By Lucinda Smith

As a small business owner, efficiency and productivity can be a key driver to business success. However this can only be achieved if your workforce is provided with the correct tools and training to do so. Here are a few business efficiency tips that will improve your small business:

1. Create and update business processes. Every organization needs a business processes so they have a firm infrastructure for business’s functions to feed into. Think of it as a set of guidelines (you might already have it in place and not realise).

A good way to start off is to document how things in your business are done and create a processes file. This can be done through online document management and will allow all members of staff to access information at any time. Consider creating a set of templates for everyone to access, this will provide structure and will make your business work more efficiently

2. Communication network. Communication is a key factor to business’s success. Investing in an intranet and email system for your business will enable your staff communicating news with each other. Make sure that training is provided to all members of staff when introducing new communication methods, and ensure the change management is in place. Some may adapt to the changes better than others, identifying potential issues beforehand will allow you managing your team’s productivity effectively. So be prepared, think and act in advance!

3. Capitalize on office space. Your office will be one of your main sources of expenditure in your business, so make the most of it. As workforce expands, new premises may be needed. However get the most out of your current office space before making the decision to move. Invest in space saving furniture such as vertical shelving and movable desks. This will allow you to move things around easily to accommodate new people.

4. Go green. If you haven’t already considered going green then this is a cost saving tip you are missing out on. Introduce recycling bins in the office and consider going paperless. This will reduce the amount of money that you currently spend on printing and paper, whilst leaving you money that you could invest in other areas to make your business more efficient.

These four business efficiency tips will aid your small business in becoming more efficient by eliminating unnecessary costs. Investing in technology and training will allow your workforce communicating easier and working more efficiently, which will have a positive impact on your productivity. If all you do is make a few changes, then these would be the ones to start with.

As a young entrepreneur and business blogger, Lucinda Smith has developed a passion for helping small and medium sized businesses grow. Smith focuses on using technology and software solutions to save businesses time and money. Follow her at @LucindaDNS.

The post 4 Steps to Business Efficiency appeared first on Small Biz Daily.

Freedom car travel concept - woman relaxing with feet out of win

by Alexis Levine

 

My definition of success has changed over the years. We learn from experience. Although one can make so many mistakes that repeat offenses are a rarity, I’ve made them all — repeatedly. At least we can leverage these painful lessons to craft our slightly more mature lifestyle ideal. Ultimately, life is about knowing when to fold em’.

 

It is my sincere hope and intention to help other hyper-motivated, energetic, courageous, entrepreneurial dreamers see that their dreams are closer than they think. Basically, don’t kid yourself. Trying to capitalize on not being accountable (in a meaningful way that can be built upon) is a tricky business. I understand the these-walls-won’t-box-me-in mentality. I have just learned that walls don’t have to be cages.

 

Two years ago, I ended an article I wrote about the business of a successful lifestyle with a question: What do you have to lose?

 

Now, I’m coming back to the table to answer the question and share my lessons with others who aspire to have a lifestyle business of their own.

 

How It All Went Down

Two years ago, at 28, I moved my apartment into public storage, shipped my car from D.C. to L.A., and took my restless, hungry soul on a journey. I’ve spent most of my life chasing freedom. Tt eluded me somehow. But through the process I have discovered that it’s very likely that freedom is an attitude. It doesn’t need a certain lifestyle to in order to be legitimate.

 

For a while I went out and did what I wanted to do. I was riding the rails from music festival to music festival. My online image was one of a free-spirited, on-the-road girl. Why did I do this? To develop my project, #savvycity, and expense these experiences to my business. With that being said, here are some lessons I took from my adventure.

 

  1. Routine isn’t the enemy of freedom. Some routine is freedom. For example, there is a freedom in sleeping in your own bed, having your own bed or attending the same yoga class weekly. Just because I’m running around from festival to festival, doesn’t mean I’ve found the freedom I was seeking. What I was after was a way to expense play by calling it work. Accomplished!
  2. Let life surprise you. Do not try to fight the river. You will lose. Just ride the current while finding the gold. This is a lifestyle approach. I’m still learning to truly practice this particular preach.
  3. Make a plan. Whether it’s a business plan or a spiritual plan, write it out and put it up somewhere visible. Practice flexibility! The plan is not meant to be the law of your landscape but rather a reference point to get you back to your real purpose.
  4. Be happy. Take time to do what makes your soul happy.
  5. If you’re going to do it, do it right. Is your soul unhappy? Delay your journey. What halts us most in life is the picture in our own head of how’s it’s all supposed to be. We create our own reality. Pay close attention to what you want yours to look like.
  6. Life is about the edits! Change the channel. Rewrite the script. You’re allowed to come back to those negative thoughts if you choose to. They’ll be there waiting.
  7. Don’t ask if it will work, but rather why it might work. I have had hysterical fits because my vision is clear to me and not the mass population or consumer of my particular project, #savvycity. Analyze and make changes to make it work for today’s user.
  8. Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life. How do you choose a job you love? Find something you are passionate about and stay devoted to it.

