Category Archives: Management

Tips For Getting The Best Remote Workers

When running a small business, it’s not always possible to find local talent. Perhaps you can’t afford the going rate, or you’re in an area where talent lacks the right skillset. Whatever the reason, chances are you’ll need to hire a remote employee or freelancer. So let’s look at a few tips to help you with the hiring process so you can get the help you really need.

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Start 2017 Off With The Right Annual Planning

It’s the end of another year which means it’s time for many small businesses to build a plan for 2017. It can be an arduous process for some, that requires time away from actually running your business. But, it’s critical if you’re to make any progress in the coming year. So start 2017 off with the right annual planning.

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3 Overlooked Ways to Foster Better Teamwork Among Freelancers

You may have heard of the “gig economy”, a rising trend in which work is increasingly done by freelancers and contract workers. Fostered by the cloud and improving mobile services, many small businesses benefit on both the giving and the receiving side of this growing trend.

However, if you manage several freelancers across your different projects, you know that it can be almost a full-time job managing the team to ensure high-quality, collaborative work is done. But if your freelance team can work together, with minimal oversight, you’ll find yourself going through that “To Do” list in no time.

So we’re going through three overlooked ways that you can foster better teamwork among your freelancers.

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Traits of A Good Small Business Leader

There is a lot of literature out there about what makes a good leader. But most of this is directed towards being like Steve Jobs or Jack Welch. How relevant is this to a small business owner or entrepreneur leading a small team of employees and contractors?

While the fundamentals might be the same, there are nuances to being an inspiring and effective small business leader. Join us for a free webinar on 5 May where our own founder, Andrew Patricio will go through the essential leadership skills of successful entrepreneurs.

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These 4 Things Will Motivate Any Employee, Even You

Staying motivated day in and day out can be a struggle. Too often businesses think they can simply throw money at the motivation problem which science has proven time again very rarely works in today’s knowledge economy. Thankfully, there’s a lot of science on motivation, particularly intrinsic motivation where people want to do their best. So let’s look at four things that will motivate any employee, even you.

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6 Surprising and Innovative Ways to Use Customer Relationship Management Software

Online tools

More and more businesses are using customer relationship management (CRM) software to manage their client contact information and close more sales. In fact, a recent study shows that 50% of businesses with fewer than 10 employees use CRM, and 91% of companies with 11 or more employees use it. And while CRM is great at helping companies keep track of client conversations and preferences—as well as sending out emails and closing deals—it can do much more than that. Here are four unique ways brands can use (and are using) CRM.

1. Non-Profits Can Keep Up With Donors

Any director of a non-profit will tell you how much time and energy his team spends trying to get funding from donors. But that time is drastically reduced when CRM enters the picture. Suddenly, you’re not calling outdated phone numbers, and you can quickly see what a given donor gave last year as a point of reference.

Whether you’re a non-profit or not, if you don’t have “traditional customers” (like donors), CRM still provides an easy way to keep up with the contacts you do have.

 

2. Managers Can Better Work With Remote Teams

Disparate teams are a fact of today’s business world, but sometimes the challenge remains in making team members feel connected. CRM helps staff get access to the same client and project data (it’s cloud-based, so anyone can access it anywhere) and work together toward common goals.

Before you write off the possibility of working with a virtual team, try out CRM with a project management component and see if your team can operate smoothly, despite not being in the same physical location.

 

3. PR Pros Can Keep Up With Media Contacts

If you manage PR for your company, or otherwise work in public relations, it’s not your clients that you need data on, but journalists and media contacts. Cultivating a relationship with the media takes time and attention. CRM makes it easy to track the stories a given journalist is working on, take notes on past interactions, and track a pitch you’ve sent off via email.

Social and email are your best tools in today’s PR world. Find CRM that automatically links to the emails you’ve sent a contact, as well as connects to their social profiles.

 

4. Writers Can Track Submissions and Inquiries

Every magazine, newspaper, and publication has its own guidelines for submitting articles, and writers often struggle with unwieldy spreadsheets to keep up with all this data. Often, you can’t submit a duplicate piece of content to two publications, so it’s important to track where a writer has submitted a piece. CRM can house all those guidelines and track submissions so writers spend less time on the process.

That project management feature comes in handy here again. You might have to tailor the setup of your CRM (most track Sales, but you can substitute that with Writing Submissions), to get it working for this purpose.

 

5. Government Offices Can Keep Up With Legislation

CRM isn’t just for the private sector. Think of all the legislation, correspondence, and conversations that help laws pass. That information is ideal for CRM. Politicians often have multiple balls in the air, and need to be able to quickly access information about a given topic.

 

6. Teachers Can Add Innovation to Teaching

CRM with a project management slant can provide both students and teachers a unique platform to collaborate. Teachers can assign projects to specific students and set deadlines, and students can upload their homework when they’re done, eliminating the “dog ate my homework” classic excuse.

 

When it comes to your CRM, think outside the box. There are dozens of ways to creatively use CRM for your needs. If you’re thinking of implementing a CRM system, we recommend Insightly. Visit the site and sign up for a free account today!

 

3 Tips to Buying the Right Small Business Insurance

By Hunter Hoffmann, Guest Contributor

Starting a small business is an exciting time.  You have the pride that comes with seeing your vision come to life when you officially open the doors, or launch your website, mixed with the nervousness of the unknown.  You’re putting yourself out there and it’s a risk – but you’re doing it, and only with great risk can you reap great rewards.

business plan

You have your company registered, your shop and/or website is up and running and maybe you’ve even hired some new staff.  But, don’t forget to protect yourself, and your company, with the right insurance.  Here are 3 simple tips to getting the insurance you need for your small business without breaking the bank.

 

  1. First, make sure you’re protected. The lists of things that seem more pressing than insurance for a new small business owner is nearly endless.  I won’t even try to make it exciting – but it is necessary.  All it takes is one unhappy customer or partner and you could be facing a potential lawsuit – even if you didn’t do anything wrong.  Unless you’re willing to stake the future of  your business on what you’ve learned from watching Law & Order repeats, you’re going to need a lawyer and those are expensive if you don’t have insurance to provide you the legal representation you need.

 

  1. Get the insurance that’s right for you. Each business has very specific risks and should have insurance policies tailored to their needs.  Your wedding photography business is probably much lower risk than a company that offers skydiving on motorcycles or something else that’s inherently dangerous.  You should get protected, but only for the risks your company actually faces. Each small business is different and you can keep costs down by working with an insurer that understands that.

 

  1. You’re looking for a relationship. Hopefully you won’t need to file an insurance claim anytime soon, but when you do it’s important that you know who to reach out to and that they’re responsive.  Like with any relationship, this takes a bit of intuition.  Did you get the feeling that the company cared about you and really understood your business and the pressures you’re facing.  Did they respond to your questions quickly?  If the purchasing process didn’t leave you with the best feeling, imagine what it will be like if you have to file a claim.

 

Small businesses are the lifeblood of the economy and it’s only from people taking risks that the economy continues to develop and grow. These tips will help you get the right insurance for your business so you can worry about everything else and keep growing.

 

Hunter Hoffmann is Head of U.S. Communications at Hiscox Small Business Insurance and is responsible for media relations, social media, internal communications and executive messaging. Hunter lives in New York City with his wife and two sons – Walker and Otis. In his spare time, he moonlights as Chief Marketing Officer and deliveryman for Junior’s Fresh, a fresh baby and toddler food delivery service and pre-school meal provider in New York City founded by his wife, Michelle.