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Management

All The Biggest Companies Do This… Do You?!

people meeting

When you think about some of the most successful businesses in the world, who do you think about? We’re going to be some of the giants like Microsoft, Google, Nike etc. come to mind. But do you know they’ve done, or what they do to make themselves so successful? Chances are you might not even have a clue, but whatever they’re doing is getting them to where they are today. What do we know for sure is it takes a lot of hard work and determination to make it to the big leagues, and not every business is cut out to do it. So many decide to fall at the first hurdle and refuse to get back up again. We’re here to make sure you don’t do this as a company. We’re here to make sure you go as far as possible in the business world by following a few of the tips that we’ve got below for you. Here’s a little hint for you, they’re not really that hard for you to do! Have a read on to find out more.

Customer Security

Customer security should always be the most important thing to you. Even some of the biggest companies out there are struggling to keep their customers data safe due to the high level of hackers that will try to enter different systems on a daily basis. It is something that can’t be helped, but will soon have massive consequences if a data protection breach occurs. A new law is being passed within the next two months that hold the company responsible for the loss or theft of data, the result of which could be a fine for hundreds and thousands depending on the scale of the breach. So, it might be worth considering different, more safe methods of storing data that will keep your customers safe. There are so many alternative methods to use that are better than the mainstream ones out there. For example, you’ve got companies such as Onlime that are rivalling big data companies such as Dropbox, and beating them. Onlime challenges Dropbox in many different ways. One being the level of customer service that they offer. They believe customer service should be in multiple different languages, this is something a lot of companies actually fail at. If you’re managing your data using an inhouse server, or perhaps even a managed server, it is important that you’re keeping everything encrypted, and the encryptions are kept up to date on a regular basis. The latest company to have a big security breach scandal is Facebook, arguably one of the biggest companies in the world. They were sharing data in certain ways that they shouldn’t have, and that the consumer wasn’t aware of. So, if you’re going to share data with any one, always make sure full permission is given within the terms and conditions, and make sure you’re always following your own terms and conditions.

Customer Satisfaction

You might start to notice a pattern that your customers should be the most important thing in the world to you. They’re what keeps your business ticking, alongside your employees of course, so you want to make sure they’re as satisfied as possible at all times. One of the best ways of doing this is through the aid of market research. Knowing exactly what your customers want from your products or services is essential, and you best believe that all of the biggest companies out there are conducting market research on a daily basis. In fact, a lot of companies don’t roll out a new product without doing this! The benefits of it are as follows; you’ll save a lot of time in the long run, even if the upfront cost is a bit high, and you’re guaranteed to always keep your customers happy! Then you need to make sure the people working for you are keeping your customers happy. Long gone are the days where company owners take a back seat in things like this, it’s time to take the bull by the horns and tackle any issues in this area. Because at the end of the day, the people who work with you just won’t have the same values as you. You’ll have the odd person or two who is able to meet your standards, but the rest will just be in it for the money. What can be the complication with this? Bad customer service. And what does that lead to? A lack of customer satisfaction. We believe that a business should be constantly updating their employees with new ways to make the customer happy. Just a simple smile, or perhaps a nice question about how their day was is all it’ll take to keep them happy. The number one golden rule of business is to remember that the customer is always right, pretty much in everything they complain about.

Money Management

Money management is one of the things that bigger companies are really good at, or really not in some cases. There has been some big learning curves that we can take from some of the biggest companies in the world that have fell over the last few years. Just think of some of the biggest and the best. There’s Blockbusters, Monarch, Carillion…. The list could go on. What did all these companies do wrong? Well, they left debts mounting up and up until eventually a multi-million pound company couldn’t even pay them off. So it begs the question of who was in charge of managing such a thing, and why weren’t the managed. That’s why the person looking after your finances has to be one of the most trustworthy people on your team. Whether it be you, or someone you outsource it to, you should always oversee any final decisions. Don’t keep taking out loan after loan just because your business is making enough profit and you want to invest further. Use the profits to better uses and you won’t have to do so. The more debts you have, the messier things get. You should also be looking to put the money you do have to good use. You can either think about investing back into the business to try and push for growth, or you could invest in things such as stocks and shares to bring more profits in.

Productivity

There’s two parts of productivity that we need to talk about. The first is productivity with yourself. If you haven’t heard of Elon Musk, then you’re probably living under a rock. He is the owner of multiple companies, Tesla and Space X to name but a few. He believes that he can function from six hours sleep, and still manage the time in his day to even see his family and do leisurely things. This is one of the reasons why he makes so much money. He doesn’t take a back seat in his companies, and he plays such an active role in the production of new ideas, and the smooth running of companies in general. The same can’t be said for a lot of other business owners. As the years go by it’s so easy to lose motivation, therefore creating a lack of energy that your business might so desperately need. The second area that you could be getting let down in is productivity from your employees. They’re the ones who are doing the same job day in, day out. After a while this is bound to get a little boring, and productivity levels are going to drop. All you need to do is give them a little motivation, whether it be from the promise of a pay rise, random incentives, or a day out to boost team morale.

Marketing Techniques

The bigger companies out there, like the ones that we have listed, all have their own ways of using different marketing techniques to their advantage. A lot of them actually use a range of different techniques to give the biggest boost to their business. Smaller companies are a bit intimidated by techniques such as TV advertising, but there’s not reason why they should be. It is one of the most effective marketing techniques to use, but it can also be one of the easiest to get wrong. We all know how an annoying advert can put us off a perfectly good company, so make sure you’re being careful when using a jingle perhaps. Then you’ve got to think about other techniques, more relaxed ones that will still yield the same effect. One of the biggest to try and use is SEO, and there are plenty of companies out there that will be willing to help you with a campaign. Make no mistake, SEO is a risky technique to use, and if you do it wrong you could do more damage than good. Do it right, and it will massively improve your rankings within Google!

