How to Manage Your Business While Traveling

 

Whether it’s following up on work, assigning tasks, checking on your business mail, or just replying to customers, it can all be done from your phone. As a matter of fact, almost anything can get done online, through your phone today.

Yes, it’s that simple. But don’t go running home or rushing off to your next vacation destination just yet! We need to establish how you can get all this done and more without being at the office. Keep reading to find out the key factors you need to consider when managing your business while traveling or being away.

Key Factors to remotely managing your business:

Conduct Regular Meetings:

Everyone doesn’t need to be huddled up in the conference room to conduct a good meeting; you can get remote employees, freelancers, and employees at the office all in the same meeting with just an internet connection.

Now meeting on a daily or even weekly basis can be difficult while you’re traveling because you’re mostly busy and have other things to address. However, meeting with the managers weekly or bi-weekly will reassure your presence in the office and confirm your supervision on all business matters.

You can easily conduct meetings through Skype or Google Hangouts where everyone can see each other and even share files if needed. You can also use Google Slides for presentations or Team Viewer to share your computer screen with everyone for demonstration.

Be sure to regularly interact with your employees no matter where you are and build close relations with them that can evolve into trust. If this is accomplished, you’ll never need to worry about business when you’re away.

Follow-up on Work Progress & Hours:

You being away from the office should never mean work doesn’t get done or is on pause. Technology created a solution for slacking or lazy employees, time tracking software. This type of software allows you to track employees working hours so you will always be updated with who came late or who worked overtime.

Employees will be able to track their shifts, breaks, and leave notes on their work progress.

There are many types of time tracking software, some are essentially focused on tracking working hours like ClockIn Portal that generate timesheets and can be integrated with payroll systems.

Others include a project management feature like Zoho Projects where you can share projects, assign tasks, and follow-up on tasks.

You can also use essential project management software like Basecamp or Asana that mainly focus on getting work done efficiently. Project management software allows you to assign tasks, update them with comments, set deadlines, add attachments, and eventually mark them as complete. With a straightforward tracking method of working hours and work progress, employees will feel obligated to stay focused and get things done faster.

Handle Business Mail Instantly:

While traveling, your mail is something you mustn’t forget about. Neglecting your mail for even a few days can lead to problems. Unattended mail can be important contracts from clients, documents from partners or investors, or feedback from your customers.

9 Ways Photographers Can Grow Their Business

Every picture clicked is a memory!

Photographs capture moments and events that make life beautiful. Behind the lens we have the ability to freeze moments in time and share them. And the choices are endless in showcasing your talent to the world. If you can’t select just one place to share, why not use them all? Here are top ways how photographers can grow their business:

Define Your Product and Services

Having a clear identity as a photographer – whether that be stylistically, location-based or subject matter focused – helps you define your niche, position yourself as a go to photographer in that area, and reach a very targeted group of customers. Said one art director from an advertising agency, “Photographers make mistakes when they don’t clearly position themselves. I need to know what type of photographer they are and their style. If it looks like they are all over the place. I can’t be confident that they can do my job well.

Determine Your Market

Who is your audience and what are their needs? Truly understanding your target market, including what they want and obstacles they encounter, can help you hone your marketing message and products to fit their specific demands. It will also help you better assist the benefits of doing business with you and deliver a smarter product or service.

Create a Marketing Plan

One-time marketing efforts rarely pay off. You often need to spread the news about your photography through many channels to get on people’s radars and convert them into paying customers. To get the word out, consider using social media, email newsletters, and participating in trade shows and networking events. Tip: Make a list of your marketing ideas and slot each into a calendar to stay on track.

Focus On Your Finances

Whether you’re full time, part time or a freelance photographer – or even if you make a few bucks on the sided from your photography – you are your own business. This means you need a separate bank account for your business, equipment and liability insurance and a cash flow plan. If this is new to you, we recommend sitting down with an accountant to help wrangle your budget, tax obligations and other financial needs.

