In 2013, Scoop reported about the following results of a Polycom survey:
90 percent of video conferencing users were between the ages of 20 to 30, which puts them squarely in the millennial age bracket or those born between the years 1982 to 2004, according to The Atlantic.
Among key decision-makers, about 76 percent already relied on video conferencing at work in a big way. 56 percent of video conferencing users also said they tend to use the tool at least once every week. That number climbs when you factor in respondents from Brazil, India, and Singapore. More than two-thirds of respondents from all three countries said they used the technology at least once a week, making it a part of their communication infrastructure.
Preferred Communication Tool:
About 52 percent of business leaders expected video conferencing to be the norm within the next three years, developing into their most widely preferred means of communication and collaboration within the given time frame.
Top 3 Advantages:
Respondents who were already using video conferencing, on the other hand, ranked the best advantages of video conferencing. Improved collaboration between geographically dispersed teams topped the list with 54 percent using the video conferencing to reach out to offsite teams. Communication clarity followed behind with 45 percent. With big names like Blue Jeans offering Polycom video conferencing features that include great acoustics and HD clarity, blurriness and a wobbly sound environment were out. Efficient meetings rounded up the top three with 44 percent saying the tool has improved the quality of their meetings.
What Makes Meetings Ideal:
69 percent of respondents believe clarity or the ability to hear everyone was the most desirable quality in a video meeting while 60 percent said ease of use was also important and 58 percent of respondents added that having clear eye contact with everyone in the meeting also made a video meeting ideal.
What Makes Meetings Fail:
We all know how distracting mobile phones can be. 58 percent said they were distracted by mobile phones going off in the middle of a meeting while 52 percent said they minded it a lot when people took the meetings in less than professional settings—store, in transit, bathrooms, etc. Multitasking was also on the list, with 51 percent of respondents saying people who were typing or doing something else while the video meeting was going on was pretty much another source of distraction while 50 percent cited inappropriate background noises as disruptive.
Transitioning to Video Conferencing
Video conferencing has made it possible for companies to provide flexible work environments to employees with telecommuting or work-from-home opportunities. If you’re already thinking about implementing this at work, take a look at these helpful reminders from Better Businesses on how to make the transition easy for you and your team:
- Build a strong rapport. Work on creating a strong professional relationship with your team. That’ll be an important element when you start managing offsite employees or staff. Excellent rapport improves employee commitment and engagement, which is crucial when you’ve got geographically dispersed teams on board.
- Provide the tools. Everyone on the team should have access to the same equipment, of the same quality. Check to make sure everyone has the necessary programs and platforms installed as well.
- Set a schedule. If you’ve got a lot of remote employees, the best practice is to set a common window. Three to four hours every day will do it. That will give you and the rest of the team time to tackle and resolve any issues, with everyone present and accounted for so you could move forward with faster and better decisions.
- Give clear guidelines. Talk to your team about what you expect from them. Want to keep the meetings professional? Remind them to present a professional appearance during the video meetings. Want to lessen disruptions? Tell your team to limit video calls to professional-looking spaces. And if you want to track their performance from home, require them to use log-in software or to send weekly progress reports to keep you in the loop.
- Talk about pets. In many cases, pets present a common distraction. However, it depends on what kind of video meetings you’ve got in your calendar. For colleagues using video conferencing to catch up or shoot the breeze, this isn’t an issue. However, if your video conferencing sessions include client meetings where you and your team are presenting to a potential investor or pitching a campaign to other departments, you might want to make sure everyone on your team shows only their best, professional side. And that includes keeping the pets well out of camera range.
By setting these guidelines, you’re telling your team what you expect from them in terms of behavior, conduct, and performance. With the transition coming, it’s a great way to ensure that, as a team, you’re all on the same page.
Tips For Starting Your Own T-shirt Printing Business While At University
When student Ben Francis started selling screen printed clothing from his garage 6 years ago, he would never have thought his startup would grow into one of the biggest brands in fitness. Today, Gymshark is supported by millions of social media followers and boasts customers from over 130 different countries.
Success stories like Gymshark’s demonstrate that setting up your own business at University is definitely possible and may lead to massive success. Being at University is a great time to set up your own business- University students have more free time, fewer commitments and there are a wealth of resources and organisations designed solely to support young entrepreneurs.
Selling t-shirts online has become a popular business model and offering a customisable aspect by printing personalised designs is a great USP. For University students, starting a t-shirt printing business is an inexpensive way to start a business while studying.
