Your professional image is the view that your business projects about itself. It’s the reputation you develop among consumers based on how customers speak about your business, how you respond to questions and complaints, the quality of your products and the marketing strategies you utilize. The more flattering this image is, the more likely consumers will be to choose your business over your competitors. To boost your company’s professional image, consider these five tips.
You have tons of hits every month, but your conversion rate, the number who stick around long enough to buy something, isn’t where it should be. You can randomly try to change things around and guess whether the improvement is from your change or from a random shift in search patterns, or you can use proven techniques to improve your rates. These tips will help you do so without a lot of guesswork:
Promoting your goods or services by means of showing at in-person exhibitions or trade shows is one of the best ways to create brand awareness while also reaching your targeted audience. Exhibiting can allow you to generate leads, secure sales and build relationships. However, it is simply not enough to show at an exhibition, you have to actually attract and entice the attendees once you set up shop or your efforts will be wasted. While the exhibition site serves as a valuable portal for you to reach the masses, it is up to you as the business owner and representative to invite visitors to your stand and engage with them so they see value in what your company is offering.
4 Ways to Attract Visitors to your Exhibition:
- Create an appealing stand: For the duration of the trade show, that little stand in the exhibition centre is your storefront, so your task is to create a booth so appealing that it demands attention. Your booth should be outfitted with custom exhibition stands that convey relevant insights about your company and its services. The lighting should be uniformed, your products should be organized beautifully, the colours you choose should be exciting and the visitor navigation should flow easily.
- Choose your best representatives: There is no room for wallflowers when it comes to attracting visitors to your exhibition, so choose team members with a knack for naturally engaging. Your representatives should approach passer-by’s in a friendly manner and invite them to visit your stand to learn more about your company. Representatives can “hook” attendees with samples and product demonstrations.
- Offer a Hot Beverage: Once you have attracted the attention of the walkers, your new task is to engage with them long enough for them to take a positive action. Offering a hot beverage such as tea or coffee will keep them at your stand longer. While they are sipping on their delicious cup of joe, you can begin building a friendly relationship while promoting your brand.
- Use technology: Using informative video demonstrations is a great way to stimulate, inform and engage with your audience. Also, it is a good idea to invest in iPads now that technology is at the forefront of communication. People are more inclined to engage with an iPad over a standard paper and pen, so have your representatives ask your booth visitors to leave their contact information on your tablet.
It can take a lot of time, money and energy to promote your company at an exhibition, there are huge potentials for rewards as well as for failures. You want to make sure that you get the return on your investment, so it is important to research well before you secure your spot at any exhibition site. The show you choose should be relevant to your brand and it should be popular with the potential of reaching large volume of people. Once the show starts, it is up to you and your team to constantly promote, inform, engage and attract. It is also a good idea to give out promotional freebies such as branded decals, magnets, pens or key chains. You want your promotional items to be useful and appealing while also including contact information such as your company’s web address or phone number.
Blogging is hard work. If you’re starting fresh and trying to get a new blog off the ground, you’ll find it a challenge to gain the exposure you need. On the other hand, established blogs may have trouble growing and expanding into new areas. How do you encourage the success of your blog? Here are five steps you can take to boost readership and encourage sharing.
Is your business not running the way it used to? Are your processes slowing everything down? If so, then you need to be thinking about introducing some new speedy changes to your business.
Start by looking at the performance of your staff; are they slowing you down or is the equipment slowing them down? You can check this by making sure your staff members are filling in a Key Performance Indicator (KPI); this will allow you to see where the problems lie. If employees are not completing as much work as they should, then you need to ask them why. Is it because of the equipment they are using or is it because they do not understand the work? If it’s the latter, then you simply need to provide a more in depth brief about what the task entails and when it needs to be complete; you should also be available for your staff to ask you questions about the work. This is one simple way to improve the efficiency of your business.
If the equipment your staff members are using prove to be the problem, then you will need to be thinking about introducing some new speedy pieces of technology. Here are a few things you can consider to create better processes for your business:
- New internet provider – if your processes are being slowed down by slow internet, then it’s about time you switch to a new provider. You should be looking for fast broadband, along with a good deal from the provider. Time is going to be wasted if there is constant waiting for web pages to load, so upgrade to a faster broadband package for your business.
- Find a super fast printer – if waiting time for your documents to print, scan or fax is increasing then you are undoubtedly wasting time. You might even be late to meetings while you’re waiting for your important documents to print, so it’s time you find a printer that will print in no time at all. Take a look at DNSLimited.co.uk to find the printer that’s going to save you time.
- Set up alerts for due dates and priorities – all members of staff should have a tool they can use to ensure they are meeting all due dates and are organising their priorities. Google Alerts can help you get your employees prepared and organised for everything they need to do. This means no confusion and no wasted time!
