Monthly Archives: December 2016

Tips to Improve Your Company’s Business Logistics

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Many in business who concern themselves with logistics understand the benefits of managing, controlling and improving business logistics.  A goal of continuous improvement is critical to the overall health of a business and can have a significant impact on the bottom line.

In business, the category of logistics refers to the network of systems that control how resources flow through a company, as well as from one firm to another, over the course of a supply chain or production process.

Regardless of what might be happening in other areas of a business, implementing efficient logistics strategies will help keep service levels at their highest performance. But what exactly should owners, managers, and logistics professionals focus on to improve their business’ effectiveness? What methods and strategies can impact the major areas and help control costs, utilize production capacity, improve quality, and compete in the marketplace?

Identify your inefficiencies. The resources needed to hire an experienced systems expert now to fix your areas of inefficiency will save money in the long run and create long-term advantages.

Use multiple communications tools. One of the most overlooked ways to improve logistics is to improve internal and inter-department communication. Utilize tools (video chats, live messaging, Yammer) to facilitate seamless communication in the entire organization.

Meet customer expectations.Logistics is about optimizing costs while providing outstanding service. Every new strategy or tool (such as upgrading management software) should be designed within the overall objectives of the business to achieve excellent service and customer satisfaction.

Outsourcing can be an advantage. The awareness to understand your core competencies is important. Focus on your strengths and outsource what you’re not good at to avoid reoccurring issues and minimize inefficiencies.

Learn how to delegate in-house. While you might outsource much of your logistics, it remains important to have managers and internal experts within the organization who fully understand the moving parts and every step of the process.

Build long-term relationships. Logistics is a very complicated business, and it’s vital your company surrounds itself with experts and experienced partners throughout every step of the process – even if they are outsourced – who are invested in the relationship.

Utilize the technology available. Businesses, especially small firms, can dramatically reduce costs by utilizing technology to consolidate and automate processes across multiple departments, reduce overhead, cut out middle men, and eliminate repetitive work.

Does your brand or company struggle with logistics? Click here for improvement tips.

Does your company need help controlling costs or quality? Click here for tips on business logistics.

Knowing your core competencies is a key to business logistics. Click here for tips on logistics.

Can you afford to take a vacation from your business?

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can-you-afford-to-take-a-vacationPeople are not created to run at optimal capacity and productivity indefinitely.  Physically it would be impossible not to mention hazardous to your health and relationships.  Taking a vacation at least once a year will go a long way to keeping your business successful and your productivity optimal.

Affording a vacation is more than a financial affordability.  Knowing that your business will survive without you, that you have capable employees to entrust your business to and that your business will benefit from your vacation all pinpoint to affordability.

How a vacation benefits your business

The ramifications of taking a vacation are proof in themselves that your business needs you to take a minimum of a week’s vacation each year.  The benefits are more than a healthy founder.

A vacation increases productivity and sales providing a fresh perspective. This can often help you approach your business dilemmas from a new angle.  The result can be a 30 percent productivity increase and sales increase.

Taking a regular vacation will show your staff that vacations are beneficial for their health and the overall business will result in a sharp and productive team.

Preparing yourself for a vacation

When it comes to business owners and entrepreneurs, preparing for a vacation goes further than packing a suitcase.  In fact, planning a vacation can have a lot of preparation to it. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for a well-deserved break.

Organize your business

Taking a vacation in the midst of a company audit may not be an appropriate time for a vacation.  All bills need to be paid, supplies bought, contact clients about your time away, and brief your managing staff on what to do in your absence.

Plan ahead

Before you start a new year with your business, look at the year ahead.  Mark off in your calendar a vacation time.  A week or long weekend is usually viable to slot in for all owners.

Arrange frequent updates

If you need to know how the business is going while you are away, set up a time to check in on emails or call the office for an update. This will help you relax during your vacation.

Tips on taking a vacation

Since a regular vacation should be a priority for any person let alone a business owner, knowing that your business is in good hands is vital.

Building a passive income will help your business obtain the necessary finances for future growth and daily operating while you take a week or two off.  In addition to passive incomes, your business will need clear procedures and delegations to help delegate your work to your employees, while maintain a professional standard of excellence and uniformity.