 

I’m still moving forward with my dreams and ambitions. With the right attitude, and the openness to learn the necessary lessons along the way, the journey can be quite rewarding.

 

A version of this post originally appeared on the author’s blog. Syndicated on KillerStartups.com with permission.

 

Alexis LevineSavvy Media is an agency that specializes in emerging technology. Implementing new solutions through experiential marketing, Savvy is a one stop shop for all things Advertising 2.0. connecting brand Sponsorship with a personal VIP experience is the mission behind the #savvycity app, a project Alexis Levine launched surrounding insider events at Sundance Film Festival in 2012. The #savvycity world tour has been in motion ever since.

 

Photo Credits

StartupCollective

When you think of My Little Pony, you probably think of pink and purple and little girl’s toys from the ‘80s. While that might have been true back in the day, the My Little Pony fans of 2014 have expanded to include a girthy range of ages – and quite a few men.

 

Teenage and grown male fans of the MLP franchise are known as “bronies” and their ranks are swelling daily. They started appearing after My Little Pony had a re-emergence in 2010 with the release of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. The new show kept the same concept as the old one – magical talking ponies – but (according to fan sites) upped their game when it came to plot and dialogue.

 

brony 1

 

With the help of 4chan and other sites where obscure fans congregate and share their love, bronies grew from a few isolated dudes scattered across the globe to a community big enough that they have their on conference every year, called BronyCon.

 

They also have a one-stop shop for all your brony needs.

Brony.com has everything from the “latest brony news” to adult and kid-sized My Little Pony and brony merchandise. Bronies can t-shirts, anti-brony bullying pins, backpacks, and almost any other MLP gear they can imagine.

 

brony merch

 

They anti-bullying element seems to be especially popular, as a fascination by men and teenagers with what has traditionally been a little girl’s show definitely draws the ire of some folks. Brony.com offers t-shirts that declare the wearer to be an out and proud brony, as well as solidarity pins to show support for victims of bullying.

 

Female fans of MLP are obviously also welcome to check out the news updates and merchandise on Brony.com, although the focus does seem to be primarily on the dudes.

 

brony 2

 

So if My Little Pony is your thing…

I suggest you trot your way over to Brony.com and pony up the cash for some well-reared gear.

 

Photo Credits

Brony.com

MMW Interview Marketers Making Mobile Optimization a Higher Priority 300x195 MMW Interview: Marketers Making Mobile Optimization a Higher PriorityThis week, MMW sat down with Marc Poirier, Co-Founder and EVP of Business Development at Acquisio,  for an exclusive interview to discuss the happenings and emerging trends in marketing today.

MMWForbes jokingly called this the “third annual year of mobile,” why is 2014 really the year for marketers to make changes for mobile optimization? 

Marc:    Mobile has been a buzzword for three years, especially for search marketers because search is the fastest growing channel within mobile marketing. Before 2014 mobile was a hot topic because it was new and search marketers were just creating mobile ready ads and mobile ready landing pages.  This year, it’s all about mobile landing page optimization.

Over the past few years there was a sense of urgency to have a landing page for mobile. Once that landing page was created, for most marketers, there wasn’t enough volume to justify optimizing it as well. This year that’s changing. More people are using mobile but they’re not converting.

Search marketers are learning that there needs to be different content displayed on mobile. People are on the move, looking for something local, and the way to connect with those mobile users is with maps and phone numbers directing them to local vendors.

It’s now the time for marketers to think of optimization and to optimize different call to action buttons and different landing page arrangements in order to get more conversions from mobile.

MMW: In your latest webinar with Widerfunnel and Engine Ready, it was said that there is no such thing as a “mobile user.” What does that mean? 

Marc:  It means that the “mobile user” we get all riled up about is actually the same user we market to already, just in a different context.  It’s not as if someone only uses mobile or only desktop. People use various devices in different contexts and it’s important to follow a person’s usage through these different devices.

We are not reaching a unique audience through mobile, it’s more the way we reach that audience that needs to be unique in order to be convincing. So in a way, no, there is no such thing as a “mobile user,” rather that person is simply a user that needs a specialized interface because they are on the move when interacting with content.