So, after reading this do you feel as though you could rival some of the biggest companies out there? Probably not, but with a lot of hard work you can definitely get close to being just as successful as they are.

Management

How to prepare for the first crisis in your restaurant

restaurant table

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.

Be loyal

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.

Summary

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.

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Management

5 Common Scheduling Issues and How to Avoid Them

calendar

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.

2. Imbalances

The US ranks in the bottom 20% for work-life balance. Americans have less time to take care of themselves, even though they need an average of 9.58 hours a day to address personal needs.

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.

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Management

How to Thrive in a Competitive Industry

marketing statistics

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.

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Management

5 Essential Questions to Ask Before You Rent Office Space

office

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!

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Management

4 Networking Tips for Solopreneurs

people

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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Management

Hospitality Help: Tips to Use from Successful Franchises

startup

What if your franchise investment financially ruins you?

Most entrepreneurs hope opening a franchise is their key to sustainable profit. However, it’s easy to make rookie mistakes that sink your business before it really gets off the ground.

Fortunately, you can follow the tips of successful franchises to make your own a smash hit! Keep reading to discover our handy hospitality help guide.

Adjust Expectations

We hate to burst your bubble, but there’s something you should know: you’re not going to get rich quick as a franchisee.

Owning a franchise is mostly about embracing the “slow and steady win the race” mentality. Your goal is steady profit, and it’s hard enough to meet that goal. Overnight superstardom is not going to happen for you.

It sounds simple, but adjusting your expectations is one of the best moves you can make early on in your career. Instead of planning for explosive short-term success, you’ll start planning for long-term gains and growth.

All in all, it’s very Zen: only by accepting the very real possibility of failure can you achieve success.

Cultivate Leadership

Many workers see training as a one-shot deal. Someone like a managers gets specific training when they are hired and then they are good to go…right?

However, the challenges facing your franchise are going to change from year to year. And over enough time, your key demographics will change as well.

The solution to this is ongoing training and professional development opportunities for your managers and upper leadership. You can provide such training via multiple methods.

For example, training may be delivered via computer, in-person, or even via productivity apps such as Slack. Not only does this build better leaders, but it shows your employees you are invested in their success.

Customer-Centric

A successful franchise is something of a paradox. On one hand, part of your appeal is that customers are already familiar with your brand.

On the other hand, customers still want a unique experience. And this is where many franchises drop the ball.

You need to appeal to customers at the individual and community level. Don’t just sell them products: host special events, sponsor local charities, and so on.

Ultimately, you will attract more customers because they’ll want to support a company they see as supporting their community!

Talk With Your Peers

Sometimes, the simplest solutions are also the most effective. Want to figure out what makes a successful franchise? Then you should talk to a successful franchisee!

Don’t talk to just anyone, though. Ideally, you should speak with someone who owns a franchise of the same company and is relatively close to your area.

Such a person will know the ins and outs of running a successful franchise while navigating various corporate rules and regulations. And they will also know what makes the local population tick, giving you an advantage when it comes to sales and marketing.

You can also pair such discussions with your own external research. For instance, this helpful page is invaluable for those wanting a hotel franchise!

Everyone Trains

Want to hear the three words that spell doom for a franchise? Here they are: “not my job.”

Every employee has a special role to play in your organization. However, some employees are unable (or unwilling) to do anything outside of that role.

In a successful franchise, everyone should be willing to train everyone else. Employees shouldn’t be limited to their special skills: they must be able and willing to teach those skills to other people.

Make sure you are clear on this policy to anyone and everyone that you hire. When every worker is also willing to be a trainer and a leader, you will create a culture of success.

Set and Measure KPIs

Look, we get it: chances are you went into the franchise business to get away from the corporate world and be your own boss.

Nonetheless, there are certain corporate concepts that will help your business succeed. One of the most important is that you must have Key Performance Indicators.

The basic idea is that your franchise is never truly successful enough. You should have specific goals for the next weeks, months, and years, and you must have ways of measuring your success.

One simple way to do this is to rely on secret shoppers. That way, you can accurately gauge the experience your average customer has been having.

Location, Location, Location

You can build your franchise pretty much anywhere. Of course, that can be a good thing and a bad thing.

Many owners pick a location by going with their gut. But trust us on this one: you’ll want to go with your brain instead.

It’s important to think like a customer. Is your location close enough to the center of town? Do you have enough parking for everyone?

Be brutally honest about what the location will mean for your customer’s experiences. If things are annoying or inconvenient, they will quickly move on to a more convenient rival business!

Focus on Retention

Know the phrase “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush?” That phrase applies to employees as well!

It’s great to think about strategies for hiring new employees. But it’s actually much more important to hold onto the employees that you already have. They are going to be your most knowledgeable and most efficient workers.

Try to pay attention to how long the average worker works in a position before quitting (management software can help with this). It may be possible to provide reorientation, training, or incentives to retain these workers for longer periods of time.

For the most part, your customer’s experience is determined by your employees. It’s worth it to hold onto the best ones for as long as you can!

Successful Franchises: The Bottom Line

Now you know the secrets of the most successful franchises. But do you know where to get more of the info you need?

At Business Blog Hub, we bring you the advice you need to make your company shine. To discover your next moves, check out our management tips today!

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