retreats or special trainings as a time to really change up the scenery. Some businesses have used Atlanta conference facilities for retreats and conferences in order to get the employees out of the office. Changing up the flow of their regular work day will inspire new ideas and refresh the minds of your employees. Hosting a small retreat would give you the perfect opportunity to have a training, form brainstorming groups, and other activities that will inspire innovative thinking.

Listen to Your Employees

Trust, appreciation, and incentives go a long way when it comes to inspiring your employees. Implement as many of your workers’ ideas as is feasible. Some will need a trial period to judge the effectiveness, but if your employees make suggestions, show them that you’re open to trying them. Even if an idea is not taken to complete adoption, you have proven that you take your employees seriously and value their ideas. When someone’s idea becomes operational, give them an award or some kind of public recognition, a bonus, allow them to come to work late one day, let them use a reserved parking space, or whatever you deem appropriate. Sometimes a paycheck isn’t enough to get employees to do innovative work, they need a little extra incentive. Once your employees see how much you appreciate new ideas and forward thinking, they’ll strive a little bit harder to come up with the next big idea for the company.

Some of the best and most creative ideas come out of unexpected moments. Inspire your workers by providing a stimulating atmosphere where they can aspire to helping your company become better in every way. Making a few alterations to the company’s schedule, atmosphere, and meetings will help you generate innovative thinking. If you and your company are looking for the next big idea, don’t look to the competitors—use the brilliant brains you already have at your disposal.

This is a guest article submitted by Dixie Somers

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Dec 20 2013

Bridging the Gap between Manufacturers and Distributers?

Published by under Business & Marketing

A recent study revealed that around 82% of manufacturers and 92% of distributors agree that differences exist in their working relationships. The notable part is that both of them are aware that these differences are causing negative impact on sales and profitability.

The reason for these disagreements is mismatched expectations, which arise due to hasty pursuance to make quick profit. Researchers say that distributers show their commitment to only those products which give them better ROI. They fail to promote other products thereby offending manufacturers. Distributors have a different take – they that manufacturers do not guide them in the proper direction.

What Can Be Done Then?

  • Manufacturers and distributers must clearly set out the fundamental purpose and expectations of their collaboration.
  • Manufacturers must present a detailed report on the demographic diversification of their products. It will reduce conflicts in market.
  • Apart from this, the manufacturer must steer away from the traditional mould of “Make and Sell Stuff”. They must accept that it is not the product but the information and aptitude that impart competiveness.
  • Both the entities must understand that instead of talking about market coverage, they must focus on collection, administration and sharing of information. It will aid in gaining an edge over competitors.
  • Distributors are skilled in sales and often lag in technical aspects of marketing. Manufacturers can conduct marketing sessions for their distributors once a year to educate them in this area.

Use these ideas to impart value and direction to relationships while increasing trust between manufacturers and distributors. It is also essential to develop objectives that are customer-centric, explicit, mutually beneficial and practical for their industry.

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