MMW: With attention spans now officially shorter than goldfish, how can search marketers capture people’s attention in 8 seconds? Does this change for mobile? 

Marc:  People in search are very specific about what they are looking for. If you take them directly where they want to go you’ll have their attention.

For example, if someone’s basement was flooded and they searched “emergency plumbing” within their city, they’d click on the first ad that matched their search terms best. If the user clicks an ad that says “24 hour emergency plumber” and lands on a complex page without a phone number, a clear call to action, or information that relates to their search query, their attention will be lost and they’ll look somewhere else. If the ad brings the user to a clear landing page where the phone number is visible and clickable and there is all the information they need to make a decision, the user will be more likely to engage.

Query, ad and landing page must all be relevant and in sync with one another.  If you do that correctly you’ll have the user’s attention in less than 8 seconds, no doubt.

MMW:  What are some issues that negatively affect user experience on mobile and how do you suggest mobile marketers go about resolving them? 

Marc:     Not having a mobile ready landing page is an obvious issue. In terms of mobile optimization there are several key factors that negatively affect user experience and by extension conversion rates.

In the webinar we hosted, Chris Goward from Widerfunnel went over several factors to consider when constructing a mobile landing page, namely the user’s value proposition. With an 8 second attention span, the user very quickly weighs the perceived cost against the perceived benefit before taking action. To give your user the best mobile experience, consider these five tips.

  1. Make your mobile experience relevant, as I described before.
  2. Design your page to be clear and easy to follow, visually.
  3. Make sure your page does not cause anxiety – the more links, buttons and fields to fill out the more stress the user experiences.
  4. Ensure there are no distractions on your page by limiting one key message or product to each page.
  5. Make sure the user senses the urgency to act now.

Irrelevant pages, unoptimized and illegible content, anxiety, distractions and no urgency to act are all fatal flaws with mobile landing pages, but also for the entire mobile experience. If you think about your user and test your mobile offering you should be able to find and resolve any of these issues.

MMW: With wearable tech like Google Glass and smart watches, when will it ever not be the year of mobile? 

Marc:   Mobile isn’t slowing down, it’s just morphing into something new thanks to wearable tech.

The GPS today is just a device we stick on our car dashboard, but who’s to say that in the future it won’t be uploaded with a profile of our preferences so that as we drive it suggests nearby vendors we might like. It could say, “you’re close to X shop and they have Y special” and if you want to go, the GPS will direct you there.  That’s the future of mobile – location based advertising. That works for Google Glass and smart watches too.

I don’t know if the year of mobile will ever really end because I sense the year of location based advertising on the horizon.  Only firing ads to people who are nearby and interested (based on the info and the permission users gave to advertisers) is a big deal. Not just waiting for people to search for you but knowing that people penetrated your radius and sending them an offer when they’re close enough to act on it has huge potential. That’s the future, that’s what the next year of mobile will look like.

37b97aafe3aee5bffdcf85f98539a0fa MMW Interview: Marketers Making Mobile Optimization a Higher Priority MMW Interview: Marketers Making Mobile Optimization a Higher Priority

Yahoo Earns Flurry of Headlines After Latest Acquisition Yahoo Earns Flurry of Headlines After Latest AcquisitionYahoo and Flurry are now one.

On Monday, Yahoo announced that the two companies will merge with Yahoo acquiring the analytics giant for an estimated $200 million.

“Analytics are critical for all mobile developers to understand and optimize their applications,” a statement from Yahoo reads. “Yahoo and Flurry are reinvesting in developers and continuing to build great analytics products. The combined scale of the two companies will accelerate revenue growth for thousands of developers and publishers across the mobile ecosystem.”

In addition, the statement continues, the joined offerings of Yahoo and Flurry will enable more effective mobile advertising solutions for brands seeking to reach their audiences and gain unique insights across desktop and mobile, and users will benefit from more personalized app experiences.

Although rumors have swirled over the years that Apple was most likely going to be the company that ultimately acquires Flurry, Yahoo surprised the tech world at large with Monday’s news.

All told, the acquisition couldn’t come at a better time for Yahoo, which is striving to ramp up its mobile advertising offerings and related revenue.

Yahoo’s mobile display and search revenue each grew more than 100% year-over-year, the company announced on its recent earnings call. In fact, more than half Yahoo’s total monthly audience visits on a mobile device, and in Q2, over 450 million mobile monthly active users came to Yahoo, a 36% increase year-over-year.

37b97aafe3aee5bffdcf85f98539a0fa Yahoo Earns Flurry of Headlines After Latest Acquisition Yahoo Earns Flurry of Headlines After Latest Acquisition