Tune Up Your Website

Getting people to your website is hard work. If you site only showcases your photography, you lose the chance to capture a potential client’s information ultimately convert them into a paying customer. Instead, think of your website as a sales and marketing tool where people can easily sign up for your newsletter or purchase prints and products directly online. And don’t forget to include your contact information.

Build Your SEO

The goal of Search Engine Optimisation is to get found online – especially by people looking for your products and services without knowing who you are. Building you on-page content and list of “Backlinks” links from other sites to yours for example can help quickly improve your search engine rankings.

Get Social

A strong social media presence can translate into real exposure for your photography business. Why? Because your website is no longer a daily destination for your customers, whereas sites like Twitter and Facebook are.

Create an Advisory Group

When it comes to self-evaluation, photographers are often too subjective to assess their own strengths and weaknesses. So instead, try soliciting honest feedback from fellow photographers, friends, smart markets, financial advisors and designers about how you can improve your own prospects this year. People are normally glad to help.

Follow Up With Old Clients

Your old clients should be your easiest sale because you’ve already done business together. If you haven’t been in contact with them for a while, reach out and update them on your new projects, products and services. Don’t forget to remind them of how you worked together in the past and where you are located.

Helpful Tips For Calendar Printing

As the end of the year approaches, we get more inquiries about how to print a calendar. Calendars are a popular marketing tool, so many businesses will print a calendar for the holiday season, for a few good reasons.

Branded calendars make an excellent marketing tool and often a business will print these and hand out to clients as end-of-the-year thank you gifts, and it works because;

  • Everybody uses calendars
  • The sooner someone gets something for free, the sooner they will use it.
  • Make a great tool for brand awareness as it keeps your brand in front of your client all the time.

While you might think to go the DIY route, having your product manufactured by the professionals will result in a high-quality end result that will do your business proud and actually work out cheaper per piece. Keep these pointers in mind:1.) The design should uniform and in-line with your brand

You want the calendar to serve as more than just a tool to track dates but also to be something that will show off your business and brand in the best light possible.

Choose typography, images, colour and layout that communicates and connects in a visual way with your business. For instance, if your business is a top echelon interior designer, you are not going to choose gaudy colours and cartoon images and fat childlike typography. You would choose muted, elegant colours, clean and elegant fonts and high-resolution images that showcase some of your work.

2.) A template design might do the trick

Finding a template online that is exactly what you are looking for, or at least, goes a good long way towards your envisioned design, is super easy. Using a template also eliminates printing challenges such as incorrect alignment and bleed and trim lines. Even if you give the final design work to a professional, playing around with a few templates will get your creative uses going.

3.) Images – size matters

Because of their size, this is especially important for poster calendars but also follows for other calendar formats as well. Low-quality images will often appear blurry or pixelated when printed. Professional printing services are capable of creating photo-quality prints, but you might not be able to make the most of it when you use low-quality images. When possible try to use only high-quality, uncompressed image file formats or vector images as recommended by your printing service.

Often calendars, such as wall mounted calendars, will require large images and it is crucial to use high-resolution images to avoid ending up with images that are pixelated, blurry and simply looks ‘yuck’. Using good quality uncompressed images file formats or vector images will do the trick. Whether your calendars are large or small tented calendars, the image quality will convey the subliminal message that your business is a quality business as well.

Also, keep in mind that most monitors use an RGB colour model while most printers use CMYK. This is automatically accounted for when you print. However, if your monitor isn’t calibrated properly, the colours you see on your screen might not match what finally comes out on print. Another reason to let the professionals do what they do best.

4.) What will the use be?

Consider where in the sales funnel the potential recipients are. Are they in the middle of the funnel and you are only trying to catch attention? Don’t waste money on expensive high gloss wall calendars but rather consider card calendars of even magnetic options.

In contrast, poster calendars and wall calendars would be practical for more targeted distribution at the bottom of the funnel. At this point, you’re fairly certain your customer is closer to a sale, or has already gone through with a purchase and may be close to buying again.

On the other hand, if you know your customers are at the exit-end of the buying funnel, they have purchased before and you want to keep their loyalty, then top-of-mind-awareness is key. Consider high gloss, superior quality calendars of large proportions that client would not mind hanging in their office because of the visual appeal.

