Since the moment you first Googled, “how to impress my crush” way back in high school, you have known how important a first impression is. It is that factor that can make or break your entire relationship. But aside from impressing The One right off the bad, no first impression is more important than that of a potentially huge client. That is when you feel your underarms get more than just a little damp.
A first impression is made within nine seconds of your first meeting, and it is the thin red line that could see you beat your competitors to the paycheck. Rapport, comfort and friendliness are the secret ingredients of a great partnership.
So, to answer the all-important question of “how?”, we have pulled together a list of ways you can ensure those initial nine seconds are the start of something much-much longer.
1. Appearance Is Everything
It doesn’t matter what the setting is, you need to ensure you look the part because, at the end of the day, perception is reality. So, if you agreed to meet at your office, then make sure your office wows them from the get-go. Have a friendly receptionist that knows the power of a smile, invest in office furniture that shows off what kind of brand you are and know the importance of manners. If you agreed to meet at their offices, or at a mutual meeting ground, then dress the part. You don’t want to lose out because you wore jeans and a tee when a suit was needed.
2. Remember You’re Humans
Yes, you are there to get down to business, but don’t let that overrule that fact you are two humans with personalities, hobbies, passions and lives outside of work. As such, use the first few minutes to find common ground and build a rapport. It could be you both like rugby, or have a soft-spot for beagles, have both visited the taco shop across the street or are new parents, still getting used to having a sleep-thief in tow. This will be the moment they think back to when a decision is hard.
3. Have An Agenda At Hand
Nothing is going to make you look less professional than being flustered, looking lost, going back and forth between topics and forgetting to ask vital questions. Luckily, there is a simple solution to all of this and it’s called an agenda. By using an agenda, you can keep the all-important conversational tone that is required for building rapport, while ensuring you don’t miss a beat. It will also show the potential client sat in front of you that you are in control, you know what you are doing and that they can trust you. It’s the source of all reliability.
4. Research Is Second-To-None
The internet offers a free education and it misses nothing. Not a thing. Which is why you need to squeeze it dry of all the information possible. Research the client in every way; the company, the individual, their causes, previous projects and future hopes. Research their competitors and the industry standards and if there are any current affairs that could shape the future of their market. The more you know, the more you can impress.
How To Start Your Own Engineering Company
In order to properly start your own engineering company, you must be mindful of a few key steps.
The first order of business is for you to determine what field of engineering you are interested in pursuing in the first place. You will want to narrow down into a specific niche if you want to successfully market yourself to your target audience. Then, depending on what you have chosen, you will need to get the necessary education to grow your skillsets in this field.
Once you have thought about the preliminary requirements, it’s time for you to start thinking of innovative ideas, to hire employees, fund your company, of course, market yourself, come up with a reasonable quote and lastly, acquire clients. Continue reading for more information.
Determine what field you are interested in pursuing
What field of engineering are you most interested in pursuing and starting a business in? Some options include:
- Electrical engineer
- Chemical engineer
- Aerospace engineer
- Computer engineer
- Mechanical engineer
- Civil engineer
There are countless others that you can select from, and the good news is that if you are interested in engineering as a whole, you are bound to find one subdivision that piques your interest.
Keep in mind that you want your future customers to be clear on what type of services that you offer, and this is also yet another reason as to why you need to be specific about what you do.
If you offer scattered services from across the different fields, this isn’t practical, and it will simply confuse people. Don’t let this be the case for you and your business.
Gain the necessary education
Getting the necessary education, and thus having the appropriate degree, is always paramount to your long-term success. Without the proper field knowledge, you can’t possibly understand how the industry works in the first place.
Moreover, if you already have an engineering degree, and it isn’t uncommon for engineers to turn into entrepreneurs if they so desire, you can then pursue higher education in business management. The other good news is that you can even get this degree online nowadays. Take the example of Kettering University that offers MS engineering management online.
Come up with innovative creations
The goal of any company is to stand out from the others and to make a difference in the world. Already, there have been many interesting innovations created by engineers and their teams.
You can take a look at this for some initial inspiration, but you want to make sure that what you create is completely different from what already exists on the market.