- Have great Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system– if you have everything you need to know about your customers in one place, this will save you trying to locate their file in a filing cabinet or under the pile of papers on your desk. If you keep everything organised, then you will have a noticeable amount of time left in your day.
Stop wasting time with bad broadband, slow printers and unorganised files. Speed up your business processes with these simple changes that your staff will appreciate. Bad internet connections and unnecessarily time consuming jobs will surely anger anyone; so keep your staff happy and your business flowing smoothly!
Depending on how prepared businesses are to use a .NET Framework, it can be a brilliant strategy or a major pain. Microsoft first introduced .NET in 2003 as a programming model to help developers build Windows-based applications quickly and easily. However, end users may feel the pain if they attempt to employ those applications while lacking the compatible or most recent version of the .NET Framework, or all their Windows updates, in place. Companies can also feel the pain if they aren’t careful about which .NET Framework platform they choose. .NET Framework 4.5 debuted in 2012.
Benefits of the .NET framework
Despite its faults, .NET Framework can be useful for companies that don’t have the resources or time to create applications from scratch. Companies have been hopping on the .NET Framework bandwagon for business development projects and business solutions, and developers are following suit. Companies are migrating to .NET Framework from WordPress, Drupal and Joomla for their content management while developers are making the shift to .NET Framework from php, java and other languages.
One of the main draws is the final product, with apps created on .NET Framework requiring less time, labor and other resources while still producing dynamic, high-end results. .NET can be useful for any apps meant to employ the latest technologies, along with Web forms and other Web communications that would benefit from SEO and must meet compliance standards.
Startups with limited budgets may enjoy a substantial ROI with .NET, provided they stick with ASP.NET MVC, which is one of the two camps into which .NET Framework development is divided. Unlike the WebForms option that makes up the other camp, .NET MVC embraces rather than struggles against how the Web works. It also has a keen focus on the art of writing code, which makes a good fit for those familiar with open source projects.
Larger corporations, by contrast, generally favor WebForms. It’s known for its lengthy, confusing code and low levels of productivity. The .NET Framework platform of Azure can be equally as tedious, despite Microsoft’s promotion of it as an ideal base for startups.
What businesses need to implement .NET framework
Companies need to prepare before implementing .NET Framework with several actions, the first of which is ensuring the developers they intend to hire can effectively work with it. The ideal developer will be familiar with code-writing basics, a .Net-compatible programming language and an enhanced knowledge base that can be used to produce the desired apps.
On the system requirements end of things, companies must be running on a supported operating system with the proper hardware requirements. Windows Vista and later support .NET Framework, some with required service packs. Hardware requirements include a processor of at least 1 GHz, at least 512 MB of RAM, at least 850 MB of available hard disk space and a 2 GB hard drive. Rather than hosting a .Net development platform in-house, you can outsource it to a .Net hosting provider, allowing your team to focus on creating software instead of managing a server.
Arming a business with .NET Framework can give startups the competitive edge they need to maintain pace with the big boys. Even outshining larger corporations is possible, provided a company has the proper requirements in place and a knowledgeable developer at the ready.
Image credit: hyena reality on Freedigitalphotos.net
Running your own business is no easy task and making sure what you have worked hard to have is safe is especially important. When you’re both inside and outside the office, you want to have the piece of mind that everything is secure.
Security doesn’t have to be a difficult task, and by following a few easy hints and tips you can make sure that you don’t have to worry about any disasters.
CCTV can make the difference between being able to identify where and how something has gone wrong. If something gets stolen whether it be during work hours or because of a break in, having video footage will make it much more likely that the person who did it is accosted.
If you have the unfortunate task of going to court due to a thief, chances of a prosecution and compensation on your behalf are much more likely to turn out in your favor. An obvious CCTV presence will also act as a deterrent for any would be criminals who may be casing your office for a burglary, for example. Office security systems are a wise investment.
Make sure important files are not visible
If you handle important documents, including legal files or anything that contains client’s personal details, you don’t want to simply file them away in an unlocked drawer. Make sure that you know where they all are and that they are kept in a secure environment that only trusted people have access to.
Where possible, try and be the only person responsible for these. This way it will be easy to rule out any potential staff that may have misplaced, or worse, have stolen documents.
Use very secure passwords on computers
Your password might seem secure to you, but there any many ways that unscrupulous hackers can guess your password.
By running software that blitz’s through potential passwords that are commonly used as well as generic words, hackers can gain access to your accounts without any real intel. For this reason you should always make sure passwords contain a capital letter, a number and a special character. Ensure the remaining word isn’t obvious either. Eg. Password 123 = unsecure. acTion2013* = secure. Microsoft advises that you change your password every 90 days.