Here are 5 tips for starting a t-shirt printing business while at University:
Don’t worry if you’re not currently taking a business or marketing course, as there may be optional entrepreneurship classes you can take at University to train you for the world of business and give you startup advice.
There are many resources on the web to learn how to run a t-shirt printing business and more pointedly how to create customised prints, including this insightful blog post on how to embroider logos on workwear.
For setting up a t-shirt printing business it is important to do research into the industry and competitors as well as into the potential market. When it comes to the t-shirt printing industry, there are a wide range of potential customers so be sure to think about who exactly you want to be selling to.
Create a business plan
Creating a business plan is an important part of setting up a new business as it is a good way to explore the feasibility of your new business and is essential if you will be seeking out external financing.
As part of planning for the business make sure to:
- Establish the mission of your company
- Know where you will obtain your raw materials from
- Analyse the competition and know how will you make your brand stand out from other t-shirt companies
- Think about how you will market the business
- Identify your target market
- Do some financial projections, for example a sales forecast
Secure start-up funding
There are many ways to raise startup funding including business incubators and accelerators, angel investors and venture capital firms, and investment from friends or relatives.
Consider researching into small business grants as there are thousands of grant schemes in action across the UK and many will be eligible for University entrepreneurs.
The main sources of grants are from the UK government, the European Union and your local authority but they are also offered by Universities, charities and corporates. It is worth researching into all of these before making a decision.
Another great source of funding is the Prince’s Trust which is the country’s leading youth charity programme, who offer financial help and business support for entrepreneurs aged 18 to 30 in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Another financing option is The Start Up Loans Company which is a government-backed scheme helping individuals start or grow a business in the UK. The Start Up Loans Company allows you to borrow up to £25,000 to start a business for a low fixed interest rate of 6% per annum.
Create a support network
Search out support channels such as your University’s business resources and alumni network. You could also reach out to other entrepreneurs and local businesses to gain advice on entrepreneurship and useful contacts. Research into any meetup groups and network/ startup events in your area to widen your network.
Use free resources
To save you money be sure to make use of any free resources, including those provided by your University. Your University may have databases, contacts, workshops, and more that you can use while still studying.
Another great asset is the people around you- fellow students, lecturers, tutors etc. Reaching out to others for advice or opinions can be of great use when setting up a business and you may even find a business partner.
There are also a few charitable organisations which you can use such as the The National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs (NACUE). The NACUE is an organisation for students in enterprise and has a UK network of over 260 students and enterprises. They support and connect student entrepreneurs through student-led enterprise societies, practical programmes and events.
Trends In New Business Ownership In America
New business ownership is a great indicator of how the country is doing, right? Surely the more entrepreneurship going on the better?
Well it’s not just that simple, we need to look at what types of start-ups are happening, how successful they are and what they do once established.
It’s been reported that 90% of start-ups fail and this is due to a whole host of reasons, many businesses haven’t been researched properly, don’t have a market for their product, funding issues or any other thing can kill off a new start-up.
What Types Of Start-Ups Are Happening now?
What are the types of businesses that are starting up in America today and how does this differ from the past? It’s no surprise that online is where business trends are going with companies utilising freelance remote workforces more and more, communication and online marketing etc and even manufacturing and industrial businesses are concentrating more and more on automation and technology based solutions.
The small scale start-up, the spare room or garage success looks like becoming more of a distant memory as even new start-ups are having to come in funded and prepared to compete with the big boys.
High Quality Start-Ups That Are Fuelling The Economy
The number of start-ups are down overall but high growth start-ups are on the increase and a good indication of what the quality of these start-ups are is that the amount of new trademarks are growing each year and this shows that these firms are taking protection of their intellectual property, and therefore growth, more seriously and that is good news for the overall economy and for employment.
Tiny business that only employ the owner or family which account for 75% of start ups are not the answer to growing the economy these days.
What Kind Of Companies Manage To Grow?
From the nations’ point of view growth is really what we want from as many as our start-ups as possible as this fuels jobs, wealth and happiness for citizens. This guide to sustainable growth shows how to not only gain the growth needed but to sustain this to be able to flourish and be the kinds of companies America needs.
Companies that will last need to have a solid direction, this may sound obvious, but it’s shocking how many companies don’t have an adequate business plan or if they do don’t refer back to it to see if they are on track and adjust if not.
