6 Ways to Boost Your Productivity at Work

posted on March 2, 2022


Even though many people give their best at work, they are not as productive as they wish. Yet, deep down, you know that you are not giving your best. It is not surprising as many people have bad habits which interfere with their work. Failure to effectively manage such practices leads to a steady decline in productivity.

However, you can end every workday with your head raised high and beat your chest with the confidence that you gave your best. This is better than ending the day tired and slumped behind your desk with a series of unfinished projects and other untouched to-do lists.

It is possible for everyone who is not pleased with their output at work to change it. Adopting good habits can set you up for optimum productivity so you can give your best at work.

These six tips will set you up for success and maximum productivity at work:

1. Organize and Declutter

Excessive clutter has a way of affecting our mental strength, draining our ability to focus. Research attests that physical clutter can impact your concentration ability, limiting your ability to assimilate information. As a result, keeping your work environment, especially your table, clean and arranged is essential.

Develop a system of organization that can help you limit clutter and disorganization, especially when files and paper start getting too much. Besides, a good organization saves you time that could have been wasted in looking for various things when you need them. According to a US study, an average employee does waste up to a year looking for items misplaced.

Take the step to declutter today; it will help your mental health and overall productivity.

2. Reduce or Eliminate Alcohol

Consumption of alcohol affects balance, motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and reaction time. All this hampers performance and increases the risk of injury.

However, taking a break from alcohol can offer an impressive productivity advantage. You also risk losing your job should there be an impromptu drug test. If you want synthetic urine before a drug test, consider checking out if you pass synthetic urine near you.

3. Invest in the Right Tools

Access to the right tools and resources is primal to your efficiency and overall productivity. As a result, endeavor to invest in everything you need to perform your job successfully. Imagine the time you lose if you have to stand and walk to another room because you need to make a photocopy!

Investing in high-quality pieces of equipment and software can improve efficiency immensely. It also enhances the perception of the company. Upgrade your PC, and make sure you have the latest software. You might not work effectively if your software is slow due to an overdue PC upgrade or software update.

4. Avoid Multitasking

Even if it makes you feel like a superman, it is not worth it. According to research, productivity comes down by up to 40% due to mental blocks when people switch tasks. Another research from the University of London provided a pretty disturbing result – a couple of men who multitask had up to 15 drops in their IQ.

Furthermore, the University of Sussex in the UL revealed that the brain could experience physical harm from multitasking. The study showed that people addicted to the simultaneous use of multiple devices had a reduced gray matter density in the part of the brain known as the anterior cingulate cortex. This part of the brain controls decision-making, emotion, empathy, and how the brain processes rewards.

The summary: doing many things simultaneously is doing more harm than good. Commit your attention to a single task at once and increase your efficiency. When you feel the urge to do something else in the middle of a job, know that you are gradually killing your brain cells.

5. Get Adequate Sleep

Sadly, many people are not getting the required minimum hour of sleep. Yet, sleep is essential to productivity and overall health. Stress, anxiety, pain, and many others affect people’s ability to sleep well. As a result, many people sleep on the job, which affects their output.

Not getting enough sleep automatically translates to low productivity. Consider the last time you woke up without getting adequate sleep. Chances are you felt sluggish for the better part of the day with a strong desire to sleep.

Lack of sleep affects physical and mental health. Your concentration takes a hit, alongside your mental capacity and logical reasoning. Since the prefrontal cortex is mostly affected by lack of sleep, your ability to handle tasks involving logical reasoning will be significantly affected.

Ideally, aim for seven to nine hours of sleep every night for people between 26 and 64. Consider taking a nap in the day if you are not getting enough sleep at night.

6. Take Breaks

When one is restricted to the same task for long, efficiency will undoubtedly hit. This makes it essential to have a time out to help your productivity.

Not taking the required break might create fatigue that will rob you of the necessary energy to make any meaningful progress. As a result, plan several breaks if possible. Such short breaks will allow you to recharge to keep up with the task and get mental agility.


The tips discussed here can go a long way to set you up for improved productivity. Apply them today and experience a positive effect on your productivity.

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How the GSA Schedule Contract Work for Small Businesses

posted on February 24, 2022


The necessity to incorporate government based contracts for any company, offering goods or services, is a vital part of the business plan. The urge to ensure that a company secures such government contracts, stems from the fact that most of the orders received from Uncle Sam are usually long-term and prudent, albeit the most influential factor would be the credibility. As the government handles tax payer’s dollars, the remuneration for the goods or services offered would be prompt as per the stipulated time frame, without much hassle.

In order to facilitated conducting business with the government, the GSA (U.S. General Services Administration) was formed in the year 1949, post WW2, by President Truman. Initially, several related departments were brought together to establish a unified portal for procurement and inventory management for the military and emergency rations, albeit the role has eventually evolved into a multidisciplinary functional set up.

GSA is a federal agency and ensures that the process for government procurement is streamlined as well as monitoring the apt spending of tax payer’s dollars. The consumer product/service requirements for the Government are fulfilled by the private sector. GSA acts as a mediator between the Government buyers and the firms offering the necessary products, services or solutions. It, also, acts as the chief body governing government real estate, along with managing the infrastructure. The primary action of the GSA is to hold bids for contracts, through which the least one is chosen. GSA is also responsible for maintaining relationships between all parties involved.

A GSA schedule or contract is business agreement, between the Government and the business entity. The terms are tailored to fit the concerned rules and regulation as well as maintain a fair deal to all parties involved. It may also be referred to as a Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) or a Multiple Awards Schedule (MAS). The vendor can sell to the federal government directly and could supply to the local/state government as well.

Your Eligibility as a Small Business

The eligibility to be qualified as a small business is regulated by the SBA (U.S. Small Business Administration). SBA happens to be completely involved in the aid given to small businesses, ranging from counselling buddingentrepreneurs to raising capital for novice business owners. It was established in 1953, by the federal government, as an independent agency to fortify the macro economy of the nation.

The eligibility criteria are set by the SBA for each section of the NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) code. The size standard depends upon the number of employees as well as the average receipts received annually. The ceiling for the employees and receipts determine whether the firm can be classified as a small business or otherwise. The limitation to be addressed as a small scale industry depends on the industry as per the NAICS code.

Most manufacturing companies employing 500 employees or lesser as well as most non-manufacturing companies with an average annual receipt under USD 7.5 million can qualify to be addressed as a small business. The exceptions based on industry can be checked from Title 13 Part 121.201 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) or the table of small business standards and size standard tool of the SBA.

There are several classifications under the broader term small businesses as well. Some of the classifications include Women-owned small businesses, small disadvantaged businesses, HUBZone small businesses andService-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs).

GSA schedules issues to such small businesses have to undergo a strict, multidimensional qualification process as well as have the ability to prove that the performance of the product/service holds up to regulations. Some of the GSA schedules are only meant to fulfilled by small businesses while other schedules require larger firms to involve the participation of small businesses in the contract.

Small Businesses Facing Issues Without GSA Schedule

Small businesses without GSA schedules can face difficulties staying afloat during times of uncertainty, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, during which the adverse drawbacks of owning a small business comes it play such as client dependence. Losing the regular clientele, owing to a plethora of reasons ranging from lockdowns to disruption of the supply chain, can have a devastating effect on the survivability of the company. Large scale businesses might be able to stay afloat, due to the sanctions/relief from the government or other resources under the kitty. Small businesses, hence, require, a steady contract based business with a reliable buyer. The Government, as a body, is quite reliable, in terms of contracted businesses. This reliability to fulfil the terms of GSA schedule, including order parameters and payments could be utilized as a solid foundation to improve the scale of the companies involved.

Companies without GSA schedules should be fulfilling requirements and must register through appropriate corridors, in order to vend to the government. Small companies, without GSA schedules, could also take part in subcontracting deals, in alliance with companies with contracts.

Growth Opportunities for Small Businesses Using GSA Schedule

Small business would be benefited by the long term nature of the GSA schedules. The contract received from the GSA usually enables the small business to coordinate with the contracting vehicle for a period of five years. The five-year contract could be renewed for a period of three years post expiry, granted that the company had fulfilled the requirements of the GSA compliance regularly.

The GSA ensures that the acquisition by the federal reserves is void of any hiccups. The streamlined nature of business between all parties involved. Hence, the federal buyer would prefer dealing with small businesses with a GSA schedule for fulfilling the requirements as the process is swift and not complicated. Small businesses can benefit from such streamlined processes by providing a large array of government sectors, thereby, increasing the turnover. GSA does not include a limit on the quantity of goods or services, which helps small businesses to cater to the needs of more divisions.

The lack of negotiations involved aids in the absence of confusion on either side as the GSA schedule dictates the terms and the vendor should confirm prices before the actual selling starts.

Take Benefit of Your Small Business Designation

The scope for GSA schedules for small businesses has been increasing exponentially since the dawn of the century. About 82% of all contacts awarded by the GSA schedules are to small businesses. GSA schedules attributed to Small businesses account for sales in the scale of USD 15 billion. The least GSA sales per business is around the sum of USD 1 million.

The small business based on IT services have been the most active in terms of sales value followed by professional services and medical equipment. The trend to include such businessin the fold seems to have benefited the GSA. There are an estimated 11 million commercial products and services required by the government of all levels (local, state and federal). Small businesses can utilize the limits sets by the GSA to supply the necessary entities for a long term without much hassle.


Hence, the necessity for small businesses to obtain a GSA schedule has been established thoroughly. The long term business nature, which accompanies a GSA schedule, along with the large requirement by the government are a couple of advantages for small businesses to thrive well. The nature of business as well as the compliance to standards are vital to obtain the certification required under the GSA schedule. Therefore, a GSA schedule contract could be useful in propelling the small businesses to new heights.

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Live Streaming Shopping in 2022: Best Practices

posted on February 15, 2022


The retail landscape is more complex and more online than ever. Across this increasingly tuned-in space, brands are looking for ways to boost their sales and retain their customers. Be it beauty, cosmetics, fashion, consumer electronics all industries today sit side by side, jockeying for a sliver of consumer attention.

A live streaming shopping model is where retailers, influencers, or celebrities market and sell products and services via a reliable live video shopping platform where they demonstrate and discuss products and answer audience questions and queries in real-time.

Livestream shopping isn’t new, it started in China and soon spread across the globe. During Livestream shopping shows, hosts, generally celebrities, influencers, or brand advocates tell their stories, demonstrate and launch products and interact with the audience. The format generated $60 billion in sales globally in 2019 with China far in the lead, and only $1 billion of those sales taking place in the U.S. As per reports, live video shopping is estimated to make a flabbergasting $60 billion annually.

Best Practices for Live Streaming Shopping in 2022

1. Use Best Quality Equipment

Great input, of course, leads to quality output. In other words, the equipment you employ, whether it’s cameras or microphones, will have a direct influence on the quality of your live shopping show. The end result will certainly be faultless if you take care of the equipment you utilize. You can go for equipment like a professional backdrop, like one with your logo, tripod stand, ring light and audio mixer, etc.

2. Choose Your Equipment

Choosing a reliable live stream shopping platform is very important for the success of your brand. Channelize.io Live Shopping Platform can help companies engage new and existing shoppers directly on their website or app. Unlike other live video shopping platforms, ours allows customers to add goods to their basket and make purchases without leaving the broadcast. Furthermore, you can simply assess the KPIs that evaluate your buyers’ activity during shopping shows with our platform!

3. Have a Plan in Place

Without a plan in place, your live shopping show would look unprofessional and boring, automatically weaning the audience away from your live stream shopping show.

You are not, however, required to come up with the full script straight away. An outline with subjects to discuss, on the other hand, would keep your live shopping show on course. Additionally, a call to action during a live shopping show would ensure that you get the desired results.

4. Engage With Your Audience

Answering questions live is the million-dollar method to make your audience feel appreciated and heard. In some ways, by addressing their queries, you’re encouraging audiences to come back for more of your live shopping shows. Furthermore, you may enhance engagement by asking viewers questions, providing them with exclusive offers, deals, and coupons, and conducting live competitions and giveaways.

5. Allow Your Guests to Take Over Your Live Stream Shopping Shows

Turns out, bringing onboard a new host or guest is one of the fail-proof strategies of live streaming shopping shows because it breaks the monotony of your live stream content, and mostly, it brings in fresh perspectives. Simply said, influencers have the potential to increase your readership.