Otherwise, how can you prove to people that what you do is unique and that they should come to you for your specific services?
This is one of the most important things you can do as a business, and so it’s essential that you take some time to brainstorm what it is that your purpose will be.
No company is successful when one person is running the entire show and is in charge of everything. Although as an entrepreneur, you must establish yourself as a leader and give direction, you also need to hire the right employee for the job.
The people you hire must not only be experts in their field, but they must be aligned with your bigger company goals. Do they believe in the organization’s values? Are they a good match with the existing team?
This is yet another moment where you should take some time to find the ideal candidates, rather than rushing through anything.
Fund your company
Learning how to fund your business is key if you want your company to materialize into something that is concrete. Whether you seek investors, acquire a loan from the bank or seek crowdfunding, there is always some way for you to find the money your business needs to thrive.
After this point, it will be up to you to make sure that you continue to make a profit, and that is why you must always have someone there to oversee the money coming in and leaving your business. After all, if it weren’t for the profit you eventually make, you wouldn’t be able to sustain your organization or the employee’s that work for you.
In order to market your business, you need to have a strong online presence. Be sure to spread the word about who you and what you do, and so long as you persevere with this and stay motivated, people will start to know who you are.
If you don’t market yourself, who will know what you do in the first place? Whether it’s public relations, or digital or social media marketing, this is something that you must become more knowledgeable about.
Networking and making connections are key to acquiring clients that will benefit your business success.
Attend industry relevant events and be sure to market yourself which, as outlined previously, has many positive points. Continue to update your online presence on a nearly daily basis with new information that is meant to resonate with your customers.
Come up with a quote
It’s incredibly important for you to come up with a quote for the services that you offer that is reasonable. Take a look at what your competitors are offering and use it as a guide to what you should do as well. If it’s too expensive, no one will care to use your services, but if it’s too low, you won’t be making enough profit.
Engineers are able to look at the world around them and provide solutions to technical problems. This is incredibly valued in society, and there is no doubt that you will one day leave your mark on the world with the business you are starting. Of course, in order to be truly successful, you need to keep in mind a wide number of preliminary requirements, some of which have been outlined here.
Think about your long-term goals and aspirations and consider how you can best meet them by thinking strategically and being practical in your company ventures.
How to prepare for the first crisis in your restaurant
Even restaurant marketing that has been well thought out doesn’t exclude a crisis or two. As a restaurant owner or manager, you have to be prepared for everything, even the worst case scenario. Your business may be all well right now – but that’s exactly the time to think about possible worse times.
Listen in order to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses
Everyone likes to listen to praise. It motivates us, it helps us deal with everyday work, and it reminds us why we chose to do what we do. As great as it is hearing all about our strengths, you should be all ears when somebody points out any weaknesses of your business. It’s not pleasant, sure, but knowing what goes wrong or could go wrong – this knowledge prepares you for the kind of crisis we’re talking about. So, if somebody points out that your online restaurant marketing needs improvement, don’t belittle the problem or it could grow into a crisis.
Control your reviews
Do you know that the whole concept of restaurant marketing could go badly wrong just because of your customer reviews? What one customers writes, another can read, and then form an opinion about your restaurant without even ordering an appetizer. You have to take control over the reviews – and you can do that using an online food ordering system just like UpMenu which allows you to check the review before anyone else sees it and then share it – if you want to.
Think fast! And react
There’s no way to predict a crisis exactly. When it’s there, it’s probably too late to fix the problem altogether and sweep it under the rug – it won’t just pass by unnoticed. Since you won’t be able to make things right immediately, you have to think of the best plan of action to undertake. For example, if it’s restaurant marketing that suffers, you have to know exactly what is wrong with it, who is responsible for the trouble, what are the options to make it better, and who should be in charge of improving the situation.
Talk things through
It’s all fun and games to talk about success, but nobody really wants to talk about failure. People tend to think that if they don’t address the problem, it will just magically disappear. You have to go the other way: if there’s something wrong with your restaurant marketing, a first step to solving the problem is saying it out loud. It’s better to shout out a question than silently look on as the crisis approaches. You have to communicate your problems, because you won’t get through a potential crisis all by yourself.