The business needs to have a strong brand identity so that customers know it and what it stands for. Most importantly this strategy needs to be long-term and so sustainable growth should be realistic and achievable.
So in many ways business start-ups are changing in that they are focused more and more on technology, automation and the internet. But in many other ways nothing has changed, businesses still overwhelmingly fail and those that succeed are what drives the economy forward.
So long as we have the 10% of success stories driving the economy forward then progress will be ensured long term.
Love Pets? Top Startup Ideas for You
The domestic animal (pet) industry is buoyant with pet care said to be one of the most recession proof sectors around. Maybe this is why there are many successful franchises operating, from short stay and daycare centres, to training and exercise gyms and speciality stores.
In business, we’re told to do something we love and if we do and do it well, we’ll be successful. Well, here’s your chance. If you love pets, consider a business in one of these areas:
1. Pet training services
The great thing about domestic animals and birds is they have a brain so we can train them, and not just for our entertainment. In fact training an animal for our pleasure is somewhat frowned on so focus on training for drug and bomb detection, or search and rescue.
Plus there’s also the specialist field of recovery particularly after a major event.
Cadaver dogs do an amazing service using their nose of which their sense of smell is way better than humans.
Animals also provide support and company for the elderly, and the disabled so there’s a lot of opportunity in animal training.
A pet training camp can be a great way to turn what you love into a sustainable business.
Law enforcement agencies, for instance, need police dogs to undergo training. Normally, police departments have their own dog training academies, but those in smaller town will have to get contractors to handle the training. K9 units often undergo obedience and agility courses, so you may as well include these in your curriculum.
Another great idea. albeit more left field, is, bird training. Not just any bird but Psittaciformes, which include parrots, cockatoos, parakeets. This is definitely a specialty area. If training is just not your thing, consider short stay pet accomodation or a daycare center.
2. Daycare centers
In America, ‘pet sitting’ while you’re on vacation or out for the evening, has always been an important tradition among suburban families, however pet hotels and daycare facilities now reign. It’s not just for Hollywood celebrities, everyday homes are using these businesses to mind their previous pets rather than leave them alone while the children are at school and the adults are at work.
So are a dog daycares profitable? K9 Franchise, did their research, and found it’s a multi-million dollar industry! So with the right business model and support systems it’s a sector that growing and is highly successful, and that’s due to us.
As our lifestyles have changed over the time, so too has our desire for pets. We’re having children later in life, so the pet comes first, and of course they’ve ingratiated themselves so they are around when the children come and go. Even non animal owners have turned to pets to avoid empty nester syndrone, as it’s proven that domestic animal ownership alleviate loneliness.
Taking on a daycare franchise, may be the way to move forward in your own business. The huge investment needed to get your daycare business started, plus the cost of support services like marketing, tech, and operational procedures are shared among the all franchisees, so the franchisee model works well in this sector.
3. Boutique and specialty stores
People love to pamper their pets. Pampering them is a surrogate to pampering a child or us. So there’s no limit applied to how often toys and accessories are purchased to keep pets comforted and entertained.
This is an exciting business with lots of innovation in this sector. There are boutiques and specialty stores that sell items from costumes, aquarium decorations, hamster cage setups, baked goodies, and other nifty things that cater to every pet lover.
However we say: caveat emptor aka ‘buyer beware’. Do your homework before venturing too far into the unknown when it comes to speciality products and services. There’s a risk, there will be a lack of demand, or you’ve entered a crowded marketplace with too much supply. However with more risk there’s more upside when offering a unique proposition. Word will get out among pet lovers and there’s no distance too far to go, when it comes to pampering pets.
New Packaging Machinery A Win For Food Outlets
Packaging is everywhere, and none more so now than in the food industry.
Packaging machinery used to be complicated to use and needed a lot space hence it was manufactured for wholesalers only. Of course this is no longer the case in fact, it is so ingrained in our retail culture that we don’t really think about it very much anymore beyond which bin it should go in once it has been used. This is a shame because, despite the recent negative press, packaging has a serious job to perform.
Longer Shelf Life
Go and have a look in your fridge – how much fresh food is there in here that would have already perished if it weren’t for the wrapping it came in? The answer is most of it.
Packaging isn’t just there to give you nutritional and health information such as sell-by dates and calorie content; it is also there to act as a passive preservative that means you can safely eat it for a much longer period than if it wasn’t well sealed.