The advantage of live video shopping is that your shoppers now feel as though they are part of your live stream shopping show and are influencing what you do. A live stream shopping show won’t be limited by location or time zone, and it’s certain to be watched by a large audience.

Live online shopping provides enormous benefits, and every industry is eager to learn how to use it. A live shopping platform indeed can be a great platform for repurposing your content and boosting your brand image.

Channelize.io offers an unparalleled live streaming shopping platform to help your business reach a wider audience. Additionally, it will show prospects that you are innovative and leverage the latest technology to meet their needs. Channelize.io also offers pre-built integration for Shopify. Now Shopify owners of all sizes can install our “Live Shopping & Video Streams” Plugin and go live.

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7 Major Things Ignored While Planning a Business

posted on February 10, 2022


Planning a business takes a great deal of care and attention to detail. It is easy to skip a few steps or ignore something significant if you rush to get your business going. Any one of these omissions could turn your business into a failure before it has even started. Here are 7 significant things ignored when planning a business that can result in failure.

1. Failing to Do a Business Plan

Unless you write a business plan, you will be unable to assess the viability of your new business, let alone whether or not it would be profitable. There are several components of a good business plan, most of which are mentioned below. A good business plan is the foundation of your business blueprint: your justification for starting the business, how it is to be developed and its ultimate objectives.

If you are constructing a piece of furniture, you need a plan to follow. A list of materials and how they are to be put together is crucial. You will likely use this plan to establish whether or not it is cheaper to buy the piece or make it yourself. The same approach applies to planning a business. You need to define a course of events from concept to completion. You need to evaluate your cost and establish whether or not you need financing. If so, you will have to present your business plan to prospective lenders such as your bank.

2. Ignoring Your Financial Planning

Financial planning is a critical aspect of a business plan. Therefore, you must consider the following:

  1. Raw materials and any employee costs
  2. Profitable selling prices or fees for goods or services
  3. Projected income over specified time periods

– and more. Check over your initial business plan and the cost of each step.

Image courtesy of Pexels

Many people who are starting a new business fail to take financial planning seriously until they circumstances force them to do so. Every new business needs a cash flow projection, particularly if you are looking for financing. You will have to assess your income and expenses. Also, you have to be able to present a projected balance sheet. You must prove that your business is worth investing in, and that you can repay any business loan offered.

3. Ignoring Market Research

Before you do anything else, you must make sure there is a market for your product or service. Many businesses fail because people have ignored market research and end up finding that they have no customers or clients to sell to. You can easily avoid this. Simply carry out some market research – this can often be done online. Market research is a critical aspect of planning a business, no matter what your business is offering.

Check out forums and social media. Ask “what if you had…†and look for responses. Check out Amazon for products similar to yours, and then look at their reviews and questions asked by users. This may give you ideas on how to adapt your products to provide solutions to the issues people are having with existing products.

You could use a Facebook Business Page to present an online questionnaire. Design the questions to find out the potential responses to your new product. Never ask for personal details – just questions that can help you analyze the potential market for your product or service. It is absolutely crucial to ensure that your business has a market and that you have people interested in your type of product.

4. Ignoring the Competition

Choosing to ignore the competition when planning a business is a fatal error. If your competitors are selling the same products or services as you, how do you intend to compete with them? If your business plan and financial analysis say you must sell at $20 and your competition is selling the same at $16, who will they end up buying from? You see why ignoring the competition should be avoided at all cost, right?

Another aspect of the competition is the market saturation of your area. Before even considering starting up a business locally, you must check out who else is offering your product or service in your projected geographical area. Find out who those businesses are, what they charge and whether or not there is any possibility of you competing with them at their price level.

Also, keep in mind customers tend to be faithful. If your competition offers a good and reliable service, why should they switch to you – unless you are undercutting them with the same or better service? You have to offer an excellent reason for them to switch to you.

That could be a price advantage, a better product or a more comprehensive service – or even all of these. You could offer better guarantees or warranties, more design or higher specification or some other reason to persuade them to buy from you. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes: “What would someone have to offer you in order to persuade you to choose another supplier?â€Â

5. Ignoring Online Marketing

Ignoring online marketing when planning a business is a cardinal sin in this electronic age. Many people – in fact, likely most – will look online for what they are seeking. Whether they’re searching for a service or a product, they will check Google Local for businesses that provide them with the desired means.

Many will go straight to Amazon for their product needs! You must get registered on Amazon and get your own Facebook business page. Advertise on Facebook and sell on Amazon. Increasing numbers of people go online to find what they want.

Many people use Amazon and get free delivery in many cases (without paying for Amazon Prime.) They can check out the reviews for their product and make a purchasing decision based on these reviews.

You don’t need to have a website, although that would be beneficial. What will help you is to:

  • Get a Facebook page for your business.
  • Get your products offered for sale on Amazon.
  • Register with other social media such as LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter: Tweet new products or updates to your Twitter followers.
  • Run a blog – there are free blogging applications available for you to use. You can keep in touch with customers and clients by blogging about fresh news, special deals, and other helpful information.

Never underestimate the power of the internet. You can be sure your competition is using it.

6. Ignoring SEO Techniques in Internet Marketing

If you decide to use a website or blog to promote your business, then you need to understand some basic SEO principles. The focus of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) lies on to the improvement of your website design and ensures that your site’s content is listed on Google as well as other search engines. Keywords are essential, but you should not overuse them. When planning or running a business, you should be able to elaborate about your passion for said business and draw your audience in this way.

SEO is necessary, and Google itself will teach you a lot about it. Check out the Google Webmasters Support site to learn more. It is not difficult to follow, but if you feel you need help with SEO, then include some expenditure on it in your business plan.

Here Are Some SEO Techniques That Should Not Be Ignored:

Use of Keywords

Google will use its LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) algorithm to establish the theme of your web content. This tool analyzes the vocabulary used on each web page to decide for itself what that page is about.

However, it would help if you never write for search engines. Write for your readers, and Google will decide itself what you are writing about. Excessive use of keywords gets punished, and in many cases, all you need is about 1% keyword density. If you keep using the same keywords repeatedly, you won’t just annoy Google but also your readers.

Social Media Connects

Never ignore the power of social media. If you don’t have a Facebook business page, then get one. Also, make sure you have a Google+ page. Not only does social media connect with an ever-increasing number of potential clients or customers, but they can also connect with themselves.

People talk about what they see and also Retweet or Share specific posts that interest them. Not only can you use social media to connect with people interested in your product or services, but they can share also that information with others and vice versa: have your content go viral and you will receive a massive amount of free advertising.

Not just that, but make sure you have your website links on your posts and tweets. You may then get links passing all around the web – that is impressive SEO!

These are just two SEO techniques that are used to ensure that your web pages are displayed when potential customers are searching for products or services that you can offer. Never ignore SEO – but use it wisely to make better use of what it can offer.

7. Ignoring Financing

Ignoring financing can end your business before it even begins. You must make sure you have enough money to start. If you need to borrow funds, then your business plan must be good enough to persuade banks that you are a reasonable risk. Only ever get financing from banks or recognized business angels or financiers. High-interest short-term loans can result in you losing everything.

That’s why your business plan should be adequately prepared – even if you have to pay to have it done. Financing is crucial, but never borrow more than you need to get started. Check whether you qualify for any “startup†government business loans. There are of course other ways to acquire financing for a new business: Check here for some more ideas.

When planning a business, it is vital to give yourself the best possible chance of success. Your plan should certainly take into account the reasons why some businesses have failed, but it should also consider why many have succeeded. Avoid failure and follow proven success.

The 7 tips discussed in this article should help you avoid the major factors ignored by those who failed, but they should also point you in the right direction for success.

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Data Catalogs: A Vital Asset In Modern Data Management

posted on February 10, 2022


You can spend more time looking for data than you do analyzing it. In order to transform your business data into a competitive advantage, all your users need to be able to quickly find, understand, and utilize that data. If decision-makers across departments can’t find the data they need or can’t understand it, then they can’t leverage it to optimize business operations and improve key growth strategies. Businesses that establish a data catalog can easily discover, curate, categorize, and share data assets, data sets, and analytical models to uncover new opportunities. Data catalogs are becoming a core component of modern data management, allowing all business users to easily find and access data to accelerate time to insights.

What Is a Data Catalog?

A data catalog is a library where all your business data is neatly organized, indexed and kept ready for use. It organizes the technical details around data assets, or metadata, into defined, meaningful, and searchable business assets to enable consistent data understanding among all business users and data consumers.

What Does a Data Catalog do?

What data catalogs do is part of what a data catalog is – by organizing data from multiple sources into a searchable, centralized library, data catalog tools enable anyone looking for answers to their questions to locate, understand and utilize data more quickly and efficiently. But how do data catalogs do this?

Dataset Searching

Data catalogs offer robust search capabilities that include search by facets, keywords and/or filters, object name, and business term, making locating the right data faster and easier. Many data catalogs automatically rank search results by relevance and viewing frequency, so the best data is readily available.

Dataset Evaluation

The ability to preview a dataset, see all associated metadata, the user who certified the data, and descriptions as well as view data quality information simplifies the process of choosing the right dataset for an analysis.

Data Access & Protection

The data access functions ensure that users can access data compliantly and securely according to their needs. They include protection for security, privacy, and compliance sensitive data, so although everyone can access the same data catalog, only the users with the right permission will be able to access certain data sets.


A data catalog integrated with a business intelligence solution significantly improves the speed and quality of data analysis. It also provides a catalog of datasets and visualization features. With the right tool, advanced data operations would be also available.

Unified Management

Data catalogs eliminate silos for good. By providing a centralized location for your entire business data collection, data catalogs enable a self-service user experience and remove the burden on IT and data specialists to grant access to everyone that needs data and when they need it.

Why Your Business Needs a Data Catalog

According to research from IBM, business leaders spend 70% of their time finding data, and only 30% utilizing it. What good is your data if it’s not used to its fullest potential? Data is a valuable asset only if business users can transform it into meaningful and useful insights to drive their decision-making, derive value and gain a competitive advantage.

A data catalog makes data more accessible throughout your entire organization. Instead of your team having to rely on ITs and data analysts, they can use the catalog’s tools and find what they need in a matter of a couple of minutes. That saves time for everyone in the company, speeds up the decision-making process, and increases productivity and efficiency overall.

Data catalogs foster a data-driven culture. When everyone has access to data, then everyone across departments and responsibility levels becomes more confident and starts speaking the same language. Collaboration becomes easier and transparent. The goal of a data-driven culture is to bring transparency to the entire organization and provide easily consumable insights. It puts data at the center of all decisions, so you don’t rely on gut feelings, but instead on facts. That way, errors are shaved to a minimum and success is almost always guaranteed.

For example, if your business is in the retail industry and combines in-store shopper data, purchase history, and cell phone data, you can use that data to create and launch a geo-targeted ad campaign to potential customers at the point of purchase. Data catalog tools can help your team derive these insights, which can drive and support the ad campaign decisions. At the end, the data catalog enables a more effective ad campaign that retrieves a higher ROI.

Of course, collecting and storing data doesn’t come without any concerns and responsibilities about consumers’ privacy. Regulations about consumers’ data privacy are driving what data companies can collect and how they can store and exchange it. Data catalog tools help organizations stay in compliance with such regulations including GDPR, HIPAA, CCPA, and more.

Data Catalogs: Build or Buy?

It is absolutely possible to build your own data catalog. The question is whether it is worth the investment of time, money and effort, or whether it is better to invest in an already established data catalog tool. Here are the pros and cons of building vs buying a data catalog tool:

  • Building your own data catalog requires a dedicated team of data engineers – you’ll need a minimum of 5 engineers assigned to the project permanently, and even more during the building and implementation stages.
  • Building your own data catalog takes time – for big organizations with enough resources, the process of building their own data catalog could take around 3-4 weeks. However, some report that it has taken them multiple attempts and a couple of years until they finally managed to successfully set up the data catalog.
  • Data catalog standards change quickly; you need a maintenance and support team to keep your data catalog up-to-date – and that is on top of the initial project. You should either hire people to work on that only or add extra responsibilities to your existing team (and we guess they do have more important tasks to focus on).
  • To build your own data catalog, you need machine learning expertise to be able to capture technical, operational, business, and social metadata – data intelligence is crucial for the development of data catalogs and innovations like machine learning are at the core of it. Machine learning data catalogs (MLDC) provide the best possible way for managing, monitoring, and improving the use of business data assets and enable real-time data discovery, automated cataloging, crawling of metadata, and classification of PII data.
  • Building your own data catalog requires UX/UI resources – the goal of building a data catalog is that all of your users can easily find and access data. That means that the data catalog should be designed in a way that all users, regardless of role and expertise, can have a seamless experience working with it. To guarantee that, you’ll need a UX/UI expert working alongside the data engineers’ team.
  • Building your own data catalog is an expensive project – it may cost you less to build your own data catalog but in the long term there are many extra costs associated with this investment. You’ll likely pay 2x to 3x more to maintain your own tool than buying a data catalog with continuous updates and support costs built in.