Fixing Personal Branding Errors

When it comes to personal branding, there really is no right or wrong answer. So much of it is subjective. However, that doesn’t mean that you are incapable of making mistakes or of wishing that you could have done something better/differently. If you had the chance to do it over again, of course, you would probably do those things differently. Well, even if you did make mistakes, all hope is not lost. You can still fix what needs to be fixed and move on from there.

Make fixes in a sensible manner
When it comes to fixing the errors that you made in your personal branding, you will want to approach it sensibly and methodically. There are several aspects of your personal brand that you will want to examine and, hopefully, you will be able to identify whatever needs to be corrected.

  • You want to make sure that your reputation is intact: If you aren’t sure what other people are going to find when they search for you (personally), you should search for yourself. The top items on the search engine should be positive about you. Additionally, those items should have value and they should help to enhance your reputation and boost your credibility. If you see that it is not the case, go back to those items and enhance them until they show you in a more positive light.
  • Entertainment versus marketing value: It is very important that you understand the balance between good value and the ability to entertain with your personal brand. You don’t want to have more of one than the other. Of course, if you don’t have enough on the entertainment side, other people may not remain interested. On the other hand, if you don’t have enough on the value/marketing side, from a business perspective, people may be entertained/amused but they may walk away feeling that they don’t have much to show for it.
  • Don’t go overboard: There is definitely value in revisiting the content that is connected to your personal brand so that it reads better. However, overediting is definitely not a good idea in general. The last thing that you want to do is to edit so much that you lose yourself and what you stand for in the process. It is important to show your vulnerable/human side but, at the same time, to demonstrate how valuable you are professionally and how your expertise can help other people.
  • Marry your personal and professional brands: The truth is that there is a strong connection between your personal and professional brands. They are two parts of you and those parts should have at least a discreet connection for other people to embrace. If you are communicating messages from both brands, they should be synchronized. You really can’t separate the two anyway. The best that you can do is to make sure that they exist in harmony.
  • Make sure that your social media profiles are current: The profiles are extremely important to your personal brand. They must be kept current. That means that you update your status periodically (at reasonable intervals), change your photo if it isn’t appropriate or is not relatively new, etc. You will want to work on all of your social media profiles. People will definitely notice if you don’t keep them current.
  • Make sure that your photo is appropriate: First of all, make sure that you have a photo which people can identify with your personal brand. Second, it should be an appropriate photo. That means that it should be a professional headshot. It shouldn’t be you with your cat, your logo instead of your face, you drinking in a bar or at a party, etc. After all, even though you are working on your personal brand, you want people to remember you in the right way because there will definitely be crossover to your professional brand and persona.
  • Make sure that your bio is what it should be: Your bio should be substantial enough so that other people are able to get a sense of who you are and what you believe in. On the other hand, you don’t want to go on and on to the point where the other person has no patience to keep reading. However, you should definitely highlight your accomplishments because not only are you proud of them but they add value to you and other people will have the understanding that you are someone with whom they should form a relationship and interact.
  • Always be yourself: Authenticity is an essential part of your personal brand. If you are not authentic, people will know it and they will not want to connect with you. You certainly don’t want that to happen. The reality is that you will not be able to have a successful relationship with everyone but you want your relationships with those people who want to be connected to you to be solid and enduring.

Conclusion
All of the elements listed above are important for your personal brand. Getting your personal brand in the shape that you want it to be will take time and work but it will be well worth it for you. You should keep in mind that your personal brand will take you very far in business. It is really important for you to understand your target audience and to do your best to give them what they want and need. If you give them your best, you will get it back in full.

The Need for Financial Translation Services

Has it ever struck you that Ugandan banks could be alienating potential customers by not considering financial translation services and having their transactions done in the English language? Every Ugandan bank you go to has its receipts written in English. In fact even most of the tellers and other staff in these banks speak only the official national language – English.