Big problems, like a crisis in your restaurant, may wake up some instincts in you weren’t even aware of. When a crisis comes, you will think as the captain of a sinking ship, but you cannot forget you have a crew by your side. Don’t they deserve to know what’s happening? If the ship is sinking, you have to let them know.
Talk to your staff
I bet your restaurant management plan didn’t include a situation when you have to fire somebody who did nothing wrong or tell them you cannot pay them everything they earned. Every member of your staff has to be aware of the situation you’re in. Praise them if it goes well, warn them if you predict some changes when it comes to earnings.
Don’t take anything for granted
One day everything goes great but another – even the best restaurant marketing strategies won’t help you. People’s choices change, the market changes, and so too does the economy. In general, times change and so will your business. If it goes bad, within a few months your crowded restaurant can be empty.
As you see, there are a lot of reasons for your restaurant to fall into crisis. Some of them are irreversible and for those you have to be prepared. But there are also those that are totally up to you. They can happen or not, depending on what kind of restaurant marketing and management you run. Keep that in mind and you will greatly lower the chances of having a crisis.
5 Common Scheduling Issues and How to Avoid Them
Creating a reliable and effective work schedule is crucial to growing your business. A great timetable will make your employees happy, which will attract more customers.
On the flipside, a poorly-constructed schedule could have serious consequences.
Employee fatigue has been the cause of many disasters, like the Chernobyl nuclear explosion and the Exxon Valdez oil spill. As a manager, you’ve got to be aware of your employees’ feelings, mentally and physically.
Failing to notice these problems could hurt your company, causing financial loss. Read on to learn about 5 common scheduling issues, and how you can make work schedules work for you.
1. Overworked Workers
As a member of the retail or service industry, you’re no doubt familiar with the dreaded “clopening.” A closing shift (ending at 10 or 11 PM) followed immediately by an opener (beginning 7 or 8 AM) is a lot to put on one person.
Driving and taking care of essential needs can take 2 or more hours. This schedule for work leaves your employee with 6 hours or less to sleep. S/he will come in the next morning exhausted, and you’ll suffer lost time, productivity, or both.
Avoid employee fatigue with software that looks for consecutive shifts and corrects them. Combat it with breaks and regular shift check-ins.
Making schedules for employees requires careful planning. As a leader, understanding your workers’ needs will make you more effective.
They’ll thank you for it by being more productive.
3. Sudden No-Shows
Studies show that 38% of employees have called out of work despite feeling fine.
Last-minute absences can cause severe scheduling issues. Doctor’s appointments, children, and car problems are just a few reasons someone may fail to come into work.
Making a work schedule that fits everyone’s needs is truly an art. Smart software can help alleviate the panic of trying to cover a shift. Allowing employee swaps or having separate teams of workers can help.
Hubworks rolled out their staff scheduling app in order to combat many scheduling issues. Check out their helpful guide to discover the benefits of smart work schedules.
4. Worker Turnover
A long-suffering employee can spell disaster for your company. Losing a few employees won’t be a major downfall. However, high employee turnover can hurt your profit and image.
Hiring someone means investing time, money, and resources to training and onboarding them. If you continue to lose people, it’s time to reassess scheduling issues and management style.
Above all, happy employees mean happy customers.
5. Too Few or Too Many
Too many workers on a shift can be just as bad as too few.
Your budget will shrink fast, and you’ll have to send people home. This means less time and money in both of your pockets.
Only schedule the people you need for that shift. You should alternate workers so that no one works multiple shifts in a row. Employees notice fairness – or lack thereof.
The Art of Combating Scheduling Issues
Figuring out how to schedule employees can be the difference between an okay-manager and a great one. It takes finesse, intelligence, and a dedicated team of individuals to overcome scheduling issues.
To get the best results you’ll need an innovative support system and advanced AI. Check out these great employee management programs to simplify your life.
How to Thrive in a Competitive Industry
There are many competitive industries in the UK. Keeping a close eye on what your competitors are doing is essential to making sure that your business can stay one step ahead of the competition.