Contrary, opting to buy an existing data catalog tool is the faster and more agile option. You can start leveraging it right away without worrying about hiring new people, burdening your data team or any maintenance and support. It makes sense to invest in a data catalog solution and let your engineers spend their valuable time working on software that improves your own product/service.

How to Find the Right Data Catalog Tool

The best data catalog is one that simplifies your data management process and helps your organization become more data-driven. Different data catalog solutions are suited for different use cases, so it’s important that you narrow your search to the ones that will best fit your requirements. Some handle data in data lakes and are more suitable for data science, while others are more business-oriented and therefore what you’re probably looking for.

But there’s more to choosing the right data catalog, of course. A data catalog is only as useful as its ability to search and filter data. If it is integrated into a data analytics solution such as Slingshot, it allows users to get the most out of their data and make smarter business decisions while simultaneously offering an extensive catalog of data sources & sets, visualizations and dashboards. It aggregates chat, and goal-based strategy benchmarking, data analytics, project and content management – all in one, a versatile and intuitive app.

A data catalog tool needs to have robust data search and discovery features so that all users can derive valuable insights from the data they work with. It should be able to leverage ML/AI to improve data literacy, accelerate time to accurate insights, and augment data preparation. It needs to be able to utilize pre-built connectors to a wide variety of sources, including an open connector SDK to connect to any other source, and incorporate collaboration. Make sure to also look for metadata curation, and what the vendor’s governance, compliance, deployment, and integration options are.


A data catalog should be the foundation of your data strategy. If you truly want to take control of your data and build one single source of trusted data that is easy to find, download, use and share, then a data catalog is the right tool. Gaining a unified view of all your data across your organization allows you to easily find the right data you need, and spend less time searching for it and more time analyzing it.

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How Is Artificial Intelligence (AI) Impacting the Dental Billing Industry?

posted on February 9, 2022


Artificial intelligence (AI) is a sheer advancement in technology focused on developing high-end computerized applications and software – capable of helping perform critical operations efficiently with minimum human involvement. With the great capabilities of easing critical operations and speeding up things, AI has taken over almost every industry. And dental billing is yet another one of those industries being massively impacted by the rise of AI technology.

The two previous years have been majorly difficult for the dental industry, with most businesses shut down because of the prevailing pandemic. However, the threat and fear of Covid-19 spread have relatively downsized recently, and dental operations seem to open up. But at the same time, there’s a lot to handle for dental professionals, such as the pressure of recovering from the loss and dealing with an excessive number of patients.

This pressure or recovering the loss and handling an increased number of patients directly impacts the billing operations of a dental clinic. And it won’t be wrong if we say that artificial intelligence is rising at the right time and could have some amazingly positive impacts on the dental billing industry.

Here’s How AI Is Positively Impacting the Dental Billing Industry

There are several ways AI could prove to be a beneficial technology for dental billing. The popular among them may include:

AI-Based Quick Scheduling

Since AI is primarily focused on simplifying processes and minimizing human involvement, AI-Based quick scheduling could be a real win for dental clinics. Especially with an increased influx of patients post Covid-19 – quick and automated scheduling could really help streamline your dental practices.

The staff at your clinic wouldn’t have to spend hours taking patient calls and scheduling their appointments only to end up with several empty slots due to a last-minute cancellation. The automated scheduling feature would help patients to book appointments quickly, notify you about canceled slots in time and help organize those on the waiting lists – leaving no empty slots behind.

It would help keep both your patients satisfied and your cashflows streamlined.

AI-Based Easy Information Retrieval

Integrating your patient management software with AI technology could be of great use. Since AI can access, retrieve, and store everything from basic information to behavior of human interactions, it can easily retrieve important patient information and keep it stored in your system.

Your staff doesn’t have to spend hours fetching patient information; instead, it can be easily retrieved by your AI-based software in no time. This timely and accurate gathering of information can really speed up your billing process and support your practice’s accounting team in their collection efforts.

AI-Based Clinical Documentation

A very significant part of dental billing is clinical documentation. You cannot claim treatment at an insurance provider unless you’ve got a foolproof document explaining the entire treatment, analysis, and medication. Also, it’s a real hectic process for the dental professional to accurately jot down everything about the procedure. It takes a lot of time to do that – time that on the other hand could be utilized to treat another patient.

Thus, AI-based clinical documentation could be very beneficial. AI can listen to the entire treatment and analysis discussion between patient and doctor, record everything accurately and convert this data into clean documentation, which then can be easily used for submitting billing claims. This cannot only help take the workload off the dentists’ shoulders but also make the process highly efficient and speedy.

AI-Based Efficient Billing & Coding

Preparing dental bills is a critical task and requires a lot of updated information and focus. Imagine you could get your hands on something that’s capable of automatically creating 100% accurate billing claims in complete alignment with the updated coding policies each and every time! Sounds exciting, right?

Well, AI-integrated dental billing software can do just that without any hassle.

How to Make the Most of AI Technology & Enhance Your Dental Billing Practices?

Since AI has taken over the entire dental billing industry, all you’ve got to do is hire a dental billing service that utilizes an AI integrated dental billing software. It would solve all your dental billing problems and help streamline your billing with increased cashflows while almost eliminating accounts receivables aging on the backend.

The post How Is Artificial Intelligence (AI) Impacting the Dental Billing Industry? appeared first on SiteProNews.

Why (and How) B2Bs Should Raise Prices Right Now

posted on February 8, 2022


In March 2021, a massive ship named the Ever Given ran aground in Egypt’s Suez Canal, which had knock-on effects around the world. Since then, and as we have headed out of the pandemic, other serious supply chain issues have surfaced. More recently, the great resignation has made it harder than ever to find top talent, and a recent study found that 88% of Americans are worried about inflation as we head into the holiday season. Nowadays, there is more concern than ever about something bad happening to the economy. All these issues can squeeze company profits. What should B2B companies do about it?

When profitability suffers, the first order of business is to lower company costs. For example, Lean Process Improvement can have lasting positive effects on the bottom-line. Businesses can and should also consider outsourcing functions like IT, payroll, and even manufacturing. There may be alternate raw material suppliers, contractors, or temps that are capable of bringing instant skills to your organization.

Cost reductions aside, to maintain profitability in these strange times, companies will also need to take pricing action. Different approaches are available for raising prices, but increases must be carefully implemented, with an eye to the competition. It is also important to look out for possible disruptors lurking in the shadows. 


Any pricing initiative should start with an understanding of company growth engines and the important sources of volume. Don’t jeopardize those. It is also necessary to have good tabs on market participants, since competition and differential value sets the boundaries for pricing. Improving the differential value of offerings makes it easier for customers to pay more! 

At the core of business strategy is segmentation, based on a solid understanding of customers performance needs, purchasing process and criteria. Do they want to buy direct or through a distributor, and where are there price sensitivities? Less profitable SKUs can be sold through alternate channels like ebusiness.

Be more aggressive with price in segments where there are no clear substitutes. Make sure value propositions are fine tuned for each target segment. Do the company offerings help customers reduce cost (e.g. faster adhering glue for speedy processing), or increase revenue (maybe enabling a green claim with water based auto paint). There is nothing wrong with charging different prices in different markets.

1. Re-frame the Price

Products, services and parts can be classified by how unique they are. Custom products and parts can be marked up, while items like nuts, bolts and hose need to be lower priced to avoid substitution. Having Good, Better and Best products for entry level, target level and show off products allows pricing flexibility. Lower price offerings with higher margins, like private label items or insourced entry level products also have their place in the product range.  

Items that are usually bought together can be bundled into an assembly or dispersion that makes subsequent processing faster. Parts used for routine maintenance, including consumables, lend themselves well to bundling. Imagine the convenience of a kit for gasket replacement, saving time and trips to the hardware store. Bundles can be priced slightly lower than the sum of the parts, or higher if there are efficiency gains.

If an offering is late in its life- cycle and sales are declining, customers can be migrated to SKUs with better margins. Exploit price elasticity when switching costs are high, or there is a great degree of customization.

2. Re-define the Product

Product definition can be changed by adding a valuable service component like installation or vendor managed inventory to a physical product. Delivery or maintenance contracts can be branded and productized for better price differentiation. Changes in product packaging are relatively easy -adding color coding on boxes, or offering tote quantities of liquids both offer opportunities for price adjustments. Price structure can be modified with a different unit of measure, and charging by activity like hours flown, gallons pumped or number of students trained. Industrial customers often prefer renting over buying, whereas Government customers may have easier access to capital budgets. 

Subscription models are popular in software and can also be used for consumables or rental equipment. Automatic renewals make the relationship stickier. The same product can be offered with different variations of fixed and variable price. Certain customers will prefer a monthly fixed fee with a variable usage charge, over a higher fixed fee with a capped variable. 

3. Communicate Value 

Many companies are shy about communicating quality and value. Be explicit about a product’s price position in the market. Don’t let prospects guess -if you have a unique or premium product, say so to justify a higher price. Research customer operations in detail, and determine what end benefit your product contributes. Then value- price accordingly, while being very collaborative around innovation and product development. Stimulate new demand with an offering and pricing configurator tool on the website.

4. Active Use of Terms 

Change the price context and mark up freight and rush orders, and have a surcharge for small orders. New clients can be hooked with a basic service, then offered self-serve upsell for more functionality. Changing cut-offs and target levels for volume discounts and rebates helps improve margins. Enforce surcharge rules in contracts for fuel, shipping costs or raw material price pass-throughs. Optimize price for high use/ high utility SKUs. If price increases are risky, there might still be a share of wallet to be had. 

If there is a great need to differentiate pricing between customers, payment terms can be adjusted.


Before implementing price increases, charter a cross-functional pricing team including Sales, Marketing, Finance, and Operations. When deciding on pricing adjustments, reexamine prices line by line. SKUs that have not had increases recently may be priced too low, hence there will be less resistance to increases. Always make sure to provide product and service options to retain price sensitive customers. Cheaper, stripped-down “Good” versions work well for retaining customers, as do lower priced offerings made available in limited quantities only. 

When communicating price increases, provide an explanation for your decision. Don’t shy away from mentioning how long it’s been since prices were previously adjusted, or highlighting how much the customer has raised their selling prices. It is also a good idea to signal pending price increases directly to important customers. Announcing upcoming price moves through trade press is not collusion, and gives competitors a chance to follow suit, increasing industry profitability across the board. 

Bottom Line

It is difficult to make a conventional price increase stick. Effective pricing starts with segmentation of the market, based on customer needs. With pain points well understood, an offering meeting segment needs can be designed and priced according to the value it provides. Adding service components to products can add differentiation, as can innovative pricing models like subscriptions or activity-based pricing. No matter how a company arrives at a price, it is important to communicate the value of each product and service.

The post Why (and How) B2Bs Should Raise Prices Right Now appeared first on SiteProNews.

How to Write the Best Guest Post Manuscript

posted on February 7, 2022


Guest posting continues to be one of the most popular off-page SEO tactics. Instead of waiting for reputable sites to link to your domain, you take a proactive role by approaching them first. It’s one of the fastest ways to get backlinks and improve your domain authority.

However, getting published in high-traffic and high-authority blogs isn’t that easy. Since they’ll be publishing your posts as content on their own website, all blogs that allow guest posts will screen every application and submission. They’ll want content that fits their blog, audience, and content strategy.

So, if you want to be a guest author, you’d need to prove your skills, experience, and credibility. One way to do so is to write an excellent manuscript.

Why You Need a Great Manuscript

It’s important to note that not all guest posting sites accept upfront manuscripts. High-ranking sites like to ensure they get high-quality content by prioritizing a guest author’s CV. Therefore, they usually won’t accept manuscripts until you’ve given them a list of previous guest posts, your experience, and your achievements.

Luckily, not every guest posting site does this. Many blogs welcome finished manuscripts and publish them based on the quality of the writing alone.