It’s ironic that banks that are at the forefront of preaching the gospel of developing a savings culture are the ones doing all their official business in the English language yet they know that most Ugandans are not well-educated and even some of those who have attained formal education up to university level are still not fluent with the Queen’s language and prefer communicating in the local languages.

This situation in Uganda’s financial sector justifies the urgent need for financial translation services. In the capital city, Kampala, the local newspaper Bukkedde sells more copies everyday than Daily Monitor and New Vision. Even in western Uganda, Orumuri newspaper which is written in Runyankole-Rukiga sells like hotcakes because people generally prefer reading something written in their mother tongues.

This also explains why the glut of radio and television stations that saturate our country since the liberalisation of media in early 1990s are popular for broadcasting in local languages. Radio stations like Sanyu Fm, Radio One, and Capital Fm (to mention only three) which broadcast exclusively in the English language are only popular among the urban elite who are the minority compared to stations like CBS in Buganda or Radio West in Mbarara who have more listeners but broadcast in the local languages.

Need for a paradigm shift

It goes without saying that we need a paradigm shift in Uganda’s financial sector as far as communications is concerned. Those who cannot speak English language fluently don’t deserve to miss out on messages of financial and economic empowerment. Thus the time is now for banks and other financial businesses to hire financial language translators to always translate their documents into local languages for accessibility of those not articulate in the English language. Other translation services offered in various languages include;

Oromo translation services

Kinyarwanda translation services

Malagasy translation services

Somali translation services

Kirundi translation services

Chewa translation services

Tigrinya translation services among many others.

The other day a lady from one of the big insurance companies in Kampala came to persuade me to sign up for one of their educational insurance packages. She was Ugandan with a Ugandan name but she was speaking fast like a rapper and in a foreign accent that made it hard for me to grasp what she was saying. I asked her to speak in Luganda but she said she was not fluent in it though she was born and raised in Buganda. In the end I never signed up for the package she was selling because I just could not keep up with her foreign accent and fast speech.

This is another example of how the language barrier is costing business owners and financial corporations many potential customers. The proletariat who are the majority would rather keep their money in piggy banks or stash it under their mattresses than save it with banks because the banks and other companies are not speaking the language these ordinary folks understand. If they did, many banks would be booming because many people would be saving with them and we would have a robust economy. As a common saying goes, a word for the wise is enough!

8 Ways to Show Your Boss You’re Ready for That Leadership Role

According to a report published on Deloitte Insights, 86% of companies interviewed in a survey say that developing new leaders is an urgent or important need. This means that the majority of organizations would prefer to groom a number of their employees who have the potential to handle higher positions than to hire externally.

Taking up leadership training courses is a great way to boost your confidence and gain the additional skills and knowledge you need to be an effective leader. Once you think you’re ready to take on a leadership role, you can demonstrate your readiness and competency through these strategic actions:

1. Bring extra value to the table

When you were still applying for your job, during the interview, you were probably asked the question, “What can you bring to the table?” You probably answered this all-important question by enumerating a list of your accomplishments, skills, experiences, etc. But once you’re ready to take on a higher position, you’ll need to bring more to the table.

This means taking on more work that you’re sure you can do competently and complete. If you have a set of tasks you need to do daily, go beyond the norm and put in more effort in your output.

For instance, if you’re in retail, don’t just aim to close the required or minimum number of sales every day. Work on getting more sales and giving patrons better customer experiences. By going beyond what you and your boss are used to, you are showing that you’re ready for more responsibilities.

2. Solve a big or recurring problem

Problem-solving is one crucial skill that all leaders should have. You can demonstrate that you have this highly prized ability by actually solving a huge problem or one that never seems to go away in the workplace.

Take the time to study certain processes or the office overall. Find out what causes delays in operations, dissatisfaction among customers, and discontent among your co-employees.

Do some research and recommend research-backed strategies or solutions to solve these problems. Work with the HR team, manager or business owner, and your co-workers to know if these are feasible fixes.

Once the new processes will be implemented, make sure you take a proactive stand and take the lead in accepting and following these changes.