Consumers can now find companies in the comfort of their own home. Your business may be great, but it also needs to be discovered by the right audience online. If you find yourself getting lost amongst your competitors, try a new angle and give customers something different.
Kamran Mirshahi is the director of Canary Claims, specialising in PPI claims. Customers can choose to make a claim themselves or use a reputable PPI claims company. But, even if a customer decides to use a PPI claims service, there are a number to choose from. In July 2018, the government put in place a fee cap for all PPI claims companies – and this created even greater competition as many companies now charge the same price.
Despite challenges and rogue PPI claims companies giving the industry a bad name, Kamran has succeeded and thrived in the market. Below, he outlines how your business can do the same.
Create a Unique Selling Point
What is your business’s unique selling point? There needs to be something different about you to stand out. It could be that all UK deliveries are free or you only stock ethical products. For service businesses, do you offer something free to try and convert customers? Whatever it is, make sure it’s different from your competitors.
As a PPI claims company, making our price substantially lower than many other companies was one way to thrive in the industry.
Offer the Best Price
The price point is essential for all companies. How do you balance making enough profit with giving customers a fair price? Return on Investment (ROI) is an important sum to understand. If you believe that a lower price for customers will result in more sales, it could be the right choice for your business. If you are charging a higher rate than your competitors, you should make it clear to customers why this is – and what value you bring to them by charging more.
Have an Easy-to-Use Website
It’s been thirty years since the World Wide Web launched. The technology has revolutionised the way that individuals and companies operate. For companies, the need to stand out during a user’s search is pivotal to success. Creating an SEO-optimised website has never been so important.
But, even once a user lands on your website, they need to be able to access all of the information they require easily. This means your website needs to be user-friendly and transparent. Your target audience might not be tech-savvy – how does the site look to them?
Having an easily accessible website is a winner. Does it have a clear call to action? Is the language easy to read? Can the customer find out all of the information they need quickly and concisely? If not, address these issues.
Be Upfront with Customers
Honesty and integrity are words that a lot of businesses use. But do they all follow them through? Being upfront with customers about what they can expect from your product or service – as well as the cost – is vital.
One of the reasons for shopping cart abandonment is due to high shipping fees that customers weren’t aware of when they started their online shopping. Giving this information to customers can help to reduce this from happening. For those offering services, be clear with your fees upfront. In the PPI claims market, the percentage on a successful claim can make a huge difference to people and showing off a low price can help to increase the number of sales.
Even in competitive markets, you can make your business stand out amongst the competition. Create the best possible website and tell customers why you are the best in your industry.
5 Essential Questions to Ask Before You Rent Office Space
Your business is running full steam ahead! So much so that you’re looking to rent new office space.
But before you sign that dotted line, do you know exactly what you’re getting into and how it will affect your business?
Many people don’t realize choosing the wrong office space can bring business to a screeching halt.
Before you let that happen to you, here are 5 important questions to ask before you rent office space.
1. Is the Location Convenient?
When it comes to real estate matters, it’s always about location, location, location. And the same holds true for your office space.
Make sure it’s a location your employees will be able to get to easily. You’ll want your clients to have no problems finding it. And having good amenities close by is a win for everybody.
2. Will the Size Work for My Needs?
Of course, you’ll want to rent out a space that will comfortably fit your team. But also think about any future growth.
Do you plan to add team members in the future? Will other members work remote and not need a desk?
It’s a balancing act between renting enough space or renting too much. If you think your needs will change, try using flexible workspaces like beoffices.com.
3. Is the Rent Within My Budget?
You want the best workspace possible, but you don’t want to stretch your budget too thin. That’s why you need to take all costs into consideration when renting office space.
Is the rent and deposit reasonable compared to other offices in the area? Are there any extra fees such as maintenance, security, or parking? What are the average utility bills for the space?
Every penny counts when meeting your budget, so read the fine print to find out exactly where your money is going.
4. Can I Get All the Services I Need?
Most businesses rely heavily on a fast and consistent internet speed. Not to mention mobile phone service, cable, and other infrastructures that help a business run smoothly.
Contact the building owner and find out what they offer. It might also be a good idea to ask other businesses in the building, or the area, how their services are.