That said, although your experience and credibility are important factors, the real crux of getting a guest post published is the quality of the manuscript. Editors will always reject poorly-written manuscripts, even if they’re from a pre-approved guest poster.

Tips on Writing the Best Guest Post

Basic writing skill isn’t the only factor in getting a manuscript published. Most blogs and publications that welcome guest posts likely already have an impressive backlog of content. So, your manuscript needs to be high-quality and unique on all fronts.

Here are a few tips to help you brainstorm and write the perfect manuscript:

1. Look for Content Gaps

High-authority blogs know and follow basic content marketing and SEO guidelines. This means they’re not going to keep publishing similar content and repeat main keywords. Doing so might cause keyword cannibalization or affect their domain authority. Audiences also don’t appreciate repetitive content, so topics that have already been done before will likely be rejected.

So, while you brainstorm possible topic ideas, be sure to check if they’ve already been covered. As most blogs require anywhere from 500 to 2000 words per manuscript, avoiding topics that are sure to get rejected will save you a lot of time.

2. Read the Guidelines

Most websites that accept guest posts will have a “Write For Us” or “Guest Blogging” page. This is where they’ll post information about guest post submissions and other requirements.

For blogs that welcome upfront manuscripts, they’re going to have an exhaustive list of what they want from aspiring guest writers. These guidelines could include:

  • Accepted topics
  • Minimum and maximum word requirements
  • Desired writing tone and style
  • Accepted document formats (i.e., Docx, Google docs, ODT, etc.)
  • Required information (i.e., author’s experience, links to previous guest posts, company links, etc.)
  • Required attachments (i.e., author’s headshot, images, etc.)

Some editors will even leave special conditions like “include the word “firetruck” somewhere in the email” and won’t entertain your pitch when you don’t follow it. Special requirements like these are to make sure you read the guidelines before submitting your manuscript.

The whole point of guest post guidelines is to make sure the editors are getting submissions that are fit for their blog. They’re looking for guest posts that match their content and SEO strategy. Since different companies have different strategies, you need to make sure you’re writing specifically for the blog you want to get published on.

For example, a tech blog isn’t going to publish a blog from a gardening business because it’s irrelevant to its content and keywords. Likewise, blogs that regularly post 4000-word articles won’t accept anything shorter than that.

3. Write for the Host’s Audience

Different blogs cater to different audiences. Some audiences appreciate a laid-back and digestible tone, while others prefer a more authoritative and knowledgeable style. Some audiences are more knowledgeable than others, so the desired wording, vocabulary, and topics will differ from blog to blog.

More importantly, editors will always cater to their audience, not yours.

For example, if you’re dealing with an audience of marketers, SEO experts, and industry authorities, your content needs to match their level of knowledge. In this case, “How To Do Keyword Research” or similar beginner-level topics will not fit the audience’s need.

Similarly, if you’re writing for a blog that caters to small business owners, SEO newbies, and fledgling marketers, submitting a manuscript with niche slang and expert-level marketing concepts will be too much for the audience’s level of expertise.

4. Proofread Your Manuscripts

The secret to getting a guest post published quickly is to make sure the editors have as little work to do as possible. For popular guest posting sites, their editors might be getting hundreds of manuscripts a week, so they’ll immediately ignore anything irrelevant or poorly written.

Additionally, you also need to check for plagiarism. Even when you didn’t intend to use the exact same words as someone else, search engines will still take high-plagiarism ratings as an unfavorable SEO signal. Editors will check for this, too, so make sure you’ve run your manuscript through plagiarism checkers before submitting them.

That being said, don’t rush your writing process. You need to put in enough time to research, write, and look for spelling and grammatical errors. Remember, if the editors are already getting a lot of submissions, rejecting a few poorly-written manuscripts isn’t going to affect them.


Guest posting isn’t just about your knowledge or writing skill. You also need to consider the blog you want to get published on, their previous content, and their audience. The general theme is that guest post manuscripts should cater to the accepting blog; otherwise, they will get rejected.

So, before you even brainstorm topic ideas and do research, make sure you know who you’re writing for.

The post How to Write the Best Guest Post Manuscript appeared first on SiteProNews.

7 Key Points When Choosing the Right ERP Consultant

posted on February 6, 2022


Large-scale, high-cost ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) failures make for compelling news, but project failures can easily be avoided by engaging with a third-party consulting firm. Experienced consultants reduce risk and guarantee that software projects are seamlessly integrated into each client’s specific business processes. However, in order to achieve ERP success, manufacturers and distributors must choose the right partner. Any company can sell software, but the real test is putting it into action according to your individual needs, budget, and timeframe. We’ve developed a list of the most critical factors to consider when hiring an ERP consultant.

1. Length of Time in Business

Their time in this business can help you identify the way they treat their customers and how they apply their market experience to offer you consultancy.

2. The Financial Strength of Consultant Business

For a large project, you’ll need to add consultants to your team. Ascertain if they are aware of their responsibility to safeguard your interests. Find assistance with the necessary knowledge and tried-and-true methods. Your ERP selection and implementation can be completed in a timely and cost-effective manner. This is the point where they need to prove their financial standing to you.

3. Recommendations From Credible Sources

Request that each member of your team submits their own rankings. Then, for each point, tally up the totals and take an average. Examine outlier scores: if four team members gave it a one and one gave it a five, the average is two, but it’s likely that the consultant isn’t a good fit.

4. Specialization in Your Chosen ERP System

Your consultants should recommend automated testing tools that they are familiar with. They should also assist in the setup of test processes, and they should be able to identify the source of test issues until your team becomes more familiar with the new ERP.

5. Specialization in Your Business Niche

Inquire about assistance in establishing the project management framework. They’ve done it previously and should be able to assist with measurement and communication.

Your IT department will require assistance with data conversion. They will need to learn the new system even though they are familiar with the legacy data format. To pass all system validations, your consultant should know the proper order in which to load data into various tables.

6. The Expertise of Specific Consultant Personnel in Specific Areas Such as Training, Testing, etc.

Your consultants may have a training expert on staff who can assist you in creating the training materials you’ll utilise. That expert can also prepare your super users, who are already skilled at their vocations but aren’t yet certified trainers. After the consultants are gone, those super users will be the core trainers, and fresh users will be hired in the future.

Your ideal scenario on go-live day is to manage the instant conversion and first use of your new ERP with your own staff.

7. Read Consultant Testimonials

Never forget to read testimonials. It is a way that can lead you to the right choice. You can also get it through your evaluation process, and your team members can help you do it.

Bottom Line

You’ve made your final decision, and your project has begun. However, the assessment must continue. Request that your team members keep a journal of their interactions with your consulting firm. Were they punctual? How well do they fit into your lifestyle? Have they supplied you with the guidance and support you require? Although the consulting parent group is unlikely to be fired, individual members may require a course correction. Allowing problems to fester will cause your project to progress more slowly. Your consultants want to make a good first impression and finish their assignments successfully.

However, keeping these factors in mind can help with a better choice.

The post 7 Key Points When Choosing the Right ERP Consultant appeared first on SiteProNews.

5 Steps to Creating an SOP

posted on February 6, 2022


The modern healthcare industry is complicated—and it can take a long time to learn the ropes, so it’s always good to have a system in place. SOPs, or standard operating procedures, are instructions that work as guidelines for employee work processes, such as for maintaining an Electronic Data Capture (EDC) system. These instructions can be used repeatedly and serve as a reminder of the best way to complete a task.

Think of an SOP like a recipe: It tells you how to make something, step by step—and all you have to do is follow the instructions and the dish will turn out perfectly every time. There’s no guesswork involved.

It’s important for healthcare professionals to have SOPs documented so that they’re easy to follow. It also makes the SOP easy to teach to new staff members and manage over time: if you want your SOPs to reflect the most current information, then all you need to do is update them.

What Is an SOP?

Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is the standard that clinical trialists need to follow to ensure their trial is following the rules and regulations of their given organization. For clinical trialists, it is important to know what is expected of each step of the trial process. Applicable guidelines and regulations must be referenced, such as ICH E6 Good Clinical Practice and 21 CFR 50 for the protection of human subjects. Typically, an SOP contains the following elements:

  • Title page
  • Table of contents
  • Purpose (describe the clinical trial, summarize its main objectives, ensure all acronyms are defined at first use)
  • Procedures
  • Quality assurance/quality control
  • References

Creating an SOP

Here are the 5 steps for creating an SOP:

1. Make an Actionable Checklist

A checklist that is “actionable” means that each item on the list is a specific and concrete task that can be performed—nothing vague like “oversee project” or “monitor progress.”. Making your SOPs more efficient is as simple as designing them so they can be followed through by any clinical trialist. This will maximize the amount of work you are able to accomplish within a given timeframe, therefore being able to work more efficiently.

There are essential SOPs, and then there are optional SOPs. An example of essential ones could be how to obtain informed consent prior to starting a clinical trial. There is always going to be some kind of essential SOP that must be implemented before you start your trial, which means that having a checklist with those tasks first on the list (and marked as a priority) will allow you to comply with regulations in a timely manner.

2. Create a Plan for Reviewing and Updating the SOP

An important part of creating an efficient SOP is to have a plan for reviewing and updating it, so you don’t have to start from scratch every time. The key is to set up a system so that you can quickly identify what needs to be changed without having to review each step. If your team works from a template SOP, this process should be much easier because you can indicate when each section needs to be updated.

Adding a note for updating is an effective way of maintaining efficiency in your SOPs. If you have a team member working on the step, add their initials next to the comment so that they know to look over the section as well. This will ensure that no step is missed.

3. Collect Information to Include in Your SOP

SOPs are typically used to ensure uniform and quality output. This means that they focus on documentation of the steps, tools, and techniques used to complete a task or reach an objective. The most effective SOP template will be one that is tailored specifically to your company’s needs.

This means that the more information you collect regarding what you want to include in your SOP, the better you can tailor it to fit your needs. Collecting this information will not only help the development of your SOP but will also ensure that what you do finally put in your SOP is exactly what you want and need for day-to-day use.

The collected information should include:

  • What the procedure is and what it is for.
  • The people and departments that are responsible for completing the task or procedure.
  • Who requires training on this process, including who wrote it (if different from those required to complete the task).
  • When does it need to be done? How often?
  • What tools, equipment, and supplies must be available to complete the task?
  • Who is responsible for any reporting and record-keeping requirements?
  • Are there any environmental factors that need to be considered?

4. Write, Review and Publish Your SOP

Write your SOP, then have a team member review it. This will ensure that there are no mistakes or misunderstandings, which could cause an error in the compliant conduct of clinical trials. Once the SOP is reviewed and edited appropriately, have someone else read through it just to be sure before publishing it throughout your organization. This way you can feel confident that everything is correct before it is distributed.

5. Maintain SOP Overtime

SOPs are easy to use and effective, but only if they are kept up-to-date. Don’t let your SOP’s become stale because it could cause a number of issues including missed steps or lack of accountability. If you have the time, do a quick review every week just to make sure nothing has been added or if you have a team member who is responsible for the task at hand, then let them know that they are responsible for keeping the SOP up-to-date. If you want everyone to be responsible, then hold a short meeting each time a new employee is added to the project/task and go over the SOP together. Going through each step to make sure everyone understands their role will help keep everyone accountable and on track.

When you are responsible for tasks on your team, there is no way to avoid creating (or having assigned to you) SOPs. Whether or not someone has created an SOP yet, you can use the steps above to create one that will help your team. Implementing these five steps will also provide consistency in your project/task management, which will make your team more efficient and productive.

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How Workflow Engines Have Changed the Business World

posted on January 26, 2022


With every advent of useful technology comes the possibility that the world might never be the same for it. Even if something new has revolutionized a specific industry, that change can be widespread and even help to change other industries as well. Such is the case for workflow engines: they’ve become a part of various industries, and in a way, they’ve transformed the entire business world.

Every business has a workflow of sorts: be it in marketing, tech development, manufacturing, or anything else, there’s always a business process to follow, with tasks that eventually bring it to completion. Workflow engines are digital tools designed to coordinate these processes, these tasks, and the containers used to execute them — and these platforms have capabilities that have helped to shape the business world in various verticals, especially with the changes below.