3. Take ownership of your work

Humility is another trait people look for in leaders, and it is something that you should have as well. However, you should also own your contribution to success.

When others (especially your boss) notice and praise your accomplishments, accept and thank them. If you took the lead in a successful project, acknowledge your teammates’ efforts, but make sure you are aware of the important role you played in its realization.

4. Generously give credit to those who deserve it

Unless you took on a project yourself, always recognize and call out the efforts of your teammates. This is a crucial element in demonstrating and cultivating great teamwork. Appreciating the work of your colleagues shows your boss that you are paying attention to other people’s input and that you understand how everyone’s work contributes to the success of the company.

Recognition is one of the biggest things employees want to get from their bosses for inspiration. Even if you’re not a boss yet, acknowledge your colleagues’ efforts; they (and your superior) will appreciate you for it.

5. Inspire others

Genuinely acknowledging the hard work of others is a wonderful way to get the respect and admiration of your co-workers. However, take your appreciation a step further by motivating them to be better and to perform at a higher capacity as well.

Aside from leading by example, find different ways to inspire your colleagues. If some of them are experiencing burnout, offer tips on how they can overcome this. In case you’ve already experienced the same thing before, share some things about what you went through and how you successfully managed it.

If some of your co-workers want to become better employees, or are also aspiring for a higher position as well, encourage them to join you in team coaching sessions. All of you will learn something valuable from these programs. It is also an amazing way to let others know you are thinking of their welfare and success too; this, in turn, will encourage them to strive for more.

6. Know how to listen

Listening to another person with an open mind is a highly admired quality. It is essential to building and sustaining quality relationships.

If you know how to listen with an empathetic ear and open mind, you can develop a culture of passion and energetic teamworks. This is a clear indication that you have what it takes to be a leader. These are also traits that employers and managers look for and value in their next leaders.

7. See the big picture

Developing the ability to see and think big now will help you become an effective employee and leader. This refers to the capacity to keep an eye on the bigger vision of successful leadership without getting affected or caught up in various obstacles or issues at work.

Big picture thinking will also enable you to act proactively instead of reactively. When you already have this trait, your boss will know you are ready for a leadership role. This is because this quality is highly helpful in effectively managing people and time, and with turning challenges into opportunities.

8. Find, define and strengthen your voice

Building your personal brand is a by-word in the corporate world today. This is something that job-seekers are encouraged to focus on.

Finding and building up your brand’s voice and standing out from the crowd in a positive way will also help others see you as a potential leader. This can also spill over to your convictions; staying true to what you believe in is a good sign of a remarkable leader.

There is nothing wrong with pulling out all the stops if you’re keen on taking a leadership role. After all, aiming for a higher position is a goal worth working hard for. It is rewarding in many aspects and it is a clear sign that you’re on the right track to achieving greater success.

Top 10 Business Podcasts

If you are a business owner then this list of the top 10 business podcasts is a must for you.

As a business owner/ entrepreneur, we all know that maintaining and growing a business can be extremely difficult and taxing at times.

In order to keep growing and moving forward with our businesses, we have to constantly learn and develop new skills. That doesn’t sound too difficult in theory but with the daily pressures of operating a business, it’s not always easy to find the time to learn these new skills.

There’s only so many hours in the day so we need to be smart about how, and what we spend our time on.

A great way of achieving this is to maximize our downtime by listening to podcasts. Even busy business owners have downtime (walking the dog, going for a jog, commuting during the day etc) so it’s a perfect opportunity.

So now you’ve decided to check out some business podcasts where do you start? Well finding the right podcast can be tough, anyone with a microphone and a computer can basically record a podcast so let me show you the best business podcasts so you can cut the fluff and get straight to the gold.

TOP 10 BUSINESS PODCASTS

  1. TED Talks Business
  2. StartUp
  3. Entrepreneurs On Fire
  4. The Gary Vee Audio Experience
  5. Social Media Marketing
  6. Marketing School
  7. Masters Of Scale
  8. The Joe Rogan Experience
  9. The Tony Robbins Podcast
  10. The Tim Ferris Show