Using packaging like this isn’t just good for consumers; packaging also allows businesses to thrive.
The right packaging can extend the shelf life of a product by a significant amount of time (think about that tin of beans that is yet to expire despite sitting covered in dust at the back of the cupboard for the last few years!).
In particular, fresh products last longer, giving customers more time to purchase and creating a much more competitive price margin.
Rise Up The Boutique Food Retailers
Packaging technology has been around for a long time but recent tech advances mean that now even small boutique food retailers can use it.
Instead of relying on large factories to produce fresh foods, home businesses are now able to create a more sustainable business model using clever packaging designs and technologies. For example, a baker could now bake a cake a day or two ahead, package it and deliver, still fresh, to the customer later on.
While shelf life might be the most important thing for the food inside, presentation is another factor that is significant for consumers.
We are all naturally curious about what we eat and checking to see whether something looks appetizing before purchasing is an instinctive behaviour. We want visual assurance that what is in the box is what we expect and nothing more.
Shrink wrapping is particularly great for this as it is one of the best ways to add valuable days to a used-by date as well as show off a particular food or product.
Whether the shrink wrap is used to expose the whole item or shrouded in cardboard with a handy peephole, shrink wrapping also gives the consumer a feel for the texture of a product.
Bright Future For Small Food Outlets
For small businesses, getting the packaging right is crucial. Being able to pack on site is the best way to minimize waiting times and maximize shelf life.
C Pack Packaging Machinery have been in the business of selling new and used packaging machinery for years and they say their client base has broadened a lot in recent times. Their client base used to be large manufacturers but tech advancement has allowed smaller retailers to create new service lines like take out freshly cooked roast dinners due to the use of the new technology. As a business, C Pack Limited say they’ve learnt a thing or two about dealing the retail sector and it’s great for their business and of course the food outlets.
As packaging technology has developed, customization has become possible meaning that small businesses can get exactly what they need from the tech. and they can accomodate the machinery in their premises.
Similarly, simplifying the technology to make it more user-friendly has allowed smaller businesses with non-specialist staff to get in on the market.
Consumers might not think too much about packaging but that is usually because it is doing its job so well. And with further advances in technology, the future of food production is looking bright. Startup businesses in freshly cooked or made food have a bright future too so here is yet another example of how advances in technology are working for us!
Smart Ways to Reduce Packaging Expenses
Selling products online has many advantages over the traditional walk in store, except for one – how to get the product to the customer. For most walk in stores the customers chose, buy and take their purchase with them, so there’s no need to deliver it. Online shopping requires the business to deliver the product to the customer and it must be a seamless process that’s trackable and the it arrives in perfect condition.
So how do these businesses deal with the challenges of delivery?
Online shoppers are not always local too so the product will often go by sea or air. If you sell products that are fragile, contain chemicals, or are prone to spilling, this is surely an added complication and cost, so here are some tips from shrink sleeves manufacturers Flexo Impressions.
Taking the air out with shrink wrap systems and machines saves on space and increases the shelf life of products. Saving space saves on packaging costs and products that were typically bottled can now be packaged in shrink sleeves reducing the likelihood of leakage or breakage.
The shrink wrap solution has been technology disruptive in a very positive way and it’s allowed businesses to be more innovative including the pervasive ready made meals market.
Use Recycled Materials
Newspapers, scrap paper, and other recycled materials make for great cushioning and can offset your carbon footprint. Also use recycled packaging ideally made from a sustainable business. Yes it takes more time, locating your suppliers however think of the marketing opportunity for your business and how it can stand out amongst it’s peers.
Some of the materials you use will be cheaper, others not but the discerning customer will choose your business and thus there’s the opportunity to make more sales.
Products Prepared Shipping Before Purchase
Products ready for shipping before they’ve been purchased will save you time and money. Depending on the kinds of products you sell, you might be able to have your products already packaged and packed before you get the actual orders.
Customer expectations are very different today and viewing an image of a product is enough to make a purchase. Even if your company only sells one kind of beauty product and you mainly cater to individual clients, you can have as many as a hundred orders shrink wrapped and prepared, just waiting for you to slap a label on the box. Of course your method may differ if you cater to both individuals and large-scale clients, but at least you can be ready with pallets secured and wrapped in plastic, and individual orders neatly lined up and ready for immediate delivery.