Streamlined Improvement

The use of a workflow engine helps to define a more intuitive way to build on and optimize your current process. Before these platforms became commonplace, businesses had to first test and analyze various performance metrics manually to decide whether improvement was necessary. In addition to this, it was also important that businesses looked into which part of their otherwise well-oiled machine was in need of such improvement. Whatever your business, those improvements took a long time, a lot of effort, and possibly a lot of resources.

Within a digital workflow, such improvements already take up fewer resources — but they can be even leaner when implementations are done through a workflow engine. This is because they not only display the performance metrics and identify bottlenecks and other issues in an intuitive, simple way, but because even the implementation of any improvements takes less effort when done through the engine that interconnects all the relevant virtual machines in place. Businesses of any kind will find times and places where optimization is necessary, but when it’s been streamlined thanks to tools like a workflow engine, that’s where the industry becomes capable of achieving better optimizations with less downtime and less labor.

Trust In the Cloud

The business world is not completely surprised by the onset of cloud computing — in fact, the business world is where much of cloud development was implemented first, and it’s proven to be useful. However, the reservations people have against using the cloud often have much to do with trust. Believing that the cloud can store, utilize, and protect your assets all without having to use your on-premise resources is a little hard for some. However, the use of a digital platform that orchestrates process tasks and builds a standardized communication between each activity makes for a great example of how workflow engines are worthy of trust. With this standardization, information transfers from start to finish require less effort, and businesses can allow these to take place automatically.

In the same way, workflow engines work from a centralized place, affecting each virtual machine in a process to make for a secure transfer of information that’s designed as a “black box” system. Each part of an engine-run workflow has only the information that’s relevant, and it’s doled out by the workflow engine to create a simpler and more secure business process in various cases. This aspect alone is enough for more businesses worldwide to start seeing the value of the cloud and to trust cloud computing with the assets that matter most.

More Timely Business Processes

More than just providing a safe, secure way for business processes to complete their workflow, a workflow engine also can and does eliminate waste in vast amounts. By orchestrating each task in a way that optimizes output and the general flow of the workload, a workflow engine creates a better, more timely set of activities, and where they are dependent, these dependencies are managed and controlled by the engine — all to make sure the workflow itself is happening at the pace that makes the most sense for the business.

Anyone in the market for a way to improve business process timing and even the flow itself can look into workflow engines, as such a tool makes it so much easier to properly orchestrate specific events in the case of certain triggers. Orchestration, or the element of a workflow engine that helps tasks be initialized and completed at optimal times, makes for an impressive part of the way business has changed — as you no longer need to plan these things yourself.

Higher Quality Services

It’s all about quality, isn’t it? Whatever you’re offering, you want your client to have the best experience, so you should always provide that. Doing so nowadays means you need a workflow engine. This is because while high quality can be maintained with certain services without machine intervention, the quality can be even higher with the implementation of a tool that automates the microservices in place for a business. If your business can automate such tasks, be they repetitive or unskilled labor, it can greatly improve efficiency, which is one way to help quality.

The other way is this: with a workflow engine in charge of the execution, tasks will be consistent and provide a more consistent service in the output. This consistency, and the elimination of human error at certain junctures, make for an even better and more impressive use case for such a platform — since its ability to direct activity and automate tasks makes it easier than ever to let quality be the guiding factor, more than time and energy spent in a workflow.

The post How Workflow Engines Have Changed the Business World appeared first on SiteProNews.

5 Tips to Save Your Business From Disaster

posted on January 24, 2022


Business technology is the key to saving time and money so that your business can avoid disasters.

Do you have what it takes to become a next-generation business? Ever wondered what separates a successful business from the others (a.k.a. market competitors)? The secret lies in adopting the right combination of business technology tools that help you perform business activities in the most efficient way. We live in a technological age where things are not only meant to be faster and easier but also smarter. For entrepreneurs and managers who are forward thinkers, tapping into certain tools to save time and money will help expand their full business potential.

However, deciding on a single business tool is no easy feat. With ample software and platforms present, looking for a suitable tool is like finding a needle in a haystack! To make life easier and business operations smoother, we have jotted down a list of business must-have tools. Start with these 5 simple tips to save your business from an eventual disaster!

1. Marketing Software

We are living in a digital and visual world. Grabbing the potential user’s attention is paramount for businesses. Marketing involves social media marketing, search engine optimization, paid marketing, and more. These are daily tasks that require intensive planning and management. Such ongoing “busy work” tasks can be automated so business owners can focus on their core endeavors.

Email marketing systems such as HubSpot, Sendinblue and MailChimp allow you to easily keep your email subscribers informed of updates about your business. Social media scheduling tools such as Buffer and HootSuite allow you to schedule posts to go out on the desired times and dates, without having to set foot on various social media channels. What’s more, you can analyze and optimize your digital presence using tools such as Google Analytics. And business owners, you will be shocked to know that this is just the beginning! The list of marketing tools and software available on the market today is endless. What matters is how you leverage and use them to your advantage.

2. Business Intelligence Tools (BI Software)

Ever heard of Tableau or Power BI? These are the in-demand tools that give your business data insights. We all know that data is king. When it comes to business, only those who can manage data, draw conclusions based on it and make changes accordingly can grow their operations. Business intelligence tools are enabling modern businesses to tap into their hidden potential by discovering their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This makes it easier for managers to understand their data without extensive technical know-how. There are a lot of BI platforms available for data visualization, data mining, and developing customized dashboards.

3. ERP Software

Enterprise Resource Planning and task management tools are simple, cost-efficient means for business owners to save time and money. Online ERP tools like SAP Business One and SAP Business ByDesign can help you stay on top of your finance, HR, manufacturing, supply chain, procurement, services and other activities. They also work as collaborative tools so all the employees on your team know what is being done, what is outstanding, and who has been assigned to the task. Add to this: ERP tools also have the capabilities to ascertain resources for the future. Now you can predict demand for the stock and work out your inventories accordingly. Can it get any better?

4. Interactive Tools

With work from home and hybrid working models gaining traction, it is important to be able to effectively communicate internally and externally. Platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, Zoom, etc. allow teams to coordinate work and interact seamlessly. Some companies may be dealing with overseas clients or freelance employees who have time differences, but with online interactive apps, exorbitant calling fees are a thing of the past. The multi-features of calling, video, and chat combine to form a strong social structure, and an even more powerful business tool.

5. Admin Support Software

There are a lot of internal business operations that software can support. Take, for example, setting up meetings. Scheduling tools like Acuity and Calendly can automate the process of setting up meetings. When you need e-signatures on official documents, DocuSign or HelloSign can help out. No more running after colleagues or clients for signatures or hoping the post office is still open so you can get a contract out as soon as possible.

To keep track of potential, present, and past clients from the first interaction through your sales and marketing funnels, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms such as SalesForce, Hubspot, and Insightly prove very helpful. They can also provide valuable insights to nurture those relationships. Plus, every business needs to collaborate with others in an official manner. File-sharing systems such as Google Drive and Dropbox ensure that everyone has access to the same version of the same document. You can work in real-time or use these tools with clients and vendors to keep track of what everyone wants and needs.

Now that you are aware of the business tools needed for ultimate business success, what matters is choosing the right platforms. Your choice must depend upon various factors like the size of your business, target market, area of business operations, a particular business problem you are looking to solve, and most importantly, your budget. Once you know what you want to attain, take the time to explore suitable options for you and your business. By getting started with an ERP tool or Business Intelligence software, you can take a big step towards uncluttered operations management. In the long run, all of these tools free up your time, allowing you to do more in a day. Considering the current remote working scenario, they may also alleviate the need for extra management, keeping your overhead costs down. And this means you have the time and cash you need to grow, wherever and however you work!

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Ten Retailers That Used QR Codes for In-Store Payments in 2021

posted on January 23, 2022


In today’s age, everyone knows about QR code payments. We are all well aware of the emblematic black and white square design of a QR code. Growing smartphone penetration and high-speed internet access have led to the widespread adoption of QR codes. Hence, today we see it pretty much everywhere, whether it’s shopping, movies, advertising, and so on.

QR codes are widely used in China, Asian countries, the United States, UK, Saudi Arabia, Australia, and Canada. The widespread use of the QR code in sectors like marketing, education, payments, and healthcare has made it an in-demand technology. The retail sector is no exception. Retailers use QR codes in several ways.

Here’s a list of the top ten retailers that used QR Codes for in-Store payments in 2021.

1. Walmart

Walmart, United States’ largest retailer, was an early adopter of self-checkout technology. The company launched Walmart Pay in 2015. This functionality enabled customers to make payments by scanning a QR Code. Users linked their primary credit or debit cards to their Walmart mobile payment application.

Scanning a QR code charged the amount invoiced to the card associated with the application. It saved users and Walmart the surcharge charged by credit card companies and Apple Pay.

In addition, for the thrifty shopper, Walmart also prints QR codes on receipts that correspond to your purchases from other local retailers.

This creates a cashback-like balance that can be redeemed on Walmart at a later date. The QR code payment option is also part of Walmart’s broad omni-channel strategy by connecting to its Capital One WalmartRewards Card to save 5% on purchases.

2. Target

Target also announced the introduction of a QR Code payment system in its stores in 2015. In 2021, the Target app combined Wallet-like features with contactless shopping, pickup, and promotions to bring all digital and physical experiences under one roof. With the help of Target pay, consumers can make payments for products by simply scanning the target QR code.

3. Dollar General

Dollar General is a fast growing brick-and-mortar retailer with several expansions planned in the near future. A part of the planned expansion includes a new scanning and departure system. This system allows clients to scan objects with their smartphones through the Dollar General app. At checkout, shoppers can simply pay by scanning a QR code.

4. Amazon Go

Amazon launched an Amazon Go retail store in 2016, using “state-of-the-art shopping technology”. The store is built around what Amazon calls an out-of-the-box technology. The cutting-edge technology enables users to walk into the store, pick the items they need and simply exit. The in-store sensors do the heavy major work of tracking items in the cart at checkout.

When entering a store, users have to scan a QR Code using the Amazon Go mobile money payment solution on their smartphone at check-in. The purchase price is deducted directly from a user’s Amazon account.

5. Starbucks

The coffee giant is utilizing QR codes for payment but with a major difference from other companies. Consumers pay with Starbucks cards which later reward them with free drinks. In 2018 the Starbucks app accounted for 12% of the retailer’s US transactions. Within a span of 2 years, Starbucks mobile orders boomed to 25% of all sales.

To execute and deliver the best in class customer experience and aid employees by streamlining the beverage-making process Starbucks has shown confidence that its mobile ordering is the way to go.

6. Best Buy

Best Buy is another retailer that has introduced QR code payments. Best Buy provides customers with special credit card benefits while making the whole process simple. Carrying a credit card is unnecessary. Customers simply need to show their app to a store employee while paying through the single scan process.

7. 7-Eleven

The international chain of convenience stores of Japanese and American joint ventures has also integrated a mobile check-out system. The 7-Eleven app employs a QR code system that allows customers to quickly scan products and then pay for them using a digital wallet at a “confirmation station,” as 7-Eleven refers to it.

8. Zara

Zara has even introduced QR codes in storefront windows to promote and advertise its brand to passersbys! People enjoy strolling through malls, and adding a QR Code to your store window could completely transform the concept of window shopping by allowing customers to scan your store’s sale items!

9. Big Bazar

One of India’s largest grocery, electronic, and fashion stores has also been influenced by the top digital payment trends using QR code technology. UsingBig Bazar’s app, customers can scan codes and place their online orders. One very unique feature offered by the Big Bazar app allows customers to redeem their wallet balance directly during checkout by QR code scan.

10. Paytm Mall

Paytm’s e-marketplace, Paytm mall, has also deployed a new functionality that enables customers to place online orders in physical stores using QR codes. Customers can visit the nearest Paytm partner store and scan QR codes using the Paytm app to browse and order products. This feature has helped retailers to sell products online without having to worry about inventory management and delivery of the product.

Wrapping Up

QR Code Payments provide ease, safety, and hygiene benefits to millions of consumers. By adopting QR code-based payments, retailers across the country are pushing for scan-to-pay adoption as a familiar and accessible payment method for shoppers.

The post Ten Retailers That Used QR Codes for In-Store Payments in 2021 appeared first on SiteProNews.

Five Ways to Empower Your Remote Workforce

posted on January 14, 2022


A recent survey of CIOs worldwide by the ETR (Enterprise Technology Research) revealed that 72% of businesses work remotely today.

This means roughly three-fourths of the global working population are running about trying to find the new normal. But, unfortunately, while some business functions have thrived in adapting to the remote setup, others have failed.