Make sure you have decent locks
Many old buildings still have original locks which can be a problem as some are a lot less secure than others. Even newer locks can fail if you aren’t using the right types for the kind of doors you have.
Getting advice from a locksmith can be a good move to find out if you’re using the right locks, and what you can do to make your office more secure. After all, a little investment into locks will be a lot cheaper than dealing with the initial loss of property and time lost solving the problem if someone breaks in.
The software that your business is built upon needs be secure and powerful, enterprise level. Don’t settle for second best, use industry leading software that is tried and tested. For example if you’re operating in big industries such Finance or Manufacturing where you deal with big data you need to look at something like the Unscrambler by Camo.
It’s the same with things like anti-virus for your computer, don’t just go with regular Norton, go with their upgraded version, Symantec Corporate that’s designed to deal with large infrastructure.
Install a burglar alarm
Many people think that alarms aren’t as effective as is made out. This isn’t the case and it’s been proven time and time again that they can act as deterrents to crime altogether. Often the appearance of an alarm system will be enough to stop a burglar choosing your building as a target.
All of these tips will help you ensure that your office is a safe and secure place to leave at the end of the day as well as work in.
Taking a good photo can sometimes be down to pot luck. These days we endlessly snap away with our digital cameras, it’s not unusual to take hundreds of photos in one day. But taking a great shot doesn’t have to be down to luck. These 10 tips will help you to take better photos more consistently.
1) Look at your camera’s settings
It might seem obvious, but understanding your camera’s settings is vital. whether it appears to be a simple compact camera or a more advanced DSLR, you’ll need to know how to get the camera to perform at its best in a situation. Simply sticking to auto mode all the time isn’t likely to get you the best results.
Read the manual that came with your camera – so often these days we start using technology without fully understanding how it works. Learning how to use different modes and settings is integral to taking an awesome photo.
2) Consider lighting
In relation to the settings on your camera, you’ll need to consider the level and type of lighting before pressing the shutter. White balance can be adjusted to compensate for particular types of lighting, such as bright sunlight, fluorescent or shade. If you’re looking to up your game, you might even want to implement a lighting setup. Studio lights such as soft boxes aren’t too expensive, as you can see here. There are also numerous lighting guides online such as this 3-point-lighting guide.
There are so-called rules to photographic competition. The ‘Rule of Thirds’ is a well known technique, whereby a 3 by 3 grid can be imagined over the photograph. Any subjects or focal points on the image are placed on the points where the lines cross. There are other general rules to composition too, that can help your photos look well.
4) Angle (portraiture)
When taking your photo don’t think about just taking a photo from where line of view is. Thin outside the box! Angle can also be important in portraiture to make your subject look their best.
5) Kit (tripod / filter / lens)
Add to your photography kit. Tripods are helpful in many circumstances – landscape, portraiture, night photos. If you’ve got a DSLR you could also invest in some lens filters or hoods. These can help correct lighting and colours in your images and protect your lens.
You don’t have to fork out a lot to edit your photos. www.iPiccy.com is a great free tool if you’re not wanting to fork out on Photoshop. If you’re taking a great photo in the first place, though, you shouldn’t need to edit them drastically.
7) Always have you camera to hand
If you don’t have a camera to hand – how can you take a brilliant photo?!
8) Consider the photos you like
What photographers do you admire? What kinds of photos do you like? Take inspiration from them and apply them to your own photos.
9) Get a better camera
Sometimes taking a great photos can be difficult to do without a camera with decent specifications. It doesn’t mean you have to buy a DSLR, but maybe upgrade to a better compact camera. Not only will you improve the look of your photos, you could also go on to use these shots for awesome prints. If you’ve got a camera with enough megapixels you can produce a A1 or even A0 sized poster without any detriment to quality through printing companies such as this one here.
10) Rules: made to be broken?
Even though there are valued rules amongst photographers such as composition, don’t feel as if you have to adhere to these. you might still find them helpful, but some of the best photos break these kinds or rules.
To get the best photos, you don’t necessarily have to stick to popular photography techniques. To start with, they might prove helpful though. Taking inspiration from photos or photographers you admire is a great way to create photos that you’ll deem fantastic yourself! If you also take time to learn about your camera and how to get the most out of it, you’ll see that your images will improve too. Finally, creating a great photo doesn’t mean having a top-notch camera, but investing in equipment is smart if you want to make some great prints or take your hobby further.
Cloud Object Storage: What to Like and Why IT Professionals Are Worried
Many of us know only the basics of working in the cloud. You may use programs such as Dropbox or GoogleDocs to store small files for personal use, and perhaps the servers at the office recently moved to cloud management, but that’s about it. As a result, many outside the IT sector know very little about advancements in cloud storage, such as the move toward object-based storage.