When your business has been taken care of, you can take time to relax and unwind.  When you return from your vacation, your business will be waiting for new inspiration and innovation.

Using social data to understand your target market

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Many businesses know that market research can be costly and a time-intensive endeavor. Knowing what you want is only part of the equation. Getting the data, analyzing it and then leveraging it to your benefit to gain practical insight is another matter.

The proliferation of social media data has added some complexities to market research. Most pertain to the proper capture of data, its accuracy, and the gaps that exist between online behavior and the private reality of users. At the same time, many businesses have turned to social media as a cost-effective and in-depth tool for insight into many aspects of market research, including customers, market and brand awareness.

The key for many businesses is how to utilize the real-time social media data in their market research methods, creating a campaign plan to deliver targeted, efficient and measurable results. The additional insights garnered from social media can provide marketers the added perspective they need to better appeal to their customers as well as deliver better results to their business or clients.

Here are three tips to leveraging social data:

Explore real-time social data. Research the industry, vertical or groups of your customers to uncover emerging trends and gain insight into what they care about. Uncover the motivations and what drives their decisions to better target your audience, build deeper relationships, and close more sales. This makes your research increasingly more specific.

The benefits of efficiency. In most cases utilizing social data in your research is a matter of minutes or hours, remarkably efficient compared to standard market research practices. Free tools exist for nearly every platform, allowing for many ways to test and explore what your target audiences will respond to the most. The social sphere is a perfect area to test out messages, types of content and campaign themes with minimal time or monetary commitment.

Gain perspective and engagement. The interactive nature of media data allows you to gain information through both engagement and simple observation. Checking the quick pulse of your segment or vertical through interaction, engagement and participation to obtain useful and accurate data, and you might discover additional insights than typical research methods. Leverage those insights to feed your customers timely information they care about, and over time the relationships will develop.

Do you utilize social data in your market research? Click here for some tips.

Did you know that social data can be more efficient for your business than typical market research? Click here for more.

What do you consider the biggest benefit of social data to your business? Check out more on utilizing social data.

Introduction into e-invoicing

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Electronic invoicing (or e-invoicing) is the exchange of an invoice document between trading partners, such as a business and its supplier, in an integrated electronic format. Simply put, instead of posting a traditional paper invoice to a customer, an e-invoice can be sent directly from your accounts payable system electronically.

The process called e-invoicing includes many different technologies and data capture options, and is essentially referred to as a concept to describe any method by which an invoice is electronically transmitted. At its most basic form, an e-invoice could be a PDF version of an invoice document which is emailed to a client for payment, and the data is then captured by software. At more complex levels, e-invoicing is part of fully integrated invoicing software and other business systems between businesses and clients without any human intervention in an end-to-end electronic process.

Traditional invoicing, like most paper-intensive processes, it has a number of drawbacks. It is manually intensive, prone to human error, and the source of significant costs due to inefficiencies.  Removing the human element of the invoicing process can lead to significant savings.

E-invoicing offers considerable cost savings, mostly due to increased efficiencies due to ridding themselves of costs inherent with manual and time-consuming tasks such as printing, filing forms, filing envelopes, mailing, scanning, data entry and archiving. This is especially true of companies with a high volume of invoicing that can be overwhelmed with paper invoices and other forms. Some research suggests companies will save up to 80 percent in invoicing costs simply from gains in efficiency.

Beyond the cost savings through improved efficiency, the other benefits of e-invoicing include reduced errors, faster dispute resolution, fewer unpaid and lost invoices, improved customer service and better customer retention. Business can also factor in the cost benefit of time, as employees will be freed up for initiatives other than producing invoices.

As businesses on both sides of the invoicing equation sign on for e-invoicing, the integration of the technology will increasingly become even more important. From a conceptual standpoint, e-invoicing is simple to implement considering  the potential cost, time and customer service benefits.

Is your company losing time and income due to invoicing issues? Click here for benefits of e-invoicing.
How much do you know about e-invoicing? Click here for an introduction.
The biggest benefit of e-invoicing for your business is cost efficiency. Click here to find out more.