As a business owner, you might wonder if your organization needs to create a hybrid work culture and ecosystem to survive these uncertain times.

The simple answer? Yes.

To help you navigate these difficult times and build an empowered remote workforce, we’ve crafted this article to elaborate on the different ways you can help set your teams up for business success.

Let’s begin!

Five Ways Businesses Can Empower Their Remote Workforce

1. Enable Employees to Set Up Office Spaces at Home

No employees ever thought that their own homes would turn into their workspaces. So it’s only natural that they lack the needed resources to carry forth their day-to-day tasks successfully.

Businesses keen on ensuring a smooth transition from in-office to in-home workspaces need to understand that enabling employees with the proper hardware and software won’t cut it anymore. It now goes beyond that.

An excellent way to understand and help employees here would be to directly talk to them and address their challenges with remote work. For example, some of the most common challenges they may report are:

  • No power backup.
  • Bad internet connectivity.
  • No designated “office space” at home.

Globally, companies that have addressed this challenge have overcome it by giving their employees a fixed amount of money to set up an office at home. This tiny gesture goes a long way in letting employees know that you genuinely care about their well-being, remote or not.

2. Enable seamless Collaborations and Communications Across the Company

Remote work has changed the nature of in-person workflows and processes. This needs to be fixed as a priority for your business to ensure sustainability.

Inaccurate communication, when combined with undocumented conversations, is going to cost your teams. But luckily, there are several tools out there that can come to your immediate rescue.

Software like Zoom and Slack enable cross-team communications while also letting employees share files and other media, just like they’d do on WhatsApp. This makes communication more effortless than ever, and what’s more, all your information is documented with zero additional effort. The usage of such software has also shown a significant improvement in employee engagement and productivity.

3. Encourage Remote Meetings and Gatherings for Non-operational Purposes

It’s no surprise that employee engagement was much higher in an office space. Remote work has made employees and teams run around to change and standardize processes, leaving little time for them to connect personally.

Keeping aside business meetings, leaders and HRs need to encourage employees to gather for non-operational purposes. This would set up perfect situations for them to have honest conversations to develop a unique sense of bonding and friendship regardless of the physical distance.

Such bonds and relationships also enable them to navigate these complicated times to get work done in the best possible way.

4. Encourage Your Teams to Leverage the Power of Digital Technology

The pandemic has been a huge reset button for almost all business workflows, processes, and communication. As we have already seen, manual processes just don’t work anymore.

Businesses need to adapt to technology that can bridge the physical gap and address these problems efficiently.

A digital transformation enables businesses to add a layer of security, control, and accuracy over all business functions. In addition, simplifying operations frees up time for high-impact tasks that let your business grow.

A quick list of software to start with:

  • Trello: To virtually manage all your tasks and projects.
  • Notion: To thoroughly document company-wide communication.
  • Fyle: To enable a seamless expense management process.
  • Google Drive: Secure storage for all your files.
  • CultureAmp: To know the pulse of your employees.
  • TrackingTime: To track time and keep up with your team’s work.
  • LeadsBridge: To enhance your omnichannel strategy.

5. Protect Your Finances by Automating Expense Management

At the heart of every successful business is rock-solid finances. However, with remote work, the added physical distance combined with broken processes has left Finance teams working for numerous hours to get a rough estimate of the whole picture.

With remote work, manual expense management just breaks and leaves your business open to multiple financial leaks through inaccurate records, expense fraud, and much more. As a result, companies worldwide have slowly begun to shift to an expense management software to address these issues.

An expense report software effortlessly streamlines all broken financial processes and frees up time for case-sensitive tasks like fraud detection and manual verifications. This provides Finance teams with all the information they’d need to ensure that your company finances are always safe.


Whether in-office or remote, businesses need to adapt to change if they’re going to stand the test of time.

McKinsey revealed in a recent study that 31% of businesses have completely automated at least one core business function.

There’s no denying that change is inevitable. The only question here is whether your organization will embrace this change to succeed and scale.

The post Five Ways to Empower Your Remote Workforce appeared first on SiteProNews.

7 Steps to Take to Create Employee Training Videos

posted on January 7, 2022


In this day and age, video has undoubtedly become the new mode of learning. According to a Pew Research study, 87% of YouTube users utilize the platform to figure out how to do things they have never done before.

Another report states that in 2021, 71% of people resorted to watching two or more instructional videos per week. The figures are not surprising as new technologies have made creating and sharing visually engaging videos easier than ever.

Interestingly, videos have also become a core part of employee training. Back in the day, businesses would play VHS tapes featuring generic training content on health and safety or compliance. However, things have changed and how!

What Makes Training Videos for Employees Effective?

In simple words, videos make training more interactive and engaging. That is especially helpful when dealing with dry subjects such as employee onboarding, product education, and compliance. Plus, it is common knowledge that pictures are easier to recall than words.

Video offers a much richer visual context and tone than text, blending multiple modes of communication into a single format. When someone can see “how” something should be done before giving it a try on their own rather than reading about it, that helps.

Lastly, videos are more cost-effective than having in-person sessions. In fact, remote training with video gained precedence due to the pandemic with 28% of companies reporting a decrease in their training budgets, while 49% said it remained the same.

Types of Employee Training Videos

Now that we know that videos have significant pedagogical value and boost learning and development in many ways, let us look at different training videos that you can create to explain various aspects of your business and operations:

1. Screencasts

A screencast is typically a recording of the computer screen, where the trainer explains or performs a task in real-time. Such recordings can also be edited to create standalone video demos. If you want to make short, quick explainer videos, screencasts are an excellent option.

Used correctly, they can be engaging and cost-effective to educate and train your employees on many things, from website walkthroughs and project deep-dives to HR explanation and technical demos.

2. Tutorials or instructional videos

Such videos help take new employees step-by-step on how to follow a process or perform a particular task in the company. Mid-video quizzes, interactive quizzes, and frequent annotations help boost engagement rates.

Tutorials are versatile, and you can cover almost any topic with them. Even within instructional videos, there are a few different approaches you can take:

  • Demos: Such videos demonstrate a process or product in action.
  • How-tos: As the name suggests, these explain how to do something, usually in numbered steps.
  • Animated videos: These work wonderfully for data visualization purposes where having a real-life person do the explaining might confuse employees.

3. Presentation captures

Nearly 90% of people put great effort into their presentations. However, getting the most out of them is still a challenge, primarily because once the person has given a presentation on a product launch or compliance policy change, one cannot go back and replay it in real life.

That is where recording it comes in handy. You can either capture the presentation in real-time as you present or do it in advance to benefit from the flipped model.

That way, your presentation can be made available on-demand for both those who could not attend and for future employees. Many screen capture tools are helpful, such as Camtasia, which lets you record your voice over your presentation directly inside PowerPoint.

4. Employee-made videos

They make a great addition to the training program because by asking employees to create videos on specific topics, you can test them simultaneously. They can practice what they learned through videos and make more accessible versions for new hires.

Seven Steps to Take to Create a Compelling Employee Training Video

Creating a video can be daunting. One needs to get everything right — equipment, lighting, script, special effects, and so on.

So before you get overwhelmed, take a deep breath and simply follow these seven steps one-by-one to create engaging videos that will stay with your employees even after they have finished watching:

1. First, decide what you want to teach

You can create videos on many topics, but it is best to develop a calendar containing details of what you want to produce and when to use your resources optimally. Understand your business requirements and then focus on a topic that will benefit your employees.

You could consider a variety of topics such as professional ethics, compliance, product initiatives, diversity and inclusion, and so on. You may also divide the video into several segments to make it crisp and easier to consume.

2. Write the script and design a storyboard

When you start penning down the script, you will have a clearer picture in your mind regarding how you want the video to flow. From the layout of the scenes to the type of visuals, you can visualize the entire setup with this exercise.

When writing the script, read it aloud so that its tone and flow match the entire setup etched in your mind. Remove all the extra words and unnecessary jargon. Shorten your sentences, and make sure your message is direct and helpful to many different people.

If you produce a video without any script in place, it will show that you have worked in a disorderly fashion. Once you are done with this, create a storyboard showing a pictorial sequence of the video.

Please make use of screenshots, copy-paste pictures, and sketch stick figures to demonstrate each video scene on paper before the production begins.

3. Choose a suitable video format

Step #2 will help you decide which video format you want to opt for. Think about the types we discussed in the previous sections and try to pick one based on the kind of training you wish to provide. For instance, you can create a screencast-type training video to walk employees through the new CRM interface.

However, if you are only creating animated videos, it is best to invest in a brilliant animation video maker such as Animaker, Doratoon, and VIDDYOZE. Once you know the full scope of the video-making process, set up a project management tool like Trello to keep all the stakeholders on track. You can also track project notes and delivery timelines on a shareable Google sheet.

4. Sort out your equipment

This should not be a problem as everyone has a smartphone and laptop with built-in cameras. But if you are looking to produce videos in HD, investing in a high-end camera would not hurt in the long run — quality matters.

And if you use a screen capture tool, you won’t even need a camera. You can purchase other equipment such as a lapel microphone, tripod, and light reflectors online. In addition, please check to see if you need a license for the video editing software.

If you plan to include music in the videos, there are many paid music libraries such as Airbit and Songtradr from where you can pick beats that match the overall look n’ feel of the video.

5. Film your training video

Once the equipment is sorted, start recording your video unless you decide to go for an animated video or capture the presentation you give in real-time. Plan the date, time, and location of the shoot and coordinate the stakeholders’ schedules who will be on screen.

Choose a quiet environment such as a conference room or rent an off-site studio. Avoid busy backgrounds where objects or people are constantly on the move. The focus should solely be on the presenter.

When recording, focus on audio quality over video. Poor audio distracts more than poor visuals. Also, do not forget to capture b-roll footage. For instance, if your presenter talks about “how to work in teams,” capture extra b-roll footage of colleagues working together.

If you are recording on your screen, use tools such as Prezi to do that. The visual experience needs to be as clean as possible, so close all tabs and clean your desktop. Before recording, please ensure you know how to navigate through the process yourself.

Avoid figuring it out on the go. Practice the steps as much as possible so that your recording comes out engaging and smooth.

6. Edit the video

The biggest advantage of producing your employee training videos is that you have complete control over how it comes together. Once you have shot the video, created the animations, or recorded your screen, use any video editing software to polish the end product and add branding, music, and transitions for greater appeal. Some of the best solutions available in the market include Vimeo Create and Adobe Premiere Pro.

7. Host and distribute your employee training videos

Once the video is ready, you will need a place to host it and share it with your workforce. A good LMS helps you embed external videos from sites such as YouTube and make them easily accessible to employees.

If the video content is sensitive and you only want a specific set of people to watch them, use a video hosting solution such as Panopto to stream content in the most secure manner possible. You can also unlist videos on YouTube and ensure only select people have the links.

Over To You

Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of training videos is that you can ensure every employee has the same experience, which is impossible when a real-life person trains.

When pharma company AstraZeneca wanted to train its 70,000 employees, it wanted an interactive platform and did the job well.

Uniformity was of paramount importance, so they used Facebook’s Workplace platform to inform employees about the company strategy through live videos. This training method resulted in a 35% increase in content consumption compared to when they used an intranet.

When you create and launch training videos, you engage your employees better and ensure they can rewatch them any time they need a refresher. So, are you set to create your very own series of employee training videos?

The post 7 Steps to Take to Create Employee Training Videos appeared first on SiteProNews.

How Can You Know When to Expand Your Business?

posted on January 7, 2022


Growing your business means reaching out to more customers. This step lets you get new talent and make better profits.

But expanding a business is an uphill battle. Growth isn’t guaranteed and most business owners fail when they go for instant growth. If you’re looking to move up and become more competitive, you’ll need to plan ahead, know when to grow, and be confident with how you’ll be handling your business. Here’s how to tell if your business is up for expansion.

Your Customers Keep Coming Back

Having loyal customers means that your products or services are in demand. More importantly, it lets you know that your clients are happy with what you’re offering, making them come back for more. Customer satisfaction can get you more clients, but it can only go so far. Some may look elsewhere if they don’t get the service they deserve. This is why meeting the needs of your customers should be your top priority. It’ll keep them coming back, which may push you to grow your business.

People Ask You to Grow Your Business

People who support your small business love to connect with you, especially when you welcome them like an old friend. But some customers may tell you to grow and improve your business. These thoughts may imply that you should expand, so keep them in mind.