This particular innovation is making waves among suppliers, with a large number of start-ups in the field claiming that file-based cloud storage will be the next big thing. That kind of data control may change the way you do business forever or it may just be another flash in the pan. Here we’ll look at both sides of the argument to help increase your knowledge of storage on the cloud.
The silo argument
Opponents of object-based cloud storage, or at least those who are less enthused about it, tend to argue that this new system is simply another silo for storing information. Just as a farmer is unlikely to build new storage because he has trouble distinguishing the wheat from the barley, an IT professional working to consolidate and universalize a company database may be reluctant to move to a new system. Or, for a more modern example, remember the annoyance of replacing your VHS collection with DVDs, to be followed soon after by Blu-rays. Another argument is the fragmented market, which has prevented the creation of a standardized object-storage interface.
Freedom through connectivity
If it lives up to the hype, however, this form of cloud storage has the potential to revolutionize both personal and professional daily practices. Two fields that stand to benefit the most are the medical and entertainment industries. Health care has always been hindered by inaccurate or misplaced records, not to mention doctor and patient mistakes. Though no technology can correct these issues completely, storing and organizing medical data on the cloud means that prior conditions, allergies, and family histories follow you effortlessly from practice to practice. Furthermore, a cloud-based system for asthma patients is currently being developed that could assist the young and elderly in properly using their inhalers.
Also, streaming entertainment is already in full swing, just ask Netflix users. How people listen and purchase music has been undergoing changes for years now as technology offers news ways of offering songs and albums. New online music vendors are replacing the old method of paying for individual tracks with a monthly subscription fee and unlimited listening.
A question of when to adopt
If you’re concerned about the longevity and limits of object-based cloud storage, you’re not alone. One solution is to avoid being an “early adopter” or, in other words, wait to see how the technology develops and how market forces drive one or two providers to the top before committing to a change. On the other hand, as this form of storage becomes more prevalent, taking advantage of the opportunity now may move you ahead of competitors. The best advice is to look into finding a cloud storage provider and getting acquainted with the services it offers before deciding if cloud storage is the solution for you.
Take a good look around your office. It’s probably a lot more cluttered than it needs to be. You have the ability to create more space. Much of this has to do with the products that you actually have in your office, on your desk and generally sitting around. You may not be able to get a bigger office, but you can be smart about what goes inside of it. After all, when you have more space to move around, you can become a lot more productive. Learn what can stay and what needs to go.
Your office may be crowded by a lot of things. See what you can do without. If there’s no reason for it to be in your office, get it out. It may be that someone else put it there or that it was there when you moved into the office. If it has no purpose, take it out of the office and see how much added space you have.
Look at how you can save space. One of the biggest areas where you lose space is with printers, fax machines, scanners and copiers. If you have one of each, it may be time to look at a multifunction printer that does it all. For more information about multifunction printers visit DNS Limited. There are all sorts of products that can be added to your work area to take the place of two, three or even four machines, for more information, click on this link: http://www.dnslimited.co.uk/products.
Try and find a happy medium between function and fashion. You want to keep a relatively clean desk, but that doesn’t mean you have to wipe it entirely clean. Add a few colourful touches to your desk – colours that you enjoy looking at and being around.
This is your office, so you need to treat it as such. If there is something crowding your space, think about whether it has a place or not. You may be able to get rid of it or at least move it into storage. Whether the storage is down the hall or you have to get a storage unit, it may be worth it if having more space in your office is going to lead to more room in your office and therefore a higher productivity.
Take a look at the windows. If they are being blocked by large filing cabinets or shelving units, consider pushing them aside. Natural sunlight is going to be the better thing for your office. Research has also shown that working with natural light as opposed to fluorescent lights will reduce stress and provide higher levels of well-being.
The large shelving units that you have may not be necessary. If you were to clear them out and add shelves on the wall, you may get the same amount of storage without all of the clutter. This could give you more floor space for such things as seating, a wastebasket or simply empty flooring.
If you don’t have the space you need, you may not be as productive as you need. It’s hard to spread out your work across the desk if there’s not enough room on the desk to do this. If you need someone to come into your office to go over numbers, do they have enough room to sit as well? If they don’t, it’s a good sign that you need to free up more space in your office.
Ultimately, you have to decide what has to stay and what can be removed from the office to free up some space.
Whether you share the office with someone else or it is yours alone, decisions have to be made. You cannot continue in your office the way it is because it’s affecting your productivity. Figure out what can go away. See what you can do to roll a few pieces of equipment into one. Your office may have become the dumping ground for everyone else. By taking charge of your office, you can free up all the space you want. It will help with your productivity as well as your sanity.
Author Bio: Anna enjoys spending time blogging about business and marketing. She works from home, so she understands the importance of creating a proper work space.