Check your cell phone service in different areas of the space. Ask if you can do an internet speed test. If the service is great, the owner won’t hesitate to agree to the test.
5. Does the Building Fit with My Brand?
The style of the building tends to be low on many people’s priority list when renting office space, but don’t discount it. If you’re a business that wants to project a particular brand image, your office space plays a key role in that.
Does the decor of the building blend with your brand? Are you able to make changes if not? Would you be proud to post pictures of your office for clients to see?
If any of your answers are no, you may want to keep looking around.
Get All the Facts Before You Rent Office Space
Before you rent office space, do your research. By asking these important questions, you’ll be sure to find the office space that works best for you and your business.
Now that you’ve got your office space in order, ready to build your employee engagement? Check out these 5 tips to boost engagement today!
4 Networking Tips for Solopreneurs
As a solo entrepreneur, everything falls on your shoulders. If you don’t do something, it won’t get done. This includes networking. In order to build a thriving professional network, you have to prioritize time for establishing and nurturing mutually beneficial relationships.
The Value of Networking
Many entrepreneurs and freelancers see networking as something that they could do if they had more time. But it’s time to stop viewing networking as an optional or supplemental activity. Networking is, in fact, one of the single most important investments you can make in the longevity of your career.
Networking is all about building credibility and establishing long-term relationships that are mutually beneficial. It can take months or years for your efforts to pay off, but the results will come.
“Not all of your professional connections will need your services right away,” entrepreneur Neil Kokemuller admits. “However, since you have a connection with them, you have a top-of-mind-awareness advantage when they need your help. This point is especially true if you consistently keep your work and message in front of them.”
You’ll also find value in rubbing shoulders with people who are talented and skilled in areas that you aren’t. Not only can you gather insights and advice from them, but some of their knowledge may actually rub off on you.
4 Tips for Solopreneurs
As a freelancer or entrepreneur, you’re in a unique position. On the one hand, you don’t have access to some of the same networking resources that your employed peers do. However, you have the freedom and flexibility to pursue networking opportunities that others can’t. The key is to make the most of your situation and to continually pursue networking as a long-term investment. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Join Local Groups and Organizations
As a freelancer, you don’t have the benefit of being associated with an established business. This means you lack some of the same connections that employees of large organizations have. You can overcome this deficiency by joining local groups and organizations in your industry. Your membership in these groups will give you access to events, conferences, and career opportunities.
2. Leverage Your Personal Network
There’s also something to be said for leveraging your personal network to discover opportunities and find new connections. Every friend, relative, neighbor, or former classmate is a potentially valuable resource for you and your career. Cultivate these relationships by regularly catching up and/or informing them about what you’re doing.
3. Join a Coworking Space
For many freelancers, working from home is somewhat problematic in the sense that it eliminates your ability to rub shoulders with people on a daily basis. To combat this isolation, join a coworking space that allows you to mingle with other people, yet still remain focused and productive.
“Each tenant gets to be part of a larger network of lawyers, marketers, accountants, entrepreneurs, creatives, artists, and students,” Novel Coworking explains. “You can meet other tenants at networking events, happy hours, and lunch and learns. Your next intern, business partner, or customer could be just across the hallway from your office.”
The beauty of renting coworking space is that you have the flexibility to work when and where you want. If you’re getting cabin fever working from home, you can head to the coworking space for a change of scenery. If the weather is nasty and you don’t feel like going outside, you can simply work from home one day. It’s your call!
4. Build an Online Presence
In today’s world, online networking is just as important as in-person networking. As a solopreneur, you have just as much opportunity as the next professional to take full advantage of this.
The key to online networking is to establish a brand and build up a digital presence. You can do this by creating a website, developing social media profiles, publishing content, and utilizing LinkedIn or other online communities that are specific to your industry.
Adding it All Up
Networking isn’t easy or effortless. It’s gritty, tiresome work that often feels unrelenting and low-returning. However, a long-term investment will ultimately yield a healthy harvest of new opportunities. Prioritize networking, and you’ll infuse greater potential into your career. It’s as simple as that.
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