You’re Handling Too Much Business

While many small companies don’t see a problem with too much business, it’s not always the case for those that are trying to expand. Some companies may set lengthier working hours or accommodate fewer customers just to handle all the demand. So if you notice any of these signs, expanding your business might be the next best option.

A Great Business Opportunity Comes Up

Growing your business is also a good idea if you’re going after new opportunities. Plans won’t always work the way you want them to, so it’s best to adapt.

Opportunities won’t come when you’re complacent and patient. These kinds of chances show up when your business meets a challenge. These moments often entail making tough decisions. Rather than being scared of what it can do to your business, you should instead sit down, look at what you’re up against, and see whether this is your chance for growth. If expansion feels right to you, then jump on the opportunity before you lose it.

Your Business Needs Help In Other Areas

Eventually, you won’t be able to handle certain aspects of your business efficiently as it progresses. If your company is starting to grow at a pace that you can’t keep up, you should consider getting extra help. Find out which aspect of your business needs help to arrive at the best solution possible. Hiring new employees, using tools like HR software, and outsourcing to meet the needs of your company are some steps you can take.

Profits Always Come In

When you make profits consistently, you’re on the right track. It also means that you can reach new markets and customers. Once you go for growth, more and more revenue will come. A closer look at your current profit will help you decide whether you should expand your business or not.

You Have a Strong & Reliable Team

A tenacious, dedicated team is arguably the essential part of a successful business. Without reliable staff, growing your business will be next to impossible. Expanding your business entails giving your employees extra work, accommodating new demands, and facing more challenges. Also, evaluate your new and current hires to see if they’re willing to stay with you and the company in the next five or ten years.

Positive Progress In Your Industry

Some industries have thrived with new innovations that led to more revenue. With that in mind, see if your industry is growing in all aspects before taking a step toward expansion. Also check if your competitors have reached the same point. Businesses on the same level of growth as yours that welcome progress in your industry can push you to expand.

Being Too Content With How Your Business Works

Like real life, your business can evolve or fail. If you choose to settle where you and your business are, it won’t go anywhere. This mindset will hinder growth and may even cause your company to fail.

Knowing when complacency has crept into your business is tough. Statements like “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” suggest that you’ve become too comfortable. In that case, you should look at how you can grow your business and make consistent progress from there. Always look for opportunities to innovate.

You’ve Organized Your Operations

Business operations that rely on intuition and experience make expansion impractical. If you want your business to thrive, you should have established systems in place. These processes let you train new employees, offer your services in other locations, and perform consistently. In turn, your business can widen its horizons and aim for better growth.

Reach Significant Growth at the Right Time

There are several signs that will tell you when it’s time to expand your business. They may unfold before your eyes or need your full attention. Either way, these signs can be good starting points for your decision.

The post How Can You Know When to Expand Your Business? appeared first on SiteProNews.

How to Find Journalists’ Requests

posted on January 3, 2022


Whether you’re a fledgling entrepreneur, an established business owner, or simply a thought leader looking to generate more press coverage about you or your brand, knowing how and where to find journalists’ requests for media is crucial to gaining valuable PR. The good news is that you don’t even need to necessarily be ready — or have the extra capital needed — for an all-out PR blitz, as finding the right journalist at the right time can even lend you a brief mention in an article for a journalist’s media pipeline.

Journalists will routinely post calls for stories they plan to publish that require an expert opinion or credible source when these are not immediately available from within their own network. These are especially common for publications or articles that are centered around an extremely niche topic, which can quickly translate to organic PR coverage for entrepreneurs or their business’s brand by highlighting you as a relevant expert within your specific field through a short quote or backlinks to your website.

Typically, most requests made by journalists or reporters will have a set of guidelines to follow when responding to their request and tend to be time-sensitive depending on the journalist’s deadline, meaning the sooner you respond to their request with credible and relevant information, the better chances you have of landing yourself organic media coverage.

Thankfully, there are plenty of services and platforms out there to help journalists market these requests and that will help you find them.

Use Media Inquiry Services to Search for Requests Made by Journalists

As the name suggests, media inquiry services are platforms through which journalists can make inquiries or requests for a relevant source of information on a specific piece of media they intend to publish. These allow journalists to find you rather than you trying to cold pitch to them for coverage by sending their request to a larger network of potential sources, or people who can direct them towards a credible information source. Some of these services are targeted towards more specific audience demographics or geographical locations, so it’s important that you know precisely who the request is targeting, what for, and why.

Some of the more popular media inquiry services include:

Each of these services operates using its own unique platform, so be sure to familiarize yourself with each to see which ones are best suited to your media and PR goals.


Short for “Help A Reporter Out,” HARO is one of the simplest and most effective ways journalists use to seek out content to report, and it’s completely free to use. All you need to do as a potential journalistic source is to sign up for an account and select which types of requests you wish to receive from reporters. You’ll then receive emails up to three times each day with requests made by journalists through HARO’s service.

The requests typically have everything the article will be about and what the journalist needs, including deadlines, editorial/writing guidelines, and what outlet their coverage will be targeting. The requests you’ll find through HARO can vary between topics from gift bundle ideas for holidays to expert political or legal insight, self-care and beauty tips, and more, making it a great free service for entrepreneurs and business owners to utilize when looking for media coverage.

Google Alerts

Oftentimes when a certain story in media is still unfolding, journalists will include an email at the end of an article they publish on the topic that might include a line such as:

“Have you been impacted by X? Get in touch via this email”.

Sometimes, however, the inquiry for more information or additional interviews won’t be as explicit, but many editors and outlets will welcome guest pieces or independently-written opinion pieces by guest writers not directly associated with their publication related to a specific story in current news cycles. In these cases, setting up Google Alerts for certain keywords or phrases related to your industry and/or the story in question can be a great way to find and keep track of journalists’ requests pertaining to that story or industry. Doing so will allow you to respond to inquiries made by journalists or reporters much faster as those opportunities appear in real-time.

Twitter Hashtags

Unsurprisingly, an increasing number of journalists and reporters have begun to use Twitter more effectively in recent years by following trending hashtags pertaining to certain topics in news.

When they need a credible source to help craft or write a piece on that topic, they will sometimes post a tweet along with hashtags like “#JournoRequest” or “#PRrequest” which means you can search for these hashtags and respond to them accordingly. This is a great way to not only search for recent requests made by journalists, but also to stay updated on trending media topics relevant to you or your business, as well as to introduce yourself to a greater number of journalists you can then establish credible rapport with and begin building valuable relationships with them.

Responding to Requests Made by Journalists and Reporters

Whenever you find and read a particular request made by a journalist or reporter, you might initially feel that you or your brand can be the best match for them. The caveat here is that, if you feel this way, it’s likely that tens, dozens, or even hundreds of other potential contacts are thinking the exact same thing. As such, it’s your responsibility as a credible source to show the journalist why you are not only the right person to help write or comment on their story, but the best candidate to do so.

The first thing you’ll need to do is capture the journalist’s attention in your response to their inquiry. Perhaps the best way to do this is to craft your response to each request in the form of a short-form media pitch structured as follows:

  • In the first line of your response email, include your niche “hook” to keep their attention
  • A short paragraph outlining your personal “Who/What/Why”: who you are, what your experience was or is, and why you are the best fit for their request
  • A concise conclusion thanking the journalist for their time and consideration as well as your most updated contact information

Your pitch response to them shouldn’t be longer than 200-300 words total, and the bulk of the information you provide should be done in an easily readable bullet-point format. Remember that most journalists are looking for quotes from experts, so the more well-written and customized your response pitch is to them and their needs, the better your chances of getting selected will be.

Concluding Remarks

It’s worth noting that responding to requests and inquiries made by journalists is more a long-term strategy for gaining news coverage and media attention. You’ll undoubtedly have to read through dozens of requests that are irrelevant to you before you find one that is, and you’ll likely have to respond to just as many requests with custom, personalized pitches before you’re selected for one. This is what makes knowing and understanding how to navigate the ever-changing media landscape all the more important when finding where to look for journalists’ requests.

You should also keep in mind that while these requests can provide you opportunities for essentially free press coverage, you won’t be chosen unless your specific expertise can add value to a journalist’s own story. But by proving that you can do this through showcasing examples of prior writing that show journalists your relevance, and through including request searches into a part of your daily routine, you’re already giving yourself a greater opportunity to land more media placements at virtually no cost to you.

The post How to Find Journalists’ Requests appeared first on SiteProNews.

Reasons Why Precious Metals are the Best Investment During Financial Crises

posted on December 27, 2021


Investing in precious metals as a hedge against financial crises or worldwide changes has been a common strategy for several years, and for good reason! Global economy halting events such as the early 2000s dot-com bubble, the 2008 recession, and now the coronavirus pandemic has taught invaluable lessons to investors all over the world. It has been repeatedly recorded that when global stocks and equities plummet, gold and silver take flight. For example, during the worst of the financial crisis from October 2007 to October 2010, gold rose by 78.9%, while the S&P500 dived 20.6%. Similarly, at the beginning of COVID-19, when fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) were through the roof, gold saw a 7.6% rise while stock markets all over the world plunged.

This blog explains how investing in precious metals is a prudent decision during global financial crises such as COVID-19. Before diving in, a few notes for precious metal investment newbies:

  • Mostly, when talking about the global precious metal market, people refer to gold, silver, platinum, and palladium as their top favorite investment choices.
  • Precious metals are usually a long-term investment.
  • The best places to buy precious metals are authorized and trusted precious metals exchanges, where one can even buy gold online.
  • Precious metals are available as billions in the form of coins, biscuits, and bricks.
  • Precious metals (gold) have a proven track record of holding value and acting as inflation safeguards. Governments take corrective economic measures to tackle hyperinflation that adversely affects the value of stocks and cash.

Below are some of the many reasons why precious metals are a great investment option in today’s COVID economy:

Strong store of value

The value of precious metals such as gold and silver is primarily derived from physical attributes such as strength, no corrosion, unique color, and ornamental relevance. For millennia, gold has been seen as an asset that conserves wealth through generations. On top of that, scarcity of gold (and other precious metals) has qualified them to be used by all the world’s nations as a store of value. For individuals, this means a safe investment option that will give returns in all economies and eras.

Low-risk asset

Thanks to ever-increasing adoption as a store of value, ornamental uses, and industrial uses, the value of precious metals rises in the long term. If you are an investor willing to play the long shot and not give in to short-term FUD, investing in gold coins should likely be your strategy. For example, gold’s all-time high was not so long ago. On August 7, 2020, it was valued at $2,067 per ounce.

Less irregular fluctuations

Volatility is not welcome in the house of value. A good store of value does not go up and down wildly. This is because the numerous institutions and the commitments they make are based on a certain value, which, when altered, proves to be troublesome on many financial levels. With precious metals, this is mostly not the case. While the price does go up and down daily, in the long run, the trend line stays stable enough to make them a reliable store of value.

Image courtesy of Pexels

Hedge against currency devaluation

The modern-day economy is fickle, especially in the face of inevitable global driving forces such as a recession or a pandemic. When economies do not do well, their currencies suffer immediately, resulting in inflation. A fall in the buying power of a currency makes prices go up. So if an investor had invested in USD, the currency’s devaluation causes a decrease in the return.

Precious metals are a great way out of this trap. When prices rise due to inflation, government policies, and interest rates, the price of precious metals follows suit resulting in a proportional return on investment rather than a loss of value. Furthermore, the demand-induced value of gold also goes up in inflationary periods because many people exchange cash for gold in order to preserve the value of their assets.

Diversification options

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, especially if you are investing your egg.

Veteran investors in any field, be it stocks, forex, or cryptocurrency, agree with this golden rule. Diversifying an investment portfolio acts as a safety net against fluctuations. Precious metals like gold are excellent portfolio diversification assets because they are mostly negatively proportional to the stock market. So if, for an unforeseen reason, the shining stocks in one’s portfolio all come crashing down one day, having invested in gold would save the day almost every time.

Image courtesy of Pexels

The benefits of investing in precious metals outweigh the pros of investing in options such as stocks and cryptocurrency, especially if you are a) new to the game or b) looking for guaranteed long-term returns. If you have read this blog so far, chances are you are serious about investing in precious metals and want to know how to invest in gold.