Have a Relationship with a Mail Service
Want to keep shipping-related business expenses as low as possible? Maybe you should establish a relationship with a preferred mailing service. For instance, companies like FedEx will come to your place of business on a daily basis to take all orders to their destination. This saves you from having to drive, and it also helps you to give your customers accurate arrival date estimates.
With the United States Postal Service, businesses can even go as far as choosing the time that shipments are picked up each day.
Delivery logistics including packaging doesn’t need to be a huge challenge or expense. Hone your system to find cost-cutting shortcuts, and remember nothing stays the same so always be on the look out for innovative solutions that make your job easier, and gives your business kudos. Working with social enterprises for example may be the way to go to forge closer relationships with your customers. Plus share your experiences on your blog, including how you’re improving the business with innovation to provide a better product or service for your customers.
How to Manage Business Energy Costs
Running a business can be an incredibly exciting and rewarding venture, but it can also be incredibly expensive given the myriad of costs which come with it. From having to purchase supplies to paying staff, there are many costs which every business owner must take into account to keep the business afloat and make a profit.
Keeping an eye on the costs and where savings can be made is an ongoing requirement for all businesses. Take utilities for example, there are lots of energy service providers and deals on the go all the time.
Bundling energy with data provision is the way to go nowadays so do some research on which provider is right for your business.
We’re all reluctant to pay more than we need to for utilities therefore your energy provider needs to be competitive on many different levels including support and most importantly cost.
There’s been a rise in service provider companies, such as Utilitywise, whom exist to help businesses find the most cost effective providers of not just power but also data.
While you may have thought this is enough to manage, and deliver on, providers wanting to differentiate from their competitors also provide other services like managing the bills from the chosen utility providers so you don’t need to.
Using a third party to take care of your business bills is also an efficient way to save time and manpower that you could use elsewhere.
To work out if switching energy providers is worthwhile, the first step to take would be to get an energy audit – most companies offer free energy audits and will help you figure out how your money are spent on energy bills, they ways you can increase energy efficiency and how to make adjustments to decrease the amount spent.
Managing where and how much energy is used within the business can reduce usage and thus the cost.
Focus on making sure whatever uses energy is only doing so when necessary (lights, computers, machinery etc.) and that you have energy efficient infrastructure in place.
Installing motion activated lights, for instance, may be a good way to reduce electricity usage in the long run, as well as using a programmable thermostat to control the temperature and make sure that the heating is not constantly on. There is plenty of energy efficient equipment on the market which could be an effective investment for your business.
It might also seem pretty obvious, but switching off equipment when not in use can really make a difference. You’d be surprised how much you could safe by not letting computers, printers and other devices sleeping, rather than switched off.
Keep your hardware wired into a single power-strip, so once you are ready to leave you can shut them all down with just a single switch.
You may also want to consider supplying some of your business’s energy needs yourself by installing renewable energy devices.
Two of the most common pieces of kit would be a wind turbine and solar panels, but there will likely be many more innovations to come as technology continues to progress.
Many businesses are going green these days, so it is well worth staying ahead of the trend and investing in renewable energy, both to keep costs down and to minimise your business’s impact in the environment.
You might want to consider letting a bit of sunlight in your office.
As simple as it is, this could help you reduce costs from keeping the lights during daylight hours. On the other hand, you need to make sure that the light is not intrusive and actually makes feel your employees uncomfortable.
These are just some of the many different methods you can apply to manage energy costs effectively and efficiently.
Adopting the best practices now could well save your business a fortune in the long run, so be sure to look into every option available to you.
- Social Media9 months ago
Top 5 Advantages and Disadvantages of Social Media Marketing
- Management7 years ago
The man who destroyed his multimillion dollar company in 10 seconds
- Management11 months ago
7 Essential Tips For Opening a Mechanic Shop
- Management1 year ago
The Five Common Materials Used to Manufacture Reusable Grocery Bags
- Innovation2 years ago
5 Ways How Globalization Impacts Small Businesses
- Management3 years ago
What Are the Penalties for Hiring Illegal Workers?
- Accounting & Finance8 years ago
Advantages and Disadvantages of Taking Small Business Loans from Banks
- Management6 years ago
Workforce Planning – Balancing Demand and Supply
- Management8 months ago
The Importance of Presentation Skills in Business
- Management1 year ago
Pros and Cons of Offshoring
- Management6 years ago
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail
- Sales6 years ago
7 Steps To A Positive Attitude & Better Sales