A trusted, authorized by NGC (Numismatic Guaranty Corporation) and PCGS  (Professional Coin Grading Service), and well-rated precious metals exchange that I have been using to stock up gold and silver for more than a decade is Orion Metal Exchange. The exchange offers competitive prices, delivery of quality bullions, and a self-directed Individual Retirement Account (IRA) for precious metals.

The post Reasons Why Precious Metals are the Best Investment During Financial Crises appeared first on SiteProNews.

How to Use Gamification to Build and Motivate Your Remote Team

posted on December 22, 2021


Workplaces are changing, with remote teams increasing in popularity.

Remote workers don’t have the distractions of an office environment. But, they don’t have the engagement or social interaction of joint working spaces either. That can lead to unmotivated and unproductive employees.

To prevent this, companies have turned to gamification to provide engaging experiences and build a winning remote team. But what is gamification, and how can it help?

Here, we’ll go over what gamification is, how it works, and the strategies you can use to motivate your remote team.

What is gamification?

Gamification involves using and applying gaming principles to work tasks or processes to make them more appealing to employees. It could be in the form of a competition, leaderboard, achievement, or points system.

The goal of gamification isn’t to turn work into a game, but to use game-based elements to drive employees to be more productive, engaged, and motivated. It assists businesses in reaching goals, improving business practices, and better managing a remote workforce.

Why is it important for remote teams?

In traditional offices, there’s a strong sense of community, culture, and belonging. Employees can interact socially, foster strong relationships, and collaborate effectively.

In remote environments, workers can feel isolated. With fewer social interactions between employees, working relationships aren’t as strong, and communication can suffer. Groups can form, creating communication silos, and employees can be left out.

It has a massive impact on your business. With employees feeling demotivated, their productivity decreases, and business goals and success are impacted.

Additionally, unhappy employees and fragmented workspaces lead to low retention, affecting recruitment and onboarding.

Gamification can provide motivation to up productivity of employees, improve their experience, increase their satisfaction, and help them socialize.

By adding a fun gaming element, you can drive certain behaviors to enhance the abilities of your remote team.

How does gamification work?

Below are four things to consider when creating any gamification strategy to motivate your remote team.

Image courtesy of Unsplash

Define your goals and outcomes

Understanding what you want to achieve is imperative to employing the right tactics to motivate your remote workers. Additionally, it helps identify ways to track and monitor the progress of employees.

After all, gamification is about getting the best out of remote teams to boost company growth and success.

Consider your goals. Make them specific and achievable. For example, you may want to increase the number of cold calls your sales teams make.

Once you have a goal, you can look at ways to encourage your employees to hit targets. This is where defining your outcomes are important. What happens once your team hits their target? What stops them from lowering productivity? What incentives do you have to keep them motivated?

Consult employees to ensure your goals are attainable and see what incentives will boost your remote teams.

Choose game elements for your team

Consider the strategies and elements that work best in motivating your team to reach your defined goals.

Every remote team is different and has different challenges. While some employees thrive in a competitive atmosphere, others prefer a stress-free environment. Which is best for your team?

For example, using hackathons in corporate innovation can inspire employees, and encourage creativity and collaborations. But, some employees work best on their own.

Choose game elements that suit your employees, bring out the best in them, and which are driving factors to increase their engagement and productivity.

Focus on the user experience

Games are based on the user experience, and your gamification should be no different.

Consider asking your employees about different gamification methods and how to implement them to promote ease of use. If you’re using apps, choose or design ones with a simple, intuitive interface. This way, employees will be motivated to get involved.

Image courtesy of TalentLMS

Track and measure

The overall aim of gamification is to motivate remote teams and drive business success. So, to know if it’s working, you need to track the progress of your gamification strategies.

Use KPIs and metrics to track and measure how your employees are doing. These will depend on your defined goals. For example, if your goal was to improve communication between employees, you could measure the number of messages sent by each employee through a chat.

It identifies areas where your tactics are working and where improvements are needed to overcome the downsides of remote work and motivate your remote team.

What can you gamify?

Almost anything can be gamified to improve the productivity and engagement of your remote teams. Some areas you may want to gamify to boost remote employee morale and motivations include:

  • Onboarding
  • Employee training
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Relationships

Gamification strategies to motivate your remote team

Use badges

Badges are an ideal way to appreciate employees and provide incentives to reach goals.

For example, you could give employees badges for reaching set goals, to acknowledge their skills, or to appreciate their work ethic.

When giving badges, focus on why an employee achieved it rather than how many each employee has. It will enable you to identify employee strengths and weaknesses and track their progress over time.

Make communication fun

Communication is essential for remote employees. But remote working communication is often through a virtual phone system or formal emails.

While a workplace focuses on work, informal communication is essential to foster good relationships and build better collaboration.

Gamification can encourage more communication and important social interactions between employees.

For example, encouraging emojis or gifs in messaging apps or having a weekly show and tell can move employees away from a stiff disconnected environment to an open, welcoming space.

Image courtesy of Unsplash

As well as boosting morale, it brings employees closer, leading to greater collaboration and team-working. You can additionally track which employees are getting involved and which aren’t, allowing you to find areas of improvement.

Onboard new employees

Good employee onboarding is vital. It helps train new employees, improves employee retention, and provides an incentive for recruitment.

But onboarding can be filled with tedious tasks, like paperwork, setting up accounts, and learning about company practices. Using gaming elements will make this engaging.

There’s a couple of ways to do this. First, employ challenges, checklists, and progress bars to show employees in a visual way how far they’ve gotten in the onboarding process. Use leaderboards to promote healthy competition to get through onboarding effectively.

Secondly, use games to help new workers learn about products and practices. For example, ask sales or marketing employees to imagine aliens have landed, and it’s their job to describe a company product or service to them.

Ask your employees to present their sales pitches to the team. It’s a fun icebreaker activity that motivates new employees to learn about company products without sifting through lists of specifications.

Employing similar methods in recruitment can help attract new employees and build a better remote team.

Make employee training enjoyable

Training is necessary for business and employee growth. However, you may have a low uptake in training for remote employees.

Use gamification to train employees engagingly. Instead of just giving them training videos to watch, plan competitions or fun exercises around each video to show off their new skills.

For example, if you’re teaching a cold email masterclass, challenge employees to write compelling content to market their favorite foods and send it to their coworkers. Have the employees vote on which they think is best.

It reinforces the skills they’ve learned, encourages remote employees to work at the same pace, and provides them with a fun, social task to look forward to.

Image courtesy of TalentLMS

Offer rewards

An employee of the month scheme is an effective way to recognize and appreciate employees who perform outstandingly.

It often comes with perks, such as movie tickets or gift cards, promoting healthy competition and providing incentives for employees to be more productive.

When it comes to gamification, leaderboards can show employees how they compare. But after the initial novelty wears off, productivity can lower, and engagement can wither.

Using incentives gives employees an aim. It’s essential to drive remote employees to stay motivated and engaged.

It can also be a selling point for recruitment, as it shows you value workers that perform well, enabling you to build out your remote workforce.

Scavenger hunts

Information is shared widely in traditional offices. If a worker finds a useful document, they’ll mention it to a colleague instantly. This doesn’t happen in remote spaces.

Instead, have scavenger hunts for employees to find information in company intranets, and learn about new tools and technologies, such as what a wifi call is. Pair employees up to further facilitate engagement and collaboration.

Is it all fun and games?

Gamification fosters stronger working relationships, engages employees, and motivates your remote teams. With happier and more productive workers, it enables you to reach your goals, driving business growth and success.

It’s about bringing a new concept to the table, like with workflow improvement ideas to evolve with changing office environments.

However, finding a balance is critical to ensure productivity alongside a fun working environment. It’s vital to define your goals and identify the gamification activities that will work best for your team.

Ensure you track and measure crucial KPIs and metrics to ensure your employees are on the right track.

After all, gamification isn’t all fun and games.

The post How to Use Gamification to Build and Motivate Your Remote Team appeared first on SiteProNews.

Top 6 CRM Software for Small Businesses

posted on December 20, 2021


Running a small business is not an easy job. The growth of a small business is one of the most common challenges that almost every entrepreneur faces. The growth of any business, irrespective of its size and kind, means more customers, more revenues, and a minimum turnover of employees.

With the invention of the latest technological gadgets and software, Customer Relationship Management software, often referred to as CRM software, has become of great value to small businesses. As the name indicates, this software is used to build and maintain long-lasting relations with existing and potential clients.

Why Do Small Businesses Need CRM Software?

Just like an established business, there is so much going on within a small business. CRM software can be beneficial for small business owners in many ways.

  • CRM software allows business owners to organize their contacts. As the business grows, its customers base also expands. This means that business owners need different software to organize their contacts. Organizing contacts helps to run sales and other processes smoothly.
  • CRM software is used to keep track of business sales by giving an overview of different sale metrics, including calls made to customers and booked deals. It allows easy communication with customers and potential buyers.
  • CRM software is also used for customers segmentation. CRM software has all the data about potential clients of the SME, and it can be used by digital marketers and sales teams to do customer segmentation easily. The tool divides business customers into multiple groups based on deal size, location, and other factors.

Top CRM Software for Small Businesses (SMBs)

If you are a small business owner and looking for CRM software to grow your business, the following list of the top six CRM packages are specifically designed for SMBs:

1. Hubspot

Most small business owners recommend Hubspot for organizing and maintaining contacts and looking into sales. It comes in a completely free version and is considered the best tool for maintaining the contacts of small businesses.


  • It helps the owner and management keep track of business activities.
  • It organizes business contacts.
  • It keeps a record of, and tracks. business deals.
  • Data is managed in a detailed dashboard that is visible and that can be accessed by all team members.
  • Besides using the CRM tool to maintain the contacts of your business, it also increases inbound sales as it is integrated with some of the famous shopping apps, including Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and Shopify.
  • Pricing: Free, or upgrade to a paid version (starting at 41 EUR / month).

2. SalesForce

Next on the list of the best CRM tools for small businesses is SalesForce. Did you know that SalesForce is one of the appreciated and most used CRM software among small businesses management?


  • It allows management to keep track of the business’s valuable customers by noting down successful deals.
  • The software offers a basic edition,”lightening essentials.”
  • Lighting essentials helps small business owners to grow and reach their potential clients by providing an advance contact manager. It includes email configuration, customization, and follow-up reminders.
  • Pricing: Lightning Essentials package ($25/month/user), Lightning Professional ($75/month/user), and more.

3. Zoho

Zoho is one of the most loved CRM software, and small business management appreciates every feature.


It is said that Zoho is more than customer management software. It is also includes:

  • A sales and marketing feature to increase inbound sales. it is built with:
    • Lead scoring
    • Website visitor tracking and
    • Sales signals

However, to upgrading features, businesses have to invest in the upgraded-professional edition of Zoho.

  • Pricing: Free version, Standard ($12/month), Professional ($20/month), Enterprise ($35/month), and more.

4. The Real Estate CRM

Another addition to the list which is easy to use and needs no special training is The Real Estate CRM.


  • The interface of the software is divided into five sections: dashboard, people and organizations, sales pipeline, calendars, and tasks.
  • The Real Estate CRM is not only used to keep track of valuable real estate business clients and maintain a healthy, yet long-term relationship with them but can also keep track of business sales.
  • Another important feature that makes this CRM software loved by everyone is that it can be installed on both PCs and smartphones. Smartphone installation allows small business owners to contacts clients easily.
  • Pricing: contact the company for pricing.

5. Converge Hub

ConvergeHub is cloud-based CRM software specially designed to cater to the needs of small businesses.


  • With this CRM software, small business owners and management can store and keep a record of contact lists. By keeping a record of the business sales, Converge Hub also lets management know which client is the most valuable for the business.
  • The tool is used to arrange campaigns and manage other sales activities.
  • ConvergeHub is featured with built-in SalesForce automation and marketing automation modules too. It can be coordinated with shopping platforms to increase business sales.
  • Pricing: Starts from $9/user/month (Starter package) up to $59/user/month (Premium package).

6. Microsoft Dynamics 360

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is software can be used for maintaining business contacts along with sales and marketing.

It is not that simple to use, especially for first-time users, but the excellent features are worth investing some time in learning.


  • This software can be tied to LinkedIn to reach more potential clients and maintain valuable relationships with them.
  • Pricing: € 42.20/user/month.

Now You Can Choose Software to run your Business Smoothly

Running a small business and maintaining business contacts is not an easy thing to do. If you are a small business owner and looking for reliable CRM software, the aforementioned CRM software will make the decision-making process easier for you.

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